“It felt like, the kind of film it is, the best way to maximize eyeballs. It’s got a better shot at finding all the people who will like it. Otherwise, it’s a slow-rolling platform release, which are expensive and you’re bound by where the big art house theaters are. You can’t just go anywhere. I just felt I’d rather have it drop and have everybody be able to see it.”
You should watch this movie. Soon, so you can be part of the discussion.
The old paradigm Soderbergh is referencing above gets you a spot in the conversation of insiders, none of whom pay, but if you want to be part of the cultural zeitgeist, you’ve got to go where the eyeballs are, Netflix.
This is what the movie and publishing businesses don’t understand, the second time around there’s a lot less interest, because there’s too much product, you only get one chance to make an impression, and you need to capitalize on it when you do. Paperback books? Who are those for? Who can remember the novel came out a year previously and they should read it now for a discount? That’d be like dropping the price of new product a year later on Spotify, but it don’t happen that way at all. You release and try to get the buzz going, to throw off not only cash, but cultural impact.
I’m a fan of Steven Soderbergh. Because he shoots high in a world where filmmakers continue to shoot low. Actors too. Liam Neeson and Nicolas Cage as action heroes? That’s like having Van Morrison sing nursery rhymes. In a world where everybody shoots to get paid, we glom on to those who focus on the game first.
That’s right, is the NBA a game or a business? Or a business on top of a business, as Bill Duke says in this movie.
The African-Americans know what they have, but are treated like “boys” by the owners, slaves. That’s right, there’s so much casual racism that goes unacknowledged, but it’s pointed out here.
And everybody but the owners is black. Not only the players, but the business people, including the attorney who reps the players. Only the head of the agency is white. These are savvy people trying to get ahead, as smart as the owners, but using their wiles to succeed.
That’s what this film is about, succeeding.
But you don’t know where it’s going until the very end.
The truth is life is a game, and the winners don’t want to tell you the rules, no way, because then you might figure out how to succeed, how to displace them, and they don’t want to be displaced.
They don’t want you to start a new league.
Or as Andre Holland/Ray says in the pic:
“You think these fools, these rich white dudes gon’ let the sexiest sport fall by the wayside? I mean football is fun, but it don’t sell sneakers. You can’t even see the players half the time. Baseball…is a whole lot of tradition, but in order to move merch and inspire rap lyrics, they need your services.”
The NBA runs on Twitter. There’s even a Twitter feud in this flick. The players are unfettered, they’re the stars. The owners may control the cash, but they and their commissioner give the players leeway, knowing that they are the draw, not them. This is what the NFL has wrong with Kaepernick. The league thinks they’re on the right side, but they seem to have missed out on the 2018 midterms and AOC. Of course, the example is right there for all to see, but the NFL owners think they can keep the players slaves.
Meanwhile, oldsters take the side of the owners and their children are all addicted to hip-hop and the NBA. The future, it’s all about the future.
Which also includes women. Ray’s assistant is thinking for herself.
And speaking of assistants…
“Okay, look, Sam…you were a really great assistant, okay? But please stop whining because I didn’t pay you special attention. Now I know, I know, there are people who buy their personal assistants gifts and whatnot, but it’s really because they hate their assistants. But they need ’em so they buy ’em things.”
It’s a jungle out there, and if you can’t do the job and have self-respect…
Yes, you can be in a dead end gig and live by the HR handbook, but those leading the charge need to depend upon you, know you have their back, can be satisfied with an occasional thank you, as you get the opportunity to follow them and make your own career. Like Zazie Beets as Sam in this movie.
That’s why we have art, to hear the truth. Business is duplicitous, self-help books tell you secrets that won’t get you anywhere, if you could be Ray Dalio by reading his tome there’d be more than one of him, but in art, you can see through the b.s. to what’s really going on.
And that’s what draws you to it.
You’re gonna watch “High Flying Bird” and think it’s a bit confusing and hard to get into and then it’s gonna suddenly end and you’re gonna say WOW, and start talking to everybody about it. And if they haven’t seen it already, they can pull it up right away on Netflix, they don’t have to go to a theatre, they don’t have to pay a stiff fee.
This is what music’s ascension was based on, truth. Now the goal is to be sponsored, be in an ad, when the reality is advertisers want nothing to do with the truth, their whole business model is based on puffery and sleight of hand to get you to buy.
And the means of production are in the hands of the proletariat. Steven Soderbergh shot “High Flying Bird” on an iPhone.
But he’s got talent.
I’m always interested in seeing a master at work.
And so are you.