Monday, July 30, 2007

"Yatta, motherfucker!"

Fun interview with Heroes' Masi Oka here at TV Guide.

In addition to the line noted above, he also gets points for references to Big Love and The Office. Still puzzling? David Anders as legendary Feudal Samurai Kensei.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Covering the cost of coffee and cigarettes

My blog is worth $2,822.70.
How much is your blog worth?

With a little left over for french fries and whiskey.

Nude Whodat?

Friday's Monk had our favorite OCD detective visiting a murder scene at a nude beach. It was nice that they had Adrian be a little more unlikable and bigoted in his interactions with the nudists, though he did have an epiphany with Dr. Kroeger and get realistically dressed down by Stottlemeyer.

Familiar Faces:

Alfred Molina was the computer magnate with the home overlooking the nude beach. (Doc Ock! And "Throw me the idol. No time to argue. Throw me idol, I'll throw you the whip.")

Diedrich Bader of Drew Carey Show fame was the nudist suspected of the crime.

Angela Kinsey (The Office's Angela) was the victim's roommate.

Great geek news

If you're a true geek (or nerd), you've probably been keeping up with some of the news spilling out of Comic Con. Or even watching a bit of the coverage on G4 for something other than Olivia Munn in the Princess Leia metal bikini (I can't decide. Is she annoying or not?). But here are some of the highlights that got me jazzed.

Yahoo posted some clips from the new 25th anniversary DVD of Blade Runner. Love this movie. One of the many framed movie posters in my theatre room.

It appears those long rumored and thought dead notions of Joss Whedon doing a TV movie called "Ripper" for the BBC about the adventures of Rupert Giles may become a reality.

The mid season Heroes anthology called Origins will have its first episode written and directed by Kevin Smith.

Lucy Lawless will be appearing in the final season of Battlestar Galctica. Also, the title of the movie about the Battlestar Pegasus is called Razor, but I never knew where that name came from. Now I do. Patton was rife with good quotes. Here's another goodie: "Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."

The movie release of Watchmen may or may not feature the "pirate story." Personally, I'd rather the big screen release not include the interesting and thematic parallel, but instead show this story on an extended version for the DVD. There's just too much to include with the "main" story and fit into a movie under 3 hours. (Personally, I've always thought Watchmen was better suited to a long form mini-series for HBO or Showtime, clocking in around 10 - 12 hours. But the property has a good director, a fantastic cast and excellent source material, so I'm psyched for the flick anyway).

No links, but by all accounts the comic/movie hit of the Con has been Jon Favreau and scenes from the new Iron Man movie. Really, really, looking forward to this one.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Hey, let's watch some KUNT!

The FCC has given the call letters KUNT to a low wattage television station in Hawaii. I won't even hazard a guess on what their programming might be.

They also approved KWTF. What The Fuck will they show?

Of course, this reminds me of my first exposure to amusing call letters, WKRP. In Cincinnati, of course. In honor of that, enjoy this classic scene featuring Dr. Johnny Fever and Venus Flytap taking an on air drunk test. (somehow, I identify with the good doctor on this one). Note that the cop is played by Jerry Hardin, who was "Deep Throat" on The X-Files. Hardin is the father of Melora Hardin, Jan Levinson on The Office.

Whodats and cheap toys

Thursday's edition ("Ladies Room") of the brilliant Mad Men featured some familiar faces:

Broadway legend Robert Morse played the other half of Sterling Cooper's top dogs, Bertram Cooper.

Roger Sterling's wife was played by Talia Balsam. You might recognize her from playing Malone's ex-wife on Without A Trace. She's also the daughter of actor Martin Balsam (and Joyce Van Patten) and George Clooney's ex-wife. And, she's currently married to actor John Slattery who plays Roger Sterling -- which makes them spouses on and off the camera. Slattery is also currently cast as Gabby's nefarious new husband on Desperate Housewives.

Andy Umberger was the shrink for Don's wife (who helpfully relayed the details of their therapy to Don). Whedon fans will recognize Umberger for having pulled off the "hat trick" of appearing on Firefly, Angel and Buffy. On Firefly, he was the captain of the Dortmunder in the pilot ep; on Angel he was the bizarre doctor Ronald Metzler who could separate his body parts in "I Fall to Pieces;" and on Buffy he was the wonderfully droll master of the vengeance demons, D'Hoffryn.

Yes, the drinking, smoking and Twilight Zone references were there to remind us of the setting for the show. But how awesome was it to not have seatbelts or child safety seats cluttering up the family station wagon? Even better? The kids playing and running around with dry cleaning bags over their heads. Cheap toys are always more fun when they don't have a "suffocation warning" printed on them.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I've been trolling liquor stores lately (just for the free moving boxes, y'all. Really) and haven't had much time to post, but here are a few items just to tide my loyal six readers over:

I still don't have a clue what's going on with John From Cincinnati. But I still keep watching.

Psych had been tighter and funnier this year than last.

Sunday's episode of The 4400, "The Marked," was about an abductee with the "special power" to uncover conspiracies and then turn them into D-level, Ed Wood esque horrible movies. The movies within the show were funny as hell. If you didn't catch this, look for the reruns. It's definitely worth your time. Also, the filmmaker character from the episode, Curtis Peck, has his own myspace page. It features a scene from his Kennedy assassination masterpiece, Dead - Completely Dead.

I gave Saving Grace a try. Too early to call on this one. While I like Leon Rippy's tobacco chewing angel, and Holly Hunter looks great and acts her ass off, there's a fine line between X-Files supernatural intrigue and more literal biblical explanations. I'll watch again, but I'm not sure it will be added to the prestigious Season Pass list.

Speaking of TNT, The Closer has been better than ever. It seems like they've been ping-ponging back and forth between heavy, serious episodes and light hearted farce. Which has been great. Last Monday's episode, with an ornery Brenda Leigh, the team in hazmat suits and the dumbest criminals ever (rivaling Ruthless People's "this could very well be the stupidest man on the face of the earth") was laugh out loud funny.

I guess I won't be appearing in a Disney movie anytime soon. Nor will Mickey be lighting up the post-coital Marlboro after a night with Minnie. Which reminds me of one of my favorite jokes: Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse are in Divorce Court. The judge says to Mickey, "Let me get this straight. You say you want to divorce Minnie on the grounds of 'insanity?'" Mickey looks at the judge and says, "No, I didn't say she was insane. I said she was fucking Goofy."

Lindsay Lohan is a wet, hot disturbing mess. You'd almost think she was from Columbus, GA, except that she's earned her childhood money standing up.

ESPN gets a lot of shit around the blogosphere (and with good reason. That "Who's Now" excrement is an affront to broadcasting and all measures of intelligence), but their town hall meeting about Barry Bonds last night was very well done. I could have watched that for another hour. It was balanced, interesting and represented several different viewpoints.

Casting is coming in for the adaptation of the greatest "comic book" (and I use that term lightly. More like "illustrated literature") ever, Watchmen. Can't wait for this one.

Lost news: "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllt!"

Great casting for the new Trek movie.

For the past year or so, I've gotten into the habit of watching some middle of the road procedural on the Tivo when I go to bed. I used to watch SportsCenter, but between the "boo-yahs," endless/mindless self-promotion and "Who's Now" I just couldn't stomach it. At first I tried Without a Trace. I liked Anthony LaPaglia and Poppy Montgomery is smoking hot, but the overall tone was just too dour and humorless, and too many of the missing subjects were kids. And I hate kids on my TV. So next I tried CSI: Miami. Now, I'm a fan of CSI: Original Recipe, but never really watched any of the others. Here's what I've discovered about CSI: Miami. I have a crush on Emily Proctor. (Hot blonde with a real southern accent? Wow). And this show is much better when viewed as a comedy. I mean, David Caruso is hysterical! In his honor, enjoy this oldie but goodie: Caruso's CSI: Miami one liners. Once it starts, you just can't stop watching. Just for fun, here's Jim Carrey's homage. And finally, I think Caruso's sunglasses deserve an Emmy for best supporting actor.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Mad about Mad Men

Previously, I had posted about the surprise and delight of the "summer television season." There, I made a brief mention of AMC's new 60s advertising drama, Mad Men, which at that point, I had only heard about. After getting around to watching it last night, I have to say that not only is this the highlight of the summer season, it could very easily vault into the "Top 5 Dramas on TV" category. Granted, that's a bold proclamation after only watching the pilot, but the first show was so superbly acted, skillfully written and rife with dramatic possibilities that it doesn't seem like that much of a stretch.

