Friday, November 21, 2014

THE INTERSECTION OF MARKETING AND LOCATION SHOOTING: THE AHS MURDER HOUSE MADE REAL

One of the most interesting phenomenons happens with the intersection of marketing and location shooting. One particular example of this is the film location that was used for the first season of American Horror Story, which has since become titled, "Murder House." The interesting thing about this house is that it is a real place in Los Angeles about fifteen minutes from Hollywood Blvd. 
This facade should look very familiar to people that have seen the first season of American Horror Story. This is the same house that is supposedly haunted by the ghosts of murder victims that enact their vengeful wraths on the current owners of the home. Now for a little history lesson on the property at 1120 Westchester Place, which is the real world address of the house. Originally built in 1902 by famous architect Alfred Rosenheim as a personal residence for him and his wife, it was sold to a wealthy mining magnate in 1918. The mining magnate owned the house from 1918 until 1930 and then sold it to famous actor Edward Everett Horton who lived at the location for two years before selling it to a Catholic nunnery that owned the house from 1932 until 1997 and even put a church in on the grounds. In 1997 the nunnery left the property due to the 1994 Northridge Earthquake and the house was put on the market  for 3 million dollars and it has been there ever since. 

Now one might naturally question why a house that is attempting to be sold on the market would court bad press like murderous ghosts. Well, there is one simple answer to the question, MARKETING. Below are two such examples of this marketing....

  

"FILM, TV, MUSIC VIDEOS, AND SPECIAL EVENT RENTALS

Welcome to the infamous Murder House...

For over 100 years, this property has been a very popular Filming Location, having been the set for countless Major Motion Pictures, Television Commercials, and Still Photography shoots, with the biggest names in Hollywood, and around the Globe, utiliziling this property for their projects, many of whom have been back several times throughout this Century.

The list of Feature Films shot at this pristine property is endless, and the list is very long, beginning long ago, when Charley Chaplin was busy making movies.

For Television, the property has been most recently used for the Pilot, and the entire Season 1 of American Horror Story, which almost overnight, became the biggest television series 20th. Century Fox Studios EVER released, starring an amazing cast of characters, and just weeks later, becoming the most popular TV Series on Earth, even surpassing True Blood ! The property has had dozens of TV Series episodes filmed here, including, CSI Miami, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dexter, Dragnet, Hill Street Blues, Six Feet Under, Crime Story, The Twilight Zone, The X-Files, Wiseguy, Law & Order, Ghost Whisperer, NCIS, The Closer, Nurse Jackie, CSI New York, Miami Vice, The Unit, 90210, Cold Case, Angel, The Mentalist, 24, Police Story, CHIPS, Criminal Minds, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, SWAT, ADAM 12, Monk, Las Vegas, Grey's Anatomy, Bones, Californication, an many, many, many more.

Photgraphers who shoot here are the World's finest, with people such as Herb Ritts, Annie Leibovitz, Walker Evans, Bruce Weber, Michael Marks, Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, Henry Cartier-Bresson, Diane Arbus, David LaChapelle, Peter Lindbergh, Mario Testino, Terry Richardson, and many, many more.

In addition to Film and Photography, the property has been the location for numerous Music Videos, Concerts, and Private Events.

The Recording Studio has room for 250+ guest's, and has had hundreds of World reknown musicians record amazing sounds inside the walls of this Ultra-Private Studio."

For anyone else who is interested in finding out more about the Murder House here are some links below. 

http://www.joebabajian.com/current-listings/337/1120-westchester-place/
http://www.1120westchesterplace.com

Whiplash: Into the Mind of the Musician

One of the most stressful and competitive environments in the world is that of music performance.  Though many films portray a glorified version of what it is like to be a performer, Whiplash, directed by Damien Chazelle managed to honestly capture the world and mindset of student musicians.  Granted I have never attended a music conservatory, the music program in my high school was very competitive and we would often compete against other schools.  These competitions were similar to the ones shown in Whiplash.

