Why does Netflix hate Shaquille O’Neal so much?

Netflix has been in the news lately for making some really questionable decisions. First they announced they were raising the prices for their service, then they actually raised prices (I was hoping they were bluffing), and now they have announced that they will be splintering into two separate companies — Netflix and Qwikster.

I could easily write 1,000 words on how bizarre I find all of this to be, and I could write another 2,000 analyzing and subsequently pooping on the name Qwikster, but that’s not what I’m really concerned with today.

Oh no. I’m concerned with something far more insidious brewing inside the Netflix brain trust.

I want to know why Netflix hates Shaquille O’Neal so much.

I know this may sound crazy at first. Who could hate Shaq? He’s really tall and lovable and he’s awesome at giving himself nicknames (which really is a skill… seriously, go to your office tomorrow and try to give YOURSELF a nickname… it won’t stick). But Netflix definitely does hate him and I will prove it using evidence pulled from their own site. Sit back and let the prosecution blow your mind.

EXHIBIT A: Blue Chips

Way back in 1994, a very skinny Shaq starred in a relatively high profile film about corrupt basketball recruiting. His character’s name was Neon, which is awesome. The movie also starred Nick Nolte as the same grizzled man filled with self hatred that he always plays. The movie wasn’t good but it was good enough to where you would think Netflix would have it in one of their warehouses somewhere, but when you look it up on Qwikster Netflix all you see is this:

Uhhhh… Save? Fuck you, Netflix. I don’t want to save. I want to watch Neon struggle with the tough life decisions that come with being a top basketball recruit. You’ve got He Got Game ready for rental and that’s basically the same thing… sort of. Something stinks here.

EXHIBIT B: Kazaam

Ok, so they didn’t have Blue Chips. I guess that’s forgivable. A movie called Blue Chips should really be about delicious savory snacks that happen to be a glorious shade of cerulean, not basketball. And Shaq was only a supporting character in it. But what about Kazaam? The first movie where Shaq finally stepped out of the shadows and became a full on movie star in his own right. Surely Netflix will have it right?

Save again? Damn you, Netflix. One movie missing is normal enough but two movies from the same great star? I don’t like it. And I don’t want to hear about how Kazaam isn’t in there because it’s a bad movie. I bet half the DVDs that go out daily are for bad movies. I mean how many times has Showgirls been rented? I’d be willing to bet it’s gone in and out of more households than Shaq’s whimsical character in Kazaam has gone in and out of magical genie lamps. Or dicks have gone in and out of Elizabeth Berkley’s whimsical character in Showgirls. Yeah.

Damn, those were some sweet analogies.

But to stay focused, there is no rational reason for Kazaam to be missing other than the obvious fact that Netflix hates Shaq.

But wait, Netflix has one more chance at redemption…

EXHIBIT C: Steel

Ok, so Kazaam  was Shaq’s first starring role but it wasn’t until his piece of the indirect Superman franchise, Steel that he really found what it took to lead a film. So what do I find when I look this movie up on Netflix?

Wait, what? Not even a save option? Netflix is not even acknowledging the existence of Steel? Instead I can save Real Steel, a movie that hasn’t even come out yet and looks like a Real Piece of Shit? That’s just ridiculous.

Three movies with Shaq as one of the leads and three dead ends on Netflix. Coincidence? Absolutely not.

It’s obvious that Netflix hates Shaquille O’Neal.

The prosecution rests.

I just finished READING: Imperial Bedrooms

imperial bedrooms

Imperial Bedrooms is the sequel to Less Than Zero and Bret Easton Ellis (the author of both) sure knows it.

From the first words of the first chapter he slides right back into the same familiar stylistic choices that made the first book so memorable, only this time it all falls very, very flat.

Let me explain.

