BAD IDEA? AT&T Considering Viewing Ads on Cell Phone Reducing Bill a Few Bucks a Month

Nolan Sorrento tells the board that they can control up to 80% of the viewing area without causing seizure from excess ads (from the movie Ready, Player One)

Ads, everywhere ads, ads, ads. Movies, TV, you name it.

Remember Ready, Player One ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ the evil Nolan Sorrento wanted to put ads everywhere in the viewing space. It was a selling point if he took over the Oasis and could control the viewer area. This sort of ad intrusion is what ruins user experiences to the point of driving us away.

But FREE with ads means we can do more without $$$. Time is valuable or they wouldn’t make the offer. Our time is limited on earth and we should limit it being recipients for people trying to sell us stuff. The money you might spend avoiding the ads to begin with is probably less than what your impulses do with shopping. Aye, the rub.

While it might sound like I’m completely anti-advertising, I’m definitely not. Certainly not from a business standpoint. Even from a customer/user, ads are just fine in moderation and I, too, will click and buy from them sometimes.

The problem is too many people showing them on sites/apps/etc. don’t understand the concept of less is more. Subtle text ads in Google and Gmail are what made them what they are today. Don’t get me started on the excess advertising on FREE streaming sites like Crackle. How anybody can endure that streaming experience? Has it gotten better? Somebody let me know when it improves and I’ll give their site another try. In the meantime, whenever any movie I want to see is only streaming on Crackle, I pass.

So, not sure about you, but I hate the idea of viewing (even more!) ads on our cell phones, intrusively bugging us when simply trying to perform basic routine phone tasks. I use my phone to make phone calls, send text messages, take pictures, videos and email for business and personal use. I rarely even play games on my phone, although do have a few installed. Would rather use my tablet — bigger screen — for games. Also rarely use my phone to watch movies, again because of the screen size, see: Where Do You MOST Watch Movies? (Theater, TV, Computer, Tablet, Phone)

Surely, they won’t block quick calling 911 for emergency by showing some stupid game ad first. Hey, I’m bleeding out, but first need to watch Candy Crush ad before I can dial 9-1-1.

Absurd. I’m joking, that’s probably not even legal to do, but AT&T is certainly looking at adding ads and giving customers the option to view them and save a few bucks every month.

AT&T (NYSE:T) CEO John Stankey recently told Reuters that the telecom giant could launch ad-subsidized wireless plans within a year. Stankey claimed a “segment” of its customer base would likely accept some advertising on their phones “for a $5 or $10 reduction” in their monthly bills.

Would You View Ads for Cheaper Phone Service? AT&T Bets Yes

Saving $5-10/month when we pay hundreds a month now (family plan, live 5+ phones on there) is not even close to worth it. We’ll pass.

Would you enable ads on your cell phone even further interrupting what you do to save $5-10/month?

Paramount No Longer Making Star Trek Movies, Citing Not Enough Interest

From an episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks

The sequel to the last Star Trek movie, Star Trek: Beyond, only known as Star Trek 4, is now officially dead.

Paramount is going a step further, according to the article below, and saying they are no longer in the business of making Star Trek movies. Just not enough interest. Ouch.

Talking about the state of Star Trek at Paramount our source says, “Paramount is no longer in the business of making Star Trek movies. They see it more as a television property and aren’t willing to invest in future Star Trek movies anymore. If one of the shows on CBS takes off that could change, but those shows aren’t generating enough interest.”

Exclusive: Star Trek 4 Is Cancelled, Paramount No Longer Making Star Trek Movies

Whatever Trek TV series that generates enough interest for a film remains to be seen. Nothing currently in play seems to count, which includes everything Alex Kurtzman is involved with.

Our guess is it’s not going to be a movie based on the animated TV show Star Trek: Lower Decks. We are in the process of reviewing the first season and it’s been more of a job at times than fun. That’s a nice way of saying the show isn’t very good. Instead of recommending anybody see that, go see the original animated series from 1973. We’re going to be reviewing that on Saturdays after the first season of Scooby Doo is fully reviewed. Have a few more episodes of that to get through and then that will start.

