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Let Us Give Thanks
by Patrick Storck

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Since this week is when us Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, usually by watching football, eating too mush, and discovering some new family shame, I thought it would be a good chance to list ten things I am thankful for in the world of entertainment.

1. Uwe Boll, Tommy Wiseau, Akiva Goldsman, and all of those other people that make me realize when I hit a creative block that I should just work through it. The end result doesn't have to be good as long as there is an end result. Too many great ideas get left in development, and finishing something is the only way to get to your next unfortunate attempt.

2. Paris Hilton, for burning all of the paparazzi bridges as she crosses them, purse dog in hand. Think of all the things that we used to hear about. Celebrity sex tapes, drug use, personalized perfumes, who was seen where on what night. Anything that used to be a story was done by Paris, and almost immediately the world says "So what? Who cares anymore"

3. The internet, where every artist can be discovered. Not it, just can be. THat album you've been working on for years, fine tuning every track, pouring your heart and soul into, can be huge if you get the right awkward kid to tape himself jamming out to it.

4. YouTube, for making the internet a place where films can be shown. I don't just mean theatrical releases, for those of you who like $100 million special effects to be seen blurry and in eight minute chunks. I mean personal works of short fiction that express a simple concept in concise narrative. And of course cats falling off of things.

5. Sarah Palin's recent book deal, because I plan on getting the book on CD and really hope she reads it. I plan on putting on a stage version of Fargo, and think it would be an excellent voice coach. I know it's not the same, but I'm from Baltimore and saw the remake of HAIRSPRAY. I figure fair's fair.

6. Cable networks, for giving creative and intelligent shows a chance to breathe, find an audience, and break taboos to serve a greater message. They've pushed the line hard enough for the broadcast networks to start new things themselves. Maybe in a few years FOX will even resemble that young upstart who so many years ago actually dared to out a cartoon on in prime-time. One aimed at the adults in the country.

7. Pagers, though less every year. Once upon a time if somebody needed to reach you during a movie, you had to get up and go find a pay phone to have your conversation. It was never in the theater. Now not only do we rarely see these film-saving devices, we rarely see pay phones. For those who don't remember those, for the cost of a stamp you could call anyone from within a small private booth or wall partition. A stamp was what you put on the outside of a letter, which was like a time release e-mail... I'm old.

8. Pez. It''s collectable, displayable, candy-filled awesomeness. Not really film related per se, unless you need that extra sugar on set to come from a super-rare Kato.

9. Censorship, because it's a challenge. When somebody says I can't say or do something, it makes it that much more important to get my idea out. The more subversive it needs to be, the more I think about it, craft it, and add layers to it. A cheap gag can become something deeply symbolic, personal, or just cleverly understated. Restrictions, frustrating as they are, make us better.

10. You the fans. Not of me, since I don't really have any sort of groupies that I'm aware of, but of stuff in general. Anything you like, you need to tell your friends. Share the experience. Quote things, go to conventions, buy the t-shirt, or just lend the DVD. Real art comes from awareness of its existence. OFFICE SPACE, FANTASIA, THE BIG LEBOWSKI, CITIZEN KANE, THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, lots of great movies bombed when they came out. Fans made them a part of the culture, must see films. If you don't spread the word, how will anyone know what people want to see?

That's all for now. There's always more to be thankful for, but we'll discuss those next year.

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Other columns by Patrick Storck:

That Should Be In a Movie

2010: A Year We Could Make Contact

Bad Movie Christmas

Suggested Reading

Thanks again!

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Patrick Storck
Patrick hails from Baltimore, MD, where playing by the rules is frowned upon. Only average things come from playing it safe.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Patrick Storck by clicking here.

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