Feb 26 2009

Giving credit when credits are due

Adel Gabot

credits

I’ve pissed off a lot of friends in the past whenever we watched movies, because I insisted on sitting through the end credits. I used to flat out refuse to stand from my seat until the last few lines crawled up the screen and the logos faded out.

My friends or my date usually had no choice but to fume beside me, or leave me in the theater and just wait for me in the car. This would often make me/us the last stragglers out of the theater, sometimes a scary proposition if you’re at the last screening of the night (and especially if you were watching one of the Lord of The Rings movies, whose credits take up to ten minutes to finish). The janitors give you funny, irritated what-the-hell-are-you-still-doing-here-go-home-so-we-can-lock-up looks as they clean up around you.

My friends ask me why I did such a dumb thing, when I obviously can’t take in every single name. I couldn’t possibly individually reflect and ruminate over each person’s contribution to the movie I just watched. Who reads that crap, anyway? And who cares?

True. Most people stand up and start shuffling through the aisles the minute the words start crawling up the screen. Some of them are really inordinately and inconsiderably long—you know it’s too long when the theme song has finished and the editors segue in portions of the score for the remainder of the credits.

But I think I sit down and wait through them for the same reason I stand up when they play the national anthem: to show respect. Because if I were one of the people responsible for the movie, I’d want people to see my name up there. Get credit. As someone who creates things too, I understand how important getting that distinction is, however fleeting.

It’s the same as having my byline on an article getting edited out and no one caring to know I wrote it. (Not that I always write deathless prose, but you know what mean, those of you who work hard at your craft.) It’s kinda like leaving off J.K. Rowling‘s name off the book jacket, or Steven Spielberg‘s name off the poster. Credit is important. For some people, it’s part of why they do things. (The entire closing-credits thing even has a Wikipedia page devoted to it, and is fascinating, at least to this geek).

I write about this now because I had a depressing self-realization after watching the new House episode tonight. Continue reading


Feb 18 2009

To boldly go—again

Adel Gabot

 

star_trek_xiAs I like to say, I’m a Trekker—as opposed to being a Trekkie. There’s a distinct difference.

Trekkies go to conventions, write fanfic, wear the ears and do cosplay. And speak in guttural languages. Trekkers, on the other hand, remain anonymous, incognito. On the surface, you cannot tell we like Star Trek just by looking at us or listening to us talk. We have restraint, conduct reasonable discussions on the possibilities of faster-than-light travel and matter teleportation without getting too far outside the realms of hard science. And we do not speak or read Klingon.

I am actually a lapsed Trekker, to be honest about it. I have grown up and realized I will not die if I don’t read every single bandwagon Star Trek novel ever written.

Yes, I have lapses. I can wax rhapsodic about the Nicholas Meyer movies (II and VI), the first season of TOS (The Original Series), and one or two truly intelligent novels if I really had to. I’m not exactly sure I should be proud of it, but I think I can hold my own with Trek trivia buffs. I have been known to say Live Long and Prosper on rare occasions (although to my knowledge I have never publicly made the splay-fingered Vulcan greeting).  But I find on the whole I can live without Star Trek most of the time. Forgive the heresy, but these days I’m actually thinking most of the stuff is asinine. Doing as William Shatner himself once exasperatedly suggested (and biting the hands that fed him), I went and got a life. It’s just a TV show.

Thing is, the mounting hysteria over J.J. Abrams‘ new film is lighting a fire under my ass once again, to my dismay and consternation. I have no problem obsessing over Watchmen, but I’m surprised to feel nearly the same way with the Star Trek movie. I download the trailers and surf the net for tidbits and morsels about it. I even downloaded a version of the reedited trailer that showed four seconds of an aging Spock as a coda at the end. In HD. I have recently rewatched II and VI, God help me.

bill_leo

The other week I caught an episode of William Shatner’s 30-minute talk show for the Biography Channel called Raw Nerve that got me nostalgic about being a Trekker. Normally I don’t watch anything with Bill Shatner. Truth be told, I only liked him in the first season of the original series, and in The Wrath of Khan movie. He is, and he admits it himself, a ham. He’s also a very rude and acerbic personality off-cam, and apparently that makes for a good interviewer. So when I found out Leonard Nimoy was guesting on his show, I made it a point to watch that episode. Kirk and Spock, shooting the breeze. It should be interesting.

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Feb 14 2009

Pinoy ghost hunting

Adel Gabot

scifi_ghosthunters2Watching the Sci-Fi Channel “reality” series Ghost Hunters has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. It’s really a ridiculous show, about real-life ‘ghost hunters’ or paranormal investigators who are just regular folk off-cam. Like Grant Wilson and Jason Hawes of Rhode Island, who are plumbers during the day, and unschooled, pseudo-scientific ghost-busting hobbyists at night, who somehow managed to get their own TV show on a major cable network. They go around the US, investigating cases of hauntings, stumbling and tripping around old creaky houses in the dark as a camera crew follows them and the rest of their team.

Most of their results are cases of wishful thinking, evidence that is more fanciful than definitive. Mumbled audio noise that they claim to be Electronic Voice Phenomena are actually dubious and ambiguous digital burps. Grainy video of ghosts are floating patches of mist. Blurry pictures of spooky shadows that are just dark spots thrown by objects in the house. Moving lights are car beams from outside. Mostly they just do a good job of scaring each other, and, hopefully in the process, us. To be fair, every so often they come across something genuinely weird, but that’s the exception rather than the rule.

The show’s been on for a few seasons, and a large community of gullible, fiercely loyal fans have sprung up from the woodwork. The show is the highest rated on the SciFi Channel. It’s hard to find fault with the hosts, as they seem to be genuinely nice, sweet guys who are sincere about their work, if misguided. Stupid show, to call a spade a spade; I once posted a long list of reasons why the show was ludicrous on Twitter, stuff like, why do they have to do the investigations at night, with the lights off? I largely find them incoherent, but strangely irresistible, and I watch what I can.

But they’ve gotten so popular that a spin-off has been made—Ghost Hunters International, featuring an equally earnest, multinational team that traipses around the world doing the same stuff Grant and Jason do, only with a bigger playing field. This other team has been all over the planet, checking out spooky places in Russia, Italy, Brazil, Sweden, France, England, etc.

I figured, hey, one of these days come on over to the Philippines, and we’ll show you spooky. We got great mumos here.

So to my surprise, I got this week’s GHI episode, s01e20, and was greeted by this opening shot:

ghi

 

Is that… Baguio? Are those jeepneys? And isn’t that Burnham Park to the right?

WTH?

When did this happen?

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