Saturday, May 29, 2010

Lindsay Lohan Is NOT Linda Lovelace

I saw this and another poster going around on the internet and wondered what the heck was going on. I didn't know that Inferno, the Linda Lovelace biopic, had progressed to the stage where we were getting teaser posters.

Turns out, it hasn't. The movie's not even a done deal; the rights to Linda Lovelace's name haven't even been bought yet. It also turns out that, despite earlier reports that it had happened, Lindsay Lohan hasn't even been cast in the movie. She just wants the role so badly that she and her people have been telling the media and anyone who will listen that she has been. That was supposedly her official reason for being in Cannes, or so she told the media (and the media dutifully reported): to promote Inferno.

She's so desperate for the role that she even hired Tyler Shields to do these posters for her. I wonder how much she paid, considering her mountain of credit card debt.

It's just kind of sad to see, is all. There was a time when I would've believed Lindsay Lohan could've played almost anything. Now she's just desperate and her talent fell by the wayside long ago. However you felt about her, Linda Lovelace deserves better than Lindsay Lohan.

TV Report: Season Finales and Such

Well, everything I watch except for Doctor Who (and The Tudors and United States of Tara) have ended for the summer. This was not exactly an exceptional season of television. Not sure why, but there were very few high points this year, and a lot of the shows I love flirted with mediocrity.

Just some comments:

:: How I Met Your Mother finished up like the show I used to love--funny, emotional, believable, sweet--but spent a lot of the season trying too hard. I wasn't a fan of the abrupt end to the Barney and Robin relationship, especially since I thought the previous season did a really good job of justifying it. I really hope they do a better job next season of weaving in Marshall and Lily's decision to have a baby. I think that's what the show needs: maturation. It seems like all five of the gang have really gotten to the point where they'd rather grow up and be mature than hang on to their youth, and if the show does it well, it could really be something. It would also make up for this past season: instead of becoming dull, it could be that the characters are just tired of their routine and want to get on with their lives.

:: I really don't care about Leonard and Penny's relationship on The Big Bang Theory--wtf do they even have in common that we're supposed to think they work together?--but I really hope they pick up next season after Sheldon's "date" with Mayim Bialik. We need to see more of that. Also, Bernadette just gets dumped offscreen in a mention after the fact? She was wonderful! What a letdown...

:: God, I love Castle.

:: God, I wish Heroes was coming back.

:: Lee DeWyze? Really, America? Out of 100,000 people, the screechy bastard was the best "singer"? Give me a break. I don't think I'll be suffering through American Idol next year, not without Simon Cowell (ineffectual though he was this year). This show has just devolved and devolved, and I don't want to sit through another year of the same 12 types they pick every fucking time.

:: I already mentioned how much I loved Lost. One of the greatest shows ever.

:: Modern Family and Cougar Town are two of the pleasantest surprises I had in the 2009/2010 season. I thought both shows were fantastic, and I look forward to having them back next year. I already talked about Ugly Betty and how satisfied I was with the ending. I actually don't miss it; in my mind, the series is over and done with, it ended on the right note, and the story's finished. I'm glad I had it while I did. (I feel the same way about Lost; everything's complete, and I'm pleased to have been told an engrossing story.)

:: Jesus, I hope The Office is better next year. This was a stunningly mediocre season. Just worthless. There were a couple of decent episodes, but those episodes only skated by on my residual affection for the characters and having some good gags in spite of how middling the show has become. Seriously, things need to get a lot better than they were. Same goes for 30 Rock, while we're at it. This just makes it more galling that Parks and Recreation isn't coming back until January, because it's been the best show on NBC's Thursday line-up all season.

:: I am so looking forward to the next season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. More Yoda next time would be nice, though. I think my favorite episode is still the very first one, with Yoda leading the rookies into battle with a droid army.

Wow, 5 shows I loved on ABC this year. Never thought that would happen...

Dennis Hopper 1936-2010

My Other Mom Is a Porn Star

So, Colleen Brennan reads my blog.

(Colleen Brennan, star of the first adult movie I ever saw in my life, and an angel.)

