Friday, November 21, 2003

COURTNEY LOVE (1964-2003): No, Frances Bean's mom isn't physically dead yet, but that hasn't stopped Seattle's alternaweekly The Stranger devoting full team coverage to her career obituary. Why?
The sad fact is that Courtney Love may be dead by the time you read this. She may be alive when you start reading a piece and dead when you finish it. Or she could carry on for decades, stumbling toward her ultimate goal of transforming completely into Blanche DuBois (Love's recent complaints that her criminal trial dates conflicted with her plans to attend the Academy Awards suggest she's closer than we ever feared).

No matter how the remains of Courtney Love spend the balance of their time on earth, there's no denying that the Courtney who inspired and inflamed a generation as the mouthy, whip-smart little-engine-that-could is dead and gone, leaving only a sputtering, scorched-earth shell, for which we're morbidly happy to provide this eulogy.

You can read a the eight-article package starting here.
WITH PATENTED MOHOLY-NAGY POWER-STEERING: There's a Volkswagen Golf Bauhaus? Design cues aside, does anybody realize how completely messed up this is?

Thursday, November 20, 2003

I'LL DO WHAT I CAN TO KEEP THIS SPOILER-FREE FOR THE WEST COAST FOLK, WHICH IS TO SAY, NOT MUCH: Tonight was not a good night on television to be a gruff white guy with a facial hair.

Most disappointing reality show boot since Team Guido axed these guys in the Beijing episode of TAR1? Perhaps.

Outwitted, outplayed, outlasted. Ouch.

On the other one, well, it was what it was, and I guess it wasn't a bad episode overall, save the return appearance of The Most Annoying Kid On TV Since Sam Joined Diff'rent Strokes. Any episode where Anspaugh appears always gets bonus points in my book.
OR, "CALLIPYGIAN DUDE": I am unable now to see Hugh Jackman's name without replacing the "ck" with an "ss."
ALSO, I HATED 'POINT BREAK': Well, for the first time in what seems like a year I am unable to view full Salon content, because I am unwilling to watch the Hugh Jackman Oklahoma commercial for a third-straight day. Somehow I don't think this is what Salon had in mind. So I ask you: to what should we compare Hugh Jackman's career arc? Is there anybody else who has worked so hard to parlay his breakout role as a brooding tough in a blockbuster superhero action movie into an unconvincing romantic lead in a halfhearted romantic comedy that he used as a springboard to a PBS version of a Broadway musical? As if all Wolverine wanted to do was dance. And by the way, please don't say Patrick Swayze, because his brooding-tough breakout role was as a dance instructor, and because Road House just does not count.
LIKE A GIANT, FIERY ANVIL FALLING FROM THE SKY ONTO AN UNSUSPECTING HEAD: Yes, we've already discussed tonight's big spoiler in what's being billed as THE BIGGEST EVENT IN ER HISTORY, but, really, what do you do if you lack either the time, effort or interest in watching the episode?

Fear not: the loyal posters at TWoP, as they do every week, already have a meticulous scene-by-scene, multiple-sourced account of the episode that almost reads like a transcript, available here.

You know, I'm all in favor of leaks of tidbits -- cast departures or surprise twists on Survivor, say, that make you feel cool to be "in the know" -- but there's a line beyond which such spoilage really does ruin one's ability to sit back and enjoy a show. I might want to know that "someone does come back" on Survivor, but if someone handed me in September a complete and accurate list of the bootees, in order, I hope I'd be smart enough to turn it down. Where's the fun in that?
7305 DAYS AFTER: Twenty years ago today, half the adult population of the United States sat in front of their television sets to watch ABC's nuclear war telemovie, The Day After.

If I'm remembering right, I was so freaked out by how graphic it was supposed to be that I ended up not watching it.

I envy the generation of kids who came of age between the fall of the Soviet Union and 9/11/01. They got to have a childhood where they never had to fear that their whole world might be destroyed at any minute. They didn't have to worry. We did, and do again now.
SISTER ACT II: While Paris Hilton prepares for her Letterman appearance next Wednesday ("Top Ten Reasons Not To Bang Your Boyfriend On Camera"), which may well reverse the Late Night Ratings Wars faster than you can say "Divine Brown", I'm really starting to wonder something: what's Nicky Hilton going to do to top all this? Surely she can't let this intra-sibling publicity deficit grow much longer, can she?

