New! The Measured Circle’s King Kong timeline: a short history of a tall ape

March 20, 2017

New! The Measured Circle’s King Kong timeline: a short history of a tall ape

I’m pleased to announce The Measured Circle’s latest project:

The Measured Circle’s King Kong timeline: a short history of a tall ape

at The History Project!

Just as with

The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip

you can use it not only to get a perspective on TV shows, books, amusement park rides, television, and more about Skull Island’s most famous resident, but you can follow links to actually find the content!

For example, the listing for the original 1933 movie has links to find streaming options (it’s not legally free from the commercial streaming services in the USA at time of writing, based on JustWatch.com, but I also link to a search of public libraries…and your public library might even have an “e-Video” option).

However, if you have Amazon Prime, you can watch 1976’s parody Queen Kong at no additional cost, and if you have Netflix, you can watch their original animated series set in 2050.

Obviously, I can’t get you on an amusement park attraction, but I do link to their sites. ūüėČ

I think I’ve hit the highlights, but it’s important to note that a lot more can be added. You can even help, by adding comments and material.

I plan to do a lot more linking eventually, find more images to add, do more people entries, and add more context items (not specifically King Kong, but things that affected it).

I hope you enjoy it! If you have comments or suggestions, feel free to let me know.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

Geeky Good-byes February 2017

March 17, 2017

Geeky Good-byes February 2017

2016 was noted by many people for the number of celebrities we lost. I looked at reasons why that might have been true (and might continue to be true) in

2016: the Year the Stars Went Out?

while at the same time looking at previous history.

This year, I’m tracking it more closely in

2017 Geeky Good-byes

At the time of writing, I’ve made 36 entries just for 2017, and 9 in February. Unfortunately, I may add more…we sometimes don’t hear about deaths right away.

That page is really just a listing, without much narrative.

I’m taking this post¬†to look at a few who really stand out to me. That isn‚Äôt to diminish anyone else: we geeks honor everyone who has every done a geek-friendly part or created a geek-friendly work.

Richard Hatch

We salute you, Captain Apollo. Richard Hatch was nominated for a Golden Globe for his portrayal on the original Battlestar Galactica in 1978, and would later appear on the reboot¬†about three decades later as Tom Zarek. Other appearances include Kung Fu, and he appeared as “Richard Hatch” on The Guild, demonstrating his friendliness to the community.

Bruce Lansbury

There would be a big hole in our television geek culture history without the producing talents of Bruce Lansbury. Starting in the 1960s with The Wild Wild West, continuing into the 1970s with Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and on into the 1980s with Knight Rider (and these are just a few of the best known ones), we were on a rollicking ride that was always fun while never lapsing into mockery.

Neil Fingleton

While his career and life were unfortunately short (dying at the age of 36), Neil Fingleton was recognized as the tallest man in the UK at 236 cm (7 feet 7 inches). Appearing in X-Men, The Avengers, Doctor Who, and Game of Thrones (as Mag the Mighty), geeks will be watching this former basketball player (an injury changed his career path from sports to acting) for decades to come.

We regret their passing (and those of the others on the Geeky Good-byes page), and thank them and those closest to them for their contributions to our lives and the lives of geeks to follow.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) 2017 – results

March 5, 2017

BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) 2017 – results

What an interesting Oscar year!

I am going to talk a bit about what happened at the end of the show, but let’s start with how the team did.

The year before we had scored a 90% overall, and that’s not atypical. This year, we were considerably below that at 77%.

While it’s up to other people to determine if something is an excuse or not, I think there was a clear contributing factor to the decline. At least, I can see the impact in my own success rate.

This really was a transition year in how the Academy voted. They had deliberately changed the rules in order to reform the voting process (in part, with the hope of seeing the results be more diverse).

I didn’t take that into account enough. I was still thinking about how the “old Academy” would vote, rather than revising that.

In resulted in some patterns not repeating.

There has typically been a correlation between Best Picture and Film Editing, for example, and that didn’t happen this year.

Best Picture, Directing, and Film Editing went to three different movies (Moonlight, La La Land, Hacksaw Ridge, respectively).

Like many people, I’m a bit surprised to be describing Suicide Squad as an Oscar-winning movie (even though, unlike many people, I did like it). I think the old Academy would likely have gone for the more mainstream movie (A Man Called Ove), and I’ve been pretty good at predicting those Maven categories in the past.

