Friday, October 7, 2005

"SO MUCH EXTRAORDINARY TALENT HAS GONE INTO THE BATTER THAT IT'S NO WONDER THE CAKE CAME OUT WITH A SMILE": While I'm comfortable allowing others' praise of In Her Shoes to speak in place of my own today, I did want to share with you a short list of Things You Can Notice During In Her Shoes When You See It This Weekend (You Will See It This Weekend, Okay?) That Will Make You Feel Smarter Than The Person You're Sitting Next To:
  • Notice the nods to Curtis Hanson's prior and next movies. Like 8 Mile, it begins with a lead character vomiting in a public restroom (and has a passing reference to "the new Eminem video" during one scene). Like his upcoming Lucky You, images of poker are everpresent.
  • Rose's best friend, Amy? Played by the same actress, Brooke Smith, who was down the oubliette as Catherine Martin in Silence of the Lambs. And Jerry Adler (Lewis Feldman) has a decidedly different role on "The Sopranos" as Hesh.
  • During a crucial scene, Simon Stein offers Rose a single Mento. For about 15-20 of this site's readers, this is a fact of much significance.
  • There really is a Jamaican Jerk Hut in Philadelphia.
  • While "the Professor" is unnamed during the movie, in the script he is named "Professor Sofield" in honor of David Sofield, a poetry professor at Amherst College, alma mater of both screenwriter Susannah Grant ('84) and co-star Ken Howard ('66).
  • Jen and I once had really awful service while on vacation at a restaurant called the Canal House, so bad that we left the restaurant because no one even brought us a menu after 15 minutes. This will help one reference in the movie make sense.
  • Despite her importance to the script, MyMarcia does not have a single speaking line.

Enjoy the movie, folks.

HE'S WEARING A RED AND WHITE STRIPED SHIRT AND A RED SKI HAT AND HE HAS SPECTACLES. SEEN HIM? It's been quiet around here -- scary quiet. I invite you to speculate: where have Adam, Alex, Kim, Kingsley, Matt, Pathetic E., and Phil been? I'll start: I think I read about this in Left Behind.
TO UNDERSTAND THIS SYMPOSIUM, PRETEND JIM KELLY IS THE TIME MAGAZINE EDITOR AND NOT THE FORMER USFL QUARTERBACK: From Adlai, whose seersucker suits may soon need to be boxed up for the winter, comes word of the absurdly well-concocted magazine humor symposium featuring the editors of Vanity Fair, Time, Cosmopolitan, and Men's Health (though the last may have been Details -- I refused to acknowledge the difference, if there is one, when reading the article), moderated by Jon Stewart. Moderated to hilarious effect, I might add.
A WARM WELCOME TO FANS OF LORD OF THE FLIES: Since K. Cosmo is currently holding out until Adam renegotiates her contract and there isn't yet an open thread on last night's Alias episode, I'll give my two cents:

1. The new title sequence is trying to do a lot of the necessary work of lowering expectations. Last season it featured a montage of all of Sydney's disguises, emphasis on the ridiculous (brightly-colored upswept 'dos) and the sublime (the skivvies that Matt claims are not the point of the show. This season Abrams's disco-meth-porn-casio soundtrack (boom-chicka-chi-bow-bow-brrring-tinka-tinka) is accompanied by full cast parity. Introducing Balthazar Getty as a new character, "Liev Schreiber."

2. If there is one cinematographic trick for which Alias really sets the standard, it is the pan-down to show what a female character is holding in her hands coincidentally close to a well-ventilated body part. Last week Abrams introduced us to Rachel Nichols's dimples. This week, courtesy of her cell phone, Abrams introduced us to her cleavage (if Spacewoman can drool over Vaughn for four years, I think I'm entitled to say that this was the high point of the episode). I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that at some point in the next two episodes we're going to get memory stick/lace panties.

3. Poor Agent Weiss. Last year he had a storyline and a love interest who was out of his league. This year he has an e-meter reading from Ethan Hunt and yet another Abrams ensemble piece.

4. As for the episode, it involved using the faro dealer from Deadwood to get to the guy who killed Syd's baby daddy and then taking a very long nap in which we dreamed of the time when this show was moderately interesting. Doesn't it seem like everybody involved has lost interest? Except Dixon, who never really showed an interest in the first place?

Thursday, October 6, 2005

THERE MUST BE A FRONT DOOR: I had a couple of questions and non-spoiling thoughts about this week's Lost:

- If Desmond has been trapped down the hatch for three years, only getting out for a few months' worth of Calvin's shifts, how did he seem to know where he was going when he ran away?

- Gosh, they lingered for a while on Alvar Hansa. I wonder if he looks like anybody we've seen in, say, two episodes.

