Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Best Thing About Mad Men Season One So Far...

Seriously, Joan Holloway (played by Christina Hendricks) is the coolest person ever. Not only does she wears those tight dresses that show off her ass immaculately, but she also bosses Peggy around in a sneaky, "I'm not really a bitch" kind of way that is still really bitchy and she's sleeping with the freaking boss! How much better can she get?

I'm slowly working my way through season 1 of Mad Men and I'm loving every minute of it. The show is surprisingly addictive and incredibly well done production wise. The way it is shot often feels more like a movie than any TV show I've ever seen. I also love how, just like Damages, nearly every episode changes our opinion of each character. I've gone from wanting to punch Pete in the face, to liking him when he starts enjoying married life, to feeling bad for him when he has to take a loan from his in-laws for his new apartment and now, 10 episodes in, I'm back to hating him for treating Peggy so poorly. I only have a few more episodes left and then I can start watching the new season!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

12 Movies to Save the World

Wow, I feel somewhat loved this afternoon. I've been tagged not once, but twice, to take part in the latest meme from the Lazy Eye Theatre. So, thank you JD and Glenn for the shoutouts! I'm supposed to pretend that I'm running a movie theater and have to select 12 movies to play as six double features. Here are the rules from the original:

1) Choose 12 Films to be featured. They could be random selections or part of a greater theme. Whatever you want.

2) Explain why you chose the films.

3) Link back to Lazy Eye Theatre so I can have hundreds of links and I can take those links and spread them all out on the bed and then roll around in them.

4) The people selected then have to turn around and select 5 more people.

Here we go, this is going to be fun!

Night 1: Friendship
Rebel Without a Cause (Nicholas Ray, 1955)
Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (David Merkin, 1997)
I want to start off with my mini film-festival on a positive note, so I'll start with a positive theme: friendship. I chose Rebel Without a Cause to kick off the festivities because it's still an incredibly modern and relevant film in the 2000's (that is, if you look past all the bad 50's dialogue) and the relationship between James Dean, Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo is simply beautiful. On the other hand, Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, an unfairly maligned chick flick that only gets better and funnier with age, hysterically shows the strange but all-too-true dynamics of friendships: somedays you're making fun of Pretty Woman together while eating Doritos, other times you bickering about who's the Mary and who's the Rhoda and still others you simply can't stand looking at each other. But, at the end of the day, you know that you'll be there to help them out when you need them the most (and then do a totally impromptu ballet to Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time").

Night 2: Needs a Second Look
Family Diary (Valerio Zurlini, 1962)
Mississippi Mermaid (Francois Truffaut, 1969)
For the second night, I wanted to pick two films that I've seen only once before and really want to see again but haven't had the opportunity. While watching Valerio Zurlini's Family Diary on TCM a few months ago, I generally thought it was a good melodrama with a couple of nice performances from Marcello Mastroianni and Jacques Perrin and nothing more. For the next couple of days, however, I couldn't get the damn movie and its gorgeous images out of my head. Quite simply, Family Diary is one of the greatest films ever made about the relationship between brothers. I wish I could see this one again, but, unfortunately, I deleted this off my DVR before I realized how good it was and it's not available anywhere on DVD or even VHS. Such a shame; I really need a second look. Mississippi Mermaid not only features the most beautiful romantic leads ever with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Catherine Deneuve (second only to Newman and Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) but it is also one of Francois Truffaut's many salutes to Hitchcock. I wasn't crazy with the results when I saw it the first time, but I started thinking that maybe, like most of Hitchcock's greatest works (except for Vertigo...I've seen it at least twice now and I still don't think it's that great), it needs a couple of viewings to be evaluated properly.

Night 3: Insanity
Network (Sidney Lumet, 1976)
The Snake Pit (Anatole Litvak, 1948)
With this pairing on night three, a somewhat deep and philosophical question can be asked after watching Sidney Lumet's masterpiece Network and the underrated Olivia de Havilland vehicle The Snake Pit back-to-back: Who's actually crazier-- de Havilland and the other "loonies" in the ward or Howard Beale, Diana Christensen and the followers of Beale's madman rants?

