3 simple questions The Hunger Games movie audiences should ask ourselves

Saturday, 24 March, 2012

First of all, I want to say I LOVE The Hunger Games (the movie) and happy to see it box office is going strong ($68.3m on Friday). At the same time, I think we, the audiences, can and should ask ourselves 3 simple but meaningful questions. Check out The Hunger Games Official Movie Trailer.

Question 1) What kind of world would let its children aged 12 to 18 fight to their death?

The movie only had a few short seconds of screen time to setup the “rationale” for why they select children aged 12 to 18 to fight to their death for 74 years in a row. It is up to us to ask more. Lets ask ourselves, will we let our children fight to their death? The sad answer is yes as I’ve learned from the news and books like “They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children: The Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers“.

I’ve previously shared my views re child soldiers in my #Kony2012 post which I stated the focus should be less on the hunt for one bad man but instead addressing the much deeper and meaningful challenge of the demobilization and rehabilitation of child soldiers.

I’ve both books on my desk and will be spending more time on “They Fight Like Soldiers” to start.

The Hunger Games & They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children

Question 2) Do you find the violence in The Hunger Games so stylized that you forget that these are children being killed?

When I watched The Hunger Games yesterday, there were two young teens, probably less than 13, 14 years old, plus their mom sitting besides me. If I were a better reporter, I would have asked them after the film how they felt about it. During the show, the kids were already asking the mom questions and I would be interested to know if the mom explain or talk much afterwards and at at dinner time. I found this timely clip about the movie posted by Emory University.

Violence As Entertainment – The Hunger Games

Now, in a calculated stark contrast, David Cronenberg‘s A History of Violence is a film that has been designed to put violence front and center, strip away any stylization or pretence, and force us to face our guilt when “enjoying” the violence. Rolling Stone’s Travers put it this way,

Cronenberg knows violence is wired into our DNA. His film showed how we secretly crave what we publicly condemn.

Question 3) Does The Hunger Games (movie) make us question our love of reality TV or feel guilty of our current addition to it?

Lets not forget, The Hunger Games depicts a reality TV show where children aged 12-18 have been fighting to death for 74 years in a row! It just seems to me the movie lets the audience (yes “us”, as it you and me) get away free without any guilt. I agree with what EW writer Darren Franich wrote in his “‘The Hunger Games’: What the movie missed about the book

“But there is one important aspect of the original novel [by Suzanne Collins] that is almost entirely absent from the movie: The darkly funny way in which Collins directly accuses the audience. As in, us. Weirdly, by turning the book into such a fan-baiting crowdpleaser, the movie version of Hunger Games seems to oddly miss the point of its own source material.”

You see, in The Truman Show, we the audiences are clearly reminded of who put Truman Burbank in his predicament in the first place. Yes, the viewers put Truman in the show! In Extras, comedian Ricky Gervais reminded us that we are very much accomplices in this celebrity crazed and reality TV mess.


Note re question 1: I haven’t forgotten the shameful ways the US and Canadian governments have acted in the handling of one particular case of child soldier prosecution as I wrote in my #Kony2012 post.

Articles worth reading:

– EW, ‘The Hunger Games’: What the movie missed about the book by Darren Franich
– MTV, ‘Hunger Games’: Why The Movie Beats The Book by Josh Wigler
– Cinema Blend, 10 Big Differences Between The Hunger Games Movie And Book by Jessica Graberb
– “Roger Ebert movie review

Research info:

– The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games full casts (imdb)
– Catching Fire (2009 novel)

Ricky Gervais’ jokes at Golden Globes 2012

Sunday, 15 January, 2012

Ricky Gervais hosting 2012 Golden Globes

Jan 18, 2012 update: Ricky Gervais on David Letterman 2012.01.17 talking about his Golden Globes performance, etc

Live Blogging/tweeting Golden Globes in reverse order of posting (latest posting first).

* Ricky linked to these two show reviews, New York Post “Irreverent Ricky keeps party zinging” and USA Today “For Globe openers, Gervais is up to his old quips”.

