Friday, February 29, 2008

Just what the doctor ordered

In all the jubilation over the end of the writers’ strike, there’d been a frustrating radio silence on the future of one of my favorite shows, Scrubs. Well, the word is finally out: Scrubs is taking a rare leap to another network, going from NBC to ABC.

It’s not entirely clear if Scrubs will just finish out this season (it was scheduled to be its last) or hang out for a little while longer. Either way, it appears a really good little show that never quite got the attention it deserved will get a proper finale. And that’s good.

Top 5: Friday Music

I haven't subjected you to my musical tastes in awhile, so here are 5 songs I'm loving right now:

The Bends - Radiohead: Almost everyday, Garney calls me and leaves me a voice mail where he sings a Radiohead song as performed by someone famous (highlights include Christopher Walken singing Just and Carl from Slingblade performing Karma Police. They are all freaking awesome). Anywho, it's rekindled my love for Radiohead (not that it was really dead, but I've been listening to them more lately). This is a song I'm loving now more than ever.

Better - Regina Spektor: This is one of those songs that gets me dancing at my desk. I love her voice. Why isn't she more popular?

Kettle's On - The Feeling: I am so obsessed with this song. The idea of someone putting the kettle on to urge you home is so sweet.

When I Dream of Michelangelo - Counting Crows: From the forthcoming CC album. It's been, like, 6 years since they put out an album of new material so this is very exciting (assuming you like the Counting Crows).

Don't Stop Believin' - Journey: Is this not one of the greatest songs ever? I sang it at karaoke a few weeks ago and it pretty much instantly became my new favorite karaoke song. Ah Steven Perry. Thanks for singing as high as a woman.

I am totally jonesing for some new music recommendations, so if you have any, let's her 'em.

I left Miley off the list, but I still totally love her...because I am actually 12 years-old

Happy Leap Day!

It's that special day when some people finally get to celebrate their real birthday (after 3 years of waiting. If it's your birthday today, Happy Birthday. Man, does that suck!) and, according to folk legend, women can propose marriage. So, ah, anyone wanna get married? Male or female, I really don't care at this point. I need the tax write-off.

I'm such a romantic...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ho Ho Whoa!

A woman in Conecticut reminds us that it's never too early to get into the Christmas spirit.

If America Got it Right Vol. II

This week, the fellas totally out sang the ladies. Not one of the ladies stood out last night; they were all just, meh (The only thing that stood out was the fact that Carley Smithson works at one of the best bars in San Diego and probably served me a Guinness at some point (and I'm almost positive she was singing when when Liz celebrated her birthday there last year). Makes me thirsty just thinking about it). Anyway, here's who should be sent home this week:

The Fellas
Luke Menard - He made it through last week, but really needs to go home now. His homage to Freddie Mercury was dreadful.

Jason Yeager - He seems like a swell guy and I even really like his voice, but there's no way he's winning this thing so he might as well go home now.

On Notice - Chikezie and Robbie Carrico (rocker, my ass)

The Ladies

Kady Malloy
- She'll might be safe because people love her Britney impersonation, but her voice isn't good enough (btw...does anyone else think she looks like Scarlett Johansson?)

Kristy Lee Cook - She was better this week, but still, not that great. And I think she has less potential than some of the other not so great singers this week.

On Notice - Alania Whitaker and Syesha Mercado (who is a great singer, but comes across so bitchy and entitled in her interviews)

Also, I think Amanda Overmyer had the worst vocal of the week, but she is interesting enough to garner the votes to keep her safe. She does need to sing something more relevant (as the judges would say) or she's bound to be sent packing (though, the odds of her winning it all are so small. Who would buy that record? The same people who bought Taylor Hicks album. Also known as, No One).

Finally, Best Vocal of the Week goes to David Archuleta with Imagine. I'm not gonna say I cried like a baby as Paula did, but it was pretty effing great.

Until next week!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Dumpster Diving for Posh Spice

I check my Yahoo! email approximately 714,000 times a day, and sometimes I spend a little time fiddling around on the home page. Down in the right hand corner, they always have a list of the day’s Top 10 searches. Usually most of the ten are celebrities, and TV shows, stuff like that. But sometimes it’s a real weird mix of things. Take today’s Top 10, as of 4:13 p.m. PST:

1. Starbucks Coffee
2. Myron Cope
3. Sophie Monk
4. Dumpster Diving
5. Anne Frank
6. Victoria Beckham
7. Michael Jackson
8. Tuberculosis
9. Burger Recipes
10. Visa IPO

The hell? It reads like a to-do list for the strangest People's Choice Awards party ever. It kind of makes me glad the NSA is keeping such close tabs on what everyone is doing online. Oh don’t pretend like you didn’t know.

Who is Your Celebrity Twin?

A "conversation" yesterday got me thinking about this story:

When I was in college, I traveled with a group that performed assemblies for elementary school kids (judge if you must). We would sing and dance and act goofy under the guise we were teaching the kiddies about making good choices. At one school, I met a little girl (we'll call her Sally, mainly because I can't remember her real name) who looked at me kinda funny as I attempted to win her over before the show. Finally, she said, "Are you that lady from that Ever After movie?"
"You mean, Drew Barrymore?" I asked.
"Yeah," Sally replied.
"Uh, no," I laughed.
"I think you are," said Sally. "You just don't want to tell anyone."
"Sure kid. Whatever you say."

The show began and anytime I walked on stage, Sally would scream "Drew Barrymore!" I found this hilarious (and a nice little ego boost) until one of my co-dorks (who, after traveling for 9 months in an 8 person van, had basically become like my brother) said, "You don't look like Drew Barrymore. Drew Barrymore is hot" because he is a douchebag.

