Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Friday, December 29, 2006

Look,up in the sky...it's a bad movie!

One of my Christmas DVDs was the 1984 film Supergirl,which stars Helen Slater(who was also the leading lady in The Legend of Billie Jean,another poised to be a hit but was a miss movie)as the Maiden of Steel. I hadn't seen this movie in years but still held fond memories of its'lameness. Was it as bad as I remembered? Fortunately for the likes of me,it was even worse.

Our story begins in Argo City(sort of a Kryptonian suburb that looks like a hippie commune gone sci-fi)where Kara,our soon-to-be Supergirl,longs to go to earth to meet her famous cousin. Due to a mishap with bored city founder Zaltar(played by Peter O'Toole,who I swear seems to be on the verge of macking on Kara in every scene they're in),she leaves her home to search for the omegahedron that gives Argo City it's power. I love the word omegahedron;it's one of those terms that you just can't work into any regular conversation like"Hey,while you're at the store,pick me up an omegahedron on sale,would you?".

Argo City is in some sort of pocket dimension so Kara enters our world by flying out of a lake,fully clad in Supergirl gear,complete with red booties. How she managed to get that outfit when she went off on her quest in some cross between a muumu and a nightie is beyond me.

Speaking of muumus,the omegahedron lands in the french dip of a wannabe witch named Selena(played with big hair and even bigger shoulder pads by Faye Dunaway). Here in this scene,Selena is canoodling with Nigel(Peter Cook,who you really feel sorry for in this flick),a warlock who teaches high school math at an all-girl's school that our heroine winds up at. Dunaway has an inborn instinct for campiness which is given a great platform to showcase her stuff:

Selena starts sprouting off about taking over the world but winds up trying to seduce a local landscaper named Ethan(the generic Hart Bochner,who's pretty much a Ken doll for the ladies to fight over)who falls in love with Linda Lee,aka Kara due to a misfired love spell. Linda Lee shares a dorm room with Lucy Lane(Maureen Teefy) and they hook up with Jimmy Olson at one point. Marc McClure plays Olson(as he has done in most of the Chris Reeve Superman flicks)and really doesn't add much to the plot other than being someone for Lucy to gush over.

The whole Ethan thing leads to Selena's first confrontation with Supergirl at the abandoned amusement park where the wicked witch lurks with henchwench Bianca(Brenda Vaccaro,another celeb casualty)as Ethan is menaced by scary bumper cars:

Later,Supergirl gets trapped by Selena(who revvs up her bad mojo skills by swiping a magic stick from Nigel)and gets a one way ticket to the Phantom Zone:

All this malarkey leads to the big finale where Supergirl saves the day(I don't consider that a spoiler,it's pretty much a given to anyone over five years old)but many questions abound:how does Supergirl switch to Linda Lee mode by just walking past some trees? In the comics,she dons a brunette wig but here she seems to have magical powers. At one point,she leaps out a window as Linda and morphs into Supergirl midway,what gives? Also,this current DVD version is the "European cut" which has extra scenes of Supergirl discovering her new abilities and Selena doing evil magic on a party guest. Why was this not good enough for American audiences the first time around?

Faye Dunaway is well known for her refusal to talk about her work in Mommie Dearest(one of the greatest camp performances in cinematic history)but I wonder if anyone ever asks her about Supergirl. Some of the lines she utters and faces she makes during this supersilly film are awfully awesome:

I hear that a Supergirl remake is being planned. No stars are officially connected to the project(they might think twice after seeing the star power sucked into this bad boy) but the production values should be on a much higher level than what was used here. So,am I eager for snother shot at this? Sure,why not. It can't hurt. As for the original,it does have some merit. It makes for excellant MST3K fodder and if someone like Uma Thurman does a lousy superhero flick(My Super Ex-Girlfriend will have to do alot to top the craptasticness of this movie)can cheer up after a viewing of what their clunker could've been:

Thursday, December 28, 2006

What's your favorite TV moment of 2006?

With this year rapidly drawing to a close,I thought it would be good to showcase a few of my special favorite TV clips that haven't been highlighted here at LRG. I also hope that this topic would encourage folks to think about all the shows they've watched this year,for better or worse,and find some fun ones to share and discuss.

Let's start with Gilmore Girls-season 7 has been a bumpy ride,with the new crew having to clean up the messy plotlines from the Sherman-Pallidino departure. Ratings have gone down but some of us have still stuck around to see how Lorelai will reconnect with Luke and Rory deal with her ever troublesome relationship with Logan. In this clip,Mom and daughter share a true-to-form bonding moment,making up for a canceled tour(warning: this clip starts off a little pixilated but clears up quickly):

Veronica Mars is having a tricky transfer as well,with the new college setting and altered opening credits(still not letting go of that old bone,I'm afraid). Despite such hinderances,the show is a major must-see and this intro to an interesting new catchphrase is a good example of why:

Rescue Me had a very controversal season(even for a show like this),with hate sex,underhanded child custody and a no-pun-intended fiery cliffhanger at the end. Here,early on we see brothers Tommy and Johnny deal with a romantic rivalry in the typical Gavin family way:

One of the best surpises of the year has been the success of Heroes,which takes comic book sensibilities to new heights and is actually being appreciated by those not usually part of this genre market. A strong reason for that is a scene like this where Clare,the endangered cheerleader,gets quite a wake-up call about the limits of her new found ability(not for the squeamish!):

On the lighter side,The Office is still going strong and so far,has not been setback by the Jim/Pam/Karen love triangle. Michael Scott and company started the new season off well with this brilliant send-up of homophobia:

And finally,a guilty pleasure of mine is Mind of Mencia,Comedy Central's half hour politically incorrect playground for Carlos Mencia to roll around in. Out of the many targets Carlos hits with accuracy is the amazing amount of ignorant folks in the world,expressed by this little musicial ditty:

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

R.I.P. James Brown,you made us feel good.

Music legend James Brown passed away this Christmas at the age of 73. He was still going strong,even booked to sing in NYC on New Year's Eve. While I never had the pleasure of seeing the man strut his stuff in person,I did enjoy and appreciate his talent and influence on many levels of the pop culture society at large.

To many young people,James Brown was this wild man of rock with one hell of a stage show,as seen in this video for "Living in America" which was the theme song for Rocky IV and makes for a much better national anthem:

Some only knew him thru references made by other entertainers,such as John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd. Brown made some onscreen appearances in films like Doctor Detroit,Holy Man and in the cult classic The Blues Brothers,where he helps to inspire Jake and Elwood on their mission from God:

Comic tributes were also made to him-long before David Chapelle said"I'm Rick James,bitch!",Eddie Murphy was sending up the Godfather of Soul with style and wit.One of the best SNL skits Murphy did was this "celebrity hot tub" number and you wouldn't think that one day Eddie would be starring in a movie like Dreamgirls based on that impersonation but then again....