Night 4: Mothers from Hell
Mommie Dearest (Frank Perry, 1981)
Ordinary People (Robert Redford, 1980)
Night four will consist of the mothers that we love to hate in two very different movies made just a year apart. Mommie Dearest is pure camp from start to finish, while Ordinary People is a slick, grown up tragedy that a lot of people complain about winning the Best Picture Oscar over Raging Bull. That's pretty sad that this is Ordinary People's main claim to fame because it's a much better film than it's given credit for (and Redford's achievement is nearly as great as Scorsese's behind the director's chair).

Night 5: True Love
Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn, 1967)
Sid & Nancy (Alex Cox, 1986)
Having never been in love myself, I have a warped sense of what "romantic" is. For my fifth night, I'm offering two movies that I think are quite possibly the most romantic ever made. Both Bonnie and Clyde and Sid & Nancy concern outcasts who meet, have undeniable spark and will do anything for each no matter how illegal or immoral. So what if Sid (allegedly) kills Nancy and then overdoses on heroin or Bonnie and Clyde end up gunned down in a blaze of bullets?

Night 6: Politics as Comedy
Duck Soup (Leo McCarey, 1933)
Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)
Duck Soup was a flop when it was released in 1933, but today it couldn't be any more relevant concerning the war in Iraq and Bush's presidency. The Marx Brothers let their usual brand of anarchy spill all over the place with a glorious mix of pantomime, one-liners, musical numbers and slapstick. Dr. Strangelove is a comedy about nuclear warfare; how much crazier does that get? Add to that the loony General Turgidson (how did George C. Scott get passed up for an Oscar that year?) who's sole purpose for being is, no matter the human cost, to kill as many Reds as possible. Underneath all of the laughter, it's generally an uncomfortable film because you have to believe that at some point Bush has had a meeting exactly like the one that takes place in The War Room.

And now for the tagging... mB, Michael Parsons and anyone else who hasn't been tagged and would like to do this. Just link back to here so I can enjoy your post (and the rest of your blog if I've never read you before!).

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Rug Rats Blog-a-thon: Phillip Alford in To Kill a Mockingbird

When Michael at My Stuff and Cr*p called for a Rug Rats Blog-a-thon about a month ago, I was immediately intrigued and signed up on the spot. The problem came later when trying to decide what performance to talk about. Normally, I hate children and especially child actors. They're usually so overly instructed and forced that all the spontaneity that comes with good acting is eradicated. It's so rare to find a child actor who can just act natural without a bunch of tricks that when it does come around it's worth celebrating (this is why I'm so completely in love with Abigail Breslin and can't stand Dakota Fanning-- there's no way in hell Fanning can be "normal" or childlike). I eventually ran across a list I had made about a year or so ago of 8 child performances that I loved. It included some of the usual standbys-- Leaud in 400 Blows, Osment in The Sixth Sense, O'Neal in Paper Moon, Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine, Duke in The Miracle Worker, Taylor in National Velvet, McCormack in The Bad Seed-- but the one I chose was a performance that even in 1962, a year when youngins Duke and Mary Badham both got Best Supporting Actress nominations and his film To Kill a Mockingbird was a huge hit, didn't get him any notice whatsoever...

Phillip Alford as Jem Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird

When I read To Kill a Mockingbird back in 9th grade, my favorite character of the whole novel was Jem, the oldest child of crusading lawyer Atticus Finch and brother to narrator Scout. I always felt that, since he was around the same age that I was when I read the novel, his transformation from simple kid to beginning to understand the importance of what's right and wrong was more interesting and more complete than Scout's since she's a lot younger. We watched the 1962 movie version in my English class soon after finishing the novel and imagine my surprise when my favorite character was portrayed so exquisitely by this kid. And with each subsequent viewing, Phillip Alford's performance just gets better and better.