However, that doesn’t mean we did poorly. We called most of the categories, and the only Big Six category we missed was Best Picture:

Category Team Called it
Adapted Screenplay Moonlight 76% Yes
Anim Feature Zootopia 92% Yes
Cinematography La La Land 88% Yes
Directing La La Land 90% Yes
Foreign Film The Salesman 84% Yes
Lead Actor Affleck 92% Yes
Lead Actress Emma Stone 92% Yes
Live Short Sing 66% Yes
Original Screenplay Manchester by the Sea 80% Yes
Production Design La La Land 86% Yes
Score La La Land 90% Yes
Song City of Stars: La La Land 87% Yes
Supp Actor Ali 88% Yes
Supp Actress Davis 99% Yes
Visual Effects The Jungle Book 79% Yes
Anim Short Piper 66% No
BP Moonlight 67% No
Costume Fantastic Beasts 56% No
Doc Feature O.J.: Made in America 66% No
Doc Short The White Helmets 57% No
Film Editing Hacksaw Ridge 61% No
Makeup Suicide Squad 70% No
Sound Editing Arrival 62% No
Sound Mixing Hacksaw Ridge 70% No

The team hit 68% on the Big Six, 81% on the Incredibly Difficult Maven section, and that 77% overall.

Our top Overall scorer did get 90%…way to go! I will let individuals know how they did, and if you’d like your win noted by name in this blog, just let me know.

Thanks to everybody who played! My guess is that we’ll do better next year.

I used Google Forms this year…and that didn’t work well. It was a nice interface for people entering (although it could use more robust validation), but the underlying Google Sheet was set up in an inefficient way. I had to transpose the columns and rows and do quite a bit of work to get results, which is part of why this is a week later. ūüôā

Now, let’s talk that Best Picture mix-up.

A quick summary:

Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were set to announce the Best Picture. They had starred in Bonnie and Clyde roughly 40 years ago. Warren Beatty had been nominated for Best Picture (as a producer of that movie…he was also nominated for Best Picture other times).

They were handed the envelope containing the winner by the accountants (there are two) from Price Waterhouse Coopers.

They were given the wrong envelope.

They were given a back-up envelope for Best Actress (which had been won by Emma Stone for La La Land). There are two envelopes for each category, since people can come from two sides of the stage, as I understand it.

Warren Beatty opened the envelope. I’ve watched that repeatedly. It seems clear to me what happens.

He opens it, and sees that it says, “Emma Stone, La La Land”. He hesitates.

I think many viewers may not realize that the Producers’ names are on the Best Picture winning card. Remember, Warren Beatty has been nominated as a Producer of a Best Picture nominee.

He probably goes through this process: “Was Emma Stone one of the Producers of La La Land? She can’t have been the only Producer.”

He literally looks into the envelope again, apparently checking to see if there is another winners’ card.

Faye Dunaway appears to think he has been Seacresting it…dragging it out for dramatic effect. She says, “You’re impossible!” He hands her the card (and he has a smile on his face), and she loudly announces La La Land as the winner.

The Producers of La La Land go up…and even start going through their thank you speeches. I haven’t timed it, but I’m reasonably comfortable in saying there was at least thirty seconds from the time the “winner” was announced until a correction was made.

Eventually, a member of the Oscar broadcast team (not one of the accountants) comes on stage and explains what happened.

One of the Producers of La La Land magnanimously explains the error, even taking (snatching would not be inaccurate) the actual winning card and showing it to the audience.

I definitely feel sorry for both Moonlight and La La Land for the way this happened.

So, who is at fault?

I would say that there is no question that PWC deserves a huge piece of the blame (and arguably, really all of it).

Their system failed.

The two accountants are supposed to have all of the winners memorized. As soon as the wrong winner was announced, one of them (and the Stage Manager has backed this up) should have stopped it and explained…before the Producers got to the stage.

Obviously, the wrong envelope shouldn’t have been given…and one question for me on that (and I understand performance improvement) is why Emma Stone’s envelope was even still available. As soon as a category is announced, the duplicate card (I understand that the winner often keeps the card) should be removed from access. If they don’t want to destroy it because of its historical value, put it in a locked dropbox.

There was clearly a failure on the part of one of the accountants and to some extent, on both, but in my opinion, it wouldn’t have been too difficult to create a system that would have been robust enough to make that risk very small indeed.

Fortunately, they should be able to revamp the system to prevent this same type of error in the future.

I can’t blame Warren Beatty…even for handing Faye Dunaway the envelope. I don’t think he was intentionally setting her up, as Jimmy Kimmel (jokingly?) suggested. I can’t blame Faye Dunaway: there would have been a lot of energy at that point after the delay, and anybody could jump at the movie name they see.

Well, there you go! I thought it was a fascinating year, and while that error will dominate in many people’s memories, the (arguably successful) impact of the Academy’s changes will have a bigger effect in the future.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

BOPMadness 2017 Oscar Predictions

February 26, 2017

BOPMadness 2017 Oscar Predictions

This is it!

Submissions are closed for BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) 2017!

We make our (aggregate) predictions public before the ceremony, so you can see how we do.

