Saturday, November 6, 2010

STUCK UP, HALF-WITTED, SCRUFFY LOOKING NERF HERDER:  Vanity Fair has fantastic behind the scenes photos and interviews with everyone's favorite bounty hunter ("I’m tempted to try and learn Mandalorian, so I can come back with a really classic answer, when needed. It’s not going very well at the moment."), director Irvin Kershner and author J.W. Rinzler regarding the making of Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back thirty years ago.  Below the fold, Kershner explains a beloved improvised line:

Friday, November 5, 2010

DID YOU ORDER THE CODE RED? Jack Nicholson hasn't appeared on a talk show since 1971. Monday night, he'll be a guest on Conan O'Brien's first TBS show.
WHERE DO ALL THE HIPPIES MEET?  The present and former Philadelphians in the house will want to read the oral history of South Street in this week's City Paper, and if you want to know even more about the unbuilt Crosstown Expressway in all its horrific possibilities, click here.
IT'S BEEN A GOOD WEEK FOR THE BAY AREA: The NFL Network last night unveiled the final results of its blue-ribbon panel voting on the 100 greatest players in league history. While I can't imagine much disagreement on #1, the rest might merit some comment.
START PRYING OFF MY FINGERNAILS. THAT'S FINE: Suggest a form of physical suffering you'd rather endure this weekend than spending $10+ to watch James Franco reenact what hiker Aron Ralston did.

(Related: is it a spoiler to say what it is?)

added:  I feel like we've had a bunch of films like this lately -- United 93, A Mighty Heart (the Daniel Pearl story), World Trade Center and others I'm sure you can name -- dramatic films based on real-life events where I can understand why filmmakers believed this was a story worth telling, but where the story itself is not one I have any interest in spending my entertainment dollars/time to see.  And yet we (pretty much) all saw Schindler's List, which somehow became a cultural obligation in a way that none of the others -- not even the remarkable story of United 93 -- did.   So: who is the audience for 127 Hours, and why do these films keep getting made?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

(FLAP) (FLAP) (FLAP):  The Associated Press couldn't help but wonder -- has Villanova eclipsed the 76ers and Temple as Philadelphia's favorite basketball team?
ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES: I'm not sure to be pleased, horrified, or some combination thereof by the fact that the phrase "stripper heels" is NY Times approved not just for use in story text, but for headlines.
SURE TO BE BIGGER THAN ZUNE: As Microsoft, with much fanfare, launches Kinect today in an effort to make its Xbox 360 console more "family friendly," let's recall that while Microsoft has had its successes in simplifying things (most notably Windows 3.1 and 95), not all of them have been hits. That means it's time to look back on Microsoft Bob.

added, Friday:  The Marcellus Wallace remix requested by C.H.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

TIVO ALERT:  I just learned of the existence of the Hub Network tonight (it replaces Discovery Kids) (episode of Happy Days tonight in which Fonzie's engaged to be married until he learns the woman works as a stripper and lied about being a virgin, which was not cool), and if you've got the channel too, do prepare to record Thursday night at 8:30p (or Friday 2:30am) as they air A Very Special Family Ties episode from 1984, "Say Uncle," guest-starring a young Tom Hanks as Uncle Ned.  Thank me later.
ROSCOE'S!  It only takes one entry for me to credit as legitimate a list compiling the 100 Greatest Cult Restaurants In America:
First, the restaurant must have a highly devoted customer base and should appeal to locals and tourists... Second, the food must obviously be stellar and unique enough to produce a dedicated clientele. Being home to 'The Best' or 'The Original' of something helps. Third, the wait is almost always unbearable — but worth it. On this note, population density was given some consideration. Fourth, multiple locations are okay, but not too many, unless they’re in another country. Finally, for our purposes, a single meal should be relatively cheap.
Only one Philadelphia establishment on the list -- a mediocre cheesesteak tourist trap -- when both ends of the Lorenzo's/Jim's South Street Burrito would be more meritorious.  But overall, I think you'll be satisfied with a new life's checklist.  (HT: Marsha.)
GUESS HE'S AN XBOX AND I'M MORE ATARI: Glee has made some awfully strange song choices over its season and change--sometimes they'll pay off (Dianna Agron's "It's A Man's Man's Man's World" from the repeat last night really worked, for instance)--but I really can't see quite how Gwyneth Paltrow singing Cee-Lo Green's "F**k You" (in its "Forget You" version) is going to work. Gwyneth actually can sing--she credibly performed "Bette Davis Eyes" in Duets, and is trying her hand at country in her upcoming film, but I'm not sure I can see her pulling off the soul needed for this one to work.
THANK GOODNESS THERE'S AT LEAST ONE NATIONAL RESULT I CAN BE PLEASED WITH THIS MORNING:  Jeff Probst tells EW what his favorite-ever Survivor challenge has been.  (Also, I kinda stopped watching this season. Is there a reason to try again?)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