The moment we step into the jazz rehearsal room with the protagonist, the editing becomes quick and choppy.  There are many quick cuts to players wetting their reeds, emptying spit valves, tuning drums, and doing short riffs to warm up.  In a rehearsal setting, there is a feeling of urgency that this editing helps to convey.  The players prepare themselves quickly and efficiently, so that they can be ready to play at their highest level when the conductor steps in front of the group.  A hectic series of quick cuts also helps to display Andrew’s state of mind.  Entering a top notch jazz band as the youngest player is a very stressful and chaotic situation.  From these cuts the audience can sympathize with the stress and pressure that Andrew is feeling.





Another moment in this movie that emphasized the mind of the musician occurred as the band practiced.  When the band is getting ready to begin playing, the conductor, Fletcher is in focus.  As soon as he moves his hand up, signaling the musicians to bring their instruments up, there is a rack focus to Fletcher’s hand.  This particular moment mimics exactly how musicians think.  When the conductor’s hand goes up to start a piece, every musician is focused intently on that hand, waiting to see when it will give the pickup or down beat.  By utilizing this rack focus, Chazelle allows the audience to take the place of the musicians and anticipate the beginning of a song.   The director literally shows us where the musicians’ attention is by using this rack focus.
Chazelle does a wonderful job of portraying not only the competitiveness of the music field, but also the mind of the musician.


Mockingjay Part 1

When you go to college, it can be hard to keep up with new movies that hit theaters. The way many films get their advertising in, is through television. Many students in college do not have cable, let alone a television. So obviously when the holiday season comes and students travel back home, they are able to catch up on what is new and what looks good. One movie that has gotten much attention is Mockingjay Part 1. Last night it premiered in theaters all around the world. After the success of the first two, audiences could not wait to see this film. The trilogy was adapted from the novels series by Suzanne Collins. Due to the large amount of length in the third novel, the decision was made to divide the third book into two movies, part 1 and part 2.
After Catching Fire premiered, audiences were left with a huge cliff hanger. The cliff hanger was so huge that it left audiences torn because they did not want to wait to see what happens next. However, for the most part, audiences have stayed loyal to see what happens next. Almost a year after the release of the first movie, filming for Mockingjay started immediately in September 2013. Once they were done shooting part 1, they instantly started shooting part 2.
The film stars Jennifer Lawrence. When the movie first premiered many audiences were not familiar with Jennifer Lawrence and her work in the film industry. Once the movie debut, people became obsessed with her on and off screen. After the first movie premiered, Jennifer Lawrence was seen in many other films such as, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, X-Men: Days of Future's Past. Jennifer Lawrence continues to star in many films and every time gives a great performance. Without her role in The Hunger Games, things may have gone differently. Although the series is coming to a close end, it is still going to be talked about for a while. The action packed films offer a good plot line, differing characters, heart-jerking moments, and great action scenes. The movie shows characters that are able to have relatable qualities that everyday people can find themselves connecting to. I know while I am on break I will most definitely be going to see this movie and see if it is as good as it has been talked up to be. And with the great success of the first two, I'm sure it will be. Especially with the fantastic acting of Jennifer Lawrence.


New 8 mm Camera

For the first time in over 30 years Logmar Camera Solutions plan to release a new and improved 8mm and 16mm camera. And for many this wouldn't be that big of a deal but this isn't just a vintage camera that you can buy at a antique store. The Pro8mm can record high quality sound through a XLR input that can be recorded on an SD card directly on the camera.


The camera comes with video output, actual 48v Phantom Power, and is usb upgradable. This is really great for those looking for that 8mm or 16mm look but can record sound and do many advanced things that the old cameras couldn't. The camera is scheduled for release in December and is going to make a little hole in your pocket with it's $5,000 price tag.