It's only fitting the show comes with a Sopranos pedigree, given the "comfort" that the tales of NJ's first family of crime gave us colorful, morally ambiguous anti-heroes that engender fascination, if not necessarily empathy.

Plunging into the world of the 60s, despite the art deco flourishes, is a bit culturally jarring when viewed through today's prism of political correctness and gender and racial equality. But as much as it may rankle today's sensitivities, it is true to the period. Women rarely worked outside the home, and any hint that they were as sexually voracious as the men was met with disapprobation. It was a time of bullet bras, girdles, silk stockings and skinny ties. One of the characters is obviously (to the viewers) flaming, but there seems to be no such thing as "gaydar." There wasn't a black character in sight, except for a random waiter, and the Jews are considered a completely different "tribe" outside the white bread of the norm. Research seems like voodoo, and psychology hasn't become a part of the mainstream yet. And I haven't even yet mentioned the smoking and drinking. The firm's primary account is Lucky Strike, and every character lights up without a moment's hesitation. Hell, even the gynecologist lights up during an exam! Speaking of which, the pill appears to be this new and fringe method for birth control. Some of the references are a bit heavy handed ("it's not like there's a machine to make copies or anything") but as long as they don't tread this ground too heavily each week, it's a minor nitpick in a show this jam packed with richly created atmosphere that gets so much right.

Much like lawyers or cops who watch procedurals on TV with a skeptical eye, I'll do the same with the "business" of Sterling-Cooper. As long as it tracks a little closer to reality than Larry Tate or Amanda Woodward, I don't think I'll mind.

Y'all, this one is definitely a keeper, and earns the TNRLM Tivo-Worthy seal of approval. Check it out.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The end of the Harry Potter series (no spoilers)

I found this very cute link over on Whedonesque, about the end of Harry Potter. Don't worry, there are no "real" spoilers here. Enjoy.

The oblique, and then there's JFC

Okay, I just watched last Sunday's John From Cincinnati episode "His Visit: Day Five" for the second time. And here's what I'm sure of:
  • Cissy didn't scream every single line.
  • She gave Butchie, er, a "hand" when she was on acid and he was a teenager, and that explains a lot about why they're both so fucked up.
  • Bill is still fucked up about his wife's death, but he listens to the voice of his dead wife through John. And he listens to the voice of Zippy. The parrot.
  • Tina's porn producer doesn't market the names of his films very well.
  • Something's up with Cass's camera.
  • Jennifer Grey doesn't look like Baby anymore, and Dickstein's certainly not putting her in the corner.
  • Hi, Trixie from Deadwood!
  • The dude in room 24 doesn't look so good. Anymore.
  • There's a reason I hate tuna salad.
Okay, here's what I'm not so sure of:
  • Everything else.
I've wrapped my noodle around labyrinth, mystifying plots before. Even when they don't add up to a lick of sense at the end (Hello! X-Files!). I've waded my way through curly-Q, elaborate Milchian language, shrouded by hidden motivations, before (Hello! Deadwood). But this show is borderline impenetrable. Yet I am utterly fascinated. Is it adding up to something I just can't seem to understand? Is it adding up to nothing? Am I alone in being confused? Or should I just take at face value that even the creator and writer doesn't know what the fuck it's about?

I read through the latest TWOP recap, and it's quite funny. Particularly amusing was the poll:

Weirdest-ass thing of the week?
  1. There was this really long speech at the end of the show that was sort of unusual.
  2. Butchie and Cissy's unfortunate family secret.
  3. Freddy, the saxophone-playing drug kingpin.
  4. The vaguely menacing making of tuna fish sandwiches.
  5. John Monad, defying the space-time continuum.

And really, I can't pick one, though the speech thing, the "centerpiece" of the episode, is bewildering.

This is a train wreck (or masterpiece) of epic proportions, and I simply cannot believe this makes it air each week.

I bet his new Shih Tzu has white fur

Elected racist moron Robert Byrd (D - W.V.) took 24 minutes out of the nation's business yesterday to indirectly condemn Falcons QB Mike Vick (and/or people who abuse animals) to "the hottest places in hell" for his alleged involvement in the dog fighting scandal.

Irony, of course, thy name is politics.

After all, Byrd is a former "Exalted Cyclops" of the Ku Klux Klan, known to have engaged in a little "barbarism of the worst sort and cruelty of the worst, worst, worst, sadistic kind," of their own.

I'm a "generous realist"

Hmmm. The results of a rather lengthy "personal DNA" test have told me so, so I guess it must be true.

Illuminating facts about me:

  • Your attention to detail, appreciation of how things function, and awareness of the world around you make you a REALIST.
  • Routines are reassuring to you—you feel safer and more at ease when sticking with familiar things.
  • You like to stay close with those around you, seeking comfort from familiar faces.
  • You much prefer to have time to plan for things, feeling better with a schedule than with keeping plans up in the air until the last minute. Your decisions are well thought out, and you're not the least bit impulsive.
  • Your awareness of those around you, along with your nuanced perceptions of the world at large, makes you the GENEROUS person that you are.
  • You are excited and energized by ideas and often enjoy things more through observation than through experience.
  • Being as aware of others as you are doesn't mean you find it easy to trust them immediately—this is something that happens more slowly for you.
  • You value spending time alone—it is while reflecting on the world around you that you often learn something new about yourself or begin to understand something that's been bothering you.

All in all, the "testing" methodology was pretty nifty, with grids of four and slider buttons, but I was rather disappointed in the results, other than the colorful "DNA" summation. So I'm organized, a bit of a loner, generous to a fault and analytical? Okey dokey. Personally, I still find the Myers-Briggs / Keirsey temperament sorters provide greater depth. Of course, I'm an INTJ, so naturally I'd nitpick any results. However, here's what that evaluation tell me:

The Portrait of the Mastermind Rational (INTJ)
Of the four aspects of strategic analysis and definition, it is the contingency planning or entailment organizing role that reaches the highest development in Masterminds. Entailing or contingency planning is not an informative activity, rather it is a directive one in which the planner tells others what to do and in what order to do it. As the organizing capabilities the Masterminds increase so does their inclination to take charge of whatever is going on.
It is in their abilities that Masterminds differ from the other Rationals, while in most of their attitudes they are just like the others. However there is one attitude that sets them apart from other Rationals: they tend to be much more self-confident than the rest, having, for obscure reasons, developed a very strong will. They are rather rare, comprising no more than, say, one percent of the population. Being very judicious, decisions come naturally to them; indeed, they can hardly rest until they have things settled, decided, and set. They are the people who are able to formulate coherent and comprehensive contingency plans, hence contingency organizers or "entailers."

Masterminds will adopt ideas only if they are useful, which is to say if they work efficiently toward accomplishing the Mastermind's well-defined goals. Natural leaders, Masterminds are not at all eager to take command of projects or groups, preferring to stay in the background until others demonstrate their inability to lead. Once in charge, however, Masterminds are the supreme pragmatists, seeing reality as a crucible for refining their strategies for goal-directed action. In a sense, Masterminds approach reality as they would a giant chess board, always seeking strategies that have a high payoff, and always devising contingency plans in case of error or adversity. To the Mastermind, organizational structure and operational procedures are never arbitrary, never set in concrete, but are quite malleable and can be changed, improved, streamlined. In their drive for efficient action, Masterminds are the most open-minded of all the types. No idea is too far-fetched to be entertained-if it is useful. Masterminds are natural brainstormers, always open to new concepts and, in fact, aggressively seeking them. They are also alert to the consequences of applying new ideas or positions. Theories which cannot be made to work are quickly discarded by the Masterminds. On the other hand, Masterminds can be quite ruthless in implementing effective ideas, seldom counting personal cost in terms of time and energy.

