Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Golden Age

John C. Dvorak continuously writes that we are in "the golden age" of the Internet. And, he cautions, that age is likely near an end. Big money and power struggles will bring an end to the "golden age." I fear he might be correct.

But today the Internet is rich with content, communication, ideas, resources and, most recently, community.

I'm actually writing today in order to sneak in a short review of a movie. Now I could just post the review since this is a blog and, in theory, any topic is acceptable for posting. But the stated purpose of this blog is to explore and travel through Cyberspace and examine it's impact on the physical world. And, curiously enough, as I prepared to write my short movie review, that is exactly what I did.

Speaking of "the golden age" I grew up in the 1950's and early 60's in a small town in Colorado, Pueblo, Colorado to be specific. Many people will tell you that that was the real "golden age" in America. And I have very fond memories of growing up in small town America.

We had three movie theaters in Pueblo. The Main, the Chief and the Uptown Theater. The Uptown was walking distance from my home. In those days walking distance was about two miles.

Long before the Internet, long before video games and long before 150 cable television channels, movie theaters had Saturday Matinees "programmed" especially for kids. The Uptown had Saturday afternoon specials with at least two features, a dozen cartoons and a few news reels and featurettes. The show would last four to five hours and cost, perhaps 50 cents to attend! Of course you would buy popcorn, sodas and candy and the theater depended on that income to make ends meet. The whole afternoon might cost a dollar!

One of my "Golden Age" memories of the 1950's was a very special chocolate available only at the Uptown Theater called "Flicks." This exotic chocolate came in large wafers packaged in rich foil tubes. Flicks was the highlight of my Saturday afternoon marathons.

Which brings me back to the "Golden Age" of the Internet. A quick search for 'flicks' in my
Alexa Toolbar brought me to the Flicks Web Site. It seems the company's golden age had also been in the 40's and 50's and had actually gone out of business in 1989. However, someone has resurrected the company and they are back in business today, attempting to once again find a spot in the hearts of American theater goers.

Again, we see the tremendous power of the Internet. Although you will never find Flicks at a store of theater near you (at least not yet), a number of small candy companies sell Flicks on the Internet! I especially enjoyed the website for the
Remember When Candy Company who wrote about Flicks:

    "Who doesn't know the chocolate bite size candy pieces so popular at the theatres on a Saturday afternoon."
    "You know the candy business is a funny thing , just when you thought that the Nostalgic candies were all being produced in abundance a new (old ) one will be reintroduced. I'm talking about Flicks, those wonderful chocolate drops that were the very staple on those Saturday afternoon movie theatre adventures. Check them out , They taste just as wonderful as I remembered !"

I liked the entire concept of the Remember When Candy Company. Bubble Gum Cigars, Wax Lips, Black Jack Gum, Atomic Fireballs!! This wondrous business could not possibly exist anywhere except on the Internet.

The richness of the Internet doesn't stop with Flicks candy (although that was a wonderful start). I really want to comment on the wealth of "movie reviews" available on the Internet. While Pueblo had three theaters, we had only one newspaper and I doubt it had a movie reviewer. Maybe they had a syndicated review from New York or Chicago, but probably not. And movie reviews on television in those days? Not a chance.

Perhaps we were better off. We actually had to make up our own minds. But I digress (once again).

Today we have
Rotten Tomatoes and dozens of other movie and review websites. A quick glance and I can learn that only 22% of the 130 reviews posted thought this movie was worth seeing. That's pretty rotten, even by Rotten Tomatoes standards. Another click and you can read any review from anywhere around the country.

But you need not stop there. Just a hop away is
Technorati and their collection of 49 million web pages (mostly blogs). Type in the movie title in their search bar and you'll get thousands of individual blog entries, just like mine. Technorati may be how you found my blog entry today.

If you're looking for a movie, most entries will take you over to and the zillions of blogs written there, most by teenagers. I don't pretend to actually understand the allure of My Space. But it's popularity is undeniable. People spend countless hours designing and redesigning their little web homes. Entire industries have sprung up just providing software to customize My Space spaces!!

Writing is far from a lost art among our youth! Spend some time over at My Space and you'll be amazed and impressed. These posters are bright, engaging, entertaining, funny, insightful and involved. I find it especially interesting that they are so willing to discuss their innermost thoughts in print. I can promise you that NEVER HAPPENED among the teens in 1960's Pueblo, Colorado.

I now know more about some 19 year olds in Philadelphia than I ever did about my best friends in High School. A few of them did like the move I saw, about 22%, same as the reviewers.

The movie I want to review is M. Night Shyamalan's
"Lady in the Water." I thought it was excellent!

Let me start by explaining I'm not a big M. Night Shyamalan fan. While I thought "The Sixth Sense" was OK, I thought "Unbreakable" was awful, easily the worst movie Bruce Willis ever made (and that is saying a lot). "Signs" was so badly scripted it was laughable and I predicted the plot twist of "The Village" from the opening scene.

But I disagree with the 78% of the reviewers on "Lady in the Water." I thought Shyamalan really broke the mold with this movie. In his last three movies he had attempted to beat the "plot twist" approach he had already perfected with "The Sixth Sense." He failed badly each time.

Here, he simply told a straight forward story, and a fairy tale at that. The result was certainly not what movie goers or reviewers had expected. But, taken on its own merits, the result was superb. Paul Giamatti gave what, in my opinion, was an "Academy Award" caliber performance. And Bryce Dallas Howard was wonderful. The supporting cast was all excellent, even the much maligned Shyamalan himself.

I believe that if you go see "Lady in the Water" expecting to see a wonderful fable and not another Shyamalan plot twister, you'll be surprised and enthralled.

The only thing that could improve the movie would be a tube of Flicks!


Vigilante said...

Having grown up in Colorado Springs about the same time you 'growed' in Pueblo, I'm convinced we have got to compare notes sometime. For that, and other reasons, I'm linking to your site!

the WIZARD, fkap said...

WOW! WOW!!! What a small world and so full of surprises.

I look forward to hearing from you. And thanks (as always) for the link.

the Wizard.........