As of June 15, 2021 Google Play Movies Becomes YouTube

Caught this news first in my email, courtesy of Google. They are ditching Google Play Movies & TV and putting your library of purchased movies & TV shows, if you have any, under your YouTube account. I just checked and our half dozen or so movies are there already.

Yes, don’t worry, you aren’t losing any of your existing movies & TV shows. This is purely a reorganizational move. It isn’t like what Walmart did with Vudu (see: Fandango Buys Vudu from Walmart – What Does This Mean For Both Services?). In reality when Walmart went after Amazon with their Walmart+ service, they should have kept Vudu and competed more directly against Prime Video as an added feature for members, but that is just our opinion (see: Walmart Plus launches September 15, maybe they should have kept Vudu)

Does this mean Google Play is going away completely or is it being kept only for apps and games? The word “play” doesn’t really invoke movie watching, it sounds much more interactive and fits games better. You can’t buy movies and TV shows on Steam, so maybe that is the direction Google Play is headed competitively.

Google is no stranger to moving and shutting down its services. Just do a simple Google search and you’ll see how many services they’ve shut down over the years (Wikipedia maintains a Discontinued Google Services page). Again, this isn’t a complete shutdown, just reorganization of content from one service to another and Google Play will remain, only not for movies & TV. YouTube is more logically suited, especially since they have the YouTube TV streaming live TV service they are selling. Our guess is what this is about, to keep these services together and to not require their customers to app skip to watch movie and TV shows in their libraries.

Still, when I think of YouTube, it is user-created video content, podcasts and the like, not Hollywood movies and TV shows. You? Maybe this is my own hangup. Keep in mind we have our own YouTube channel for Just Left Theateer Movie Reviews — so we obviously support YouTube. If you haven’t subscribed, please do. Every movie we see in theater we record a video as we leave the theater — or as shortly thereafter as we can.

Feel free to speculate or share what you know in the comments below.

That Time Amazon Admitted Its Drivers Sometimes Have To Pee In Bottles

What else is yellow and watery-oriented than the Yellow Submarine? Hmm …

The pandemic has raised all kinds of unusual changes to our lives, both business and personal. We’ve stated here several times before that we’ve felt tremendously blessed to be able to keep working this entire time, as both our jobs are deemed essential, but that hasn’t been the case for others and our hearts go out to them.

Amazon certainly has enjoyed even more business during the pandemic, leading to an increase in deliveries and need for their delivery drivers. However, a lot of public restrooms have closed leaving a very real problem for drivers who need to go the bathroom and have, well, not so many choices.

Amazon says that “a typical Amazon fulfillment center has dozens of restrooms, and employees are able to step away from their work station at any time.” However, the company acknowledged that this isn’t always true for its delivery drivers. “We know that drivers can and do have trouble finding restrooms because of traffic or sometimes rural routes, and this has been especially the case during Covid when many public restrooms have been closed,” Amazon wrote.

Amazon admits its drivers sometimes have to pee in bottles | Ars Technica

So, this post is a stretch as it relates to movies, but Amazon Prime Video is a streaming service and we often talk about movies that are too long and require bathroom breaks (see: Need A Bathroom Break During the Movie? Runpee to the rescue).

On a less tongue-firmly-in-cheek note, Amazon needs to come up with some sort of high tech bathroom service for drivers. Perhaps drones fly in a urinal to the delivery driver’s location? We’re in 2021 and sure, the pandemic is still on, but Amazon’s delivery drivers should have some sort of option beyond peeing in bottles.

Eddie Murphy interested in Coming To America 3

Coming 2 America ⭐️⭐️⭐️ took too many years to come to fruition, but Eddie Murphy is reportedly already interested in planning a third movie.

“Coming 2 America” the long-awaited sequel might have just been released, but star Eddie Murphy already wants a third film and he wants costume designer Ruth E. Carter to return. The two sat down for Variety’s “Dream Teams” sequel to discuss their latest collaboration, and Murphy is planning, but audiences don’t have to wait thirty years, “You have to do next time,” he tells Carter. “[Set] sixteen years from now.”

Eddie Murphy and Ruth E. Carter on “Coming 2 America” Collaboration – Variety

If they do a Coming To America 3, then it needs to focus more on Murphy’s character Akeem. Murphy should be the centerpiece of the comedy, not other, younger actors. Arsenio Hall and he are and should always be the central characters in this franchise. It’s a little like having an Indiana Jones with Indy not being the central character. That was my main beef with Coming 2 America, and hopefully we’ll get more Hall and Murphy if there is a third movie.

Do you want to see another Coming To America sequel or are you done with the franchise? While they’re at it, how about Trading Places sequel or (gasp) Another Another 48 Hours? Murphy is already working on more Axel Foley in another Beverly Hills Cop sequel.