To outsiders, INTJs may appear to project an aura of "definiteness", of self-confidence. This self-confidence, sometimes mistaken for simple arrogance by the less decisive, is actually of a very specific rather than a general nature; its source lies in the specialized knowledge systems that most INTJs start building at an early age. When it comes to their own areas of expertise -- and INTJs can have several -- they will be able to tell you almost immediately whether or not they can help you, and if so, how. INTJs know what they know, and perhaps still more importantly, they know what they don't know.

INTJs are perfectionists, with a seemingly endless capacity for improving upon anything that takes their interest. What prevents them from becoming chronically bogged down in this pursuit of perfection is the pragmatism so characteristic of the type: INTJs apply (often ruthlessly) the criterion "Does it work?" to everything from their own research efforts to the prevailing social norms. This in turn produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing the INTJ from the constraints of authority, convention, or sentiment for its own sake.

INTJs are known as the "Systems Builders" of the types, perhaps in part because they possess the unusual trait combination of imagination and reliability. Whatever system an INTJ happens to be working on is for them the equivalent of a moral cause to an INFJ; both perfectionism and disregard for authority may come into play, as INTJs can be unsparing of both themselves and the others on the project. Anyone considered to be "slacking," including superiors, will lose their respect -- and will generally be made aware of this; INTJs have also been known to take it upon themselves to implement critical decisions without consulting their supervisors or co-workers. On the other hand, they do tend to be scrupulous and even-handed about recognizing the individual contributions that have gone into a project, and have a gift for seizing opportunities which others might not even notice.

In the broadest terms, what INTJs "do" tends to be what they "know". Typical INTJ career choices are in the sciences and engineering, but they can be found wherever a combination of intellect and incisiveness are required (e.g., law, some areas of academia). INTJs can rise to management positions when they are willing to invest time in marketing their abilities as well as enhancing them, and (whether for the sake of ambition or the desire for privacy) many also find it useful to learn to simulate some degree of surface conformism in order to mask their inherent unconventionality.

Personal relationships, particularly romantic ones, can be the INTJ's Achilles heel. While they are capable of caring deeply for others (usually a select few), and are willing to spend a great deal of time and effort on a relationship, the knowledge and self-confidence that make them so successful in other areas can suddenly abandon or mislead them in interpersonal situations.
This happens in part because many INTJs do not readily grasp the social rituals; for instance, they tend to have little patience and less understanding of such things as small talk and flirtation (which most types consider half the fun of a relationship). To complicate matters, INTJs are usually extremely private people, and can often be naturally impassive as well, which makes them easy to misread and misunderstand. Perhaps the most fundamental problem, however, is that INTJs really want people to make sense. :-) This sometimes results in a peculiar naivete', paralleling that of many Fs -- only instead of expecting inexhaustible affection and empathy from a romantic relationship, the INTJ will expect inexhaustible reasonability and directness.
Probably the strongest INTJ assets in the interpersonal area are their intuitive abilities and their willingness to "work at" a relationship. Although as Ts they do not always have the kind of natural empathy that many Fs do, the Intuitive function can often act as a good substitute by synthesizing the probable meanings behind such things as tone of voice, turn of phrase, and facial expression. This ability can then be honed and directed by consistent, repeated efforts to understand and support those they care about, and those relationships which ultimately do become established with an INTJ tend to be characterized by their robustness, stability, and good communications.

Too bad Myers-Briggs doesn't have a button that looks like it came from a Starfleet uniform.

Skank Alert

Okay, let me get this straight. The CW took Veronica Mars off the air in order to broadcast a "reality" show about a "music" group's search for the next "whoring sea donkey." (kudos, Salon, love that phrase). But now, after all is said and done, the winning trollop won't be joining the rest of the "established" strippers, and will instead embark on a solo "career." So the CW basically torpedoed whatever minimal inertia* Veronica had for a sham of a joke of a "contest" that delivered the following morality play: act like a no talent, worn out, gold-digging strumpet fresh off the whore assembly line in Columbus, Georgia; forsake your commitments and invalidate the entire premise of the excrement that's been clogging our airwaves. Nice job, CW. If you didn't have Reaper coming up, I'd just delete you completely off the "channels I receive" grid.

*I will say this -- despite the mid season parade of manholes, CW chief Dawn Ostroff believed in Veronica and kept it on two seasons more than the ratings, even on the miserable CW, would have supported.

In other skank news:

My respect for Sarah Silverman just slipped a bit.

My respect for Posh Spice (yes, Posh Spice!) just inched up a little bit.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Ron Moore Interview

Nice interview with Ron Moore, creator of Battlestar Galactica, by the Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan.

No mention of why the Best Show On TV was snubbed for acting and show Emmys (a crime against humanity), though it DID get some recognition for writing and directing.

However, there are some good tidbits (but really, read the whole thing):
  • Info about the upcoming 2 hour movie, "Razor."
  • Two characters won't make it through to the end of the series.
  • The "webisodes" will feature some background on a young Adama and his history with the Cylons.
  • Romo Lampkin may return (that's great news - I loved him), but the actor, Mark Sheppard, will be showing up on Bionic Woman also. That's another in a series of great casting choices for the new Jaimie Sommers saga, with one GLARING EXCEPTION.
  • There's also a very intriguing mention of what Moore may be working on next: a sci-fi drama about a warehouse full of mysterious objects cataloged by the government, that he's developing with TNRLM favorite Jane Espenson.

So say we all.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Emmy Nominations: what is and what should be

The Primetime Emmy nominations are in, and have no fear, I'm here to sort it all out for you. When we get closer to the awards themselves, I'll offer my usual take on "should win, will win," but for now, we'll just consider the efficacy of the nominations themselves, okay?

And a disclaimer. While I watch an inordinate amount of television, I do have a major blind spot this year. Despite almost universal acclaim from critics, and recommendations from close friends and other respected couch spuds, I've never seen Friday Night Lights. I'm not exactly sure why. I thought the book was a brilliant dissection of high school football in a small town, and I enjoyed Peter Berg's movie. I think it has to do with my low tolerance for kids on my TV. Generally, I eschew anything with kids. There have been exceptions, of course, as I watched the first few episodes of Gilmore Girls and got hooked on the snappy pop culture patter and Lauren Graham's amazing performance. I watched Veronica Mars and loved the noir-trappings and labyrinth plots, infused with topical references. (And how can you not adore a show with frequent Big Lebowski homages?) But for the most part, if the kids are front and center, it won't find a way onto my Tivo. So I won't disparage any FNL picks (or cries of omission) since I really can't comment first hand on them.

Also, THANKS to the Emmys for putting the nominees in a downloadable MS Word document. How cool is that?

Okay, here we go:

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series

Ricky Gervais as Andy Millman

Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk

The Office
Steve Carell as Michael Scott

30 Rock
Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy

Two And A Half Men
Charlie Sheen as Charlie Harper

Not a bad list, but hasn't the Charlie Sheen thing been done to death? And Tony Shaloub is brilliant as Monk, but perhaps it's time for some new blood? Hands down the best comedy I saw all year was Andy Barker, PI. So how about some love for Andy Richter? James Roday took a potentially abrasive character in Shawn Spencer (Psyche) and made him oddly endearing (along with fine support from Dule Hill) and regularly amusing. While How I Met Your Mother has a fine ensemble cast, Neil Patrick Harris consistently bring the funny as Barney.

TNRLM's Picks: Carell, Baldwin, Roday, Harris, Richter

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series

Boston Legal
James Spader as Alan Shore

Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House

Rescue Me
Denis Leary as Tommy Gavin

The Sopranos
James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano

Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer

You simply cannot argue with the brilliance of Hugh Laurie, who despite a talented cast, carries House each and every week. 24 had the worst season in its history, and despite some heavy lifting from Kiefer, the show just shouldn't be recognized this year. Speaking of carrying a show, Michael C. Hall took another complex, morally ambiguous character (like Tony Soprano) and made for riveting television. Ian McShane's Al Swearingen on Deadwood was a complicated, profane and Shakespearean anti-hero that made Deadwood watching every single week.

