Friday, September 28, 2007

Killing me softly

It’s pretty common to like a song and then grow to hate it. This is usually a result of incessant radio play, or the harsh light of sobriety. More rare is to hate a song and then grow to really like it, and this is what I’m going through it right now.

So help me God, I’ve come to really like that Killers song “When You Were Young.”

This is weird because hated that song when I first heard it. I mean seriously couldn't stand it. I admittedly came in biased: Killers’ front man Brandon Flowers had been quoted saying The Killers’ second album, Sam’s Town, was going to be the “best album of the last twenty years.” He also said Bruce Springsteen had a huge influence on it, which seemed an odd fit for a band famous for ‘80s inspired synth-rock. When I finally heard “When You Were Young" I remember it feeling kind like I’d gone to drink a cup of coffee that I knew might be cold and bitter, and having it be cod liver oil. The Springsteen was there; the best music of the last twenty years was decidedly not. I liked The Killers’ first album a lot, but this was crap.

So then I pretty much forgot about it. There was a lot of promotion around the album but it didn’t seem to go anywhere at first. It had “sophomore jinx” written all over it. Then slowly, like a stealth ninja, “When We Were Young” kept finding its way into my ears. On the radio in my car or at the mall - I wouldn’t say it was ubiquitous, but I couldn’t seem to escape it. I’d hear it and click my tongue in disdain, but then after a few more listens, I found myself humming the idiotic yet catchy lyrics. “He doesn’t look a thing like Jesus / But he talks like a gentleman.” Indeed.

Yesterday, it passed the ultimate test. I was driving to a press conference, running late, flush with adrenaline, and it came on the radio. Bombing down The 5, I found myself really happy that song was accompanying me. And if a song makes you want to drive fast on the freeway and it puts a smile on your face even when you’re stressed, sorry, but you like that song.

So now I don’t know what to think. Is it a guilty pleasure? Am I just finally coming around to the genius Brandon Flowers warned me about? Are there more songs I once hated that I should now give a second spin? Did I really just write 400 words on a questionable Killers song? It’s all so confusing.

Kind of like when you, werrrree YOUUUUNNG!!!!!!

Ryan Adams is Crazy

Apparently, Ryan Adams freaked out at a show in Minneapolis last night, four years after the first time he freaked out in Minneapolis, because the sound during his concert was not to his liking. Now, I understand sound is very important when giving a concert. It's kinda all about the sound, really, and if the sound sucks, the concert sucks, but as a musician it's something you will have to deal with from time to time. I imagine Ryan Adams spent years playing crappy clubs with terrible sound and some how managed to make it through. He also has a habit of bitching out reporters who give him negative reviews. The man is crazy.

I think the thing that really gets me on this one is it's RYAN ADAMS. Raise your hand if you can name one Ryan Adams song. I think musicians (and filmmakers and artists) lose sight of the fact that art must have an audience or it's kinda pointless. It's one thing to create art as a form of artistic expression or release, but if no one cares, no one cares (which totally makes sense in my head).

I actually like Ryan Adams. He is a good songwriter and producer, but he needs to stop being a nutter and play for chrissakes!

TV Premiere Week: Friday - Sunday

Yay! It's the weekend and Premiere Week is coming to a close (kinda...some shows debut later in October). Here's what I'm looking forward to this weekend:

Moonlight: It's a vampire show with a bunch of foreign actors and Logan from Veronica Mars. I'm not really sold on it yet (sounds too much like a poor man's Buffy), but I'm gonna check out the first ep and see what happens. I need a Logan fix, anyway...

Numbers: I've never watched this show, but I've always wanted to check it out, and now, with my handy DVR, I can. Math makes my brain hurt, but maybe dreamy David Krumholtz can make it all better.

Dexter: It's back! I hear this season, Dexter offs some people who maybe don't deserve it. Should create a real moral dilemma for everyone's favorite serial killer (seriously, he's way cooler then Bundy or Jack the Ripper).

That's it. The rest of the weekend will be spent catching up on the shows I missed during the week. I have to say, I'm kinda glad the week is over. Watching so much TV is exhausting!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

TV Premiere Week - Thursday

Dude! Reaper was awesome! That's what I wanted from Chuck: an adorable lead character (who totally reminds me of Jake Gyllenhaal) with a genuinely funny best friend/sidekick, a love interest who doesn't make me wanna punch her in the face, and an interesting plot to keep the story going and going and going. It's Buffy meets Dead Like Me...well, the plot is nothing like either of those, but if feels like a combination of the two. I'll take a season pass please. (I also decided to DVR Life instead of Dirty Sexy Money because Liz was gonna check out DSM and I could get a report on it from her...I'm sure you were dying to know).

Moving on, Thursday has long been THE night for great TV. The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Friends, Seinfeld spent most (if not all) of their time on Thursday night. Now, we get some of the best comedies on TV and America's favorite reality show (well, it was 10 years ago anyway). So here's what we (and by "we" I mean "me") will be watching/recording tonight:

The Office - Yay! The Office is back. Consistently the funniest show on TV, I am excited to see what happens with Jim and Pam, how Kelly is coping with her break-up from Ryan (who you know is gonna become an evil executive) and Dwight being, well, Dwight. Now that Veronica Mars and Gilmore Girls are gone (*sniff*), The Office is by far my favorite show on television and I'm so excited we get hour long episodes for the first 4 weeks.

