Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thank you Tomas Berdych!

For giving me this image -
It will be the first time since 2002 that I won't have to see Federer's smug mug and annoying brow bones in a Wimbledon final. Now, if I can get a Rafa Nadal/ Novak Djokovic final on Sunday, one of my tennis fantasies (minus some of the locker room action with me) will be fulfilled.
I'm crossing all of my digits for my boyfriend Novak to beat Berdych in the semi-finals which feels wrong since I'm so excited today for Berdych. But you know, it's Novak.
Yeah, you get it.

TV Round-up - New Summer 2010 Shows (June Edition)

Memphis Beat
Jason Lee is a quirky detective who loves and performs blues music. So far I'm really enjoying it. It's not your usual cliched cop drama. And Alfre Woodard is great as the police captain. Also? Jason Lee has an amazing singing voice - the man just got sexier. Now if only we could deal with the whole "Scientology" thing...

Hot In Cleveland
Betty White plays the caretaker of a house in Cleveland that three "fabulous" LA-based friends (the underused Wendie Malick, Jane Leeves and Valerie Bertinelli) end up living in because their flight to Paris has to emergency land in Cleveland (?); and the ladies decide to stay because their 40/50 something bodies/faces are considered a "hot" commodity in the midwest (?!!!) Yeah, this show is kind of a mess. And it's been so long since I've watched a sitcom that's filmed in front of a studio audience that I find their laughter distracting. I'm giving this a chance because of White and the guest stars they're gettting like Carl Reiner, John Schneider, and Huey Lewis. This is a show that will probably hang out in my Tivo unwatched for awhile.

Persons Unknown 
Seven strangers have been kidnapped and brought to a deserted "town" and forced to piece together a puzzle to free themselves from their environment, while indestructible security cameras keep a watchful eye and mind-fuck with them. I love Jason Wiles and Alan Ruck and their characters, so I'm invested in this show for now even though I'm starting to have a feeling that I'm going to be really let down when we find out the whole story when this mini-series ends in September.

I didn't know what to expect about an ABC Family network show about a fat camp for teens. But what I got was a show that was weird, wonderful, provocative, imaginative, realistic, and refreshing. I have a new summer favorite!

I find comedian Louis C.K. very polarizing and that's sort of a good thing. A lot of his comedy makes me uncomfortable, but also makes me think. His new show on F/X has a lot of critical acclaim all of which it deserves. It's like an R-rated "Seinfeld", if Jerry Seinfeld had actually talked about problems and feelings that real people have. I enjoyed the heck out of the first episode with nary a twinge of discomfort. Can't wait to see what C.K. brings in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Linky link - Early summer 2010 edition

  • One of my biggest pet peeves is denim shorts on anyone above the age of 12. I HATE jean shorts, be they cut-off or hemmed, long or short, fitted or loose. "The Sassy Curmudgeon", Una LaMarche, has a great story about jean shorts on the Huffington Post this week.

  • All of this Jake and Vienna break-up nonsense has been so amusing, but none of it more awesome than all of the "Jake is gay" rumors that have resurfaced. And all of the interviews where Jake keeps swearing he's not gay! I personally don't think he is; I wouldn't want to have sex with Vienna either...

  • Okay, I loved The Mole when it was on ABC, so I'm cautiously optimistic about this latest Big Brother season twist.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hey! Lighten up San Miguel County

Wondering what Val Kilmer's been doing lately? Other than a cameo in Magruber? Well, he's also been fighting his dumbass neighbors in New Mexico, as he tries to turn his ranch house into a bed & breakfast.
Seems as though the residents in the small county of San Miguel took offense to some things that Kilmer may (or may not) have said about New Mexicans and Vietnam vets?

Their anger and hysterics are all very silly. I mean really? They're made because Val (allegedly) said that 80% of the people that live in his county are drunks? And the county attorney backed these irrational (and probably drunk) lunatics up by saying that Kilmer's words "created a clear and present danger threatening public safety." ? WTF? Calm down and let the man have his permit to open his B&B! He needs the money for a decent hair cut.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Television Revisited - For the love of Glee's "Acafellas"

Summer hiatus television. A lot of silly new shows, returning cable favorites, and a chance for the networks to run repeats of their hit shows' past season. Fox is rerunning Glee from the beginning throughout the summer and this week's episode was the infamous "Acafellas". Now if you ask most fans, and definitely most detractors of Glee, to name one episode that they hated, many would name this one. "Acafellas" was the episode that caused no less than 4 of my friends to stop watching Glee altogether, even though it was only the 3rd episode into the series.

