Saturday, February 28, 2009

Jim DeRogatis: Breaking News Archives

WHAT DOES VERTICAL INTEGRATION LOOK LIKE, ANYWAY? Unifying this blog's amateur interest in pop culture and (certain participants') professional interest in The Majesty of the Law, Jim DeRogatis has been covering the heck out of the latest DC machinations surrounding the proposed Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger.
AND THAT'S...THE END OF THE STORY:Radio commentator Paul Harvey has died at 90.
NOT QUITE A TABULA RASA: I thought this week's Dollhouse marked a considerable improvement for two reasons:

1. The persona assigned to Echo this week allowed Dushku to play to her strengths--the tough, but vulnerable, girl, rather than attempting to make her into the clipped hostage negotiator of the pilot or Rambogirl as in the second episode. (And the surprise that she can apparently actually sing was a nice one.)
2. The story this week was less driven by Echo than the Dollhouse's client, which had some nice parallelism to Echo's own issues without being anvilicious.

It's still far from perfect, and the lack of witty banter remains a problem (particularly since this week's episode was written by Jed Whedon and his fiancee Maurissa Tancharoen, who co-wrote Dr. Horrible--I was expecting more), but it's definitely a solid diversion on a Friday or Saturday night. And next week, with a memwiped Echo locked in a vault in the middle of a job, could be very interesting indeed.
BODYSLAM THE SNOOZE BUTTON OF FAME: Todd Bridges embarks on a pro wrestling career.

Friday, February 27, 2009

VERY DIRTY VEGAS: As I've previously noted, CSI is one of those shows I rarely watch, but tend to enjoy when I do. With Grey's and Office in reruns, I DVRed this week's episode to see how the Petersen/Fishburne handoff has gone, and I'm less than impressed. Part of Petersen's charm was that he (and most of the rest of the characters) were unabashedly weird and geeky--something that the spinoffs generally lose. Fishburne, on the other hand, is just so definitionally and effortlessly cool that the show loses a chunk of the geek appeal (the dropping of Sara Sidle, who was similarly geeky, and her replacement with generic perky girl, doesn't help). While L&O is receiving a creative boost, largely by playing up serialized elements that have never been the show's strong suit (in particular, the McCoy campaign for DA, and the interesting quasi-paternal relationship between McCoy and Cutter), this other warhorse has taken a step back.
A LITTLE BRAINS, A LITTLE TALENT: Coming up on the Broadway-to-Big Screen supertrain? Damn Yankees, starting Jim Carrey and Jake Gyllenhaal, coincidentally both of whom have performed "And I Am Telling You I Am Not Going" to comedic effect.

Producers are Neil Zadan and Craig Meron, the duo who brought Chicago and Hairspray to the big screen, with estimable pairing of Lowell Ganz and Marc "Babaloo" Mandel to script. Yet to be cast is the woman with her aces in all the right places, so your suggestions for Lola (Johannson? Hathaway? Beyonce?) are welcome.

P.S. Yes, we know: comments are busted right now. Comments are back as of Saturday morning!
CHUNG-CHUNG: Manhattan District Attorney Bob Morgenthau, the basis for Law and Order's Adam Schiff, will not seek re-election this fall, at the same time that Law and Order is doing a contentious race for Sam Waterston's Jack McCoy to take over as Manhattan's DA.
BLOODY CARL, HOG BUTCHER OF THE WORLD: Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn is trying to save the city of Chicago's Olympic bid committee a cool $10.5 million bid by coming up with suggestions for the city's Olympic mascot. Some of the best so far: Casper the Ghost Payroller, the hot dog figurines atop Super Dawg, Chalkie the Chalk Outline, Balgo's Hair, and Kickback the Fat Cat. My suggestion: an anthropomorphic trio of a deep-dish pizza, Chicago-style hot dog, and Italian Beef sandwich named Car, Diac, and Arrest.