But how? Midget porn? A David Blaine-esque endurance stunt? Will she turn into the second coming of Morganna the Kissing Bandit and molest Ricky Williams at Sunday night's nationally-broadcast Miami-Washington game?

An anxious nation waits and hopes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

SHAKE ME LIKE A BRITISH NANNY: Thanks to its remarkably strong DVD sales and smash ratings success on the Cartoon Network, Family Guy may be coming back with as many as 35 new episodes, starting in January 2005. My favorite recent moment?
Peter: Brian, there's a message in my Alpha Bits. It says "OOOOOO"!
Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.
VIA OUR ROVING REPORTER, PHIL THROCKMORTON: Who writes in from Parts Unknown to say:
"No one is suggesting that the show is high art. But it would be a shame if the network crumbles under the weight of the misguided pressure from forces who aren't willing to acknowledge the obvious: the show is rooted in reality, whether they like it or not."

Nope. That's not Slate on The Reagans, it's SI's Phil Taylor on Playmakers. While Playmakers may not be worth watching, Taylor's point is well taken. ESPN should stand up to the NFL, and CBS should take notes.

It's time for a 1st and Ten revival. Is Delta Burke busy?
LEAST SURPRISING CELEBRITY NEWS SINCE “JERRY GARCIA, AGING DRUG ADDICT WITH STARTLINGLY POOR DIET, DIES”: Michael Jackson is apparently the target of a criminal investigation for child molestation.
AND NOW THE ANTI-PARIS: To balance out the bad-love: Jolie Holland looks like an eco-terrorist, has an accent so inscrutable that she might as well be singing Edith Piaf, plays a guitar that sounds as if its strings have not been changed for six months, and apparently moved to Canada to jump start her singing career. Feel free to scratch your head over that last one.

Unlike Paris Hilton, however, she has mad bluegrass skills. She sings with a piercingly church-bell-clear voice (not so the accent, as I said) and moves sideways into notes that she holds only restlessly, very much like a (hill-)Billie Holliday. If you’re looking for some lo-fi Americana, try Holland’s Catalpa.
BETTER LATE TO THE GOOGLE-TROLLING PARTY THAN NEVER: There appear to be two dominant attitudes toward Paris Hilton right now: (1) She is an insufferable fame-whore who is getting what she deserves; or (2) geez, she’s hot, where can I get the video?

I, on the other hand, fall squarely into Camp 3 (or maybe Camp 2A). Really, how can you not love Paris Hilton (and while I’m on the topic, why isn’t Paris Hilton a gay icon)? Like Robert Evans, Dan Abrams, and Medea Benjamin, everything about Paris Hilton screams: F*ck off – it’s who I am. In fact, I like to think of PH as the pure embodiment of a single concept. What Tinkerbell is to innocent fantasy and Tyler Durden to festering male aggression, so she is to the uncompromising pursuit of fleeting pleasure.

Which is exactly why I find this whole sex tape thing depressing. It’s tough to be the poster-child for unremittingly luxuriant sybarism when you’re suing and getting sued, not to mention getting caught on tape with Shannon Doherty’s sleazy ex, really not to mention willingly getting caught on tape with him. (By the way, do Solomon and Steve Bing pay dues to the same club? Just wondering.)

Anyway, if you’re like me, you would feel just a bit too weird watching the video but were happy to read the transcript, particularly this line: "TV: Call me Steve! PH: (Quick slurp)."

Oh, yeah, still way excited for the Simple Life, especially since the Nicole Richie heroin bust.
NEW ENGLANDERS HAIL GAY MARRIAGE DECISION: And I've got the picture to prove it.
YOU CAN'T REALLY DUST FOR THAT: I know what you're thinking: hey, Adam, "What ever happened to the Dead Wrestler of the Month feature? Don't tell me the industry has gotten safer or something!"

Fear not, friends, and here's a triple-shot of recent sadness for you, all from the WWF: Crash Holly (Michael Lockwood), 33, who apparently choked on his own vomit last week; Road Warrior Hawk (Michael Hegstrand), 46, of an apparent heart attack last month (possibly drug-related); and, finally wrestling patriarch/trainer/promoter Stu Hart, 88, who died of pneumonia in October, but not without first seeing his son-in-law Davey Boy Smith die of steroid-related heart failure and watching his own son Owen plunge to his death on live tv during a stunt gone awry in 1999.