The chief complaints included: the story arc strayed away from the kids and focused too much on Mr. Schuester and tertiary characters that we never see; it didn't make sense for Schue to want to give up on the glee club so quickly; the confidence "lesson" theme; Mercedes not understanding that Kurt is gay was totally unbelievable and seemed to contradict previous eps; the dumb show choir choreographer Dakota; the Acafellas music was lame...and while I agree that there were some flaws to this ep, I've never understood why people didn't like it.
I love it! Here are some reasons why:
  • The other name options for the acapella hip hop group were "Crescendudes" and "Testostertones". Hee hee
  • Victor Garber was introduced as Will's dad. And sure, he hasn't been back but just knowing that there's a possibility that I'll get to see Garber and Morrison singing a duet someday is enough.
  • Other cameos included Tony award winner John Lloyd Young as returning shop teacher Henri and Josh Groban as himself giving us a small hint at the brilliance he'd show later in the season finale.
  • This was the first episode to really introduce the fantasy element to Glee; with performances turning into dream sequences and where the audience gets to be inside the heads of the characters. People have come to love, or at least "get" this element of the show now, but I think it was hard to adjust to it when it was first introduced.
  • We got to fully know and fall in love with MILF-lover Noah "Puck" Puckerman.
  • Anytime we get to see Sheets n Things employee Howard is always a good thing, especially when people are yelling lines at him like - "Who is Josh Groban?!! Kill yourself!"
  • THE MUSIC IS AWESOME. Maybe it's because all of that early cheesy hip hop came on to the scene when I was in college, hearing Bel Biv Devoe, Montel Jordan, and Color Me Badd (especially song acapella) just brings a smile to my face. 

Friday, June 18, 2010

Reality TV musings for the week of June 14

So You Think You Can Dance - we got through the first round of competition for this season 7 and eliminated our first girl. Even though it saddens me that we've only had 2 female winners for this show (Katee should've won season 4), I've resigned myself to the fact that this season the girls are severely out-classed by the guys. The talent level for the men is off the effin' charts! I've already predicted an all male top 4 in my SYTYCD fantasy pool (hurry and get your vote forms in before 6/23/10). So far I'm liking the All-Star concept, but I'm worried that we're going to have a serious lopsided field gender-wise.

Work of Art: The Next Great Artist - Boy did I want to hate this show. But, Bravo TV has done it again, by creating a reality show that TOTALLY appeals to me and has me hooked. Gosh, my mom would've loved this show. She was an artist that never got to have her day, but instead taught and went into the administrative end of things (at the Smithsonian). But she kept up on the NY and European scene and knew who was being promoted as the "next hot thing". Maybe it's the contestants on this innagural season, who are surprisingly likeable even when they're acting like pretentious pricks. Maybe it's the fact that the judges and host (take note Shear Genius!) are totally legit and real experts in the art world (I mean they have gawddam Simon de Pury as the mentor on the show. What?!) But so far this gem is nicely filling a void that I didn't realize I had in my reality tv world.

HGTV Design Star - season 5! In NYC! With no Clive as host! This week's premier got us off to a good start. I don't hate, nor have I bonded, with any of these candidates yet, but I like what I see from a few of them. Now if only Vern Yip would stop being so patronizing I think the show would be perfect.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Eddie Cibrian - How CBS avoided his "show killer" curse

My love for Eddie Cibrian is no secret. I've even given he and Leann Rimes a pass for all of their affair shenanigans, and defended Eddie's behavior with his soon-to-be ex wife, because she's such a slag and you can kind of understand why he left her for Leann in the first place.

ANYWAY, one of the most interesting things about Eddie Cibrian is his professional reputation as a show killer. Cibrian ranks right up there with the king and queen, Ted McGinley and Paula Marshall, as an actor that is brought in to a project, only to have that tv show or movie go south right afterwards.
But producers and networks keep giving him a chance! It's amazing, but sort of understandable - the man is great looking and only gets better with age; he can do comedy, romance, and drama; and he's a decent actor. And I know I can't be the only person out there that will tune in to a show just because he's on it.
Case in point - CSI: Miami. I HATE this show. The #1 reason why? David Caruso as Horatio Crane. I can't stand Caruso as an actor, and the Crane character is one of the most ridiculously irritating ever written. But sure enough, when Eddie Cibrian joined the cast last year, I found myself recording episodes of CSI:Miami. And kind of, sort of enjoying them. SIGH...

Oh well, CBS has taken care of this issue for me by letting Cibrian out of his contract and getting rid of his CSI character. It's still not determined how they're going to write him off the show. Will they kill him or leave open any opportunities for him to come back?

