Sunday, February 28, 2010
Nope, nada, nothing.
Take a second and imagine what you think it is. You've heard about it. You may know it's won more Razzies than any other movie. Think about what that means and then forget it, because it is so far beyond anything you can imagine. The story is worse than you can imagine. The special effects are worse than you can imagine. The acting is worse than you can imagine. It ranks #27 on the list because it got 2% on Rotten Tomatoes. That equated to three people giving it a positive review. Two of those people said viewers should go see it so they can understand how bad it is. The third said it gets better as the movie goes on and that review is accompanied by comment after comment calling the reviewer an idiot.
I called The Master of Disguise the worst movie I had ever seen. Let me change that. It is the least entertaining movie I have ever seen. Battlefield Earth is the worst movie I have ever seen. It is a complete and total failure on every possible level. It was made in 2000 and has special effects and title sequences that make it look like it came from 1975. John Travolta puts forth the single worst acting job ever (the movie won a Razzie for Worst Screen Couple for Travolta and anyone who ever appears on screen with him). The plot is so bad that it includes people turning on electronics that have been neglected (and without electricity) for 1,000 years and cavemen engineering a nuclear bomb with basically no training. It is infuriatingly abysmal.
And that makes it so darn entertaining. Well, for a few minutes, at least. Once you've seen all of its tricks, it gets impossible to watch, but it is worth watching at least the first half hour or so. It's on Starz On Demand and Netflix Watch Instantly. Just watch a little. Let me know how it feels to have your brains liquify and leak from your ears.
More words than I thought I had, but they still say nothing. They do the movie no justice. Battlefield Earth is legendary exactly because it is a feat that may never be equalled. Kudos.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
Nothing scripted besides 24 and Lost is on TV right now because of the Olympics, so last night was Survivor and the filler-heavy and who-cares-anyway first results show for American Idol. Sure, none of the four people I picked to get voted off actually got booted, though I did think Ashley Rodriguez had a serious chance to go. I'm a bit surprised about Janell Wheeler, because I figured she was too cute to go early, but whatever. Nobody has really been that good this season and the four who did get voted out were all pretty bad. I won't care until Lacey Brown or Tim Urban make the Top 12. Also, it sucks that my Joe Munoz jokes were cut tragically short.
As for Survivor, it's a little annoying that they played Parvati up all episode and then she didn't get any votes. Obviously, they need to get rid of her. The longer you let her hang around, the harder she is to get out. At the same time, it's much more fun with her than with Randy, so it's fine. And while Rob continues to be the big hero, there was some great Russell and some great Coach tonight. Russell did his craziness by stealing the machete, though you could see it coming a mile away as soon as Coach and Rob tried to tell him what to do. Coach totally looked like he was the great strategist/leader, but then he spoke lovingly of himself and quoted Martin Luther King. Man, I love Coach.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
- Todrick Hall, singing Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone": Quite a bold song choice. "Making the song your own" doesn't mean taking the words and changing everything else. I mean, bold, but it was a mess. A hot mess, as Ellen arrived from 2002 to let us know someone else was on last night's episode.
- Aaron Kelly, singing Rascal Flatts' "Here Comes Goodbye": Full disclosure: I've hated this kid all along. He's fake and he's the kind of performer I hate on this show. Simon liked him, but I wouldn't know. I fast-forwarded through his song after like two seconds.
- Jermaine Sellers, singing Oleta Adams' "Get Here": I actually heard on Twitter before starting the show that he was bad and obnoxious. Another song that everyone's sung in auditions and the second of the three tonight that I've fast-forwarded through. Oy, this isn't going well. Ellen looks like a blond Aaron Kelly, right? Yeah, I've resorted to that at this point. And afterwards, he thought Ryan was asking him if he made up with Michael Jackson? Because he forgot the name of the bandleader that he snapped at? Oh, man. He's the Coach of American Idol. I'm ready for him to start talking about slaying the Big Mike dragon.
- Tim Urban (No!!!!! Not the guy who never deserved to be there!!!!!), singing One Republic's "Apologize": Considering my three favorites this year are guys, I really hate a lot of the other ones. I hate Brunette Ellen the most, but this kid is close behind. Not only can he not sing worth a lick, but that vacant I'm-trying-to-be-sincere stare into the camera is off-putting. Well, at least I didn't fast-forward through this one, but only because I wanted to see how god-awful it could get. Answer: less Hermes-awful and more Zeus-awful. He sang more like Urban Meyer and less like Keith Urban. Simon killed him and I love that.
- Joe Munoz, singing Jason Mraz's "You and I Both": Why is he angry at me? He's glowering at me even though he's singing a sweet song. What did I do? I only hated the other guys. I think it's the eyebrows. Seriously, dude, I just thought you were safe and boring, not that bad. Please don't be mad.
- Tyler Grady, singing The Guess Who's "American Woman": Oh, man, they had to remind me about that scarecrow who guest judged. And he did the Lenny Kravitz version? Oh, f*** him. I used to like you, dude, but we're no longer friends. I'm totally Joe Munoz at you. So, so bad. What the hell is going on this season? Maybe the judges said the girls were so good because they suck less than the guys?
- Lee DeWyze, singing Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars": I hate when people choose songs like this or from One Republic or The Fray. Anytime I hear one of these types of songs I expect doctors in Seattle to be sleeping with everyone in sight. Not dynamic enough a song for this show. The bad pitch didn't help. What an awful show they're putting on tonight.
- John Park, singing Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child": I always like the crooners, so I'm inclined to him. He's definitely got the best voice so far of the night, but he looks really uncomfortable on stage. It was okay, maybe my favorite of the night so far, which is a seriously low bar. The word of the season so far is: "boring".
- Gotta say: Ellen has not been that good so far. She's been about as dynamic as every singer.
