2015 Staff Picks

Danielle Waggoner, Social Media Analyst

Film: Spotlight

2015 was an undeniably strong year for film, leaving moviegoers constantly questioning what they should see next at the theater. The star-studded cast of Spotlight, lead by Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo, proved the clear standout. They captivated audiences, telling the compelling true story of the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer-prize winning investigation into abuse allegations surrounding the Catholic Church.

Writers Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer penned a screenplay that played as both a heartbreaking story of an institutional-wide smoke screen and a love letter to the days of credible investigative journalism. Spotlight leaves viewers on the edge of their seats from beginning to end, as they watch one of history’s biggest cover-ups unfold on screen.

Joe Matas, Account Manager

Pop Culture: LGBTQ Representation

Pop culture is a double-edged sword – it can be responsible for superficial trends or influence the way we see people different than ourselves. 2015 was a perfect example of the latter for the LGBTQ community. It seemed that LGBTQ visibility was higher than ever before last year; however, it was the diversity and complexity within this growing visibility that made 2015 the most groundbreaking year yet.

The most notable imprint came from transgender representation in pop culture. Whether it was Caitlyn Jenner’s iconic Vanity Fair cover or critically acclaimed films like The Danish Girl and Tangerine, pop culture gave a face and a voice to a community largely misunderstood and underrepresented.

LGBTQ roles on television also reached new heights. From new shows like Empire to established shows like Broad City and Transparent, characters finally resembled real life – complex, diverse and not defined by their sexuality.

Rich Calabrese, Vice President

TV: Game of Thrones - Is Jon Snow Really Dead?

Since June 14, 2015, there hasn’t been a week that’s gone by where my friends, co-workers or the entertainment media at large hasn’t discussed whether the Lord Commander, Jon Snow, is indeed dead.

In any other show, when a character is shown stabbed repeatedly while staring aimlessly into the sky, there’s strong reason to believe that character is dead. However, with GoT we can’t presume anything. No TV show in 2015 has left viewers conspiring daily and exchanging theories about a single character’s existence. It’s because of this consistent search for clues over the last 6 months (“Kit Harrington hasn’t cut his hair yet!, George R.R. Martin said…”) that this moment is one of my favorite pop culture moments of 2015.

Logan Dodd, Account Manager

Film: It Follows: The Little Horror That Could

It Follows broke Weinstein Co./Radius expansion records by going nationwide. For the independent horror community, that’s like winning gold in the horror Olympics. Apart from that, the film is phenomenal. It’s intriguing. Inventive. Invasive. And that score! The “Title” track is something reminiscent of John Carpenter’s beloved Halloween theme. Now I’M “passing it on,” and may it rest alongside the Halloweens, Fridays and Nightmares in your collection. It followed me home that night in March, and never left.

Ben Carlson, Co-President

Theater: Hamilton

I do not like musicals. At all. So when I finally succumbed to the buzz around Hamilton – Lin-Manuel Miranda’s historical “mixtape” of a Broadway show – I listened to the soundtrack out of pop culture curiosity. Little did I know it would be the best, most creative thing I would experience in 2015.

The music defies genre. It has a hip-hop heart, but the musical themes run from Brit-pop to anthemic rock to, yes, more traditional Broadway. And while Miranda struck narrative gold by telling of one of the most outsized American lives ever lived, the way he found the emotional core of each character is a magic act of creation. With efficient storytelling, we are introduced to a large cast of characters and quickly invested with them all.

I was in LA on a long business trip when I first listened to the Hamilton soundtrack. I reached the last song while boarding a red-eye flight at LAX. My fellow midnight travellers were concerned about me as tears streamed down my face. It wasn’t the story that (spoiler alert) ends in tragedy that provoked my emotional reaction. It was experiencing something so creative, so original, so daring, so perfect that I was choked up. I remember feeling that way about Pulp Fiction – not knowing that a film could do what that film did. I felt that way about Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot – an album that was so dense, yet beautiful that I couldn’t decode it after thousands of plays. But those were works of genius I was expecting – I loved indie rock and indie film before experiencing those works of brilliance. Hamilton blindsided me.

