Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Friday, September 29, 2006

This Hard Candy takes a bite out of you.

Hard Candy's first scene is silent yet filled with dialogue;we watch an internet chat between Lensman319 and Thonggrrl14 who shamelessly flirt with each other and wind up agreeing to meet in public. At the meet-up,Lensman319 is revealed to be Jeff,(Patrick Wilson)a fashion photographer who is not too surpised to see that his date is Hayley(Ellen Page),a 14 year old girl who looks even younger and seems to be a typical giddy teenager who thinks she's too smart to hang out with kids her own age.

When Jeff allows himself to be convinced by Hayley to take her back to his home,warning bells go off and as you watch the two of them alone in an isolated house that's decorated with pics of underage models,mixing up screwdrivers and starting up an inpromptu photo session,waiting for the other shoe to drop gets nervewracking but when it does,no one is more shocked than Jeff.

Seems that Hayley is not just some innocent little miss and that Jeff's taste for young girls is more perverse than we suspect. As the two of them face off,it's hard to tell which one is the more dangerous or telling the truth about anything. The story plays out like a great theaterical piece;adapting it to the stage would be easier than pie. Director David Slade keeps the action focused on the actors and leaves certain aspects of the drama vague,which increases the tension and lets us get more drawn into the characters.

Ellen Page(best known as Kitty Pryde in "X-Men:The Last Stand")gives an explosive performance that seers into your movie memory. She has Hayley doing emotional twists and turns with the grace of an Olympic gymnast. The chemistry between her and Patrick Wilson is one of the best acting duets I've seen since Kathy Bates put a hurtin' on James Caan in Misery.

Hard Candy is now out on DVD and I urge you to get to either your video store or Netflix queque to see a great example of what true horror can be.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Gilmore Girls,Dexter and The Final Four twist on Project Runway

First off,I'm happy to say that my girl Uli finally won a challenge,yah! She was smart to completely re-do her dress after seeing how too loosey-goosey it was. It was rather vexing for her to have snatched up Nazri from Michael but hey,thems the brakes,people!

The big twist was that all four contestants got to go to Fashion Week,even the evil Jeffrey. His dress looked awful-Heidi rightly called it a milkmaid outfit. The Final Four,as part of the challenge,were supposed to select three words that defined their style. Jeffrey's words were "provocative,irreverent and romantic". Romantic? Maybe it's me but if that lame pseudo Snow White/Bo Peep combo nightie number is his idea of romantic,I pity his girlfriend on Valentine's Day.

Next week is the Big Reunion show,with Keith making an appearance to bitch about being kicked out. Aww,poor baby-cheaters never prosper and whiners are worse!

Gilmore Girls made it's seventh season debut this week,with Lorelai trying to make a clean break of things with Luke and Rory already pining for Logan(guys named Logan are trouble-just ask Veronica Mars!)who left her a rocketship as a parting gift. Cute,but some flowers with that model toy would've been nice,buddy! I know many of the longtime fans are ready to give up on the show after a rocky Season 6 ,plus the original creators of GG,Amy Sherman-Palladino and husband Daniel have flown the coop.

But,guys,the show needs you now more than ever! Give the new people a chance-they're cleaning up the debris left by last year's bunch and it's not like that last season of Roseanne,where the Connors won the lottery and had zany adventures that turned out to be only a grief induced dream(what crap-I can't even watch the reruns of those shows on Nick at Nite)that the widow Roseanne wrote up as a book! There are some good funny moments,like Sookie whupping Michel in arm wrestling,Paris becoming an SAT prep tutor("a dream to some...a nightmare to OTHERS!"-name that movie qoute!)and Kirk screwing up another one of Taylor's needless improvements.

I'm going to stick around,since I've never watched a fresh season of GG. Also,I have to see how the Richard and Emily stuff is done in order to make a clear decision about how this season is going to be. If the new crew can pull off a Friday Night Dinner,I think things will be just fine.

Showtime will be airing a sinister new series in October called Dexter,about a blood splatter expert who hunts down serial killers and slaughters them in his spare time. Seems that his foster dad,who was also a cop,caught on to his boy's natural tendancies early on and steered him towards using his abilities only on those who deserved it. The series is based on Jeff Lindsey's novel,Darkly Dreaming Dexter.

Even if,like me,you don't have Showtime,you can still watch the premiere episode online by clicking the title link above(the password is "sneakpeak"). Six Feet Under's Michael C. Hall plays the lead and Julie Benz(Darla from Buffy/Angel)is his emotionally damaged girlfriend with two kids that Dexter adores. It's a well done wild ride that made me stay up late last night,reading the book to find out what happens. Dexter looks like a winner-wish Showtime did more shows like that than Weeds and Huff.

Random Notes:

Nip/Tuck: One thing about this show is that it's never boring. Just look at what went down this week-we had Melissa Gilbert trying to cover up her hot n' heavy peanut butter lovin' with her dog,Liz's date kidnapping her kidney,Christian getting some blackmail sexers from Michelle and Sean tripping hardcore after eating one of those "hash" brownies of Monica's. There was more than weed in that mix for Sean to see old Season 1 friends and foes! Next week,Christian may have to sleep with Rosie O'Donnell for some do-re-mi to pay off Jackie Bisset and Kimber hooks up with Matt.

Smallville: The season premiere is on tonight and we get to see how Clark finds his Get Out Of The Phantom Zone Free card. James Marsters has been rumored to make an appearance but it's not a sure thing. We'll be seeing JM on the big screen however as word has it that he's been cast in P.S. I Love You with Hilary Swank(who was in the original Buffy movie). So,we'll just have to sit back and watch the Clark Vs. Zod Match instead.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: The second episode was good but not great. The "cold open" that was dreamed up reminded me of Conan O'Brian's Emmy show musical number, which was alot funnier. I'll still watch but if more skits from the show within the show are presented,they need to be funnier than what's currently on SNL.

And finally,I will really regret not seeing the Office tonight(move it back to 9:30,NBC!)due to the Smallville premiere,especially after last week's debut. Such damn funny writing and great ensemble work-check it out for yourselves:

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Pop Cultural Harbingers of Doom

Last night on the Stephen Colbert Report,Colbert did a segment on what he termed "the Four Horsemen of the A-Pop-colypse";pop culture highlights that are signs that life as we know it is doomed. While I do agree that the success of "Sexyback" is a potent that surely signals the End of Days,there are more worthy candidates for these catagories.

So,as one of the foot soldiers in the Pop Culture Brigade,it is my duty to hold up to the light those who seek to drag our souls into darkness! Let's start with music,shall we?

