By now you’ve most likely seen the racy Gossip Girl ad campaign displayed to the right. Conservative watchdogs barked like mad when the campaign first appeared in magazines and on bus stops nationwide. How dare the show allude to the fact that kids have sex! Like, WTF? And use an obnoxious code language only understandable by those under 18 (and who are totes lazy idiots)! ROTFLMAO, for real!
Teens, on the other hand, loved them. This is their world: high sexual drama and hyper-creative language creation. The ads perfectly encapsulates everything that makes the show attractive to young viewers: pretty people with pretty problems texting each other on pretty cell phones.
The controversial (and grammatically challenged) ads are already proving valuable. The show has already been picked up for another season. Gossip Girl is so insanely popular amongst the cyber set that The CW has stopped letting people view episodes online in an attempt to force them to watch the live shows. Faux-GG’s are popping up everywhere (we might be a stolen WiFi connection away from the return of Hard Harry); hell, Gawker practically owes their Google Page Rank to the massive number of random NYC’ers fanatically texting in celebrity encounters. Obviously, this trend is not going away.
Since Hollywood is nothing if not derivative, it’s only a matter of time before other primetime shows begin cannibalizing the Gossip Girl-created abbrevation marketing technique. In fact, I can picture those ads right now…
Other TV Shows Trying the Abbreviation Marketing Campaign:
Let’s right, peoples! Me, the eternal Fabio, is here to take your women, anger your movie stars, and BLOW YOUR MINDS. I am old, craggy, a has-beens has-been, and I was the original male celebritard, but STILL I score with your tiny blonde hotties! Looks at the smiles on their faces. They can’t believe they are in my thrall. They love the Fabio, and want to show me just how much. I will let Hayden run her hands through my luscious brown mane, while Veronica Mars starts an investigation on my taut Italian mid-section. And do you know what she’ll find? Romance. …cause that’s what I named my strapping penis.
The girls want me to be on their TV show, the Heroes, and I have agreed to do it. What’s my super power going to be? SUPER FUCKING AWESOMENESS! My exposed chest renders women powerless. My flowing locks are a truth serum. My teutonic biceps can crush metal. My razor wit literally cuts people to the bone. And my nipples shoot liquified nazi gold. I will be unstoppable, and utterly charismatic, for I am Fabio.
I defeated your ultimate man George Clooney last week; I fear nothing anymore. I break birds with my face! I ruin Reality shows by dating the contestants. I cause divorce just by unbuttoning my flowing, puffy shirt. I promote butter! It’s a Fabio world, and you’re just staring at my book cover.
Come tiny blonde hotties, it is time to fulfill your life-long dream. No, not being successful, respected actors, I mean being with me, Fabio.
With the Fall TV season now a full month in, I have finally seen every new show (save a few insignificant ones – Cane, anyone?), passed judgment on everything and can now reveal my Official TV Watching Schedule. I’ll take you through it day by day, telling you why I like what, and what I’m not watching and why. It’s gonna be a full television disclosure. I’m gonna answer questions like a Lost season finale (only without the crazy fake ass beard).
So sit back, grab your TiVmote and prepare to bloop bloop!
Chuck – A nice, easy way to start the primetime week. I’m not completely blown away by either the action or the comedy, but I do dig the actors and the attempt at pulling the whole thing together. “Chuck” is a good lead, it’s nice to see Adam Baldwin back on TV (I finally caught up on Firefly this summer and thoroughly enjoyed it), and I can’t get enough of Captain Awesome. I also like how the producers go out of their way to put Yvonne Strahowski in her underwear as much as humanly possible. Why did Sarah have a fight in her slinky grey ass-high robe last week when the outcome was never in jeopardy and there was no reason for the fight to begin with? Who cares, because we got to see a Strahowski blackflip backside peekaboo and it turns out the whole affair was a chickfight between a be-robed Sarah and a red-headed ninja. It’s not even possible to calculate the awesomeness of that gratuitousness. And that’s the type of thing that gets shows season pass-ed in The 209.
How I Met Your Mother – Still a solid sitcom, though they have GOT to find better things for Robin, Lily and Marshall to do. Ted and Barney are doing fine trolling for girls (I was particularly pleased that the season premiere started out with Barney finishing his “Legen… DARY”), but I can’t sit through too many more “Robin has wacky dating hijinks”. Especially if they’re gonna involve skeezy Latin pop stars. Lawyered! Oh, and don’t think for a second that me and A-Train haven’t already purchased our very own championship belt, cause we have. If they can figure out a way to make Marshall and Lily relevant, and a reason for keeping Robin around her ex-boyfriend, there may be hope for the season yet.
Heroes – Here are the five things currently killing this show:
1. WAAAAAAAY too boring a storyline for Hiro. Who, by the way, could not be more useless to the overarching plot of the show, and is reaching Charlie-level heights of annoyingness. We know you’re gonna end up being Kensei, so just get it done and blink your ass back into 2007. I don’t get to see Ando if you’re not around and I need my fill of fun comic sidekicks.
2. WAAAAAAAY too lame new characters. Maya and Alejandro do not have ANYTHING interesting going on. No, not even with Sylar in the mix. Go cry me a black river and wake me when they hit New York in six episodes. This reeks of Nikki and Paolo, but without a much needed buried-alive resolution.
