Pop Culture Junkette
Addicted to pop culture.
Monday, July 31, 2006
Shame of an Us Weekly Reader
I saw Woody Allen's new movie Scoop yesterday with official friend of Pop Culture Junkette, t.s. Was it really "the worst movie Woody Allen has ever made," as Stephen Hunter claimed in his review? No!
It certainly wasn't my favorite Woody Allen movie of all time, and it dragged in spots, but it was a perfectly entertaining summer movie. Woody Allen is in it and he does his whole nebbishy New York Jew fish-out-of water thing. Admittedly, he has been doing this same schtick for more than 30 years, but I'm a complete sucker for it. And I'm relieved to report that his character was not Scarlett Johansson's love interest. That would have been a bit much. And as a recent convert to Deadwood fandom, I was happy to see Ian McShane in another role.
Spoilers! Is it me, or is Vince's concern regarding artistic integrity a wee bit of a push? While not exactly George Costanza walking out on NBC because of the issue (Jerry: "You're not artistic, and you have no integrity"), it seems a bit of a push. That Billy Walsh, QB's director, is furious makes sense, but Vince? I don't think he is savvy enough that his reaction was part of some grand plan (and, if it is, Vince is getting way too smart for the character he is/was). Btw, the colorization looked horrible and I thought Hollywood realized how dumb it was back in the 80s. And correct me if I'm wrong, but no studio colorized a major motion picture for its general release. (Btw, I loved that Ethan Suplee is one of the stars of the movie. Hadn't noticed him last year, but that was pre-Earl.)
As for Ari, it is good to see that Mrs. Clark Griswold will now be rocking his world. I have enjoyed, as repeatedly noted, the growing focus on Mr. Gold and his mad, mad world.
Finally, Drama. What can you say except that his turning down Brothers McMullen for a 3-episode arc on 90210 is too perfect. Stalking Tori Spelling! It really doesn't' get much better, but he finally gets a nice break. Let's see what he does with it. Btw, his tirade when he went to get his free coffee is based in fact. The Coffee Bean is one of my favorite LA institutions. I love their iced blendeds so much that I have actually kept one of their cards for a free one even though I'm only in LA 1-2 times per year. And now my card is no good because of counterfeiting! (I can get counterfeiting currency, but cards for free coffee?!) I want to talk to the manager!!!!
Mother of the Year
Dina Lohan is speaking out in support of her daughter Lindsay, Perez Hilton reports.
By this point, it's no secret that I do not think highly of Dina. But these quotes just solidfy why I think she is an opportunistic, superficial, irresponsible vulture living off of her daughter's fame (or infamy, as increasingly becomes the case every day).
"There is only so much a child can take. My daughter is a wonderful child. This [attention on Lindsay's partying] is too much."
"Maybe [the angry producer] has personal issues with whomever, and it came out with my child. I don't know him. I can't judge him. I don't think it was a smart thing to do to a young girl."
The emphasis is my own. I just find it so interesting that Dina seems to fixate on how Lindsay is only a "child" or a "young girl." As a child, shouldn't Lindsay have the benefit of the advice, support and responsibility of a parent? And by parent, I mean someone to tell your teenaged daughter (yeah, I know she turned twenty a couple of weeks ago, but this has been going on for quite awhile) that perhaps she should sit out the party scene every once in awhile, that perhaps she should keep her sexual exploits a little more private? How about someone who would encourage said teenager not to date men in their late 30s? Maybe express concern over her dramatic weight loss, rather than waiting for cast members of Saturday Night Live to do so?
Not Dina. Dina just accompanied her teenager to numerous Hollywood bars and parties, sitting by as her daughter got totally wasted, clearly more concerned with the next paycheck than her daughter's well-being.
And now she calls Lindsay a child?! Funny, because it seems like quite a long time since Dina treated her daughter as a child at all. There is no better example of a child who needs some guidance than Lindsay Lohan. Will she ever get it?
Friday, July 28, 2006
Remember when I was defending Lindsay Lohan? Oh, to be that young and innocent again. Because apparantly I WAS the only one who found her heat exhaustion story plausible. (I've since come to my senses.) The Smoking Gun has a fantastically disappointed letter from the producer of her new film Georgia Rule threatening to pursue legal action if she doesn't start behaving like a professional.
Watching Beirut Die
Whatever you think about what's going on in the Middle East, Anthony Bourdain's article about being stuck in Beirut as war erupts is interesting (and worth waiting through the annoying ad). It's the writing of someone who still hasn't figured out what he's witnessed.
Late to the Party: Snow Patrol
In the past two weeks, three people have mentioned that they like the band Snow Patrol. And now their song "Chasing Cars" is NPR's song of the day. Apparently, this song was in the season finale of Grey's Anatomy. And they also have a song in the trailer of the new Zach Braff movie The Last Kiss.
NPR aptly describes them as "That Band That Kind of Sounds Like, but Isn't, Coldplay," which, in my view, is not a selling point. But I have to admit that this song is pretty irresistible.
D.C. in the Fake News
This Colbert interview of Eleanor Holmes Norton is hilarious.
Via Andrew Sullivan.
I know I'm a day late, but I'm finally getting around to sharing my thoughts on Wednesday's Project Runway. Spoilers ahead.
I was really unhappy with the judges' decision. Sure, Katherine's dress (right, top) was simple, but I thought it was also really cute and wearable, and the dog hoodie was super-cute (and that was part of the challenge, so it should have counted for something).
How was Bradley's gold monstrosity better than Katherine's sophisticated dress in shades of green? More disturbingly, based on the judges' comments, it appeared that Bradley's outfit was one of their top three. Is this right? Or was it a bottom three outfit and they just edited out the negative comments? Because I liked almost every other outfit a lot better than Bradley's (right, bottom), and he barely designed for the dog. Vincent's also warrants mention as being incredibly boring. His was better than Katherine's? Really?
I already see Laura getting into a rut. Are all of her outfits going to involve fur collars and cuffs? Because that's going to get old really quickly.
I know that most thought Angela's outfit was the most hideous, but I didn't think it was that bad. Yeah, it was totally '80s, but that is kind of in right now. Had she created a story about a girl who lives in the Village and just wants to stand out, be punky and have fun, I think she could have sold it. Her whole British-girl-in-Paris-throwing-a-party-for-a-dog thing didn't quite help her, though.
Uli's dress did deserve the win, I thought. I haven't liked her designs the first two weeks--I thought the first week was a bad combination of floaty and frumpy and last week, although in the top two, looked poorly constructed on top. But this week really was quite nice.
Next week we find out who gets kicked off! I can't wait! (But please don't post spoilers on who it is in the comments, because I want to stay in the dark.)
Labels: Project Runway
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Doesn't play well with others
A friend of mine (Willis Jackson from our Celebrity Fantasy League) sent me this article from Entertainment Weekly that I had to share with everyone. It is a real stroll down memory lane, reminding us of some special individuals who were asked to leave the reality shows of which they were a part.
What's great about this is that I watched all but two of the shows highlighted (the two I didn't watch: Last Comic Standing and Temptation Island, although I do remember the ouster on the latter show).
It's too bad Stephen from Real World: Seattle was only forced to take anger management classes, rather than actually kicked off of the show. It's always good to be reminded of one of the more shocking moments on reality television, when Irene called him "a homosexual" and he chased after her car, opening her door and slapping her. (I can't find a photo anywhere!)
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Lance Bass Is Gay!
Duh. But hat tip to Perez Hilton who has been talking about and documenting that for ages.
Tori Spelling is paying Janice Min
Okay, maybe she isn't, but how else has Tori Spelling managed to be Us Weekly's cover story for two out of the last five weeks?
Sure, the first cover was right after her father died when she totally went public with her feud with her mother (along with her ludicrous claim that she didn't know her father, who had been ailing for years, might die after his most recent illness). So at least that one kind of made sense (although I think most would have expected Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban's wedding that week to get top billing).
But again this week? It just doesn't make sense. And the photos Us has of her shopping at the dollar store? Come now.
Oh, and Us must have the best makeup artists ever. Because I never remember Tori looking this good.
Am I the only one who thinks it's possible that Lindsay Lohan actually did collapse from heat exhaustion yesterday? Has anybody else ever worked outside in 105 heat? I have, and it's not fun.