Music-Paris Hilton"The Stars Are Blind"

It's pretty obvious that Paris is an out and out minion of Evil;no mere mortal could spread themselves out to all four corners of the pop culture world(movies,Tv,books,Carl's Jr. ad)possessing not an gleam of talent and rather average looks without the aid of supernatural forces. Her latest crime against humanity is the release of her album with it's first single"The Stars are Blind",a song that only Helen Keller could truly appreciate. Take a listen,if you dare:

Even the male model seems like he's checking his watch as he robotically romps and romances Paris on some island retreat in either Hell or Lost,pick your poison! With such lyrics as "the boys/they walk/but they talk suicide",The Stars are Blind makes me wish I was deaf.


Picking a bad show out of MTV's lineup is like trying to select a safe bag of spinach at the supermarket-no matter which one is chosen,you'll still get sick from it. From the horrors of Room Raiders to the morally bankrupt My Super Sweet Sixteen,the possibilites for evil are endless. However,the dating show Next hits an all new low,with it's cattle call of contestants who troop onboard a bus with gleefully lame lusty descriptions of themselves to be looked over by a potential partner who can instantly reject you for not fitting their mental image of who is worthy of their presence.

The only fair thing you can say about Next is that they exploit all young people equally-be you black,white,straight,gay,boy,girl. All are prime targets for public ridicule and sleazy hijinks.

Film-Remakes galore

The increase of remakes of films that were already done well in the first place has passed the threat of unnecessary sequels in the race to destroy cinematic creativity. With the recent release of such waste of screen space as Wicker Man,The Omen and Lake House(originally a Korean film,further damaging our diplomatic ties),audiences are quickly becoming jaded and are making films like Jackass Number Two tops at the box office. A good remake is nice to see but it's hard to tell since no one seems to be very selective about what deserves to be revived and what should be left alone.

Books-Memoir Massacre

With the exposure of James Frey's fakery in Million Little Pieces,the once respectable genre of memoir writing has become a national punch line. Not to mention that the publishers of Fantasia Barrino's life story are being sued by her father for libel but not Fantasia herself since she didn't really write the book due to being illiterate. While there are some good memoirs out there,all of them are being looked at with a more critical and cynical eye.

Well,there you have it-some of the worst offenders against pop culture. Please feel free to nominate some candidates for these Halls of Shame. Help your fellow beings avoid the wrath of the Powers That Be by keeping a sharp lookout for those seemingly innocent centers of fun that are Pitfalls of Horror in disguise!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Laura Zigman shows you a real Piece of Work

Laura Zigman's new novel,Piece of Work,has stay-at-home mom Julia Einstein facing a return to the workplace after husband Peter gets bounced from his job as a management consultant. This is tough on Julia,mainly because she adores spending time with her three-year-old,Leo,who is just entering preschool and is at that stage in life when simple things like watching Tom & Jerry and playing with trains makes him happy and easy to bond with.

Julia goes back to her former work as a publicist but instead of the high profile place she worked before,she winds up at John Glom Public Relations,which specializes in engineering comebacks for has-been celebs. Julia's new boss,Jack De Marco,starts her off with one of his worst clients-Mary Ford,a former movie star who is known for excessive demands and taking off with expensive designer clothes after photo shoots. Mary also has the charming habit of poking people in the arm and launching into nursery rhymes chants to mock others.

Mary Ford's big comeback vehicle is a designer perfume,Legend,that has quite a few probelms such as it's horrible scent and lack of interest to department store chains. As Julia goes on a promotion tour with Mary,she's faced with not only keeping up with Mary's ever changing needs but worrying that her husband is fitting into his Mr. Mom role all too well. Peter's organizational skills have a perfect outlet in running the house smoothly(even the other moms in the nieghborhood take tips from him)and he shows quite a flair for cooking.

This is the first Laura Zigman book I've ever read and I only wish that I had tried her work sooner. Her characters are believable and entertaining,plus she doesn't take the easy way out with making certain characters cardboard villians. You have a delightful time as you wonder just which celebs are being playfully teased and root for everyone to come out on top.

Piece of Work has just arrived in a bookstore near you,so it's the perfect book to sit with as you wait for the leaves to change colors or for your own little one to come home from school. Please click the title link above to check out Zigman's website,which has a "brant"(combo of brag and rant)and a zippy music soundtrack!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Have you read a banned book today?

This week is not only Banned Books week,it is the 25th anniversary of the American Library Association's(ALA)having this annual event to remind folks of their right to read freely. Kind of sad,if you think about it. Book banning and challenging is still going on today,with the likes of Harry Potter,Toni Morrison,The Great Gatsby and Judy Blume in the crosshairs of the Book Police.

Most of this is done under the"We must protect the children!" banner-protect them from what exactly? Most of the reasons cited for banning are "offensive language","sexual content",racism,sexism,disrespect to adults,references to homosexuality and "the stranglehold of humanism on life in America."

While I would agree with presenting certain ideas to young people according to their age group,two important things are left out of the debate. One,that most kids are exposed to these notions early on and may only have a partial knowledge(or worse,total misinformation)of the subject and two,how will they know that there are bad things in life if they're never allowed to see and judge for themselves?

Of course,alot of this is really about control-freedom of thought is just down right scary to some people. Is it a coincidence that the majority of tolitarian regimes go after artists first? I don't think so. Mob mentality is a dangerous thing,which is why one of the best villians created by the newer generations of Star Trek was the Borg-"resistance is furtile!". That certainly sounds like a battle cry shouted towards librarians,teachers and booksellers who only want to provide the public with a wide selection of reading material.

If you would like more info about Banned Books Week,please click the title link above. BBW ends on September 30 but the fight for your right to read is forever on going. Here's someone who can say this better than me-take it away,Bob!:

Friday, September 22, 2006

On the Shelf with Janet Fitch

When Janet Fitch's first novel,White Oleander,became an Oprah Book Club selection,it was a boon to readers everywhere. White Oleander's tale of a young girl
thrown to the not-so-tender mercies of the foster care system after her poet mother is imprisoned for poisoning an ex-lover,made for some riveting reading. The film adaptation was just as brilliant and starred Michelle Pffeifer,Renee Zellweger and Alison Lohman.

Fitch's latest book,Paint It Black,also has two women in turmoil-Josie,an art school model and Meredith,a wealthy classic pianist who are both in mourning after the man they both love commits suicide. Fitch has also written a Young Adult novel called Kicks,which came out in 1996. She currently teaches fiction at USC's Masters of Professional Writing Program. I was most fortunate and pleased to be given the chance to ask her a few questions about her writing and what she loves about reading:

1)Your new novel,Paint It Black,takes place during the punk rock scene of the 1980's-was that background part of your personal experience?

