Random Pop Culture Apocalypse: Bon Jovi Touring Comes to Film?

April 25, 2013

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Loyal Jayblog readers may recall our last episode of Random Pop Culture Apocalypse round about the turn of the decade, which dealt with popular music. In that exciting episode we touched on how iTunes had made Alice Cooper big in Europe and how Bon Freaking Jovi and AC/DC were the top grossing musical touring acts of 2009.  Musical tastes have fractured into micro-genres, making the emergence of a new Monster of Rawk type Rolling Stones/Police/U2 type position almost impossible.  Alice Cooper said he feels sorry for acts trying to come up today because they have to compete not only against each other, but also against the past and that most of them are simply not up to it. Dinosaurs in effect have come to rule the Earth in music.

Could the same thing eventually happen in film? Hmmmm…

There is no doubt that services like Netflix are doing some iTunes to television, but I was thinking about this quote from Alice when it occurred to me that the last 5 films that I paid to see up on the big screen in a row (from first to latest) were:

Hippies had no idea what a disservice they were doing for humanity in teaching Texas rednecks to smoke dope, but at least it makes for a funny movie. Next up:

Ah, the 1990s. How we miss you. Next:

Covered this one already, great to see it on the big screen again. Next:

Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear= priceless. Finally:

I had to trek to Prescott to a film festival for the Matrix, but it was worth the trip to let the Ladner boys see it on the big screen. They seemed suitably impressed.

It remains to be seen whether or not there will be a 2013 release that I enjoy as much as the least of these flicks. Thus far-not so much. Let’s see how the summer goes. In the meantime we can hope that continued improvement in technology will make it more difficult for the studios to continue to push out mostly drek. It seems to have worked for television, which many claim has entered into a new Platinum Age, but then again maybe not.

I don’t know whether the great Jon Bon Jovi was describing the movie industry when he wrote “an Angel’s smile is what you sell/you promised me heaven then put me through hell” but he could have been- hairspray was known to inspire some far-out lyrics back in the 1980s. Rather than lament film drek and/or strike a poseur pose by pretending you liked Terrence Malick’s self-indulgent mess The Tree of Life (someone exclaimed Thank God it is over! at the screening I attended and the audience laughed out loud) the best way to deal with drek is to celebrate it when possible-and it is frequently possible.

So for now the past is beating 2013 5-0. Good luck 2013.


Heritage Foundation on Education Savings Accounts

October 5, 2011

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

The Heritage Foundation has published a new web memo on Education Savings Accounts as a vehicle for parental choice. At this point, Arizona has passed an ESA program for special needs students, a proposal is under consideration in Ohio, Florida lawmakers considered a provision last year, and Utah has a whopper of a proposal on the way.

I had the opportunity to speak to Utah legislator John Dougall about his forthcoming proposal.  Rep. Dougall plans to file a bill that would send all education funding into Education Savings Accounts controlled by parents and guardians, but does not intend to make private school tuition a permissable expense for funds in the account. Dougall in essence plans to have a discussion about customized learning rather than a public vs. private school debate.

Being a Longhorn, this of course brings to mind a scene from the master thespian of our era, the great Matthew McConaughey:

McConaughey: Hey man, you got some private school choice in that ESA proposal?

Passenger: No man, not in this proposal.

McConaughey: Well, it would be alot cooler if you did!

Seriously though, Dougall’s proposal is sufficiently mind-blowing that it doesn’t really bother me that he is choosing to leave private schools out of the mix. If ten years from now Utah is funding district and virtual schooling through an ESA system and the private choice options available were going through tax credit and voucher mechanisms, you won’t hear any complaints from me.