Friday, October 17, 2008

MOVIES- Entertainment Weekly's Weak Website

Following a link (I almost compulsively follow links the same way I always read introductions, footnotes, and endnotes) about the new Star Trek movie by J. J. Abrams sent me pinballing around the ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY website for a couple of hours this morning. It wouldn’t have been a couple of hours except that all their articles seem to be lists. Not lists like CRACKED.COM does them- articles that center around a silly or strange topics and are written like articles- but lists that are load every item as a new page and usually consist of a throwaway picture and a brief but boring paragraph of text that’s usually only a tedious synopsis. Reading the site consists of endless clicking “next” and having a page take three times longer to load than it takes to read it. All I can guess is that this pedalware format is an editorial decision held over from a weekly print magazine that has to pad, pad, pad every issue to keep it from being a flyer but never thought to hire interesting writers. Or writers at all, for what I can tell. For instance, their review of Orson Wells TOUCH OF EVIL DVD is three sentences long! THREE SENTENCES LONG! Exactly the same as the number of edits of the movie contained in the package. In another article, 20 Pop-Culture Hits We Couldn’t Pay You to See, they don’t even bother to write anything, simply publishing readers’ emails on the topic. The results are pretty predictable. One submitter prefaces why he wouldn’t watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer by saying that he hadn’t see any of the Star Wars movies, Godfather movies, or an episode of the Sopranos either. I guess he has a policy of avoiding anything people think is good. Another states she’s not seen the Godfather movies so she can “ save my Godfather virginity for my future husband — I want to be able to sit down one Saturday night with both movies, some wine and say, ‘Honey, have you ever seen these movies? I heard they were good.’ ” I wonder how long she’s going to have to look to find a husband who’s never seen the movies. I imagine his reply will be that he’d like to but the WWF is on Pay-Per-View so he’ll have to give it a miss. But my favorite is the person who says they haven’t seen ET because they “just want to remain in the dark.” Mission accomplished.

The writing, even when it’s not being culled from the emails of self admitted ignoramuses, is so pedestrian and uninformed that I can’t imagine an actual film or television lover hanging around for long. It’s just window dressing for the pictures. A plot summary for whatever you are being shown a still from. But the articles are interesting for one reason- to see what incredibly dumb idea they are going to spit at you next. Especially in their SF area. Some of the things they write are so ridiculous that if they were posted in a forum you would immediately peg the writer as a troll.

To give you an example, two of the lists are 20 Greatest Sci-fi Shows and 17 Sci-fi Misfires. The former includes such terrible atrocities against the genre as the Buck Rogers TV show from the 1970s, V- an early 80s series about alien invaders that look like lizards (unless they’re wearing their people masks, in which case they look completely normal) and eat humans, and The Jetsons. YES! THEY ACTUALLY NAMED THE JETSONS AS ONE OF THE GREATEST SF SHOWS OF ALL TIME! The latter list names Blade Runner and Jurassic Park as “greatest misfires”.

Another list posits Kirk’s 20 Best and Worst Moments. Now I know you’ve got to be pretty parent’s basement worthy to even look at such as list, but it’s almost worth it for the unintentional hilarity. This list is so padded that 4 of the best moments are from ST II, four are from ST III, and one is from the abominable ST V. Then the first Worst moment is TOS episode The Trouble With Tribbles. You almost think they are doing it on purpose.

So if you are looking for many pictures and not much reading, or enjoy public displays of FAIL, or just enjoy exercising your index finger, give the site a look. However if you want to read informed opinion or interesting writing, avoid it like people who don’t like good movies avoid The Godfather

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