Thursday, December 30, 2010

Imaginary Boyfriends of 2010

Darren Criss
He managed to make Glee watchable for roughly five minutes with his renditions of 'Teenage Dream' and the originally dire 'Hey Soul Sister.' For that alone, he makes what the original Miracle Worker Anne Sullivan did look like child's play. And he was surprisingly sexy and sultry on 'Baby It's Cold Outside,' his duet with Chris Colfer; Lord knows I wouldn't have refused if he asked me to stay the night.

Ed Drewett
He's a hot Aryan ready and willing to save electropop from the clutches of evil doers who want to see it destroyed. You really can't ask for much more than that, can you?

Michael Fassbender
Literally one week into 2010, I witnessed what is perhaps the most indelible image of the year in Fish Tank: Michael Fassbender, shirtless and with pants barely covering his ass, first appears in the life of the film's protagonist. The rest of the film is pure Fassbender Porn as director Andrea Arnold subsequently makes both Katie Jarvis and the audience slowly fall in pure lust with the man. I thought he was particularly charming in last year's Inglourious Basterds, but 2010 was the year when I wanted Michael Fassbender to put me over his knee and spank me as he does to Katie Jarvis at one point in Fish Tank.

Tom Ford and his muse Nicholas Hoult
While Fish Tank was Fassbender Porn, Tom Ford's directorial debut A Single Man was Nicholas Hoult Porn. I didn't get to see it until early in this year but it was so worth the wait. Ford is clearly in love with Nicholas Hoult's face and spends a good amount of time filling the frame with his wonderful mug. And don't even get me started about That Scene! Nick and Tom clearly know what we all want and aren't afraid to give it to us. While Nick was showing the goods on-screen, Tom brings them every time he makes a public appearance. The man is approaching 50 and is as fuckable as ever. Together, this fabulous duo made 2010 that much sexier.

Andrew Garfield
"Oh Andy!" became a popular expression around my Twitter account in the weeks leading into the release of The Social Network and I haven't stopped using it since. There's simply so much to love about this adorable Brit--his talent, his good looks, his awkwardness, his goofiness--and 2010 offered a smorgasbord of Andy delights. The year started with Red Riding: 1974, a British crime drama which featured Andy as a hulking sex god who...I don't know, solves a crime or something? I honestly remember very little of the actual film besides him sexing Rebecca Hall and his glorious Louis Garrel-esque Sex Hair. Next came Never Let Me Go, which was good but felt like a little bit of a retread of his Boy A work. Finally, we have The Social Network, which is hopefully going to snag him an Oscar nomination come January. He does excellent work in the film, bouncing off Eisenberg's introverted asshole savant with his usual subtlety and nuance. Coming up next: the new Spider Man film which, for once, I'm actually excited about like your average fanboy. But I'm sure it's for far different reasons.

Tom Hardy
After Marion Cotillard, the one thing in Inception that left the most vivid impression on me was the hulking, but equally charismatic, Tom Hardy. He clearly wasn't taking the whole premise seriously and managed to inject some fun into the proceedings, mostly through the sexual tension between him and the uptight Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Towards the end of the year, the internet was flooded with on the set images of Hardy on his new film with Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine called This Means War where he and Pine play best friends who fight over Witherspoon. Any movie where those two go at it is one that is instantly going to the top of my Most Anticipated Movies list.

Francisco Lachowski
Francisco, or Chico as he is affectionately known around the interweb, is one of the most versatile male models on the planet. This Brazilian can do it all: goofy, sensual, sexy, dramatic, intense. And, often, he's able to portray two or three of those at the same time. Chico has a great gift and I hope he continues giving in the next year.

Joe McElderry
I've already gone on at length about why I love La Joe, as we cool kids on Twitter have come to call him, but I still need to mention him on this list. He sings, he dances, he wears leather jackets, he's not interested in Adam Lambert AND he makes me giggle when he falls down. La Joe is clearly a perfect man.

Simon Nessman
This curly-haired Canadian model seems like such a regular, down home guy, especially compared to sexy aloofness that Chico Lachowski and River Viiperi often project. Both types of models are necessary to the modeling world, but Nessman is quite obviously the best at what he does.

Xavier Samuel
I've been in love with Xavier for awhile, but 2010 was the year he made his American breakthrough in the latest installment of the Twilight series. He was so beautiful and so sexy in the film I both forgot about Taylor Lautner momentarily and briefly understood why so many people are turned on by vampires. When he was unceremoniously dragged away by a pack of werewolves to a certain death by the end of the film, I asked my friend in vain if he would be coming back in the next film. Trying to spare my feelings, she told me, "Um, yeah!" The next installment of Twilight will be sorely lacking without this Aussie hunk.

Alexander Skarsgard
The other hot vampire of 2010, Alexander Skarsgard caught my attention earlier this year with his striking good looks and his massive frame. I could only make it through the first season of True Blood, when Alex's hair was so unappealing I could barely muster any sexual interest, but this doesn't prevent me from thinking he's a hot piece of ass.

