Beating a dead horse

As much as I hate to revisit and flog a deceased equine, my time is limited by other projects and general life stress. Thus I’m back to a favorite topic of an unfavorite movie: Boyhood.

My original lambasting of the aforementioned over-hyped project was written several months ago. Recently, however, while stuck in a holding position over personal issues, the topic came back to mind. My primary critique of the film, held in common with others in the blogosphere, is that it was not a great movie, nor even a particularly good one. Its only claim to greatness rests in its gimmick of filming the same performers in the same roles over many years. The only problem is…

…it’s been done! Many times!

…albeit in a different format with more entertaining results. I’m talking about television programs. Many have successfully spanned a decade or more: Ozzie and Harriet, Lassie, My Three Sons, Bonanza, Happy Days, The Cosby Show, Seventh Heaven, Two and a Half Men, and so many more of varying degrees of quality. In each case, the same cast aged before our eyes over the span of the series.

That’s right, “Boyhood” is merely the logical (but dull) extension of any long-running TV series, although the ones with children bear the closest resemblance. If you take the 10-year run of “Happy Days” and edit it into a single three hour marathon, what exactly is the difference? Yeah, the HD movie would be much more entertaining and Boyhood has nobody that comes close to The Fonz in originality. Other than that and a slew of undeserved Oscar nominations, it’s the same deal.

See what happens when I have too much time on my hands to think and too little to write?

Seriously, which of these guys would you rather watch grow up? Mr. emo Boyhood kid or Ricky Nelson? Ricky’s life was way more interesting.

Seriously, which of these guys would you rather watch grow up? Mr. emo Boyhood kid or Ricky Nelson? Ricky’s life was way more interesting.

TV full circle

[No time for a long post today. Life takes up all my time. Weird about that, huh?]

magni-tvIt occurred to me recently that a lot about television, in spite of its rapid evolution, is coming full circle. For a long time, in the early days of TV (no, I don’t remember them) interest seemed to focus more on the newfangled technology than on the admittedly skimpy and weak content.

Today, although the content is more sophisticated than ever, talk is still mostly about technological innovations in things like screen size, type, and resolution, sound, source (cable, satellite, Internet), 3-D, and other novelties.

A big topic is resolution: What used to pass for HD is already old hat. 4K is hot. Great if you have a nice big screen at home. Not such a big deal if you’re watching on your phone or tablet, which everyone seems to be doing. As the screens get smaller, seeing anything at all is a challenge for some of us.

I see us going back to TV’s nascent days, when families would put some kind of magnifying device (including fishbowls!) in front of the tiny screens so the whole family could sit brasiltvaround to watch. I’m not alone in this outlook. According to Terry Gilliam’s brilliant film “Brazil” that’s what our future holds, along with a lot of other nasty stuff. His vision wasn’t meant to be realistic, but it turns out he wasn’t far off the mark in more ways than one.

Other “cutting edge” improvements:

Curved screens will soon appear on virtual store shelves. What’s the big deal? My old Zenith had a significant convex curve to it. Didn’t make “Lost in Space” any more credible.

3-D, which for my money adds no real value to any medium except View-Master, refuses to go away.

The worst new feature for televisions has to be “3-D multi-view”. This allows two people, both wearing geeky glasses with built-in ear buds, to watch two different shows on the same TV at the same time. Could we possibly make an isolating activity more isolating? Why would we want to?

Besides visual changes, sound is also important. HD sound is great. Unfortunately, I have low-def (closer to high-deaf) hearing.

Here’s hoping Santa brings you a fishbowl to put in front of your Android.