My Name is Earl - I like this show (mainly because of Jason Lee and Jamie Priestley), but I'm not a die hard fan. I watch it though. Always good for a few laughs...and the guest stars are usually pretty awesome.

Survivor - My roommate is the #1 fan of this show. I'm kinda over it, but we have people over every Thursday to watch it and I always end up getting sucked in. This season is in China which should make for some gorgeous scenery. It premiered last week and there is already a chick who can't handle being out there. The show has been on for, like, 10 years. How do people still not know what they are getting into?!?!?

CSI - Watching this has kinda become habit, so I'll keep watching until something better comes along.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - A friend suggested this one and I've been watching the past few weeks. It's pretty funny, but the characters are really awful (and I mean as human beings, not underdeveloped or something) and I tend to grow tired of awful characters fast (they don't need to be nice and squeaky clean, but c'mon..I don't want to be associated with horrible people in real life, why should I watch them on television?). Anywho, I'm watching it for now. We'll see how long it lasts.

You'll notice I don't watch Grey's Anatomy. I may be the only person in America who doesn't, but I refuse to get hooked (and I really don't like Ellen Pompeo). So enjoy that if you are a fan.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

TV Premiere Week - Wednesday

I was busy catching up on all the Monday shows I missed (because I've been watching Band of Brothers on good...I can't recommend it enough) and I missed The Reaper (God bless the DVR), but I'm glad to hear it was as good as expected. Tonight is another packed night (in fact, I'm having trouble deciding what to record at 10pm. Maybe someone can help me out), but lets start with the new show I've most been looking forward to...

Bionic Woman - From the team that brought you the new, very cool Battlestar Gallactica. Like BSG, Bionic Woman is an update of a 70's TV show. I never saw the 70's version, but you know this is gonna be better...because the 70's kinda sucked.

Kitchen Nightmares - This actually debuted last week and I loved it. I love Gordon Ramsey, even when he's screaming like a maniac. Thankfully, he shows a somewhat softer side here. A show about horrific kitchens, Gordon genuinely seems to want to help these troubled restaurateurs. It will probably get old (how many times can you see rotting food and unclean kitchens before you swear off eating out for good?), but for now, it's part of the line up.

America's next Top Model - I know, I know. It's crap. It glorifies the sad state of female body image issues in America and not one of the winners has gone on to become anything close to a top model, but I love it. I love the cattiness and Tyra's insanity. I can't help it. It's my guilty pleasure show. Deal with it...

Life and/or Dirty Sexy Money - Here's where I run into a problem. Both look good. One stars a fellow ginger (Damien Lewis) and the other stars Peter Krause. I want to record both, but Top Chef is on in the same time slot and I've obviously become very invested in TC (only 2 episodes left! Go Casey!!). When Top Chef ends, I'll be able to check them both out, but I can't decide which is worth investing in first...any ideas?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

TV Premiere Week - Tuesday

So, I watched Chuck last night. Eh. It was okay. The lead guy is pretty adorable, and the funny, sexually inappropriate guy from Dexter is in it, but, in the immortal words of Randy Jackson, "It was just okay for me, dawg." (wow. That was pretty lame, even for me). Needless to say, I don't think I'll be watching again.

Good thing Tuesday is Trivia Night because there's not much I want to check out on TV, other than The Reaper, which according to my favorite EW columnist, Dalton Ross, is fantastic (I guess I should note, I am kinda obsessed with Entertainment Weekly. I got a subscription when I was in sixth grade and read every issue cover to cover for more than 15 years - which is really just ridiculous. Now, I spend a good portion of my day perusing their website. I realize this makes me a freak. I am okay with this). I don't watch House (I like it, but every episode is exactly the same and it gets old really fast) and I'm not gonna admit I sometimes watch Dancing With the Stars (only when everything else is on commercial...I swear), but they are on tonight, too.

I'll probably watch the Padres game. They are in a must win situation. If they don't win, I'll know they've given up on me...and I'll have no choice but to give up on them.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Insane in the Tehran

Why do I have a feeling our Army is going to be digging this guy out of a spider hole in about six years?

Top 5: TV Premiere Week - Monday

The new fall season semi-officially kicks off this week (some shows started last America's Next Top Model - my guiltiest pleasure - and Gossip Girl - which I DVR'd and think I'm too old for). Rumor has it there is something called "football" on Monday nights, but here's what I'll be watching and DVRing tonight:

Chuck: A spy/comedy/beta-male fantasy which looks worth checking out. NBC really wants me to watch it, too. Chuck himself keeps pop-ing up on to tell me to watch the show (I find this very annoying and may skip the show on principle just to teach NBC a lesson, i.e. don't get between me and my entertainment news...I'm sure it will devastate their ad revenue...I have that much TV watching power).

Heroes: I liked the first season enough, but if it doesn't get truly great this season, I may have to cut it from the line up. Unless Kristen Bell gets more air time then Hayden Panettiere...then it will become my Monday night staple.

How I Met Your Mother: I really expected this show to be crap, but it's become one of my favorites. Neil Patrick Harris is one of the funniest people on TV. Mandy Moore and Enrique Iglesias guest star on tonight's episode...which seems dangerously close to entering Will and Grace guest star overload...but hopefully, the rest of the season will be more about the gang and less about the guest stars.