Here they are by category:

Email Address Team Predicted Winner Winner
Adapted Screenplay Arrival 40%
Adapted Screenplay Fences 64%
Adapted Screenplay Hidden Figures 78% X
Adapted Screenplay Lion 52%
Adapted Screenplay Moonlight 76%  X
Anim Feature Kubo 48%
Anim Feature Moana 70%
Anim Feature My Life as a Zucchini 36%
Anim Feature The Red Turtle 58%
Anim Feature Zootopia 92% X  X
Anim Short Blind Vaysha 54%
Anim Short Borrowed Time 52%
Anim Short Pear Cider and Cigarette 56%
Anim Short Pearl 72% X
Anim Short Piper 66%  X
BP Arrival 41%
BP Fences 57%
BP Hacksaw Ridge 29%
BP Hell or High Water 32%
BP Hidden Figures 69%
BP La La Land 91% X
BP Lion 63%
BP Manchester by the Sea 63%
BP Moonlight 73%  X
Cinematography Arrival 52%
Cinematography La La Land 88% X  X
Cinematography Lion 64%
Cinematography Moonlight 60%
Cinematography Silence 44%
Costume Allied 34%
Costume Fantastic Beasts 56%  X
Costume Florence Foster Jenkins 52%
Costume Jackie 88% X
Costume La La Land 72%
Directing Hacksaw Ridge 36%
Directing La La Land 90% X  X
Directing Manchester by the Sea 66%
Directing Moonlight 70%
Directing Villeneuve 42%
Doc Feature 13th 58%
Doc Feature Fire at Sea 60%
Doc Feature I Am Not Your Negro 76% X
Doc Feature Life, Animated 46%
Doc Feature O.J.: Made in America 66% X
Doc Short 4.1 Mile 68% X
Doc Short Extremis 58%
Doc Short Joe’s Violin 58%
Doc Short The White Helmets 62%  X
Doc Short Watani: My Homeland 60%
Film Editing Arrival 56%
Film Editing Hacksaw Ridge 62%  X
Film Editing Hell or High Water 46%
Film Editing La La Land 82% X
Film Editing Moonlight 56%
Foreign Film A Man Called Ove 54%
Foreign Film Land of Mine 48%
Foreign Film Tanna 46%
Foreign Film The Salesman 84% X  X
Foreign Film Toni Erdmann 66%
Lead Actor Affleck 92% X  X
Lead Actor Andrew Garfield 34%
Lead Actor Denzel Washington 76%
Lead Actor Ryan Gosling 62%
Lead Actor Viggo Mortensen 36%
Lead Actress Emma Stone 92% X  X
Lead Actress Huppert 60%
Lead Actress Meryl Streep 38%
Lead Actress Natalie Portman 62%
Lead Actress Ruth Negga 50%
Live Short Ennemis Interieurs 60%
Live Short La Femme et le TGV 48%
Live Short Silent Nights 62%
Live Short Sing 66% X  X
Live Short Timecode 64%
Makeup A Man Called Ove 57%
Makeup Star Trek Beyond 73% X
Makeup Suicide Squad 70%  X
Original Screenplay 20th Century Women 34%
Original Screenplay Hell or High Water 48%
Original Screenplay La La Land 74%
Original Screenplay Manchester by the Sea 80% X  X
Original Screenplay The Lobster 48%
Production Design Arrival 66%
Production Design Fantastic Beasts 58%
Production Design Hail, Caesar! 54%
Production Design La La Land 86% X  X
Production Design Passengers 36%
Score Jackie 58%
Score La La Land 90% X  X
Score Lion 60%
Score Moonlight 66%
Score Passengers 30%
Song Audition (The Fools Who Dream): La La Land 50%
Song Can’t Stop the Feeling: Trolls 68%
Song City of Stars: La La Land 88% X  X
Song How Far I’ll Go: Moana 58%
Song The Empty Chair: Jim The James Foley 36%
Sound Editing Arrival 62%  X
Sound Editing Deepwater Horizon 48%
Sound Editing Hacksaw Ridge 74% X
Sound Editing La La Land 72%
Sound Editing Sully 44%
Sound Mixing 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (disqualified) 30%
Sound Mixing Arrival 64%
Sound Mixing Hacksaw Ridge 70%  X
Sound Mixing La La Land 86% X
Sound Mixing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 50%
Supp Actor Ali 88% X  X
Supp Actor Dev Patel 78%
Supp Actor Jeff Bridges 56%
Supp Actor Lucas Hedges 46%
Supp Actor Michael Shannon 38%
Supp Actress Davis 100% X  X
Supp Actress Michelle Williams 62%
Supp Actress Naomie Harris 54%
Supp Actress Nicole Kidman 44%
Supp Actress Octavia Spencer 52%
Visual Effects Deepwater Horizon 38%
Visual Effects Doctor Strange 54%
Visual Effects Kubo and the Two Strings 48%
Visual Effects Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 84% X
Visual Effects The Jungle Book 80%  X

and here they are by percent chance of winning, with the surest things on the top and the longest shots on the bottom:

