Around the Poconos …

I have no idea where to even start with this after having not posted for almost two weeks, so we’re going with a straight stream of consciousness thing here, whatever I find is what I’m throwing on.

Wait, I know where to start with some things I missed — locally. So here goes:

the former grand union in matamoras, soon to become a movie theater

the former grand union in matamoras, soon to become a movie theater

Pike County finally is getting a movie theater to call its own. That’s in addition to the new theater planned at the Stroud Mall. For all the talk about growth in Pike County, one of the things that didn’t come with that growth was a movie theater. I know people in Pike who have told me they trek about an hour to the Cinemark 20 in Moosic to see a movie. In most areas of Pike County, you were driving at least a half hour to see a movie. The lucky ones were in Bushkill that could easily get to the Poconos Movieplex in Marshalls Creek in 10 or 15 minutes. But everyone else — and we’re talking about 70,000 people else — was looking at about an hour to get to a movie. That’s just not an option for most people, so they’re stuck waiting for everything to come out on DVD. Worse, with all the threats to theaters, it didn’t look good for any theater to ever come in to the area. If you’re starting a theater these days, it needs to be a 100 percent slam dunk. Otherwise you won’t be able to find a bank to loan you money, and if you do get someone to give you the money and it’s not a sure thing, you’ll be out of business in a year. So hopefully for movie fans in Pike County, this is a sure thing and will stay in business for a good long time. No word on when it will open, but if you’re getting into the movie business, opening by next May would be advisable. The summers of 2011 and 2012 are shaping up to be some of the biggest summer movie seasons ever:

May 2011: Thor, Pirates of the Caribbean 4, Hangover 2, Kung Fu Panda 2

June 2011: X-Men, Green Lantern, Cars 2, Planet of the Apes reboot

July 2011: Transformers 3, Zookeeper, last Harry Potter movie, Captain America, Cowboys and Aliens

Those are 13 guaranteed blockbusters, more than most summers can guarantee. But wait! We’re not done!

Summer 2012: Avengers (may be the biggest comic book movie ever), Madagascar 3, Men in Black III all in May, Star Trek 2 (June) and the Spider-Man reboot, Ice Age 4 and Batman 3 all in July. That’s seven movies guaranteed to make $200 million each and all likely will have long theatrical runs, the key to making any money in the theater business. So while opening a movie theater right now probably isn’t the most prudent move, it’s at least potentially profitable if you run it correctly and there’s a 99.999999999 percent chance there won’t be a better time in the future to open one.

The eighth annual Pocono Mountains Film Festival starts Thursday with a screening of The Ministers — starring John Leguizamo and Harvey Keitel — at the Casino Theatre in Mount Pocono. It actually opens during the afternoon with some local premieres at the Inn at Pocono Manor, which is where most of the weekend’s festivities will be held. In addition to screening about two dozen movies — many of which are locally made — the festival will have seminars on breaking into the industry.

you gosh darn right i find this funny

you gosh darn right i find this funny

Call me nuts, but I’m strangely intrigued by the first Pocono Mountains Elvis Festival at Fernwood this weekend. I’ve never watched a movie starring Elvis, I’ve never watched a TV movie of his life and I can’t recall a time I’ve ever listened to a full Elvis song from start to finish. It’s impossible to have not listened to a full Elvis song. I’m sure I did at some point, it’s just never registered with me. So I have no idea why I’m intrigued by the festival, but I am. Weird. Maybe it was my love of the Honky Tonk Man.

This is one of the biggest bar weekends of the year. If your Poconos bar is looking to get some from publicity, feel free to send me the interesting stuff you have going this weekend and I’ll try to run a round-up of everyone’s offerings on Friday. I don’t have the time or inclination to go on everyone’s website to list what’s going. But if you e-mail or Facebook your activities, cool. I’ve gotten one so far, from Liquid in Stroudsburg. The bar has Halloween-themed menu and drink items, and has Pocono Duo on stage Friday with Nakked Soul Band on Saturday. No cover either night, and there is a costume contest on Saturday night. also, Gypsies at Mount Airy is having a celebrity look-a-like contest based on costumes on Saturday night and will have Halloween drinks and food.

One more local note — WVIA will air its live recordings from this year’s COTA Fest starting Monday on its radio stations throughout northeast and central Pennsylvania. The recordings will on the network’s All That Jazz program, which airs each night at 7 p.m. Locally, WVIA airs on 94.3 FM. The interesting thing about these broadcasts is it could be the last time COTA is featured on WVIA. Due to heavy funding cuts, the local PBS affiliate has started charging $5,000 to organizations for the station to record their events and air them on the network. Actually, this year’s COTA was supposed to be subject to that fee, but due to some communication issues, the station did it for free this year. COTA has been scratching around for money the last few years, so it would be tough to believe it could come up with $5,000 to tape it next year. If you’re a COTA fan and love hearing it on the radio or seeing it on TV, soak it up this year, who knows if we’ll be hearing it again on the dial.

