Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Glee: Bringing Happiness Back To TV

 I've posted the songs and the videos; I've said how much I love it, but its now finally time to devote a post to Glee, and how every glee-filled hour is bringing happiness back to television. Before Glee arrived in the form of a Post-American Idol sneak peek last year, TV was a scary place. Every network had show after show of detectives tracking down murderers, psycopaths, and going toe-to-toe with sociopaths. There was no real show that dealt with dramatic, intense issues, but in a light, happy way. This all changed when Ryan Murphy's show debuted. Glee tackles heavy issues like sexual orientation, failing marriages, and loss but does so in a way that, while you feel the emotion of the drama, its not all-consuming. Every episode is filled with gut-busting one-liners and situations, as well as some fantastic musical numbers. I still get chills when I listen to the Glee version of Don't Stop Believing, Somebody To Love, and most recently--Like A Prayer. Last night's episode, "The Power Of Madonna" may have been the show's best episode yet. Everything about the episode felt right and you could tell they wanted to step it up in this one. The writing was at its Glee-ful best as was the acting and performances. They all brought their A-game. In the ever-changing TV landscape, its impossible to say for sure if Glee will go on a run as long as shows like 24, ER, or even Law & Order , but as long as the glee continues with each new episode, the show could end up surpassing them all. After all, its impossible to watch an episode of Glee and not be filled with overwhelming joy.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I Wish My DATE NIGHT could have been KICK-ASS(CC: Roger Ebert)

So, this weekend I saw two movies: Kick-Ass and Date Night. Date Night was very funny at times, mostly due to Steve Carrell and Tina Fey. The rest of the time, however, was riddled with jokes clinging to the audience for life. I really wish the script had delivered more. Besides the two main stars, only James Franco and Mila Kunis actually scored laughs in their supporting roles. I was disappointed to see William Fichtner wasted here. His fine dramatic acting skills aside, I really do think he could be funny, but just not with the material he was given. Someone else who was terribly wasted was Kristin Wiig. Theres a scene early in the movie where Fey's character is hosting a book club attended by her husband and all of her girlfriends. One of the ladies gets very over-emotional and angry about Carrell's reaction to the book. She's trying to be funny, but fails tenfold. The whole time, Wiig's character is seated directly accross from her, removed from the action. The whole bit was something that Wiig could've done, a million times better. Date Night also reaffirmed something I've been thinking for a while: Ray Liotta, for some crazy reason, isn't in good movies anymore. Its hard to believe that Liotta's brilliant turn in Goodfellas has been completely forgotten, so him not seeing quality roles baffles me. Here, Ray is forced to play another mockery version of himself. I found Ray's only laugh was unintentional. It came when Taraji P Henson's detective character walks into a restauraunt to see the Gangster bad guy of the film, and you see its Ray Liotta(since it seems only Ray Liotta can play a cheesy, viscious gangster -type). There's also a car chase scene towards the middle of the film that just may be the worst shot car chase I've ever seen. For a date night, I guess director Adam Shankman's film succeeds thanks to the talent of it's lead stars, but it could have certainly been better. (6/10)