TNRLM's Picks: Laurie, Gandolfini, Leary, Hall, McShane

Honorable Mention: David Tennant, Doctor Who. Edward James Olmos, Battlestar Galactica. James Woods, Shark.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series

Desperate Housewives
Felicity Huffman as Lynette Scavo

The New Adventures Of Old Christine
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Christine Campbell

30 Rock
Tina Fey as Liz Lemon

Ugly Betty
America Ferrera as Betty Suarez

Mary-Louise Parker as Nancy Botwin

Another year, yet another snub for Lauren Graham in Gilmore Girls. That's simply unconscionable. How does this keep happening? Nobody gave a more nuanced, deeply felt and entertaining performance this year. For 7 seasons, Graham has rattled off rapid fire, Dorothy Parker dialogue and handled every comedy and emotional beat with unparalleled skill, even when saddled with some ridiculous plot twists the last couple of years. This is a crime against humanity.

TNRLM's Picks: Graham, Parker, Fey, Huffman, Jenna Fischer, The Office

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series

Brothers & Sisters
Sally Field as Nora Walker

The Closer
Kyra Sedgwick as Dep. Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Mariska Hargitay as Detective Olivia Benson

Patricia Arquette as Allison Dubois

The Riches
Minnie Driver as Dahlia Malloy

The Sopranos
Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano

No doubt Sedgwick and Falco belong here. But some of the best work done this year in the category happened in two little watched, "cult" shows: Battlestar Galactica and Veronica Mars. Not having Mary McDonnell as Laura Roslin in the nominations is a prime example of all the flaws in the process. On the same show, Katee Sackhoff's Kara Thrace took viewers on a riveting journey of war, love, death, abuse, duty, heartbreak and badassery all the way to the "other side." And back. Kristen Bell shined as the title character in Veronica Mars and certainly needs to be here.

TNRLM's Picks: Sedgwick, McDonnell, Falco, Bell, Sackhoff

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series

Kevin Dillon as Johnny Drama

Jeremy Piven as Ari Gold

How I Met Your Mother
Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson

The Office
Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute

Two And A Half Men
Jon Cryer as Alan Harper

There's a fine line to straddle between what makes "lead" and "supporting." Harris is supporting? Cryer is supporting? Since I already put Harris in "lead," I'll forgo his nomination here (though he's definitely deserving of being mentioned in one of them). I totally agree with Dillon, Piven and Rainn Wilson's demented Dwight Schrute. However, I'd also add John Krasinski (Jim Halpert) from The Office who game the "Pam and Jim" story depth, while never losing the mischievous antagonism in his relationships with Dwight and Michael. And nobody made me laugh more in a supporting role this year than Harve Presnell, as cantankerous detective Lew Staziak in Andy Barker, PI.

TNRLM's Picks: Dillon, Piven, Wilson, Presnell, Krasinski

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series

Boston Legal
William Shatner as Denny Crane

Grey’s Anatomy
T.R. Knight as George

Masi Oka as Hiro Nakamura

Michael Emerson as Ben

Terry O’Quinn as John Locke

The Sopranos
Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti

This is probably the deepest category on the docket. Lost rebounded from a dismal first "pod" of episodes to crank out one classic after another leading up to one of the best season finales ever. In addition to the stellar work by Emerson and O'Quinn, Josh Holloway was also fantastic as Sawyer came to grips with his past (and couldn't use nicknames). However, I'm going to go a completely different way here with all the nominations. Although Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip was a brilliant failure, plagued by inconsistent writing and ridiculous storylines, Steven Weber was always engaging and fascinating to watch as Jack Rudolph. BSG again gets no love, but Michael Hogan (Saul Motherfucking Tigh) and James Callis (Gaius Baltar) both lit up the screen with complicated, raw, top shelf performances. Enrico Colantoni was the dad we all wished we had on Veronica Mars, equal parts mentor and best friend. While Oka was charismatic as time traveler Hiro on Heroes, Jack Coleman was nuanced, menacing and protective as "HRG."

TNRLM's Picks: Weber, Colantoni, Hogan, Callis, Coleman

Honorable Mention: Imperioli, O'Quinn, Oka, Emerson, Holloway. Harry Dean Stanton as Roman Grant on Big Love. JK Simmons as Will Pope on The Closer. John Scurti as Kenny Shea on Rescue Me. Robert Sean Leonard as James Wilson on House

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series

My Name Is Earl
Jaime Pressly as Joy Turner

The Office
Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly

Two And A Half Men
Holland Taylor as Evelyn Harper

Two And A Half Men
Conchata Ferrell as Berta

Ugly Betty
Vanessa Williams as Wilhelmina Slater

Elizabeth Perkins as Celia Hodes

Six? Why are the six here? And again, there's the confusion over "lead" and "supporting." Fischer and Pressly are supporting? For my sake, I'll leave Fischer in lead, and acknowledge Pressly as supporting. But what about the gals from How I Met Your Mother? Alyson Hannigan (Lily Aldrin) was smart, funny and adorable. And Cobie Smulders (Robin Scherbatsky) belongs here for the "Robin Sparkles" episode alone. If Fischer could be considered lead, then I'd add Melora Hardin into supporting for her turn as Jan Levinson on The Office.

TNRLM's Picks: Hannigan, Pressly, Perkins, Hardin, Smulders

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series

Brothers & Sisters
Rachel Griffiths as Sarah Whedon

Grey’s Anatomy
Katherine Heigl as Isobel “Izzie” Stevens

Grey’s Anatomy
Chandra Wilson as Dr. Bailey

Grey’s Anatomy
Sandra Oh as Cristina Yang

The Sopranos
Aida Turturro as Janice Soprano

The Sopranos
Lorraine Bracco as Dr. Jennifer Melfi

Six? Again? And overload on the increasingly annoying Grey's characters? I love Bracco as Melfi, but did she really have that much to do this year other than get annoyed at Tony for ripping a page out of the magazines in her lobby? Of those listed, I appreciated Turturro, as much as a I loathe the character of Janice, but I much prefer Elizabeth Mitchell's conniving, heartbreaking Juliet. I'd add Trivia Helfer, sexy, vulnerable and menacing as Number Six on BSG and Robin Weigert's filthy, amusing and outlandish Calamity Jane on Deadwood. There's the "lead" and "supporting" dilemma again when it comes to Big Love. What do you call the three "sister-wives," who are the heart of the show? All three – Jeanne Tripplehorn (Barb), Chloe Sevigny (Nicki) and Ginnifer Goodwin (Margene) – deliver stellar performances in difficult roles, and it's hard to leave any of them out. However, if forced to choose, I'll go with Tripplehorn and Sevigny who had more to work with in year one of the show (Goodwin has shone with more to do in year two, but that's a case for next year, I suppose).

TNRLM's Picks: Helfer, Weigert, Mitchell, Sevigny, Tripplehorn

Outstanding Comedy Series


The Office

30 Rock

Two And A Half Men

Ugly Betty

There's truly a dearth of comedies on television right now.

TNRLM's Picks: Entourage, 30 Rock, The Office, How I Met Your Mother, My Name is Earl

Outstanding Drama Series

Boston Legal

Grey’s Anatomy



The Sopranos

Okay, why not six nominees here? I've long espoused Battlestar Galactica as The. Best. Show. On. Television. And that opinion hasn't changed. It's a shame that it gets so little mainstream attention because of the silly name (Buffy suffered the same fate) and genre trappings. I should note, however, that in looking through the entire list of noms, BSG was recognized in "minor" categories like direction, special effects and writing, so that's a start. Still, Emmy, suck on the Peabody. This is a tough category, perhaps second only to supporting actor for the volume of quality and depth of field. However, in an extraordinarily tough winnowing process, I'd be forced to choose the following:

TNRLM's Picks: The Sopranos, Battlestar Galactica, Deadwood, Dexter, Lost

Honorable Mention: House, The Closer, Veronica Mars, Rescue Me, Big Love

Apparently, Allison Blake is a Tommy Tutone fan

On Wednesday's episode of the delightful Eureka, there was a scene where Allison Blake had to enter a password into a keypad, to gain control of the Global Dynamics computer system. Also entering a password to complete the switchover was her estranged husband, and the former head of GD she is replacing, Nathan Stark.