Even in the first couple of scenes, when Alford's Jem takes the leadership role when playing with Scout (Mary Badham) and Dill (John Megna), you can see him acting with the least bit of pretense as possible. He acts and talks like any normal kid would and especially refreshing when contrasting him with Badham's shrilliness and Megna's cluelessness here.

Alford's greatest asset, and what suits him so particularly well in this role, is the way he observes everyone and everything around him and absorbs it all in. His first brilliant moment comes when a "mad" dog (i.e. rabies-infested) is discovered wandering the street and Atticus, whom, up until this point, both Jem and Scout think is just a boring lawyer with no "cool" talents, shoots the dog in one shot from about 75 feet away. Standing at the door, watching with wide-eyed wonder, I was impressed with Alford's ability to convey so much in those fleeting seconds without overselling it. I especially love his "Yes, sir" after Atticus tells him not to go near the dead dog-- it could have been a throw away line, but Alford's delivery beautifully shows the wonderment of Jem's discovery about his father.

There's another great moment when Jem is sitting on the front porch, waiting for his father to come back from driving the family's maid home for the night, and all of a sudden the sounds of the night start to scare the living shit out of him. Once again, his eyes convey nearly everything, but it's also the way he shifts in chair uncomfortably and runs down the street calling for his father that are equally terrifying. Not only is it one of the scariest scenes involving a child I've ever seen, but it also ranks with Lilian Gish's breakdown in The Wind as one of the scariest non-horror scenes ever.

The overall beauty of Alford's performance is the way he transitions from simple 10 year old boy to a 12 year old who is learning from his father what it means to be a good and just person. It's remarkable the way Alford is able to "become" Peck's Atticus, much in the same way a son would normally emulate his father as he gets older. His scenes towards the end, when he stands up for his father against the lynching mob or the way he helps Scout walk home after the pageant in her ham costume, feel more and more like Alford's Jem is starting to bridge the gap between child and adult.

Watching this performance again for the first time in a couple of years, I felt a mixture of anger and sadness. It pisses me off that a performance this incredible was denied an Oscar nomination for reason that I'll probably never understand. It makes me sad that Phillip Alford gave up acting 10 years later after only a couple of TV dramas and one other film-- the James Stewart western Shenandoah. I realize that his heart was probably never really in it, but Alford had the talent to be a big star. If he was this good at 14, just think of the things he could have accomplished as he matured.

For more child acting loving, check out the Rug Rats Blog-a-thon Main Page for more great reads.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

RIP Estelle Getty

I just found out a little while ago that Estelle Getty, best known for portraying Sophia Petrillo on the 80's sitcom (and my favorite TV show ever) The Golden Girls, has just passed away this morning at the age of 84. I know this shouldn't be as much of a shock as when Heath Ledger died earlier this year, but I feel like a little part of my adolescence has just died along with her. RIP Estelle....this cheesecake's for you.

Sidney Poitier and the Role of Actors

I just finished Mark Harris' impressive and well-researched Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood about a week ago and I urge anyone who's interested in the history of cinema or the Academy Awards to read this book. You will seriously not be able to put it down. From Rex Harrison and wife Rachel Roberts's drunken antics on the set of Doctor Dolittle to the critical bitchfight between Bosley Crowther and Pauline Kael, Andrew Sarris and company over Bonnie and Clyde (why don't critics ever have fights like this anymore? this seemed to happen every other week in the 1960's and 70's) to Stanley Kramer's failed college campus trip to speak with students about the "progressiveness" of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner there is not one wasted sentence in the entire book.

The parts that really got me thinking, however, where the sections discussing Sidney Poitier and the growing frustration from the black community that he was taking on the same roles over and over again: a desexualized black man who helps the white people not be racist. People wanted Poitier to use his fame to play roles that idealized the new politicized black man that was beginning to come into vogue in the mid-60's.

1967 was, arguably, the last big year for Sidney Poitier as a movie star. And when I mean big, I mean big. Not only did he star in two of the eventual Best Picture nominees (the winner, In the Heat of the Night, and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner) but he was also cast in a third (Doctor Dolittle- his character was eventually dropped due to length issues) and starred in the enormously popular To Sir, With Love.

