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Joe Corey’s PARTY FAVORS - 8/2005

Posted by Ken in Party Favors (August 1, 2005 at 9:41 pm)

SAN JOSE, CA – The future of home entertainment is being made here.

Apple has already hinted that the next generation of iPods will feature a video screen and the ability to play music videos. They’re short selling the revolution. Because there’s a big picture in that small white box that’s going to rock Hollywood hard.

The iPod under construction at the moment will be able to store and play 40 hours of video, according to our major mole. And instead of pulling content off Apple’s website to purchase programming, you’ll be able to download shows off Apple’s version of a Digital video recorder that you’ll have at home. It works just like a Tivo. Indeed as a tribute, the programmers informally call the recorder Steve-O.

The iPod players are designed so that you won’t have to watch on the tiny screen. You will be able to plug the unit into your computer, home TV set and car DVD player. People traveling will be able to use a transmitter so they can watch on a hotel TV. This is the same way that you can listen to your musical iPods with your car stereo.

Imagine the possibilities that are lurking in these small devices. A business traveler will be able to hit the road with a week’s worth of shows inside their iPod. They won’t have to buy adult programming in their hotel since they can stash it on the iPod. Parents can just load their kids favorite TV shows and not have to buy various DVDs to stash in the mini-van.

Expect a firestorm to come out of Los Angeles and New York when the potential of this new iPod system hits the trades. Apple guru Steve Jobs is doing his best to keep this info away from Disney as he tries to get Pixar a mega-deal with the Mouse. He’s doing his best to fan the flames of Bit-Torrent as a distraction for Apple’s megavision.

But as our mole is reporting, who gives a rat’s ass about music videos on a 2-inch screen? But how many secretaries would love to be able to secretly watch their soaps while allegedly working? With a little iPod and a compact video projector, you can set up outdoor screenings of Star Wars without much of an effort. Instant drive-in movies are on the way.

What’ll panic Hollywood are plug-ins that will disable the Macrovision so that people can upload their DVDs into the video iPod. The whole economic system will be flipped around again thanks to Steve Jobs.
The funniest thing is that the one rule in the workshop is that the Apple employees can’t use Pixar movies as demos, but Disney titles are fair game.


I was hired to PA on a shoot for the new “Girls Next Door” series on E! It’s another reality show except it’s about a few of the ladies that “date” Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy. The episode I was working on involved one of the gals bringing a surprise gift box to her brother and his troops at Ft. Bragg.

I was kinda looking forward to sharing car time with one of Hef’s women. So much I want to know about the man. But the day before the shoot, the bombs went off in London and Ft. Bragg was shutdown to outsiders. Our shoot was canceled. So there are no stories about the Playboy Mansion thanks to terrorists. No accounts of the grotto. And I’m screwed out of a paycheck. When will we win this war against terrorism so I can get to work?


The Violent Femmes played a freebie outdoor show in downtown Raleigh. And it was great to see the original trio back together and belting out nearly all of the tracks from their masterpiece first album. The big disappointment was their refusal to perform the “Spongebob Squarepants” theme. They play it on the DVD! Play it for me! Tell me who live in the pineapple under the sea, Gordon Gano!


You want to know why the outdoor sheds are losing their popularity? We went to see Carol King on her “Living Room” tour. And while she gave an amazing show that led us through her nearly 50 years in music, there was something wrong. The tickets for our back of the venue seats cost $55 each after all the extra charges. And we were sweating like pigs before Carol hit the stage. And the crummy plastic seats were sticking to our legs. Even with the sun setting, it was extra nasty. We tried to sneak onto the hill to catch a breeze, but found ourselves being eaten alive by bugs.

It’s hard to enjoy a show under such circumstances. For $55 I want to be able to focus on the performer and not have to worry about dehydrating. For a quiet evening of music, I want the sweet comfort of air conditioning. Let’s move these shows indoors.

At least we lost five pounds doing “The Locomotion” with Carol. How much would that cost at a Gold’s Gym?


I can’t write a review of “Reel Paradise” since the subject of the movie, John Pierson, is a friend of mine for way too many years to count. John and his wife Janet executive produced both of my short pieces that ran on his “Split Screen” that aired on IFC. So there’s no way I can give an objective opinion about this documentary about how John took his wife, son and daughter to Fiji to help him live his dream of running a movie house.
The film opens this month at the IFC Center in Manhattan. I had a chance to see it in Durham at the Full Frame Festival. If you like movies about cinema, culture clashes and tropical islands – go!

