Jan. 1st, 2012

lazypadawan: (Default)
Bob Anderson, fencer and stuntman who doubled for David Prowse during the lightsaber duels in TESB and ROTJ, has died at age 89. From the Kurtz Joiner Archive Facebook page:

"It is with great sadness that we report that Bob Anderson, the man behind the lightsaber fights in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and legendary swordplay in countless other films, has died at the age of 89. We had the very great pleasure of working with Bob numerous times over the years and always found him to be a gentleman, a professional and a legend. It was a privilege to know him and our thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this sad time. RIP Silverblade Bob."

A quick peek at Anderson's (not yet updated) Wikipedia entry shows he worked on a LOT of genre films, up through serving as Sword Master for "The Hobbit." He'd done the same duty on the LOTR movies. Other films where he'd done stunts, coached, or consulted include the first "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie, "The Mask of Zorro," "First Knight," "The Princess Bride," "Highlander," "Barry Lyndon," "Superman II," and a few James Bond movies.
lazypadawan: (Default)
As of late, Hollywood has been crying in its cocaine about some of the crummiest box office totals since 1995 and many movie observers have been offering their theories on why.

Of all of the ones I've read, I can tell you which ones aren't true. A common theory is that audiences are tiring of a parade of endless sequels and mindless special effects extravaganzas. While it is true a lot of franchise movies didn't do as well as their predecessors and for the first time in years, no superhero flick topped $250 million domestic, the fact of the matter is those ARE the movies audiences are seeing. I've heard since I was a kid that audiences crave meaningful stories and heartfelt, no-holds-barred acting but aren't getting them. But those words are usually uttered by movie critics and the kind of people who favor art house movies; the masses just want solid entertainment, even if it consists of fight scenes, 'splosions, or car chases. Don't insult our intelligence (too much) but don't bore/offend/annoy us either.

The closest to the truth is what Roger Ebert had to say: moviegoers are tired of paying a lot of money to sit in auditorium full of rude morons who chat with their seatmates, chat on their phone, text, or give play-by-play updates on Twitter or Facebook as their devices light up the place. It's hard to get into a movie with all of these distractions. If you go at night with a mob of rowdy teenagers, good luck.

Ticket prices have gone up, up, up and going to the movies with a family of four along with buying expensive concessions (how theaters really make their money by the way) could run about $75. For your trouble, you sit in an auditorium full of inconsiderate boobs for a movie that, regardless of genre, is just okay. Just-okay-movies are nothing new but the difference is that in 1980, I could have seen a just-okay-movie for a $1.50 matinee. Now that just-okay-movie is $10+ and if it's in 3D, it's up to $15-20.

Moreover, everybody knows now that movie will be available on your 60" HD television via Blu-Ray, Netflix, Blockbuster, and the iTunes store within four months, even if it's a big hit. I can rent a movie for $4.99 in HD via iTunes and not have to put up with any jerks, eat my own food from home, and if the movie stinks, I'm only out at most five bucks. There is only a handful of must-see movies that are better on the big screen and only so many franchises have large enough devoted fan bases who can't wait four months for the next installment.

Hollywood is relying on a diminishing number of people who want to be on the front of a pop culture wave and want to see a movie right as it comes out. And even a significant number of those audiences are simply downloading pirated copies posted on the internet.

If I had lots of money, I'd invest in making nice second-run theaters that offer movies fresh out of the multiplex but not yet available for home viewing for a huge discount. The one I'd go to near the George Mason University campus offered $2.50 matinees and Tuesdays were only $1. A spiffier model with clean floors, smaller auditoriums but with stadium seating, comfy chairs, and cheaper concessions would be even worth $4 to somebody.

December 2012

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