I think the real reason CBS made this decision is that they were worried that the power of the Cibrian show killer curse would strike again. The ratings for all of the CSI franchise have been going down over the last year or two.

Don't worry Eddie. I still have at least two of your Lifetime tv movies to keep me company this month.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

SYTYCD Season 7 - first competition episode

What can I say that hasn't already been hashed out on Twitter and message boards? The opening competition episode of this season of So You Think You Can Dance was overall pretty great, although I don't know if the All Star format is as much of a success as Nigel Lythgoe seems to think. I won't disect every routine, just talk about some highs and lows and ah-ha moments.

Good stuff:
  • Damn Neil Haskell, I f*cking missed you. And Tyce Diorio really needs to stick to contemporary routines. Ashley and Neil got a nice piece, while Billy Bell was saddled with Tyce's crap "Broadway" stuff.
  • Someone on this show FINALLY USED JASON MRAZ'S SONG BUTTERFLY for their choreography. I know so many people hate Mraz but I'll always love him for his live performances and seriously, I love "Butterfly". A lot.
  • Sean Cheesman's African dance. Kind of tremendous. And Robert is so sexy and such an amazing dancer.
  • Alex and Allison dancing a Sonya Tayeh contemporary routine to Jeff Buckley. Breathtaking.
  • One of my favorite songs was finally used on this show...but used very poorly by Napoleon & Tabitha for a lyrical hip hop routine that was totally uninspired. I had always imagined Butterfly being used for a latin dance choreographed by someone like Jason Wilkinson.
  • Kent's coming real close to annoying me. C'mon kid, I want to like you.
  • Hey Nigel, Mia, and especially Adam? Could you take it down about 100 notches? I am already exhausted by you and it's the first damn episode. You almost overpraised Alex tonight; and he was AMAZING. Just step back a little.
  • Hey Nigel and producers, if we're going to be stuck with this shitty stage and lighting all season, at least have quality camera work. PLEASE. That opening was a total mess.
  • Jose does yoga. And has a totally hot body that is hidden under all that b-boy swag.
  • Mandy Moore still loves her some 80s music. I'm serious; there's maybe been 2 routines she's done for this show that hasn't featured a song from the decade when I graduated from highschool.
  • Adam Shankman had a bad case of "gay face" in 1991. He's so much more handsome now.

Seattle International Film Festival 2010 Round Up

The 36th annual Seattle International Film Festival was a very enjoyable experience for me this year.
I attended 18 screenings total, which almost matches my festival attendance record of 22 movies. While that may seem ridiculously high to many of you reading this, it's nothing when compared to many SIFF-goers who easily see 40+ films during the three and half week period that the festival lasts.

I've listed the films I saw at the bottom of this post. The 5 movies highlighted in red were my absolute favorites, and ones that I would highly recommend everyone seeing. Some are available on Netflix, while others will actually be released in theaters soon.
Overall there wasn't one of the 18 that I saw that I disliked. A couple had disappointing endings, but unlike in years past, I didn't experience any stinkers.
There seemed to be a lot more people in attendance this year which was nice to see. I don't know if that had to do with better marketing, or the expanded venues (i.e. adding Pacific Place as a permanent SIFF site) that allowed more people to come out and experience SIFF.
More people also meant more assholes unfortunately. Like the "SIFF-passer", an unpleasant older woman with requisite fanny pack and ill fitting corduroy pants from Chico's, who sat in front of me for one film and objected to the fact that I was eating popcorn (very quietly and slowly I assure you). She kept on turning around in her seat every 2 minutes and glaring at me until I finally asked sotto voce - "Can I help you?!" - causing her to move to a different part of the theater. Or how about the couple who decided to buy Mexican take-out 4 minutes before getting to the theater and were OUTRAGED when told that they couldn't bring it in to eat during the movie. Geezus did they complain; I felt really bad for the young emo boys working at the Neptune theater that had to deal with them.
But these unpleasant people were few and far between and compared to previous years I was able to handle them a lot better.