Leonard Cohen, Live From The Beacon Theatre : NPR Music

WE ARE UGLY, BUT WE HAVE THE MUSIC: If for some reason you passed on 16th-row center tickets to see the legendary Leonard Cohen in concert, you too can take solace in NPR's broadcast of the still spry 74-year-old's recent show from NYC's Beacon Theater. Only a dozen songs from the three-hour performance are available, but highlights include "Hallelujah" (natch), "Suzanne," and a hauntingly melancholy rendition of "Chelsea Hotel." If your appetitie is sufficiently whetted, here's a link to Cohen's tour dates.
THEY RODE ONTO THE FIELD, CLOTHED ONLY IN THEIR SLEEVED BLANKETS, AND GIRDED FOR BATTLE: The NYT investigates the weighty questions of the Snuggie v. Slanket battle.
GUESS HE'S NOT WORTHWESS AFTER ALL: Today is the last day (thank the Lord) of the bi-annual WNYC public radio fund drive. Apparently, for the final matching program of the drive, the Alec Baldwin foundation and Alec Baldwin will be giving $1 to WNYC for every $2 pledged. If you want to support public radio in New York or just be able to say "I made Alec Baldwin write a check!" you can donate through the station's website.
ALL THE BEST PEOPLE HAVE BAD CHESTS AND BONE DISEASES. IT'S ALL FRIGHTFULLY ROMANTIC: The year was 1994 -- maybe 1995 at that point -- and I was visiting my friend Charlie in Baltimore, both of us in our first year of graduate school. We went out to see a movie I didn't know much about in advance, Heavenly Creatures, and we were both absolutely blown away by the tale of obsession, delusion and murder, and especially by the performance of an unknown actress named Kate Winslet. I remember our spending hours thereafter rescripting and reconceptualizing the movie -- what if Quentin Tarantino had directed it? Richard Linklater? Spike Lee? Woody Allen?

But thank goodness Peter Jackson did, claymation and all, using all his tools to make vivid the emotional lives of these troubled teenagers. It's a haunting film that chilled me so much I haven't tried to watch it again since that first viewing, but I might this weekend, as the AV Club's Scott Tobias inducts Heavenly Creatures into the New Cult Canon.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT: And we've got ourselves a bona fide surprise finalist! There's a guy! And a girl! And even a third person who is either a guy or a girl! All of them making the finals! But if you want to see whether Mr. Cosmo's voting bloc is the electoral powerhouse we all anticipated, you'll have to check the comments.

p.s. The AI folks have provided some clarity as to how the wild card round is going to work. Each judge will pick two people out of the remaining 27 to sing in the wild card round, regardless of how they did in their prior semi-final.
I WILL BE DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED IF THE TOUR RIDER DOES NOT REQUIRE BOTH MOUSSE AND INDUSTRIAL BLEACH TO SANITIZE THE BUS: Among the package tours hitting the road this summer--Poison and Def Leppard with Cheap Trick. (Also, can I please get "I Want You To Want Me" for Rock Band?)
TOP CHEF OPEN THREAD: Well, it's done. The challenge was predictably wide open. A cast of runners-up was predictably marched in to sous-chef the finalists. Marcel and Richard both still had curious hair. Cooking ensued.

Marcel was also sporting a "take me seriously" Wolverine beard and some remaindered-window-of-a-Ram-van looking sunglasses. I decline the invitation (to take him seriously), but will upgrade him in my heart from "MC Teen Wolf" to "MC 900ft Teen Wolf" for the effort. And who knew you could say "twat" on television? Does it help if you're Finnish?

Beyond that it's not clear what I could say without spoiling the results, except that everyone fell down in some way with one of their courses last night. The results were then decided by the difference in the way those tumbles registered on the familiar judges' table Richter scale of culinary sins. These might be fairly characterized as a stumble, a slide, and catastrophe, respectively.

The big lesson: Do not collaborate with your sous-chef.

