Saturday, February 08, 2020

Weekend Post

For the first time in years I won't be reviewing the Oscars this year.  I may do a quick post on Monday with my overall reaction to the event (IF I choose to watch it), but I'm foregoing the long snarky review.


I talked about this on my podcast last week -- I just think it's run its course.

I've been doing it for about 25 years (which is staggering to me).   At first it was something fun I distributed to my email contact list.   Movies were more mainstream.  I was making observations for the first time.  Sam Rubin on KTLA was saying idiotic things on the red carpet show that only needed my transcribing his actual words.

I always wrote my reviews immediately after the broadcast and posted it the second I was finished so that if a similar joke appeared elsewhere you knew I didn't steal it.  

Eventually, the reviews took on a life of their own.   A very popular San Francisco radio talk show host started stealing the material and claiming credit for it and quickly was removed from my list.  Newspapers in London and Toronto reprinted my reviews (with my permission and for a stipend), and the day after the Oscarcast I was asked to guest on a number of talk shows.

As time went on I began to feel a sameness.   Some of my jokes were just becoming variations of other similar jokes from past years.   There was little shock value in the dumb things Sam Rubin said because he said dumb things every year.

My main motivation at that point was that it increased traffic to the blog.   The last few years I unveiled it first on my podcast, again, as a way to increase listenership.   And I have to say it worked.  I would get a spike for my Oscar reviews. 

But those made for really long nights because after writing the review I then had to record it and put together the finished podcast episode.  It meant an all-nighter.    And that would have been fine -- if I were still in college.  Or even working on a show.  But writers get paid for staying very late at night.  Podcasters and bloggers don't.

And finally, the key reason:   It wasn't so much that they were harder to do (which they were)'; it's that I just didn't feel they were that good -- certainly not as good as they had been in their glory years.   And if I can't make every project as good as I can possibly can I don't feel it's worth it.  So better to stop than churn out less than my best.

For fans of my Oscar reviews, thank you and my apologies for disappointing you this year.  

At one time I was reviewing the Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, Grammys, and every week on AMERICAN IDOL.  It's time for the "play off" music.  


Howard Hoffman said...

And your writing genius is much better served in your (almost) new playwright venture, which is not only taking off nicely, but is only getting better, crisper and critically noticed. (And it gets you to New York a couple of times a year.) The film industry is also on its head with streaming services sticking their output into theaters for a few days before offering it online...just for Oscar contention. It’s the wrong kind of laugh.

You’re much better than they are in creativity and professionalism. Keep charging.

UnWoke said...

I'm going to get ahead of everyone and be the first to wish you a very happy, wonderful, drunken and joyous 70th Birthday for next Friday, 14th February. I think everyone will understand if you don't post Friday Questions that day.

Sam said...

I will miss them 😭😭😭

- Sam Rubin

Sheila said...

I searched the blog, but there is no mention of "Superstore". It's one of the funniest shows. Please review it.

Cliff Tooth said...

Instead of Oscar review, have a shock blog on Kirk Douglas - Natalie Wood.

That should be a good change for you and bring in a lot of viewers.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Ken, along these lines, I thought you might find this Guardian article interesting:

The story is written by Carole Cadwalladr, whose work on Russian/Facebook interference in the Brexit vote (and the 2016 US presidential election), led to a documentary, THE GREAT HACK, which was nominated for a BAFTA this year. Cadwalladr writes about her visit to the BAFTAs and the complete disconnect between the feature films up for awards and the urgent issues of our times. Perhaps that's part of why these shows seem so increasingly irrelevant, too.


blinky said...

I get it man. Who needs that shit? Life is too weird not to do what makes you happy while you can.
Here is a thought: Why not repost what you consider your best review of a past Oscar? It would be ironic if we couldn't tell if it was the current one or the present day one. That would prove your point about the sameness. In any case I appreciate your work. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

A quick post is fine.
I review it here and there.
Just like the Grammy etc.
But lets see if Tarantino or Pitt create history.
Maybe the Irishman will surprise with best picture.
I am calling it, The Irishman will win best picture.
Happy Oscar watch.

All the best,


Andrew said...

Could you do a review of the Iowa caucus? I would pay good money for that.

Mike Bloodworth said...

I'll have to check your archives, but didn't you NOT review the Oscars© last year as well?

Michael said...

Your reviews were great. But the Oscars themselves have sunk a good bit, and, frankly, satirize themselves.