I can rap along with Guns and Ships, sing every part in Non-Stop, and could belt out My Shot if awoken from a dead sleep. Thank you, Lin-Manuel, for creating something that made me realize I can like musicals. So much that one is my favorite thing in entertainment in all of 2015.

Jina Beery, Jr. Data Analyst

TV: Bloodline

Netflix has done it again with this mesmerizingly gripping original series. The season begins with Danny, the “black sheep” eldest brother, returning to the Florida Keys for the celebration of his parent’s 45 years of running a beachside hotel with his other siblings. From here, everything goes downhill and turns to utter chaos through betrayal, manipulation and secrets. As it sounds like a typical outline for a crime thriller show, the impeccable acting and writing is handled in such a brilliant way that it’s moving to watch. The characters are relatable enough to make you feel like you know them; John the “white knight, by-the books” second oldest, Meg the “perfect” attorney sister, and Kevin the “laid back” youngest brother. As the suspenseful story unfolds, the family is challenged and their true colors show. This show makes me feel like I’m a fly on the wall; seeing things I’m not supposed to about the neighbors I’ve lived next to the past 20 years.

Jennifer Evans, Data Analyst

Music: Matoma

This fall I discovered Matoma as a happy accident when I won tickets to see the Chainsmokers downtown at Old National Center. The Chainsmokers had FOUR openers and Matoma was the last. In my opinion, he was by far the best to perform that night. Matoma’s beats are fun and catchy, and many of them have a bit of a Lion King vibe. He works with noteworthy pop and hip-hop artists (ex. Akon, Jason DeRulo, Nico & Vinz) to create a sound that I can’t get enough of. I love every song, but my top three are The Wave, Try Me and Stick Around. I have high hopes for Matoma and I can’t wait to see what he comes out with next!

Lauren Bronowski, Project Coordinator

TV: Quantico

 ABC’s Quantico, starring Priyanka Chopra, was added to my must-watch TV list this past fall. The drama flashes between FBI recruits during their time at training and how they are linked to an attack shortly after graduation. The show keeps you on edge with the thrill of government conspiracy mixed with some steamy love plots. And the show has a diverse cast and references to current events and hot topics.

Quantico is definitely TGIT worthy. Is TGIM (thank god it’s Monday) going to become a thing? That’d be a yes for me!

Clay Gillespie, Social Media Analyst

Pop Culture: Shia LaBeouf

Near the beginning of 2015, it seemed like Shia LaBeouf’s mind had gone far off the deep end. Many people lost faith in the actor after his plagiarism scandals, his paper-bag appearance at the Nymphomaniac premiere and his #IAMSORRY performance piece. In all honesty, it seemed like his life was becoming a reality TV show as it started to crumble. But 2015 was all LaBeouf, as he pushed forward with an unexpected role in Sia’s “Elastic Heart” music video, an unintentional “Just Do It” meme, a public heartbeat monitor stunt at SXSW and a free-to-the-public, live streamed movie marathon. At the beginning of the new year, many are starting to question whether he’s crazy, a genius, or both.

Kimberly Gerhart, Account Manager

Film: The Year Of The Remake

2015 was the year that made the hearts of 90s kids flutter with news of remakes and revamps of movies from our past being brought back to the cutting room floor. While some had us reaching for our paper fortune tellers to find out our fate of marrying Chris Pratt in Jurassic World others had us tweeting our favorite Dumb and Dumber quotes of the past, “Pullover” “No, it’s a cardigan, but thanks for noticing.” The sheer announcement of others (Ghostbusters, Zoolander 2 and Independence Day 2) made us instinctively reach for our landline to call our grade school BFF.

Other Remakes/Revamps include:

  • Point Break
  • Hitman Agent 47
  • Man from U.N.C.L.E
  • Dumb & Dumber 2
  • Goosebumps

Thanks for the rekindled memories 2015!

Fizz Staff Picks: Our Favorite Movies that Premiered at the Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival, one of the biggest American independent film festivals, is currently under way. While the Fizz staff wishes we were rubbing elbows with filmmakers and celebs in Park City, instead, we reflect on some of our favorite Sundance participants.

