Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Scientific Rationalism & Man With Mustache

The first thing I want to mention today is the most brilliant podcast out there right now, it's called Point of Inquiry. It's a science-centric show focusing on, as the host of the show puts it, "Asking the biggest questions of the day through the lens of the Scientific viewpoint". Other than issues directly relating to Science, it also desls with social and political issues, again from scientists' and rational thinkers' points of view. There is a guest each week, what initially brought my attention to the show was the recent interview with Richard Dawkins. So check it out, it's Point of Inquiry, subscribe to it with itunes or download the mp3s directly off of the site.

The other thing I wanted to mention was Entertainment Weekly. A few weeks ago they had a picture of the now familiar character Borat (played by sacha cohen) on the cover with the words "Has this man made the funniest movie ever?". Inside the pages were glowing reviews of movie, interviews with Cohen and so-on. They were kissing Borat's ass basically. Then, this week a rather large article appears in the magazine days before the movie is set to release, slamming the movie and telling everyone that it's going to flop because the studio over estimated the internet-buzz of the movie exactly the way they did with Snakes on a Plane. I'm not quoting exactly here, but it also said something to the effect of "When is hollywood going to admit to itself that internet marketing just doesn't work?". Now, lets review the reviews. Snakes on Plane: 69% on the tomatometer, while still considered "Fresh" 30% of those reviewing it still gave it a negative review with average overall rating being 6.2/10. Borat: 96% on the tomatometer with and average rating of 8.3/10. As many of you might know by now, Borat completely blew out all studio and media expectations and opened with 26m (it was expected to open in the 10-15m range and place 3 or 4th). The reason for the low expected take was that Borat was only opening in about 800 theaters this week, that's about 1/2 to 1/3 of what the other major releases that didn't fair nearly as well opened in. So EW, backpedaling and not wanting to look like asses they way they did when SoaP "Flopped" after they too had gotten caught up in the hype (I put 'flopped' in qoutations because it's a relative term, the movie still made a tidey profit), recanted their praise of the movie at the last second because they found out about the initial low theater count.

Did EW not look at or even care about the reviews of the 2 movies (SoaP and Borat) before shooting their mouth off? Does that not matter any more? Sure, plenty of great films go unnoticed by mainstream audiences all the time, but the usually have one thing in common: They were not made for mainstream audiences. So, did EW think that nobody was going to go see a movie that was obviously targeting the mainstream and had the best reviews of the year(96% has been the best tomatometer score for any film this year)? I don't know what it is about moive-market anaylsts and their gloom-and-doom predictions, but they don't seem to be based on anything like common-sense. Did I think SoaP was going to do a little better than it did? Yes, but not by much, because I saw the reviews ahead of time and they were luke-warm at best. Did I expect Borat to do better than SoaP...honestly, untill EW's article I wasn't really compairing the two, but I expect it to do well considering the reviews.

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