As I continued my journey to challenge the American youngsters, I had many kids tell me I looked like Drew Barrymore. I don't really see it, but I'll take the compliment.

The point of this post is not to tell you how gorgeous I am because some kids 5 years ago said I look like Drew Barrymore (because amazingly, some people don't even think she's hot), but to ask which celebrity you resemble, dear reader. Well? Post below!

I don't know if we look-alike, but I totally want this dress.

Top 5: The Internets are Abuzz

Five things it's almost too early to process (and you have to be me or gay to even really care about):

1. 9 to 5 - One of my favorite 80's movies it headed to Broadway. Dolly Parton and the ladies (and by ladies, I mean her boobs) are involved so you know it will be awesome.

2. Amy Winehouse - She's coming out with her own clothing line. Doesn't every girl aspire to look like this?

3. Spice Girls - Their reunion tour is over. It's kinda tragic how upset I am to have missed this ( I mean Ginger is kinda the original, well, ginger...other than Ginger on Gilligan's Island of course) . I'll catch the next tour for sure...

4. Ghost Brothers of Darkland County - This one is for my mom...Steven King and John Mellencamp are collaborating on a Broadway musical. As long as it doesn't have that This is Our Country song, I'm mildly interested.

5. Project Runway - The big finale next week. I've picked Christian to win from the very beginning. If I'm right, I might start to take this prognosticating thing seriously.
Make it work, you fierce little thing.

Bonus Thing - For incorrectly saying tonight was the PR finale in the original post. Here is Kenneth from 30 Rock in the new Mariah Carey video. More weird than funny:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I like them, I really like them

While watching the Oscars with Red the other night, I noticed something. Aside from the fact that the two of us can put away a bottle of champers with surprising ease – I’ve realized I like a lot of actresses that everyone else hates.

When Jennifer Garner came out to present an early award and I commented how I like her, Red indicated I’m pretty much alone in that. Then a similar thing happened when Katherine Heigl came out, and it got me wondering: Am I just crazy? Do I not read enough EW and In Touch and am therefore unaware of all the batshit crazy diva demands these gals make on their poor, poor assistants? Am I seeing an inner glow that no one else sees? It’s probably all of the above (ok, just the first two) but I thought this was worth further examination. Generally, I judge a celebrity’s “likeability” by how I think that person would act during a night out drinking. And for reasons as varied as there are types of whiskey, I think these dames would be fun for a night on the town. Allow me to explain further. (And as always, feel free to disagree in Ye Olde Comments Section).

Jennifer Garner: I mostly love JG because she kicked so much a$$ in the first two season of Alias. (I like to pretend the last two seasons of that show didn’t happen). I’ve also heard she’s a big goofball in real life, and I can kind of see it. In a night of drinking, I picture Jen being the member of the group who giggles a lot when she’s drunk, gets endearingly sloppy as the night goes on, and on special occasions, will snort a strawberry daiquiri out of her nose in a fit of laughter. She’ll be mortified at first, but eventually joins in while everyone’s making fun of her. She’ll also hold your other friends’ hair back when they’re yacking.

Katherine Heigl: Everyone hates this one lately, so I’m thinking my lack of tabloid/entertainment television knowledge must be leaving me in the dark on some unflattering behavior. But I don’t know, the few interviews I’ve seen her in she seems pretty cool. She was also on one of my all-time guilty pleasures, the short-lived teen sci-fi show Roswell, and in My Father the Hero, so her body of work speaks for itself. I picture Heigl getting kind of loud and confrontational when drunk, and possibly picking fights with other girls. But you know she’s only doing it because that other girl totally spilled beer on poor drunk Jennifer Garner, and The Heig is always good for a round or two and never stiffs you for the cab, so you let her get away with her it.

Kiera Knightley: She’s very, very pretty and very, VERY skinny, so I get why a lot of girls hate this one, but I gotta say, I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything she’s been in. Bend it like Beckham, Love Actually, the first Pirates of the Caribbean, Atonement – nary an embarrassing performance. She was pretty much asked to carry the third Pirates of the Caribbean and couldn’t quite pull it off, but she was more than serviceable as every smart girls favorite heroine, Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice, so that’s something. Red thinks this basically means I like Kiera “because she tries,” but I like to think its more than that. Even though she weighs 95 lbs, by virtue of her being English, in a drinking situation I think Kiera would be great for knocking back a few pints while making snide comments about the loser guys who won’t leave us alone. Because we’re both soooo pretty.

Winona Ryder: Sure, you all say you like Winona just fine, but are you actively awaiting her comeback the way most people are awaiting their government reimbursement checks? No, you’re not. But I am. When going out for drinks with Winona, you’ll probably send her to the bar to buy a round, and 20 minutes later notice she hasn’t returned. You’ll discover that she’s deeply engrossed the bartender in a conversation about the waning of the Age of Aquarius and its direct responsibility for strife in Uganda. The other bartender will be so amused, he'll let you and the rest of your friends drink for free. God bless that waiffish little wood sprite.

Nicole Kidman: Oh yeah, she’s a total ice queen and no doubt a diva of epic proportions. But I feel like she’s my kind of ice queen. I can’t imagine going out for drinks with Nic. Not remotely. Rather, I imagine sitting with her in a glamorous drawing room while a 10-foot-high fireplace blazes in front us. We sip ridiculously expensive champagne and pat her pet snow leopard that's lounging on the floor. Suddenly the phone rings. She answers and gets very agitated, screaming things like, “What do you mean she’s having twins?? What was in the water in that f*cking Creek?!?!” She slams down the phone and hurls her champagne flute into the fireplace, where it explodes in a miniature fireball. In a perfect world, this would be my life. Since I imagine it’s already Nic’s, I just want to be a part of it.