RIP Mike Nichols

I was saddened to learn Wednesday of the passing of Mike Nichols. Nichols had a long, esteemed career in the arts, becoming one of the few winners of the EGOT -- winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony award. He's also responsible for two of my favorite films, 1967's The Graduate and 1996's The Birdcage.

The Graduate is one of the films that got me interested in film in the first place. It was the first film shown in my high school's film study class, and the first that I had to look at with a critical eye. The film's use of cinematic techniques to create thematic meaning is easy to spot, but never over-the-top or cheesy. The film also features perhaps the most iconic ending in American film, the now-famous bus sequence.


The film deserves its status as a classic, mainly due to Nichols' excellent directing (and Dustin Hoffman's performance as Benjamin). It stands as one of the great looks into the lives of young people, people who may be floating through life without anything to anchor them.

Nichols was best known for The Graduate, but continued to direct films and theatrical productions for the rest of his life (his last film was 2007's Charlie Wilson's War, starring Tom Hanks). He had several other major successes in both mediums. My favorite film later Nichols film, and one of my favorite comedies of all time, is 1996's The Birdcage. An adaptation of La Cage aux Folles, the film tells the story of a gay couple who must present as a husband-and-wife to ensure that their adopted son can marry the daughter of a conservative politician. Nathan Lane and Robin Williams turn in fantastic performances as the couple (the film is one of my favorites of Williams' career, and one that I re-watched following his death earlier this year), and Gene Hackman is hilarious as the politician. If you haven't seen the film before, I can't recommend it highly enough.


One of Nichols greatest works, and one that I've had on my to-watch list for a while, is his 2003 HBO miniseries Angels in America, about AIDS and homosexuality in 1980's New York City. I think that I'll take the time to watch it over Thanksgiving break as a tribute to Nichols. 

Hollywood and the Animated Movie


Once upon a time, Disney Animation was the only studio making blockbuster animated features. Today, animation is perhaps the most crowded of all the film genres in Hollywood. Disney Animation never used to have any competition, but in recent years Disney has been overshadowed by it's sister studio Pixar and other studios like Dreamworks Animation.

With so many studios producing so many animated films which studios and films are able to stand out, if any?

To start, we will start with the once dominant Disney Animation. Up until very recently Disney has been struggling. Ever since the end of the "Disney Renaissance" in the 90s, which includes the studio's films from The Little Mermaid (1989) to Tarzan (1999), Disney has struggled to maintain it's top dog status in the animation industry. For a while, that spot was taken by Pixar. However in the last few years it appears that DisneyAnimation may be making a come back.



Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen, and Big Hero 6. Have all been well received by both fans and critics alike. Many are calling this new era of Disney films the "Disney Revival" or simply a return to form for the studio. I would have to agree with this sentiment. The Disney films between the Renaissance period and these more recent films, such as Chicken Little and Home on the Range, seem to be missing the classic feel that most of it's successful films have. They were focused more of flash and flare than on the emotional stories, which the studio is famous for. These newest films are a return to form in that the stories one again focus on the emotional relationships between friends and family, and I think this has made all the difference in getting audiences to connect with them. If Disney continues on this streak they may very well have another Renaissance on their hands. I think that Disney, although it will probably never be as dominant as it once was, is still one of the few studios that stands apart from others in terms of it's style, storytelling, and over all quality animation.


Pixar, which has long been a fan favorite studio for many years,  seems to have stumbled a bit in recent years. Ever since it's first film Toy Story, Pixar had been consistent in producing quality, original animation. However, recently the studio has been releasing more squeals than new content, and the sequels have been lack luster at best. There is the legend that the founders of Pixar came up with all the ideas of all their films in one day and have been using only these ideas (aside from the squeals) over all these years. Is it possible that the studio is finally running out of those ideas?


I don't think anyone will disagree with me when I say that Cars 2 was absolutely awful. Monsters University wasn't quite as disastrous, but it wasn't nearly as impressive as the first installment. Brave, while beautifully animated received mix reviews. Pixar's upcoming film Inside Out is an new franchisee for the studio. It will be interesting to see if they can redeem themselves and do their once flawless filmography justice with this new content.


