Saturday, November 20, 2010

THE KIND OF SMOLDERING LOOKS TO ENSURE YOU DO NOT, IN FACT, REMEMBER CEDRIC DIGGORY:  As a benefit to our female readers we've tried to pay attention to the maturation of Neville Longbottom as time goes by.  The Nerdy Bird goes further to trace the evolution of actor Matthew Lewis -- and  yet again, I don't know that they realized what talent were casting a decade ago when they located the alternate recipient of the prophecy.

[Also: how's the movie?  Spoil away.]

Friday, November 19, 2010

IF YOU LOOK CAREFULLY, YOU'LL SEE AMY POEHLER'S HEAD EXPLODE: Somewhere beyond mere joy, beyond "my team just won the World Series," beyond the birth of a child ... that's where you've got to place this manic video of today's Oprah audience finding out it was Favorite Things Day.

The Favorite Things are listed here.
NOW IT'S JUST "THAT SINGING SHOW WITH RANDY JACKSON:" Y'know how Adam joked earlier this week that with all the changes to Idol this season, Fox should consider retitling it "The Musical Talent Show That Airs On Fox Tuesdays and Wednesdays?" Well, even that's out the window with Fox's new midseason schedule. Of note:
  • Glee has had enough success that it's anchoring Tuesdays on its own, followed by Redneck Baby Endangerment (AKA: Raising Hope), and new comedy Mixed Signals.
  • Until Idol starts, Wednesdays are home to Human Target burnoff (too bad, because it's a lot of fun and the changes they've implemented this season seem to work fine aside from the abandonment of the original opening theme), then it's home to Idol and a new half hour comedy with Christian Slater, because when you think funny? You think Christian Slater.
  • Thursdays, Idol tries to fill the reality vacuum left by Survivor and take on Big Bang Theory, Community, and whatever ABC winds up putting there (since My Generation tanked, it's been an oddball mix of Grey's repeats and specials), with Bones moving to 9 PM. Something of an odd choice to give Bones, which has had a solid, if never ratings-huge, run the powerful leadin of Idol.
  • Fridays--Fox has sent Fringe to its death in the legendary death slot occupied in the past by Firefly, The Good Guys, and Dollhouse. This raises an interesting question--between this and the flops of Morning Glory (which was actually not bad, even if the end had been blatantly reshot and made only limited sense) and Undercovers--are we over J.J. Abrams?
DO I FEEL LUCKY?: Given the enthusiasm for the list of best movies filmed in Chicago, below, use this thread to offer up your best five or ten (or twenty or thirty) filmed in your hometown (or nearest or favorite major city).

For me, in order:

1. Bullitt
2. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
3. Dirty Harry
4. Vertigo
5. 48 Hours
IF THEY CAN DYE THE RIVER GREEN TODAY, WHY CAN'T THEY DYE IT BLUE THE OTHER 364 DAYS OF THE YEAR?   Chicago Magazine ranks the top forty movies filmed (at least partly) in Chicago, getting number one so fundamentally wrong (given the options) that I have to wonder if the list compiler deliberately chose provocation over accuracy.

Not that its top forty buildings in Chicago list got the order any better, mind you.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I'M AWARE OF AN OVEN IN WHICH YOU COULD REHEAT THOSE $6 MEALS:  I love Wegmans.  I love Alec Baldwin.  Why don't I love these Wegmans ads with Alec Baldwin?
YOUR BOY:  After nearly 32 years and covering ten Olympic Games, every Super Bowl since 1987, nearly every Final Four since 1982 and every NBA Finals since 1987, Michael Wilbon is leaving the Washington Post to concentrate on his television career.