Numbers Allison entered on the keypad? 8675309.

Numbers Nathan entered on the keypad? 2554766. (Which spells out "Allison" on a touch tone phone. Awwww).

Love this show.

Smoking, drinking and advertising

Wow. This just kinda came out of nowhere. Who knew AMC produced original dramas? I forgot about AMC, when they shifted the definition of the "C" in their name a while ago. (I mean is there anyone on the planet earth who thinks that The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas is a "classic?" Anyone?)

However, I've been hearing quiet buzz about AMC's new hour drama, Mad Men, for the past few weeks. A drama set in the advertising world of the 60s, complete with skinny ties, chain smoking and lunchtime whiskey? Sign me up!

It comes with a decent enough pedigree, being from a writer and producer of The Sopranos (Matt Weiners' spec script for Mad Men is evidently what got him hired by David Chase). Plus it features two actors from the Whedonverse, Angel's Vincent Kartheiser (Connor) and the luminous and just about perfect in every way Christina Hendricks (Firefly's Yolanda/Saffron/Bridget).

Check out some critical praise:

Maureen Ryan

Matt Roush

Robert Bianco


Tonight at 10 PM EST, on AMC of all things.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Fantasy Fucked

Okay, I'm used to getting fucked in my fantasies. Or, put another and different way, having my fantasies fucked. However, I'm speaking about fantasy football, and yep, I'm fucked.

You see, I play in a "keeper" league. We're allowed to protect 3 players on our roster from year to year, and that strategy has paid dividends for me the last few years. I had a point scoring core trio of LaDanian Tomlinson, Tiki Barber and Michael Vick.


Yes, LT should be the top player in fantasy leagues all across the country, so I've got that going for me. Which is nice. But Tiki decided he'd had enough of Tom Coughlin's bullshit (like giving easy touchdowns to Brandon Jacobs -- the bane of fantasy owners everywhere) and would rather make morning chit chat with Merdith Viera and Matt Lauer. And, as everyone in free world knows today, Ron Mexico won't be named ASPCA Man of the year anytime soon.

So, I have one of the greatest fantasy point scoring machines ever, and......nothing.

There's still some time before the draft to get more info on whether Vick will be starring with Diane Lane and John Cusack in a sequel to Must Love Dogs, but I can't imagine we'll know for certain if he'll suit up for 16 Falcons games or not. Roger "new sheriff in town" Goddell has made his position on bad boys quite clear.

Here's the dilemma. RBs and QBs are the primo point generators in fantasy football. There are 32 teams. That means 32 starting QBs (kind of). And 32 starting RBs (kind of). Several teams have rookies coming in at those key positions, and other use the "rotation" or "platoon" strategy at RB. There are 12 other teams in the fantasy league, so with 3 keepers each, that means the 36 best players will be unavailable (37 including LT). And because I finished so well last year, I'll be picking toward the bottom of the draft. Basically, I'm screwed.

Hello Tavaris Jackson and Reuben Droughns. Thanks Tiki. Thanks Mike. We haven't even snapped the first ball yet, and it's already a long year.

Whodat: The Closer

Monday's Closer ("The Round File") had several familiar faces:

French Stewart was Gary, the third-person speaking real estate agent who claimed to never lie. He's best known as Harry on Third Rock from the Sun.

Kathryn Joosten was the desk manager at the old folks home that killed off their unprofitable patients. Among many other things, she was Mrs. McCluskey (my husband is a popsicle!) on Desperate Housewives and Mrs. Landingham on The West Wing.

Classic game show raconteur Orson Bean played the guy who confessed to multiple killings just to the get police's attention (it worked).

Jonathon Del Arco recurred as the irritable coroner. He had a prominent role as Sofia Lopez on Nip/Tuck, and was the "disconnected" Borg "Hugh" on some thought provoking episodes of Start Trek:TNG.

The keys to happiness

I found this list (a guide to random ways to make yourself happy), courtesy of a link on Wil Wheaton's blog.

So, how happy am I?

  1. Uhhh, no. Soda must have crushed ice, and though I drink about 2 or 3 pots of coffee per day, I must have some sort of creamer.
  2. Difficult, but okay.
  3. Tried guitar, wasn't Hendrix after the first lesson. I can juggle and I whip ass at Scrabble.
  4. Okay.
  5. YES. I pledge allegiance to the Crackberry.
  6. Eh. In a pinch.
  7. No problem there. Woof, Woof.
  8. Outlook and the Crackberry have made this easy.
  9. I love my wheels.
  10. Got it. I know what I like.
  11. Did it, for the most part.
  12. I embrace the condiments. And I'll try new things. As long as they're not vegetables.
  13. I don't really give a shit.
  14. Yep.
  15. I do know. Yep, I'm a geek.
  16. Wow. This one is easier said than done.
  17. I've usually done this. And the next couple of weeks will put this one to the test.
  18. Yikes. Hard one to let go of.
  19. Already there, especially for the sports I watch. However, I still don't get "icing."
  20. Have one.
  21. Taking applications.
  22. Dear sweet lord. This one is hard, though I'm up to my ass in it. Definitely need some work here.
  23. Yes, I know this one. CD players tremble in fear (long story).
  24. No problemo. I live by this rule.
  25. If by "nice," you mean "comfy," I'm there.
  26. I've had one for a long time, but sadly, I think it's expired.
  27. Oh, I know this one. Care to play?
  28. I'm not sure what this is, and I'm afraid to find out.
  29. I already have, oh so many times.

Hmmm, based on this, it would appear that I'm kinda happy. Which would seem to be fairly accurate.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Oscar Goldman wouldn't be happy

The news broke yesterday that Grey's Anatomy pariah and public relations Typhoid Mary, Isaiah Washington, will join the cast of NBC's new Bionic Woman for a number of episodes.

When I first heard about a remake of BW, I rolled my eyes and gave it little thought. However, when I learned that one of the masterminds behind Battlestar Galactica (David Eick) was involved, I decided to give it more consideration. Then, BSG's Starbuck, Katee Sackhoff, was cast as the "bad" bionic gal, and I was ready to start typing out B...I...O...N... on my Tivo season pass list.

Now I'm back in eye rolling mode. I know, one actor can't necessarily "make or break" your enjoyment of a show. And I'm not typically one to carry over the personal lives, political leanings and off screen shenanigans of actors into my appreciation of their craft. After all, Alec Baldwin is brilliant in just about everything he does and despite Tom Cruise's couch jumping lunacy and Xenu believing hysterics, I thought MI:3 was the best of the series. But Isaiah Washington is an arrogant, pompous blowhard who just doesn't know when to shut up. And when I seriously gave Grey's a chance before realizing that every single character was completely insufferable, I disliked his character intensely and didn't think his acting was anything to petition the Emmy voters for.

Why on earth would the powers that be decide to add this toxic PR nightmare to a show that's been gathering solid to good buzz for the last month or so? Hey, I'm all in favor of second chances, but doesn't it seem like there should be some type of "penance" first? Like having to do a silly Saturday night Sci-Fi movie where he plays a half-man/half-squirrel first? Or being the fourth lead on a Lifetime flick where Tori Spelling is being stalked?

Some people are taking the news worse than me. I can't blame them, really. I'll probably still check out the show for its production pedigree, my love for Katee and the character she'll be playing, and my affection for the original show (Jamie Sommers was one of my first "TV girlfriends." And Lindsay Wagner was considered for the role of Captain Janeway. How cool would that have been?). But my enthusiasm has been dampened.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Big News

No, the "big news" isn't related to the usual "big news" I post around here. BSG isn't getting a fifth season. They aren't bringing Arrested Development, Andy Barker PI or Drive back from the dead. (But hey, they ARE making a second X-Files movie, so that's good!).

Nope, the big news is of a personal nature.

I'm moving to Baltimore, Maryland. Or somewhere in the vicinity of Baltimore.