River Viiperi
This Spanish model made a big breakthrough in 2010 with a wide variety of editorials in a short period of time. His range is nearly as wide as Lachowski's, but he has a signature look in every one of them which sets him apart from nearly every other model in the game. He has clearly taken lessons from Tyra Banks on America's Next Top Model, which is obviously not a bad way to hone your craft.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Run Away With Me

I downloaded Howl the other night, aka the movie where James Franco makes out with Broadway hottie/Gossip Girl hottie Aaron Tveit in cute glasses, and have been on a Tveit kick ever since. Since I haven't had time to actually watch the movie, I've been looking for some bits of Aaron to tide me over until then. First of all, I downloaded the Next to Normal soundtrack, the Broadway show that gave Aaron his big break. The show is so massive--the music takes up two discs on its own--that I only got through half of it the other night, but I like it so far and Aaron's voice makes my heart melt. So when I stumbled upon a video of Aaron singing a song called 'Run Away With Me,' it was almost like he was doing everything he could to get me to fall in love with him. Honestly, he can take advantage of me anyway he likes and I wouldn't complain, but it's still nice to be wooed every now and again. Anyways, I listened to Aaron sing this 'Run Away With Me' and, gah, it was so bloody perfect. The song is about this guy asking a girl to basically stop everything and run off with him to some unknown future. Excuse me, is this even a question? If Aaron Tveit asks you to run away with him, you just go, no questions asked. He's beautiful, sings like an angel and did I mention that he is gorgeous? Watch this clip and judge for yourself, but I'm 99.5% sure you will be swooning by the end.

While trying to stop drooling over that performance, I noticed that Youtube recommended another version of 'Run Away With Me' sung by actor Michael Arden. Even less well-known than Aaron, I mainly know Michael for two reasons: he was the one bearable thing about the miserable romantic comedy Bride Wars as Kate Hudson's gay assistant and as the boyfriend of Sebastian Stan's Prince Jack, he got to smooch him on the unfairly canceled Kings a couple years ago. I listened to his rendition and, I'll be damned, but it was quite amazing in it's own unique way. Michael can't compete with Aaron in the looks department, but he sure as hell matches him when it comes to emoting. Have a look for yourself:

Sigh. Now we have some major questions that need answering: Who on Earth do I run away with now? Am I allowed to pick both of them? And, most importantly, who would you run away with if given the chance?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

This Is What I Hear Everytime Lady GaGa Opens Her Mouth Nowadays

Britney's Videography: 'I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman'

Britney Spears 'I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman' # # # # #

Confession time: I've never seen the film Crossroads, Britney's acting debut and the inspiration for this second single from the Britney album. This appears to be sacrilegious for a Britney fan like myself, yet I have no real explanation for why it has never happened. I didn't go to the movies that often back then--if it had come out in 2007, I would have been at the midnight screening--and I'm guessing that by the time it came out on VHS (this was before DVDs!), I had already entered my dark years where Britney didn't matter anymore. Another possible explanation was that even to my untrained, nearly 14 year old eye, Crossroads looked like a shitty movie. Yes, I loved Britney but, my God, who could get excited over that movie? And when the song used to promote the movie is this soppy ballad, my interest has gone down considerably. Don't get me wrong; I'm sure I loved this song when it came out, just as I had all of Brit's previous singles. But it was obviously a quick fade, as Brit's moping about her journey into womanhood is one of her few singles that I rarely think about these days. It's not as if the video offers a reason to remember 'I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman.' I seriously thought there were at least clips of Crossroads intertwined with the images of Britney, not a girl, not a woman, staring across the horizon, figuring out what lies ahead of her in the future but, alas, nothing. Not even an image of Britney approaching a fork in the road, debating which path to take. Come on, people! With a song as clichéd as 'I'm Not a Girl,' you need to throw in every music video cliché in the book. Instead, Britney stands on the edge of a canyon, wearing an outfit that is decidedly more woman than girl, and walks around the inside of a canyon that looks eerily similar to the canyon James Franco is climbing in the trailer for 127 Hours. Hm, maybe Britney cutting off her own arm would have made this video watchable and would have gotten me to a theatre to see Britney do her thing on-screen.

Previous installments: ...Baby One More Time | Sometimes | (You Drive Me) Crazy (The Stop Remix!) | From the Bottom of My Broken Heart | Born To Make You Happy | Oops!...I Did It Again | Lucky | Stronger | Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know | I'm a Slave 4 U

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Top 10 Worst Songs of 2010

The time has come to start honoring the highlights of 2010. Let's begin by getting the worst songs of 2010 out of the way. Last year, I complained ad nauseum about the unholy horrors unleashed upon us known as 'Boom Boom Pow,' 'The Climb' and 'Fireflies,' but I feel like 2010 offered up even worse dreck that I was forced to hear repeatedly on the radio every goddamn day like clockwork. Please, let's get this shit over with so I can put these songs behind me and hope that 2011 offers less horrific music.

Dishonorable Mentions:
Eminem teamed up with Rihanna on a song about an abusive relationship--something they both know a little bit about--and dragged her down to his level of shitty musicianship. If you think 'Love the Way You Lie' gets to the heart of abusive relationships, you seriously need to listen to Rated R a few more times...Usher's 'OMG' was yet another creation that sounded like it took thirty seconds to put together. Why do we keep acting like Usher is the great artist when he keeps releasing lazy garbage like this?

10. Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg 'California Gurls'
There's no denying that 'California Gurls' is catchy as hell--I know I found myself singing it more than once while at work this summer--but the song is as plastic as a lot of people accuse pop music of being. 'California Gurls' is a lazy, soulless piece of music designed solely to be the Summer Anthem of 2010. Katy & company succeeded in that respect but completely failed in nearly every other area.

09. Mike Posner 'Cooler Than Me'
A whiny, mopey loser writes a song whining about all the people in high school who "probably" think they were cooler than him. Grow up and get a real problem, Mike.

08. B.o.B. featuring Bruno Mars 'Nothin' On You'
The first entry for both B.o.B. and Bruno, who both memorably contributed to this year's parade of shitty music. 'Nothin' On You' would probably be an okay song if you heard it once while drunk at the bar, but after hearing it over and over and over and over again, sober, it's clearly just a shitty song. B.o.B. is clearly the least interesting rapper in "the game."