Thankfully, the second film I saw this weekend, KICK-ASS, lived up to its name, and then some. Set in a world identical to our own, albeit with a few more pop-culture references, KICK-ASS is a funny, violent, and exuberantly fun film. The film got mostly good reviews, but the negative ones all cited the character of Hit Girl to be the the film's downfall. Roger Ebert even went as far as to call the film "morally reprehensible" and shared his worry of 6-11 year old girls seeing the film and Hit Girl's actions. First of all, Roger, I don't understand how or why and girls that age would ever be seeing this film. I know we live in a society where proper supervision is pretty much out of style as far as parenting goes, but seriously, the movie is called KICK-ASS...should be an instant red flag. Second, Roger, the film, as you so quickly dismissed, is based on a comic book. You're worried about little kids seeing this movie when the comic is on bookshelves in stores all across America. Any kid could go, pick it up, and read most of it before their parents even noticed. Finally, Roger, the final part of your review expresses your disgust over a climactic scene in the film, where Hit Girl is being pummeled within an inch of her life. Call me crazy, but I was happy they put this in the film. For a movie that sets out to show real people, without any super powers, trying to be superheroes, it would have been unrealistic and foolish if Hit Girl wasn't shown to be vulnerable, at all. The fact that she was able to get hurt, and did, reinforces that these "heroes" aren't "super", which was the point of the film. KICK-ASS was made uncompromisingly. Because of this, it remained true to the source material as any book/comic-to screen adaptation should. I really wish Roger Ebert, and other critics, could have enjoyed the film for what it was: a great fucking time.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Did You Know That A Dolphin is Just A Gay Shark?!"

Ahhh, Glee. How I have missed you so...

My entire week is now better, and more cheerful just because this show is back.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Movie Moment: Up In The Air

All movies have great moments. Some can be smaller, more insignificant; others can be huge and important. In Up In The Air, there's a great moment that comes in a scene about halfway through the film. Anna Kendrick's character, Natalie, has just gotten a break-up text message from her boyfriend and is upset. Vera Farmiga's character, Alex, responds by calling him a prick and Natalie says, "but what does that make me? Someone who falls for a prick" Alex's answer is one of the great moments of the film. She says, "We all fall for the prick. Pricks are spontaneous, they're unpredictable and they're fun. And then we're surprised when they turn out to be pricks." (SPOILER ALERT) After having seen the film, the scene is full of so much irony. Alex speaks of the prick, but ends up being "the prick" to George Clooney's Ryan Bingham when he turns up at her house, only to find out that she's married, with kids, and thinks of her rendezvous with him as an escape from her normal life. The moment also helps drive home the huge differences between Ryan and Alex. Ryan looks at going out on the road as him being himself and when Alex goes on the road she's looking to be someone else.

Look for more Movie Moments on future Mondays. In the meantime, tell me in the comments, what are your favorite movie moments?

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming For A Word From The World of Sports: WTF?!?!?!!?

Last night, in a sudden and very random move, The Pittsburgh Steelers traded away, number 1 reciever and superbowl hero, Santonio Holmes (79 catches, 1248yrds, 15.9avg in 2009) to the New York Jets. The price for such a player? One singlular 5th round pick. The 155th overall pick in the draft. I understand the Roonie's feelings about Holmes. His problems off the field have been getting steadily worse for a few years. What I don't understand though is why they didn't care about getting more for him. If they'd cared they could have gotten a 4th or even 3rd round draft pick. The Steelers organization will regret this decision if, come February, Holmes is once again a Superbowl hero...but for The Jets. Speaking of The Jets, they are going to be monstrous. Playoff bound for sure.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lazy Sunday: In Which I Try To Explain My Affinity For Cooking Shows

Lazy Sunday, wake up in the late afternoon.
Call Parnell just to see how hes doin.
What up, Parns?
Yo Samberg, whats crackin?
You thinking what Im thinkin?
Man, its happenin.- "Lazy Sunday" by The Lonely Island

