Movies are irrelevant. It's official. The New York Times says so. Well, not exactly. But a recent article plays with the idea. For more than a year, countless bloggers (myself included) have been saying the same thing. The Times is a bit late to the party and seems determined to sneak in through the back door, basing part of their thinking on the Academy's decision to have Seth MacFarlane as the next Oscar host. Note to The Times: the choice of MacFarlane actually makes more sense than the David Letterman fiasco back in 1995. At least MacFarlane's movie made money (unlike the Letterman production of Cabin Boy). But it is a valid question for reasons The Times article barely mentions.

Early this month, a quiet revolution started in movie theater management. Called Movie Pass, it is a rapidly emerging new system that links the box office straight to the digital universe. It is simultaneously ticking off theater managers across the country while developing a growing list of enthusiastic subscribers. Hollywood companies are roughly divided between opposition and support and are mostly waiting to see further developments. Some folks in the indie business thinks that it just might be the ticket to the future for low budget films. Personally, I think everybody is half-right. That also means that they are half-wrong. I think I just covered all my bases. The system was originally beta tested

In a coincidence that is almost as magical as a certain type of underpants, Mitt Romney inadvertently rounded off the recent release of the Women's Impact Report 2012 with a reminder of why some folks in Hollywood thought it important to do the report. Sure, Romney was trying to explain his approach to diversity in political hiring, whereas the Women's Impact Report is exclusively focused on the entertainment industry. But it's all the same thing.

It is the age-old philosophic question. What is reality (or, actually, what is the nature of reality)? According to Plato, it was mathematics. For the Romans, it was the flesh and blood material of the natural world. After the Enlightenment, it turned into a conflict between rational human intelligence and nature. But today, it is Honey Boo Boo. Oh well, at least we don't have to deal with all of that math stuff that so enthralled Plato. Reality television – and its strange evolution – has become a topic among indie filmmakers. To be honest, I first discovered this fact when I heard Christine Vachon

Obviously my knee jerk response is to say no. But that tends to be my knee jerk response to many things. Twenty years of fatherhood does that to a guy. However, the question is being raised in many quarters. During the past year there has been a virtual parade of articles ranging from a CNBC piece on the end of movie studios to critic Andrew O'Hehir's speculations on the death of film culture, along with Keanu Reeves' view on the death of analog film-making and numerous pronouncements by the British and European press. Almost every component of the industry has received its own obituary.

There's seems to be a mythic notion that I have money. How else can I explain the great movie “investment” offers I receive every week. So let me first set the record straight. I don't have money. Not really. Certainly not the $10,000 to $10,000,000 that various folks are hoping I will want to invest into their movies. I am even having to pass on an offer of cheap land in India (though what I would do with a couple of acres over there leaves me baffled). The internet is a vast land of opportunity. Not necessarily good opportunities, but lots and lots of offers.

As he prepares to jump from indie production to his new position as the Executive Director of the San Francisco Film Society, Ted Hope has posted a strangely provocative blog piece. Provocative, because Hope is calling for a major rethink of the entire enterprise. Specifically, he is asking for a massive reshaping of the whole concept of film into a much larger - and rapidly changing -  concept of its entire infrastructure. You don't hear many people in the film industry discussing the question of “infrastructure.”  Not really.

It's not often that a low budget indie movie scores international attention. Too bad. The past couple of days have been a grim reminder that there really is such a thing as bad publicity. The current firestorm, protests, and deaths over the YouTube tape Innocence of Muslims  is a nasty tribute to the global power of the digital process. It is also an example of how much fakery and deception goes on out there. For all practical purposes, the movie doesn't actually exist. Sure, some kind of a movie was made last year but it is highly likely that the stupid thing was never completed. Aside from the ongoing international crisis caused by this exercise in provocation, this movie is also an incredible lesson in the darkest aspects of indie production. Every emerging detail concerning the making of Innocence of Muslims is a detailed study in fraud and deception.

In many parts of the country, the leaves are already turning brown. It is due to drought, not seasonal change. The same is true at the box office. The 2012 box office is at its lowest level in...well, take your pick. According to a recent report, it has been the worst box office since 1993. I seem to recall that an earlier report placed it as the worst since 1995. Some analysts predict that the final tally for the summer box office will be down by 3 per cent  from 2011, and you may remember that 2011 was already down to a 16 year low at the time. Likewise, 2010 saw the lowest attendance since 1997. Inexplicably, the mid-1990s were the golden years, and it’s all been downhill ever since. Based upon many of my past postings (see Dickens of a Mess), the steady decline of the Hollywood box office isn't exactly a surprise.

Don't you just love it when someone seriously asks if they should consider using social networks for business purposes. You can genuinely and sincerely give them a wide-eyed look and go, “Well, duh!” Yes, we are all stuck using the social networks. I say stuck because like any sane person, I have a lot of ambivalence about the whole idea.