Sunday, December 23, 2012

Roundup of 2012 Cheesy Xmas Holiday Movie-a-thon

2012 has been a banner year for the awful/amazing holiday tv-movie genre. The Hallmark Channel and Lifetime Network own this market quite handedly, and this year both channels offered dozens of brand new saccharine, craptastic fare; which was good because I was running out of ones that I hadn't seen.
I really went overboard in my holiday cheeseball movie viewing this season. I recorded and watched over 40 hours of this crap. I'm very ashamed. Yet also a little proud?

I wanted to highlight a couple of gems from this year's crop:

Christmas With Holly - This was the Hallmark's Hall of Fame entry this year. You know the ones that air on CBS with limited commercial interruption, and even the commercials are for Hallmark cards?
Anyway, this gem starred Sean Farris (yum) as a guy with gross, weird shoulder-length hair (not yum), who owns a fair-trade coffee shop in Friday Harbor (woo hoo Pacific NW reference!) who ends up with custody of his 6-yr old niece Holly after his single mom sister dies some unexplained death in Seattle. Seriously, they never mention how the woman died; cancer? car accident? drug overdose? It was so annoying.
The film begins 4 months after the sister's death and Sean has been living with his niece in Seattle in his sister's cute-ass craftsman bungalow, while he sublets his place on the island. He also has some bitch Seattle girlfriend that isn't at all important so I won't even bother with their small dumb storyline.
The little niece is emotionally messed up from her mother's death and has stopped speaking. The bastard principal at Holly's Seattle public school wants her either put on anti-depressants or sent to a "special" school because her muteness is not working for him. Sean basically calls the guy a prick and decides to move Holly up to Friday Harbor and put her in the public elementary where Sean and his siblings went. What's that? Did I say siblings?
Yeah, once Sean gets to Friday Harbor you find out that he has two older brothers - Alex (cute biologist), and Scott (SMOKIN' HOT carpenter). The sister I guess didn't trust either of them with her kid? Not important. What is important is that these 3 hot brothers all decide to live with Holly in Scott's gorgeous, giant Victorian mansion that he's renovating; they all bond as a loving family and Holly starts talking again and blooms into a well-adjusted great kid.
Oh yeah, there's some boring nonsense romantic storyline between Sean and this dumb klutz who moved from Seattle to Friday Harbor to open a toy store, but believe me the best part of this movie are the 3 gorgeous brothers and the beautiful house they live in. And cute basset hound alert!     HIGHLY RECOMMENDED VIEWING

Holiday Spin - This piece of port wine cheddar premiered last Christmas, when Ralph Macchio was still trying to capitalize on his success from his stint on "Dancing With the Stars". I didn't watch it last year, but gave it a go this time around and boy was it bad...and AWESOME.
This 17yr old kid lives in North Carolina with his dance teacher mom. He's a promising UFC fighter, but it's clear that he's also a talented dancer even though he hates dancing (this is an important detail later!) The kid, Drew or Scott or Drake..whatever, we'll say Drew. Anyway Drew and his mom are in a serious car accident on Thanksgiving and she dies.
Dead loved ones by the way are a very important element of many of these holiday smarmy movies.
So Drew wakes in the hospital to find out about his dead mom from his estranged father Reuben (Macchio) whom he's never known. Reuben is a ballroom dance former legend who now teaches in Miami and he takes Drew to live with him and his new wife and the young dancer protégé that is his ward.
This young dancer is named Amelia and her partner (hilariously played by SYTYCD winner Benji Schwimmer) and she are practicing to perform in a big Xmas ballroom comp called, can you guess?,  the Holiday Spin. Benji breaks up with her because Amelia won't fuck him (which is insanely funny considering Schwimmer doesn't even try to hide his real-life homosexuality in this movie). So of course at the last minute, Drew surprises his dad and step-mom by displaying an amazing ballroom talent and agrees to partner Amelia in the contest. Would you believe that they win, Amelia and Drew fall in love, and Drew and Reuben repair their relationship? Come on, this is a Lifetime holiday movie!     ONLY WATCH IF YOU LOVE BALLROOM DANCING TO A FAULT

Speaking of washed-up 80s stars in cheesy ballroom dancing holiday movies, yes, there's another one, this time a Hallmark Channel offering new this year starring Andrew McCarthy.
Come Dance With Me - about an executive (McCarthy) who is engaged to his boss' daughter and because she's a bouncy, flirty, whore young lady who likes to go out dancing, he decides to take ballroom dancing lessons to impress her, and thus his boss, at her Christmas party.
This movie was only enjoyable because it was funny to watch McCarthy make a fool of himself dancing.    ONLY WATCH IF YOU'RE DRUNK

