Saturday, December 24, 2005
While the promotional material is good for a giggle, they won't be pulling me out of Azeroth to investigate any time soon. I'll have to hold out for the next generation, or maybe for titles produced by "an applied religious philosophy" with a little more to offer in the carnage and mayhem department.
On a more serious and optimistic note, is anyone else excited about DarkFall?
Friday, December 23, 2005
Thursday, December 22, 2005
- Toronto film critics liked A History of Violence best in 2005, while those wacky critics down in the town whose name is German for "Giant Whale Vagina" picked King Kong as the best film of 2005. Meanwhile, Phoenix film critics, proving a punch drunk lot, picked Ron Howard's subtle Cinderella Man as their top film.
- The omnipresence of bacon in every restaurant dish made both Epicurious' best and worst food trends lists for 2005. The omnipresence of Rachel Ray, though, only made the worst list.
- SI.com's Bill Syken assembles his top 10 NBAlumni teams, with the trio of Vince Carter, Antwan Jamison and Rasheed Wallace being enough to put UNC in the top spot, followed by Arizona, UConn, and Duke.
- ET is the greatest family film of all time according to a new poll done by Britain's Channel 4. Shrek came in second, followed by Mary Poppins, Pirates of the Caribbean (?) and Toy Story.
- Bono has some more hardware to put next to his Time Magazine Person of the Year honor. Adam Clayton's bandmate tops Pop Candy's Whitney Matheson's annual list of the top 100 people of the year. No. 19 on her list is Surfjan Stevens, whose 2005 release Come on the Feel the Illinoise may be the best CD of the 2000s. The folks over at Pitchfork may not be willing to go that far, but it is No. 1 on their list of the best CDs of 2005. All of Pitchfork's Best of 2005 lists can be found here.
- Meanwhile, I pointed to them before, but for more Best of 2005 lists, be sure to check out both Fimoculous and Metacritic.
- Project Runway was another A-level episode this week. I don't quite get what was so good about Daniel V's collection, but I couldn't stop humming "Springtime for Hitler" while watching Santino's team work. Still, between Santino and Daniel Franco, the latter's narrative arc already had closure, while Santino's quest for world domination needs a few more episodes to fully flesh out the drama. Also, big ups for my girl Magneto, who rocked again with another focused collection.
- The Family Stone is a manipulative piece of dreck. Worse, it rarely rings emotionally true -- brothers, sisters and fiancees-to-be just don't behave the way these characters do. And worst of all -- even worse than the pseudo-Amherst geography of the thing (the writer-director is son of Prof. Robert Bezucha), is the way in which the film seems to share in the characters' masochistic beat-down of the Sarah Jessica Parker character, whose sole sin seems to be that she's a career-driven professional. Bad movie!
- Johnny Damon going to the Bronx is just wrong.
- The 2005 ALOTT5MA Award for Most Disappeared Star of the Year (2004 winner: Winona Ryder) goes to Mena Suvari. Any explanation needed?
- Your next reality job-search show? Who Wants To Write Think-Pieces About Midlevel Bands Struggling With Their Limitations In The Face Of Stardom?
- Would you watch an Alias spinoff that was all-evil, all the time?
- Have you read the blog from the writers of Grey's Anatomy, which seems to be the equivalent of a DVD commentary track without having to wait for DVD?
A very merry Chrismukkah to all!
This may sound odd from an organization that has moved Miss America from Atlantic City to Vegas and from September to January. But as the article points out, CMT viewers are something of a traditional crowd. And traditional crowds will welcome the return to tradition. No more casual-wear competition. No more O-Town (farewell, my Ashley Angel!) and Clay Aiken. No more multiple-choice civics quiz, the results of which always served to indicate that no matter how much scholarship money you throw at Miss America, she still doesn't know a darned thing about how many U.S. senators we have.
What are we getting back? Actual full-length talent performances, in all their cringeworthy glory. Evening wear with sashes displaying the name of the contestant's state. A swimsuit competition without real-time voting as to whether there should be a swimsuit competition. And, in a truly fabulous development, the return of the Miss Congeniality title, absent since 1974.
For the first time in many a year, I'm feeling a little optimistic about Miss America's prospects. The dream of a million more-than-pretty girls may still come true.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
I have to confess that I'm a little concerned about the fact that no one emailed me to ask me why I hadn't mentioned this fairly major plot twist. Given that the show is getting a real sendoff instead of a sudden cancellation or a summer-cliffhanger-that-never-gets-resolved, I have faith in the Disciples of JJ that they'll make these last episodes count. Sark's back, I feel pretty confident that we haven't seen the last of Vaughn, and then there's that little matter of last week's development -- hang in there!