James Brown was one of those special people who can not be replaced;his powerful performances and ground breaking style opened up the gates for others to go thru and make their own mark. We will not see his like again yet he will always hold a place in music history as well as in the hearts and souls of those who were fortunate to know him as a friend.

My last video tribute here is a from a group who would seem to be on the opposite end of the sound that James Brown was known for. However,there is a nice shoutout to him in it and have to admit that it's been on my mental jukebox since I heard the sad news. I don't know if Brown ever heard this song but hopefully,he would've dug the props given to him:

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Which poster is more Becoming to Jane and other Austen matters

Four posters for the upcoming pseudo-biopic of Jane Austen are being test marketed online. Folks are able to vote for one of them which may very well be the official face of the ad campaign(please click title link above to cast your ballot). The nominees are:

I personally like the first poster;the image of the girls running on the bottom border section is very picturesque. My second choice would be the third one that has Anne Hathaway in a rather JA pose with the Austen qoute,it would make a lovely book cover. Still have major doubts about this movie but it does look like they're made some attempt to have the look of the period. Oh,well,it could be worse. Lindsey Lohan and Toby Keith could be starring in this flick instead.

Over in jolly old England,two TV movie remakes of Jane Austen films will be featured this winter-Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. Northanger Abbey will be using the long anticpated Andrew Davies script(he penned the Colin Firth version of P&P and most recently,Bleak House with Gillian Anderson). Any new version of NA will be an improvement;the only one made so far was a 1986 BBC film that had the styling of a Hammer horror movie,with bizarre gothic daydreams given to Catherine Morland and eerie theme music:

Persuasion however,will be hard to top. I'm not the only one partial to the 1995 Roger Mitchell film with Amanda Root as Anne Eliot and Ciaran Hinds as Captain Wentworth. One of the best moments I had when I went to Bath was finding the area where Anne reunited with her captain after that wonderful letter:

To wrap this up,let me brag about one of my gifts this Christmas; The 1940 film adaptation of Pride & Prejudice on DVD. It was released in a collection of classic DVDs earlier this year but can be bought separately. While it's not a perfect version of the book by any means(the costumes alone will amaze you with their overdone elegance),it does star Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier as Elizabeth and Darcy and they're certainly worth watching:

Friday, December 22, 2006

Jingle Bells,Batman Returns is Swell,for your holiday!

Many holiday related films will be playing on your TV screens or DVD players this long Christmas weekend,some that are longtime favorites(A Christmas Story,all day on TNT)or simply have a wintery connection(Ice Age,all day on F/X)but I would like to suggest an interesting alternative to the regular cinematic sugarplum fare.

Batman Returns is the only goth superhero movie I know of that takes place at Christmas time. The first time the Penguin's gang attacks is at the lighting of the Gotham Christmas tree and the Ice Princess(who pulls the tree switch)gets kidnapped as a sidepiece of the plot. Not to mention all the wonderfully lit shots of snow at night which so enhances the mood.

Tim Burton received some flack for this movie when it first came out,from folks who were shocked by all the dark imagery and the open sexual overtones of Batman and Catwoman's relationship(which is pretty stupid-hello,did none of you see the first movie? I suppose you would be shocked to find gambling here as you collect your winnings). The depiction of Catwoman is hands down a favorite amongst fans of this movie as well as comic book lovers. Selina Kyle's backstory may not be as true to the official origins of the character but Michelle Pfeiffer makes her a true riot grrl icon for the ages:

Another fun aspect of BR is the third villian,Max Shreck,who is the sinister man behind the curtain,as it were,to the Penguin's scheme to run for Mayor of Gotham(love his campaign slogan"Stop Global Warming-Start Global Cooling!")and triggering Selina's mental breakdown into the deadly feline foe obsessed with his destruction. Walken's look and manner in this role is based on German expressionist films(the character shares the same name as the actor who played Nosferatu)and of course,he brings his own unique charm to the role. One of my favorite scenes is when he discovers that Selina is Catwoman and beats Trump to his future catchphrase,"You're fired!"

And let us not neglect the Penguin,who is dumped into the river by his freaked out parents on Christmas Eve and raised in the sewers by sea creatures and crazed circus folk. Danny DeVito's performance is very over the top at the best of times but he does get some damn funny lines and rocks that cumbersome makeup job he wore.

I also love the eerie tune"Face to Face" that's used in a key scene between Bruce and Selina in the film. Say what you will about Tim Burton but you have to admit that he certainly uses some interesting musicial choices in his movies. As a holiday treat,here's the Siouxsie and the Banshees video for the song along with the place it's showcased in the movie:

So,in conclusion,I hope that when you search your video library or local movie rental shop that Batman Returns is fresh in your thoughts for Xmas watching. After all,it's better than sitting thru Christmas Shoes starring Rob Lowe and just remember,things change!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Who's your favorite TV nemesis?

Since there's nothing new on the boob tube this week,I thought it would be fun to discuss a great television topic-favorite so bad they're good characters.

I call them nemesis rather than villian because while they do plague the main characters,their agenda is not always a black hat-tie-the-girl-to-the-traintracks,my deathray-will-destroy-Metropolis deal. They can simply exist to annoy the lead or supply some much needed turmoil into the plot. They usually have three important traits;being the complete opposite of the major person on the show,have a flunky who either helps or hinder them and some redeeming trait that can make he/she more than a cardboard cutout.

Sometimes,a nemesis can become more appealing than some of the regular good guy characters and even turn into friends(annoying ones to be sure,but still). They can even get their own spin-off show or appear on one,if their appeal is strong. Here are some of my personal favorite foes:

Nellie Oleson: Little House on the Prairie's Laura Ingalls was one of my childhood icons and she was perfectly offset by Nasty Nellie Oleson,the spoiled rich bitch with the harpy mom(really felt bad for Mr. Oleson in that family)and bratty little brother Willie who lorded over Walnut Grove with her never changing sausage curls and wicked ways. She would always find a way to show off her privilged status of shopkeeper's daughter by flaunting her new clothes,fancy toys and candy taken right from her parents' store display.

In later years,Nellie started to mellow out and wound up marrying a nice fellow and having twins. The show still felt the need for her bitchery and even had the senior Olesons adopt a female Cousin Oliver version of Nellie to keep the bitch factor going. Nice try but there's no topping the original prairie bitch.

Cordelia Chase: From the first moment she appeared on Buffy the Vampire Slayer,Cordelia strutted her stuff as Queen C of the Sunnydale High campus as a reminder of what Buffy used to be and in some ways,wished that she still was. It would be foolish to write Cordy off as an airhead;the girl was wicked smart when she wanted to be and her verbal putdowns were some of the wittiest dialogue on the show.

