Friday, March 26, 2010

Don't Be Such an Ann Hog!

"What? Ann’s here?"

"Yeah, I invited her. You said you wanted to spend time some with her. You said I was being an Ann hog."

"Ann-Hog's coming?"

I caught the trailer for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World yesterday, and while I was already exhausted by the insane hype (it doesn't open until AUGUST), I was almost as exhausted by this first glimpse at the movie. Between this and Kick-Ass, it feels like Hollywood's saying "Well, we've got 'em hooked on comic book movies, now we can get really obnoxious about it."

That said, I will give Scott Pilgrim a shot, if only because Mae Whitman plays one of Michael Cera's antagonists. That's right! George Michael vs. Ann!


P.S. If you're more bullish about this movie than my crabby ass (hey, I do think Anna Kendrick's brief appearance was funny), head on over to My New Plaid Pants, where you will be in good company and get to see a billion freeze-frames from the trailer. Chris Evans does look cute, y'all.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lost 6.9, "Ab Aeterno"

Pssst! Sidebar's been updated as well, at least with TV stuff. Discuss and whatnot.

I'm going to make this short, both because I'm more interested in what you guys think about this episode, and because I'm left with more bewilderment than actual opinions.

And it's not the dense Lost mythology that's got me nonplussed, this time. It's just I've been reading reviews of "Ab Aeterno" (which, by the way, sounds like the lost Clint Mansell score for 300), each of them more glowing than the last. And I'm really not trying to be contrary when I say that I completely don't get it.

I'm not going to pretend that I was on pins and needles for the famed History of Richard Alpert episode. I get it, he doesn't age and seems to know things. But we'd already found out that much of what we'd taken for knowing mysteriousness was actually just cluelessness and blind faith in Jacob. I'm not sure what was left for Richard's story to tell us. And after seeing it, I don't think we got much. Yes, the Smoke Monster is an entity clad in black who needs to be corked up on the island lest he get out in the world something. But have we really learned anything about the nature of Jacob and the Man in Black? Or what the endgame for the Lostaways will be?

Which leaves us with the flashback story of Richard the penitent Spaniard. And in the grand tradition of 70% of the flashbacks in the history of this show, I could not have given less of a shit. Richard's plight trod the footsteps of other stories this show has done (he was a prisoner like Kate, haunted by the memory of his deceased beloved like Sayid, and is whinily self-pitying like Desmond), none of which I found compelling in their original iterations. And I'm sorry, but Nestor Carbonell's hysterical, pitched performance was something of an embarrassment.

So...what am I missing? Am I just being crabby? Looking for different things on this show? Underestimating the story revelations in this episode? Help me out.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Week in TV: Tara, Jackie, Justified, and more...

United States of Tara (3/22)
I wrote about this show a couple of times throughout its first season, and it's not like I didn't already think it was a pretty great show, but when I finally caught last night's season premiere, I was deliriously happy to have the Gregsons back in my life. I mis-recorded and so ended up watching the S1 finale before the S2 premiere, and I was quickly reminded why I love this show so much. Vivid, challenging, ultimately lovable characters who -- Diablo Cody haters take note -- feel more real as the quirky dialogue settles down. And if Monday's place-setting episode showed anything, it's that the alters leave a void when they're not around. I welcome them back as much as I welcome Tara, Max, Marshall, Charmane, and okay, Katie too.

Nurse Jackie (3/22)
By contrast, my enthusiasm for Jackie has waned ever so slightly. Part of it, yes, is that my beloved Momo is gone. Part of it is that some of the conflict hanging overhead in last season's finale (ditching O'Hara in her hour of need, for example) have evaporated in the offseason. And I admit I'm having a hard time latching on to Jackie's central premise, which at this point still seems to be "how do I maintain my addicted, secretive lifestyle as long as possible." But I still love the actors, Edie Falco and Eve Best and Merrit Wever are so funny, and I ultimately want Jackie to make it all work for herself, even if I am impatient for her to want it too.

Breaking Bad (3/21)
I'm recapping this season on TWoP, so check out my thoughts here!

30 Rock (3/18)
Probably my favorite episode of the season. Giving Jack renewed purpose was totally necessary, and I loved his determination to bring back American ingenuity, even if the idea behind Porn For Women seems...well, warmed over, to be honest. But that great Philly/Boston/Los Angeles segment at the beginning killed me. And the Liz/Michael Sheen plot was a total winner too. Please please please keep bringing up Liz's hatred of British-isms.