- Michael "Big Mike" Lynche, singing Maroon 5's "This Love": The first of my three favorite people this year. Well, come on, he's one of everyone's favorites. My wife says, "It's too fast for him," and she's totally right. I think he's got the goods, but this was very manic. Also the whole Aaron Neville one-button-too-low shirt is not working for me. Disappointing, but what's new this week? I did like when he said, "Come on, The Dawg!" Funny stuff. He's a shoo-in for the Top 12 because everyone likes him so much.
- Alex Lambert, singing James Morrison's "Wonderful World": MULLET ALERT! MULLET ALERT! I don't even care how he sings at this point! His singing is awful, okay, but I can't help but stare at the mullet. He's going home faster than you can say, "Why did the producers put him in the middle of the three most talented guys when he was this bad?" It was actually the worst performance of the night, which is shocking, considering the ball of turd that Tim Urban hurled at us.
- Casey James, singing Bryan Adams' "Heaven": We're into the two most talented people in this year's competition and my two favorites. This guy can seriously play guitar. He was a little too generous with the vibratto and the whole Kara thing is Chris Hansen-ish, but this was the best performance of the season so far. Still a little oomph-less, but we're getting towards the right direction, plus Ellen was finally funny. The Ryan "HR" line was killer.
- Andrew Garcia, singing Fall Out Boy's "Sugar, We're Goin' Down": By far, the best singer in the competition sings, by far, my favorite song so far. First time I've gotten excited for a performance this year. Look, he's the best. We know that. I agree with Simon that it was a bit indulgent. My fear is that he's going to sing every song in this style and that will get annoying fast.
Urban and Lambert are so gone. So, so gone.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
- Paige Miles, singing Free's "All Right Now": Awful. Dreadful. Way to start off the season with some awful singing. Bad song choice, bad pitch, bad volume in both directions. Oh my. Simon broke out "having said that" (see: Curb Your Enthusiasm)! Bad times. Also, after one performance, I'm this close to just fast-forwarding through Kara every time. What the hell are the judges listening to?
- Ashley Rodriguez, singing Leona Lewis' "Happy": A second straight pitchy beginning. So far, this is miserable. I definitely got the feel from her in the auditions that she had the look and an okay voice, but not great. This performance was so freaking bad. What is going on so far? Side question: is Leona Lewis the Mariah Carey of this generation? Where did that come from?
- Janell Wheeler, singing Heart's "What About Love?": Full of ourselves much? Maybe if I come in after the first five seconds of each of these performances, I'll be happier, because they're all starting slower than the traffic on a Boca Raton road. Well, they're not finishing too strong either. For all of the "buzz" that Ryan's referring to, yet nobody actually knows anything about, these all stink so far.
- Lilly Scott, singing the Beatles' "Fixin' a Hole": She's a favorite because the judges talk her up so much and she's certainly been the best so far. Nice voice, good arrangement, but I'm still not really feeling it. A little pitchy, a little uninspired. Ho-hum.
- If you had three-and-a-half in the "when will I actually start fast-forwarding through Kara" pool, you win! Moving on.
- Katelyn Epperly, singing the Beatles' "Oh, Darling": Look, I'm not usually like this, but what the f*** was she wearing? Who puts on an ill-fitting leather couch upholstery outfit on national TV? Dude, she comes off as really, really fake. I get very bad vibes.
- Haeley Vaughn, singing the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand": Jesus, her nose-piercing story was stupid. Am I in a bad mood? Because I hate everyone. She's way too bubbly and she screams. Her screaming was only good in the performance she did when Theo was coming down the stairs when her, her brother and sisters, and her parents performed that Ray Charles song for her grandparents' anniversary.
- Lacey Brown, singing Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide": I don't think performing this song is a great idea. Stevie Nicks' vocal is too iconic. Too easy to not live up to. Take this version, for instance. Thirty seconds into this, I felt like I should have just fast-forwarded to the next person, because it's not like I'm going to watch her build on this next week. I like when I say stuff and then Simon says the same thing. This has to be one of the worst episodes I can remember.
- Michelle Delamor, singing Alicia Keys' "Fallin'": Boring, boring, boring, boring, boring. I should have known the girls really stunk when Ryan kept hyping them up so much. The sandwich artists at Subway show more passion than this group. I'm watching this at midnight right now and I'm trying to stay awake. Every time I try to get out of sleep, they pull me back in. Randy said that her look was "hot and dope and cool." He forgot "fresh" and "fly" and "stupid".
- Didi Benami, singing Ingrid Michaelson's "The Way I Am": Yes, finally. The best so far if only on the sound, but still missing it. Again, Simon agrees with me. I rock.
- Siobhan Magnus, singing Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game": This is one of my secretly favorite songs. It's just cool and complicated and, again, has an iconic vocal. All reasons why nobody should ever sing it on Idol. She did okay, but it was just too sweet. Not dark enough. Really nice voice, though. I like her as a singer. Personality? Eh.
- Crystal Bowersox, singing Alanis Morissette's "Hand in My Pocket": My two favorites coming in on the girl side were these last two, Crystal and Katie. This was awesome, particularly in contrast to the other performances tonight. My one fear/observation is that I think she may be too good for this competition. They're looking for a Kris Allen, not someone who's really talented.
- Katie Stevens, singing Nina Simone's "Feeling Good": This song has been done so many times that I think I've performed this song on American Idol. Like almost everyone else, if not everyone else, there was no real oomph. Good voice, though.
Lacey Brown already got voted out. I have to think Haeley Vaughn is also going, because she was the other worst one, though Ashley Rodriguez was also pretty bad. Put me on the spot: Lacey and Haeley.
Monday, February 22, 2010
- The Monologue:
- This one is too easy. Some doctors have asked companies to redesign the hot dog because of choking risks. [Joke redacted.]
- The Dalai Lama has a Twitter account where he follows zero people. On the other hand, he has over 15,000 followers. So he has that going for him. Which is nice.
