Posted by: scottgow | August 11, 2010

Michael Cera: McDreamy Future or Screeching Halt?

There are questions that keep me up at night.  This isn’t one of them, but I have given it some thought:

How long can Michael Cera play the schtick of “awkward gangly guy” and get away with it? (Side note: Google “awkward gangly actor” and guess who you get?  Yep.  What an honour).

I’ll admit, his nerdy, awkward act brought the laughs in Superbad and Arrested Development.  He was quirky amusing in Juno.  I bet he was mildly amusing in Year One, but I don’t know, I never saw it (well, did you?).  Early reviews for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World are good too.

But how long can it last, really?  At some point, the movie-going audience will say “enough already”, much like we’ve done with John Travolta three times now, right? (Side note #2: Travolta’s a cinematic cockroach, he keeps coming back).

Will we be watching Michael Cera in our space pod movie domes in 20 years thinking “I remember him from the Gilligan’s Island movie in 2012, he was good?”

I kind of don’t think so.  On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the career of Dustin “Screech” Diamond and 10 being Patrick “McDreamy” Dempsey, I’m putting Cera’s chances of navigating from “quirky, awkward guy” to a full-some, decade-spanning  acting career at a 4 (that’s just below Anthony Michael Hall, I’m afraid).

I hope I’m wrong, but I think Cera will follow the same path as the scrawny DJ Qualls (Road Trip) went down in the 90s, after Chris Makepeace (Meatballs) blazed it in the 80s. (Side note #3:  Cera, Makepeace and another current “movie nerd” Jay Baruchel are all Canadian.  Coincidence?)

What do you think?  Do you care?

SG

Posted by: scottgow | August 7, 2010

Play On Brett. Play On.

So it’s August again, time for another round of “Brett Favre: will he, won’t he?”.  While the majority of sports fans out there seem to have decided to get on Favre’s case (again), encourage the old man to “give it up”, “quit already” and the like, I couldn’t disagree more.

You see, it isn’t about “the fans”, “greed”, “legacy”, or any of that other garbage that most people bring up.  Not at all.

I have two simple reasons why we should not only ease up on the graying quarterback, but actually cheer him on in his decision to return to the field for what would be his 20th tour of duty in the NFL.

1. He’s Old (easy now, I mean by NFL standards).

Full disclosure: I’m closer to 4o than I am 30, and I can’t run the 40 as fast as I used to.  The fact that Favre, at 41-years-old is still getting out to the stadium every week, let alone tearing it up better than most twenty-something QBs out there, is an incredible feat.   It’s a damn miracle is what it is.  The longer Favre keeps working that miracle, keeps getting up after getting knocked senseless, the more promising life after 40 looks to me.  So, you go “old” man.

2. He loves going to work.

Tens of thousands of adoring fans in the Dome cheering your name, millions more on TV, the weekly opportunity to live the dream all us “boys” had growing up of throwing the game-winning touchdown…  who wouldn’t love going to that job?  If you watched any Vikings football last year, you’ll admit that Favre was hard to miss.  He was the guy with the biggest smile on his face.  Anybody remember his post-game performance of “pants on the ground“?  Case closed.  Think about it now, if you loved your gig half as much as Favre obviously loves his, would you give it up?  Didn’t think so.

So play on Brett.  For all of us guys going gray on the temples and still in search of our “dream job”, play on.

SG

Posted by: scottgow | March 5, 2010

Handicapping the Gilligan’s Island Movie Cast

Cast of Gilligan's Island

Who will fill their shoes?

We have officially run out of ideas. By us I mean Hollywood and by ideas I mean sitcoms from the 60s and 70s that can be dusted off and retread for the big screen.

Word out of Hollywood is that a Gilligan’s Island movie is in the works. People Magazine, among others, are wasting no time taking turns guessing at possible cast choices.

So, who should/might be in the big screen adaptation of the show that should’ve been called “Why Don’t They Kill That Gilligan Fool With a Coconut, He’s Keeping Them on That Island?” Keeping in mind that I am neither a Hollywood nor Las Vegas insider, here are my odds for who we might see pop up in this, already-can-tell-I’m-never-going-to-see movie:

Skipper: John Goodman, at 2-1 odds, is the obvious choice. Tied at a close second are Alec Baldwin (yes, he has gotten that chubby) and Brian Dennehy at 5-1.

