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Movie Memories

Originally posted: June 13, 2007 at 9:25am

Sometimes when you go to see a movie, it’s not just the film itself that is interesting (or not, if you’re going to see the latest Kevin Costner epic). For me the experience of seeing a movie in itself can be fun and can produce some pretty good stories. Here are a few of my movie memories:

1. Clerks. In 1995 I went to my friend Jen’s cabin for a few days of serious drinking. This was probably the best party I have ever been to, and the memories of those few days at the end of April (albeit somewhat fuzzy ones) are still with me today. There’s even a Group here on Facebook dedicated to the Cabin. Anyway, when I returned from that life-altering experience I arrived at home exhausted, dehydrated, severely hung over, malnourished and yes, still a little drunk. It was in this condition that I watched the “Clerks” tape that my roommate had rented the night before. I quickly forgot about my urge to throw up as I watched the only film to properly convey how I felt, having worked in the service industry all my life. Absolutely amazing movie, and still in my top ten faves. Afterwards I passed out on the bathroom floor.

2. Reality Bites. Again, 1995. I had just moved into my first apartment. My total worldly possessions consisted of a couch, a dresser, an air mattress and a 13 inch black and white TV. I had no cable, so I borrowed a VCR and “Reality Bites” from my building’s caretaker. He was a huge video pirate, literally hundreds of bootlegged movies, so the recording quality was bad. The picture had lines in it and kept jumping around, but I sat there, glued to the tiny TV. I know I’m at the tail end of Generation X, but that movie captured perfectly what life was like for people my age at the time. Still remains Ben Stiller’s best directing and acting of his career.

3. Evil Dead Trilogy. I think this was 1993 or ’94. I was still in high school anyway. My friend Matt had told me about this movie “Army of Darkness” and he said that there had been two other films before it but he didn’t know what they were called. So I went down to see Fred at Goulet Video (sadly, now closed!) and asked him: are there any movies that came before A of D? “That would be the Evil Dead series, I believe,” said Fred. That was my introduction to greatness. I then rented all three movies and went over to Matt’s where we watched them all in a row. I remember thinking that the first one was pretty cheesy and that the best of the three was “Evil Dead 2.” However, since reading “If Chins could Kill” by Bruce Campbell I have changed my mind. The original “Evil Dead” is the best of the three, not because of the quality of the film (which is still pretty cheesy) but because of all the shit that Sam Raimi and the rest of those guys had to go through to get that movie made. That they were able to do it AND make it as good as it is speaks to the amazing talent of Raimi, Campbell and Rob Tapert (who produced the movie with his two childhood friends.) Evil Dead is my favorite movie of all time.

4. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. This was 1999 and I was living in Edmonton. I actually booked time off work so I could go down and wait in line for tickets. I arrived at the mall at 6:00 am (which was the soonest anyone could line up there.) I brought with me my book, my Darth Maul action figure (yes, I am a Geek, and proud of it!) and a cheap $5.00 plastic chair that I had bought at Wal-mart the day before so I wouldn’t have to sit on the floor. I arrived at the theatre to discover that I was about eighth in line. “Not bad,” I thought to myself. I set up my chair and settled in with my book for the seven hour wait for the box office to open. Within five minutes: CRASH! The cheap chair I had bought collapsed under my weight (I was topping 230 back then,) and I fell to the floor, much to the amusement of the ten other people in line with me. I got up, dusted myself off, took a bow and said “thank you, I’ll be here all day!” which got a laugh. It turned out to be a great icebreaker as I quickly started “geeking out” with my fellow Star Wars nerds: asking each other trivia, quoting Star Wars to each other and generally having a dorky time. I bought my tickets and then had to come back two weeks later and wait in line AGAIN to get into the theatre. When I finally saw the movie, I left in denial: “That was awesome!” I said. I didn’t want to admit to myself that the movie licked balls because I had gone through all of that trouble to get the tickets. Upon watching it a second and third time I finally admitted the truth to myself. I never waited in line for movie tickets again.