Parks and Recreation (3/18)
Probably my least favorite episode of the season, and the first time 30 Rock has bested it all season. I'm not an Andy Samberg hater, by any means, but he stuck out like a sore thumb here. And while I do love April and Andy together, the inclusion of Ann in there feels typical. And, maybe this is beside the point, but I hate the idea of poor Rashida Jones having to be the hated third side of a love triangle on another NBC sitcom.

Justified (3/16)
Because I'm weird, I had been resistant to this series (despite my Timpthy Olyphant love) despite (because of?) the avalanche of critical praise for it. There's a scene at about mid-episode where Federal marshall Olyphant makes his first casual-but-not interaction with the white supremacist terrorist played by Walton Goggins; he heard Goggins go on about the Bible and the Jews and lays out an alternate theory: "I think you just use the Bible to do whatever the hell you like, [and] you like to get money and blow shit up." I sometimes think that way about TV's most acclaimed dramas, constantly finding ways to write about straight whitle males talking tough and acting violent. But I'm happy to say I liked the Justified premiere so much that those concerns fall by the wayside. Olyphant's protagonist is complicated without being despicable, and the show isn't so in love with its own violence. And the supporting cast is great. I'm somewhat crestfallen that Natalie Zea is playing a character who is so grounded -- after Dirty Sexy Money, I was hoping she'd get to continue being outrageous, but again, I like her too much to complain. As for Goggins, who I understand was beloved on The Shield (another one of those Big Strong Man shows I didn't care to watch), he was absolutely magnetic, and I can't remember the last time I was so happy to see death cheated so brazenly.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring* Movie Preview, Part 4

*Yes, I realize we're well too soon for Spring, but calling it a "Winter" preview doesn't seem right either. I'm learning to make my peace with it, and so should you.

Previously: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Movie: The Bounty Hunter (Andy Tennant)
High-Concept Synopsis: Gerard Butler plays a bounty hunter who is given the assignment to bring in his ex-wife (Jennifer Aniston). While the prospect of being able to rough up his ex-lady and send her to jail is clearly AWESOME, Gerard and Jen do the bicker-kiss-bicker thing, and ... you've seen a romantic comedy before, right?
Who Will Be Seeing It: Jennifer Aniston fans, still riding high on the fumes of John Mayer hatred and looking for ways to celebrate the impending Brangelina breakup. Fans of the "I Hate You!" subgenre of romantic comedy. Fans of director Tennant's somewhat underrated Sweet Home Alabama.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who continue to wonder why Gerard Butler is headlining movies. Twitter partisans who hold Jennifer Aniston's John-Mayer-reported anti-tweet stance against her. Anybody who's seen any other Andy Tennant movie besides Sweet Home Alabama.
Why I'd See It: Wow, two stars I don't care for, a premise that seems both tired and unpleasant, all directed by the man who brought us (*deep breath*) Fool's Gold, Hitch, Anna and the King, Ever After, Fools Rush In, It Takes Two, and Beyond Control: The Amy Fisher Story (aka The Drew Barrymore One). know. March 19

Movie: The Runaways (Flora Sigismondi)
High-Concept Synopsis: The story of the famous punk band The Runaways, notable for being comprised of scary teen girls. Kristen Stewart plays Joan Jett, Dakota Fanning plays Cherie Currie, and Alia Shawkat and Michael Shannon co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Teen audiences who have never heard of The Runaways but have heard of a little movie called Twilight. Runaways fans who can take some delight in the fact that their band will be corrupting Twilight-loving youth. Weirdo creepers drawn in by the allure of K-Stew and Fanning making out.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Twilight-haters, nearly as single-minded in their devotion as the trendy Edward-lovers themselves. Teams Edward and Jacob, showing a rare moment of solidarity in their opposition to Team Jane.
Why I'd See It: Even if it's not strictly good, it should be fun/strange to see Stewart and (especially) Fanning stretch so far beyond what they've done. March 19

