Thursday, March 23, 2017


Well, honestly it's a light week, at least in the entertainment world at the moment and there's not too much going on that I'm particularly interested in thinking too deeply about, and for right now, there's nothing that I really want to bring up either. Honestly, it's kind of a dead space right now, so, with that in mind,...-.

Every so often, when there's nothing going on in the entertainment world that seems important or relevant enough to garner a complete and full review, we do a little Mixed Bag Blog, where we take, a couple quick looks at a few different subjects or events going on in the entertainment world, and we're gonna do one of those today. We're gonna touch on the "Zootopia" plagarism lawsuit, the supposed plague of "passable movies", and finally, a quick glance through the Daytime Emmy Award nominations! That should be fun.


So, there's a ton of lawsuits every year from people who claim they had the idea for some successful film, and that it was stolen, most of them, don't honestly peak my interest, because, well, first of all, it's very difficult and second of all, they're usually bullshit. Mainly because, as a writer, I know damn well for a fact that, if so-and-so was the actual writer of the work, then they would've written it. Now, I'm fully aware that screenplays often go through a lot of writers and even ghostwriters hands before they end up on screen, hell, I've had experience with that. (None of which I'm gonna talk about, but...) And you know, when somebody says something offhandedly to somebody else, that they have an idea for something and then that person takes that idea and runs with it, and creates something. Yeah, that person with the original half-a-thought, he created nothing and has no right to authorship, at all. If anybody saw that first season of "Smash" which, I liked, but that character who mentioned the idea of doing a Marilyn Monroe musical to the Debra Messing and Christian Borle characters, and then, tried to claim it was his musical and go up the ladder. Yeah, there's a reason he didn't make it to season two. He didn't write shit, he was blackballed, correctly, and it frankly doesn't matter if he had the idea for it. He didn't write it, he didn't create the music, he didn't do shit. He was lucky to serve coffee and spoilers, he fucked that up too. I mean, have you guys see this story?

Yeah, girl won $30million dollars from the Wachowskis claiming that they stole her idea for "The Matrix" movies. Big payday. Here's the problem, it's 100% bullshit. The article isn't even real, and if you look it up, there's like dozenss of hoax-debunking websites proving how wrong it is. The woman did sue, but she lost in court. In fact, she wasn't the only person who sued the Wachowskis over that script, and the other person lost as well by the way. Because, they didn't write it, and there work wasn't the base of the person's work. And nearly everybody in the industry knows this, they usually have a good center of how things happen like this. Occasionally there's a suit that does, tilt a head and raise and eyebrow, the lawsuit over "Gravity" for instance, does seem fishy to some extent, but that ultimately was dropped as well.

So, when another lawsuit like that pops up, I don't normally notice. But, this one, did strike me, mainly because the guy suing is a successful screenwriter, himself. You might have read about it, if not, here it is:

Disney stealing from somebody else's work and trying to make their own, well, let's,-, (sigh) let's say that they don't have the greatest history of that to begin with, and now they're being sued by Gary Goldman. Goldman, is not your normal plaintiff in this case, he in fact is a successful screenwriter and script doctor who wrote "Big Trouble in Little China" and "Total Recall" among other films. He's also been an executive producer on other films, so this is a bit more unusual. Plus, he doesn't just claim to have an idea, he has artwork, in this case. On top of that, he pitched the idea and the name "Zootopia" according to his suit. Now, obviously there are differences, this was a long time ago, 2009 was when he pitched and during the making of the movie, the script for the film changed several times, and it doesn't resemble Goldman's purported original vision much, but-eh, it-eh, Well, just checking IMDB real quick, I cannot find another movie, with the title "Zootopia", so there's a possibility he probably came up with it. Uh-oh, for Disney here.

Now, I'll be honest, I have to look a little further at the complaint, but I don't think he's gonna win the case. On the one hand, yeah, on the other hand, it's not an identical story and while it might be a similar idea, we're talking, an animated movie, where the conceit is that all the main characters are animals. Animals acting like humans. That was his pitch, to Disney. Disney. Yeah, I don't how far this is gonna go, but preponderance of the evidence doesn't necessarily seem to favor him, in my eyes anyway. But, it's still strange, and questionable behavior here, and the Plaintiff is not a dud. This is one to keep an eye on.