3. WAAAAAAAY too much Matt Parkman. Seriously. Is he really necessary? Who in their right mind would grant custody of a fugitive seven year-old to a divorced, burnt out ex-cop recovering from four gunshots to the chest and his illegal immigrant roommate (even who happens to be smart. And still boring.)? I call shenanigans.
4. WAAAAAAAY too much time spent without Kristen Bell showing up already. Let’s step to it, people. The faster we get Veronica Mars on stage, the sooner we get to see the scene where Ali Larter, Hayden Panetierre and Kristen pillow fight over who’s the hottest blonde on the show. SPOILER ALERT: The answer, by the way, is Mr. Muggles.
5. WAAAAAAAY too many characters. I can barely remember everyone’s names and I’ve seen every episode. Let’s kill off all the newbies, and Parkman and maybe Ali Larter, and get down to business with the Petrelli’s, the Bennet’s, Hiro and Sylar.
That all being said, the show still kicks ass and I wouldn’t dream of missing it.
Journeyman – One of my three favorite new shows of the Fall. I didn’t realize how much I missed a time travel drama on network television till I sat down to watch the pilot. I’m intrigued by the rules of the game here, like the dynamic of Dan seeing his ex on his journeys and his wife getting pissed back at home. And I’m curious how they are going to explain his continued absences (surely SOMEONE has to see him disappear at some point). Kevin McKidd is a fantastic actor and a great, very watchable series lead. I couldn’t dig this show more.
WHAT I’M NOT WATCHING ON MONDAYS
Aliens in America – I actually liked the pilot, I just have no time for it. This, like Everybody Hates Chris, is just gonna have to be a good CW show I never get into.
The Big Bang Theory – Hate the Galecki. The Cuoco does nothing for me. And that other guy wore my awesome beige Flash shirt in all the promos and now I can’t wear it anywhere without people asking me if it’s an homage (shut up, people!). I have nothing but dislike for this show. Even if CBS were the only station you could watch on your television, I would still recommend doing something else at 8:30 on Mondays. Like watching the end of MNF, or the second half of Chuck, or Aliens in America, or internet porn.
Samantha Who? – I got burnt by a Christina Applegate sitcom once before (Jesse, anyone?), and it’s not happening again. Barry Watson doesn’t help, either.
House – Still plugging along on Hugh Laurie’s endless charisma. I’ve kinda missed the old team, but am buoyed by spending time with Kumar and the hot lesbian from The O.C. (rent Alpha Dog to see her get down naked-style. The movie blows, but that scene is worth it in spades. Spades, son!). My only bit of contention is that Cuddy is becoming more and more ineffectual. Can we get her a storyline, please? One that doesn’t involve her going on a date that will eventually be ruined by House? Because we’ve seen that six times already. Or her telling House he can’t do something and then totally caving. Cause we’ve seen that eleventy-billion times.
Reaper – I’m at odds with this show. I like Bret Harrison. I like Ray Wise. I have a mad crush on Missy Peregym (yes I saw Stick It in theaters. Look, it’s not called GymNICEstics!). And the presence of Kevin Smith is never a bad thing. But the formula is already played out and we’re only on episode five. The freak of the week thing never lasts, just ask The X-Files and Smallville, so here’s hoping they come up with some sort of mythology they can dip into now and then. Also, getting Missy back into her leotard for some tumbling wouldn’t hurt.
Law and Order: SVU – Nothing much to say about this show. Love the Meloni and the Mariska. The Belzer still needs a chemical peels worse than Bill Murray and Tommy Lee Jones combined. And the ching ching still rocks it.
WHAT I’M NOT WATCHING ON TUESDAYS
Cane – Nothing against Jimmy Smits or Hector Elizondo, two actors I respect, but I have exactly zero interest in this show. And I’m a sugar fiend! (Cane = Sugar? No? Anyone? Bite me.)
Cavemen / Carpoolers – Yeah, right. I’d rather watch Ellen cry about dogs for an hour. At least that’s legitimately funny.
Damages – This one just got away from me. Watched the first 6 or so eps and just fell off track when the season started. The same thing almost happened with Burn Notice, but I like that show more. I’ll catch a marathon or wait for the DVD. So nobody post spoilers.
Pushing Daisies – I like it, don’t love it. The whimsy is nice and all, but I feel like I ate a King Size back of jelly beans by 8:47. And a little Kristin Chenowith (pun intended) goes a LONG way.
Gossip Girl – My favorite new show of the fall. I’m a sucker for a teen soap and this is trash of the filthiest order. The girls are crazy hot, the drama is ridonkulously melodramatic, the parents are all ILF’s, the clothes are ludicrous, the hair is headshakingly bad and the storylines are as old as Gabrielle Carteris. Also, Kristin Bell. I am unabashedly in LOVE this show. I don’t want to talk out of turn, and we’re gonna need to wait and see how the show falls together a bit, but this might be better than The O.C. This question definitely deserves its own column at some point.
Private Practice – Started off creaky and shameful, is slowly working its way to being credible. Could very well end up better than Grey’s (especially if Shonda keeps on with the execrable Gizzie storyline). And I’d never pass up the chance to watch Kate Walsh do anything for an hour, especially when anything includes naked towel dancing. Though I could do with a LOT less Amy Brenneman.