Those are the ones that stick out most in my mind. Some others are:

-Going to a midnight screening of “LOTR: The Two Towers” after getting off of work and almost falling asleep during the battle of Helm’s Deep. (It was 2:30 in the morning by that point.)
-At the first “Mortal Kombat” film: seeing Trevor stand up and scream “MORTAL KOMBAT!!!” at the top of his lungs just as the lights were going down.
-Galaxy Quest: saw it at the Towne 8 with Chris. The sound went out 10 minutes into the film and NO ONE was around to fix it. We had to wait another 15 minutes at the box office to get our money back.
-Went and saw “Fled” with Rod and wanted to leave five minutes into the movie because it was THE WORST MOVIE EVER MADE!
-Seeing “Jurassic Park” on opening night. Still the best movie going experience of my life.

I am a firm believer in the “movie going” experience and I love going to movies in the theatre, especially on opening night. I just hope that the next few months provide me with some more of these experiences, as I have yet to have had one this year.

What about you? Please share any movie memories that come to mind.
It really did lick balls.

The Media Nerds on Shaw TV Episode 2

Here is our 2nd episode to air on Shaw TV, originally recorded January 6th, 2017.

Subscribe to the Shaw TV YouTube channel to be notified as soon as these go up, and to watch all the other awesome local content produced at Shaw!

The Media Nerds on TV!

The Media Nerds television show is on the air!

Check your local Shaw TV listings to catch the show in it’s natural environment, or just watch the first episode here!

Special thanks to Billy and the crew at Shaw TV Winnipeg for making this possible. Keep checking back, new episodes will be airing every week!

 

Rate the Media Nerds on iTunes!

Independent podcasts like ours owe a lot to Apple. Without the immensely popular iTunes program, almost no one would be able to listen to us. However it is tough for smaller shows to stand out among the thousands of podcasts featured on iTunes.

One way to increase the visibility and awareness of a podcast on iTunes is to have listeners rate it. The more ratings a podcast receives, the higher it moves up in the search results, and the more new people discover us! It’s a win-win for everybody!

So, we would like to ask you, dear Media Nerds or Star Wars Nerds listener, to give us a rating. It only takes a few minutes and it would help us so much! Don’t know how to do it? I’m not surprised, it isn’t exactly the most intuitive rating system. We know you can do better, Apple!

On your computer or laptop:

Okay, first follow these links to the Media Nerds and Star Wars Nerds pages on the iTunes website. Then, click on the button that says “view in iTunes.” This will open the iTunes program on your computer.

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Be sure that you are signed into your iTunes account, then click on “Ratings and Reviews.”

 

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After that, all you have to do is click on the stars! Click on the fifth star to give us a five star rating, or click on the first star to give us a one star rating. Obviously, we’d love to have all five star ratings, but we want you to be honest. Give us the rating this podcast deserves, not the one it needs. There is also a space for comments, feel free to provide some more detailed feedback. We want to get better and we might even feature your comment on the podcast!

 

On your iPhone:

Open the Podcasts app and tap the Search tab. Search for Media Nerds podcast and Star Wars Nerds podcast. Tap the album art for the podcast.

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Tap the Reviews tab and then Write a Review at the bottom.

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Tap the Stars to leave a rating and enter the title text and content to leave a review. Tap Send.

 

That’s it! Wasn’t that easy? Thank you so much for listening and for your continued support. Your feedback means a lot to us and it helps us make our podcasts even better!

 

Don’t let the door/force hit you in the ass!

Kenton & Dan

 

The Nerds Do Comic Con!

We will once again be podcasting live from the Central Canada Comic Con, October 30th – November 1st at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg. As the Manitoba Podcast Network will not have a table at C4 this year, the Nerds will be podcasting “guerrilla style,” setting up and recording wherever we damn well see fit, or are (ahem) allowed.

Check out pics from last year’s C4 here.

We’ve got some awesome guests lined up, including Lucasfilm’s Star Wars continuity/canon guru Pablo Hidalgo, award-winning artist and graphic novelist Nicholas Burns, and author of the Thunder Road Trilogy Chadwick Ginther.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter for updates on guests and locations.

And yes, we promise a better cosplay effort this year.

See you at the Con!