* THR, “TV Ratings: Golden Globes Steady in 2012

“Though most time zone adjusted numbers aren’t yet available, the 2012 Golden Globes look likely to retain much of its audience from last year’s show. Sunday’s Globes were broadcast live across the country, with a 8:00 p.m. encore in the Pacific Time Zone, so current stats on total viewers and adults 18-49 are subject to likely revision and are expected to go up.”

* Post-show comments: Check out, very good show reviews from

– UK Daily Mail, “Golden Globes 2012: He’s back and naughtier than ever! Beer-swilling Ricky Gervais drops the F-word, jokes about the size of his penis and Jodie Foster’s ‘Beaver'”

– The Atlantic, “The Insufferable Self-Seriousness of the Golden Globes”

– Macleans, “Oh, Ricky, You’ll Say Anything

And I think the best review is by THR Chief TV Critic Tim Goodman, “Golden Globes 2012 Review: Ricky Gervais a ‘Letdown,’ ‘Punk’d’ the Awards“. I like Tim’s “‘Punk’d'” theory but I don’t know if it is true and we will find out from Ricky soon. Here is an excerpt from Tim’s Review (emphasis added),

“The trouble with the Golden Globes telecast this year was simple — it was egregiously boring. The Oscars and Emmys can’t get here fast enough to erase this three-hour dud.
Does Gervais deserve some of the blame? Well, in so much that he led a lot of people to believe he was going to be a very naughty boy, then yes. Otherwise, he was funny enough. He did his bit. And let’s remember that the host at the Globes is often absent for vast stretches of time — last year’s running internet joke was that the Globes had fired Gervais mid-show and he’d never return. But it was just how the show has evolved. The host is, essentially, a minimal presence.
No, the Globes were boring all on their own.

“Ah, but there’s something clever afoot when you think about Gervais’ underwhelming performance. Think about it. Think still more. And now consider this: Ricky Gervais just Punk’d the Globes. He exacted revenge for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association making such a stink last year and taking the moral high ground, lambasting him for being cruel and petty, a bitter outcast comic among real actors and stars. It could be that Gervais’ skin really is that thick and he didn’t suffer their angry arrows. Or it could be that when the Globes realized it really did need Gervais because controversy breeds ratings and ratings keep you viable, that Gervais plotted his revenge.
And Sunday night he took it. He wasn’t merciless. He wasn’t outraged. Hell, he didn’t even seem very involved or even committed. It’s as if he said, “You hired me last year knowing what you’d get, then you fired me when you got it. Well, this year you get what you truly wanted. And you definitely get what you deserve.
Cheeky, that. Oh, you clever, clever bastard. Well played, Ricky Gervais. You got the Globes but good.

And some “ok” reviews from LA Times and Reuters, and see THR for “Golden Globes 2012: The Winners List

Golden Globes 2012 – Ricky Gervais Opening Monologue

* In answer to VanityFair’s Tweet question, “Who wants to guess what Ricky Gervais said that required a 4-second bleep at the #goldenglobes?Read the rest of this entry »

Ricky, Steve and Karl

Wednesday, 7 September, 2011

Ricky, Steve and Karl answer BAFTA’s questions

Via Ricky “Week one hundred and eighty-four – September 2011

I’ve had one of my big ideas. (photo)

What do you think of this?

A live 3 hour podcast during The Golden Globes. Me and a few chums (like Louis CK, Chris Rock, Karl Pilkington, John Stewart, Larry David popping in and out) doing our own alternative commentary.

People at home can have the telly on with the sound down listening to us online say things that no broadcaster could get away with.

No one could do a fucking thing.

The biggest live webcast ever? Who knows? Who cares? What’s fun is the shit we might come out with. No money. No sponsor. No guide lines. Fuck me I can’t wait.

Maybe I’ll do a non-broadcast practice with The Emmys to see if it works. I’ll let you know.”