Email Address Team Predicted Winner Winner
Supp Actress Davis 100% X
Anim Feature Zootopia 92% X
Lead Actor Affleck 92% X
Lead Actress Emma Stone 92% X
BP La La Land 91% X
Directing La La Land 90% X
Score La La Land 90% X
Cinematography La La Land 88% X
Costume Jackie 88% X
Song City of Stars: La La Land 88% X
Supp Actor Ali 88% X
Production Design La La Land 86% X
Sound Mixing La La Land 86% X
Foreign Film The Salesman 84% X
Visual Effects Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 84% X
Film Editing La La Land 82% X
Original Screenplay Manchester by the Sea 80% X
Visual Effects The Jungle Book 80%
Adapted Screenplay Hidden Figures 78% X
Supp Actor Dev Patel 78%
Adapted Screenplay Moonlight 76%
Doc Feature I Am Not Your Negro 76% X
Lead Actor Denzel Washington 76%
Original Screenplay La La Land 74%
Sound Editing Hacksaw Ridge 74% X
BP Moonlight 73%
Makeup Star Trek Beyond 73% X
Anim Short Pearl 72% X
Costume La La Land 72%
Sound Editing La La Land 72%
Anim Feature Moana 70%
Directing Moonlight 70%
Makeup Suicide Squad 70%
Sound Mixing Hacksaw Ridge 70%
BP Hidden Figures 69%
Doc Short 4.1 Miles 68% X
Song Can’t Stop the Feeling: Trolls 68%
Anim Short Piper 66%
Directing Manchester by the Sea 66%
Doc Feature O.J.: Made in America 66%
Foreign Film Toni Erdmann 66%
Live Short Sing 66% X
Production Design Arrival 66%
Score Moonlight 66%
Adapted Screenplay Fences 64%
Cinematography Lion 64%
Live Short Timecode 64%
Sound Mixing Arrival 64%
BP Lion 63%
BP Manchester by the Sea 63%
Doc Short The White Helmets 62%
Film Editing Hacksaw Ridge 62%
Lead Actor Ryan Gosling 62%
Lead Actress Natalie Portman 62%
Live Short Silent Nights 62%
Sound Editing Arrival 62%
Supp Actress Michelle Williams 62%
Cinematography Moonlight 60%
Doc Feature Fire at Sea 60%
Doc Short Watani: My Homeland 60%
Lead Actress Huppert 60%
Live Short Ennemis Interieurs 60%
Score Lion 60%
Anim Feature The Red Turtle 58%
Doc Feature 13th 58%
Doc Short Extremis 58%
Doc Short Joe’s Violin 58%
Production Design Fantastic Beasts 58%
Score Jackie 58%
Song How Far I’ll Go: Moana 58%
BP Fences 57%
Makeup A Man Called Ove 57%
Anim Short Pear Cider and Cigarette 56%
Costume Fantastic Beasts 56%
Film Editing Arrival 56%
Film Editing Moonlight 56%
Supp Actor Jeff Bridges 56%
Anim Short Blind Vaysha 54%
Foreign Film A Man Called Ove 54%
Production Design Hail, Caesar! 54%
Supp Actress Naomie Harris 54%
Visual Effects Doctor Strange 54%
Adapted Screenplay Lion 52%
Anim Short Borrowed Time 52%
Cinematography Arrival 52%
Costume Florence Foster Jenkins 52%
Supp Actress Octavia Spencer 52%
Lead Actress Ruth Negga 50%
Song Audition (The Fools Who Dream): La La Land 50%
Sound Mixing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 50%
Anim Feature Kubo 48%
Foreign Film Land of Mine 48%
Live Short La Femme et le TGV 48%
Original Screenplay Hell or High Water 48%
Original Screenplay The Lobster 48%
Sound Editing Deepwater Horizon 48%
Visual Effects Kubo and the Two Strings 48%
Doc Feature Life, Animated 46%
Film Editing Hell or High Water 46%
Foreign Film Tanna 46%
Supp Actor Lucas Hedges 46%
Cinematography Silence 44%
Sound Editing Sully 44%
Supp Actress Nicole Kidman 44%
Directing Villeneuve 42%
BP Arrival 41%
Adapted Screenplay Arrival 40%
Lead Actress Meryl Streep 38%
Supp Actor Michael Shannon 38%
Visual Effects Deepwater Horizon 38%
Anim Feature My Life as a Zucchini 36%
Directing Hacksaw Ridge 36%
Lead Actor Viggo Mortensen 36%
Production Design Passengers 36%
Song The Empty Chair: Jim The James Foley 36%
Costume Allied 34%
Lead Actor Andrew Garfield 34%
Original Screenplay 20th Century Women 34%
BP Hell or High Water 32%
Score Passengers 30%
Sound Mixing 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (disqualified) 30%
BP Hacksaw Ridge 29%

Thanks to everybody who played! I’ll update this with the winners, and get the individual results to the players in the next few days.

We’ll know soon!

See you in the movies!

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

The Oscars are one week away! Surest things and longest shots

February 20, 2017

The Oscars are one week away! Surest things and longest shots

We are one week away from the Oscars, and I thought I’d check in with how¬†the BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) predictions were shaping up so far.

