Monday, November 28, 2005

Unloading the Hole in the Back of My Head

Okay, so I've been horribly neglectful of my blogging duties, and for that I am sorry. To make it up to you, I have a completely unformed and random series of thoughts as they pass through my head. Let's do this shit Larry King style!

Of the many things I was thankful for this Thanksgiving, my initially ugly -- yet unarguably comfortable -- old-man slippers are pretty high up on my list.

Fact: there is nothing like a holiday weekend to bring hacky country music "superstars" on to network television. Faith Hill, Kenny Chesney, you made the TV set so easy to fall asleep in front of this year.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was the best Potter movie I've seen yet. So very, very good. Brendan Gleeson can really ham it up with the best of them.

So, when exactly did Grey's Anatomy become my favorite drama on TV? Seriously, when? All of a sudden I'm on that shit like Bush on Al Jazeera.

Speaking of which, remind me some time to run down all the things I've learned from my new blogging job. At the top of that list would definitely be knowing how to identify a crazy right-wing blog just by its banner. Mostly, I think it involves the Liberty Bell and Latin phrases, but I could use a little more time to flesh the theory out.

Why am I so strangely excited to see Aeon Flux? For some reason, I just think it looks so cool. It's got that sci-fi quirk that I love, in which everyone is dressed like an extra from Madonna's "Bedtime Stories" video for no good reason. And, yes, Dune had the same tendency. Also, what is up with "Bedtime Stories" being such a referential touchstone for me? It explains so much, from sci-fi costumes, to creepy anatomically incorrect CGI, to the downfall of Kurt Loder's career. Because, if I'm recalling correctly, Loder hosted the world premiere of that video, a premiere which involved Madonna reading a "bedtime story" to a bunch of profoundly frightened children. That was back when Loder's official occupation wasn't so much "MTV News stiff" as "Madonna lapdog." But that position would soon be taken by Rosie O'Donnell, then Rupert Everett, and finally her little Kaballah string bracelet.

More importantly: Why do I know this? Why do I have all this useless MTV knowledge in my brain? What quantum physics theory would I have to learn that's weighty enough to push out the fact that I remember "Dead at 21"? Why does the name "John Sencio" hold any meaning for me? Why do I hold to the Kennedy/Duff/Bill Bellamy era as the "Golden Age"? Why would I even bother holding stubbornly to the belief that Cindy Crawford was the only true host of "House of Style," and Rebecca Romijin was only a pale impostor? Ditto Jenny McCarthy, "Singled Out," and Carmen Electra. Why do I think I could bust out 3,000 words on why the MTV Beach House was so much better when Daisy Fuentes was around? What did they do to my brain??

Okay, more of my random thoughts later. Clearly I need to regroup.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Low Res Caption Contest No. 005

You know the drill by now. Make with the funny. This particular photo was found and requested by devoted, delightful, and damn attractive (for a girl) Low Res loyalist Tipsy McSwiggans. Who loves ya, baby?

Image hosted by

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

What I've Been Up To

Sorry about the minimal blogging this week, you guys. I've been recapping Apprentice: Martha Stewart for Television Without Pity this week (read the recap here) and have been busybusybusy besides.

To tide you over, I came across the following as I was weeding out my document folder at work: the bio I wrote for myself when I was writing the column for 411. I'm not sure if they're still planning on making a go of their author bio section, but it occurs to me that I put some work into the following smart-assed remarks, so why let it go to waste. So, if you at all care, here's what would have been my entry:

Joe Reid; AKA, Dr. Frederick von Gigglehoffer, AKA Jimmy Six Thumbs, AKA His Royal Highness The Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl

Current Role:
Maintenance of Monday morning mirth on the Movies/TV page.

Past Roles:
I began low on the 411 totem pole, fetching coffee for Widro and Quaaludes for Ashish. Then I began ghostwriting for several of the zones around here, going by aliases such as “Warren Woo,” “Matt Biscuiti,” “Eric S.,” and “Aaron Cameron”. I got to write under my own name with the recurring column “The End Credits,” the fourth issue of which exposed the sordid weapons-for-sex scandal at Sony Pictures Classics. I won the Nobel Prize in Muckraking for that piece. From there, I horned in on the weekly news column racket with the “Friday Movie News Happy Hour”, a pulpit from which I mocked Tom Cruise’s height and Ben Affleck’s existence, made roughly 347 reports on the status of the new “Superman” movie, and, on August 30th, 2003, killed Charles Bronson. I’ve yet to be brought up on charges for that last one.