Not to the degree Josie experienced it-- but I certainly went to the clubs and kind of had my formative period as an artist during that time. My own artistic struggle and the temper of the times seemed to go together.

2)Is the title of your new book meant to be a tribute to the Stones
song or just a coincidence?

It was neither a tribute or a coincidence, but an affinity for the tone of the song as a great expression of a certain kind of grief, that's not all picturesque and mournful, that grief can be pissed off and nihilistic too--which so perfectly captures Josie's mood after her boyfriend kills himself.

3)White Oleander was a popular reading group selection. What titles would you recommend for a good book club discussion?

Great question. I'd look at The Memory Room by Mary Rakow, and Our Ecstatic Days by Steve Erickson. I've heard the new Mark Danielewski,Only Revolutions, is amazing. I'd always recommend the Alexandria Quartet by Laurence Durrell, and Spy in the House of Love by Anais Nin.

Fabulous short books are The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon and
Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov. And Blonde by Joyce Carol
Oates--the Marilyn Monroe story. What a fabulous book.

4)Were you satisfied with the film adaptation of White Oleander?

Yes... Sure, there were things here and there that I might have done
differently, but on the other hand, I didn't have to make it into a
film! I thought they did an awfully good job of turning a messy 400
page novel into a film that worked in its own right.

5)Early in your career,you wrote a Young Adult novel. Was it easy or hard to switch over to writing for adults?

I had always written for adults. tons of short stories. But I had a story my agent felt would make a good YA book, so I went ahead and wrote it. I learned a huge amount from working on Kicks and like it a lot,but YA was never my aim. I guess I didn't have YA when I was growing up, I went straight from the Black Stallion to Crime and Punishment.

6)Poetry parts a strong part in your work-who are some of your
favorite poets?

I love poetry. I like poets with a strong musicality, and love listening to poets read their own stuff on tape. Several of my favorites are in Paint It Black--TS Eliot, Anne Sexton, Dylan Thomas, Blaise Cendrars... I like Anne Carson, The Beauty of the Husband, and DA Powell, I'm a Joseph Brodsky FREAK. Love Akhmatova and Bella Akhmudulina, the 20s imagist H.D. And Howard Nemerov, who was Diane Arbus's brother. I like James Merrill when I'm up at 3 in the
morning and can't sleep, when the house is very very quiet. LIke
Cavafy, the Alexandrian, and Rumi, the Sufi. I like Sandburg and ee
cummings and Whitman... "When lilacs last in the dooryard bloomed"
always makes me cry.

7) You studied Russian history in college,have you ever considered writing a historical novel?

Stay tuned, it's next.

My thanks to Janet for giving me and other fans her time-if you want to know more about her new book or catch her on tour,please click the title link above. When you get a writer as good as this,you definately want to stay tuned for her next great story and encourage all of your good friends to do the same.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Amazing Race is off and running,Heroes and Nip/Tuck's newborn dilemmas

The Amazing Race has begun,with the first stop in Beijing,China. I was surpised to see not only a food challenge(fish eyes that you had to take right out of the heads!) but a quick elimination right out of the gate. Bilal & Sa'eed,we hardly knew ye. Later on,Vipul & Arti were the last to arrive and recieved a Philination. Too bad,they seemed to be nice.

So far,I don't have a favorite team to root for but Peter & Sarah are pretty impressive-not easy to scale the Great Wall of China with an artifical leg! David and Mary are in the running for Best Feuding Couple,along with Rob and Kimberly. The DumbBell Award goes to the two Cheerleaders(who I've dubbed Suzy Spirit and Debby Debutante,after the GLOW wrestlers)who asked(regarding Bilal and Sa'eed)"Do Muslims believe in Buddha?" Well,that would make them Buddhists,now wouldn't it?

On Nip/Tuck,Sean's "handi-capable" son was born while Christian was out having Mario Lopez give him some lipo to boost his ego about the sexy YouTube clip which made him too fat. I personally thought he looked just fine and hope that clip is actually on YouTube(I know I'm not the only one who would want to download that!).

Sean had some nerve,being cranky about Christian's being late. Atleast he didn't cheat on a pregnant Julia with a Carol Seaver Clone night nurse candidate to the tune of "Wonderwall"! The CSC was sending out so many mental case signals that it was hard not to shout"danger,Will Robinson,danger!".

Well,it looks like we'll be seeing more of Peter Dinklage as the McNamara's new baby nurse and of Jackie Bisset as the mystery woman in new boss Michelle's life. Not smart,Liz,to mention that you spotted your married boss making out in the parking lot with someone else,even if you ment no harm. Folks get touchy about stuff like that.

Yahoo has being showing the premiere episode of Heroes(due to start on September 25) and it looks rather intriguing. I watched it last night and am already hooked on the characters,especially Peter(played by Jess from Gilmore Girls),the younger brother of a politician who dreams of flying and Claire(Hayden Panettiere),a cheerleader that has Wolverine like healing powers-seeing her push her own ribs back into her body made me sit up and take notice!

The show's basic premise is that certain folks are starting to develop paranormal abilities and will be called upon to save the world. There's a scientist who's out to help them and a secret group that wants to keep a lid on the whole thing. Monday nights usually don't have much on,so Heroes will be on my Must-See list for awhile.

Random Notes:

Project Runway: No new episode this week,as Bravo wants to stretch the series thru a good part of October. Next Wednesday will be the Final Challenge and later on,we'll have the Reunion show. Wonder if Keith will show up?

The Office: The season premiere is tonight and more info on the Jim/Pam hook-up will be dealt with,as well as Michael Scott accidently outing a staff member. With Smallville starting up next week,I won't be able to watch this show on a regular basis-why did they have to change the time slot,why?

Also,Lucky Louie will not get a second season on HBO. I know I was one of the few who actually liked it but still feel that it's a shame. Arliss gets seven seasons and you can't even give Louis CK a another shot at it? Here's some of what HBO is giving up on:

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

We interrupt this blog for an annoying commerical announcement

Afraid I have a pressing engagement today,so this entry will be a tad brief. This Friday,I'm guest blogging at The Written Nerd(please click the title link above for more info),which is helmed by Book Nerd,an indie bookseller out in BROOKLYN!(hey,my dad was born in Brooklyn,so I gotta represent). My topic is about book genres and how they are perceived. Yes,I defend Chick Lit yet again but hopefully will not be just a Repeat-O Girl and sound a little smart.