As for Lower Decks? Might be bailing on that like we did with Picard (see: Done Watching and Reviewing Star Trek: Picard). Even though it’s coming from Mike McMahan (see: Hey Trekkies, Mike McMahan is one of you), the wizard behind the much funnier Rick and Morty, Lower Decks just fails to find a humorous groove. At times it is entertaining, which is more than could have been said about Picard, but it’s not something I look forward to watching every week. For that reason, we might be done reviewing that series. Have tried to watch episode 7 multiple times but the character Beckett Mariner is so annoying it just has me changing channels.

This leaves Star Trek: Strange New Worlds as the next TV series in development. That’s going to take us back to Captain Pike and pre-TOS (The Original Series). Will that be any good? Kurtzman has promised it will be an alien and/or new planet of the week story, instead of the continuing storyline like Picard. Will it be optimistic and hopeful or dark and dreary? That’s the million dollar quesion.

Alex Kurtzman is two years into his five year deal making Star Trek for CBS. Since he’s the showrunner, the blame for the lackluster Trek needs to reside with him.

Until Star Trek gets back to doing what made it special, and perhaps that doesn’t happen with Kurtzman, we shouldn’t expect any significant surge in interest. Hardcore fans are even struggling to enjoy Kurtzman Trek. It does make a difference who is in the driver’s seat of these series.

Should any movie star be paid $50 million for 2-picture sequel deal in current movie era? Case in point: Joaquin Phoenix

Joker ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ 

Joaquin Phoenix gave a brilliant performance in 2019 as the laughing hyena comic book villain Joker. Taking nothing away from him or any other actor, but in the current movie business climate a company like WarnerMedia — that is deeply in debt — offering an actor $50 million for a two picture sequel deal is nuts.

Is Phoenix worth the money? He might very well be. I mean, WarnerMedia must be thinking we can bank another $1-2 billion in sequel money.

The problem is this isn’t 2019 and moviegoers aren’t going to as many movies in the theater. Will they be in 2021? Maybe, maybe not. 2022 will life in the cinema be back to “normal”? That’s a long shot bet.

Joker star Joaquin Phoenix has reportedly been offered $50 million for two sequels to the Batman spinoff film. The Mirror claims to have an inside source who is claiming that, “Joaquin initially felt Joker was a standalone movie. But he’s changed his tune now. He says he wants to play this character again, despite the controversies that came with the release last year. “It’s still being negotiated but the scripts are being written and Joaquin is very engaged with it.” This is a big jump from the much more ambivalent stance that Joker Todd Phillips had about Joker 2, back at the start of 2020.

Joker Star Joaquin Phoenix Rumored to Be Offered $50 Million for Two Sequels

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying people shouldn’t get paid what they’re worth and if Phoenix can get the $50 million deal, if it is truly offered to him up front, my goodness especially for his family and his own personal situation, he should take it.

From a business standpoint, however, WarnerMedia should offer Phoenix something more “modest” (cough!) like a couple million per picture and points on the back end that could possibly earn the actor more than $25 million if the sequels perform at $X level. That gives Phoenix skin in the entire deal’s performance and the possibility to make even more than $25 million per film, but also potentially a lot less if the films do not make anywhere close to the amount of the first film.

In fairness, we don’t know the specifics of this alleged deal made to Phoenix, and maybe it’s structured closely to how I described, so keep that in mind. Still, the timing of this story and the offer being leaded and/or made public is suspect. Especailly when WarnerMedia is laying off workers that make a pittance of the money described here (see: Majority of DC Universe staff have been laid off by WarnerMedia, report says). It could also be a negotiating tactic on Phoenix’s part, perhaps through an agent, wanting to test the water. We don’t have the specific details, so it makes it harder to speculate.

Keeping it real, but most sequels don’t earn anywhere close to the first film. Superhero films admittedly are different in that regard, because they tend to be more episodic like TV and can span multiple films reaching an epic arc or conclusion (a la Avengers).

What do you think? Stupid for any studio in these current cinematic times to be writing checks for large amounts of money for a film that won’t even be released for 2-3+ years? Or do you think the studio is smart to lock up Phoenix while he’s willing to star in more Joker films?