That said, the story is another excuse to post those ridiculous pictures of Lindsay in that nude bikini at Jeremy Piven's birthday, so I say go to it blogosphere.
I Will Certainly Be Seeing This Movie
I have found the movies written and directed by Christopher (Baron) Guest to be some of the funniest movies ever made. Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind are all great films, and I even went to see the cast of A Mighty Wind perform in DC several years ago. (Although a Rob Reiner film, Spinal Tap staring many of the same actors including Guest is clearly the progenitor of these films.) This year we will be getting the fourth film in Guest's oeuvre, For Your Consideration. It is about "three actors whose performances in an independent movie ("Home for Purim") get awards-season buzz that changes their lives." Hat tip, CNN. How can this not be great.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
The power of the internet
I had read a bit about the pilot for a show called Nobody's Watching, which many lamented would not be watched since it hadn't picked up by the WB.
But that was before YouTube aired the pilot (part one is included above for your ease, click here for part two and here for part three). Now, according to E!Online, because of its YouTube popularity NBC will produce more episodes, made specifically for the web.
Even better, for fans of the show, it looks like NBC might end up airing Nobody's Watching as part of its primetime line-up.
All because of the internet.
When Are They Making the Movie of the Week?
This story has it all--political corruption, murder, suicide, and it's all set in the state that gave us legalized gambling and prostitution . . . Nevada. As explained here, the Nevada State Controller, Kathy Augustine, died suddenly this month at the age of 50. The Republican official had been elected state controller in 1999. Three years ago, allegations of misconduct arose, leading to her impeachment and conviction for using state equipment on her 2002 campaign. Although convicted, she was only censured and retained her office. She was currently running for governor, much to the dismay of the state GOP which was doing everything it could to defeat her.
But now it gets really interesting. About a week after Augustine's death, husband # 3 tried to kill himself. It then turns out that husband #2 had died in 2003 following complications from a stroke at the age 0f 63. And guess who was #2's nurse; that's right, husband #3. And how long did it take Augustine to marry #3 after #2's death. Answer: about a month. Something stinks to high heaven.
Red Fraggle may want to call Jessica Fletcher in to solve this one, but I don't think expert crime solving is needed. Nonetheless, what a wacky story.
Monday, July 24, 2006
That's right, J-Lo turns 37 today!
I can't help it--I really love Jennifer Lopez. She's super-cute, she wears really great clothes, she ruled the world for awhile there. What's not to love? Oh, there is one thing. Her use of fur. It's totally unnecessary, promoting it is irresponsible and her use of it really should stop.
Here's hoping to a (fur-free) career resurgence in her 37th year. And some photos of J. Lo looking great in a way only she can. Dressed up, dressed down, getting married, wearing thigh-high boots--she does it all!
It's Good to be Vincent Chase
SPOILERS! The carefree existence of Vince shows once again how wonderful it is to be a Hollywood star. Fired from starring in the sequel to the movie that made you a hit, being declared the T.O. of Hollyood, but no worries if you're Vince--just find a very attractive waitress and have sex in the coat room.
Eric and Ari, however, lack such stress free existences. Eric (but seemingly not Sloan) cannot escape the ramifications of his threesome (and cuddling) although he may have finally gotten over it as Tori returned to New York. Ari has seemingly settled with Terrence (or, as he calls him, E's father-in-law) in one of the classic negotiations in TV history. There is little doubt that Ari is the most exciting part of the show and the ever increasing Ari/Mrs. Ari relationship (now that she and Frank the Tank split up) is fantastic. (Btw, I have heard claims that the woman Ari claimed had her stomach stapled was played by Haviland Morris, most famous for playing Jake Ryan's (and then Farmer Ted's) girlfriend. I have not gotten confirmation of this, however. Anyone?)
But, not a lot happened last night with the exception of the Ari plotline. One particularly great line in Drama's commenting on how women too freely drop the term "stalker," but certainly not an episode in the pantheon. Nonetheless, it keeps me intrigued enough to look forward to next Sunday.
And the winner is . . .
Last week I asked all of you to make a movie recommendation for me and Mrs. Bartender. We had a four way tie among Pirates, Superman, A Scanner Darkly, and Clerks II. Each had a whopping one vote. So after much consultation with Mrs. Bartender, we decided to see Clerks II. I was a little apprehensive. I had seen the original in Madrid of all places, enjoyed it, but honestly did not remember a ton of it. But I was very pleasantly surprised. The movie doesn't do a lot in terms of plot (although there is one), but it is quite entertaining with a number of laugh out loud moments. Let's just say that one involves Buffalo Bill and another a donkey. I'll leave it at that. The guy who plays Dante is not the world's greatest actor, but Rosario Dawson is great (albeit perhaps a little too good looking) and Jay and Silent Bob are hysterical. So if you want a good laugh, go out and see this film. (Btw, my wife had not seen the original, and I can't imagine that really affects one's ability to be amused by this film.)
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Tom Hanks Update
I posted last week about Tom Hanks's baseball journey. Well, after hitting Camden Yards (Baltimore), PNC (Pittsburgh), Great American (Cincinnati), and Comerica (Detroit), he showed up at the Jake on Friday night to watch the Twins beat the Indians and then on Saturday, he was at RFK to watch the Nats beat the Cubs. More importantly, Isaac and family were also at the Nationals game. I wish I could tell you that I ran into Tom, and we had a long discussion about the relative merits of Bosom Buddies vs. Forrest Gump, but sadly, I didn't know about his presence until I saw the highlights that night. Where's Tom today?
Friday, July 21, 2006
Cross-promotion does its job
I am going to watch a beauty pageant this weekend. I never watch beauty pageants. I'm against them for all of the reasons everyone has heard a million times, so there is no reason to repeat them here.
Of course, they do have their cheesy charm--the shaking hands when the winner is named, the wide-open smile (check out the photo of Miss USA, Tara Conner, who will be competing this Sunday in the Miss Universe pageant), the "talent" competition, the proclamations of hoping for world peace. There is something just a little irresitable about all that. But still, I have steadfastly kept my distance from pageants since sometime after the age of 12, and I wasn't really looking forward to putting an end to my moratorium any time soon.
So why am I watching Miss Universe this Sunday? Really very simple. I want to see how Kayne and Robert's dress from this week's episode of Project Runway looks. Will it be exactly as it was on the show (only fitted for Tara)? Will there be a lot of stylistic changes? Remember, the designers only had $300 to buy all of the materials for the gown, and only a couple of days to put it together. Will they recognize the need for refinements? Although the show likes to imply that the winning design will be worn as is, in the past they have made changes. (Remember when Nancy O'Dell chose Wendy Pepper's orange dress to wear to the Grammy's? It was changed quite a bit before Nancy actually donned it.) But Kayne and Robert's dress did look pretty good to go, so maybe it will remain in its original form. And of course, the biggest question might be--how will it compare to the other dresses? I need to know!
And so, I will watch.
Update: I watched! Well, I didn't watch it all, but I did watch the top five, and Miss USA was wearing her Runway dress. It looked exactly like it did on the show--really no changes at all! She did seem to have trouble walking in it, but it doesn't really look like a dress that was made for walking.
Labels: Project Runway
So You Think You Can Judge?
I caught up on So You Think You Can Dance last night, and was impressed that Holt picked the dancers who would be kicked off.
But as I watched, I got to thinking that I am really not a very good judge of dancing. When I watch American Idol I feel very confident that my opinion is, well, right. Yeah, yeah, I know an opinion can't be right, but at the very least I feel that it is a valid opinion, that it is rooted in reality and that others whose taste I respect might agree with me (most often those "others" are Gobo and Simon Cowell--not so bad). Not so much with Dance. I watched Wednesday's episode and have come to realize that I just don't know enough about dance to reliably know what is good and what isn't.
A prime example was Donyelle dancing the lindy hop I kept thinking to myself "her body really isn't right for this style of dance, the extension of her legs doesnt' look that impressive, everything seems too grounded and heavy and this should be a lot more light and spry." Then the judges spoke and everyone unanimously loved everything she had done. Similarly, when Alison and Ryan danced their contemporary routine I wasn't blown away--I thought a lot of their transitions seemed awkward, and that it wasn't only Ryan's fault, but that Alison carried some of the blame as well. When the judges spoke, they uniformly praised Alison.