Also in the running: Zach Gallifianakis at 10-1 and Seth Rogan (especially if Michael Cera is Gilligan) at 50-1.

Mary Ann: Who’s more down home, girl next door than Rachel McAdams? That’s right, nobody. So put her down for 3-1 odds.

Also in the running: Isla Fisher at 5-1 and Ginnifer Goodwin at 7-1. Amy Adams shouldn’t be ignored either at 20-1.

Ginger: Popwatch nails it, I think, with Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks. 2-1 odds there. But… sexy, steamy and leaning just a tad on the other side of the “past prime” date of their career? Look at Julianne Moore and Nicole Kidman in a dead heat with 3-1 odds.

Also in the running: At 50-1 odds, let’s play “pick your diva”: People Mag gives their nod to Beyonce, but I’d go a little more “seasoned” with Madonna, J-Lo, or even, urgh, Mariah Carey. I’m also putting long odds on Desperate Housewife Marcia Cross. 

Professor: Why he would join this cast I don’t know, being Iron Man and all, but I’m going 4-1 on Robert Downey Jr. to play the handsome egghead, who, despite his genius, couldn’t patch a hole in a damn boat.

Also in the running: Don Cheadle at 7-1, Hugh Laurie at 12-1, Ralph Fiennes at 25-1 and dark horse Anderson Cooper (can he act? does it matter?) at 125-1.

Thurston Howell III and Lovey Howell: I’ve got to admit, I’m stumped on these two. For “The Millionaire”, it’s a toss up between  Bill Murray, Liam Neeson, Anthony Hopkins and Sir Ben Kingsley (off the board odds). …And his wife… oh hell, let’s go with either Renee Zelwegger (slightly aged), or Emma Thompson.

And last but not least…

Gilligan: Sounds like show creator Sherwood Schwartz wants Micheal Cera in the lead goofball role, so let’s put him at 1.5/1 odds, not even worth the bet.

Also in the running: Ashton Kutcher. He plays goofball well, but Gilligan with a strut? Not believable. Still good enough for 25-1 odds though.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt, that kid from Third Rock From the Sun, is also a good bet at 27-1 odds.

There it is, for what it’s worth. Best bet? This will be just one more on the pile of movies that I will never see.

SG

Posted by: scottgow | March 4, 2010

“Social Media Rock Stars” Put on Notice

Social media gurus have raised the ire of several rock n’ roll legends, and the legends aren’t taking it lying down.  In papers filed earlier today, a group representing hundreds of rock musicians, past and present,  filed a class action lawsuit aimed squarely at  several of  social media’s top dogs.

The lawsuit takes social media gurus to task over their “egregious infringement and inappropriate use” of the term ‘rock star’ to describe themselves.

“In the beginning, it was alright” explained one of the ‘real’ rock stars, who would identify himself only as ‘one of the Gallagher brothers from the Brit band Oasis’, “but now every person with over 1000 Twitter followers is calling themselves a rock star.  It’s just not right.  D’ya know what I mean?”

Metallica’s Lars Ulrich was less diplomatic when asked about the lawsuit:  “How many hotel rooms have these Twitter-nerds smashed, man?” he asked.  “How many groupies do they have?  I’m not talking about Facebook friends here, I mean real chicks.”

Ulrich has a point.  A recent study showed that most “social media rock stars” are 50-percent less likely to ransack a hotel room than the average hotel goer, and over 4 times as likely to giggle and turn red when interacting with a member of the opposite sex (Note: not surprisingly, the stats are reversed if the interaction is on Facebook, or Twitter).

The lawsuit, although odd, is not without precedent in the new media community.  In a related case last year, the International Order of Assassins sued the web development community for commonly referring to the best among them as ninjas.  A spokesman for the ancient group of covert Japanese assassins was quoted at the time as saying “just because you can code Ajax well, you shouldn’t be able to go around calling yourself a ninja.  We’ve worked hard to wear the title.  I mean, c’mon, I know 317 ways to kill a man with my bare hands, can an HTML coder say that?”