Another Lazy Sunday is here! The day in the week where you sleep in and spend your day doing what you want, at your own pace, and just taking some time off from life. Sundays, for me, can be valuable for catching up on TV from the week. Today I was catching up on Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares (US Version). He really is a brilliant chef and restauranteur. Also, he's FEARLESS! He's ventured into so many smelly, disgusting, cockroach infested kitchens in an attempt to bring restaurants back from the dead. Watching the shows today got me thinking about culinary shows in general. I'm sure most of my readers don't know this, but I've been a Vegan since July 20th, 2009. I haven't had any meat and only the smallest bit of dairy since. While in Pittsburgh last week, I took advantage of my Grandmother's FIOS to enjoy cable's most exciting channel: Food Network. My Mother didn't understand why a Vegan such as myself would love watching cooking shows so much, since its all food I don't eat anymore. The answer is a simple one. Food is a marvelous thing. Even though I don't eat a lot of it anymore, I still love seeing what people can do with it. For instance, I love watching Guy Fierri, on Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives, showcase amazing, fine dining food going on in--a local bar. Its amazing to me that I could walk down some street and see a normal looking, everyday bar thats serving up the towns richest, best food. I love seeing the brilliant chefs on Iron Chef: America take food and make it into more of an art form. Whether you can eat it or not, beautiful cooking and sensational food is still something fun to learn about and watch.
My favorite show about food isn't even on the Food Network. Anthony Bourdain's: No Reservations, on the Travel Network, showcases all sorts of food, normal and exotic, all across the world. What I absolutely love about the show though is that Bourdain also shows the culture and his appreciation for it. The show proves that here in the US, or even in hostile or third world countries, food is a universal language.

Thats it for this Lazy Sunday. How are you all spending yours?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Weekend Movie Picks & The Friday Five

After the recent bombardment of new releases from major studios, this weekend has only one real new and noteworthy movie coming out. Date Night, starring Steve Carrel and Tina Fey, looks to be a very funny movie. Director Shawn Levy is taking a break from his usual CGI-heavy films which should also help this film succeed. If you're looking to stay in this weekend, I reccomend going to your local Blockbuster, RedBox, or Hollywood Video and renting Werner Herzog's Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. Starring Nicholas Cage and Eva Mendes, the film follows a rogue detective who is devoted to his job, as well as scoring drugs. In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina he becomes a full-fledged addict. Complicating things is the prostitute he loves (played by Eva Mendes). Together they descend into their own world marked by desire, compulsion, and conscience. Bottom line though, its Werner Herzog directing Nicholas Cage, so rent/buy/download it!

 Today has been a pretty boring day, but the good news is it gave me plenty of time to find some things on the internet that I think are pretty damn cool. With out further hesitation, I present The Friday Five:

  • First and foremost:  fuckyeahmashups If you've ever gone clubbing, or listened to the radio late at night or on Halloween then you already know what a mashup is. For those of you who don't know, a mash up is when you take any 2 or more songs and put them together to create a super song of sorts. fuckyeahmashups is devoted entirely to the best mashups out there. Featuring countless artists, the site updates regularly and has over 40 pages of mashups currently on the site.
  • There have been a lot of good trailers coming out lately. Today I happened upon the trailer for Will Farrel's upcoming film The Other Guys. The film pairs Farrel with Mark Wahlberg as two inept cops who look up to, and try to be like their department's all-star detectives; played by Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Let me state the obvious: BEST. CAST. EVER. Seriously though, the movie looks hilarious.
  • A lot of people have criticized Jimmy Fallon's Late Night vision. Personally, I think he started out with terrible sketches and writers, but lately I think he's improved tenfold. He's started doing spoofs of popular TV shows. The first was LATE, his spoof/homage to LOST. As funny as that was, the latest spoof, 6-BEE, is better. Here, Jimmy is spoofing Glee and its hilarious and fun. The second episode finds Jimmy and his fellow Glee club members distraught at having to compete against the cast of Parks & Recreation along with a certain band of Late Night traitors.
  • The other great trailer I saw today was for Sylvester Stallone's The Expendibles. This movie looks to be the action movie junkie's wet dream. I dont care how bad the dialogue could be or any glaring plot holes or cliches that make it into the film, I'm going to see this fucking movie!
  • Finally, to cap this week's Friday Five, I need to share my new favorite thing in the world: Old Spice TV ads. Don't you judge me! It has been a long time since I've seen commercials as funny as these have been. The latest ones, starring Terry Crews, are gut-busting. Watch, and laugh yourself silly!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tuesday TV Round-Up!