Spoil-away in the comments.
MULTIPLE LEVELS OF FAIL: Not only did Freddie Prinze, Jr., apparently decide to stop acting in order to join the WWE's creative team, but six months later, left, maybe because he was leaking "confidential information" about upcoming storylines. This is, sadly, the most interesting thing Prinze has done since She's All That.

edited by Adam: In other WWE news, Randy "The Ram" Robinson will be appearing at Wrestlemania this April, and the NYT Styles section profiles still-living legend Tito Santana. Arriba!

hijacked by Alex: While we're talking about wrestlers, I've been meaning to post this bizarre story about the legendary Verne Gagne killing a fellow resident in a Minnesota nursing home.
AS AN ECONOMIST I THINK “CONSTANTLY” ABOUT UTILITARIANISM: With the abundance of television riches available last night, some of us have decided to save last night’s Lost for later viewing, so I am pinch-hitting for my friends who usually blog about Lost.

I loved last night’s episode. I particularly admired Terry O'Quinn’s nuanced and moving performance. Alan Sepinwall has many insightful things to share about last night’s show.

Mo Ryan's column is also excellent.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

NO, NO NO, NO WAY: I think this week highlighted how the change of format changes hopes -- plenty of singers were competent enough to avoid elimination. Problem, though, is that wasn't their task -- survival requires being at the top of his heap, and not enough of the performers recognized that imperative.
Jasmine Murray - “Love Song,” Sara Bareilles. Not a singer's song. A potentially great singer pisses away an opportunity.

Matt Giraud - “Viva La Vida,” Coldplay. The great thing about the song is its orchestration -- the bombast is earned. But on Idol, you have to focus on the words of the song, and "Roman cavalry choirs are singing" is not going to wow the masses, and there's not enough left in terms of melody or range to demonstrate how good of a singer he might be.

Jeanine Vailes - "This Love," Maroon 5 -- I liked it more than the judges, because it's a song that allows for personality to seep through. But as Jeanine noted (as did Isaac), she needed to blow people away given her under-the-radar status, and she didn't.

Nick Mitchell - Oh, I don't want to spoil it for the West Coasters. I smiled. Send him home? Maybe not yet. Jen: "This is the best thing I've ever seen on Idol." It reminded me of this.

Allison Iraheta - "Alone," Heart -- one of my main rules of Idol is Don't Sing Something Someone Else On The Show Has Defined, especially the defining song of an Idol winner. I guess every rule has an exception -- she kicked ass. Powerful, well-performed, totally in command. And she's sixteen? Dawgs, we got us a pantheon-level semifinal performance tonight.

Kris Allen - "Man in the Mirror," Michael Jackson -- the absence of Jacko's tics was disconcerting. No hee!, no grunts. Also it wasn't very memorable. Like a lesser Chris Richardson.

Meghan Corkrey - “Put Your Records On," Corinne Bailey Rae -- a nice, warm performance, better than Antonella Barba's in season six, but everything's paling in Iraheta's shadow at this point. Bring her back in the wild card. Jen: "She's got one move, and it looks like she's shaking dandruff off her shoulders."

Matt Breitzke - "If You Could Only See," Tonic -- Chris Daughtry could have killed this song. Nice tone to his voice, but Breitzke put me to sleep. No intensity. Think about what Daughtry did to "Hemmorhage" compared to Breitzke's lackluster performance here. That you love the song, Matt, is no reason by itself to perform it for us.

Jesse Langseth - "Bette Davis Eyes," Kim Carnes -- didn't she just die on Lost? After Stevie Wright's "Evangeline Lilly Jr." look last week, this kinda freaked me out. There's a growl one expects in this song which was missing. Did not particularly move me. Jen wants to see her again.

Kai Kalama - "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted," Jimmy Ruffin -- and now he's going to find Nadia, because if he's great, we didn't learn why from this. The kind of performance that helps you survive going from 24 to 20 to 16 to 12, maybe, but doesn't distinguish you as one of the best three out of twelve.

Mishavonna Henson - "Drops of Jupiter," Train -- ended well, and okay, I finally accept that the line isn't "Van Halen is overrated" at the end of the chorus. Great she was no, but good enough that I'd want to see again.