Here's my list of 2010 festival screenings with some descriptions:

American films -
  • Holy Rollers - coming to a theater near you. About young NY Hasidic Jews who worked as drug runners in the early 90s; based on a true story. It was the first time I really enjoyed a performance by Jesse Eisenberg.
  • Every Day - Liev Schreiber is amazing and hot, that is all. No, that's not all. The description of this movie didn't really prepare me for one of the primary story lines involving Helen Hunt's character who has to move out and take care of her bitter, invalid sick father. I empathized and associated so much with the crap that she had to deal with that afterwards, I was left feeling very emotional and raw even though the movie has a pretty happy ending. I'm sure several people in the theater were wondering why I was crying as the lights came up.
  • The Freebie - When did Dax Shepard become such a good actor?!
  • Senior Prom - fun "mockumentary" done in the Waiting for Guffman style. And it was a local Seattle production too - I hope that means that more people will get to see it.
  • Life During Wartime - oh Todd Solondz, you are so damn wacky.
  • Miss Nobody - This was sort of like a mash up of 9 to 5 and Heathers. It was pretty good and it's nice to see cute superman Brandon Routh getting work.
Spanish Films -
  • Mediterranean Diet - as I already talked about, this little Spanish gem was super entertaining...and super HOT.
  • Me Too - Pablo Pineda, the actor who plays the main character Daniel in this sweet film is no short of amazing. Pineda has Down Syndrome and was in real life the first person with Downs in Europe to get an university degree and whose real life story was the basis for the movie.
  • Gordos - what I would describe as a "typical" Spanish film. A dramedy about a Overeaters Anonymous therapy group.
Other foreign movies -
  • Brotherhood - AMAZING. Powerful. Devastating. A must see from Denmark.
  • Eleanor's Secret - A nice little animated film for book lovers from France.
  • Air Doll - I loved this Japanese movie so much, until the last 15 minutes where it took SUCH a drastic and dramatic turn that it left a very sour taste in my mouth.
  • Au Revoir Taipei - I keep describing this as a Taiwanese "Super Bad". Very fun!
  • Hipsters - A PHENOMENAL musical out of Russia. I am praying for this film to get an American distributor.
Documentaries -
  • Wheedle's Groove - Who knew that Seattle had a burgeoning funk scene in the 1970s? And who knew that Kenny G was once really f*cking cool?
  • William S. Burroughs: A Man Within - I loved this old freak. What a great documentary about his life.
  • Paris Return - a great small movie with a simple story about love, death, and family. CHARMING. Oh, and I would f*cking kill for Reuven and Pierluigi's apartment across from the Louvre.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Glee Season 1 finale

Sigh...well it's over. And even though I have the summer reruns to keep me company, I'll still have a gaping hole because my Tuesday nights won't have Glee to fill it.

I am a big fan of this show, but I’ll be the first to admit that this first season has been wildly erratic with transcendent highs (anything with Burt Hummel loving his gay son, Gaga, Madonna, Groff/Menzel) and painful lows (most of the “lesson” episodes, Matthew Morrison “rapping”). I’ve had to defend Glee on more than one occasion and I hope that Ryan Murphy and the writers take this time off to really tap into the show’s potential greatness, and not let it become a cliché of itself.

Here are some things that have been on my mind for the past 14 hours regarding last night's finale:

  1. Journey super-fan that I am, I really enjoyed the medley of songs that the McKinley kids performed at regionals. Including the always awesome fave "Lovin', Touchin', & Squeezin', and an expanded version of "Don't Stop Believing" that had new solos added for Santana and Puck.
  2. The fact that Josh Groban and my beloved Olivia Newton John awesomely and fearlessly acted like total conceited assholes for the joke, and really brought the funny as they played "themselves". Brilliant.
  3. Johnathan Groff. And that "Bohemian Rhapsody" performance. First, I think it's kind of great that the writers actually chose to show Vocal Adrenaline performing the full piece (has this show ever had a full song performed on air?); and the way it was juxtaposed with Quinn giving birth was totally crazy and totally worked! And seriously Groff? So damn hot.
  4. TV/Movie pet peeve - "newborns" are played by baby actors who are like a year old. I get it but good lord the baby they had playing Beth was GIGANTIC.
  5. Shelby's adoption of baby Beth was perhaps the fastest and easiest adoption OF ALL TIME. Even by fake tv standards. I mean I get why they did it for story purposes, but it would've been nice if we'd seen Shelby talk about adopting or had any inkling of this desire prior to the last 10 minutes of this finale.
  6. The AMAZEballs rendition of "To Sir With Love" that the New Directions kids did for Mr. Schue. That song gets me every. damn. time. Oh, and Matt and Mike got lines!
  7. Dialogue goodness from one Sue Sylvester:
"It looks like a briar patch. I expect racist animated Disney characters to pop out up and start singing songs about livin' on the bayou."

"From Fort Wayne, Indiana, the not at all stupidly named Aural Intensity!"

