Amusing Random

Citizen Steve

Citizen Steve 1987

For his 40th birthday Steven Spielberg‘s friends made him this short film based on Citizen Kane (1941) about his life and career up to that point.

With a March of Time segment voiced by Dan Ackroyd, John Candy plays the reporter who is assigned the task of uncovering the famed director.

Keep a look out for previous Spielberg collaborators such as Dennis Weaver (Duel), Allen Daviau (E.T.), Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale (1941) and Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall (longtime producers).

You wonder how this stuff ends up online but I’m glad it did.

> Steven Spielberg at the IMDb
> More on Citizen Kane at Wikipedia

Amusing Technology

The 8 Billion Dollar iPod

Author Rob Reid recently gave a very funny TED speech on copyright.

It covered a remarkable new field of study ‘based on numbers from entertainment industry lawyers and lobbyists’.

> Rob Reid profile at TED
> Find out more about Copyright at Wikipedia


Superbowl Socialism

This short film narrated by Bill Maher points out some salient facts on the eve of the Superbowl.

Using graphics blended against the audio version of a monologue from HBO’s Real Time, it points out a valuable economic lesson in just over 2 minutes.

Notice how the light hearted, comedic vibe is a highly effective tool at communicating serious facts and opinion.

It is an irony that ‘liberal’ Europe’s brand of football hugely favours the rich clubs, whilst ‘capitalist America’ has a much more egalitarian sporting model.

Wouldn’t it be great if this screened during the half-time spot alongside the Ferris Bueller Honda ad?

Intriguingly, Maher’s words are a reverse of George Carlin‘s famous routine about the differences between American football and Baseball:

I’m sure there are more points to be raised (e.g. revenue sharing), so feel free to leave them in the comments below.

N.B. Do any sports writers reading this want to compare Barcelona (a club owned by the fans) to the Green Bay Packers (the only community-owned franchise in American professional sport)? I think there’s an interesting article in there.

> Real Time with Bill Maher
> Buy Maher’s book New Rules on paperback or audiobook from Amazon
> More on Superbowl XLVI at Wikipedia

Amusing TV

Movie References in The Simpsons

For over 20 years The Simpsons has been referencing movies from Citizen Kane (1941) to Basic Instinct (1992).

The show has been running for so long that when you do a comprehensive list like this it reads like an index to a history of cinema.

A French website (‘The Simpsons Park’) has collected an incredible gallery of screen shots and animated gifs that lays out the original Simpsons episode alongside the particular film.

The range is astonishing: Kubrick, Bergman, Hitchcock, Scorsese, Lumet, Spielberg, Coppola and Truffaut are just some of the many directors referenced.

Just click on the links below to visit the relevant page – they aren’t in English, but the visuals speak for themselves.

> Matt Groening & Al Jean on The Simpsons Movie
> Find out more about The Simpsons at Wikipedia 


The Muppets vs Fox News

The Muppets recently responded to criticisms from Fox News about their new film.

For a bit of context, here is the original segment piece which features the obligatory use of the word “liberal” as an insult, shouting-as-debate and swooshing graphics:

At the recent UK press conference, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy responded:

> The new Muppets movie
> More on Fox News at Wikipedia