I personally love Sidney Poitier. He radiated movie star charisma at a time when it was starting to go out of fashion. I feel really bad that he was constantly degraded for something that was out of his control. People wanted him to take on more politicized roles, but that wasn't part of his charm and appeal. As one author pointed out (I can't recall his name), who wrote a negative article about Poitier during this time period that was discussed at length in Pictures at a Revolution, at the time he wanted Poitier to be Humphrey Bogart but he was really more like Cary Grant. It would be equivalent to the gays telling Neil Patrick Harris to stop doing "frivolous fluff" like How I Met Your Mother and only choose roles that show gay men as not taking shit anyone's shit and to start marching in every gay pride parade between Australia and New York. It's not exactly fair, is it?

When will people realize that it is an actor's job to perform and not to be forced to give opinions about global (or domestic) matters that concern them. It's all fine and dandy if you can do both, but some people just can't take that burden. It is a total shame that the people of 1967 couldn't realize this and started considering Poitier as past his time and a relic just when he was starting to come into his own as an actor.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Rants on Camp Rock

I promise to eventually stop posting about stuff only 13 year old girls care about and move on to "serious" cinema, but Camp Rock (Matthew Diamond, 2008) is so atrocious, so devoid of any point or charm, with a script and songs so poorly written they make High School Musical looks like it was written by Paddy Chayefsky and music by Kander & Ebb, that I just had to share my feelings about it.

First of all, let me just say that I have no idea why I watched this film in the first place. I haven't liked a Disney Channel movie since Alley Cats Strike back when I was nearly 13, I don't like the Jonas Brothers (yeah, they're so rocking) and I knew that the music was going to be nearly as dreadful as the HSM movies (and how). Still, acknowledging all that, I caught an airing of it last Sunday and couldn't believe what I was watching. I was almost embarrassed at certain times that I was littering my mind with this trash.

The premise of Camp Rock is, not surprisingly, simple: A poor girl Mitchie (Demi Lovato) gets the opportunity to attend Camp Rock for the summer after her caterer mother accepts a job as the cook there. Superstar rocker Shane Grey (Joe Jonas) is forced by bandmates Jason (Kevin Jonas) and Nate (Nick Jonas) and his label to improve his bad boy image and spend the summer helping out at Camp Rock, the place where they got their start together. While Shane walks around with a stick up his ass for the first half of the movie-- of which, mercifully, he's only shown for about 10 or so minutes-- Mitchie tries to be part of the cool crowd, led by mean girl Tess (Meaghan Jette Martin), and ends up telling everyone this ridiculous lie about her mother that she works as a VP for a huge record label in China. As what usually happens in these films, Mitchie eventually gets caught in her lie and must bravely admit the truth to everyone and then loudly proclaims that she's sorry she ever lied and Shane gets back to basics, discovers his artistic voice again (with the help of Mitchie, of course) and loudly proclaims that he's not a bad boy anymore. Throw in a couple of predictable songs-- with such obvious titles as "This is Me" and "We Rock" (which, coincidentally, is not very rockin')-- and some predictable teenage stereotypes and you've got the bulk of Camp Rock.

One of the oddest things about Camp Rock is the fact that it hints at a blossoming relationship between Mitchie and Shane, but never really goes through with it all the way. In High School Musical, Troy and Gabriella never kissed and yet you still believed there was a something romantic going on between the two; here, you get Mitchie and Shane staring soulfully into each other's eyes and it never feels like anything more than an obnoxious Sharpay and Ryan talent show act.

Maybe the lack of chemistry between the two of them can be attributed to the awful acting going on here. Things were going so badly for these "actors" that eventually I was praying for Vanessa Hudgens to appear and save the day. Yes, I said it: Save the day. The scene in the limo between the Jonas Brothers should have been my first clue to turn this shit off. The purpose of the scene is to set up the defining characteristics of the group-- Shane is the bad boy, Nate is the wise one and Jason is the stupid one (and when I say "stupid" I really should say "complete fucktard who can hardly breathe on his own"). Unfortunately for us and for the film, Joe Jonas is such a bad actor he makes Jessica Alba look like Julianne Moore. He tries way too hard, emphasizes every line in the wrong spot and sounds completely forced. Compare him to his brothers who may not be especially gifted, but they at least sound and act as naturally as the script allows them. Worst of all, we're stuck with Joe for the rest of the movie while Nick and Kevin pop up randomly for seconds at a time.