Movie: Greenberg (Noah Baumbach)
High-Concept Synopsis: Unemployed malcontent Ben Stiller moves to L.A. to housesit for his brother, meet a girl (Greta Gerwig), and figure his shit out. Rhys Ifans and Jennifer Jason Leigh co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of mumblecore, Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale; Maargot at the Wedding), and complaining. Fans of LCD Soundsystem, whose music gets a big ol' plug in the trailer. Fans of current television comedy, as Dave Franco (Scrubs), Brie Larson (United States of Tara), and Merritt Wever (Nurse Jackie co-star.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who use the word "hipster" or "emo" to describe everything they don't like. Still non-fans bracing themselves for the moment when Robin Williams as General Custer shows up. Anti-Semites.
Why I'd See It: Noah Baumbach makes movies I end up liking but not loving. And Ben Stiller is obviously a question mark. But I liked what I saw from the trailer, and I am especially ready for the world to embrace Greta Gerwig. I liked her in Baghead and I really loved her in House of the Devil. March 19

Movie: How to Train Your Dragon (Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois)
High-Concept Synopsis: Nerdly young Viking (voiced by Jay Baruchel) is sent out to tame a dragon as a rite of passage; ends up adopting a baby one instead. Other voices include Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig, Craig Ferguson, and McLovin.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of DreamWorks Animation (Kung Fu Panda) and/or directors Sanders and DeBlois (Lilo & Stitch). Olympics fans who see "Nordic" among the plot keywords and get visions of ski-jumping adventures. People who feel the friendly-dragon genre has been underserved in the post-Puff years.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Fans of wooly mammoths, sabre-toothed tigers, and other legendary beasts of the North who understandably feel slighted. Pixar partisans who will bear no intra-genre competition. Pro-dragon groups dismayed that, once again, dragon characters are being voiced by non-dragons.
Why I'd See It: This might be the movie I see that lets me support Jay Baruchel's leading-man career without having to actually see She's Out of My League. Plus, the voice cast -- Gerard Butler aside -- is pretty fun, and I do regret forsaking Kung Fu Panda for The Zohan back then. March 26

Movie: Chloe (Atom Egoyan)
High-Concept Synopsis: Julianne Moore suspects her husband (Liam Neeson) is cheating on her, so she does the logical thing and hires a call-girl (Amanda Seyfried) to try to seduce him. Things just get worse from there.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of the top-notch cast getting what seems to be grown-up material. Fans of The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, if the lurid trailer is anything to go by. Atom Egoyan fans who feel the esoteric Canadian could stand to make some money for once.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who see the trailer and are scared off by how hokey and "sinister Jezebel" it all seems. Filmgoers who limit themselves to one Liam Neeson movie in a given two-week span, and in Clash of the Titans he's all shiny-like. Tiger and Elin Woods on date night.
Why I'd See It: I recall it getting pretty good notice at the Toronto and London film festivals, and it very well could be that the marketing has decided to sell it to dumbshit Americans as a silly thriller, but now I'm worried it could be exactly that. Ah well, Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried means I'm seeing it. March 26

Movie: Clash of the Titans (Louis Letterier)
High-Concept Synopsis: Oh, you know. Zeus be startin' shit.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Greek mythology buffs who don't want to overthink it. Fans of the 1981 original interested to see what this epic tale of heroes and gods would look like with any semblance of a budget. People who saw the bombastic, lunkheaded trailer and giggled in a good way.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Greek mythology buffs who are already perfecting their exaggerated eye-rolls. Schindler's List partisans who have been long waiting for Liam Neeson and Ralph Feinnes to reunite onscreen and do NOT think it's amusing that they're finally doing so here. People whose eyes glaze over at the thought of Sam "Zzzzzz" Worthington headlining another big-ticket event movie.
Why I'd See It: Look, I thought it seemed pretty stupid too. But that trailer had worn me down, and if the finished product is anywhere near as enthusiastically bombastic and that delightfully stooped clip suggests, I'm in. April 2

Movie: The Last Song (Julie Ann Robinson)
High-Concept Synopsis: Miley Cyrus moves out to the country to live with her dad (Greg Kinnear), meet a boy (Aussie hottie Liam Hemsworth), sing a song, you know how she does.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of Miley, who now seem positively quaint in the wake of Twi-mania. Fans of Nicholas Sparks, who is switching things up here by writing the screenplay before writing the book. Fans of the titular song, whatever it will end up being, as it comes to dominate iTunes, get performed on American Idol, and ultimately the subject of a wave of YouTube videos.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Hannah Montana psychos who can't handle Miley branching out to a character who is exactly the same except the whole dual-identity thing. People who would rather die of a vaguely consumptive disease than watch another tragic Nicholas Sparks movie. Greg Kinnear fans who can't quite bring themselves to watch their guy assume "the Billy Ray Cyrus role."
Why I'd See It: Believe it or not, the trailer actually makes it look like a halfway decent (if not a bit original) little movie. It's a baby step, but if Miley is gonna be a billionaire anyway, she might as well learn how to act in real-people movies. April 2

