Does Flo ever leave that insurance supermarket? Can she leave? When I saw her making a simulated motorcycle ride, I started to wonder. Is she a hologram? A ghost?
Why are those animated bears so interested in toilet paper when they don’t seem to have bums?
Those Vikings in that credit card commercial are running their cards through the reader the wrong way. The logo is visible, which means (I think), that the magnetic strip isn’t going through the reader. Yeah, I realize that the point here is to make sure that the logo is visible, but it still bothers me. (Bloody Vikings).
Why are those animated shredded wheat squares trying to kill themselves? And why are they so happy about it? Is it some kind of cult thing? And don’t get me started on Charlie the tuna…
There’s a commercial for a smart phone—don’t ask me which one—that has a problem similar to the credit card spot. The commercial shows people manipulating hologram-like control panels, floating in the air, but all the words on the panels are presented so they can be read by us, not by the people actually using the phones.
Doesn’t chocolate Cheerios sort of defeat the purpose of Cheerios?
Why does that chain of fried-chicken restaurants keep insisting that it’s “Louisiana Fast”? From what I know about Louisiana, that isn’t something you want to brag about.
No wonder all those couples are having trouble having sex. They’re not even in the same bathtub, for crying out loud.
The humans in those “messin’ with Sasquatch” commercials are getting what they deserve.
There’s a commercial that starts with a musical number that I think is supposed to remind people of Mary Poppins. In an upper class British household, a butler tells the children in his care that they don’t need expensive toys. All they need is their imaginations. He then gives each of them Wii controllers and tells them how they can rent videos through their gaming system. Those two ideas belong in two different songs…maybe in two different universes.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
So… where were we?
During the recent unpleasantness—otherwise known as the 2010 mid-term elections—I found myself thinking about how they made decisions on Earth II.
Earth II is a made-for-TV science fiction film from 1971. As a movie, it has a lot of problems, but I still have a soft spot for it. I recently bought a quick-and-dirty copy of the movie from the Warner Bros. Archive Collection, and most of the things I liked then, I still like now. Whether that’s a good thing, I’ll leave to you to decide.
The title character in Earth II is a manned space station, orbiting the Earth in the near future. It has the status of an independent country and has a strict no-weapons policy. Not even toy guns are allowed on board. This policy is called into question, though, when Earth II’s leadership is forced to take possession of a nuclear bomb placed into orbit by Communist China.
Although the Warner Bros. archives is known for its no-frills products, the Earth II DVD includes what appears to be a theatrical trailer for the movie. In the classic trailer tradition, the announcer refers to Earth II as a “space commune.” In this case, however, the description is not totally inaccurate.
Not only are the citizens of Earth II trying to give peace a chance, they’re trying to perfect an interesting form of participatory democracy. We are told that any citizen who “disagrees with a policy of government,” can call for a Discussion and Decision meeting to review the matter. Anyone interested in the topic can watch the meeting on television and vote on the issue, after registering via fingerprint scan. The population of Earth II is never given, but we’re told that 92 percent of the population watches the first meeting about the Chinese bomb. It’s a voter turnout that may put the movie in the category of fantasy, rather than science fiction.
New resident Frank Karger—played by ‘70s movie veteran Tony Franciosa—argues that the only way Earth II will be respected by the world below is by keeping the bomb, and joining the nuclear club. David Seville, the force behind the Earth II movement, says that it would go against everything that the habitat stands for. Seville is played Gary Lockwood, and, yes, that’s his name. On some parallel Earth, it seems, Seville is not a two-bit record producer, exploiting singing chipmunks, but a pioneer of space colonization. Who knew?
But the voters aren’t the only ones watching this debate. There’s a computer, evaluating the arguments as they’re given. So, during the meeting, the computer is correcting factual errors and making comments like “emotional appeal” and “no evidence to support this conclusion.” Eat your heart out, PolitiFact.
Earth II was written by William Read Woodfield and Allan Balter. According to IMDB, they worked regularly for Mission Impossible and Voyage To the Bottom of the Sea, among other TV shows .Earth II reflects this weird mix of politics and science fiction, and I’m not sure it qualifies as a good movie. But I still admire its willingness to try something different.