Other Credits:
Mostly uncredited stuff: I was the fifth Golden Girl (Rose Neiland’s long lost cousin from New Hampshire), the fourth Amigo (Martin Short’s jealousy and pettiness kept me on the cutting room floor), the 11th Lubbock family member on “Just the Ten of Us” (Heather Langenkamp’s jealousy and pettiness – not to mention her crystal meth addiction – kept me on the cutting room floor), and the long lost Huxtable child, Cousin Rufus, the famous the jazz musician (yeah, yeah, they all are).

“That dog has been licking his asshole for the last three straight hours. I submit to you that there is nothing there worth more than an hour's attention, and I should think that whatever he is attempting to dislodge, is either gone for good . . . or there to stay.”

Worked in the coal mines, grifted for a bit on the Jersey shore, ran with the bulls in Pamplona, ran with the woodchucks in Pennsylvania, ran with the Crips in the Compton of your imagination, caddied for Senators and CEOs, captains and kings, smoked weed with Willie Nelson, smoked crack with Meredith Baxter, dropped acid with Imelda Marcos and went on a three-day Ny-Quil bender with three-fifths of The Eagles.

What else do you need to know?
I enjoy NFL football, Labatt Blue Light, reality television, and the music of Ann and Nancy Wilson.

I do not enjoy paper cuts, tomatoes, when networks schedule shows I’d normally watch on Friday nights, or the music of Steely Dan.

You can catch me soon, on tour, playing the spoons for Dr. Funke’s 100% Natural Good Time Family Band Solution.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

LowRes Insta-Poll

I've just witnessed Carmine Gotti and Bai Ling duetting "Summer Nights" on VH1's But Can They Sing? Have I just seen:

a) The face of God.

b) The face of Satan.

Vote and discuss. But please discuss. Because that shit was awesome.

p.s.: Larry Holmes and the kid from One Tree Hill. "Don't Go Breaking My Heart." I can die now.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Oh, For Pats' Sake

Seriously, there's being a whiny bitch when your favored sports team loses a big game, and then there's … this.

Full disclosure: I do not hate "Sports Guy" Bill Simmons. I wouldn't read him every week if I did. I love the Gen-X style immersion of sports into pop culture thing that he does, I really do appreciate the enthusiasm he shows for both sports and things like TV and movies, and nine times out of ten, the guy produces a damn finely written column.

That being said: the homer thing has just gotten sad. Dude pulls every excuse short of "they lost on purpose" for New England's drubbing at the hands of Indianapolis on Monday. They were injured, the NFL changed the rules on them, the Colts had too easy a schedule, Peyton Manning is a doofus whose teammates hate him. Half of these things sounded like old Yankees columns with A-Rod's name crossed out and Peyton's written in. And the NFL put the fix in for the Colts, did they? I keep forgetting who decided to give the Pats the home game in this matchup the last two years. And isn't a cream-puff schedule just as likely to keep a good team from being battle tested for a big game?

Of course, the biggest beef I had -- and this one is a carry-over from Simmons's Red Sox columns, too -- is that he still tries to play the martyr card. Oh those poor defending World Champions! Will they ever catch a break? This is why I appreciate even the most obnoxious of Yankee fans. They don't try to bullshit you into thinking their team is David to anyone's Goliath. They get beat, they get pissed, they tell you your team is "one-and-done," and they go back to saying how dead your asses are next year.

Look, I get that he probably got six thousand of the most obnoxious in-your-face e-mails from Colts fans after the game, and I’d probably want to rub some noses in shit if I were him, too. But this column was weak. Shut up, take your lumps, and lie in wait for the playoff rematch, dude.

