Jon Cazares

Jon Cazares

During the 2016 Presidential campaign, Donald Trump said that if I voted for Hillary Clinton - I’d be stuck with a criminal president under constant federal investigation from day one! Turns out he was right! I voted for Hillary Clinton and now I’m stuck with a criminal president under federal investigation since day one!  - viral meme, 2017 - author unknown.

 

Republican President Donald Trump overwhelmingly won the conservative christian vote and yet we find him neck deep in another infidelity scandal. He was married to his first wife Ivana Trump from 77-92. Donald cheated on her a bunch (including with upcoming wife number two) and the rocky marriage came to a harsh ending. And it wasn't just about the cheating. Let’s not forget that in Ivana's 91 deposition she accused Donald Trump of physically abusing her up to and including one case where he ripped out fistfuls of her hair (for disobeying him) and another where he sexually assaulted after they had separated.

 

Wife number two: Marla Maples (92-99)

 

Shortly after his divorce from Ivana, Donald Trump marries his long time mistress. Of course, right before the wedding he tells People magazine he would “never marry Maples” because he has “too many other girlfriends” to look after. Well, I’m sure you will be shocked to learn that, reportedly, Donald Trump was extremely unfaithful to Maples. Then, in a moment of extreme hypocrisy, Trump decides to divorce Maples when he finds her “together” with one of their longtime bodyguards. Message clear - Donald is allowed to cheat, Donald’s wife - is not.

 

Third wife: Melania Trump. 2005 - present.  

 

It’s recently been revealed that porn star Stormy Daniels was paid $130,000 to hush-hush her affair with Donald Trump while his wife Melania was pregnant with their son Barron. A second story has now come out that Donald Trump had a 2006 several month long affair with another porn star, Karen McDougal. Ronan Farrow broke the story for the New Yorker on Feb 16, 2018.  

 

But that’s not all! Nineteen other women have come forward alleging stories of sexual harassment and / or sexual assault by the current president. That’s nineteen women alleging that from the 80’s up to as late as 2013 Donald Trump forced them into non consensual sexual encounters.

 

Right now I really want to say - do you know how much Fox News and Republicans would have lost their shit on President Obama had he been on his third marriage, had multiple stories of cheating against him and then had nineteen additional women alleging sexual misconduct against him?

 

I mean, seriously? Can you imagine? There would have been conservative rage aneurysms like the world has never seen.

 

Of course, obviously - I don’t need to say “what do you think conservatives would have said if Obama did it”  because - President Obama wouldn’t have done anything like that!

 

President Obama: one spouse, zero sex scandals, zero assault allegations against him, zero abuse allegations against him. Conservative christians - hate him!

 

President Trump: third spouse, dozens of sex scandals, multiple assault allegations against him, multiple abuse allegations against him. Conservative christians - love him!

 

Multiple cases of fraud have dogged president Trump for decades, there are federal investigations into him for election tampering and an endless backlog of fraudulent business dealings weigh him down, gross nepotism has created a WH that multiple sources report is “chaotic” and “nonfunctional” and a cabinet so corrupt they are dropping like flies.

 

How many over all scandals has President Trump had in year one of his presidency? Ten? Twenty? Fifty? I honestly can’t remember. It’s too hard to keep up. I am scandal weary and he still has another three years.   

 

I know my conservative allies across the aisle really want to believe that President Obama was a foreign Muslim spy in charge of the Illuminati. After all, you read it on www.hateragemoronsforever.com - so it must be true! And go on ahead and continue to pretend that the reason you hate him is because he is a foreign Muslim spy coming after your guns! Because we know it's probably that other reason - something about the color of his skin? Maybe?

 

Anyway, what is actually true is that we currently have a President with ties to a real and legitimately evil foreign power. A foreign power that actively works against the best interests of the United States. That's true news. As opposed to fake news such as "Obama is a Muslim spy" and "Clinton family uses local pizza parlor to sell underage sex slaves."

 

But, you know - thankfully, we didn’t end up with Hillary in office - what what that email scandal of hers! We sure dodged a bullet there! (Note the sarcasm).

 

Of course, turns out -  Gov. Pence was doing the exact same thing!

 

And Pence was hacked by parties unknown!

 

And Pence shared all sorts of sensitive matters and homeland security issues in those emails.

 

On his unsecured AOL account.

 

At this time my conservatives allies are all uttering the battle cry they learned so well during the 16’ election campaign - Lock Him Up! Lock Him Up! Lock Him Up! #amiright?

 

That’s totally what they’re saying.

 

Right?

"I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen: inclusion rider."

 

Frances McDormand’s closing words to her Best Actress acceptance speech left many folks, including me, to wonder - what the F! is an inclusion rider? So I looked it up!