Trading Christmas - From the mind and pen of cheesy romance writer (and author of 100s of Xmas themed books) Debbie Macomber comes this fluffy nonsense, that was actually pretty enjoyable.
I think ol' Debbie watched the film "The Holiday" one too many times and decided to write a rip-off book. Hallmark and Lifetime effin' love making movies of her horribly cheesy novels. There's at least 8 of them in rotation each year. "Trading" was 2012's entry.
This is another movie that takes place in Washington state (I take perverse pleasure in these details); this time in a made up small town called Woodburn that's supposed to be near Stevens pass I think. Anyway, Faith Ford is a widowed school teacher who lives in Woodburn (has actually never left). Her 21yr old daughter is a college senior in Boston. When Faith's daughter informs her that she's not coming home for Christmas, Faith decides to surprise her daughter and show up in Boston for Christmas. She takes her best friend's (who lives in San Francisco) advice and does a house swap with a novelist who lives in Boston.
The novelist (played by Tom Cavanaugh) has a deadline and writer's block and takes his brother (Gil Bellows) advice and does the swap thing to get away to a small town where no one will bother him.
Of course, Faith and Tom decide on this house swap thing a couple of days before Christmas and don't tell anyone that they've actually gone through with it.
So Tom shows up at Faith's quaint Victorian that's drowning in cabbage roses and Christmas decorations; while Faith is treated to Tom's ultra modern loft condo in trendy Cambridge where she's befuddled by all of his electronics and his fancy alarm system. Faith finds out when she arrives in Boston that her daughter lied about staying in Boston to "study" and is instead in Arizona with her boyfriend for some alone time.
So Faith is stuck in Boston with nothing to do but be sad that she's a lonely widow whose daughter hates her. She accidentally sets off the alarm and the company alerts Gil that someone's breaking into his bro's apartment. Thus Faith and Gil have a "meet cute" and he asks her out for dinner.
Back in Woodburn, Tom finds that all of Faith's neighbors are extra annoying and nosy and keep bothering him bringing cookies etc. At the same time, Faith's friend (San Frannie) decides to surprise her friend for Xmas but instead finds Tom staying at her friend's house. Of COURSE, there are no buses, rental cars, or hotels in the area available because it's Christmas so Frannie is forced to stay with Tom. But agrees to stat out of his way and actually cook for him and act as basically his secretary and keeps all of the neighbors at bay.
You can see where this is all headed right? Yes, both of these couples get together. It's cute.      WATCH IF YOU DON'T MIND PREDICTABLE WELL-TRODDEN CHEESE

Friday, November 2, 2012

NYC Marathon - Conflicted, and feeling awful about it

I am so torn over this argument about whether the NYC Marathon should be run on Sunday or not. I'm WAY more grossed out by the hundreds of people that waited in line outside the Apple store for the new iPad mini. Ugh.
On the one hand, the New York City Marathon is one of the largest money-making annual events that brings in millions of dollars into NY; dollars that go to small businesses and dollars that can be used for repairs and rehabilitation of the city.
Supposedly all of the peripheral Marathon events have been cancelled, so that it’s just the race happening; a race that thousands of people, including my friends Kathy and Nick, have worked their ASSES off to qualify for and deserve a chance to run.
If it’s just a few thousand dedicated people running down some streets, what’s the harm?
And maybe all of the visitors that are coming into the city for the race can bring needed resources and exposure to the plight of those still devastated by Sandy.

But on the other hand, since Tuesday I’ve been glued to the news and can’t stop looking at the pictures of the three hardest hit boroughs – Staten Island, Queens, and Brooklyn – and the destruction is depressing as hell. I have a lot of friends and family in New York that are still without power, or if they have power are still having to do 3 hour commutes on foot to get into Manhattan for work because the subways are still closed in many areas. And the death and destruction in Staten Island and Rockaway Beach cannot and should not be ignored. And there’s something gross about holding the marathon when there are still this many people suffering. Especially given the fact that the marathon begins in Staten Island; I just don't know if I could do it.

I keep comparing this to Katrina, which was much worse in regards to lives lost and disaster response time. If the Mardi Gras parade was scheduled to happen a few days after Katrina would I have been mad? The answer is yes. And yeah, I get that Mardi Gras, with its drunken debauchery and ridiculous is not at all the same thing as an athletic race; maybe I should’ve used the Superbowl as a better analogy.

Regardless, I’m left with this icky conflicted feeling about the whole thing. Whatever happens, marathon or no marathon, I really hope that the runners that worked so hard to get to participate in this event aren’t criticized, chastised, or left to bear the brunt of people’s anger.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Say "Hi" to my Mom...