Demi Lovato is pretty good as far as these things goes. She's a decent actress with a better than average voice for a Disney film, but she won't have a lasting career. I must say I was supremely disappointed with Meaghan Jette Martin's Tess, who was given a prime opportunity to steal the show but failed miserably and ended up embarrassing herself. My main problem is that Martin couldn't decide if she wanted to be Regina George or Sharpay Evans, tried to mix them together and had it blow up in her face. Add that to the fact that she couldn't carry a tune if her life depended on it and that breakdown scene after her mother takes a phone call during her performance was abysmal (we can see you don't have any tears- don't pretend to wipe them away). At the end of the film, we're supposed to pity Tess, but it's hard to feel anything for a character who's neither divaliciously funny or a misunderstood girl. In the hands of a better actress we might have gotten something here; unfortunately, we're stuck with Martin.

The worst scene There's so many to choose from (the aforementioned Tess breakdown, Mitchie slipping on the bucket of water, the montage of girls singing for Shane) but the one that pissed me off the most was the hip-hop dance class scene. Why? Of all the people in the world, why would this skinny white kid from New Jersey, who's supposed to be a rocker, wearing way-too-tight white jeans be your first pick to teach a class in hip-hop dance? The whole thought process behind it was completely retarded and should have been changed somewhere after the first draft. Here's an idea: since it's called Camp Rock, why not make it a "Rock Like a Rockstar" class a la School of Rock. Shane's a "rocker" (I use that term loosely) so have him teach the campers all of the moves a rock star needs to be successful. I know, I know, it's a stupid idea, but it at least makes more sense than hip-hop dance.

The best scene The only scene that I care to remember a week later is this way-too-short exchange between Nate and Jason when they call up Shane and ask about his progress. Somewhere along the line someone should have realized that the only thing that was working in this film was the constant bickering between these two and revolved the movie around them.

I know I shouldn't be this hard on a Disney Channel movie since they're catering to a demographic that couldn't give a shit about lapses in judgment and quality. Then again, High School Musical was no masterpiece either, but parts of it worked and made up for the stuff that really didn't work. Camp Rock had no such winning elements that made up for it's crappy moments; it was one big dung field from start to finish. F

Friday, July 18, 2008

OMFG...New Gossip Girl Posters

Just Jared has the new teaser posters for the upcoming season of Gossip Girl. Aren't they just scandalous? Not only are the pictures sexy beyond belief, but I love the "bad" quotes from the critics. "Every parent's nightmare" just cracks me up every time I look at it. I seriously can not wait for the September 1st premiere.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Why I Love Flipping Out

Lately, Bravo hasn't exactly been the beacon of positive gay stereotypes. Despite the fact that Bravo is the gayest network on TV, most of the gays that have been coming from their multitude of reality shows (mostly inspired by Project Runway) have been of the annoying, "super bitchy gay" type. My arch nemesis Christian from last season's Project Runway proved to be a break out hit and already you can see his influence on the latest seasons of Shear Genius and Project Runway (which only premiered last night!).

Thank the Lord then for Flipping Out, Bravo's reality show about house flipper Jeff Lewis, his business partner Ryan and his quirky employees. The premise of the show is remarkably simple- Flipping Out documents the houses Jeff and Ryan buy, the renovation of said houses and their attempts to sell the houses- but is so much fun because of Jeff's OCD, extremely high standards and general oddball behavior.