07. Olly Murs 'Thinking of Me'
Just think: Olly has managed to get two equally shitty songs in the UK Top 5 while Joe McElderry, the winner of his season of X-Factor and an all-around more interesting entertainer, can't catch a fucking break. If you have no idea who Olly Murs is, first of all, thank your lucky stars. Secondly, think John Mayer but with even less personality and absolutely no musicianship. Add in the most trite lyrics ever committed to music by a "dude with a guitar" and you have 'Thinking of Me.'

06. B.o.B. featuring Hayley Williams 'Airplanes'
Every time I see an airplane in the night sky, I pretend it's a shooting star and wish that B.o.B. and this disgustingly stupidly obvious song would go back into the hole they crawled out of and die. This song is only deep if the most complicated movie you've ever seen in your life is The Dark Knight.

05. Various Celebrities Trying to Cash In on the Haiti Tragedy 'We Are the World 25 for Haiti'/'Everybody Hurts'
Haven't the Haitians suffered enough? I think they would rather endure another earthquake than be forced to have to listen to either of these turds again.

04. Travie McCoy featuring Bruno Mars 'Billionaire'
Just like 'Airplanes,' this is another song "about" "something" that is just as superficial as something like 'California Gurls.' So, if Travie McCoy was a billionaire, he'd help needy people who have a shitty life. HOW FUCKING ORIGINAL AND CLEVER. Why fucking waste my time with this song when you're just going to make up shit. Come on, we all know what Bruno Mars would spend a billion dollars on and it's not kids...

03. Kiely Williams 'Spectacular'
Williams, of Disney's Cheetah Girls fame, tries to shed her good girl image in the worst way imaginable. I definitely do not have a problem with women singing about one night stands and embracing their sexuality. If you're going to do it, however, please be either clever about it (Miley's 'Can't Be Tamed') or just go balls out (Lil' Kim's 'How Many Licks?'); 'Spectacular' falls in neither of these categories. Kiely comes off as nothing but a trashy, disgusting ho, especially when she fucking brags about forgetting to wear a condom. I hate to sound like an uptight soccer mom, but that's just irresponsible.

02. Black Eyed Peas 'The Time (Dirty Bit)'
The Black Eyed Peas used to make music. 'Don't Lie,' 'Hey Mama' and 'My Humps' were jams back in the day. But somewhere after they took a break while Fergie went and did her solo thing (and remember how delightful that all was!), the Black Eyed Peas decided to completely sell out and just speak random words over the most horrible sounding beats imaginable. That was how 'Boom Boom Pow' came into existence. But now the Peas have reached an all time low in terms of laziness: now they're just ripping off 80's classics instead of writing their own hooks. 'The Time' shits all over the Dirty Dancing classic 'I've Had the Time of My Life' and then surrounds it with the most nonsensical, obnoxious, unmusical heap of garbage that's supposed to pass for a tune that I've heard in ages. I didn't think the Black Eyed Peas could surpass 'Boom Boom Pow' in terms of tuneless, aimless drivel, but 'The Time,' if nothing else, proves that anything is still possible when it comes to this hacky group.

01. Yolanda Be Cool vs. DCUP 'We No Speak Americano'
When I saw a couple months ago that this song, a recent #1 hit in the UK, was threatening to make a presence on the US charts, I freaked the fuck out. I can kinda, sorta understand someone buying the Black Eyed Peas since people will always buy easily accessible and ungodly awful music by big artists, but who the fuck ever thought that buying this song was a good idea? This song is so pointless and just plain ugly, it makes it look like 'The Time' was written with the purpose of making good music. Thankfully, America was spared from this song, but my ears are still recovering from this atrocity.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Bitch is Gone

Today's announcement that Zac Efron and his longtime girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens had called it quits was like an early Christmas present. No, wait, it was actually more like a hug from Baby Jesus. Actually, it was like a hug from Our Lord and Savior Oprah after appearing on her Favorite Things episode and winning a trip around the world on a plane piloted by Betty White and Mariah Carey. He's finally free of that soul-sucking harpy, y'all! Let's take a moment to let it sink in.


Feels good, doesn't it? Now he can go out and do what boys his age should be doing: going out to the bar, getting drunk and scoring some hot pieces of ass. We hear that Joe McElderry is ready and willing. Your move, Efron.

Why Couldn't They Just Fucking Talk About Marlon Brando?!

I just pissed my pants. And maybe jizzed a little.

Hammer My Hoover

Poor Armie Hammer. The man has the body of a Greek god and was poised to be the breakout heartthrob from this year's The Social Network. Unfortunately, he had the bad luck to be cast alongside the one, the only Andy Garfield (aka The Sexhair) and, honestly, who could remember anything about Armie (both of him!) after sighing "Oh Andy!" for the millionth time? I know I couldn't. And it's not as if the boy doesn't deserve at least some of the adulation Andy received; he's an incredibly good looking dude. He was just really, really unlucky.