(Unrelated grammatical point--as pointed out to me by a faithful reader, "bated breath" is the technically correct usage, but "baited breath" is now common parlance. I have repaired to be technically correct.)
As part and parcel of this transition, Nielsen will offer three sets of ratings for each program: (1) live, real-time viewing (the current ratings system), (2) live viewing plus same-day playback, and (3) live viewing plus playback within seven days of initial airing. It'll be interesting to see how these three data sets stack up against one another once all 800 DVR households are included.
I'm thinking that advertisers are going to be kind of pissed when they see just how many of us start watching Lost (remember Lost? that show that's on hiatus for six weeks?) at 9:30 pm.
Monday, December 19, 2005
As most persons interested in rock music are aware, Aerosmith has developed a well-earned reputation as one of America's louder rock bands and has cultivated a devoted adolescent following since the early 1970s. Its hit songs include such classics as "Walk This Way," "Dream On," "Sweet Emotion,""My Big Ten Inch," and the poignant "Dude Look Like A Lady." The Court expresses no opinion as to the socially redeeming aspects of Aerosmith's work.
- A contestant is presented with 26 briefcases. Those briefcases have some amount of money in them, ranging from a penny to one million dollars. They choose one, which remains closed.
- The player then eliminates 6 briefcases from contention, which are opened, revealing how much money was in them.
- Based on which briefcases have been eliminated, "the bank" makes an offer--keep playing, or take an offer calculated to be (roughly) the mathematical expected value of the remaining briefcases, including the "chosen one."
- Repeat (with the number of briefcases to be eliminated prior to an offer being made reduced each round) until the player either takes the deal or there are only two suitcases remaining.
This could be interesting with the right host. However, color me unconvinced that Howie Mandel is that "right host." Also, it seems to me that there is an ideal way to play the game assuming the goal is to maximize winnings. Any of our more mathematically inclined readers care to explain?
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Saddest Celebrity Deaths: Luther Vandross and John Spencer
Best-Orchestrated Celebrity Comeback: Woody Allen (not that I've seen the movie yet, but he's doing the publicity well, at least.)
Favorite Recurring Joke On 'Pardon The Interruption': Tony doesn't stay up late enough to watch anything after 8:30pm.
Least Favorite Recurring Joke On 'Pardon The Interruption': Still joking about their obsession with The Yanks and the Sawks. We get it, guys.
That Couldn't Have Been Scripted WTF!?! Reality TV Moment of the Year: TAR7's Kelly and Ron talk about commitment.
Least Talented Reality TV Competitor of the Year Who Nevertheless Advanced Way Too Far In His Competition: Scott Savol, American Idol 4. Go ahead, you can blot him out of your memory again.
Sign That I'm Getting Old: I'm getting honestly offended by some of the lyrics I'm hearing on the radio these days. We heard a song called "Laffy Taffy" on the radio on Thanksgiving evening that included the line "Girls call me Jolly Rancher/Cause I stay so hard/You can suck me for a long time/Oh my lord!" Now, really. Call me a prude, if you must, but does this belong on over-the-air radio?
Favorite Pop Culture Court Decision: American Movie Classics cable channel successfully sued for no longer showing "movie classics".
More to come. Still trying to figure out how to walk back the cat from Kingsley's claim in April that "no matter what happens for the rest of the season, Survivor's Stephenie LaGrossa will not only win the 2005 ALOTT5MA Award for Reality TV Competitor of the Year (2004: Rob Mariano), but will enter the Pantheon of favorite reality tv people ever with Ruthie and Teck, Team Guido, Jeff Balis and Chris Moore, Miss J. Alexander and the rest."
I guess that "for the rest of the season" does not exclude consideration of what she did in the following season, if Tom Westman and Austin Scarlett have anything to say about it . . .
Last year, Toni Bentley won the category for Most Overexposed Female "Celebrity." This year, that honor again goes to a writer, though not for a book. The award goes to author (and wife of Michael Chabon) Ayelet Waldman as a result of this piece. Our good friend Alex Balk explains why better than I ever could.
Ebert's traditional bias in favor of Liberal Message Movies (and slightly against comedy) is in full effect, but, hey, the man's also giving you every top ten list of his from 1967-present today. So enjoy.