“NOT THE GRATEFUL DEAD” Even More Cynical Than I

thedeadpicI post the below article written by Stewart Sallo in the Boulder Weekly titled LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, NOT THE GRATEFUL DEAD not because I agree with it, but to represent part of the experience Dead-Heads are having. This article is far more cynical than I am. I would prefer to believe the remaining members of the Grateful Dead had the best of intentions here in trying to satisfy the many needs involved. And I think it turned out to be a far greater beast than any of them anticipated.

Perhaps that’s naive, I dunno. I can certainly see it as an opportunity to both celebrate the Grateful Dead’s 50 years AND make some money. This is, after all, one of the ways in which these guys earn their living. And they’ve hit retirement age now. They still play music, but they no longer tour and they rarely cut albums. So yes, this was also a chance to make some money. I hold no grudge with that. Artists should be paid and paid well. It’s just unfortunate that this event has also created much heartache and disappointment for many.

Continue reading ““NOT THE GRATEFUL DEAD” Even More Cynical Than I”

“NOT THE GRATEFUL DEAD” Even More Cynical Than I

Netflix Drops The Ball, Charging Extra For Blu-ray Rentals, But Not Acquiring Most Blu-ray Titles.

I have been a Netflix customer since they came into being. I have referred at least 50 people, probably more. I have given Netflix as gifts on more than one occasion. I am now considering leaving Netflix. What happened? Well, when Netflix started charging me more for Blu-rays, I was okay with it as they seemed to have a great collection and acquired nearly every title released. Then they raised their Blu-ray rental prices yet again, but started offering me far less. Below is a partial list of titles currently available on Blu-ray but NOT available through Netflix. And while I have never been a fan of Blockbuster and have spent most of my adult life urging people NOT to rent at Blockbuster (I have issues with many of their policies), I will state here (to my great dismay) that Blockbuster DOES carry most of these titles for rental online on Blu-ray. What gives, Netfllix? I and many others have requested these titles repeatedly and to no avail. So I have to ask, why am I paying more to rent Blu-rays when Netflix doesn’t actually carry most Blu-rays? And it appears that if a title is already available on DVD in their collection, they don’t bother acquiring the Blu-ray for those of us paying extra for that very service. There’s something undeniably wrong with this picture. Here’s a short list of already released Blu-ray titles NOT available through Netlix. There are hundreds more I have not listed here. These are just some titles I was interested in renting and discovered I could not:

True Grit (1969)
The Bridge on the River Kwai
The Night of the Hunter
Black Narcissus
The Red Shoes
Psycho (1960)
Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
Out of Africa
The Sound of Music
Alice in Wonderland (Disney, 1951)
It’s a Wonderful Life
White Christmas
The Mission
The Double Life of Veronique
All About Eve
Dances with Wolves
An Affair to Remember
The Maltese Falcon
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
A Beautiful Mind
Bad Boys (1983)
Broadcast News
A Walk in the Clouds
The Color Purple
Ever After: A Cinderella Story
Almost Famous
Rob Roy
Shock Corridor
The Great Debaters
Once Upon a Time in America
The Naked Kiss
Robinson Crusoe on Mars
Once Upon a Time in Mexico
Army of Shadows
The Matador
Hard Boiled

This list could go on and on, but I think you get the point. There are more Blu-ray titles being released weekly that will NOT be made available for rental via Netflix. Step up Netflix or you will lose your customer base. I understand that you are moving heavily into the streaming business, but please understand that if you are taking advantage of me now by charging me extra for a service you are not delivering on, then I won’t be interested in supporting you when it is time for me to move over to streaming-only.  I would prefer to offer my business to a company I can trust, a company I have faith in. As a longtime supporter, I would like to see the Netflix customer matter once again. Otherwise, I and others will eventually take our money elsewhere. And we won’t return. At the moment, your competition does not charge extra for Blu-rays AND they offer more reliable, customer-conscious service.

At the end of the day, they carry the titles. You do not.

Netflix Drops The Ball, Charging Extra For Blu-ray Rentals, But Not Acquiring Most Blu-ray Titles.


200px-Girlfriend_experienceDespite much press about Sony pulling the plug at the last minute on Steven Soderbergh’s MONEYBALL, Mr. S still has much to be thankful for. And so do we. His latest offering had a pre-theatrical release on Amazon Video On Demand, then went limited theatrical on May 22 with a simultaneous release on Pay-Per View.

This low-budget indie outing was, like CHE, shot digitally on the RedOne camera with a budget of $1.3 million. Like Sodergergh’s earlier BUBBLE (which I loved), THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE stars a cast of non-actors, with the exception of real life porn star Sasha Grey.

The film is absolutely terrific and so are almost all of the performances. Particularly Grey. And somehow, even those perfs that were lacking in finesse and may have seemed a bit self-conscious, managed to work for me within the context of the story and the way in which the characters were presented.

And for those who have claimed that Soderbergh’s indie films are lacking in style (you know who you are), nothing could be further from the truth here. GIRLFRIEND is rich in style and texture, with striking compositions and a daring use of focus which incorporates limited movement and slowly draws the audience in with a formidably hypnotic effect.

More a tale of deals, negotiations, growth and decay than, say, a romantic comedy, GIRLFRIEND nonetheless manages to darkly tickle the funny bone while simultaneously being tragic, insightful and unrelenting. It is certainly one of the more profoundly reflective films for the age in which we find ourselves. The story takes place in New York City during the presidential election campaign and the subsequent economic downfall. And more perfect a setting could not have been used for a film and characters obsessed with money and control. What we buy and what we sell, whether it be merchandise, dreams, lust, romance, or our own souls, is at the center of GIRLFRIEND. Soderbergh brilliantly and stylishly holds a mirror up to our current America and some of the people that may inhabit it.



Obama & The Great Writ: Town Hall Continues

Obama talks Habeas Corpus and your Civil Liberties in Farmington Hills Town Hall, September 8th:

I know we’re doing a lot of political posts these days, but as many of you already know, this is a crucial time in American History. I want to give folks who maybe don’t have the time to research as much as I do, the chance to find out a little more so that they can make an informed decision come November. And anyone reading my posts knows exactly where I stand.

We live in a nation obsessed with money. Maybe it’s a world obsession. Its value for many is above that of human life. It’s often mistaken for being synonymous with the word “success”. I’m hoping we can find a balance where the two can mutually exist, without sharing the same definition. 

At this time in history, at this point in our lives, America is in danger of not being a successful nation, Capitalism not being a successful economic system, Democracy not being a successful form of government. But we have a chance to get back on the right track. To be a successful nation once again. Let’s not squander this opportunity as we have in the past. If America fails, there is no going back.

Obama & The Great Writ: Town Hall Continues