The Written Nerd is another great blog that folks should check out;there's plenty of book reviews and talk about the state of independant bookselling/publishing.BN also is rather active in encouraging folks to be more involved with indie bookselling and was recently at the Brooklyn Book Festival last weekend. My thanks to her for giving me another place to shoot my mouth off.

Don't think that means I'm not posting on Friday here at LRG,because I am(about what yet,I don't know)! See you all tomorrow for some TV talk and speaking of TV,wouldn't this make a great show for the CW or Fox?:

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Hannibal Rising up just in time for Christmas!

It was announced today that yet another Hannibal Lecter novel would be on the loose by December 5,entitled Hannibal Rising. The plot focues on the early childhood years of Lecter's life and also ties into the upcoming film version due out by February of 2007. The timing of this whole deal seems abit rushed but frankly,I'm thrilled. I'm one of the few people who not only enjoyed the now classic Silence of The Lambs but dug the follow-up book,Hannibal,and was slightly disappointed that the movie didn't have the guts of the book(which I knew would happen).

The big controversy with Hannibal was that(major spoilers,if you haven't seen or read it-fair warning,people!)Clarice Starling was kidnapped and then brainwashed by the good doctor to the point where she snapped and decided to be the Brain-Eating Bonnie to his Cannibal Clyde. This upset many feminists,who felt"betrayed" by the author(most of whom only knew the characters from the SOTL movie)and that he destroyed a potential role model for women. Oh,please-first of all,the characters came from Harris' book and their fate is his to decide,not some group looking to push an agenda.

Also,when I read Hannibal,that whole part of the story went up several notches on the excitement meter. I didn't expect it and there was an element of"is she really or is she just setting him up?" to it. I did enjoy the film adaptation(Julianne Moore did a fine job of replacing Jodie Foster who, it was rumored,declined to do the sequel because of the direction that her character took in the novel)but it would've been cool if they had let Clarice flip onto the dark side of the force there.

Some folks are already moaning and groaning about this new one,calling it an uncreative move on Harris' part and beating a dead horse,so to speak. The only time that I felt there was abit too much Hannibal overdrive was when they did a remake of Red Dragon,just so that they could have three movies with Anthony Hopkins as Lecter to link them all together. Michael Mann's earlier film version,Manhunter,was much better in my opinion and caught the spirit of the book much more strongly than Red Dragon did(not to mention Brian Cox as Lecter,he made that small part stand out very well).

Well,love'em or hate'em(or both),having Dr.Lecter make his bloodthristy rounds again onscreen or in the pages of another book is aces with me. Hopefully the movie will be a welcome sight during the doldrums of midwinter. With fresh audiences that have been primed and pumped with adrenaline by the Saw series and flicks like Hostel,
it may be tricky to get them wowed by the adventures of a boy cannibal. Then again, maybe not!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Jane Austen biopic may not be too Becoming to Jane

Anne Hathaway is currently working on a film called "Becoming Jane" which is supposed to be based on the early life of Jane Austen. However,if you click the title link above,you'll see a plot description of the movie that will cause you
to swoon,especially for those of us who are sticklers for accuracy. Seems that this story has Jane being put on the marriage market after her big sister gets hitched and she's torn between Lord Wisely(I am not making that one up,folks!)and Tom Lefroy,a"charming rogue" who's been shipped off to the countryside until his bad boy rep dies down abit.

So,what's the probelm,you may ask? Well,for one thing,Jane's older sister Cassandra never married(she was engaged but her fiance died)and while Jane did hook up with a fellow named Tom Lefroy,there wasn't a Lord Wisely in the picture. Also,Lefroy's family was the one to separate the potentially happy couple-their big objection was that the Austens weren't posh enough and that Tom could do better and marry a gal with better connections and a bigger dowry.

I'm sure that most reactions will be"So,they sexed up the story,big deal! Jane Austen wrote romances anyway-she probaly wouldn't mind it one way or another!" Well,I mind it. If you're making a biographical film,it would be nice to get some of thefacts straight,even if it doesn't make your story all Hollywood glamourous. That may be an odd opinion to have in this day and age with the James Frey/lonelygirl15 psuedo life story trend of late but in some ways,I'm very old school and proud of it.

If they wanted to do a fictionalized account of Jane's life,there are plenty of those around to choose from. One of the most popular is Stephanie Barron's Jane Austen mystery series,which has Jane getting all Jessica Fletcher and having plenty of romantic encounters while doing so. I've never gotten into it really but there are
many JA fans who have and there would be a good crossover audience for an adaptation
of Barron's books. My guess is that since Jane and her works are in public domain, most producers don't see the point of buying the rights to something they can get for free.

We'll just have to wait and see if Becoming Jane does justice to Austen's legacy or not,I suppose. Too bad that just being a writer of some of the best novels in English Literature isn't interesting enough for a movie. Then again,it could be alot worse-they could've cast Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt for a Mr & Mrs. Smith version of the story or rewrote one of Austen's novels to turn it into a Red Shoe Diaries entry like Demi Moore did for the Scarlet Letter. We Austen fans should just sigh and sip our tea for such blessings.

Friday, September 15, 2006

What films are you hopelessly hooked on?

Robin Brande,one of my new blogging buddies,has just posted that she loves The River Wild so much that she's taking a sign language class to be able to give secret signals like Meryl Streep and co. did in the movie. I'm not here to bust her chops(check out her blog in the links and Diva Knows Best,too!)but her open adoration for this film has made me think of those movies that even tho I've seen it over a hundred times or more,if it's on TV,I'll stop and watch.

So,here's a few of my "just can't get enough" flicks:

You've Got Mail: I'm not the biggest Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks fan but something about this little love story between a bookstore chain magnate and a children's book shop owner who are rivals during the day and e-mail lovers by night just does it for me. There's plenty of great dialogue,fine ensemble performances by Maureen Stapleton,Greg Kinnear and even Parker Posey(who usually irks me)and loads of New York City background scenes-what's not to love?

Lost Boys: One of my favorite lines in Resevoir Dogs is when Tim Roth,in the midst of his fake drug deal story,says"Motherfucker! I'm trying to watch The Lost Boys!" I hear ya,baby. I'm an all-day sucker for vampires and this slice of horror/comedy pizza with garlic galore hits the spot. With the Two Coreys,the Grandpa from Gilmore Girls and the evilly gorgeous Keifer Sutherland(whose role as lead vampire was said to be a template for Buffy's Spike),there's fright night fun for all ages.

