Tag Archives: Hollywood

Venting A Bit

Just a few miscellaneous venting thoughts to get back into the flow.

Comedy

I love going to good comedy shows and by good comedy I mean shows that are topical, creative and don’t need to throw out F words every few seconds, just because. I’m not a prude and I don’t mind a word here and there but if you’re really good, you can make people laugh using non explicit language.
The other thing I don’t understand is people who go to comedy shows and never laugh. They just sit there with a blank expression on their faces staring at the stage. I don’t get it. They  know where they are, who the comedians will be, and have a pretty good idea about what he or she might be speaking about. Everyone else is laughing hysterically and some people just sit there blankly. Can they be laughing internally? Nah, I don’t think so. I just don’t know why they bother to go. It’s a conundrum.

Disasters and Reporting

I never understand why reporters will cover a hurricane for 5-6 days before it gets there and leave a day later? Isn’t the story of recovery more important than scenes of weather people standing on sunny beaches days before the event or in 90 degree winds as it’s happening? Do we really need to see that to know how bad the conditions are?

MIssing

I read an article this past week that made me use some interesting words. There was a family who went into a corn maze in West Jordan, Utah. When they were done they all went home, except for one three year old boy who they forgot in the maze and didn’t realize he was missing until the next morning. The. Next. Morning.
People found him crying and upset at about 7:30 at night and while he could tell them the names of his brother, he couldn’t tell them his own name. So the authorities held him overnight and waited until someone came for him the next day. Sure enough some adults and ten children showed up to “claim him.”
How does that happen? How do you get into a car or put your children to bed at night and not notice a three year old is missing?

The Creep From Hollywood

The news has been filled with stories this past week about the sleaze bag who abused, raped, intimidated and tried to control women as part of his role as a movie maker/ studio head. I won’t use his name but you know who I mean. The guy’s a sick creep but what makes me just as sick is all the popular A List actors and actresses who have come out in the last week, covering their butts and providing statements that claim they never knew this was going on and how disgusted they are. What a joke. Hollywood is a fantasyland town that lives in gossip. Everyone knows everything about everyone else. But money, fame, status and careers trump decency. Everyone knew what this guy was doing but he made lots of people money, and had the power to make careers and also end careers. So they stayed silent. Turned away. In part because of money and in part because others in power have done the same thing for decades. So please don’t insult our intelligence by telling us you didn’t know. Please don’t say you’re disgusted and give an Oscar this past year to someone who has a history of sexual abuse and intimidation. That town and the people in it are detached from reality. They’re a joke. But the problem extends beyond Hollywood, into corporate America and other parts of life. Power and money are a toxic combination.
Where are the Hollywood telethons, documentaries, or expose stories on the abuse of women in the workplace? That’s something we’ll never see, in part because that town won’t reveal it’s own sins and in part because the press won’t want to bite the hand that feeds them. Sad.

 

When It’s Not Funny

Let me start by saying that my sense of humor has few limitations. I think we can, and should find laughter wherever possible. Life can be too serious so I allow people to joke about a wide range of topics and I usually don’t care about political correctness. I think laughing at ourselves is a good thing and helps us really appreciate and understand humor, which in turn makes our lives more fun.
But I have limitations. I don’t think there’s anything funny about tragedy or sickness. While I understand the healing power of laughter and how humor helps us cope with our illnesses, that’s a personal choice between those who are ill and anyone they care to share it with.

So when I read today that Will Farrell is going to star in a black comedy about Ronald Reagan’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease, beginning with his last term in office, I was more than a little upset. Apparently, the premise of the movie is about an intern who has to convince Reagan that he’s an actor playing the President Of The United States.

Alzheimer’s disease is not funny. Dementia is not a punchline.

This isn’t a political statement. It doesn’t matter what political party you favor or whether you loved Reagan or hated him as President. The man was a human being with a family who watched him battle this dreaded disease for many years. A family he loved but could no longer remember.

I suppose I should expect noting less from Hollywood but this seems to take meanness to a new level. Of course this is America so I respect their right to freely create whatever type of entertainment they feel will make them their share of shock dollars.
I can state the obvious and ask whether these people would make a comedy movie about their own fathers battle with Alzheimer’s, but I think we know the answer to that question.

Five and a half million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s. MIllions more love and care for these individuals who were once as active and productive as the rest of us.

Alzheimer’s disease is not funny. I don’t know why that’s so difficult to understand.

Judging Perceptions

Quite a few years ago I happened to be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for a meeting. Clean city, nice people. As I was waiting for the hotel elevator with a middle-aged couple, we had a brief but very nice conversation. In the few minutes it took for the elevator to arrive and take us to our floor, we talked briefly about the city of Milwaukee. They were from Wisconsin but visiting for a couple of days. As we stepped off on the same floor, we continued speaking about the new ballpark and the city’s proximity to Chicago, which was only a 45 minute drive. It was a very nice conversation and we even laughed once or twice. As we were saying goodbye, the woman asked me what brought me to Milwaukee and where I was from. I told her I was in the city on business and that I was from New Jersey. In an instant, her facial expression changed as she said, “I’m surprised you’re even speaking to us.”  With that, they both turned and walked away quickly, as if I had some sort of infectious disease they were afraid of catching.

New Jersey.

Those two words conjure up all kinds of jokes, hostilities and images. Hollywood and late night talk shows have had a field day with it. Comedians regularly include it in their acts. Speak with people from other states and many times their feelings are similar to that Wisconsin couple. Traveling by car to another state with New Jersey plates and you will be lucky if they don’t flip the closed sign on you as you pull up. A recent poll I read claims New Jersey is the least liked state in the union and the only state in the U.S. in which more people have an unfavorable opinion of than a favorable one.

I’ve often wondered why people feel this way and what all these negative opinions are based on. I suppose the impression many people have of New Jersey is what they see when they fly into Newark Airport. The see the ports and the smoke stacks of the refineries on their way into New York and they think the entire state looks like that. They run into someone who may be rude to them at the airport and think everyone in the state will have the same personality. They watch the Sopranos and think everyone in the state is mobbed up. The watch Jersey Shore and believe everyone at the beach is a lewd drunk with little common sense or morals, even though the people in that show were from New York.

How sad that we allow others to define our views and opinions based on what their limited experiences may have been. Is the area around Newark Airport unattractive? You bet. But if that’s all you care to see, then you’re missing this……..

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And if you think the beaches are only what you’ve seen on the embarrassment of the Jersey Shore show, then you’re missing this…..

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At this point, I’m guessing you think this is an advertisement about New Jersey. It isn’t. It’s about allowing others to decide for us. It’s about making up our own minds about a place or, more importantly, a person. It’s about giving everyone an opportunity.

Every state has their armpit areas as well as their fair share of rudeness. Maybe we’re a little more direct here about what we say and how we say it but quite honestly, I prefer that approach. I’ve been places where people smile at you and say, “bless your heart,” as the knife is going in your back. How sweet.

I wonder how many people we never got to know because someone else told us to avoid them. I wonder how many places we’ve never visited because someone else had a bad experience, which may have been their own doing. How much music, how many restaurants, how many trips have we lost because of what someone else said.

Why?

After all, when was the last time you believed anything that came out of Hollywood? Talk show hosts and comedians? Really? These are the people whose opinion you really want to take into consideration?

We’re all smarter than that.

Aren’t we?