Its only Tuesday and already there have been lots on the tube to talk about:
  • FOX had my total attention Monday night with an epic 2 hour dose of 24. It seems that ever since the talk began about the show being cancelled, it got a trillion times better, and now that its been officially cancelled it looks to be going off in style. Jack raced to find President Hassan and CTU dealt with their mole; but the real shocker came in the scenes for next week's episode: the return of Ex-President Logan!!  I'm truly going to miss 24. It leaves Television in May having left a great mark. Action/Thriller shows will forever be held to the standards set by 24. The show also revitalized Kiefer Sutherland's career. This is maybe the best thing to come of it, for Kiefer is a fine actor who deserves so much more then many of the roles he's had in his career.
  • Also on Monday: The NCAA National Championship Game. This game was so intense! (and to think I almost didn't watch it!) Butler put up a strong effort and the game very nearly became a "Hoosiers 2" (one of the announcer's quipped "Do you believe in sequels?!" right after returning from commercial break before the game's final 13 seconds.) I will admit I was bummed afterward but it was still an excellent game. Fuck Congrats Duke.
  • If you know me well, then you know that Tuesdays have turned into my big TV night this year. Starting at 8pm is American Idol. Until they go back to the 1-hour episodes I won't be watching the whole thing live (sorry, LOST is WAY more important). This week it was the Lennon-McCartney songbook. (UGH!....not because of the music, but because of the fact this years top 12 mainly sucks and would mess up great songs) Before 9pm I was able to see Aaron Kelly (“The Long and Winding Road”), Katie Stevens (“Let It Be”), Andrew Garcia (“Can’t Buy Me Love”), and Michael Lynche (“Eleanor Rigby”) The only one who remotely impressed me was Michael Lynche. He made Eleanor Rigby sound like a modern R&B hit. As 9pm approached I got a sinking feeling that I'd miss seeing Crystal Bowersox's performance before LOST started. Sure enough, as it hit 8:57pm I was teased by Crystal Bowersox's impending performance only to have it start after 9pm and thus making me miss it. (I'm sure she was amazing) I'll update this once I see the remaining performances.

  • Finally, the main event: LOST.(SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!) This weeks episode centered on Desmond. The biggest thing was that the episode finally began to show us how the sideways storyline relates to the current Island one. The episode also prominantly featured Dominic Monaghan's Charlie. I cant wait the 7 days till the next new episode! For any of my readers (HA! I crack myself up) who are also LOST nuts, I emplore you to check out Entertainment Weekly's Jeff "Doc" Jensen's LOST recap collumn, which will post after sunrise.
  • My Tuesday night gets even more crowded at 10pm with a fork in my great TV road. One direction takes me to the wonderful-in-every-way "Parenthood"* on NBC; the other keeps me on ABC for "V" Tonight I watched "V" only because my father really wanted to and I can watch Parenthood on Hulu. "V" had a fairly strong episode tonight. Its strange, but I really feel Morris Chesnutt is getting the best material and doing the best with it right now. I adore Elizabeth Mitchell, but ever since the show returned her character has been stuck in a holding pattern. She just keeps worrying about her son and walking around looking confused. I really cannot stand Joel Gretsch's Father Jack Landry. As an actor hes terribly stiff and the character is flat. Hopefully we learn more about him soon. Theres something about the show that is starting to bother me. I noticed it last week and even more tonight. Theres an underlying flatness to the entire show. While I do enjoy it and the story I also just get a dull vibe from it.

That about does it for the TV Round-Up. As far as the rest of the week goes:
Wednesday: Check out the ridiculous, yet, fun Human Target @ 8pm on FOX. Also, the premiere of the new season of Top Chef Masters on Bravo @ 11pm
Thursday: Flash Forward probably won't get picked up for a second season, so watch it while its around on ABC @ 8pm

*NBC's Parenthood is simply fantastic. Its hard to find a better show on TV right now. The cast is brilliant as is the writing and its a total joy to watch.