Orgazmo: No,this isn't a porn movie but porno is part of the story. Let me explain-I first discovered this super hero parody from Matt Stone and Trey Parker(from their pre-South Park days)on a cable channel late at night with Little Sister. It's become one of those films that we randomly qoute at times-"I don't think I'm going to do hamster style anymore."(that refers to a type of kung-fu,people!).

This wacked out tale of a Mormon boy caught up in the evil world of porn films who becomes a super hero(complete with sidekick!) may not be your cup of Long Island Iced Tea but it's one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

So share,what movie is on constant replay on your VCR/DVD player? Inquring minds want to know.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Blade sheathes his sword,David is our Designstar and Kayne gets kicked off Project Runway!

Ok,I know that Kayne really didn't follow the gameplan for the last challenge,which was to make a black & white outfit not a black OR white cocktail dress,but still his design was way better than that whorish B-movie number Jeffrey dreamed up! Michael's suggestions to Kayne were both sensible and sincere-I am so rooting for him to win.

Having Vincent and Angela back for a second chance was so worth it,just to see the dismay on Jeffrey's face. I really thought Laura might be on the verge of crash and burn but thankfully,she listened to her model and"made it work". She's getting too snippy,tho-I do agree that Angela's win was due to her team saving her butt but was it neccessary to throw it in her face like that?

Also,the judges picked on poor Uli once again-hey,Nina,some of us like long sleeves!I really hope Uli gets in the Final Three and that Jeffrey is out,O-U-t,out!

Blade the series had it's season finale,with some battle royale showdowns as Marcus' Aurora poison took out the Purebloods(with Blade's help),Krista and Chase went one on one and Shen had a taste of old school torture. There isn't any word yet on if Blade will get another season but with the cliffhanger ending it had,I certainly hope so! Krista's crazy if she thinks just tossing Chase down several stories is going to knock her off-hello,she's a vampire! Besides,it's hard to keep a good bitch down.

And the winner of HGTV's Designstar was David,yah! The finale show with a full cast reunion was so nice,lots of good natured teasing about everyone's quirks(especially the feuding and fussin' between Temple and Donna). They even had the head of the network come out and she looked like a sweet little grandma,ready to serve up some milk and cookies. David's show will be on the air in January of '07,so keep an eye out for it on your TIVO schedule!

Random Notes:

Nip/Tuck: Scientology has reared it's culty head,with Matt having an e-meter reading,courtesy of Kimber(I don't get why she's on Christian's case. He's not the one who kidnapped and mutilated you last season,dear!). Julia is way too permissive a parent-one year,it's okay for your son to have sex with his Aryan Nation girlfriend at home and the next,you just open up your pocketbook for him to give away your hard earned cash(while you're pregnant with a handicapped child who'll need special care) to folks who worship a failed sci-fi writer? Saved by the Bell fans should tune in next week for Mario Lopez's appearance in a gym shower with Christian.

The Amazing Race: Season 10 starts this upcoming Sunday. I'm glad that CBS picked this night to have TAR;I've always considered it to be a family show and Sunday night is like the porridge Goldilocks chose. I wonder if some of newer airline restrictions will slow some of the contestants down. The network does help them avoid most of that mess but even so,it could add a little extra drama here!

Speaking of drama,Survivor:Cook Islands begins tonight and I refuse to watch it. Granted,I'm not big fan of the show to begin with(plus,new episodes of Smallville will be on soon)but the whole"let's play the race game!" aspect of it is not worth rewarding with high ratings. I'd rather play mix n' match with my DVDs and watch a little something like this:

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Janet Fitch has a new novel and she wants to Paint It Black

In Janet Fitch's Paint It Black,we go back in time to 1980's L.A. punk rock world where Josie Tyrell,a Jill-of-all-trades in the art world,recieves a call from the police that her painter boyfriend,Michael Faraday,has killed himself in a hotel room. His method of suicide was similar to his grandfather's,which further compounds the grief of his mother,Meredith Loewy,a world renowned pianist.

The duel mourning of both these women in Michael's life is shown thru Josie's eyes,as she struggles to deal with the aftermath of life without him. Meredith openly repells her at first,even trying to choke Josie at graveside. The two of them then avoid each other,with Josie turning to her usual retreats of booze and drugs to cope,until the mutual pain of Michael's loss draws them together. It's an on-again,off-again love/hate relationship,not unlike the one Josie had with Michael who ,it turns out,told her a mixed batch of secrets and lies about his past.

Fitch's follow-up to her previous Oprah endorsed book,White Oleander,proves that her talent for creating beautifully sad portraits of family ties and loss is not a fluke. She expertly weaves an emotional tapestry that holds her characters in place and yet doesn't let them fade into the background. Josie and Meredith may not be the most likable ladies at times but you still can't help but root for and against them as much as they do for themselves.

In an interview for BookPage,Fitch compares the style of PIB to Edgar Allen Poe's "Fall of the House of Usher" and the gothic overtones of the story are not unlike any of Poe's darkly compelling tales of tragedy. Josie is as spellbound in her grief as any heroine of a Val Lewton film cursed by forces beyond her control.

Paint It Black is a book of sorrows but it will lighten your spirits by it's captivating descriptions of reimaging your world without a certain person being by your side and becoming stronger for it. This is one of the best books you'll read,this or any other year(please click the title link for more info)and make you eager for more of Janet Fitch's powerful prose.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I'll take Historical Ladies for 200,Alex!

One of the big fall releases is Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette,which stars Kristen Dunst and Jason Schwartzman as the dearly not-beloved beheaded couple. Why this movie intrigues me,it's hard to say. I'm not a big Sofia Coppola fan(the only artistic enterprise I've seen of hers was her performance in Godfather III)and while both Dunst and Schwartzman are fine actors,they're really not on my Motive to Must
See a film in theaters. Oddly enough,it's the historical part that's grabbing me.

I'm more of an anglophile when it comes to historical fiction-some of my favorites
include Forever Amber,Thru A Glass Darkly and The Other Boleyn Girl. One year at a BEA convention,I grabbed a galley of The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette by Carolly Erickson,thinking"Hey,why not? Might be good for a laugh." It was more than good,I was addicted to that book for days. HDOMA is Erickson's first novel(she's written several biographies,including one about Antoinette)and she made this insular world that Marie lived in come alive and sparkle at times.

It's been noted than Marie recieved the short end of the stick in the annals of history,what with the "let them eat cake" qoute being falsely attributed to her and that she was a former Austrian princess made it even easier to paint her as this elitest airhead who fiddled while Rome burned,so to speak. However,it turns out that she was more of a Marilyn Monroe than a Paris Hilton-a woman trapped by her beauty and social position that lead her to a tragic end.