Ricky Gervais Telegraph interview

Monday, 29 August, 2011

Have a read of “Ricky Gervais: Don’t ask me the price of milk – I fly by private jet – With a new comedy series in the offing, Ricky Gervais talks about fame, fortune and fidelity – and a future without laughs.“, highly recommended. Here are some of my favourite excerpts.

* “Gervais tells me that when he wrote The Office, he wanted it to be a million people’s favourite show rather than 10 million people’s 10th favourite show.”

* “… I think you’ve got to assume that as many people are going to hate you as love you. You want a strict door policy on your pub. You want to turn people away. I remember an advert I saw when I was six or seven, where there was a pyramid of tinned salmon. A hand came along and knocked them all over except for one, and the voice-over said ‘it’s the salmon John West rejects that makes John West the best.’ It’s the things you discard that make it.”” Read the rest of this entry »

Life’s Too Short

Tuesday, 19 July, 2011

I am a big fan of Ricky Gervais, so I highly recommend you check out his and Stephen Merchant‘s new comedy series Life’s Too Short, starring Warwick Davis, when it is finished and aired later this year. For now, check out the following clips.

Warwick Davis talks Ricky Gervais, Life’s Too Short and Cat Deeley, with Brad Blanks

Life’s Too Short – Ricky introduces Warwick

Happy 10th anniversary The Office (Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant)

Friday, 8 July, 2011

Accounting for time difference and a little bit of cheating, I want to wish The Office a happy 10th anniversary! Thanks Ricky and Stephen for being true to your own sense of what is funny and what is not! For breaking path and redefining what is funny! It will definitely be one of the “classics” that I remember.

Check out this very insightful UK Sun article, “Early audiences hated the fact there were no jokes in The Office but we wouldn’t allow the BBC to change it, Says Ricky Gervais“.

Watch my video interview of Ricky in this 2010 Banff World TV Festival report with his funny award acceptance speech.

Here is an excerpt from “Early audiences“,

“Ricky, 50, is still fond of his iconic comedy creation but admits growing Brent’s trademark goatee for these pictures made him instantly recognisable.
He said: “It feels good to be Brent again – although I left the facial hair to the last minute.
“I get spotted more when I’ve got it – it’s like people need that visual aid to work out where they know me from.

[…] “None of my characters have been as much fun to play as David Brent. People say he was a b****** and the ‘boss from hell’, but he wasn’t. He was just a twit.
“He was a man whose biggest mistake was confusing popularity with respect.”
When The Office first aired on BBC2 on July 9 2001, it was panned by several critics. Read the rest of this entry »

Ricky Gervais Greenscreens and Pre-Records Conan Interview

Sunday, 26 June, 2011

This is some funny stuff from Ricky Gervais. Cool to see Conan and Ricky pushing the boundary of comedy, funny stuff. [HT HuffPost]

P.S. If you don’t “get” the following is comedy, then this type of comedy is not really for you. With no disrespect, some people don’t like abstract art, so no one forces them to go see Voice of Fire.

Happy 50th Birthday Ricky Gervais !!!

Saturday, 25 June, 2011

Ricky Gervais and his wife Jane Fallon with RCMP officiersRicky Gervais & me

It was my pleasure to meet and interview the world famous funny comedian Ricky Gervais and his girl friend Jane last year at Banff. Of course, to us Canadians, he is Ricky Dene Gervais!

Check out my video interview and Ricky’s award acceptance speech video from 2010 Banff World TV Festival!

Happy 50th Birthday Ricky !!!

Talking Funny: Ricky Gervais, Louis CK, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock – Really funny (and insightful) stuff

Thursday, 28 April, 2011

Four funny comedians: Ricky Gervais, Louis CK, Jerry Seinfeld, and Chris Rock in a room talking about the business of being funny. I enjoy the show very much even it has some serious discussions about being a comedian and being funny. The four men definitely had lots of fun. And I think there are a few things worth thinking over, enough that I mentioned the show to a comedian friend and I hope she enjoys it as much as I did.

