Four Film Plots Explained Badly


A falcon statue changes hands in the fast-paced antiquities market.

A Vietnam-era Huck Finn travels up the Nung river in search of adventure.

Batman battles Wolverine while Black Widow and Alfred the Butler are forced to choose sides.

The actor who will become Han Solo wrecks the car that will become the Millennium Falcon.

Four Versions of Radiohead’s “Creep”

I like to wander YouTube listening to different artists’ covers of the same song, one after another. It’s like a wine tasting where you try one varietal (like a Zinfandel) from three or four different wineries side by side. You’d think that all Zinfandels would be about the same, but tasting them side by side tasting helps you appreciate the differences and makes it easy to decide which you like best. Seth Roberts called it the Willat Effect.

Here are four good covers of Radiohead’s “Creep” in four different styles. You can hear Radiohead’s original version here.

First up is the Pretenders.

This is Prince’s live cover from Coachella that the Internet is flipping out over this week. You can skip the first three minute of Prince wandering around the stage in the dark.

Macy Gray and David Choi in a radio studio with acoustic guitar.

Scala & Kolacny Brothers, sung by a large choir. If you’ve seen the movie The Social Network, this is the version that played over the credits.

Here’s how I’d rate the four covers

There’s a thing called The One Question – would you buy it again or do it again. So here’s how I’d rate the covers based on one question – would I go back and listen to them again?

Pretenders – It’s solid, and the thing that makes it stand out from the zillion Creep covers on YouTube is Chrissie Hynde’s unique phrasing. It’s good, but I can’t see any reason to listen to it again.

Prince – Some people love it, some people despise it. After listening to it I couldn’t decide which camp I was in. Some things are challenging – they’re so different than what you’re used to that you have to have to wrap your head around them. I liked it better the second time. I don’t think it’s great (and you have to handicap it for being a bad recording of a live show), but it’s a huge contrast to any other cover because Prince. I might listen to it again one day because it’s so different.

Scala & Kolacny Brothers – Beautiful and different. Worth multiple listenings.

Macy Gray and David Choi – The duet format is nice and the Macy Gray uses her aility to express strong emotion without raising her voice. I’ve listened to it over and over. The great camerawork in the video is a bonus.

iPhone Video – My First Time Using an iPhone Instead of a DSLR for Club Video

I’ve been shooting video with a DSLR for about five years. A while back I realized that iPhone video was pretty darned good, so I decided to try using an iPhone as a second camera. Then I could mix the DSLR footage and iPhone footage in my video editing software and have multiple camera angles. Heck, maybe I could even leave the heavy DSRL gear behind and use a system built around smartphones.

iPhone Video

The video quality for the Labron Lazenby video was OK considering, in this case considering this was a dark club. If you play the video fullscreen it’s easy to see the noise and grain in the video. Smartphone cameras have small sensors. (The sensor is the chip that converts light into electrical signals.) Small sensors don’t perform as well in low light as the large sensors in DSLRs. Advantage – DSLR.

For the sake of comparison, here is a different show I shot in daylight with my wife’s iPhone 6. With plenty of light, there’s no grain or noise.


One big advantage of DSLRs is their interchangeable lenses. To close the gap I bought an Olloclip 4-in-1 lens that fits over the iPhone’s lens. It combines a wideangle, fisheye, and two levels of macro in one unit. I used the fisheye for this video and liked the different look. I’ve wanted a fisheye lens forever, but couldn’t justify $800 for the Nikon or $240 for the Rokinon. I was happy to pay $70 for the Olloclip. I’m finding that iPhone gear is cheap compared to the DSLR equivalents.

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Books vs. Movies

Never judge a book by its movie. - J.W. Eagan

It’s cliche that the book is better than the movie. Anyway, you can use the rule in reverse. If you like a movie that’s based on a book, read the book. I did that with Game of Thrones, No Country for Old Men, and some others and it worked great.

Lots of F-bombs in the video

Some may think these are just two chairs hanging on a wall


But oh, no.


Seen at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston. I like art, but this sort of thing is just a parlor game cleverness bluff.

New Video – Heartache by the Score

I’ve gotten back into making videos. I’m spending more time on the beginning and ending credits and having fun with it. This is a local band covering an Allen Toussaint tune. If your RSS reader doesn’t show YouTube videos, use this link.

Sundance Channel and Independent Film Channel

I’m so old I remember when Sundance Channel and Independent Film Channel showed independent films instead of Law and Order reruns and big budget blockbusters. This week some of their small, handcrafted film options include marathon showings of the Rambo, Terminator, and Nutty Professor franchises.

Because if anything defines independent film making it’s Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Eddie Murphy. Outlaws. Rebels. Thumbing their noses at the stuffy Tinseltown status quo, these three maverick outsiders will explode the Hollywood movie-making formulas or have fun trying.