Sometime in early August, I'll be sitting on a deck someplace, eating crabcakes, pondering what it's like to live in a different state for the first time in my adulthood (generously characterized, but chronologically accurate).

There are a lot of the reasons behind the move. I'll probably get into some of them over the course of the next few months, but suffice to say, it's time to exorcise some demons and start over with a clean slate.

Other than where I'll be working, here's what I know about Baltimore at this point:
  • The Colts left there in a Mayflower truck at night.
  • There are all the things I know about their sports, obviously. The Ravens. The Redskins (wow - I found out Washington DC is fairly close. I really think these "map things" are gonna catch on). The Nationals. The Orioles. The Wizards. Johnny U. Cal. Ray Lewis.
  • It's known for outstanding seafood. Particularly crabs. Good thing I dig the crustaceans.
  • It's also close to Annapolis. Roger Staubach and David Robinson went there.
  • Delta flies to and from there to Atlanta, so my SkyMiles aren't dead yet.
  • A close friend recently told me a Meg Ryan movie was set there.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street was about Baltimore. Too bad John Munch moved to NY. I could see having a beer with him.

Aaaaaand, that's about it.

As I learn more, and get lost countless times, I'll share more of these illuminating insights in posts tagged with "Stranger in a Strange Land."

Right now, there's a very mixed feeling of excitement about embarking on a new adventure, and melancholy over closing a very distinct chapter in my life.

But the die has been cast, and Mulder and Willow and I will be heading north soon. Damn their lack of opposable thumbs, I could use the help packing.

So to paraphrase Captains Kirk and Picard, I'll be on a new mission. To explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before.

Well, except Cal Ripken. And John Munch. And all those other people there. But it's "strange and new" to me.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Preach it, sister

Great article here from well respected TV critic Maureen Ryan about the tragic flaws in the Emmy system. Yes, occasionally they get it right, but more often than not, they don't (see the partial list of "never nominateds" she cites). She also takes the time to point out the Peabodys, developed and awarded by a brilliant, wise, universally praised and challenging institution. (That, of course, would be my alma mater, the Henry W. Grady School of Journalism at good old UGA). It should be noted that they recognized the best show on television, Battlestar Galactica.

I would add to her list of suggestions for improvement: give me a vote. Hell, I couldn't do any worse than the current voters do, and I guarantee I watch far more television than they do.

When the official announcements come out, I'll blog away about them, and like last year, offer y'all my choices for nominees and winners.

If I was the Commish

Baseball's half way point has just passed, so it got me thinking. What would I change about the game if I was an omnipotent commissioner? (Think Kennesaw Mountain Landis with less racism, rather than Bud Selig with more of a clue).

How about:

  1. The Braves would always air all their games on TBS. Not only because that's what I grew up with and what made them "America's Team" even when they were stinking up the joint, but it also makes the games easier to find than having to flip around the 600s to see who is airing them. Plus, if I go out of town, I won't need to purchase the goddamned Extra Innings package just to watch one team.
  2. No DH.
  3. However, if you keep the DH, then I would feature AL rules in NL parks during interleague play, and vice versa. Part of the "charm" of IL play is seeing teams that you don't see ordinarily. So why not take it the next step, and make sure the home fans see other things they don't see every day? Manny Ramirez should be required to piss behind every outfield.
  4. Bonds and Sheffield. Banished forever. To a place without reporters, and from which no sound emanates.
  5. Replay on HR calls. How hard would this be?
  6. Not as much divisional play. A balanced schedule across the league.
  7. "Fair" IL play. Everyone in your division should play the same "other league" teams. Yes, I understand "rivalries" are part of the intrigue about IL play. Some match up naturally, particularly in places like NY, Chicago and LA/Anaheim/Orange County where there are two franchises. So if we must do this, then keep ONE rivalry component of IL, but then make sure the rest of your division plays the exact same other league teams.
  8. Home field in the World Series would go to the team with the best overall record. Pretty simple stuff there. The All Star Game is an exhibition, and it's a travesty that this determines home field (as was alternating leagues or a coin flip).
  9. Pants would not be allowed to touch your cleats. Jesus Christ how I hate the "pajama bottom" look. I wish MLB would employ the "uniform nazi" approach of the NFL. Baseball players should always show stirrups and sanitaries.
  10. Scott Boras would be taken off to Gitmo, and never heard from again.
  11. Home Run Derby at the All Star Game would be shortened. 5 "outs" each in the first round to get from 8 to 4 players. Then maybe 7 outs each to get from 4 to 2 players, with the count of HRs starting at 0 for the round. Then you can have 10 outs for the final, with the counts resetting at 0 again. And Berman should stick to football.
  12. You could assume the double play in scoring. So many other things are judgment calls, why not that? (Your long national nightmare would be over, Lee).

Wouldn't that be a better game?

Well of course it fucking is.

Free Online Dating

Summer Lovin'

Remember as a kid, when summer was just the time that the networks showed reruns for months, or occasionally dumped failed pilots? Summer programming has certainly come a long way since then. Especially for "cable." While we still have to put up with an over reliance on insipid reality shows, there are some really good things going on:

On HBO, we have a new season of Entourage. The getting better every single episode Big Love. The bizzare, challenging, yet strangely compelling John From Cincinnati.

On Sci-Fi, Eureka returned this week, and appears to be in fine form. Eureka is a perfect "sci-fi" show for people who don't know what the Prime Directive is or what kind of planet Hoth is. it features clever writing and winning performances from a talented ensemble cast, and shows signs this year of being slightly deeper and slightly darker. Doctor Who has returned also, and Friday's encounter with William Shakespeare was particularly entertaining. Plus, we have Flash Gordon coming up, that could be a fun romp, or another Painkiller Jane. We'll just wait and see.

TNT, of course, has The Closer. I posted about Monday's harrowing and intense episode (and cut off ending. Grrrr) yesterday, but the episode before that, with the "extra" corpse in the coffin and Brenda's encounter with a bridezilla, was completely different in tone, and totally hysterical. Other than the presence of Morena Baccarin, I can't find any reason to give Heartland a chance, so I can't personally say how that one is. But I'm mildly intrigued by Saving Grace, and the promos for The Company certainly make it seem Tivo-worthy.

I didn't know AMC was in the original programming business, but I've read a few good things Mad Men. It seems to have a premise we don't see on television that often, and I'll definitely give it a look-see.

The king of summer programming though, at least in my house, is USA. There's The 4400, which was kind of Heroes before there was a Heroes. But with a darker underbelly, smaller budgets and an increasingly complicated mythology. There's the new show, Burn Notice, which showcases a winning performance from Jeffrey Donovan (who was fantastic in USA's adaptation of a british show, Touching Evil, which was inexplicably not renewed for a second season) and features cult god Bruce Campbell. And Sharon Gless kvetching and chain smoking. Also of note is that Mere Smith, a writer and story editor on Angel, is a producer.

But the best news is the return of the Friday night block of Monk and Psyche. Monk (with whom I have nothing in common. Really) had a great premiere episode, with Sarah Silverman returning as Monk's "biggest fan." There were several amusing bits, including her character, Marci, "naming" Monk's adventures - just like the episode titles, and giving Monk "clue hugs." Her interaction with Natalie, fortunately no longer hiding a real-life pregnancy for the actress, was great. And like Monk, Psyche thrives on wafer thin plots and mysteries that basically serve as a framework for the characters to make with the funny. Psyche's premiere was one of the funniest of the series, with the detectives going undercover at an American Idol clone to find a killer. And is there some type of pineapple in every show? Is this like the watermelon in Buckaroo Banzai?


Christina Cole played one of the witches trying to get William Shakespeare to conjure the end of the world on Doctor Who. I recall her from the first season of another BBC show, Hex.

Tim Curry played the Simon Cowell role, to delicious effect, on Psyche. Gina Gershon was amazing as the drug addled faux Paula on the same show. The episode was also directed by John Landis, responsible for some of the seminal big screen comedies of the 70s and 80s.