These certainly may change: if you want to make predictions, you still can by using this Google form:

https://goo.gl/forms/NqSNqNS6Y3ZS4Q232

You can also see all of the aggregate predictions there, but I thought I’d tease it by giving you the surest things and the longest shots at this point. We rank every nominee in every category, but here are those standouts.

So far, there are four nominees that we rank at 100% probability of winning…every player so far has given them the top possible score:

  • Emma Stone for Actress in a Leading Role for La La Land
  • Viola Davis for Actress in a Supporting Role for Fences
  • Cinematography for La La Land (Linus Sandgren)
  • Sound Mixing for La La Land (Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee, Steve A. Morrow)

Those are the surest shots. That could change as more players (including you?) send in predictions, but they probably will still be strong contenders.

At the other end are two nominees tied for least likely. To be clear, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t good or worthy or even that they won’t win, but just that at this point, we have in the aggregate given them the lowest probability…a 23% chance of taking their categories:

  • Sound Mixing for 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush, Mac Ruth)
  • Music (Original Score) for Passengers (Thomas Newman)

Think the wisdom of the group is wrong…or agree with it? Have other guesses you want to make? Please feel free to play at that Google form! The more the merrier, and possibly, we’ll beat last year’s 90% overall score! You can also see our current predictions for all of the categories…

See you in the movies!

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

BOPMadness 2017! Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness: make your own & see what we say

February 12, 2017

BOPMadness 2017! Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness: make your own & see what we say

For more than two decades, I’ve been doing an Oscar prediction contest. We only play for that most valuable of all human possessions…braggin’ rights. ūüėČ I’ve developed a particular way that we do it, and partially as a result of that, we tend to do quite well as a group in predictions…last year, we scored a 90% overall.

I’m doing it a bit differently this year (just in terms of process), which I think will make it easier for people to do and for them to see the results: I’m using a Google form:

https://goo.gl/forms/NqSNqNS6Y3ZS4Q232

You don’t need to sign up or anything, just play. ūüôā It does require an e-mail address (that’s the only way I can have it send you your guesses, if you want), and I do require that you make guesses about every nominee in every category…the more answers, I think the better we should do (based on the wisdom of crowds).

Feel free to spread the word! There’s only a week left. ūüėČ

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Geeky Good-byes January 2017

February 8, 2017

Geeky Good-byes January 2017

2016 was noted by many people for the number of celebrities we lost. I looked at reasons why that might have been true (and might continue to be true) in

2016: the Year the Stars Went Out?

while at the same time looking at previous history.

This year, I’m tracking it more closely in

2017 Geeky Good-byes

At the time of writing, I’ve made 19 entries just for January 2017. Unfortunately, I may add more…we sometimes don’t hear about deaths right away.

That page is really just a listing, without much narrative.

I wanted to take this post (and I may do one once a month) to a look at a few who really stand out to me. That isn’t to diminish anyone else: we geeks honor everyone who has every done a geek-friendly part or created a geek-friendly work.

Dick Gautier

I was surprised that Dick Gautier didn’t get more mainstream coverage. He was an author and a stand-up, and was nominated for a Tony in 1961. He appeared frequently on TV, including game shows. For geeks, though, he may be best-known as Hymie, the KAOS robot who becomes a CONTROL robot (not unlike Rogue One’s K-2SO, without the snark). Gautier was an unusual combination of being traditionally attractive, and yet funny and comfortable with geek-friendly roles (he would also voice characters for The Transformers and G.I. Joe…for more details, see that Geeky Good-byes page: 2017 Geeky Good-byes).

William Peter Blatty

Blatty was the bestselling author of The Exorcist, based on a real case, and the basis for one some still consider to be the most frightening movie of all time. He also wrote The Ninth Configuration and Legion, but I want to call attention to I’ll Tell The I Remember You, which was more of a memoir. I have a couple of quotations from it in my book of quotations,¬†The Mind Boggles: A Unique Book of Quotations (at AmazonSmile*). It shows more of his philosophy.

John Hurt

John Hurt was one of those rare actors who had both mainstream success and respect (including two Oscar nominations and a Golden Globe win) and a range of geek-friendly roles. The latter include one of the most referenced scenes in movies (in Alien), 2013’s Snowpiercer, the H*llboy movies, more than one Harry Potter movie as Mr. Ollivander, 1984, Watership Down, and more.

We regret their passing (and those of the others on the Geeky Good-byes page), and thank them and those closest to them for their contributions to our lives and the lives of geeks to follow.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

Emerald City is the Oz TV series L. Frank Baum would make today

February 3, 2017

Emerald City is the Oz TV series L. Frank Baum would make today

Note: this post is going to compare the current NBC TV series with the original L. Frank Baum book series and the 1939 Judy Garland musical version. There is no way to do that effectively without revealing elements of the three works which would be a surprise the first time someone reads/watches them. Therefore, this is part of our Spoiler Zone category of analysis and this is a

SPOILER ALERT

No doubt, some people watching the

Emerald City TV series on NBC

are shocked and offended that a beloved children’s classic has been turned into a depraved show with sex and violence.