Dirty Sexy Money – The third of my favorite new rookies. The cast is uniformly excellent, from Donald Sutherland (who rules all) to Peter Krause returning to his Casey McCall likeability to Natalie Zea being crazy, hot and crazy hot as Karen Darling to William freaking Baldwin happily throwing down with a tranny. And that’s all before we get into Tamara Feldman (who could throw down with Megan Fox, if you’re picking up what I’m putting down). I could watch the antics of the Darling family for years to come. And I hope I get that chance.
WHAT I’M NOT WATCHING ON TUESDAYS
Bionic Woman – Tried hard to like it, but eventually had to accept that the show blows ass. Michelle Ryan does nothing for me. Growing up in the Valley I’ve had my fair share of crazy blondes, so Katee Sackhoff does less than nothing for me. And I can’t stomach Isaiah Washington (even when he’s getting a Bionic beatdown). I might have slogged through it as a change of pace to Private Practice but I can only tape two shows at once and I love Gossip Girl too much.
Kid Nation – I was completely wrong about this show. I thought it would be the biggest show of the year, and as it turns out, it blows harder than Cavemen. They had the kids cutting the head’s off chickens. At 8pm! I nearly booted my Chicken Pad Thai. Child Exploitation, thy name is CBS Reality.
Life – Liked the pilot, but my Wednesdays are already too packed. I’ll catch it when Dirty Sexy Money is in repeats.
30 Rock – I could listen to Tracy Jordan be Anne Heche-crazy for days. I am appealing to the California DMV for my very own “ICU81MI” liscense plate (hilarious!). And then there’s the Werewolf Bar Mitzvah I wish my Mom had let me have:
The Office – Can we please all agree that the hour long episodes were a bad idea and move on? Thank you. So much filler I couldn’t stand it. Thought I was watching season four of Dawson’s Creek for a while there. Though I’m really liking Jim and Pam as a couple. It was a great choice to not to draw that storyline out. I particularly enjoyed this moment (I love how happy they are about the whole thing, like they couldn’t want to tell someone):
Grey’s Anatomy – OK, I’m never gonna stop watching this show, but holy jeebus, if it was ever gonna happen it would be because of the Gizzie (George & Izzie). Izzie has become such a contemptable character. After the scene of Meredith telling Lexie about her Mom’s death, I started liking Mere again (a feat I never thought possible), which makes Izzie the current worst character on network television (even worse than the ghost of Dawson Leery, Carrie Bradshaw and Ally McBeal put together). If they don’t end that ridiculous, painful, ill-conceived plotline before November sweeps I am seriously gonna consider thinking about maybe not watching every second of each episode. And I mean it!
Scrubs – Gotta watch the final season, even if it’s not funny anymore.
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia – Just to get a base!
WHAT I’M NOT WATCHING ON THURSDAYS
Big Shots – I hated myself enough when I watched Sex and the City, I don’t need a bigger dose of self-loathing from the male version.
Friday Night Lights – Took me watching four straight episodes from the Bravo marathon, a plea from TwoP and Bill Simmons and my desire to have a sports show on my schedule for me to finally give this show a chance. And let me tell you, it was worth it. This is one of the best shows on television. Superbly written, directed and acted, with powerful storylines, big issues, and fascinating characters. If you can get past the football stuff and the Texas nonsense, there is a whole lot to love about FNL. Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton put on an acting clinic each week, and there skills are free. Check out everything that’s going in their eyes in this scene:
Brilliant. I picked up the first season on DVD for fifteen bucks last week (and it came with a money back guarantee), and I can’t wait to tear it open and catch up.
WHAT I’M NOT WATCHING ON FRIDAYS
Moonlight – I want to like this show so much. Sophia Myles is hot, Shannyn Sossamon is a guilty pleasure. I’d follow Jason Dohring anywhere. But the lead actor is so so so terrible. Makes me long for David Boreananas terrible. And the writing is atrocious. If Fridays are the TV equivalent of the January movie dumping ground, Moonlight is released on the 5th of the year, every month.
Women’s Murder Club – The only new show I haven’t watched yet. This could go either way. I love me some Angie Harmon, but procedurals never do it for me unless they involve Christopher Meloni punching somebody in the face. I’ll let you know…
Family Guy – The Star Wars tribute episode may be the funniest hour of entertainment of the entire year, and that includes any 60 minutes of Superbad, Knocked Up or any combination of any episode of the Thursday night NBC sitcoms.
See what I mean.
WHAT I’M NOT WATCHING ON SUNDAYS
Viva Laughlin – The only way I’m voluntarily watching Hugh Jackman sing is he if he’s doing his berserker attack with adamantium claw action (should I call you Logan, Weapon X?). And even then I’ll probably be thinking it’s gay (and by that I mean retarded) (and by that I mean I’ve been watching too much House).
So that’s the schedule. Seventeen shows, of which a whopping SEVEN are rookies! What a great slate we got this year. And it only gets better in January when Idol and the Terminator show shows up. Now if I can only find the time to watch everything. It’s a problem. But the kind of problem I don’t mind having.
That’s a shot of America’s favorite feisty, canceled teen detective repping her new gig on network TV’s best angsty comic action drama with America’s most recent pre-approved hottie; a moment caught on camera that probably caused a nation-wide pants-splooging by any hot-blooded male under 30. Yeah, something tells me Heroes is gonna be quite so watchable this year.