One of Cordy's main targets of mockery was Willow which showcased her snottiness to to a T:

Cordelia wound up become a full fledged Scoobie(especially after dating reviled nerd Xander)but never lost her sharp tongue completely. Her character grew and graduated to leading lady in the BTVS spin-off,Angel where she even gained psychic powers and fell in love with Buffy's old beau. Some fans thought that she had changed too much but by Angel's 100th episode,the stylish smart talking gal we all knew and loved had made her comeback and graceful departure all at once.

Taylor Doose: Stars Hollow wouldn't be the same sweetly insane town that it is without Taylor in his Mr. Rogers sweaters running around trying to turn the place into a 1950's historical theme park. While he drives Luke crazy with his persistant anal retentative ideas and gives Lorelai an easy target for her lightning fast jibs,many times he's his own worst enemy. The slightest change in the world around him can set off quite an amusing tirade:

Aunt Esther:One of the best sparring partners Fred G. Sandford ever had was his tough as nails,bible thumping sister-in-law who never failed in her duty to make sure her nephew Lamont was being looked after and to deliver verbal smackdowns to Fred on a regular basis. One thing I loved about Aunt Esther was that she gave as good as she got:

Dwight Schrute: When I first saw The Office,I thought that Jim was being mean to him for no reason but I soon caught on to why such goofing on him was neccessary. Dwight is every annoying co-worker who thinks they're better than you and is completely clueless about how truly ridiculous they are. This season,Michael Scott's assistant to the regional manager may have met his match in Stamford transfer Andy,the Bizarro version of himself:

Okay,talk amongst yourselves-here's a topic:who are some of your favorite TV foes?
Discuss and share with the group,I'll wait.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Judith Regan is having The Worst Year Ever!

The big story in the publishing world this week is the ousting of Judith Regan from Harper Collins-last Friday,she was given the bum's rush by no less than Rupert Murdoch himself. Regan is alledged to have said some Mel Gibson like comments during a heated argument with a HC lawyer about another hot button book,7 by Peter Golenbock,which is one of those novels that claims to have some truth in the wink-wink-nudge,say no more way about Mickey Mantle's sex life.

And to top this all off,she's listed in a lawsuit with other folks involved in the O.J. book and Tv deal from Ron Goldman,seeking to find out what happened to the money Simpson recieved and hid in a dummy corporation to avoid paying off his civil suit. It truly sucks to be you right now,Judith.

Let's take this mess one detail at a time;the comments that JR has been qouted as saying by the lawyer(I didn't know lawyers took notes during phone conversations,a new one on me!)were:"Of all people, Jews should know about ganging up, finding common enemies and telling the big lie." and then,after naming several HC employees,including CEO Jane Friedman,said they were a "Jewish cabal" against her. Now,alot of people are saying that they never heard Judith utter a prejudiced word ever but after reading that rambling statement she made to the Times,justifying her decision to make the O.J. deal,I have to say that it's very believable to image her talking like this.

Also,it sounds like HC was considering delaying the Mantle book,due to flack already flying about it from Mantle's family and die-hard baseball fans. I don't blame Harper Collins for that,considering that they're trying to recover from the whole "If I did it.."drama bomb. I also get why Mantle's people would be upset over a novel told in the first person that graphically details the true and maybe-true sexual romps of an American icon but honestly,folks-a)it's a novel,b)most of our baseball heroes were not choir boys and c)the book sounds boring to me. If I want to hear raunchy sex stories from an old man,I'd go to my local bar and buy drinks for one of the regulars.

Back to Judith;most people are saying that she'll land on her feet and set shop elsewhere. That's probaly true but with Ron Goldman suing her and she herself considering a libel suit against HC,that may take a little longer than Judith anticipates. My advice is,time to make nice. What Judith needs right now is to get some real support and sympathy on her side,which is going to take a real miracle from a devoted PR person. I'm not in that business but even Stevie Wonder can see what kind of fresh hell she's landed herself into. A major league image makeover should be top priority for Regan in 2007.

She's going to need to,especially with Bridie Clark's upcoming novel entitled Because She Can due out in February. Clark used to work for Regan and the Devil Wears Pradasque evil boss in this book about book publishing has already been compared to her. I'll be reviewing BSC for this blog(yes,I was interested in the book due to possible JR gossip but before she was fired,I swear!)and while I wouldn't know how accurate it is to the real deal,I will let you guys know if it's a good read. As for Judith,she should be cracking a few spines like How to Win Friends and Influence People or a Miss Manners guide(there's one on basic communication,that could be a big help). Good luck next year-you're gonna need it!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What's up in the Movie Trailer Park for 2007?

As the year 2006 draws to a close,we must look ahead to the new year for those glimpses of wonderous delight or godawful torture fests(and I don't mean Hostel II,which does appear to be pretty gruesome) that movie lovers will be asked to cough up their hard earned ducats for at the multiplex.

Some films already have us chomping at the bit(Spiderman 3,Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)while others are not so promising. Let's look at some current trailers for upcoming '07 fare and see if we can find gold amongst the dross:

Evan Almighty: You know,as much as I loved Bruce Almighty and find Steve Carell to be one of the funniest people on the planet,I'm having some doubts about this sequel. While there are many promising signs,such as Morgan Freeman reprising his role as God,Wanda Sykes having a supporting role and Lauren Graham(Lorelai Gilmore herself,yes!)as Evan's girlfriend,the Noah's Ark plotline is giving me a sinking feeling:

Ghost Rider: Nicolas Cage has been wanting to play a superhero for a long while now,even to the point of naming his kid Kal-El(which I'm sure he'll be thanked for someday at a family therapy session)and he gets his big chance here. Cage has been saying some weird things about this movie in interviews,claiming that his character will be listening to Karen Carpenter and eating jelly beans out of a martini glass. Don't know how true that is but it's more creative than having Pete Fonda play the devil who curses him to biker hell:

Shrek 3: Do we really need another one,honestly? Didn't we learn all we needed to know about these characters by now? Don't get me wrong,the first two movies were cute and funny but this is starting to become more like a tv show than a movie series:

Live Free or Die Hard: I have to give credit to the folks who name these follow-ups to the original Bruce Willis blow-'em-up,they do make an effort to inject some creativity here. This does look kickass,even without Samuel L. Jackson riding shot gun,plus you have to admire the subtley of the imagery being showcased:

Hannibal Rising:Nice to see a combo book and movie trailer,all in one. This prequel to the Thomas Harris series about everyone's favorite cannibal shrink should give us some extra chills this February. I haven't read the book but it might be better to wait until after the movie,so that I can enjoy the sinister suprises onscreen:

Well,that's all for now-see you at the movies and save me some buttered popcorn!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Oscar sings a sour note

Some of you may remember that one of my fervent hopes in life was to see the theme song to Snakes on a Plane("Come on,Bring It" by Cobra Starship)be nominated for Best Song at the 2007 Academy Awards. Well,so far 56 songs have been deemed consideration worthy and Snakes on a Plane is not one of them! Shocking,isn't it? I mean,really-the theme from the new Rocky movie-which isn't even out in theaters yet!-is on the list and not SOAP? What gives?