- Miley Cyrus is going to present at the Oscars. It's not like a joke is needed for that, but it is a fitting follow-up to when she presented the Nobel Peace Prize last year.
- Random Pop Culture:
- Big Love is really creepy. The whole idea of FLDS is disturbing and they're really pushing the envelope with some of that this year.
- With not much TV on against the Olympics (for the record, ice dancing is my least favorite event), I can continue to catch up on some shows I started at the end of last year. I just watched the third season premiere of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. If you watch one episode of a sitcom in the near future, make it this one, entitled "The Gang Finds a Dumpster Baby".
- The more I watch Kansas, the more I'm convinced that I'll pick them when the brackets come out in twenty days. More on basketball in the coming few weeks.
- The last half of the second hour of today's "The Tony Kornheiser Show" (it's available as a podcast on iTunes) was as funny as radio gets. The newsman read a story about a horrible death and, for a certain reason, got the giggles, which spread around the studio. It's the funniest show on the air and I can't remember many times when it was as laugh-out-loud funny as today.
- Random Rant:
- Last night, in celebration of the exciting US win over Canada, Sarah Palin tweeted some cheers, including the exclamation: "AMERICA!!". Look, I'm proud of Team USA, but yelling "America" makes my skin crawl. There's just something about that that makes me feel weird. They are "Team USA". "Team America" was the movie where the puppets f***ed each other.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Only thing I'll say is about The Amazing Race. Sure, it's cute that the cowboys did well, but I'm already getting really tired of this season. There's nobody to root for because they're all stupid. As fun as it is to see the locales, it gets very frustrating seeing all the teams screw their way up around the globe. I'll stick with it, obviously, but I'm losing interest fast.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Now, I admit that I'm not the target audience for such a movie. I don't like country music, particularly the modern variety. I don't like stories about people going to back to their hometowns to realize where they came from and why their big city life is so damaging. I don't like movies about good-hearted people who say things like, "it's the Christian thing to do." So, know that I watched this with my Blue State, Megalopolis-living, Jewish, liberal filter on. And the verdict? I don't understand why this movie was on the list.
Sure, it's bad. Toby Keith (as a washed-up country star coming home to attend his brother's funeral) isn't an actor, though he tries hard. Kelly Preston (as the estranged mother of a daughter he's never really met, also coming home to attend her brother's funeral) is not great. Burt Reynolds shows up in a movie for the second week in a row, this time with an okay Southern accent and a really horrific dye job. (An aside: I knock Burt Reynolds like his mere presence is enough to drag a movie down, but that's not really true. He's not a great actor anymore, but he can be very good in small roles, such as in one of the most underrated sports movie ever, Mystery, Alaska.)
Besides most of the acting, there are other faults. The attention to detail is very weak. At one point, Keith is singing a song at a bar and clearly lip-synching. As he finishes a phrase, he pulls away from the mic, but the volume of his voice doesn't change. At one point in the movie, an older woman suffers a stroke. The doctor says that the woman has some paralysis on her left side, yet she looks, acts, and speaks with no such paralysis. The direction is poor; shots either last too long or too short and the meaning of the lingering last shot is entirely undecipherable. The editing is weak; there are a number of scenes that are inconsequential to the story as a whole. The script is not good; a character says at one point, "I don't know which in worse shape: my truck or my love life!" In fact, it seems to pander to the CMT market. There's a scene where the estranged daughter drives a truck in what seems to be a commercial for Ford pickups as the truck drives beautifully through mud and, sure enough, there is a Ford truck commercial music video in the Bonus Features section of the DVD. There is a lot of contemporary country music, to the point that it seems like many scenes are only reasons to play music in the background. The movie culminates in a Disney-fied pop country song performed by the enstranged daughter which seems to only be there to sell records. In this predominantly white town in Tennessee (though there is one black character, an older woman played by Thelma from Amen, who references the Bible and says things like, "Lawdy"), a performance towards the end by Bebe Winans leads to the camera panning to a token black couple in the audience.
Okay, it was bad, but it wasn't that bad in the grand scheme of things. Sure, it should have been a TV movie. There are some okay scenes, though. At one point, Keith and the daughter are writing the song that she sings at the end and it's actually quite sweet. I suppose it was improvised and, as a songwriter, Keith seems much more natural than he does other times. Near the end, the performance by Bebe Winans is actually a song sung by him, Keith, and Willie Nelson. It's the kind of old-time gospel country music that I actually enjoy. It's not my kind of movie, but it certainly, at #72, wasn't nearly as bad as All About Steve at #96 or The Adventures of Pluto Nash at #79.
This is the weakness of Rotten Tomatoes' list. It ranks the movies based solely on their "Tomatometer" rating, so the 5% that Broken Bridges got isn't judged in relation to any other movie. Same reason that All About Steve, the third-worst movie I've seen on this list, is ranked so high. For the record, the only movie that I truly think should be on the list and isn't is Year One, which has a 15% rating on the website. But, the list is and what it is, and every movie I've seen so far is bad, even if this particular one wasn't that bad.
So, I didn't dislike it as much as I thought I would, which I hope is true of all of the movies I'm not looking forward to, though I know it won't be. A lot of movies coming up that I dread. However, next week will mark the twenty-fifth of these films. The quarter pole! To celebrate, I'm pulling out all the stops next week and watching one of the most famously bad movies of all time. I'm very excited. Very. It co-stars one of the actors I mentioned above and the password is "Thetans".
Thursday, February 18, 2010
- The Monologue:
- I'm not saying that people are disenchanted with NBC's coverage of the Olympics, but they just hyped that tonight they'll show us whether or not William the Conqueror succeeded in his bid to take England.
- Writers are going to boycott Tiger's "press conference" tomorrow. What are all those great golf columnists I read every day going to write about?