Sundance Pick: Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
Sundance Awards: Winner of Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic
By Joe Matas

How do I begin to describe the cathartic experience that is watching Beasts of the Southern Wild? You just need to see it for yourself. First time director Benh Zeitlin’s imagination supersedes the film’s minuscule budget to create a poetic and magical work of art. The film is essentially a spiritual journey about our connectedness to the universe and the world around us. Beasts also features profound performances by a cast of first-time actors; Quvenzhane Wallis’ star-making role as six-year-old Hushpuppy, whose childlike optimism is a learning lesson to us all, is nothing short of breathtaking. It’s truly one of those movies that you’ll want to tell everyone about immediately after watching.

Sundance Pick: Blue Valentine (2010)
Sundance Awards: none
By Logan Dodd

As the Mills Brothers sang and Ryan Gosling so memorably repeated, “you always hurt the one you love.” Director Derek Cianfrance unveils the love story of Dean (Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) by pulling the audience back and forth between their promising past and their shattered present. Blue Valentine is a raw and uncomfortable piece of work and feels exactly like getting your heart broken. It lingers and aches and makes you long for a happily ever after that just doesn’t exist.

Sundance Pick: (500) Days of Summer (2009)
Sundance Awards: none
By Lauren Bronowski

JGL. Need I say more? No.

But, there really are so many facets that put (500) Days of Summer in my top 5 all time favorite movies other than the oh so attractive lead actor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The choice of The Smiths for the soundtrack matches the melancholy tone of the movie. If you don’t fall in love with the movie, you at least will fall in love with the soundtrack. Also, the wardrobe is timeless. You know the movie is somewhat present day as the characters reference growing up in the ’80s, but due to the wardrobe’s vintage hipster feel, there is no real time stamp. Then the time aspect keeps the viewer on their toes – you actually have to pay attention to the date (or, well, ‘day number’) to follow along with the story. Finally, though (500) Days of Summer is essentially a love story, despite what the narrator claims, there are several unique twists making it a fave for post-breakup girls everywhere.

Sundance Pick: Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Sundance Awards: none
By Kimberly Gerhart

Meet the Hoovers: a suicidal gay uncle (Steve Carell), a not so motivating father pursuing a career in motivational speaking (Greg Kinnear), a mute brother (Paul Dano), a deceased grandpa in the trunk of a Volkswagen van (Alan Arkin) and a mom trying against all odds to get the family to California for the Little Miss Sunshine pageant (Toni Collette.) Mix in the unconventional beauty queen Abigail Breslin and you have cinematic magic. The scene where Breslin rips off her pants and provocatively dances to “Superfreak” is reason enough to watch this gem of a film.

Sundance Pick: Memento (2000)
Sundance Awards: winner of Waldo Salt screenwriting award; nominated for Grand Jury Prize, but lost to The Believer
By Vanessa Jennette

Memento is a Jedi mind trick of a movie. It’s more than just a vengeance story and each viewing is a slightly different experience than the last. This Chris Nolan-directed thriller requires your full attention and compensates you handsomely for it—although, a frequently shirtless, tattoo-covered Guy Pearce certainly helps.

2014 Staff Picks

Marketing: Under Armor, I Will What I Want Campaign

The odds to become a ballerina are slim. Then take in to account body type, age, experience and race. Misty Copeland beat the odds. She entered ballet at age 13 when most girls start at age 3. She developed into a more muscular body type. She is black. SHE is the third black soloist in the American Ballet Theater. She also made a jaw dropping statement with her Under Armour ad, part of the I WILL WHAT I WANT campaign.

Ballerinas are athletes.

I, too, had dreams of becoming a dancer, though admittedly with little dedication or practice. But like any other dancer, I cringed when someone told me dancing wasn’t a sport or I wasn’t an athlete. Anyone who views this ad best think twice and remember Misty’s strong calves and fierce gaze.