 

The idea comes from Stacy Smith during her 2016 TED talk. Smith is the founder of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the U of So. Cal and has studied data on diversity (and lack there of) in films produced in the US from 2007 until today. Her fifteen minute speech is well worth watching although the results will probably not shock you.

 

Diversity in US films is - well - doesn’t exactly represent the diversity of the country. In fact, it’s not even close. Her data shows that a very small margin of speaking roles, crew members and directors are women, people of color or members of the LGBT.  

 

From Smith’s talk:

 

Across the top 100 films of just last year (2015), 48 films didn't feature one black or African-American speaking character, not one. 70 films were devoid of Asian or Asian-American speaking characters that were girls or women. None. Eighty-four films didn't feature one female character that had a disability. And 93 were devoid of lesbian, bisexual or transgender female speaking characters.”

 

And later, talking about the ethnicity of the directors in the several hundred top grossing films from the last eight years,

 

“…800 films, 2007-2015, 886 directors. Only 4.1 percent are women. Only three are African-American or black, and only one woman was Asian.”

 

One of her solutions is to hire more women behind the camera and, as her data suggests - women are just better at hiring a diverse cast and crew. Another solution is to have A-list actors demand an “inclusion rider,” which is a clause in the actor’s contract that demands that the crew and the cast be more equally represented in regards to women, people of color and LGBT folk.

 

Smith’s exact wording on the inclusion rider stipulation:

 

“Second solution is for A-list talent. A-listers, as we all know, can make demands in their contracts, particularly the ones that work on the biggest Hollywood films. What if those A-listers simply added an equity clause or an inclusion rider into their contract? Now, what does that mean? Well, you probably don't know but the typical feature film has about 40 to 45 speaking characters in it. I would argue that only 8 to 10 of those characters are actually relevant to the story. Except maybe "Avengers." Right? A few more in "Avengers." The remaining 30 or so roles, there's no reason why those minor roles can't match or reflect the demography of where the story is taking place. An equity rider by an A-lister in their contract can stipulate that those roles reflect the world in which we actually live.”

 

And so that, ladies and gentlemen is exactly what Frances McDormand meant in her speech.

 

The 90th annual Motion Picture Academy Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, March 4th, with show host Jimmy Kimmel leading the way.  Here is list of all the nominees. As someone who graduated from film school and freelanced in “the biz” on and off for twenty years, the Oscars once held a special place in my heart. I never cared for the glamor of it all, and “What are you wearing?” is the most vapid question I can think of. No, it was my pure love of cinema that drew me and forty million of my closest TV watching friends to Oscar night. And for a long time I believed that the Academy Awards always - got it right!

 

But now, “meh” - I don’t really care that much. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll watch them. And then, like so many years past, will be unable to recall who won best actor, best picture, best adapted screenplay in, like, three months.

 

Perhaps the failing memory of age is why I can’t remember recent Oscar winners. Perhaps it is the dumbed down formulaic construction of Hollywood movies that make them all mediocre and there for - quite forgettable. Maybe it’s a combination of both.

 

I used to think the Oscars would go to - you know - the actual best actor, actress or movie - in each category. Isn’t that the idea? It’s just not true though, Academy voters rarely vote for “the best” of anything. Instead they vote for their friends. They vote for sentimental reasons. They get too get caught up in politics and targeted marketing campaigns sway their minds. Many voters don’t even watch all the movies that are nominated despite getting free screener copies of all of them. Many older voters don’t “get” movies that young folks make. The Oscars is nothing more than a popularity contests where, occasionally, and quite by accident - voters select the best choice in any given category.

 

Do you know how many times movies win the “Best Screenplay” award because voters are like, “I should probably vote for this for Best Picture but I’m not going to so I’ll just give it a screenplay prize.”

 

Do you know how many times an actor loses for a performance that should have earned them an Oscar only to win the following year for a lesser performance because voters go, “Whoops. I really should have voted for him last year - guess I’ll just do it this year.”

 

About fifteen years ago,  maybe longer, the Hollywood Reporter started a “Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot” column. Usually they would find four voting members of the Academy - an actor (or actress), a producer, a writer and a director. And, given total anonymity have the four voters say who they are voting for and why.

 

Here is this year’s, “Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot.”  A few samples:

 

Dunkirk looked great, but it was a little confusing, there wasn't enough of an emotional thread, and the drone of the airplane through the whole fucking movie just drove me crazy. For me it just didn't fully work.”

