Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, April 30, 2007

The Descendants inherit humor and heartbreak

Matthew King has two major decisions to make in about the same amount of time;whom to sell the vast amount of Hawaiian land he and his relatives are the current inheritors of,and who should he invite to the bedside of his comatose wife,Joanie,who is about to be taken off of life support. Joanie's living will demands that she not recieve any artifical means of medical assistance if she winds up in a vegatative state and her recent boating accident has done just that.

Matt has never been a Ward Cleaver kind of dad,or husband. He and Joanie just sort of went their own way in both their marriage and family matters,with Joanie being at the helm. In some ways,Matt thought their life was fine but trying to connect with his daughters,ten year old Scottie and seventeen year old Alex,proves that theory wrong. Scottie is sweet but rambunctious,getting herself into accidents like having a group of man o'wars sting her at the beach so that she has an exciting story to tell her mom. Alex is currently weaning off of drugs at a local boarding school and is still angry with her mother,over an argument that Matt never really knew what the root of the matter was.

Turns out the fight was about him-Alex found out her mom was dating a local realtor,Brian Speer,and may have been considering leaving Matt for him. While going around the islands to inform friends and family of Joanie's last days,Matt decides to find Brian and give him a chance to say goodbye,as well as discover more about the affair. Matt takes both of his daughters with him on this journey,along with Sid,a "non-boyfriend" of Alex's who she claims that she needs around to help her keep calm.

You wouldn't think that this story has any laughs in it,but believe me,it does. There's plenty of laugh out loud moments(particularly in the fights between Scottie and Alex) and off beat observations that keep the plot from getting too maudlin. Matt's coming to terms with how his marriage truly was,why Joanie did what she did and that he has to step up and be a real dad for his girls,is a thoughtful and honest look at a man having to figure out what the rest of his,and his children's,life will be like without his wife in it. In many ways,this book reminded me of the movie Little Miss Sunshine,with it's dysfunctional family follies that do not lessen the bonds of love between them.

This is a first novel by Hemmings,who has had several short stories published and a collection of her own ,House of Thieves. We're getting a great crop of debut authors this year,and Kaui Hart Hemmings is certainly one of the best of the bunch. Her down to earth style and witty tone make this tale of family heartbreak touching and truimphant. She doesn't throw in cheap laughs to lighten the mood,rather her humor comes from the all too recognizable attitudes and personalities of characters who you either have in your own family or are in your circle of friends and neighbors.

The Descendants will be out in stores by May 15,and if you would like to know more about it or the author,please click the title link above to check out Kaui Hart Hemmings' official website. This is one inheritance that you'll truly treasure.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The latest arrivals to the movie trailer park

Next week is the beginning of May,which has now become the official starting point of the Summer Movie Season. Plenty of previews are buzzing all around us but what are the ones that truly make you want to be in the theater on opening day? Let's take a look at some that have succeeded in catching my eager eye:


Now,this is a trailer! Full of excitement,wonder and some major magical throwdowns,the new HP film is a must-see. Also,it was totally brillant of them to cast Imelda Staunton as Dolores Jane Umbridge,whose villiany rivals even Lord Voldemort's:


Spidey 3 opens up May 4th,and while many might consider it to be overhyped at this point,I don't think it can be hyped enough. True,there's alot of plot points covered in the trailer but this is a pretty complex story that juggles several villians,a marriage proposal,one than one revenge seeker and an alien symbiote to boot. It's almost like a Dickens novel with all of this multiple character layering:


You might think that this Anne Hathaway version of Jane Austen's life would be the mildest movie out this season but plenty of Janeites are already irked at the many liberties taken with the facts here. Nonetheless,I do want see this movie for many other reasons-the excellant cast(Maggie Smith,Julie Walters),the beautiful scenery and the gent playing Tom Lefroy is rather fetching:


Technically,this is a Fall film but the trailer's already being shown now and it's really funny. How can you resist a movie with Christopher Walken as the underground table tennis mastermind,with cameos by Patton Oswalt and Hiro Nakamura himself?:


Yes,this should be called Die Hard 4 and yes,it's another Bruce Willis shoot-'em up but come on now,it wouldn't be a summer movie season without some action movie mayhem ,would it? Besides,if you need someone to kill a helicopter with a car,who's more qualified than John McClane?:


Speaking of action movie mayhem,Matt Damon has a nice little franchise going here with yet another adaptation of Robert Ludlum's novels featuring Jason Bourne,the memorable spy plagued with memory loss. No complaints here,just keep them comin':


Despite the title,this is not a film set in a historical time period. Rather,it's about John Cusack checking into a legendary hotel room that has a one hour time limit before you're driven mad. No shocker that this is an adaptation of a Stephen King short story and it might be as darkly amusing as Secret Window was,with Johnny Depp at the helm. An extra bonus is Samuel L. Jackson as the hotel manager:


America's favorite girl detective is getting another revival as Emma Roberts brings her to life onscreen,with a very modern vibe that feels like old school Disney style. Keep your fingers crossed,this might be the surprise hit of the season:

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Heroes returns,Idol give back and Shear Genius gets to the long and the short of it

After a way too long hiatus(conviantly timed for the show to hit it's high points for May sweeps),Heroes is back and not only do we get the lowdown on Linderman's evil scheme, the Peter Vs. Sylar Faceoff is concluded,with round one seemingly to go to Sylar:

But it turns out that was much too soon to count Peter out,thanks to some last minute refereeing from Claire:

For all the folks who are eager to point out that Linderman's plot to create a diaster that will allow him and Nathan to take over the country is from Alan Moore's The Watchmen...we know,we know,guys. Look,Alan Moore took that idea from an Outer Limits episode and as far as diabolical schemes go,it's pretty classic. Heroes is supposed to name check the comic book cliches there,like Gilmore Girls has a qouta of movie/literary references to work into the dialogue. It's all good.

Poor Isaac didn't survive his Sylar encounter but I hope that next week's episode,which takes place in a future where MYC wasn't saved from destruction,will tie in those drawings that he entrusted to that fanboy courier. Also,that Hiro learns some swordplay from his future self..so awesome!

Shear Genius gave us two eliminations for the price of one,as Lacey was dismissed after failing to recreate the signature shag haircut demonstrated by Judge Sally Hershberger(she's the one who gave this 'do to Meg Ryan). Tyson wound up being the winner of the Shortcut Challenge,which not only gave him first pick of model for the upcoming elimination round but the power to decide in what order the rest of the contestants got to go in.

