Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fly the Fatter Skies!!

So anyone who is active in the Twitter community (not me) or knows about and/or is a fan of Kevin Smith (me) has heard about this fiasco that recently went down between he (KS) and Southwest Airlines.

Here's the rundown in case you missed it.

1. Smith was on his way back from MacWorld and flying out of the Oakland airport and decided to go home a bit early, and so was put on standby.

2. He purchased two seats, which he contests, because he prefers to left alone and comfortable.

3. The flight that opened up for him had only one seat which he said he would take and a ticket was given for said flight.

4. He sat in his seat, a middle seat toward the front of the plane between two ladies, and then two minutes later was asked to leave because the captain of the plane believed him to be a "safty risk".

5. After much arguing and beating around the bush about why he was asked to deplane, Smith went on a tirade on Twitter that put Southwest Airlines in hot water.

Ok, now we're all caught up.

Here is my take on this (if you care). First let me start by saying I'm a big fan of Kevin Smith, he makes funny movies and I listen to SModcast every week. So I am a bit biased. I believe that ultimately Southwest Airlines was in the wrong here and for many reasons.

First and foremost ... he fit in the damn seat! Armrests were down!

Second, what is the exact nature of this "safety risk"? Is it that fat people have greater trouble moving around and therefore in an emergency situation will put others at risk with their slow movements? Is it that their physical weight is so great that it throws off the physics of the plane and there is a chance the pilot may not be able to operate the plane properly? Does it just waste gas to have a bunch of fatties on the plane instead of starving babies? "Safety risk" is just a euphamism for wasting the airline's money basically. Unless it's actually the first reason with the moving thing. Actually, I did hear that if a plane is overweight then there is more of a risk of sliding off a runway, so there is that, but you don't see or hear about airlines pulling off Aussie rugby players (muscle > fat, and people think it's not discrimination). The main point here is you need to have properly defined parameters for this kind of thing when you want to make it policy. Otherwise you get a situation like this and you get screwed. Even IF Southwest Airlines was "in the right" in this situation, they couldn't defend themselves. Any way you look at it, it's discrimination. If you don't have it properly defined then it's an arbitrary call.

Now, I just listened to the hour long SModcast that Kevin just put up about this whole adventure and it actually changed my tune a bit. Like I said before I'm a Kevin Smith fan, I like his work and what he does otherwise. Having said that, I think he went a bit too far and I'd just like to say, Kevin, you're kinda acting like a bitch. By that I mean for a while there you were speaking from passion and rage in a way that didn't make sense. You said at one point that you were entertaining the possibility that "they did it because someone didn't like your movies". Now I know, you said it one time at the beginning (of SMod) and it was definitely a joke then, but later on it sounded as if you really believed it for a second. Come on man, get real. I know there are haters out there and the higher up you are the more extreme they get, but seriously? I'm just going to pass that off as, you were really really pissed and you let it get to you. You weren't thinking clearly. Toward the end you calmed down and things got back to normal.

Do I think SWAir was in the wrong? Yes, definitely. Did Kevin Smith go to far? Maybe, but I can discount the truly ridiculous things he said like "they did this because of my movies". I know you're really mad, but UFOs aren't coming to abduct you. I think this is a good thing because if it works like it should then SWAir will provide better training to their employees or actually make a legit policy that makes sense.

Here is what I would like to see. If weight is an issue then weigh everyone and everything. If you take an average adult human weight + 1 average weight check in bag + 1 average weight carry on and X by the number of people on the plane and then subtract that from whatever the number is for unsafe weight on a given plane, then you will know how much wiggle room you got per passenger. That could be your cutoff point. Then if someone complains you just show them an equation! It's math and physics, you can't argue with that! Also, KS had just some carry on stuff, but what if someone weighing 200lbs checked two 50lbs bags? "Safety risk"?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Bologna Has a First Name...It's O-S-C-A-R!!

So the Oscar nominees came out and....who really gives a shit. Not to be rude, but the Oscars have been a sham for a long time now and with a few exceptions, haven't really given credit where credit is due. There are a lot of things that I could point out about previous Oscar contests that start a discussion or two, but let's focus on this year's nods shall we?

The only thing I really want to talk about is the Best Picture category. In previous years, the Best Picture allowed for five nominations, which is fine. This year, in an attempt to get people to care about the Oscars, the Academy has increased the number from five to ten! What do this mean to all of you? It means that there are five extra movies in that category that have absolutely no chance of winning, but are put there so you at home can say, "hey, I saw that movie"!

Many a year the winner of Best Picture has been something that a large portion of movie-goers hadn't "the English Patient". The year of my birth (1982) the winner was "Gandhi" and after that it was "Terms of Endearment". Not to knock on those films, but they weren't that entertaining. But these are the typical winners, big time dramas that deal with serious and real issues, and almost always real people.

This year the nominees are: "Avatar", "The Blind Side", "District 9", "An Education", "The Hurt Locker", "Inglourious Basterds", "Precious", "A Serious Man", "Up", and "Up in the Air".

First of all congratulations to "Up" for being only the 2nd animated movie in Oscar history to be nominated for Best Picture. Problem is they created a whole category so that they wouldn't have to do this, and therefor "Up" is throw-away nomination #1.

Now let's go to the meat of the non-nominations, which are "Avatar", "District 9", and "Inglourious Basterds". These films were fun and broke a lot of rules in film in a cool and interesting way. "Avatar" of course is the behemoth born of behemoth mother James Cameron that made 3D legitimate for years to come, but the story, acting, and pretty much everything else weren't any different from a normal summer blockbuster. "District 9" to me is the closest to an actual nominee out of these three with it's unique documentary film making style and incredibly lifelike and well acting aliens like we've never seen before. On top of that, it deals with real world issues that mirror those in parts of South Africa. Still, I think we're a bit of a ways off before a sci-fi movie gets the Best Picture. And then there is "Inglourious Basterds". Gratz to QT for the nomination both for the film and himself, although I doubt he was looking for it. This is a perfect example of a film wanting to be fun. I loved it, except that the "Tarantino-Table" conversations went on waaaaaaay too long. This has a snow cone's chance in hell of winning, but if Christopher Waltz doesn't win for Best Supporting Actor I'm going to f-ing knife someone!

Well, that's a lot of stuff right there, but the real reason I'm writing about this can be summed up in this question: "why isn't 'Star Trek' nominated....FOR ANYTHING!!" Seriously guys, of all the movies I've seen this past year "Star Trek" was the best! No question. It was well acted, great editing, direction, sound, writing, story, I mean ....WTF!?! If you're gonna put something like "Avatar", "District 9", or "Up" in there (and "Up" is by no means the best Pixar has done) you gotta have "Star Trek"!! Way better movie in my opinion than any of those (well, maybe not "District 9", it was really well done)! It's been a long time since I've seen a movie that performs so well on every level in the way that "Star Trek" did.

And by the way Academy, do you really think we don't know who will win Best Animated Feature when "Up" is nominated for Best Picture? Come on.