Another MA novel is due out soon,this one by Sena Jeter Naslund. Naslund's great with period piece writing(if you haven't read Ahab's Wife,you MUST at all costs!)and with the Coppola film due out around the same time,the timing is perfect for some cross promotion. The new book and film are not related to one another(except by subject)but I will be reviewing Abundance for this blog and hopefully,the movie as well.

I'm still not sure why Marie interests me so-is it the history,her misunderstood role as a feminine icon or the great clothes she got to wear? Whatever the case may be,she's definately worth taking some interest in.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Tony Jaa is one Protector that PETA would be proud of

For those of you who remember the days when a good way to spend your Saturday afternoon was to plunk yourself down in front of the silver screen or the boob tube to check out some chopsocky action,Tony Jaa is here to set things right. He follows up his US film debut in Ong-Bak:The Thai Warrior with The Protector,a movie that shows what happens when you mess with this man's elephants!

Yes,I said elephants. Tony's character,Kham,comes from a long line of elephant guardians who raise them as spiritual talismans for royalty. When Kham and his dad take their best pair of father and son pachyderms to town for a festival, a group of mafia types swoop in,steal the elephants and kill Kham's father on top of that.

Kham tracks the bad guys down to Sydney,Austraila where mob boss Madame Rose and her various henchmen have evil plans for Kham's jungle friends that involve police corruption,political assaination and a restaurant that serves up endangered species on the menu.

A movie like this is not really watched for the plot-it's the action that counts. Tony Jaa is best known for Muay Thai,a fighting style that lets him go snap,crackle and pop on the bones of his foes and wrap objects to his wrists for better beatdowns.
In one of better fight sequences,Kham takes on several opponents in a burning,waterlogged Buddhist temple(the lighting is gorgeous)and manages to use giant bells,a gong and gong paddles to defend himself. Other makeshift weapons include a corded elephant collar with bell and giant thigh bones that cut like a sword.

This is a fun movie,particularly if lines like"My grandmother drives faster than you...and she's dead!" and "You speak Thai?" "Well,I'm not talking French!" are amusing to your ear. There are also plenty of scenes of elephants in the wild for animal lovers,who may want to take some lessons on how to fight off poachers barehanded. For fans of Kill Bill and WWE,Nathan Jones shows up as one of the evil thugs(the man looks like Solomon Grundy,I swear) and there's a final confrontation scene with echoes of the desicimated members of the Crazy 88s writhing in agony at our hero's feet,with much less gore on the floor.

Tony Jaa seems to be poised as the next big kung-fu star and I for one think he has what it takes. There's not many people that can do a power march to face their foes with a baby elephant at their side and still look badass. Jaa is said to be working on a sequel to Ong-Bak which has me ready,willing and hopefully able to reserve my aisle seat at the multiplex to enjoy the show.

Friday, September 08, 2006

A couple of tunes that I can't get out of my head and one of the best theme songs of the '80s

I know this song's been overused for commericials lately(especially Verizon's Chocolate phone-unless your name is Willy Wonka,you shouldn't name electronic devices after candy in my opinion)but ever since I first heard Goldfrapp's"Strict Machine",this tune has been haunting my mental jukebox. The stylish sexy sounds and throaty feminine croonings of the lead singer just put me in mind of either a sci-fi thriller or a chic spy movie that's not James Bond,thank you(Bond is seriously played out). Also,some of the images in this video remind me of jacket art for a novel called The Secret Lives of Monster Dogs:

I've never been a big White Stripes fan but Jack White's new group The Raconteurs has caught my ear with "Steady as she goes". It's a fun,jaunty number that zips along with you and would be great for a long drive on an open highway. There's two videos for it and the second one is the best showcase for the song. I would suggest to Jack White that sepia tones are not suited to his complexion(he looks more pasty than the Pillsbury Dough Boy,particularly in the beginning of the race). But how can you resist a soapbox derby race with an evil Pee Wee Herman scheming to help the Snidely Whiplash fellow cheat his way to victory?:

One of the joys of Saturday afternoons during the 1980s was watching the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling,aka GLOW Girls. Back then,female wrestlers weren't just greased-up sex kittens,they were allowed to be just as wacky as the guys were. Yes, they had cheesy exploitative and/or sterotypical personas but you could tell them apart from each other! Hard to do that nowadays(except for Trish Stratus,that gal can kick ass). The Glow Girls rocked and now they're on DVD. Check out this promo which has the ladies singing the opening theme song,one of my favorite TV Tunes:

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Who should win on Designstar,Nip/Tuck and Project Runway makes a faux pas

I was so shocked by the judges' choice of winner for the conture challenge on Project Runway last night that it wouldn't surpise me to read somewhere this morning that they had gotten high on seamstress glue before the gowns came back from Paris.
How Jeffrey could win(for the second time in a row)with this fugly plaid number is beyond me. Vincent's dress was worse(I agree that the top half should've been reversed)but this gown looked like an oversized tablecloth that someone wrapped around their body and tied it with string to keep from going outside naked!

Uli was robbed,in my opinion. Her dress was stunning and proved that she's more than just a One Note Sally(unlike Laura,who sews well but her style is stuck in Blandsville). Kayne got jumped on quite abit for his golden girdle gown but it looked stylish to me(and the corset lacing in the back was witty). Poor Michael was really sweating this challenge but his dress wasn't as bad as he thought it was(and why did some joker toss an egg at it? Not cool,Zeus!). Hopefully,the judges will sober up for the next round.

The voting is over for HGTV's Designstar:after the final challenge last Sunday,America was given two chances to vote(online & text message) for the winner who will be announced this weekend. Yes,I voted for David. He's been a great contestant and really made the most out of his freestyle glass house design. Even the judges were wowed by the Zen bedroom he created(in Bryant Park,of all places!).

The strangest thing about this show is that both final contestants are really nice people-as much as I want David to win,it's hard to hate Alice. She's sweet and does have some good ideas(don't think the children's bedroom she dreamed up was well executed). In the end tho,David's the more creative person and I would love to see any show of his:

I'll be fair and let Alice say her piece(is it me or is her voice too high pitched at times?):

Nip/Tuck is back and things look rather interesting this season,with Sean and Julia about to have a handicapped baby(and she really should've mentioned it sooner to Sean,geez,haven't we gone thru the trust issues already here?)and Christian freaking out about his therapist's suggestion(I find it odd than Tom Cruise felt the need to make amends with Brooke Shields before her debut in this role aired)that he might love Sean in more than a brotherly way. It's not totally out of the realm of possibility,given the character's personal history but I do hope the subject is truly explored and not just played for laughs(that line about Christian's newly "butched up" apartment"Why is there a huge dick in the corner" cracked me up).