Lacey's cut wasn't bad,but it wasn't a shag and as Judge Sally pointed out,if you have a client come in with a photo of someone with the hairstyle they want,that's what you're supposed to give them. Lacey acknowledged that she took a risk there and paid for it the hard way.

Tyson's early victory appeared to go straight to his head,as he quizzed his fellow stylists about why he should choose them to go second. Tabatha didn't play at all with that sad ploy for attention and wound up being the last one in line. That worked out well for her,since she was one of the Top Three after a challenge to take a long hair cut into a short one,using their choice of such nontraditional cutting tools such as a box cutter,household scissors and hedge clippers.

The bravest stylist amongst them was Evangelin,who chose the hedge clippers,and who won the challenge,rightly so. It was amazing to watch her work with those huge blades,like seeing a daredevil act on a highwire trapeze. Kudos to her model for being such a good sport about the whole thing.

Theodore was sent home,after his haircut which didn't look like he did much of anything there,plus he used household scissors which are tricky but not as difficult as children's safety scissors(Tabatha)for example. Dr. Boogie wound up on the chopping block as well,for playing it safe. His slogan was"You gotta ride the line until it's your time to shine!". You might want to rethink that philosophy,buddy.

American Idol did their big charity riff this week,and while I appreciate the sentiment,that two hour results show was so unnesessary. If I want to see a telethon,I can wait for Labor Day and Jerry Lewis,thank you very much. I am glad that plenty of money was raised and hopefully,it will go to the folks who truly need it rather than the bureaucrats spooling out the red tape.

No one was kicked off the show,since it was a charitable event. That was fortunate for Blake,who earned himself a Sanjaya for his uncreative take on John Lennon's "Imagine". His rendition was so lame that if Yoko Ono was watching,she would turn around to the person next to her and remark"And they say I'm a bad singer!". I would've donated more money to make him stop ruining the song:



My girls were great as always,but I'm getting worried about Lakisha. She doesn't seem to be as on her game as she was when she first started. Jordin's got her eye on the prize(how cruel was it of Seacrest to make her think she was going to be eliminated last night? Not cool,Zeus!)and LaKisha needs to get back on track,pronto!




Random Notes

Bloodties: Vicki and Mike rescued Henry from the sanctimonious sadism of Mendoza,who looks like he won't be making a return to the show. Oh well,there are other ways of getting Henry to take his shirt off there:

Ugly Betty: I find it rude of Daniel to tell Betty to back off when his clubbing antics are about to get him an opening chapter in the upcoming tell-all book about the Meade family,but as soon as he's dumb enough to be blackmailed by a sleazy model mom who pratically pimped her underage daughter out to him,Daniel's all"Can I talk to Betty?". It's not the right way to treat a friend who is also an employee,seriously. Speaking of employer/employee relationships,Wilhelmina's determination to primp her feet to fuel Daddy Meade's fetish goes to quite the extreme:

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A bouquet of birthday clips

Tomorrow is my birthday and ,since I plan to take the day off from blogging, I thought it would be nice to gather together some birthday related clips for all to enjoy. Some of these may have very sketchy B-day connections but one can only do so much with what YouTube has to offer:

Bridget Jones' Literal Birthday Bash

This fight sequence is not in the Helen Fielding novel,but it is a high point of the film and perfect for my purposes. The fight starts at Bridget's birthday dinner,with the infamous blue soup,and winds up interrupting another birthday celebration at a nearby restaurant. Besides,what girl doesn't sort of like having two guys fighting over her,hmmm? Even if she winds up giving them what for,afterwards:

Paris Gives Rory The Gift of Her Own Good News

In this clip from Gilmore Girls,it's Rory's 21st birthday and all Paris can truly think of is her latest truimph,becoming editor of the Yale Daily News(a post she eventually loses,due to her newsroom reign of terror). Some of my fellow Buffy fans may recognize Paris' beau,Doyle,played by Danny Strong aka Jonathan. Nice to see him alive and well,altho dating Paris is riskier than dealing with Hellmouth spawn at times there:

Harry Potter and The Queen's Birthday Handbag

The cast of the latest Harry Potter film,Order of the Phoenix,performed a little skit for the Queen's 80th birthday party children's celebration. It's pretty cute
and what Ron finds in Neville's Grandmother's handbag is painfully funny:

Dorothy Trapped in Birthday Hell

I freely admit to enjoying the Golden Girls and any episode where the gals acted out old memories is usually fun. I love this bit from a birthday themed show,where Rose plans a birthday bash for Dorothy,who tries to be a good sport about the kiddie clown restaurant setting. The best part is when her birthday candle wish comes true:

Pacino and DeNiro Have a Heated Discussion

I share my birthday with Al Pacino,one of the best actors around. There are so many great film clips that showcase his talents but this scene from Michael Mann's brillant movie,Heat,in which he and Robert DeNiro face off onscreen for the first time in both their careers,is the best:

Ain't No Party Like a Shakespeare Party!

Yesterday was William Shakespeare's birthday,which is close enough to mine for me to claim it on my party list. One of the greatest things about Shakespeare's work is that it can be re-interpreted for new generations and yet still hold it's classic standards high. Speaking of high,watch how Romeo and his posse prep themselves for crashing the Capulet's party:

Gene Kelly Will Never Be Far Away

I thought it would be right to end this post with song and dance and who better than Gene Kelly can do justice to a closing number? One of the sweetest moments in Xanadu is this duet with Olivia Newton-John,a lovely tribute to romantic memories:

That's all folks...see you on Thursday,one year older and perhaps wiser.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Free Food For Millionaires turns out to be a costly banquet for all to enjoy

Free Food For Millionaires is a multi-character novel,the kind of narrative that most folks associate with writers like George Eliot,William Makepeace Thackerary and Anthony Trollope. It's no wonder than that the main heroine of the book,Casey Han,loves to reread classics like Middlemarch and Jane Eyre. Casey's not a literary scholar,however. Our story begins in 1993,after Casey has just graduated from Princeton but doesn't yet have a major life goal(meaning,a big career path)in mind. After a violent argument with her father,Casey seeks comfort from her current boyfriend,Jay Currie,who has the worst timing in the world to be in the middle of cheating on her.

Casey winds up reconnecting with Ella Shim,an old school acquiantance,who is about to marry Ted Kim,an obnoxious banker. Thru Ella and Ted,Casey finds another boyfriend,Unu, who shares Casey's carelessness with money. Casey has a taste for the upper class lifestyle(one of her shopping weaknesses is for hats) but not the money for it. She gets herself into various forms of debt;not just credit cards and student loans(for when she decides to give business school a try)but emotional as well,to people like Sabine,who is determined to mold Casey into her heir apparent to take over her chic clothing store.