Here is a short clip, Talking Funny – April 22

Talking Funny “We’re Pros” Tease (HBO)

You may find the full program here, “Once in a lifetime? Ricky Gervais, Louis CK, Jerry Seinfeld & Chris Rock talk comedy. [Video]”.

HuffPost, “HBO’s ‘Talking Funny’ Roundtable Of Gervais, Rock, Seinfeld & CK Discuss Draining Jokes (VIDEO)

This reviewer doesn’t like the show but I beg to differ, “‘Talking Funny’ Isn’t Quite The Same As Being Funny”

WSJ, “Stand-Ups Sitting Around“. Here is an excerpt,

“The tone of their armchair summit is informative, but it’s clear the comics’ main agenda is to crack each other up, and the material is decidedly blue.

Among their gleanings: Mr. Seinfeld used the F-word in one bit—a decade ago—before expunging it from his act. Mr. Rock believes jokes often fail simply because the audience doesn’t get the premise, hence his trademark repetition. (“You can be married and bored, or single and lonely. Married and bored, single and lonely.”) Mr. C.K. forced himself to write newer, stronger material by replacing his opening joke with his closer. And Mr. Gervais got into stand-up because he needed to prove himself to other comedians after his instant success with “The Office.”

Mr. Gervais assembled the group. “It was an easy pitch,” Mr. C.K. says. The one-hour show was edited down from nearly five hours of conversation.

Ricky Gervais on The View

Thursday, 28 April, 2011

Ricky Gervais on The View. Fun to watch in a very strange way. Enjoy.

Ricky Gervais Harvard Business Review interview

Wednesday, 16 March, 2011

Check out this Ricky Gervais Harvard Business Review interview. Wonderful read.

Ricky Gervais’ ‘An Idiot Abroad’ Is a Constantly Hilarious Practical Joke

Tuesday, 1 February, 2011

Check out this Hollywood Reporter article, “TV REVIEW: Ricky Gervais’ ‘An Idiot Abroad’ Is a Constantly Hilarious Practical Joke” and the following promo and press interview video.

Ricky Gervais and David Bowie

Sunday, 23 January, 2011

For those who don’t know much about Ricky Gervais‘ style of edgy comedy, he actually co-wrote Extras and got David Bowie to sing a song to laugh at his character in the show.

I love Ricky‘s comedy. But if you want to hop on the bandwagon to hate him because of his recent Golden Globes performance, I recommend you rent or borrow from library his original “The Office” and “Extras” to watch first.

Other clips

Also check out UK Guardian, “Ricky Gervais: America can’t decide whether he’s funny, cruel or just British – Baffled Americans react badly to the comedian’s bitchy quips about the stars at the Golden Globes ceremony

And this Economist article. Yes, even Economist has something to say.

Ricky Gervais and the British way
Jan 18th 2011, 23:35 by J.G. | LONDON

“THANKS to its host, this year’s Golden Globes, Hollywood’s annual warm-up for the yet more soporific bombast of the Oscars, was uncharacteristically watchable. Ricky Gervais, the British comedian who made his name on BBC television with “The Office”, was presenting the show for the second year running. Last time, he was sporadically provocative. This year, he was, at least by non-British standards (something I’ll return to), incendiary. Read the rest of this entry »

Ricky Gervais – The funny business with Golden Globes

Friday, 21 January, 2011

I love frank and engaging interviews and Piers Morgan had a great chat with Ricky Gervais, one of my favourite comedian, especially after Ricky’s Golden Globes performance. In case you missed Ricky’s performance, here is his Golden Globes 2011 – Opening Monologue and maybe you can see what some of the fuzz was about. The night got better or worst depending on who you talked to.

When was the last time a host got so much attention to Golden Globes a week after the show? I agree with Seattle Pi, Bring back Ricky! Also check out Ricky’s blog for his takes on things.

* Hollywood Reporter, “VIDEO: Ricky Gervais Funny, Revealing, Joyfully Unrepentant on Piers Morgan’s Show – Great hour of talk; Morgan less cocky, more likable and Gervais thoughtful.”

