Five things that impressed, appalled, or otherwise held my attention for more than 15 seconds during the past week:
1. Once again the gods of cable television interrupted my busy Sunday schedule of sweating through the apholstery on the recliner to remind me of some fine performances in movies I love. Case in point: Kathy Bates, whose stellar performance in Primary Colors was repeated throughout the weekend. It’s probably my favorite performance of hers, and I deeply wish she had won the Oscar for it. In a movie that was probably too dependent on mimicry in its performances (oh, hello bewigged John Travolta), Bates came up with a unique character, the conscience of the film who was demented rather than saintly. And she lost to eight minutes worth of Dame Judi Dench. Booooo!
2. Sticking with the “movies we can all watch in the stifling comfort of our own homes” theme, I have to tip my hat once again to whoever did the production design on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the film which has been alternately titled What’s On HBO Today, All Day. Whether the film itself cut too much from the source material to make it a satisfying effort is up for debate, but the look of the movie was undoubtedly fantastic. Alfonso Cuaron really took the action outside the Hogwarts walls, giving the events a real sense of geography, and of the threatening world around our heroes. I like how Cuaron built his film around the book and not inside it. I like the whole thing, really, and it’s too bad he couldn’t return for another chapter.
3. Summer television is more often than not all about the guilty pleasure. For evidence, look no further than next month’s premiere of Big Brother 6, and don’t think for one second I’m not in crazy anticipation of another summer of vain, shallow, stupid machinations in that particular house. But for now, I’ll have to make do with Kept on VH1. Like all great guilty pleasures, I started out thinking I’d hate it. But against all odds Jerry Hall and her unique Anglo-Texan accent have roped me in. Seriously, I don’t know what it is about me and aging models who used to fuck Mick Jagger, but between Jerry Hall and Janice Dickinson, this summer on VH1 is going to be damn near irresistible. Back to Kept, though: it’s got a perfect blend of arrogance awaiting its comeuppance, genuinely likeable personalities, and unabashed cheesecake-y goodness. It’s what guilty pleasure was made for.
4. One last straggling note from the MTV Movie Awards: Seriously, how drunk was Quentin Tarantino when he accepted Kill Bill 2’s award for best fight? I mean, we’re all used to Q-Bert McForehead getting his methamphetamine on at these things, but isn’t it getting a little old? Especially when he’s directing such middlebrow fare as the C.S.I. finale? Just a note: when Daryl Hannah is “the classy one” in your two-some? Issues, is what you have.
5. So right now The Killers are two-for-two as far as songs that I like. I was a fan of “Somebody Told Me” and I’m currently somewhat addicted to “Mr. Brightside.” I especially enjoy it when my sister enthuses, “I love the second verse,” when the second verse is, quite literally, same as the first. I’m also so glad that all the really interesting new music is stuff that sounds like the 80s. This is so much better than the two-fisted crotch punch that was Rap Metal and Teen Punk earlier this decade. Anyway, well done, Killers. Hopefully next time you’re on The O.C. I’ll know who you are and bother to tune in.