Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The new Macgyver series just isn't good.

Earlier this year I managed to write about the upcoming new Macgyver series that would start airing this fall. I wrote about how I didn't like the trailer of the new series and that almost everything about it felt wrong.  

Simply said, I didn't like how the new series looked and how the characters 'acted' in the trailer. I didn't get good vibes from it and felt that there was no chance that the relaunch would turn into a success that the fans of the original would appreciate.

In any case, now that the new series has finally aired, what can be said about this relaunched series? Is the new Macgyver television show worth watching or did turn out be as bad as it looked like in the trailer?

Based on the first episode that has aired, the reimagined Macgyver series unfortunately wasn't that good. At least in my opinion, there's very little chance that this relaunch of a series is going to last very long.

The biggest problem with the show is that in almost every way, it manages to be about something else that the original series was about. It manages to forget almost all the good things that made us care about the original Macgyver.

For example, unlike Richard Dean Anderson's Macgyver, Lucas Till's Mac acts like an overconfident douche on the show. He doesn't seem like he's a down to earth person or someone that you would like to know in real life.

Unlike in the original Macgyver series, you don't really feel for any of the characters on the show. Even supporting characters like 'Jack Dalton' and 'Patricia Thornton' seem to be either unlikable or just way too bland and two dimensional.
When it comes to this new show's plotlines, these new storylines don't seem to be even remotely believable or plausible to me. There's no way that on the original show Mac would have broken into a casino to steal a biological weapon from some bad guys.

In the original show with Richard Dean Anderson, pretty much all the plotlines managed to be fairly plausible and based on real life. To me it felt like most of those storylines could have happened in our real world too. 

The fact that the new show is a disappointment unfortunately also extends to those 'macgyverisms' too. Those improvised gadgets in the original show were one of the biggest reasons that people looked up to Mac and to the show.

I mean, who can forget how the original character managed to come up with quick solutions to different kinds of problems? You couldn't help but to have respect for his ability to get out of trouble and to get out of harm's way.

On the other hand, when it comes to this new Macgyver getting out of trouble, you can't help but to facepalm. Stopping bullets with an ordinary kitchen tray just isn't possible, no matter how much you're willing to suspend your disbelief.

In any case, when it comes to judging the series as a whole based on the first episode, things don't look good at all. The new Macgyver seems to be too dumb, too violent, too noisy, badly acted, and badly written too.

Especially when you consider that the producers of the show had the chance to completely rewrite and retool the series after the first pilot of the show had failed, you have to wonder what on earth they were thinking here.

All in all, as a massive fan of the original Macgyver, I can't help but to feel let down by the new series. This could have been a good show, but since the producers didn't follow the footsteps of the old Macgyver, this new series is a big disappointment.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

What to think of the U.S. presidential election?

Over the course of the last six months or so, I've spent a lot of time following the presidential election in the United States. Pretty much every day I've paid attention to what's going on and who's the favorite to win the election.

Like so many others, I started with the democratic presidential primary, where Bernie Sanders was running against Hillary Clinton. I hoped that Bernie would end up being the democratic nominee, since I did not trust Hillary at all.

Even though I'm a liberal, I also paid attention to the republican presidential primary, where Donald Trump was competing against a dozen republican candidates. I wanted to see who was the least bad of those candidates on the republican side.

As it happened, Bernie Sanders unfortunately did not prevail against Clinton's establishment machine. He lost, whereas Donald Trump managed to win over the rest over the field, that included crazies like Ted 'nukem all' Cruz.  

In any case, now that we're only six weeks away from the general election and there are only two 'major' candidates left, what should you do as a voter? Should you be voting for Trump, Hillary, or perhaps for someone else?

As a progressive Scandinavian, who has paid a lot of attention to what's going on this election cycle, I can say with relative high confidence, that of all the candidates, I would not vote for Hillary Clinton - under any circumstance.

I would not vote for her, because in my view, she's an unindicted criminal, who through her 'extreme carelessness' and 'negligence' during her tenure as a secretary of state, repeatedly violated the espionage act.

