Friday, December 6, 2013

MAYBE THEY REPLACE IT WITH AN IPOD IN THE FUTURE:  Grammy nods are out, and a few noteworthies:

  • Neither Timberlake nor Kanye gets into any of the top categories, with your five nominees for album of the year being Taylor Swift, Macklemore, Daft Punk, Kendrick Lamar, and Sara Bareilles.  The Bareilles nod is particularly odd, given that "Brave" doesn't crack song or record the year.  Bruno Mars gets in for record and song, but not for album.
  • Despite her cultural omnipresence and both "Wrecking Ball" and "We Can't Stop" being eligible?  Not a single nod for Miley. 
  • Best New Artist is seriously weird.  Though Lorde is up for record/song of the year for "Royals," she's not in, nor is Imagine Dragons (up for record of the year for "Radioactive").  Joining Macklemore and Kendrick Lamar as nominees are EDM artist James Blake, country singer Kacey Musgraves, and Ed Sheeran.
  • Despite the love for Red in the top category, not much for Ms. Swift elsewhere--indeed, "I Knew You Were Trouble" seems to have been completely snubbed, despite being considered a big contender.
  • EGOT Watch--Billy Crystal (who needs an Oscar and a Grammy to complete) is up for Spoken Word, as is Carol Burnett (who shockingly, has only an Emmy).  
  • Other interesting nominees?  David Sedaris (in spoken word), the Broadway Matildae (cast album),
THE OTHER FOOTBALL:  We have a World Cup draw for 2014, including a brutal quartet for Sam's Army: Germany, Portugal, Ghana.
CHRISTMAS BELLS ARE RINGING ... SOMEWHERE ELSE: There are parts of America where I would still expect Rent: The School Edition to prove controversial, but canceling a production in Trumbull, Conn.?  The principal is offering the b.s. grounds that he wasn't consulted far enough in advance, because "Without proper planning, Rent: The School Edition has the potential to become a speech rather than a meaningful dialogue to capitalize on all significant themes it presents."  

(I'm sure there was a lot of meaningful dialogue around The Wiz and The Music Man, which they've done in the past.)
FORD EVERY STREAM:  So many of us were excited to see The Sound of Music live on NBC last night, and knew that at least if it sucked we'd have a lot to talk about, and it ... well, it didn't completely work.

The primary problems, as I see it, were one avoidable problem and one unavoidable one. The latter is aesthetic: outside of soap operas and SNL, viewers are no longer used to seeing fake sets on live (or shot-to-tape) television. The hills in particular were not alive, and it was jarring to have to get in one's head "okay, I'm supposed to use my imagination here," because we're just so used to seeing on-location shooting.

The avoidable problem was Carrie Underwood. Could she sing the part? Yes, actually pretty darn well, esp. with something as demanding as "The Lonely Goatherd." The acting, however, wasn't there in any compelling way, and it distracted the whole time. I think it was just a fundamental miscasting—had NBC started with Underwood and then figured out what musical to adapt, they could've found something more suitable like, say, South Pacific?  Because I can totally see Underwood as a more credible Nellie Forbush. (Hugh Jackman as Emile, Matthew Morrison or NPH as Lt. Cable, Alec Baldwin as Luther Billis?)

Despite that, I want NBC to try again next year with a different musical, because live television and big events are fun and there is so much great talent out there. Audra McDonald, Laura Benanti, and Christian Borle (basically doing Rooster Hannigan) were all great, as expected. The kids were fine, even if Rolf's shorts remained jarring throughout.

So, what do you want to see NBC try next? has some thoughts.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

HANDLE THIS: How bad is it for fans of the Houston Texans?  Rather than discussing playoff prospects, they're busy discussing who should replace Gary Kubiak as coach and whether it would be insane or brilliant for the Texans to draft Johnny Manziel (assuming he opts in to the draft) as the new franchise QB.  Heck, it's so bad that even in football-crazy Houston, there are people upset that tonight's Thursday game (featuring the hot competition for worst record between the Texans and Jacksonville) will air on the local ABC affiliate, preempting Scandal.
TRAPPED IN THE KHAN-SET: Benedict Cumberbatch reads R. Kelly lyrics.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

CAN YOU HONESTLY TELL ME YOU FORGOT? FORGOT THE MAGNETISM OF ROBIN ZANDER, OR THE CHARISMA OF RICK NIELSEN?  Twelve movie scenes about how you have to listen to a certain piece of music.

(#13: "Listen to Tommy with a candle burning, and you'll see your entire future.")

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

FROM A TOWN KNOWN AS OYSTER BAY, LONG ISLAND: Billy Joel, no stranger to these pages even though one co-blogger doesn't particularly care for him, has signed a deal to play Madison Square Garden once a month in perpetuity, as long as there's demand.  (He's also doing a New Year's Eve concert at the arena in Brooklyn with the Ben Folds Five.)
THE SUBSTITUTER: The forty-four worst people in every restaurant.
PRIMITIVE CULTURES:  I think it's impossible to revisit Animal House in 2013 and not find it deeply problematic, as The Dissolve's writers did last week. It's one group of overprivileged WASP assholes against the other, with the racists, peeping toms, would-be rapists, and vandals of Delta House labeled the heroes and the student government/ROTC crowd the villains, but, spoiler!, nothing they do in college actually matters, because white male privilege ensures that they can still be gynecologists, White House aides, and United States Senators no matter what happened in college. Really, is this a movie I'm going to encourage my daughters to watch?  Keith Phipps:
I feel like talking about this movie has made me sound a bit like an Omega House snob, too uptight to appreciate the outrageous antics of the liberated Delta slobs. Sigh. Sorry. This won’t change things, but I’d like to talk about some of the film’s attitudes toward women and minorities. When we finished watching it in The Dissolve screening room a couple of weeks ago, Scott said, “There are gags in that movie you would not see today.”

Monday, December 2, 2013

NOT EVERYTHING HAS ITS SEASON: A list of Broadway songs with which to never audition. (HT: @TheatreProblems)
AMADRONE:  I cannot be the only one who would prefer that rather than a swarm of drone octocopters, Amazon's new delivery system involved an armada of flying monkeys like the ones from Oz.

P.S.  "Cyber" Monday? 1996 called; it wants its once-trendy adjective back.

added: Waterstone's has an ornithological response.