Saturday, October 29, 2005
Friday, October 28, 2005
Ideally, if you were to see The Legend of Zorro, you would see it when it was your day to take charge of your 10-year-old son's Cub Scout den so the other moms/dads could go to the ball game/day spa. Don't just take your own son and expect a bonding experience, as this movie will be best appreciated by and among like minded members of the pre-testosterone set. I'm not saying there's nothing there for adults, I'm just saying it would have been better screened as a serial, filling a summer's worth of Saturday afternoons, thirty or sixty minutes at a time, with its ever-twisting plot and sequence after swashbuckling sequence of precariously choreographed and extremely implausible action.
To keep yourself amused while the pre-teens gape in adrenalized awe at the A-Team level violence and related physical comedy, focus on the following diverting exercises:
1) Estimate the number of completely gratuitous front-flips performed by Antonio Banderas' stunt doubles while jumping over or across things;
2) Estimate the number of physically improbable crashings through or fallings down accomplished without expected physical consequences and/or bodily injury;
3) Estimate the probability of Catherine Zeta Jones' eyebrows remaining motionless without chemical assistance while self-same CZJ smashes baddies with shovels, ladels, chairs, and swords;
4) Estimate the relative badness of The Legend of Zorro villain construct vs. relevant alternative constructs in similarly formatted entertainment requiring similarly intense suspension of disbelief (Wild Wild West, The Shadow and Batman Begins spring to mind);
5) Estimate the degree of parental/supervisory intervention necessary to prevent over-indulgence in simulated post-screening fisticuffs and swordplay by all attending cub scout dens dens nationwide, as well as the correllate cost to the Union in worker productivity, and
6) Finally, using your result from (5) above in combination with your current estimate of the Gross National Product of the United States for 2005 and the projected box office and tie-in revenue to U.S. companies from the production of The Legend of Zorro, reach a reasonably hedged conclusion as to the overall economic efficiency of this particular entertainment.
Enjoy, and come what may, don't say we didn't warn you.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Over the years, JJ has repeatedly stated that Alias is a show about family relationships. Personally, I think that we haven't yet been told about all of them. There's a whole lot of new characters, folks.
The results thus far:
- $254.44 in wages for Nicole Kidman from Disney
- $323.38 in wages for Felicity Huffman from NewsCorp. Which pales in comparison to the $570 in wages from Disney that her husband, William H. Macy, is entitled to!
- $270 in refunds for Ryan Philippe from Medione of Los Angeles (his wife has $100 coming to her from Tiffany)
- $281.03 in wages for Teri Hatcher from Warner Brothers
- $590 for Dean Cain from Disney and another $123.63 from the Scudder Growth and Income Fund (you too can invest like Superman!)
- It looks like SpyDaddy's been raiding the vault. Victor Garber has an entry for securitiies from the Franklin Money Fund. The balance? $0.00.
I'm thinking that this site may not be active for too terribly long, especially if any of the addresses are current. Have fun!
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Suggest what the extra eighty minutes of Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Naomi Watts and a big ape may include.
(The results of our first poll have shifted constantly, from Songs in the Key of Life to Born to Run to a late surge for Nevermind. Such are the vagaries of IRV.)
Oh, and the cameo guest appearance was fun, too. New item for Alexis Bledel's resume: "Laid in bed holding hands with Madeline Albright."
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
In foreign countries, random stuff happens. And I like it. Just two questions:
- Am I wrong in believing there was a faster flight going through Miami or Mexico City (or were the teams limited by the airlines they could choose)?
- Have I missed it, or have no other Teams That Thought They Were Last planned appropriately for a non-elimination leg?
The first will survive on the strength of its writing; the second, on its cast. I liked the short-lived Muppets Tonight, and will definitely be watching this.
- Magnum, P.I.
- Quantum Leap
- First Monday (aka, "Joe Mantegna plays a kinder, gentler Scalia")
Leaving aside its final episode (which I'm STILL not sure if I understand) and some flights of ridiculousness in the late seasons (the "evil leaper" arc), Quantum Leap remains a solid sci-fi show, with moments of brilliance (the Lee Harvey Oswald leap is a classic, especially the "reveal" in the final few seconds of the episode of how Sam actually did "change history."), though I was never a fan of his more recent products.
- David Lee Roth (East Coast mornings)
- Adam Carolla (West Coast mornings)
- Penn Jillette ("unique one-hour live program," apparently afternoons)
So--will it work? Who'd you like to see hosting? Can radio survive the deparature of the "King of All Media?" My view--Stern used to be kind of funny, but about the time he left his wife for a lingerie model, he stopped being funny and crossed the bridge to crude. Penn's program could be interesting--I see it as a younger, hipper, more aggressive variant on "Fresh Air"--but despite his great voice, I'm not sure how well he'll work on radio.
Monday, October 24, 2005
Let me suggest, again, the one area in which Lorne's show can distinguish itself from Stewart and his spinoff: Girl Power!
Addendum: I realized I forgot out the best tribute to Parks I can think of--Sarah Vowell's glorious essay "Rosa Parks, C'est Moi" from The Partly Cloudy Patriot. You can listen to her read it at the end of this episode of "This American Life."