Note: As recently as a year or so ago, Angelina Jolie would have totally made this list, because I always preferred her in the Aniston/Jolie Debates. And she would provide for an UNBELIEVABLE night on the town. We're talking snake blood and midgets, folks. But her recent baby collecting has kind of turned me off.

Eulogy for a Gangster

We hear at GITW suffered a great loss this week. One of the greatest homosexual gangsters of all time was gunned down as he bought his soft pack Newports at the local convenience store. A young kid came at the king and did not miss.

A Robin Hood of sorts, who followed his own code of justice, Omar Little was a violent killer, let there be no doubt, but he stood against the established drug dealers on the mean streets of Baltimore. Rising to prominence after his lover was killed, Omar was a beloved anti-hero who stalked the streets in a trench coat with a shotgun, killing those who stood in his way, but never on Sunday.

The newspaper didn't mention his murder and even the coroner switched the name on his body bag. No one outside the corner cared about Omar, but for the faithful Wire watchers, he will be sorely missed...even more then Stringer Bell.

Monday, February 25, 2008

First Things First

Who knew Kimmel had so many famous friends? His response to Sarah Silverman's F*@king Matt Damon:

Top 5: Oscar Moments

13 out of 20 isn't so bad (Garney correctly picked 15 out of 20, but no one cares about that). By now, if you care, you know who won (big night for No Country for Old Men and foreign actors. Sad night for Norbit and anyone who wanted to thank more then 5 people), so here are my top moments of the telecast (in order of appearance):

1. Ryan Seacrest on the Red Carpet - Okay. I'm giving in...I'm gonna stop pretending Seacrest annoys me and give in to my love. He really is the best at what he does. The stars actually seem to like talking to Ryan...and he is 5 million times more interesting then Richard Roper and George Whatshisface. I can't wait for Idol tomorrow night...

2. Jon Stewart's Monologue - A mix of Hollywood and politics, everyone's favorite fake-newsman seemed much more at ease this year. By our count (Liz and I watched the show together), only one of his jokes fell a bit flat. Maybe we've found the next Billy Crystal?

3. Javier Bardem's Acceptance Speech - Javier is so great. He had to switch to Spanish to thank his mother and family and Spain for becoming the first Spanish actor to win an Academy Award.

4. Markéta Irglová's Do-Over Acceptance Speech - After the orchestra cut off her first try (which I find so tacky and annoying), Jon Stewart ushered the Czech singer back on stage to give a moving speech about independent artists.

5. 80 Years of Oscar Montages - I realize they are cheesy and take up too much time, but I love these things. I especially liked the Best Picture montage. It's amazing to see how many bad films have won. Makes you realize how arbitrary the whole thing really is...

Your turn. What was your favorite Oscar moment?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Raves (February 2008)

From time to time, Red is kind enough to turn us all onto fun and interesting things via her Top Five lists. I’ve decided to one-up her and give you six whole things that I’m digging right now. Ain't I a stinker? They’re not all as fun and interesting as Red’s suggestions, but then again, neither am I.

1. The Blakes – Oh Seattle, you’ve given us so much, there’s really no need for you to offer up yet another great band. And yet, lookee here. OK, garage rock band The Blakes may not be great yet, but their self-titled freshman LP has had me dancing embarrassingly in my car for a few weeks now. Some of the songs are very derivative of their influences, but when your influences appear to be The Kinks, MC5 and The Strokes, that’s really not a bad thing.

2. The Fourth Season of Lost – Only four episodes in, we’ve already had more answers and intrigue than nearly the first two-thirds of last year. The flash-forwards are working nicely, and if the more recent Kate-centric episode is any indication, even this year’s mediocre episodes are going to be way better than some of the best from last year. Now if we can just find out what the hell Smoke Monster is???

3. Movie Posters – Or more specifically, these movie posters. In honor of the Oscars, this blog has presented the posters from every Best Picture winner since the Academy started its Awards. I’ve always loved movie poster art and its especially cool to see how the designs have changed over time. (Not to mention realizing that a lot of the Best Picture winners are totally unheard of today). Thanks to USA Today’s surprisingly cool culture blog for introducing me to this!

One of my personal favorite movie posters. Does that make me gay?

4. Gary Shteyngart – This Russian/American authors first novel, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook had me laughing out loud as it skewered everything from hipsters to Communists to gangsters to Rogain (long story). A friend of mine just bought me his follow up, Absurdistan and I can’t wait to start reading. (I suppose I should have “raved” about Shteyngart after I started reading … You know what? It's my party and I'll rave if I want to).

5. Cetirizine – The over the counter (read: easier to obtain) generic (read: cheaper) version of the allergy drug Zyrtec, this little pill has recently become my new best friend. Is it weird to list an allergy pill as one of your latest raves? Sure. But not much weirder than being allergic to everything from dust mites to avocados! Welcome to my hell.

6. Stuff White People Like – On-again, off-again GitW contributor Dave introduced me to this blog, and he hit on a winner. I have no idea who writes this thing, but they picked up on a lot of the overly-analytical/embarrassingly self-aware/basically pretentious things white people can't seem to get enough of. From recycling, to study abroad, to knowing what's best for poor people, this site finds new and interesting ways to polk fun at whitey. (One caveat: this is mostly talking about a certain kind of white person; the well educated, kind of bourgeois, somewhat hipster type. I know plenty of white people who don’t like sushi, don’t listen to indie rock, and do enjoy dancing at concerts -albeit in that awkward, white person kind of way).

And the Oscar Goes To...