Wilbon, Kornheiser, Howard Kurtz, Tom Shales ... will the last person left at that test prep company's newsletter please remember to turn off the lights?
ALSO, DAVID PAYMER: As I've noted in the past the thing I appreciate most about The Good Wife is its use of technology -- the FourSquaring, the fake Facebook pages, character tweeting, cell phone trackers and, um, this -- which when completed will also bring up the Wendy Scott-Carr web ad from last week's show:

This was the weakest episode of season two -- no PI Wars, no DA Smoke Monster ... but that's genius.
THERE IS ONLY ONE BROADWAY: It's going to be a weird season on Broadway, because at least as of now, looks like we're going to have a surplus of new musicals, ranging from the arty (Scottsboro Boys), to the low-brow (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, the Parker/Stone Book of Mormon), to massive spectacles (Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, Wonderland), to a plethora of film adaptations (Sister Act, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, Catch Me If You Can). In contrast, on the play side, it already looks like most of the awards are locked down--with the massive critical and commercial hit of the transfer of Merchant of Venice from the park, you can place your bets safely now on Merchant for best play revival and Al Pacino and Lily Rabe picking up the top acting prizes come next spring.

That said, the "new play" contest is rather strange this year, with a bunch of stuff coming in with big stars--including Robin Williams in The Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Chris Rock in The M**********r With The Hat, and the winner for most bizarre visitor to Broadway this year--Dane Cook in Neil LaBute's Fat Pig. Very strange for these folks, since, given Pacino, they have little chance of winning a Tony, and the LaBute play is a surprise, since it had a run in 2004 off-Broadway with Jeremy Piven in the Cook part where it wasn't a big hit, and LaBute has had problems making a hit--despite solid reviews on reasons to be pretty, the show tanked.
MAYBE THEY SHOULD CALL IT "THE MUSICAL TALENT SHOW WHICH AIRS ON FOX ON TUESDAYS AND WEDNESDAYS":  Because a show without a semifinal round, without Simon Cowell and in which the “finalists will face new challenges, including contests to make the best music video, to promote themselves, and to work with a band and dancers for an awards show-style performance" does not sound like American Idol.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

THIS POST WILL CONSIST OF ONE ACT:  StvMg suggested in the comments to the Phil Collins post that the This American Life piece to which Collins contributed, "The Breakup," was the best in show history.  And I realized, hey: there's a list we've constructed yet!  Let's get to it.

(And, by the way, I do have a concept for another round of Humiliation.)

My nominees are a mix of the political and the more entertaining -- Giant Pool of Money and Harold for the former, #1 Party School, The Middle of Nowhere, and Tough Room for the latter. Your mileage will assuredly vary.
LIKE ATTRACTS LIKE: GQ's Babe of the Year (and the 2006 titleholder for Esquire's Sexiest Woman Alive) and People's Sexiest Man Alive are married to each other. This marks only the second time a Sexiest Woman Alive and a Sexiest Man Alive have married one another (Pitt and Jolie were the first).

Relatedly--the trailer for the Sexiest Man Alive's next big movie is out (in which he stars opposite someone who I expect will be a Sexiest Woman Alive in the next few years) and it looks like they're not running away from some of the stranger elements of the source material.
WHIP IT GOOD:  From last night's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, "Neil Young" and Bruce Springsteen cover a recent pop hit.
SHOW YOU, SHOW ME: This blog was inaugurated as a solo project eight years ago today.  According to, we are now "firmly in mid-childhood, fun years of remarkable capability and quick learning coupled with a pretty agreeable personality and growing self-sufficiency."

There's only one man I could invite back to the blog from that first week to commemorate this birthday (since Rabbi Fred Neulander remains safely behind bars). Here goes:

Thank you all, again, for the community we've built here. You make it worth it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

