Two and a half years ago, we explored the early history of Cartoon Network... but it wasn't the only player in the youth television game. As a matter of fact, Fred Seibert -- the man responsible for the most inventive projects discussed in that post -- first stretched his creative legs at the network's truly venerable forerunner: Nickelodeon. Founded as Pinwheel, a six-hour block on Warner Cable's innovative QUBE system, this humble channel struggled for years before Seibert's innovative branding work transformed it into a national icon and capstone of a media empire. Much has changed since then, from the mascots and game shows to the versatile orange "splat." But starting tonight in response to popular demand, the network is looking back with a summer programming block dedicated to the greatest hits of the 1990s, including Hey Arnold!, Rocko's Modern Life, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, The Ren & Stimpy Show, Double Dare, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Legends of the Hidden Temple, and All That. To celebrate, look inside for the complete story of the early days of the network that incensed the religious right, brought doo-wop to television, and slimed a million fans -- the golden age of Nickelodeon. (warning: monster post inside) [more inside]
It was bound to happen eventually. After a quarter-century, 26 Academy Awards, and an unparalleled streak of eleven artistic and commercial triumphs, Pixar's latest project, Cars 2, is Certified Rotten. Critics have assailed the film as a slick but hollow vehicle for Disney's $10 billion-dollar Cars
merchandising industry "lifestyle brand," replacing the original's serviceable tale of small-town redemption with zany spy games, hyperactive chase sequences, and even more lowbrow aww-shucks potty humor from Larry the Cable Guy. But it's not all bad news! Along with a fun new Toy Story 3 short, preceding today's (3-D) premiere showings is a first look at next year's Brave -- a darkly magical original story set in ancient Scotland featuring the studio's first female lead (and director). Evocative high-res concept art [mirror] is available at the official website, and character sketches have leaked to the web, with the apparently striking teaser trailer sure to follow. Also, be sure not to miss the sneak peak of Brave's associated short, "La Luna"!
It's a simple concept: Given a choice between two random movies, which one do you like best? That's the driving force behind Flickchart, an addictive review site for movie lovers. Faced with two posters, click the one for the title you prefer (weeding out the ones you haven't seen). Good! Now do it again. And again. And again. With each new face-off, Flickchart perfects a growing list of your favorite films -- and there can be no ties. This leads to some difficult dilemmas: Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Ark? Citizen Kane or The Godfather? WALL-E or Spirited Away? But you needn't struggle alone -- Flickchart is also social. By drawing on the data of tens of thousands of fellow users, you can create remarkably specific lists: Martin Scorsese's Best Period Films. The Best Road Movies of the 1980s. The Worst Movies of All Time. If you rank enough films, you can generate interesting personalized charts, like "Your Favorite Musicals" or "The Best Movies You Haven't Seen." These filters carry over to the ranking system, letting you judge nothing but Horror movies or 1960s movies or unranked movies or movies from your top 100. You can also comment on popular match-ups, lending your voice to contentious debates like Ghostbusters vs. Back to the Future or Jaws vs. Predator. Not a movie fan? Don't worry. Flickchart will be expanding into books, games, and music soon. Until then, you can give your own data sets the Flickchart treatment using this tool from CNN. [more inside]
Toy Story 3 hits theaters today, and it's already winning universal acclaim as an enchanting and heartbreaking wonderwork, employing understated 3D and a "real-time" perspective that deftly capitalizes on the nostalgia and can't-go-home-again angst of a generation that grew up with the series. It has a strong pedigree, with 11-year-old predecessor Toy Story 2 the rare sequel to equal its forebear, 1995's Toy Story (itself the first CGI feature in history). And it joins a lofty stable of films: over the last 15 years, Pixar has put out an unbroken chain of ten commercial and critical successes that have grossed over $5 billion worldwide and collected 24 Academy Awards (including the second-ever Best Picture nom for animation with Up), a legacy that rivals some of the greatest franchises in film history. But there's rumbling on the horizon. Although the studio has been hailed for its originality (of the 50 top-grossing movies in history, only nine were original stories -- and five of them were by Pixar), two of their upcoming projects are sequels, both of them based some of their least-acclaimed films (Cars 2 in 2011 and Monsters, Inc. 2 in 2012). And while 2012 will also bring
The Bear and the Bow Brave, the first Pixar flick to feature a female protagonist [previously], fellow newcomer Newt has been canceled. With WALL-E/Up/Toy Story 3 guru Andrew Stanton focusing on his 2012 adaptation of John Carter of Mars and with forays into live-action already in development, does this mark the end of the golden age of Pixar? Or is this latest entry lasting proof that even the toughest case of sequelitis can be raised to the level of masterpiece? [more inside]
Almost Everything by Kirby Ferguson: A web series featuring a good-natured Canadian geek who uses slick, fast-paced video presentations to comment on the world's ills. Episodes: Apple's Stealth Jabs at Microsoft - Protecting and Maintaining Your Heterosexual House of Cards - Americans Love Lists - Trajan is the Movie Font - Thank You For All the Butt Cracks - Passive Resistance, Like Gandhi - Punchline Piracy - The Fag Bomb - I Love Progress Bars - Slumdog Controversy - The Distraction Machine - Talent is Hard Work - 2012 and the Conspiracy Conspiracy - I Don't Care About Tiger Woods' Penis (An Open Letter to the American Media). Like the background music? The full soundtrack by Windom Earle is available for preview or download on Amazon. A product of Goodiebag.tv (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, blog, more videos).