If you click the title link above,you'll see the full list of possible song nominees. The only one that looks like it would be great to see on Oscar night is Borat's "O Kazahkstan"(very nice,waawaweewa!). Otherwise,it's Treacleville. The guidelines for being eligible for Best Song are"a song must consist of words and music, both of which are original and written specifically for the film. A clearly audible, intelligible, substantive rendition of both lyric and melody must be used in the body of the film or as the first music cue in the end credits." How does the SOAP song not qualify,with rules like that in place?

Granted that I haven't seen the movie but I'm sure they must've played that song over the end credits. It certainly meets the other requirements;just take a listen here to refresh your memory:

Perhaps this overlooking is due to genre bias-many people would say"Well,it is from a horror movie,you know." While you can debate over whether SOAP is an action or a horror film(it did recieve alot of PR from the horror industry,including the televised horror/sci-fi awards shows that were on TV a couple of months ago),let's assume that SOAP is considered a horror movie.

Horror movies are better known for theme music(Halloween,Friday the 13th,etc)rather than for theme songs. A look at such offerings in the past may shed some light on why SOAP is being shunned here.

The Nightmare on Elm Street series always tried it's hardest to keep in tune with the musicial tastes of it's core audience. Nightmare on Elm Street 3:The Dream Warriors pumped out this ditty by Dokken and with the help of future Medium Patricia Arquette(who played a key role in the movie),attempted to set a heavy metal mood. It's hard to tell who Patricia's more scared of,Dokken or Freddy:

Metal wasn't the only type of popular music that the New Line Films folk tapped into. For Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master,Freddy himself busted a rhyme or two with the Fat Boys:

Other non-series fright films joined the rock n' roll bandwagon. The Stephen King cinematic adaptation of Pet Semetary was able to snag the Ramones to sing the title song(warning,pet lovers may not want to look at some of the clips here):

A recent example of mainstream music assaulting cineplexes is Scream 3(which is such a lousy movie that it makes the parody version,Scary Movie 3,look like a prime candidate for an AFI Best of list)with Creed and David Arquette,following in his sister's sinister video footsteps:

Is it fair to judge "Come on,Bring it" by these former musicial follies,I ask you? Just take a gander at David Bowie's theme for the remake of Cat People(which won a Golden Globe award). It's still a favorite tune amongst Bowie fans and even tho he didn't make an official tie-in music video for it,this one has a very theatrical vibe,almost Broadway like:

Perhaps the Academy will come to it's senses in time. The nominees will be announced on January 23 of next year so if anyone cares to send in some write-in votes(which may be totally ignored),you might want to send them to this address,publicity@oscars.org. No chance of a guaranteed Oscar miracle but if the SOAP song does get played at the Kodak Theatre come this February,please let Samuel L. Jackson introduce it with that line we all know and love.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Happy Birthday,Dear Jane

December 16 is an important date for Jane Austen fans as it is the date of Miss Austen's birth,back in 1775. Many will be celebrating in small gatherings or quietly on their own with one of her novels,some appropiate music and a favored film adaptation or two. I was wondering if there are still some current representations of Jane's beloved romantic couples(not including those who are openly meant to be mirror images of Austen's work)in pop culture.

After much thought(or as much I can muster up overnight),I think that there are a few yet unrealized JA inspired lovebirds fluttering around on the big and small screen. See if you agree with me here:

Pride and Prejudice=Veronica Mars: Let's look at the basic premise of P&P-clever but financially disadvantaged girl unexpectedly strikes up a romance with wealthy but emotionally reserved man. While girl is attractive and full of verbal wit,not to mention blessed with strong relationship with her father,she is plagued by the follies and scandals of her nearest and dearest. In the end,she gets her man and both realize the mistaken notions they've had about each other.

Now,doesn't some of that apply to Veronica Mars? You could argue about who's more of a Darcy,Logan or Duncan but both fellas fit the bill rather well. True,Veronica is an only child but friends like Wallace and Mac certainly could sub for a couple of the Bennet sisters and Dick Casablancas makes an excellant Lydia,if Lydia was a vulgar frat boy. As for follies and scandals,Neptune High and now Hearst College is ripe with just such offerings.

Emma=Gilmore Girls: While Emma is not one of my favorite Austen novels and Gilmore Girls has become one of my must-watch shows,I do see some connection between the two.

The plot of Emma is all about a favored daugther who feels she's the most clever person she knows and seeks to improve the lives of others for her own amusement. Time and time again,she is brought back down to reality by the down-to-earth family friend who can't help but fall in love with her. Both of them live in a small town made up of charming yet eccentric neighbors who are a key element in the atmosphere of the story.

To make things simple,I'm using the Luke & Lorelai storyline as a basis for comparision here(getting into the many loves of Rory would take up too much time).True,Lorelai is not exactly the apple of her parent's eye at times but she does have that streak of headstrong self-confidence and wit that defines Emma Woodhouse to a T. Lorelai can be snobbish in her own way,mocking those who don't get her tastes in pop culture but always a good natured person who will do what's best for all concerned as Emma does in the end. If's there another fictional town that is a better version of Highbury than Stars Hollow,someone please show me where it is!

Mansfield Park=The Office: This may seem like a stretch but work with me,people. The leading lady of MP,Fanny Price,is a shy young woman who is put upon by her oblivious and self centered relatives but has a deep kinship with her cousin Edmund that blossoms into a secret love for him. He becomes more interested in an outsider,the stylish yet amoral Mary Crawford,who also becomes friends with Fanny as a way to advance her relationship with Edmund.

The current Jim/Pam/Karen storyline on The Office has some similarities-Pam is very much a passive soul,put upon by her co-workers(especially Michael Scott)and her love for Jim is as strong as ever. While Karen hasn't yet shown any of Mary Crawford's cold hearted moral code,she is quite the more bold rival for Jim's affections. Not to mention that Angela's a perfect Aunt Norris. Not sure what that would make Dwight tho.

Persuasion=Superman Returns: Persuasion is my all-time favorite Austen novel but not that many non-JA readers are familiar with it. The story is about Anne Eliot,who is forced to break up with the man she loves,Wentworth,due to pressure from her family. Wentworth is a naval officer and goes off to sea for several years,returning to Anne's society as a captain of his own ship with a nice fortune. Both he and she are not certain if the other still has feelings for them but find a way to connect thru a well worded letter.