And, reading my post not too long ago about my surprisingly strong reaction to a Gizmo toy, she jumped onto eBay and found one for me. And he's just come in the mail.

"Hey, guys, what's happening on this side of the screen?"

It's amazing getting him in the mail and just feeling him in my hand again. I remember so much about taking him around with me everywhere I went for months, even to the zoo and the swimming pool. Of course, he seems smaller now--goodness, I've grown in the last 26 years--but he's exactly as I remember. It's amazing how something like this can make you feel so happy and even a little more complete. But that's exactly how I feel right now.

Thank you, Colleen. You took a moment out of your day to do something wonderful for a fan, and I will be grateful my whole life.

John's Beautiful Sunsets

It's always a joy when John shares new pictures.

Friday, May 28, 2010

American Woman

Sam the Eagle stars in the brand-spanking-new video from Muppets Studio.

Um, No Thanks

I saw an extended commercial last night for The Actually-It's-Kung Fu-and-Not-Karate Kid last night. In the scene they were showing, Jackie Chan, as Mr. Miyagi (or whatever they're calling him in this) is doing a whole "wax on, wax off" thing with the repellent Jaden Smith in an alley. Except he's shown him--and am I the only one who thinks this is lame?--that he's learning the fundamentals of kung fu just by taking his jacket on and off. He's telling the kid "jacket on, jacket off," and this teaches the kid how to wrist block or something.

Now... I love Jackie Chan. I really love the guy. But I think I'm going to skip this one. It looks bad on so many levels, but the final straw is this scene. I love Jackie Chan so much that I'm going to opt out of the movie where he's screaming "jack it off" to Will Smith's kid in an alleyway.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Formative Day for Me

Today is the birthday of the late, great Vincent Price, my favorite writer Harlan Ellison, and my favorite actor Christopher Lee. How in the hell did I not realize before that they all had the same birthday?

Lost vs. Muppets, Round 4

And in the end(ing), there was Kermit.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Steampunk Dalek Revisited

Ben Balistreri's Star Wars Drawings

Everyone should head over to Ben Balistreri's blog RIGHT NOW: you will not be disappointed. He's drawn his 30 favorite Star Wars characters, and they are some of the most wonderful Star Wars art I've ever seen. Just trust me and go.

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

DE-LOVELY (2004)
This reminds me a lot of those musical biopics they did in the 1940s, which would tell the story of a composer or songwriter's life through their music. Sure, they had nothing to do with the reality of their subject's life, but they were kind of fun and you got to see great musicians perform key works. One such picture is Night and Day, starring Cary Grant as Cole Porter, which is name-checked here because this is also about Cole Porter. I'm almost amazed someone decided to make this movie in 2004, because the device seems so cheesy: Jonathan Pryce is Death or God or an angel or something, and he takes a dying Cole Porter (Kevin Kline) through important scenes in his life, all dressed up as if it were a stage show. Being modern and using such an old-fashioned device, the movie tries to break the convention and make the film a shade more realistic about Porter's life--particularly his liaisons with men--but that doesn't really make it very interesting. The real pleasure in this movie is seeing Porter's songs performed, but even then it becomes tiresome. Yes, watching (and hearing) John Barrowman sing in anything is a delight, but the choices to sing other songs--notable, um, crooners such as Elvis Costello and Sheryl Crow--become wearying. And the drama itself becomes uninteresting after long enough. Pretty production design, though. ** stars.

I didn't care for it. I've never been a huge fan of this album, to be honest--my appreciation for Pink Floyd tops out at Wish You Were Here--and the movie was so bleak, so unrelentingly depressing, that the whole thing just made me feel awful and depressed. It happens sometimes. * star, mostly for Gerald Scarfe's animation, which was technically good even though it added to the overall gloom.

