Archive for Friday, December 18, 2009

Net Worth: Motion pictures inspire blogs — and vice versa

A clue from a Name That Movie visual quiz.

A clue from a Name That Movie visual quiz.

December 18, 2009


Name That Movie ...

Name That Movie ...


It’s an ugly word. Like a cross between blemish and hog.

A contraction of the phrase Web log, there are reportedly more than 100 million blogs currently polluting the Internet. How many of them are worth perusing? I’m guessing the number is proportionate to the amount of people on Earth who are both good writers and non-morons.

Now blogs have intruded into the medium I hold most dear: film.

Spurred by the always madcap Golden Globe nominations, I decided to order the movie “Julie & Julia” on my local On Demand system. For those unfamiliar, it’s a parallel tale centered on revered chef Julia Child’s attempt to publish her 1961 cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” and modern blogger Julie Powell’s attempts at executing all 524 recipes in one year.

More to the point, it is the first major motion picture ever released to be based on a blog.

Funny how virtually every review of the film (positive or negative) has mentioned that all the period scenes with Meryl Streep as Child are superior to the more contemporary sections with Amy Adams as Powell. This begs the question of why not just make a straight-up biopic of the lovable late chef?

Not “edgy” enough? Not appealing to the hipster blogging demographic, perhaps?

I think somebody needs to write a blog about this point.

All this bloggery about movies brings me to the eventual target of this rambling column. Sure, “Julie & Julia” is the first flick to be based on a blog, but there is certainly no shortage of blogs centered on movies. So I thought I’d divulge one of my new favorites.

The author is Paul Rogers, a Pasadena-based illustrator who runs a blog called Name that Movie. What he does is create a series of six pen-and-ink drawings that feature no movie stars, just iconic images from the film. From that, the user is asked to guess what film he has rendered.

It sounds easy, but the retro black-and-white drawings of restaurant facades, cryptic postcards, shadowy alleys and vintage automobiles create a freaky Rorschach/Gestalt challenge. Some seem obvious — who around here isn’t going to nail “The Wizard of Oz”? — but most are exasperatingly difficult. (The scenes that I later learned were from “The Graduate” seemed so familiar, but I just couldn’t put it all together.)

He also delivers a fine cross section of eras and genres, from Chaplin and Welles to Scorsese and Tarantino.

Rogers writes, “When I finish 100 movies, I'll see about getting them published as a book. A book like this could sell dozens.”

Don’t sell yourself short, buddy. This blog is so impressive that one day it might even inspire a major motion picture.

Now let’s hope there will never be a movie based on Twitter.

— Entertainment editor Jon Niccum explores facets of pop culture that have established a unique niche on the Internet in Net Worth. He can be reached at 832-7178.


unelectable 8 years, 6 months ago

Isn't a column with a witty title published on the intertubes a web log?

jniccum 8 years, 6 months ago


Nope. Because it runs in print as a column -- on actual old-school paper. And there are subtle other differences like I get paid to write it, and I'm held accountable for what I say.

unelectable 8 years, 6 months ago

what is this 'paper' you speak of? is like the gray part of the Eink on my kindle? what resolution is it? does it come in HD?

kidding aside... are you taking the stance that no blogger is paid to blog? or that no blogger is held accountable for what they write? this doesn't seem like it could possibly be true.

yes, of the "reportedly more than 100 million blogs currently polluting the Internet" most of them are most certainly pure junk written by people who are no more qualified to share their thoughts in a public forum than I am. They are not reviewed (or even read) by anyone before or after they are posted. the writer is not accountable to anyone about what they write. not themselves, their readers or their subjects.

But, there are a small percentage of bloggers who do make a living off of writing their blogs. They are the best bloggers. The ones who have the most readers. they are often people who are knowledgeable in their fields. These bloggers are accountable to many people. Readers, employers, subjects.

I will concede that a professional journalist and newspaper columnist is many rungs higher on the ladder than blogger. But i'd ask you to concede that your position that being paid and held accountable for what they say is not limited to those working for a media giant like WorldCorp.

jniccum 8 years, 6 months ago


You make excellent points.

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