All Scared Out; NBC'S Y2K Film A Bust......greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
For Educational/Discussion Purposes Only
Thursday November 18 2:23 AM ET
''Y2K'' a bust
Y2K (Sun. (21), 9-11 p.m., NBC)
By Ray Richmond
HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - NBC precedes this ridiculous sweeps-ploitation thriller with a disclaimer that declares, in part, ``This program does not suggest or imply that any of these events could actually occur.''
So take it from the Peacock: ``Y2K'' is intended only to stoke the fires of groundless paranoia and further incite cyberpanic -- but not meant to leave anyone really concerned.
David Israel, one of ``Y2K's'' executive producers (along with Pat Caddell), was recently quoted as saying, ``My slogan while making the movie was, 'Paranoia is our most important product.''' Yet oddly enough, the film's doomsday scenario is so lamely staged that it actually serves to quash much of that manipulated fear.
Ken Olin (``thirtysomething'') portrays can-do hero Nick Cromwell, a ``complex systems failure'' expert for the government who has a front-row seat to millennial madness on the eve of New Year's 2000. He and his boss, Martin Lowell (Joe Morton), conclude that Y2K computer failure will be massive, and decide to ground all commercial aircraft as the century turns.
But then things begin to careen out of control everywhere as each part of the world reaches the big 2-0-0-0 moment. Medical equipment malfunctions. ATMs stop spitting out bills, right on schedule. Prison doors operated by computer swing open, releasing criminals into the streets. A nuclear meltdown in Sweden kills everyone in the power plant. The entire Eastern Seaboard's power goes kablooey. And in Seattle, another plutonium emergency is at hand. If it goes, it's goodbye Sonics and Seahawks (and maybe the Mariners, too).
Cromwell reacts to all of this by regularly calling his wife (Kate Vernon) and asking with understandable concern about her and the kids (they're fine). Pretty soon, his courage will be all that stands between us and enough radiation to fry the planet. It leads to ``Y2K'' devolving into a hackneyed nuke meltdown/race-against-time flick over its final 40 minutes.
Helmer Dick Lowry does his best to salvage what he can of the fright-by-numbers suspensefest, somehow keeping his players from chewing their surroundings like famished locusts. Unfortunately, the overheated teleplay from scribes Thomas Hines and Jonathan Fernandez never allows dramatic realism to seep through the film's vast cracks, leaving the audience nothing to hang on to.
Consider that a mere 20 seconds after Times Square has gone pitch dark -- upon the stroke of midnight on Jan. 1 -- a woman whose boyfriend just proposed marriage is heard to exclaim through the ensuing pandemonium, ``Steve, I love you and I will marry you. But first, let's get the hell out of here!''
When it becomes clear that the Y2K bug has not yet affected the ocean, Cromwell is moved to note trenchantly, ``Fish don't use a lot of computers.''
Dialogue aside, a certain preposterousness pervades the Y2-Chaos. A jetliner is about to attempt an emergency landing some 20 minutes past midnight and roughly 16 minutes after a city's lights down below have spontaneously blacked out. Yet no one on board questions it when the pilot assures, ``Just a little bad weather, folks. Nothing to worry about.'' The line almost begs for a Zucker brother.
NBC has tended of late to overplow this Armageddon hysteria territory, using the we're-all-gonna-die gambit to scare up numbers via such minis as ``Asteroid,'' ``Pandora's Clock'' and ``Atomic Train.'' With ``Y2K,'' the network slaps a big fat exclamation point onto its millennium-closing obsession, airing a film that consistently squeezes little genuine suspense from a phenomenon that is surely the most overhyped of the 1990s.
Tech credits are mostly on the money, though some of the effects carry a cheesy sheen.
Nick Cromwell ......... Ken Olin
Alix Cromwell ......... Kate Vernon
Martin Lowell ......... Joe Morton
Kelly Cromwell ........ Jane McGregor
Donny Cromwell ........ Michael Suchanek
Benjamin Cromwell ..... Ronny Cox
Ann Lee ............... Lauren Tom
Rick Rothman .......... Zack Ward
Roy Jenkins ........... Terence Kelly
Filmed in Vancouver, B.C., by NBC Studios. Executive producers, David Israel, Pat Caddell; producer, Michael R. Joyce; director, Dick Lowry; writers, Thomas Hines, Jonathan Fernandez; camera, David Geddes; production designer, Sheila Haley; editor, Steve Lovejoy; music, Brad Fiedel; sound, Kevin Sands; casting, Reuben Cannon, Kim Williams, Michelle Allen.