Some of the early reviews of FFFM have compared it to Vanity Fair and Middlemarch but I see some Edith Wharton influences here as well. As Wharton was fond of doing,Free Food goes into the ins and outs of New York social circles and the unspoken rules that let you go up or send you down the ladder of success. The Korean American community,with it's mix of old world manners and morals against the younger generation's more modern ideals ,is deftly portraited and adds to the fullness of the story.

Another strong point of the book is the depth and roundness given to every character,not allowing even ones like Ted(who eventually breaks Ella's heart)who could easily be cardboard cutout villians to do so or seemingly minor characters like Casey's mother,Leah,whose gentle nature and beautiful singing voice takes her down a unexpected path,to just hover in the background. All are allowed their strengths and foibles,not to mention their chance to grow and change in their perspectives.

This is Min Jin Lee's first novel and I have to say,this doesn't read like one at all. FFFM reads more like the work of a seasoned pro at the top of her game. If you're looking for a smart,clever and engaging novel,Free Food For Millionaires is your Golden Ticket,folks. The book is due in stores on May 22(please click on the title link above for more info) and it should become the thinking woman's beach book of 2007. If not,I may need to find a hat to eat! To spare me this search and to enrich your own reading experience,do give Free Food For Millionaires a taste. It's a very filling feast for the soul.

Friday, April 20, 2007

On the Shelf with J. Wood

While I may not be a fan of Lost,it would be foolish of anyone interested in the pop culture scene to deny the strong impact the show has made upon television audiences,not only drawing in sci-fi followers but attracting a broad spectrum of viewers not only intrigued by the ongoing mysteries of the show but tuning into the many literary and cultural references that give Lost it's unique accent.

One of those folks exploring the pop culture signifigance of Lost is J.Wood,whose
Living Lost blog at Powell's Books website has earned him praise from Entertainment Weekly's Doc Jensen,calling him"the best Lost Blogger out there". His collection of essays on the show,Living Lost: Why We're All Stuck On The Island,came out early this year and looks like the go-to guide for insights on where the story may ultimately take it's faithful fans. Wood holds degrees from both the University of Wisconsin and Trinity College in Dublin,Ireland.He is currently working his PH.D in English at the University of Virginia,where he also teaches a course on media literacy.

I was fortunate enough to get a moment of his time,to discuss not only Lost but a few other observations on the pop culture/media scene:

1) What inspired you to blog about Lost?

The interest originally began in a media criticism class I taught at the University of Virginia. The first season had begun, and I'd not watched any of it, but knew about it. I suggested my students could write about how Lost was the first dramatic television series to be based on a reality TV show (only in the loosest sense). No one took me up on it; those who were watching said it was too complex. That summer when the first season DVD came out, there was a deal at a local video store; rent any new release and get a Lost disc for three nights free. I got the first disc, and within about four or five days, had been through the entire first season. I've done editing work for the Garrett County Press for some time, and the publisher contacted me about doing a book on Lost.

I was just on the project; we didn't know I'd write the book until I drafted out an intro as a kind of framework for a possible book which we'd look for someone to write. It turns out the folks at Powell's Books are fans of the show and they liked the book. They often have authors keep a blog for about a week when they write a new book. They tried something new with me – and I can't thank them enough for this; rather than blogging for a week, after each new episode, I'd write a blog column about that episode's literary, philosophical, historical and narrative links. We missed the six-episode miniseries at the beginning of this season (timing; the book wasn't out yet), but since then, I've been writing for every episode.

2) Did you share Stephen King's concerns about Lost being dragged out past the point of suspense of disbelief just to keep the ratings/revenue going?

Not so much, not anymore. I think it was a legitimate concern about a year, year and a half ago. King was right – no one wants to see this die an ignoble death like X-Files. The head writers/producers, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, have stated they had a definite beginning and end mapped out from the outset. How they got from A-Z was flexible, as long as they hit certain letters along the way. But they knew early on that this was a narrative, so it required an ending. And they had the examples of previously-failed series with a complex mythology to warn them. It's a demanding show to write and produce; even the actors want to see a clear end, so they can appropriately pace themselves for consistent performances and not burn out.

This year Cuse and Lindelof's contracts were up, so they've had some considerable pull as to how long this show can go on, and it looks like they're going to try to cap it at four seasons. The only people who weren't on the same page was the execs at ABC, but I think they don't want to be seen as the suits who killed a magnificent thing, and are starting to come around. They have to kill the golden goose, or it'll be worthless. Besides, the Cuse and Lindelof have also hinted that if ABC wants to extend it out past where they (the producers) think it should go, ABC can do it without them.

3) What do you think of shows that openly embrace pop culture references, like Gilmore Girls, Heroes and Veronica Mars?

It's a bit of a metanarrative. I've not seen Gilmore Girls or Veronica Mars – I'm a grad student and lucky to have the time to see Lost – but I've followed the phenomenon a bit. Television shows are by definition part of pop culture; television shows that embrace other elements of pop culture are starting a conversation that requires a certain kind and level of audience awareness in order for them to fully participate. In that sense, they're doing what literature has done for decades – creating a subtextual web of reference that serves as a kind of shorthand for creating meaning. Buffy the Vampire Slayer went as far as to have hip bands just playing in the local club where high school students hung out (I remember an episode where Cibo Matto was there in the background).

And that's great. What it does is reward a certain way of reading. I'm coming from an English lit background; I'm in the PhD program at the University of Virginia English program, and believe we're all always performing acts of reading, whether we realize it or not. Shows that actively embrace different elements of pop culture and work them into their narratives cultivate a kind of visual reading that is relatively new ground. It depends on what the shows do with whatever pop culture they're taking on; Seinfeld showing Superman on his shelf and making inside comments about DC comics is just a kind of surface level embrace that only gets you so far.

But take Heroes; it's clearly drawing on the comics form, but it takes it a few steps farther with establishing shots, shot sequences, and narrative moves derived from printed comics. And their use of the web to develop these intertextual themes is also something new; Heroes put out a web comic that develops the story through ancillary storylines (much like Battlestar Galactica's webisodes, or Lost's alternate reality game). In the final analysis, a contemporary viewer picking up on the X-Men subtext of Heroes or following the literary references in Lost isn't doing anything all that different than a reader who follows the Homer or Rabelais subtexts of Ulysses.

4) Which do you think is the lesser of two evils; reality lifestyle shows (The Osbournes, The Real Housewives of Orange County) or reality competition shows (Survivor, Project Runway)?