"I spent large segments of each day picturing you choking on food, and I recently contacted an exotic animal dealer because I had a very satisfying dream that I once shoved your face into one of those pink-inflamed monkey butts."

Monday, June 7, 2010

Dun dun dun Dah, dun dun dah...

Anybody else inexplicably excited about The A Team movie opening this week? Just me then?
For those of you under the age of 30, here's the backstory of one of the greatest tv shows from the early 80s:
A colorful team of former Special Forces soldiers -- Colonel Hannibal Smith, Lt. Templeton "Face" Peck, B.A. Baracus, and "Howling Mad" Murdock -- are framed for a crime they did not commit. Branded as war criminals, they escape from military prison and go rogue as soldiers of fortune, utilizing their unique talents in an attempt to clear their names and find the true culprit. "If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire... The A-Team."
Television Without Pity posted a great comparison between the new movie and the original television show. I personally think that the producers and casting agents got everything just right. And even though I HATED Smokin' Aces, from the previews I've seen I think writer/director Joe Carnahan got the tone just right for this film. I'm sure it wasn't easy to update the story (they're not Vietnam vets), tone down but still keep some of the camp of the tv show, and fill the movie with enough cool action and special effects to appease to jaded 15 year old (and 45 year old) boys.

And Dwight Schultz and Dirk Benedict, who played Murdock and Faceman respectively on the original series, reportedly make cameos in the movie, to which I can only say Yippee!

An added bonus is that I find each of the four actors (Bradley Cooper, Liam Neeson, Sharlto Copley, and Quinton Jackson) to be sexy in their own unique way. I never could've said that about Mr. T or Dwight Schultz (sorry dudes).

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Reality TV catch up - First week of June 2010 edition

So You Think You Can Dance - while I watch the audition shows (the producers do a slightly better job than "American Idol" of not wasting time with crap attention-starved asses), it's not really until Vegas semi finals that I even remotely care or become emotionally invested in any of these people, with a few exceptions. This week the two audition cities featured were LA and Chicago.
Standouts included that kid Adrian with the looooooong neck who choreographer Stacey Tookey couldn't wait to get her hands on, and Alexie who made it to the last round in Vegas Season 6 and whose movements I really liked. But more importantly she reminded me how much I freakin' love Janis Joplin's version of Summertime. Seriously, musically this version kicks so much ass. The guitar parts alone make me weep.

And y'all is there anything cuter than the fact that Cat Deeley puts a coat on to protect herself from the sweat pouring off the kids as they come out of the auditorium to hug her after they've been given a ticket to Las Vegas? Cat loves these folks so much - take note Ryan Seacrest.

RR/RW Challenge: Fresh Meat II -

Yay for my boyfriend Landon and his Fresh Meat partner Carley, she of the bad hair and weird frowny face. They beat loathsome sore loser Evelyn and perma-smile Luke in the Exile and then did well enough to come in 2nd place not have to face the last Exile which would have been totally unfair. Here's hoping they can continue to kick butt and win that prize money.

Nine By Design - I haven't really talked about this show. It chronicles the ridiculous Novogratz family, a husband and wife design team with their 7 gorgeous children in tow as they build, design, sell, kvetch, yuppify and annoy the living hell out of everybody in Manhattan (really the tri-state area, oh, and London).
To be truthful, I actually love the relationship that Bob and Courtney Novogratz have. Theirs is a real partnership, in both love and business, and they are truly a great team. Courtney is kind of kick-ass actually. She's really why I watch the show. I would have been jailed for murdering Robert Novogratz long before I had a chance to birth 7 of his children. The way Bob whines about them being in debt and their lack of money (sure, whatever Bob, you own three $20 million dollar homes) and the way he treats their best client (developer Dave Barry) grates on my nerves to no end. On a shallow note, I also HATE his thin lipped mouth.
But other than his fondness for dumb hats and overpriced ridonk "desks" aka fiberglass art, his parenting and husbanding skills kind of make up for every other douchey thing he does.
The season finale was this week - can't wait to see if they were able to sell their $25 million home on West St in NYC (Tribeca?), and all of the new projects they've roped poor Antonio and Steve, their contractors, into next. And seriously those kids? With the whacked out names like Five, Breaker, and Major? ARE UNBELIEVABLY BEAUTIFUL!

"And if you threw a party, and invited everyone you knew..."

" would see the biggest gift would be from me, and the card inside would say, Thank You For Being A Friend!"

I can't believe our beloved Betty White is the last Golden Girl. To quote Hawkeye from Last of The Mohicans - "Stay alive no matter what occurs!" Betty, we can't lose you!