Journeyman: A time travel show (can't really go wrong there) starring a Scotsman. I love the influx of Brits/Irish/Scots/Kiwis/Aussies on my TV lately. They seem so interesting and funny and handsome. Foreign is so hot right now.

No Reservations: So it's not a season premiere, but it IS new and it's what I'll be watching tonight...and I've already told you I am obsessed with Bourdain. What do you want from me?!?!?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Daily Rant

Three guesses what the most popular story is right now on, not Jena 6. Not the war, either. Cops and their tazers? Wrong again. It's this...the "Leave Britney Alone Guy." If you've not seen the clip, I guess this kid posted a tearful rant on YouTube screaming for people to stop bashing Britney after her dreadful VMA performance (I refuse to watch it myself). Now, he has a reality TV show development deal. This in news?!?!?

I guess me real questions is, why does Hollywood insist on throwing money and promises of fame at every retard with a million hits on YouTube? Do they really think people will watch an entire show about this guy just because someone needed to kill 5 minutes at work one day? I know YouTube (and the like) are revolutionizing the world...connecting people in ways never before imagined...but this is just ridiculous!

Yeah, I Said It...

My pals over at Entertainment Weekly recently gave this Sunday's season premiere of The Simpsons a ho-hum write up, and it got me thinking - After 18 seasons and a killer summer movie, is The Simpsons "done"?

Don't get me wrong. I love The Simpsons. I'm a huge fan. I still remember quoting the lines of the first episode in sixth grade and watching it twice a night in reruns, but I will admit, I've missed it more often then not over the past few seasons. I still think it's one of the funniest shows on TV (and maybe the best television comedy of all time), but at what point is enough enough? The Simpsons is frozen in time so they don't have to worry about actors aging or dying or getting pregnant. They could, conceivably, make this show forever, but when the story lines and guest stars seem part of a "routine routine," should you pack it in?

For me, the best shows are those that end in a timely manner. The UK version of The Office had two pretty perfect seasons and then left...with the audience wanting more. Same with their version of Life on Mars (I miss you, Sam...and no one has any idea what I'm talking about). And while there will probably always be an audience for The Simpsons, perhaps they should think of their legacy, if you will, and end things before a dreadful final season (see: The Gilmore Girls). How about I make you a deal? Let The Simpsons run 2 more seasons (giving them 20 total...holy crap!) and then wrap it up. We will have endless reruns to watch and enjoy and nothing but (mostly) fond memories for Earth's favorite family (seriously, they are huge in Europe).

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Add This to Your Queue

Showtime has always kinda been unwanted step-child to HBO's first-born, straight A honor student. With shows like The Sopranos, Sex and the City and The Wire, HBO has been the place for television excellence, but lately, with crappy shows like John From Cincinnati and Tell Me You Love Me, HBO seems to be losing it's mojo. Thank God Showtime is ready to fill the void with some really great shows...

Like Dexter. I finished Season 1 last night. When I started watching the series, for some reason I expected a black comedy about a sympathetic serial killer (no idea why, actually. I like inventing things in my head), and while there are some very funny moments, the show is really a crime drama. By day, Dexter works as a blood analyst for the Miami PD and analyzes blood spatter to help solve crimes. He also dates a lovely mother of 2 cute kids and has a foulmouthed sister he can't open up to. In his spare time, he kills really rotten people (Dexter realized at an early age he liked to kill things and his foster dad - who also happens to be a cop - decided it was long as the murder was justified). This, of course, sets up a real moral dilemma...not so much for Dexter, but for the audience, who find themselves rooting for this psychopathic. The season plays kinda like a grisly Veronica Mars (or CSI, if you prefer), with one season long mystery mixed with smaller crimes solved in each episode. The season long mystery is a really good one (eat your heart out, Bruckheimer).

The real reason to watch the show, though, is Michael C. Hall of Six Feet Under fame. He is amazing as the hollow Dexter who feigns emotion to seem "normal." He's so charming, you can't help but like him, even as he ritually murders his victims. The supporting characters in the show are good (mostly. Some of the cops are rather annoying), but Michael C. Hall is truly fantastic (and freaking gorgeous. Seriously, like, how did I not know this before?!?! And, fellas, the chick who plays his sister is pretty hot, too...I'm looking out for you. No worries).

The new season of Dexter starts next Sunday. I don't have Showtime, but I'm seriously considering adding it (who am kidding...I'll just download it from the internet...legally, of course), but if HBO doesn't shape up, I maybe be sending my hard earned TV money over to the step-child.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Lauren Graham got a development deal with NBC. She will literally be making millions and continue to grace my TV set every week. Now that she is on a legitimate network, maybe she'll get the recognition she deserves...for things other than her weird Santa fetish.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A real downtown train

Yet another reason I really want to visit Seattle:

A trolley line in the Emerald City's Cascade neighborhood is officially known as the South Lake Union Streetcar, but the locals refer to it as the South Lake Union Trolley - or S.L.U.T. Read more.