One is less evil than the other? If I'm ranking these, I'd say the lifestyle shows are less evil, if only because they're innocuous; there's nothing really at stake beyond voyeuristic entertainment, if you find that stuff entertaining. All reality shows are appealing to some part of audience vanity – the “this could be you” idea. The competition shows bring in a level of cut-throatness that just seems unnecessarily puerile. Let's face it, the only reason these shows got going and are anything like a success is because they're so easy to produce; there are no actors part of any guild, no Hollywood hassle, they're cheap to make, and you could produce them non-stop (isn't there a reality TV station on cable now?). But they also point to the bankruptcy of creativity in television.

This is one of the reasons why I think narrative shows like Lost and Heroes and a handful of others are proving to be such a success now; they're filling the creativity gap reality TV left. We'll see how long that lasts; the one thing that tends to happen is that once network execs catch up with the success of such shows, they'll try to get their fingers into them in order to make more money out of more shows that match a certain model, and that leads to a stifling of creativity. (Interestingly, the ABC exec who first greenlighted Lost wanted to do a show that was a mix of Survivor and Cast Away; no one had any idea what it would turn into, but that was because J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof got as much control over the story as possible from the outset.)

5) Who is your favorite character on Lost and why?

That's a hard question, because it changes about every three episodes (which is a testament both to the writing and the acting). Very few of these characters are flat. And as the third season has developed, so has the acting. One of the features of Lost is thinking you may know what's going on, and then being whiplashed around in a new narrative move that was being set up right in front of you without you being able to parse it. The actors themselves are only a couple of scripts ahead of the audience, so they're as much in the dark as we are. What their challenge has been – and it's a challenge they've lived up to – is to convey the sense of partial-confusion and partial-awareness necessary to make the narrative work. They've reached a point this season where their characters are now inscrutable; the scenes between Locke and Ben in “The Man from Tallahassee” were extraordinary.

Elizabeth Mitchell has ramped up her characterization in the same way, and so has Josh Holloway and Jorge Garcia; when you watch these characters' faces, there's about six things going on at once, and it's nearly impossible to pick out which “thing” is the right one.

On a strictly gut-level reaction, there's a few characters I dig. Mr. Eko was great for the mystery and depth he brought. In some ways, he reminded me of a kind of counterpoint to the Judge from Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian. Locke is such a tragic sap, with such an awful story, that he's of inherent interest, and the more we get to know about him, the less we really know. That creepy smile in the pilot episode with the orange in his mouth said it all. Ben is a fantastic mastermind; following his character is like playing a game of chess, and trying to second-guess Ben and his motives has become a fun online pastime. I'm intrigued by Desmond, in part because he's become a walking, talking philosophical experiment in free will vs. determinism vs. compatibilism. And lately Hurley's character is proving to be a jokey, cuddly counterpart to Ben – he can be just as manipulative and calculating, but doesn't thrust himself into any leadership roles, which is interesting.

6) Do you think that media literacy has gotten better or worse during this past decade?

I'm going to try to keep this relatively short, because this is something I designed a course around. First, in general, I think it's worse. A functional democracy goes off the rails without a functioning media and an audience that can critically interpret that media. Despite the explosion of media in the past thirty years, our critical faculties haven't caught up. And I think there's a reason for it: In the early 1980's, Reagan deregulated media. It used to be that every radio station was federally mandated to have a news department if they wanted a license. The TV networks were required to have top and bottom of the hour news breaks, and certain areas of news had to be covered. The local nightly news was an hour long. This was all to keep the populace as well-informed as possible, and it implicitly demanded an understanding of how to interpret information that was transmitted via the different media at hand (television, radio, print).

When the deregulation hit, radio stations no longer needed to keep a news department, and the vast majority were axed. The regular news breaks ended. Local news was cut from an hour to about 7 minutes of news, 12 minutes of sports and weather, and some lifestyle fluff. In effect, news media was forced to compete with commercial entertainment media, and the two began to merge. At that point, our media literacy started to slip. You don't need to look far to see how the two have collapsed into each other; the paternity of Anna Nicole Smith's baby overtook any media regarding one of the most important constitutional crises since Watergate, the prosecutor firings. If the market decides what media we'll have, and they've decided that celebrity gossip deserves more coverage and resources than a constitutional crisis, that doesn't say much about that market's media literacy nor how the media frames its stories. But that's a broad generalization; if that were true all the time, there'd be no Daily Show or Colbert Report.

That said, there's some places where media literacy has jumped exponentially, and that's with the community jacked into the web. New forms of media have emerged, and the jacked-ins understand it because they're developing it – maybe not writing the code, but finding new purposes for that code. The recent Youtube Hillary Clinton/1984/Obama video is a good example; it drew on the Apple ad, the 1984 theme, conflated it with current politics, and with a simple shot of a T-shirt made a broader political statement out of that context. That gained traction because people understood how to read it.

And the jacked-ins are a savvier audience; the typical news and advertisement presentations of the past 50 years just don't cut it with them. David Foster Wallace writes about the problem of people having their interpretations determined for them, rather than people getting to develop their own interpretations. The jacked-ins want to develop their own opinions, and don't get easily suckered by people or groups trying to manufacture opinions for them. And now the mainstream press is slouching, year by year, into that online space. They don't really get it right, not yet. The media terms are altered online. Just look at what happened with John McCain's MySpace page – you don't bring a stiff, family-values political campaign to a virtual wall of graffiti and expect not to get tagged. So there are media illiterates online, but they're generally not the ones creating content and development by adopting new forms of media for new purposes. Brave new world, baby.

7) What is your favorite TV character/show?

That's hard to say. Until Lost, I really didn't watch too much TV because I'm in grad school and just generally crunched for time. Watershed shows, for me, were Northern Exposure and X-Files. I'm generally always impressed with South Park and The Daily Show/Colbert Report material, but that stuff is red meat for a media cynic. My guilty pleasures are Good Eats (that guy, Alton Brown, did some of the early REM videos, and I love how he approaches cooking like hacking), and I'm a pushover for those quickly-produced hyper-nerdy documentaries on some of the geekier cable stations.

My thanks to J. Wood for his time and if you'd like to check out his Lost blog at Powell's,please click the title link above. You can get a copy of Living Lost from Powell's Books or directly from Garrett County Press by visiting www.gcpress.com .

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Shear Genius has a blonde moment,Bloodties and American Idol is now a Sanjaya-free zone!