Superman Returns has the Man of Steel coming back into Lois Lane's life after several years in space,seeking what's left of Krypton. His re-entry into her life both as Clark Kent and Superman is fraught with apphrension,especially now that Lois has a new love and a son who may or not be his. While there's no ultimate romantic rebonding between Lois and Clark,a more deeper connection is made here and the words of one father are passed on as a blessing to another son:

"You will be different, sometimes you'll feel like an outcast, but you'll never be alone. You will make my strength your own. You will see my life through your eyes, as your life will be seen through mine. The son becomes the father and the father becomes the son. "

Well,that's all I could think of. I hope this helps you find the Jane Austen vibe in whatever you enjoy watching.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The TAR winners,Nip/Tuck finale and Top Chef's Mamma Mia Meltdown

We're down to eight contestants on Top Chef and things are still heating up. This week,the big challenge was to prepare refreshments for a Hollywood holiday cocktail party and once again,there was a drawing of the knives to divide folks into two teams,Black and Orange. Team Orange busted out over a dozen different dishes and even had Marcel and Betty working together without fighting,miracle of miracles.

Team Black only made about five varieties of canapes,going for the "quality over quantity" idea which would've worked if the flow of food to the table was kept at a good pace. When the judges went over,there were empty trays and delays in getting some of the stuff out due to Elia deciding to freshly prepare certain items on the spot. Not a bad way to do things but quick refills are important when you're offering up goods to the public or a large crowd.

When Team Black went up on the chopping block,it looked bad for Elia,who was the team leader but things got even worse between Cliff(who had immunity)and Mia,who does own a catering company but felt that many of her ideas and her experience was not being recognized. Cliff blamed his team's probelms on Mia's"bitching and moaning" and she went off on him bigtime,using many words that Bravo didn't bleep out very well. I don't blame her-Cliff did shoot down alot of her suggestions and even tho Elia was team leader,he really took over the planning of the menu.

In the end,Mia offered herself up to be eliminated to spare Elia from taking the hit. Judge Tom's blog had this to say about her leaving:

"I guess Mia looked around at the other chefs and realized that it was unlikely she was going to be the ultimate winner. Not that she lacked the heart or hard work. But she was seeing people like Sam and Ilan and Elia, who have had the benefit of training and the tutelage of notable chefs, cooking at a level of sophistication and skill that eluded her. Mia felt herself out of her league and truly believed, but for tonight’s error in judgment, Elia had a shot at going all the way. So she volunteered to go home so that Elia could stay."

He does give her credit for selflessness and admires her fighting spirit but I really think he underestimated her. To Mia,it was about honor and leaving the competition on her own terms,not feeling "out of her league"! Yes,she was homesick for her family(which was a factor,IMO)but she respected Elia's talents and wanted her to have a shot at making it big in the culinary world. Mia has a good business that she built up while Elia is still making a name for herself. Elia's not a strong leader but she is a good chef who doesn't go out of her way to undermine her fellow competitors which is why Mia was willing to throw herself under the bus.

Also,Judge Tom didn't believe that Mia stood up for herself during menu planning-not true! She damn well did and explained later that she decided to move ahead with the challenge at hand by giving in so that the team could get things moving along. That's what a professional does,OK? Oh,and that whole"benefit of training" crap? Did Marcel benefit from any of his training by trying to snatch credit away from Sam who won the challenge as team leader? Hey,Marcel,if you're on the winning team and not in danger of being kicked off,SHUT UP! Way to work with others,dude.

In other reality show news,Tyler and James were the winners of the tenth season of The Amazing Race,beating out Rob & Kimberly and Team Alabama. One of the best parts about the finale was that the Beauty Queens had been knocked out of the running.Told you ladies that karma don't like catty! While it's nice that Tyler and James won,I was rooting for Lyn & Karlyn;they both have young children and really could've gotten alot out of the million dollars. Oh well,atleast everyone seemed to have a good life experience. Tip to Rob & Kimberly: it's great that you both still want to get married even tho you lost but invest in some couples therapy. Constant arguing may be sexy but it doesn't hold together a marriage for long.

The Nip/Tuck season finale cleared up alot of things-I was wondering all thru the shows why so many characters from Season 1 were popping up and now I know why. Ryan Murphy and co. were cleaning house so that Sean & Christian could ditch Miami and set up shop in sunny California. That's a good idea-a fresh location could open up an entire new realm of screwedupness for plot fodder. Plus,Christian Troy surrounded by eager young starlets and desparate Beverly Hills housewives-cue the Barry White music,if you please!

Speaking of music,the singalong section of the show is now on YouTube and as promised,here it is,folks:

I know many people are saying it's a ripoff of Magnolia but a)some of us didn't see that movie or care to and b)PTA doesn't own a patent on lip synch montages there. Goodbye to Michelle(finally!)and Escobar,who turned out to not be as badass as his wife(hope she makes another appearance next year). Hello to Danny Strong,who I hope will be a part of next season. It's good to see him on another show(they only give him limited appearances on Gilmore Girls)and hate to say this but he looked like a hobbit next to Julian McMahon. Great season all around and to celebrate,here are some clips of the best of Nip/Tuck this year:

Dawn Budge's Ear Jacking

Kimber meets Xenu

Sean's Bad Santa

Christian Troy's YouTube debut(warning,very very sexy)

Random Notes:

The Year Without a Santa Claus: With so many of our favorite shows in reruns this time of year,holiday themed movies are sometimes your only fresh and new viewing choice. Someone at NBC decided that remaking the Rankin/Bass animated special in a live action version with John Goodman channeling Dan Connor as Santa,Delta Burke as Mrs. Claus with raccoon eyes and Chris Kattan as a scheming elf would be a great idea for a primetime movie.

I won't even get into the Heatmiser/Snowmiser musical showdown with Harvey Fierstein and Michael McKean being backed up by Las Vegas showgirls or the lame Christmas movie jokes(do give them points for having Carol Kane give her smackdown Scrooged persona to Mother Nature). This was a Christmas stocking chockfull of coal and best forgotten as soon as possible. NBC should just shove this flick into the basement with the other awful gifts given by well meaning but tasteless relatives and throw away the key.

Smallville:Last week's immigrantion storyline was as subtle as a Mack truck plowing into the offices of the Daily Planet. Yes,there are metaphors for immgrant struggles in the Superman mythos but it would've worked much better if there wasn't such paint by the numbers plotting here. It wasn't a total loss-we got a really cool Lex Luthor pimpwalk at the end:

Also got a taste of what's to come in January-looks like Clark's joining the Justice League,yeah boy! This should be fun:

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

All These Songs Should Make Me Happy To Hear Them Again

Last night,on the Nip/Tuck season finale,there was a montage of angst towards the end as the cast members lipsynched the song"Brigher Discontent" by the Submarines to showcase their inner emotional pain. It came right out of the blue(along with a few other things that I'll get into with tomorrow's Tv post)and was beautifully done by all. Unfortunately,the band hasn't made an official video for the song yet but please click the title link and then select from the audio list to hear Brighter Discontent.