According to one report, as many as sixty current or former pro wrestlers under the age of 45 have died in the last five years, most of them related to drug abuse and steroids. Great business you're running, Vince -- we know it's not a sport, but you're still calling this "entertainment"?

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

CHECKING IT TWICE: Learning in her Fametracker audit today that Emma Thompson turned down the Sharon Stone role in Basic Instinct reminded me that I've long wanted to compile a list of Most Interesting Roles Turned Down.

For example, some of my favorites have included Tom Selleck being cast as Indiana Jones (until he couldn't get out of his "Magnum P.I." commitment), Brad Pitt as Russell Hammond in Almost Famous, and Harrison Ford in the Michael Douglas role in Traffic (he insisted on a lot of rewrites, then bailed to do K-19: The Widowmaker, then Kevin Costner was to replace him until 3,000 Miles to Graceland looked to him like a better prospect). And we all know about the urban legend that put Ronald Reagan in Casablanca, right?

So, as it turns out, there's a defunct website out there with a pretty good list.

But it's clearly incomplete. Tell us good ones you know about.
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HE'S BEEN THE PROFESSOR, AND I'VE BEEN MARY ANN: Staring down the shark with all its might. Queer Eye comes back tonight. The Star-Ledger's Alan Sepinwall wisely suggests five ways the Fab 5 can avoid becoming the Fad 5.

Also, remember Ted Allen? Just making sure. It's been a while.

Monday, November 17, 2003

A PLAN IS HATCHED: Right after the Tennessee Titans win their first NFL championship, All-Star Survivor debuts on Super Bowl Sunday.
SURE, BUT AS LONG AS YOU'RE COACHING IN A SUBURB OF NORTH ADAMS, HOW MUCH FUN CAN IT BE? SI's Tim Layden congratulates retiring Williams College football coach Dick Farley on ending his remarkable 17-year run.

Perhaps most noteworthy is this: "In 118 years of football Williams College has recorded five perfect seasons and all of them have come under Dick Farley. In 1989, 1990, 1994, 1998, and 2001 the Ephs went 8-0-0. Every player that Farley has recruited (and who has graduated) has played on at least one perfect team."

Wow. Farley never lost a home game against my alma mater, and much though I hated the outcomes, you have to respect the program he built in that isolated, desolate pit of hell on the other side of the hairpin curve.

Well, at least there's still one team that can beat Williams.
WITH EXTRA CHEESE? Congratulations and thanks to Maria Accardi of Louisville, Kentucky, who at around 10:05pm eastern last night became the 100,000th person to visit the site.

For her efforts, she does indeed win the free pizza.
"THEY CAN MAKE ME A STAR ANYWAY": Low Culture reports this morning on Fox's curious double standard when it comes to its reality stars appearing in dirty movies.

By the way: those Frenchie Davis photos/videos Fox that was so afraid of, that they were going to scandalize America's youth? Still haven't turned up anywhere. Just bolsters my theory that the only reason she was kicked out of the competition was so that it would be competitive, that she would've destroyed Ruben and Clay on a week in, week out basis, leading to her deserved coronation in the finale, and that the only way to put any drama into the show would be to take out the one singer so clearly head-and-shoulders above the field.

In the meantime, you should know that Frenchie's doing fine, having just left her role in Rent to star in Dreamgirls out west.

Despite Fox's best efforts, she's going to be a star.
365: One year and a shade over 100,000 visitors later (i.e., an average day on InstaGlen), we're still standing.

I started this blog because I had topics I enjoyed talking about and a loving wife who encouraged me to inflict my opinions on others. I am happy with the way this place has evolved over the past year, shedding the politics/law talk to focus on pop culture, introducing the Comments feature to include all of you in the discussion, and adding new contributors in Isaac and Phil who will only help enhance this site in the future.

I wouldn't keep doing this site if I didn't know that people enjoyed it, so thank you, friends, for continuing to come back for more. All I can say is this: it is not that hard to do this, so if you have something to say, go ahead and start your own blog. The more good voices, the better for us all.

And once again, thanks to Jen, for encouraging me to do this and for making everything just that much sweeter. I am blessed to have her in my life, and I just hope that when our daughter is old enough to read these archives, she understands that daddy isn't mean -- he's just particular and vocal about the things he likes and dislikes, especially if Cuba Gooding Jr. is involved.

Enough speeches. Let's get back to the blogifying.