- Can anybody help with the philosophers? I know that Calvin is the determinist, and although I remember that Locke was an empiricist, I also thought (perhaps embarrassingly incorrectly) that he was a free-will guy too. Maybe that's just me trying to impart meaning into the the Calvin-Locke contrast in the hatch. How does Rousseau (Danielle) fit in? Just the "noble savage" thing, or does Rousseau have something to say about Calvin and Locke?

- When are we going to get some real Hurley/Claire/Maggie time?

- I dug the way that the "why is it so hard for you to believe?/why is it so easy for you?" debate was a shout-out to Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan's "miracles" exchange from the Scopes trial.

- Did anybody else freak out at the Jin bit on the next-ons?

Comments are open for more full-on spoilgasms.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

CHARTER MEMBER OF THE DAVID E. KELLEY PLAYERS: Thought while watching last night's Boston Legal (other than the fact that Julie Bowen's character really doesn't seem to fit in)--why on earth does Anthony Heald not have formal H!ITG! status? Heald has a special honor in the Kelley-verse, having appeared on three Kelley shows, including a wonderful first season as Vice-Principal Guber on Boston Public, which then lost its way.
SKEIN OF THE DAY: Ashton Kutcher, now that he's brought the Alpha Betas and Tri-Lams together, has a deal to unite college seniors and senior citizens in his own version of the Race of Amazement.
HIGHLY PARTISAN AND, IN THE BEST SENSE OF THE WORLD, UNPROFESSIONAL: Bryan Curtis of writes an appreciation of Bill Simmons' work.

I remember Simmons' Digital City/Boston Sports Guy days well -- it was a blog before Blogger, the cool coffeehouse you were lucky enough to learn about before everyone else. And whenever anyone talks about bloggers going mainstream, whether it's Ana Marie Cox's book deal or the emergence of various political bloggers as real power players . . . well, Simmons' hiring by came first.
OBLIGATORY GLIB POSTING: According to People Magazine, Katie Holmes is pregnant with Tom Cruise's baby. Insert joke of your choice about TomKat here.
I'M MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE: Now, I can certainly understand (at least to an extent) the desire to remake or revisit Network for the world of 24 hour news networks, blogs, short attention spans, and multimedia. But as a live television project? I just don't know.
YOU WANT TO TEMPT THE WRATH OF THE WHATEVER FROM HIGH ATOP THE THING? As if we needed more TV to watch around here, it's official--Aaron Sorkin will almost certainly be back on TV come next fall. Since several of the Sorkin family players (Joshua Malina, Janel Maloney) are almost certainly out of a job at the end of the year, maybe they can get a gig there.
WHAT A LOVELY WAY OF SAYING HOW MUCH YOU LOVE ME: It looks like country music star Chris Cagle's next single will be a cover of "Billie Jean."
I WOULDN'T BE THE GUY WHO DID IT, I'D BE THE GUY WHO KNEW A GUY WHO DID IT: Picking up the slack of architeuthis-enthusiast bloggers like myself who are stranded on muktuk-enthusiast platforms, it's Squid Week over at Broken Type. (Not without reason, as I'm sure everyone has heard.)
NOW LAURYN IS ONLY HUMAN: I guess all of Wyclef's begging worked -- the Fugees are back together.

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

YES, BUT WAS SHE A MATHLETE? Ann Althouse places Harriet Miers among the list of other "nonmathematician math majors" in history.
PAGING SANDY KOUFAX: Am I allowed to be a little curious about the fact that Jon Stewart is hosting a new Daily Show tonight?
IT'S THE JERSEY TEAM: So, what did we learn from tonight's episode of TAR:Family?
  • Apparently, it's much harder to find gas in Northern Virginia than I remember when my family lived there.
  • The sky is, in fact, blue.
  • Always read the entirety of your clue, and don't assume that you know where your destination is.
  • The Paolo family still needs to shut up. The Godlewski sisters are rapidly heading in that direction.
  • Apparently, it's no longer a 12 hour pit stop, but probably longer or some sort of formula used to determine departure times.
  • Reading a map is an underappreciated talent.
  • Great detour, where neither alternative was clearly better than the other, and by running the detour straight into the pitstop, ensured some exciting footrace drama, always a plus.
  • Teams growing on me: Aiello, Bransen, and Linz.

If the teaser is correct, it seems that we'll see the return of at least some airport strategery, which could be made even more complicated if teams are given a choice of airports in the D.C. area.