Last week's episode of Burn Notice had Mark Pellegrino as the con man. Previously, he was Paul, Rita's dirtbag ex husband on Dexter.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Many more people fell asleep during Dr. Zhivago than I thought

Today, it seems the entertainment press, egged on by the chest thumping of the studios, gives a preponderance of weight to the box office of any given film. Biggest 3 day opening! Best holiday weekend! Best first week by a movie based on toys! Second best first month for a non-sequel film not based on children's literature, a television show, theme park ride or comic book!

But dollars are relative. I still recall the fond days of my youth, when my parents would drop me off at the theatre with $10, and I could enjoy the flick, a barrell of coke, a vat of popcorn, chocolate covered peanuts and still have money for video games. Now, you can't get in and out for less than $20 a head. So how would the all time box office earners look, if all the dollars were the same, regardless of time period? Glad you asked, because there's this handy list.

Some rankings aren't surprising. Star Wars, no matter the time period, was a huge hit and cultural phenomenon. And I've always expected that Gone with the Wind would be near the top. But some of the others are surprising:
  • The Sound of Music? The 10 Commandments? Love Story? Wow.
  • You'll also see just how all those theme parks and creepy animatronic presidents were built, given the frequency of Disney entries on the list.
  • Dr. Freakin' Zhivago? I love a good, literate period piece as much as the next person, but this was one of the most snooze inducing films I've ever seen. And this comes from someone who actually owns The English Patient on DVD. And it's not that I don't appreciate the tropes of Russian literature. After all, Woody Allen's Love and Death is one of my favorite movies. ("If it turns out that there IS a God, I don't think that he's evil. I think that the worst you can say about him is that basically he's an underachiever." – Boris)
  • Cleopatra, widely regarded as a colossal bomb and responsible for nearly destroying 20th Century Fox, shows up at #37.
  • OJ may be guilty (and sadly, killed the wrong Nicole Simpson) but he can still take pride that he was in the top 50 (The Towering Inferno sits right on the number).
  • Lots of entries for the early Bond films, which is nice to see.

When looking at the list purely in terms of total dollars, it obviously skews toward the more recent blockbusters generating their take with more expensive tickets. But it is certainly interesting to play "apples to apples" and see the films organized by (roughly) the number of moviegoers interested in paying to see them, probably a more accurate representation of their popularity.

But it's REAL, y'all! And when is 70 minutes not enough?

I was reviewing some of the comments about Monday's night's exceptionally powerful and well done episode of The Closer, "Ruby," on TWOP. There were the usual insightful observations and analysis from the TWOPers, about Gabriel's motivation, Taylor's problem solving, Brenda's dedication to the case, Provenza's "cover up" and the outstanding performance from the actor playing the degenerate perp.

But I also noticed a few comments related to the promos for a new TNT series, called Saving Grace, starring Holly Hunter. This came up because of the unusual timing of "Ruby." For TV aficionados, it was quite apparent that this episode was going to run 10 minutes over the hour. TNT announced it in their ads for the episode. It was noted on all the major TV websites, and I even saw it in the mainstream "printed" press. In addition, my Tivo, smart best friend that it is, had already added the extra 10 minutes to the recording time. So all was well, right? Blergh. I timeshifted, as I always do, and watched this compelling 70 minutes of television. At the "end," Brenda Leigh got her confession and we weren't quite sure what would would become of Gabriel after his questionable tactics in extracting the location of the little girl. I put quotes around "end" because there were a lot of fans who weren't quite sure exactly "when" and "how" this episode ended. At what I thought was the end, TNT did their usual cross promotion. Typically, it's been for the Treat Williams vehicle Heartland, but this time, the voice over asked us to "stay tuned for a special preview of Saving Grace." More on that, and Holly Hunter, in a moment.

Okay, when the network tells us to stick around for a preview, that means the current show is over, right? I mean, almost every show tells us to "stick around for more of (insert show here)." And then you wait around (or fast forward) and all that remains of the current show is the credits. Or maybe, just a tiny "tag" scene. But TNT made NO MENTION of "more Closer" coming after the Saving Grace preview. And we were already at the 1 hour and 10 minute mark. So any reasonable viewer would assume that The Closer was over. Done. Complete. Uh, not so. Apparently, outside of the 70 minute mark that we'd all been warned about and taken into account, and AFTER the Saving Grace preview, there was more Closer, and it was damned important. Brenda suspended Gabriel for his actions with the suspect, and put a note about the use of "excessive force" in his file. Gabriel told Brenda that he wasn't sure he wouldn't act the same way again, under similar circumstances. He laid his badge and gun on the desk. The perp killed himself in the jail. And wrote a suicide note on his right hand. And the hand is important, because we had clearly seen in previous scenes that the perp was right handed. I offer all this information about the end of The Closer not from memory, or having seen it, but from recounts provided by helpful TWOPers, because these critical closing scenes came AFTER the Saving Grace preview, and AFTER the much publicized "extra" 10 minutes. All I can say is What. The. Fuck? I've tried to find this final scene via TNT or the youtubes, but to no avail. Fuck you, TNT.

Okay, that brings me rather long windedly to Holly Hunter. On the boards, several of the posters expressed the following sentiment: "I don't care how many times they try to shove that Holly Hunter promo down my throat. I'm not watching because I can't stand her ridiculous accent."

Keep in mind that this was expressed in a forum for The Closer. And posted by fans of The Closer. Which stars Kyra Sedgwick, who was born in New York. And went to USC (in California, not the home of the fighting poultry). And now lives in Manhattan. Who stars as Georgian Brenda Leigh Johnson, a tough southern belle, with a thick southern accent who is a fish out of water in SoCal. Look, I love Kyra's performance and consider it nuanced, powerful and definitely Emmy worthy. I would also suggest that she's doing some of the finest work on TV, on par with female performances from Edie Falco and Mary McDonnell. But y'all? Her accent is FAKE. And as much as I love the show, it took me a good 3 or 4 episodes to get past the fact that her accent is too over the top and not as natural as it could be. I mean, it's not Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins bad. Or Bianca Lawson in Buffy bad. Or Kevin Costner in Robin Hood (or Thirteen Days, or anything, for that matter) bad. But it's obviously not real, and any true southerner, and especially Georgian, can spot that a mile away. So someone who is a fan of The Closer objects to Holly Hunter's accent? You have got to be kidding me. That's about as REAL as it comes. Holly is from Conyers, Georgia. And despite her immense acting talent, I'm sure holding back her thick accent has cost her some mainstream roles where her character did not have a background from the south. The irony of that just makes my eyes roll back in my head and my stomach turn in knots. So you like The Closer, but don't want to watch Saving Grace, because Holly's accent bugs you? Hopefully, a door-to-door "Clue Salesman" will soon visit your home, so you can get one. Argh.

As for Saving Grace itself, I'm torn. On one hand, I do really like Hunter. And I like the somewhat "supernatural" nature of the show, featuring Deadwood alum Leon Rippy as an "angel" giving Holly's self destructive detective another chance at life. However, my feelings on all this theological poppycock are well known, and I really don't want to waste an hour of my life (and believe me, I waste those with reckless abandon) getting some treacly lecture. If it's Touched by an Angel in Oklahoma, or Michael Landon with a badge, then count me out. But given the talent involved, I'll give it an ep or two to win me over.

But seriously? You like The Closer, but Holly's accent bugs you? I'm think I'm going to go have a seizure.

Friday, July 13, 2007

High IQs in space

Obviously, you have to be smart to get into the space program. This just proves it.

Of course, there's always a diaper wearing exception to the rule.

Good news and bad news

As is my nature, first the bad. It appears the proposed (and promised, cocksuckers!) Deadwood movies don't have much of a chance, though the suits still like to leave some hope for the fans.

On the other hand the perplexing yet compelling (at least for me, this one is a total "your mileage may vary") John From Cincinnati is doing much better than the initial ratings have indicated, once you factor in cumulative viewers.

All that can be found right here.

Garbage Day!

This has been making the rounds for a while, but it still cracks me up.

"You know, I'm still kinda wired..."

