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The painful celeb deaths of 2016 and why we should move on quickly…

Posted on December 30th, 2016
The painful celeb deaths of 2016 and why we should move on quickly…

by Coop Cooper

Every year during the Oscars telecast, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honors the important actors and filmmakers who have passed on in the previous year in a segment titled ‘In Memoriam”. The segment usually only lasts about five minutes, but it would seem that this year, they could dedicate an entire show to it.

2016 has been an unusually painful year for celebrity deaths in all aspects of entertainment, culminating in the one-two punch of losing “Star Wars” royalty Carrie Fisher and her Oscar-winning mother Debbie Reynolds just days apart during the final five days of the calendar year. Along with them, 2016 has claimed famous sports figures like Muhammed Ali and Arnold Palmer, as well as music legends such as David Bowie, Prince and George Michael. As a result, the internet has been ablaze about how horrible 2016 has been due to all of these deaths with the public holding its collective breath until 2017 when the slate will be wiped clean – metaphorically, at least…

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Law “HB 1523” has ruined a good thing (i.e. film) for Mississippi…

Posted on April 11th, 2016
Law “HB 1523” has ruined a good thing (i.e. film) for Mississippi…

by Coop Cooper

During its creation, I knew very little about Mississippi’s new law titled HB 1523. I didn’t have a strong opinion over the new laws cropping up in Southern states aimed at protecting Christians from an ‘allegedly’ belligerent homosexual community threatening lawsuits for not being allowed access to certain restrooms or demanding services that might go against someone’s personal/religious beliefs. When the film industry began boycotting North Carolina because of their newly passed law, that got my attention. When the Georgia governor vetoed a similar bill due to threats the profitable film industry would pull up stakes and leave the state, I felt there was a lesson learned from North Carolina’s folly… It’s foolish to jeopardize a state’s economy by passing a controversial law in an attempt to solve a nebulous moral problem…

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THE INTERNET RUINED MY LIFE (Syfy) could have been educational TV instead of exploitive…

Posted on April 11th, 2016
THE INTERNET RUINED MY LIFE (Syfy) could have been educational TV instead of exploitive…

by Coop Cooper

We have all heard horror stories about people whose lives were negatively impacted or outright destroyed by the internet. A new show on the SyFy Channel aims to put a spotlight on those who gained unwanted infamy through social media, how it impacted their lives and how they were able to solve the problem or at least move on from it. While these cautionary tales could definitely serve as a warning to even the most cautious social media user, it doesn’t shy away from the graphic realities of these situations, nor does it separate what can be proven and what is hearsay, or if some of the subjects were truly ‘victims’ at all…

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If the 88th Annual Academy Awards needed a diversity reality check then everybody blew it, including Chris Rock…

Posted on March 2nd, 2016
If the 88th Annual Academy Awards needed a diversity reality check then everybody blew it, including Chris Rock…

by Coop Cooper

In his opening monologue at the 88 Annual Academy Awards, host Chris Rock joked that in the 50’s and 60’s blacks weren’t protesting the Oscars. He explains: “We had real things to protest at the time. They were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won ‘Best Cinematographer’. You know, when your grandmother is swinging from a tree, it’s really hard to care about Best Documentary or Foreign Short.” The audience – mostly white – laughed loudly and nervously. Were they supposed to laugh? Were we?…

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Now that everyone’s offended, will we ever truly enjoy media again?…

Posted on February 12th, 2016
Now that everyone’s offended, will we ever truly enjoy media again?…

by Coop Cooper

I’ve never appreciated Super Bowl halftime shows very much. To me they always felt like pop-culture pandering to the masses, but it is quite clear a monumental amount of talent and organization goes into the production. When I saw Beyoncé perform with Coldplay and Bruno Mars, I didn’t think much of it other than “That Mars guy knows how to dance” and “Coldplay looks out of place” and “Why is Beyoncé dressed like Michael Jackson during his military uniform phase?” Little did I know Beyoncé was setting off a political firestorm in which many felt her performance was disrespectful towards America’s law enforcement officers by emulating the Black Panthers…