The Short Cut challenge on Shear Genius this week had the stylists taking manniquin heads with black hair and turning them into blondes(level 8,to be precise)within two hours. Anyone who has even attempted highlights knows the difficulty of this feat but it was somewhat possible. Tabatha won the SC and didn't swear once during it(she still dresses ubergoth,tho). That gave her first pick of model in the elimination challenge,which was to create a Celebrity Dream hairstyle for a client,making it suitable and flattering to that person.

Atleast two of the stylists got hung up on trying to duplicate the platinium blonde locks of the celebs their clients wanted and didn't really style the hair in front of them. Daisy kept rattling on so much to her client about how hard it would be to give Christina Aguilera hair(she was hoping to give her a Marcia Cross look,which the final product resembled)that she barely had time to do the color. Jim's model wanted Gwen Stefani and her hair came out a carroty orange flopmop. He didn't style it at all,which is what a Gwen Stefani look is,the styling. Jim wound up turning in his scissors at the end(I like Jaclyn Smith's send-off line"You've made your final cut". Not bad,beats that lame Adler line from Top Design).

Anthony was the big winner here,with his Carmen Electra look that flattered his model client nicely. It's too soon to pick someone to root for at this point but I was impressed by Dr. Boogie,who during the Short Cut challenge made his model head a bright blue and yet figured out how to get it back to a respectable blonde. Quite a comeback there! The only stylist who truly annoys me is Lacey,she just seems real dippy to me.

We have a cliffhanger on Bloodties this week,as Mike lets his jealousy get the best of him by setting up Henry to be snagged by not-so-good guy Mendoza(Julian Sands). Let me get this straight,Mike,you've been tracking vampire murders to get the goods on Henry,going back over fifty years yet some mysterious man pops up,claiming to "work for the church" and needs you to slap a nasty medallion on Henry's chest and you don't even make a phone call to vertify his ID? Great detective work there,buddy! No wonder that you still need to consult Vicki on your cases:

I like it that Henry isn't all Angel-angsty about his vampire kills,but does seem to care about people despite what he says. Also,Coreen's gung-ho attitude towards her work is fun but I wonder where that's going to lead her later on. This show is no Buffy but I'm having a good time with it,nonetheless.

Speaking of good times,Sanjaya has finally sung his Song of Shame and will no longer torture us with his horrifying hair styles,YEAH! Thank TPTB,because after his butchering of Bonnie Raitt's "Something To Talk About",I wanted to talk about buying earplugs for the next show. He so ruined the song,it was like listening to an eunuch. Let's do a last compare and contrast of Sanjaya and His Amazing Head of Hair:



Country Night wasn't too bad,especially for my ladies. LaKisha being in the Bottom Three worried me(I didn't think she was screaming towards the end of her song)but thank goodness,the voters kept her in.




Random Notes

America's Next Top Model: I've been watching ANTM steady for the past few weeks and it seems to me that Natasha is becoming a major contender in this competition. Last night in the CoverGirl commericial challenge,she was the only one to do well and pull off a decent Aussie accent(quite a trick for someone whose english is still a little creaky)to boot! Her photo shoots have improved too and even with her mini drama attacks,she doesn't let that get in the way of her work.

Brittany's whimpering over her short term memory probelm got to be truly grating. If you have something like that to deal with in your life,you have to find a way to make that adjustment work for and not against you. As Miss J said,there is no sympathy or empathy in the real world for that(oh,and The Soup should be thrilled with that whole Tyra in the kangaroo suit bit-makes up for the loss of Sanjaya there,I hope).

Smallville: Finally,some new episode goodness and the good news is that we've got a Wonder Woman sighting! Lynda Carter guest stars as Chloe's mom,Moira,who has some meteor freak powers that attract the attention of Lex. Oh,that Luthor boy,what hijinks will he get into next?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A hoe-down all of us gals can appreciate

American Idol went country last night,with the help of Martina McBride. While I won't be getting into who did well(Melinda) and who did not(Sanjaya...who else?)until the Thursday Tv wrap-up,this theme reminded me of country songs that I have enjoyed over the years that nimbly leaped the divide between C&W and Pop. So,without further delay,folks:


I first heard this Charlie Daniels Band tune back in ye olde days,before MTV,when you had to imagine for yourself what story the song was telling. This tale is pretty classic,good vs. evil,with some hot fiddle playing and a happy ending. Primus did a cover version of TDWDTG a while back but I prefer the original,which is nicely animated in this clip:

9 To 5

Dolly Parton is almost like a human version of a Muppet(this is a compliment,trust me),only ten times sweeter. With her platinum wigs,tendancy towards glittery outfits and a personality more bubbly than champagne,Dolly is a true pop culture creation. How many other entertainers out there have their very own themepark named after them? Her forays into movie acting have been a mixed bag but the film 9 to 5 is still considered one of the best office worker comedies around. Her theme song for the film is right up there with Donna Summers' "She Works Hard (for the money)" as a working
women's anthem:


Before Olivia Newton-John got all Greased up and found her way to Xanadu,she had a few hit songs on the country charts. One of the best known ones is this sad little ditty that has her begging a fella not to play a certain tune on the jukebox:


Even I can't resist the juggernaut that is Shania. Gotta admit that she's at her best when she gets in sassy mode with her songs. Bonus points for rocking the leopard print suit there,without looking tacky:


When the Sissy Spacek biopic of Loretta Lynn was released,I was abit of a Lynn head for awhile. I even read Loretta's autobiography and thought she was one of the coolest people on earth. She still is pretty cool and the classic title tune is still an all time favorite,even to non-country fans:

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Tale of Two Maries

I finally got to watch Sophia Coppola's version of Marie Antoinette over the weekend and while it was enjoyable,I couldn't help but compare it to the 1938 film that starred Norma Shearer as Marie. Both movies have their plues and minues and would make a great double feature,however it did feel as if one film had something that the other didn't and like chocolate and peanut butter,two great tastes would make a MA film better.

So,let's begin with the earlier film-Norma Shearer was the wife of MGM studio head Irving Thalberg when this movie got the nod to be made,so ten to one,she knew alittle something about being the most talked wife in high society. Like the later Coppola movie,this film is based on a MA biography but pretty does it's own thing.
Marie's whole life,from her being chosen to marry Louis XVI to awaiting her execution at the gulliotine,is portraited.

Robert Morley plays Louis and I was surprised to discover that it was his film debut. Morley's one of those English actors who looks as if he's been around forever and is brilliantly amusing and touching as Marie's childlike but loyal husband.

Tyrone Power gets most of the romantic moments here,as Marie's true love Count Fersen,and the chemistry between them is pretty hot and heavy. You almost can't blame the poor girl for wanting to hook up with him. They have one great scene where Fersen begs Marie to run off with him and you actually feel a little tension,despite knowing the history-will she or won't she?