Did you notice how front and center Kristen Bell was with the Heroes gang at the Emmys? Somebody’s happy she’s on a real network now. Dimes to dollars she takes over as this year’s Big Bad? As long as she shares some screen time with Hayden Panetierre and Sylar, her role on Heroes could be as a eighty year-old African American be-acned deaf mute and I’d still be glued to the screen (especially is was that!). She could do the role Tucker Max Drunk and I’d be snapadooed, so long as she throws down with Hayden just once (or even Ali Larter), and has a bitchin’ super power. Season Two could not come fast enough.
ON AN EMMY’S RELATED NOTE: I will not be talking about the Emmy’s. It’s the most corrupt award show in Hollywood and I won’t deem to spend my brainpower coming up with witty commentary on such a predictable, unfunny, awkward, porely-produced, overly-censored, crazy actor wankfest. To that end, suck it Sally Field! Keep your political shit to yourself, you’re no Susan Sarandon (and even SHE can’t get away with it anymore). I loved you in Soapdish something fierce, but you stole that award from Minnie Driver, Mariska Hargitay and Kyra Sedgewick’s assbackwards Southern accent, and you KNOW it.
I’m just going to pretend like the show never happened; that FOX wasn’t so stupid as to put the stage in a circle in the middle of the room so that EVERYONE had to come in from the audience to get to the stage, cause THAT’S was a good idea; that The Sopranos hadn’t gotten their bullshit send-off Emmy, that Hugh Laurie hadn’t gotten robbed, that Ugly Betty would stop pulling a Desperate Housewives and remember that they’re a melodrama and not a comedy, and that Ryan Seacrest would stick to his day job.
But, just for funsies, here’s what I would have voted for had I been a member of the Academy:
Outstanding Drama Series: Heroes – You gotta go with the show everyone loved the most that year, and nothing was more lovable than Hiro, Flying Man!, Peter’s emo bangs, Sylar’s bad ass TK powers, the under-18 hotness of Claire, HRG, The Haitian and annoying mind reader Greg Grunberg. Also, Grey’s screwed the pooch with the Gizzie storyline, House tanked witht he Shitter Tritter arc, nobody watches or cares about Boston Legal except Denny Crane (DENNY CRANE!), and EVERYONE stopped believing in The Sopranos.
Outstanding Comedy Series: 30 Rock – I love this show like a handfull of Dr. Spaceman’s pinks and purples. I can’t get it off my mindgrapes, and was glad to see that at least one Emmy Award given out was deserved.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Hugh Laurie – The best male actor working in television, period. I love The Spader as much the next fan of Blaine from Pretty in Pink, but even HE didn’t think he deserved it this year.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Alec Baldwin – When people ask me if I like Alec on 30 Rock I tell them “I have two ears and a heart, don’t I?” And if you don’t get that joke, I can’t help you. I drop truth bombs! (I seriously can NOT get this show off my mindgrapes!) (OK, enough 30 Rock quotes.) (Also, enough paranthetical asides.) (OK, fine, just one more quote: “…here’s some advice I wish I woulda got when I was your age: Live every week like it’s Shark Week.”)
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Minnie Driver – The biggest surprise in television last season. I had just assumed she died after Grosse Pointe Blank, cause nothing she did afterwards was any good, but who knew the fat chick from Circle of Friends could be so subtle and heartbreaking? She flat out pwns as recovering matriarch Dahlia Malloy. I couldn’t sit through every episode of The Riches, but when I did watch, I was riveted every time Driver was onscreen.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Mary-Louise Parker – There is no finer actor working in the medium of television then the women who would be Nancy Botwin. And it’s not even close.
All the rest of the awards are “who cares”, cause when they start giving Emmys to Tony Bennett I start tuning the show out, but big ups to Jamie Pressly, the road from Skinemax to the Emmy stage is a seldom-traveled one, but she made the trip with persistence, talent and aplomb. Also she rules as the only good thing on the ever-lamer My Name Is Earl.
And now back to staring at the two hot blondes with superpowers.
I’m not much of a thinker a-header (NOTE: totally grammatically correct). I like to, as Garth Algar advises, “live in the now, man”. I prefer to focus on what’s directly in front of me and mentally note things in the future that may rock. But as we sit today in the doldrums of Summer, I can’t help but gaze down the road at what’s to come.
We’ve been in a O’ Brother Where Art Thou-style pop culture geographical oddity as of late, two weeks from everywhere. The last best movies of the summer just came out (Superbad, Bourne Ultimatum). Men across the nation are still hitting refresh on ESPN.com every few minutes, desperate to make sure none of their prospective Fantasy players goes down in a Preseason two-a-day (and Week 1, though now less than two weeks away, feels like for fucking ever). Harry Potter fever has boiled over. High School Musical 2 came and went with me still not knowing the the eff tween actor Zac Efron is and why he is rubbing his nipples on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine (P.S. Way to be punk rock, RS!). And the Fall TV Season doesn’t get going until mid-September.
As Al Pacino in Heat once said, what do we got? WHAT DO WE GOT?