 

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Kenton & Dan attempt a “poor man’s cosplay” as Hoodie Chewbacca and Evil Luke Skywalker With Toy Lightsaber at last year’s C4. The elf in the middle can’t believe the apathy of these guys!

 

 

Ode to the meter reader

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There is a fellow dressed in yellow
Who creeps around all day
While others work, he’s the jerk
Who tows their cars away

From far and wide, the people hide
When e’er he comes around
For they all know, his wont’s to go
And ticket all he’s found

What makes this fellow dressed in yellow
Ply his nasty trade?
What makes this jerk make his life’s work
To make good folks afraid?

With my resolve, I tried to solve
The riddles posed above
So I asked the reader at my meter
Where ’twas that he got off

To my surprise, his yellow eyes
Were actually dead and grey
His ticket stack was damp and whack
His waistline curds and whey

Are you the jerk whose nasty work
Makes men cry in their beds?
Are you the ass whose smelly gas
Makes children shake with dread?

And then the fellow dressed in yellow
For a moment scratched his head
Looked to the sky tho’ wondering why
Then the bastard turned yellow and fled.

Free Press Radio (originally posted Sept. 23, 2012)

The following was posted two-and-a-half years ago on my old blog, after a massive round of layoffs at the Winnipeg Free Press. At the time, the local Twittersphere exploded in passionate debate, much like last weekend after the Freep announced its new paywall. Some of this is dated, but I think the central concept holds: the Free Press can’t be just in the journalism business anymore. They have to branch out, create different content. As Kenton would say, it’s Edutainment time!

– Dan

With all the hullabaloo and talk about the “future of print journalism” after last week’s Winnipeg Free Press layoffs, ideas are flying around the Twitterverse about how the storied publication can survive in the new online world order.

Here’s my unsolicited suggestion to help save the Freep: they should get into the radio business.

It’s not that much of a stretch, really. In the early days of radio, many newspapers did in fact start up or buy stations so they could preview the next day’s stories on the air and get more people reading their newspaper. It was the birth of news radio as we know it. They’d read headlines on the radio and tell people to buy the paper to get the full story the next morning.

Seems to me like they were way ahead of their time.

Cross-platform journalism is the future of this industry, especially in our Internet-driven 24-hour news cycle. Reporters have to be able to write for print, television, radio AND the web. And they have to do it all in the same day.

At least that what they should be doing. It’s not happening as much as I thought it would. Some media outlets see the opportunities, Global TV and CJOB 68 for example. They cross-promote each other, use each others reporters and stories, and basically drive their viewers/listeners to each others platform.

Seems like a really good idea, but I wonder how the advertising side of it works. Do they share clients? Part of me thinks no, but I’m really not sure.

Advertising drives the media business. It pays the reporters’ salaries and makes the owners’ profits. That part of the industry will never change. But, as Dan Lett so eloquently put it in his blog Saturday, online ad revenues don’t generate enough money to pay for the content they’re producing. Papers can’t charge as much for web advertising as they do for print ad space, because the Internet busted the print advertising mythos wide open. Online advertising prices are based on an “actual value” model – how many impressions/click-throughs, etc… You pay for what you get. Traditional print advertising prices are based on some “magical” circulation number the paper’s ad salesmen put out there: “300,000 people read our paper so that’s how many people are going to see your ad!” Sadly, this was never true. Or at least, there was never any way to prove it.

So the Freep needs to bring in more ad dollars. Why not open up a whole new revenue stream by crossing over to a new medium? I know, I know – they already tried WFP TV, producing web videos on community news stories. That was a foray into the television world, wasn’t it?

Not really. It was still web-based, I never saw it on my actual TV.

No, I’m talking about really crossing over to another medium. We’ve already determined that print advertising is a dead duck, and TV advertising isn’t doing much better. That leaves radio.

Radio’s actually in pretty good shape in the new world order. It’s still the only medium that can be safely consumed while driving, and for that reason it’s not going anywhere. Sure, I know people now have their iPods plugged into their car stereos to listen to music, etc. but that’s not our target audience here. Personally-chosen music has been competing with radio since they days of the eight-track cassette.