Well, it’s finally here…Oscar night (or on Sunday anyway). Thank God the writers returned in time to avoid a Golden Globes situation (though, Liz and I would have happily taken to job of announcing the winners. We would have kicked ass at it, too, because we are excellent readers). It’s time do a little forecasting (which, in recent weeks has become more and more predictable, but I like the predicted winners, so I’m okay with this). Here’s who I think will win on Sunday night:

Best Picture - No Country For Old Men: The best picture of the year and, after The Big Lebowski, my favorite Coen Brothers film.
Best DirectorThe Coen Brothers: About freaking time.
Best ActorDaniel Day Lewis: I can’t wait for his acceptance speech. Who knew he was such a sweet guy?
Best ActressMarion Cotillard: Julie Christie seemed unbeatable for awhile, but I think Cotillard gave a better performance and the Academy will ultimately reward her.
Best Supporting ActorJavier Bardem: Second best villain of the year (behind Dolores Umbridge, of course).
Best Supporting ActressAmy Ryan: This category is anyone’s guess. I think Cate Blanchett gave the best performance, but I think Amy Ryan will regain her early buzz to take it.
Adapted ScreenplayThe Coen Brothers: About freaking time.
Original ScreenplayDiablo Cody: She became famous by writing a blog. We all have to root for her.
CinematographyThere Will Be Blood: I liked Atonement better, but TWBB is gorgeous, too.
Editing - No Country For Old Men
Song - Falling Slowly from Once: I’m actually excited about the ceremony performances. Amy Adams and Christen Chenoweth are singing. Rad.
ScoreAtonement: One of the most incredible scores I’ve heard in awhile.
Art Direction - Sweeney Todd: Again, I prefer Atonement, but Sweeney Todd was pretty incredibly looking. Best use of the color red since Schindler’s List.
CostumeAtonement: I’m still obsessed with that green dress.
Makeup - La Vie en Rose: If only for making the beautiful Marion Cotillard looking so, well, awful.
Sound MixingTransformers: The sound really was amazing and nominee Kevin O’Connell has been nominated 20 times without a win. I think it’s time.
Sound Editing - Transformers
Visual FXTransformers: Made me wish I’d seen it on the big screen.
Animated FeatureRatatouille: Should have been The Simpsons Movie, but what can ya do?
Documentary FeatureNo End in Sight: There is no way they are letting Michael Moore give a speech during an election year.

For the first time in a long time, I actually really liked all the Best Picture nominees and I think the awards will go to the most deserving films/performances (for the most part). At least a repeat of a Crash type win is completely impossible. Thank God.

Also, be sure to check out Garney's picks on his blog and on BlogTalk radio (at least listen to the first 10 minutes to hear his medley of songs about the 5 Best Picture nominees (a la Billy Crystal). It's awesome).

(And, for the record, I completely realize I take this stuff WAY too seriously. It’s because I lead a sad little life and it’s all I have.)

Happy Oscar Weekend!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

If America Got it Right Vol. I

Today we embark on an incredible journey, friends...the journey to find the next American Idol. After 2 nights of singing 60's music, four kids must be sent home. As they say, dreams were made to be broken, so here's who should be sent home tonight:

The Fellas
Garrett Haley - The Peter Frampton lookalike must go. Now. Before Vote for the Worst makes him the next Sanjaya.

Luke Menard - He may be pretty, but I prefer my pretty boys talented and interesting.

On Notice
- Chikezie (for losing his last name and being a prick) and Colton Berry

The Ladies
Amy Davis - Yikes! Her version of Where the Boys Are was downright painful. I couldn't take another week of her sounding like a bag of tortured cats...errr...I mean "singing."

Kristy Lee Cook - Again, pretty, but if you only sound good singing Amazing Grace, you're probably not winning this thing.

On Notice
- Joanne Borgella and Kady Malloy

I'm still loving Carly Smithson (even if her song choice last night was dreadful) and I'm glad Jason Castro finally got some air time because his Jack Johnson/Jason Mraz sound is totally working for me. Is it working for you, too? Who do you hope gets the boot tonight?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Garney's Top 10 of 2007

I know that Red posted a top 10 list already (in a more timely fashion) so view this as a late second opinion (only four movies appear on both lists). I didn't get a chance to see everything I was hoping to before creating this list, but here are the ten best I saw out of the more than 80 films released in 2007 that I did manage to see.

10. Atonement
I didn't read the Ian McEwan novel on which this film is based, but those who have read it claim it's an incredible adaptation and I believe it. Strongest in the first act, Atonement does an extraordinary job setting up the characters and pulling the audience in with its intriguing storytelling technique with scene playback from the central character's point of view. The long single-take steadicam shot that follows James McAvoy through the carnival grounds was one of the most stunning visual sequences of last year.

9. 300
Speaking of stunning visuals, 300 is nothing but from beginning to end. This may seem like an odd fit on this list, but I was engrossed in the movie from beginning to end and it was everything it should have been. I wasn't looking forward to seeing this film initially but everyone who saw it before me was raving so I went ahead and caught it in IMAX (this was the first movie to have the effects completely redone for IMAX) and felt like I had been through each battle myself by the time it ended.

8. Once
This film appealed to the musician in me, the romantic in me, and the part of me that makes me want to go around speaking in an Irish brogue all the time. This love story is as simple and beautiful as the melodies on the soundtrack (which also made my list of favorite albums of the year), and even Steven Spielberg was quoted as saying "A little movie called Once gave me enough inspiration to last the rest of the year."

7. The Darjeeling Limited
When Red reported on this film last year, she quoted me as saying, "I loved how this film felt more organic than Anderson's other films. The film was more of a shared experience with the characters, and not just an obvious trajectory of plot development. I think a lot of that is because of Roman Coppola's contribution." So here are two firsts: the first time a Wes Anderson film made my top ten, and the first time I've quoted someone else quoting myself.

6. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
Just like last year's Little Children, this film is another great movie that would've got a lot more attention if it had been released several years earlier. That doesn't make this any less compelling or relevant a film; it just means that the strong storytelling techniques it employs were once experimental cliches and gimmicks. The difference here is that there's more to it than the technique; there's a strong story with interesting characters exploring themes both timely and timeless. If you don't know what this film is about, do yourself a favor and just rent the DVD (scheduled for release in April) without reading any plot synopsis. Just let the movie unfold.

5. Eastern Promises
Between this film and A History of Violence, David Cronenberg has delivered one of the strongest one-two punches in dramatic violent cinema that recalls the groundbreaking earlier works of Martin Scorsese. Hopefully it won't take the Academy as long to recognize his achievements, who have yet to nominate him for anything in his impressive 30+ year career in film.

4. No Country for Old Men
With perhaps the exception of the movie that holds my number one spot here, this film was easily my most anticipated of the year. Having read and loved the Cormac McCarthy novel over the summer I knew no one could do it justice like the Coen Brothers (except for perhaps David Cronenberg). The Coen Brothers wrote easily the most outstanding adaptation of the year, and the only reason this movie isn't in my top three is because I think they were a little too faithful to the novel and they missed out on some great cinematic opportunities in the storytelling of this complicated twisty tale.

3. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
In a year full of fantastic works of fiction, it's refreshing to see this extraordinary true story be told in such a fascinating and artistic way by Julian Schnabel. Two-time Academy Award winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski deserves a third Oscar for what he accomplishes here as the audience is able to experience what it may have been like for Jean-Dominique Bauby, the Elle magazine editor who suffers a stroke and has to live with an almost totally paralyzed body.

2. There Will Be Blood
If I can compare David Cronenberg's work to Martin Scorsese, then what Paul Thomas Anderson delivers here is as accomplished as the great works of David Lean and Orson Welles. Daniel Day Lewis deserves all the accolades he's receiving for the amazing character study he presents in the role of Daniel Plainview, but Paul Thomas Anderson deserves just as much credit for what could be a career-defining achievement.

1. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
As much as I admire the craftsmanship of each film already listed, this is the one film where I truly loved every single frame. I had the privilege of performing in a college production of the stage musical several years ago in the role of Anthony, and I couldn't wait to see what Tim Burton would do with a cinematic adaptation. As always, he did not disappoint and delivered what was easily the most enjoyable and satisfying work of film for 2007.

For complete lists of the best in film for 2007, be sure to check out my blog (a GitW Approved Time Waster) to see what I rank as the 30 best films of 2007 as well as my own Oscar ballot ranking my top 5 choices in every category.

Also be sure to tune into Blog Talk Radio tonight for the Oscar, Oscar! broadcast where I will be discussing my picks and predictions for this weekend's Academy Awards with a panel of three or four other film enthusiasts, beginning at 9 pm eastern time.

My Guilty Pleasure Returns

America's Next Top Model returns tonight. Here are my predictions for the season:

  • Girls eliminated for having a personality: 3
  • Times Miss Jay uses the term "broke ass": 15
  • Fights over the phone in the Top Model house: 25
  • Girls eliminated for gaining or losing too much weight: 1
  • On a scale of 1-10, the entertainment value new judge Paulina Porizkova adds over former judge Twiggy: -5
  • Nude hot tub and/or shower scenes: 8
  • Pictures of Tyra on the walls of the Top Model house: 574
  • Odds the winner actually becomes a "top" model: 1,000,000,000:1
My excitement over this is really so ridiculous.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dancing with the "Stars"

ABC announced the D-Listers appearing on the next season of Dancing with the Stars. Seeing Adam Carolla dance should be pretty hilarious, but I might actually tune in to see everyone's favorite 80's heartthrob, Steve Guttenberg (No? Sorry. Guess that was just me). Oh, Mayor Goodman, how I've missed you.
This picture totally makes me laugh.

Maybe Add This to Your Queue

Is there a better way to spend President Day then watching an Anthony Bourdain marathon and films about England? I think not. Yesterday, I watched This is England, an autobiographical film by Shane Meadows, who spent his young life among skinheads in central England. After his father dies in the Falklands War, Shane and his mother move to Nottinghamshire, where he is bullied for his clothes (and basically being the new kid). He meets some older skinheads on his way home from school and develops a close friendship with them, eventually adopting the skinhead look and attitude.

This is England won the Best British Film BAFTA this year and, while it's engaging (and the young kid who plays Shane is really good), I wouldn't call it a great film. However, I found the politics really interesting. First, I didn't realize there were non-racist skinheads, but apparently, the term originally referred mainly to a style of dress and interest in Jamaican music. Second, the parallels between skinheads of the 1980's and our current wave of patriotic nationalism are eerie. Meadows shows the rise of English nationalism among the skinheads (a desire to "reclaim" England for the English and a hatred for Middle Easterners) and the rhetoric sounds alarmingly similar to ideas espoused in America today. What we call "patriotic," Meadows portrays as nationalistic. Who's to say who's correct?

I'd recommend This is England if you are feeling fired up and political (or if you really liked Romper Stomper). Otherwise, watch American Idol or something...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Reel Resurrection: Clue

For this new feature, we write about older movies no one talks about anymore, but should.

Movies based on video games are notoriously awful, and it would stand to reason that movies based on board games are even worse. Well, I’m not sure if Shoots and Ladders: The Movie! ever got off the ground, but I was recently introduced the 1985 film Clue, and I gotta say – it’s not half bad.

I don’t think most film critics agree with me. I think it got roundly panned. Whatevs. Director Jonathan Lynn and writer John Landis did a pretty good job of bringing a literally two-dimensional concept into a tight little movie, eeking an actual plot out of billiard rooms, candlesticks and a dead Mr. Boddy.