So, I'm not normally a fan of "The Playlist", which is a fairly well-known entertainment website in Hollywood, it's articles appear on's newsfeed for instance; I was actually referencing them in a tweet about how I mentioned about how any website that does a "Most Anticipated Film Award/List I don't consider legitimate," (And I don't, and neither should you, and you shouldn't be anticipating movies anyway.) but then I tweeted "Well, unless I have to..." and since they are so prominent, I do have to pay a little attention to them, and they did post something that has begun to come into my radar, it was a video essay about "The Epidemic of Passable Movies" by a Youtuber who goes by the name, "Nerdwriter". Some of you know, I'm not fond of the word "Nerd" being so liberally used positively in today's society, so add him to that list for that, but I'd started to notice his essays here and there popping up as they've been shared by other Facebook groups, and for an entertainment and pop culture commentator, as far as I can tell, he's okay. I like how he doesn't tread the same areas that others would and tries to look beneath of the obvious surface of the issue to find something more insightful, but, (Shrugs) I don't know, I guess he's okay, I think he straddles the line between commentary and naval-gazing, but yeah, that's a minor quiblle. I can't say I think anything negatively about him, and most of the time I quite like his work. (Hell, I worry about doing that myself most of the time.)

So, I was wondering what intrigue The Playlist people about him, and they had posted this latest video of his:

So, yeah, my first instinct was to disregard this and not look at it too deeply, but, you know, it-, it a thing though, there are too many of what he calls "Passable" movies out there. I don't know or think anybody is really aware of how many there are, but as a critic who tries to watch everything, yeah, I can see where he's coming from; it gets annoying. There are a lot of time where I would much rather be effected negatively by a bad movie, than being able to barely focus and pay attention or try to care about a passable or average movie. A movie that's eh, in the 2-let's say 3-1/2-4STARS range, I guess, according to my ratings, which should be the one most use. (Seriously, if some other moron post on Facebook, "Rate a movie between 1-10, especially if they think point scores are okay", I'm gonna a shove calculator up their ass, 1-10 is too many, and too annoying, just use Five Stars, unless you come up with something better than "Two Thumbs Up" [Annoyed sigh]) But, I get what he's doing, he's trying to formulate a theory or an equation that explains why movies are only passable and what makes them that way. And, he's not entirely wrong here, about how, too much of passable movies, are essentially, going through the motions of a movie, without actually being a movie. There's time I can spot it too, when it's clear that a subplot with a character who's not really important or relevant to anything else in the movie is added, mainly because the writer or filmmakers are sticking to the Robert McKee pattern of screenwriting a little too closely. There's nothing wrong with that formula, but it's noticeable and in a negative, particularly, when it's being used in replace of genuine human emotions, characters, reactions, etc. Most movies have a 3-act structure and studios want to replicate others successes, so things get sacrificed, blah, blah, blah, that stuff's not unusual per se, and none of the examples he give would even be worrisome if they were in better movies.

That said, yeah, this isn't an epidemic, or a plague of a syndrome, it's just what happens in general. There's ton of films and movies and once we begin to understand and recognize that certain ones are exceptional and others are, utter garbage, then, we also start to recognize and understand how others are horribly average and aren't good or bad, but fit somewhere in the middle. It's like a really nice and talented painter who's never gonna be famous and his art won't sell or be remembered after he's gone. There's a lot more Salieri's than there are Mozart's, that's just a fact. And that's also, the real reason he's struggling to understand something that he doesn't bring up, that the best filmmakers, have a point of view and aren't immediately influenced solely by the formulas of other films. Take Martin Scorsese for instance, he's a great director and he makes some great movies, and often the more personal the project he makes, the better the movie is. Sometimes, he makes a lesser film, but they're all pretty distinctively his movies, and it's very difficult to claim otherwise, there's too many distinctive ideas and motifs that we immediately recognize as Scorsese in his films, not that other filmmakers can's use or borrow from Scorsese, but it's just that, he's instantly recognizable as Scorsese. Bad filmmakers also tend to have this mark too on their work, but passable filmmakers, eh, like, let's see, eh, well he brought up "Hitch", who directed that? (Checking Andy Tennant. A look at his filmography, let's see, "It Takes Two", "Fools Rush In", "Ever After: A Cinderella Story", "Anna and the King", "Sweet Home Alabama", "Fool's Gold", "The Bounty Hunter" and most recently "Wild Oats". I haven't seen all those films, but of the ones I have, eh, there's not much to say about them, they're pretty average. The one decent Olsen Twins film, that rom-com with Matthew Perry and Salma Hayak that could've worked if the tone was right, (Nerdwriter is right about that) a forgettable "The King and I" remake, a boring and badly cliche, Reese Witherspoon rom-com, and I guess "Ever After..." holds up, but I'd be hard-pressed to call that great, and I don't remember too many good things said about the other films he's made. Not too much that's distinctive, or something that you would point to and say, "That's Andy Tennant!" in his works. That's not to say all filmmakers have to have something like that, Stephen Frears comes to mind as somebody who switches genres and styles every film, and he's made a few great ones, but he's also only made a lot of good ones too, I could argue. Yeah, the thing is though, point of view, is really the main key that I'd argue distinguishes passable from great and without it, you got, well, hollowness.

