An Epic Binge Watch You Can’t Refuse

I can’t believe I’ve never heard of The Godfather 1902-1959: The Complete Epic. Apparently neither has Rotten Tomatoes, as it has no reviews. First released in 1981, Epic is a re-edited seven-hour version of The Godfather and Godfather II, remixed into a “chronological” narrative instead of Coppola’s masterful flashbacks in the original films. Epic also added some scenes that didn’t make it into the original theatrical versions.

I vaguely recall there was a version of I & II re-edited into a TV mini-series called The Godfather Saga, but that version stuck to the original story sequence and edited out what Emily Litella used to call “violins on television” and dirty words.

Epic aired on HBO last Sunday (Jan. 24, 2016) and this link (at least, temporarily) has information about more showings and the film’s on-demand options (HBO Go, HBO Now, Cable company apps, etc.) and future air dates.

The Godfather for the Binge-watch Era

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While I was not able to “binge watch” it at one stretch (it took me most of a week), I can’t imagine there being a greater example of how to remix two classic films into the perfect binge whole. Epic successfully appropriates and changes an existing work of art to create something completely new and completely different, and, in its own way, completely great. However…

Two things to note about Epic:

1 | It wisely doesn’t appropriate anything from the god-awful Godfather III. In fact, I think it was released even before there was a Godfather III.

2 | If you have never seen Godfather I & II, don’t watch Epic first. Here’s a quote from The AV Club’ review of Epic that explains why:

While this sequential edit is an interesting way to rewatch the films after you’ve already seen them a half dozen times, it does lose some of the cinematic magic that made these films the classics they are today. The tragedy of Michael’s missteps as the Corleone patriarch is diminished somewhat when no longer juxtaposed with his father’s rise to power.”

That said, the reviewer goes on to admit:

…”(such) trifling criticisms are mitigated by glimpses at reinstated scenes like a conversation between Michael and his father about the need to avenge the murder of the eldest Corleone son, Santino (Sonny).”

Next time you’re looking for a binge classic, this is it.

Customers Don’t Want Your Content

While lots of people (including me) call it “content marketing,” I’ve yet to meet anyone who says they want content. Contentment, yes, but content?

People want knowledge, insight, expertise, wisdom, to laugh, to be entertained.

People want to know how to move a Google doc into a Google Drive folder or help in deciding which among 20 different paper shredders should they buy or where’s the closest place they can order breakfast food for supper.

People want to learn new things, lose weight, be better at bocce, or know what bocce is or have someone explain to them  how no-one they know likes Donald Trump but he leads in the polls.

florida-whiteboardGive people such knowledge and you won’t need to pay for expensive infographics. (The late Tim Russert didn’t need high-tech graphics to make people smarter.)

So here’s how to become great at using content to increase revenues, create long-term customer relationships and many other things you’d rather tell the boss about that how many pieces of content you’ve posted:

Stop thinking about this thing where companies use content in their marketing as “content” or “marketing.” Focus  rather on developing as many ways as possible that enable you to help your customers become smarter.

They’ll love you and you’ll become marketer of the year.


(Sidenote: Whenever I write something like this, I feel the need to credit Doc Searls. He makes me smarter all the time.)

The Only Snow Video Posted on the Internet Today

(NOTE: In the next paragraph, change “feet” to “inches” for more accurate  measurement. I’m factoring in inflation for when the snow of 2016 is talked about in the future.) 

This is the only snow video posted on the internet today by me related to the great blizzard of 2016, the greatest snowfall of all time (until the next one), Nashville received six feet of snow. In DC and New York, they received more than 100 feet of snow, each.

Movie Review: The Big Short

Before seeing The Big Short, read the New York Times Magazine (and ProPublica) article, “Why Only One Top Banker Went to Jail for the Financial Crisis.” It will add to your outrage. And outrage is what you need when you see this film.

The article, while long and at times a bit dense, is written in the style of a Michael Lewis book (including The Big Short): Find a compelling person or group who are examples of a big, but hard to comprehend, truth and spend months embedded in their world. Desperately look for ways to find heroes and villains with compelling stories. When that fails, do the best you can. The article is probably the best its writers could do. The film is probably the best its creators could do.

Continue reading Movie Review: The Big Short