- Your Voice
The credits have rolled, the lights have flipped on, and everyone is either sick of popcorn or desperately needing to use the facilities. It is time to return to the real world, as the summer 2013 movie season has come to an end. The most cinematic time of year brought its fair share of triumphs and embarrassments, but on the whole, domestic box office revenue of over $4 billion suggests that the summer was a success for movie producers. Hidden within the cluster of statistics, trends, and reviews are telling patterns that reveal much about our movie culture. The following are a few of the many lessons we learned from summer movies of 2013.
In a recent interview with BBC, Hollywood icon Johnny Depp set the entertainment world ablaze when he publicly mulled over his own retirement in exchange for what he referred to as “quieter things”.
If the NBA offseason is the ideal time for teams to glue themselves to their office desks and cell phones in attempts of enticing new and exciting talent to their organization, a handful of teams did not receive the memo. In fact, only about one-third of NBA teams have a legitimate chance of surviving deep into the playoffs during the upcoming 2013-2014 season. What is worse is that a handful of ball clubs have abandoned all discretion in order to throw a team on the court that knowingly has little to no chance of winning more than a quarter of their matchups. The Philadelphia 76ers signed away their franchise player, Jrue Holiday, in exchange for a future draft pick and an unproven center with no offensive game and a bum knee in Nerlens Noel. The Utah Jazz seemingly locked up their bank accounts and turned off their phone lines when it came time to negotiate the contracts of their two best players, Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, letting both all-stars sign with different teams. The Boston Celtics traded Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, both future hall of famers who have brought the Larry O’brien Trophy to Beantown, in exchange for a slew of expiring contracts. So what powerful force has brought about basketball’s Diaspora of talent from cities such as these? The answer is a skinny 18-year-old kid from Toronto.
In an abrupt and unforeseen move out of left field, the NCAA recently announced that they would be severing ties with EA Sports, the video game development company responsible for NCAA themed games. This means that the upcoming NCAA Football 2014 will be the final video game that will feature the NCAA name and logo. Representatives of the NCAA have stated that their present business climate does not warrant any further involvement in the gaming industry. To put it mildly, it is unsettlingly odd that the Collegiate Athletic Association would so brusquely pull the plug on a business endeavor that has earned them $1.3 billion on Football titles alone since 1998. The explanation lies in a recent legal dispute involving the NCAA’s extensive earnings.
The San Diego Comic-Con convention as been steadily growing in popularity throughout its 43-year run, but it is within the last decade that it has begun to reshape the way the entertainment industry functions. When discussing Comic-Con, most entertainment seekers are referring to the convention’s many attractions: ample opportunity to meet celebrities, chances to receive the inside scoop on upcoming film, television, or comic book franchises, early reveals of the newest merchandise, and countless chuckles at the expense of those dressed like out-of-shape super heroes. What is not considered, however, is the fact that the 130,000 be in attendance at the San Diego Convention Center in mid-July were given the opportunity to tell producers what is hot with consumers.
Two middleweight Mixed Martial Arts kingpins came to blows on Saturday, July 6 at UFC 162. The defending champion, Anderson “The Spider” Silva, entered the Octagon with all the prowess of a god. Nobody had beaten him in seven years. He was unanimously the greatest fighter ever to live. The Brazilian was untouchable, unmatched, and usually had his opponents solved like a puzzle and defeated long before they even realized it. UFC 162’s main event began the same way nearly all of Silva’s entertaining battles have. The Spider toyed with his prey like a cat with a mouse, taunting the young New Jersey born challenger, Chris Weidman. Anderson moved in a way that is unparalleled in the sport, fashioning himself in the likeness of a perfect fusion between Muhammad Ali and Michael Jackson. He danced, he laughed, he poked his chin in the air and dared Weidman to take a swing. The challenger obliged, meeting his mark and landing a blow that caused the Champion to chuckle as if Weidman had just done something cute.
It’s happened to you. It’s OK to admit it. You have entered a movie theater with high hopes of viewing a big-budget blockbuster film that actually lives up to the hype it has obliged itself. Unfortunately, things do not always pan out quite the way we would hope, and we are often left disappointed, frustrated, even insulted by the film maker’s disregard for our intelligence.