Movie: Why Did I Get Married Too (Tyler Perry)
High-Concept Synopsis: Tyler Perry and Janet Jackson appear to be the central marriage-regretting couple in this sequel. But fear not! There are also plenty of other cast members (Jill Scott, Michael Jai White, Cicely Tyson) ready to deliver insight into the male/female divide. Spoiler: you probably just need to embrace traditional gender roles and Jesus.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Men who can't figure out why women so crazy. Women who can't figure out why men so stupid. Anybody who saw the bugfuck trailer that made the whole movie look like Independence Day II.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who saw the first Why Did I Get Married and thought the question was sufficiently answered. Madea and Madea-supporters who are put off that this movie won't feature their favorite abusive transvestite. People who saw subsequent trailers that made the movie look more like what the movie actually is.
Why I'd See It: I can't tell you how disappointed I am that the movie isn't the Bad Boys 2-level extravaganza that the initial trailer suggests. With that gone, what's left? Tyler Perry and Janet Jackson? Pass. April 2

Monday, March 15, 2010

Embarrassing Movie Wednesdays: Valentine's Day

Yes, it took us three weeks to see a movie that seemingly nobody wanted to see in the first place. But Tara and I are dedicated! Dedicated to the concept of Embarrassing Movie Wednesdays, and even more dedicated to romantic comedies jam-packed with actors we maybe like more than most people do.

NO, not Jessica Alba! Jesus. We have standards. But certain people ... look, the idea of Jennifer Garner and Ashton Kutcher playing star-crossed best friends who take the entire course of the movie to realize what they really want is to be with each other wouldn't appeal to everybody. Clearly. But I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's not the least appealing storyline I've ever heard.

Of course, with the thousand or so characters on the canvass, the majority of them fell short of the Garner/Kutcher standard. I could not have given less of a shit about Jessica Biel's cliched "working girl who can't make it happen romantically," and adding Jamie Foxx to the mix was always going to be a non-starter. The movie itself didn't even care about half these people, given the utter indifference shown to Jessica Alba and Emma Roberts's characters. Not to mention how the film seems to be apologizing for Taylors Swift and Lautner even as they're getting tween-friendly screen time.

Sidebar, though? What was up with all the unresolved lesbian tension? Maybe that's just a natural byproduct of having Queen Latifah and Kathy Bates in the same movie, each one conspicuously unattached. But add to that Julia Roberts's ill-fitting (but butch!) turn as a soldier returning home from the Mid-East. Or the fact that Biel's character sparked more in half a scene with Garner than in a whole movie with Foxx. Maybe I was just looking for SOMETHING satisfyingly homo to combat the blue balls of knowing Bradley Cooper and Eric Dane were playing a gay couple, only to have to wait for that fact to be used as an end-of-the-movie "reveal" of ultimately no consequence.

But I think a big part of the reason for my non-hating of Valentine's Day is the rock-bottom expectations I went into the theater with. I hadn't heard ONE person who didn't loathe the movie, and those are the people who deigned to see it in the first place. So I was expecting something offensively awful. What I got was something generally bland with occasional pockets of charming actors doing yeoman's work to make a scene or a character or a line work a little bit.

Obviously, if you're not as fond of Anne Hathaway and Shirley MacLaine and Jennifer Garner and Topher Grace, the movie sucks even harder. It's true, the one truly funny moment was the unintentional laugh I got watching Taylor Swift run (picture Phoebe on Friends). But even among the EMW movies we've seen this year, I enjoyed this better than Leap Year. Leap Year didn't deliver Shirley MacLaine in a sparkly red pantsuit with matching giant shawl.

So the movie is a C- rather than a D-. Not exactly reason for celebration, but not the worst thing in the world either. But on the embarrassing scale, given how toxically this went over with the critics, the public, and the gods, the EMW rating has to be pretty high. A sparkly shawl and lesbian tension can only get you so far.