In Less Than Zero the entire book read like one long thought process. It didn’t really have a plot, it just, sort of, existed. As you read you go from the beginning of winter break to the end and see some incredibly terrible things along the way, and because it’s almost like you’re parked behind the protagonist’s eyes you feel like you’re there. Nothing seems staged, nothing seems planned. Nothing seems like fiction.

In Imperial Bedrooms Mr. Ellis tries to inject traditional storytelling mechanisms like a jilted lover and a murder mystery into this same winning style. These mechanisms immediately shatter the idea that everything is just happening. The reality that what you’re reading is just a story and not some crazy first hand memoir is instantly apparent, and as a result the entire thing loses its most compelling element. What you’re left with is a poorly concocted mystery novel that doesn’t really have a mystery. Oh and it, like Less Than Zero, is randomly punctuated throughout with graphic descriptions of over-the-top violence. Only this time, because you’re not as attached, it all just seems excessive and disgusting. It’s weak sauce.

In its defense though, IB has an incredibly smart first 30ish pages where Mr. Ellis runs down how the characters all got from Less Than Zero to the present day. Beyond that though it just withers.

I did not enjoy reading this book.

And beyond that, I don’t know what else I can say.

Brighton Beach Memoirs Review for ILiveInDallas.com

Brighton Beach Memoirs

I recently tried my hand at theatre reviewing for the always-excellent ILiveInDallas.com. The play I placed under my critical microscope was Brighton Beach Memoirs at the Contemporary Theatre of Dallas. I don’t want to give away the ending of my review (because you should all go HERE and read it) but I really enjoyed the show and highly recommend it to all of you.

It’s only playing for one more weekend so get down to the CTD and check it out ASAP. Go HERE for more details.

As for me and theatre reviewing, while I don’t see it as being my future career I enjoyed putting this one together and hope to write some more in the future.

So look out thespians because there’s a new word monkey on the Dallas drama beat. YEAH!

I just finished READING: Less Than Zero

Less Than Zero cover

Less Than Zero is a vivid gallery of miserable, over-stimulated rich kid assholes in 1980’s Los Angeles. It doesn’t really have a story or any sort of character arc. It just sort of happens.

And for that reason, it’s a masterpiece.

It’s written from the perspective of the most likable of these assholes, a guy named Clay. Over the span of 200 pages Clay comes home from college for Christmas break, meets up with his old friends (who include an ex-girlfriend, a former friend turned heroin addict/male prostitute, a drug dealer and several other overly-tanned, drug addicted, sexually irresponsible types) and realizes that his entire world is a mess.

But don’t let that short summary fool you into thinking that this book moves like a traditional novel moves. It doesn’t. This book just glides by documenting everything going on in Clay’s life. It’s almost like a diary.

It’s captivating stuff. I can’t recommend it enough.

And if you like Less Than Zero, I recommend going out and getting the just-released sequel (yes, sequel): Imperial Bedrooms. I’m reading it now and over the first 50 pages it’s proving to be more of the same style, albeit 25 years later.

Go read. Do it.

ITE Update: 300 posts and counting

300 movie poster

Today was a momentous day in my blogging career. I posted my 300th (and 301st… I was on a roll) articles to in-this-economy.com, the site I helped give birth to about 17ish months ago. While my posts haven’t always been brilliant, they’ve all been a lot of fun to write.

And now, to celebrate me turning 300, I’d like to present a hastily crafted list of some of my favorite posts from ITE.

And yes, I realize just how insanely narcissistic this is. I’m writing a blog post compiling my own blog posts. But hey, this is my personal blog and I feel like tooting my own horn… so yeah.

Ok, here goes.

NINE AWESOME POSTS

(presented in no particular order)

1. The economic upside to Patrick Swayze’s death

Insensitive? Yes. Thought-provoking? Maybe.

Unfortunately for the economy too much time has passed to put my product-placement-plan into action, but I’m confident that if we just would have moved quicker we could’ve added “economic Godsend” to Patrick’s already strong list of achievements. Such a pity. R.I.P., dude.