Moving on to a Non-Disney studio, we have DreamWorks Animation. DreamWorks is arguably, and easily so, the only other animation studio currently that has as much brand recognition as Disney Animation and Pixar. DreamWorks has been extremely successful in recent years, with many popular franchisees including Shrek, How to Train York Dragon, and Madagascar.


Most of DreamWorks recent films have been well received by critics. Mr. Peabody & Sherman, received generally good reviews, while How to Train Your Dragon 2 received excellent ones. The studio has two upcoming films. Penguins of Madagascar is another installment in their already popular Madagascar franchisee, while Home is a completely new film. Home was originally supposed to be released this month, but has been pushed back until March, switching it with Penguins of Madagascar. It begs the question of whether or not there are problems with the production and if Home will be up to par with recent studio standards. 


 But these three studios aren't the only players in the field.

         


Illumination Entertainment has had huge success with their Despicable Me franchisee, while Blue Sky studios has long been successful with their Ice Age films and now their Rio franchisee. Animal Logic has had recent success with The Lego Movie, and is also known for the popular Happy Feet films. Sony Animation is probably at the back of the pack, their only big success has been the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs movies, but they have several films in the works now- including the cringe worthy Angry Birds.

With so many different contenders it's a wonder that the animation industry doesn't cannibalize itself. It may very well be on the way to doing so. As a fan of animation I can't help wishing that more of the studios would focus less on producing so many films, and instead focus on making the ones they do produce as high quality as possible. Unlikely that will happen, as this is Hollywood we are talking about, but come on a girl can dream.





Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Night of the Hunter

Every christmas my brother and I exchange movies. Usually a film from the most specific categories, something you wouldn't be able to find easily, and have probably never heard of. This annual tradition has yielded some of the greatest films I have seen. One of my favorites to come out of this exchange was a film called "The Night of the Hunter"directed by Charles Laughton (one of the two films he directed). As usual with these gifts, I wondered how he could have possibly found this and why he selected it as this years gift (we always do extensive research before making our purchases). He said "I read the description and it seemed horrifying". And it was. But not in the way that a horror film is scary, but in the way that it builds an eerie suspense that leaves a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach.


The story goes something like this: A man goes to jail for robbery, and leaves the money he'd stolen hidden somewhere with his children. The only person he tells about this is his cellmate, Reverend Harry Powell, a serial killer with the words love and hate tattooed on his knuckles. When the man gets executed for his crimes, Powell decides to try and seduce his wife in order to get the kids to spill the beans. This may not sound like that horrifying of a film, compared to today, but it really really is.

Like with most great films each frame tells the whole story. Just look at how terrifying these images are, even without know the story, they are chilling:









The expressionistic lighting and cinematography (done by Stanley Cortez) builds the unsettling mood. Sound is also a big part of this film, in the same way that the music in Jaws, lets the audience know that something is off, the Rev. Powell's singing acts as a warning that things are going to get ugly. Watching this horrible, creepy man terrorize these children, chasing them into attics, and pursuing them down the Ohio river, is more suspenseful and terrifying than any slasher film. This is one of those films that really gets under your skin, and makes you feel ill. It depends on all of the elements of film to bring out the horror, something I wish more films would do today.


Here's a clip that shows what I mean. The extreme dramatic lighting in this scene really makes it. It heightens the mood and the suspense, and without it the scene would not be nearly as successful.


What Has Happened to Horror?