While Clue has a decent script that can entertain both kids (the people who were probably most interesting in seeing this) and adults, and it has tight pacing, the element that really pulls it through and makes it fun to watch is the cast. Tim Curry is his usual amazing self (I will not rest until he gets a retroactive Best Actor Oscar for the Rocky Horror Picture Show) and comedy greats Madeline Kahn, Michael McKean and Christopher Lloyd all bring it too. Them and the rest of cast are all perfectly campy without being self-indulgent, and do their darndest to turn Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Prof. Plum, et al into actual characters.

Clue does not deserve any retroactive Oscars; I’m not going to argue that. But it doesn’t deserve to be at the bottom of the bargain VHS bin at your local Blockbuster’s going-out-of-business sale either. It’s like a really fun mystery dinner theatre production (if those actually exist) except on film and starring some fairly famous people. Tomb Raider could have learned something from it.

Top 5: A Randon Collection of Thoughts for Your Friday

I got maybe 4 hours of sleep last night, but it's Friday and I just got paid and it's a 3 day weekend and I have friends in town. Life is good. Here's 5 things that make it even better:

1. Dexter - The bloody Showtime original debuts on CBS this Sunday (with the writers strike, CBS decided to show Dexter on the network, presuming it's new to most viewers). They've re-cut season one (removing some of the blood and language, I presume) so you can catch up from the beginning. Michael C. Hall is so brilliant.

2. Gone Baby Gone - Finally on DVD, I caught Ben Affleck's directorial debut last night. It was really good! I felt as sense of pride for Ben (who I always preferred over Matt Damon when Good Will Hunting came out and there was a Matt vs. Ben debate between the ladies. I found it so sad that his ridiculous relationship with J. Lo kinda made him a joke). He's a talented director. Maybe he's found his true calling.

3. Project Runway - In a last minute twist, the competition is down to the final 4 (Christian, Rami, Jillian, and Chris). I really think it's Christian's to lose. As bitchy and annoying as he can be, he really is pretty "fierce" and no one has really even come close to his level of quality and style. Jillian would be my second choice, mainly because I want one of her impeccable coats.

4. American Idol - The top 24 have been announced and I am placing my bets on Carly Smithson to win it all. What does it say about America when our best new singer is Irish?

5. Finally... - This is really freaking funny:


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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Singles Awareness Day!

There is a vicious rumor going around that today is some kinda of "holiday" for couples and lovers. Garney sent me an email wishing me a Happy Valintimes Day (or something like that). I have no idea what he's talking about (crazy kid). As far as I know, today is Singles Awareness Day (or SAD), where single people all across the world celebrate the awesomeness of never sharing the remote, watching Project Runway marathons without interruption or complaint, dancing in their underwear to the latest awesome pop single and spending their time and money any way they damn well please. Maybe couples are just jealous and decided to create some lame holiday of their own. Good luck finding a Hallmark card for that!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Guest Blogger: Nooch on the End of the Writers Strike

Frequent GitW commenter Nooch is probably the most television-obsessed person I know. (And considering I know Red, that's saying something). So I thought I'd share with you her thoughts on the end of the Writers Strike.

From Nooch:
101 days... that's how long this damn strike lasted. Holy crap I didn't think I would be able to make it. I am not going to lie, there were some nights that I just didn't know if I would survive, but I worked through the pain, the cold sweats, and reality tv, and can officially say I am a survivor of the WGA Strike!

Although it was nice to not have to plan my life around what shows were on the small screen, I did feel empty inside. At first, it was just the shakes, but it slowly got worse (loss of appetite, lack of sleep, etc etc). I went to my doctor, but all she could do was prescribe me was a subscription to Netflix. Luckily, I know a guy, who knows a guy, who could give me more of a fix. He was able to hook me up with dvd's of Girlmore Girls, The Office, 30 Rock, and the mac daddy of them all, Veronica Mars. Honestly, my dealer was able to provide me endless hours of dvd entertainment which I can now cherish for years to come. I am pretty sure I was his #1 customer. (Dealer goes by the name Amazon if you ever need a fix, go to his website).

Now although this strike was painful, it was also worth it. I am happy that an agreement had been made, and one that the WGA found to be reasonable. None of them wanted to be out of work, but they had faith and believed in what they were doing.

So welcome back primetime television. We missed you.

For a full list of when shows will be returning (most of the big named shows will be back in April with new episodes, but some won't be back until the fall), go to

YAY for TV!

Welcome back, old friend.

WriterGate 2007 - Oh Thank God

The writers strike is over. Just in time to fill the Doldrum Days. Hallelujah.

[Update]: EW has dates when shows will be returning (Why do all the crappy ones have to come back first?). Get your DVRs ready.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

TV Roundup

There's a lot going on with TV today (I've already mentioned the return of Jericho) and here are three more things you might be interested in:

  • The New York Times fills you in on when/if your favorite shows will return this year. Guess I gotta say good-bye to Journeyman. Bummer.
  • If I told you Big Brother returns tonight, would that be something you'd be interested in? Yeah. Me neither.
  • American Idol auditions are finally over and it's time for Hollywood week. This is when things get good in my opinion. I think this are back on track this season. I'm already rooting from the Irish chick they found in San Diego. I also just go a new TV and can now watch Idol in HD. Simon Cowell looks pretty good actually. Seacrest is still too girly.
I'm just so giddy to have so many options, I just had to share.
Ah Journeyman, we hardly knew ye.