My Current Obsession

I tend to get oddly fascinated by things/people and obsess over them for extended periods of time. I watch or read everything I can about them and talk about them ad nauseum. This usually annoys my friends...especially when they don't share the same devotion (after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows came out, I talked about it so much my friend Annie said "Enough with the Harry Potter already!"), but eventually I get over it and move on to the next thing (well, not with HP, obviously, but you get the point).

So, my obsession right now is Chef/Writer/King of Snark Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain hosts No Reservations on the Travel Channel. His is not your typical travel or food show. He really encourages the audience to get off the tour bus and see the sites; eat what the locals eat; go where the locals go. He has a different take on the places he visits and on the world in general, where food and culture always mix to deliver new and important experiences (he was actually stuck in Lebanon when Hezbollah attacked last year and made a really wonderful, smart episode about war zones and life and what it is to be American in this crazy world). He never takes himself too seriously and always has something hilariously wicked to say (read his rant about Food Network stars. It's awesome).

Helping feed my obsession (Tony knows how much I need him more than once a week), Bourdain is a sometime guest judge on Top Chef and blogs about the show weekly (if you don't watch Top Chef, you really should. Best summer show, if you ask me). He's tough, but so is cooking sometimes, and his appearances always make good TV even better.

I've been obsessed with Tony for awhile now and the obsession just kinda keeps growing, but someday he will no longer be on television or writing books or blogging about the horrors of Sandra Lee, so I guess I'll have to enjoy him while I can.

Fight the power!

In lieu of my recent posting about Kevin Federline, I felt a need to cleanse myself with a moderately socially conscious post.

This video’s going around the web of a college student who was arrested and Tasered at a town hall forum hosted by John Kerry (remember him?) at the University of Florida. The kid – Andrew Meyer, 21 – apparently got up and started asking Kerry some questions about Iraq and the 2004 election, and before he could finish, the cops pulled him away. When he asked why he was being arrested and started struggling, the cops knocked him down and Tasered him.

It’s a pretty interesting video for a few reasons, but mostly because you always hear about these instances, and it just devolves into he said/she said kind of testimony and all the liberals automatically side with the speaker and the conservatives side with the cops and eventually its released into the ether like smoke from Bill O’Reilly’s ears. But now, there’s a video. You can really see what happened and make a somewhat informed opinion – as can investigators and lawmakers.

Personally, I think the kid comes off as a buffoon, the kind of liberal who gives liberals a bad name. He freaks out and starts screaming before it gets out of hand. Also, it appears as if he may have swiped one of the officers, and everyone knows that once you do that, you’re going down. BUT, there was no need to Taser him. And, using four cops to take down one scrawny college kid appeared excessive. Most importantly, from the video, there’s no evidence he committed a crime. Being a pain in the ass and asking dumb questions isn’t a crime.

I heard somewhere that the cops had chased him in there due to some shenanigans outside the venue, so there could be more to the story (there usually is) but judging by the video, I’d say the kid has a First Amendment case. Maybe it’s because I watch too much Law & Order, but I like cops. The few times I’ve had to deal with them for any reason they’ve always been helpful and professional. But I think these guys were a little, quick with that Taser, shall we say?

The only contract K-Fed can get

There is nothing new or worthwhile to say about Britney Spears and Kevin Federline, and with our country mired in a questionable war, the economy taking on water and Osama Bin Laden still on the loose, it seems to pointless to even try.

And yet….

A diligent reader brought this nugget of insanity to my attention and I just couldn’t let it slide. Apparently someone took out a contract on K-Fed’s life. That’s right, somebody was willing to plop down money to have the former Mr. Spears rubbed out.

The logical suspect is someone from Camp Britney, as the two are engaged in a nasty custody battle. Although Britney’s mom has apparently been working with Federline to get Britney some help and establish some stability for the two kids. Honestly, little Sean and Jayden have no chance at normal, structured lives at this point, but any remote semblance of that looks like its going to come – unbelievably – from their dad. There’s been a lot of commentary lately on how Federline is coming across as The Good Parent these days and I agree. If I had kids, I wouldn’t let Britney watch them on television right now.

If you told me 6 months ago I’d be rooting against Kevin Federline getting killed, I’d have … well, I would have pretended to take the high road and said, “Of course I don’t want him dead. Maimed maybe, but not dead.” But deep inside I’d have thought, “You crazy. Cap that douche bag!” (For reasons I’ve never fully understood, my inner monologue sounds a lot like Shanaynay from the show Martin). And yet, here I am, hoping Federline will get least joint custody and not get popozaoed. What a crazy world we live in.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Things I Learned While Watching the Emmys

Somehow last night, I ended up watching the Emmys. I've started to DVR award shows, just in case something interesting happens, and I've decided it's the way to go. You get to skip all the commercials and dumb skits and boring acceptance speeches. So, I was only planning to watch if I heard interesting things about Seacrest and the telecast, but I ended up watching anyway (really, it's because I couldn't sleep. That's the worst thing about Sunday nights...other than the fact that the next day you have to go to've caught up on all your sleep over the weekend and Sunday night you are wide awake. I hate it).

But, I digress. Here are some things I learned while watching the Emmys:

Christina Aguilera is Pregnant - This was pretty obvious, despite her best efforts to hide it. I'm not really sure why she feels the need to hide it. It's not like she's unmarried or having the baby of a creepy backup dancer or something.