Adam Lambert - "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction,"The Rolling Stones -- the boy's upper range is something to behold. Weird and exciting. Yeah, I'd put him through to the next round.
Worth calling for: Allison.
Hope to see them again: Adam, Meghan.
In a league of his own: Nick.
Would not mind giving another chance: Mishavonna, Jasmine.
Buh-bye: the rest.

Fienberg says, but of whom? "Who? How did this guy get into the Top 36, judges? This is embarrassingly middle-of-the-road, karaoke, talent-show. It's less than middle-of-the-road. At least Nick Mitchell was joking and found ways to get away from his vocal liabilities. [] just sings earnestly, without distinction or self-awareness, blending into the background before my eyes. Generic. He couldn't make the Top 12 on "Canadian Idol.""

Joanna Weiss sides against Nick: "For the men, I think I prefer Adam Lambert. Sure, at times he seemed like he was auditioning for 'Mick! The Broadway Musical,' but boy, can he sing. And beneath the hair and the rings and the boots, he looks like a slightly nerdy guy, which I find inexplicably charming."
IT'S BEEN ONE WEEK SINCE YOU LOOKED AT ME, COCKED YOUR HEAD TO THE SIDE AND SAID "I'M ANGRY:" Steven Page, lead singer of Barenaked Ladies, has left the band (apparently amicably) to pursue a solo career and "theatrical opportunities." Page wrote or co-wrote pretty much all of the band's songs. The rest of the band will record a new album and tour this fall.
I'M NOT GOING HOME BECAUSE IT RAIN ON MY TIRAMISU, NO FRIGGIN' WAY: Alan Sepinwall previews the Top Chef finale, with a thoughtful focus on what makes for a satisfying ending to a talent-based reality competition (as compared to something more loosey-goosey like Survivor.) Feel free to comment here or there.
I ONCE CLAIMED 'I AM GOD' DURING A DEPOSITION: Prompted by Alec Baldwin's recent confession scene on 30 Rock, I convinced Jen that she finally needed to see Malice, the Aaron Sorkin-penned thriller starring a young, hirsute Baldwin (incl. moderately NSFW video) with Nicole Kidman, Bill Pullman and supporting work from Bebe Neuwirth, Anne Bancroft, George C. Scott, Peter Gallagher and a young Gwyneth Paltrow.

Like many here, I saw the film right upon its release because so much of it was filmed in the Northampton/Amherst area during our college years, and the film remains as I remember it: a ludicrous hoot filled with massive plot twists (spoilers!), scene-chewing speeches, thuddingly obvious musical cues and pauses, and an atrocious sense of the geography of both the Pioneer Valley and Cape Cod. (Cliffs like that? Really?)

For Baldwin fans, it remains a must-see. There is much of Jack Donaghy in his line readings here, and the plot remains as silly and satisfying as ever, though it's a bit disconcerting to have the third-act shift in perspective to see the malefactors plotting in open view. Still, at least you finally understand why someone would give a speech like this at someone else's deposition. Baldwin, indeed, is God.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Twitter / Home

TODAY WAS A GOOD DAY: 1. Andy Richter will be back to play Ed McMahon to Conan's Johnny, when Conan takes over The Tonight Show in June. 2. Michael Cera has finally gotten over himself and it looks like the Arrested Development movie might just actually happen. 3. Even though he is starring in a pilot, Joel McHale has no plans on abandoning The Soup.

Hat tip to TV Tattle, natch.
COME BACK, JENASCIA! For that Fall 2009 cycle of Top Model which Matt heralded below, Tyra wants 'em 5'7" and under only. Application here (PDF). [In the past, 5'7" and up was the standard, with Eva Pigford being the only shorter winner.]