TV: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

In February 2014, a seismic shift occurred in late night programming as the talented, Jimmy Fallon, assumed the lead role of The Tonight Show on NBCSince his takeover, he’s done thisthis AND this. Fallon and Co. are so in tune with the audience (check out the show’s in-show hashtag engagement) that he is creating viral pop culture moments on a nightly basis - something his predecessor (and others) haven’t quite been able to keep up with. Each night his shows are a combination of late night meets variety show. Gone are the promo-based formal interviews, and in exchange Fallon is generating comedic sketches (with 100% celebrity buy-in) that leave audiences engaged and anxious to share with their friends across social media.

Film: Birdman

The entire film is crafted to appear as a single shot. That alone makes it worth a trip to the theater. But paired with its tender performances by an undeniably badass cast (I mean, hello? Michael Fucking Keaton) laced with the struggle to stay relevant in a world driven by texts, tweets and Instagram, puts Birdman in my top of tops for 2014 and for always.

Music: Sam Smith, In The Lonely Hour

I first heard of Sam Smith early on in the game with his song “Money On My Mind” stealing my heart on the beach over college spring break. Months later I bought a signed copy of the record online for a steal, and to my delight, this allowed me to download the entire album.

I listened to each song throughout the summer, and I felt something deep down as I listened to his voice and his music. Over time I realized what I was feeling was a mix of sorrow and joy, as every song took me to a different problem or realization within relationships that are both very real and universal. While I can’t say that I have been through everything he sings about, I can feel how raw the emotion that he puts into his music is, allowing me to sympathize and feel connected even if I haven’t had the same experiences.

I would say that I feel hope listening to his lyrics. There is beauty in the imperfection of life, and it’s wonderful to feel connected to it, simply by listening to an album.

Podcast: Serial

Launched in October, Serial made binge-listening the new binge-watching. The 12-episode podcast dives into the 1999 trial of Adnan Masud Syed who was charged as guilty in the murder of Hae Min Lee. Serial listeners turned to social media to discuss the series and various theories, all while wondering if Adnan was truly guilty. 3% of listeners found a newfound love for podcasts and began advocating and searching for other crime-related podcasts after becoming current with Serial. The podcast went beyond Adnan’s trial and invoked larger social discussions about the country’s justice system. Many are rewriting their “ideal” version of the justice system on social, which creates a larger, Serial-originated discussion on public policy. Guilty or not, podcasts have become the new office watercooler discussion.

Music: FKA Twigs, LP1

2014 blessed us with FKA twigs and her debut album, LP1. She entranced us with her first single, “Two Weeks,” but her real gift to us mortals was the Kahlil Joseph-directed visual to “Video Girl.” It’s a stunningly shot black-and-white video in which the former dancer writhes around as her love interest is executed via lethal injection. It’s equal parts twisted, dark and unsettling, which is exactly the mood she brings to R&B.

TV: Transparent

From the opening sequence in which a piano plays through family home videos, Transparent makes you feel a part of the Pfefferman clan. Showrunner Jill Solloway brings intimacy to the guarded family. The show revolves around the patriarch of the family transitioning into the matriarch, Maura. Maura’s beautiful transition, in turn, sparks a journey of self-discovery with the other members of the Pfefferman family. The show is neither a drama nor a comedy; it defies genres. The writing is among the most gut wrenchingly honest, and it’s done in a way that causes the viewer to walk with the characters rather than judge their journey. The family is flawed and trying to rebuild their life to be more connected with each other and the world around them. The music is golden and at times, sweetly sentimental, but it’s a nice side dish to the bitter honesty in the writing. By the conclusion of the short but sweet first season, the guard is down on the family in such a way you feel a part of them. The dysfunction seems normal, and despite what you may want to think, you begin to realize you’re not that different from the Pfeffermans after all.

P.S. Just watch the trailer. It’s so heartwarming, and Vance Joy’s “Your Mess is Mine” is the perfect addition.

TV: True Detective, S1EP5

When the writing is good, I usually don’t notice. Poor scripts with flat dialogue, idiosyncrasies and continuity errors are easy to spot (and fault), but when a screenwriter does her job, I usually compliment the actors for a moving delivery or the director for eliciting so much from the talent. But when I watched the fifth episode of Nic Pizzolatto’s True Detective in February, I knew I was witnessing a master class in storytelling.