A note: Orson Bean died. The LA Times went into his theater role in southern California, bless him, but The NY Times mentioned his truly lasting contribution to American culture: helping to create the Laurel & Hardy Fan Club, The Sons of the Desert.

Buttermilk Sky said...

Well, that's it. No reason to watch now.

I took a day off yesterday to blog about random stuff instead of politics and it felt so good. It's your blog, write about whatever you want. Life's too short.

Sparky J said...

Instead... how about posting a 'best of' from your 25 years of reviews. The ones you like best, provided the best feedback, made your friends laugh, etc.

Coach said...

Instead of announcing you're stopping the fun reviews, you should announce you're doing one last one. Go out with a bang and then announce you're retiring the reviews after this. A no host Oscars is bad enough, now we don't get a snarky review? It's too much!

scottmc said...

Your opinion that the Oscars have run its course is spot on. Once upon a time the nominations were announced in January and the ceremony was held in April. This gave everyone time to see all the nominated films. There were office pools on who could predict the most winners.(Could you image such a situation with this year's group.) I think I began losing interest when the In Memorial segment generated more news than the winners/losers. Each year there seemed to be a huge outcry because a particular actress/actor wasn't included. Also, there are so many other award shows between the nominations and the show that it almost becomes a foregone conclusion who will win. A 3 1/2, 4, hour show without suspense is unbearable.

Craig Russell said...

Howard Hoffman said it best. And everything has a life cycle. Happy Days Jumped the Shark. Cheers and MASH and Frasier and Big Dave Wave's and Almost Perfect all had a start, a middle, and an end. Nothing lasts forever. Not your Oscar review, not this blog, and certainly not us. The well cliched 2 truths of life. Death and Taxes.

The review just paid its taxes.

Julia said...

Re-Post your Mel Gibson blog on Monday. So that, when people visit for the review, they see - what I consider - the best blog of yours.

That generated a lot of heat. So with a lot of visitors, that blog will work people up and finally there will be enough voice to boycott Mel "Anti- Semite" Gibson.

Just like Kirk Douglas death was hijacked by twitter remembering Natalie Wood.

Cap'n Bob said...

I quit watching the Oscars years ago but I felt like I saw them through your reviews. I'll still not watch them and I'll miss your snark, but life goes on.

71dude said...

How about a post on beloved movies you can't stand, or the worst Oscar winners?

UnWoke said...

I love Joaquin Phoenix, but when he wins best actor, which is a sure thing, he'll probably make a 5 minute speech about diversity. As Ricky Gervais said after Phoenix's speech at the BAFTAs, if he was really that concerned about the lack of diversity in his category, he could have just declined the award. It's just a bit insulting to your fellow nominees to basically say none of them deserve to win.

Anonymous said...

Your timing is excellent. For the first time, I have zero interest in watching the Oscars.

To quote a Gen Z YouTube commenter I read recently:

"You older people got to grew up watching actors like Marlon Brando, Robert DeNiro,
Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, and Gene Hackman. All MY generation has is riff raff!"

Y. Knott said...

I completely understand, Ken. I haven't watched the Oscars in years. Why would I want to subject myself to four (or more) hours of self-important vanity and puffed-up delusion, celebrating a rigged system that benefits only the absurdly privileged live audience members clapping away like trained seals?

Even Trump's State Of The Union address managed to wrap it all up in under an hour and a half.

maxdebryn said...

The media is calling Gen-Z "zoomers" these days.

Anonymous said...

Sad to read this but I do understand. Your reviews and travel commentaries in your newsletter were forwarded to me by my late father, Claude Hall. He loved them and wanted to share his enjoyment. I did.

MikeKPa. said...

Watching the Red Carpet on E! (actually my wife has it on for the fashion), I thought I was watching the Emmys. Lot of TV personalities, who a generation ago couldn't catch a cold a generation ago much less an invite to the Oscars.

UnWoke said...

Jojo Rabbit wins best adapted screenplay instead of The Irishman. What a joke. Steven Zaillian wrote a masterpiece.

MikeN said...

Yes, they've run their course --- the Oscars, that is.

D McEwan said...

Basically why I stopped writing mine as well. I got sick of writing essentially the same jokes every year.

blogward said...

In Glasgow, Scotland, 'Oscar' is rhyming slang for 'later'. Kind of appropriate.

(Oscar Slater 1872-1948, a 'colorful' Glasgow character, spent 20 years in jail for a murder he didn't do).