- Random Pop Culture:
- I had Russell as my favorite Survivor contestant last week, but that got challenged big time tonight by an all-time performance from Boston Rob. With the possible exception of Colby, Rob is the most likeable (as much as you hate to do it) contestant. This week, he added pure bad-assery by passing out, shaking it off, then leading his tribe to another victory. With James going berzerk and the Heroes all hating each other, the Villains are well in the driver's seat and we may get a really nice Russell-Rob showdown. What a crazy tribal council tonight. Great season, even with the inherent weakness of prejudice in the All-Stars format.
- Nice twist at the end of this week's 24, but it's still boring.
- The Olympics beat Idol soundly in the ratings last night, which is pretty surprising. Maybe people are starting to sour on Idol already. Never but so edgy, it feels even less so this year.
- Random Music Video:
- In honor of Tiger tomorrow.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
So watch for yourself:
- The Monologue:
- Sarah Palin criticized Family Guy for a joke that it made. Next up, jousting competition versus windmill.
- It's nice that Olympians can capitalize on their skills to go on to great careers. Snowboarders and figure skaters can do exhibitions. Biathletes can become deadly alpine killing machines. Curlers become the stars of the cleaning industry. It's all about where the sports take them.
- Random Pop Culture:
- I was less than judicious with my DVR and still managed to watch tonight's two-hour filler episode of American Idol in a little less than an hour. First, their use of the same footage over and over again was bad. Second, they put through at least one singer who stinks. Is anyone not going to make it into the top twenty-four?
- Watched a lot of basketball over the last two night. I'll hone my picks as we get into Championship Week, but here's a tidbit. Kansas is much more talented than any other team.
- Lost Comments/Questions of the Week:
- For an episode that gave us as big an answer (maybe?) as we've ever had, it was one hell of a head-scratcher. Let's work our way up to the end.
- Nice to see John having a relatively happy life in LA (and the Hurley thing was great). Makes it tougher to take if you assume that the island is where everything is going to really go down.
- Who the hell was that kid? Is he setting the rules? Did he trap Locke?
- Who is Jacob protecting the island from, seeing as how the Man in Black is there? I assume it was a lie and the island really is important, but it does make it interesting to think that Jacob really was manipulating everyone.
- And speaking of everyone, we'll get to the names. Everyone's there. Here is the Lost Easter Eggs blog post with the screencaps. Littleton? Faraday? Burke? Lewis? Straume? Goodspeed? All and more, but didn't see Kate's name.
- And so we may just know what the numbers represent. The six most likely candidates: #4 Locke, #8 Reyes, #15 Sawyer, #16 Jarrah, #23 Shephard, #42 Kwon. What do the numbers exactly stand for, though? Not the order in which Jacob visited them.
- Answers, but I'm left even more confused than before. Lot of wrap up to do in the next thirteen episodes!
Monday, February 15, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
As I've said before, German director Uwe Boll is a true legend in the field of bad movies. He has a lifetime achievement award from the Razzies. He specializes in making movies of video games and we know how bad those kinds of movies always are. He shows up on this "Worst of the Worst" list four times and I've already seen one of them, Bloodrayne, which I loved. So I was looking forward to watching In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, because I assumed that Boll's movies are all funny-bad. But, no! There were certainly some unintentional laugh-out-loud moments in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (I like writing the title out), but it's mostly quite dull. Boll tries to be serious about it, instead of his usual kitsch. In fact, because it's about some dumb quest and has monsters in it, sort of, it could be called "Bored of the Rings" instead of In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale.
In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale is about a farmer named, um, Farmer (they try to explain it but it's really annoying) who lives happily in a village in some kingdom or another. When some monster-ish things bust into his town for no reason and kill his young son and kidnap his wife, he sets off to avenge and find, respectively. It turns out the monsters are controlled by an evil wizard who is trying to take over the kingdom by killing the king and installing the king's only heir, a screw-up nephew as the new ruler. Why this involves monsters attacking a farm was never quite answered. Meanwhile, the wizard strengthens his powers by seducing the daughter of the king's good wizard, who then gets a bout of conscience and decides to fight for the good guys. The king's good wizard visits the town that Farmer lives in and realizes something special has happened (Spoiler Alert: Farmer is actually the real heir to the throne, if you didn't already figure it out) and tries to convince Farmer that defeating the wizard will both save the kingdom and save the wife. A lot of poorly shot battle scenes ensue, blah, blah, blah. In fact, the editing came very close to giving me a seizure. Whereas Inglourious Basterds, which I watched again last night, has a lot of lingering camera shots, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale has scenes that involve a number of one-second camera shots that keep switching back and forth. Excedrin time.
Okay, so you have the plot, but here's the thing. It has an big-name cast and this is where the true unintentional comedy of In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale comes in to play. Farmer is played by Jason Statham, who's awesome. I mean, the guy's pretty much great in anything, even if this isn't quite The Bank Job or Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. His wife is played by Claire Forlani, who's just fine. One of his sidekicks is played by Ron Perlman, who isn't quite as good as he is when he's a bunch of red makeup, but he's okay. The good wizard is played by John Rhys-Davies, who's also just fine. But let's take a break right here.
One of my new pet peeves is the crutch of a script of a period piece with very stilted lines delivered in British accents. Every Roman movie or TV show, from Gladiator to Rome to (in my opinion, the entirely unwatchable) Spartacus: Blood and Sand has this. As did Lord of the Rings, of course. This movie is no exception, but then you get into the other members of the cast. The king's screw-up, evil nephew is played by Matthew Lillard, who does an okay British accent but just isn't a very good actor. The evil wizard is played by Ray Liotta, who doesn't even try. He shows less passion than a Washington Wizards player. The king is played by Burt Reynolds. Burt Reynolds. Liotta just talks regularly, but there's no way in hell that Burt Reynolds could ever try any accent other than his regular voice. So imagine Burt Reynolds delivering these stilted lines that use "shall" instead of "will" and so on. It's funny.