Other plot developments include the practice being sold(with Christian and Sean still working there)and coming soon is Matt being lead astray by Kimber into the clutches of Scientology(gee,what will Tom Cruise think of that?). I'm also curious by some of the preview clips that have the Big Bad from Season 1,blackmailing drug dealer Escobar flashing his tats. He was neatly disposed of so perhaps he's just a hallucination? Makes me want to watch even more.

Random Notes:

During the Nip/Tuck premiere,there were plenty of promos for The Dirt starring Courtney Cox(dropped the Arquette,I see. What's up with that?)as a tabloid magazine editor. The ads look stylish but will the show be worth watching? We won't know until January when it makes a mid-winter debut.

Another season of Bravo's Top Chef will start up in October which fills me with joy. The first season had spice and sparks were flying between the chefs in and out of the kitchen. If we're lucky,Season 2 might give us a delicious bon mot of an insult that'll look great on a T-shirt as this zinger does:

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Novel Approach to a Famous First Lady

Janis Cooke Newman's first novel,Mary,begins at Bellevue Place where the well known widow of Abraham Lincoln has been forced into by her eldest son(and a very public court hearing). Mrs. Lincoln would strike some as not really needing to be locked away-in modern times,she'd be seen as a shopoholic with maniac depressive mood swings who enjoyed a good seance now and then. Back then,however,her emotional probelms were attributed to being"over stimulated"amongst other things.

Mary starts to keep a journal of her past and present life,where we learn about the source of her anxieties;her mother's death from childbed fever during a cholera epidemic when Mary was six created one of many separation traumas that plagued her thru out life. Later on,her strong will and determination helps her to be courted by Abraham and then married,despite her family's objections to him. Lincoln's own bouts of depression complicate the relationship as well as his slow yet steady rise up the political ladder.

As you read on,you can't help but be absorbed by strongly passionate rhythms of Mary's voice. This is a woman who may be troubled but is not a raving lunatic,rather at times,a lonely and misunderstood soul who forges ahead to make the best of things,particularly for the ones she loves. You also connect with some of her fellow inmates such as the sadly sweet Minnie Judd,a woman who straves herself while she memorizes bible passages to be perfect in the eyes of her reverend husband. Many of the methods in which these ladies were made to endure(cold baths,overuse of the drug chloral hydrate)as well as the attitudes of those in charge are brought boldly to light.

Newman's style of writing hits all the right notes of character development and historical atmosphere. The closest I've ever seen to it's like before would be Allan Gurganus' Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All. This is one debut novel that you ought not to miss-Mary is due out by early October(please click the title link for more info)and you should add to your reading list ASAP. It may be a tad long for reading groups but this mix of history,bio and the inner life of one of the most intruing First Ladies should give folks quite abit to talk about.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Back to School pop culture basics

With Labor Day weekend on it's way to becoming yet another distant memory,we know must face the fall and deal with the moans and groans of kids lugging mammoth back packs and IPods on their way back to school. For those of us who no longer have to hand in homework(grown-ups have"deadlines" instead)or stock up on notebook paper yet still like to remember the good old days when all you had to worry about was lunch money and knowing what music group was cool,here's a few suggestions on what you can use to recapture that school spirit. And yes,there will be a quiz:


Welcome to the Hellmouth/The Harvest(Buffy the Vampire Slayer): What better place to relive those high school horrors than with the Scooby gang? The two part season one episode not only sets up the show's characters(shy,smart Willow,goofy yet got your back Xander,bitchy Cordelia)and premise(high school is hell,especially if you have to trade in cheerleading for demon beheadings)but gives us the ultimate"think you had it tough starting a new school?"experience:

Smallville Pilot(season one): Another series starter which gives a whole new twist to beginning the high school juggernaut;what if you not only had to worry about being in love with the girl next door who's in love with someone else and avoiding the football team's hunt for a hazing victim AND just found out that you have some nifty super powers that need to be hidden from the world? Quite a lot on your plate before lunch period starts!

Degrassi:the next generation:It's hard to pick just one episode or season of this show to spotlight. D:TNG is the finest in Canadian High School Soap Opera. The range of topicial dilemmas for the kids to go thru include not just the usual love triangles but also cutting,abortion,sexually transmitted diseases due to oral sex,coming out to family and friends,student/teacher romance,bipolar disorder and the aftermath of a school shooting. Degrassi is not for the fainthearted:


Heathers: A classic parody of teen conformity and inadequate adult supervision. Winona Ryder and Christian Slater make a great criminal couple,plus the film's dark edge cuts deeper than any other of the current mainstream teen flicks like Mean Girls. There's talk of a sequel but I really don't see the need for one at all:

Clueless: On the lighter side,this is still the best Alicia Silverstone movie ever made(kind of sad,isn't it?). Also,you can always justify watching it by telling any naysayers that it's a modern day version of Emma by Jane Austen(which it is)or just drool over Paul Rudd(he is very cute!).

Legally Blonde: We must not overlook the thrill of entering the college campus environment and Elle Woods makes the perfect guide. I do insist that you avoid the follow-up film,Legally Blonde 2:Red,White and Blonde,at all costs. Despite the appearances of Bob Newhart and Sally Field in supporting roles,that sequel only makes the grade of F for Frickin' waste of time and money. Stick with the original Reese,I beg of you:


The first three Harry Potter titles: J.K. Rowling's mix of magic and English boarding school dramas is best distilled in the early part of the series. Don't get me wrong,I love the later books as well but things do get grim once Voldemort is back in business.

In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner: Unlike the film(which is excellant),the younger sister in this story hides out at Princeton for a spell,becoming an undercover student of sorts for a time. The whole book is smart,funny and touching with plenty of poetry references from Elizabeth Bishop to e.e. cummings.

Great Books by David Denby: Film critic Denby decides to sit in on a Western Cannon college course and gets a whole new perspective from not only rereading the classics but from how the students react to the likes of Homer,Austen and Shakespeare. A much better way of getting a crash course in World Literature than stocking up on Cliff's Notes.

So,I hope this helps you start your pop culture school days nostalgia fest. As for the quiz,don't worry-it's an open book test.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Literature & The Lifetime Channel:perfect mix or recipe for diaster?