On Cobra Kai Johnny Lawrence drinks alone with Coors Banquet, “…yeah, with nobody else!”

Product placement in Cobra Kai for Coors Banquet beer

In Cobra Kai, there’s some effective product placement with Coors Banquet beer as Johnny Lawrence’ (Billy Zapka) favorite alcoholic beverage.

“I haven’t really drank a Coors Banquet on the set, because all of that’s water and iced tea, so I can’t totally vouch for it yet,” he said. “But the bottles look cool, man.” “I should be getting paid by Coors for all of this,” Zabka said.

Ralph Macchio and Billy Zabka Spill on Their ‘Cobra Kai’ Drinks of Choice

The TV show Cobra Kai often has 80s rock music playing, and they missed a great opportunity to license “I drink alone” by George Thorogood and The Destroyers when Johnny Lawrence is hitting the skids.

Other music featured in the series includes Boston (“Don’t Look Back”), Ratt (“Round and Round”), REO Speedwagon (“Take It On The Run”) and more.

Cobra Kai, seasons 1 & 2 is available for streaming on Netflix. Season 3 will be released at some point in 2021.

Walmart Plus launches September 15, maybe they should have kept Vudu

When Walmart sold their streaming service, Vudu, earlier this year (see: Fandango Buys Vudu from Walmart – What Does This Mean For Both Services?) I was puzzled. Now that they are launching their Walmart+ service on September 15, it would make even more sense to have had the streaming service to offer as a perk for subscribers, like Amazon does with Prime Video. I know Vudu has movies for FREE with ads similar to IMDB, but they could also have had some videos without ads for their Walmart+ subscribers.

Oh well, that will not be one of the perks of Walmart+.

Walmart’s most significant competitor for on-demand subscription service is, of course, Amazon Prime, where users have access to similar benefits such as free two-day and even one-day shipping on eligible items. There are other perks from the online sales giant, too, like Prime Video, Twitch, Amazon Pantry, Amazon Fresh and more. Those additional benefits come at a slightly higher annual cost

Walmart Plus: What you need to know about the new service

Walmart+ is available for just under $100 in our area and the free delivery service for minimum orders of $35. No idea if we’ll be signing up and trying Walmart+, because we tend to do the bulk of our grocery shopping at Winco Foods (prices are better, but you do have to bag your purchases).

I like the idea of Walmart’s Scan and Go service that lets you pay while you shop and skip the cash register lines.

Anybody else interested in Walmart+?

What if The Mandalorian focuses on new characters halfway through season 2?

Maybe just me, but was Pedro Pascal’s character really the focus of season 1 anyway? Mando roams around with the bounty hunter helmet on, expressionless and often with a very dry, yet effective delivery (credit Pascal there). It was all about Baby Yoda, er, The Child. Everybody wanted Mando’s playful, cute alien buddy and Mando was the guardian.

An update follows for: Do “BIG” problems exists with The Mandalorian Season 2?

Not going to label this a spoiler, because I put the credibility of these rumors at less than 10% accurate. And, even if the rumors are somewhat true, it might fit the story perfectly. It’s a weak spoiler at best anyway, since we don’t know what the other characters would be — again, only if true — and if those characters stories turn out to be entertaining none of this speculation matters.

My money is on Jon Favreau. I’m not blindly loyal to his work, but believe he’ll do us good, whatever the drama behind the scenes.

Hurry up, we need to see The Mandalorian season 2 already, because the rumor mill is working overtime trying to make us not like season 2 before it debuts next month. It won’t work for me, I’m going to tune in and form my own opinion, episode by episode. The first season was just way too good to completely fall apart in season two.

Maybe.

Mando, it seems, might not be 100% the main focus throughout the entire second season. Pedro Pascal “might” (emphasis on that word) have had some sort of problem on set, so much that the creatives may have decided to focus on other characters at the mid-point of season 2.

Again, while Grace doesn’t say the problems are specifically about Pedro Pascal, if I had to guess judging by what she said above, it sounds like while filming Season 2, Pascal had problems with someone on the set (possibly an exec), which might have actually caused Pascal to walk off the set (or even be told to walk off the set), as they didn’t use Pascal to film following the halfway mark of Season 2 and instead, since Pascal wasn’t around, used other characters to finish the season.