Tony Bennett is Really Old - Okay. So I didn't just learn was just reinforced. Props to him for being 100 and still singing and winning awards. I hope I'm that chipper at 100. Wait, he's only 81? My bad...

Sally Field, Glenn Close and Helen Mirren are Smokin' Hot - I hope I am that hot in my 60s. Hell, I wish I was that hot now...

Kayne West is a Really Bad Actor - ...and seemingly everywhere lately. I realize he has a CD to promote (and 50 Cent's career to kill), but he's coming dangerously close to Paris Hilton's everywhere-ness circa 2005 (btw...making up words is fun).

Hollywood Still Wants Al Gore to be President - Al Gore won some award for basically creating a precursor to YouTube (from what I could gather while fast forwarding through the ceremony) and they gave him a standing ovation. No one else (other than the casts of Roots and The Sopranos) received standing O's. Celebs love the Gorester. 50 bucks says he decides to run 5 days before the Iowa primary...and selects Affleck as a running mate when he wins the nomination.

Kristen Bell Does Not Let Her Bed Get Cold - Everyone's favorite teenage detective was already front and center with her new Heroes castmates. I was actually kinda excited about this because it seems she will have a larger role than I expected. One can never get enough K Bell.

Jeremy Piven is a Perv - The funniest joke Seacrest told all night involved Hayden Panettiere turning 18 and Ryan keeping her away from Jeremy Piven. Poor Jer Bear. I guess that's what he gets for hanging out with Lindsay Lohan.

James Spader had Surgery and is Now On Steroids - How else do you explain his transformation from the all time greatest sleaze ball to a guy who makes Shatner look hot? At least he knew Best Actor in a Drama should have gone to James Gandolfini. That was just retarded.

The Emmys Can't Get the Winners Right Either - Not only do they nominate the wrong people/shows, but they don't give the awards to the correct people/shows either. James Spader was the most obvious error. And as much as I adore Ricky Gervais, Alec Baldwin really should have won for Best Actor in a Comedy. I was happy to see 30 Rock win Best Comedy (even if it should have been The Office) and if The Sopranos hadn't won, somebody shoulda been whacked.

Seacrest Wasn't That Bad - This one kinda pains me, but other than dressing in that weird costume (what the hell was that about?) he was funny-ish and kept things moving along. I still say he should stick to Idol. Can't he and Kanye take a vacation or something?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Top 5: Emmys Edition

Hallelujah! Sunday is finally Emmy night! I've been waiting 3 whole months for Ryan Seacrest to host something (that man really should host more stuff. He is horribly underused in Hollywood). Wait. What? You don't care about the Emmys? Could it be because they, more than any other award, seem to get things wrong year after year after year?

I'm not really sure how Emmy nominations work (I think they are determined by a panel of "experts" who watch only one submitted show and determine the best), but it's obviously a flawed system. Just look at the Outstanding Drama Series category. You cannot tell me Boston Legal is one of the top 5 dramas on just can't. No way it's better than The Wire or Battlestar Gallactica or Veronica Mars. It's just not possible. And I think the nomination process makes it difficult for shows like The Wire to get nominated. It's not a show you can pin down to one episode; you need to watch the entire season to really witness it's brilliance. So, again, the Emmys don't truly represent the best of TV. Let's remedy that.

Here are my Top 5 Criminally Overlooked Emmy Performances:

1. Lauren Graham - Gilmore Girls: You know that scene in Bad Santa with Lauren Graham and Billy Bob Thornton having sex in the car? (you know the one I mean). I was so disturbed to hear Lorelei Gilmore saying such things...that's how believable she is in this role.

2. Kristen Bell - Veronica Mars: I kinda want to be Kristen Bell. She is so smart and sassy as Veronica Mars...she's the girl you'd want to for a best friend. I am still pissed they canceled this show before at least shooting a final episode. I imagine Veronica joins the FBI, works her way to the top and eventually becomes the next female president. She'd have no trouble finding Bin Laden...and teaming with Weavel to have him "taken care of" (I take my TV characters a little too seriously...sue me).

3. The entire cast of The Wire: Widely regarded as the best show on television, The Wire is truly an ensemble work. Every season has different characters and people come and go on the mean streets of Baltimore. You'd be hard pressed to deem just one performance "Outstanding." This season introduced a group of middle schoolers, all so brilliant and talented, you'd think the weren't acting at all...and that's the wonderful thing about The Wire. It seems so truthful, you forget you are watching television.

4. James Gallis - Battlestar Gallactica: You know you've got a great character when you can't decide if he's good or bad...tortured genius or evil villain. James Gallis is so good as Gaius Baltar, I want to have him killed and jump his bones at the same time. (okay, now I'm starting to scare myself...)

5. Jon Krasinski - The Office: The Office would be nothing without Jim. Along with Pam, he is the heart of the show...the character you most often root for, who breaks your heart and also makes you laugh your ass off. I love Jim. There aren't enough Jims in the world (probably because he is a fictional character...I'm beginning to think I have trouble separating the it Nurse Betty syndrome). Sure, Michael and Dwight get more laughs, but without Jim, Dunder-Mifflin would be soulless. How do you recognize a TV show and 3 other actors (all very deserving) and not recognize the actor who holds it all together?

