Pop Culture Junkette

Addicted to pop culture.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Apocolypse Saturday Night

Mrs. Bartender and I once again got out on Saturday night to our local cinema in order to see Tropic Thunder. Bottom line--this is a very funny movie that manages to send up virtually all of Hollywood. It is extremely well acted, and I am sure that I missed a good chunk of the inside Hollywood jokes. MINOR SPOILERS:

1. The use of the fake commercial/trailers coming without any warning after the real trailers was fantastic. Very, very funny, and I'm sure Eddie Murphy did not appreciate Jack Black's.

2. Whoever came up with the name Alpa Chino deserves an Oscar.

3. Steve Coogan is, I think, about to become big. The New Yorker ran a long piece on him several months ago, right around the time of his brilliant appearance on Curb Your Enthusiasm. And then there was another long piece in Sunday's Arts & Leisure section of the New York Times. Certainly makes me want to see Hamlet 2.

4. I wish I hadn't heard all the hype about Tom Cruise's role in the movie. He was very good, and the role was much bigger than I expected--I thought it would be 1 or at most 2 scenes--but I wish it had come as more of a surprise (probably impossible in today's world). I realize that these things get out and help drive the movie (and the studio did everything possible to block pictures), but if I hadn't known . . . .

5. I need to touch on the primary controversy with the movie . . . . no, not Robert Downey, Jr., brilliantly playing an Australian actor playing an African-American in "blackface" or "pigment augmentation," but Ben Stiller's character's starring role as a mentally challenged individual Simple Jack and the repeated use of the word retard. I don't know if other than numerous NY Times articles on the issue, the "boycott" has had any real impact as the movie had a strong opening. Nonetheless, the joke is not on the mentally challenged, other than the mentally challenged actors and the academy that rewards them for playing certain types of characters (Forrest Gump, Rainman), but not others (Sam in I am Sam). A tempest in a teapot if you ask me.

All in all, well worth seeing.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Aaaaaaaand goodbye, everybody

No, this is not a farewell from your trusted bartender, but a somewhat sad farewell to the one and only, Mike and the Mad Dog. Mike Francesa and Chris "Mad Dog" Russo essentially invented modern sports talk radio, having done it for the past 19 years on WFAN in New York. It was officially announced that the duo is no more with Russo moving on to newer (and certainly greener) pastures.

Having grown up outside New York City, I have listened to them intermittently ever since they started. And whenever I'm back near the big city, I would often tune them in. They were the best and worst of sports talk radio. Usually entertaining, often funny, very opinionated, and a wee bit full of themselves (particularly Mike). Mike was a huge Yankees and Bill Parcells fan; Russo, a nut for the SF Giants. I still fondly remember listening to them in the summer of 1993 as the Braves came storming back to overtake the Giants . Russo was beside himself, and Mike loved playing the HR calls of McGriff et al. from a huge series the Braves swept to torture Russo. Good times. Heck, when the Yanks were in the 2001 Series and pulled off the miraculous wins in Games 4 and 5 (as far as I remember that series ended then and there), I listened to a static filled broadcast of the show from my car in Virginia to listen to Francesa's excitement at what had transpired.

The worst part about the split--I could never handle listening to them when either one was on vacation. Mike needed Russo to keep his ego slightly in check. And Russo on his own was just painful. I hope Sirius, his supposed destination, knows what it's getting, because there are any number of sports radio guys I would listen to before tuning into a Russo solo show. And with satellite radio, the options are there.

So, farewell, Mike and the Dog. I know I am not alone in saying that even with all of your flaws, I will miss you.

Monday, August 11, 2008

If Things Happen In Threes . . .

On Saturday, I read the sad news that legendary Hollywood producer/manager Bernie Brillstein had passed away. A short time thereafter, I saw on CNN that Bernie Mac was gone as well. When I commented to Mrs. Bartender about their deaths and that things often happen in threes, she pointed out that Doc better watch out. For those non-Love Boat fans (how dare you!), that's Bernie Kopell. Or it could be Bernie Kosar. Or Bernie Goetz. I'll stop now.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Don't forget the hats!

I know I haven't blogged about this season of Project Runway yet. It's unfortunate I haven't, because there are a lot of things to say. Like how much Suede and his third-person references annoy me, and how Blaine's whole "girl-licious," "diva-licious," and "everything-else-licious" is not only annoying, but a sad and transparent attempt to create a Christian Siriano-esque buzz phrase, and how Leanne's skirt from last week should have been the clear winner, and I'm still disappointed it wasn't.

I kept meaning to blog about this season, and just didn't get around to it. But when I saw that the designers would be creating outfits worthy of an Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, I knew I had to pull out the computer.

As you all probably know, I love the Olympic Games. In fact, when this blog started, it was during the Winter Olympics, and Bailey, Holt and I could not stop writing about them. I'm so excited that the Olympics start in two days (and yes, I will be watching, despite the fact that they are taking place in China), and I'm really sad that I won't be working with Holt and Bailey during as the Games take place--I'll miss our discussions about who our Olympic boyfriends are. Yes, I know. We're grown adult women. But honestly, life got pretty boring at work.