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When your favorite character dies…

Posted on October 30th, 2015
When your favorite character dies…

by Coop Cooper

It’s a powerful phenomenon when a character, whom people spend so much time reading about or watching on TV or in a movie franchise, dies. Fans of the popular series “The Walking Dead” received a stark reminder this past Sunday that no character is safe when one of the ‘untouchable’ characters died a sudden and gruesome death. The internet erupted with curses and exclamations of disbelief. Chris Hardwick, host of the live post-broadcast show, “The Talking Dead” seemed genuinely shocked and nervously excited as he talked to his guests about what had just transpired. It would appear we have entered into an era of entertainment where protagonists can be killed off often and without warning…

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Millennials, Generation Z and technology…

Posted on March 27th, 2015
Millennials, Generation Z and technology…

by Coop Cooper

Kids today are growing up in a much different entertainment/social culture than my friends and I did back in Generation X. If we wanted to see a movie, we would have to go to the theater in groups, go rent a tape at a video store and meet up and someones house or sit around the TV and hope something good was on MTV. Now entertainment is as easily accessible and as instantaneous as making a call or typing a text. Here are a few of the trends I’m noticing that indicate how entertainment and interaction has changed for ‘Millennials’ and the up-and-coming group known as ‘Generation Z’…

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Net Neutrality is good for movie streaming… Not?

Posted on March 6th, 2015
Net Neutrality is good for movie streaming…  Not?

by Coop Cooper

As I finish watching the third season of the Netflix Instant series “House of Cards”, I can’t help but think how powerful and great the internet has become that it can stream shows and movies instantly from the cloud to your TV, tablet or cell phone. Now that the U.S. Government will begin policing the internet in about six weeks, it begs the question… Is the internet about to be changed for better or for worse?…

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10 things I learned from this year’s (2015) Academy Awards…

Posted on February 27th, 2015
10 things I learned from this year’s (2015) Academy Awards…

by Coop Cooper

1. Funny actors don’t always make the best hosts. Just because Neil Patrick Harris won a Tony and had a hit TV sitcom doesn’t mean his jokes or timing are going to work. His racial references were clumsy. Even more cringe-worthy was an ill-timed joke about an award-winner’s dress after she dedicated her win to her son who committed suicide.

2. There will be an upset or two. I thought for sure Eddie Redmayne was the last actor in the category who would win Best Actor but I was sorely mistaken. Likewise did I underestimate the Academy’s love for “Birdman” which won best picture, nearly shutting out “Boyhood” from all other categories except for Best Supporting Actress. Additionally, I was very pleased “Whiplash” won Editing and Sound Mixing along with a well deserved win for J. K. Simmons as Best Supporting Actor…

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Celebrity gaffes: Why they can’t shut up and stop offending everybody…

Posted on January 23rd, 2015
Celebrity gaffes: Why they can’t shut up and stop offending everybody…

by Coop Cooper

Becoming a celebrity is a double-edged sword. On one side you gain the admiration of the public, you are offered ample opportunities to obtain wealth and you receive special treatment due to your status. On the other side, you lose most of your privacy, people have unrealistic expectations of you and every word you speak (or type) in the public arena is scrutinized. While some celebrities bemoan this scrutiny, some use it as a platform to promote their beliefs and pet political causes, as well as expand their fame and influence. Some express these beliefs/causes thoughtfully and eloquently. Many do not…

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What the Sony hacks mean for movies…

Posted on December 19th, 2014
What the Sony hacks mean for movies…

by Coop Cooper

By now, many of you have heard that the computer systems at Sony Pictures Studios in Los Angeles were hacked and that not only were many embarrassing emails between employees exposed to the public, but many of Sony’s unreleased films were also uploaded to the internet. While this indeed sounds bad for business at Sony, the attack could have far-reaching implications for the future of Hollywood and for world itself…

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Motion picture sound stage coming to Clarksdale, MS? 8 advantages for Mississippi, Hollywood and Clarksdale…