Maybe someday the truly deserving will be represented at the Emmys, but unless they overhaul the entire nomination process, I seriously doubt it...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Jerk of the Week

Page Six is pretty trashy, but I couldn't avoid reading about Heath Ledger making out with Helena Christiansen in NYC Tuesday night because you all know of my sordid past with Michelle Williams. Poor Michelle. Heath obviously likes the older ladies (he dated Naomi Watts for a few years), but c'mon man! You just broke up with your wife...the mother of your child! He is treading dangerously into Ethan Hawke D-bag-ville.

Which got me thinking...what's the deal with celebs who jump from one person to another? I know non-celebrities do this, too (I have a friend who has been single probably 1 week out of the 10 years I've known her), but most people seem capable of being single for extended periods of time...especially after the breakup of a major relationship. I can't decide if famous people just have more offers than normal people or if they really are afraid of being alone. I'm sooooo glad I'm not famous (although, when I was in NYC over Labor Day, I ended up at The Spotted Pig, too. So, I'm cool enough to be famous...I just choose otherwise).

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A better kind of BJ

I know about as much about fashion as Paris Hilton knows about human feelings, but I’ve decided I really like the designer Betsey Johnson.

Her designs are kind of kitschy and very fun and while I’m not usually one for ruffles and hot pink, if I made enough money to pay for rent and cable and still have money left over at the end of the month, I would totally wear her stuff. I first heard of her while watching America’s Next Top Model (it was only because my college roommates watched it, I swear!). She was on the show and seemed like a total fun goofball, very unlike anyone in the fashion industry. Ever. When I saw her clothes were cool too, I was hooked.

Anyway, here is a slideshow of her stuff from this week’s New York Fashion Week (which, by the way, I didn’t know existed until a year or two ago).

How Dare You, Ms. Moore!

One of our most treasured gingers has gone blond. From the look of this pic, the dye-job is so bad it must be for a role, but Julianne, you cut me deep with this one. As history has shown, only bad things happen when redheads go blond (see Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Kidman). I hope Julianne puts things right...before it's too late...

(cue ominous music)

Awesome Country of the Day

A Governor in Russia is encouraging people to take the day off to have sex. If they conceive, and have a kid in exactly nine months, they will be rewarded with valuable prizes (other than the precious child they bring into the world, natch). How awesome is this? Of course, America would never do this (mainly because we don't have a population in decline), but I do suspect we'd be a little cheerier if we all got some. I'm writing a letter to my congressperson...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What's the deal with Kanye West?

This morning Kanye West came out on some radio show and said MTV took advantage of Britney Spears when they had her kick off this year’s Video Music Awards. She clearly wasn’t ready and they just did it for ratings, he alleged. This is an excellent point and at first it sounded like an all-too-rare example of one star sticking up for another rather than kicking her while she’s down. Then West went on to say: "They exploited her, they played me and I really don't mess with MTV.”

Apparently Kanye was really mad that MTV chose Britney to open the show instead of him. His new song “Stronger” was written “for stadiums,” and he felt disrespected that he had to play it in a suite. Meanwhile Justin Timberlake hosted a sweet and closed down the show on the main stage. Oh, and West also threw a tantrum backstage after getting shut out of each the categories he was nominated in.

Is he serious? Does Kanye really require that kind of validation? From a washed up dinosaur like MTV no less? I’m not a big rap fan so I can’t really judge how talented Kanye West is, but my friends who like the hip-hop tell me he’s one of the best. You’d think that would be enough for him. But apparently he needs to win the Quadruple Threat moon man too.

Come on Kanye, buck up. Ungrateful petulance is so 1996.

Ashes of American Flags

Well, it’s the sixth anniversary of the worst day ever. Rather than bore you with details of where I was and what I was doing when the 9/11 attacks happened, I thought it would be interesting on this blog to look at the cultural response to that day: what kinds of movies and music and other art have come up as a result.

The trouble is, I can’t.

Not because I’m still an emotional wreck or anything, I just haven’t seen any of the 9/11 movies, or bought any of the 9/11 inspired CDs. I can’t think of any traditional art like paintings and sculptures because I don’t follow those scenes.

I can think of three fictional movies that are a direct response to 9/11: United 93 (which I skipped despite good reviews because I’m a wuss and thought it would upset me), World Trade Center (which I skipped because I can’t stand Nicholas Cage), and Great New Wonderful (which is somewhere in the bowels of my Netflix queue and is only vaguely a 9/11 film anyway). Michael Moore made his Moore-u-mentary Fahrenheit: 9/11, but even though I enjoyed that, I think it was inspired by more of a hatred of the Bush administration than an artistic response the events.

As far as music, I can mostly only think of Toby Keith, who I don’t listen to. Bruce Springsteen had that album The Rising, but I didn’t buy it. Singer/songwriter M. Ward has an album called Post War, but I think that’s more a reference to the Iraq war, as are some of the more politically charged offerings from Bright Eyes, Pearl Jam and other socially conscious bands. I watched that concert, “America: A Tribute to Heroes,” a few weeks after the attacks but I can’t really recall specific performances.

There’s a crap-load of 9/11 books, but as far as artistic renderings in prose, the only one I’ve really seen and read is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. It’s a good book, but it made me think more of loss in general than 9/11 specifically. Maybe that was the point.

