Category Archives: rants

1988 vs 2012, Movies

1988 vs 2012

My family was out of town so I spent some time putting together this list of major theater releases in 1988 versus today. I was curious because I could not find any good movies in my Netflix disc queue. Where are all the good movies, I thought? The results are telling:

And God Created Woman
Beneath the Darkness
Puss in Boots
The Devil Inside
The Couch Trip
Beauty and the Beast: 3D
Braddock: Missing in Action III
The Divide
She’s Having a Baby
Joyful Noise
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Action Jackson
Shoot to Kill
Red Tails
Underworld: Awakening
The Grey
Man on a Ledge
One for the Money
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Big Miracle
Off Limits
The Woman in Black
Stand and Deliver
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
The Milagro Beanfield War
Safe House
Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw
The Vow
Stars and Bars
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Biloxi Blues
This Means War
The Fox and the Hound(re-release)
Act of Valor
Johnny Be Good
Good Deeds
Bright Lights, Big City
18 Again!
This Is Not a Film
Above the Law
Being Flynn
Bad Dreams
Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax
Appointment with Death
Project X
Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie
The Moderns
Plain Clothes
The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye
Return to Snowy River
Friends with Kids
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
The House on Carroll Street
John Carter
Dead Heat
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Silent House
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
A Thousand Words
Call Me
Gerhard Richter Painting
“Crocodile” Dundee II
21 Jump Street
Casa de Mi Padre
Rambo III
Jeff, Who Lives at Home
Killer Klowns from Outer Space
The Hunger Games
October Baby
Funny Farm
The Raid: Redemption
Big Business
A Royal Affair
Poltergeist III
The Presidio
Mirror Mirror
Bull Durham
Wrath of the Titans
The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years
Titanic 3D
The Great Outdoors
American Reunion
Red Heat
Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope
Damsels in Distress
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Coming to America
Surviving Progress
License to Drive
We Have a Pope
Short Circuit 2
The Cabin in the Woods
Arthur 2: On the Rocks
It Couldn’t Happen Here
Monsieur Lazhar
The Dead Pool
The Three Stooges
Die Hard
Darling Companion
A Fish Called Wanda
Midnight Run
Jesus Henry Christ
Big Top Pee-wee
The Lucky One
Caddyshack II
Think Like a Man
Monkey Shines
The Avengers
The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking
The Blob
The Five-Year Engagement
The Rescue
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Clean and Sober
The Raven
The Last Temptation of Christ
Mac and Me
Sound of My Voice
Tucker: The Man and His Dream
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Young Guns
First Position
Married to the Mob
Dark Shadows
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
Under African Skies
Crossing Delancey
Where Do We Go Now?
The Dictator
Hero and the Terror
Rust and Bone
Hot to Trot
The Deceivers
Beyond the Black Rainbow
Eight Men Out
Crooked Arrows
Earth Girls are Easy
Moon over Parador
Running on Empty
What to Expect When You’re Expecting
Miles from Home
Chernobyl Diaries
Messenger of Death
Men in Black 3
Daffy Duck’s Quackbusters
Moonrise Kingdom
Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey
Oslo, August 31st
Piranha 3DD
Patty Hearst
Snow White and the Huntsman
Lola Versus
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
Heartbreak Hotel
Alien Nation
Safety Not Guaranteed
Clara’s Heart
Rock of Ages
That’s My Boy
The Accused
The Woman in the Fifth
The Kiss
Your Sister’s Sister
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Little Dorrit
Mystic Pizza
The Invisible War
To Rome with Love
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Everybody’s All-American
Madea’s Witness Protection
The Good Mother
Magic Mike
Rattle and Hum
Neil Young Journeys
They Live
People Like Us
Child’s Play
Take This Waltz
Distant Thunder
Ernest Saves Christmas
Amazing Spider-Man
Katy Perry: Part of Me3D
Another Woman
The Chocolate War
Fresh Horses
Farewell, My Queen
High Spirits
Ice Age: Continental Drift
The Land Before Time
The Imposter
Oliver & Company
Union Square
Shut Up and Play the Hits
Cocoon: The Return
The Dark Knight Rises
Hanna’s War
The Queen of Versailles
Iron Sky
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!
Ruby Sparks
Tequila Sunrise
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
Killer Joe
Mississippi Burning
Searching for Sugar Man
My Stepmother Is an Alien
Step Up Revolution
The Watch
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
I’m Gonna Get You Sucka
Celeste and Jesse Forever
Torch Song Trilogy
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
Dangerous Liaisons
Total Recall
Rain Man
Hope Springs
2 Days in New York
Talk Radio
The Bourne Legacy
Working Girl
The Campaign
The Accidental Tourist
Ek Tha Tiger
Dominick and Eugene
The Odd Life of Timothy Green
Hellbound: Hellraiser II
The Boost
The Expendables 2
Robot & Frank
Hit and Run
The Apparition
Premium Rush
The Ambassador
The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure
For a Good Time, Call…
The Possession
Anna Karenina
The Cold Light of Day
Raaz 3D
Raiders of the Lost Ark
The Words
Finding Nemo: 3D
The Master
Resident Evil: Retribution
Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel
End of Watch
Head Games
House at the End of the Street
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Trouble with the Curve
Magical Mystery Tour
Hotel Transylvania
The Waiting Room
Won’t Back Down
It’s Such a Beautiful Day
The Oranges
The Paperboy
Pitch Perfect
Taken 2
3,2,1… Frankie Go Boom
Here Comes the Boom
Nobody Walks
Seven Psychopaths
Holy Motors
Alex Cross
Paranormal Activity 4
The Sessions
Chasing Mavericks
Cloud Atlas
Fun Size
Silent Hill: Revelation 3D
A Late Quartet
A Liar’s Autobiography
The Man with the Iron Fists
Wreck-It Ralph
In Their Skin
Jab Tak Hai Jaan
Chasing Ice
Silver Linings Playbook
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2
Life of Pi
Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger
Nema Aviona Za Zagreb
Red Dawn
The Collection
Killing Them Softly
Reliance Big Pictures
Dino Time
Hyde Park on Hudson
Playing for Keeps
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Guilt Trip
Monsters, Inc.3D
Zero Dark Thirty
Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away
The Impossible
Jack Reacher
Not Fade Away
This Is 40
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Parental Guidance
Promised Land