As I watched this, I wondered why anyone would work with Boll. Everyone knows that he's in the conversation for worst director in the world. Why would anyone finance his movies? Bloodrayne cost $25 million to make and has made $3 million. In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (or ItNotK: ADST) cost $60 million and made $27 million. You might as well just light $20 million on fire or trust it to an NBA GM. But, there's an interesting Producers-like angle to this. It turns out that, in Germany, the country is so hungry for a film industry that there are all kinds of tax shelters and reimbursements for movies that lose money. So, as long as Boll produces his movies in Germany, they can lose money and his investors still make out like bandits. I mean, seriously, like bandits, since they're stealing multiple millions of dollars from people that, by going to see his movies in the theater, prove themselves to be even too stupid to be contestants on this new season of The Amazing Race. What does it mean? We have more Uwe Boll movies to look forward to in the future and for that, at least, we can all be grateful (so long as we all like bad movies).
Thursday, February 11, 2010
- The Monologue:
- Other than a quick trip to the store on Sunday, I left the immediate vicinity of my house today for the first time in a week. The chicks from Grey Gardens called to tell me I should get a life.
- The whole time I was home, I didn't shave (because, seriously, why would I?). I finally broke down when my face started itching like a reckless prostitute's crotch.
- There's so much snow piled up on my lawn that I made a snow man, a life-sized model of former 76ers star, 7'6" Shawn Bradley. Only not as white.
- Random Pop Culture:
- The first thirty minutes of tonight's Survivor premiere were brutal. This looks like it's going to be the show's best season yet, with so many great personalities and their built-in baggage. If you've ever watched Survivor, you have to watch this season. Have to. You have old-school Colby and Jerri. You have new-school Coach and Tyson. You can hate Amanda for having no personality. You can love Boston Rob for being a tool. You get to watch Russell one more time (or for the first time if you didn't watch last season), and he is not to be missed.
- John Mayer apologized for his Playboy interview (it's an interesting read, you can find it easily enough). Sure, the use of the "n-word" was not good, but I don't think he said anything worth going so nuts over. He's a pop star. The interview was in Playboy. Seriously.
- I mean, how many things have politicians or political radio hosts or corporate heads, etc., etc., said that people have shrugged off? And they're going crazy because John Mayer said he doesn't find black women attractive and, in doing so, compared his genitalia to David Duke? That's actually kind of funny.
- Your List Sucks!: Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains Players -- Ranking My Favorites
- 20. Candice ("Cook Islands") -- Who?
- 19. Danielle ("Panama") -- No, seriously, who are these two?
- 18. Sugar ("Gabon") -- Cries way too much.
- 17. Sandra ("Pearl Islands") -- Sure, she won, but who remembers her from that season?
- 16. Jerri ("The Australian Outback") -- No way she should have been given another chance after she walked off the "All-Stars" reunion show.
- 15. Amanda ("China") -- She is a black hole of personality. She is not only without any interesting, um, non-physical, qualities, but she actually sucks the personality out of everyone in her immediate vicinity.
- 14. Rupert ("Pearl Islands") -- He's just a little too earnest and that not only makes him annoying, it makes him a bad player.
- 13. Randy ("Gabon") -- He's just a snivelling mess, but I think he'll be funny with the stronger personalities for the very short time that he's there.
- 12. Stephenie ("Palau") -- Yes, she's one of the poster children for the game and, yes, she was beyond awesome in tonight's premiere, but I was so sick of her and Bobby Jon after they were there two seasons in a row.
- 11. Courtney ("China") -- She gets credit for being nasty and for surviving as long as she did (to the final vote when Todd won and she got more votes than Amanda's none), but she's very weak.
- 10. Tom ("Palau") -- He's in the conversation for the best player in the show's history. He certainly had the most dominant single season performance.
- 9. JT ("Tocantins") -- He looks like he'll be one of the two Heroes to try the evil route this time around. Seems to be a great guy and was more involved in strategy in his season than it seemed.
- 8. Tyson ("Tocantins") -- The dude is funny. Probably the second intentionally funniest contestant to Rob.
- 7. James ("China") -- One of the most likable contestants ever and an absolute beast in challenges. Just not quite smart enough.
- 6. Coach ("Tocantins") -- The unintentionally funniest contestant ever. He is to Survivor what Steven Seagal: Lawman is to life.
- 5. Colby ("The Australian Outback") -- Just can't hate him. He's Superman on this show. Awesome, wholesome, maybe a little too polished and boring.
- 4. Cirie ("Panama") -- The dark horse to take this thing down. Can't quite figure out how she's on the Heroes tribe since she was one of the masterminds behind the girl alliance on "Fans vs. Favorites." They give her credit for being smart, but not enough.
- 3. Boston Rob ("Marquesas") -- Hard to believe that he was on it that long ago. If one really wanted to make up something like "Greatest Reality Show Contestant Ever," one might put Boston Rob right at the top of the list.
- 2. Parvati ("Cook Islands") -- She was brilliant in the "Fans vs. Favorites" season and I freaking love how insidious she is. She is so cold, but she hides it so well.
- 1. Russell ("Samoa") -- Obviously. I mean, come on. He's the best.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
- The Monologue:
- Seriously, this winter stuff is out of hand. My dog was attacked by a penguin today when we went for a walk.
- Random Pop Culture:
- Have I sung the praises of Human Target yet? The show is even more awesome than the opening credits, which are awesome in their own right. It's the kind of show you can pop in and out of and get pretty consistent (so far) thrills.
- Group night is always my favorite night on Idol for two reasons. First, it's the one night that is the least scripted and the most like a regular reality show. Second, it has the most interpersonal tension of any episode. Tonight was a little blah, though. The tension wasn't as bad as usual, the good performances weren't that good, for the most part. The bad performances weren't that bad. I don't really understand some of the decisions (the girl with the huge glasses stayed and is awful and the ex-con, Matt Lawrence, left and had my favorite voice of the auditions), but that won't matter for more than one more week anyway. Two more weeks to the live shows.
