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October 18, 2009: "Staying Home" 
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Post Re: October 18, 2009: "Staying Home"
Tom Kessler wrote:
James,

I was wondering if you've ever considered balancing this out with a renewed emphasis on Video Views?

In all honesty, I find websites like DvdTalk and TheDigitalBits to be the most compelling review sites around and wondered if you've ever considered partially shifting your focus to dvd and Blu-Ray including not only a review of the film, but of your impression of the home video a/v specs and a possible review of the supplements if you feel they are worth checking out.

And, yes, worthwhile home video supplements are still being produced. They didn'ttotally die along with the mighty laserdisc.


I plan to ramp up DVD reviews, probably starting early next year. My allotment of free time is going to plummet, however, so it's difficult to make promises or firm determinations about what I'll be able to do. After all, to reduce it to an equation,

If T= A+B+C, where T=Time, A=Time spent reviewing movies, B=day job, and C="free" (non-movie) time, then it stands to reason that, considering B to be a constant, that if C needs to increase, A will have to decrease. That's the current situation. Hopefully, the time savings associated with reviewing DVDs will offset, at least partially, the amount of time I'm going to lose because of the increase in "C."


Mon Oct 19, 2009 1:20 pm
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Post Re: October 18, 2009: "Staying Home"
I don't want to sound hopelessly naive, but I don't like the "number crunching" that James presented in this article. Not that it wasn't interesting--it was--and not because I'm such a film purist that I don't understand how economics influence this site. I want this site to continue, so I click lots of ads. I understand the connection. However.....

If you're already admitting that what you see is contingent upon the financial bottomline, how long until what you say is also contingent upon it? How long until you take a good hard look at the numbers and realize that 0-1 star reviews rake in more money than 2-3 star reviews because people love your vitriol, and react accordingly? Or that you, say, get fewer page hits and thus less revenue when you trash New Moon instead of praising it (or vice versa)? Am I completely wrong, or does this seem like a logical conclusion to anyone else?

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Mon Oct 19, 2009 3:36 pm
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Post Re: October 18, 2009: "Staying Home"
JamesKunz wrote:
If you're already admitting that what you see is contingent upon the financial bottomline, how long until what you say is also contingent upon it? How long until you take a good hard look at the numbers and realize that 0-1 star reviews rake in more money than 2-3 star reviews because people love your vitriol, and react accordingly? Or that you, say, get fewer page hits and thus less revenue when you trash New Moon instead of praising it (or vice versa)? Am I completely wrong, or does this seem like a logical conclusion to anyone else?
It seems logical, based on the hypothetical situation you're positing. That says nothing about how accurate that hypothetical situation is.


Mon Oct 19, 2009 3:54 pm
Post Re: October 18, 2009: "Staying Home"
Those parking fees are stroke-inducing. When I read "$6.50," I did a double-take. Then "$16." To park your car. What the hell is wrong with people?


Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:03 pm
Post Re: October 18, 2009: "Staying Home"
BrianB wrote:
Those parking fees are stroke-inducing. When I read "$6.50," I did a double-take. Then "$16." To park your car. What the hell is wrong with people?


Parking garages?


Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:20 pm
Post Re: October 18, 2009: "Staying Home"
Patrick wrote:
BrianB wrote:
Those parking fees are stroke-inducing. When I read "$6.50," I did a double-take. Then "$16." To park your car. What the hell is wrong with people?


Parking garages?


Upwards of $54 for a couple of hours in NYC for the Times Square area...


Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:47 pm
Post Re: October 18, 2009: "Staying Home"
MrGuinness wrote:
Patrick wrote:
BrianB wrote:
Those parking fees are stroke-inducing. When I read "$6.50," I did a double-take. Then "$16." To park your car. What the hell is wrong with people?


Parking garages?


Upwards of $54 for a couple of hours in NYC for the Times Square area...


I guess it's just that I've never paid more than a few dollars to park somewhere and haven't done it at all in years. Still outrageous though, common or not.


Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:59 pm
Post Re: October 18, 2009: "Staying Home"
BrianB wrote:
I guess it's just that I've never paid more than a few dollars to park somewhere and haven't done it at all in years. Still outrageous though, common or not.


Let's see...

$20 at Giants Stadium (even if you don't use stadium parking)
$1 an hour at my local art cinema
Free at my local multiplex
$6 per EVERY person for parking at PNC Bank Arts Center, even if you don't drive or are just a passenger. Its included in the price of every ticket.

OK, I am tired of this...


Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:02 pm
Post Re: October 18, 2009: "Staying Home"
Parking in Chicago is unbelievable as well, it got so ridiculous that my family actually started taking the train there instead and either walked or took Taxi's around the city whnever they wanted to spend the day there, parking there costs around 10-15 dollars an hour, insanity I tell you! :shock:


Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:13 pm
Post Re: October 18, 2009: "Staying Home"
Vexer wrote:
Parking in Chicago is unbelievable as well, it got so ridiculous that my family actually started taking the train there instead and either walked or took Taxi's around the city whnever they wanted to spend the day there, parking there costs around 10-15 dollars an hour, insanity I tell you! :shock:


Really? I was at Chicago a few months ago and I noticed that the parking garages at least STARTED off at $20/hr. But I was at downtown Chicago if that's a factor.


Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:39 pm
Post Re: October 18, 2009: "Staying Home"
Patrick wrote:
Vexer wrote:
Parking in Chicago is unbelievable as well, it got so ridiculous that my family actually started taking the train there instead and either walked or took Taxi's around the city whnever they wanted to spend the day there, parking there costs around 10-15 dollars an hour, insanity I tell you! :shock:


Really? I was at Chicago a few months ago and I noticed that the parking garages at least STARTED off at $20/hr. But I was at downtown Chicago if that's a factor.
Really? Damn that's insane! :shock:


Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:58 pm
Post Re: October 18, 2009: "Staying Home"
See kids this is why you need to live near the city you go to see your art house films in so you don't have to pay to park.


Mon Oct 19, 2009 8:09 pm
Post Re: October 18, 2009: "Staying Home"
JamesKunz wrote:
If you're already admitting that what you see is contingent upon the financial bottomline, how long until what you say is also contingent upon it? How long until you take a good hard look at the numbers and realize that 0-1 star reviews rake in more money than 2-3 star reviews because people love your vitriol, and react accordingly? Or that you, say, get fewer page hits and thus less revenue when you trash New Moon instead of praising it (or vice versa)? Am I completely wrong, or does this seem like a logical conclusion to anyone else?


This is what I fear as well and I've seen this happen many times before at other websites.

Personally, I spend a good percentage of my disposable income and time on movies. This includes everything James was complaining about. But, then again, I don't stand to profit monetarily from my love of films.


Mon Oct 19, 2009 8:51 pm
Post Re: October 18, 2009: "Staying Home"
BANKA wrote:
See kids this is why you need to live near the city you go to see your art house films in so you don't have to pay to park.


Or you can wait until the DVD is released...or until it appears on TV


Mon Oct 19, 2009 9:42 pm
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Post Re: October 18, 2009: "Staying Home"
Personally, I'm finding that the quality of movies has dipped and the quality of television has risen by a lot.

Shows like 24, Lost, FlashForward, Fringe, Chuck, ect. are better than a lot of movies that come out. There is more imagination and creativity in these shows. The characters are more compelling.

I still love movies though. I will ALWAYS love movies. I will NEVER stop going to my local movie theater.


Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:59 am
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Post Re: October 18, 2009: "Staying Home"
ilovemovies wrote:
I will NEVER stop going to my local movie theater.


Obviously, the local slag in front of you with the crying child in an R rated movie who was on her cell phone and dropped her ridiculously extra large diet coke on your lap during the emotional climax of a movie you were totally immersed in hasn't happened to you yet.


Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:29 am
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Post Re: October 18, 2009: "Staying Home"
The quality of television shows...has risen? Jack Bauer is a "compelling" character? There's imagination and creativity on the small screen? Wow are you a glass half-full type. To me the medium of television is absolutely depressing in how bad it is. I mean, House is considered a quality program somehow. "Reality" shows still manage to dominate the airwaves. Programs like the Simpsons and ER (before it mercifully ended) continue way beyond their sell-by date because people prefer the familiar, stale feel. I mean, I don't exactly thing cinema is undergoing a creative renaissance, but compared to the creative graveyard that is TV I'll take the silver screen every time.

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Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:12 am
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Post Re: October 18, 2009: "Staying Home"
The wife and I stay home for all movies these days. We are in our late thirties and with our 50" LCD HD TV, blu-ray player, premium 6.1 sound system, and dedicated movie room feel in no way slighted by not having attended the "movies". However, even without all the aforementioned junk, I honestly do not care anymore about viewing a movie on opening day or anywhere close to it. Throw in cell phones, rude patrons, toddlers (we have 2 kids, but we never took them to the movies as toddlers or infants), and the complete drivel most movies spew and I really don't care to go to the movie complex. Do not misunderstand, I still greatly enjoy movies, I would rather just stay home to watch them. All of our friends pretty much stay at home as well, perhaps it is just the circle we run with, anyone else prefer home as well?


Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:20 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:55 pm
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Post Re: October 18, 2009: "Staying Home"
Ken wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
If you're already admitting that what you see is contingent upon the financial bottomline, how long until what you say is also contingent upon it? How long until you take a good hard look at the numbers and realize that 0-1 star reviews rake in more money than 2-3 star reviews because people love your vitriol, and react accordingly? Or that you, say, get fewer page hits and thus less revenue when you trash New Moon instead of praising it (or vice versa)? Am I completely wrong, or does this seem like a logical conclusion to anyone else?
It seems logical, based on the hypothetical situation you're positing. That says nothing about how accurate that hypothetical situation is.


There's no direct correlation between the rating a review gets and how many readers it has. However, I review for specific purposes - for the purity of the enjoyment I get out of writing, primarily. If it got to the point where the actual reviews (rather than the choice of what I review) are being influenced by economics, I would stop writing reviews and start devoting myself to other projects.

Where will I cut back?
(1) More "obscure" art films when I don't get a screener. IFC and Roadhouse attractions typically provide screeners, and when I have a screener, there's no reason not to write a review. On the other hand, there are some art house films that I might have reviewed in the past that I won't be reviewing in the future (at least until they reach DVD). This has already pretty much happened, however. Those who scan through the 2009 list will find that there are a lot of art house titles that I bypassed.
(2) Middle-of-the-road mainstream fare. This is where the majority of the cutbacks will be. Even some of the stuff being screened for critics. Honestly, do I need to see GAMER? Or THE INFORMERS? Or MY LIFE IN RUINS? Or the Michael Jackson concert film? Or ASTRO BOY? Simply put, I'm going to skew the mainstream films I review toward titles that I find more interesting. I wasn't thrilled with LAW ABIDING CITIZEN, but I would have seen it because the premise intrigued me. I would always have seen WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE because of the director. (Interesting question: Would I have seen it had it been directed by someone else? Don't know.) There are no set rules; movies will be chosen based on "gut feeling." And if I miss something that gets fairly universal praise, or at least praise by other critics I trust, I will see it and probably review it, even if the review is late.


Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:28 am
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Post Re: October 18, 2009: "Staying Home"
BrianB wrote:
Those parking fees are stroke-inducing. When I read "$6.50," I did a double-take. Then "$16." To park your car. What the hell is wrong with people?


I always park in garages when in Philadelphia due to an unpleasant experience I had with street parking a number of years ago. Lot parking is more expensive than street parking, but it provides a certain degree of peace of mind to know that the car will be there and won't have been broken into. No guarantees, of course, but the level of security is greater in the garages. The fee is $11 for up to 90 minutes, $15 for 90 minutes-2 hours, and $16 for 2-8 hours. Afternoons and nights, there's a partial validation from the movie theater that knocks it down to a flat $6.50. Unfortunately, most press-only screenings start at 10 am, which means no validation.


Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:33 am
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