FOR THE HONOR OF GREYSKULL: Can some explain to me why you will soon be able to buy The He-Man & She-Ra Christmas Special on DVD, while you still can't buy Hill Street Blues, thirtysomething, or a reasonably priced version of My So-Called Life? Is it just me, or wouldn't it make a hell of a lot of sense for whoever owns the MSCL rights to put together a deluxe 10th anniversary edition with a retrospective, commentaries, and the like--I guarantee you it'd sell bunches of copies.
NOT FOR BRITISH EYES ONLY: Apparently, budgets over at Arrested Development are so tight that they couldn't afford to pay plane fare for British genius Ricky Gervais to come over and play a cameo. So the Bluth family, or at least the actors who play them, agreed to pay for Gervais' plane ticket. After hearing that, the studio agreed to pay the fare, so we can (fingers crossed) look forward to Gervais showing up later this season. (And wasn't Scott Baio shockingly funny last night as Bob Loblaw?)
GOERING'S ON THE PHONE FROM BERLIN, SAYS YOU'VE REALLY DONE QUITE A JOB: If Isaac can mention G. Harold Carswell on the occasion of the... perplexing... nomination of Harriet Miers, then I can mention the fact that there's a heavy metal song about Supreme Court Justice -- and LBJ crony -- Abe Fortas.

According to Blue Oyster Cult guitar-master Buck Dharma [and via the BOC FAQ], "Harvester Of Eyes" is about former U.S. Supreme Court justice Abe Fortas. The following is from Compuserve's American Academic Encyclopedia:
Abe Fortas, b. Memphis, Tenn., June 19, 1910, d. Apr. 5, 1982, was a prominent Washington, D. C., attorney and presidential advisor when President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1965. Johnson's subsequent nomination of Fortas as chief justice was blocked by Senate foes of his activist stand on civil liberties, and the nomination was caught up in a clash between the executive and legislative branches. In 1969, following charges of questionable ethics and conflict of interest, Fortas resigned from the Court. His arguments in GIDEON V. WAINWRIGHT (1962) established the right of the poor to legal counsel.
What's all that got to do with "Harvester Of Eyes"? Not much. However, it was Fortas' senate nomination hearings which inspired Richard Meltzer to write the song's lyrics. When Fortas' avoidance of service in World War II was questioned, he responded that he had ocular tuberculosis -- which inspired the lyric, "I'm the eye-man of TV, with my ocular TB".

Yes, Adam, I know you find this factoid of mine tedious. But today it seemed most appropriate.

Edited by Matt--Margin fix, so folks won't shout "The blog is broken!"

Monday, October 3, 2005

ABSOLUTELY, 100% NOT GUILTY: Ready to feel older, again? O.J. Simpson was acquitted ten years ago today.
I FEEL LIKE I KNOW WHAT THE LAST SCENE IN THE LAST EPISODE OF THE SHOW WILL BE. WE JUST HAVE TO GET THERE FIRST: Nice interview with ALOTT5MA fave Shonda Rhimes, creator of "Grey's Anatomy", in this weekend's ChiTrib.
APROPOS OF NOTHING: For absolutely no reason this morning -- none, and don't let anybody tell you different -- I recalled Roman Hruska's defense of G. Harrold Carswell:
Even if he is mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they? We can't have all Brandeises and Cardozos and Frankfurters and stuff like that.
I DRINK CHAMPAGNE WHEN I HUSTLE: Nipsey Russell has died. May he be playing the big "Match Game" in the sky.
SO WILL DADDY BE CHANGING HIS NAME TO JOR-EL? Well, after a few sensible celebrity baby name moments (Preston Michael Spears Federline, Alice (Fey) Richmond), Nicolas Cage has broken the cycle. Please welcome Kal-El Coppola Cage to the world.
EITHER YOU ARE IN, OR YOU ARE OUT: And Project Runway is "in" for a new season. Heidi Klum, Michael Kors, Nina Garcia, and Tim Gunn are all back, and the constestants (16 of them, this time) range from 24 to 51., indicating we should be in for a fun mix.

Sunday, October 2, 2005

A BLACK FLY IN YOUR CHARDONNAY: Want to know what's ironic? Revealing you're a functional illiterate in the memoir you "wrote." The book also promises to teach you important lessons like "Give props where props are due," and "It ain't about the bling."
STILL LIVELY? Last night's SNL debut gets the highest praise I've been able to muster for the show in some time: not completely unwatchable. There's still about 6-8 people who really need to move on, but some of the new kids (whoever did Pacino) might be part of the Next Great Cast.
AUGUST WILSON'S COME AND GONE: One of America's great playwrights has been taken from us at the criminally young age of 60.
STILL A SMARTER CAREER CHOICE THAN JAMIE FOXX IN STEALTH: Emma Thompson has an acting Oscar and a writing Oscar, as well as three other acting Oscar nominations. So why on earth did she decide to make her next writing/acting project this. And are Colin Firth and Angela Lansbury that desperate for paychecks?