I found it fascinating to get a peek into the lives of friends. It was great to see how they interact with their kids during their final month of running a movie house. But Steve James hasn’t constructed a fancy home movie. There’s a real story to tell about how a remote cinema on an island in Fiji affects the locals. How John’s simple joke in the LA Times about the locals worshipping Curly from the Three Stooges as a god turns into a feud with the church. Director Steve James (“Hoop Dreams”) gets underneath so many of the issues. This is “The Swiss Family Robinson” meets “Last Picture Show.” And he gets an amazing narrative element out of the film since on James’ first night, the family returns home to discover that someone broke into their house and stole their computer. So we get this great criminal mystery with the threat that the thief will strike again. We aren’t allowed to view the island as safe.

There are a lot of laughs in the movie. My favorite moment is a bunch of kids from Temple University who show up to screen their student films. And we learn that even in the most remote part – people aren’t starving enough for entertainment to watch student films.

You’ll learn that people in Fiji can’t get enough of Queen Latifah and The Rock. If someone teamed them up, it’d be the biggest film ever in Fiji. And after the film, you might want to visit Fiji. But John won’t be going back with you – there’s another mystery that gets exposed in the film.

John invited me to visit him in Fiji before he left, but I couldn’t make it down. After watching the “Reel Paradise,” I felt like I had dropped in on them. This is my pick of the month!


Starting in October, TV Guide will turn into any other magazine on the rack. They’re going to make it normal magazine size. They’re going to quit publishing the listings for your local TV stations. There will just be an Eastern and Western edition.

Normally I’d sit here and whine about an end to an era, but I never bought TV Guide. We would get a weekly TV schedule in the newspaper. And now I have digital cable so with the press of a button, I get instant info as to what’s on and what’s coming up. The magazine meant about as much to me as “Oprah the Magazine.”

And after Rupert Murdoch bought the magazine, it turned into way too many plugs for Fox programs – even Fox movies. The covers no longer gave a sense of what’s truly happening at the moment. Instead it became an excuse to run multiple covers for an X-men movie special.

The nice part about Murdoch owning the magazine is that he bought it when it was going for $90 a share and now it trades for $3. Billions of dollars were vaporized on Wall Street. Only way he would have lost more money was investing with Bill O’Reilly on a Falafel chain.

I did get a little bit of my writing published in TV Guide when I wrote the description blurbs for “Rob and Bill’s Talkshow.” But they never allowed me to publish my fan fiction about the Golden Girls.

So goodbye classic TV Guide. You’ll never be missed as long as people reach under the cushions of their sofas.


I’ve been enjoying the Late Night with David Letterman reruns on Trio. When did Dave turn into a retread superstar suck up? Also it’s been nearly 9 months since NBC-Universal stopped letting Trio buy new shows. Has there ever been a cable channel stuck in this position? It stinks since this is on my Top 10 of stations. I heard a rumor that NBC might want to turn the channel into a Classic Movie station with Universal’s vault – this also includes Paramount’s pre-1948 titles.

And has “The Secretary” turned into Oxygen’s version of Lifetime’s “Burning Bed?” Everytime I graze by the channel, Maggie is getting tied down. Which isn’t a bad thing.


The great Jackie Earle Haley should have played a strip club owner in the remake of “The Bad News Bears.” What other job would we have expected Kelly Leak to take when he grew up? Shame they didn’t do this casting because the film would have been a hit. At least it would have sold one more ticket last week.


For the 25th time, Neil Cavuto has read one of my letters on Fox News! He even let me call him an economic Chamberlain for thinking the Chinese pose no threat to our pocketbooks.


Summer is almost over for today’s school kids and they won’t have a catchy summer tune to remember 2005 by. This is a disgrace. This is the second summer in a row that we’re not sick of a catchy pop tune that clobbers us at the beach. What is the problem with the music industry? You are allowing a generation of kids to live without something they’ll feel nostalgic about in five years.

I blame Andrew Lack at Sony/BMG. He’s killing music in his soundproof office.