Two Quotes on Change

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
— Heraclitus

“I think I’ve seen this movie before. When I was a kid I saw it on TV. I don’t recognize this movie. This is like what’s happening with us. Like the past. The movie never changes. It couldn’t change. Every time you see it it seems different because you’re different. You see different things.”
— James Cole (Bruce Willis), 12 Monkeys

Amazon Fire TV vs Apple TV vs Netflix and Chromecast

This is a followup to my Amazon Fire TV review. If you haven’t read it yet, you may want to read the review first. The Fire TV is great, but before you buy one there’s just one thing you have to ask yourself…

Are you an Apple person, an Amazon person, or a Netflix person?

Which device you choose comes down to the content ecosystem you’re using. If you have content on iTunes then an AppleTV and an iPad make sense. If you have content on Amazon and a Prime subscription then a Fire TV / Kindle Fire combination is a better choice.

The two systems are designed to work with devices from the same ecosystem. With an Apple TV you can use AirDrop to project content from Apple computers, iPads, and iPhones to your TV. Likewise, with a Fire TV you can fling content from your Kindle to your TV. If you mix a TV device from one company with a computing device from the other you lose that functionality.

Amazon Fire TV and Kindle Fire vs Apple TV and iDevices

Amazon Kindle Fire HDXThe Fire TV has made us re-think some upcoming tablet purchases. We realize now that we’re Amazon people.

Our daughter had wanted an iPad Mini for her birthday. After using the Fire TV she’s changed her mind and decided she wants a newer Kindle Fire. She likes the Amazon Prime content, with TV shows, movies, and music. She also likes the Kindle Lending Library that’s included with Prime. Every month you can read one Kindle book for free. Unlike paid Kindle books that can be read on any device using the Kindle app, the free Lending Library books require an Amazon Kindle device.

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Review of the Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV Reviewed

We had a TV problem at the house. The kids wanted to watch TV in the living room, because that’s where the TiVo lives. The den only had a Wii that connected to Netflix. We had an Amazon Prime subscription that had thousands of free movies and TV shows, but we could only watch them on a computer or the Kindle Fire.

When the Amazon Fire TV was announced it sounded like just what we needed. The Fire TV is a streaming set top box similar to the Apple TV or Roku. The differences are mostly in which streaming services they support. Amazon has a chart comparing the Google Chromecast and the others on the Fire TV page.

(The Chromecast is a different thing from the rest. The others are standalone boxes. The Chromecast requires a computer, tablet, or smartphone to “cast” content to it. There is no remote and the content is limited, but it’s cheap at $35.)

Fire TV can stream Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Showtime Anywhere, and dozens of other services. The only disappointment is that HBO Go is missing.

Amazon Fire TV Setup

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Game of Thrones spoilers from the books

I just started reading my first George R. R Martin book. I now have a sudden, inexplicable urge to post spoilers on Internet forums, so…

Game of Thrones books spoiler alert! The Bran* chapters are really boring. Plot synopsis of every Bran chapter: It’s cold. They walk from Point A in the woods to Point B in the woods. Hodor!

* I think it’s Bran. It could be Bran, Bronn or Brienne. The easy way to tell them apart is that one has a beard, one looks like a girl, and the other one is Brienne.

Spoiler Alert Fails

Google for “sons or anarchy recap.” I wonder if anyone died in this week’s episode?


OK, sure. Now I know who died. But who killed him is still a mystery, right?


That’s some mighty fine spoiler alertin’ there, Cletus.

Still Alive and I Have a Job No Less

No posts lately because I’ve been busy at a new full time gig, which I like a bunch. I needed a job and they needed me badly. ‘Nuff said.

Meanwhile, I’m putting out the videos I’ve been working on for a while. Here’s one.

Hootchie Cootchie Man

Compare and Contrast – Pete Townshend’s “Let My Love Open the Door”

Here’s something I like to do. Listen to different artists perform the same song. That side by side listening always reveals new things about the song and the artists. Seth Roberts likes to talk about the Willat Effect, where side by side comparisons help to make you a connoisseur.

(YiouTube links – open in new tabs)

Pete Townshend’s Original Version – For reference. The farty synthesizer is a little dated, but otherwise it holds up pretty well.

Pearl Jam Live Electric and Eddie Vedder Solo Acoustic – I’ve always liked Pearl Jam, even though I haven’t thought of myself as a fan the way I did with Nirvana, but Eddie Vedder is growing tremendously as an artist. This ain’t the same guy who used to stand in front of the mic with his arms wrapped around himself. He’s learned to play guitar and he’s confident as hell. His soundtrack for “Into the Wild” is what finally made me a fan.

Michael Cavanaugh – Piano heavy.

Amateur – Linsey Moon on Ukelele – My secret girlfriend, Linsey Moon. Sigh.

Amateur – Karmarin Natures A Capella – For guys who are more into gals with low self esteem.

Amatuer – Anargha Gunawan on Ukelele – Better than Linsey’s, but he isn’t a darling English girl.

And Pete gets the final word:

Pete Townshend Live Solo Version

Mr. T on Mr. T

“So for the children my advice to them is be a scientist, or a doctor, or an astronaut, because everybody can’t be Mr. T.”
Mr. T by Mr. T

From Molly Lewis “I Pity the Fool.”