Is this just because I'm not a dancer? Because I don't understand the proper positioning for every step? I hate feeling like an uninformed critic, or like I need the judges to help me understand who danced well and who didn't. Part of me thinks that, as Ivan said during his critique, the dancing should be about entertaining the audience and so therefore my opinion is just as important and valid as anyone else's. But then I hate being the type of person who has an opinion but doesn't know what she's talking about!
My solution is to just watch the show and enjoy, but not phone in for anyone or get super opinionated about anything (so unlike my personality during Idol!). And it is a lot of fun to watch. And of course, this doesn't stop me from making predictions. So with that in mind, I'm choosing Travis and Benji for the final two men and Donyelle and Alison for the final two women. Let's see if I'm right!
Thursday, July 20, 2006
The Sci-Fi Channel
Um, this is getting a little embarassing to admit, but I think I may now watch not one, not even two, but three television shows that air on the Sci-Fi channel. I tuned into The 4400 on my own, Bailey's constant hectoring has got me watching (and loving) Battlestar Galactica, and last night, thanks to the recommendation of the Washington Post I watched the pilot for Eureka and I can't believe I'm doing this because my life is disappearing before my eyes, but I think I might add it to the Tivo rotation.
The show is about a small town in the Pacific Northwest that the United States government has populated with scientific geniuses since WWII. The town isn't on any maps, but isn't really isolated from the outside world either, it's just special, and what some of the wackadoo geniuses do there is kinda crazy and dangerous, and the whole thing is wackily charming. Especially charming (not to mention adorable!) is Colin Ferguson, the actor who plays the wide-eyed U.S. Marshall who stumbles on the town after a car accident strands him and his wayward daughter on a dark and stormy night. It was killing me trying to figure out why he looked so familiar, but his IMDB profile says he was a commenter on I Love the 80s Strikes Back. Of course he was!
I'd been seeing the previews for Workout during Project Runway, and I kept thinking that one of the people in a reaction shot looked suspiciously like Rebecca from The Amazing Race - the one who went on the Race with her disfunctional little boy boyfriend who had a shaved head except for some little devil horns at the front, remember them? - and sure enough it's her! I thought I'd give the show a try, because the New York Times vaguely didn't hate it, and it turns out that I find Rebecca as unentertaining when she's helping a Playboy playmate tone her ass as I did when she was telling horn boy to stop whining about his sunglasses. All this to say, I really really miss The Amazing Race.
PSA: Project Runway tee-shirts
For all you Project Runway fans out there, they are selling tee-shirts designed by this season's contestants. The link is here. The only ones I like are Kayne's and Katherine's. I'm actually considering Kayne's, but do I really need another cute tee-shirt? And cap sleeves...well, as a friend who once worked for the Gap, Inc. said to me: "they aren't very democratic." (Translated: almost everyone looked like they have fat arms in cap sleeves.) Maybe you Malan fans can buy his shirt (which really isn't bad--his, Kayne's, Katherine's and Bonnie's are my best of the bunch).
ETA: Laura's and Bonnie's are the most popular according to the Runway website.
Labels: Project Runway
Carson Daly OMG.
I'm sure everyone has seen this ghastly picture of Carson Daly circulating on the internet for the past week, but I couldn't resist adding it to the junkette archives. Wow, he looks scary. He looks like a TOTALLY DIFFERENT PERSON than the dorky TRL host of past. I'm sure this is probably sexist of me (sorry), but I really have a hard time understanding men who are anorexic or otherwise plagued by an eating disorder. It's just that the societal pressures on women to be skinny seems to be so much more acute than the pressure on men, so I am always doubly taken aback when the-person-otherwise-known-as-Carson-Daly shows up looking like THIS. I just hope this is one of those cases where the picture or the angle makes him seem skinnier than he really is. Or perhaps he's just naturally this skinny? I doubt it. I keep looking up at his picture as I type and, well, OMG.
Tom Hanks, A Great American
Ever since Bosom Buddies, I have been a Tom Hanks fan. (I haven't seen an episode of the sitcom since 1982, and I can't imagine it would still stand up, but when you are 10 years old, it was good stuff.) Since then, he has become a megastar in some films I really liked (Philadelphia, Apollo 13) and some not so much (Forrest Gump being exhibit A). (He also appeared on the Love Boat even before Bosom Buddies and had a great recurring role on Family Ties as Mrs. Keaton's younger and very troubled brother.) I have not seen his latest opus, and I don't think I'm missing a whole lot. Regardless, he is a very talented actor, who rarely makes a very bad decision regarding his career.
He also just turned 50, and what is he doing to celebrate, you ask? Why doing a tour of baseball stadiums across the U.S. As ESPN.com explains, he has already visited Camden Yards in Baltimore, PNC Park in Pittsburgh (a fantastic ballpark--if you are a baseball fan, you really must visit it), and, last night, he, Ron Howard, and Dennis Miller (Dennis Miller?) were at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati (one of the few I have yet to visit). There are still more parks Hanks plans to hit on this trip although he won't say where he is showing up next.
He has strong baseball roots--as a kid he sold peanuts and soda at the ballpark then known as the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum. I attended my first ball game there in 1975, but Hanks had probably already moved on to bigger things so I can't claim he sold me my first bag of peanuts (or perhaps I could!). As someone who has visited 29 ballparks, with Mrs. Bartender up to 20 and Isaac, Jr., already at 4 at less than 3 months of age, all I can say is, "Tom, I hope to see you at the game."
Update: Tom Hanks and Ron Howard are currently enjoying this afternoon's White Sox-Tigers game at Comerica. If they can hold off, I will be at the Jake in Cleveland next Saturday, but I have a feeling they will be back in CA by then.
Do we really have to start using the word "Feminazi?"
I have to admit being a little confused after last night's Project Runway. The challenge was simple: create an evening dress for Miss USA to wear when competing in the Miss Universe pageant. Each designer would show Miss USA sketches his or her proposed design, and Miss USA would choose half of them (seven) to be made. The designers who were chosen would become "team leaders" and would each choose one of the remaining designers, resulting in seven teams of two.
Miss USA, apparently oblivious to Vincent's "kooky" hat debacle of last week, chose him as one of the team leaders. He was the last to choose a partner, meaning he was forced to pair up with Angela. For those who remember week one, Angela was the person who created the leather skirt and very low-cut top. I actually really liked her design (except for the flowers she attached to the back of her model). This week, before Miss USA made her choices, instead of sketching something Angela spent all of her time chatting up Kayne (who creates pageant dresses for a living), trying to convince him that she would be a good partner. It's really not very encouraging when a designer doesn't trust herself to the extent that she would rather ride someone's coattails than even attempt to be chosen as a team leader herself (she went into her meeting with Miss USA with a blank sheet of paper).
But putting all of that aside, from the way the show was edited at least, Angela tried to help Vincent with his design. Of course, Vincent would have none of that. While all of the other team leaders were consulting with their partners, Angela would ask Vincent if there was anything she could do and he would tell her no or ask her to step away from him. He had zero interest in collaborating with her, or even in giving her tasks to complete. He viewed it as his vision and had no desire for anyone else's input.
Of course, Vincent put a different spin on that to the guys in their loft, complaining about what a nightmare Angela was, to which Jeffrey replied "one word: Feminazi." Ummm...are we in middle school? Do grown men use the word "Feminazi" anymore? Especially grown men who work in the fashion industry? More disturbing was that at least one other man in the room (Vincent) seemed to find that both an apt description and quite amusing.
When it came time for the runway, most of the designs looked pretty good. The editing really didn't leave much question as to whose designs would be the bottom two: Malan and Katherine's brown creation, featuring what looked like dead moss sprouting from the breasts and a too-short, unfinished hem (about which Katherine had warned Malan), and Vincent (and Angela's--since she had no say, her name belongs in parentheses) lime green number, most notable for its poorly-sewn, puckered seams and sleeves that looked like something the Wicked Witch of the East might have worn on her feet.