Until now, that is. Rumor is, Armie has gotten himself cast in the upcoming J. Edgar Hoover biopic, once known as Hoover but now going by the title J. Edgar (I guess they didn't want people to confuse it with the vacuum). This is big news for Mr. Hammer, as the film is set to be directed by Academy Award-winner Clint Eastwood, written by Academy Award-winner Dustin Lance Black and starring Academy Award-nominee Leonardo DiCaprio. Not exactly Grown Ups, is it? When I first heard about this project, I was not exactly foaming at the mouth for it. Not only is Eastwood not usually my cup of tea, the film also focuses on the alleged homosexual relationship between DiCaprio's Hoover and his second-in-command Clyde Tolson. The original rumor circulating was that Joaquin Phoenix was all set to play Tolson and I was all set to vomit in my mouth. Listen, DiCaprio and Phoenix are fine actors in the right situations, and are even kinda sexy in a certain mood, but I definitely don't need to see those two frumpy dudes making out. Not that I have any faith that Eastwood is going to focus any more than the bare minimum on their sexual relationship, mind you. Call me shallow, but I like my men making out with each other to be attractive. Is that too much to ask? I should hope not. By adding Armie into the mix, it makes the hotness of this couple increase tenfold. It's the price you must pay to get on the A-List, darling.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I've Got Loads More to Say About The Trial...

...but for now shirtless Anthony Perkins will have to do. Not that shirtless Anthony Perkins should be considered settling by anyone. Just look at those shoulders! The dude has some Power Bitch shoulders that Mildred Pierce would be jealous of.

Britney's Videography: 'I'm a Slave 4 U'

Britney Spears 'I'm a Slave 4 U' # # # # #

New album, new Britney. If there's one thing I've noticed while reevaluating Britney's videos these past months, it's that she was the master at minor reinvention. Madonna has always been cited as a major influence on Britney's career, and it's easy to see how both of their careers parallel each others. Whereas Madonna gets (much deserved) credit for drastically molding herself into something new with each album, Britney hasn't received any credit for how she has changed her image album to album, video to video. The Britney you see in '...Baby One More Time,' is not the Britney you see in 'I'm a Slave 4 U,' the first single from her third album. In this video, Britney has all but abandoned the innocent, schoolgirl charm of just a few years ago. She's not yet a woman, but she's clearly graduated from parochial school. The idea behind the 'I'm a Slave 4 U' video--Britney, in an unnamed exotic, extremely humid city, parties with a group of friends who plan on beating the heat by bumping and grinding and having an orgy--is far better than the execution. Not that the video reaches 'Born to Make You Happy' levels of awfulness, mind you, but you know a lot more naughtiness could have come about from Britney romping around with shirtless boys, panting in time to the beat. Britney, though, tries her best to make the video work, and any positives can be solely attributed to her. She's sultry, slinking around the maze of a hallway or leaning against a mirror, checking out her hot reflection. Britney looks great as well, making perspiration sexy and not like someone has dumped a bucket of stinky water all over her body, as perspiration tends to do to us mere mortals. She can't save the video, however, and with such a middling video, it makes you wonder why no one thought to bring in the infamous yellow boa constrictor.

Previous installments: ...Baby One More Time | Sometimes | (You Drive Me) Crazy (The Stop Remix!) | From the Bottom of My Broken Heart | Born To Make You Happy | Oops!...I Did It Again | Lucky | Stronger | Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Theology- Henry Style

Who knew that House could produce such an in-depth, theological discussion between my family? The latest episode concerned a man who, grateful for a miraculous cure to his daughter's brain cancer, every year, crucified himself on a goddamn cross as a way of showing his appreciation. The man's devotion to God blinded him to reality, and it was this devotion that got my mom and brother started. This may not be word-for-word what was said, but I swear on a stack of O magazines that this happened:

Mom: "If God created the world in seven days [It was at this point that I started laughing uncontrollably], then why didn't he just write The Bible himself instead of spreading the world through other people? He could have just invented paper, wrote it out, and people wouldn't have misinterpreted everything."

Brother: "I have my own theory about The Bible. Who was Jesus' mother?"

Dad: "Mary."

Brother: "Who was Jesus' dad?"

Dad: "God."

Brother: "And how did he get a virgin pregnant?"

Dad: "The Immaculate Conception."

Brother: "Nope. I think that Jesus was some kind of alien. Think about it. He had to come from some planet where all the things Jesus did that were so magical, like walking on water, are normal. Yeah, chew on that one."

[I am nearly in tears from laughing so hard, my father is shaking his head as he normally does after everything my brother says, my mother is still trying to get everyone to agree with her view and my brother's girlfriend is probably wondering what the hell kind of family she's gotten involved with.]

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I Am Liz Lemon #1

A new semi-regular series in which I point out moments from Liz Lemon's life that have either happened to me in the past or are currently happening to me in my own life. This will be the ultimate proof that, once and for all, I am Liz Lemon.

"How would you feel if I called you Glasses?"
"I'd be fine with that."
"Good, because that's what I've been calling you, which was no help when I was trying to find your extension."

"Why were you trying to find my extension?"

"I have a friend who's opening up a new restaurant in SoHo and I was hoping that you'd go with me."


"Do you wanna go out with me tonight?"


"Because it would be fun. And you seem cool."



"I don't go out on dates with guys like Grey. It feels wrong. He's The Hair and I'm a Head Plus, at best."


"Do you wanna go somewhere, just the two of us?"
"Okay, what's your game, friend?"
"Game? There's no game. What are you talking about?"
"I don't have any money, if that's what you're after. And I'm not one of those girls who does weird stuff in the bedroom because they think they have to. If you're a gay guy looking for a beard, I don't do that anymore. And if you're trying to harvest my organs and sell them, I have an uncle who's a cop, so don't even try that."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Who Should Make My Imaginary Boyfriends of 2010 List?