Previously in the Embarassing Movie Series: Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Obsessed, 17 Again, The Hannah Montana Movie, Monsters vs. Aliens, Fired Up!; Fighting

Friday, March 12, 2010

Listen All Y'all

The blog's palate needed a bit of cleansing. This video of Battlestar Galactica set to the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" oughta do it.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

R.I.P. Corey Haim

Weren't we JUST YESTERDAY talking about relics from yesteryear that helped slap some of us into full-blown gaydom? Corey Haim was definitely one of those boys for me. Yes, that's what I was looking for at that age: shirtless-with-a-vest, hoop earrings, spiky hair. Swoon.

Actually, I don't know why I feel like I have to lead with semi-skanky shirtless Corey when the truth is, I was like nine at the time, and the truth of the matter is I was really into the gawky/weird kid with the cute face.

There, that's more like the boy grade-school me mooned over. (Though, even then: kid was on drugs. Sigh.)

So many swirling thoughts right now. "I should rent The Lost Boys tonight as a tribute.""The world never truly got his lesbian fashion sense in Dream a Little Dream." "We lost the wrong Corey."

In all seriousness, I'm sad! I use humor as a defense mechanism. In truth, between Michael Jackson, John Hughes, and now Corey Haim, the '80s of my memory have really become an endangered species.

Hop on over to That's Important to see Jesse and I post-binge on everything Corey we can think of.

Hug your friends/family a little closer today. And check to make sure your older brother isn't a vampire.

The One Where Joe Paid Money to See Constantine Maroulis

Yes, I saw Rock of Ages on Broadway. Two reasons. One, it was a totally cheap ticket. And two, my significant other, Kerry Butler, stepped into the role of the female lead. And if I'm being honest, the first half-hour or so, I wasn't entirely having it. I wasn't seeing the charm. Obviously, it wasn't going to be much of a story -- though, seriously, "not much of a story" is significantly overstating the case -- and would have to rely on the '80s rock-drenched jukebox soundtrack and the enthusiasm of the cast. But everything seemed so manic! Desperate. "We're being crazy '80s rockers but we're in on the joke WINK WINK WINK WHITESNAKE!"

But it all started to come together, if not immediately upon Kerry Butler's introduction than certainly by the time James Carpinello takes the stage as gaudy lead-singer stereotype Stacee Jaxx. If I'm going to pick one performance for best in show, it'd be Carpinello (though strong consideration would have to be given to Butler, Tom Lenk, and the tireless Mitchell Jarvis, whose nonstop vamping grew on me exponentially).

And did we know James Carpinello is also known as Amy Acker's husband?? What a talented and smoking hot pair they make!

Ultimately, it's a good two dozen songs of the very best guilty-pleasure vintage, carried by some tireless and appealing performers. Well worth a $30 ticket.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Oh, The '90s. I Sometimes Miss You.

Inspired by this post, which shoved me into the Wayback Machine and locked the door, I am returning serve with the following Rolling Stone cover, one of two Rolling Stone covers that were instrumental in my realization that I would never have biological children. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Week in TV

We covered Lost in the last post, but what of the rest of my embarrassing glut of TV viewing? Well FINE, if you insist:

Who Do You Think You Are?
While at times it feels like a marketing campaign for, and at least in this week's episode Sarah Jessica Parker oversold the concept like she was auditioning for an as-yet-untitled movie based on a novel by Sapphire. But this kind of hokey "trace the family tree back into Salem in witch times" stuff works for me. Perfectly pleasant, non-taxing entertainment.

The Real Housewives of New York City
With the exception of the superfluous Orange County version, I enjoy all the colors of the Real Housewives wind, though I invariably run out of steam mid-season. Not so with the New York ladies. They're much more satisfyingly ridiculous, and they manage to play the Upper East Side grapevine perfectly. Plus they're all so deliciously un-classy. This season's premiere episode was morely 10 minutes old before we got a look at Ramona's new ("non-surgical!") face lift (it really accentuates her crazy eyes), and CountLESS Countess LuAnn said "Cameron Dee-ahhhz." And that was before Bethenny unloaded her bag of bullshit into that tiny Skinny Girl car of hers. Kadooze, ladies, and long may you attempt to suss out the meaning of "Mr. Right Now."

It's funny, JUST as I was telling a friend of mine how amazed I was that Cirie seemed to have once again survived the early cuts and ensconced herself in the dominant alliance despite her clearly being the most dangerous player in the game. Uh...spoke too soon. Despite the fact that I don't care for almost her entire alliance (Candice is okay by me), I'm sad to see Cirie go, and I am having a very hard time imaging who JT thinks his alliance is right now. Coly and Tom? Putting him on the lean side of a 4-3 split? He's gunning for Candice, so I'm not sure he's looking for her to flip. But that's next week's concern. This week, I have to give it up to the guy who I think is secretly in the best position: Tyson. He's managed to set himself up as the trusty #2 to both Rob and Coach, he's proven to be more than competent in the challenges and fairly popular among his tribe, and might I add that his lanky ass is looking fiiiiine? Rob and Russell might end up pulverizing each other, and there Tyson will stand. He's my pick to win it all right now.

