Media

MockingHate: Negativity, Click Bait, and Media Strategy

District 13 isn’t the only one coming up with a plan when it comes to Mockingjay Part 1.

If you’re on the Internet on a regular basis, you’ve probably heard the term “click bait”. It’s when a headline or even an entire article is designed to be somewhat controversial in order to draw people in to either agree with or defend the topic at hand. It’s mainly useless pieces on popular subjects without much in terms of real depth, even if provided in essay form.

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Fishing For Hits!

And Mockingjay Part 1, dear friends, has been a serious victim of click bait.

The media has been saying just about anything they can to get our attention and let’s face it, most of it is negative. Why? The fandom is massive and enthusiastic and not afraid to run to the film’s defense, but there’s also plenty of “Academy Award winners only, please” types who will gladly agree with them on anything that demerits the franchise. Therefore, they get ALL THE CLICKS.

Though this happen with lots of series and has happened to The Hunger Games in the past, the horrendous articles meant to induce click bait have really hit new heights. So let’s go through these atrocious claims and set some things straight.

1) MOCKINGJAY PART 1 IS A FAILURE!
Mockingjay Part 1 is estimated to finish at $123 million for the weekend, making it the highest opening weekend of the otherwise lackluster year. It will almost definitely be the highest grossing movie of 2014, seeing as the current highest (Guardians of the Galaxy) reached $331 million over the course of its entire run. Mockingjay earned a third of the #1 movie’s entire run total in one damn weekend. Yes, $123 million is less than Catching Fire’s opening weekend and short of estimates, but as Variety points out excellently– it’s actually quite common for opening weekend and overall totals to fluctuate for a franchise and box office estimates are a hugely inaccurate system. Also, that’s only in the US. Mockingjay Part 1 is actually doing better than Catching Fire overseas. So this “Oh noes! The movie made less so the franchise is a sinking ship now!” approach the media is taking is ridiculousness to the nth power.

YEP.

YEP.

2) NO CRITIC LIKES IT, EITHER.
If you read enough negative reviews of MJ 1 (for which the reviews are still largely positive), you’ll realize that very few people seem to be reviewing the actual movie. They’re reviewing the fact that it’s Part 1 of a two-part finale, a trend that critics just don’t like. JJ already responded to that beautifully. Entertainment Weekly went so far as to claim that Mockingjay Part 1 may not actually be a movie, saying it didn’t have a concise beginning, middle, or end, leaving us to wonder if they watched the same movie we did. If so, what the hell were they smoking? That must be some good shit! Or maybe they’re just high off that movie critic ego. The movie is not all action, as we’ve mentioned before, but to say it essentially has no point or value other than to set up the end is a pathetic attempt at pretending you know best. We can name plenty of films that we about a thousand times slower or less meaningful than this one. Really, this just feels like media outlets jumping on the Hipster Express as the uber critical types begin to label the popular franchise as “overrated”, which they’d do no matter what the subject.

3) OH AND FANS AGREE WITH US!
These are our favorite. Articles in which fans’ negative social media statuses or random tweets are displayed as the end-all-be-all of the franchise and the guarantee that we’re all in on the lambasting too. So what constitutes a “fan”? Anyone who has seen the movie, apparently. I saw Dude, Where’s My Car? when I was like 12. Does that make me a fan? Also, there’s a widespread assumption that these fans expressing disappointment in certain parts of the film means they hated all of it all day every day. THR even wrote an obvious click bait article about common “fandom gripes” throughout the history of the films, portraying us all as racists who hated that Rue was black and sexists who hate Peeta for not being masculine enough. “Offensive to fans” doesn’t even begin to cover it, but they’re getting lots of views from stirring up old, nasty comments from a few outliers that in no way represent the fandom as a whole, as if we all feel this way.