* CNN (with video clips), “Ricky Gervais offers no apologies for Golden Globes jokes”

* Seattle Pi, “Bring back Ricky!

* Gawker.tv, “Ricky Gervais’ Targets Come to His Defense” (with video clips)

* UK Press Association, “Cruel? I was doing my job: Gervais”

* Hollywood Reporter, “Ricky Gervais: If I’d Been Too Nice at Golden Globes, It Would Have Been ‘Nauseating'”

* ABC News, “Ricky Gervais: The Couldn’t-Care-Less Comedian – On ‘Piers Morgan Tonight,’ Ricky Gervais Refused to Apologize for Golden Globe Remarks”

* By the way, I think the following exchange between Ricky and Piers Morgan was very revealing of Ricky as a person. Hollywood Reporter, “Ricky Gervais: It’s the ‘Right Thing’ for Steve Carell to Leave ‘The Office'” Here is an excerpt (emphasis added).

“”I sent him an email saying I think you’re doing the right thing,” Gervais — who serves as an executive producer on the NBC hit after originating the ditzy boss role in the U.K. version — said on Piers Morgan Tonight Thursday. […]

As a producer, I was expected to try and stop him because he’s a big part of it,” continued Gervais. “[But] you know, it can survive. Whether it should or not, I don’t know. I’m just an adviser and he’s done an amazing job. He’s done his time. It sounds like a prison sentence, doesn’t it?””

An Idiot Abroad

Monday, 1 November, 2010

The team of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant has created some really funny comedy shows over the years. I hope their new creation An Idiot Abroad featuring Karl Pilkington will be as funny as their other shows.

Karl Pilkington in An Idiot Abroad: First Look Sneak Peek Trailer

China Best Bits: Karl Pilkington An Idiot Abroad

Ricky Gervais wins Sir Peter Ustinov Award for Comedy @ 2010 Banff World TV Festival

Thursday, 24 June, 2010

Ricky Gervais and his wife Jane Fallon with RCMP officiersRicky Gervais & me

To us Canadians, the world famous funny comedian Ricky Gervais is Ricky Dene Gervais (watch Ricky’s acceptance speech to find out why)! :)

The following is red carpet interviews with Ricky including my question to Ricky about the finale of Extras (highly recommended funny comedy).

The following is Ricky‘s speech and a brief clip after receiving his award.


This is part of the amazing scene from Extras I love so much and a very insightful and enjoyable interview “Ricky Gervais in His Most ‘Postmodern’ Interview Ever“.

Here is a quote from Ricky, Apr 29, 2011 Update “Week one hundred and sixty-six – April/May 2011” – “That happened with Extras a bit. It wasn’t till the last episode that people realised it wasn’t really about all the famous people in it.


Check out some of the YouTube clips of RICKY GERVAIS on Inside The Actor’s Studio.

Here is one clip (unless they remove it),


June 19, 2011 update: Just discovered Banff has an official YouTube video of “Ricky Gervais accepts the Sir Peter Ustinov Award” but since it doesn’t pan to show Ricky‘s or Jane’s reaction, I think, imho, my video gives a much better viewing experience.


The following is Ricky’s Banff bio.

“At the turn of this century, Ricky was preparing to star and direct a pilot he had written with Stephen Merchant for the BBC, called ‘The Office’. It went quite well and a series was commissioned. It first aired at 9.30pm on Monday 9 July 2001 on the BBC. The rest as they say is history.

It is the most critically acclaimed sitcom of all time becoming the first British comedy to win a Golden Globe. In all, Ricky has won three Golden Globes, two Primetime Emmys, and seven BAFTAS.

‘The Office’ is the most successful British comedy of all time being shown in over 90 countries with seven remakes. The NBC version is the most successful US remake of a British show for over 30 years. It reached the magic 100 episodes in 2009 and has started its first phase of syndication.

Ricky won his first Emmy as Executive Producer on ‘The Office’ (US) in 2006. He won his second for ‘Extras’ in 2007. Only two British sitcoms have won Golden Globes – ‘The Office’ and ‘Extras’.