“... I grew to dislike Lady Bird because of its fucking social media campaign. They pounded the drum too much. They put a magnifying glass on everything — like, how they shot the scene at the airport in one take. They shot the scene at the airport in one take because they fucking stole it!” (“Stole it” means they didn’t have permission to shoot there and did it quickly before getting caught).

 

Talking about best director:

 

“Christopher Nolan got involved with a huge undertaking [Dunkirk], but he made a confusing film, so he failed. [Jordan Peele's] Get Out is well done, but let's not get carried away.”

 

And so on and so forth. To be honest, this one is a bit tame by previous standards. There is usually more swearing, racism, sexism, finger pointing and laughing at ridiculous nominations. I remember one year a long time ago a voter saying they flat out hate Jim Carrey and would never vote for him in anything he ever does. Ever. No matter what. Probably in reference to Man in the Moon, or Truman or Eternal Sunshine...

 

Um. Okay. But that kind of invalidates the idea that the Oscar goes to the “best of.” Sure, a lot of voting for a “best of” is subjective and your “best of” might be different than my “best of.” But much of it is objective. Consider this - who is the better actress - Meryl Streep or Paris Hilton?

 

You can argue subjectivity as much as you want but there is a quantifiable difference between the two and we know it. Now, if I were to ask you - who is the better actress - Tilda Swinton or Cate Blanchett - well, um … that’s a little more difficult.  And now who gave a better performance - Tilda in movie A or Cate in movie B?

 

We are now arguing degrees of 1% and in that scenario, coming up with "who’s better" is, frankly, kind of silly. But that’s precisely what award shows do. Year after year. Sometimes Academy voters get it right. Often times they don’t. I don’t remember who else was nominated for Best Actress in 2010 and I don’t need to look it up because - I guarantee you that each and every one of them gave a better performance than Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side.

 

And it’s not because Sandra Bullock is incompetent. She’s not. She’s a very adequate actress. She has a lot of skill. She knows how to hit marks and find her light and says her lines. I certainly wouldn’t call her talented. Meryl Streep is talented. Sandra Bullock is adequate.

 

And Bullock should not be an Academy Award winning actress. But she is because she is very well liked amongst her peers. And when they saw their charming, lovely friend Sandra Bullock on the ballot, they overwhelmingly voted for her. Not because she gave the best performance of the year by an actress. No. They voted for her because they personally like her. A lot (and she really does seem to be a stand up person. I mean, did you even see her acceptance speech at the Razzie Awards for worst actress of the year?! You should). Anyway, her friends voted for her to win an Oscar because they universally thought, “When is dear Sandra ever going to get another chance?” Which means all the other great actress performances that year both nominated and un-nominated lost out to Hollywood nepotism.

 

So, while I moderately enjoy the much too long Oscar awards, and I’m occasionally surprised by a few excellent nominations and wins, I’m usually underwhelmed by the final result.

 

That being said, this year there really is no clear front runner. The Shape of Water has the most nominations and that usually means it will win the most awards. But the various end of the year movie awards shows have divided up the movies, actors, directors and screenwriters to multiple films and people.

There are also a lot of milestones to be seen at the Oscars this year:

  • The first woman to be nominated in the cinematography category - Rachel Morrison for Mudbound. (Although, hopefully Roger Deakins finally wins for Blade Runner 2049. Sorry Rachel).
  • The first transgender director to be nominated - Yance Ford for feature documentary Strong Island.
  • First black writer / director / producer to be nominated for all three in the same year - Jordan Peele for Get Out.

 

All great! Baby steps in the right direction!

 

And maybe this is the year where Academy voters honestly cast their vote without pride or prejudice. Maybe this is the year where they get it all right!

 

But I won't hold my breath. I’m now "Oscar cynical" enough to just expect that Academy voters will, you know - disappoint and get it wrong.

 

And I still do not fucking care what they are wearing.

 

On Monday, while speaking about gun control to a gathering of US governors at the White House, President Trump claimed he would have rushed into Stoneman Douglas High School (FL) to stop shooter Nikolas Cruz from attacking his former school and killing 17. “I really believe I’d run in there, even if I didn’t have a weapon, and I think most of the people in this room would have done that too,” Trump told the governors.  

 

*sigh*

 

Rich, safe, white man Donald Trump would SO NOT have run into that school. The very comment makes me eye roll to Pluto. Donald Trump actually had a chance to show combat bravery during the Vietnam war. He was in the draft. And now he’s being called “Five deferment draft dodger Donald Trump” by military members, some of whom now serve in Congress and the Senate.

 

If you are unfamiliar with President Trump’s case, he, like many other (mostly white) middle to upper class men had plenty of legal ways to opt out of the Vietnam draft. President Trump received four student deferments while he attended University of Pennsylvania Wharton School and a fifth medical deferment for “bone spurs in his heels.”