Most definitely started out at a click bait media outlet.. except not really

Most definitely started out at a click bait media outlet.. except not really

4) NO WAIT– EVERYTHING IS AWESOME ALWAYS AND FOREVER!
This is the type of click bait we tend to be more agreeable to because it works in our favor, but we need to acknowledge this too. Because it happens. Like basically everything on BuzzFeed. We can’t say for sure that some of these sites are getting paid to advertise via positive articles, but we know that method absolutely exists. You’re more likely to want something when someone writes an article saying “This Is My Favorite!” than if you just saw a graphic on a sidebar. Again, we know so much nothing that Jon Snow would be proud, but we know it happens in advertising in general. But it could also just be these sites playing off how enthusiastic fans are, knowing they’ll click because the articles validate the things they love.

In between the cracks you can find articles that at least try to find a balance. But overall– and maybe it’s just us– but isn’t it just better to ignore the media and like what you like? We’ve all probably enjoyed some movies that the media had some gripes with or largely ignored or even HATED, but then you remember that you really don’t give a fuck what they think, because you liked it for your own personal reasons.

As for all that really obvious click bait?

Well… DON’T CLICK IT.
The Girl With The Pearl

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Human Flesh, Christmas Carols, and Mockingjay Press

Despite the veritable plague that has over taken half of the principle cast, everyone seems to be putting their best foot forward, and in Jennifer’s case Strep Throat diagnosis or not, she’s stepping foot on nearly every stage, carpet, or otherwise, in a stylish black and white ensemble.

Today I was home in the morning, this was an unprecedented occurrence as I’m usually up and out to work by 8am most days. But not today, today I had the morning off, which meant one thing: I was able to catch Josh Hutcherson on Live with Kelly and Michael, AKA the second most irritating couple on morning American TV next to Hoda and Kathy Lee! So, while I figuratively bit my hand so I wouldn’t fling the remote at Michael or Kelly’s giant heads, I was able to watch two sugary sweet segments of Josh being regaled with pat questions about hair conditioning, and then less sugary sweet subjects like his desire to try human flesh if it was ever offered to him. This only made me think one thing, maybe Josh really wants to do a remake of Alive, the 1993 film about the Uruguayan rugby team that survived after a plane crash in the Andes by resorting to eating the bodies of their dead friends, and fellow passengers. And, none of that can be considered a spoiler any longer, because it came out in ’93, twenty or more years in my humble opinion is ample time to know the plot of films like like Alive. Yes, Josh is a weirdo, but he’s our weirdo– which brings me to Jennifer’s appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman.

As of when I am writing this article on the west coast of the United States, Letterman has not aired yet. However, a two-minute clip of Jen’s appearance was released well before air-time of the show in its entirety. And this is what we learned from the clip: Jen and Dave still have an unshakable rapport. Jen looks amazing even though she’s probably still sick as a dog. Dave tried to get her to sing, but Jen was Jen– and ended up demonstrating her singing chops with an anecdote involving her father’s merciless teasing, and a guttural rendition of Holly Jolly Christmas. The most important thing to be learned from this clip however, is that apparently Jen’s voice will be the voice we’ll hear when Katniss sings The Hanging Tree in Mockingjay Part 1. So from the horses mouth, or the girl who likes horses mouth, we now know it’s true– Jen’s singing for reals in Mockingjay Part 1.

Have a holly jolly Christmas guys! Oh wait, it’s November!

Them There Eyes

Mockingjay Press Has Begun!

Over the last several years of covering all things and everything Hunger Games, there are a handful of things that always remain the same. Two of them are that when there’s no news, it’s like a desert wasteland. However, when there is Hunger Games news and/ or press, it’s like a crashing avalanche down a mountain side. I can’t keep track of all the press, and the announcements for press that have come out within the last couple of days! I know that the majority of the cast are in Europe in preparation for the world premiere of Mockingjay Part 1 this coming week in London. So when Liam and Jennifer show up on German television sans Josh, ’cause Josh is ill– I’m not in as much of a clamor as

Perfectly coiffed, and fresh from the ER, that's our Jen!

Perfectly coiffed, and fresh from the ER, that’s our Jen!