Apologies in advance for cluttering the blog with yet another post on horror cinema, but I attended a screening recently that reminded me of a topic that has been bouncing around in my head for some time now.
So, in my last post, I mentioned that I would be seeing The Exorcist at Cornell Cinema on Saturday. It was my first time experiencing the horror classic and it should come as a surprise to no one that I thought it lived up to the hype. The film was extraordinary- a slow burn character drama with a heavily atmospheric supernatural spin. However, despite being impressed, I never found myself to be scared, at least not in the way I expected to be. Having seen the endless parodies and copycats produced since the film's release, I was desensitized to the terror on screen, but still drawn to it, fascinated, studying how it worked. Compared to modern mainstream horror, the pacing was unnatural and the beats were unusual. There was a distinct absence of jump scares and the thrust of the film was clearly toward its tragic narrative and the complex characters that inhabited it. How radical that must seem now, as Hollywood appears to have it the other way around these days.
This all leads to the question: "What has happened to horror?" Obviously, the genre is still thriving and will continue to thrive as long as cinema exists and people still have the capacity to be afraid. No, what I'm getting at is the exact nature of contemporary horror, at least as far as Hollywood is concerned. It may be unfair to say this, but: Where has the creativity gone? What has become of the genre's formerly radical position? Every year, plenty of horror films come out of the the studio system, but rarely do they have something new to offer. When it isn't the same possession film we've seen a million times (The Last Exorcism, The Devil Inside, Devil's Due, Deliver Us From Evil, The Rite, The Possession), it's another derivative, unnecessary found footage attempt (Apollo 18, Chernobyl Diaries, As Above So Below) or worst of all, yet another remake, reboot, sequel or prequel to a beloved horror series (Too many to list). How many times must we revisit The Texas Chainsaw story? Does Michael Myers need to be resurrected again? Did anyone ask for a prequel to The Thing or a sequel to The Blair Witch Project?
The last horror icon?
How about some new icons of slashers and chillers? I know it's easier said than done, but I'd appreciate the effort at the very least. When was the last time an iconic character was created in the genre? Jigsaw? That was 10 years ago! Captain Spaulding? 11 years ago. And before that? Ghostface (18 years back)? Chucky (26 years)?

I think it's time we stop re-doing and ripping off old classics. Take a chance, Hollywood! Horror is possibly the cheapest type of film to make precisely because of the absence of stars, elaborate sets and big-time effects. In this day and age, it's rare for a horror movie not to make a profit because most of them are made for almost nothing. Look at the recent film, Oujia, for example. Critics hated it and I have yet to speak to a single general audience member who liked it, but financially, it was a huge success because it was made on $5 million, eventually grossing almost 10 times that figure. As Above So Below was made for the same amount and opened to mediocre reception from audiences and critics...it made 8 times its budget. Do I need to go on? Last year's Dark Skies made $26 million at the box office. That would be a fairly sad number for most films, but when your production cost $3.5 million, it's pretty fantastic. What I'm saying is: there isn't much room for a loss, so why don't studios take a chance on more original material? Some of the genre's biggest game-changers were made for nothing and went on to become enormous hits (A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Blair Witch Project, The Evil Dead, Saw, Paranormal Activity...all made for less than $2 million, most for less than $1 million).
Last to mention is a type of horror cinema that seems to be going extinct in Hollywood. About two months ago, I watched The Changeling. Made in 1980 and starring George C. Scott, it was a solid haunted house film rooted more deeply in its storytelling and grief-stricken main character than the scares it produced (Kind of like the approach The Exorcist had). Unfortunately, films like The Changeling are barely attempted anymore and when they are, it's done by independent filmmakers, their work only occasionally picked up for wide distribution (See: this year's Oculus or The Babadook). Is it just to be expected that our rapid consumption, instant gratification-based society would not be able to handle such internal, psychological material? I'd like to think that isn't the case. Even with the dominance of "quiet, quiet, boo scares, " I want to believe that if The Exorcist opened today, it would still be a hit, but then again, maybe people would call it "boring" and "slow" and it would fly under the radar...Food for thought, most definitely.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Leonardo DiCaprio and the elusive Oscar


       Leonardo DiCaprio is considered one of the best-known actors of not only our generation but of all time. He started on the screen as a child actor over twenty years ago on the television show Growing Pains and still continues to wow audiences to present day. But even though Leonardo DiCaprio is arguably at the utmost highest caliber of actors he still does not possess an Oscar. The Oscar is considered the universally standard recognition of top quality performance in the American cinema industry, especially for acting, and yet it still has evaded DiCaprio’s grasp. Though he has been nominated five times already for an Oscar, once as a producer, once as best supporting actor, and three times for the best actor category he just never ends up on top.  