Working as secretary of state from 2009 until 2013, she mishandled classified information using her private server. She had hundreds of emails on her server containing top secret information and even information above that classification.

The fact that she wasn't and hasn't been prosecuted for these crimes just goes to show how well the Clintons are connected in the U.S. Any other person would already be either fired or in jail for her actions, as the FBI director James Comey himself stated.

This, of course is not the only reason why I wouldn't vote for her this election season. Besides of repeatedly violating the espionage act, there are multiple other crucial reasons why one shouldn't vote for her.

For instance, over the decades it has become obvious that she's a fraud as a person who only cares about herself. She doesn't have a moral compass and only will back things like gay marriage when it's politically expedient to do so.

When it comes to the economy, she took hundreds of millions in bribes from special interests and Wall Street. No wonder she's now diametrically opposed to regulating the big banks or having a single payer health care system in the U.S.

When it comes to military interventions, Hillary has been for every war there is and she's backed by all the prominent neoconservatives. There's very little doubt that 'madame secretary' would be a warmonger in the oval office too.

Even when it comes to simple things like telling truth about mundane things, she can't help but to make up stuff. Her preposterous claim of having been under sniper fire in Bosnia makes her a pathological liar that you cannot trust.

Also, let's not forget what happened during the democratic primaries earlier this year. Clinton and the disgraced former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Shultz rigged the democratic primary, so that Bernie Sanders wouldn't stand a chance against her.

The DNC didn't stay neutral and instead kept pushing smears and false narratives about Bernie in the media. They even made sure that the televised debates were held when as few people as possible would be able to watch them.

So knowing this all, should it really surprise anyone that independents and people on the left are having problems supporting Hillary? It seems that only those inside the beltway bubble can't seem to understand that she's in trouble.

All in all, I'm obviously not saying that voting for Trump is an easy decision and that you should definitely vote for him. I'm not saying that he's even a remotely good candidate or that he would be able to 'make America great again'.

At the same time, Hillary Clinton is such a failure as a candidate and as a person, that even though this is an important presidential election, as a progressive, I just don't see how I would be able to vote for her.

At least in my view, since she hasn't reached out to liberals and independents this season and since she hasn't managed to explain why she's even running, she doesn't deserve to become the next president of the United States.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The difference between a good and a bad idea.

One of the things that I started thinking when I got my script idea is how important and precious good ideas and good premises are. You can't really overstate how important it is to come up with an idea that has potential to become a good screenplay.

If your premise isn't strong or clear enough, there's almost no chance that you're screenplay is going to be any good. In that case you're almost certainly just going to waste your time and your energy writing that script.

In order to give you a good example on a great movie idea and a pretty awful premise, let's look at two films that are 'roughly' the same. Both these films are about reality tv and about following an every-man protagonist around the clock. 

The first movie in question is Peter Weir's 'Truman Show' that stars Jim Carrey in it. This is a movie that was not only a pretty big success financially, but it also managed to get universal praise from the critics.

In any case, this is a film about a character called Truman Burbank, who lives a seemingly ordinary life in a peaceful city called Sea Haven. Everything in Truman's life seems so perfect and things always tend to work out for him. 

The only thing that he doesn't know about his 'perfect' life is that everything about it is fake. Truman is literally living inside a bubble where cameras are tracking his every move so that audiences at home could follow his every day life.

He simply doesn't know that he's the star of a reality television show and that nothing about his life is real. He doesn't know that he's being exploited mercilessly and that nothing important about his life is private.

When it comes to this film as a whole, the biggest reason that it works so well is because of its 'hook'. The premise of Truman not knowing what's going on and being an unsuspecting celebrity keeps us in the audience involved.

As an audience member, you can't wait for him to figure out that he's part of a huge reality show. You can't help but to root for him when he finally decides to escape from his prison and wants to start a life on his own.