Over a 10-year period Ricky Gervais has become the most influential British comedian since Charlie Chaplin. He is an award-winning stand up and his tour ‘FAME’ became the fastest selling UK stand up show in history selling an untouchable 100,000 tickets in 9 minutes! He played to 500,000 people that year including his first US tour, which was recorded as an HBO special at Madison Square Gardens. The show received three Emmy nominations.

He was named in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People In The World, one place behind Nelson Mandela. This annoyed Ricky who said of Mandela… “He didn’t do anything for 25 years”.

He is the only guest star of ‘The Simpsons’ to also write an episode. It became the highest rated Simpson’s episode of all time on Sky One in 2006. He also appeared on ‘Sesame Street’, which he says is the highlight of his career.

In 2005, Ricky turned his hand to podcasting and is now in The Guinness Book Of Records as the most downloaded internet show of all time. He was the first to charge for podcasts the following year and has now clocked up a staggering 180,000,000 shows downloaded. ‘The Ricky Gervais Show’ has been the number one selling audiobook in the world since 2006. In 2009 it was made into a 13 part animated series for HBO. It is currently being sold around the world and will air in The UK on Channel 4 in March 2010.

In 2004 his children’s book ‘Flanimals’ was published going on to sell over a million copies. It is currently being made into a Hollywood movie in which Ricky will star as the Puddloflaj- a fat sweaty wobbler – (The Puddloflaj that is).

The beginning of the next decade is looking good for the fat bloke from Reading too. He started the year as the first host of The Golden Globes since 1995, with an estimated world TV audience of 250 million. His new animation premiers in February. ‘Cemetery Junction’ is out in April and his new tour will spread to The US and other parts of the world.

For more info check out www.rickygervais.com

20200628 Update: Surprised to learn I don’t think I’ve watched this before “The Office [UK] – Closed For Business“. Amazing!


Ricky Gervais to return as Golden Globes host

Wednesday, 28 April, 2010

I am delighted to find out the funny and insightful comedian Ricky Gervais is to return as Golden Globes host in 2011. Very looking forward to meeting Ricky at the 2010 Banff World Television Festival (bwtvf) in June.

Banff World Television Festival

From Ricky’s site,

“The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has invited Ricky reprise his hosting role after the success of this year’s show back in January.
Read more here in Variety.
And listen to Ricky’s reaction on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show.”

By the way, from UK Guardian,

“The next series from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant will be Life’s Too Short, a sitcom about actor Warwick Davis, who is 3ft 6in tall. “It’s about his life: the life of a showbiz dwarf. He plays himself, we play ourselves, it’s sort of like Curb Your Enthusiasm,””

The Invention of Lying $1.79 DVD review

Sunday, 21 March, 2010

DVD Play - Invention of Lying

The comedy The Invention of Lying, directed and starred, by the talented Ricky Gervais is a film I have been waiting to come out on DVD for a while.

Now, this reporter is a big fan of Ricky because of his wonderful work in The Office and the subsequent series Extras. Plus the movie Ghost Town is actually quite lovely in its own quiet way. Unfortunately, unless you are a super fan of Ricky, I won’t recommend renting the film at your local Calgary DVD Play kiosk even at only $1.79. Yes, some of the jokes and sketches are funny in the first 30 minutes or so, but then the movie is ~90 minutes long and the rest of the movie just fell flat. If the DVD had a commentary track by Ricky, may be it would have added a bunch more fun to the second viewing, too bad the DVD doesn’t have a commentary track. (note: it is sad that the commentary track could be more fun than the movie.)

Now, after giving The Invention of Lying such a bad review, I still hope to interview Ricky at the Banff World TV Festival this June, 2010. (Note to Ricky: Dear Ricky, if you are reading this, I hope you will still let me interview you at Banff. After all, you won’t want to me lie when reviewing The Invention of Lying, right? P.S. I did rent the movie! :)

Sesame Street at 40

Tuesday, 10 November, 2009

Read the rest of this entry »

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