Anyway, back to Runway. I won't go through every outfit, because it's really not worth it for the most part. Most glaring was the fact that the large, large majority of the designers just did not seem to understand what the opening ceremony looks like. The most glaring omission: hats. Seriously, where were the hats?!?! Hats are always worn during the opening ceremonies. It's almost like a rule. By far the biggest disappointments was the almost complete lack of headwear.

Two contestant did include a hat, or at least a hat-like covering. First was Joey, who clearly should have been the winner. I'm not sure exactly what his model had on her head--a swimcap, perhaps?--but his outfit really looked like it belonged in the opening ceremony, and he was the only person who used the letters "USA" on his costume. I'm not a big fan of wearing your patriotism on your sleeve, but it's the Olympics! It's the opening ceremony! If ever there were a time to be decked out in red, white and blue with the letters USA on your clothes, this is it. (As a disclaimer, I am pretty much always against skorts. But I made an exception here because the outfit was just so right for the event, and nothing else came close.)

The other person who used a hat ended up in the bottom three. And although I agree that Jerrel's outfit was all over the place, I kind of loved it. Or, as Gobo said, "he shouldn't go home. Some countries actually wear stuff like that during the opening ceremonies." Sure, those are from countries that were probably former Soviet republics, but really, that's not the point. His outfit could be worn on opening day. And he included a hat. The importance of that cannot be underestimated.

As for the rest...there really isn't much I want to say. Daniel's choice not to add the cape to his outfit was clearly idiotic and, like so many of his fellow competitors, just showed a complete lack of understanding of the challenge (and since Kenley--who didn't manage to incorporate red in her outfit--was advising him, she should share some blame as well). Terri and Korta both made nice outfits and I had no issue with them being in the top three, but I definitely felt Joe should have won, with Terri coming in second. I just didn't think Korta's was as appropriate as either of the others' for the games.

Jennifer was eliminated, and rightfully so. I just didn't understand why she chose to make her outfit yellow, white and navy blue. It's the US Olympic team, for heaven's sake! Even Stella managed to incorporate the flag's colors in her design, even if it was mainly black. And speaking of Stella, how she remains in this competition is beyond me. I thought she deserved to be out in the first episode, when she chose flimsy black garbage bags as her "fabric" for the grocery store challenge. She is completely one-trick--all leather and fur and biker sensibilities--and it's completely boring.

Of course, I'm incredibly excited to see what the actual Olympic team will be wearing on Friday. I'm going to bet that there will be hats.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I Love Dolly!

Dolly Parton is so fab. Here she is on giving the young'uns a break:

"Poor little Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan. Ain't it awful? If those little girls slept with as many men as they say in the tabloids, why their little butts would have more fingerprints than the FBI!"

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Friday, August 01, 2008

Friday Thoughts

1. In light of John McCain's constant complaining for the past 2 weeks, Mrs. Bartender wisely commented, "well, we are a nation of whiners."

2. Saw The Dark Knight last week. Perhaps the biggest complaint I have is that either I'm going deaf or there is something kooky with the acoustics at the Uptown Theatre. Both Mrs. Bartender and I had trouble hearing a good chunk of dialogue because of the music in the film. The same thing happened with Iron-Man. My parents, who also saw the movie last week (at a different theater) had no such problem. I am thinking of popping in to watch a few minutes of The Dark Knight when we next hit the movies at a different cinema to confirm that the problem is with the Uptown. Or else I better get a hearing aid.

As you probably know, the movie is very good and Heath Ledger is amazing. But don't miss the underrated Aaron Eckhardt--he is terrific although I wish much of what happened to his character was saved for Batman III. (Am I right that the Michael Keaton/Val Kilmer/George Clooney Batmans never happened when we count what number film we are up to in the Christian Bale Batman's? Actually, the Clooney Batman never happened. Period. I think Clooney had all copies destroyed.)

3. We also went to see the Eagles on Saturday night--a very good concert. The band--all now around 60--still sound great. They interestingly wore black suits and ties (it ain't the 70s any more) and played a little too much new stuff. However, there was about 3 hours of music (not counting a 15 minute intermission), so you got your money's worth.

Glen Frey is the emcee while Don Henley sticks more to the music (and Joe Walsh is the jester). I have a connection with Glen and have met him and had heard for years that he referred to his first wife as "Plaintiff." Nonetheless, I didn't realize that he always dedicated Lyin' Eyes to her. That get a particularly loud chuckle from me. (He dedicated Take It to the Limit to his current wife and her credit cards.) I was also surprised by the amount of solo material Don and Joe performed (including some James Gang stuff from Joe). They wrote a lot of really good music, and Joe Walsh is one hell of a guitar player.

4. Had dinner at Proof before the show, which was excellent. The servers were fantastic and very friendly, the food (we stuck to the charcuterie, cheeses, and small plates) was very, very good, and when the bottle of Pinot Noir we ordered was unavailable and I asked for "something similar," not only did we get a great bottle of Pinot, it was actually a few dollars cheaper.

5. Mrs. Bartender and I finally started to watch Heroes. We've seen the first 15 episodes and definitely enjoy it. It's certainly not Lost, but it is quite obvious why Hiro and Claire are the break out characters (along with Claire's "dad"). Looking forward to the climax of season 1, and while we realize that season 2 is not going to be close to as good, luckily it's short!

Have a great weekend. Mrs. Bartender and I are dining with Red Fraggle and Gobo tomorrow night, so perhaps will have some new stuff for next week.

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