The movie hits all the right notes when it critizices our current celebrity & consumerism culture. 'Truman Show' not only manages to be both funny and dramatic, but it also is a film that has a lot of say about our society in general. 

The second film in this reality genre is Ron Howard's EDtv. This was a movie that not only did not manage to garner universal praise from the critics, but it was also a movie that failed rather spectacularly at the box office.

In this case, our main protagonist is an every-man called Eddie Pekurny, who is played by Matthew McConaughey. Eddie works as a video store clerk and lives a fairly normal and uneventful life that isn't particularly interesting.

Unlike in Truman Show, Eddie's life changes when he knowingly invites cameras to follow his life 24/7.  He becomes a reality tv star because he thinks that it won't be that big of a deal and that it could even be a cool experience.

Not surprisingly, the biggest reason that the movie doesn't work is because the film isn't about anything meaningful. There's no actual 'hook' in the movie that would keep the audience interested in what is going on.

There's no defining idea or premise in EDtv that would help create momentum for the film. There's no real drama, no genuine comedy or actual entertainment in this movie that would keep us on the edge of our seats. 

The film just keeps dragging itself to the finish line and seems to almost glorify reality television. The fact that it doesn't take a stand against this kind of reality television is what should bother anyone who cares about our society. 

In the end, when it comes to EDtv, the writers and the producers of it probably thought that it wouldn't matter that much whether they would pay enough attention to the premise and to the idea of their movie.

They falsely thought that an average (bad) premise and an average (bad) idea could still be turned into a quality screenplay and into a quality movie. They thought that they would come out smelling like roses no matter what they did.

Unfortunately for them, of these two films, Truman Show is the one that turned out to be a wonderful movie. EDtv, on the other hand, is so disappointing and has so little to say about anything, that you have to wonder why it was made in the first place.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Coming up with an idea for a screenplay.

I think it was two weeks ago, when I managed to come up with a pretty decent idea for a movie screenplay. I felt that this idea was exciting, might have a lot of potential and that it might get me back to writing again.

At least in my opinion, this was an idea that would likely play to my strengths and would allow me to write about things that matter. It would perhaps allow me to write about stuff that could make people feel better about their lives.

Yet, just because I managed to come up with an 'idea' doesn't mean that I'm even close to having solved this writing project. Having an idea for a screenplay at best means that you're off to a promising start and that you have a lot of things to do.

In any case, now that I've managed to come up with an idea and a theme, the most important thing to do next is to come up with a main character. I need to come up with a character that is consistent with the theme of the story. 

In this case, it's absolutely crucial that the main character is likable and that you can relate to her. It's crucial that the protagonist has a personality, qualities and aspirations that the audience can respond positively to.

When it comes to the story, I need a main character that is going to run into obstacles over the course of the script. These obstacles need to revolve around the theme and need to be obstacles that push the story forward.

In order to make the story any good, I need to have an overarching 'main' problem that will also work as a catalyst in the script. This will guarantee that the story and our character is actually going somewhere and has a goal.

This is not to say that we don't need any smaller problems or goals in the movie. In order to make the script entertaining, we need tons of little obstacles or opportunities that our main character and other characters will run into.

When it comes to the script as a whole, it's crucial that I know how the story and the structure works. It helps immensely if I'm aware of the basics and that I know when and where 'story beats' like 'all is lost' are supposed to be.

That doesn't, however, mean that it's okay to strictly pay attention to and rigidly follow the standard structure and think that it's going to be enough. Following the beat sheet without making sure that things actually make sense won't cut it.

So I need to respect the structure, but I also need to be creative enough to understand that cookie cutter solutions won't make the script good. I need to write my butt off and come up with solutions that will work.

In any case, these are only some of the things that I need to worry about in the process of writing a script. It most certainly won't be easy and is a big challenge for a writer like me who isn't used to writing movie scripts.

All in all, when it comes to getting further with this project, certain sacrifices have to be made. If I want to succeed, I need to work really hard, use all my talents and probably get a bit lucky in the process too.