I maybe should be, ’cause if I am at level 100 on the excitement scale every single time these people show up on TV over the next few weeks, I think I’ll die of exhaustion, or an aneurism, take your pick. All that being said and done, if anything is like how it was last year during and after the whirlwind press for Catching Fire, the cast are going to be sick as dogs by the time they get to Los Angeles– and in perfect Jennifer Lawrence fashion, she’ll be whisked off to the emergency room with acute abdominal pains, then show up to the premiere looking coiffed, and refined in Chanel.

I suggest you start somewhere though, press coverage wise– because following it all as it unfolds is near impossible unless you spend your life on Twitter, or your phone– or both. Most of the top Hunger Games fan-site are keeping track of everything for us lazy lots though, so if you get lost– go here, and just start clicking! You can’t go wrong with watching a few of the interviews that have come out, or will be coming out, but mix it up a bit, because they are going to start repeating them selves, ’cause journalists have a tendency of asking them same questions over and over again. So if Josh Hutcherson starts to look glazed over, and not just from the fevered illness he’s already infected with, and he starts sounding incredibly robotic, switch to something else! Like perhaps Jennifer Lawrence drawing horses on cakes.

Pace your selves guys! And remember to hydrate. BTW, props to Jen for still doing press while she feels like death warmed over!

Them There Eyes

Final Trailer Reaction Post

The final trailer was released this morning, and that means one thing– collective fandom flailing across the globe, and a patented Victor’s Village reaction post featuring all three of us. So without further nattering, here’s the trailer, and under the cut will be our lovely non politically correct reactions!

BURNING AND STUFF
JJ: Yep let’s talk burning!
Them There Eyes: First off, everybody state where they watched the final trailer! JJ: In my office cube, with headphones though.
TTE: Grocery store parking lot!
The Girl With The Pearl: Hiding in the work bathroom. ALL TIME LOW.
TTE: The Girl With The Pearl wins!
JJ: You gotta do what you gotta do
TTE: Exactly, plus I warned not to have food stuffs around me, in case I flailed, screamed, or choked on anything.
TGWTP: Winning, in the worst way possible.
TTE: Hey, at least your not Peeta! Which brings us to the fact that today was yet another day of extreme Peeta-Feels.
TGWTP: Poor Peeta! That line delivery was beautiful though!
JJ: Every shot of Peeta we see gets worse for him. Thanks, Francis. But Josh totally owned it. So well done!
TTE: I know, but we’re total gluttons for tortured Peeta. And yep, Josh is winning all the emotive awards today.
JJ: He’s mastered the teary eyes. I imagine we’ll see more of that. And it will destroy us even more.
TGWTP: But the feeling bad is a good thing! No one can say they don’t understand Katniss’ Peeta-Feels.
JJ: We all feel Katniss’s pain!
TTE: I’m looking forward to feeling destroyed by Josh Hutcherson’s acting abilities.
JJ: Yes, let him shine, especially since his screen time will be limited.
TGWTP: I feel like Josh deserves much more acting credit than he gets.
TTE: He’s been making us cry since Bridge to Tarabithia.
TGWTP: This movie could open a major doorway as he’s an adult actor now.
TTE: You mean it could turn him into the next Ryan Gosling? Or maybe Jake Gyllanhaal?
TGWTP: I could get behind that!
JJ: I approve of all these.
TTE: If he’s going to base his career on anything, I’d hope it would be those two.

(more…)

The Soundtrack– Let’s Get Judgey

Hold up your hand if you’re having trouble recognizing many of the artist names listed next to the songs on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt 1’s original Motion Picture Soundtrack? Okay, if the hand count is what I think it might be, I’m going to make an educated guess that a large percentage of you do not know most of those artists names. If you think I’m going to scold you, and call you all old fogies, you’re dead wrong, ’cause I only recognize three of the names on that list. And they are as follows: Lorde, ’cause if I didn’t know that crazy girls name I’d be moving to San Fransisco and starting a vegan co-op (Royals was banned in San Francisco– true The-Hunger-Games_-Mockingjay-Pt.-1-Original-Motion-Picture-Soundtrack-608x608story), I also know who The Chemical Brothers are! Score two for me! And last of all, but not least of all there’s Chvrches. Woot! Oh, and then there’s Kanye West– which, no comment, actually I think The Girl With The Pearl said it best. I vaguely know who Grace Jones is as well, kind of the poor man’s Donna Summer– right? And apparently I’m supposed to know who Charli XCX is, but I’m drawing a total blank– ’cause I don’t tend to listen to a lot of Top 40 Radio unless it’s Top 40 from about 30 to 80 something years ago (think The Beatles, or Bessie Smith, or George Michael and Prince). Maybe I should just get a t-shirt printed out for myself that says “Old Fogie”, huh?