My mother had a special friendship with Russell Means in the early 1970s, working with the American Indian Movement (AIM). I know they're having one hell of a beautiful reunion up in heaven.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fall 2012 TV Season Review & Round-up

So far, this has been one of the most promising and satisfying autumns in years. Coming off a fairly good late summer crop of shows, almost all of the fall tv premieres that I've seen have been great; further feeding my television-obsessed brain.
But before we talk about the Good Things, let's get the bad stuff out of the way first.

New shows that I'm not impressed with:
  • Revolution - In theory and on paper, everything about this show should appeal to me. At the top of that list is JJ Abrams; have I ever not loved anything he's had a hand in? It's about a dystopian future with a kick-ass young girl, which is the kind of shit I eat up; it has Billy Burke in it; it sort of has a clever premise about the world no longer having electricity. But boy did I not dig this show. I gave it a 3 episode chance (well, really 2.5 because I couldn't with last week's ep) but it's not getting any better. There SO MANY implausible and unexplained plot holes; it drives me crazy! I'm surprised that it's so popular; maybe one of these days (years) I'll catch up with it on Netflix but not now when I have so much other finer tv to watch.
  • Partners - Ugh. I hate this show so much. I really like Max Mutchnick and David Kohan as people (their CBS Sunday Morning profile was hilarious and touching), and I've enjoyed most of the tv shows they've done before, but this one, based on their real-life friendship and relationships, is uncomfortably awful. I just feel really bad for the talented Michael Urie, Dave Krumholz, and poor Brandon Routh. This is another show that has been trashed by the critics but is doing fairly well in the ratings, so we'll see what becomes of it.
  • The Mindy Project

I LOVE Mindy Kaling. I love Chris Messina. I should love this show. But oy, is it not good. But sort of, maybe, has potential? I don't know. I hated the first 2 episodes, but then last week's entry where the clinic staff all go to "Da' Club" was pretty hilarious. So maybe things are looking up? I hope so. I haven't totally given up on this yet, but only because of my solidarity with Kaling.

DVR Breakups:
  • How I Met Your Mother - Sorry NPH and Jason Segal; my love for you guys can no longer sustain a relationship with this dumb, and exceedingly frustrating show. I may tune in whenever the hell they finally reveal who the stupid gawdamn "mother" is, and if there are any more Slap Bet songs, or Robyn Sparkle videos, I'll catch those online, but otherwise SAYONARA.
  • Law & Order:SVU - this break-up has been very hard on me y'all. But if I'm being honest, Chris Meloni leaving the show had a bigger effect on me than I thought. I still love all of the characters (and actors) on this last remaining L&O franchise, but in the past several months each time I finally get around to watching one of the numerous eps clogging my Tivo, I end up being so bored. It really breaks my heart because Law & Order has been such a big part of my TV life. Watching occasional reruns of Law & Order:UK and Original Recipe L&O (Waterson/Harmon especially) will have to suffice.

Fall 2012 Television LOVES:
  • Last Resort - Love it. Love it. LOVE IT. Scott motherf*ckin' Speedman (#1 all-time TV boyfriend) is back in my tv life, and he's kick-in it with perennial all-star Andre Braugher! And the show is well-written, well acted, suspenseful, and action-packed. God Bless America!

  • Homeland - It's back and Season 2 is even more high stakes and kick ass than the first one was. And my love of Mandy Patinkin couldn't possibly grow any stronger. I guys, I just love his portrayal of Saul so damn much.

  • American Horror Story: Asylum - Coming off a much-deserved Emmy win, Jessica Lange is back in the second season of this creepy show, that is starting with an entirely new story set in a psychiatric hospital. I really like the approach that Ryan Murphy et al are taking with this show by keeping each season a separate stand-alone story capsule. 
AHS:Asylum also features the return of Zachary Quinto and has added Mark Consuelos (yes!) and Chloe Sevigny to the mix, among others. Good times ahead.

  • Nashville - I love Every. Amazing. Thing about this show. Period.
  • Revenge - Having Gabriel Mann as Nolan Ross (with a funky new haircut!) on my television again is heaven on earth!
  • Call The Midwife - Who knew a PBS drama about British mid-wives in 1950s East-End London could be so poignant, funny, and awesome?! Oh yeah, me of course.
All the rest:
  • BBCAmerica's Copper has had a fantastic season and I can't wait to see how this season ends. I'm already anticipating season 2.
  • Vegas has been a pleasant surprise of awesomeness. Dennis Quaid and Jason O'Mara are the sexiest brothers on tv right now.
  • I don't care what anyone says - I'm enjoying the hell out of the latest Sherlock Holmes offering Elementary. And yes, Jonny Lee Miller can still get it!