So I was pondering the bleak, barren landscape of non-awesomeness that lay before us, and silently meditating on the misery we are facing, until I opened up the Internets and was given the best news I’ve heard in the longest. Variety reports that Kristen Bell as signed on for a multi-episode arc on Heroes, starting in early October. This was my restrained reaction to that news: “Hurrrah! YEAAH!!!!1! Wha, shy, he, za, YEQAJKNBFSFUSA$###! Jackpot.” And to think, just last week I was musing on what great projects Kristen would move to after Veronica Mars, and how those projects are the reason I was OK with VM getting canceled. My prognostication is for reals. Believe that!
I now care only about the fall season. I’m gonna consider the next few weeks a complete wash. Hell, I’m gonna consider most anything a wash unless it concerns Veronica Mars sharing screen time with HRG and Peter Petrelli. The levels of casting kickassitude contained in this development rival just about anything short of full cast sequels to A Few Good Men, Airborne, Rad, The Monster Squad and True Romance or that long rumored Arnold, Bruce and Sly action movie. I love me some summer, but g-damn, bring me that fall! This pop culture geek just got himself a new countdown!
But lest you think I think the fall will rock only because we get to seeKristen Bell and Hayden Panetierre look at each other onscreen (and subsequently exploding the crotch-regions of adolescents everywhere), let me put you at ease. The final four months of 2007 are jam-packed with righteous happenings. The following list doesn’t include everything that rules, but is merely the days I’m looking forward to.
TRULY IMPORTANT POP CULTURE DATES OF THE FALL
Sunday, Sept. 9th – Opening Day of the 2007-2008 NFL Season. A day for much rejoicing, beer drinking, Fantasy Football pool killing, debt collecting, buffalo wing consuming, testosterone flaring, wives and girlfriends despairing, Sportscenter watching, YouTube clip embedding, sports blogging, TiVo commercial double-blooping, porn ignoring, fav team cheering, buddy high-fiving and general wonderment. I can’t wait to eat myself retarded while cheering on my Miami Dolphins as they bring the teal all over the Washington Redskins. Ronnie Brown is gonna be a golden god this year. Trust The Jay.
Thursday, Sept. 13th – TheJay.com Turns 2! There will me much more on this in the week leading up to our birthday, including announcements on my T-Shirt Company, some podcast news and the introduction of an important new running column. Stay tuned…
Sunday, Sept. 16th – Ryan Seacrest flat-irons, I mean “hosts”, the 59th Annual Emmy Awards, the first not really important awards show of the fall. I can’t wait to see The Sopranos and Everybody Loves Raymond win again (what, Raymond isn’t on anymore? Whatever, they’ll find a way to give that shit Best Comedy Series, anyway). Wake me when they start giving awards to deserving TV work, like 30 Rock, Damages, BSG, How I Met Your Mother and Weeds.
Tuesday, Sept. 18th –KT Tunstall releases her second studio album “Drastic Fantastic”. She’s my favorite singer in the world right now, rocks live, has kick style, speaks in an adorable accent, has actual real musical talent, is sweetly down-to-earth and she pretty much destroyed any chance of Jewel ever having relevance again. For all those reasons and more, I love this woman. Also, the new single is steak sauce! I push my tread up a full mph every time my Nano rings the “Hold On” number.
Saturday, Sept. 22nd – Yom Kippur. Day of forgiveness, baby, show some respect!
Wednesday, Sept. 26th – The premieres of Bionic Woman and Private Practice; adding two more shows to my most crowded night of TV watching. The TiVmote is gonna have to work overtime blooping through Bionic Woman, Private Practice, Pushing Daises, Kid Nation, Back To You, Life, Gossip Girl, Dirty Sexy Money and come February, Lost.
Tuesday, Oct. 2nd – The Jungle Book, my favorite animated movie of all-time and easily the best Disney movie of all-time comes out on in a scrumtrillescent new 2-disc Platinum Edition DVD. Words cannot describe how uberhellastoked I am to finally own this movie on DVD (in its been on moratorium for the longest). I have so much Jungle Book paraphernalia that I could practically open my own merch store. Look for me at the El Capitan on Sunday, September 9th for the big screen stage show, I’ll be the shameless geek bear hugging the Baloo mascot (pun intended) and singing along off-key to all the words to Bare Necessities. Hey Mowgli, how about you knock that busy little bee-ya off my nose…
Monday, Oct. 8th – The most likely date for the first appearance of Kristen Bell on Heroes.
Tuesday, Oct. 9th – Eleventy Billion NSFW Kristen Bell / Hayden Panetierre fan-fiction stories are released on the net.
Friday, Oct. 19th –Gone Baby Gone, Ben Affleck’s directorial debut, arrives in theaters. My favorite ‘Fleck gets to prove once and for all that he’s a big talent. And I think he’s gonna prove it in spades. His cast is flawless (Ed Harris, Morgan Freeman, hottie Michelle Monaghan, Casey Affleck, Amy Madigan), his source material is first rate (author Dennis Lehane also wrote Mystic River, which gives me the chance to scream out “IS DAT MY DADER IN DERE!” every time someone mentions that fact) and the trailer is cool, confident and stylish. Matt Damon (Matt Damon!) may be the bigger star and the better actor, but I’m still not convinced that when everything is said and done, Ben Affleck won’t have the better career. And if you don’t believe me than be sure to catch my must-read post “Ben Affleck Does NOT Suck, And I Can Prove It”, coming in early October.