The somewhat disenchanted L.A. Dodger fan base is notorious for arriving to games late, exiting the gates early, and exhibiting little interest in the actual contest throughout their four-inning stay. That was until 22-year-old rookie phenom, Yasiel Puig, shocked the life back into Dodger Stadium like a defibrillator. We have seen Dodger hype trains come and go in the past, left-handed pitcher Fernando Valenzuela and orthodox Hideo Nomo were fan favorites in their fledgling seasons with the ball club, but it appears that Puig has attracted nationwide attention that exceeds nearly anybody who has suited up in a uniform, igniting heated discussion over whether or not the Cuban ballplayer should be considered for this season’s All-Star Game.
A recent study preformed by ESPN analysts gutted 25 years of basketball history in order to ascertain who they believe to be the leading colleges that feed the NBA. Their findings concluded that the University of Arizona has produced the 6th highest NBA pedigree in the nation. This is no small feat considering that Arizona was the highest ranked school east of Kentucky, beating out west basketball giants such as Kansas and UCLA. The UofA has a history rich with basketball achievement on the professional level, primarily due to stability and developmental support provided by the Lute Olsen era, and the present Sean Miller era. In this summer’s 2013 NBA Draft, Arizona’s legacy of contributing key role players to the pro’s was amplified by the selections of Solomon Hill and Grant Jerrett.
After a regular season that was shortened due to a player lockout, the NHL has rebounded in order to deliver a thrilling series of playoff matchups that have all ultimately led to the Stanley Cup Finals. For the first time in over 30 years, two members of hockey’s legendary Original Six are competing for the championship trophy as the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks face off in what promises to be one of the most watched finals series in history.
The latest reboot of the Superman story, Man of Steel recently hit box offices with all the power of a speeding locomotive. Drawing in $120 million in it’s opening weekend, the special effects-filled film has no doubt pleased money seeking producers, and CGI enthusiasts alike. However, despite the monetary success of Man of Steel, one must slow down the hype train long enough to look at the bigger picture. In this case, what liberties did producer Zack Snyder and writer David S. Goyer take with the Superman/Clark Kent character in attempts to make him more crowd pleasing? The answer is many, most of which contribute to the schism between the film and traditional comic book canon.
Anybody who owns a television, radio, or has access to the Internet has heard of the Miami Heat. We have stamped nicknames upon them such as “the big 3”, “the Hollywood Heat”, or “the super friends”. We have immortalized their highlights and famous quotes such as “takin’ my talents to South Beach” and the infamous “not 1, not 2, not 3” championship speech. But do we truly understand how they function, what makes them tick, and most importantly, how they can be beaten? The basketball team has become more than a 1990’s-esque dynamic duo, a one man show, or a stacked super star experiment. Team president Pat Riley and underrated Coach Erik Spoelstra have transformed the Heat into a complex organism. The ball club is a riddle that is not easily cracked, but like any sports team, the Heat can be defeated.
The sporting world, in its very nature, harbors an inherent athletic Darwinism. The strong continually trump the weaker opponents, until only two competitors remain. However, this inborn trait of competition becomes complicated, and is often compromised in the sport of boxing. It is a sport in which weight classes and multiple league promotions become barriers that rob fans of dream matchups. Given this complicated boxing climate, it often becomes difficult for polarizing figures of the sport to cement their legacy as all time greats unless they take enormous risks by fighting out of their normal weight class. And amongst current pugilists, there are none more polarizing than the eccentric Floyd “Money” Mayweather.
At what point can we safely say that a filmmaker has cemented himself as a true mover and shaker in the industry? Probably around the time when multi -billion dollar production companies begin trading ownership of entire franchises like two boys swapping baseball cards, in order to obtain rights to co-produce his work. This is where Christopher Nolan’s career has taken him. Once it became clear that Nolan’s newest cerebral project, Interstellar, would be produced by Paramount rather than Warner Bros., the latter felt it best to place a few of its cards on the table in order to obtain a piece of Nolan the cash cow. Paramount named its price of allowing Warner Bros. to co-produce the upcoming film, and it was exclusive rights to produce a sequel to 2009’s Friday the 13th, as well as a new Southpark film.
In 1998 NBA Finals, the most monumental athlete in sports history, Michael Jordan, executed a perfect crossover jump shot that sealed his sixth NBA title, and became the perfect send-off for his last ride into the sunset. All that remained were memories, record books rewritten, and an uncertain future over who would carry the torch as the NBA’s new model champion. Jordan’s retirement birthed the rise of a new champion, albeit a different one: The San Antonio Spurs.
A distinctive spectacle exists within the music realm that recently graced the Rialto Theater stage here in Tucson. It is one that is unmatched in its ability to unify the youthful and the aged alike, bringing the Rialto’s varied occupants together by the collective power of rhythm, lyric, syncopation, and harmony. This artistic force has captivated listeners across generations and created an intersecting line between adolescents and geriatrics. It is a force that goes by the whimsical name of Yo La Tengo.
The increasingly intense desert heat is a tell tale sign that summer is nearly upon us, and with it, the obligatory season of blockbuster films. With a jam packed lineup that includes Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, Fast and Furious 6, Man of Steel, Pacific Rim, and World War Z, it is clear that big time producers in LA are gearing up to entice audiences with the usual explosions, car chases, zombie attacks, space battles, and robot wars, all enhanced by the technological advancements of 3D cameras. But despite the current technological prowess that is obtainable to all filmmakers with money to burn, we have reached an age where the standard gimmicks may no longer be sufficient for the 21st century viewer.
Playwright Bruce Norris has chosen not to fabricate the truth in order to invent a story. He offers no make believe worlds, no climactic battles of good and evil, no metaphorical calls to action, no romantic flickers of passion, no moments of inspiration, no heroes, no villains, no damsels, or vixens. Instead, the award-winning author of “Clybourne Park” has elected to present his audience with an unflattering reflection from a mirror. His play brings humanity face to face with its own imperfect image, and forces it to observe the ugly facts of life.
Late desert evenings carry with them a certain mysticism; quiet, yet full of life, possessing warmness and camaraderie in the most unexpected places. The dark alleyways of Tucson’s Church Avenue and Washington street ooze with this mysticism. Bouts of distant laughter cut the stillness of the air, and a closer look through the rustic wooden gates of La Cocina reveals a cozy conglomerate of friends huddled together in an old adobe building, drinks in hand, as they watch local Tucson band Ex-Cowboy serenade those in attendance. There are smiles all around, and everyone is basking in the celebration of Tucson’s local solidarity. From an outsider’s perspective this is a special moment in time, but for La Cocina’s friendly staff, this is Thursday. This magic occurs every night at the local eatery, bar, and music venue. And with additional local and national musicians pouring in to grace La Cocina’s stage, there is no doubt that the enchantment will continue to flourish for some time.
On Feb. 24, millions of television sets across the globe tuned in to one of the most celebrated and glamorous celebrity spectacles of the modern era: The Oscars. Yet, within the aftermath of this 85th Oscar ceremony, it is important to note that all too often viewers are somehow missing the bigger picture. Within the Oscar experience, there is a plethora of trivial and somewhat meaningless aspects of the evening that many people choose to highlight. What designer clothing is Meryl Streep going to wear as she struts down the carpet? Did Robert Downey Jr. have something done to his nose? Did you hear about Jennifer Lawrence’s wardrobe malfunction? It is a melancholy truth that these topics are brought to the forefront of discussion.
After achieving a $35 million opening weekend, the Seth Gordon-directed "Identity Thief" has staked its claim on the pockets and purses of the public. The new release falls into the sub-genres of buddy films and road comedies such as "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles," "Dumb and Dumber," and "Tommy Boy".
The present cinematic climate is plagued by shallow productions that utilize large explosions, killer robots, and computer-generated creatures with Gumby-like mannerisms to enhance the 3D experience at $15 a seat.