Like last year’s “Starsky and Hutch,” I will see “Dukes of Hazzard” when it comes to HBO. This film’s trailer is painful. Jessica Simpson looks like she was auditioning for a “Schindler’s Lust.” She has lost way too much weight. And why is a Duke wearing a Led Zep t-shirt? This movie is pathetic on all counts. But at least it gave Burt Reynolds work.


Recently Dreamworks and Pixar have learned that their sales projections on DVDs for their CGI animated blockbusters were flawed. They had high numbers forecasted for back-to-back quarters. But the second quarter was a bust. And they paid the price on their spreadsheets and stock prices with five million copies of “Shrek 2” and one million copies of “The Incredibles” being returned to the warehouse. And now these companies are publicly scratching their MBA beancounter heads wondering, “What happened?”

So I ask Pixar and Dreamworks: Do you really want to know why your “blockbuster” family DVDs aren’t selling months after their release? Why nearly 80 percent of your total sales take place in the first two weeks? How much is a studio willing to pay for such sensitive information? I’m going to give it away for free so brace yourself for a hard scientific fact that my crack team of researchers discovered after thousands of hours of focus groups and data crunching: Consumers have learned that new DVDs are cheaper on the first week they come out. And they take advantage of that benefit.

I bought “The Incredibles” the Tuesday it debuted at a Circuit City. They had it priced $14.99 – nearly half off the suggest retail price (SRP) of $29.99. And they threw in a mini-basketball covered with Incredibles characters. Right now I can buy the DVD from the same store for $22.99 without a ball. What’s the point of being a second quarter stooge for the studio?

Why does Hollywood expect a majority of the public to refrain from grabbing a blockbuster they want in the first week? Why do they think sales will be steady and long range on major titles?

Perhaps they are too busy treating DVDs like theatrical releases or music CDs when they consult their projection graphs that show millions of sales over the long haul. But this is a different commercial animal. The heavy promotional work for a title was done during its theatrical run four to six months back. People have been exposed to trailers, specials and various infotainment programs featuring Mary Hart and Billy Bush. By the time a DVD is released, the average viewer knows the score of a blockbuster (we’re not talking about small arthouse flicks that might not have made it into a medium sized town). Does Hollywood think the person interested in spending $20 on Will Smith’s “Hitch” has no clue about the film? That somehow from the day it debuts on DVD, a consumer will slowly get conscious of the title and end up with the craving to buy it a few months later? Why does a studio’s marketing wizard predict that two months after the DVD comes out, a hoard of consumers will get the hankering to buy “Hitch” for $7 more? A bump in sales months after the initial release has a name: Christmas.

A blockbuster DVD is not like an album that picks up steam as it becomes more popular with increased radio airplay. These films are still a year away from being aired nightly on TNT or USA. Their popularity relies on their theatrical audience. So the buzz does not build in a traditional sense.

DVDs are not like movies. The water cooler chatter about a film normally leads to workers making a trip to the movie theater. But office talk about a movie on DVD will lead to coworkers merely renting the title. And sometimes your co-worker will loan you the title after they blabber on about how great it is. This is what Hollywood fears the most – a circulation process that doesn’t involve them earning any coin.

The success of Netflix has cut into the causal DVD purchaser. In the early years of DVDs (back in the late 90s) some people purchased hot titles because if they forget to return the shiny disc, Blockbuster’s late fees were more than paying retail for it. Netflix said, “take as much time as you need – long as you pay your monthly membership fee. And this factors into kids titles. When I visit friends with youngsters, I notice they’ll use one of the three titles for a major family film. The kids watch the film nearly continuously for a week and get burned out on it. Then the parent swaps it out for another movie the kid is whining to see. They aren’t actively buying these titles because like their child’s pants, they outgrow them. Why let them pile up with the baby toys?

The studios and retailers are dealing with the limited shelf space. This is one of the culprits for the massive returns because your local Wal-Mart can’t have 10 giant displays of blockbuster films sitting around the store for three months. Everyone wants to maximize volume in a limited floor space. The discussion should include the limited shelf space of the consumers. Not everyone has the library space of a Gatsby. The consumers that would have picked up a blockbuster DVD without a second thought a few years ago; are a bit more cautious because their living rooms are overwhelmed. Their bookcases have become clogged. Their wives are sick of piles of black boxes piling up on the floor and under the bed. Nobody enjoys the moment when their spouse holds up a bunch of DVDs and asks, “Are you ever going to watch this, again?”