Others are probably delighted that a daring reimagination has taken a namby pamby, bland story and made it into something more mature, relevant, and realistic.

As a long-time Oz fan, my guess is that people of either opinion haven’t read the “famous 14” original L. Frank Baum books in the main series.

The Wonderful Stories of Oz (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Oh, they may have read the first book, perhaps, or seen the 1939 musical with Judy Garland. The most famous book actually doesn’t match the rest of the series very well (for a good in-universe reason) and is one of my least favorites, and the movie was so different that it wasn’t a hit when it was first released (despite what had been a very solid “fanbase”, arguably one of the earliest).

L. Frank Baum himself makes a statement before the first book starts which could lead to the idea of Oz being just all happy:

“Yet the old time fairy tale, having served for generations, may now be classed as “historical” in the children’s library; for the time has come for a series of newer “wonder tales” in which the stereotyped genie, dwarf and fairy are eliminated, together with all the horrible and blood-curdling incidents devised by their authors to point a fearsome moral to each tale. Modern education includes morality; therefore the modern child seeks only entertainment in its wonder tales and gladly dispenses with all disagreeable incident.

Having this thought in mind, the story of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” was written solely to please children of today. It aspires to being a modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are retained and the heartaches and nightmares are left out.”

That last line is simply not true, especially if you continue through the other books.

No nightmares and heartaches? In the first book, there are over 100 deaths (mostly animals hacked to death with an ax by the Tin Woodman). Slavery is common and an ongoing theme in Oz. The Scarecrow is dismembered.

Now, you could argue that the tone is different: that this is “fantasy violence”, like cartoon violence. You might guess that the emotional anguish we see in Emerald City is not like the way people react in the books. Violence is committed against animals and “non-meat” people who can’t be killed anyway (after the big change in Oz). The gun violence in Emerald City would never happen in Baum’s Oz.

You could argue that…but it’s pretty easily refuted.

Take this passage from Rinktink in Oz:

“They found on every hand ruin and desolation. The houses of the people had been pilfered of all valuables and then torn down or burned. Not a boat had been left upon the shore, nor was there a single person, man or woman or child, remaining upon the island, save themselves. The only inhabitants of Pingaree now consisted of a fat little King, a boy and a goat.

Even Rinkitink, merry hearted as he was, found it hard to laugh in the face of this mighty disaster. Even the goat, contrary to its usual habit, refrained from saying anything disagreeable. As for the poor boy whose home was now a wilderness, the tears came often to his eyes as he marked the ruin of his dearly loved island.

When, at nightfall, they reached the lower end of Pingaree and found it swept as bare as the rest, Inga’s grief was almost more than he could bear. Everything had been swept from him‚ÄĒparents, home and country‚ÄĒin so brief a time that his bewilderment was equal to his sorrow.

Since no house remained standing, in which they might sleep, the three wanderers crept beneath the overhanging branches of a cassa tree and curled themselves up as comfortably as possible. So tired and exhausted were they by the day’s anxieties and griefs that their troubles soon faded into the mists of dreamland.”

This was devastation perpetrated by humans on humans, out of a motive of greed. They destroyed everything in wanton violence and enslaved the people. This had a genuine emotional impact on the survivors.

Okay, yes, one of the survivors is a talking goat, but still. ūüėČ

This takes place outside of Oz proper, but is in a nearby land and it is part of the Oz series (and the Land of Oz and characters from it are part of the book).

That is hardly the only part of Oz that deals with “dark” cruelty. Some characters enjoy inflicting pain…here’s an example of torture from The Emerald City of Oz (one of the famous fourteen, not the TV series):

“By this time the jailer had tired of sticking pins in the General, and was amusing himself by carefully pulling the Nome’s whiskers out by the roots, one at a time. This enjoyment was interrupted by the Grand Gallipoot sending for the prisoner.”

That was pain for pain’s sake, and the General was being tortured.

In the books, the Tin Man becoming the Tin Man is very different from Emerald City, although I liked the way they did it on TV, making it more integral to main character relationships.

In the books, a regular human falls in love with a young woman who lives with a woman who doesn’t want her to marry. The older woman pays a wicked witch to prevent the marriage. The witch enchants the woodchopper’s ax to cut off his leg. It’s replaced with a tin leg, and that doesn’t discourage the chopper. The witch continues the enchantment, and eventually, the woodchopper has had all of his parts replaced with tin ones…which ironically makes him not love the girl any more.

What about guns?

There are many guns in Oz…even a gun-tree where a musket is picked. At one point, someone is instructed to only use a gun as a last resort: “…I do not wish to be cruel or to shed any blood–unless it is absolutely necessary”.

The Wizard in the books, by the way, is much more like the one in the TV series than in the Judy Garland version…he does some very self-serving things, and while he later becomes a member of the “cabinet” of the ruler, he wasn’t an innocent, sweet person in the early stories.