William Shatner, Age 90, Says He “Never” Has Watched Star Trek The Original Series

Is this an April Fool’s joke on all of us a week early(?). While we’re posting this on April 1, it was a story that bubbled to the forefront a week earlier. It’s one of those raise your eyebrows really high stories.

After seeing The Father ⭐️½ recently, I’m wondering if maybe William Shatner should have starred in it instead of Anthony Hopkins. That’s not a slight against Captain Kirk, but when he claims at age 90 that he has “never” watched any of Star Trek The Original Series I’m extremely skeptical that he simply has forgotten.

“I have never watched Star Trek,” he said. “There are many episodes I don’t know, there are some movies I don’t know.” He added that he did watch one of the franchise’s many movies, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, but only because he directed it.

William Shatner Reveals He Has ‘Never Watched’ an Episode of Star Trek : ‘It’s All Painful’

I believe he hasn’t watched any episodes lately, after all TOS was made in the mid 60s. That’s almost 50 years ago. Shatner’s classic over-emphasis acting as Kirk had to be something he watched back then, especially when the series took off. He never wanted to see how the TV series was edited, especially when he directed Star Trek V? Yeah, the one Star Trek he admits watching?

Just doesn’t pass the smell test. I mean, think about all the Star Trek conventions, the fans, the lore, much of which Shatner has shunned, it seems, but I’m having a hard time believing this isn’t his age, some sort of senility in play, versus any sort of reality.

Shatner is legendary. He’s played Kirk, of course (Star Trek), TJ Hooker and Denny Crane (Boston Legal) just to name three iconic characters on three different TV series. He’s also getting up there in age. 90 is the new 80, so hopefully — if he’s able to — he’ll continue to star in other movies and TV shows.. Betty White has done it, so why not him?

Respectfully, I’m not buying that he “never” watched Star Trek. Do you?

T-Mobile Gives Up On Live TV Service TVision, Will Promote YouTube TV Instead

That was quick. Really quick, as it was merely last November 2020 that T-Mobile launched their live TV service TVision (see: T-Mobile TVision Launch Packages May Change Due To Possible Contract Violations) and are already throwing in the towel, opting to promote YouTube TV instead.

The cellphone carrier said Monday it will wind down the service, called TVision, on April 29 and steer its wireless customers toward Google’s YouTube TV instead. Rival online video packages from Sony Corp. and others have shut operations or raised prices on live-TV service to keep up with programmers that continue to raise their fees.

T-Mobile to wind down live TV services, offer YouTube TV | Fox Business

Live TV on streaming is an ever-changing landscape and prices are moving. Just speculating here, but T-Mobile probably jumped in before realizing that the bottom is falling out of the Live TV marketplace. I saw another article recently that focused on just how many people are getting rid of Live TV for streaming options. That’s the market TVision was looking to get into, but there are a boatload of options there already, the strongest that might be those that are ad-supported (Tubi, Philo, Xumo, the list goes on).

In the pay Live TV space there’s Hulu and YouTube TV, among others. We don’t pay for any Live TV. None. With a bunch of paid streaming channels we subscribe to, AMC A-List Stubs for watching new movies in theaters, plus an active interest in playing videogames, sleep and work — ahh, yes, the biggest devil in the details of time spent — there’s just not much left for watching Live TV. The occasional live sports event might be our only time to turn anything live.

How much Live TV are you watching these days? No change? Some, none, less, more (that would be interesting!)?

More $30 Disney+ Premiere Love Shown as Black Widow and Cruella to receive release in theaters and Same Day Streaming

Either Disney doesn’t have as much faith in theaters yet or they are doing better with their $30 premier surcharge on Disney+ than they are letting on. Alas, Black Widow and Cruella are not going to be exclusive to theaters only, says the House of Mouse.

Notably, “Black Widow” and “Cruella” will now premiere on Disney Plus at the same time they open in theaters. “Cruella” is arriving as scheduled on May 28, while “Black Widow” has been pushed back two months and will debut on July 9 instead of May 7. Both titles will be offered on Premier Access, which comes with a $30 rental fee.

‘Black Widow,’ ‘Cruella’ to Debut on Disney Plus and in Theaters – Variety

We haven’t taken the $30 plunge to rent any of the Disney+ Premiere releases to date and likely won’t be doing so for either of these films. If you’ve paid $30 for any of them to date or plan to skip theaters then please let us know in the comments below.

There is something about a $30 rental fee that just sticks us the wrong way. It might be what Disney did with Mulan (see: The Disney+ Mulan Premium Digital Launch Fiasco). We’d rather spend $30 on popcorn and candy in the theater along with our AMC Stubs List pass. I think large popcorn, 2 drinks and candy run close to $30 + we get those nice recliner seats. I know, I know, but watching at home you can pause, rewind, etc. Pros and cons to both, but we still prefer when possible to see most new movies in theaters.