A major factor in the decline of blockbuster DVD purchases is a simple one: too many of these popcorn movies stink. If someone felt burned after paying $10 to see a film in the theater, why would they spend $25 to bring the experience home? Are the bonus features really going to make you realize “Surviving Christmas” was a misunderstood work of genius? Who really wants to own “Van Helsing?” Maybe people are curious about a film that was putrid like “Catwoman.” But they’re going to rent (or wait for HBO). Some people might dream of a career in politics and don’t need to explain why they have a copy of “Bewitched” in their house. To inspire someone to own a title, they have to have affection for the movie. And if a studio is expecting people to grab a DVD on an impulse, it has to be priced within the “what the heck” range. Wal-Mart doesn’t stock their diamonds in the checkout counter rack with the gum and batteries. So once the price goes up, the curiosity index wanes.

People have also learned that if they are semi-interested in getting a DVD for their collection, they can wait six months or so and pick them up on the used shelf at Blockbuster as part of a 3 for $25 deal. And the studios will lower the price on DVDs still wrapped in plastic. When Universal put out “Lost In Translation,” the SRP was $26.98. Now it can be picked up new for under $10. Those who wait, pay less.

How come the braintrust at Pixar and Dreamworks can’t understand that consumers have learned that if they really want a film in their collection – buy it the first week? Even if a viewer doesn’t have time that week to watch it, what’s the point of not buying it when it comes out? It’s not like the DVD is going to spoil sitting on the shelf unwrapped. It’s not going to get any cheaper (in the next six months).

The studios will probably spend millions to discover what I’ve told them for free. But if by chance an executive reads this and decides to accept my truths instead of wasting time on a think tank, please pay in cash and not promo DVDs.


I’m watching Hanna-Barbera’s “Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines: the Complete Series” and I can’t quite figure out who is the pigeon working for. In the middle of an episode, the members of Vulture Squadron are promised a vacation if they stop the pigeon. They want to go to Miami Beach and Hawaii. Now if we’re to believe that the pigeon is American, why are the enemies taking holidays in America?

I wonder if this cartoon was about corporate espionage? Perhaps pigeon worked for a military industrial complex? They never seemed to encounter any battles on the ground.

This cartoon took place in the middle of the Vietnam War when there was plenty of money to be made providing the latest weapons. So maybe that was the key to the conflict.

No matter what the reality, Muttley still rules.


When Deepdiscountdvd had their 20% off sale, I found myself grabbing a bunch of boxsets. “The Tarzan Collection Starring Johnny Weissmuller” collects his MGM loincloth classics. I remember catching these flicks on Sunday afternoon TV. And they are freakish in their approach to Africa. The midget tribe that attacks them in the first film must be experienced. There’s great documentary giving insight to the creation of the characters, the films and the legend of Johnny.

“Marilyn Monroe: The Diamond Collection” has most of her movies worth collecting (only major title missing is “Some Like It Hot” which is out by MGM). It has a great bonus of a documentary on the making of her uncompleted final film, “Something’s Gotta Give.” Plus they cut together all the footage to give us a 40-minute peek at what Ms. Monroe and Dean Martin were up to. Plus you get to see the cut scenes from “Seven Year Itch.” This is a great way to understand the icon that is Marilyn.

“Elvis Presley: The Signature Collection” puts together six of his 31 features. Seeing how Paramount hasn’t put out the truly legendary Elvis boxset (GI Blues, Blue Hawaii and Fun in Acapulco) this will make due for now. At least it has “Viva Las Vegas.” No bonus features though.

“Lidsville” had the Krofft brothers showing us a world inhabited by hats with legs. It’s as freaky as it sounds with a teenage Eddie Munster battling Charles Nelson Riley. Don’t watch this sober!

“The Fantastic Films of Ray Harryhausen” features his non-Sinbad titles. Ray is one of those amazing figures who put his stamp on a movie with his special effects without directing. Who directed “Mysterious Island?” Don’t know. But you know Ray did the effects. Each title has a bunch of bonus features.