At the end of the past two years, I've come up with a list of my Imaginary Boyfriends for the past year. Basically, the post is meant to commemorate the hottest and most memorable men who have touched some special place in me over the preceding year. It's almost that time of the year again, so I thought I would ask for your input in my list this year. I've already got some ideas of who I'm going to include but I'm hoping that some of my readers will remind me of some man that has slipped my mind. In case you're wondering, here's the general criteria I use when selecting my Imaginary Boyfriends.
  • The man in question must have sparked my interest in some way, shape or form in the year. This means that they actually had to do something and can't coast on love from a previous year.
  • I used to limit the list to newbies who caught my eye for the first time, but now I've decided to include those who have made previous lists or have reminded me why I fell for them in the first place.
  • Obvious, all-time loves are disqualified. I think we all know that I find Jake Gyllenhaal and Zac Efron sexy all year, every year.
So, now it's your turn. Who are you thinking should make my list? Also, if you're feeling bored, who do you think will make list?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jakey & Annie Whip Their Hair Back and Forth, Whip Their Hair Back and Forth

In what is quite possible the most adorable thing I've seen a celebrity do since Andy Garfield serenaded Peter Travers & Carey Mulligan with the 'Bed Intruder Song,' here are Jakey Gyllenhaal and Annie Hathaway breaking into an impromptu version of Willow Smith's breakout hit 'Whip My Hair.' The two co-stars of the upcoming movie (full of sexy times, it appears) Love & Other Drugs prove that the chemistry they displayed in Brokeback Mountain wasn't a fluke. Their dynamic together, and the way they feed off each other, is fascinating to watch: just watch how Jakey gives a ridiculous answer and Annie is there immediately to back him up in his rendition of the song. I love these two so ridiculously much it's...ridiculous. I will not be a whole person again until I can watch these two be cute and have sex together on-screen.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Welcome Back, Glee...

...Well, it's not exactly "back" since the writing is still shit, the acting is nearly unstomachable and the whole gay angle is handled only slightly better than one of the episodes on an Alan Ball TV show where the gay character(s) deliver the most awful, holier-than-thou sermon this side of a papal mass. Considering the hot mess the show was when I gave up on it last season, and how much anger I had towards it for wasting both its potential and my time week after week, I never thought I would be able to take anything it did seriously ever again. And, judging by the reaction this season from even the most hardcore Gleetards, the show's novelty was beginning to wear off quickly. But, out of nowhere, the show went back to its roots with this performance from a new cast member:

Wow, that was surprisingly refreshing. My biggest complaint with Glee towards the end of the run of episodes I watched was that they weren't even bothering to do anything to make the songs their own. In the beginning, especially in the pilot episode with 'Rehab' and 'Don't Stop Believin',' Glee wasn't afraid to interpret the songs in new and original ways. By the end of the first run, however, the show was falling prey to its own hype and started cranking out those songs to suck as much money out of buyers as they could. Some of the songs were so terrible they sounded like someone bought a karaoke tape, pressed play, let Lea Michelle sing shriek over everyone and then called it a day ('Bad Romance,' I'm looking at you). Apparently this has only gotten worse this season, especially with the jukebox musical/theme episodes. But this rendition of 'Teenage Dream' is absolutely stunning. What I love most about the arrangement is that it's stripped down to an acapella core yet the song's emotion, which Katy Perry emotes so vividly over the electropop-ness of the original, loses none of its power or urgency.

And the person who I think should be credited mostly for the success of this rendition is Glee newcomer Darren Criss. As you can see, I'm clearly in love with him and will stop at nothing until he's mine. Apparently, the University of Michigan graduate (two hours away from me!) is famous for something called A Very Potter Musical, which made it's way online earlier this year. I tried watching it but it made very little sense to me as I haven't read a Harry Potter book since Bill Clinton was president. Anyways, on the show, Darren plays Blaine, Kurt's new gay buddy who is there solely to provide support and tell Kurt to stand up for himself. In other words, the character's a total snoozefest and didn't give Darren much to play with in his first appearance. But that hardly matters when your debut musical performance is something as amazing as his version of 'Teenage Dream.' His husky voice is in definite contrast to Katy's light and airy vocals on the original but he manages to keep the song sexy in his own way. Just by emphasizing the wrong word, the lyric, "I'ma get your heart racing in my skin tight jeans/I'll be your teenage dream tonight," could have become an epic disaster but he actually turns it into a sly, subtle invitation that makes it even hotter. Speaking of hotness, I also love the way that, like Kurt/Chris Colfer, Darren isn't one of those generic, plastic-looking gays that seem to populate shows of this nature and, unlike Kurt/Chris Colfer, he has his own brand of sexiness that can't be reproduced. It appears that many others out there agree with me as he has instantly become the most buzzed about new cast member since, I don't know, ever and there are even talks about making him a series regular. Seems like a good idea at this point since his song is currently at #1 on the iTunes chart, sodomizing the other songs from the episode, and is on track to be the highest charting single from Glee since 'Don't Stop Believin'.' I'm sure once Glee gets their hands on Darren they will ruin him like they have every other aspect of the show but let's just enjoy him in all his glory for the moment.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Two Hot Aryans

This post is about exactly what the title says. Let's get started.

First off is Ed Drewett. Brits may recall him from the Professor Green song 'I Need You Tonight,' which hit the UK Top 10 earlier this year or, if you're a mega The Wanted fan, you may recognize him as the songwriter of their #1 hit 'All Time Low.' Ed is now ready to take the electropop world by storm with his infectious, amazingly addictive debut single 'Champagne Lemonade,' out now in the UK. It's not often you find a good looking male who can do electropop and do it well, so we must treasure Ed and 'Champagne Lemonade' like the gifts they are. Plus, Ed is very active with his Twitter account (@eddrewett) and corresponds regularly with fans. When I casually mentioned about a month ago that he was a hot Aryan, he not only retweeted me but also replied to say that he thought it was funny that I called him an Aryan. Great musician, hot and and an amazing sense of humor? Ed's almost too good to be true.