-- flb (email@example.com), November 18, 1999
"Yet oddly enough, the film's doomsday scenario is so lamely staged that it actually serves to quash much of that manipulated fear"
I hope he is aware he is addressing the same viewing audience that took WWF Public!!
-- db (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 18, 1999.
This is the perfect media straw man. Everyone will laugh afterward and assure themselves that 1/1/2000 will be fine...as planned, that is as the film is planned on producing narcosis in the masses, that is the intent. Anyone who thinks about changing their mind or behavior between 11/22 and 12/31 will find themselves running a huge gauntlet of hazing by all their 'friends and family'. They will ridicule the concerned and label them 'one of those nuts who believed the movie'. Quite a disincentive to do anything at all.
-- ..- (email@example.com), November 18, 1999.
that is as the film is planned on producing narcosis in the masses, that is the intent.
The intent of the film is to make money. Nothing more, nothing less. NBC couldn't care less whether panic results or not, as long as they get their big ratings share. They're not out to inform the masses, they're not out to lull the masses. They just want to MAKE MONEY from the masses. That's all.
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 18, 1999.
I thought the point of the flick is that Murphy is getting ready to celebrate the Millennium along with the rest of us.
-- K. Stevens (kstevens@ It's ALL going away in January.com), November 18, 1999.
And I was thinking of running out and doing all of my pre-holiday shopping monday morning, early...or even sunday night, late!
I had hoped that the movie would wake some people up...looks like that may be a forlorn hope...
-- Mad Monk (email@example.com), November 18, 1999.
Rick Cowles (Electric Utilities and Y2K Q&A Forum) response link is at: http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl? msg_id=001nk6
-- Critt Jarvis (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 18, 1999.
Earlier thread at...
-- Uncle Bob (UNCLB0B@Tminus43&counting.down), November 18, 1999.
Duh said --
"The intent of the film is to make money. Nothing more, nothing less. NBC couldn't care less whether panic results or not, as long as they get their big ratings share. They're not out to inform the masses, they're not out to lull the masses. They just want to MAKE MONEY from the masses. That's all. "
You obviously don't understand our consumer-based capitalist system. Y2K is a threat to every level of the media establishment because it distracts the consumer from buying. Buying is what supports advertisers is what supports the media.
The media sell its readers to its advertisers -- that is how it makes its money. You are the product that the media produces to its advertisers. You must understand that to understand America.
-- Petethebeat (email@example.com), November 18, 1999.
No, 'duh' is right on the money, so to speak. What 'pete' says is also very true, but it is the long term view. Current culture, the stock market bubble and the Y2K problem - basically everything - is short term based. The movie may deter buying; it may increase buying. They (NBC) don't care. They don't even care what happens in two weeks or two months - they (along with everyone else) want it RIGHT NOW! We want high ratings right now - we'll worry about the future later.
-- Jim (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 18, 1999.
You obviously don't understand our consumer-based capitalist system.
Clearly, I understand it better than you.
Y2K is a threat to every level of the media establishment because it distracts the consumer from buying.
LOL, you mean like the way it's been distracting consumers so far?? If anything, it's encouraged consumers to buy more.
Buying is what supports advertisers is what supports the media.
The media sell its readers to its advertisers -- that is how it makes its money. You are the product that the media produces to its advertisers.
And by producing yet another slick, action-packed movie about a topic that's making headlines, the media can guarantee a very large "product" for its advertisers. The advertisers will, in turn, pay the media larger sums of money in order to reach the larger audience who will, in turn, purchase the advertised products in droves.
You must understand that to understand America.
-- (email@example.com), November 18, 1999.
Who wants to take a guess at who will be advertising during this show. One of my guesses would be Charmin or some other "y2k stock up" provider...LOL
-- MBWallace (BeffyMar@aol.com), November 19, 1999.