 

Um, okay. His recent White House medical examination, which passed him with flying colors - don’t mention any bone spurs in the President’s heels but, whatever.

 

Rich, white male easily dodges draft - nothing new.

 

In a 2017 interview with the ladies of The View, Sen. John McCain threw some shade at President Trump’s deferments saying that Trump, “found a doctor that would say that he had a bone spur,” to avoid the draft.

 

Later in the interview he followed up, “I don’t consider him so much a draft dodger as I feel the systems was so wrong that certain Americans could evade their responsibilities to serve the country.”

 

In a separate interview a few days after, McCain further clarified. “One aspect of the conflict, by the way, that I will never ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest-income level of America, and the highest-income level found they had a bone spur. That is wrong. That is wrong. If we are going to ask every American to serve, every American should serve.”

 

Obviously, Donald Trump is not the only person to take student deferments but the point being - he was not going to go to a war zone and risk his life and so he found a legal way out of the draft.

 

And yet, for some reason - we should expect he would rush - unarmed - into a school during an active shooting?

 

I call bullshit.



I mean, did you hear that there was an actual “good guy with a gun” at the school? Apparently, there was an armed sheriff at the school while the shooting was active. The sheriff took up position outside the building, but never entered.  The trained, armed, armored sheriff who was stationed at the school didn’t run into the building during the attack (he has since resigned)! That’s right, the oft repeated, “All you need to stop a bad buy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” took a slap to the face.

 

If trained armed folk won’t rush into a building while an active shooting is happening, I find it doubtful, and frankly, insulting to my intelligence, that President Trump expects us to believe he would rush into a building where bullets are flying.

 

Don’t get me wrong - I’m not surprised President Trump made the claim! He is, after all, by self admission - pretty much the best at everything. And stable. And really intelligent. And we know this because he reminds us every chance he gets. Again, I'm not surprised he made the claim - but there is no way in hell he would ever actually do it.

 

Anyway. The sheriff on site is being vilified as a coward. Anyone with reason and common sense knows exactly why that sheriff didn’t enter the building - fear. Yes, he should have gone in to help! That’s exactly why he was stationed there. But he feared for his life. And perhaps he thought about his family and he didn't want his own family to grow up without a father / husband. And so he didn’t go in.

 

President Trump, armed or not, would feel the same fear - and run the opposite direction.

 

Any by the way, did you know that the police do not have a constitutional duty to protect you? True story, man. Google that sad news up. The police do not have to help you if you are in danger! Which means said sheriff, who did not enter the building to assist those kids - did nothing illegal.

 

Despite that, I’m willing to suspect most of us are on the same page, - the sheriff on site should have gone inside and killed the hell out of the shooter. Or died trying.

 

But that’s easy for us to say from the comfort of our couch.  

 

The law may not require police to assist people in danger but they should do it anyway, and many of them do - because it’s moral, and just and right.

 

And those kids needed help. The onsite sheriff failed them. And President Donald Trump wouldn't have helped them, either.

International sensation Fergie has apologized for her sultry, jazzy, downtempo take on the National Anthem - opening the NBA All-Star Game. If you have not heard it, you should take a two minutes and listen. Fergie took a beating on social media for her version of the Star Spangled Banner. Even stars didn’t hold back. SNL’s Leslie Jones tweeted, “Meanwhile back in the states... I leave for a couple of days and y’all lose your muthafucking mind!! Why did this happen? Not everyone supposed to do this y’all! You might as well should have ask me to sing. Wtf?!”

 

I must admit, I wasn’t a huge fan of Fergie’s version, either. But then I thought - hell, at least she took a chance. And that’s awesome, because you can’t make great art without taking chances. So, good for her. That being said - her rendition is still awkward. I’ve read that she was, perhaps, trying to emulate Marvin Gaye’s 1983 version of the Star Spangled Banner.  I just listened Gaye’s take on the Anthem. Gaye’s version is also odd and not for me.

 

I’m not really going to go into if the Star Spangled Banner is racist, or not. Much has been written about that and if you want to learn more, you are one Google search away (but verse three, which is seldom sung, is pretty racist).

 

The Star Spangled Banner has a specific musical tone. Stray too far away and people get angry. Stray really far away and people get really angry. But, again, art can never be great art unless it has the capacity to anger, or frighten people. So, at the very least, I get what she was trying to do.

 

Fergie has since apologized, saying, “I've always been honored and proud to perform the national anthem, and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA. I'm a risk-taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn't strike the intended tone. I love this country and honestly tried my best."

 

Her apology is also getting roasted but honestly, I’m fine with it. It’s just a song. And it was only a basketball game.

