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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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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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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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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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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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More critically acclaimed movies of 2011

Posted on January 23rd, 2012
More critically acclaimed movies of 2011

by Coop Cooper
All of the following films are on the short list for Academy Awards nominations, and while they all have Oscar-caliber qualities (particularly acting), I felt they fell short as “Best Motion Picture” contenders… except for one.

1. “War Horse” – Based on a book and a stage play (????), “War Horse” chronicles the story of a boy searching for his remarkable horse that is lost in the chaos of the battlefields of World War I. Possibly the best film ever in which a non-talking animal is the main character of the story, “War Horse” didn’t unfold as maudlin as I expected. Director Steven Spielberg tends to serve his weepy dramas with an overdose of sugar, but this film has just enough action and skillful execution, it rises above the typical “Lassie” story. While the plot is episodic and awkwardly paced, it’s just too…

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Does STRAW DOGS (2011) harm Mississippi’s reputation?

Posted on December 23rd, 2011
Does STRAW DOGS (2011) harm Mississippi’s reputation?

Based on the original 1971 classic, this version of “Straw Dogs” moves the locale from rural England to rural Mississippi. David (James Marsden) and Amy Sumner (Kate Bosworth) return from Hollywood to Amy’s home town to fix up her deceased father’s hurricane-damaged home and so David can get some quiet time to work on his next screenplay. They soon run into Charlie (Alexander Skarsgard) and his contracting crew hired to fix up the Sumner barn. Charlie, an ex beau of Amy’s, gives David a hard time and leers at Amy along with his cronies. An escalating series of circumstances results in these mean-spirited locals pushing too far. They lay siege to the house, giving David and Amy no choice but to fight for their lives…

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Are all films about Mississippi good for the state?

Posted on September 21st, 2011
Are all films about Mississippi good for the state?

By Coop Cooper

Last week I was interviewed by “The Washington Times” and Tuesday by “SuperTalk” Mississippi radio host Paul Gallo about how Hollywood portrays Mississippi in motion pictures. While I have talked about this subject before in my articles, these interviews got me thinking about the topic again especially now that “The Help” has thrust Mississippi back into the cultural spotlight.

But it wasn’t “The Help” these two media outlets wanted to interview me about. They were curious about the negatively-slanted movies Hollywood continues to produce about the state, particularly the remake of the violent 1971 masterpiece “Straw Dogs” which opened last weekend…

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Strange things are afoot at THE MAN BEHIND THE DOOR… by DARK SIDE

Posted on July 23rd, 2010
Strange things are afoot at THE MAN BEHIND THE DOOR…  by DARK SIDE

I love the “paranormal”. Hell, I AM the paranormal and I don’t wait around for Halloween just to get excited about the subject. So when Coop inherited a box of crazy from an amateur paranormal researcher, I was giddy. GIDDY, I say. Now Coop ain’t tellin’ me much about what’s in The Box [cue organ music and mad scientist laughter], but he’s already found some groovy stuff from this rogue investigator named Wes Cotten. Formerly based out of Memphis, TN, Wes has gone AWOL and left a bunch of his research for his old friend Coop to wade through and do what he wants to with it, including Wes’s creepy website THE MAN BEHIND THE DOOR

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INCEPTION (2010) ***** movie review by COOP

Posted on July 19th, 2010
INCEPTION (2010) ***** movie review by COOP

Every few years or so, a film comes along that changes the way you look at cinema… One that incites scholarly debates, spawns books dedicated to analyzing it and inspires lesser filmmakers to shamelessly imitate it. Critics have to watch a lot (a whole lot) of bad movies to find these diamonds in the rough. I had a sneaking suspicion “Inception” might be a “crown jewel” in the rough, but often when I get that feeling I shuffle out of the theater with nothing but lumps of coal in my pocket. Not this time…

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How to Avoid the Fright of Your Life While Watching a Scary Movie… by DARK SIDE

Posted on October 28th, 2009
How to Avoid the Fright of Your Life While Watching a Scary Movie… by DARK SIDE

(NOTE: Due to… 1. the Halloween Holiday 2. a trip out of state and 3. a lack of a working laptop, The Small Town Critic website will go on vacation until Nov. 4 when I will be bringing you a review of “Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day” – Coop)