Parks and Recreation
God, this show has gotten SO GOOD. It's been a mark in the show's favor that the wonderfully funny Aziz Ansari is merely the 4th or 5th funniest part of every episode, but he killed it this week with his investor-wrangling. And it was yet another funny-yet-warmhearted plot for Leslie and Ron Swanson.

America's Best Dance Crew
I hadn't been all that impressed with Poreotix up until now, but they really impressed me with their sharp as hell take on "Paparazzi." (Also: Lady Gaga Night? Inspired.) My other favorites this week were Heavy Impact and (unsurprisingly) the rope-jumping Saltare. Two crews out of six getting eliminated next week makes me nervous, especially since I only don't like two crews and one of them (Blueprint Cru) is immune.

Well, I stuck it out until the bitter end. The bitter, boring end, well past the point where I cared about Sean or Christy-an or whether either one of them was self-actualized enough to exist without the other. But I was satisfied by the series finale for a couple reasons. 1) They brought back Famke Janssen as Ava Moore and, even better, allowed her to have a happy ending. Even if it was by ending up with Matt (much as I love Ava, she kind of deserves him). And 2) the callbacks in the final 2-3 episodes really made it clear that the show agrees with me that it peaked with the Season 2-capping episode "Joan Rivers." From the Rivers cameo, to bringing back Ava, to that Art Garfunkel song, this all felt like a warm pat on the back to viewers who remembered that one moment (even if it lasted 60 minutes and no longer) where Nip/Tuck was the greatest thing going.

I may not be the most objective person in this case, because I really want this show to do well (I'm a Lauren Graham supporter), but I found myself really enchanted by this show. Peter Krause continues to play ostensibly likeable characters in wholly unlikeable ways, but he really sold the moment where he begged his dad to understand that something is wrong with his child. And Lauren Graham is the greatest, playing a character that not at all like Lorelai Gilmore, but she retains that spark that makes you love her. Now that I've given up on Brothers & Sisters, this might just slide into the empty, Walker-shaped space in my heart.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

"Lost" 6.5, "Sundown"

I haven't been blogging every episode of Lost this season, partly because I DIDN'T PROMISE YA NOTHIN' AND HAD OTHER THINGS TO DO, but also because I haven't really been all that jazzed about the last few episodes. And since I ran down the laundry list of my issues with the season thus far after the Kate episode, I wasn't really moved to repeat myself.

But last night's episode I very much enjoyed. Which was not a slam-dunk for me, considering it was a Sayid episode, and between the mooning over Nadia and the repetitive pounding on the same theme (redemption! violence! repeat!) and Zzzzzz... But I guess all I needed was for Sayid to die and then get resurrected with a possibly evil entity where his soul used to be, because I was pretty much down for this episode.

As always, the side-flash storyline was the weak sister here -- more mooning over Nadia, more weird coincidences with the other Oceanic characters that still aren't adding up to much -- but I always like it when they don't pull back with Sayid, and him blowing Keamy away was pretty cool. This show has enough conflicted guys who we're supposed to believe are good people inside. I'm glad they seem to have given up the ghost on Sayid -- Temple Sayid maybe has an excuse because he's a ghola or whatever, but Alterna-Sayid is ultimately a bad guy. I'm glad the show is finally letting that be true.

But the biggest improvements -- and the most exciting storyline -- took place on the island, at the Temple. Yes, a big part of that is that, by the end, most of these useless temple folk were killed off, and Ilana, Ben, Sun, and Lapidus re-entered the fray. The plot has arrived at the place I think it should have been all along, and I'm happy. But also, the how of arriving at this place was pretty amazing to watch, from Sayid killenating Mopey Genghis Khan and Squirrelly Sol Starr, to Kate's wonderfully creepy/tense reunion with Claire, to Miles thankfully NOT DYING like I totally thought he was going to. And now most of the stupid temple people are dead! And Ben is back! And Sun and Jin ... okay, they're still dragging THAT out for far too long. But otherwise, the plot is back where I'm excited again.