The 1938 film was Gone With The Wind in length and was nominated for several Oscars,including Best Actress for Shearer,Best Supporting Actor for Morley and Best Art Direction. The film has a great opulent look to it and the costumes are lovely,even if they're obvious Hollywood overdone creations. The only real fault that I can find with the movie is the melodramatic tone given to the plot,with such lines as "I cannot wear a crown upon my heart" and "Perhaps the great loves come with tears. " It's a bit soap opera-y at times,but still worth a viewing.

The first impression that you get from the 2006 Marie Antoinette film is "Wow,that look gorgeous!" The visuals are well orchestrated here,from the clothes to the food to the background colors that highlight the glossy world in which Marie and her friends and foes dwelled in. Coppola shows the tightly knit boundaries that kept the royals from knowing the true world outside the glittering fairyland of Versailles that had it's own special landmines. The frustrations of Marie's life,particularly to get pregnant by a man who didn't have clue one about sex(this movie was able to be more forthcoming about that than the earlier one could even think of),as well as her need to relieve the boredom of her days is nicely expressed by Kirsten Dunst.

I know plenty of people objected to some of the modern touches Sophia Coppola threw in,like using contemporary music for the soundtrack but she really makes it work. Here's a great scene,set to Bow Wow Wow's "I Want Candy":

My only beef here is that the movie comes off like a visual scrapbook of Marie's life. The right historical marks are hit(Marie's arrival to France,having to speak to Madame Du Barry in court,the whole"let them eat cake" bit)altho some are totally ignored(no mention of the affair of the necklace,other than Marie saying she wants to give up diamonds for the poor)and the final end of her life is vaguely alluded to.

Well,that's not my only beef-I found Jason Schwartzman to be an inadequate Louis XVI. He's really stiff and stilted and while I know Louis was not Mr. Personality by any means,compared to Robert Morley's much more nuanced performance,Schwartzman is blander than vanilla pudding with a Cool Whip topping served on wafer cookies. Jamie Dornan,who plays Count Fersen,doesn't make much of an impression either.

After watching both Marie flicks,I really think it's time that there was a revival of interest in Madame Du Barry,the notorious last mistress of Louis XV. There have been film versions of her story before(Delores Del Rio played her in 1934)and even the anime film,Rose of Versailles,gives her some attention. Take a look at these Du Barry clips and see if you don't agree that this is another historical lady worth a brand new book/film of her own:

1934's Shady Lady

The Thorn of the Rose of Versailles

Asia Argento's Amorous Approach

Monday, April 16, 2007

Make this spring the Season of the Witch

Gabriel Blackthorne is a first class computer hacker for hire living and working in London,but his true talents lie in the not-so tangible psychic realm. Formerly a Remote Viewer(telepath)who used his powers in a secret government run agency until his hubris caused the death of a young woman,Gabriel gets a call from a wealthy
man,William Whittington who wants him to find his missing son,Robbie.

Gabriel is reluctant at first,but it turns out that the one who recommended him for this job is Frankie,an old lover and fellow RV who is the second Mrs. Whittington. Frankie convinces Gabriel to help reunite father and son,especially important since the father is dying. The only real clue they have to Robbie's disappearance is his recent and deep association with the Monk sisters,Minnaloushe and Morrighan.

Gabriel gets involved with the Monk ladies to find out not only what happened to Robbie but what strange"game" they played with him(and intended to have Gabriel join them in as well). Turns out that these women are not just bored ladies of leisure,they are incredibly intelligent and are honing their memory skills to a fine point. They can not only recite word for word text from books they haven't read since high school,both sisters are involved in creating a "memory palace",with the ulitmate goal being to seek total knowledge of the universe. Considering themselves to be modern day alchemists following in the footsteps of their ancestor,mage John Dee,their search for enlightenment becomes a deadly one.

Gabriel is torn,not only between the two sisters but in either solving the mystery of what became of Robbie but in discovering more about the mental/spiritual quest of the Monks. The stakes get even greater when it turns out one of the sisters is a RV who may be more powerful than Gabriel was back in his glory days. Also,he's been reading the computer diary written by one of the sisters who's clearly in love with him but who is it,Minnaloushe or Morrighan? Even if he figures that out,what if his new love is also a killer?

This might seem like a very long and drawn out story from my description but never you worry,Mostert tells her tale in just the right length and breath,nimbly discussing and imparting elaborant ideas and theories about the Art of Memory and the history of alchemy without overloading the reader. Also,she creates clever and challenging characters who are not only drawn in by their own desires but lure you into "slamming the ride" with them into the many questions and answers that await you with each absorbing chapter.

Mostert has written several other books but I think that Season of the Witch may be the one that gets her the big league recognition that she richly deserves. I was inspired by SOTW to find another one of her novels,WindWalker,and if you would like to know more about Nastasha Mostert and her works,please click the title link above to check out her official website that also has a Memory Game for folks to play.

Season of the Witch will be out in stores by April 19 and if you're looking for a lush,vibrantly romantic supernatural read,go no further. Mostert delivers all of that and so much more.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Is The Road worth traveling on with Oprah?

For Easter this year,I treated myself to a copy of Cormac McCarthy's The Road instead of jelly beans and a chocolate bunny. Quite a different taste from the usual springtime sweets McCarthy's prose leaves on my mental tongue(bizarre image there,I know). Yes,my book choice was influenced by Oprah,who finally decided to select current fiction again for her book club,but also,this was a good opportunity for me to see what all the fuss is about when it comes to McCarthy and his books.

For years now,the praises of Cormac McCarthy have been sung by numerous critics and fans as diverse as Harold Bloom and Stephen King. McCarthy's books have been nominated for and won various awards such as The National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. A tad intimidating to the first time reader,but hey,worth a shot there. I didn't see the film version of All The Pretty Horses but perhaps I'm better off for that,given the harsh critical rain that fell upon the movie.

So,what is the book about? The story is set in our world after some sort of end of civilization as we know event has occured(there are hints that there's some kind of nuclear winter going on). A father and son(no names given,they're only known as "the man" and"the boy")are traveling across country on what appears to be a main highway. All of their meager possessions and supplies are pushed around in an old shopping cart and as they search for food and shelter on a daily basis,they avoid contact with other humans like the plague. Since most of their fellow survivors are prone to violence and are practicing cannibals,that's a pretty good idea.