Tuesday night's episode left me amazed at how far away Bravo is getting from their usual stereotypes with this show. After catching house manager Chris Elwood fooling around instead of working on the nanny cam he had installed, Jeff fires him and then tries to find a way to tell his assistant Jenny (Chris's wife) without hurting her too much. She was devastated and Jeff understood (somewhat). Through the course of the episode, we come to find out that the two of them are planning on getting a divorce. Jeff wants to be supportive and really tries his hardest (which, as Ryan points out, may seem generally meh compared to other normal people) but after a couple of screw-ups by Jenny he just can't seem to take it anymore. He's yelling and treating her like crap again, even though he knows it's probably not right to do it. And then, after he buys her a massage to relax after, he admits that he did that because he's not good at hugging people or empathizing with others.

Where most of the gays on Bravo would have been "Girl, come over and give me a hug" while sobbing his little heart out, Jeff doesn't really know how to react to Jenny's misery. It felt so refreshing to see this because I can definitely relate more to him than any of these Christian-clones. I may not be as obsessive-compulsive as Jeff, but I'm definitely just as uptight with my feelings and do find it hard to comfort people when they are really upset or, heaven forbid, crying. I don't think I've ever seen a gay man like Jeff before in any TV show or movie and I'm infinitely happy that we are finally seeing a new perspective. So, bravo to Bravo for offering up a new look at the type of gay men we don't really see anywhere else.

Monday, July 14, 2008

They're Still In This Together

The new trailer for HSM3: Senior Year was released this weekend and, good Lord, it looks as craptastic as ever. I mean, what's up with the part where Gabriella stands up in the middle of the basketball game and starts warbling "Troyyyyyyyyy!" right when he's playing basketball. Doesn't she know he needs to keep his head in the game? I'll be the first to admit that it probably won't be any better than the first two since Vanessa Hudgens is still in it and she'll bring the suck factor hardcore as she usually does. Nevertheless, I am so there on opening weekend, pushing crippled 12 year old girls down flights of stairs to get a ticket and laughing obnoxiously at all of the wrong and completely inappropriate times. And, judging by the trailer, La Tisdale will have a shot at a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. Anyone interested in helping me out with her campaign? We'll have to work hard to be out all of those so-called "legitimate" actresses in so-called "good" films. My favorite moment in the trailer, of course, belongs to her:

Hey Troy. When's the big game?
Troy: Yesterday.
Sharpay: Well, good luck...toodles!

Simply brilliant. And I am telling you, La Tisdale will dominate the world after this film is released. Couldn't we all use a little fabulous? It's not too much.

(For more HSM3: Senior Year trailer reactions, visit J.D. and mB at their respective blogs. You won't be disappointed!)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Best of 2008 (So Far): Movies

Let me be blunt about something: I've only seen 16 films from 2008 so far (bad me) and most of them have been mediocre at best, with only a few truly great ones. This is why these lists are kind of limited and may seem rather sucky in the grand scheme of things. I hope to catch up on all I can before I go back to school at the end of August.

Top 5 Films

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Nicholas Stoller)
It's no Superbad or The 40-Year Old Virgin, but Forgetting Sarah Marshall is definitely worth a look at, if only for a peek at the superb script by star Jason Segel which has a similar plot to most romantic comedies, but stays clear of cliche and corniness.

Stop-Loss (Kimberly Peirce)
The first 20 minutes were absolutely brilliant- probably the scariest war scene I've seen since Saving Private Ryan- and even if the rest was a slight letdown, it was still more inventive and exciting than anything else playing in the theaters in early April.

Cloverfield (Matt Reeves)
My mini-rant here.

WALL-E (Andrew Stanton)
My mini-rant here.

In Bruges (Martin McDonagh)
My mini-rant here.

Best Performances

Best Actor
Colin Farrell, In Bruges
Between Farrell's breakthrough in Tigerland and this film, I have either managed to avoid seeing his stinkers or haven't been particularly impressed by his work. In In Bruges, however, Farrell ably carries the dramatic heft thrust upon his shoulders while doing the comedy it also asks for...without dropping the ball once. It's an impressive performance that I will remember for awhile.