The narrative of True Detective unfolds through interviews with the main characters where they recount the events surrounding their investigation into occult murders in rural Louisiana. In “The Secret Fate of All Life” episode, Pizzolatto (a former college writing professor) teaches us the importance of storytelling by artfully unveiling the discrepancies between what characters tell federal investigators happened during a home raid and what actually transpired. We hear one thing and see another: throughout the flashback, Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) and Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) can be heard recalling their doctored version of the events to agents Gilbough and Papania as the actual events play out on screen. The audience sees that the true version of events isn’t always the one that gets retold. This motif – the importance of storytelling – becomes vital throughout the rest of the series and is often considered a meta-theme to True Detective as a whole: often the telling and interpreting of events hold more weight than the truth. In this episode especially, Pizzolatto is reminding us that history is told by the victors, and sometimes the truth can’t ever be known.


Today, our company is excited to announce our newest product,Fizziology Momentum.

Audiences are talking in real time on Twitter about movies in all phases of film marketing – from buzzing about cast announcements to sharing new trailers to making plans with friends after seeing a TV spot. Fizziology created a product that helps movie marketers accurately measure, contextualize and even amplify what audiences are saying about their marketing efforts. Our team has been dedicated to providing our clients with the accuracy and expertise they need to feel confident in their marketing decisions. We built Fizziology Momentum with that lens applied to Twitter.

Momentum is a social reporting dashboard that harnesses Fizziology’s key differentiator: Human social analysts. Since 2009, we’ve tracked and analyzed over 800+ films. Our team has been dedicated to providing our clients with the accuracy and expertise they need to feel confident in their marketing decisions. Momentum was built with that accuracy and expertise built in, allowing subscribers to feel that same confidence in their future Twitter promotion buys.

For more on how Momentum works and how it’s different from traditional social analytic dashboards, read ourproduct announcementfrom our General Manager, Rich Calabrese.

We encourage you to try Momentum during your next key marketing release. Momentum was built specifically for theatrical marketers, and we’re dedicated to making this product a necessity in your digital tool set.


Ben Carlson & Jen Handley
Co-Founders, Fizziology

The Social Winners of E3 2014

E3 is one of the most buzzed about (if not THE most buzzed about) events in the video game world each year, and social isn’t excluded from the hype. This year’s conference was mentioned 1.7 million times on Twitter from June 9-12. So what drove all of this conversation from gamers and industry experts alike? Here’s our list:


DAY: Day One with a whopping 878,000 social mentions

HOUR: 9 to 10 AM PT, June 10 – The Nintendo Digital Event (one of the first events of the conference) took place during this time.

MAJOR GAME: Battlefield Hardline with more than 163,000 mentions

INDIE GAME: No Man’s Sky saw higher social volume than franchise favorites like Tom Clancy’s The Division and Madden, with a total 38,730 mentions.

AFTER E3: No Man’s Sky, Hyrule Warriors and Alien: Isolation saw the highest percentage increase in social volume due to their E3 appearances.

Here were the top 10 games in social and their 4-day volume:

1. Battlefield Hardline - 163,064
2. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare - 77,359
3. Destiny - 63,322
4. Halo 5: Guardians - 57,572
5. Far Cry 4 - 53,924
6. Assassin’s Creed Unity - 52,919
7. Hyrule Warriors - 43,746
8. The Sims 4 - 43,505
9. No Man’s Sky - 38,730
10. Tom Clancy’s The Division - 27,393

The excitement on social is a reflection of the game-centric trend across E3 this year, and it appears gamers are more than ready for content to go with their next-gen hardware.

  • Audience (3)
  • Brands (2)
  • Data Science (13)
  • Entertainment (13)
    • Gaming (2)
    • Movies (6)
    • Music (1)
    • Talent (3)
    • Television (3)
  • General (7)
  • Sports (4)
  • Thought Pieces (3)