Oh, and while we're on ESPN, I cringed a mighty cringe today when I saw that Page 2 had given a regular column to Chuck Klosterman, of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs fame. I was all set to be annoyed, right up until I read the thing, at which point I remembered that Chuck's a pretty damn great writer. He pretty much nails the sports purist mentality, and puts enough of his tongue in his cheek to let us know how ridiculous it all sounds. I like it a lot. Although it left me with the same thought I had after reading Sex, Drugs .., which is that Klosterman is a great read, but if ever I were to wind up in a conversation with him at a party, I’d literally have to gnaw my own limbs off to get the hell away from him. "No, I don't need to know why Jake Plummer is the Steely Dan of NFL quarterbacks, Chuck. And I don't care to find out what my opinion on NBA free-throw shooting says about me as an American. And –" *chompchomprrrRRRIIPPPP* "Ahh, freedom at last!"

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Capsule Reviews: The Prime of Mr. Truman Capote

Movie: Capote (2005)
Director/Studio: Bennett Miller / Sony Pictures Classics
10 Word Review: Compelling bio with strong portrayals; lots of layers – satisfyingly complex.
Best Thing About It: Lots to recommend here. For one thing, it's absolutely gorgeous to look at. Some really captivating cinematography. And the script seems to have aged pretty well in my head, holding up to a whole lot of initial scrutiny. Which brings us to the best thing about the movie, which has to be Phillip Seymour Hoffman's lead performance. I've never been a huge PSH fan, but he really pulls it all together here, with a skilled and surprisingly likeable turn.
Worst Thing About It: The vagueness of the script, while not as much of a detriment as I originally thought, but it still makes the film less satisfying than it could have been.
Best Performance: Has to be Hoffman. Although I can't say enough good things about Clifton Collins, Jr. as convicted murderer Perry Smith. Awesome, awesome work, and a great example of doing a lot with a little. Couldn't take my eyes off of him.
Grade: B+

Movie: Prime (2005)
Director/Studio: Ben Younger / Universal
10 Word Review: Well-written, too-loose romantic comedy. Uma, Meryl cruise on star power.
Best Thing About It: When you have Uma Thurman and Meryl Streep doing their movie star thing, you don't need much. They have several very good scenes together, including one small piece of unexpected and quiet emotion, which I loved.
Worst Thing About It: Much as I love them, though, I couldn't help but think that this movie would have worked better as an ensemble indie comedy. The central figure in the movie is still the Bryan Greenberg character, but inevitably Uma and Meryl wind up pulling focus. Which is good, but ultimately bad. It almost feels like this was a relationship movie that all of a sudden got Meryl Streep to play the mother and thus built up half the movie around her.
Best Performance: Strange as it is to say – and it seems I'm the only one actually saying it, but whatever – I was most impressed by Greenberg. He came across as very aware of his own charisma, which is a gift for an actor, I think. And I thought he walked the tightrope of oddly-mature-for-his-age-oh-wait-he's-not quite well.
Grade: B -

Movie: Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
Director/Studio: Ridley Scott / 20th Century Fox
10 Word Review: Orlando Bloom enters the Crusades and lulls us to sleep.
Best Thing About It: The silver-masked, leprosy-plagued King of Jerusalem, played by Edward Norton, even though we never see his face. Loved everything about that character, particularly the look of the mask, which gives the movie a sort of art film sheen.
Worst Thing About It: Everything else. Lord. So boring, and so long.
Best Performance: Truth be told, I liked Jeremy Irons, standing around with quiet dignity, like he usually does. I seem to always like him, and I wish he'd get better parts these days. He's won an Oscar, casting directors. Get your heads out of your asses.
Grade: C -

Movie: Wild at Heart (1990)
Director/Studio: David Lynch / PolyGram
10 Word Review: Typical Lynchian violence/weirdness blend, filmed like a mystical opera.
Best Thing About It: Watching the movie fifteen years later, and especially with the prism of Mulholland Dr. to look through, it's fun to click off the list of Lynch's stylistic and narrative staples. It's an experience, watching David Lynch, it really is.
Worst Thing About It: It's not always an easy experience. It's Lynch's way to have not everything make sense, so there are a lot of tangents that aren't necessary, and while some of them work in their own right, some of them don't. Plus … Nicolas Cage … singing Elvis. I know.
Best Performance: Diane Ladd gives just about the weirdest performance ever nominated for Oscar (one could argue, "until Renee Zellweger in Cold Mountain came along," but I'll back off from that), but I was partial to Harry Dean Stanton in one of his typically excellent supporting turns.
Grade: B