Best Actress
Natalie Portman, The Other Boleyn Girl
Not necessarily her greatest performance, but it's certainly a hoot. Portman, unlike co-star Scarlett Johansson, knows how to do camp and isn't afraid to go all out.

Best Supporting Actor
Ralph Fiennes, In Bruges
Again, this may not be Fiennes' greatest performance, but his foul-mouthed gangster was uproariously funny.

Best Supporting Actress
Isla Fisher, Definitely, Maybe & Imelda Staunton, Cranford (tie)
Staunton isn't given much to do in Cranford (a British made-for-TV miniseries that I caught on PBS a few months ago) besides play the town gossip, so, like the pro that she is, she relishes every joke and one-liner she is given and plays them for all their worth. The only reason I would ever recommend Definitely, Maybe to someone is so they can see Isla Fisher's impressive performance as one of the three potential mothers to Abigail Breslin. She completely understands where the character is coming from and plays down the kookiness enough so that she seems like a regular person we all would fall for.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Great. Now Everyone Thinks I'm a Super-Stylized, Psycho Killing Machine

Yesterday I bought a couple of movies that were on sale at my place of employment before work. Here's what I got:

Pretty innocent, non? It wasn't until I got to the checklanes that I realized what a freak I was buying these two movies at the same time. I mean, can you get any more opposite than an exhilaratingly stylish and camped up musical starring Nicole Kidman and dark, dark comedy in which Christian Bale, as a yuppie Wall Street type, murders people for fun? Probably not. I'm surprised the cashier didn't tackle me to the ground and call the cops right then and there

Has anyone else bought two completely random and opposite movies at the same time and then wondered what the cashier must have thought of them?

90210 Has to Be Better Than 48097

Is anyone else super excited for the new 92010 coming this fall on the CW? I'm not old enough to have watched the original during its prime, but I have seen some reruns on SoapNet a couple of years ago and it is a pretty addictive show (even if most episodes were hour-length PSAs). The main reason I'm excited though is the fact that, after Gossip Girl, the CW knows how to make a proper bitchy teenage dramedy with the right mix of comedy, melodrama and "OMG" moments. I just hope they don't fuck up this amazing opportunity.

Here's the teaser that keeps popping up every time you turn on the CW. Whenever I hear that epic theme song- which rivals The Golden Girls and All in the Family as the best TV theme song ever written- I get as giddy as a 14 year old girl at a Jonas Brothers concert.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Best of 2008 (So Far): Music

It's almost scary to believe that 2008 is already half-way through. It seems just like yesterday I was trudging through the snow, waiting for the bus in the sub-zero temperatures so I could go see There Will Be Blood at the movie theater near my campus (ah, the things we do for cinema). Now it's so hot that I don't ever want to leave my air conditioned house. The diva in me is never satisfied with the weather, what can I say?

Since we've reached the end of June, it now means I can make more lists honoring my favorites from the beginning of the year. This first one will cover the best songs and albums so far and in a couple of days (a week at most) I will honor the finest films and performances.

Best Albums

Mariah Carey E=MC2
Not quite The Emancipation of Mimi, but it's still a great CD for the summer: smooth, relaxed and a ton of fun.
Key Tracks: "I Stay in Love", "Migrate", "I'm That Chick", "Touch My Body", "Cruise Control"

Madonna Hard Candy
The more I listen to Hard Candy, the more addictive it becomes. I was generally meh for awhile but suddenly I found myself listening to it nearly every day.
Key Tracks: "Miles Away", "Heartbeat", "4 Minutes", "Incredible", "Beat Goes On"

Kylie Minogue X
I know I've been talking about this album for forever, but it only got released in the U.S. in the beginning of the year so I'm considering it eligible now. Sixteen tracks of dance-pop perfection.
Key Tracks: "In My Arms", "Speakerphone", "Wow", "All I See", "Rippin' Up the Disco"

Duffy Rockferry
I was hooked from the first time I heard "Mercy"; imagine my surprise when "Mercy" is hardly the greatest track on this impressive debut CD.
Key Tracks: "Warwick Avenue", "Delayed Devotion", "Rockferry", "Mercy", "Serious"