Star Wars Powder Keg: Pedro Pascal Problems With Mandalorian | Cosmic Book News

All pure rumor and speculation, so don’t get too tied up in this being reality, but Grace Randolph has apparently been right with her sources in the past. More than throw a dart at a board and hit a bullseye right, so she’s worth at least a second or third consideration.

If the other character is Baby Yoda’s origin, is that such a bad thing? I know, I know, the title character should be the main focus, but it was about the duo in the first season more than only Mando. The story might have been more about The Child than Mando, in fact.

I wouldn’t be put off if they dug into the lore behind whatever race The Child is and had less focus on Mando. The fact, if true, that there might have been creative tensions on set isn’t necessarily game changing news. You get creative people and execs on set and conflicting viewpoints are bound to be manifested.

There is also the possibility that Boba Fett is another character explored. That also would interest me. So, these are just two possible alternate character lore that season two could get into that don’t focus on Mando and they might be darn interesting storylines to explore.

Sometimes rumors help to hype up watching something, and I think whatever this alleged kerfuffle with Pascal is, does that here.

We’ll find out what’s really happening soon. I’m not going to let the parade be rained on and neither should you, friendly readers. We’ll replenish and recharge our anti-Mando shields. Wish season two was here already! You?

The Mandalorian Season 2 will start streaming on Disney+ October 30, 2020. If it’s like last season, it will be a new episode every week or so taking us a couple months to cycle through the 8 episodes.

Michael Winslow The Man of 10,000 Sound Effects Deserves Bigger Stardom

Police Academy films available during HBO Max launch

If you’ve seen any of the Police Academy movies you’re familiar with Larvell Jones, The Human Sound Machine. He’s a standup comedian who seemingly can imitate any sound effect, including the raging guitar sounds of Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin and Eddie Van Halen once traded guitar licks with him in 1987.

Still, the biggest surprise was Winslow, the comedian best-known as Larvell Jones a.k.a. the human sound machine from Police Academy. Winslow and Van Halen traded riffs, with Eddie wailing on his axe while Winslow provided impressively realistic guitar-like vocals. “They were dueling,” Plastik recalled, “with Eddie playing a lick and Michael voicing it back.”

See Eddie Van Halen Jam With ‘Police Academy”s Sound Effects Guy

But this performance is nothing compared to Winslow’s Jimi Hendrix “Purple Haze” imitation.

This “Purple Haze” imitation will blow you away

Winslow’s filmography is not commiserate to the otherworldly vocal talents he possesses. Why hasn’t this guy broke through bigger than he has? The cliche “criminally underrated” easily applies here.

Linda Hamilton’s twin sister, that also starred in Terminator 2, dead at 63

Terminator: Dark Fate ⭐️⭐️½

From the something we didn’t know department: Sarah Connor, played by Linda Hamilton in three Terminator movies actually has a twin sister who also played her double in the darling of the franchise T2: Judgment Day.

Her sister’s name: Leslie Hamilton Freas.

Leslie was Linda’s double in the 1991 science fiction movie “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” and appeared in several scenes. Linda portrayed Sarah Connor in that and other Terminator movies. In her scenes as a double, Leslie played Sarah when the character was farther away from the camera view while Linda played the Sarah character who was in focus.

Sister of Terminator 2 star chose nursing career in South Jersey

Sadly, Leslie just passed away at 63, and sounds like it was unexpected. The details behind her death have not been published. That’s a younger old age in today’s times when people are living well into their 80s, 90s and some 100+ (see: Brutal reminder we’re all aging – Macaulay Culkin turns 40, Sean Connery 90).

Everybody knew Linda Hamilton had a stunt double, but having a double for non-stunt work that’s a twin sister is at least a somewhat rare circumstance in Hollywoon.

The article doesn’t say if Leslie was in the first Terminator movie or the most recent, and largely dismissed, Dark Fate, but guessing no in either of those cases. It makes some sense that her sister would be included in T2, since James Cameron and Hamilton were married. A little bit of shared family love.