Monday, September 10, 2012

US Open Men's Final

I have always found this photograph HIGHLY disturbing. It totally looks likes Novak Djokovic is about to mack on Andy Murray. The thought of which makes me want to barf because, Ewwww Andy Murray!, but also I find rather erotic because the thought of Nole kissing any human being is hot.

ANYWAY. These two are, as we speak, battling it out for the US Open Grand Slam title. Djokovic is currently down a set and is already down a break point in the second. Not good sweetie!

A great match nonetheless for no other reason than watching Sean Connery in the crowd make the GREATEST faces as he cheers on Murray.

Friday, August 10, 2012

In my fantasies I like to think that American decathletes, Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee are congratulating each other on their medals and saying - "Hey, you know who should really be in the middle of this hug? Our girl Kat!"

Yes, I know I'm deranged.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Random Thoughts - 2012 Summer Olympics Edition Part 2

I've been following the history being made by the young lady who was the first female athlete from Qatar that they've ever allowed to compete in an international event. Unfortunately it's had a heartbreaking end before it even really started.

I’m super bitter about stupid ol’ Roger Federer getting past Juan Del Potro to make the finals of Olympic men’s singles in tennis. If ever I needed my boyfriend Novak Djokovic to step up and beat the smug right out of Federer, it’s now. C’mon Nole!!!

My boyfriend Ryan Lochte went from looking happy like this:

To looking dejected and disappointed for the rest of his individual medal events:
Top all this with having to deal with your mom bragging about your “playa status”; it’s been a tough week for my Ryan boo.

What no one has been able to explain to me (and I’ve actually submitted this question on both the IOC site and through Bob Costas’ blog because I’m a dork), is why when two athletes tie for the silver medal, they only give out a gold and those two silvers; no bronze is given for the third best time.

But if two people tie for bronze, they’ll go ahead and give out both bronze medals.

Except of course if it’s gymnastics, the sport with the most ridiculous and nastiest scoring rules. When American Aly Raisman tied with Russian Aliya Mustafina for the Women’s Gymnastics All-Around bronze medal, they didn’t just give them both a bronze and move on – which would have been the right thing to do.
Instead they did an archaic scoring system where they threw out the lowest score for each girl, in this case both of their beam scores, and recalculated the remaining three scores. Mustafina ended up winning the bronze because basically she got to throw out her HORRIBLE beam score, which was the worse of the night, and Raisman’s remaining scores were 6 tenths lower than hers. It was so disappointing.

One week of the Olympics is finished and while others, especially people I follow on Twitter are expressing "Summer Olympics Fatigue", I'm still just as excited for the start of the track and field events, as I was for the swimming and gymnastics.

But can we talk about all of this INSANE HATRED towards NBC for their televised coverage of the Games? Every two years the same argument breaks out - people complain about the fact that medal events happen throughout the day but are only shown by US network television during primetime hours, a long time after they finished and the results are on the internet and WAAAAHHHH! spoilers are bad!

Get over it people! First of all, NBC (or whatever network) has to make money. There's nothing wrong with that. And hey internet savvy hipsters? There are millions of people in this country that aren't on the internet all day and you know, work, so the only opportunity to watch Olympic coverage is during primetime with tape delay.
Not to mention the fact that this particular Olympics is in a time zone where all of the events are taking place between 2AM and 7AM American time. I guarantee that NONE of the dumbasses complaining about the NBC tape-delay televised coverage would actually be willing to get their asses up at 3AM to final a gold medal swimming race. And hey, guess what? If you are inclined to do - YOU CAN WATCH IT ONLINE LIVE.
I think NBC has done an exemplary job of televising the Olympics this year. Not only do they have their affiliate networks helping out (Bravo is playing all of the tennis matches, CNBC is showing the soccer), but they've made all of the events available online with high-quality video players that haven't once clogged up with buffering nonsense or ads.
And for those who complain that they only show Americans performing in events. Guess what? That's all that most of us care about. If you want to watch a sport that isn't being televised, again you can go onto the NBC Olympics website or use their smartphone app to watch whatever the hell you want. It's all there - every heat, semifinal and final, for every sport.
And other nations' televised content is the same way. I'm privileged enough to live in a city that has access to Canadian televion. Do you think their Olympic coverage is slanted towards Canadian athletes? Damn right it is.
Okay, rant over. But seriously, lay off NBC you guys. I'd like to see any of you come up with a better solution.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Random Thoughts - 2012 Summer Olympics Edition: Part 1

Let's first talk about Olympic swimming. I won't rehash all of the drama and talk about the "rivalry" between Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps. I will say that there was some serious AWKWARDNESS between the two after Lochte got outswam in the last leg of the 4X100 meter relay, losing them the gold. Yes, the US team was in first place in the first 3 legs of the relay, but I don't think Ryan "lost" the gold for the Americans; the French anchor swimmer was just faster. It was a very close race, and people seem to be forgetting that the US wasn't favored to win ANY medal in this relay - so we should be really happy with our Silver.