What surprised me so much about the episode was the conversation that occurred on the runway. Angela was totally reamed for "trying to be too much of a leader" and trying to take control of her partnership with Vincent. What? That's certainly not what the viewer saw. It also isn't what Tim Gunn saw, if you read his blog. It is obvious that the judges don't watch tapes of the designers putting everything together, because this complaint about Angela was just so incredibly unfair. What was also unfair is that Vincent--who showed a complete lack of ability to work with others--was declared "in" while Angela was left to languish with Malan as one of the worst two of the night. The entire dress design was Vincent's vision--he should have had to bear the responsibility for it being in the bottom two. I was really shocked at how presumptuous the judges were to assume that Angela (who had been "in" the week before) was the problem while Vincent (who was in the bottom three in week one) was the one trying to keep everything together.
In the end, it didn't matter, as Malan was the one eliminated. To which I say good riddance to bad rubbish (that sounds like a Malan saying). Everything about Malan was just so overwrought, from the story of how his mother stomped on his sketches to his teary goodbye. Nothing he did ever struck me as genuine, and his snobby demeanor (comparing the people he lived with to cattle, questioning their level of taste, complaining that he likes to use better fabrics than those provided in the first assignment) was just not endearing.
Oh yeah, and Kayne and Robert won the challenge. Not surprising, considering Kayne's experience. Their dress was pretty cute, and probably the most pageanty of the bunch. Personally, I liked Keith and Bradley's number, but I guess it didn't really scream "Miss Universe."
Labels: Project Runway
Too Much Dancing!
And if that's what I thought after last night's So You Think You Can Dance? I can only imagine how the poor contestants feel. As much as I love this show, I'd given a sigh of relief when they'd cut back to one hour and now, not only are they back to two, but each contestant is dancing three times and it's just way too much to digest. I can't even remember who danced what last night, let alone how they did. The few things I do remember:
It's time for Dmitry and Martha to go. They're both great dancers, but in a field this strong they're the weakest links.
Travis is amazing. His performance during the contemporary routine choreographed by Mia was just beautiful. And Heidi crying during rehearsals just broke my little, shriveled heart.
Mia's choreography was brutal! The first contemporary routine of the night, I can't even remember who danced it, was so incredibly difficult. It's a miracle the dancers survived.
Natalie turned down the kewpie doll aspect during her solo, and it was so much more emotional and strong. I love it when the dancers actually listen to the judges! (Cf. Dmitry and his perennially open shirt.)
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
The Real American Tragedy
Last week, Red Fraggle posted on Dreiser's An American Tragedy. As she mentioned, we just "celebrated" the 100th anniversary of the murder that inspired the novel, and today the Times adds its thoughts to the event. Just thought I'd share.
I Need Your Two Cents
For only the second time since Isaac, Jr., was born, Mrs. Bartender and I plan to go to the movies on Friday night. The question: what to see. Clearly not Lady in the Water, but I want to see something (1) good and (2) that makes sense seeing on the big screen. I think that rules out An Inconvenient Truth, which I really want to see but can't imagine it would be any worse on DVD. I think it is between Superman and Pirates, but I am open to suggestions. Thoughts? (FYI, I am sure we will see Talladega Nights next month if it is any good.)
The Return of Rob and Ambuh
It looks like Rob Mariano and Amber Brkich are returning to reality television.
Amber first hit the small screen in Survivor 2: The Amazon, and Rob in Survivor 5: Marquesas (where he was called "Boston Rob" and fancied himself a latter-day Don Corleone). They then returned for Survivor: All Stars, in which they were the last two standing (Amber won). They got engaged during the finale. Following that they competed in The Amazing Race, and to date were one of the most dominant teams ever, although they were robbed of the win, ending up in second place. After that, CBS aired their wedding.
Despite all of this Trista-like fame, I really, really like Rob and Amber. I actually hated Rob when he was first on Survivor--he seemed like a dumb guy who thought he was much smarter than he actually was. And I wasn't a big fan of Amber either--she seemed weak-willed and boring (earning her the nickname "Ambore" on Television Without Pity). But the couple forever endeared themselves to me during The Amazing Race. Despite his chauvanistic tendencies during Survivor, Rob really seemed to respect Amber. Unlike many other Race competitors he had no problem with Amber carrying her weight during the Race--in fact, he expected it. Really quite refreshing for a male-female romantic couple on the Race. More importantly, however, they really seemed to love and respect each other. They never yelled at each other (so impressive--I can guarantee you if Gobo and I were on the Race there would be a lot of yelling, almost all coming from me), they never even got crabby with each other. They were kind and loving throughout the entire show. So now I love them. They really just seem like a normal couple who decided to take advantage of their surprising fame. I don't blame them; I'm sure I would do the same.
Their newest endeavor? A reality show in which they go to Las Vegas so that Rob can try to become a professional gambler while Amber "supports" him. I'm not sure what they mean by support--emotionally? Financially as well (she did win that million dollars for Survivor: All Stars after all, not Rob)? Although the idea of Amber taking what sounds like it might be a traditionally passive role isn't so appealing, I'm definitely going to give this a chance. Their relationship really surprised me on the Race and I am actually interested to watch more of it. Which is basically more than I can say for any other reality couple out there.
From everything I have seen, The Lady in the Water is going to be a complete dud. (The positive reviews one sees in the TV advertisement come from sources one would only cite when no reputable source likes the movie.) While I really like Paul Giamatti, I have grown quite weary of M. Night Shyamalan and have enjoyed the critical skewering he has received as of late. (For example, see here.) While I thought The Sixth Sense was fantastic, I was thoroughly disappointed with Signs and thought the twist was inane. (I missed both Unbreakable and The Village which virtually everyone agreed was his worst film yet.) Yet what makes me most happy with his suffering is how ripe he is for the let down. Perhaps the most enjoyable was the NY Times trashing not only of Michael Bamberger's The Man Who Heard Voices, a hagiography of Shyamalan, but also of the auteur himself. All A-list directors have big egos (and I'm sure the B- and C-list ones do as well), but Shyamalan seems convinced that he is the love child of Steven Spielberg and Alfred Hitchcock and that he can act! I hope that when the movie bombs, he will learn something. I only fear what will happen if it does well.
I think I'm going to be sick
It seems that US Air is going to be selling advertising on barf bags, as reported here. My hope is that the ads will be at the bottom of the barf bag: "Next time, take Dramamine." Actually, it seems like Dramamine may be an advertiser, but I fear the ads will be in a less humorous location. If they can put ads in urinals, why not barf bags!
Gilmore Girls' Showrunner
My favorite writer on all things T.V. has posted an interview with the new Gilmore Girls showrunner about the challenges of the coming season. It's interesting, but at the same time infuriating because it reminds me of how the season ended, as a big old flaming disaster. I adore this show, and no matter where it takes me I will follow but I'm really not looking forward to the journey next season.
I had a dream last night that I was on an airplane and Nicole Kidman was sitting right in front of me. Keith Urban was on the plane as well, but was somehow stuck way in the back of coach, so they had to split up. She kept referring to him as "my husband" to everyone. And she was very talkative--she even turned around in her seat and started up a conversation with me. And her Australian accent was really cool.
So now I am dreaming about celebrities. Is there something wrong with me?
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Kelly or Birkin?
The Washington Post has an interesting article about the differences between the type of people who carry a Kelly bag and the type of people who carry a Birkin bag (both purses made by Hermes, for the uninitiated).
Which bag I would buy if I had $10,000 to spend on a purse is a question I have thought of before (yes, really, I have considered it). On the one hand, I like the structure of the Kelly (the Kelly is on the left, the Birkin on the right). The Kelly has a rigid look, which I find very appealing in a purse. However, I like the top of the Birkin better--with the Kelly the top seems a little too small, almost like it is being swallowed by the rest of the bag. Then again, I do prefer the strap on the Kelly--smaller and more subtle. The strap on the Birkin looks like it might really be two of Mr. Tickle's arms.
Taking all of that into account, I think I would go with the Birkin, just because the proportions are more pleasing to my eye. Although I would really have to make sure that the strap didn't bother me too much. And as for color? Most probably red. After all, red is obviously this Fraggle's favorite color. Plus, red is almost a neutral and can go with most clothing, but it also stands out. And if I am going to drop ten grand on a purse, I want to make sure that purse is noticed.