To give another example, "Trainwreck", there's nothing inherently unusual or strange about it's structure, it's basically just a romantic-comedy, with a lot of the same romantic-comedy beats, but Amy Schumer, in her screenplay, had a point of view, and therefore the film had a point of view that seem strange, different and more unique than pretty much every other romantic-comedy I can think of this century. Rom-coms btw, are probably the worst offender of the Passable Movie epidemic that Nerdwriter discussed, usually passable is a pretty-high watermark for that genre lately, which is also why something as great as "Trainwreck" stands out even more.

So, is there a passable movie epidemic? Yeah, I guess you can call it that, and try to come up with reasons and explanations as to why it exists, but honestly it's just par for the course. It's the same problem as always, too many filmmakers, not enough great ones, lead to an increase in passable films. Hey, be lucky, it could lead to an increase in horrible piece-of-shit films. Passing is passing, they can't all be A+'s, some are gonna be C's. (That's another dumb rating system, but one I'm more forgiving of than 1-10)


So, the Daytime Emmy Awards were announced this morning, and I thought I'd, just, quickly through the full list of nominations, which you can find, here:

I know it's not much, and who cares, it's the Daytime Emmys, but that's what fun about it, there's always some intriguing curiosities in that mix, that most people, if you're not paying attention, could easily be missed, and are worth looking around for. Now, you might be wondering, if I'm just being a bit lazy and am just deciding to just riff on something real quick instead of going out to find an interesting third story to write about, and am only doing this, 'cause it's easy. Well, let's get started!

Most of us are probably unsure as to why "The Young and the Restless" has so many nominations, Donald Trump probably thinks it's horrible that PBS has so many.

Something called "" has two nominations, It's an animated short, directed by, oh, Brandon Oldenburg, I know that name.... (IMDB... Yeah, he won an Oscar a few years ago.) I know the name. It's a cute short, it's on Youtube, check it out. I wonder if he's related to Claus Oldenburg, the great pop sculpturist?

With so few actual Daytime Drama Series now, I don't know why they don't mix the digital drama series into their categories.

Boy, they really liked "Odd Squad" for some reason. I was never that big on that one.

Does anybody know what the streaming numbers are for daytime children's programming, like on Amazon and Netflix? I'm just curious; I genuinely am not sure how many kids are watching them.

Although, I'm definitely making a note to check out Mr. Peabody & Sherman, the next time I think about it. Although I'll probably just end up looking for old Rocky & Bullwinkle episodes again.

Oh, Culinary Program, category I care about! "America's Test Kitchen", good, "Eat the World with Emeril...", good, "The Mind of a Chef", okay,... what the hell is "Trisha's Southern Kitchen"? I don't know a Chef Trisha offhand, who's the E.P.? TRISHA YEARWOOD? The country singer from two decades ago?! Oh man, I miss when Food Network was watchable.

Oooh, Game Shows. Ooh, "Wheel of Fortune" got snubbed. Oh well. Okay, I read this on Gold Derby on there or something, but with "Celebrity Name Game"'s nomination here, it means that it's Courtney Cox's first ever Emmy nomination. It's also David Arquette's first as well, but yeah, Courtney Cox, until today, never got an Emmy nomination. I know, I don't know how that happened either. I mean, no, I never liked "Cougar Town", but still, (Shrugs) The Emmys never liked "Friends" that much, look it up, I don't know what to tell you.

Legal/Courtroom Shows, yes, you probably remember what I think of them. I'm definitely cheering for "The People's Court" here, although I gotta admit, I don't hate "Hot Bench" as a concept, but, as a show, eh.

I have no idea what "LIFESTYLE PROGRAMMINGS" are, I guess this is the kind of category that "This Old House" would submit in, or something like that.

Travel Programs aren't as interesting now that Anthony Bourbain's show submits in Primetime.

OUTSTANDING MORNING PROGRAM, there's an Oxymoron! I guess, if I have to pick, I'll take "CBS: This Morning".

It's weird enough that they're separating Talk Shows into Informative and Entertainment categories, but I think it's actually weirder that Steve Harvey submits in the Informative category.