Tim Burton's worst movie so far. Yes, worse than Planet of the Apes. Everything about this movie, except for some of the effects, the creature design of Imaginism Studios, Crispin Glover's performance, and Danny Elfman's score, is awful. To think of what someone who actually wanted to tell the story of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland could've done with those same resources... Instead, we get Lewis Carroll's mad logic turned into an action story with a faux-feminist twist that is actually quite insulting. The worst aspect of the film, by far, is Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. Burton turns him into a tragic hero and gives us the barest edges of an icky romance between the Hatter and Alice which has the dynamic of a creepy uncle and a naive niece. Bad enough the whole thing culminates in a hip-hop dance. This is not doing anything to alleviate that hatred I now have for Depp's laziness as an actor, which began with Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. But this is a low point of everyone involved. And what's with the denouement? It's like this suddenly takes place in 1797... * star for Imaginism Studios and Crispin Glover.

Hal Ashby fails to capture the excitement of a Rolling Stones concert. ** stars.

More Thoughts on the End of Lost

I've gotten several comments on the Lost finale, some sharing my opinion that it was exceptional television, and others expressing frustration with the outcome. John Seven posted a link in the comments, which I now post here, to a recap on Jezebel which puts things very nicely. I suggest you read it, especially if you didn't care for the finale. This is more or less exactly how I felt about the ending, although I don't really know anything about Tibetan Buddhism, but the explanation of bardos makes sense to me in regards to how the finale played out.

When it comes to the final episode of Lost, and to the events of the past six seasons, I really don't have any specific, lingering questions. I see a lot of people who were disappointed, but not only do I not share in their disappointment, I'm really not 100% sure I even understand what their disappointment is. I don't mean this to be insulting, but it seems to me that a lot of the disappointment comes from someone in the show not just stepping forward and confirming that their pet theories were right all along.

I think Tracie on Jezebel was right when she said that one of the more elegant things about the finale is that it actually didn't rob people of the joy of theorizing about the show by giving a lot of the mysteries a definitive answer. And as Tallulah Morehead said in the comments of the previous post, Lost was a show that trusted the audience enough to assemble the various clues in their heads, even if it meant some people would assemble the clues differently than others. I think, in the end, that's the greatness of Lost. It's something you have to think about, and can keep thinking about, and even sort of invites you to finish the answers yourself. It's like the tree on Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back. What's inside? Only what you take with you.

Or, in a way, it's like Hamlet. I absolutely adore Hamlet. My wife doesn't like it at all, but we have a lot of discussions about it, especially when we see new versions of it. There's so much open to interpretation in that play that every version is slightly different and seems to open up a new theory about the characters or the actions or the meaning. Will I ever have a definitive answer as to what happens in Hamlet? No, because Shakespeare didn't leave any writings on the subject behind. And you know what? I'm glad he didn't, because that would take so much of the joy out of reading or watching or discussing Hamlet. I don't want to know what everything in Hamlet means. How dull it would become.

And for me, this is what's going to make Lost fascinating to watch all over again on DVD: I don't know what everything means. I need to go back, reconsider things knowing the outcome, and make up my own mind about what things are. I'll know now which things are random, which things are Jacob sending messages, and what is a manipulation of the Man in Black. And what makes it all so interesting is that some definitive answers--and to what lingering questions, I don't really know--weren't spoonfed to me in the finale. As far as I'm concerned, I know the truth about the island, I know where the characters ended up, and I know what it was all ultimately about. I'm satisfied. Beyond satisfied.

UPDATE 9:53 AM: Some more links to recommend and a couple of other brief thoughts.

First, I'd like to recommend Jeff Jensen's two-part recap for EW: Part One and Part Two. They are heady and rewarding. (Thanks, Tallulah!)

Also, here's what John Seven had to say, which makes me sorry for my "religion won" comment from the previous post, which wasn't meant quite so literally, but was entirely too glib.

One place where I disagree with John, however, is in whether or not the bomb ever actually went off. I've heard arguments from both sides, but the one I like best is Jensen's: that the Island stopped the bomb from going off and returned everyone to the place they were supposed to be. It's the same reason the dynamite didn't go off when Richard Alpert tried to kill himself in the Black Rock: they were trying to cheat their way to redemption, and the Island wouldn't allow it.