Kim Basinger makes her made-for-television film debut this month in The Mermaid Chair,which will be on the Lifetime Channel later this month(please click the title link to get exact showtimes). She stars as Jessie Sullivan,a woman having a bit of a midlife crisis that is further compounded by her mother's growing instability. After Mom cuts off one of her fingers,Jessie goes back to see her in the small island community where she grew up and her father was lost at sea. While trying to help her mom,she gets involved with Brother Thomas(Alex Carter),a monk at the local monastary who has some doubts about his calling. Yes,folks-love is in the air!

This may sound like typical Lifetime channel fare,from the folks who have given us such gems as "The Babysitter's Seduction""Co-Ed Call Girl"and the classic"Mother,May I Sleep With Danger" starring Tori Spelling. However,not every piece of cheese tastes the same,even if they're served up on the same platter with Velveeta and Cheez Whiz.

The Mermaid Chair is based on the book of the same name by Sue Monk Kidd,best known for The Secret Life of Bees. Sue seems to be happy with the film version,she's qouted at the LT website saying "Watching and being part of the filming of the movie was magical, and fans of the book will be pleased with how the movie has stayed true to the novel." Sounds like things went well there. I enjoyed TMC about as much as I did Monk Kidd's earlier novel(which was a big reading group hit)and hope the film is as good as it could be.

Doing book-to-movie adaptations is not new for Lifetime;they've also made Dive At Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer(starring Michelle Trachtenberg aka Buffy's little sister) and have had others by Danielle Steel,Barbara Taylor Bradford,James Patterson and so on. However,is it fair to write off what might be a decent flick due to the network it's on? True,the Fantasia biopic was a clunker(didn't see it but that clip I saw on The Soup spoke volumes)but it's something any of the Big Three networks could've churned out back in the days when cable channels weren't kicking their creative asses.

Hey,if you really want to test your endurance,try watching the 1985 Jackie Collins Hollywood Wives miniseries without laughing. It's pretty hard not to,especially during the love scenes between Anthony Hopkins and Suzanne Somers and the craptastic theme song with lyrics like these: "They're spending their lives/On Rodeo Drive!/Truth that cuts like knives/for the Hollywood Wives!" Quite a gem in ABC's crown there.

So,will The Mermaid Chair be a swimmer or a sinker? Having Kim Basinger as the lead is a good sign. The lady can pull off a good performance when given the right material and the novel was a great read. There are worse ways to spend a Saturday night and if this movie gets some folks to pick up the book,it'll be more than worth the effort.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Summer series wrap-ups,award show madness and Project Runway goes abroad

Last night,I sat thru the Video Music Awards on MTV and last sunday,I endured the Emmys. Both shows reminded me of why it's good to be picky about what award shows to watch. I hadn't seen the Emmys in awhile and it appears that I wasn't missing much. Except for Conan O'Brien's charming comedy bits(loved the whole Bob Newhart trapped in an airproof tube routine-bring Bob back to Tv,someone!),the show was dull and predictable. It was great to see The Office and Mariska Hargitay win but what were some of these people thinking,wardrobe wise? Virginia Madsen looked like a Goth sexpot.

The VMAs weren't any better. Bad enough that Justin Timberlake sang "Sexyback" but did everyone and his brother had to namecheck it? Was I the only one who found it ironic that Pink recieved her MoonMan for "Stupid Girls" from Nicole Ritchie? And whose bright idea was it to have Al Gore appear and give a slideshow presentation of melting glaciers? That audience was interested in that as much as a group of vegans would be in a hot dog eating contest.

Thank goodness for Project Runway being around to keep things interesting. The challenge this week was to make an outfit for an"international jet setter" that the designers would model on the runway themselves. To prove that their outfits were travel worthy,the group flew to Paris wearing the clothes they had made. I don't know if PR has done anything like this before(I only got into the show during season 2)but it was a great idea and it looks like the next challenge will take place in Gay Paree. Pretty cool!

I have to announce that I officially hate Jeffrey and hope he gets Auf'd soon. His vicious gloating over Angela's leaving further compounded the terrible way he treated her mom and his outfit may have won but didn't impress me at all. Michael's seersucker hip-hop fusion suit was way more stylish. Angela should've listened to Tim when he told her that outfit looked Holly Hobbie(and rosettes on the rear?).Kayne's flashy shirt was a tad Elvis but it was a good Elvis and why did the judges pick on Uli for her use of patterns? She's brilliant at combining bright colors together that blend and not overwhelm.

Random Notes:

Several summer shows have had or are about to finish up for the seasons,so here's a brief rundown:

Who Wants to be a Superhero?: No surpise that Feedback won,given that he's the more marketable choice and worships Stan Lee. I still think that Major Victory deserved to be in the Final Two but did find Fat Momma's mini movie fun(especially when she destroyed a dragon and said"You owe me a doughnut!"). I don't know if this show was a one shot deal or not;it might be amusing to try it again. The series will be available on DVD.

Rescue Me:The strongest part of the show was the gang visiting the 911 memorial for the firefighters. Denis Leary really should've gotten an Emmy(sorry,Kiefer)here. Most of the storylines were somewhat wrapped(Probie and his sexuality issues)while others were set up for more next time around(Franco's daugther getting shipped off to boarding school seems like taking the easy way out there). The big cliffhanger is Tommy getting trapped in Sheila's burning new house-how much of an idiot is this woman? Yes,she has a right to be upset with Tommy but drugging him up again? Also,how can you be married and/or involved with a fireman and not know enough to put out a small fire before it gets worse?

Designstar: We're down to the final Two,David and Alice. Viewers will be able to decide who wins by voting online and on your cellphone(please click the title link for more info)after the next episode this Sunday. My pick is David;he's proven to be very creative and has shown such good character traits such as respect,helpfullness and willingness to listen to others when necessary.

Alice seems to be favored by the judges for her likability onscreen but her voice gets rather high pitched at times which turns me off. Also,her last design for a "man cave" wasn't too impressive. It looked like an upgrading of what was already in the room,plus having a big piece of furniture mounted ontop of a table is not a good idea in a house with little kids running around. Let's see who America picks as the next Design Star,shall we?

The 4400:Now,that was quite a finale! We end the season with Sean in a coma,Isobel powerless,Diana and Maia taking off for Spain(but not for long,especially if Diana's sis has a good reaction to the promecin),Alana being mysteriously whisked away and an underground movement to give out promecin that could either grant you X-Men like powers or kill you stone dead. The show has been renewed for another season and the earlier ones are available on DVD for anyone who's curious or needs to catch up.

With Labor Day weekend upon us,plenty of channels will be having marathon viewings of favorite shows(there'll be a Law & Order one,I have no doubt)and themed films. The Encore movie channels plan to show movies from the 1980s. I don't know what the line-up is but hope it will be as fun as this: