Saturday, November 2, 2013

THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT:  We're nearing year-end, and it's time to start speculating about who will be EW's Entertainer of The Year.  If I were guessing at this point?  Sandra Bullock becomes the first two-time winner courtesy of the strong critical and box office performance of both The Heat and Gravity.  There are a bunch of folks who I'm pretty confident will make the list, but I can't see them coming in at the top spot, including:
  • Macklemore--11 weeks with a number 1 single (split between "Thrift Shop" and "Can't Hold Us") plus "Same Love" becoming a political anthem.  In music, Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus also potentially come into play.
  • Melissa McCarthy--The Heat + Identity Thief + Mike and Molly might push her over Bullock if Mike and Mollywere a bigger hit.
  • A bunch of TV casts--Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Big Bang Theory, and Duck Dynasty.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch--5 major movies, at least two of which (12 Years A Slave and August: Osage County) look to be big Oscar players, plus Sherlock.  The very model of someone who's in the 9-12 sphere on the EW list.
  • Tom Hanks--After some bombs, comes roaring back with Lucky Guy, Saving Mr. Banks, and Captain Phillips
  • Veronica Roth--The Divergent books are huge sellers (all 3 are on the Amazon 100 right now), and she brought the trilogy to an (apparently divisive) close this year.
Am I missing an obvious choice?

Friday, November 1, 2013

"I DIDN'T GO FULL JULIANNE HOUGH:" I don't normally watch Jimmy Kimmel, but Joshua Malina appeared on last night's Halloween episode in costume as Olivia Pope.  (And feel free to use this thread to discuss last night's Scandal.)
WHILE WE'RE AT IT, A COMPREHENSIVE INVESTIGATION OF FANNY PACKS: Slate investigates--when and why did it become cooler to wear your backpack on both shoulders rather than just one?
INFORMATION TO RUE:  George Clooney is older now than Wilford Brimley was when Cocoon was released, and other scary information like that.  No, I am not self-conscious about the fact that by the end of this weekend, I can start viewing This Is 40 as a film about younger people.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

YOU HAD ME AT "ANTIGRIDDLE": One of Chicago's yuppie takeout eateries is dressing up as molecular gastronomy giant Alinea for Halloween. (HT: Marsha.)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

THINK OF IT AS PERSONALITY DIALYSIS:  Wicked debuted on Broadway ten years ago tonight, and you'll never guess which number topped Vulture's ranking of its songs.

From Ben Brantley's decidedly mixed 10-31-03 review: "The talented Ms. Menzel will no doubt dazzle audience members whose musical tastes run to soft-rock stations. But for aficionados of the American musical, it's Ms. Chenoweth who's the real thing, melding decades of performing traditions into something shiny and new. Wicked does not, alas, speak hopefully for the future of the Broadway musical. Ms. Chenoweth, on the other hand, definitely does."
NFL VP OF OPERATIONS MERTON HANKS HAS YET TO WEIGH IN:  The No Fun League is considering increasing the penalties for taunting, potentially taking away touchdowns from overly celebratory teams.  Goodness, I wrote this over nine years ago here:
I am a fan of taunting, preening, excessive celebration and all sorts of exuberant behavior on the gridiron, and not just because its foremost practitioner currently suits up for the Iggles.  
Sports are supposed to be fun. They connect us to our childhood. So let athletes show their joy -- whether via strutting, Sharpies or group celebration -- and if the other team gets pissed off, great: they've just got to do better on the field next time.

added: This Week in Taunting: DRC vs. Washington; Golden Tate v. Rams.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

SEE THEM, BUT YOU WON'T GET CLOSE ENOUGH FEEL OR TOUCH THEM:  Only 33 years after their 1982 farewell tour, Roger Daltrey says he really means it when he claims that 2015 will mark The Who's last big tour. As for what they'll play, no one's getting fooled:
"People don't want new stuff," says Daltrey. "The fans might want that, but most people that want to come to a show want to hear what they grew up with. Let's not kid ourselves. We will always sell more tickets if we play the hits. That's a fact. The economics of the road, obviously, demand that you sell a lot of tickets."
Fans hoping to hear the Who break out rarities like The Who by Numbers deep cut "Slip Kid" are going to be disappointed. "It's easy for fans to stick their heads in the sand and not understand the economics of touring," Daltrey says. "It's incredibly expensive to put on a show, so you have to put bums in seats. There might be 40,000 total people in America who want to hear 'Slip Kid.' That won't be enough to put us on the road. That's the problem."
I'M BARRY EFFIN' GIBB:  No, it really doesn't seem to work out long-term for sibling-centric musical groups, though it should be noted that the Hanson brothers keep mmmboppin' along without breaking up. We wish the Jonas Brothers well in their future endeavors.
THAT'S A HUMAN EAR, ALRIGHT:  Vulture slideshows the 25 Best Horror Films Since The Shining.
LOGAN, WE HAVE TO GO BACK: Next summer's presumed blockbuster X-Men: Days Of Future Past has a full trailer out, and they're trying an odd balancing act--not only do they have a bunch of star faces they want to show (interestingly, Jackman gets above-the-title billing, and they manage to show Jennifer Lawrence other than in her Mystique makeup), but they're trying for mood rather than explosions, at least at the start of the trailer, and seem convinced that selling it as Singer's return to the franchise is going to be helpful.  Heck, we even get Peter Dinklage in 70s mustache/hair looking as if he walked off the set of American Hustle.  I'm not sure it's going to sell tickets to the mainstream audience, but I'm intrigued. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

YES, FOR A SECOND TIME. GET THE HELL OUT.  There's so much to say about last night's Good Wife; I'll focus on two elements:

  • There are no white hats in this universe; there are no black hats. Cary's absolutely right to call out Diane for the yoinking of the opportunistic partnership offers; Will's absolutely right to remind Alicia just how much the Firm has gone out on a limb for her personally. Everyone has a legitimate argument.
  • Fascinating to see how much Alicia and Peter are each turned on by the other's exercise of power. Since we never got to see them before Peter's scandal, it's revelatory as to how they got together in the first place.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

AND I GUESS THAT I JUST DON'T KNOW:  How can you sum up Lou Reed's musical legacy? Brian Eno, of course, said it best almost thirty years ago: "I was talking to Lou Reed the other day and he said that the first Velvet Underground record sold 30,000 in the first five years. I think everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band."

So maybe what we're supposed to do today is listen to any of the bands which are the legacy of Reed and the Velvet Underground -- Talking Heads, Sonic Youth, Ministry, anything punk or industrial, any band that wanted to louder, darker, and/or more literate than the rest. Or just listen to Reed himself. New York and Songs for Drella have both been in my rotation regularly the past six months, thinking about Pedro fly, flying away from the dirty boulevard, once and for all. But that's Reed at his most conventional. "Heroin," on the other hand? The drums, alone ... can't describe. Brilliance. What a loss.
THE NAME ABOVE THE TITLE:  Recent Philadelphia transplant Wesley Stace explains why he dropped his pseudonym.