24 September, 2005

Serenity Frenzy: T-7 Days

[Insert Serenity Picture Here]

I'm a blogger. That means that I sit in my basement and type my opinions about things into a little box, hit 'PUBLISH POST' and broadcast them to the Internet. Once on the Internet, these thoughts are read by, on a good day, 167 people. Or 30 people returning 5 times each. We think it's the latter, even though the former sounds better. At any rate, that is a good 25 more readers than my 7th Grade diary.

Because I perform this mystical activity in my basement, Universal Pictures has decided that I am a member of their target audience for Serenity: The Little Movie That Could. Officially available for public consumption on 30 Sept., the movie is having a press screening on the 28th. They've invited bloggers. We've established that I am a blogger, and thus I am invited.

Here's where it gets tricky. I've never taken a journalism class in my life, unless you count being on the school paper in 7th grade. Since all I learned to do there was write a poem on 'Brotherhood' and glue small pieces of paper firmly to a larger piece of paper I don't think that counts. A few weeks ago, when Justice Sunday Strikes Back came to town, many bloggers received press passes. They apparently had donuts, got bored, fought over donuts, wrote about fighting over donuts and left. I complained, as I felt that I wished to know more about the event than the donuts. (Hang on, I'm going somewhere with this...) I was under the apparently mistaken impression that receiving a press pass to an event obligates one to write about the event. Quite the contrary. Brittney and her boyfriend assured me that is actually a violation of journalistic ethics.
You are basing this on the pretense than accepting a press pass obligates one to write extensively on the event, which just isn't true. You make it sound like the press pass is a $15 bribe in exchange for coverage. You would make a crappy journalist if that is what you believe...

Those people are not journalists, but public relations specialists. You've got a messed up sense of journalism, and your contractor metaphor reflects a misunderstanding of journalistic ethics.


Flash forward to present day. I got an email today which told me I may or may not get into the Serenity screening. In order to maximize my chances of getting into the movie, I must post the film's synopsis on my blog, get to the church on time theatre early, lock my cellphone in the glovebox and perform some masonic ritual with a rep from Universal Pictures.

I have no problem with any of this. I'm just really confused now. About Journalistic Ethics, Press Passes, Donuts and Universal Pictures. I just really want to see this movie.

Step One: Synopsis

Joss Whedon, the Oscar® - and Emmy -nominated writer/director responsible for the worldwide television phenomena ofBUFFY THE VAMPIRE, ANGEL and FIREFLY, now applies his trademark compassion andwit to a small band of galactic outcasts 500 years in the future in his feature film directorial debut, Serenity. The film centers around Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a hardened veteran (on the losing side) of a galactic civil war, whonow ekes out a living pulling off small crimes and transport-for-hire aboardhis ship, Serenity. He leads a small, eclectic crew who are the closest thinghe has left to family –squabbling, insubordinate and undyingly loyal.

End Synopsis

9 Comments:

At 4:05 PM, September 24, 2005, Anonymous Sarcastro said...

First, I'm pretty sure I left Journalistic Ethics off of my list of oxymorons. But it seems to be covered under Objective Journalism. As in, "Brittney thought that not covering the event she was covering due to her personal distaste for the aforementioned event was Objective Journalism."

Second, Sci-Fi channel is running a marathon of 'Firefly' episodes. Is this something that I have to watch prior to seeing this movie (at a matinee in an empty theater), or will the general public walking in off of the street be able to get what is going on?

 
At 5:26 PM, September 24, 2005, Anonymous Tim said...

Sarcastro,

I'm far from being a Firefly expert, as I've only seen 3 or 4 episodes so far. (2 more waiting on TiVo, so all of this may get revised soon.) But at this point my impression is that as long as you've seen the trailer for the movie you've pretty much covered the necessary back story: Western set in space. Small band of close-knit rebel good guys. Honorable space hooker. Protecting willowy (no pun intended) ass-kicking pouty chick. Cursing in Chinese. Yadda yadda...

Personally, I'm kinda disappointed with Firefly so far. Given the high lather that Joss Whedon fans seem to have gotten themselves worked into, I somehow expected more, I dunno... substance. I mean, would an actual story arc be too much to ask for? (To be fair, please reference above "I've only seen 3 episodes" caveat.) Granted, given what little I've seen of Buffy and Angel, I'd say that Joss Whedon fans appear to have an amazingly low lather threshhold; but still, I've gotten the "You've got to get into Firefly" speech from some people whose e-mails I don't automatically delete (Jason), so I was initially hopeful.

From what I've seen, most of the episodes revolve around the cast landing on some planet that bears a striking resemblance to southern California and is populated entirely by people who look like southern Californians who seldom bathe. Lots of clever quipping ensues, people shoot at each other, our heroes fly off into the sunset. Rinse. Repeat. So far, I don't get what all of the excitement is about. (Oh, that's right - Joss Whedon.)

Don't get me wrong, I really wanted to like Firefly. And I'm sure that Serenity's exponentially larger budget guarantees that things will get blowed up bigger and that the remote reaches of the galaxy will be upgraded to looking like, say, Vancouver. But given the existence of Battlestar Galactica, Farscape DVDs and, need I say it, Babylon 5, why is THIS the show that gets made into a movie? (Oh, that's right - Joss Whedon.) But hey, if this low-rated Fox series can make it to the big screen can "Arrested Development - The Revenge of GOB" be far behind? Let the letter-writing campaign begin!

Still, a free preview has all of the requisite elements that it takes to get me into a seat - i.e., it's free - so I'll be there among all the bloggers with my pajamas on. I wonder if the concession stand will be selling donuts...

 
At 8:02 AM, September 25, 2005, Anonymous brittney said...

"Brittney thought that not covering the event she was covering due to her personal distaste for the aforementioned event was Objective Journalism."

Actually, that is not what brittney thought. But if you have anymore guesses as to what I was thinking, feel free to post them here.

 
At 12:02 PM, September 25, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Decided to forgo the free blogger pass. Partly because I feel manipulated into giving them press when they can't even guarantee me a pass, and partly because it's at a theater that would cost me $7 in gas to reach. I can wait a few days and go to the $4 matinee about a mile from here.

JasonY

 
At 4:04 PM, September 25, 2005, Anonymous Sarcastro said...

I'm guessin' that Brittney is a little defensive. I'm guessin' that she doesn't like being used as an example. I'm guessin' she gets a lot of heat in her current position. I'm guessin' that she felt I took a cheap shot at her, not at the current state of journalistic ethics.

I love feeling free to guess stuff.

 
At 7:47 PM, September 25, 2005, Blogger Michael said...

If there was a movie worth selling your soul for, it's Serenity.

I cannot wait to see it!

 
At 9:55 PM, September 25, 2005, Anonymous little a said...

michael,

sell your soul to a movie you have not seen...people baffle me...

 
At 8:38 AM, September 26, 2005, Blogger Michael said...

Hey..it's Joss Whedon....

And I've seen every ep of Firefly.

This is gonna be good stuff....

 
At 8:44 AM, September 27, 2005, Anonymous Tim said...

Michael,

No disrespect, but isn't seeing every episode of Firefly (all 9 of 'em, isn't it?) kind of up there with owning every platinum album that Gary Glitter recorded? One of those not-all-that-elusive-if-you're-inclined-to-blow-your-time-on-it pursuits.

I've seen about 5-6 episodes now and I'm still hoping that that one pivotal episode that ties everything together and bestows great significance to the heretofore banal is still in the queue. Until I hit it, though, I reserve the right not to worship at the Joss Whedon Church Of I Don't Need A Plot Because I've Got Quirky Characters.

 

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