 

Though, to be honest, I actually thought Rosie O'Donnell's 1990 HATED comedic take on the song was … well, kind of funny. Not super funny. But kind of funny. And, obviously - not for everyone. She sang it at a baseball game. Her performance lampooned how fans behave during baseball games. And after all, they hired fucking Rosie O’Donnell - to sing! You know - professional comedian, satirist and performance artist Rosie O’Donnell. Honestly, what the hell were they expecting?

 

Look, all I’m saying is, I get there is a history to the Star Spangled Banner. And a tradition. And some folks want that history and tradition to be taken very, very seriously.

 

Fair enough.

 

But … it’s only a song, after all. Fergie’s version of the song was fine. So was Marvin Gaye’s. So was Rosie’s. Maybe not for everyone. Maybe not for you. Maybe not even for me.  

 

But just fine.

 

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America's Top Dog, 2018

The surprise “best in show” winner at the 142nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is Flynn, a bichon frise. A surprise pick too as, according to The Associated Press, "Fans who had been loudly shouting for their favorites fell into stunned silence when judge Betty-Anne Stenmark announced her choice." Well played, little underdog Flynn!

There were almost 3000 competing dogs representing 200+ breeds but it was little fluffy Flynn that brought home the purple ribbon. The other winners, by breed:

A few fun facts about the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

According to Wikipedia:  

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is an all-breed conformation show that has been held in New York City annually since 1877. Currently, the breed and Junior Showmanship competitions are held at Piers 92 and 94, while the group and Best in Show competitions are held at Madison Square Garden.”

 

Since 1877! That means the Westminster Dog Show is older than Shredded Wheat, automobiles, stop signs, bottle caps and zippers!

 

Also, according to Sports News, “The first show consisted of just gun dogs by a group of hunters who met regularly at Westminster Hotel. Original prizes for winning the show varied, with one such reward being pearl-handled pistols.”

 

And for some reason the Westminster Dog Show has traditionally, and heavily  - favored terriers, who have won best in show 46 out of the 103 times the prize has been given since 1907 with male dogs winning 71 times.

Finally, dog shows are not without their controversy. Some animal activist groups don’t like dog shows and want them banned. The major concerns revolve around negative breeding practices, which certainly happen; and the fact that the dogs, when going through the grooming process can be jostled around too much in ways that might make them uncomfortable.

This seems to be a fair argument but I doubt dog shows will be “banned” anytime soon. Furthermore, I suspect the overwhelming majority of dogs within said shows are lovingly handled and cared for. Perhaps, additional common sense care requirements can be implemented to weed out some of the more ridiculous grooming practices (like - dog eyeliner).

Other than that, dog shows are extremely popular and are here to stay. So if you find yourself organizing or participating in a dog show - keep those canines healthy and happy.

 

And they’ll do the same for you.  

 

Movie Pass has been around for a few years but I’m just now catching on. It started out as a monthly subscription for $50 per month and with it you could use your Movie Pass card to see unlimited movies at your local theater. And by “unlimited” I mean one 2D (non-IMAX) movie per day. Most of your local theaters, including some of the big chains (AMC), accept Movie Pass.

 

It was an interesting idea, but it didn’t really catch on. So it took Movie Pass almost two years to get about 20,000 subscribers -- mainly, die-hard cinephiles.

 

Well, back in August that all changed when Movie Pass dropped the monthly subscription fee to $9.95 per month with the same deal: most of your local theaters accept Movie Pass, and you can now see one 2D (non-IMAX) movie per day.

 

Suddenly, Movie Pass is a lot more appealing, and since the August price drop, added 1.5 million subscribers, including me. I have only just signed up and have not even received my Movie Pass card yet. But when I do and begin to use it, I’ll write a follow up and let you know what’s what. But for now, after reading up on Movie Pass for a few days, here is the good, the bad and the ugly.

 

The Good: It will actually save you a lot of money … if you use it.  

 

CNN reports that the average cost of a movie ticket across the country is roughly $9, according to the trade organization National Association of Theatre Owners, which means you need to use Movie Pass about twice per month in order to save money. Obviously, if you see more than two movies at the theater per month you will save even more money. I usually see a movie once per week at about $10-$12 per movie. Which means an annual Movie Pass subscription will save me approx. $300 per year.

 

I like this deal already.

 

Here’s exactly how it works.