Ryan Lochte is such a bad-ass. I refuse to acknowledge the fact that he like to wear a diamond grille in his mouth like a dumb wannabe pimp. This fact diminishes his hotness factor, and I just can't let that happen.

Michael Phelps has freakish arms. FREAKISH!

I'm sort of in love with a French male swimmer named CAMILLE. C'mon French people, WTF!? How is Camille a name that you use for both girls and boys? But anyway...HELLO BOYFRIEND!

Re: Women's Gymnastics
Watching Jordyn Weiber not be happy for Aly Raisman was one of the most poignant moments of any Summer Olympics. It's completely ridiculous that the IOC's rule says that only 2 all-around competitors from each country can compete. What bullshit! It should be the top 24 girls - PERIOD. If that means that most of that 24 is made up from athletes from just 2 or 3 teams, then so be it. It should be about who the best competitors are, not making it "balanced" or whatever other crap explanation the officials are using.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Greatest Thing I've Seen This Week - the Marry me, Aaron Johnson's hair! edition

Yesterday I had the day off to attend a memorial service in the morning. As the afternoon approached, and the heat and temperature rose I decided that I should see a movie. I've been totally excited for Oliver Stone's latest outing, Savages, but none of my friends were too jazzed about it, so I decided it was the perfect choice to see by myself on a Monday early afternoon.
You guys? You guys! It's awesome. Please go see this movie. I couldn't believe how empty my theater was; true, it was a Monday, on a sunny Seattle afternoon, but I went to the Metro near UW, so I expected a bunch of college boys or at least a smattering of film nerds to join me. I was all by my lonesome until 1 minute into the film when a young guy in his early twenties came in and sat about 5 rows ahead of me.

I can't possibly do a better job at reviewing the film than the great Joe Reid did over at his blog Low Resolution; so go read his review and come back here...I'll wait.

I will just re-emphasize some of the best parts of Savages:

Salma Hayek and her GLORIOUS wigs. Those bangs! They deserve their own Oscar y'all.

Taylor Kitsch! Finally (maybe) he'll get some respect for his acting, post-FNL. I thought he was just fine in John Carter, and Battleship was just a fun, stupid action film. But Stone gave Taylor something to really work with in the character of Chon. He's complex and quietly riveting. And hello gorgeous!
Really both Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson do a great job with their lead characters Chon and Ben. They're able to believably convey the deep love they feel for each other and for their shared lover O, played by Blake Lively and her legs. They manage to not make this menage a trois a silly thing; it seems totally plausible and you're rooting for their relationship the entire film.
And seriously, enough praise can never be given for Aaron Johnson's luxurious mane of bouncy curls.
Also, as Joe suggested, I would love for someone with more time on their hands than I, to come up with a Tumblr about Salma Hayek's character Marina eating lamb chops. So awesome!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Joel Kinnaman is sort of ruling my world right now

First there's his new movie Lola Versus, starring Greta Gerwig that I saw at SIFF last week and loved.

And let's face it - Joel's work as Detective Stephen Holder, is one of the only good things about the show The Killing; which has its second season finale this Sunday.

BTdubs, the scene with Holder wearing his "O.G. Original Gangsta" apron and making habanero jelly omelets is one of my favorite things EVER! I could've watched an entire show with just this.

He's the only reason I'll be looking forward to a third season of The Killing.


Is it weird that I'd like to trade places with a 9-month old cat named Choupette?

Friday, June 1, 2012

One week away!

Until the opening of the film Prometheus, and some delicious Fassbender hot robot action! Have I mentioned enough times how much I love Michael Fassbender? Oh, I have? Well, I'm telling you again - I love him!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

TENNIS! Tennis! Tennis!

One of my favorite things about Summer is all of the Grand Slam tennis! The French Open started this week, and it's already had its share of upsets - Sorry Venus and Serena!
Next up will be Wimbledon, then a break for the Olympics, and then we'll have the US Open closing things out. Yay yay yay!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

SIFF 2012 - Week 1 Review

The 38th Seattle International Film Festival kicked off May 18 (techinally May 17 was the opening gala, but I never attend those), and so far it's turning out to be one of the best festivals I've been to in years. I encourage anyone in Seattle to

Here's a look at what I've seen over the past 8 days -

A Polish costume drama set in the 18th century about the famous religious leader Jacob Frank? It sounded right up my alley, but boy was it convoluted. The two lead actors try their best with a rather annoying script, and it was beautifully shot, but again disappointing.