I think that's, ultimately, the same reason the Island restored Sayid to life: so that he could live to save Jack and Hurley from the bomb in the submarine. That was, I would guess, the one thing he had left to do, and I think that's why he was so eerily calm after his resurrection. Maybe he had a glimpse of what was to come and was sent back for that one reason. My best guess for now.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The End

I'm going to say what I said to Becca when my Mom called me up immediately after last night's Lost finale with a confused "Wait, they were dead the whole time? What a rip-off!!": There are two kinds of people--those who loved the last episode of Lost, and those with no poetry in their souls.

What a brilliant, emotionally fulfilling ending to a series that has been at time gripping, frustrating, powerful, tearful, irksome, and wonderful.

And no, they weren't dead the whole time. Pay attention.

UPDATE 8:00 PM: I suddenly see a lot of people (8 blog posts so far) who are really upset that a science fiction series ended as a big religious allegory. These are people who also haven't been paying attention, since the whole thing has dealt heavy in spirituality since Day One. Many, many times we saw a struggle between faith and science, and in this case, faith won. Why are you surprised? It's obviously been going in this direction for years.

Kristen Bell Mondays

I think I need to pull out the Veronica Mars DVDs again this summer...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Song of the Week: "Pleasant Valley Sunday"

There's a Monkees marathon on a local channel this afternoon, and I'm having a pleasant Sunday, so here's my favorite Monkees song.

Looking Ahead to the Fall Season

The network upfronts took place over the week, and I usually have some kind of comment about them. Right now, I'm entrenched in a viewing schedule I like, but I'm always interested in seeing what's new, especially since some of my favorites won't be on next season.

Anyway, there were only a few shows that caught my interest, so here they are, network by network:

Okay, no, nothing new looks good on NBC. They've lost me on Monday by canceling Heroes, which I guess is fine, since CBS (How I Met Your Mother) and ABC (Castle) already have me there. I'm also irritated about Parks and Recreation, currently NBC's best Thursday comedy, not coming back in the fall--it won't be on until January--so as far as I'm concerned, they just gave me another free 30 minutes on Thursday. The show's replacement, Outsourced, looks pretty lame.

I hope The Office is better next year...

Who cares?

Actually, there is one show I'm going to try out: Running Wilde, from Will Arnett and Arrested Development creator Mitchell Hurwitz. It's solely because of that collaboration. It sounds kind of hackneyed, but Will Arnett is almost always good.

There's another Hell's Kitchen coming in the fall. And one this summer. That's all I want from Fox, frankly.

I want to be excited about No Ordinary Family, the superhero show with Michael Chiklis, but I doubt its chances of survival. I'm looking forward to seeing the promos. It seems right up my alley, doesn't it?

I'm not sure I like The Big Bang Theory moving to Thursdays, but I understand why CBS would do it. NBC's Thursday night line-up has always had this air of prestige around it, ever since I was a kid, but they're very vulnerable right now, so it's a good time for a competitor to move in with sitcoms of their own--especially one that's already proven popular. Putting it up against Community seems risky, I guess, but I despise Community, so it doesn't really move me. If Bog Bang does badly there, it's popular enough that CBS will move it back to Mondays.

CBS is following that with Shit My Dad Says (I refuse to refer to it with typewriter symbols or the infantilizing word "Bleep"), based on the very funny Twitter and starring William Shatner as the dad. Yeah, that needs to be watched. I'm excited about this one. I'm sure it will fail, but I want to be there for every moment. In fact, I'm weirdly hoping it will be epically awful.

Damn it; they lost me by canceling Reaper, but they won me back with Hellcats, a show about cheerleaders with Aly Michalka and my beloved Ashley Tisdale. So... yeah, I'll be watching that. No joke, I've seen Hayden Panettiere in Bring It On: All or Nothing about 40 times on E!, ABC Family, etc. And that movie pretty much sucks, but has Hayden as a cheerleader. So... yeah. Yeah. ... yeah.

I Want This Technology...

"Tell you what: when I can reach into the TV, grab the back of Alyson Michalka's head, and make her go down on me, THEN I'll consider buying a 3D television. Until then, no way." -- BECCA