THE QUEST FOR A FULL EGOT: Hugh Jackman has long been attached to a stage musical telling of the life of Harry Houdini, but it seemed to have fallen into limbo, despite that simple pitch. Earlier reports had the credits as book by Kurt Andersen (founder of Spy), music by Danny Elfman (who's EG in his EGOT--no Oscar win, despite 4 nods), lyrics from David Yazbek (Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown, and, of course, the theme from Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?), and direction from Jack O'Brien (Hairspray, Full Monty). Reports today suggest that while Elfman and O'Brien are still attached, Andersen's book (which was rumored as being rather troubled) is being replaced by one by Aaron Sorkin, and Glenn Slater (who's replaced the late Howard Ashman as Alan Mencken's lyricist, and who wrote the lyrics for Love Never Dies) is taking over the lyricist duty. Interested?
SINGLE LOHAN WITH A MCTWIST: OK, who had Demi Lovato in the "next child star to head for rehab" pool? You can pick up your winnings over in the ALOTT5MA Sports Book (it's just down the hall from the ALOTT5MA Poker Room, but don't be tempted by the video poker--that's just a bad bet).

Monday, November 1, 2010

GIGANTES! GIGANTES! GIGANTES! GIGANTES! GIGANTES! GIGANTES!: More when I pull myself off the ceiling.

Tuesday morning: I had a post about growing up a bit of a baseball orphan and really discovering the game in my late teens -- my Dad claims allegiance only to the Oakland Oaks, my Mom grew up a San Francisco Seals fan -- but I set it aside because what I realized what is important was not how I came to here, but what I get going forward.

For me, the memories of sports are not the game itself, but the people I was with when I was watching. Game 3 of the 1987 NLCS, the 1989 Super Bowl, Jerry Rice's fumble-ruled-fair against the Packers. I had thought about going down to town and watching the game with fans, but did one much better. Owen spent a lot of time with me watching these playoffs but wandered off after Renteria's home run until the bottom of the ninth. But then he crouched with me in front of the TV waiting for that last out. We hollered a lot, scared Natalie a bit, and then got them to bed. I'm hoping that memory sticks with him. It's my best sports memory yet.

As to the championship itself, with this one the great choke of 2002 has faded quickly away. Of course, I'd have liked that one. But for a first championship, you couldn't have a better bunch of guys win it all. Lincecum, Ross, Posey. Wherever these guys go to make their millions in the long term, and whatever the form of the next championship team, these are the names we're going to be seeing on faded jerseys in the stands when we see the next championship, even if that's not until 2064.

Pitchers and catchers: February 13. Go Giants.
JOINING THE FUGITIVE AND CHAIN REACTION IN THE "FILMS OF HYDE PARK" GENRE: Speaking "compelling nonfiction that I assume 80% of this community has read," Erik Larson's 1893 Chicago World's Fair epic The Devil in the White City is being adapted for the big screen, with Leonardo DiCaprio set to start as Herman Webster Mudgett, alias H. H. Holmes.  No word on who'll direct, or who'll play Daniel Burnham.

[As EW reported in 2003, Tom Cruise had originally optioned the book for himself upon its publication, but DiCaprio was so interested in the story that he hired screenwriters to develop a script based on the public domain materials.  DiCaprio now has the full rights.]
TOMORROW IS, INDEED, A DAY FOR CHANGE:  Once the UPS workers shifted back from shorts to slacks, this was only a matter of time.  According to a tweet from the green-and-black topless mermaid, red cups return to Starbucks on Tuesday.
TIVO ALERT:  Just a reminder (because your season pass won't notice it) that NBC is running its two-hour Women of SNL special tonight, and Tom Shales would like you to know that Colonel Angus will be resting his head at Shady Thicket once more.  No word on whether we'll see Victoria Jackson singing upside down, evidence that Julia Louis-Dreyfus was funny while on the show, or discussion of Nora Dunn's feminist stance in leaving the show when Andrew "Dice" Clay was booked to host.

Provocative statement of the day: Maya Rudolph is the most talented woman to appear on SNL, and Tina Fey the most important to its history.  Discuss.
AND IN THE ELOISE SUITE. REALLY? So the CBS ad for 2.5 Men during The Amazing Race last night still said "Catch Charlie Sheen ..." and why shouldn't it? Because the capacity for outrageous behavior is something that we assume when Sheen is involved, in the same way that one can't complain about going to a Prince concert and having it not start on time.

But I couldn't help but wonder: for what straight male actor between the ages of 20-50 would it truly be shocking, at this point, to find out that he went on a coke-fueled hooker rampage?  I don't think it's a terribly long list.  Steve Carell?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I GOT A ROCK:   Any Halloween happenings to report?  Harry Potter and vampire stuff seemed very popular this year in our neck of the woods.