The two real problems with both purses (in addition to the price) are the size (I just don't like large bags) and the leather (I'm really trying to cut down on buying leather products--I feel a bit hypocritical not eating animals but still wearing them). But I think I might be able to make an exception for one of these purses. Just in case anyone is wondering what to get me for my birthday next month.
Pam and Kid - Affianced . . . Again
Us Weekly is reporting, exclusively, that Pamela Anderson and former fiance Kid Rock are engaged again. Unsurprisingly she sounds pretty happy about it in the message she posted on her website, which is a bit, well, Anna-Nicole-esque:
I know some women can relate to this....My children are getting older. They know the truth and they are strong, smart kids. They love their Dad. They love their new Step Dad who they've known for years...time will pass. Wounds will heal. Some people may never grow up. Actions speak louder than words....watch!I'm glad she likes her kids, and I'm glad that they love their father and step-father, but . . . oblique oversharing always leaves me a little befuddled.
Project Runway Spoiler?
So we've all seen the previews of Tim Gunn telling some unshown Project Runway contestant that [s]he's got to go because [s]he's done something so outside the rules of the show it's shocking! Well, in case you're curious, Defamer's reporting that the internets may have figured out exactly who's being kicked off and why. Click the link only if you don't mind speculation/spoilers.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Fact or Fiction
Someone at MSNBC doesn't realize that Aquaman is not a real movie. See here. No, Virginia, there really isn't a Vincent Chase.
I know there is a fight in a fountain....
You have all heard me lament how boring this summer has been, television-wise. This weekend I decided to stop whining and actually do something about it.
What will I do, you ask? Will I take up a non-television-related hobby? Will I executive produce shows that air in the summer? Will I lobby the networks to air original programming year-round? Of course not. I'm going to rent Dynasty.
Once I came to this decision, I couldn't believe the idea hadn't occurred to me before. After all:
* I have never watched Dynasty, so it's all new to me.
* I have heard that Dynasty is cattier than Beverly Hills, 90210 or Melrose Place. Does this mean there will be people on Dynasty bitchier than Amanda Woodward and Kimberly Shaw? Apparently!
* Aaron Spelling shows stand the test of time--last year I re-watched the entire run of Melrose Place and it was even greater than I remembered.
* There aren't going to be any new Aaron Spelling shows coming out, so I should really get around to watching what everyone calls one of his best.
* The '80s fashions are authentic. It won't just be a show that is filmed now taking place in the '80s, pretending to do '80s fashion. It's real, true, '80s clothing on the screen.
Unfortunately, only season 1 is currently available on DVD. Hopefully by the time I am done watching it, they will have released a few more seasons.
Suddenly the summer doesn't seem all that bad.
Threesomes, Foursomes, and a Twosome?
Well for those who complain that Entourage often lacks plot movement, last night certainly had plenty. Where to begin. Why, with the return of Sloan and, of course, her friend. While at first I thought the threesome routine was a rip off of a great Seinfeld (involving George's genius idea of how Jerry can dump his girlfriend and date her roommate), it actually seems integral to creating a new major plot development regarding Eric's love life. I, for one, actually like Sloan and have missed her this season, but dramatic tension beckons, and it seems E is quite smitten with the trois of his menage. (I know that when translated that actually makes no sense.)
As for the foursome, that would be Vince, E, Ari, and Alan of WB as they dance regarding whether Vince will do A2. Last night, we had Ari going as crazy as we have ever seen him (and we know how much he needs his cut of a really big check to Vince. I mean, no lox at a staff meeting--what is this world coming to!) Vince is perhaps too clever by half, and may end up SOL in his dealings with the first real heavy Entourage has seen. Again, Vince's failure to confide in E is hurting him as E, for all of his pizza parlor background, has a good sense of what Vince needs to do to thrive. Yet by the end of the season, I'm sure Vince will have a new role, whether it's playing Aquaman, Pablo Escobar, or someone else. Even if Jake Gyllenhaal gets Aquaman (just like he almost got Spidey when Tobey Maguire played hardball (coincidence, I think not)) and Benicio gets Escobar (great call), Vince will survive. After all, Turtle needs him as much as he needs Turtle.
Finally, our twosome--Drama and Lloyd! No, not in that sense. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) But Drama wants a career and so does Lloyd. Even if he ends up as the older brother on Ed Burns's new show (echoes of Lisa Kudrow on the underappreciated Comeback?) This could get amusing in so many different ways.
Until next week, VICTORY!
Here's Zidane explaining the infamous head butt in French with English subtitles.
His apology to the children is so adorable. I think I have a crush.
Is it Too Early to Get Excited About The Amazing Race?
Televisionary has a little recap of the teams on next season's Amazing Race and some of the race locations. Both the teams and the westward start have me very excited. There have been too many locations lately where language wasn't much of a barrier, but it sounds like that will not be the case in season 10. A couple of things that stand out are the number of Southern teams, which seems strange, and the high ratio of "friends" to "daters".
Labels: Amazing Race
For Red Fraggle and All Other South Park Fans
This could take up the rest of your month. Enjoy.
Friday, July 14, 2006
I've been listening a lot lately to the Gnarls Barkley cd, St. Elsewhere. I'm sure you have all heard the song "Crazy," which is ubiquitous, but the rest of the cd is good too. There's even a Violent Femmes cover.
But, to be honest, I was primed to love it by this profile of Danger Mouse by Chuck Klosterman in the New York Times magazine. Two salient facts:
First, he and Cee Lo will only be photographed dressed as movie characters. I would like to become a rap star just so I can impose completely random conditions like that.
Second, Woody Allen's movies changed his life. I can totally relate to that. This phase has long since passed, but there was a period in my life when I had to see every Woody Allen movie ever made.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
TV News: You Take The Good, You Take The Bad
The Good: For those needing an Office fix, the webisodes have started. I won't claim they are as funny as the actual show, but it is good to see the accounting department even for a few minutes. And how can you not love Kevin. If you didn't know, he's in a band. Steve Miller Tribute Band.
The Bad: We have to wait until at least March for the Sopranos to return. According to CNN, James Ganolfini's knee surgery has delayed production. Argh.
You take then both, and there you have the facts of life.
Project Runway: Never out!
Thank god for Project Runway. This has been the most tedious summer, television-wise, that I can remember. Sure, I have a lot of shows sitting on my DVR: America's Got Talent, Supergroup, Windfall. But none of them make me want to rush home and grab the remote. But now that Runway has returned, there is no longer a fear that my lifestyle will become less sedentary.
Last night was the season premiere and Heidi looked super-adorable, as always. Is there anyone out there who is cuter than Heidi Klum? I think not. As for the rest of this post: Spoilers ahead!
This debut challenge required each designer to use materials from their shared home to make an outfit that reflected who they were as a designer. Not a shocking assignment--it's a twist on season one's first challenge of using materials found in a grocery store and season two's challenge of using the clothes each designer was wearing to make a new outfit. It is a challenge that generally awards creativity and innovation.
Which is what made the winner of this challenge so surprising to me. Keith used bedsheets to make a dress with an asymmetric hem and used necklaces from the "Macy's accessory wall" (what happened to Banana Republic?) to add a little excitment. Oh, and the back of the dress had some red buttons he used from a duvet cover. I agreed with Tim Gunn's comments which were basically: "so what?" Where is the innovation in using bedsheets to make a dress? It's just like using some cotton one would get at a fabric store. I was quite surprised that not one judge pointed this out as a negative, and that he won the challenge. I was really disappointed.
My favorite? Michael's coffee filter dress. Now I recognize this was done with muslin underneath, which makes it not quite as exciting as if it was completely and totally coffee, but at least it was innovative! And I thought quite cute as well (I admit I am a sucker for white dresses). I was surprised that Michael's dress wasn't in the top three--I would have kept Keith out of the top spots and replaced him with Michael.
Speaking of white dresses, my other favorite was Robert's white dress with red sash. The best part of the dress was definitely the back of the dress, which was open but for the jeweled wall-hanging he used as straps, which were then tied together with cute little red bows. The front of the dress also featured the wall-hanging. Usually I don't like dresses with built-in jewelry, but this one was really cute. I also liked Angela's leather concoction, although I know Tim Gunn wouldn't agree with me, and Kayne's dress was really innovative, as it combined a rubber floor mat and the plastic from a barstool. Definitely original!