In what seems to be the only response to the rockers’ lawsuit so far from the social media community, @SocialMediaRockStar78 tweeted earlier this afternoon: “R&R Lawsuit FAIL. SM Rock Stars FTW!!!”

Courts will hear first arguments in the spring.

SG

Posted by: scottgow | January 9, 2010

The Great Social Media Oversell

We all know social media is great by now, right?  We’ve recognized that Twitter, Facebook and the like have moved past “fad” stage and will be with us for a while, right?  We’ve bought into the wealth of opportunities that social media has given us to connect with our customers, expand reach, foster communities and so on.  Haven’t we?

So why do we feel the need to constantly oversell this stuff, making over-inflated claims to make it appear grander than it is?  Twitter is killing mainstream media and brought democracy to Iran.  Social media won the US presidency for Barack Obama.  Much is being made of Dell using Twitter to rake in $6.5M.  $6.5M!  And now, Mashable is heralding social media’s contribution to the $1B+ box office for James Cameron’s Avatar.

Sure it did.

Last time I checked, Cameron’s last mega-blockbuster, Titanic, made near $2B US in worldwide sales.  That was way back in 1997, or, pre-social media. Dell’s $6.5M of Twitter-enabled revenue came on sales of $60B (that’s like, one tenth of a percent of total revenue, a drop in a drop in a bucket). President Obama is easily the most charismatic and persuasive politician this planet has seen in generations.  Oh yeah, and the guy and the party Obama replaced had record low numbers with the voting public.

So easy kids, we get it.  Social media is awesome, way of the future.  But next time you’re wondering aloud why “management just doesn’t seem to get it”, maybe, just maybe they’re being put off by the great social media oversell.

Maybe?

SG

Posted by: scottgow | January 5, 2010

A Good Start: Chicago Bears Apologize for Sucking in ’09

Filed under the category of unexpected, but much needed, the Chicago Bears took out an ad in the paper to admit that they stunk up the joint in 2009.

OK, so they never really come out and say “we’re sorry”, but it’s clear that their furry Bear tails are now located shamefully between their legs. The team honestly (and correctly) admits in the ad that their fans were the only ones that showed up for most games this past season, and that they can definitely do better.

Good on them.

But at 7-9, there are at least 5-10 other teams in the NFL that owe their fans an apology. Where are you, Detroit Lions, St. Louis Rams, et al? And why stop at football? I think the New Jersey Nets, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Pirates  have some explaining to do too. So, how about it guys? How about an apology for consistently putting lackluster teams out there, but continuing to charge for the honour of watching them?

Hopefully more pro sports franchises take notice. The first step is admitting you have a problem. The next is putting a competitive team out there.

SG

Posted by: scottgow | December 31, 2009

Sacrificed for a Whopper in 2009

We didn’t have to wait long to get introduced to the best online campaign of 2009.  It was back in the early weeks of January that Burger King’s Whopper Sacrifice campaign was launched, bringing attention (both good and bad) to the bold burger brand.

Whopper Sacrifice made a simple, somewhat controversial proposal: delete 10 of your Facebook “friends” in exchange for a free Whopper.

Some loved it, some hated it.  Love it or hate it though, the Whopper Sacrifice campaign appeared to be very effective.  Techcrunch reported that 233,906 friends were removed by 82,771 people in less than a week, before Facebook put the kibosh on it (actually, FB only nixed one aspect of the application, BK got additional buzz by playing this into a complete “shut down”).

Here’s why the Whopper Sacrifice campaign was so good:

  1. It got attention.  Good, bad or indifferent, it got people talking.
  2. It hinted at some potential for companies wanting to use social media to schill.
  3. It was “offensive” enough for Facebook to shut it down (or, at least the lingering perception was that it was shut down).  This brought about two new sources of debate/discussion: 1) More opportunities to talk about the WS campaign and BK, and 2) How Facebook fumbled the opportunity for some buzz of their own.
  4. And this was probably my favourite, was that it took the piss out of social networking purists, many of whom were crying “foul”, “friendship is too sacred to be messed with” and “this is against everything that is good and holy about social media”.  Get a life.  And no, not a Second Life.