Saw another article recently where the author insists the only way another Terminator movie would succeed is if James Cameron is in the director’s chair. Agree that Cameron would be better in the director’s chair than Tim Miller, but not sure even Cameron should bother with another movie at this point.

Instead, the more logical path is something like Cobra Kai has done with Karate Kid. Show us something with the classic characters in a TV series. I know, I know, they did Sarah Connor Chronicles, and that was promising, but in this day of streaming TV shows everywhere, a Terminator TV series — after enough time has passed to let the stink from Dark Fate dissipate — would give a chance to rebuild faith in the embattled franchise that has suffered basically four weak sequels since T2.

Did you know that Linda Hamilton had a twin sister that starred in T2? Any other stars with twin doubles you can think of? This makes a good trivia question.

Cobra Kai Creators Interested In Applying The Same Magic To Back To The Future – but no interest from that camp … yet

When we think about movies we’d like to see continued as web series, several come to mind. I would not have listed The Karate Kid as one of them.

And then we watched season 1. It’s the type of sequel that reminds you what is possible if characters we loved from classic movies are respected and return.

Cobra Kai as of Friday August 28, all 20 episodes from Season 1 & 2, are available to stream. We watched the first season 10 episodes and thought it was excellent. Still working on Season 2. Almost a guarantee that reviews of all 20 episodes will be making their way here at some point in the future. Those with Netflix who liked the first Karate Kid movie should put Cobra Kai on your priority watchlist ASAP. It’s #1 on the Netflix charts and well-deserved.

It turns out the co-creators behind Cobra Kai are interested in taking their “where are those characters at now” to the Back to the Future universe.

What I can say is we love the Back to the Future universe as much as we love the Karate Kid universe. Those characters equally were a part of our lives and continue to be a part of our lives.,” Hurwitz said. “We know that the team that has made the Back to the Future movies seems to have little interest in continuing in that world and we respect that. As long as they feel that way, there’s really nothing to be done. If they ever change their minds and happen to check out Cobra Kai and like what we did with this in the world of Karate Kid, then we would be well prepared for any meetings that we would have going forward.”

Cobra Kai Creators Discuss Spinoffs, Tackling Back to the Future

Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis have stated no interest in making any more Back To The Future movies, but wonder if they saw what these guys did with Cobra Kai if it might change their opinions? They lovingly have incorporate the original Karate Kid movies (particularly the first one) into the future, respecting, preserving and advancing the classic characters. This only adds more interest to the original movies, not detracts from them. It would be cool to see them work that magic with Doc Brown and Marty McFly.

Michael J. Fox might have Parkinson’s but he’s still acting. Chances are he might get on board with something well done. Same with Christopher Lloyd.

Last year, Lloyd said he’d only be interested in coming back for a fourth movie if Zemeckis and Gale were on board and excited about it…the only problem, of course, is that they aren’t. Not only that, but they’re actively against the idea of bringing this franchise back to life. In 2016, Zemeckis spoke with an Italian news outlet and his answer to a question about a possible fourth movie is translated like this: “There will never ever be a Return to the Future in the most absolute way 4. There will be no more Back to the Future.” The translation obviously isn’t perfect, but there’s not much lost in it, either – it’s pretty clear we’re not going to be seeing an 80-year-old Doc Brown reuniting with a 58-year-old Marty McFly any time soon, and as much as some fans might want it, we’re almost certainly better off this way.

‘Back to the Future 4’: Christopher Lloyd Still Wants to Make a Climate Change-Focused Sequel

The Cobra Kai co-creators should at least have earned a chance to talk about possibilities with Gale and Zemeckis, but it sounds like neither of those gentlemen are interested in going beyond the original trilogy.

This reminds of the creative disinterest shared by Marta Kaufman and David Crane regarding a continuation, reboot or spinoff of Friends.

There is something to be said if a creator doesn’t want to create any more allowing a third party that will come in and, respectfully, create said content. The word “respect” is difficult to enforce in Hollywood, which in fairness to content creators makes sense to have them leery of killing their golden geese.