Has Network TV lost so much of its audience during the past decade (or two) because it can’t show nudity?  Because it only grudgingly and inconsistently allows “strong” language?  Because it doesn’t dare to attempt to cover really deep, raw, gritty story subjects.

cartoon of people riding a TV set over a waterfall

From the New Yorker, June 2006

Part of the problem stems from the above reasons.  But ALL of the reason boils down to the reliance on commercial sponsors.

Since the dawn of TV, the sponsors have owned the programming and — as a result — the networks.  None of the major networks will dare to cross the advertisers.

How about the FCC?  No — networks challenge the FCC all the time.  Sometimes they have to pay fines.  But they seem to be OK with that.

The biggest problem is satisfying the advertisers that there will be people watching the programs that a Network puts on the air.

And not just any people — the RIGHT people.

Dividing the audience by sex, income level, age and other factors is called “demographics.”  TV

Read more on Why Network TV Is Dying Out…

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If there is a record book for most money donated in any election cycle, we are living through the winner.

SuperPACs donate BIG Money for elections

Who needs to vote? I've got MONEY!

The $100 million mark was expected to be broken on 5-14-12

According to Open Secrets

Here’s one way to look at how much more is being spent in the 2012 cycle: A single super PAC, the pro-Mitt Romney Restore Our Future, has already spent more — $44.5 million — than all outside groups combined had spent by this point in 2008. That 2008 number, about $30.9 million, is roughly one-quarter of this cycle’s overall outside spending total of $122.7 million

For more details and an eye-opening info-graphic, go to the website.


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This is the start of a new series.  I could have called it “I Just Don’t Get It,” but that opens me to a lot of heckling.

I feel more like the child who announced that the emporer has no clothes.  There are acceptable limits in the world of serious film (or “Fillum” as the snobs say) and you can get away with a lot of sins if you stay within those guidelines.

Then there are the guilty pleasures — the low humor and vulgar sex and politically incorrect topics that we can enjoy as long as we don’t publicly announce we”re admirers.

The Royal TenenbaumsBut although I can sit through the former and have a shameful stash of the latter, there is a classification of movies where some people liked and some didn’t like, but generally are accepted as OK.  The “didn’t likes” are basically told they didn’t understand — something was too sophisticated and intelligent.

So I just shout “B.S.”  and come right out and say — I didn’t like it and there’s nothing to like.

OK — there are many, and I’ve seen more than my share.  My first one is not the most egregious of the bunch, it’s just that I saw another article praising it in a “fillum” blog.

The Royal Tennenbaums (2001) received an 80% approval from critics and 87% from fans.  So I must be wrong, huh?

Well, I’ve long ago discounted the opinions of the people who are interested in shiny objects and quick movements, or those who are motivated by big-name actors, pretty faces and sexy figures (Gene Hackman, Luke and Owen Wilson and Parker Posey, respectively) and the rest who go along with the crowd — if it says the film it good, then it’s good!

No, I like to watch a movie and then decide whether to ask for my money back (I never do, but it’s the sentiment that counts) or whether I’ll watch it over and over again on home video (Die Hard!!!!)

Tell the truth, I’ve never really gotten into Wes Anderson’s films anyway (what’s up with “The Life Aquatic?”) but I would go see his next one just on the off chance he comes up with a winner.  Likewise I don’t boycott the Wilson brothers, although my admiration for them as actors is not quite at the Pacino/DeNiro level.

I just want to be entertained.  I want to sit up and say, “My, that was well-written!” and nod knowingly at some good direction that most audience members wouldn’t even notice.

Not with “Tenenbaums.”  I would even give it a pass if it were more weird than it is.  I can do weird.  But this isn’t weird enough.  Come on, a brother with a sister-crush? We can do better than that, can’t we?

I never really got into the Gene Hackman character. I never thought this was actually a comedy. (When was the last time Bill Murray was in a comedy? Yet casting him gives a movie company the right to call it a comedy).  Dysfunctional family flicks are a dime a dozen.  As are dysfunctional families.

If you loved this movie (or even liked it) — good for you.  But I just don’t see what all the fuss was about.



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Dory Previn died on Valentine’s day.  She was 86.

Known mostly for her work on songs for the movies, she also had some success in the pop field with records released in the 70s.  She and her first husband, André Previn, were nominated several times for an Academy Award but never won.

Her six records were recorded after her divorce from Previn, her most successful being a live album.

Dory Previn

Dory Previn

Her songs were intelligent and insightful and most dealt with her personal life, which was a fertile field.  Her abusive father was gassed in WWI and suffered severe mood swings which resulted in violent behavior.  He deteriorated to the point where he boarded his family up in their home and held them at gunpoint for several months.

She broke into show business as Read more on Dory Previn — 1925 to 2012…

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A poet contemplating his bookIt boggles my mind that —
In one of the largest cities
In one of the most advanced civilizations on the planet
We must erect signs on the city streets that say
“Do Not Drive On The Sidewalk”
We must erect concrete pillar barriers or else
It is certain that there would be some people
Driving on the sidewalk

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Happy Valentine’s Day, Lovers!

This is either the happiest day or the saddest day of the year, depending upon the state of your love life.  As a happily married man, I’ve enjoyed a permanent valentine for twenty years and we tend to celebrate any old time we please.  It works out well.

Songwriters Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart

Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart

As music lovers, my valentine and I are both great fans of the Great American Songbook standard “My Funny Valentine” — a show tune from the 1937 Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart musical “Babes in Arms.”

I’m sure you’ve heard it.  This popular jazz standard has appeared on over 1300 albums performed by over 600 artists. It’s even been performed on “American Idol,” so even the Gen-X, Y or Z kids should know it.

Whether your favorite version is traditional (like Ella Fitzgerald or Frank Sinatra) or jazzy (like Miles Davis or Chet Baker), you can probably find a version to suit your mood.

Name your favorite performer, and chances are, you’ll find a recording of this song. Michael Bublé?  Too easy.  Jerry Garcia?  Believe it or not — YES.

The perennial song was written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.  Of course the music is absolutely beautiful, but the lyrics make this the ultimate valentine song.

Read more on The Most Popular Valentine Song EVER!…

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Alfred Hitchcock and Kim Novak on the set of VertigoFormer Hollywood blonde bombshell Kim Novak had a strong reaction to a certain Golden Globe nomination.  She felt “raped.”

“The Entertainer,” a modern silent film that is nominated for six Golden Globes, utilizes portions of the score from a Hitchcock movie in which Ms. Novak starred — “Vertigo” — and she acknowledges that there is a credit to composer Bernard Herrmann in the closing credits.

But Ms. Novak didn’t think that was sufficient and purchased a full page ad in “Daily Variety” — the bible of show biz news — stating that she felt “raped” by what she termed inappropriate use of the music.

Her contention is that the music evokes emotions generated by her work (along with director Hitchcock and co-star Jimmy Stewart) in the 1958 thriller, and using this for the modern film is cheating.


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