There is one big difference between the Oz books and Emerald City: sex. Sex is a big part of the TV series, and it gets talked about (not explicitly shown) a lot. That doesn’t happen in the Oz books…although there may be an argument for why that is true, besides simply the cultural standards of the time. No one ages in Oz (after a change happens): babies stay babies, and have to be cared for by other people. It’s unclear what would happen if someone became pregnant. People who come to Oz from the outside world do remark on people (and I’m using that term broadly to include supernatural beings) being attractive, but Emerald City’s libido is front and center.

Baum did have “dancing girls” in his stage productions, and I suspect that if he was making a TV series today, it would be as “sexy” as Emerald City is.

My guess is that he would also produce child-friendly versions: in the early 1900s, he was trying a lot of things…silent movies, stage shows, crossovers, tie-in books. Disney had nothing on Baum in multi-platform use of characters.

I’m a fan of the Oz¬†books, and I look forward to and enjoy the episodes of Emerald City. Before criticizing or praising the TV series for being different from the books, you might want to read the books…and then decide. Even if you disagree with me about what Baum would do, you still will have read the books…and that’s a good thing. ūüėČ

Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think about this by commenting on this post.

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

2017 Oscar noms

January 24, 2017

2017 Oscar noms

This is very preliminary, almost live-blogging. ūüôā I’ll call out the geeky nominees as I catch them, sometimes shortening the names. After the announcements, I’ll formalize it more and add some comments.

Some thoughts:

  • How can you nominate an animated movie for Special Effects (they can do anything)? Kubo was
  • Now Oscar-nominated movies: Suicide Squad, Passengers (multiple), Star Trek Beyond, Trolls
  • Really, really looking for noms for Hidden Figures (our favorite movie probably in the past year), and none so far. There’s the first! Adapted Screenplay. Octavia Spencer was nominated: yay!
  • Moana and Zootopia are nominated for Animated Feature
  • Arrival is cleaning up, but not Best Actress. It is, I think, one of the most nominated movies, with La La Land (which we have decided does not count for as geek-friendly), Moonlight…maybe Manchester by the Sea (this is pretty much live)
  • Hidden Figures nominated for Best Picture…Deadpool was not
  • I thought having former Oscar honorees announce the nominees in pre-recorded segments, and mixing high profile and less high profile categories, worked
  • Lin-Manual Miranda is closer to an EGOT (Emmy Grammy Oscar Tony) with a nomination for a Moana song…although worth noting that “You’re Welcome” wasn’t nominated, leaving Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s road to an EGOT a bit longer… ūüėČ Seriously, it’s not going to surprise me if The Rock eventually gets an EGOT, just not right away

Best Original Song

  • Justin Timberlake for “Can’t Stop the Feeling” for Trolls
  • Lin-Manual Miranda for “How Far I’ll Go” for Moana

SFX (Special Effects)

  • Doctor Strange
  • The Jungle Book
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Doc Short

Documentary Feature

  • Life, Animated

Editing

  • Joe Walker for Arrival

Sound Mixing

Rogue One is Oscar-nominated, thanks to this category (and Visual Effects)

  • Arrival
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Sound Editing

  • Sylvain Bellemare for Arrival

Production Design

I really thought Hidden Figures might be nominated here.

  • Arrival
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Passengers

Live Action Short

Animated Short

Best Animated Feature

  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • My Life as a Zucchini
  • The Red Turtle
  • Zootopia

 Supporting Actor

No performances in geek-friendly roles nominated

Supporting Actress

  • Octavia Spencer in Hidden Figures

Makeup and Hairstyling

  • A Man Called Ove
  • Star Trek Beyond
  • Suicide Squad

Costume

  • Colleen Atwood for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Cinematography

  • Bradford Young for Arrival

Adapted Screenplay

  • Eric Heissener and Ted Chiang for Arrival
  • Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi, Margot Lee Shetterly for Hidden Figures

Original Screenplay

  • Yorgos Lanthimos for The Lobster

Original Score

Not Moana? Well, “score” now often doesn’t mean songs, but La La Land was nominated

  • Thomas Newman for Passengers

Foreign Language

Directing

  • Denis Villeneuve for Arrival

Lead Actress

No performances in geek-friendly roles nominated

Lead Actor

No performances in geek-friendly roles nominated

Best Picture

  • Arrival
  • Hidden Figures

Where can you legally stream any of these Oscar nominees without paying additional money (subscriptions required)?

Amazon Prime:

  • Life, Animated
  • The Lobster

Hulu:

Netflix:

  • The Jungle Book
  • Zootopia

2017 Oscar nominations video:

Complete list of nominees from the Academy website:

http://oscar.go.com/nominees

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

My take on…Emerald City

January 23, 2017

My take on…Emerald City

“Your past does not define you. Your mother does not define you. All that matters is who you wish to be…and how hard you’re willing to fight for it.”
The Wizard of Oz (Frank Morgan) played by Vincent D’Onofrio
Mistress – New Mistress episode of Emerald City
teleplay by Justin Doble and David Schulner
based on the books by L. Frank Baum

L. Frank Baum would have turned the Wizard of Oz books into a television series.

He was personally involved in taking them onto the silent silver screen, the stage, and in tie-in books.