I did think that they got the bottom ones right, although I probably would have included Brandon's piece. What was up with that cape? It honestly looked like the blanket the homeless guy next to my office uses in the winter time. And I have never been a big fan of homeless chic.
I haven't watched the "Road to the Runway" episode yet, so I'm thinking that will be my project for tonight. And then I have to wait a whole week for the next episode. But at least now there is something to anticipate!
Us Magazine has a little piece asking us to match up the celebrities to the tattoos, and apparently they can no longer tell Jessica from Ashlee Simpson apart, as they've matched a photo of Ashlee with a caption claiming the tattoo belongs to Jessica. That nose job was really effective!
ETA: Us has since corrected the error. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
No longer crazy in love?
I know I was on vacation for a week, but I felt really out of the loop when I was on Us Weekly's website and noticed a photo of Beyonce and Jay-Z taken two days ago with the caption: "Beyonce and ex, Jay-Z, leave New York's Bar Pitti after dinner with singer Rihanna, rumored to have caused the breakup."
Beyonce and ex Jay-Z? When did this happen? Last I heard, there were marriage rumors. So I had to do some digging.
From what I can tell, in mid-May [mid-May?! How did I not know this?!] Beyonce apparently got very angry with Jay-Z at at Nets game (Jay-Z has an ownership interest in the team) because he received a 15 minute phone call from singer Rihanna.
Then on June 10, Social Rank (a website) reported that they had broken up because Jay-Z lacked the maturity Beyonce wanted in a relationship. Similarly, on June 26, a website called "The Bosh" reported that Beyonce realized she needed to be with someone more adult and supportive than Jay-Z. Which...huh? Beyonce is 24. Jay-Z is 36. They have been dating since she was 21 (or maybe even 20--it is unclear when they officially started dating). But okay, maybe she needs to date someone pushing 50 next time around.
But then, signs of happiness as they performed together on June 25 at Radio City Music Hall and dueted again two days later at the BET awards.
And now this throw-away statement from Us Weekly. So what's the real story? Split or together? I have to admit I'm really confused. Why hasn't Us reported on this before? How could this be going on for two months and a pop culture junkette like myself has no idea? I definitely need more information on this one.
The Things You Miss While on Vacation
This is possibly the story of the year. It involves an NBA player crashing his car, while drunk, watching porn (I have to admit I missed Anal Action. Note to self, "Add Anal Action to Netflix queue), and, the quote of the event, "performing sex to himself." And then begging on videotape not to be turned in because he is drunk and doesn't want to go to jail. How much better could the story get? I guess there is only one possible resolution--Eddie is about to be traded to Portland.
Real World Paula
I just read that Paula from this season's Real World Key West was recently arrested for domestic battery. Not surprising, given that she is portrayed on the show as a crazy person. Looking into the issue further, I came upon this article from the Times all about Paula and whether MTV was irresponsible in casting her notwithstanding her myriad problems: bulemia, anorexia, depression, etc. The article's not particularly interesting, but I was most fascinated by the fact that the New York Times even covered this issue at all. Wonder if they'll do a follow-up piece on her arrest.
No longer "Trapped in the Closet"
Comedy Central has agreed to rerun last season's South Park episode, "Trapped in the Closet," after pulling it earlier this year, purportedly because the makers of M:I:III wanted it pulled because it skewered Tom Cruise and Scientology.
Of course, what all of the commentators failed to note at the time (but which E!Online alludes to in this article) is that what was probably much more controversial was the episode's focus on Tom Cruise being literally in a closet for the duration of the episode, and being joined in the closet by John Travolta and R. Kelly. Throughout the episode reporters would say "Tom Cruise and John Travolta are in the closet" and Nicole Kidman even appeared, telling Tom that everyone knew he was in the closet and he should just come out of the closet. (Isaac also pointed this out back in March.)
I don't know if Comedy Central has decided to put the episode back in its rotation because it has been nominated for an Emmy (although there are definitely better season nine episodes, most notably "The Losing Edge" and "Ginger Kids") or because creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone had said if Comedy Central didn't reinstate the episode, they wouldn't work with the network anymore.
Regardless, I am very glad it's back.
Set your Tivos - Project Runway is Back!
So this is the newest cover of Us Weekly.
And I have to admit I have a little bit of a problem with it. I'm the first one to call out anorexic celebrities, but why this sudden uproar over Keira Knightley? Is she really any thinner than she has ever been? Now, I'm not saying she doesn't have an eating problem (I'm not saying she does either), but I remember when I watched her in the first Pirates of the Carribbean, wondering how one could possibly be so thin and whether she was anorexic. I honestly don't think she looks any different now. So why is everyone going crazy about her weight now? Why not three years ago?
As for Bosworth, I truly do think that she has a problem. However, the photo of her from Blue Crush is a little unfair to run. She gained weight for the movie (I know, it's not what I would look like if I tried to gain weight, but still). It would be like running a photo of Renee Zellweger from the Bridget Jones days and again now to illustrate that she had an eating problem. Not quite fair. And the thing with Bosworth is that her weight loss is so dramatic that they could run photos of her at her more "normal" size and the difference would still be striking.
Bad News (I Guess) for Men
Paris Hilton is giving up sex for a year. Sayeth Paris, according to this report, "I'm doing it just because I want to. I feel I'm becoming stronger as a person. Every time I have a boyfriend, I'm just so romantic, and I'll put all my energy into the guy . . ." Anyone want to lay odds (pun intended) that she actually keeps her word?
An American Tragedy
It has been 100 years since the death of a woman that inspired Theordore Dreiser's An American Tragedy. I have spent this summer looking for some good books to read, so I am sure others are having the same problem. If you are, I highly recommend this book. It has everything: mystery and suspense, passion, appealing characters and, of course, tragedy. A very, very good read. Plus, you get to check another classic off of that list of "books everyone should read."
Note: I haven't seen A Place in the Sun, the movie based on the book, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift. It sits on my Netflix queue but I am reluctant to watch it, after seeing the movie version of East of Eden (I have never seen a movie less faithful to a book than this--they literally changed every single pivotal moment from the book--the movie should have been titled Loosely Inspired by An American Tragedy). A lot of those movies from the 1950s really have an overwrought, overdramatic vibe, and the book was so great that I don't want melodrama ruining my feelings about a phenomenal book.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Pop Music Bringing the World Together, Part II
Lionel Richie strikes again! According to the New York Times, he used his influence in the middle east to help get Dallas Austin out of jail in Dubai after his conviction for drug possession.
Speaking of which, how stupid do you have to be to take cocaine with you on an international flight -- to Dubai? Very stupid.
Pop Music Bringing the World Together, Part I
I went to REI last night to buy some stuff for my camping trip, and on the way home stopped for dinner at Pike Pizza, aka "El Pike," on Columbia Pike. Despite the name, there is no pizza to be had here, just Bolivian food.
Not knowing anything about Bolivian food, I ordered Asado en Olla which turned out to be steak served with rice, potatoes, and chunos (which are freeze-dried potatoes). It was quite good, but subsequent research reveals that saltenas are their specialty.
What does this have to do with pop culture, you ask? Well, the defining feature of this restaurant was the 3 TVs blaring videos of 70s-era American pop music, including such classics as "Rock with You," "Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel," "Gloria," by Laura Branigan, and "I Will Survive." The absolute best moment was when a video of Hall & Oates playing "Maneater" came on. I swear to you that a hush fell over the restaurant and everyone (including me!) started snapping their fingers or tapping their feet or swaying to the music. It was sort of heartwarming.
For Your Viewing Pleasure
Isn't Stevie Wonder the greatest? I love the kid rocking out on the balcony. Also, is it just me, or did Stevie use to be sort of hot?
Wish You Were Here
Syd Barrett, one of the founding members of Pink Floyd, has died at 60. Syd left the band in 1968 (not by choice), and has suffered from severe mental problems (probably exacerbated by his copious use of halucinogenics). Perhaps he has finally found peace.