- Watched The Hangover tonight, leaving Waltz With Bashir (which I'm not about to watch again, no matter how good it was the first time) as the only movie I picked up for the storms and didn't watch. The Hangover is just as funny on the third viewing (saw it twice in the theater) and I still find new things I missed. I also realized that the other day I said it was great when Ed Helms brushes the chicken off of the counter, but it was actually Bradley Cooper.
- This article confuses me. Too many comic book movies! Ryan Reynolds is playing Green Lantern for DC, while we already know he'll be playing Dead Pool for Marvel? There's going to be a sequel to Dark Knight? Wouldn't that actually be a sequel to Batman Begins? Do we consider Last Crusade a sequel to Temple of Doom?
- Random Music Video:
- Twenty years ago today, the new Billboard chart came out with a new #1. You better believe I'll take any chance I can get to give you MC Skat Kat.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
- The Monologue:
- We're getting a lot of snow here. How much snow are you getting?
- We're getting so much snow that I saw a rabbit on cross country skis.
- There's so much snow outside that even Paul Molitor is overwhelmed.
- "Informer" didn't last as long on the charts as this snow is lasting on the ground (okay, here's a link to the video).
- Random Pop Culture:
- 24 has definitely been stupid in the past, but it's never been boring. Until the last fifteen minutes, this week's episode was exactly that. Brutally so. Sure, it was awesome when Jack pulled the knife out of his stomach and threw it across the room right into the guy's neck. Man, this season is not good.
- How good was Ellen on her American Idol debut tonight? I don't know if I actually expected less, but she was honest and very, very funny. On top of that, there was some legit talent, especially Andrew Garcia doing the dearly departed Paula Abdul's "Straight Up". Early to link to an Idol performance? Maybe, but I'd download that single in a second.
- There was an article about how they probably used a thumb double for Megan Fox in her Super Bowl commercial. She had a Super Bowl commercial? Seriously, I barely remember most of them, but I do not remember her being in one.
- Lost Comments/Questions of the Week:
- Seemed like more of a set-up episode, nothing super groundbreaking, but there was some stuff in there. Mostly either paving the way to the answer to a big question or shedding light on something we already knew.
- There were two things from the "flash sideways". First, Ethan being the doctor that saw Claire. Makes sense. We know he was medically trained. It stands to reason that Amy Goodspeed was evacuated from the island in 1977 by Chang and took baby Ethan with her. It shows that there will be a wide web of connections in L.A., but we knew that would be the case.
- Second, it certainly seems like there's some sort of deja vu going on with the passengers of Oceanic 815. Kate gave Jack a weird, lingering look at the airport. The name Aaron jumped into Claire's mind for some unknown reason. When she heard the name, Kate gave a very funny look.
- On the island, the big joke was, of course, Mac from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia as Aldo, the Other who escorted Kate and Jin to find Sawyer. He absolutely was on the show before, as the guard outside of Room 23 (the Clockwork Orange-style room where Karl was being kept). It was very funny that he began to remind Kate of that just before she knocked him out.
- The big concept was the "infection" that we heard about a long time ago -- and then saw -- in regards to the French science team. Rousseau's people were taken by the monster and she killed them because they were infected. Dogan said that this, in Sayid's case, was the person being "claimed" by the dark forces of the island. Considering what we know about the monster now, that wasn't exactly coming out of nowhere. At the end, Claire, who we knew was alive all along anyway, did look very Rousseau-ish, so maybe Danielle was the one with the infection all along? Don't know if it really matters or if I really care. I guess the other question this speaks to -- and one I know we all care about -- is if this speaks to John's experience on the island and whether he was "claimed" by the monster from the very beginning.
- It also speaks to what may have happened to young Ben when he was healed in the temple. If the "infection" is so bad, why did Richard allow it to happen to Ben? Is this why Jacob seemed so uncaring towards Ben in the last season finale? I think it might be.
- Otherwise, it was very heavy on Jack and Kate and devoid of Locke and Ben, so there you go. An episode like that is never going to be thought of but so highly.
I'll start with this. It's now thirty minutes since I finished watching The Hurt Locker, one of the two (with Avatar) favorites for the Best Picture Oscar. Five minutes after the movie ended, my wife asked me if we could watch tonight's House just to "come down" from how tense we were. It's now thirty minutes and House isn't working; I still have this feeling in my chest of being on edge. Movies don't get more intense than The Hurt Locker.
The film deals with one of the Army's EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) units in Iraq and follows one specific three-man team as a new commander comes on board. His unorthodox style doesn't mesh with the existing men and the movie follows the team, as they get accustomed to each other, through a series of vignettes regarding the defusion of bombs and other fun war stuff. From second one, you're tense. So tense that even scenes with no reason for tension still have you uneasy. Director Kathryn Bigelow (Point Break, Strange Days) achieves this by using unknown actors, except for a few quick notable cameos, and a documentary style that includes very little music. The quiet, with the exception of some feet shuffling in the dust here or there, builds and builds. In addition, there are some iconic shots, most notably one where the main character, portrayed by Best Actor nominee Jeremy Renner, pulls on a wire to find that he is surrounded by six or seven IEDs that are about to be activated.
In fact, the most notable thing about the movie is the direction. Bigelow, famously James Cameron's ex-wife, is seemingly up against Cameron for the Best Director nomination. Her direction in this film is spectacular. It's right there with the best-directed films I can think of in the past few years (the Coen Brothers in No Country for Old Men and A Serious Man, Darren Aronofsky in The Wrestler, Danny Boyle in Slumdog Millionaire). On the other hand, James Cameron made a significant achievement in cinema in Avatar. No doubt that The Hurt Locker is the better movie, but Avatar seems more important in the grand scheme. I think the Oscar will go to Bigelow (and, hence, Best Picture as well) because she's won the right predictor awards (she won the Directors Guild of America award, which has predicted the Oscar all but six times since 1948) and because she'll make history just as much as Cameron has.
