Five things that impressed, appalled or otherwise held my attention for more than 15 seconds during the past week:
1) So, Doug Flutie catches a foul ball at the Yanks-Sox game the other day and all of a sudden America’s love affair with Captain Short Stack begins anew. *Sigh* The mean is nearing the gray side of middle age and he’s still bringing a mitt to ball games? He’s really made a commitment to being that guy at the ballpark? He probably spends half the game telling that same old Boston College Hail Mary story to anyone within earshot, and then when he snags a foul ball he pointedly avoids eye contact with any small child to whom he might feel obligated to give the ball. Give it a rest, Doug Flutie. Leave the mitt, and the Napoleon complex, at home next time.
2) Even before Joel Grey showed his face during the closing minutes of this week’s “Alias” episode, I knew there was going to be trouble. Just seeing his name in the guest star credits filled me with a kind of dread. Joel Grey guesting on one of my TV shows can only mean one thing: a character I love is gonna die. Happened to Buffy Summers. Happened to Kareem Said on “Oz”. So you can imagine my distress when Joel shows up as Fake Sloane (brilliant twist, by the way) just as Jack Bristow seems to have contracted Nuclear Exposure Genetic Mutations Syndrome or whatever it is that’s going to threaten his life by season’s end. Damn you, Joel Grey! You black widow harbinger of death!
3) The nice thing about HBO is that it allows multiple viewings of certain movies that require a second and third go-round to really appreciate them. Something like Love, Actually, for instance, which was too long and too sprawling on first view to take in all the good stuff that was happening. Case in point: I don’t know how I managed to initially overlook Emma Thompson’s staggeringly good performance. Because there are roughly 744 characters in the movie, all the parts are small, but she does so much in what amounts to, like, three key scenes. And it’s all this huge emotion coupled with equally huge restraint and if I didn’t already adore her I would have after this movie, and since I already did, I think I love her even more. She needs to be in more movies.
4) Of course, what cable giveth, cable can also taketh away. Thank god. Much to my delight, TBS aired The Long Kiss Goodnight this week, just as I had decided I was dying to see it again but not enough to actually pay for a rental. As Aaron Cameron and I have concluded, this is one of the best bad movies ever made. The acting is ludicrous, with Samuel L. Jackson and Geena Davis giving truly horrible performances and Brian Cox trying to redeem it all with one big swing for the fences (it didn’t work, although his “Eight years later and a good deal frumpier” line still slays me). And, of course, there is the coup de grace of suck that is Craig Bierko along for the ride. Renny Harlin couldn’t make another movie this enjoyably bad if kept trying for the next thirty years. Which it seems he’s determined to do anyway.
5) Horatio Sanz and his narcotics haze and refusal to act like a damn professional have claimed another victim. Tom Brady on “Saturday Night Live” wasn’t exactly abysmal, but it wasn’t exactly Derek Jeter in drag either. In fact, I’d place it south of Rudy Giuliani’s hosting, the line of demarcation for non-actors hosting SNL. A lot of it can be chalked up to the general crappiness of this season of SNL, but I also can’t seem to fathom why Brady was even asked to host. Football season ended months ago, he’s not exactly Captain Charisma in the media, and he’s shown no previous inklings that he might be in any way suited for it. Also? Tom Brady’s Falafel City? I liked it much better the first time I saw that skit. When it was Lucy Lawless doing “Stevie Nicks’s Fajita Roundup”. So there you go again, you say you want burritos. I sure hope you can keep ‘em down.