Tuesday, Nov. 6th – Quentin Tarantino FINALLY realizes the long awaited Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair, where we get to watch the entire saga cut together as one movie. I got to watch the flicks back-to-back at the Arclight on Volume 2’s opening night in 2005 and it was a very rewarding experience. I bet taking out the intermission and resorting the order of scenes is gonna completely change how we look at the story of The Bride. My guess is that change will be for the better.
Friday, Nov. 9th – By my count, the most interesting movie going weekend of the fall season. Releasing on this date is the Robert Redford directed, Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep starring political thriller Lions For Lambs, where we get to finally see the full extent of the damage The Cruiser has inflicted upon his career (not to mention the fate of the United Artist movie studio hangs in the balance). Also on this date is Fred Claus, the big budget holiday film that will be the marker for whether or not Vince Vaughn can be a charmingly obnoxious asshole for two hours without Owen Wilson or Jennifer Aniston and still be successful (and look at the rest of the cast: Paul Giamatti, Kevin Spacey, Kathy Bates, Miranda Richardson, Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Banks and Frank Stallone. That’s a lot of talent. Except for the last one). And on the limited release side we have a new Coen Brothers movie and Southland Tales, the extremely long awaited sophomore flick from Richard Kelly, director of Donnie Darko. That film intrigues the hell out of me, not least because it stars Sarah Michelle Gellar as a porn star, The Rock as her love interest, it’s set in the Valley, centers around an apocalypse on the fourth of July, co-stars Mandy Moore, Seann William Scott, Kevin Smith, Janeane Garofalo and Justin Timberlake, was lambasted at Cannes, shelved for a year because no one wanted to distribute it, is reported to be a complete narrative mess, and oh yeah, it’s a musical.
Tuesday, Dec. 25th – Charlie Wilson’s War, my most anticipated film of the fall, is released in theaters. Written by Aaron Sorkin, directed by Mike Nichols and starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and hotties Amy Adams, Emily Blunt and Rachel Nichols. You couldn’t put together a more attractive package to me. If I was told I’d get Herpes if I watched this movie, I’d call my HMO and pre-book some Valtrex. I think this is also Jesus’s birthday or something. That might be good for some cool goings-on, I don’t know. No lines at the bagel shop, maybe? I’ll keep an eye on this day for more cool happenings.
Sunday, Dec. 30th – Lakers vs. Celtics at the Staples Center. I am dying to see the new big three in green take on Kobe and whatever bunch of idiots they picked up off the street to pass the ball to Kobe. Jesus Shuttlesworth, insane-person Kevn Garnett, Monica Seles-wannabe Paul Pierce and old man Reggie Miller duking it out with acquitted Hershey Highway driver and ballhog extraordinaire Kobe Bryant, all while Jack Nicholson looks on form the front row and leers at the Laker Girls? It’s gonna be the biggest LA sports event of the fall, and I’ll be in the cheap seats taking it all in.
What cool pop culture days of the fall are you looking forward to?
Apparently, by no sane measure of logic, adding a kid to a movie franchise will liven up a tiring concept and reinvigorate a series for the millions of people who once breathlessly paid to watch the adventures but whom now shrug a collective “meh” to the whole deal. Further, the mere sight of a plucky young boy or girl boldly entering the grown-up fray will reduce audiences to a puddle of mush and insure a long life for the series. It matters not that the series was born and received without the need of a kid, and was probably successful due to not having one. It matters not that the introduction of a kid stunts the natural progression of the characters and swings the emphasis from an adult-oriented storyline to one of beleaguered parents and/or guardians risking life and limb to save said plucky kid from situations that are only necessary because the script called for the damn plucky kid to begin with. It matters not that kid is not so much plucky as he is really annoying. Apparently, all that matters is that people love plucky kids.
This, along with much of how decisions are made, is completely off-base.
Kids do not make movie sequels better. They are merely a signal that the producers have no more stories to tell and are just throwing their hands up in the air and grabbing whatever trite sitcom cliché happened to be stuck to the ceiling. Are you in the third or fourth gratuitous sequel and grosses keep going down? Congratulations are in order, because someone’s having a baby! Let us all rejoice that we can no longer swear or show nudity in the movie because someone decided to drop a precocious eight year-old onto the scene. Huzzah!
I say humbug.
Sure, there are exceptions to the rule (Shortround in Temple of Doom comes to mind), but generally speaking, adding a kid to a movie franchise equals creative death. Such is the concern many geeks across the world are having as news comes in that Steven Spielberg has cast Transformers-loving, Michael Bay explosion-runner-away-from, Shia LaBeouf, in the role of Indy’s long lost son. Regardless of the fact that no one wants to see a younger version of Indiana Jones (If we did, Sean Patrick Flannery would be on his 14th season of The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones and not threatening us with more jittery episodes of The Boondock Saints), the bearded master remains convinced that what audiences have really waited seventeen years to see is Harrison Ford and Sean Connery chasing the plucky kid from Even Stevens across the desert. And we wonder how War of the Worlds went so wrong. He should have just killed Dakota and the jackhole son and let Tom Cruise single-handedly take down the entire Martian army using only his Xenuian mind powers (though it’s not like he was ever gonna off Dakota Fanning. She would have had his hands cut off. It would have been “to the pain”.).