I believe the consensus amongst the fandom is a lukewarm disdain for the collection that Lorde has put together? If I’m wrong, feel free to wax philosophic over the merits of her choices in the comments! But from over here in Old Fogie Land, I was hoping and praying for a collection of artists that were a bit more reconizable to a broader base of human folk. Now I didn’t expect her to go knocking on the doors of Of Monsters and Men, Bon Iver, Arcade Fire, or maybe Broken Bells, but it would have been nice if she did. I do however see the intrigue in her choices of names that are a bit more obscure to say the least, especially in comparison to the likes of names such as Adam Levine, Taylor Swift, Coldplay, Phantogram, or Imagine Dragons.

I can’t believe this is happening but, props to Lorde for taking some risks. We may not all buy the album, but many of you will– and money will be made.

Them There Eyes

Those Highly Scripted District Voices

Today Lionsgate announced a partnership with Google for a 5 episode series on YouTube. New videos focusing on different districts will debut daily through Friday. The videos star real YouTubers playing the roles of district citizens.

Today’s video comes from District 8 and features ThreadBanger.

With its fashion focus, this video reminds us a lot of Capitol Couture. It’s a cool extra bit of world-building and envisions more of what Capitol propaganda looks like. The use of those pyramids in the headpiece and on the dress – I can get behind that visually. The video’s futuristic, creepy vibe works. You can tell it’s meticulously scripted by the Capitol.

district 8 voicesIt’s also another slick viral marketing move that exposes Mockingjay Part 1 to people outside of the core Hunger Games fanbase. These videos are posted on the YouTuber’s own channels, exposing more people to the world of Panem. ThreadBanger has over 500,000 subscribers, which gives Mockingjay Part 1 solid additional exposure.

Here’s the full week’s schedule from Lionsgate:

Monday, October 20 – District 8:  Rob Czar & Corinne Leigh, co-helmers of the ‘Threadbanger’ YouTube channel, show how to best make use of excess Peacekeeper armor.

Tuesday, October 21 – District 2: Shane Fazen, of the ‘fightTIPS’ YouTube channel, showcases the training and techniques required to be a Peacekeeper in Panem.

Wednesday, October 22 – District 5: Derek Muller, known for the mind-blowing experiments and scientific discussions on his YouTube channel ‘Veritasium’, demonstrates new ways in which the Capitol may generate its electricity in the future.

Thursday, October 23 – District 9: Jimmy Wong & Ashley Adams, best known for their ‘Feast of Fiction’ YouTube channel, demonstrate baking techniques from Panem’s Grain District.

Friday, October 24 – District 6: iJustine’s Justine Ezarik, gives a glimpse at the driving force that proudly supports the transportation needs of Panem’s vaunted Peacekeepers.

I’m not familiar with any of these YouTube channels so these will all be a big surprise for me. I hope they’re allowed to pull in a bit more about Peeta and Johanna in later videos (BAKING anyone?). The world-building opportunity here is really cool, but it resonates even more when you pull in our favorite characters.

Let those (highly scripted and controlled) voices be heard!

JJ

The Lumineers and The Hanging Tree

I like hanging out under rocks lately, especially where it comes to Mockingjay Part 1. And now you’re all scratching your heads, and wondering what is wrong with me. Welp, dear readers, I just want to watch the movie at this point, and everything else, trailers, interviews, it’s all just fodder, The_Luimneers509and distractions. Luckily on occasion something good passes under my nose, or my rock, that makes my ears perk up and like my trusty, sleep depriving kitty. In this weeks case it’s the news that The Lumineers, the old school, folky, Americana based band out of Colorado, are contributing to the score on Mockingjay Part 1.