Back to the Netflix queue, the number of movies is not the problem. The quality of movies also does not seem to be the problem. I think the problem is the seriousness of movies. Every movie today is a grand epic of a bummer. The films of 1988 were more fun. 

There are some shades of 1988 in 2012. “The Cabin in the Woods” borrows both liberally and purposefully from the horror movies of the 1980s, but in 1988 we see the genre tiring out with sequels. “The Expendables 2” was made on the belief that great action does not require computer generated effects. Just look at 1988’s “Die Hard”. How many effects laden action movies have topped this classic? For comedies, 2012 could have used a little 1988. There are twice as many movies in 2012 as 1988, but not even half as many comedies. I reiterate, the movies of 2012 are too serious.

2012 also saw the birth of the crowdfunded movie. Individual donors made “Iron Sky” possible, and the filmmakers took regular people’s money and made an awful movie out of it. Someday, though, we will see filmmakers take money from individual donors and make a good movie. The stink bomb that is “Iron Sky” also highlights a trend from 2012. Bad movies are not just bad, they are God-awful terrible. Back in 1988, bad movies tried to be good, and they were better for it. I’m looking at you “Action Jackson”.


Updated Gripes

Regarding the death of Google Reader, and Google's actions as a whole, James Whittaker says:

The old Google made a fortune on ads because they had good content. It was like TV used to be: make the best show and you get the most ad revenue from commercials. The new Google seems more focused on the commercials themselves.

Have to thank Daring Fireball for that quote.


Regarding the lack of love for Halo 4 from the Halo community, Gamer Suggestions created this infographic based on community responses.

Reader Rage: When Free Is Not Free

Google announced the death of Google Reader in July of 2013. Google Reader is/was a free RSS news reader that syncs/synced among just about any platform or device. The appropriately named Dave Winer says “Next time, please pay a fair price for the services you depend on.” To all the Dave Winers of the world, I literally paid for Google Reader with my eyeballs. Look at Google's a look at Google's financials. Google's cash cow, as in about 95% of Google's profits, is advertising. Much like broadcast TV, anything Google does to draw eyeballs brings in advertising revenue. Google Reader brought my eyeballs to Google, and my eyeballs were not alone.