Also, Oxygen recently has been re-airing the classic Shandi/Milan cycle two episode with the shrieking cuckold (you had sex?!). All still on YouTube, or you can just jump to the greatest phone call ever. Oh, so good. Some day soon, I'll revise that pantheon of Top Ten Reality Seasons Ever (2003), and I have little doubt ANTM 2 makes that cut.
YOU ARE STILL IN THE RUNNING TOWARD BECOMING AMERICA'S NEXT LEGITIMATE TELEVISION NETWORK: The CW has planted its flag and said it's here to stay, with six renewals today--Smallville, Supernatural, Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, Top Model, and 90212.0. The Melrose Place remake and Gossip Girl spinoff/prequel Lily, are also considered likely. No word on what this means for shows on the bubble, like Reaper, which returns in a few weeks, and Privileged, which ends its season tonight.

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a son about his father

SEE THIS MOVIE: Nothing clever and pithy here, just a recommendation that you track down a copy of the documentary film Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father, which comes out on DVD today. The less you know the better, but this film will absolutely rip your heart out, so be prepared for that. In fact don't even click on the link, just add it to your NetFlix queue. Seriously, this is a film you need to see. And if you have seen it, feel free to chime in using the comments, but keep things spoiler free.
LOVE LOCKDOWN: Discuss--"Where's The Love?" or "Where Is The Love?" Potential answers include "Story," "Song," and "In This Club."
TWO WEEKS LATER AND I STILL CAN'T GET THAT CHER SONG OUT OF MY HEAD, SO THANKS FOR THAT: Last week I wrote a long, wildly inaccurate preview of the American Idol Group 1 (misnamed) semifinals. For Week 2, I promise you a preview that's slightly shorter but at least as inaccurate. This is interesting, because the five guys who I think have an actual shot at making the finals are so different: a musical theater singer that only dogs can hear, a white soul pretender, a possible indie rocker, a welder, and a joke. As with last week, the men seem to have the edge on the women, in likelihood of getting votes if not in talent. Again, in reverse order of certainty of being booted:

Jasmine Murray: Best bet to be not doomed. I think that every time she sang, I said, "wow, she can sing." She's cute, she's drama free, she's talented, and she's kind of boring. She could do herself a big favor by singing a song that gives her some personality. If she does one of those ballads that makes you stand still in a gown with a blue spotlight, her constituency might sleep through the voting deadline.

Mishavonna Henson: May not be doomed. I can't be the only person in the world who looked at her and went, "that's not what I would have expected Mishavonna to look like." If I remember right, she had a big voice and a lot of personality and a magical hat intended to give her an extra 15% of sassy cuteness (note: did not work for Casey Carlson). She looks a little like a muppet, and with that last name you have to wonder if somebody is putting one over on us.

Adam Lambert: May not be doomed; early favorite to not be doomed. Lambert is a good test for the cultural mood of the AI voting audience. On the one hand, he has the pipes and seems as professional he is (he said in his audition that he tours with Wicked, Adam tells me. I wish it were Cats, though). On the other hand, he sang a Cher song. This show's relationship with sexuality is not as bizarre as its sister show, So You Think You Can Dance, but in the past it still has preferred the kind of gay that grandmothers read as "such a nice boy, why doesn't he bring home a girlfriend" to the kind of gay that wears eyeliner and wallet chains. And he seems like kind of a dick and has bad skin and has a voice like early '80s heavy metal. The question for Lambert is whether his talent is enough in a contest that equally values the characters its contestants create. I think he's safe this round. Ultimately I'll be interested to see how voters respond to him, but of one thing I am certain: he will never be successful in the way that Cook, Underwood, and Daughtry are successful. Sexuality aside, if the answer to "what kind of artist are you" is "the kind that does 'Believe,'" then you have a pretty low ceiling in the real world.

Matt Giraud: May not be doomed. The Timberlake beard, the Timberlake thin white t-shirt, the Timberlake mannerisms at the piano, the Timberlake stare that is one part good sport, one part indifference, and one part contempt. I'd rather have a Timberlake impersonator than a musical theater lover who sings like Geoff L'Hereux from Queensryche, so I'm hoping Giraud unseats Lambert.