The Intouchables
This touching, amazing film based on a true story, has become the third highest grossing film in France, almost outgunning Titanic. If the SIFF crowd on Friday night was any indication, I can see why. The theater was packed to the rafters with everyone from the mayor to the random Seattle granny to the young, poor hipster barista in attendance, all laughing and crying their asses off. I fully expect this film to have buzz carry it all the way to the 2013 Oscars.

The Sex of the Angels
A steamy tale of a complicated love triangle, involving 3 young Barcelonians. This film continues my almost annual SIFF tradition of seeing a Spanish film that tackles the subject of ménage a trois. I will say that “Angels” approached the theme in a fresh way; and the sex scenes were HOT. The three leads, especially Alvaro Cervantes, were maddeningly attractive.

Take This Waltz
As I tweeted last Saturday after I saw this, actor turned director Sarah Polley has done the impossible – she somehow made me not only like Seth Rogen, but actively root for him in a film. Rogen as Lou, husband to the lead character Margot, played subtlety by Michelle Williams, was a revelation. He was quiet, and unassuming, and sympathetic in ways that really showed off his acting skills. Yes! Seth Rogen, believe it or not, has acting skills. Sarah Silverman as Rogen’s alcoholic sister Gerry was also great. That said, the two lead characters played my Williams and Luke Kirby weren’t sympathetic at all. I think we were supposed to understand why they’re committing infidelity and be forgiving, but instead I just found them, Williams especially, incredibly selfish and annoying. This movie got a ton of great buzz at Sundance…last year, and then couldn’t find distribution so has kind of floundered. Which is surprising because it deserves to be seen and discussed.

So far, in my top 5 list of films that I’ve seen in the last 12 months. Amazingly directed, written, and produced by of all people, actor Matthew Lillard, this locally filmed and crewed Seattle-based labor of love was the definition of heartwarming. Newcomer Jacob Wysocki as the lead Troy was outstanding and Billy Campbell, playing Troy’s dad, continues to always knock it out of the park with whatever role he’s given. All of the cast and crew attended the packed screening that I was at, and the movie got a standing ovation at the end. GO SEE THIS!

In one word – DEPRESSING. I knew going into it that it was a modern adaptation of Hardy’s Tess of the D’ubervilles, and I read that book back in highschool so I know that it’s not an uplifting story. But DAMN, was this a downer of a film. Freida Pinto was freaking gorgeous however.

You guys? This movie was so annoying. And so FRENCH. Which is funny because while it takes place in Paris, it was made by a Polish director/writer. Anyway, this confusing as hell film revolves around Ethan Hawke’s character Tom, an American writer who gained fame and respect with his first novel, then subsequently lost both along with his French wife and their daughter when he did “something” that resulted in him being in a prison mental hospital for an indeterminate amount of time. He arrives in Paris at the start of the film, looking to reconcile with his ex and start seeing his daughter again, when she refuses and calls the police on him, he wanders the streets of Paris on a public bus and ends up being robbed of everything but his passport. And then the film begins in earnest with a confusing story involving Kristin Scott Thomas’ character Margit who may or may not be a ghost and/or a figment of Tom’s imagination? I wanted to punch someone after this thing was over.

Short Life

Good thing I had this amazingly shot documentary about Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet company to cleanse my palette after the disaster that was “The Woman in The Fifth”. An unflinching, honest look at the life of a dancer at PNB; shot almost 4 years ago. It was great seeing familiar faces. And the dancing was incredible as usual.

The Do-Deca-Pentathlon
A nice, sweet, film. But overall just sort of mediocre. I’d recommend watching it on Netflix on a Sunday afternoon while folding laundry.

Growing up in the DC hardcore scene, Bad Brains was a group very close to my heart. This wonderful documentary provided an insightful, and unapologetically honest look at the band from their start in the late 70s to the present. The animation used in parts of the film was inspired!

Self-indulgent and ridiculous. Beautifully shot, but with the dialogue so poorly written, and acting so wooden, it was a disappointment from start to finish. But James Preston looks so much like James Dean it’s uncanny.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I'm in denial y'all

One of Earth's angel-voiced divas has lost her battle to cancer. I won't make any "Last Dance" comments.

"Heaven Knows" I love you Donna Summer!!!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Is it 1990?

20 year old me would have been very happy about this photo of Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx from the movie musical Rock of Ages coming out soon. 
Long live late 80s hair metal bands and the shirtless, long-haired singers who led them!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Just have sex already!!

Can you tell that I finally got around to watching the Season 3 finale of Justified? I love Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder, in equal amounts, to distraction.
Favorite wardrobe props? For Boyd it's that little fitted, black pea coat that he's so fond of wearing. For Raylan? It's the hat, DUH.

When does season 4 start? And hey, they better be bringing that Karen Sisco Goodall character and Carla Cugino back to play her in the fourth season or I'll be mad.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I'm sadder than you can possibly know...