- Alias. I'm not as depressed as so many others seem to be. The last couple seasons have been marked by a whole lot of set-up for a supposed payoff that comes 2/3-ish of the way through the season. Season 5 isn't so very much different than seasons 3 and 4 in that regard. Am I a bit disgruntled to see that JJ and the Gang, while having learned their lesson about following through on plot threads on that other little TV show they do, never really figured out how to do it on Alias? Yes indeed. That's really the core problem with Alias -- the writers seem to have ADD, which leads them to blow off perfectly perfect premises in favor of the new new thing. But that doesn't make the show unenjoyable -- the casino maneuver-with-two-narratives last week was nicely done, and Rachel Nichols is doing an admirable job as Sydney-if-Sydney-were-Marshall. (The other newbies haven't been given a whole lot to do yet, so I can't really comment on them except to say that the way Balthazar Getty's Tom Grace talks reminds me of Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn.) Alias is certainly not the show it was during its seasons 1 and 2 glory days, but it doesn't suck.
- America's Next Top Model. Without forcing anyone to listen to me wax rhapsodic about So You Think You Can Dance again, let me just say that I like SYTYCD and ANTM for the same basic reason. I really don't give a whit about the aspiring models' bitchy behind-the-scenes arguments, eating disorders, or drunken shenanigans. What is interesting to me is observing how some of the girls are able to blossom in front of the camera while other, often prettier, girls just don't have it. Lisa? Not pretty. At all. But she has an ability to transform herself into a stunning creature on film that is astonishing to watch. Her deodorant commercial last week reduced Tyra to tears and warmed my own heart in an unexpected fashion, given that I find her to be a fairly reprehensible human being. It's an inside look into why modeling isn't just something that any pretty girl can do.
- How I Met Your Mother. Mr. Cosmopolitan is ready to throttle me if I tell him this one more time, so I'll say it to all of you instead: How I Met Your Mother could be the new Friends. It's quotable, each and every character is likeable, and it's quirky without being nothing but quirks. (Prime example of the nothing-but-quirks genre: Arrested Development. Love it though I do, there's no underlying narrative.) My own favorite character tic, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, belongs to Marshall rather than Barney: it's his tendency to set every subconscious thought he's having into song. If the writing stays as punchy as it was during last week's clubbing episode, this show could be around for a long time.
Here are the top 10:
- Fight Club
- The Godfather, Part II
- Citizen Kane
- Tokyo Story
- The Empire Strikes Back
- The Lord of the Rings trilogy
- His Girl Friday
I first heard of this story a few years ago back when Ms. Jackson was dating Justin Timberlake, and there was a blind gossip item (in I think the NY Post) which basically asked, Which May-December romance in the music world had a real freakout when the younger guy was told that the older woman had a child that was about his age? And it would help explain the change in Janet's appearance between Control and Rhythm Nation 1814.
On a scale of 1 to 10, where '1' represents "there's just no way this is true" to a '10' of "I can totally see Janet Jackson doing this," how do you evaluate this story?
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Oh, but now it's all changed. It's so all changed for me.
Last season, my hero and giver of perhaps the gratist best-actress Emmy speech evir, Felicity Huffman, portrayed Lynette Scavo, who had left her fiercely successful advertising career to become a put-upon stay-at-home mother of four while her husband (the "hey, I'm not gay, no matter how Darren Star cast me a million years ago!" Doug Savant) brought home the bacon and knocked her up at every available provocation. This season, Lynette's husband has decided to become a stay-at-home dad and let Lynette become chief bacon purveyor. So she's back in the workforce, with an uptight boss (Joely Fisher) who views Lynette's offspring as reasons #1, 2, 3, and 4 why mothers shouldn't work outside the home. That's the background.
Tonight, Lynette became Joely's wingman. Every night for a week, Joely cajoled Lynette into coming out drinking with her and pimping for her. Why? Because Lynette was married with kids, and therefore not a threat. After five nights of this, with no end in sight, Lynette came up with a plan. She went into the bathroom, got herself all smoky, did shots with a gaggle of admiring men, and danced on the bar while Joely quietly fumed in a corner on the banquette.
But I haven't told you the important part. The soundtrack for this entire scene? My Boogie Shoes.
Please, everyone, join me for a happy dance.
And a second question, though this covers a broader span of time: what, exactly, has Josh done right as Santos' campaign manager? Seems like he only wants to tell the Congressman to go against his instincts, and he's generally wrong about it . . .
Although a few former “winners” like Johnny Depp, Harrison Ford and Denzel Washington seem to have escaped the accolade unscathed, many—like Mark Harmon, Patrick Swayze, Nick Nolte, and Pierce Brosnan—have watched their fortunes sink after taking the title.
Other recipients, like Jude Law, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, and Ben Affleck, have seen their love lives take a turn for the weird. Affleck, you’ll recall, was engaged to J-Lo when he landed the slot, and the chaos wrought by Katie Holmes, Angelina Jolie, and Daisy Wright needs no elaboration. The most spine-chilling legacy, of course, is 1988 cover boy John Kennedy Jr., who isn’t even alive anymore.
Not to mention other past cursed winners as 1908 winner Fred Merkle, 1921 winner Roscoe Arbuckle ("Fatty Is All That-y", read the headline), 1937 winner Neville "You Sexy Devil!" Chamberlain and 1987's Harry Hamlin.
Two potential threads off this, and I'm not sure which one y'all will go for -- what other cover curses do you believe in?, or who does deserve to be the Sexiest Man Alive? Is it time for Dr. Hizzy?