Kai Kalama: May not be doomed. This show definitely needs a former torturer from the Iraqi Republican Guard to coordinate the defense of the beach from the Others. Would benefit from being able to sing with his guitar, because a guy with a guitar is cooler than a Timberlake impersonator with a piano is cooler than a muppet with a kicky hat is cooler than an aging welder with more hair on his chin than on his crown is cooler than a street clown in short shorts and a headband.

Matt Breitzke: May not be doomed. He may be a really good bar singer, but come on. Taylor Hicks was a really good bar singer. I don't see Breitzke as having the menopause-sexing charisma of Hicks, but if he goes deep into this show the judges are just getting what they deserve.

Normund Gentle: May not be doomed. And speaking of giving the judges what they deserve, there is a danger to giving so much airtime to a joke contestant, which is that the voters may prolong the joke. Would William Hung have made it through? Incidentally, the judges are wrong in saying they just want Normund. His act only works if you think you're going to get Nick and then Normund busts through, which obviously won't fly more than once.

Megan Corkrey: Outside chance of not being doomed. I think she had a nice soulful audition in a way unusual for AI (I can't remember if the difference was Fiona Apple or Jolie Holland) and like I said before, she looks like Carmen Kass without the anorexia. And the sleeve tattoo is okay now that Richard Rushfield has already named Alexis Grace as the object of his inappropriate attentions. But she has an intimate (rather than bombastic) voice, she disappeared during Hollywood week (except when she was last-picked for vocal kickball), and she seems a bit melancholic, which is bad strategy for a show that favors outright yell-singing. Speaking of the happy dancing, Corkrey did the worst happy dance of any female contestant in AI history. You expect that kind of stiffness from, say, a Sarver, but the women can usually work up a decent shimmy. I'm going to say I like her, which is another way of saying she's going to have the kind of implosion you saw from Stevie and Casey and Stephen last week.

Jesse Langseth: Very slim chance of not being doomed. Simon gave her the "you can't win" brushoff. She didn't seem very likeable in The Chair, and nothing about her voice, look, or backstory portends a long future on the show. I'm inclined to agree with Simon.

Allison Iraheta: Doomed. The Asian Jackie Tohn. No thanks, I didn't even like the Etheridge I already had.

Kris Allen: Doomed. I'm fairly certain Kris Allen is a male singer and not a George Clooney ex-girlfriend, though you wouldn't know it from the auditions or the Hollywood round.

Jeanine Vailes: Doomed. Who?
OOH YOU MAKE-A ME LIVE, WHATEVER THIS WORLD CAN GIVE TO ME: It started out as a pretty regular episode of Chuck, which is enjoyable enough, but then there was a really cool fight scene in the cab of a Cadillac (I think), and then a chase scene involving a Shelby Cobra (kit, I presume) running down a Toyota Yaris chasing a Rolls Royce, and then a nice bit with Yvonne "Strzechowski" Strahovski, and then some Toto. So yeah, even better.