Wow! "Maury" got in?! They must not have as many good entertainment talk shows as they used to anymore. We could use a new good one, come to think of it. It shouldn't just be Ellen and the three other shows. Well, two other shows and whatever-the-hell, "The View" thinks it is. How did Barbara Walters survive 2016, anyway?! How about an investigation into that?

LOLOLOL, Entertainment News Shows, Lolololololol! Oh, that's funny. I really got pitch that idea for like a Variety-type entertainment news series. (COPYRIGHT PENDING)

I wonder if "Close-Up with the Hollywood Reporter" is kinda like that idea. Dammit!

I thought we got rid of Chris Hanson, why's he back?

Why do I have a sneaky suspicion that in like 40 years year, Marlyn Freeman's gonna catch up to Sheila Nevins's Emmy records?

OMG! I forgot Nickelodeon still does that "Kids Pick the President" thing. Who won that this year? (Searches) Wow, Trump did poorly with kids, even lower than his ratings now. Huh. Well, that's, hopeful, and possibly assuring. Not crazy that Gary Johnson got 11% from kids, but alright. I'm not even sure Perot did that well with kids.

OUTSTANDING PROMOTIONAL ANNOUNCEMENT-TOPICAL? What a weird category that is. David Bowie, Martin Luther Kids, the Kids Choice Awards, something called "Mini-Michael Strahan" and Halloween on "Today". Daytime TV is weird.

I'm betting on the Supporting Actor nominee that had a duel-role, they always win.

Huh, Nichelle Nichols was on "The Young and the Restless"? Lt. Ohura? There's always somebody weird in the Guest and lesser acting categories. Jim O'Heir's there too, he's a good actor. BTW, soap opera actors, in general, really underrated.

Wait, Anthony Anderson, on "Anacostia" what the hell's that? Okay, checked it out, not that Anthony Anderson. Jesus, this thing's been on five years. Youtube ought to promote these series more, the first episode's only got like, 26,000 hits. I get that in three months on my blog, Jesus.

Yeah, it's still weird to see a "Sesame Street" nomination and to look over and see HBO under network.

Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program is interesting. Kelsey Grammar, Kate McKinnon and Andy Richter all nomination. And apparently has a new version of "The Tom & Jerry Show"!

I think I'm going for Rick Bayless for Culinary Show Host and Craig Ferguson for Game Show Host this year.

Oh, God, Jenna Bush-Hager has an Emmy nomination. (Sigh) I guess it's better than Billy Bush. (Billy Bush, btw, never got an Emmy nomination, so kudos N.A.T.A.S. for that.)

Let me guess, Food Network created "The Kitchen" as an attempt to, basically take the format from "The Chew"? Yeah, that's probably what happened. Nice to see Katie Lee there though. How come Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio never gets nominated for "Top Chef" anymore?

"The Talk" is still sticking with Sheryl Underwood? (Sigh) I miss Leah Remini, I really don't get it. I like Aisha Tyler, she's better than Holly Robinson-Peete, who must be like 60 now, and still looks amazing. How old is she, 53, god. Still, she looks great. Been on TV my whole fucking life, but damn, she looks good.

Why are the five fakest-looking women I've ever seen on a show called "The Real"? There's way too many nominees in the Entertainment Talk Show Host category, was too much group hosting gigs, not enough solo hosts. Not that I understand who Wendy Williams is, or why the hell she's got a show. Am I the only one who hears "Wendy Williams" and thinks, lead singer of the Plasmatics?

Did "The Bold and the Beautiful" do a musical episode, they got three Original Song nominations?

"Justin Time: Go!" and "Doc McStuffins: Toy Hospital" are two great names for a kids television show.

Huh, The Independent Spirit Awards are technically a Daytime program. Well, yeah, I guess that makes sense, but they could've submitted in Primetime if they wanted.

Guillermo Del Toro is a Daytime Emmy nominee, for Directing! He co-directed, something called "Trollhunters" on Netflix.

I'm afraid to look up what "Pocahontas-Dove of Peace" is, and for that matter, why something with that title is on CBN/"The 700 Club" for that matter. Yikes. There can't be anything good about this.... (Looked up it, yikes, it's probably as bad as you imagine it to be. Oh, boy. Well, it's only an Editing nomination.)

Why is Rachael Ray nominated for Musical Performance?

Well, that was fun. Nominations announced, and awards will be given out, sometimes in the future, awards will be given out on April 28th, you can watch them on, (CHANNEL/BROADCAST/STREAMING OUTLET TO BE DETERMINED) on that date. Or not. I mean, ever since Susan Lucci won, let's just be honest, nobody cares anymore.

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