I like the Lumineers, they’re one of the few bands that I’m pretty sure I don’t butcher when I sing along with them in the car, when they’re played on my local alternative rock station. The melodies are catchy, the singing is airy, and harmonious, and the instrumentation is soulful as well as heartwarming. Therefore when I say the following, I only liked one song off the Catching Fire Motion Picture Soundtrack– and that song was Gale Song, I’m not mincing words. I’m happy The Lumineers are contributing to the score for Mockingjay Part 1, I’m more glad that they’re contributing to the section of the score where their folk roots styling expertise will be optimally utilized, in other words they’re perfect collaborators on the actualization of The Hanging Tree. James Newton Howard however is no slouch where it comes to musical knowledge, his scores are a testament to that– however his ability to possibly say “hey, maybe these guys can help me out?!” speaks volumes to me about his adherence to keeping the quality of the score in mind, rather than just getting it done.

Now to the hard-hitting stuff– er, yeah— with the news that The Lumineers are back, there was also the tid bit that Jennifer Lawrence will be singing a capella, then be joined by Mockingjays, then be joined by a swell of Rebels, then an invisible boys choir, then a crashing orchestra. Um, well– I still don’t think it’ll be Jennifer Lawrence’s voice we’ll be hearing.

*tiptoes away*

Them there Eyes

Mockingjay Gets Self(ie)ish

As a collective fandom, it turns out that we like to do things BIG.

1_0_0

A little mosaic sampler action!

Premiere turnouts, trailer views, book re-reads, merchandising, fan fiction obsessing.. whatever! We want it all in massive numbers and full force. It’s part of sharing the love, right?

So it should be no real surprise that the German film distributor for The Hunger Games (or Die Tribute Von Panem, as it’s known in that neck of the woods) wants to break a world record. For what, you ask? THE MOST GIANT COLLECTION OF FAN SELFIES EVER… formed into a Mockingjay poster.

Okay, maybe not just selfies. You can submit an actual photo taken by someone else (because when is that selfie angle EVER actually flattering?!) or a selfie over at the Mockingjay Mosaic website and be turned into part of a giant poster!

Is it the most daring, brilliant concept ever? No. But here’s why we’re liking it: In the first bit of publicity we’ve really noticed from an international distributor working alongside Lionsgate, we’re feeling the fan appreciation. The mosaic poster is the first notable effort in the Mockingjay campaign (so far) to have fans showcased as part of the overall experience. Sure, the OLTM app allowed you to make Mockingjay part of your life, but it didn’t make your life part of the Mockingjay campaign.
…Does that make sense? Can you see the forest through the trees? Are you hearing what I’m not saying to you?!

Also, it looks WAY COOLER spelled "Mosiak"

Also, it looks WAY COOLER spelled “Mosiak”

Oftentimes, it seems like movie campaigns are all about trying to get you talking about how much you love something. It makes sense, of course, word-of-mouth and continual references are how many people manage to crack and get into a series they’ve been avoiding, especially this late in the game when they’ve seen many of the official ads and probably weren’t all swayed by them. A friend saying “Trust me, it’s good” in some way, even if it’s through supporting an official movie campaign like the OLTM app, is way more convincing than media ads that easily make us cynical. But really, these campaigns don’t have much benefit for the people who are already fans other than probably “unlocking” content that the studio is going to release either way.

Instead, this easy little idea says “We KNOW you love The Hunger Games! We’re so glad, we want to make you a part of what we’re doing for the film! Let us include you!” And even though it’s a tiny, practically invisible photo in a massive mosaic that will ultimately mean next to nothing in our lives, a single tear runs down our collective fandom cheek because… they like us! They really like us! And it’s fun too, so why the hell not?!