Monday, February 23, 2009

WHY, TED STRIKER'S GOT MORE GUTS IN HIS LITTLE FINGER THAN MOST OF US HAVE IN OUR LARGE INTESTINE, INCLUDING THE :: Via Leslie comes word that CBS Cares is promoting a laudable goal -- increased awareness of colorectal cancer and its treatment -- through a somewhat surprising means: they're giving away a free colonoscopy in NYC! Two details I'll just quote verbatim:
  • "When the colonoscopy is about to begin, you'll be given drugs which will make you feel like you're at Woodstock... only without the music. If you start to believe that you actually are at Woodstock (for example, Dr. Miskovitz starts to look like Jimi Hendrix or you feel inclined to say "far out!" in response to questions), please report the side effect to Dr. Miskovitz or Jimi Hendrix (whomever you see first) immediately."
  • Thanks is given to the Loews Regency Hotel, which has donated to the winner for three nights "a suite where the winner can prepare for the colonoscopy in luxury and dignity."
Dignity. Always dignity. [Related: Colon Blow cereal.]
SO WRONG: Apparently, according to Rolling Stone, there is a band comprised of:
  1. Adam Schlesinger, the hangdog, perpetually five-o-clock-shadowed creative force behind Fountains of Wayne;
  2. The middle brother from Hanson, yes, that Hanson, and a pretty lass she was;
  3. Brooding weirdo James Iha from Smashing Pumpkins; and
  4. The guy from Cheap Trick who looks like a vice cop
There's a single, and wow is this strange. I guess it's all pop of one stripe or another, so maybe this is like the Davos of pop.
DON'T CHA WISH YOU HAD AN OSCAR LIKE ME? I am sadly not making this up--The Pussycat Dolls have a cover of Oscar-winning song "Jai Ho."
YOUR LOCAL MUNICIPALITY IS WAITING. TRAVEL SAFE: Two non-episode oriented things for TAR fans:
  • The Great Urban Race will hit major cities this summer, and seems like a servicable TAR knockoff. There may be ThingThrower teams at several of the events. (I just need to find a partner.)
  • TAR7 winners Uchenna and Joyce have created "The Great Raise," a Houston-based local race for charity, which is airing on Houston television.
ALOTT5MA CAREER COUNSELING: A question spurred by last night's Oscars--which of the acting nominees/winners now needs to take their career in a different direction, and where should they go? A few thoughts from my end:
  • New "lightened up" Sean Penn should absolutely do a comedy of some sort, or maybe find a way to work with a dramedy director--someone like James L. Brooks or Cameron Crowe.
  • Anne Hathaway should find a musical to do--I can't think of one off the top of my head that works for her, though wouldn't she have made a fine Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls? She also needs to be careful to not stick either with purely commercial or purely non-commercial stuff. (Amy Adams has a similar problem--she needs to be careful to find roles that aren't bubbly/happy all the time, which is part of why Doubt was a good move for her.)
  • Mickey Rourke should go ahead and take the paycheck role in Iron Man II. Even if they're offering him less than he wants, it's a good way to keep on that roll and in the spotlight.
  • John Patrick Shanley should stick to writing and not direct.
NUKED THE FRIDGE: Meanwhile, on the other end of town, Mike Myers' The Love Guru cleaned up at the 29th Golden Raspberry Awards, which recognized the worst cinema of last year. Paris Hilton too was multiply awarded, with Pierce Brosnan (Mamma Mia!) edging out Ben Kingsley, Burt Reynolds and others in Best Supporting Actor. For Leelee Sobieski, it's just an honor to be nominated (i.e., "remembered at all at this point"), and kudos to Indiana Jones IV for besting The Day the Earth Stood Still, Speed Racer and others in the Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel category.
I NEVER KNEW THROWING THINGS IS SO MUCH FUN. IT JUST RELIEVED SO MUCH PRESSURE: H/T to Fienberg for spotting that lovely quote in last night's Race, and since he recapped it in full I'm not going to try to duplicate his efforts.

I'll just note this: we decided to let Lucy watch this season as a special treat -- her first reality tv, indeed -- in the hopes that lessons about teamwork, planfulness and geography/world cultures would outweigh the potential risk of learning and imitating bad behaviors. So far, so good.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

MEN, YOU ARE ABOUT TO EMBARK ON A GREAT CRUSADE TO STAMP OUT RUNAWAY DECENCY IN THE WEST. NOW YOU MEN WILL ONLY BE RISKING YOUR LIVES, WHILST I WILL BE RISKING AN ALMOST CERTAIN ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATION FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: George C. Scott famously called it “a two-hour meat parade, a public display with contrived suspense for economic reasons.” Join us now for all the fun:

updated: Well, Jai Ho! everybody. Full winners list here, and feel free to keep the comments flowing in the traditional place.

I thought that as far as (only) 3 1/2 hours of television went, the hits (the one-on-one acting nomination speeches, Rogen/Franco, Jackman's opening segment) outweighed the misses (that horrid musical number with Beyonce lip-synching). Well done.