SOMETHING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO CLEVELAND: Having previously Keltner-ized Phil Collins, I suppose it falls to me to ask whether his announcement that he's going to retire from music to (and I'm not making this up) focus on a book about his extensive collection of artifacts from the Battle of the Alamo strengthens or weakens his case for induction.
GOT THE HEAT LIKE INSKEEP OR LINDA WERTHEIMER: Have you ever wanted a rap song about NPR which uses a sample from the All Things Considered theme song as a hook? Well, now you have it.
THE ONLY WEDDING BIGGER THAN POSH AND BECKS: You tell us--is there any reason to care about the now-officially-impending wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton? The best I can come up with is that it marginally increases the likelihood that William will be the next King of England rather than his father.
I'M SHAKING IN MY CUSTOM BABY SEAL LEATHER BOOTS:  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released the list of eligible films from which two will be selected to lose to Toy Story 3 in the category of Best Animated Feature Film:
Alpha and Omega, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, Despicable Me, The Dreams of Jinsha, How to Train Your Dragon, Idiots and Angels, The Illusionist, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, Megamind, My Dog Tulip, Shrek Forever After, Summer Wars, Tangled, and Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue
How to Train Your Dragon is the easy call for a slot, and I'm still jazzed about Megamind. Still, The Illusionist (from the Triplets of Belleville director), Summer Wars (anime), Tangled (Disney) and The Dreams of Jinsha (China) have yet to be released stateside, and there may be another great one out there.  Still, nothing is beating the evil bear who smells of strawberries.  Nothing.
A CYNICAL, EROTIC MEDITATION ON MODERN POLITICS AND SCANDAL:  NYMag's Emily Nussbaum really, really wants you to join the rest of us in watching The Good Wife, "the first show I’ve seen that seems to actually be about politics on a psychological level, as opposed to the pleasurable utopia that was The West Wing."

Monday, November 15, 2010

APOLOGY ACCEPTED: In ESPN fantasy football leagues, any trade offers not accepted by the start of Sunday's games are canceled by the system. By contrast, in CBSSports leagues like the Vai Sikahema Football League (now in its glorious XIIth season, and Isaac did indeed kick my ass this week), a trade offer can linger on the system indefinitely, and a careless owner can find himself surprised when a long-abandoned-and-forgotten offer is suddenly accepted after a player involved enjoys a reversal of fortune.

In related news, Donovan McNabb signed a 5-year, $78M ($40M guaranteed) contract extension in Washington today, agreeing to a deal whose terms were in place since October.

added: Yeah, that was a game.  DeSean Jackson, however, may need a metaphor coach, given his comments regarding the pregame fracas:
“The pregame altercation got us going. It had us ready,” Jackson said after the Eagles dismantled the Redskins, 59-28. “We came back in the locker room pumped up. We’re like pit bulls ready to get out of the cage. So I think it helped out a lot. They came into our house and put a pretty good whooping on us, so we just wanted to return that.”
YOU CAN SEE EVERY DETAIL OF THE OX BREAKING: Look, this season of TAR has been less than stellar (generally boring teams, no really fascinating challenges, and a couple of teams that have been pretty dominant). But next season will be in HD, which means, at a minimum, that things are going to look a lot shinier.
JUST WAIT TILL COMCAST GETS ITS HANDS ON IT: The biggest news in NBC's mid-season schedule to most folks is that Parks and Rec is returning after The Office in January. However, there are a bunch of other intriguing moves:
  • Kathy Bates/David Kelley patent lawyer dramedy Harry's Law replaces Chase at 10 PM Monday, where it will promptly die against Castle and Hawaii Five-0. More disenchantingly, Parenthood gets sent into that slot in March, likely to be burned off.
  • Even though Biggest Loser has kind of self-destructed in the ratings this year and has major labor issues, it stays at two hours, with Law and Order: LA getting the 10 PM slot. (Why not cut Loser to an hour and stick Parenthood at 9?)
  • Even though NBC has consistently won Sundays this fall with football, they seem committed to squandering that audience in the spring, with a lineup of Dateline, Marriage Ref, and two hours of Celebrity Apprentice. (Though they're going to use an early January Sunday to launch superhero drama The Cape, which will fill for The Event on Monday nights in January.)
  • 30 Rock gets an early pickup for the 2011-2012 season.
YES, BUT DO SAMOANS DO IT? Page One of the Wall Street Journal teaches you how to Dougie.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

DUMBER THAN BALTIMORE, BUT NOT AS UGLY:  According to a new Travel & Leisure survey of America's Favorite Cities, Philadelphians are particularly unattractive and unathletic compared to our peer cities, plus our barbecue sucks.
WHAT DO TIGERS DREAM OF, WHEN THEY TAKE THEIR LITTLE TIGER SNOOZE?  It was already set to look like the contemporary It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World of odd cameos, but The Hangover 2 now has added former President Bill Clinton to its cast.  It is, I believe, his film debut, and I don't know quite what to say about it other than calling it to your attention.
BRABBLE ON:  20 obsolete English words which are due for a comeback.