Even Ed Wood would say "that's awful."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fuck you, FOX

On one hand, it's easy to muster up some positive feelings for FOX. The gave us Arrested Development, after all, and stuck with it despite low ratings that would have gotten any other show on their networked axed immediately. They've given us House, 24 and Bones, which are still on the air.

But then there's the Minear question. They've signed this talented writer/producer to a deal, and then keep crapping on his shows with questionable support, herky-jerky scheduling and general asshattery. Wonderfalls. The Inside. Firefly. And now Drive. (Why don't they try to make this relationship work on FX, where more "cult" and "edgy" programs can thrive without the hourly ratings watch and pressures?)

Drive was supposed to air its final two episodes July 4. Then this Friday. And now those have been pulled from the schedule, again, and will only air at some indeterminate date over the internet.

For those interested in how some of the storylines might have played out, here's a candid interview with Minear and Craig Silverstein (hat tip to Whedonesque).

Sounds intriguing, but frankly, they had me at "young, hot, sociopath to be played by Eliza Dushku."

Saturday, July 7, 2007

auf Wiedersehen, cocksuckers!

Earlier this month, Slate ran a review of Live Free or Die Hard (which dammit, I still haven't seen yet), and contained therein was a link to another fun article about action movie one liners. The greatest, of course, being "yippee ki yay, motherfucker."

In the review, the author suggested a contest in which readers could submit fake action movie one liners. Here is a link to the results, which I found amusing. Among the ones that made me giggle out loud over my morning java:

"Welcome to America -- douchebag."

"My karate will disintegrate your genitals."

"Less talk, more dying."

"Your ass is about to get its own ass handed to it."

Friday, July 6, 2007

A JFC Quote Sampling

If you haven't yet watched John From Cincinnati, here's a sampling of quotes that you've been missing:

"If that's a tumor, where do I sign up?"

Bill: "I've got my eye on you!"
John: "No, I've got my eye on you!"

Dickstein: Do you have another gun?
Cunningham: I did not buy a backup, against the advice of Pete's Pistol Hut."

"I don't know if I am on foot or horseback"

"Papercuts on the penis, very painful."

"Radio silence 'til further notification. This is a dump a grown man can be proud of!"

"Aren't you glad you didn't blow your brains out yesterday?"

Barry: "Animate or inanimate?" (pointing to standup cardboard chicks)
Dickstein: "Inanimate."

Barry: "I alone then am favored by that jovially, croaking, post-coital falsetto winsomely caricaturing Debbie Boone?"

Kai to John: "Touch my tits."
John: "Tits don't ring a bell."

"Spare me the babe in the woods routine; you just paid to see a woman fuck a donkey".

"Some things I know, and some things I don’t."

Cissy to Mitch: "Not being as bright as you, Mitch, so full of 'The Wisdom of the East,' it sounds like you're saying that what's right for

you is to do whatever you fucking want - which isn't exactly fresh news."

John: "I took a dump. Shaun's much-improved and well. I thought I'd give it a shot. Shit in Bill's pocket. Oh, no, I got my eye on you! The end is near. I'd like to bone you, Kai."

Butchie, with Kai, about a song: "Was this playin the first time I threw up on you?"

"Butchie's gonna drop the hammer."

"And God's taking over for Santa, deciding whose naughty and nice and firing up the coal log to burn the naughty in hell."

"I'm here on orders from my bird."

Barry to Ramon: "Let's call it 'permanently associated,' or is that too overtly gay?"

Butchie: "All my ladies set off the airport metal detectors, or they’re not my ladies long. And let me say this, with the compact metal detector right here in my tongue, I will find everywhere your metal may be hid."

And my new favorite, which will undoubtedly enter my lexicon and be used with great frequency, due to its all around usefulness and particular application to my life:

"We are on the precipice of a clusterfuck."

The most fucked up hour of television ever.

I finally got around to catching up with John From Cincinnati, HBO's new "surf noir" drama on Sundays. I set up a season pass for it on the Tivo, knowing only a few things about it. It was HBO's new drama, and those are generally worth checking out. It was created and written by David Milch, of dear, departed Deadwood fame. Summer is generally the time when the new television slate is bankrupt of ideas and plastered with reality stool samples, so new and different things are worth checking out.

That said, I never got around to watching JFC for some reason. Maybe it was Sopranos hangover, maybe it was the ongoing drama in real life. Perhaps it was the perplexing reviews I read that ranged from "brilliant!" to "impenetrable!" to "what the fuck?!" Anyway, I was bored on the 4th and finally started watching. Four hours later, I'm hooked. Though I have to agree with those three quotes. I mean, really:

  • A three generation surfing clan.
  • Quasi-Shakespearean dialogue laced with colorful vulgarity.
  • A mysterious stranger that spouts zen like non-sequiters and repeats whatever he hears. And has "magical pockets" in his pants that produce cash and credit cards. And heals others from fatal injuries. And heals himself.
  • Zippy the parrot, who also apparently has healing powers.
  • Surfing patriarchs that suddenly start to levitate three feet off the ground.
  • Sex that makes you "see god," but without the sex.
  • Luke Perry as a scheming, surf marketing mogul.
  • A gay lottery winner, apparently the victim of some abuse, who may or may not see ghosts in a specific hotel room, who buys the local surf hotel.
  • A sometimes kind hearted Hawaiian heroin dealer and his unbelievably dimwitted sidekick.

If that sounds "wacky," you don't know the half of it. This is without a doubt the most fucked up television series I've ever seen. I still don't know what the hell is going on, but I'm compelled to watch. It has fantastic performances from the entire cast, and of course, the trademark dialogue that dazzles and mystifies from David Milch. But I still cannot fathom exactly what the hell it's all about. There are the obvious religious metaphors, and it certainly has its share of mystical shenanigans. I don't even know how to describe it, other than to say it's a glorious, fascinating trainwreck -- and I mean that in a good way -- of epic proportions.

It's easy to "punish" JFC in the larger context of HBO. It's certainly not a "replacement" for HBO's signature show The Sopranos. Many folks, me included, still hold a grudge that Milch "left" Deadwood to create JFC. But if you take those issues out, you're left with a curious, bewildering yet strongly compelling and brilliantly crafted hour of television.

Yes, I'll miss Tone and Carm, and Bullock and Al. But I'm watching Mitch, John, Butchie and Zippy the parrot, too.

Speaking of Deadwood, JFC has featured some of the actors from that all time great, among others of note.

Garret Dillahunt is Doc Smith, who diagnosed the youngest Yost with a broken neck and brain death, only to see his patient completely healed by a kiss from Zippy. The parrot. Dillahunt played not one, but two, beautifully realized psychopaths on Deadwood (Jack McCall and Francis Wolcott). Last year, he was Matthew on The 4400.
Austin Nichols is the titular John. He also played Morgan Earp on Deadwood.
Dayton Callie is Steady Freddie, the drug dealer. He was stalwart Charlie Utter on Deadwood, and also recently played the adopted father of the miniature killer on CSI: Original Recipe.
Jim Beaver is Vietnam Joe, who found John originally. Beaver played the long suffering Ellsworth on Deadwood.
Stephen Tobolowsky is a lawyer or administrator from the hospital where Smith works, and played Hugo Jarry on Deadwood.

Others on JFC:
Brian Van Holt is the middle Yost, Butchie. I recall him from the Carla Gugino sci-fi show Threshold, where he was a wooden government agent. Here, he's terrific as the drug addled ne'er do well.
Matt Winston is the disturbed new hotel owner. I remember him as the annoying Daniels from Enterprise.
Paul Ben-Victor is Palaka, the dim-bulb sidekick for Freddie. He was the truck driver in recently in Drive, as well as studio head Allen Grey in Entourage.
Willie Garson is the "surf attorney." He's widely known as gay friend Stanford on estrogen/martini fest Sex and the City, but I also recongize him as extraterrestrial/TV and movie producer Martin Lloyd on Stargate SG-1.

The show also prominently features Rebecca DeMornay as the Yost matriarch, Luis Guzman as the hotel manager, and Ed O'Neill as ex-cop and friend of the family Bill. Who owns Zippy the parrot.