PopSugar is reporting that Natalie Portman may have been cast as Indiana Jones' daughter in the next movie in the series. I cannot tell you how much it would thrill me to see a new Indiana Jones (even if Harrison Ford is looking a little rough). While he's not a pirate, the character is as close to swashbuckling as a landlubber gets, and I think Natalie Portman would make a very interesting young adventurer. Let's all say give a big HURRAH to Hollywood that they're not trying to cast her as his love interest!
Okay, so Stallone is still in damn good shape, but Rocky VI?!? (I know, they are calling it Rocky Balboa in the hope that maybe you will forget how many of these movies have been made.) Even Talia Shire wouldn't be a part of it, so Adrian is dead. (What's a Rocky movie without Sly screaming, "Adrian." And, what, Talia had something better to do? Is her brother making Godfather IV?) Well, if you care, here's the trailer. With Isaac, Jr., I ain't getting to many movies these days, and I doubt this will make the list.
Monday, July 10, 2006
What more needs to be said, except HOFF!
Okay, a little more. That he is trying to spoof himself (KITT?) only adds to the awfulness of this song. I can enjoy the Hoff for his awfulness, but he can't love himself for that reason.
A2 or Medellin
SPOILERS. So last night after returning from the left coast, Mrs. Bartender and I caught up on the last 2 weeks of Entourage. Some pretty interesting developments, most particularly the direction Vince's career is going to take as well as Turtle getting a career. I'm just going to make some random observations:
1. Very glad that the Dom arc lasted only 2 episodes. Don't think I could have handled it much longer, and I like how they got rid of him. Stealing Shrek--nice.
2. Hadn't seen Bruno Kirby in a while, and he seems to have put on a few pounds in the interim. Interesting, he played the Young Clemenza in GF2 and is now looking like he could play Clemenza from GF. (That's Godfather for those of you not in the know.)
3. I thought Paul Haggis's cameo was brilliant. His discussion of learning to love Escobar was almost believable. I was not a big Crash fan, but he redeemed himself here, and a nice Facts of Life crack.
4. Vince is finally developing some sense of himself as an actor and a business man. He is quickly learning how Hollywood operates--nice slam of Michael Bay, the putative director of A2. Cameron ain't doing this sequel and WB is just looking to make a buck. Vince is, for once, learning to play the game and actually wants to be an actor. We'll see.
5. Turtle and Drama are at least trying (the former more successfully) to do something not wholly reliant on Vince. Again, I doubt this will be huge, but they need to be more than simple comic relief.
That's all for now.
I Heart Federer.
Not everyone prefers Kelly Taylor!
In order to fill the "big chair" left open after Star Jones Reynolds' exit from The View, Babs and company have chosen to go the revolving co-host route, having a new woman join them on a rotating basis. Among those who will be joining Barbara, Joy and Elisabeth: Brandy, Susan Lucci, Katharine McPhee, Carrie Ann Inabla and Kelly Monaco.
I know, that doesn't really excite me either. Well, except for Brandy--you all know how much I love a woman who fakes her own marriage.
But there is one shining light among the list of reality show and soap opera stars. Shannen Doherty will be joining the ladies of The View on July 31 and August 1. Two days! Two days of Shannen Doherty trying to put her best face forward but still being herself! Imagine the possibilities? July 31 could feature guests Paris Hilton (Doherty got into a fight with her over Rick Salomon, Doherty's former husband and star of One Night in Paris) and Tori Spelling (a former best friend of Doherty's who some now say is her bitter enemy). On August 1 we could be joined by Alyssa Milano (their feud was the reason Doherty left Charmed) and Shannen's first husband Ashley Hamilton (maybe former father-in-law George could come for fun as well). I guarantee these episodes would be the highest-rated in View history.
And there's more! Shannen is going to have her own show on the Oxygen network called Breaking Up with Shannen Doherty. Apparently she intervenes in relationships that are on the brink of failure, putting the couple to some "test." If they fail this test, Shannen then destroys the relationship! This show premieres in August.
I love the fact that Shannen, who has never apologized for having...not-so-nice...moments, is playing up her persona with a show that involves her ending the relationships of others. I also love that this is a woman who managed to alienate everyone on 90210 so much that they wrote her off of the show (despite the fact that she was its star), but then the executive producer, Aaron Spelling, still came back for more when he asked her to be on Charmed. Sure, a talent like Shannen really deserves more than the Oxygen network, but I'll take what I can get.
Welcome back, Shannen. We have been without you for far too long.
World Cup Thoughts
I am not a soccer fan, but I do enjoy the spectacle that is the World Cup. I was at 30,000 feet yesterday during the final, so I didn't get to watch. Nonetheless, congratulations to Italy and to Zindedane Zidane for his induction into the moron Hall of Fame. This was like Ron Artest deciding to become Ron Artest during Game 7 of the NBA Finals. And Ron Artest was Michael Jordan. (And Zidane was still named the outstanding player of the Cup. That's like giving the 1986 World Series MVP to Bill Buckner if he had hit .500 for the Series. Or "But Mrs. Lincoln, what did you think of the play." Puh-lease.)
But it seems to me that soccer has a few just absurd rules. While some think that those who know little about a subject shouldn't be the one to suggest changes, sometimes an outside perspective is useful, so here's mine:
1. Penalty kicks to decide things. I know this has been discussed at length, but this is ridiculous to have in elimination competition. If you want to reduce the number of players until a golden goal is scored fine, but find a better way to decide games. Hockey's use of penalty shots during the regular season works, but OT in the playoffs is epic.
2. Penalty kicks in general. There is no question that the award of a penalty quick is almost a guaranteed goal in a sport where one goal is often decisive. Compare this to hockey where a penalty shot is (1) more rarely awarded, (2) more rarely successful, and (3) more rarely decisive. Considering the magnitude of the PK, I don't understand why the team being awarded the kick gets to pick who takes the kick. It should be the player who is fouled who gets the kick--I don't get why a specialist can do it. (This logic does not apply in my mind to free kicks, so Beckham can still bend it if he's not hurt or crying.)
3. Offsides. I wish they could figure out a way that so many goals were not waived off for offsides. Suggestions?
4. Injury time. This is just peculiar. But I guess I can live with it. The officials are corrupt anyway. They may as well have discretion over the clock.
5. Finally, can an award please be given to the outstanding fake injury. Would anyone object to this?
Sacramento (really) Gawker
As previously reported, the Bartenders went on vacation. For those of you who missed me, I, like MacArthur, have returned. I will have more to report on the trip soon, but I want to start with our one celebrity sighting.
One of our first stops on the trip was Sacramento (don't worry, we headed to more exciting destinations after) where we visited the California State Capitol. When we got there, we were told that the Governator was about to sign the state budget, so we got to see Arnold and I am pleased to report I heard him say Kal-ee-for-nee-ya. Good times. Two days later, we caught T-2 on TV--very strange that this cyborg is now running the nation's largest (by population just to be clear, red fraggle) state. I really don't know what else to add to that.
I was one of the people who made this the biggest opening weekend ever for Pirates of the Caribbean. I've always meant to do a long, detailed, post on how much I love pirate movies, everything from Captain Blood to The Pirate to The Princess Bride. Basically, anything with sails and sword fights that could reasonably be described as swashbuckling I adore and so, despite the middling reviews, it should come as no surprise when I tell you that I loved the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Love. Johnny Depp is such a fantastic pirate that I didn't care how weird and rambling the plot is, or how frustrating it was for the movie to essentially end in the middle of the action. (It's sort of a Perils of Pauline franchise, but instead of having to wait until next week to find out if our hero/ine gets rescued we have to wait until next Memorial Day. Argh!) Instead, I just sat back and watched the swash be buckled and enjoyed every minute.
Friday, July 07, 2006
Happy Birthday Butterstick!
Tai Shan is turning one on Sunday. He will be celebrating by eating a fruitsicle, and he's getting a baby pool and a soccer ball. (Do you think he's rooting for Italy or France?) But mostly this is an excuse to post a cute picture of the official panda of Pop Culture Junkette.
My So-Called Gym
Jared Leto worked out at my gym on Sunday. I had such a huge crush on Jordan Catalano. But now, not so much.
Is it endearing that he forgot his id and asked the staff to Google him? Or . . . not endearing?