You can also view the band's video for the song "Peace & Hate" there as well. It's cute but Brighter Discontent is the shining star of the lot,trust me on this one. If someone makes a YouTube clip of that Nip/Tuck singalong,I'll post it but atleast listen to this delightfully melancoly song,I beg of you!

Speaking of YouTube,they do have some music videos that have been making my toes tap lately,like the new Gwen Stefani number"Wind It Up". Others may try to ape her style but you can't fake true hipster vibes,no way Josie!

Little Sister introduced me to Utada Hikaru and this rendition of Green Day's Blvd of Broken Dreams hits an emotional level that's more touching than the original:

And finally,this blast from the past comes courtesy of Sheena Easton.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

More holiday gift tips As Seen On TV!

With many of us still knee-deep in the seasonal gift shopping frenzy,it's always a good idea to scout around for that unusual but personally meaningful item for your hard to figure out person on your Nice list. Since the Dwight Schrute bobblehead figure from The Office seems to doing rather well,I wondered if there were any other Tv related goodies(direct replicas of key props used by the characters on the show in question)available for the holidays. Here's what I've found thus far:

The Luke & Laura 25th Anniversary Ring: For the soap opera fan with a big romantic streak,you can get them an official version of General Hospital's favorite couple in jep wedding ring. ABC is selling it thru Sears for about $60,not too bad(please click title link for more info).

The official Ugly Betty "B" necklace,however,costs $172 bucks! Yes,it's handmade and all that but come on now-would Betty herself pay that price? They have other replicas of character jewelry and clothes but most of those are designer labels so you expect to pay some serious moola there. But the "B" necklace(which only has a "gold" finish-for that kind of cash,I would want a caret or two)being more expensive than anything the original character would actually wear is rather ironic.

Mr. Bean's Teddy: I gave this to a good friend of mine years ago and anyone who digs that crazy Rowan Atkinson show should adore this little fella. If you have trouble finding it for sale,there's even a knitting pattern available at knitting-and.com for you to create a homemade version.

Rory Gilmore's "Reading is Sexy" T Shirt: While there are plenty of tees with GG logos and Luke's Diner mugs,this top was actually worn by the character so it's way cooler to wear(not to mention that it's a very true statement as well). It's available at the Gilmore Girls Shop online for less than twenty dollars,nice! Not that I'm all about the cheap but hey,you do have to budget your holiday spending there,otherwise you do something crazy like buying a diamond studded pony for your friend who always wanted a pony and then you're eating stale cereal for three weeks in the dark,wrapped up in sweaters because you didn't have enough money for the light bill or to buy food or...whoa,save me from this attack of Lorelai tongue,somebody please!

Buffy The Vampire Slayer's Mr. Pointy: Technically,it was Kendra's stake first but she did pass it on to Buffy before Drusilla took her down for the count,so...please ignore my geek rambling there and just wonder at the fan love that makes a item like this worth about $75. The stake is only available as a pre-order from Diamond Select Toys(they expect to have it in stock by December 28)but that's much sooner than the Mr. Gordo stuffed pig($40,due in February)or the Urn of Osirus that revived Buffy from the grave in Season Six($90,late January-don't know if you can offer them a Backstreet Boys lunchbox to get a discount). It does look cool and why is it that there are much more BTVS items now than when the show was on the air? Guess Whedonites are the new Trekkies(that includes me,too,people!).

This concludes our TVHSN programming for the day-please stay tuned for more pop culture ponderings and other fun holiday ideas.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Top Ten Things I learned from POTC:Dead Man's Chest

I watched Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest this weekend and my original take on the movie is confirmed-more of the same stuff from the first movie,only with a sea monster this time around. That doesn't mean that the movie wasn't enjoyable. There were some laughs,f/x follies and that sea monster was pretty damn nasty.

So,here are a few bits of knowledge that I gleamed from this flick,mateys:

10) An undead monkey is worth a jar of land.

9)Even if you can't read,you get points for trying if it's the Bible.

8) A good way to stall hungry cannibals is to encourage them to make a bigger fire to cook you over for a sacred dinner.

7)Every man has a price which he will willingly accept, even for that which he hopes never to sell.

6)A man can be so vexed by a woman's love that he'll remove his own heart and lock it up in a treasure chest to be buried on a remote island.

5)Sailors are easily frightened by finding a ladies' ball gown onboard ship.

4)When Elizabeth shows up,hide the rum.

3)Curiosity can be rather tempting,for both badboy pirates and proper ladies.

2)It's hard enough to rescue your current boyfriend without flirting with a pirate but having an ex-fiance tag along makes it even tricker:

1) The only thing better than one successful sequel is the possibility of another:
(warning-don't watch the clip if ye dinna want to know how Dead Man's Chest ends!)

Friday, December 08, 2006

It's Movie Award Show Clip Time!

The film award show season will be soon upon us and like my good blogger buddy,Pop Culture Diva,I consider the Oscars to be my Superbowl. One thing about many of those shows is the shared use of film clips to highlight the nominees. After awhile,you know what movie moment you'll be watching before they read the name of the actor or film.

So,what clips should we get used to seeing a zillion times over? Here are a few of my best guesses:

Little Miss Sunshine

This movie has already garnered some noms at the Independant Spirit Awards and should headline many of the Best Films of 2006 lists(and rightly so,in my opinion). While all the actors in this movie were top notch,don't be surpised if Alan Arkin gets a nod for his feisty junkie Grandpa role. He was a wonderful breath of fresh air,especially in scenes like this with Abigail Breslin:

Superman Returns

Action movies(particularly comic book based ones) usually get overlooked for the major prizes but are thrown a few bones in the technical catagories. So,chances are that this midair rescue bit will be featured alot:

However,if by some odd quirk,Kevin Spacey lands an acting nom for his wicked take on Lex Luthor,this clip of his mythology lesson will display his talents nicely:

The Devil Wears Prada

DWP is undoubtedly a shoo-in for Best Costume and many folks are talking up another acting nom for Meryl Streep here and deservedly so. This verbal essay she gives Anne Hathaway on the color blue will give those in the home viewing audience who haven't seen the movie a taste of why she should be recognized:

V for Vendetta

Again,another action/comic book film that will only be remembered for F/X. Such a shame-yes,the costumes and visual styling of the movie were great but the intelligence and creativity of the plot,along with amazing performances from Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving truly deserve to get some merit from their peers as well:

The Da Vinci Code

Before you go"Yeah,right!",just remember the one thing all the critics agreed upon about this flick: Ian McKellan's performance as Sir Leigh Teabing rocked. McKellan's been doing alot of genre films and while they may not want to honor him for being Magneto or Gandalf,the nominating commitees won't have any hesitation on giving him props for this:

Snakes on a Plane:

A long shot,I know,but if Johnny Depp can get a Best Actor nod for a Keith Richards impersonation,anything's possible. Besides,it would be criminal to overlook Samuel L. Jackson for saying one of the greatest lines in movie history:

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Heroes Fall Finale,the Next Top Model and Top Chef's Beach Breakfast Bingo

Top Chef had the contestants cook an early morning breakfast for"mystery athletes"(who turned out to be surfers) on the beach,using fire pits to cook their dishes. The chefs were not told where or what kind of cooking area would be available to them beforehand,so improv was an important part of this elimination test. Frank had planned to make a quiche but not having a stove,he tried to whip up some omelets instead. That didn't work out and his eggs were so bad that judge Gail went on the warpath-that gal really loves her eggs!

Frank wound up being knifed and kept his cool about it but was clearly pissed in the after comments. Another egg dilemma occured when Michael realized that he had forgotten to pack the eggs for his dish when he went thru his ingrediants. It was nice to see Betty be the first to offer him some of hers and others give him a few of theirs. Elia won the challenge with her"Organic Breakfast,Lunch and Dinner"(sometimes,I think these chefs think more about naming their dish than makin it,as Sam did over his failed"Green Eggs and Sam" which was morphed into a Toad-in-the-Hole when the eggs turned grey from the pesto)and all of the remaining ladies in this contest were in the Top Three. Hate to say it but women wind up cooking more breakfasts than men so it's not surpising that the ladies truimphed here(raising shield to ward off rotten veggies tossed my way).

And America's Next Top Model is...CariDee! Thank the fashion deities that Melrose the Moody did not win(all her whining at the end about"and they called me a bitch every step of the way!"-well,maybe that was because you were one,dear!).I liked the Gothy fashion show and I'm sure the guys at The Soup are debating over which clips to use; Ms. Jay's scary turn down the runway or Tyra's mockery of CariDee's freaked out face during the big runway finale.

Heroes had it's "Fall Finale"(another way to say"Major Cliffhanger",IMO)that brought new questions and answers. Some of my theories have been bolstered about this show while new ones pop up,such as :

Mr. Bennet is the one who can block powers,which is why he went to speak to Sylar alone. The Silent Haitian(who is not a mute and does have some sort of agenda of his own)can only affect memory and knock people out. Just listen to what Mr. B tells Sylar about the abilities of others here:

Peter is not the one who will blow up NYC;like his earlier dreams about being able to fly(which it turns out to be Nathan's power),he's seeing the event partly thru Ted,aka Mr. Radioactive,who we met a few episodes ago. Peter's psychic dreams may have been passed on to him from Simone's father,who Peter did spend alot of time with and they both dreamed of each other before he died.

Also,if Niki thinks that going to jail will keep her evil self at bay,she's more delusional than I thought. Yeah,let me get put in a place where violence is an everyday occurance and my overprotective superstrong alter ego will just chill out. Is it just me or when the SH told Claire about wiping her mother's memory"so many times",I got a Men In Black flashback-"How many times have you flashythinged that woman?" It's going to be hard to wait for Jan.22 for a new episode but I think we can make it thru together.

Random Notes:

Nip/Tuck: Glad to see that Wilbur survived,so far(Gina's snatching him up was certainly a better alternative than James putting him on the chopping block).Loved the Kimber Xenu moment(thank you for finally tweaking Scientology's nose there,people!)and the last moment arrival of Escobar who gives Michelle the bad news about being James' replacement. Guess those wedding plans might be trickier than expected! Next week is the big finale which looks to be quite the water cooler hot topic of discussion:

Gilmore Girls: Logan was such an ass to blurt out that whole Rory-Marty business at dinner-jealous much,dude? This only reinforces my belief that guys named Logan are trouble(and yes,that includes Wolverine!). I hope Rory can patch things up with Lucy,she's a fun character. Speaking of patching things up,perhaps Christopher and Luke will mellow out after that battle royale they had in the town square(silent fights are rather attention holding,aren't they?)

Ugly Betty: With a new episode of Smallville tonight,I'm going to have to catch up with UB online but wasn't that whole Henry deal last week heartbreaking? She so needs to be with him. Why did Hilda have to toss that message away,why? Walter is such a drain on Betty's potential and that calendar as a final gift,so blah! I even felt sorry for Amanda with her devotion to Daniel:

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Double Dip into UnDomestic Bliss

I've read two books lately that seem to interestingly mirror one another,theme wise on the tricky nature of marriage and family. In Lauren Lipton's first novel It's About Your Husband,Iris Hedge has left her flakey actor husband Teddy and San Fernando Valley to start life over in a brand new marketing job in New York. Several months later,she's quickly downsized and faces debt along with loneliness in the wilds of the big city. One friend from her newly old job,Val,unintentionally helps her find work as her twin sister Vickie needs someone to spy on her husband Steve who she suspects of cheating.

Iris is no Nancy Drew(or even a Veronica Mars);Steve catches on to her stalking all too soon and Iris becomes sort of a double agent. She still keeps an eye on him for Vickie's stake but also wants to help solve their marriage probelms,possibly as a way to fight off her attraction to Steve who has quite a few secrets up his sleeve.

One of the things that I really liked about this book is how Iris discovers that change is not always a bad deal and that her original perceptions-of Steve,Vickie and New York,for example-were not accurate but surpisingly adjustable. This is a fun read,as quickly paced as the street traffic of NYC with plenty of good humor and some survival tips for newcomers to the Big Apple.

Laura Ruby's I'm Not Julia Roberts is a set of interlocking short stories about families that are interwoven thru second marriages and divorce. The title story title comes from Lupe Klein(known as "Loopy" to her three stepsons,Devin,Britt and Ollie)who was kicked off of a second wives website due to her take on the Julia Roberts flick Stepmom(or so she believes) which is" set in some fantasy New York Cityland where there is NO TRAFFIC. Ever. Second, the bio-mom gets cancer and DIES in that idiotic movie. Who here is going to get that lucky?" She has a point there.

Lu is featured in several of the tales told here,as she deals with her husband's difficult ex,Beatrix,who has also remarried and is dealing with cranky stepdaughter Liv whose mother Roxie is experiencing the not so thrilling joys of her new life of singles dating. One of the strongest stories in this collection is "Dear Psycho" that chronicles the end of one marriage and the transition to the next for both parties thru letters,random notes and e-mail.