It’s reasonable to assume that in today’s market, it would have been cutting edge. Baum had “dancing girls”, and ethnic humor.

The books brought in contemporary events, and commented on them (even if one ignores a theory that the first book had to do with the gold standard).

As a big Oz fan, I can take that into account in watching the new adaptation on NBC:

Emerald City

If the series feels a bit “Game of Thrones”…well, it would have. Baum would have looked at what was successful (and loved and critically lauded)…although he would also have walked his own path.

Given all that, how faithful is Emerald City? How do I like it?

I am always careful about spoilers, so I will warn you ahead of time that I will reveal some small details in this post, while avoiding major plot points. If you’d like to be surprised by every allusion, I’d watch the first four episodes before reading this (you may find the first two episodes bundled together). Outside of that, you should be good.

So, MINOR SPOILER ALERT: DETAILS

I’m quite pleased to see that the people writing Emerald City are clearly very familiar with the “Famous 14”, the first main 14 books written by L. Frank Baum. There are many familiar names and locations, even if the characters (both of people and places) aren’t the same.

It’s important to be clear that it is the books, and not the 1939 movie with Judy Garland, that form the basis. It’s also not just the first book, the one most people know (and which is one of my least favorite of the series).

That said, there is one startling reference to the 1939 movie which I think is a mistake (and for the reason that it is too meta, too much of a distraction for me). The Wizard (Vincent D’Onofrio, adding another geek-friendly credit to the resume, following playing Wilson “The Kingpin” Fisk on Daredevil…and of course, Edgar in the original Men in Black) reveals his true name to be “Frank Morgan”. That’s the name of the actor¬†who played the Wizard in the MGM musical…it’s not from the books (where the Wizard’s name was Oscar Diggs…with a lot more in-between).

The names in Emerald City otherwise mostly come from the books: Ojo, Mombi, Ev (another “land” in the Oz books), Tip, and so on. I don’t think we needed that fourth-wall break here.

The universe rules in Emerald City are more akin to rules in the first book than in the latter ones…which does make sense, based on the chronology. People (and animals) in Oz can die, and do…frequently and sometimes violently, in the TV series. In the first book, there are over 100 deaths delineated.

Later in the book series, the rules change and no one dies (although it’s never quite clear if visitors to Oz, such as Dorothy, can die in Oz…not just the readers, but the characters don’t know, and the latter speculate about it). People can be destroyed and feel pain, but can’t be killed. There is a reason for that…

Will that happen in the TV series?

Seems unlikely. Emerald City is what I call “a real Bleak Show” (as opposed to a “Freak Show”). That is certainly a popular tone now: “the world is bad and people are worse” (see, for example, Zack Snyder’s version of DC). It’s not at all new: stories like that go back a very long time. It’s just not my preference, and not my world view, but clearly, it can be resonant. Just about everybody in Emerald City does…at least questionable things, including Dorothy. In the original books, they weren’t all sweetness and light: characters often argued with each other, although after the significant shift happens, most people have the goal of getting along (they just aren’t always perfect at it). That’s one of the things that sets the original Oz books apart from many other putative children’s books.

This series is likely to revel in violence and sex (although not shown explicitly…while sex is certainly implied and discussed, this is still a network show. Violence is shown), so I think deathlessness is an unlikely choice.

Overall, the acting is good, the writing is good, and the direction seems good. I like the art direction and some of the Easter Eggs (with the exception of the reference to the 1939 movie). In particular, I thought having “Cassidy” show up on a poster for a lottery (which, interestingly, uses dollar signs for amounts…but that could be the Wizard’s doing) was a cute reference to Executive Producer Shaun Cassidy.

One change I might have made is that I find the score a bit intrusive…it’s almost always there telling us how to feel, like a laugh track in a 1960s sitcom. That’s not to say that the music is bad or jarring, it’s not (I like the themes)…it’s just that I don’t need it there as much.

So, Oz with reference to drones, crop circles, opium, physical therapy, transgender bathroom use, and a cellphone (although the last one isn’t new:¬†The Wizard of Oz invented the¬†cellphone)? For me, that works. Would I still like to see a series that was tonally more like the later Oz books? Sure, and I think we will. For me, one of the signifiers of great art is that it can be adapted in many different ways and still survive…they become more than plots, and characters, and settings. As with Shakespeare and West Side Story and Forbidden Planet, Oz is greater than any given adaptation, and enhanced by divergent visions.

That’s what I think…feel free to tell me and my readers what you think (or to ask questions about how Emerald City relates to the Famous 14…I’ll mask spoilers if necessary) by commenting on this post.

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* When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you‚Äôll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)‚Ķand the good feeling you‚Äôll get. :) Shop ‚Äôtil you help! :) By the way, it‚Äôs been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to ‚Äústart at AmazonSmile‚ÄĚ if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


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