Sounds cheerful,doesn't it? Oprah's picked some sad stuff before but I think this beats most of her usual fare hands down in the misery department. Check out this slice of sorrow:

"When he woke in the woods in the dark and the cold of the night he'd reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him. Nights dark beyond darkness and the days more gray each one than what had gone before. Like the onset of some cold glaucoma dimming away the world.

His hand rose and fell softly with each precious breath. He pushed away the plastic tarpaulin and raised himself in the stinking robes and blankets and looked toward the east for any light but there was none. In the dream from which he'd wakened he had wandered in a cave where the child led him by the hand. Their light playing over the wet flowstone walls. Like pilgrims in a fable swallowed up and lost among the inward parts of some granitic beast. Deep stone flues where the water dripped and sang. Tolling in the silence the minutes of the earth and the hours and the days of it and the years without cease.

Until they stood in a great stone room where lay a black and ancient lake. And on the far shore a creature that raised its dripping mouth from the rimstone pool and stared into the light with eyes dead white and sightless as the eggs of spiders. It swung its head low over the water as if to take the scent of what it could not see. Crouching there pale and naked and translucent, its alabaster bones cast up in shadow on the rocks behind it. Its bowels, its beating heart. The brain that pulsed in a dull glass bell. It swung its head from side to side and then gave out a low moan and turned and lurched away and loped soundlessly into the dark."

Now,I wouldn't think the less of anyone who didn't want to go on with the book after that or most of this but I'm compelled to. Why? Well,simply this-I want to see what happens next. I've read alot of novels in many genres over the years and can spot the typical story cliches and plot points pretty well by now. I don't look down on those old stand-bys,rather I wave to them like old friends and neighbors(unless the book stinks but that's a whole other kettle of fish)as I read on. With The Road,some of these sights are familar but there's alot of new territory being laid out here that bears exploring.

McCarthy's been compared to William Faulkner(another Oprah favorite) and Faulkner's a writer that I can't get into,mainly because he uses run-on sentences. Artistic liscense is fine with me but you gotta give me a comma or a period once in awhile. My eyes feel like they're being hit by a runaway truck or a death proof car with an endless rope of words. Fortunately,McCarthy doesn't seem to do that here. His prose is solidly built like a house meant to last for generations.

At the moment,I'm on page 141 of the paperback and intend to ride out The Road until the bitter or not so bitter end. I don't know if I'll like what I find at the finish but as they say,it's about the journey,not the destination.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Top Design ends,Shear Genius sets up shop and Sanjaya is safe again,curses!

Matt and Carisa went head to head in the final Top Design challenge,which was to design a 17 foot loft in downtown L.A. with a budget of over 162,000 and two months to work on the floor plan,plus five days for their carpenters and crew to put it all together. Also,the client they were supposed to be creating this space for turned out to be themselves.

With such huge blank canvases to work with,Carisa and Matt had quite a time getting everything ready. Both of them had to deal with similar obstacles,such as going over their alloted budgets,moving materials up to the lofts(it was neccessary to carry stuff up several flights of stairs,due to the bulkiness)and worrying about the extra hired hands. Carisa and Carl even managed not to squabble too much-a miracle of the gods-especially when the paint from Carisa's black wooden floor kept peeling up after the crew was removing the protective covering from it. It was repairable but she should've gotten wood that was properly refurnished there.

Regardless,I fell in love with Carisa's loft. She decided to go for a black and white motif,which made me worry at first but she pulled it off. The place was light and airy,with sleek surfaces and a pleasing tone thru out. Carisa said she wanted a loft like the one Tom Hanks had in Big and while I didn't see a big keyboard(yes,I know that wasn't in the loft in the film,no complaints please!),it did feel like a playground for the modern single gal.

My favorite part of Carisa's place was the bedpit she had,with a great window view. It looked so cool and inviting,like a sophiscated version of an I Dream Of Jeanie lounging area. I wish I had something like that in my house...then again,I might not get out of bed if I did!

Matt's loft was concieved as a family dwelling and the princess room for his four year old daughter was lovely. His whole design was alittle tighter than Carisa's but he did add touches of warmth with elegant family photos and small but chic pops of color within the space. In some ways,it's really hard to compare and contrast both lofts since one was meant for a single person and the other for a family. The different needs for each don't mesh together well.

Matt wound up being the winner,even with the judges wishing that the adult bedroom was as warmly hued as the bathroom was. Carisa took her loss well,saying it was better this way since Matt"would've been devastated." Too true and frankly,Matt's whole attitude was getting on my last nerve. He seesawed between"If I don't win,I'm going to kill myself/rob a bank" or"I can't lost to a student!/Was there any doubt about who would win? Really?". I think alot of the judges' praise of him went right to his head towards the end there. Oh well,atleast it's all over and we can move on..

...to Bravo's next competition show,Shear Genius! So far,the format is very Project Runway/Top Chef in style with a "Shortcut" challenge to showcase the signature cut of the stylists and then an elimination challenge,which was to create hair art this week. I adored Daisy's version of Marie Antonette's wedding day,it was so amazing! As host Jaclyn Smith said,that did not look like it was done in only two hours.

Theodore won the challenge with his "hidden treasure' look(the box actually opens up to reveal the booty within)and I had my doubts about his idea but the risk paid off there.

The first stylist to be snipped was Paul-Jean,for this hideous hair-don't that I swear I've seen in a bad music video somewhere(those all blend together after awhile). So far,the two contestants that will wind up getting hot spots on E!'s The Soup will be Dr. Boogie,who loves to literally pat himself on the shoulder repeatedly,and Tabatha,who dresses like one of the Witches of Eastwick and repeatedly loves to utter her personal mantra(I'm assuming) which is "F--k you!" Good time a-coming,folks,good times!

Sanjaya not only survived another round of American Idol this week but he also managed not to be the worst singer on Performance night. Most of the contestants didn't take to Latin Night very well but Sanjaya was the only one to sing in Spanish passibly well. However,that facial hair of his does make him look alot like DeBarge. See for yourself:



The Sanjaya Singing Award goes to Haley Hotpants,who wore out her welcome with all that shaking and shimmying that Simon called her on. Haley also sang the Song of Shame as she was sent home after a really long results show. Fox,I know you guys want to keep the ratings for that hour but give us a break here! A half hour is just fine and dandy.