Secondly, we have Trevor Donovan. My New Plaid Pants did an amazing post about him a few weeks back and I've been a, um, fan ever since. He's currently starring on the ever lovely 90210 right now and has been receiving a fair amount of attention for playing the strappin' ladies' man doubting his sexuality. Being the shallow individual I am, I watched clips of the show involving his storyline only and...yeah, it's probably as bad as you would expect. There were a couple moments that worked, namely the way the straight guys reacted--or didn't react, depending on your viewpoint--when Trevor's character called the gay kid a "faggot," but mostly it's a hot mess of clichés and lousy acting. But Trevor is never less than smoldering and has a sexy deep voice that I wouldn't mind hearing first thing in the morning. In all honesty, though, I'm just waiting around until he makes out with a boy; isn't that what life is all about?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Joe's Ambitions

Or, in the slightly altered words of a wise man, "Let's face it. This blog is becoming a bit of the Cheryl Joe show.

The Joe McElderry of present is not the same Joe McElderry we met last year. Back then, he was the fresh-faced winner of the UK's X-Factor, a graduate of the David Archuleta school of impeccable, if ultimately safe, balladeering. When 'The Climb' was chosen as his winning single, it seemed like a foregone conclusion the path Joe's music career was going to take. But then something happened. Former constraints in his personal life were lifted and, suddenly, Joe wasn't the same person anymore. He couldn't go on doing the same music he was doing before; it would almost be like he was cheating himself.

Welcome to Wide Awake, Joe's debut album and launching pad for his brand new sound. Right away, the album feels like a compromise between Joe and executive producer Simon Cowell. As I've said before, Simon isn't a stranger to experimentation, as Alexandra's CD and Leona's 'Outta My Head' proved, but you know he wanted some insurance tracks in case the new material didn't work out. Hence we have 'The Climb' making an appearance on here, as well as a cover of the Five for Fighting hit 'Superman (It's Not Easy)' and the tender title track. These tracks are fine in their own way, but, unsurprisingly, it's on the "experimental" tracks where Joe truly shines. With influences as varied as ABBA (the excessively distorted bridge of 'Someone Wake Me Up' sounds similar to their 'Under Attack'), Alphabeat ('Feel the Fire' is blatantly reminiscent of 'Fascination') and the Scissor Sisters (he seems to be taking cues from Jake Shears, thankfully with none of his tiresome shtick, on 'Fahrenheit'), Joe is trying out different styles to see what suits him best.

(Side Note: Curiously enough, all the groups I mentioned as Joe's influences are male/female groups, two of which contain a male and a female who share the vocal work equally. Is Joe making a comment on gender and sexuality by mining these artists? Probably not, but it's an interesting observation.)

Two of the biggest complaints I've heard about Wide Awake is that there are too many covers and that there is too much Auto Tune/vocal distortion covering Joe's voice. I agree that five covers on an album of 11 tracks is perhaps a tad excessive but I think Joe is smart about the songs he chooses to cover. Sure, 'The Climb' and 'Superman' are hardly the most exciting choices but they are a good deal more interesting and contemporary than some of the snoozers Simon usually likes (how tiresome would covers of 'You Are So Beautiful to Me' and 'Unchained Melody' have been in comparison?). And if these two songs deserve any praise, Joe's 'The Climb' works better than Miley's because he's a much a stronger vocalist (and you need good pipes to make that song digestible) and 'Superman' makes for an interesting commentary on Joe's sexuality in the public eye ("I'm only a man/In a silly red sheet"). 'Smile' is a cover of an Uncle Kracker song and I'm impressed that you would never guess in a million years that Joe's version was once sung by the same guy who did 'Follow Me.' As for 'Ambitions' and 'Real Late Starter,' these recent songs have their ardent fans but I like that Joe went for little known songs instead of something as obvious as Lady GaGa. And in the case of 'Ambitions,' the song is actually quite different than the original if you listen carefully. You may not like the direction he took, but you can't say it's a copycat version.

As for the Auto Tune criticisms, I'm a little less understanding. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people criticize Auto Tune for "covering up" "untalented" singers with weak voices or drowning a talented singer's great voice. I've said it before and I'll say it again: AUTO TUNE IS NOT THE ENEMY. It is nothing but a stylistic choice. Many weaker singers got by before it (hello early Madonna) and many others have after (RiRi!). Britney uses it all the time these days but she didn't always (remember how she pretended she was a singer on the ...Baby One More Time album?). It's nothing but a fad that may or may not be here in a few years. There's no mistaking that Joe is a great singer, but the the insinuation he's trying to cover something is insulting. He's experimenting with a brand new sound for him. Would 'Fahrenheit' be as great of a song without all the Auto Tune? I don't think so.

Joe McElderry certainly has a lot of room to grow as an artist, but Wide Awake shows a lot of promise and is a confident step in the right direction for him. He's only 19, but I think he's well on his way to finding himself as both a musical artist and a man.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Please Remember. Don't Surrender.

When I came home from class tonight to the devastating news that Disney starlet and Rants of a Diva fave Demi Lovato had left her current tour with the Jonas Brothers to admit herself into a treatment center to address "physical and emotional issues," I had quite mixed emotions about the whole affair. On one hand, the suddenness and severity of the news caught me completely off guard. Usually, an inevitable announcement like this comes in stages after weeks or even months of erratic behavior reported vociferously by the press. I was around during the glory days of Brit's and Lindsay's (early) meltdowns, so I'm well aware of how these things are usually handled in the press. But Disney must have been working overtime trying to cover all the tracks because this announcement totally blind sided everyone.