So congrats BK.  In a year with some misses, Whopper Sacrifice will go down as a big win.

SG

Posted by: scottgow | December 29, 2009

In Praise of Poutine

Fries + Gravy + Cheese Curd = Awesome Eats

I’m in La Belle Province (aka Quebec) over the holidays, and it seems only appropriate that I write a few words to honour the visit.  So, I thought, what better to write about than the Quebec’s greatest contribution to the World’s kitchen table then the glorious poutine?

For the uninitiated, the poutine is a wonderful mix of french fries, gravy and cheese curd.  Not cheese, cheese curd, and best served cold and squeaky too.  Yes, it sounds disgusting.  That’s OK, that was my first reaction too.  I got over it, and big time.  So much so that the Quebecois concoction contributed more than a few pounds to the whopping 35 that I put on in my fourth year of university (OK, so the beer helped too).  In fact, it was a poutine that I shared with my (eventual) wife on the first night we met.

I have four words of advice for you poutine neophytes: hot gravy, cold curds.  Get to your pout’ quick, before the curd melts and the gravy saturates the fries, leaving a hot, gooey mess.

So, to you, the poutine, I say “merci beacoup, et bon appetit”.

SG

Posted by: scottgow | December 20, 2009

Best Damn Viral Campaigns of the Decade

What were your favourite online campaigns of the past decade?

The folks over at GoViral.com want to know, and to help narrow it down, they’ve shortlisted 40 of the best campaigns from the past ten years.  The polls are open to whittle that list down to 10.

They’ve offered up a bunch of memorable campaigns to choose from, among them:  Dove’s esteem-building “Evolution” campaign; Burger King’s surprisingly interactive “Subservient Chicken”;  and Blendtec’s just plain cool “Will it Blend”.  They also have some sweet “mini movies” from BMW starring Clive Owen, and have given the obligatory nod to (now) President Obama’s online presidential campaign.  Oh, and they have one from lingerie maker Agent Provocateur starring Kylie Minougue that is sure to be a favourite of at least half the population.  Have I got your attention now?  Good.

Check the full list of 40 at GoViral’s Top 10 Online Game Changers.

One of my favourites comes from early in the decade – pre-YouTube – and still ranks as one of the funniest damn things that the Interwebs have brought into my life, John West’s Kick-boxing Kodiak Bear:

SG

Posted by: scottgow | December 11, 2009

My (Somewhat Questionable) PR Advice for Tiger Woods

Mr. Woods,

May I call you Tiger?  Tiger, I know you’re having a tough time right now, what with TMZ camping out on your front lawn, your female “friends” coming out of the woodwork, spilling all that stuff they promised never to talk about, and the like.

So I thought you could use some help.

Now, I’m not in PR or anything, but I’m not going to let that stop me from giving you some advice anyway.  I’m going to go out on on a limb and assume that, judging by the way you’ve been tight-lipped to this point, my advice is probably opposite to that which you are getting now.

First, after Nike, remember that you’re schilling  for the likes of Cadillac, AMEX, Titleist, TAG Heuer, etc.  In other words, you are selling to older, richer, whiter golfers, many of whom have probably had a little “action on the side” in their own right.  So to them, I say you state a simple fact, followed by a simple question, like this: “Hey fellas, c’mon, I’m Tiger Woods…  wouldn’t you?”  After the standard expressions of disgust followed by some thought, many of these guys would say “you know what, he’s got a point there, play on!”

But that won’t work for everybody.  So, for all the rest, here’s my three-step plan for you:

  1. Admit you have a sex addiction, and announce that David Duchovny is going to take you under his wing to mentor you through your troubling times.  He got through it, so will you;
  2. Tell the world to screw off, it’s none of their business.  It really isn’t, despite what every media outlet and busy body thinks;
  3. Finish with cute tagline that will stick, and both define your “let’s move on” objective, while winning back some of the hearts and minds that you lost over the past couple of weeks.  I’m thinking something along the lines of “can I play through now?” (they’ll eat that golf metaphor up with a tabloid spoon).

That’s it.  You’re welcome.

SG

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