We might be in the minority on this, but something tells me when people feel it’s safe to go out in larger numbers, more will agree. Regal is planning on reopening their theaters in the United States in April, also, so both should be open in time for both of these releases.

Sharon Osbourne Gone From The Talk TV Show and Suing CBS

CBS has come to a decision, or Sharon Osbourne has, following an investigation into a discussion involving racism on The Talk TV show: Osbourne is the last original member of the show to exit. The Talk will resume April 12.

You can watch the clip in question below, but to summarize the situation in case it’s taken down, Osbourne was defending herself for defending her friend, Piers Morgan over his comments regarding Megan Markle. Morgan said he thought Markle was lying in her interview with Oprah. Osbourne says for the 10+ years on The Talk she was always involved in every segment planning but when she was questioned about her friend the producers didn’t include her in the segment discussion and caught her off guard.

Here is the exchange between Osbourne and co-host Sheryl Underwood.

CBS put the show on hiatus and investigated.

“The events of the March 10 broadcast were upsetting to everyone involved, including the audience watching at home. As part of our review, we concluded that Sharon’s behavior toward her cohosts during the March 10 episode did not align with our values for a respectful workplace. We also did not find any evidence that CBS executives orchestrated the discussion or blindsided any of the hosts,” the statement obtained by Us Weekly read. “At the same time, we acknowledge the network and studio teams, as well as the showrunners, are accountable for what happened during that broadcast as it was clear the cohosts were not properly prepared by the staff for a complex and sensitive discussion involving race.”

Sharon Osbourne Exits ‘The Talk’ After Controversy

What sinks Osbourne in this exchange with Underwood the most isn’t sticking up for Morgan, it’s her tense exchange with Underwood, her friend. It’s disturbing when she admonishes her, telling her not to cry. I thought this was the most telling part of what Sharon Osbourne is like behind the scenes. I mean really like. There are other allegations where Osbourne has said some wild things about former hosts. Who knows if any of that is true, but it has the blood in the water and sharks circling feel to it.

I don’t know Sharon Osbourne, other than her work as manager of her husband Ozzy and the reality show The Osbournes. She’s very well known as a ruthless manager in the music business, but credit her for being one of the most dominant women in the music industry. She is rare in that mostly men play the tough band manager role and she’s somewhat pioneered and carved out that women can be a force in this as well — good for her doing that, of course. She clearly has managed Ozzy’s career in a very profitable way. I don’t think her business savvy can or should be overlooked.

Many music fans, myself included, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate the decision (largely attributed to Sharon Osbourne) to re-record the drums and bass tracks for Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman with different band members when there were legal disputes raised about royalties from original drummer Lee Kerslake and Bob Daisley. Their lawsuit wasn’t successful and it took its toll financially on Kerslake and Daisley. The former, Kerslake just wanted to get a platinum record as acknowledgment for his work when he was sick and dying, which the Osbournes did finally send with get well wishes. Also, the original bass and drums were restored. That, to me, was a terrible, terrible act. You don’t try and erase music history no matter what the band members you worked with do. They could murder people and you still don’t go back and try and erase their existence in music history.

But none of that had anything to do with race. Kerslake and Daisley are both white. This situation with defending her friend, Piers Morgan and her own actions on The Talk are different.

In the back of my mind, I was waiting for Sharon Osbourne to implode somehow. To say and/or do something outrageous that forced her off this show. The fact she made it 10+ years on a talk show giving her opinion on things only to have this situation be her undoing — either because she agreed to quit so she wasn’t fired or because she simply quit — just seems like she was living on borrowed time.

Something tells me there is more to Sharon Osbourne than meets the eye. But is she racist? That’s a heavy accusation. Everyone will have to make their own decision with that. I will admit, despite not finding her to be very personally likable, well, ever I’m not aware of any other time anybody has said she was racist. Is this situation racist? You, friendly readers, can decide. I think whatever the truth is, Sharon Osbourne is one way in front of the camera and public and another way when the cameras are off. I’m sure that’s true for a lot of people, not just Sharon, though. Defending a friend accused of racist actions, doesn’t necessarily brand you a racist.

Sharon isn’t letting this go. She’s lawyered up and suing CBS (source).

What do you think? Do you even care about Sharon Osbourne? She’s off the show now, if you watch the show, will you stop watching it? I have seen the show a few times. It’s a CBS knockoff of The View. I’m not much into daytime talk shows, so Sharon O being off the show isn’t going to matter that much to me. What about you?