"Don’t send me no distant salutations,

Or silly souvenirs from far away.

Don’t leave me alone in the twilight,

Twilight is the loneliest time of day.

Don’t put me in a frame upon the mantel,

For memories turn dusty, old, and grey.

Don’t leave me alone in the twilight,

Twilight is the loneliest time of day"

American music treasure and touchpoint of my growin'-up years, Levon Helm, lost his fight with cancer this morning in New York City.
I'm in total mourning y'all. I'll just be here in the corner listening to The Band and tearing up. You will be greatly missed sir.

But can we talk about this awesome photo to the right here, that I found online? Levon Helm with the wacky hat, sheepskin coat barely on his shoulders, holding a VOLLEYBALL?! I don't know, you guys. But I love it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"...I sacrificed to make you happy, kept nothing for myself..."

"...Now you want to leave me for the love of someone else. My pride is all gone; whether I'm right or wrong. I need you baby, girl, to keep on keepin' on. And you know I tried to do my best, you know I tried to do my best - don't do it. Don't you break my heart. Please, don't do it, don't you break my heart."

I know that he's been sick for some time, but it still came as a serious blow yesterday to hear that Levon Helm, one of our greatest music treasures, is in the final stages of his battle with throat cancer.
My love of The Band, and particularly my love of Levon Helm, has been a part of my DNA since my 1970s childhood. Music From Big Pink, Northern Lights-Southern Cross, and The Last Waltz were played and sung constantly in my house by my mother and her friends. The music of The Band also had a huge impact on my college years at the University of Miami. Shared love of this music and these men shaped and cemented life-long close friendships with people that I love and treasure more decades later.
Levon Helm is an amazing drummer; but it's his voice, especially on songs like "The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down" and "Don't Do It", that has always touched my soul. 
I don't know what I'm going to do when the inevitable happens. But you can bet that it's going to involve me pouring a beer and singing "Acadian Driftwood" at the top of my lungs.

So long, for now Dick Clark

Dick Clark has passed away at the age of 82 after suffering a heart attack. It feels awful to say this, but for me, it seems like Clark had been taken away from us years ago when he had that major stroke that really took him out of commission. People will go on and on about American Bandstand and New Year's Rockin' Eve, but for me his greatest accomplishment was hosting and creating the Pyramid game show franchise.

You will be greatly missed Dick.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I'm already SO EXCITED for the upcoming 2012/2013 TV pilot season

NY Magazine has a great article on the trends for the upcoming new TV pilot season. ABC has had such success with Revenge that it looks like they've ordered a few new "soapy" dramas for 2012-2013. I of course, thoroughly approve of this decision. And one of the new shows that ABC has ordered stars Chad Michael Murray (ugh) in a...I'm so excited I'm hyperventilating... remake of Scruples, the 1970s best-selling novel by Judith Krantz that they made into an incredible mini-series in the early 80s with Lindsay Wagner. I fucking love the mini-series era from the 1980s and have been wanting someone in Hollywood to come to their senses and start remaking/rebooting them.

How the hell did I miss this news when it first broke back in January?!! And Natalie Portman is producing it?! I'm now even more convinced that if she and I met we would become fast friends for life. Here's hoping that it's super successful and leads to a run on mini-series remakes. Krantz alone has about 4 or 5 that could easily and happily be redone.
Stupid CMM has snagged the role of Spider Elliot, originally played awesomely by Barry Bostwick. And Claire Folani (why won't she go away?) will play the lead character Billy Winthrop.
I'm not kidding people, I am stoked. Especially since Krantz wrote two sequels to Scruples, so there's a rich source for lots of plot storylines.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Needless to say...

I f*cking loved the film adaptation of The Hunger Games.

Even the tiny quibbles I have with it - i.e. Gary Ross's barf-inducing, shaky handheld camera work at the beginning; the fact that they deemphasized the struggle that Katniss initially has in the arena - couldn't take away from how much I enjoyed the movie. November 2013 can't come soon enough. 
 And I already had the hots for actor Wes Bentley, but gawddam, he was so duurrrn sexy as Seneca Crane.
I want to have a million topiary-bearded babies with him. Too bad he met such an awful fate and he won't be back in the rest of the movies. Unless the producers/writers decide to do some weird fan-wank to bring Bentley back to play Plutarch Heavensbee?

One can hope.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

It's here! It's FINALLY HERE!


The day I've been waiting for, for nearly a year has arrived. The Hunger Games premieres tomorrow (well technically tonight at midnight).

I seriously haven't been this excited for a film to come to theaters since I was a teenager. And maybe not even then. Not only am I seeing "Hunger Games" at the midnight premier tonight, I'm also seeing it on Saturday morning. I am a huge dork. But I don't care.