“Don Knotts: The Reluctant Hero 4 Pack” gives us the premiere thespian at his peak. Can anything top Don as “The Love God?” They just don’t rerun these enough.

“On the Road with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby Collection” puts their first four “Road to” movies on a single flip disc. Good international cheesy fun is in store. It’s nice to see two comics that knew how to give each other the business without being complete pricks.

“Wonder Woman: Season Three” completes the series. It’s sad that Lynda Carter didn’t fall on hard times and have to make Cinemax After Dark Eurocore. She was so hot making this series.

“WWE Greatest Wrestling Stars of the 80s” reminds us that Bob Backlund was the pastiest wrestler of all time. My favorite moment was getting to watch the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling matches at the WRAL studio. When I was a youngster, my dad took us a couple times to sit in the peanut gallery and watch the matches with legends like Paul Jones, Tony Atlas, Black Jack Mulligan and Ric Flair. And once I thought he didn’t love me.


Are we supposed to believe that “Laguna Beach” is a documentary on these spoiled brats? This show is about as real as MTV’s classic “Undressed.” I still have fond memories of staying up all night watching marathons of “Undressed.” When is that show coming out on DVD? Although I’ve just shocked myself by seeing there are 222 episodes. Wow. That means if it was a regular series, it would have been on the air for a decade. That’s a lot of people getting slightly naked in hot tubs. That’s a lot of boxsets to complete the series. But I’m up for the gig if they are!

I barely watched four minutes of “Laguna Beach” before I had to just give up on it. The camera angles and the lighting were better than “CSI.” There’s no way the production crew is merely following these kids and capturing their lives. They’re actors. They’re recreating what they think their life is like. This show is as fake as “The O.C.” except MTV doesn’t have to pay for Peter Gallagher’s eyebrow wrangler.

“Hogan Knows Best” is also on my fake list. This show is about a believable as Hulk Hogan’s wrestling moves. It’s a low budget sitcom. I didn’t quite understand why Hulk would want to put a tracker on his daughter’s car when she went on a date with an older guy. Sure the average dad should be nervous when his 16 year-old pop tart goes to the zoo with a 22 year-old mechanic. But the couple had a camera crew in the car. Did Hogan really expect the grease monkey to take his daughter’s virginity in front of a camera? Granted it would have been good test footage for her career in porn.

At least Hulk isn’t as creepy about his singing daughter as Joe Simpson. Can I just mention that since Scott Sartiano has been linked to Ashlee Simpson, he’s not longer my idol. That’s a downgrade. The only way Scott is going to get back into the Party Favors Pantheon of Studs is to hook up with Milla Jovovich. I want to make a movie with Milla– so bad. Actually I want to make a film where she goes up against Asia Argento. They’ll playing two young witches looking to take over a coven in Europe. That’s all I’m going to say for now.

And later Hulk gets upset since his son was locked his bedroom door while studying with a gal. Did I mention that he also locked the camera crew in his bedroom? There’s a fraud going on in reality TV and it’s a damn shame that there’s nobody trying to expose these shows. Ultimately they are a cheap way to make sitcoms with topics that would normally get clipped by the censors. But because they are presented as “reality,” we can show an open condom on the air.

And speaking of cheap reality, why didn’t anyone in Austin, Texas just run a herd of cattle through the Real World House? This show has touched bottom. The kids aren’t hot anymore. Did they decide to cast the kids who think they look beautiful? They just want to get drunk, fight and screw. And even worse – this house is pathetic. There is not one element that you’d want to recreate at home. At least I’m out of the target demographic – and proudly.

I would like to retract all my statements about having a torrid affair with “The First Supermodel” Janice Dickinson. After seeing the first few episodes of “The Surreal Life” with her in the cast, I’ve realized this a fantasy is a nightmare. This woman has more mood swings than a bus full of Liza impersonators. There’s a self-centered meanness that would kill the effect of a Viagra bottle. Sure the Vegas hotel would be trashed, but for all the wrong reasons. I’d like to apologize to my wife for publicly suggesting that Janice would be a fun fling. I should wash my brain with Lava soap from having such thoughts. Janice makes Omarosa look sane. Although that Caprice might be worth a weeknight in Reno – has she ever heard Caesar sing?


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