  1. You subscribe on the Movie Pass website.
  2. Download the Movie Pass App on your phone.
  3. Wait for your Movie Pass card to arrive in the mail (a few weeks)
  4. Use the Movie Pass App to check in to the theater you are attending
  5. Let the Movie Pass App know the movie and show time you wish to attend.
  6. Movie Pass App confirms you have not seen another movie today using your Movie Pass - if you have not, Movie Pass loads X amount of $$ onto your Movie Pass card where X = the exact cost of the ticket you have selected.
  7. Buy your ticket at the theater and use your Movie Pass as a credit card to pay.  

Okay, I see a few minor hurdles. You need the App, you need the internet, and you have to be within approximately 100 yards of the movie theater you are attending. These hurdles seem minor to me. But how is this sustainable? Movie Pass CEO Mitch Lowe had an interview with CNNMoney and answered this is exact question.

 

"MoviePass is kind of a movie insurance program. Our service is really low because we are going to use our understanding of you as a customer to be able to give you relevant suggestions that you might find valuable in your life. We might say there's a great restaurant across the street from the movie. If you go over there and show them your card, you're going to get a free appetizer."

 

Ah hah! There’s the rub! They sell user data to third parties to make money. Some might be bothered by the privacy concern this raises. Me -- not so much. If Movie Pass notices I watch all the sci-fi movies I can shake a stick at and then offers me Blu-ray, sci-fi movies and/or sci-fi soundtracks, I might be interested.

 

But then again, I might not. I don’t really buy concessions at the movie theater, so Movie Pass might lose a lot of money -- on me. But Movie Pass is counting on the “gym membership model,” in that folks might binge at first but eventually keep paying the monthly subscription for something they hardly use.  

 

Plus, Movie Pass is negotiating with theater chains for a sales percentage of concessions, since that’s where movie theaters make the majority of their money, and Movie Pass claims they are bringing people back to the theaters. (No, seriously, did you know that it costs a movie theater about four cents to make that large bag of popcorn that you just bought for $8?).

 

Movie Pass says that one in 35 movie theater customers are now using Movie Pass, and that number is rapidly increasing. It seems like fair leverage to get a tiny fraction of a percentage point for concessions. With the explosion in subscribers that Movie Pass has had in the last six months I expect (well, I hope) it doesn’t go anywhere soon.

 

The Bad: In order to get the best deal you have to pay for the full year membership - up front.

 

So, at $7.95 per month, plus a $19.95 one time processing fee you will be charged up front: $115.35.

 

Hrmmm. That’s a little obnoxious. But if you’re thinking, “Ah-hah! They’re going to grab your money and run!” Well, I too thought that for a moment. But then I saw their press release where they partnered with Fandor, which is a legit independent movie website (you should check it out) where they have some pretty great programing. I’ll reprint the full press release below.

 

The Ugly: Their customer service sucks. Like, seriously.

 

Via Movie Pass CEO’s very own mouth, he admits that the company didn’t expect to suddenly expand from 20,000 subscribers to 300,000 subscribers to one million and then, less than one month after reaching one million subscribers, exploding to up to two million subscribers. Their customer service department wasn’t able to keep up with their growth. Costumer service emails or calls went unanswered for months and months. He’s very aware of the problem and he speaks about it candidly in the CNNMoney interview linked above.

 

And, of course, they can print and mail cards to you only so fast. Customers are told to expect their Movie Pass card in five to seven business days, but it sounds as if the wait is more like two to four weeks. I find this annoying, but not so annoying that I will be passing up this deal.

 

The Final Skinny: Sign me up. 

 

Movie Pass was a good deal at $10 a month. Movie Pass + Fandor is a really good deal at $7.95 per month (but remember, that’s $115 up front). I suspect Movie Pass is right - people aren’t going to use the Movie Pass card as much as they expect. But I bloody well will!

 

Keep in mind, the Movie Pass + Fandor for $115 up front is only a limited time offer. If you don’t want to pay the full up front fee - wait until the limited offer is up and Movie Pass will return to a $9.95 per month deal. There will still be a processing fee of $20 but then your first charge will only be $30 for month one, $10 for month two, etc, etc.

 

Either way, I signed up. I have to wait a few weeks for my Movie Pass card, but I’ve downloaded the App and plan to start watching Fandor films tonight.

 

As a final note, you may cancel your Movie Pass subscription at any time, but then will not be allowed to re-subscribe for nine months.

 

To learn more about Movie Pass and / or sign up visit their site here.

 

--

 

The Movie Pass / Fandor Partnership Press Release:

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MoviePass™, the nation's premier movie-theater subscription service and a majority-owned subsidiary of Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc. (NASDAQ: HMNY) (“HMNY”), and Fandor®, the streaming service with the largest collection of independent films, documentaries, international features and shorts, are introducing a new annual subscription plan. This new MoviePass subscription plan will allow movie-goers to visit the theater every day for a year, and have access to the full Fandor content library for a year, for just under $116.

