The Best Stories of the Week, August 10

By  · Published on August 10th, 2013

The biggest news of the week is something that happened a bit quietly yet wonderfully: FSR got a great (if we say so ourselves) new TV critic/columnist named Inkoo Kang, and she kicked things off excellently with her first recap of The Newsroom and a piece on Breaking Bad’s proposed spin-off. Stay tuned for lots more smart and in depth coverage from her going forward.

Aside from that, it was a fairly quiet week, except for ‐ I guess we were due for another debate ‐ the clamor about whether texting/tweeting should be allowed in movie theaters. And while we’re not sure Hollywood or the theater industry should be moving in that direction, we did look at some other things at least the studio side of the biz can learn this year regarding filmmaking and trailer-making.

Once again, this post is where you’ll find a brief recap of the best news and original content from the past seven days, not including all our latest reviews, interviews and trailers, which you can find easily with the links on the site header.

Start your weekend right after the jump.

Why Saul Goodman Spin-Off Would Destroy Breaking Bad’s Legacy

The Saul Show…would be just another ‘wacky lawyer’ show ‐ the kind of overly familiar product that David E. Kelley, among many others, has been churning out for the last twenty years. It’s not that Gilligan, Gould, or would-be star Bob Odenkirk lack the talent to make such a show worth watching. But the television landscape is already so overcrowded with attorneys of every persuasion and tic that, if the spin-off were to succeed, Breaking Bad might well undo its great legacies in narrative originality, thematic complexity, and sublime cinematography by making television a duller place than it has to be.” ‐ Inkoo Kang

New Pee-Wee Herman Movie and TV Series Coming in 2014

“Apparently the script for the new film is finally finished, financing has come through, a director has been chosen (though he won’t spill the beans who), and the new Pee-Wee should go in front of cameras sometime next year…We’ll leave you with a direct quote from the man, and you can decide for yourself. [Paul] Reubens assured the Times, ‘Short of something unforeseen like the studio going out of business, I think it’s very likely both these projects will happen next year.’ Suddenly this snoozefest we’re calling 2013 can’t get over soon enough.” ‐ Nathan Adams

Proposing Controversial Changes to Movie Theater Etiquette

“I should be able to pee in my seat while watching a movie. With the blossoming proliferation of technology, we’ve all (all of us) become accustomed to watching movies and TV shows at home complete with the liberty to pause what we’re half-watching to take a restroom break, baste the turkey we’re cooking or charge the cell phone we’ve been playing Temple Run on throughout the show. Yet, can you believe it, when we go to theaters it’s like stepping into a sepia-toned Jurassic period where we’re forced to choose between missing a vital part of the story or rupturing a vital part of our anatomy.” ‐ Scott Beggs

Harvey Weinstein to Dumb Down Snowpiercer for Middle America

“So, according to the Weinsteins, the American Midwest is a region inhabited solely by people who will naturally flock to see a Korean import about the socioeconomic implications of an apocalyptic future but then will become confused and upset when they don’t understand what’s going on. The whole idea is baffling to the point of causing a migraine. The people that the Weinsteins worry won’t understand Snowpiercer will not be seeing Snowpiercer in the first place. Here’s a bold new idea. The original cut of Snowpiercer is receiving heaps upon heaps of praise. It’s barreling through box-office records in Korea. Maybe just release that version?” ‐ Adam Bellotto

What Hollywood Should Learn From The Conjuring’s Success

“If studio mathematicians are looking at the raw basics, a lower-range middle-budget movie without A-list celebrities (but not without stellar acting talent) and devoid of studio meddling just beat a fictional set of odds to score large…Making great movies is very, very difficult. However, trusting a creative team to do the best possible work (as opposed to believing that your non-creative team can make art better) should be a less endangered species in the filmmaking process than it is. Hopefully with this success, the Big Six will all stop seeing lower budget dramas and genre fare as gambles, and start viewing them as what they truly are: opportunities to create great work that will be appreciated by audiences and accountants.” ‐ Scott Beggs

What Hollywood Should Learn From the Walter Mitty Trailer

“Beyond numbers and statistics, the point of a movie trailer is to get viewers to feel something which then (hopefully) inspires a connection that makes them want to see more. Music, as proven in the Walter Mitty trailer, helps do just that without having to rely on key scenes or the film’s funniest lines…It’s just one method, but the trailer for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty did something too many trailers have seemed unable to do lately ‐ it teased an idea instead of revealing the entire plot. And by doing so, it actually created a much more interesting and affecting pitch, and marketing departments (and fans) everywhere should take notice.” ‐ Allison Loring

How Long Would the Zombie Apocalypse Really Last?

“The Answer: Only a few months. Obviously, the main ingredient needed for a zombie apocalypse is zombies. However, the problem with zombies is they’re dead. Many films and television shows would have you believe that there would be an unending supply of dead bodies on the move during the zombie apocalypse because every dead person would start stumbling around on the search for human flesh. However, one of the things that make zombies so terrifying would be their undoing. They rot.” ‐ Kevin Carr

The Trouble With CNN Making a Hillary Clinton Movie

“The CNN vs. RNC squabble is a rare look at free market jockeying happening out in the open instead of inside the boardroom. It stems from a belief on the RNC side (and pretty much everyone in the country) that Clinton, who is currently a private citizen after serving as Secretary of State, is likely to run again for President in 2016. That remains to be seen, but the situation still raises some interesting questions about what happens when producers choose to make movies focused on living, politically active figures.” ‐ Scott Beggs

More on CNN documentaries:
Reality Check: When Shark Week and News Networks Are No Longer Trusted Sources for Just the Facts

How Real Genius Made Film History 28 Years Ago

“About a week before the movie opened, it was promoted in a way that had never been done before: over a computer. Promoters set up a press conference physically held at a computer store in Westwood, California, in which Coolidge and others involved in the film answered questions asked by entertainment writers all over the country, by way of CompuServe. Reportedly there were some connectivity issues and a number of other errors, but otherwise the debut of the online roundtable junket was a success and is considered the first of its kind.” ‐ Christopher Campbell

How The Canyons Is Like The Last Picture Show

The Canyons presents a Los Angeles that, despite its many shiny new digital tools available, is shockingly disconnected. Social meetings at bars and restaurants are hauntingly quiet; not even an entire table full of people are heard, but only the person immediately there, if even then. Like the sparse West Texas landscape of The Last Picture Show, The Canyons paints a picture of the social dynamics in the southwest that is sparse, lonely, and isolated despite the endless opportunities for supposedly intimate sexual encounters. In both films, characters learn that the only person that can be trusted, that can be taken care of, is oneself.” ‐ Landon Palmer

More on The Canyons:
Digital Sleaze Auteurs: Paul Schrader’s ‘The Canyons’ and Brian De Palma’s ‘Passion’ Examine Post-Cinema Cinema

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.