OK, back to pop culture:

whatever that under the breath sound that sideshow bob makes when he steps on a rake in simpsons? that's the sound i'm making now.

whatever that under the breath sound that sideshow bob makes when he steps on a rake in simpsons? that's the sound i'm making now.

Batman 3 news — there will be no Riddler in this installment, which is now called The Dark Knight Rises. I think that’s a pretty stupid title, but it’s the not as bad as Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and it has sort-of links to the Batman comic world. So at least it’s acceptable. As for the Riddler not coming around this time, good riddance. I never really understood him as a villain anyway, and what I did understand, Jim Carrey effectively ruined in Batman Forever. “Batman … Batman you say … I’m counting on it!” I think I just threw up a little in my mouth thinking about that scene.

How the heck did I not post for 12 days in the middle of TV cancellation season and nothing get canceled? It’s a new age in television, where networks are too broke to cancel anything unless it really, really, really tanks. Otherwise, they’re willing to stick with the show for as long as they are contractually obligated to, or until the episodes they have paid to produce hit the air. The closest thing that’s come to getting the ax is Medium, which this week had its episode order cut to 13 for the season. CBS says its still keeping its options open, but who are they kidding at this point? Is there any other line of work where the boss says, “Hey, great job, we love having you at the company. We’re so happy, we’re cutting your contract in half.” Umm, no. There aren’t. The cast and producers probably don’t care, the show already is in syndication, so they’re set for life.

soon enough for schlubs like me without directv

soon enough for schlubs like me without directv

One show ending by choice (kinda) starts the beginning of its end tonight for some people — Friday Night Lights begins its fifth and final season on DirecTV tonight. For those of you that do have DirecTV and are fans of FNL, congrats. You get to watch the final season of the best TV family drama of all time before the rest of us. But same rules apply today that have applied for the last two years with this DirecTV/FNL arrangement, where the satellite company airs the season, then NBC airs it later on its schedule. Keep your effing mouth shut. SHUT IT!!! That includes my brother Erik, who just got into the series last year and already is talking smack about how he’s gonna blow the whole thing for me. If I am given any indication of what happens this year, on purpose or by mistake, I cannot be held responsible for my actions. I won’t be. I promise, I will find 12 jurors who are FNL fans without DirecTVand they will all side with me. You’ve been warned. It’s not giving anything away to show the trailer for the fifth season. The cast is barely recognizable from the first season, but whatever keeps this show on the air is fine and dandy by me. Although I’m a little surprised by no Landry.

Still haven’t seen Avatar, still have no desire to. Maybe by 2014 when the second one comes out, it will be on FX and I’ll be bored enough to watch it. I didn’t get into The Matrix until a couple weeks before Revolutions came out, it took me about four Harry Potter movies before I saw one in the theater, so maybe there’s Avatar hope for me yet. I just highly doubt it.

you da man, don

you da man, don

Normally, I wouldn’t bother with something that aired more than a week ago, but since I was on vacation when the Mad Men finale was on, just some quick thoughts about it. As an unabashed fan of Mad Men, I feel something for this show that I don’t feel for any other show — remorse. I genuinely feel sorry for people who don’t want to get into Mad Men, feel even worse for people that tried and couldn’t get into it, and really, really worse for people who have dropped it altogether for one reason or another. Like, wouldn’t-wish-it-on-my-worst-enemy remorse. The show is just that good and I refuse to listen to any arguments otherwise. Sure, I can understand why people wouldn’t like it — the pace, the subject matter and, ummm, nothing else — but that’s as far as it goes. I have no understanding for people who say it’s not good. I’m not going to say this fourth seasons was Mad Men’s best, but it certainly was the most action-packed. Or at least it seemed that way. Subtly finding out little things like how Don manipulated his way into his original ad agency job may seem ridiculously small to some people, but for Mad Men fans, that was a jaw-dropping, “Holy s—!” TV experience. In this season’s finale, the simple act of Don and Betty sharing a drink before they sold their house doesn’t seem like much either, but it inspired a two-day, hour-plus conversation/argument between my wife and I that hit things like sexuality, a woman’s role in society and what a marriage should be. Mad Men is what great TV should be. It should turn the mirror on ourselves and pull a Linda Richman by saying, “Discuss.” There isn’t any show on TV that does this better than Mad Men. FINALE GRADE: A+. SEASON GRADE: A-.

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