This new annual offer lowers the MoviePass monthly price from $9.95 to $7.95 and is coupled with an annual Fandor subscription. This combined offer is back after testing a limited time run in November 2017; it is now being reintroduced as a limited time offer nationwide.

“MoviePass is not only a phenomenon in the entertainment industry, but it has sparked a movement, now two million people strong,” said Ted Farnsworth, Chairman and CEO of HMNY. “With this new offer, we can make the movement even more accessible to movie-goers. I believe our annual subscribers will become influential movie consumers and an amazing asset and bellwether for the film industry as a whole.”

"Fandor is excited to be part of the disruptive wave redefining how audiences consume entertainment, making a broad range of movies available to our movie-loving subscribers," said Larry Aidem, President and CEO of Fandor. "We look forward to continued collaborations with MoviePass in the coming year."

MoviePass presently drives more than 5% of the total nationwide box office and continues to grow contribution as new subscribers join.

“We’re thrilled to continue innovating and reinvigorating the film and movie theater industries with MoviePass and Fandor,” said Mitch Lowe, CEO of MoviePass. “With more than two million MoviePass subscribers, and new ones joining every day, it’s clear that this is a tool moviegoers need and want. This new offer allows us to continue to reach more subscribers.”

Subscribers who sign up for this new offer will be billed $115.35 ($7.95 a month + $19.95 processing fee), and will receive one full year of MoviePass and one full year of unlimited streaming from Fandor.

 

President Trump will deliver his first State of the Union speech tonight, Tuesday the 30th at 9:00pm (Eastern).

 

I will go out on a limb and proclaim the speech will be filled with lies, rhetoric, childish insults and insanely unrealistic predictions of what the President himself can accomplish.

 

He is, after all - by his own admission - the greatest. At pretty much everything.

 

His bombastic nature alone should turn the majority of reasonable folks off. But it doesn’t. There are plenty of poor, working class folks in small towns all round the country who actually believe that billionaire Donald Trump is going to somehow magically transform their lives for the better.

 

They are welcome to their dreams. They are welcome to continue to vote against their economic interests, too. And Donald Trump will continue to ignore them. Actually, “ignoring them” is probably giving the President too much credit. Ignoring them would mean he actively thinks about them and then makes a decision to not help them. Donald Trump does not give a rats ass about impoverished small towns. At all. He does not think about them. At all.

 

Though, to be honest - when was the last time you heard of the Democrats doing much to improve the lives of impoverished small towns?

 

The DFL is supposed to stand for Democratic Farmer Labor party. Well, the DFL, to my knowledge, certainly supports Labor rights. I doubt they’ve done much for small farms in the last fifty years. When asked about this very subject, DFL chairman Ken Martin says to MinnPost.com,  

 

“The ‘F’  matters to us. The ‘F’ for us is fighting for the family farm; fighting for the little guy. ... But I’m not going to lie to you. It’s difficult right now. Young people can’t afford to get into farming anymore. It’s big agri-business now and that’s changed the face of the rural areas of the state.”

 

And if young folks can’t get into it - it’s a dying business.

 

All I’m really saying is the DFL used to take care of farmers but now it seems that rural areas have been overwhelmingly Red States for decades. During the campaign Donald Trump said to West Bend, a small town north of Milwaukee:

 

“I am fighting for you. When we talk about the insider, who are we talking about? It’s the comfortable politicians looking out for their own interests. It’s the lobbyists who know how to insert that perfect loophole into every bill. It’s the financial industry that knows how to regulate their competition out of existence. The insiders also include the media executives, anchors and journalists in Washington, Los Angeles, and New York City, who are part of the same failed status quo and want nothing to change.”

 

And they bought it. Trump literally does every single thing on that list - he's a rich insider, he looks out for his own interests, he uses lobbyists, he uses every perfect loophole to his own benefit, and he wants nothing to change. Well, he wants nothing to change for everyone else expect for him.

 

Poor small town folk all over the country bought into the new Red Scare. In that, the conservative Red media can scare impoverished small town folk into believing the Dems are everything evil and the Republicans are everything good.

 

And something about Hillary Clinton’s emails.

 

But I digress.  

 

The State of the Union will be nothing new. President Trump will continue to say the things he always does, “I’m the best. I’m the smartest. I fight for the little folks. I’ve cleaned the swamp. I win. You win. We all win together. You will not find another person who respects women more than I but Rosie O'Donnell is a big fat lezbo pig. My vocabulary is the "bestest there is" and I didn’t have sex with that porn star and pay $140k to cover it up. I was married at the time. I would never cheat on my wife. The democrats are evil. Make America Great.”