2. Drocolate’s favorite music from 2009

This one has to make my meta list because it’s a great example of me doing something that I don’t do that often — write positively. The vast majority of my ITE work is pretty negative, so when I get the chance to write something gracious it presents an initial challenge.

This one is also good because it’ll give you some solid music recommendations from last year. Yes.

3. Donating bodily stuffs

This was the first real post I did for ITE and it’s still one of my favorites. It’s semi-informative, humorous and it manages to work in a Vincent Gallo reference. That’s a big fat “mission accomplished” right there.

4. Shithead trading card #5: Annette Yeomans

I have such fond memories of this one. The story was so perfect: A woman was stealing money from her company and spending it on things like shoes and closet upgrades. It was a really under-reported story so this article became an early SEO success story for ITE, which gave me my first brush with Internet crazies from both the pro- and anti-Yeomans camps. All in all, it was a fun one.

5. The facebook quizzes just won’t stop.

I wrote three posts about my hatred for facebook quizzes but this one, the middle one, was the best. It was my Empire Strikes Back… or something.

6. The Healthcare Reform Town Hall Psycho Cutout

This one showcases my INCREDIBLE Photoshop skills. And my flair for political humor. It’s definitely one of my favorites if for the Nick Nolte image alone.

7. 5 new and creative ways to get your resume out there

This one is just fun. And I kind of think some of these ideas may work. But definitely not the X-ray-sume… that one is just silly.

8. Top 5 untapped money-making ideas: July ’09 edition

I’ve done a lot of these untapped money-maker posts but I think this one might be my favorite. The Bush and Bush gag and the home plate key-hider are just awesome. And ridiculous. And awesome. And that Crumblies cookbook still makes me gag a little.

9. WASTE OF MONEY: Olive Garden

I’ve written a ton of these WASTE OF MONEY articles but this one still stands out as one of my favorites. It had references to Sarah Palin, Wendy’s, Chef Boyardee AND it had some Youtube clips. It had it all! Yes!

Ok, I think I’m sufficiently sick of myself now.

Here’s to the next 300.

SXSWi Panel Discussion Promotional Video

I recently helped submit a panel idea for the upcoming 2010 SXSW interactive festival. To better promote this idea, I worked with my fellow in-this-economy.com creators — Rondo Estrello and Rachel Pinn — to write and direct the video you see above.

What started out as an after hours experiment quickly turned into something I’m extremely proud of. The video received a fair amount of blog attention and helped spread the word about our panel. However, we won’t know if we were selected until sometime at the end of this month.

Fingers crossed!

Oh, and one other note: That is my voice doing the narration on the video. So, if you are reading this and you happen to be a voice over agent looking for hot, young talent, drop me a line.

I also have to give huge shout outs to Colin Alsheimer and Alyssa Gardina from fiveoclockdallas.com and Jennifer Conley from iliveindallas.com for all of their hard work on getting this panel idea submitted and promoted. You guys are awesome.

UPDATE: WE GOT IN! Our core conversation will be on March 13 at 11am. If you’re going to be at SXSW swing by for some interesting dialogue on all things citizen journalism.

And just in case you didn’t see the beginning of this update: WE GOT IN! YEAH!!!

Click HERE to return to my portfolio.

“No trades unless it’s for a gun”

Via ITE:

rifle

A recent craigslist furniture search by one of our readers yielded awesome results. Check it out:

Changing table and three drawer chest used for both of our kids. Good overall shape. Middle drawer on dresser sticks a little, small scratch on right side top rail of changer. No trades unless it’s for a gun.

Check out the ad HERE.

I love the idea of trading kid furniture for weaponry. That could even be a brand new, untapped money-making idea for a store.

“Come on down to Azle’s Finest Kid Furniture/Gun Barter Paradise. We’ve got everything you need, as long as everything you need is a gun or some furniture for your kids.”

Barter is awesome.