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Why I Love Commercials

And it’s not because other people hate commercials. I’m not a contrarian (or at least, I try not to be). Also, It’s really a coincidence that I am writing this after one of those politically advertised elections of all time–I actually just wanted to talk about this today.

Anyways, I love commercials. I haven’t always loved them, but over the past year I have noticed something very interesting about the trajectory this form of traditional advertising is on.

Think about it. The advent of on-demand television and Netflix has made commercial advertising trickier than ever. I don’t think I need to really emphasize just how easy it is for us to bypass commercials altogether. The unintended consequence of this new reality is that advertising quality and creativity have only made commercials better.

Gone are the days when commercials could just blanket every market because executives were confident their message would be seen no matter what. Here are the days when more money than ever before is being spent on market research, target demographics, and well, production.

Even over the past 4 years, I’ve noticed a sharp increase in commercial quality across the board on the same channels, especially cable networks such as FX, TBS, and Comedy Central. Compared to just a few years ago, I find myself more engaged and more likely to respond to television advertising, which let’s face it, is necessary during these changing times.

Commercials are now more interactive. They share ideas with social media. I saw a commercial the other day that made me laugh out loud, and that never happens. It may not even be that the content is that much better than it was a decade ago or the products are better. It’s really just that advertisers are doing a better job of capturing our attention.

Just look at the commercial I used as this post’s featured image (clicking on it will take you to the youtube video for the commercial). Amazing right?

How am I so sure that this is a result of more challenging advertising hurdles? Well, I’m not. Correlation is not akin to causation and all that. Still, I can’t help but believe this is a case, due to the fact that I find myself actually enjoying commercial advertising for the first time, even on Hulu.

Whatever the reason for this perceived increase in commercial quality, I find myself being a person that enjoys people trying to sell me things in-between my favorite shows. Let’s just hope this won’t have an adverse effect on my wallet.

JN

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Review: ‘Revolution’ Pilot

If you haven’t watched the pilot yet, I strongly suggest you do before reading on. You can watch for free here: http://www.nbc.com/revolution/video/pilot/1415378

The basic premise of Revolution follows one key theme: what would happen if all of our man-made electrical devices just stopped working? Cars, airplanes, lighting, even batteries are now completely useless, as something has disrupted electrical currents.

Revolution follows this idea opening with the “blackout” which takes place during the present, and we see how this sudden change immediately affects the world. The show fast-forwards 15 years to our main characters, who are embarking on a mission to save a family member from a ruthless militia. Along the way, we are shown hints to why the blackout happened and who knows about it, and the show teases us with flashbacks to the day the blackout happened a la “Lost.”

It’s an interesting mystery for sure, but what has people really rooting for the show is how it lends itself to spirited adventure with the reasonable implementation of muskets, swords, and crossbows. The action scenes are actually dynamic and fun to watch, making it a lot like Pirates of The Caribbean meets Fallout if that makes any sense.

That said, the pilot has its issues. Mainly the characters. I don’t really like Charlie, the female lead, as she seems like a pretty boring narrative device. Her main function is to bring the other characters together, but it’s not very exciting yet. I’ll give her more episodes, but I don’t like what I see yet. The other characters standing alone are much more well-conceived, especially Maggie and Miles. Maggie is a botanist that uses trickery to win her fights, although she doesn’t seem to fit in the cast ensemble just yet and doesn’t get much screen time.

Miles could be the show’s saving grace as the reluctant hero who bests an entire platoon of militia soldiers single-handed. Easily the best action scene you’ll see on TV these days.

Other characters don’t make much sense yet, such as Nate, the show’s villain yet hero who works for the militia and has a thing for Charlie. Aaron is a former Google employee who is nothing more than a comic relief who we’ll hopefully see come to his own as this group’s “Sokka.”

Oh and how could I leave out Giancarlo Esposito, who can only be described as Revolution’s own  Gus Fring. His performance was great, of course, but we really need to see him evolve beyond his usual sharp-tongued villainy.

Overall, the show has plenty of promise. Enough, at least, for you to get plugged in now and see where this goes. As long as the characters begin to find their rhythm amongst each other and the writing continues to catch us off guard (the second-to-last plot twist was very well-done), we could have an addicting (for a good reason) show on our hands.

Also, people are crying foul over supposed plot-holes surrounding how this world has been shaped after 15 years. All I can say is wait. I’m sure we’ll see valid reasons for why society has developed into what we see in the pilot, and I’m confident they can pull it off.

Review: ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’

Long story short: It’s no Spider-Man 2.

Short story long:

I love Spider-Man. I went into this move stoked to see Spider-Man do spider…well things, and I wasn’t disappointed. The action was superb and the way everything was set up made the reboot do just that: refresh our perception of Spider-Man.

Unfortunately, the movie suffers one major ill: post-production. The whole time I was watching this movie, I couldn’t get over the lack of cinematic flair. From the first time we see Peter Parker dawn his mask to the Lizard’s transformation, there is just a terrible structure to everything, which is typically what you address in editing.

There’s also an underwhelming attention to pacing, resulting in a final product with the right ingredients, minus a cohesive flow.

I won’t even complain about the web shooters or off-putting glow-lights appearing out of Peter Parker’s wrists. These lore updates are welcome to a worn franchise. The only re-imagining that I had any real issue with was how they dealt with the death of the Uncle Ben (played well by Martin Sheen), arguably the most important character in the Spider-Man mythology for how he prompts Peter Parker into a life of superhero servitude. Unfortunately, the execution of this arc and others was sloppy to a fault.

The love interest, Emma Stone performing admirably as Gwen Stacey, will be most folks’ favorite aspect of this film. The rest of the supporting cast, including a weak-willed Flash Thompson, standard police captain antagonist, and an even less interesting antagonist in the form of “The Lizard,” bring The Amazing Spider-Man down to earth from its web slinging heights.

Grade: C

Extra Credits:

  • Five years is far too short to reboot a film franchise, especially if we’re doing another origin story.
  • The mystery surrounding Peter’s parents doesn’t amount to as much as the marketing would have moviegoers believe. This isn’t necessary a flaw of the film itself, just a missed opportunity.
  • Another key difference that seemed inevitable: No Mary Jane or Harry Osborn, though I doubt that will remain the case with future installments.
  • Amazing Spider-Man certainly excels at core characters, but if I had to put my finger on the key difference between both franchises, it would have to be the absence of any style here compared to the straight-out-of-a-comic-book approach of the Sam Raimi films.
  • Thankfully, they didn’t do a poor job with the Stan Lee cameo.

 

 

Why Can’t We Buy TV Theme Songs?

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Here is one of my out-of-nowhere ideas. Make classic television theme songs available on the web. That simple. 

Go on…Why Can’t We Buy TV Theme Songs?

Review: ‘The Avengers’

Last night, I saw The Avengers, a movie that I have been waiting for since 2008 when Iron Man infamously featured Nick Fury during the end credits. Well four years and several iconic movies have gone by, and we now have this film sitting in our theaters.

I loved every minute of it. The action was thrilling, the characters were dynamic and interesting and even the acting was pretty good. Was it the greatest movie ever? No. Was it worth watching? Absolutely.

Go on…Review: ‘The Avengers’

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