Thursday, July 06, 2006
I saw this at a newsstand on my way into work this morning and really couldn't believe how incredibly tasteless it is. No matter what Lay did, he's dead and not in some mysterious way that practically begs for twisted headlines and mysterious jokes (i.e. "disappearing" from a boat in the middle of the ocean or leaving his car parked in the middle of a bridge). The man had a heart attack for christ sake! And, presumably, he's got a grieving family, and this is completely disgusting. Seriously, I know the Post is a tabloid, but isn't this going beyond the pale? It sounds like something you'd say in a joking way to friends with a macabre sense of humor, not expect to see blaring at you while buying a pack of gum.
I ♥ Phoenix
I finally succumbed and bought the new Phoenix cd, It's Never Been Like That. While I'm not yet sold on the whole album, there are a couple of songs that I just love. Go here and listen to "Consolation Prizes" and "Rally." If you don't find them absolutely infectious, then you might be a little bit dead inside, which is sad.
You can watch the video for "Long Distance Call" here. It was directed by Roman Coppola, brother of Sofia, who is dating the lead singer Thomas Mars.
I think I like them even more knowing that they're French. Why are they singing in English? I have no idea!
Is it just me or do the nominees suck this year?
I miss the judge Mia on So You Think You Can Dance. Mary's just too Paula Abdul-like and LOUD! Anyone know when/if Mia will come back?
As for last night's dancing, I thought that Heidi and Ryan were, again, fantastic. Unlike their pop routine, this hip-hop performance was tight without being brittle. I think maybe the transition from Cuban Rhumba last week, to hip-hop this week was a good one for them. While the dances and techniques were obviously totally different, both dances required a solidity and sexiness that Heidi obviously has had to work on and she's really getting so much better.
I thought Dmitry and Ashlee's contemporary performance to Fall-Out Boy was very entertaining, and I was really surprised when the judges' commentary focused negatively on Ashlee instead of Dmitry. I thought Ashlee pulled off the character of the doll far more effectively and consistently than Dmitry managed the character of the psycho magician. Dmitry's performance was completely forgettable. But once again, the judges' commentary on Dmitry focused on his chest instead of his dancing. Are they afraid to criticize him?
Benji and Donyelle were also entertaining, and the editors had a lot of fun highlighting Donyelle's really embarassing confusion between Vietnam and Vienna. Oh girl. That was not a shining moment for you.
I don't want to ramble on too long since I know most people don't watch this show, but they should!
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
4 Movies in 5 Days
I went on a bit of a moviegoing tear this weekend, and saw 4 movies.
1. On Friday, I saw The Devil Wears Prada, which I thought was great. Meryl Streep was fantastic and the lifestyle porn aspect of it was very enjoyable -- many cute outfits, shoes, bags, and houses. Also, Adrian Grenier and Simon Baker.
That being said, the central conflict of the movie was not convincing. We're supposed to think that Andy has sold her soul because she, um, gets mad when her friends are being assholes by keeping her from answering her phone, and misses her boyfriend's birthday when her boss insists that she go to an important work event. This might say a lot about my own workaholic tendencies, but I just didn't get it. If it's true that succeeding at this job would be her ticket to a job that she really wanted in journalism, why can't her friends be expected to be supportive of her? Would this movie make any kind of sense if it was about, say, a male doctor in a really demanding residency? I don't think so. Also, some of Andy's outfits in the early stages of her makeover were horrendous -- very brand conscious in a way that is not fashionable at all.
2. The Road to Guantanamo. This movie tells the story of 3 British citizens who were arrested in Afghanistan and sent to Guantanamo Bay for more than 2 years before being released. It is sort of a recreation of events by actors interspersed with footage of interviews of the real people. While this addresses a very worthwhile and interesting subject, I don't think it succeeded as a movie. First, a lot of the acting was horrible. Second, the story of what they were doing in Afghanistan was not convincing. They claim that they were in Pakistan for a wedding and decided to go to Afghanistan to help the refugees when the U.S. attacked. After being in Kabhul for awhile with nothing to do, they tried to arrange a ride back to Pakistan but were taken -- unknowingly -- to northern Afghanistan where they were ultimately captured with the Taliban. I just didn't find this believable, and it is disappointing that the movie did not have the conviction to argue that even if they were fighting with the Taliban, their treatment was not justified -- which I think is true.
Still, the movie does a good job of portraying the sheer idiocy of what we are doing at Guantanamo. Putting aside the fact that what we are doing there is illegal, immoral, and a huge strategic mistake, it just seems like a huge waste of time and resources. There's endless footage of US soldiers and marines forcing people to stand up, sit down, line up to be counted, run from one place to another, and be questioned by a long succession of interrogators. And for what? These are just 3 guys from Birmingham.
3. Superman Returns. I went to this with very low expectations and was pleasantly surprised. Brandon Routh has his charms and Kate Bosworth was not as bad as I thought she would be. And some of the actions scenes were great -- especially the one near the beginning. But, ultimately, it dragged. I think maybe that Superman is just not that interesting as a character. He has no dark side like Batman, and no real internal conflict like Spiderman. And he seems to do an awful lot of manual labor -- like catching things that are about to fall on people or stopping things that are about to crash into people. I feel like his talents could be deployed more effectively.
4. The Lake House. I second Holt's endorsement of this movie. Yes, the time travel aspect of it made my head hurt. But Chicago looked beautiful, and the characters were appealing. I really liked, and sort of want, Sandra Bullock's short haircut.
This weekend I ventured far from the realm of pop culture into actual nature. Later this month, my friend D. and I are going on a canoeing & camping trip in the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota. After about the hundredth person asked us if we had ever canoed, we started to doubt our operating philosophy, which had been: "If small children can do it, we probably can too." So we decided we should learn to canoe.
To that end, we went on Sunday with a couple of friends, both experienced canoers, to Mason Neck State Park. Wow, this place was beautiful; I could not believe that we were only 20 miles from DC. The park is located on a bay off of the Potomac River, and you can canoe a short distance to a marshy area called Kane's Creek. We saw bald eagles, ospreys, and blue herons, and all sorts of butterflies and dragonflies. I also saw a gigantic frog (roughly 6" in diameter). I highly recommend it, but maybe not on a day when the high is 95 degrees.
I'm really embarassed to post about this, but has anyone else watched this new summer show? It's on, gulp, ABC Family (I know!) and . . . I . . . kinda like it. It's about Kyle, this mysterious boy who wakes up one day in the forest, naked, with no bellybutton, no memory, no one looking for him, and no idea how to do anything. He's essentially a 16-year-old newborn, but a newborn who's wicked smart at mathematics and stuff, who can draw photographic perfect pictures of things he's seen, has awesome kung-fu skills, and who learns to talk pretty darn quick. (WARNING: 13-year-old girl moment ahead.) He's also got the most adorable dimples and very pretty eyes.
So, Kyle is taken in by a psychologist (?) and her family who learn to love him after he does all kinds of kooky yet ingratiating things, but there's some strange guy in a pick-up who keeps spying on them, and the family's son keeps making jokes (?) about Kyle being an alien . . . I really don't care about the broader mystery, because Kyle has those dimples, and the little family scenes are really cute.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
We're All Doooooomed!
At least, that's what I felt like when I walked out of the global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Oh, they tried to end it on a high note with Al Gore showing a slide that showed how we could reverse the trend if we just did stuff that we know we should do. And for a moment it worked.
This was my train of thought as I walked out of the movie: "I should drive to Home Depot and buy some low energy light bulbs! Wait, driving my CAR to Home Depot just to buy light bulbs would be really stupid and counterproductive. I should never drive my car again. But I love my car. Damn, this is how everybody feels. But since I probably drive, at most, 10 miles/week, that's not going to fix anything. Boy, I'm really depressed. I should go to the library and pick up a nice engaging mystery to take my mind off it. But I have overdue books, and I don't want them to yell at me. Ok, here's a handy Barnes & Noble, I'll just slip in and buy another book that I'm sure took a ton of energy to produce and will just add to all the crap I've accumulated over the years so that when I eventually move I'll have to rent an enormous gas guzzling U-Haul and WE'RE ALL DOOMED!"
But it is a great movie, and you should all see it, and cut down on your energy use and driving because otherwise, we're DOOOMED!