Emmy-Award Winner Kathy Griffin For Your Consideration
I already told you all how much I loved this CD a couple of weeks ago, so let me just repeat that this is the funniest comedy CD you will ever buy. It's even better than some of her Bravo specials (and those are fucking amazing).
Key Tracks: "Oprah is a Deity (And I Think She's Full of Shit)", "The Clicker (For Maggie Fans)", "Cover Me", "Oprah's Favorite Things", "The Osmonds Were Never Cool"

Best Songs


Estelle featuring Kanye West "American Boy"
I don't know how or where I first heard this song, but boy am I glad I did. Instantly catchy and her interaction with Kanye is golden.


Madonna featuring Justin Timberlake "4 Minutes"
"4 Minutes" at number 4? Boy, I'm clever. I loved this song to death when it came out originally and I still listen to it all the time without getting sick of it.


Duffy "Warwick Avenue"
The best song on Duffy's debut CD. And there's a lot of winners to choose from.


Danity Kane "Damaged"
Until "Damaged," I always considered Danity Kane a second-rate Pussycat Dolls. Then I heard this gem of a track and it instantly overshadowed the latest PCD track "When I Grow Up." Unfortunately for my co-workers, I am always singing this damn song while at work.


Leona Lewis "Bleeding Love"
I seriously doubt any single released in the second half of 2008 will match Leona Lewis' American debut "Bleeding Love." I haven't encountered a song this emotionally raw and poetic since ABBA's "Chiquitita."

Friday, July 4, 2008

Random Top 10: A Tribute to America

As much as I bitch about America (which happens nearly every time I watch American Idol or see what a complete fucktard George Bush is) there are some generally good things about this place: Hollywood, Oprah, Jake Gyllenhaal, celebreailty, day-to-day coverage on the happenings of Britney Spears, freedom of speech (which allows me to get away with calling the president a fucktard), Emmy-award winner Kathy Griffin. I could go on, but you get the point. I kinda have a lot to be thankful for. So, in honor of America's 232nd birthday, here are some joyous tributes to America. Enjoy!




"You look like the Fourth of July! Makes me want to have a hot dog real bad."

I understand Tilda's not American, but what other actress born in this country have you seen show this much patriotism at one point?


"Hello, Mr. President. Can I ask you something? Is the oval office as hard to vaccum as I think it is?"


I'm not a huge fan of West Side Story, but Rita Moreno is absolutely amazing here. Love that skirt action!

"I chose Mount Rushmore 'cause to live in a country where you can take an ugly, old mountain and put faces on it- faces of great Americans who did so much to make this country super great- well, that makes me, Rebecca Leeman, proud to be an American."

"Why aren't they spinning?"


What can I say? I'm a sucker for James Cagney, this movie and patriotic tunes. They all get me every time.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

My Emmy Winners

Best Performance in a TV Special:
Victoria Beckham, Victoria Beckham: Coming to America

Best Supporting Actress in a Mini-Series or Made-for-TV Movie:
Ashley Tisdale, High School Musical 2

Best Actress in a Mini-Series or Made-for-TV Movie:
Dame Judi Dench, Cranford

Best Reality Show (Non-Competition):
Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List

Best Reality Show (Competition):
Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School

Best Guest Star (Actor or Actress):
Britney Spears, How I Met Your Mother
(And, unfortunately, she'll have to settle for my award since the Emmy's have snubbed her from the Top 10 Finalists list. Those fucktards.)

Best Supporting Actor (Drama):
Ed Westwick, Gossip Girl

Best Supporting Actor (Comedy):
Chi McBride, Pushing Daisies

Best Supporting Actress (Drama):
Rose Byrne, Damages

Best Supporting Actress (Comedy):
Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty

Best Actor (Drama):
Hugh Laurie, House

Best Actor (Comedy):
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock

Best Actress (Drama):
Glenn Close, Damages

Best Actress (Comedy):
Marcia Cross, Desperate Housewives

Best Drama:
Gossip Girl

Best Comedy:
30 Rock