        It is true that Leonardo Dicaprio’s movies are brilliantly written but most times it is his enlightened acting that shines as the most prominent strength of the film. It is DiCaprio’s acting that for the large part makes the film memorable, which is why directors haven chosen him in their films. Some of DiCaprio's greatest films are: 
Titanic(1997)

Inception (2010)
Shutter Island (2010)
The Departed (2006)
Aviator (2004)
Gangs of New York (2002)

       A highly debated argument on why Leonardo DiCaprio has not won an Oscar is he is not that “type” of actor, as in contemporary rather than traditional. There are certain actors who are considered “cool” actors, ones who are successful and talented but they aren’t traditional actors or method actors. Actors similar to DiCaprio such as Samuel L. Jackson, Brad Pitt or Jonny Depp, who play thoroughly entertaining characters more centered toward teens and mid-20s audiences. 



       The unofficial standard for this coolness is the Pitt-Hanks spectrum, this predicts the likelihood of an actor to win an Oscar, the closer to “cool” Pitt the less likely to win. Actors who play characters who are perceived as weaker, or closer to a relatable person are the ones more likely to win. There are many issues with this ideology of cool actors not winning; it severely hinders actors experimenting with roles that don’t qualify as “Oscar worthy.” Although it is set that a certain character will win should indicate that actors should strive toward those characters is pretty intuitive, that should not be the basis of the win.        
       
          But regardless of academy award status and not being officially recognized by the academy itself, DiCaprio realizes thats not what it means to be a good actor and has been extremely positive about it all.    








Saturday, November 15, 2014

Freaks and Geeks: The Best Cancelled Television Show in History



Freaks and Geeks is probably one of the best, well scripted television shows that our generation has had the pleasure to see. It was THE show that launched a lot of their cast into fame: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segal, John Daley, Linda Cardellini, and Martin Starr, just to name a few. And if the cast wasn't enough to prove why this show was great, here's just some other reasons.

1. You can relate to it and it's realistic. 


One of the reasons why the show got cancelled was because Garth Ancier (former NBC executive who cancelled the show) thought that the problem with the show was that neither the freaks or geeks win. But that's what made the show amazing. The freaks are the outcast in the schools, the nobodies, the kids who probably won't go to college. The geeks were the kids that got bullied, all the girls were at least a foot taller than them, and they sometimes tried to hard to fit in. The issues that the show dealt with were issues that everyone could relate to, or know someone that went through that experience: being picked last for a team in gym, crushes, puberty questions, cheating on a test, and even being too old to go trick or treating on Halloween.
The dialogue in the show is another reason why it's so good. Everyone that was in the show were teenagers to begin with, and they spoke like actual teenagers. None of the lines ever felt forced. And all the characters have flaws, like REAL flaws. And they deal with those flaws realistically, which means sometimes you can't have what you want. There weren't any miracles in the show to save them, and that's why I think as an audience, we were okay that the freaks and geeks didn't win.