On the other hand, when you sit down and think about it after the initial shock has passed, the news is not that surprising. Of the three main Disney girls (Miley & Selena being the other two), I've always thought of Demi as the goddess of the House of Mouse: beautiful, talented, friendly yet not entirely knowable. She's put on this pedestal for all to admire yet I have always gotten the sense that there was more to her than her public persona ever gave away, a sadness that she had to keep hidden. And, ironically, this makes her the most human of the three girls. Negative, hateful press affected her more than anyone; Selena is far too "new" to the mainstream while Miley has been dealing with it longer and has developed a thick skin. The never ending stress of being a highly valuable Disney star certainly took its toll on her. I remember reading her Twitter during the summer of '09 when she was shooting
Camp Rock 2 and she was lamenting about how exhausted she was by her non-stop schedule. This is probably something every celebrity has done from time to time, especially with the advent of Twitter, but there was a note of desperate sadness that I've never forgotten. Plus, you can't forget that this is a woman who was shooting a movie in Toronto while on a hiatus from a nationwide, headlining tour while in the midst of promoting her sophomore album who, after the movie wrapped, would go right back to her tour and then rush back to make more episodes of her sitcom. Add to that the fact that she was only 16 or 17 at the time and her exhaustion makes perfect sense. Child stars never have it easy and it takes an incredibly strong person to weather half the shit many of the Disney stars of today have to go through.

If nothing else, the one event that catapulted Demi to the mainstream quicker than anything else was the announcement that she and Joe Jonas had taken their friendship to a whole new level. From the start, the relationship smelled fishy, and, sure enough, the relationship lasted mere months; Demi and Joe, however, assured everyone that they would remain professional. While I would never question Demi's professionalism, I did wonder how exactly she would react in public about the whole ordeal. Although she hasn't gone quite as far as Taylor Swift in talking about her relationships in public, we can't forget that this is the same woman who, after being asked how her best friend at the time Selena Gomez was doing, quipped "Ask Taylor [Swift]" with a sarcastic grin on her face. She got a good one in on Joe during this concert in Brazil, but for all her apparent bitterness, you know the whole ordeal hurt her more than she let on. You can only be so tough for so long. And when your ex is flaunting his new girlfriend (Joe has been apparently dating Twilight star Ashley Greene for a month or so) in front of your face, and you're stuck with him for months on end, that has to be next to impossible to deal with.

When the news of Demi entering a treatment facility first broke, the speculation about the reasons for her entering was rampant. Was it drugs? Mental illness? An alleged fight she got into while on tour? Finally, the apparent causes reared their ugly head and it was even sadder than anyone imagined: self-mutilation and an eating disorder stemming from her long history of being bullied. She's often spoken out against bullying, admitting that she was bullied so severely in middle school she had to leave to get home schooled. The fact that she's been so traumatized by this that she is still dealing with it years later, and in unhealthy ways, is heartbreaking. I wish Demi a speedy recovery, but I don't want to see her until she is back to 100%. None of this Lindsay Lohan bullshit, spending 30 days in recovery, telling everyone "I'm fine" and then back to your old habits. I don't care how long it takes. I just want my Demi happy and healthy. We love you, gurl, and have nothing but positive energy for you.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Must See Hotties on Outsourced

I am a superficial person. I have made no secret of watching movies, television shows or listening to certain artists just because of an attractive male. Usually, I'm on the ball with the latest hotties, but I've let you down, dear readers. Last Thursday night, I had NBC on in the background while I was online and Outsourced, the network's newest addition to the Must See TV lineup, came on. Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather when I saw the two hotties among the show's cast:

The first is Ben Rappaport as Todd, the American boss sent to India to run his company's new call center. The second is Sacha Dhawan as Manmeet, Todd's employee and possible "bromantic" partner. Todd is supposed to be in a quasi love triangle with another Australian expatriate and an Indian co-worker, but, of course, I kept hoping for Todd and Manmeet to get together. And it's not as if I was pulling this out of thin air. In one episode, Todd invited Manmeet out to a nice restaurant for a hearty American meal. In another more telling moment, Todd and Manmeet found themselves trapped in the break room closet together trying to avoid an annoying co-worker. Sure, they were talking about chicks the whole time, but I know one day true love will rule the day.

Outsourced may have its fair share of hot guys, but the show is actually quite funny. I had heard criticisms of the show being a tad racist but I think that's outrageous. Outsourced is a classic "fish out of water" story, with one person taken from their usual surroundings and thrust into a totally different environment. The humor is born from the fact that Indian culture is totally unfamiliar to Todd and that his coworkers don't understand Americans' sense of humor. It's not breaking any new ground, but it's a sweet show with great, hilariously real characters and humor born from these characters' interactions. Hot guys and funny jokes--what more could you ask for from a show?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dear Abby, Why is This Mom So Creepy?

I have been reading Dear Abby for years. Every day in my sociology class during senior year of high school, I would skip past the front page news and the sports section and read whatever craziness Abby and her opinion-seekers were willing to dish out. I still read it everyday, online now, but today's column had a letter so batshit crazy, I had to share it with everyone:

DEAR ABBY: I have been keeping a journal for my son since he was born 22 years ago. I have never missed a single day. I write about him regardless of whether I see him or not. Sometimes I'll jot down a verse I remembered, or something happening in his world or an item of newsworthy information. I have also written my thoughts about his life and decisions.