I'm still confused as to what's going on with Kate on Team SmokeLock; clearly they know who she is, and whole side she's on. There's gotta be a reason they're letting her embed herself with them.

What did you guys thing? Anybody won back by last night's episode?

I Do Love Twitter Sometimes

I've mentioned before that I'm on Twitter as "joereid", right? So the other night, after painstakingly chopping garlic in preparation of sauteing a nice piece of chicken, I took my lament to Twitter and asked, "Where is Paul Sorvino to thin-slice my garlic when I really need him??" Because: Goodfellas! At which point my friend Adam sent me the link to a garlic press, and I responded wanting to know how bougie he thinks I am. SEE WHAT YOU ARE MISSING!

Anyway, so a day and a half later, I get the following reply from @PSorvinoFoods: "Just pick up a jar of Paul Sorvino's new pasta sauce!"

Obviously, this spamming happens on Twitter all the time. But much as I was delighted to learn that Vanna White had her own brand of yarn, Paul Sorvino pasta sauce is also something I'm happy to know exists in the world.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Academy Member Sleuthing

Every year, the Entertainment Weekly Oscar preview issue talks to four anonymous members of the Academy and asks for who they voted four in the top races. The anonymity leads to some very candid thoughts on the Oscar race and, I think, provides the teensiest bit of insight into the narratives that are swirling around within the industry.

Also every year, I try my damnedest to figure out who these people are. The actors and/or directors, of course. I could give a shit which studio executives they talk to. This year's anonymous actress was especially intriguing to me. She called the 10-wide Best Picture race "idiotic" and said Maggie Gyllenhaal's Best Supporting Actress-nominated performance "almost ruined Crazy Heart for me." YEOW! So I decided to try and sleuth out who this outspoken lady is. Won't you help me?

Here's what EW says about "The Actress": This one-time Best Supporting Actress nominee has managed to toggle successfully between indie films and big studio projects. She's as funny on screen as she is frank off it -- especially when it comes to this year's new Oscar rules.

So, what we have to go on: "one-time Supporting Actress nominee" (do we assume this means she didn't win? or that she was never nominated for Best Actress?); splits time between indies and studio films; "funny on screen." Let's take a look at the contenders:

Catherine Keener
Why? She does a fairly perfect split between indie and studio; she's a gifted comedic actress; I could see her being ballsy enough to make these comments.

Why not? She's a two-time Supporting Actress nominee (Being John Malkovich; Capote)

Virginia Madsen
Why? Only one BSA nomination, for Sideways; she's made indies and studio movies; she's pretty much got nothing to lose by being bitchy to Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Why not? "Funny on-screen"?

Patricia Clarkson
Why? One nomination, for Pieces of April, an indie movie that Patty alternates with her studio work (like Shutter Island), some incredibly funny performances, and I can see her being candid like this.

Why not? I don't like to think Patricia Clarkson would vote for Avatar. (Honestly, I really think she might be the one.)

Kate Hudson
Why? One nomimation (Almost Famous), and I could see where an EW reporter would do her the kindness of calling her film output "funny." And having seen Nine royally snubbed, I could see her being catty about the Best Picture category.

Why not? She hasn't "toggled between indie and studio movies" since Desert Blue.

Toni Collette
Why? One-time nominee (The Sixth Sense), does studio and indie stuff, and her United States of Tara performance has given her a reputation for, if not comedy, at least dramady.

Why not? It sounds dumb, but I can't detect any Australian syntax in the comments. And she seems too nice, right?

Chloe Sevigny
Why? A one-time nominee (Boys Don't Cry), Chloe certainly doesn't seem too nice. She also has done plenty of indie, while Big Love could be seen as mainstream.

Why not? As shrilly comedic as Nicki Grant can be, I'm not sure we can call her screen persona "funny."

Whoopi Goldberg
Why? Because Roommate Mark really thinks it sounds like her, and he cites Sarafina! as evidence that Whoop doesn't just favor big studio fare.

Why not? She won the Oscar on her lone Supporting Actress nomination, plus she has a Best Actress nomination besides. After watching her on The View every day, I can't see her going out of her way to slam another actress.

Okay, y'all, am I missing any prime suspects? Who do you think our mystery Actress is?

Monday, March 01, 2010

Oh Hi, Nathan Fillion!

Sometimes I write about you for my job and then I like to post photos of you just because.

Please be on a show I want to watch again. Thank you.