2. The cast & cameo appearances are great.


You can't really have a better cast than the ones that are already in the show. And it's no surprise, almost everyone in the show has gone off to do big things in the film industry. The actors all fit their characters spot on, and they're all unique in their own way. Linda Cardellini plays the sweetheart, stuck between the freaks and geeks Lindsay Weir. She struggles in high school with not knowing what she wants to do, balancing life between being smarter than everyone else but choosing to be friends with the kids who struggle themselves with grades. Her dorky brother Sam Weir played by John Francis Daley is the subject of bullying in high school and gets asked a lot, "Are you a middle schooler?" James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segal, and Busy Philipps are considered the 'freaks' in the high school, and even though they may look like they don't care about their grades, they still have real feelings and emotions we can relate to. There's even some pretty cool cameo appearances like Ben Stiller who plays Agent Meara, Shia LaBeouf who plays Herbert or the high school's mascot, and Jason Shwartzman. 

3. It's hilarious.

With witty lines and character flaws, the show is guaranteed laughs. If you don't believe me, just take a look at this clip:



 

Friday, November 14, 2014

A History of Animation: Pocket Version

I signed up for ACP: Animation next semester, and I've just been curious about animation as a whole ever since. I know that I have quite a few cartoons that I've consumed under my belt, but that doesn't mean I know the first thing about animation or it's complex histories. How long is the "history" of animation anyway?

Turns out, the first animation came out fourteen years after the first film (Fred Ott's Sneeze, 1894). Straight out of France, Fantasmagorie is known as the first animated short film by Emile Cohl. (1908)

Whenever I'm feeling overwhelmed in class next semester and want nothing more than to throw in the towel, I am going to remind myself that when Walt Disney was my age (20) he had begun his first animation company. He called it "Laugh-O-Grams" and it crashed and burned very shortly after taking off. Four years later good ol' Walt made Steamboat Willie which featured the famous Mickey Mouse for the first time. It may come as no surprise that Walts newest creation took off big time. I know it may be cheesy to see Walt Disney as an inspiration, but we all know how easy it is to give up when things don't work out. And personally, I'm pleased as punch I have a plethora of animated princesses that pranced their way through my childhood. I'm going to try and let the fact that he didn't let Laugh-O-Grams discourage him, to get me through learning new and complicated software.

Speaking of Disney, did you know that The Looney Tunes was originally a spin-off of Silly Symphonies; an animation produced by Disney? However, it just so happened to grow into it's own giant franchise and life of it's own like wildfire.

I also had no idea that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first official feature length animated film to be released. That's less than 80 years ago!

The biggest game changer to the animated world was easily when Apple computers created 3-D films. In 1995 Toy Story was released as "Babies First 3-D Film" and it's done so well a fourth one is rumored to be released. The animated world has never been the same since. It's debatable as to which reigns supreme (3-D or 2-D?). What's undoubtable is how incredibly far animation has evolved in less than a century. 


30 Rock, just the best show ever... nbd

Tina Fey's brain child, 30 Rock, is without a doubt a strange beast, but one of my most favorite, and in my opinion one of the best sitcoms ever. I have watched the entirety of the show more times than i can count, and still laugh out loud at every episode, even ones where i know all the jokes (which is most of them). 30 rock is a strange combination of unrelenting humor, heartwarming story-lines, insane plot twists, and calls attention to the fact that it is a show constantly,  for all intensive purposes this show should not work, but it does. For all those who haven't seen it (even though you should have, like really should have, like go watch it right now) the show revolves around Liz Lemon, played by the always amazing Tina Fey. Liz is the head writer of a some what low rated comedy show, in the same idea of a less successful SNL, called The girlie show. the show starts with Liz getting a new boss, Jack Donaghy, played by Alec Baldwin, who suggests that she should hire Tracy Jordan, played by Tracy Morgan, an A-list Comedy star to boost the shows ratings. So basically its a comedy show about a comedy show, that revolves around the fact that it pokes fun at its self and the industry insistently, its perfect and here are 5 episodes that prove it.