But, whatever, awards politics and all. I've now seen nine of the ten Best Picture nominess, missing only Precious. I think that The Hurt Locker and Up In The Air are the two best movies I've seen this year -- Inglourious Basterds is still my actual favorite -- but they are so different that I can't pick which one is better. Just watch both. You can't go wrong.
Monday, February 8, 2010
But I don't care if she believes in love or not. Why should I, as narcissistic as that topic is? On top of that, she's really annoying. You know all the anti-Michael Cera backlash because of how one-dimensional and annoying he is? She's dating Cera (apparently, he's in the movie also though after where I shut it off) and she's exactly the kind of person you'd imagine the kind of person like Michael Cera would like. So, since this isn't one of my "Worst of the Worst" movies (it did make a number of "Worst of 2009" lists), I don't have to watch the whole thing.
Similarly, there's not much to say about Star Trek, a movie I had already seen in the theater. I like it as much or more than I remembered. It's exciting, the cast has superb chemistry, Abrams does a great job of making it accessible to people who are not big fans of the source material. I think I sleep on it when I name my favorite movies of the year and, seeing as how it's certainly better than The Blind Side, it may have deserved a nomination for Best Picture in this new watered-down please-the-fans format.
The roads are awful out there and everything is closed tomorrow, so I may actually have a shot at making it through most or all of the movies I still have. Shoot, everything may be closed on Tuesday as bad as it all is, and there's somewhere between four inches and a foot more coming on Wednesday. I looked outside at one point to see Chewbacca shoot an imperial scout droid. My dog is just lucky that he's too small to climb inside.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Saturday, February 6, 2010
This is the twenty-second movie I've seen on this list, to add to many bad movies I've seen throughout my life. As I've worked on this "project," I've become more serious about evaluating these movies against each other and for what they are. This movie is so lazily put-together, has so many continuity errors (we're talking dozens), is so poorly written, is so disastrously unfunny. So take this as my gospel: The Master of Disguise is the worst movie I've ever seen. It's on Starz On Demand, so you can watch it for yourself if you want (the one on Netflix Watch Instantly is messed up, with the sound not matching the video). I almost suggest you do see it to see how bad cinema can get. Again: this may change as I watch more, but I say this for right now, during Snowbliteration '10, on the early morning of February 6th, 2010. The Master of Disguise is the worst movie I've ever seen.
Friday, February 5, 2010
For years, I've suggested to all of my female friends that they read Nick Hornby's High Fidelity. In that book, Hornby does a better job of describing how men think than in anything else I've read. Most writers don't get it right. Men are either too obnoxious or too macho or too sensitive. People do a good job of getting one aspect really right, but it's rare to see someone put it all in one package. No matter that they were snubbed by the Academy with no Oscar nomination, in (500) Days of Summer, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber absolutely nailed it.
I had only heard fantastic things about this film from a variety of sources, so I was excited to finally get to see it. I had heard that it was about a relationship and the five hundred days that it lasted. Not really true. It's about a guy who meets a girl and the ups and downs that take place before, during, and after their relationship and about whether the ideal of love actually exists or not. It's mainly light, very feel-good, very funny. That's not to say that it isn't also complex at times. It's everything you'd expect from a true-to-life story that could happen to anyone. In watching it, I struggled with the fact that the female character is fairly archetypal. For instance, Ringo Starr is her favorite Beatle and she acts exactly like you would expect someone to act if they felt that way. It took some time to realize that the movie was really about the guy, not the girl. It is only about her in how the guy reacts to her. Funny enough, my wife had a hard time relating to it in the same way that I did.
The movie is driven by its script, but that doesn't work without the actors delivering it believably. The female lead is Zooey Deschanel and I touched briefly on what I think about her in my review of The New Guy. I'm a big fan; she is immensely talented and she has that "it" that makes her likable every time you see her. The male lead is Joseph Gordon-Levitt. His bizarre appearance in G.I. Joe aside, he is one of the trendy young actors and for good reason. He was good in a small role in 2008's Stop-Loss and he proved his chops in one of the most underrated movies of the past few years, 2007's The Lookout (I'm hoping that if I say that enough I can convince everyone to see it). The movie also co-stars Geoffrey Arend, and I only say that because I was thinking "I hate you" whenever I saw him because he's married to Christina Hendricks.
(500) Days of Summer marks the directorial debut of Marc Webb, whose next project is the Spider-Man reboot. He started out directing music videos, which was also the road to prominence for both David Fincher (yay!) and McG (boo!). You can see the influence of videos on this movie, with some unorthodox shots and a nice fantasy dance sequence in the middle. There was one part I particularly loved, when the main character is going to a party and the film shows, side-by-side, what his expectations are and what the reality is. Really, really nice stuff.
So, a great script with some of the most realistic presentation of inner thoughts I can remember, actors I love carrying it out, interesting and effective direction. We've had discussions about what constitues a "perfect" movie. I present this one as my newest entry on that list. In addition, it jumps onto my list of my favorite movies from 2009. Inglourious Basterds is obviously my favorite, but there were three movies that had me smiling throughout, so my #4 through #2 are An Education, (500) Days of Summer, and Up In The Air.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Anway, it's February 3, fifty-one years to the day that Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper (after Holly's bassist, Waylon Jennings, gave up his seat for him) died in a plane crash. The Day The Music Died.
I actually wasn't really going to comment on the videos at all, but a couple of these are wild. This one is fantastic with "rock and roll specialist" and the creepy prom-dressed kids standing still in the background.
There's almost no actual footage of Richie Valens, but I thought this would be better than just showing Los Lobos.
The audience is very subdued, probably stoned out of their minds. I had no idea that Don McLean had such a good voice.