Help! I Like the New Miley Cyrus Single

Confessional time, people. I love pop music. I think Toxic by Britney Spears is one of the best songs of the past decade. I still sing the Spice Girls' Wannabe at the top of my lungs anytime I hear it. And lately, when I drive home from work everyday, I tune into the local hip-hop/dance pop station, secretly hoping to hear Miley Cyrus sing See You Again. I'm so ashamed, but it's so catchy and makes me want to dance and act like the 15-year-old I really am inside. Even while writing this, I've listened to it three times and will probably listen again. I mean, I still don't understand the insanity over her tours and movie, but damn if the girl can't produce an outstanding single.

(This is where Liz says, "I can't believe we are friends.")

Time For the Battle of Jericho

The second season of Jericho begins tonight. EW (in their awesomeness) has created a season one "cheat sheet" for those of you who missed it. Check it out and tune in tonight. If you are a fan of apocalyptic thrillers, you won't be disappointed.

Perhaps Jericho's greatest achievement - Creating a likable Skeet Ulrich.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Top 5 - Things I Learned While Watching the BAFTAs

I skipped the Grammys last night, recording them on my DVR in case anything interesting happened (so far, from what I've heard, I didn't miss much). Instead, I decided to watch the BAFTAs (the British equivalent of the Oscars) and learned a few things from those crazy Brits:

1. Jonathan Ross' is Well Loved (and it's so mysterious to me) - Ross hosted the event and is one of the biggest talk show host in England. He also has a serious speech impediment (he has the thing little kids have when they can't say the letter "R"). It's so bizarre, but that's the thing about the Brits. You don't have to be particularly attractive or super thin or apparently have the ability to speak clearly to be famous and successful. It's actually pretty awesome when you think about it.

2. Sienna Miller is Still a Rising Star - Sienna was up for the Rising Star Award (and lost to Shia LaBeouf). Her star has been "rising" for, like, 10 years. I think it's about as high as it's gonna go. She will be "the pretty girl Jude Law cheated on with the nanny" for the rest of her life. Man that sucks.

3. The Bourne Ultimatum is an English Movie - I had no idea. Nominated for Best British Film, I knew it was directed by a Brit, but I thought it was an all America thriller. Just goes to show, we don't even make the best action movies anymore.

4. Diablo Cody's Life is Awesome - Riding high on her Juno script, Cody won Best Original Screenplay, but I'm more jealous because she was at the ceremony with Edgar Wright (who made Shawn of the Dead and Hot Fuzz). If they are dating, her life is just unfair. Guess I should start cracking away at my off-beat teenager coming of age comedy so I can date the cute film nerds.

5. Stallone is Still Huge in th UK - Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but the presenters were a who's who of, like, 15 years ago. Harvey Keitel, Jeff Goldblum, Cuba Gooding, 1993 called and they want their awards presenters back (and 2005 called and they want their joke back).

As far as awards go, it was pretty standard: Daniel Day Lewis won Best Actor (how much does it suck for someone like Viggo Mortensen, who gave an amazing performance, but it happened to be the same year as someone who gave the performance of a lifetime and he has to go to all these stupid awards shows knowing he will lose?), Marion Cotillard won Best Actress (and seems poised to upset Julie Christie at the Oscars), Javier Bardem won BSA and Tilda Swinton took the award for BSA. Atonement won Best Picture (it was the most English afterall) and the Coen Brothers won Best Director. Some surprises...some not so much.

American awards shows could take a page from the BAFTAs - The ceremony was fun and short, the nomination packages had cool behind the scenes footage and Daniel Radcliffe was in the front row with his mum. Absolutely lovely.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Is It Really Lots Better Then Ours?

Faithful GITW reader and commenter Falwless (who would probably be my best friend if we ever actually, you know, met) has started a blog. Visit and learn about her strange obsessions with Shaggy and Tremors. Visit to hear stories of Sealand and horrible cubemate collections. Visit because it's Friday and her site is hilarious and we all need a laugh on Friday. Just click the link and visit already, damn it.

For you, Carey.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Long Line of Rehabers

You've probably all heard by now that Eva Mendes checked into rehab (even though we didn't tell you about it here. I'm assuming you get your news from other, non-Ginger sources. Of course, if I'm wrong, that's awesome). Now, less then a week later, Kristen Dunst checked herself into rehab. Personally, I would have lost it long ago, hearing all those stories of Jake and Reese so happy together, but Kristen seemed to keep it together. A friend of mine predicted Kristen would be the next to seek help. Maybe he has insider info I don't (or maybe he's secretly mailing her crack), but I wouldn't have guessed Kristen would pack it up and head to Utah. Maybe this Cirque Lodge place is really just a lovely getaway and they call it "Rehab" to earn street cred? You think? Anyone? Okay. I guess not...

Yeah. She's totally high in this picture.

Survivor - The Return of Jonny Fairplay

Survivor returns tonight with it 16th (!) season. I read somewhere it's officially the longest running reality show on television (but that can't be true because the Real World is still on). Anyway, this season matches 10 former Survivor castaways against "fan favorites" (i.e. people who've watched the show religiously). Obviously, no one really cares about the new people yet, so here are the 3 people I am most excited to have back in my TV life:

1. James Clement (China, pictured) - The big, yummy gravedigger from Louisiana gave us some of the best sound bites last season in China. Looking at his amazing arms every week wasn't too bad either.

2. Jonathan Penner (Cook Island) - I liked Jonathan. Sure, he's neurotic and a bit bossy and overbearing, but he's funny and interesting and I think he will make some serious plays this season.

3. Jon Dalton aka "Jonny Fairplay" (Pearl Islands) - Jonny Fairplay is an asshole. There's no other way to describe him. While in the Pearl Islands, he told his tribe mates his grandmother passed away, all to win a reward (turned out grandma was alive and well). Then he was on that horrible E! show about reality TV stars making a movie and he hooked up with crazy Tanya from the Real World/Road Rules trainwreck MTV passes for entertainment. Basically, he's insane. You can't go wrong with that when it comes to reality TV.