1. Tracy Does Conan (season 1, Episode 7)
To many, This is the first truly great episode of the show, that showed what 30 Rock would grow into. in this episode, Tracy is ambivalently booked on the Conan show, to promote his new movie and TGS, despite trying to stab Conan the last time he was on the show. however, tracy is off his meds and is new ones are causing him to hallucinate (not great for Conan). This epode is great for a multitude of reasons. firstly, the character development. Liz is trying to break up with her  current horrible boyfriend, but decides to stay with him because it is easier than starting over. however the best part about this episode is that it introduced my personal favorite reoccurring character on the show, Dr. Leo Spaceman played by Chris Parnell. His questionable morals and medical skills provide perhaps the funniest lines in the whole series.


2. The Rural Juror (Season 1, Episode 10)
This episode is by far one of the best episodes of the first season, and again show what the show would eventually evolve into. This Episode mainly (and I say mainly because every episode has many, many, sub plot lines) revolves around Jenna Maroney, the original star of the Girlie show, played by Jane Kraowski, and her appearance in the film adaptation of a "Kevin Grisham" novel (yes, John's brother) entitled the Rural Juror. One running gag of the episode is that no one actually knows the title of the film, although there were some good guesses, including "the Oral Germ Whore". This Episode also deals with Tracy and Jack trying to market The "Tracy Morgan Meat Machine" a Gorge Foreman Grill type invention. however the Meat Machine is made poorly and shoots out hot oil. as a result,  it can only be sold in the Ukraine, and is eventually endorsed by Whoopi Goldberg. Despite this episode being absolutely hilarious, it is also the first time in the show that there is any character development, and it really worked.


3.  Gavin Volure (season 3, Episode 4)
Its no wonder this episode is on my list, you cant really go wrong with a guest star like Steve Martin. In This brilliant Episode, he plays an billionaire agoraphobe named Gavin Volure, who wile at a dinner party, finds Liz so attractive that he asks her to spend the weekend with him in his mansion, too good to be true right? Right. In a true 30 Rock plot twist, it turns out that Gavin is actually not who he seems. he is under house arrest for fraud, arson, embezzlement, and racketeering, and only invited Liz for the weekend to attempt escape. This episode exemplifies the great acting talent of all cast members on the show, and has some great satire, with Gavin representing a number of Wall street crooks. there is also a side plot involving a strangely life like Japanese sex doll of Tracy.


4. Dealbreakesrs Talkshow (season 4, Episode 7)
this episode starts after Liz's relationship book "Dealbreakers"  becomes a best seller (even in China, although there her names is translated as "Lesbian Sour Fruit). After the success of her book, Jack decides it would be a good idea to have Liz come to the front of the cameras to star  in her own Dealbrakers talk show, it isn't. it starts off with Liz getting a, not so great, makeover, and her slow decent into insanity, acting just like the crazed actors she is usually forced to take care of. wile this is going on, Frank, an other writer for TGS played by Judah Friedlander, is put in charge wile Liz is filming the show. As a result, he slowly turns into Liz and you understand why Liz is the way she is a little more.


5. Hogcock! / Last Lunch (season 7 Episode 12/13)
unlike most shows, one of 30 Rocks best episodes is its last one (or last 2 i guess). this episode starts off after TGS is canceled, wile Liz is living relatively happily at home with her new husband and adopted children, however she really wants to get back to work. luckily for liz, it is descovered that if Tracy does not do one more episode of TGS his contract says he will have to be payed $3 million. As per usual Tracy avoids work, and Liz must force him to do his job, however not in the usual way. this episode is packed with heartfelt dialogue and sentimental situations, including Liz having to get tracy to come back to work after he flees to a strip club where we first meet him in episode one of season one. wile in the club, he Explains to Lemon that he is just avoiding work because he doesn't want the show to end (tear jerker, i know). however the show is still packed with humor, humor that would arguably only work for a show like 30 Rock. for example, the last few moments of the show shows we zoom out to see Kenneth, now the head of NBC, holding a snow globe of 30 Rockefeller plaza. we hear Liz Lemons granddaughter pitching Kenneth a show about Liz's life, and her working on TGS. Kenneth replies "I know, i love it" as a ship from Star Wars flies past his office window.