Honestly, the only “artistic” response to 9/11 to stick with me came out two weeks after the attacks. Full disclosure: I’m totally that annoying co-worker who sends people links to articles in The Onion that no one finds as hilarious as I do, but that fake newspaper came out with a 9/11 edition that month that just blew me away. The articles expressed everything I was feeling: disbelief (“American Life turns into Bad Jerry Bruckheimer Movie”); vengefulness (“Hijackers Surprised to find Selves in Hell”); and sadness (“God Angrily Clarifies ‘Don’t Kill’ Rule”) with The Onion’s trademark scathing humor and also a touching dose of humanity. The issue got nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

One of the best parts about that 9/11 issue of The Onion was that it signaled a turning point. After a few weeks of shock and despair, it digested the events and said it was OK to laugh again. Maybe some of the movies, books and songs do that too, but I wouldn’t know. I guess I should give them a shot.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Television: teacher, mother, secret lover ...

It's fall, so along with good movies the entertainment industry is also popping out a crop of new TV shows. After skimming some lineup previews, here's a few shows I'm planning on checking out:

1. Chuck – This show is capitalizing on the "Geek Chic" trend that’s permeated the culture in the past few years, and like Harry Potter and the Internet, this is one fad I can get behind. Give me Topher Grace over Bruce Willis any day. Throw in the fact that the show also has some kind of crazy spy-fi plot and I’m on board. It’s about a guy named Chuck who looks a bit like Jim from The Office and works for a fictionalized version of the Geek Squad. He somehow gets wrapped up in international espionage and action/hilarity are supposed to ensue. Provided they do, I think it looks like a cool show.

2. Reaper – A lot of my pics are based on early critical buzz and any time I hear a show is “Buffy-esque” I have to check it out. The premise of this is a bit bizarre (21-year-old slacker finds out his charmed life is due to the fact his parents sold his soul to the devil, and now he has to help the Prince of Darkness keep his hellions in check) but from what I hear, the oddball subject matter is kept afloat with humorous dialogue and good characters.

3. Pushing Daisies – Another odd one I’m checking out largely due to critical buzz, with the key modifier I've heard being “Burton-esque.” It’s about a guy who can wake the dead by touching them, but when he touches them again, they’re dead for good. He mostly uses his gift to solve murders (Zap! Who killed you? OK. Zap again!) but he used it once to bring back the love of his life, only to realize he can’t touch her now. Oh, the pathos! It also has Swoozie Kurtz, who holds a special place in my heart for being on the show Sisters, which I used to watch with my Mom. (Shut up! Our mother-daughter bonding was few and far between, I took what I could get).

4. Private Practice – I have low expectations for this show, but as a big Grey’s Anatomy fan I’m obligated to check it out. Even more so because this spin-off focuses on Dr. Addison Shepherd, one of my favorite Grey’s characters. The persistent rain of Seattle keeps a much-needed damper on the Grey’s Anatomy zaniness; something tells me the LA sunshine will bleach the life out of this. But sometimes low expectations lead to an enhanced viewing experience. Or at least a fun guilty pleasure.

5. Gossip Girl – Speaking of guilty pleasures … This is supposed to be a devilishly fun teen soap in the vein of the movie Cruel Intentions. It probably won’t hold my interest, but since Kristen Bell is doing voice narration, I have to at least give it a shot.

6. Dirty Sexy Money – Who doesn’t love Peter Krause? People without souls, that’s who! Another one with good advanced buzz about the attorney for a very wealthy, very dysfunctional family. In addition to Nate from Six Feet Under, it’s also got Donald Sutherland as the patriarch of said family. I see the potential for good times.

7. Bionic Woman – I had zero desire to see this when I first heard about it, but then I heard it’s got overtones of Alias (an amazing show – at least for it’s first two seasons) so now I’m going to give it a try. I also saw a long preview for it in a movie theatre and it peaked my interest.

8. Moonlight – I have this thing with vampire stories: I like the idea of them, but I’m almost always disappointed in the result. (Buffy and the original book Dracula being two exceptions). So I will watch this show about Vampires - which co-stars Veronica Mars alum Jason Dohring - but my expectations are guarded.

Fall Movies

So I am totally biting off Garney and EW for this one, but here are the top 10 movies I will actually shell out 12 bucks for this fall:

1. I'm Not There - From what I understand, it's a bio-pic about Bob Dylan starring six different actors (including Cate Blanchett and Heath Ledger) as Dylan. That alone pretty much sold me, but throw in a cast list to die for, and a director who made The Karen Carpenter Story with Barbie dolls instead of actors, and it's become THE must see movie of the fall (for me anyway). The soundtrack looks phenomenal, too.

2. The Darjeeling Limited - I've loved all of Wes Anderson's films. I think he is brilliant. This one follows three estranged brothers (Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson and Adrian Brody) as they are reunited after the death of their father. I'd pretty much watch Jason Schwartzman in anything.

3. Elizabeth: The Golden Age - Queen Elizabeth I is my hero. If I had an emphasis in college, it was on Elizabethan literature (I never thought I could sound nerdier, but there you have it, folks). She was a redhead who never married because she knew marriage meant a relinquishment of power. She was was the 1998 movie about her. This sequel tosses Clive Owen into the mix. How can that not be a good thing?