- Putting everything else aside for a second, I have to comment on the idea of answers on this show. There are questions that we've had for a couple of years and there are questions that we've had since the series premiere that aired over five years ago. It's easy to mix them up and think that all of the answers are just as important as one another. So the answer to "What is the temple?", which we first heard about in season three (when Ben sends Richard to the temple while he goes to stop Jack from calling the freighter) is a big one. The answer to "What is the monster?" I mean, that may be the second biggest question to "What is the island?"
- And so we know what the monster is, sort of. We know specifically who it is. We just don't know where that "who" comes from and what his mission is. Where is his "home"? It could be the temple, but I really have no idea. With that, it's easy to jump to the very end of the episode, but I'll step back and try to hit on questions/comments in close to chronological order.
- Did the bomb create alternate timelines or is the landing of Oceanic 815 what happens after Jack and company achieve whatever they need to do on the island after the bomb pushed them back into 2007? I think it's purely alternate and that this will be resolved in some way and probably relatively soon.
- You could interpret Juliet's "it worked" as saying either that it worked in pushing them into 2007 or in putting them back on the plane (and destroying the island so that there's no button for Desmond to not push on 9/22/04). I'm going with that she meant the plane, since she also said something about having coffee with Sawyer. Perhaps she, like Desmond (I think Des was actually on the plane in this alternate timeline, not as a ghost of some sort), will pop up again. No island after the Incident means Juliet is probably chilling in Miami.
- I think Des was actually on the plane because there were some differences from the original Oceanic 815 passengers. Boone couldn't convince Shannon to come. Christian's body didn't make it on the plane. We didn't see any tailies besides the ones that weren't actually sitting in the tail section, Bernard and Cindy. No Michael or Walt. Maybe Sun doesn't speak English. Hurley has good luck. Kate killed a plumber instead of her father (it came from a video that the producers showed at Comic-Con).
- We know for the sure that the ash is used to block the Man In Black (should I call him that or the monster?) from going places. Presumably, the ash was laid down around the cabin to keep the Man In Black there. If so, was the circle always broken? If the circle wasn't always broken, then how was the monster going all around the island?
- Did you notice that when Kate knocked the marshal's head against the sink, the cut appeared in the same exact place that it appeared when he was hit on the head during the original plane crash? That and the absence of Christian's body makes me wonder if things are going to start happening in the "landed plane" timeline to mirror things that happened on the island. My first jump to that would be if Charlie had asphyxiated, though that obviously didn't end up being the case.
- My award for "most cryptic line that I don't think was actually cryptic at all" is the: "Richard, the last time I saw you, you were in chains!" We generally assume Richard came on the Black Rock. We know the Black Rock was a slave ship.
- Finally... What was on the paper that Jacob hid in the ankh? I think it was a list of everyone that he has touched. Why? Because those are the people tasked with defeating the Man In Black? Probably, but there's one more facet to it. Perhaps those are the people that, because of the touch, Jacob can inhabit with his spirit. Do I think that Sayid is now possessed by Jacob in the same way that Locke was possessed by the Man In Black? Probably. Can't say definitively yes, since Miles didn't seem to think, by the look on his face, that Sayid was actually dead (and I didn't buy it for a second).
- The other explanation for the piece of paper is that it is a list of everyone Jacob touched and lists those that can defeat the Man In Black, but only if they work together. Hence, that new Others medicine man, or whatever he is, saying that they would be in big trouble is Sayid died (and Jacob being so particular about Hurley saving Sayid). I'm thinking Stephen King's It here, how the group that faced the monster had their chance of success lessen as each member died.
- What did I miss? What do you think?
Monday, February 1, 2010
- The Monologue:
- I don't think I said anything about the President's "Question Time" last week. It was fascinating and entertaining. He knows his stuff. I haven't seen that many white people go after one black person and get shut down since Passenger 57.
- "We Are The World" is being redone for Haiti. We all know this is a mistake. The big question is: who will be the Dan Aykroyd of this version? Will the music video have a random Bill Hader singing in the background?
- This is really all about the opportunity to link to a picture of an old Rip Torn, but I'll also add: "You want to break into this bank? Broken into it shall be."
- Right, because men want a sex robot for the conversation.
- Random Pop Culture:
- Tonight's How I Met Your Mother was fantastic. It had everything that's right about the show with not-so-obvious pop culture references, Seinfeld-ian social jokes, and even a funny Jim Nantz. Also, a surprisingly obscure Phil Rizutto reference that made me laugh out loud.
- For as funny as that was, the best single laugh line of the TV night was Greg House's "The opossum... was meant for me." Even if the ultimate payoff on the pranks was lackluster, the lead-up was great. I can also see Orlando Jones becoming a semi-regular (I don't know if that's the plan since I've been staying away from TV spoiler blogs in anticipation of a certain season premiere).
- 24? You know. I like the Renee stuff for the most part, but anything CTU is garbage right now. Maybe "garbage" isn't the right word since it's recycled from seasons past.
- Random Lost Stuff:
- I struggled with whether to do a big overarching Lost piece tonight or before the series finale, like I did with The Wire. There's a sense that the entire season is a finale, instead of just one episode, but I don't think that's fair to the producers. Season six will have its own plot that will involve more than just answer after answer, so I'll hold off on overarching stuff for now.
- Instead, I'll focus on the standing questions. Newark Star-Ledger television critic Alan Sepinwall (you should be reading his blog if you love TV) asked people what the one question is that they most want answered and the one question about which they least care. So...
- The questions I think are most important: "Guys, where are we?" Who is the "they" that Jacob said were coming, to the Man in Black's horror? Why were the Oceanic 815 people so important to Jacob? What happened to young Ben when he was taken to the temple for healing? Is John Locke really dead? Who is Richard really and what does he have to do with Jacob's game with the Man in Black?
- The questions I don't care about (and, for the most part, don't expect to be answered): Why are Walt and Miles, among others, special? Who started the Dharma Initiative? How did the Others/ Hostiles come to be on the island?
- More tomorrow, obviously.