Men are not painted as the bad guy here;they are given as much emotional weight as the women and children in these thoughtful and sometimes humorous looks on life after divorce. This is the first adult novel by Laura Ruby(she's also written two books for kids and recently published a YA novel this fall,Good Girls)and her debut is not to be missed,by any means.

It's About Your Husband is currently on bookstore shelves while I'm Not Julia Roberts will be out in January of 2007(please click the title link for more info).My advice is to check out IAYH now and keep an eye open for INJR later. Both titles make for smartly sensible yet lively literary books to cozy up to this winter season.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Top Five Most Violent Things I've ever seen in a movie

As most of us know,Mel Gibson's Apocalypto will in be a muliplex near you this Friday and one thing about it that everyone seems to agree on is that it's real damn violent. According to some of the reviews I've read(which you can check out via the Rotten Tomatoes link on the side),the movie earns it's R rating with such fun things as decapitations,a jaguar eating a man's face,a spear that shish-ka-bobs a running man's skull and human hearts being ripped out ala Indy Jones and the Temple of Doom just to give you a sample of the splatter scenes there.

Now,I'm no stranger to cinematic gore but even the likes of me has her limits. One of the reasons that I disliked Mel's Passion of the Christ was the excessive attention to all of the gruesome details of Christ's death. He seemed to be way more interested in using of all of that great cinematography to highlight the wounds on Jesus rather than get into what he was all about that made him a threat to the status quo in the first place. My sister and I,plus a couple of our friends saw TPOTC while we were at a horror convention and it was the scariest movie we looked at that weekend.

Anyway,this made me wonder if this new Mel flick is even worse than that. Going over the awful stuff I've seen onscreen to compare lead to this little list. In the interest of sparing some of you a few nightmares,I will use YouTube clips sparingly:

5)Reservoir Dogs: The "Stuck in the middle with you" scene,which is just as frightening in what you don't see as well as what you do. Mr. Blonde is one of the best roles that Michael Madsen's ever played or ever will play in any movie:

4) Saw II: It's hard to select just one nasty moment out of the many in the Saw series but Amanda's romp thru the needle pit is so heinous that it really sticks out in my mind(no pun intended,I swear!). The runner-up to that one is the overhead trap that genius girl Addison plunges herself into;she didn't even check out the clue that Jigsaw left before shoving her mitts willy-nilly into that thing!

3)Sin City:Again,another movie with so many shockster moments to sort thru. I'd have to chose the whole section with Marv,he's a real rough customer. His hardcore quest to avenge the death of his one-night-only lady love,Goldie is all at once gripping and gruesome and yet,you can't help but be touched by the single minded
devotion of this gladiator thug:

2)Dressed To Kill: Brian DePalma's uberHitchcock tribute,with Angie Dickinson as the Janet Leigh stand-in. Her demise in an elevator at the razor's edge of "Bobbi"'s
wrath certainly made quite a visual impact. That scene was to elevators as shark fins were to Jaws,in my opinion.

1)Spice World: This whole movie was filled with onscreen violence;butchered dialogue,brutal acting(if you could call what the Spice Girls was acting) and assaults upon basic human intelligence. Even the teenage girls I saw this with were bored to death:

Let's see if Mel and Friends can top any of that carnage! Or,someone else see Apocalypto and tell me about it instead-rather spend my time and money watching the Pirates of the Carribean 2 DVD(which I will be sharing my innermost thoughts about).

Monday, December 04, 2006

Holiday Shopping for the Fictional Character in your life

Entertainment Weekly put together a fun recommended shopping guide,using the"what pop culture character is your friend/family member like" criteria. Lorelei Gilmore,Christian Troy and Jim from The Office were some of the ficticious folk chosen but I think there are a few more names that need to be added(hey,when I'm unoriginal,atleast I admit it!)so,without further ado,here's some of the LRG suggestions for pop culture gifting this season:

For the Ugly Betty: The Devil Wears Prada DVD arrives on December 12 and while you could add a copy of the book with it,a more interesting literary choice would be Marian Keyes' Sushi for Beginners,which has it's three leading ladies launching a fashion magazine in Dublin,Ireland. My favorite character is Aisling,an assistant editor who literally packs her purse for every occasion and potential crisis. A sewing kit and first aid supplies are easier to find than lipstick in her bag!

Other Devil-ish reads to toss in include any of Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series,(also her non-Shop books such as Undomestic Goddess and Can You Keep a Secret are great,too),Tomorrow They Will Kiss by Eduardo Santiago(it has a telenovela theme)or This is Chick Lit,edited by Lauren Baratz-Logsted, which gives you wonderful samples of many female friendly writers in the field today.

You can also finish off your goodie basket or bag with some Burt's Bees products or a Bath & Bodyworks set of scented lotions(I love the vanilla and lavendar lines)to insure a sweetly scented happy ending.

For the Lois Lane or Clark Kent:The DVD release of Superman Returns has brought with it a bumper crop of Kyptonian flicks such as the rerelease of Supergirl,which will give you an idea of what an Omegahedron is and The Superman Christopher Reeve Ultimate Collection,which includes the Richard Donner cut of Superman II. For those of you not familar with the Superman II riff,Donner was making the first and second Superman films but due to creative differences,bowed out of S2. Richard Lester took over the helm but die-hard fans have always wanted to see what Donner intended to do with the story and now they can.

The Donner Cut is also available separately so you can also afford to get other super related items like an Alex Ross Mythology/DC Comic Art 2007 calendar or Smallville:The Visual Guide by Craig Byrne(who also works on the Kyptonsite website).
If your friend is overloaded with Superman stuff,NBC is selling Heroes T-shirts and caps and yes,there is a "Save the Cheerleader,Save the World" one!

For the Top Chef: Reality shows are just as compelling as any made-up drama(the good ones,anyway)and for the amateur foodies out there,this book is just the ticket. Julie and Julia tells the tale of one frustrated city gal's efforts to cook every recipe in Julia Child's Master the Art of French Cooking within a year and it's pages are accented with good humor,wit and some interesting culinary factoids.

Julie Powell has been featuring in some YouTube clips lately and this first one is a direct except from the book,while the other showcases her skirt steak skills.

Other yummy reads: Toast by Nigel Slater,Candyfreak by Steve Almond,Chocolat by Joanne Harris(the movie is pretty decent and has Johnny Depp)and Bread Alone by Judith Ryan Hendricks(there's also a sequel to BA called The Baker's Apprentice).

Some fun DVD treats to stuff in a few stockings: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory(and the remake as well-heck,get both for some compare and contrast!),Big Night,Soul Food and Fried Green Tomatoes. There are some nifty Top Chef items you can get online,such as a TC apron specially designed by Project Runway contestant Nick Verreos(please click the title link to see it)and the infamous"I'm not your bitch,bitch!" Season one T-shirt. Bon Appetite and Noel!