There’s a very large portion of Winnipeg’s radio listeners that love the news/talk radio format. It’s huge here, more so than any other Canadian market. CJOB 68 and CBC Radio One are perennially at the top of the ratings. If their numbers have been dropping recently, it’s only because they program content more relevant to the older “baby boomer” demographic.

I’ve been saying for years that if anyone had the guts to start up a news/talk format station for Winnipeg’s younger audience, that station would clean up. There’s a demand for this kind of programming that is not being met. CJOB and CBC are trying to shift their programming to target the younger listener, but it’s been a very slow transition – they have to do it without alienating their core listeners.

Concerts or interviews at the WFP Cafe could be broadcast on the radio. Photo: Winnipeg Free Press

The Winnipeg Free Press on the radio would be a great fit, I think. Their reporters would call in live reports or make appearances on the air while they’re gathering for their news story. They’d write the same news stories for radio, print and web. Even the Freep’s columnists would have something to do: host the talk shows. I could totally see Dan Lett or Doug Speirs taking live calls, talking about the issues that matter most to young Winnipeggers. Gary Lawless already has his own successful radio show on TSN 1290 and many of the reporters currently working at the Freep have made appearances on both CJOB or CBC radio. They’d have their own hourly news and sports readers, all already working for the publication. The only additional costs would be the purchase of the CRTC license, maybe a few board operators, etc… and leasing a broadcasting facility. The new radio advertising revenue stream would cover those costs and more.

There could even be some cool cross over with the WFP News Café (which hopefully is not a victim in the next round of cuts.) A live concert or interview at the café could be broadcast on the radio, as well as on the web.

Cross-media journalism is the answer to the problems faced by today’s traditional media. Every media outlet should be reporting across multiple platforms, and I’m not just talking about their “home” medium and the web. Every company in this field should have their fingers in the web, radio, TV and print.

CBC currently has a pretty good model. We all know that CBC isn’t in the money-making business, but if they were, I think they’d be doing well. They report on TV, radio and the web and their reporters work in all three. If they were bringing in ad revenue on all three of those platforms, they’d be killing it!

So that’s my two cents. Free Press Radio – I like the sound of that!

And hey – if the Bell/Astral merger is approved by the CRTC, it sounds like a few FM frequencies will be opening up in the Winnipeg market.

The timing couldn’t be better.

Day 8 – The Muppet Christmas Carol

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I’m going to make this one short and sweet, because while I have no problem watching all of these movies in the evenings after the kids go to bed, this whole “blogging about each one” thing is pretty time consuming. I’ve got last minute shopping to do!

Anyhoo, The Muppet Christmas Carol is one of many, many film adaptations of the Charles Dickens classic novella. Since we’re all familiar with the story of miserly Ebenezer Scrooge and his moral redemption via the visitation of three ghosts, I’ll skip the summary and just talk about why this particular adaptation is one of my all-time favorites.

Released in 1992, The Muppet Christmas Carol was the first Muppet movie to be released after the death of Jim Henson. It was directed by his son Brian (now Chairman of the Jim Henson Company) and stars Michael Caine as Scrooge, along with the usual Muppet suspects. I watched it with my kids via my cable provider’s on demand rental service.

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Simply put, this is a fun and uplifting version of an age-old story. While other adaptations take a decidedly dark tone at times, this film does not, even during the Ghost of Christmas Future scene. The original “Muppetized” content, namely the songs, keep this film light-hearted and family-friendly. The music is awesome, in true Muppet fashion and the dialogue and side jokes (particularly between Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat) are very funny.

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And Michael Caine! Best. Scrooge. Ever. Without a doubt. This is only my second-favourite version of A Christmas Carol (Scrooged being #1) but it’s my favorite portrayal of the traditional Ebenezer Scrooge. Caine plays it perfectly and sincerely, as though he’s talking to real people instead of three-foot-tall felt puppets. He is what makes this film so good.

So give it a try if you’ve never seen it before, or re-watch it if its been a few years. The Muppet Christmas Carol is absolutely a film that will give you all the Christmas warm fuzzies that you can handle.

Next up, I go dark again with the Finnish film Rare Exports.