I’m more curious when and if Ozzy will ever tour live again and seeing that proposed biopic (see: Ozzy Osbourne “Very Adult” Biopic Under Development, Says Rocker’s Wife). Maybe now that Sharon is off the show giving her grandmotherly opinions (and every talk show should have someone elderly on it, btw), she’ll have more time to plot and plan Ozzy’s return — or alas, his retirement from the music business. Ozzy has earned his retirement. Sharon is 68 years old, maybe it’s time for her and Ozzy to just chill out and enjoy their remaining years out of the public spotlight?

Congrats to Promising Young Woman for 5 Oscar Nominations

Promising Young Woman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Time to celebrate, if even only one or two of the five nominations come to actual wins. It’s an honor just being nominated and in our opinion this was among the best films released in the last year.

The film made history this week, landing five Oscars nominations: picture, editing and actress (Mulligan’s second run at the award), as well as original screenplay and director for Emerald Fennell. With her debut feature, Fennell has become the first British woman to be nominated for the director prize. This is the first year in which two women (Fennell and Nomadland’s Chloé Zhao) are in the running; they are only the sixth and seventh women to be shortlisted.

‘It’s wild!’ Carey Mulligan and Emerald Fennell on making Oscars history | Promising Young Woman | The Guardian

Will Mulligan win? After seeing the movie, I’m glad we can put out to pasture the ridiculous notion that she didn’t look hot enough for the role (see: Is An Actor’s Physical Appearance Off Limits In Reviews? Carey Mulligan Challenges Variety Review) She should win. Fennell as director? Maybe she should. What about the screenplay? Creative, cool and timely.

The other thing that makes me think this film will win at some of these five nominations is that it fits the current trend (is that the right word?) of women getting more attention for their creative efforts, not only their acting, in Hollywood. I’ve been a fan of several women filmmakers rising in talent and notoriety in recent years.

Have you seen Promising Young Woman yet? If not, take a look, come back, and let’s discuss it in the comments below. How many of these five nominations should win? All five? One or two? None? What do you think?

Comcast Holds Off On Implementing New Data Plan for Northeast Customers

Feeling like you’re held hostage by your ISP? Just ask Daphne from Scooby-Doo!

Internet and phone companies are two types of companies Americans love to hate — and for good reasons. During a pandemic, Comcast was planning to set usage caps on more customers, notably those located in the Northeast states, forcing heavy users toward their more expensive unlimited plan.

Those plans have now been delayed until 2022.

“We are delaying implementation of our new data plan in our Northeast markets until 2022,” Comcast said. “We recognize that our data plan was new for our customers in the Northeast, and while only a very small percentage of customers need additional data, we are providing them with more time to become familiar with the new plan.” But there’s nothing to become familiar with. The restrictions are glorified price hikes imposed on the backs of customers who already pay some of the highest prices for broadband in the developed world thanks to limited competition. So while a reprieve was welcomed, experts have long warned that the restrictions shouldn’t exist in the first place. 

Comcast Backs Off Plan to Expand Dumb, Unnecessary Broadband Caps

Seems like this is good news for those this data change will eventually impact — at least for a little while.

We have a few alternatives to Comcast in our area, but they are sort of the best of the worst. We had DSL through the phone company once upon a time. Comcast/Xfinity/whatever they want to call themselves was better. We keep hoping that somebody else will come along with an alternative: Amazon, Google, the satellite service from Mr. Tesla — something.

Regardless what happens with Comcast and their Peacock streaming service, they still have internet — and that’s a major cash cow (see: As Long As Comcast Charges For Internet Services They Should Be OK). Speaking of Peacock, it’s currently our least watched subscribed streaming service.

Who is your ISP? Do you like them? Feel like their prices are fair and reasonable?

Disney Classifying Streaming as “Home Video” to keep 80% of Older Show Royalties

Is it just us or does it seem like Disney’s accounting department, especially when it comes to royalty payments takes creativity very seriously? Remember the issue recently with author Alan Dean Foster and others (see: Alan Dean Foster Isn’t The Only Author Not Receiving Royalties from Disney says The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America)

Get this:

For years, Disney has been keeping 80% of the revenue from older shows that it distributes to streaming platforms, leaving only 20% to be available to stars and other profit participants. It does so by classifying the revenue as “home video.” Under a formula dating from the introduction of the VCR, Disney subtracts an 80% royalty to its in-house distributor to cover the costs of distribution.

Disney Takes 80% of Streaming Revenue by Calling It ‘Home Video’ – Variety

No false illusions, Disney is a business and it seeks to make deals that benefits their business. It’s too bad that so much money is made off the backs of creative people. New technology rolls in, creative works seem to become less valuable except the biggest corporations that “own” the publishing rights.

I can see why creative people are fighting back, but it just bolsters the idea the only way to get around this is to keep your publishing rights. Self-publish. The minute you sign a pact with one of these major studios you’re giving up the lion’s share of profits from the publishing and distribution. Some deals these companies make benefit the creative people, but the older contracts don’t seem to have a way of dealing with new technology.

In time this will change.