I'm picking Jonathan or Cirie to win it all. Anyone else have any predictions? Anyone else still watching this show?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Gingers are Doin' it for Themselves

One of our favorite gingers, Jenny Lewis (front woman for "indie" rock band Rilo Kiley), is reportedly recording a new solo album. I report this for three reasons:

1. Liz is Rilo Kiley's #1 Fan - Seriously. The night I met her she had a Rilo Kiley button on her cowgirl costume.

2. Rabbit Fur Coat was Awesome - Jenny's first solo album is an incredible blend of indie rock/country/folk. Pick it up immediately if you haven't heard it (and you like indie rock/country/folk). I dare say, it is better then Rilo Kiley's latest effort.

3. Jenny Lewis is Fascinating - I won't say I'm obsessed with her, because I'm not. I just find her life incredible. She was a child actress (she played Shelly Long's daughter in everyone's favorite homage to cookie sales, Troop Beverly Hills), became the darling of indie music and dated Jake Gyllenhaal. She basically has the life I always wanted. I'd hate her if she wasn't a redhead. Kinda like LiLo.

It's cookie time

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Call it, friendo

It's tough to get out there and see all five Best Picture nominees in time for this years' Oscars (which will, reportedly, go on despite the writers' strike), but with the help of this site, you can follow a great American tradition and make your choice based on 2 to 3 minute sound bites. The site has compiled the trailers for all the nominees: Michael Clayton, Atonement, Juno, There will be Blood and No Country for Old Men. We don't get to actually vote for the Oscars, but this can help you form your public opinion, the court of which is the only one anyone really cares about anyway.

WriterGate 2007 - Strike On!

Rumor has it the strike may be over soon, but until then, New York Magazine enlisted some of your favorite television writers to write season endings for other shows (The Simpsons writers wrap up The Office; a Dexter scribe takes on Grey's Anatomy). The results are pretty funny (the Pushing Daisies finale might just be my favorite) and it all shows the writers are just as eager as I am to get back to work (as in, I am eager for them to get back to work...not so eager to get myself back to work...oh, you get the point).

Happy Birthday Liz!

A story for Liz's birthday:

Two and a half years ago, I went to a Halloween party at a friend of a friend's and met a nice gal, straight off the proverbial bus from the East Coast. Her name was Liz and she was dressed as a cowgirl (apropos of her move out west). We got to chatting and it turned out she lived on my block and shared my love for Veronica Mars and Guinness. We hung out a few times and then kinda lost touch (as people do), but a year later, at the same Halloween party, we reconnected and have been causing a ruckus ever since. The End

Known as Vegas Liz to some, Boston Liz to most, Liz has been a wonderful addition to the Left Coast (even if she is a New England sports fan). She shares her birthday with some pretty interesting characters: Ladies Man Tim Meadows, Duff McKagan of Guns n' Roses, Jennifer Jason Leigh, William S. Burroughs and Hank Aaron.

Won't you join me in wishing Liz a very happy birthday?

Monday, February 4, 2008

More Brits for Your Viewing Pleasure

While searching for anything new and different to fill my DVR, I stumbled upon Eli Stone, the new, quirky comedy following Lost Thursdays on ABC. Lured by the star power of the adorable Johnny-Lee Miller (of Trainspotting and marrying Angelina Jolie fame), I set my DVR to capture the first episode. How excited was I to learn the show co-stars Victor Garber and features George Michael in a fantastically fun cameo?

Eli Stone is a high powered lawyer with a smokin' hot fiancee and a killer apartment in San Fran. One day, he hears music no one hears and has visions of George Michael singing Faith. Turns out, he has a brain aneurysm and his visions are pointing him toward people who need is lawyerly help (is he a prophet? or is the aneurysm just screwing with his perception of reality?). It's kinda like the do-gooder version of Ally McBeal (the early seasons...before it just got ridiculous). The pilot had me laughing and even getting a bit choked up. Like everything these days, you can catch the first episode online and then we can all discover the wonders of Eli Stone together...

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Rappin' Cosby

Red brought to my attention recently this article on about Bill Cosby's eminent rap album.

What perfect way to start off Black History Month than to create your own track listing for his album.

Here are mine:

Bill Cosby, Myself
Kids Listen to the Darndest Crap
Jammin' with jay ee ell ell oh
Ain't nothin' sweeter than a sweater
Combustible Huxtable
Feelin' up Phylicia (Rashad in the Shack)
NBC equals Needs Bill Cosby
I Spy... a diaper in my future
I Made You, How Raven is That?
Never No Nothing (and other N words)

And then of course his #1 single: Theo/Rudy
Where the chorus is him just going "Theoooooooo Rudeeeeee Theooooooo Rudeeeeee" over some kind of infectious beat.

This last one is inspired by the following video:

Any other ideas? Leave comments...

Friday, February 1, 2008

Jai Guru De Va means Happy Friday

As we wind down the working week and shove off into a weekend full of football induced debauchery, let us a take a minute to breathe deep and reflect on the mysteries of the cosmos --- which will soon have a cool soundtrack.

Apparently on Monday, Feb. 4, NASA is going to take a break from wasting our tax, I mean, listening to deep space for signals, and will instead use its massive antennas to broadcast something out: The Beatles' song Across the Universe.

I like it. I think its cool in a "give peace a chance" kind of way. Maybe someone will hear it and decide Earth isn't just a warmongering garbage heap of a planet after all. Of course, showing our soft side could also instigate a massive, murderous alien invasion looking to take advantage of our tender hearts. Maybe we should broadcast some excerpts of like, Ann Coulter talking as well, just to assure any potential invaders that we are, indeed, just at batshit crazy as we've always appeared.

Have a good weekend guys!