Here’s a Halloween tip for those of you NOT particularly jazzed about seeing a horror movie in the theater. It might not be your thing, but sometimes you end up doing it; whether it’s your date choosing the movie, a group decision or it’s something you really want to see despite your aversion to acute fright…

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THE INFORMANT! (2009) *** movie review by COOP

Posted on September 25th, 2009
THE INFORMANT! (2009) *** movie review by COOP

I didn’t laugh until about 40 minutes into this artsy, awkwardly-styled independent film. There, if that didn’t scare you off, then you might enjoy this light and quirky story by Steven Soderbergh. You won’t be rolling in the aisles, but if you can wait for the tension to build, the laughs will come. It’s too bad Soderbergh couldn’t kick the humor off to an early start because a less patient audience would either fall asleep or walk out…

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Viral Marketing for Motion Pictures… What’s the future of this trend? by COOP

Posted on September 15th, 2009
Viral Marketing for Motion Pictures… What’s the future of this trend? by COOP

I dig viral marketing for its innovation and the way it can emmerse you further into a fictional experience. While it reaches only the most tech-savvy of fans, a good campaign can cause an overnight sensation and facilitate unprecedented levels of interest in a film that might have been ignored back in the days before the internet.
Studios have embraced the practice as well. They now dump a portion of their budget into creating viral marketing for their new releases. This works best for the genre flicks that have either a mythology or a mystery to work with. Let’s look at a few of the best and most successful viral campaigns out there and through the process, try to determine which strategies studios and film pioneers will use next…

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Scary trailer for THE FOURTH KIND inspires DARK SIDE to teach YOU how to defend against alien abductions (seriously)!

Posted on August 24th, 2009
Scary trailer for THE FOURTH KIND inspires DARK SIDE to teach YOU how to defend against alien abductions (seriously)!

Like some kind of evil sequel to Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Fourth Kind takes real file footage from supposed alien abductees under hypnosis in Nome, Alaska and fictionalizes their stories for the silver screen.

Milla Jovovich plays Abby, a shrink who discovers a disturbing similarity in her patients’ nightmares. They all have visions of an owl at their window, paralysis, intense fear, yadda-yadda. The deeper she delves into this mystery, the scarier it gets. Under hypnosis, patients relive their terror as aliens…

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A Movie/Film Review Lesson Plan for Teachers! by COOP

Posted on February 24th, 2009
A Movie/Film Review Lesson Plan for Teachers! by COOP

Click HERE to download “The Small Town Critic’s Movie/Film Review Lesson Plan.” It might surprise some of you that I was once a High School English teacher… 3… 2… 1… Okay, now that you’re done laughing, I know how hard it can be to develop a lesson plan that will engage students, access their prior […]

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I’ve been saying it all along… Romantic Comedies are screwing up our love lives! by COOP

Posted on December 21st, 2008
I’ve been saying it all along… Romantic Comedies are screwing up our love lives! by COOP

Looks like some eggheads at a university in Edinburgh (Heriot Watt University to be precise) have confirmed something I’ve hypothesised for years… Romantic Comedies, A.K.A. “Rom-Coms,” while highly entertaining, give people unrealistic expectations about love and relationships. Read the article here. My two cents? Look at it this way: The writers that create these stories […]

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KINSEY (2004) **** DVD review by COOP

Posted on December 19th, 2008
KINSEY (2004) **** DVD review by COOP

A very interesting study of a man whose real-life research broke sexual taboos in America. Taking place in the 1940’s and 50’s, Alfred Kinsey (Liam Neeson) is a brilliant scientist/college professor who bores his colleagues and students with 20 years of research on the gall wasp. Eventually he gets the opportunity to teach a sex […]

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Trailer for the award-winning short PRISMA…


A corporate promotional VHS tape from 1984 conceals a brain-altering signal which is said to grant increased health, longevity and psychic powers to those who watch it. View at your own risk...

WINNER: SPECIAL JURY PRIZE, 2017 Oxford Film Festival
SEMI-FINALIST: 2017 NanoCon International Science-Fiction Film Festival

OFFICIAL SELECTION:
2017 Crossroads Film Festival
2017 Clarksdale Film Festival
2017 Twisted Dreams Film Festival
2017 Tupelo Film Festival
2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival

Trailer for the lost 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 remains unfinished and in limbo for now, but the trailer expresses the mood and imagery intended for the project...

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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