It’s not so much the idea of introducing a kid, as much as what the real purpose of doing so is. For example, the Alien series brought out Newt in Aliens and it was a resounding success. This is because she humanized Ripley, gave her a will and motivation to destroy the Alien Queen, and was the impetus behind the classic line “Get away from her you bitch!” It also helps that Newt had one of the most awesomely adaptable movie quotes of all time in: “They mostly come at night. Mostly.” You can use this quote in almost any situation and it will always get a laugh. If you’re at a bar and someone asks what you want to drink you can say “I mostly drink Heineken. Mostly.” If you’re talking to a date about sex, you could say “I mostly like oral. Mostly.” It always works! Other good uses for the quote:
- “I mostly deuce at night. Mostly.”
- “You’re mostly a bitch. Mostly.”
The point is that Newt had a reason to be in the movie. She advanced the Ripley character and provided crucial plot points for the movie. Now on the other hand, take the African American girl from The Lost World who showed up out of nowhere as Jeff Goldblum’s daughter. What did she bring to the movie? What was her purpose? Nothing. She was there to add a kiddy element to the picture. To put her in jeopardy so that Goldblum could be heroic in saving an oh so PC black girl. She was there for that stupid gymnastics routine. She should have been there as raptor food.
Getting back to the point, we already know that Indy can be a good father figure, as we were shown Temple of Doom. And Indy already worked out his daddy issues in The Last Crusade. So the only purpose for having an Indy prodigy in Part 4 is to align Indy with a past lover and potentially settle his personal life. But who cares? We don’t need Indy to settle down. We need Indy to crack Nazi’s in the face with his whip. We need him to ride horses in the desert and blow up tanks. We need him to make “wise choices”. We don’t need to see him playing catch and cheering on little league games. And that’s what it will be, make no mistake. The movie WILL focus on the Shia LaBeouf, and Indy will become a passerby in his own movie. It will be depressing, disgraceful and disrespectful. But most of all, it will be a bad movie.
And if Steven Spielberg and George Lucas don’t believe me, here are some other instances of kids ruining successful movie franchises.
Stay by your devices for instant messaging and internet porn this Thursday at 4pm, be they Mac or PC, as I guest host the live podcast “PopLoad” for NowInLa.com. It’s a pop culture show designed to drop a smelly wet one on the celeb shenanigans of the day. Basically, it’s like reading one of my posts out loud. The show is live, so if you want to ask me a question you can call in or text message. I’ll be premiering some stuff from this Friday’s Year in Film Awards post, and maybe even throwing out some trivia questions to the listeners. It’s gonna be fun.
If you miss the show I’m pretty sure you can download the episode afterwards. For more info on the show, click the banner on the sidebar or go through this LINK.
I went in to the worst video store EVER the other day to rent a few inane, distraction comedies (I needed something on in the background while I wrapped gifts, and wouldn’t you know it, Owen Wilson and Kate Hudson are absolutely perfect to ignore), perused the oddly spaced New Release wall – why was there an entire section set aside for Americn Pie 5, but only four copies of Brick? – and scored my Butterscotch Stallion fix, then braved the absurdly long line. I ignored the inexplicably slow service and sat patiently while the half asleep guy behind the counter ineffectually went about ringing me up. I drove all the way home, laid out the gifts and wrapping paper, went to put in the movie, only to find that the moron behind the counter forgot to take the security locks off of the tapes, so I couldn’t open either box!
So now I’m in a quandary. Do I get dressed and drive all the way back to Blockbuster just to get the locks pulled off, have a credit put on my account, throw some condescension at a minimum wage tape slag and then drive all the way back home, or do I just say screw it and watch TV instead?
Ten minutes later I was at the store.
I tell the guy he made the mistake, and his response? “Ah, my bad! I’m such a dumbass.” At least he owned up to it. I want a credit for the hassle and he tells me I have to ask for the manager. The manager (a hugemongous beyotch of a woman) makes me wait for nearly ten minutes (which wouldn’t be that big a deal, but I’m on crutches these days, so I only have one foot to stand on, and I’ve been putting it to use for the better part of a day), and when she finally deigns to help me she gives the shit eyes. Like I’m putting her out because her CSR is an idiot? In the immortal words of Erin Brockovich, bite my ass, Krispy Kreme! Don’t give me grief because you people suck at your monkey job; I’m not the thirty year-old working the late shift at a Sherman Oaks Blockbuster Video.
I don’t understand why the entire world hasn’t switched to Netflix, yet. Then again, I’m the same guy who’s astounded that the world rejected the Champagne Punch jellybean, so what do I know? However, I do know one thing: the next time I need a fix of inane Butterscotch Stallion jokery I’ll just pop in my well-worn copy of Zoolander on DVD and save myself the trouble (“You is talking loco and I like it!”).
Dear Blockbuster Video,
I hope Netflix socks you in the face like the crappy corporate suckhole you are.
- Dan Marino is nothing if not intense. Just too bad he didn’t bring that same passion to Ace Ventura, or he might have had some Oscar talk. Well, probably not, but it might have helped stop all the Razzie talk.