4. There Will Be Blood - Like Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson has yet to disappoint me. Here he adapts an Upton Sinclair novel (Oil!) about a tycoon (Daniel Day-Lewis) who strikes it rich in a small Texas town in the late 1800's. I had to read Sinclair's The Jungle twice (once in High School, once in College) and it wasn't my favorite, but PT Anderson should do something interesting at the very least.

5. No Country For Old Men - It's a Cohen brothers movie. Enough said...

6. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street - A Tim Burton musical with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter should probably be higher on my list, but I'm not a huge fan of Sweeney Todd. I'll see it though...if only to see Johnny sing.

7. American Gangster - I saw the poster with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe in the movie theater and literally felt giddy. Then I saw the preview and was even more excited. Directed by Ridley Scott and written by Steven Zaillian (who made one of my favorite movies of the 90's, Searching for Bobby Fischer), how can this not be a great film? C'mon admit are giddy now, too.

8. Cassandra's Dream - A Woody Allen movie with two of the best looking actors in film (Ewan MacGregor and Colin Farrell). I am enjoying Woody's European phase (mark my 50 years, when film students study Woody Allen, his films will fall in 2 groups: The NYC Films and The Europe Films). It's a drama, ala Match Point, and looks to put Woody back on track after Snoop. And, like Jason Schwartzman, I'd watch Ewan MacGregor in just about anything. I even paid 10 bucks to see The Island in the theater. That's dedication, my friends...

9. Across the Universe - Another musical, this time with Beatles songs. The trailer looks amazing, but I don't know how sold I am on it. I've read comparisons between the film and Cirque du Soleil, which is kind of a turn off, but I have hopes I will be entertained if nothing else.

10. Rendition - I really like Jake Gyllenhaal. I think he's actually kinda underrated. He suffers from what I call "Brad Pitt Syndrome" (formerly Tom Cruise Syndrome, before the crazy couch jumping)...too good looking to be taken seriously. I think Rendition will be the sleepy fall thriller that's actually really good (kinda like Breach from this past spring).

So there ya go. Good thing I have no life and plenty of time to go to the movies...

Signs I am Getting Old - Vol. 1

I didn't watch the MTV Video Music Awards last night. There was a time when I would have been glued to the TV to see who won Best Video of the year. Now, I can't really be bothered to care. In fact, I almost never watch MTV at all. Am I getting old? Or has MTV simply lost it's trend setting status? (probably the former).

Anywho, apparently the much hyped Return of Britney Spears on the VMAs was a complete bust. The internet really seems a buzz about this...for the first time in my life, I really don't care. I am getting old.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Bittersweet Revenge

When I turned 17, I wanted to have a big party to celebrate. Unfortunately, I had friends who were friends of Michelle Williams and someone decided to throw her a surprise birthday party ON my birthday. Of course, being Michelle Williams, all my friends went to her party instead of mine (at this point she'd only been in, like, Species and Lassie and Baywatch, but she was still the most famous person any of us knew). I was really bitter about this...mostly at Michelle even though she had nothing to do with the planning of the party. I hated her for years on Dawson's Creek and pretty much refused to watch any movie she was in and told every one I knew what a horrible, birthday party ruiner she was.

Eventually, I got over it (can't you tell?), came to respect her choices, and really enjoyed her in The Station Agent and Brokeback Mountain. I was even psyched when she caught Heath Ledger and landed an Oscar nomination. Now comes word she and Heath are splitting up...and I feel bad for hating her all those years.

The Cuteness Abides

So we all know Tom Cruise is nuts...and maybe Katie Holmes is nuts for marrying him (though I'd probably marry him too...even if it meant I'd have to pretend to be a Scientologist and not care that he's really short), but damn if their kid isn't the cutest thing ever. Rumor (aka some random story I read online) has it that Suri Cruise will be the new "face" of Baby Gap. This kid has it all!!! Is it wrong to be jealous of someone who's not even 2 yet?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

See This...

I know I'm a little late on the bandwagon, but I just saw Once this weekend and love, love, loved it. Set in Dublin, it's a modern day musical about a Guy and a Girl who meet and make beautiful music a completely non-cliche way. The Guy is a busker/Hoover vacuum repairman. The Girl meets him on the streets and they become fast friends when he repairs her vacuum. Turns out, she can play the piano and they sound really lovely when they sing together, so they bond and hang out and complications keep them from anything more. Shot mostly with a handheld, digital camera, Once feels like a documentary with a killer, Damien Rice-esque soundtrack. Go see it immediately, if not sooner.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

It never ends

I’m a born quitter. Thankless jobs, lackluster friendships, irritating summer drama programs – I’ve quit them all. One of the few activities I’ve ever persevered at is reading. When I start a book, I finish it. For the past few years, I’ve been trying to spread the stick-to-itivness I have with reading to other aspects of my life and I’ve been somewhat successful.

So I now find myself at a crossroads, because I’ve started this book called Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. I’d been told it’s good; I think it’s kind of a modern classic. It’s also 981 pages. With small print. And big words. I’m thinking I might stop reading it.

Is this a bad thing? Am I weak? Is there a time when sometimes you need to surrender and throw in the towel for the sake of everyone involved? Tell me what you think, dear readers.

(Also, if anyone has read Infinite Jest, can you tell me if it gets better/easier to understand as you get further in?)