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Showing posts from June, 2013

Working the Bell Curve

At my previous job, our company was bought out. We went from a smaller company that believed in hiring the best and the brightest, training them appropriately, and giving them what they needed to succeed, to a small part of a larger corporate structure. Part of the large corporate structure was the institution of a bell curve for worker reviews.

In case you don't know how this works, basically it says that each manager selects 10% of his/her workforce and designates them as "stars," 80% are marked as "adequate," and another 10% as "failures" or "needs improvement." Some companies break the 80% up into sub-categories, but essentially you still wind up with the majority getting the equivalent of a "C" in school, a few getting an "A" grade, and the rest getting the equivalent of a "D" or an "F" grade.

The problem with this way of doing reviews is this: why would  you hire people that are going to fail or …

Man of Steel

Note: Mild Spoilers ahead. You've been warned.

My wife and I like to pay attention to critical reviews for movies, but we make up our own minds. Some movies, however, we are going to go see regardless. I am a huge Superman fan, so Man of Steel was one of those "must see" movies. Reading the reviews via RottenTomato.com and Metacritic, review compilation sites, the movie was getting a just barely "rotten" rating and many critics complained that it had no heart or charm. The critical consensus seems to be summed up with, "It's just not the Christopher Reeve Superman."

In general, I respect critics and I am informed by what they say. But, in this case, I wonder where they came up with those responses. The movie I watched had a lot of heart and charm and soul. The first half of the movie is predicated on showing that Clark Kent was a picked on boy, confused by the emergence of his powers, with strong guidance from his Earth-born parents. Even through …

Alfred Hitchcock Presents...

Just finished watching first Psycho and then To Catch a Thief. I have watched Psycho before, but realized I hadn't seen it in a while and that I wasn't remembering much of it. I hadn't seen To Catch a Thief before, so it was new to me. It's fun to go back and watch older movies, as you see and learn so much from them.

Note: Minor spoilers ahead. However, if you haven't seen Psycho or To Catch a Thief yet... well, watch them first and then come back here. My blog will keep.

A few things struck me while viewing these old classics:
Acting, by and large, has gotten much better today. Or, at least, we expect more nuance and craft in what we watch today, no matter how frivolous or small the role may be. In Hitchcock's time, actors were simply a cog in the entire clockwork of a movie, and it didn't matter if some of the smaller roles were wooden or without nuance, as long as they drove the movie forward. In Psycho, for example, the actor who played Sam was a bit woo…