– If you enjoy shuddering at the thought of Chris Berman picking up chicks, today’s your lucky day. Expect “you’re with me, leather” to become a permanent reference here at TheJay.com.
- Here’s my Holiday gift to all my wrestling fan readers out there. Here’s the entire match of Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant from the legendary Wrestlemania 3. Enjoy not getting any work done for the next ten minutes.
– This piece makes me hardcore pissed that HoopsTV.com folded. That was a sick sports blog, before blogs became the norm.
Birthday wishes go out to Steven Spielberg, my all-time favorite director, who celebrated his 60th birthday on Monday. He may not always make the coolest movies, or even the smartest movies, but his movies are always exceedingly watchable, expertly made and laced with the type of magic seldom seen on-screen. In other words, he makes the best movies.
There isn’t a person in this country who doesn’t love at least one of his flicks, be it Jaws, Raiders, E.T., Jurassic Park, or one of the other twenty-one. His films touch our hearts, excite our minds and dazzle our eyes. He is responsible for millions of kids wanting to be film directors; and the conductor of an even higher number of childhood playtime fantasies. He was my first inspiration as a writer and budding director. And he remains my favorite creator of movie magic. Even when he makes a movie I don’t like ( like The Terminal) I still find great things in it, like the amazing airport set, which I got to walk through when I worked as an extra on the film (which means I might just love it because I’m visible in two shots of the movie).
To honor the bearded great one, here are ten Spielberg movie moments I love:
- Two moments stand out for me from Jaws: 1. The entire USS Indianapolis speech (“..thing about a shark. He’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll’s eyes…”). 2. When the shark drags the first barrel underwater and Hooper loses him in a chase; I love the quiet moment when Quint stands on the end of the starboard walk ramp, holding his rifle and shaking his head, while the sun sets beautifully around him. It was a look that spoke volumes. We’re gonna need a bigger boat, indeed.
- The over the shoulder pull back to reveal the government base at Devil’s Mountain, in Close Encounters. The first use of what is now known as “The Spielberg Shot”. Often imitated, never topped, it is still the best way to do a reveal on film.
- The scenes of kids trick-or-treating in E.T. As a boy who grew up in The Valley, watching a movie about a young boy and his alien best friend who lived, essentially, around the corner from me (I used to play in the same park as Elliot), brought me countless fever dreams and daytime pretend adventures. The moon shot is still a stunning image, and easily makes for the best production company logo EVER.
- The climax in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, when Indy is hanging off the ledge, desperately trying to reach the grail cup, while Henry tries to pull him to safety. Henry can’t get Indy’s attention, and their grip is starting to falter. Indy’s got mad glory in his eyes, but Henry realizes what’s truly important and gives Indy the lesson our intrepid archeologist has been looking for since we saw him run from the boulder in Raiders.
Henry: Indiana. Indiana, let it go.
That line gets me more than any other moment in the series. A perfect encapsulation of the life these men lead. Man alive, can Spielberg make a movie!
- The trailer over the cliff sequence in The Lost World. So well-choreographed and executed, it comes off like a Gene Kelly dance, as interpreted by Wes Craven. I love the look on Julianne Moore’s face when she realizes what’s about to happen. “Oh shit” never looked cooler on a girl.
- The epic 20 minute storming the beach scene in Saving Private Ryan, specifically the extended sequences done in silence as Tom, slightly deafened from a blast, takes in the violence happening all around him. Arguably the most realistic depiction of war ever committed to celluloid. And the fact that this film lost to a Gwyneth Paltrow romantic comedy makes me sick at both ends.
- The opening credits of Catch Me If You Can, with the Pink Panther-like animation and the John Williams jazz riff. It was a signal that we were not about to see a typical Steven Spielberg fantasy, but instead something far more playful and sophisticated. And it is easily my favorite Spielberg movie of the last ten years.
- “Oh, there you are, Peter!”
- The spider sequence in Minority Report. The creepy mechanical crawlers search the entire building looking for Tom Cruise’s John Anderton (the last time The Cruiser was effortlessly cool on-screen). They can’t detect Cruise because he’s lying motionless in an ice cold bathtub. The last spider is walking away when Cruise lets one tiny air bubble slip out of his mouth. And the spider hears it. The delicate double take of the CGI creature is so smooth, so graceful as to be almost unnoticeable. But let there be no mistake, it is a sly stroke of genius. And serves as yet another reminder why Spielberg uses CGI better than anyone else on the planet. Michael Bay better learn himself an education by next summer. A BIG FUCKING ROBOTS movie needs all the subtlety it can get.
- The first dinosaur reveal in Jurassic Park. Maybe the single best reveal shot of the last half decade. Ellie is going on and on about some indigenous wildlife and Grant turns her head to see what he was looking at and all we see are her eyes go wide. Ellie rises out of the jeep and then BAM, we cut to the most perfectly realized depiction of a prehistoric animal ever put on film. I can still see my Dad shaking in the theater, awestruck by what he was seeing. That’s the type of reaction Spielberg elicits in audiences. He leaves them awestruck; my favorite emotion to have while watching a movie.
And I thank him for giving that to me so many times. Happy Birthday, Sir. We honor you here at TheJay.com. May you continue to create wonder on the silver screen for many more years to come.
For an absolutely fantastic retrospective of Steven Spielberg’s career, CLICK HERE.