Posted on December 12th, 2014
Motion picture sound stage coming to Clarksdale, MS?  8 advantages for Mississippi, Hollywood and Clarksdale…

by Coop Cooper

Hot on the heels of the news that the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame will install a new museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi, Mayor Bill Luckett has announced plans to erect a possible motion picture sound stage here in town. While there are currently two other sound stages in the state, one in Canton and the other in Biloxi (with another possibly underway on the coast), this would be the first facility of its kind in the northern region of the state. A sound stage would essentially be a warehouse-sized, open-spaced facility for building motion picture sets and contains all of the equipment, amenities and operational support needed for large productions. Here are eight potential advantages to having a movie sound stage in Clarksdale:

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How mobile devices are changing the way we watch TV/movies…

Posted on November 21st, 2014
How mobile devices are changing the way we watch TV/movies…

by Coop Cooper

Most of us realize by now how useful our ‘smart’ cellular phones and tablets can be but most of us might not be aware of their full capabilities. Of course you can watch a TV show or movie on such a device if you download it beforehand or stream it via a wifi connection, but did you know you could beam that show to a nearby wifi-enabled TV? Even if your phone or TV doesn’t have that feature, you could easily find the proper phone-to-TV wire connector to achieve the same result. Imagine that… You basically have a portable HD Blu Ray player in your pocket and you didn’t even realize it. While that sounds impressive, it is merely scratching the surface of how your current (and next) cell phone will deliver entertainment…

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TV might be surpassing the movie industry…

Posted on February 28th, 2014
TV might be surpassing the movie industry…

by Coop Cooper

This past weekend, a friend of mine mentioned how they rarely go to the movies anymore. This is a common remark I hear when the topic of my movie reviews come up. The interesting part of this particular remark was that she claimed there was now so much good fictional programming on TV that she had all the entertainment she needed right at home. As the discussion progressed, I realized that not only was she right, but that I myself was looking more forward to watching my favorite shows on a weekly basis rather than the most anticipated summer blockbusters set to release this year.

It appears that television might be finally catching up, or possibly surpassing, the movie industry in terms of quality entertainment…

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The State of the Union: Hollywood edition

Posted on February 14th, 2014
The State of the Union: Hollywood edition

by Coop Cooper

Now that we have heard a State of the Union address from our president, here is the Small Town Critic State of Hollywood address for 2014…

Micro-budget indie films are increasing in quantity and quality. Expect to hear more rags-to-riches stories in 2014 of successful indie films (in the vein of “Blair Witch Project” and “Paranormal Activity”) made by very young filmmakers for almost no money…

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Movie trailer mechanics: GODZILLA 2014 = good, INTERSTELLAR = bad

Posted on December 20th, 2013
Movie trailer mechanics:  GODZILLA 2014 = good, INTERSTELLAR = bad

by Coop Cooper

Trailers, or ‘sneak previews’ as they used to be called, are effective for advertising an upcoming film. Ranging from thirty seconds all the way up into four minutes, trailers edit together key parts of the film in order to give the prospective audience a sample of what they will be seeing if they decide to (hopefully) pay to see the whole feature. Everyone is familiar with them but there are a few things about trailers many people don’t know about unless they are intimately linked to the business (or read a bunch of movie blogs)…

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Hollywood continues to go PC (except for raunchy comedies)

Posted on December 13th, 2013
Hollywood continues to go PC (except for raunchy comedies)

by Coop Cooper

As I browsed the online Hollywood rumor sites and trade publications (a daily ritual of mine), I came across a poster for a new Tom Cruise film scheduled to release this summer that I wasn’t familiar with. The sci-fi/action film “Edge of Tomorrow” wasn’t something I remembered hearing advanced word about which was surprising considering Tom Cruises’ films are often hyped long before they even begin shooting. I did some quick digging and realized I had heard of this film, but under a different title. “All You Need is Kill”, based on a Japanese novel, was a much more clever and memorable title than the generic one that replaced it. It could be dismissed but this is the second time this year that the word “Kill” has been removed from a major studio film title…

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Aerial Drones: Bad for delivery, great for other things