 

There it is. His legit speech, tonight at the State of the Union. You read it here first.

 

As for the wide spread impoverished rural community that voted him into office, I honestly feel bad for you because you literally have no one looking in your direction and offering help. Not the Democrats. Not the Republicans. And certainly not President Donald Trump.

 

Bernie Sanders probably would have though.

 

Just sayin.

 

Burger King hit viral gold with its recent ad riffing off the repeal of net neutrality rules. Let’s face it - a lot of people don’t know, or don’t care, what net neutrality is. But they should. And Burger King, apparently, is just the sort of giant company to tell you all about it.

 

Very basically, net neutrality forces all internet providers to treat all web traffic equally. Which is precisely how the internet has worked since Al Gore created it (That was a joke! But if you just felt your blood pressure rise upon hearing the oft repeated Fox Fake News Story that Al Gore “claimed” to create the internet - I will go on a limb and say you probably don’t know a thing about net neutrality, either).

 

Burger King claims the ad is filled with real people, not actors but my Spider Sense tingles at the idea. These people might not be trained, professional actors but I suspect some (if not all) of them were in on it from the get go.

 

But that doesn’t really change the point of the video. In it - when customers order a Whopper they are told there are different price depending on how fast you want the Whopper cooked - the MBPS (making burgers per second) speed. If you want to wait for twenty or thirty minutes - your Whopper will be $5.  If you want your Whopper in 90 seconds - your Whopper will be $26.

 

Same Whopper. Different price. Net Neutrality at it’s finest. But Burger King employees make it clear - these are not our rules - we just have to enforce them. Watch the above linked video as customers get more exasperated and furious.

 

And why do we have this ridiculous ad? Because the FCC repealed Obama-era neutrality rules and now internet provider giants can throttle and / or block websites that don’t pay the fee for faster speeds.

 

Internet providers can even block or throttle websites that do pay the faster fee. I mean, I don’t know about you but I swear to God that my Netflix streaming has sucked since Jan 1. It was like over night too. And Netflix has paid the faster streaming fees to the internet provider giants.

 

I used to be able to watch HD streaming with - well, you know … perfect HD quality! Now, half the time, the picture is so pixelated, HD looks like a bad, out of focus print from the 1920’s.  I kid you not.

 

But maybe that’s just me. I’m sure with net neutrality rules gone Netflix will clear right up ASAP.

 

A California couple has been busted for torture, abuse, child neglect and false imprisonment against their 12 children. On Sunday, one of the teenage daughter captives scrambled to freedom by crawling out of a home window and dialing 911.

It was an escape plan, two years in the making.

After receiving the distress call, two deputies and a supervisor arrived on the scene and found a filthy house in unlivable conditions, a bewildered mother who just couldn’t understand why the police where at her house, and twelve neglected and abused children - some of which were still chained to their beds.

Police wasted no time arresting the two soulless ghouls responsible - the parents - David Turpin, 56, and Louise Turpin, 49. Now both are facing charges of torture, abuse and false imprisonment. Two parents who were, by admission, homeschooling Christians.

On January 18th the married couple pled not guilty to:

  • Frequently beating and strangling their children.
  • Allowing the children only a single shower per year.
  • Not providing medical care, including dental.
  • Nightly - tying the children to their beds; however, upon noticing that the children were able to slip rope knots, began chaining and padlocking them to their beds.
  • Rationing the children’s food and allowing them only one meal per day - which led to severe malnourishment up to and including the 12 year old child who weighed as much as an average seven year old and the eldest 29 year old who was 82 pounds. Not to mention that several of the children have cognitive impairment and "neuropathy, which is nerve damage, as a result of this extreme and prolonged physical abuse." - quoted lead prosecutor.

And those are just the crimes they committed. And it doesn’t even mention that their “homeschooling” was ludicrously lacking as the children, when rescued and questioned, didn’t have a basic understanding of things. They didn’t know what a police officer was. They didn’t understand what medication was.

It just goes on and on.

Now, I didn’t bother added the word, “allegedly” even though the law presumes the Turpin’s are innocent until the state proves them to be guilty.

Fair enough.

But I’m not part of their legal trial so I will go out on a limb and say these two fuckers are guilty, guilty, guilty as sin. And I want them to pay.

Lock them up. Throw away the key.

Or as Rust Cohle says to a child molester in season one of True Detective, “The newspapers are going to be tough on you. And prison is very, very hard on people who hurt kids. If you get the opportunity -- you should kill yourself.”

That being said, I hope those kids are now surrounded with care, love and support. They have their entire free lives ahead of them now and I hope they can recover from their trauma and go on to accomplish great things.

 

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