My dilemma is when I should give these writings to him. I don't want to keep them indefinitely because they are meant for him. He is married and has a son on the way. My inclination is to give him the writings of his life on the occasion of his son's birth. He has no idea I've been doing this, so it will be a complete surprise. I'd appreciate your input. -- BLOCKED WRITER IN OKLAHOMA

No, I am not making this shit up. This is real and needs to be addressed. First of all, this woman (I'm assuming this is a woman because only a mother would do something as ridiculous as this) clearly only had one child, never had a career outside of the home and had a housekeeper to do all the housework because who the Christ else has the fucking time to sit down and write their thoughts about their son's life every fucking day for 22 years. Between working, shuttling me and my brother around and watching Dr. Phil, my mother certainly didn't have the time to do this. There wasn't one day where she was like, "Wow, I am super exhausted. I don't think I have the energy to sit down and write about my son and how important he is to me today."? Seriously? This lady needs to get a life, especially if she's still writing about him presumably after he's moved out of the house.

Secondly, is anyone else more than a little creeped out by this? If my mother ever handed over a box full of journals she has secretly kept about my life, describing in full detail every decision I have ever made with my life and her opinions on those decisions, I would be like "Crazymamadidwut?" Listen, I love my mama, but sifting through 15 volumes about my mundane life or of news articles and people that remind her of me (although, according to my mother, any kid with glasses and asthma reminds me of her) would freak me out. The whole idea is just insane. Couldn't she have bought her son an expensive gift to show her love like a normal person would?

Finally, what about the last line of the first paragraph where she mentions that she has been critiquing her son's life choices? That makes this whole idea even worse. Unless she's one of the 1% of people on this planet who is completely incapable of speaking bad about someone, I imagine there are going to be some negative thoughts included. I imagine I'm not alone in saying that I would never want to read multiple criticisms of every important decision I've made in my life. I hope that if I was making a large enough mistake, my mother would come to me and say, "Hey, maybe you need to rethink this..." instead of writing it down in a journal so that I can read about it 10 years later.

Abby had a response for this woman that, although it wasn't exactly what I would have told her, offers a smidgen of good advice if you look carefully:

DEAR BLOCKED WRITER: What an amazing gift those journals will be. However, allow me to caution you against giving them to your son when his child is born. There will be a lot going on at that time, and you do not want to distract from that momentous occasion. My advice is to wait until his next milestone birthday and present them to him when he's 25. And because you enjoy journaling, consider starting one about your own life then.

I'm not surprised that Abby praises her because she's loves sentimental bullshit like this and is about as morally progressive as pilgrim on the Mayflower. I like that she told her to wait a bit to give him the journals because who will have time to read all that shit with a brand new baby. That last line, though, is the real kicker. She's basically telling her to stop with the creepy journals about her son and start chronicling her own life. She clearly has the discipline to do it and, in all honesty, I know I would be far more interested in hearing about my mother's life from her own thoughts than about my own life, which I've already lived, through the perspective of my mother. So, all in all, Abby gets it right in the very end. That's pretty much par for the course with Dear Abby and why I still find myself reading her.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Joe Will Be the Princess

A friend of mine showed me this clip of Joe McElderry singing Taylor Swift's 'Love Story' on the X Factor live tour. As I've become a bit of a McElderry fanboy in the past couple weeks, I immediately loved this. He is just so freaking adorable. The only thing I'm sad about is that this was performed before he came out so the lyrics are changed so that he sounds like he loves the vagina. What I would have given for Joe to sing the lyric, "You'll be the prince and I'll be the princess." Oh well, it doesn't really matter; Joe will always be our princess.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Short Rants on Never Let Me Go

Dave's review of this film was spot-on, but I had a few assorted thoughts I wanted to add. I read the original novel earlier this year and was not a fan. I felt the novel's theme of what it means to be human poorly developed, the cyclical narration maddening and the build-up to the big "reveal" a complete disappointment. I went into the movie with considerably lowered expectations, but, as Dave said so well, the novel and the film are totally different beasts, each with their own unique problems. Mark Romanek's film starts off on the wrong foot with some of the most horrid, ineffectual child actors I've seen since, possibly, The Blind Side. There's a scene where Young Carey Mulligan and Young Andrew Garfield are out walking around the grounds of Halisham, the provincial school the main characters attend. The director obviously told them to walk around naturally but, much in the same way when someone tells you not to think about sex and, even if you weren't thinking of that before, that's all you can think of now, the kids walk around in the least natural way possible. The kids are so self-conscious throughout, realizing that this is "serious," "important" cinema and acting accordingly. At one point, Young Keira Knightley has such a maliciously evil look on her face, you'd think she's just biding her time until someone decides to revive The Children's Hour. As the film wears on and the kids grow up to their adult versions, Never Let Me Go pretty much abandons most of the original novel's main themes to, in the manner of a 1930's MGM adaptation of an important novel, pursue a complicated love triangle between the three leads. The decision isn't a deal breaker as it's reasonably well done and the final scene is quite touching, but it's hardly the film I should be watching when there are far more interesting themes and ideas that are briefly touched upon but never explored. What I feel both the novel and the film completely miss the mark on is the whole nature vs. nurture debate. These characters have lived under a rigid structure all of their life and have been taught to fear breaking the rules. But the whole point of the story is to prove that these people are people with souls, so why is there no one who ever decided to rebel against the system and live their own life? Every one of these people accept their fate with nary a shrug since they have been taught that their whole life and I understand this. But these people all have their own personalities and no matter the rigidness of their upbringing, there is bound to be someone who breaks the rules. This may not be what the author or filmmaker have wanted to discuss, but I feel like it needed to be brought up to make some sense out of underdeveloped themes. C+