Google Reader no more

Google Reader Dies in July

Other companies provide free interent services that are also not “free”. My eyeballs similarly pay for Facebook and news sites. My ears pay for the free versions of Pandora and Spotify. My iPhone, iPad, and Mac purchases pay for iCloud. My Windows and Office licenses pay for Windows Live Mail (formerly Hotmail and rebranded as All of those free web browsers we love are paid for with out attention. Fremium services make money by encouraging free users to become paid users; I used Evernote for free for about four or five years before becoming a Premium paid member, and for the first time last year, I donated to Wikipedia. These fremium services make money out of their popularity, and using the service makes them popular.

For a giant company such as Google, there is also the notion of goodwill. During a time when everyone was annoyed by Yahoo search and the butler, Google came into the search market with a very simple and effective web search page. While the other big internet companies were stumbling all over themselves in sad attempts to provide services, Google giave us Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Maps, Google Docs, the desktop search bar, Picasa, the Chrome web browser, and Google Reader. In return, we gave Google two thirds of the interent search traffic. Axing popular services like Google Reader chips away at the goodwill that Google has built over the past decade and a half. We are already questioning the longevity of Google's other free services. We do not know how much Google Reader cost Google, but certainly Google will pay a cost for killing it.


Halo 4 Fans Lament

This is the story of how a game developer alienated one of the most prominent fan bases in gaming history. Halo 4 is one of the most successful games in console history. Almost 8 million people have purchased the game and as of February of 2013, it ranks as 4th for Xbox live activity. For any regular game, these numbers would be outstanding. But this is Halo. The community expects more from 343 than any other new developer. Halo 3 was a cultural and media event like no other. This is Halo 4; it should be even better.

DMR in Halo 4

Halo 4 is dominated by the DMR

Evidence of the short term failure of Halo 4 is easy to find. tracks the daily peak population among all the Halo 4 playlists. The trend is both clear and disturbing for fans of Halo. Each week, fewer and fewer players return to Halo 4. The population dropped off a cliff early when Activision released Call of Duty: Black Ops II and never recovered. Low populations beget low populations, and as fewer players enter matchmaking there will be fewer players to support playlist and fewer players to connect with in order to minimize lag. Based on my past experiences, there is no second cliff nor a resurgance. The death of an on-line community is a slow inevitability.

Halo Charts Daily Population

Halo 4 is losing players

Representatives of 343 have been less than apologetic  admitting some mistakes but ultimately concluding that “. . . for a first efferot, it wasn’t half bad.” 343 runs a forum for the Halo community – an outreach program pioneered by 343’s predecessor – and the community is vociferous in its complaints. The number one controversy is weapons balance, particularly the awesome power of two weapons, the Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR) and the Bolt Shot. The number two complaint is the quality of the maps. 343 filled all of the maps with bases to support the new Dominion game type and plenty of boulders to provide cover. The Dominion game type is one of the least popular on Halo 4. Comparing the Dominion playlist population to most popular playlist, Big Team Infinity Slayer, shows how bad of a bet this was for 343. All the bases 343 made for the Dominion are but clutter in Big Team games. Even more telling, the most popular map by far is a remake of a 2007 map made for Halo 3 and of course does not support Dominion. Worse, the map making tools that has come with Halo since 2007 have been neutered by 343. There are no easy fixes for the community’s complaints.

tight quarters

Corridors are too tight for tanks

343 has made the situation worse by alienating the community. The first paid map pack released for Halo 4 came a month after release, meaning the maps could have been released with the game and none of the maps reflect concerns by the community. Worse, due to an error on the part of 343, the paid map pack was released for free. 343 responded by concocting a fake “14 day buy and play” promotion and deactivating downloaded content on players consoles. Then in February, 343 required a second map pack purchase to play a popular game type the community had been asking for since Halo 4’s release. The long sought game type is a free-for-all deathmatch that harkens back to the original first person shooters from the early 1990s. Halo 4 is the first game in the Halo series to require additional paid content to play free-for-all deathmatch..

Gauss hog

Too much aim assist on Gauss Hot

The community is dumbfounded by 343’s behavior. Halo 4 is objectively a great game; the Metacritic score is 87% positive. The multiplayer population hit 400,000 players during the first weak of Halo 4’s release. Despite a good number of Die hard fans who refuse to stop playing, this is a war of attrition. 343 has done nothing to acknowledge player concerns or slow the steady drop in mulitplayer population. They are the proverbial Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burns. In this analogy, the fiddle is paid map packs and Rome is  one of the most successful media franchises of all time.