Now If Only I Liked A Single Picture Of Myself,
The Girl With The Pearl

Something To Look Forward To

Over the last several months, it’s sadly come to my attention that there’s a vital part of The Mockingjay story that keeps getting looked over, or forgotten from the fan perspective. The music, or most importantly, The Hanging Tree.

I’m no music expert, But I’m a music the_hanging_tree_by_alys23-d4temogfan– I listen to all sorts of genres, but one genre I listen to in particular has a thread that weaves its way throughout The Hunger Games series, traditional American folk music, or Americana. Music that originated in Scotland, England, and Ireland, but immigrated along with the influx of immigrants from the British isles in the 18th century, and earlier to North America. The Hanging Tree however is an original song, penned by Suzanne Collins, but in the style of the folk music that amazingly was preserved for more than 200 years in the Appalachian mountains, purely by the isolated nature of the location, and its people.

The Appalachian mountains is where District 12 is located though, so that means that if and when we hear The Hanging Tree sung on-screen in Mockingjay Part 1, or 2, it may sound like this, rather than the multitudes of fan-made versions that from my experience are decent, but rarely take traditional folk rhythms, and lyrical cadences into account.

The Hanging Tree is a haunting song, a dirge, like “O Death”, which was brought back to the worlds attention when it was used in the Cohen Brother’s film O Brother Where Art Thou in 2000. That was 15 years ago though, and nothing like the Oscar winning O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack has come about since. And, get this– T Bone Burnett the producer of The Hunger Games soundtrack, produced O Brother. The Hunger Games soundtrack was good, I’ll give it that– I like to pretend however that it was better, and that certain pop singers had not recorded certain songs that were written and performed by a certain other Oscar winning singer/ song writer originally. The Hanging Tree, like the song I’ve feigned to above, will probably get the same treatment– erm, how do I say this nicely–? Jennifer Lawrence is not the best singer, in fact in the film The House at the End of the Street where she played a teenager with musical proclivities– they dubbed her voice out during the portions of the film where she was required to sing. So, I think for The Hanging Tree, we’re going to get someone else’ pipes being heard by that placid lake. That is unless Jen has become an amazing singer since House at the End of the Street was filmed.

Until then, if you’re at all interested in hearing and seeing more American traditional folk music performed on film, I recommend the 2000 film Songcatcher, O Brother Where Art There of course, Cold Mountain, and Inside Llewyin Davis.

Them There Eyes

Let’s Go Scan Stuff

This morning the app Our Leader the Mockingjay got a new facet, a partnership with Doritos. Yaaaaay! Okay, maybe not a yay, but if you’re into snack food doused in electric orange powdered cheese, that inevitibly will get all over your hands, and your clothes, and make you look a fright– yay to those people! Doritos love or not, the newly launched section of Our Leader the Mockingjay’s app is pretty darn snazzy, well more so after you’re able d13targetto scan a bag of Doritos and unlock the entire, shiny, new schematic of District 13! Yeah, that’s what scanning nacho flavored corn chips gets us! A 3D map of the underground world of District 13.

I’m not a big app person, in fact the apps on my phone are pretty practical. Like the CNN app, the Google app, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (of course), and the more frivolous ones, Pinterest, and Flixter (Rotten Tomatoes app). I downloaded the = This is the best thing on the app– BUTTERCUP[/caption]Our Leader the Mockingjay app though, and well– if you’re like me and don’t use your cell phone to keep you occupied all the damn time, it’s kind of a foreign thing– more like I’m staring at it, flipping through everything that’s there to the best of my knowledge and going, “so does it do anything? Can I get movie times? Pin stuff? What?” I’m not over the moon about this app in other words, because it’s geared to the lot of people out there who love playing with their phones! Me? I use my phone as a communication tool, and a tool for getting information.

More power to the boring people! Just be November already, I’m not a game-y/app-y person– I just want to watch the damn movie!

I’ll go back to my hole now.

This is the best thing on the app-- BUTTERCUP

This is the best thing on the app– BUTTERCUP

Them There Eyes