Next week's theme is country,with Martina McBride as the guest mentor. JLo was okay,I guess but her bangles were more interesting than what she had to say to the contestants. Sanjaya goes country..*shudder*...let's look at my ladies for some hope:




Random Notes:

TAR/All Stars: A Yield came up during this last leg and the Beauty Queens used it on Eric and Danielle,prompting Eric to call them"dirty pirate hookers". I can think of alot of names to call those two but dirty pirate hookers doesn't spring to my mind. Turns out it's an Anchorman reference(which is embarassing that I didn't know it,since I not only saw that movie but have it on DVD. Then again,my favorite scene was the newsteam street rumble). Eric and Danielle have now sworn to be the official enemies of the BQs but I suspect that those gals can take down Eric just as handily as Veronica did Ron Burgundy did here:

Uchenna and Joyce wound up being Philiminated due to a missed plane change which gave all the other teams ample time to check in before they even arrived. Too bad,but they did win TAR on their first time out,so no harm,no fowl.

The Riches: Wayne and Dahlia decide to give in to Ginny's demands that her brother Ken marry Didi after the sneaky bitch finds them living the Buffers' life in Eden Falls. Guys,this is so not a good plan;not only does Didi have her eye on someone else but Ken is a prime example of what Carlos Mencia calls a"Dee Dee Dee". This may be just a stalling tactic but Ma and Pa Malloy better come up with a solution right quick because Didi doesn't strike me as the type to meekly go along with an arranged marriage,family ties or no family ties.

The Office: With Smallville and Ugly Betty still in reruns,I'll be able to catch more of The Office,which is good since Andy is now coming back to the show. Last week's Jim/Roy confrontation was damn funny,particularly since Dwight seemed to get some of that pepper spray on himself there:

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Flash Gordon back in action on SciFi Channel

The SciFi Channel is planning a new Flash Gordon TV series and has already tapped Smallville alum Eric Johnson as their leading man. How good or bad this show will be is pretty much up for grabs. Movie and television versions of Alex Raymond's comic strip space hero have waxed and waned over the years but Flash still holds a strong
place in the hearts of many sci fi fans,myself included.

My dad first introduced me to Flash,when I was a kid. He had my brother and I watch the old Buster Krabbe serials that PBS used to play on the weekends(wish someone showed those programs again). When the Alex Raymonds strips were reprinted by Kitchen Sink Press several years ago,my dad bought a few volumes to add to his huge art and artisty home reference library(still have volume one on hand). Raymond's panoramic visuals and keen eye for details inspired my father,along with the classic hero seeking justice and allies against tyranny storyline that has persisted in the FG universe. Flash was and is,an All American hero:

When the big screen film version of Flash came out in 1980,we eagerly made our way to NYC to catch it(in fact,the three of us-my dad,my brother and me-saw Raging Bull that day as well. Not your average double feature there). Even tho the movie was incredibly goofy,Max Von Syndow ruled as Emperor Ming the Merciless. Along with Brian Blessed as Vultan,great godawful lines like"No! Not the bore worms!" and of course,the brilliant music by Queen,Flash Gordon increased his pop culture status with this campy cult flick:




There's also been several animated FG shows,the last one appearing in 1996. I recall watching the Filmations one made in the late seventies,which used the look of the early Alex Raymond strips the best:

So,will this new take on Flash be a help or a hinder to the legend? It's been long enough since Flash,Dale Arden and Dr. Zarkov took us to Mongo that everything old will be new again. Atleast it's not Flesh Gordon that folks want to revive(and no,I've never watched the porn version and never will.) Hopefully,Flash will inspire yet another generation to bring more sci-fi fantasy to life.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Halloween: The night the remake came home

One of the real movie trailers shown with Grindhouse this weekend was for the remake of the 70's horror classic,Halloween,directed by Rob Zombie(who also directed one of the fake Grindhouse trailers,Werewolf Women of the SS). The studio's PR is claiming that this is not a simple remodeling of the original film but a "re-imagining" of the story,like they've done with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre,The Hills Have Eyes,etc.

I like Rob Zombie,he's a weird cool guy-the type we need making movies today. However,I do wish that his talent and skills would be focused on something else rather than yet another retread of a film that's already been done right the first time and whose only real purpose for being is to rake in some more cash for the studio coffers. I'd rather see him make Werewolf Women of the SS or anything else than this. The trailer does look good,have to admit it:

Zombie has a great eye for capturing the grimy roadhouse look and feel of a place that jacks up the tension for the horrors he unleashs,which is mainly the evil that men and women do to each other. I get why guys like him want to direct these remakes,it's a chance for them to pay tribute to the movies that inspired them. Cool,but what are we,the audience getting out of this? True,there are many that haven't seen the originals and may even check them out after taking a gander at the shiny new versions,but how many fresh and new ideas are being put aside and held back to keep pumping these sure-to-be money makers into the multiplexes?

Here's the Werewolf Women trailer,to compare and contrast:

There's more remake mania on the way,with the likes of Prom Night and Motel Hell being slated for early next year. The only remake that might actually be worth a look at is I Am Legend,the third version of Richard Matheson's novel to be filmed. Then again, IAL is said to be more in tune with Charlton Heston's The Omega Man(which was the first remake),so I may have spoken too soon there:

I guess as long as there's money to be made,these remakes will keep popping up like pimples on the horror scene. It would be nice if someone tried to remake a movie that didn't work the first time out and improve on it,like Deadly Friend,Queen of the Damned or even this vampire comedy that was redeemed by an excellant TV series:

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Top Ten Things That I Learned at The Grindhouse

While the Tarantino/Rodriguez double feature Grindhouse didn't rule the box office roost this weekend(never underestimate the power of Will Ferrell on skates),atleast it made more do-re-mi than The Reaping and is in the top five. The movie was still a good time had by all and perhaps will climb even higher on the charts. It'll definately be a must-own DVD,that's for sure.

So,without further ado,here are a few of the life lessons that you can learn from Planet Terror,Death Proof and the various coming attractions showcased only at the
Grindhouse(viewer discretion is advised):

10) It's go-go,not cry-cry!

9) Someday,we'll all find a use for our useless talents.

8) If you hire Machete to kill the bad guys,make damn sure the bad guy isn't you!

7) Let me tell you about my needle friends;the yellow one is to make you numb. The blue one is to take the sting away and by the time you get to the red,you'll never see me again.

6) A machine gun leg comes in real handy when you need to clear a path for your fellow survivors to get aboard the escape helicopter.

5) If you're thinking of seeing the move Don't alone.....DON"T!!!!!!!!!

4)This Thanksgiving,come home for the holidays...in a body bag!

3)Never confuse a Kiwi with an Aussie,unless you want your ass kicked.

2) Do you know what happens to motherf**kers who carry knives? They get shot!

1) This car is a hundred percent death proof,only to get the benefit of it,honey,you really need to be sitting in his seat!