Monday, March 12, 2012

I'm kind of surprised, and a little disappointed that I didn't go see John Carter this past weekend. Don't worry Taylor, I still love you madly.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Anatomy of a Music Video - Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam's "Lost in Emotion"

Let's analyze this gem, shall we?

  1. A few words about the clothes just to get them out of the way. There are TWO people wearing Hammer-style harem pants with reeeeeeally long zippers sewn into them. One is a man and the other is Lisa Lisa herself. The purpose of these 14 inch zippers is lost to time.
  2. Speaking of, I forgot how popular it was in the mid 1980s to have multiple zippers (that again, served no purpose) on everything! Pants, jackets, shirts, SOCKS. This video has them all.
  3. It also has men wearing multilple, colored skinny leather belts wrapped around the legs of their pants. Was this a style?
  4. One of the main guys in the video is sporting a Civil War era inspired Confederacy hat. Charming. Maybe that's why Lisa Lisa gives him the stink eye.
  5. I hated this shit back then when I was living it - Shoulder Pads in every single blouse, jacket, and T-shirt. Both men and women; young and old.
  6. And so many headbands.
  7. One of the dudes working at the carnival is wearing what can only be called a "tropical shant suit". "Shant", for the uninitiated, stands for "Short Pant". Take a gander around minute 2:00.

  • One of the plot points at the beginning of this video, which is set at some kind of carnival or as the sign says - "New Street Fair", involves one of Lisa's homegirls not being able to get ketchup to come out of the bottle onto her burger.
  • I guess Lisa Lisa is looking for love, but isn't interested in any of the guys who are trying to pick up on her and her friends?
  • And then there's a bit about Lisa climbing on stage because there's a carnival sign that says "COME - Sing with the Street Fair Band". WTF? Weak plot.
  • Finally everyone does a synchronized dance to the last verse of the song, that Lisa Lisa has been singing by herself for over 3 minutes.
  • Did she actually go by Lisa Lisa in real life?
Que sera, que sera.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Um, how did I not know about this?

The next ANTM season starts on February 29, 2012!!

ONE MONTH AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!


I can't express how excited I am for this movie. Or maybe you can tell my enthusiasm from all of the exclamation points and capital letters?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2012 Oscar Death Race - It's The FINAL COUNTDOWN!

di da du du, di da du doot doot...

As the last days of the Oscar Death Race wind down, I am very proud to report that as of this writing I have seen 58 of this year's 61 Academy Award nominated films. FIFTY-EIGHT!!! And I only have 2 Oscar categories left to complete.
Back in January when the nominations came out, I thought for sure I wouldn't be able to get even close to 50 movies under my belt. But in just one month's time I have been able to see 28 movies. I don't know if people should be impressed or horrified by that statistic.

As I feared, the Foreign Language Film category has been my undoing. Israel's "Footnote" is supposedly opening this weekend in Seattle so I may be able to knock off another one before Sunday's ceremony, but it's not looking good. The other foreign entry I'm missing is a Belgian film called Bullhead which I have heard neither hide nor hare about whether it will ever show up in one of the art theaters here.
Finally, the other category that I haven't completed is Animated Feature. Damn you Chico & Rita! [Ed. note - I just got an email from a friend that Chico is supposedly available on Amazon on Demand. I will be checking this out tonight.]
So technically, annoying Belgian films aside, I could possibly complete the Death Race this weekend. I don't know if it's more annoying to be one film shy or to be 30.

I'm a film buff and glorified "movie dork", so I know this endeavor sounds crazy or ridiculous to most people. But just as I felt last year, doing the race has exposed me to some great films that I possibly wouldn't have seen or given a chance otherwise.
Last year's diamond was the Australian thriller Animal Kingdom, this year I think it might be the animated short The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. Sigh...It was so good you guys.

And my favorite of the 61 nominated films you ask? Hmm, that's tough. It's probably a 3-way tie between Hugo, War Horse, and Pina.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


What am I going to do without these ladies on my television screen for the next year?

I guess I'll have to find solace in the sage advice from my hero Lisa Vanderpump offered in her book on how to entertain - Simply Divine. Love her!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

That voice! It will be missed.

A sampling some of my favorite Whitney Houston songs and performances - Damn, drugs are so fucking evil.

That turban! WERQ!

Why did I ever think Kevin Costner was hot in this movie?

Off her last album. God, I love her on this track. "...and I know just what to do..."

Monday, January 30, 2012

You guys? Downton Abbey you guys! It was INTENSE last night. Am I right?

SPOILER ALERT: Poor Matthew!!!! And even more so - POOR WILLIAM! I feel only pity for dumb dumb Ethel.