Posted on December 6th, 2013
Aerial Drones:  Bad for delivery, great for other things

by Coop Cooper

As publicity for its ‘Cyber Monday’ holiday sale, Amazon.com announced a ‘Prime Air’ service which will use aerial drones to deliver packages to customers. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos claimed the delivery ‘octocopters’ (a helicopter drone with eight motorized propellers) should be ready to deploy in four or five years within a ten-mile radius of any of their distribution centers, for compact packages up to five pounds. Theoretically, this would allow for quick, thirty minute deliveries for limited items within major metropolitan areas. It’s a neat idea, but highly unlikely it will ever happen. Here’s why…

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“Captain Phillips” and the new Oxford Commons Theater

Posted on November 4th, 2013
“Captain Phillips” and the new Oxford Commons Theater

by Coop Cooper

In addition to the film “Captain Phillips”, I will also talk about the newly opened Oxford Commons Malco Theater which has been refurbished from the former ‘Amp’ theater on the east side of Oxford, MS. Few people remember the Amp as it had a short and unsuccessful run but Malco is betting that due to Oxford’s rapid growth, the town can now support a second movie theater. I sincerely hope they are right because the venue is classy and pleasant, but first the movie review…

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The pitfalls of film/TV marketing

Posted on November 4th, 2013
The pitfalls of film/TV marketing

by Coop Cooper

Marketing a movie or TV show is a tricky business.

Ron Howard’s latest film “Rush” is a prime example of an original film idea that clearly nobody new how to market. It is being advertised as director Ron Howard’s ‘best film’ and as possibly ‘the best film of the year’ but it’s not really explaining what it’s about other than Formula One racing… a sport that is not terribly popular in America. It also stars Chris ‘Thor’ Hemsworth and that Nazi hero sniper (Daniel Bruhl) from “Inglorious Basterds” whom you probably forgot about. The film utilizes a strange orange and teal color palette and Opie from “The Andy Griffith Show” directed it. That’s about all anyone knows about it even if they studied the TV promos. “Rush” is also a very generic title also utilized by a 1991 undercover narc film starring Jason Patric and Jennifer Jason Lee which only adds to the confusion. Despite how good the film might be or how many awards it could win, it does not scream ‘blockbuster.’ One would have to do some digging to find out the film is actually based on the real-life rivalry between two European F1 racers in the 1970’s named James Hunt and Niki Lauda (who???)…

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Coop’s latest! The teaser for the upcoming short GOD MAKER…


Northern Mississippi 1932:
In a cabin in the woods, a blind blues guitarist will discover his destiny from a lovesick goddess who seeks to corrupt his soul.

GOD MAKER is Coop's latest, most ambitious short film and will be ready for a late 2013 festival season.

Coop’s award-winning 48 hour short film trailer for REGRESS…


Told in reverse, this experimental made-in-48-hours film begins with a shocking murder then backtracks (like a viewer rewinding a VHS tape) to reveal the chilling origins of this tragedy.

WINNER: BEST SHORT FILM at the 2013 Clarksdale Film Festival...
NOMINATED: BEST DIRECTING by the 2012 48hr. Guerrilla Film Challenge (international contest)...
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2013 Crossroads Film Festival

Watch Coop’s award-winning short film THE BEST DAY…


WINNER: 2012 MAGNOLIA FILM FESTIVAL "Best Homegrown Film"
WINNER: 2012 SEATTLE TRUE INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL "Best Scream"

OFFICIAL SELECTION:
2012 OXFORD FILM FESTIVAL
2012 CLARKSDALE FILM FESTIVAL
2012 CROSSROADS FILM FESTIVAL
2012 NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI FILM FESTIVAL
2012 ATLANTA INDIE HORROR FILM FESTIVAL
2012 OTHERFEST
2012 MISSISSIPPI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
2012 SUN AND SAND FILM FESTIVAL

Morgan Freeman asks Coop a question at THE BEST DAY premiere! Video below…


My short film THE BEST DAY premiered in October 2011 at the Delta Cinema in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Little did I know I had a special guest in the audience who was about to ask me a question during the Q&A. Yep, I got a little flustered when I saw who it was.

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