Monday, December 31, 2007

The Good, the Bad and the So-So

Yay! I had a week (really 5 days) of movie watching. With kids parents in town, I took some time to do some movie watching... In 4 days I watched:

National Treasure: Book of Secrets - Guilty pleasure - I love it for what it bubble gum. Loved the first. This one is EXACTLY like the first - so I loved the second. Guilty pleasure GOODness

- Interesting, good performances - the pie names and creations were a riot. I love Keri Russell - so, this one is definitely GOOD

Juno - This is probably my favorite movie that I have seen all year. Fierce biting sarcastic wit with as fierce a sappy heart...the script rocked! The performances were stellar. This will make a Ellen Page a star. Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman and Michael Cera amazing. Indie all the way. I loved this film. This one is the Good-est.

27 Dresses - Caught this at a sneak preview. Let me preface my comments by stating two things. 1) I am a girl. 2) I really like James Marsden and Kathryn Heigl. This movie is Chick Flick Extraordinaire. Predictable? Yes! Cutsey? Yes! Over-the-top Relationship-y? Yes! From start to finish - it is 100% Girl movie. No hiding it - no masking it with manly characters (not a manly man to be found) or a sub-plot that could keep the husbands/boyfriends attention. All the men are sensitive types - all the women want to get married. I loved it. Please refer to item number #1 above if this confuses you. James Marsden has been one of my favorites since his Ally McBeal days - I just love that he can sing. And Kathryn Heigl is one of my favorites since her Roswell days, Knocked Up notwithstanding. Yeah, this one is all girly GOODness.

PS I Love You - Please remember item number 1 from above. Hilary Swank and the Phantom of the Opera and Harry and much goodness. It is a little weird to have a scene in karoake bar with both Harry Connick, Jr and Nellie McKay - great and fabulous singers - not singing. Jeffrey Dean Morgan, you'll always be Denny to me. I like it. Its a chick flick that trying to be different - and I like that. Ireland looks beautiful in this film. Definitely a GOOD effort.

Amazing Grace - This movie was different than I thought. It is the story of William Wilberforce and his decades long attempts to abolish the slave trade in England. Very interesting..performances good. It is a little distracting to see the new Dumbledore do anything else - but Michael Gambon was still good. It is a slower movie - the pacing was fine - the storytelling good. It is just a movie about politics - so it feels "slower" than all of the other movies I saw in my marathon - even slower than Waitress - that was a pretty quiet movie. Still - such a good story - strong moral compass and my favorite line of my movie marathon: "I don't know that I found God, I think he found me." - or something like that. GOOD

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry - I like Adam Sandler. I like Kevin James. This movie made me chuckle - twice...and mostly I would say "eh" of this one. The gay gags didn't seem so funny to me. It wasn't that fun to me. All around: So-So

The Water Horse - perhaps it was my mood, perhaps it was the distracting children all around me, perhaps it was that this was one of the last viewed after so many - but I did not like this movie and it crawled along for me...and slower than a snails pace. You see the whole movie in the trailer - boy finds an egg with a magic water horse in it - he hides it from his mother - water horse grows to enormous size and is put in lake - people are mean to it and it goes a little crazy. This movie could not be over fast enough...and you couldn't pay me to watch it again - even if cute Ben Chaplin is in it. Left a BAD tast in my mouth

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Bad News and the Worse News

The bad news is that there is a writers strike going on...and my beloved TV is affected. I watched videos on the whole argument and I have to say - it seems like the writers deserve more. In fact, I can't see how the big networks can argue against it - after they took the cut in the 80s. The whole internet media thing - yes, I think the writers deserve a cut of the ad profits from their work being played over the internet. No, I do not believe it to be "promotional" as the networks state. I see the point. I don't know how this will resolve...if the networks think they can do it without the writers and the writers are sticking to their guns. It does certainly seem like they are at a stand still - and a Strike was necessary. That said. I hate it. Don't mess with my TV. I don't really care how much money any of the Hollywood types make - unless they are somehow paying me. I just want me little box to show my shows. That is very uncaring, I know. My fear is that the networks will start airing reality TV all the time...and the American public will watch huge numbers they will watch it...and this mess will change the face of television. There are too many people who are not discerning in the television viewing...that just watch whatever is placed in front of them no matter what. I just want to scream...NOOOOOOOO! No resolution in site...I'm thinking I'll probably read more.

Now, the worse news. My beloved TV is changing...and..and, I can only go to kid movies- and kid movies are not that great. Bee movie was okay. It was Jerry...all Jerry. If you like Jerry, you like the Bee Movie, I like Jerry, so I liked it. The animation: good. The rest of it...okay. This weekend, I took the kiddies to see Fred Claus. Yikes. First I should tell you that I fell DEAD asleep. I mean DEAD asleep in the middle of it...good thing my sister was there to be the awake adult. Really? Paul Giamatti? Really? Wow. It just wasn't good -it was barely cute. I like Vince Vaughn..and really, he couldn't sell me that stuff. I'm so sad that this is what I'm paying for at the movies. One of my movies friends recently told me that this was the best year in movies in a long time - lots of quality - lots of films to love. When my friend listed the favorites/best of the year, I hadn't seen even one of them. I'm really not the pop culture freak I want to be.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Halloween is today. Here is the treat for today. 5 Best Returning Shows of the season...

1. Friday Night Lights - Love, love, love it. Yes, was worried about the Tyra Landry storyline - I think its going to be okay - its playing out much more real than I could have expected. Plus, the cast is amazing. If Connie Britton doesn't get some recognition for her overwhelmed new mother this season - there is no justice in TVdom. Did I mention this show got an Emmy for best casting? There is a reason for that.
2. Bones - I love Bones. I love every character on this show...and everything they say. I even love the new ones - the new therapist is a riot. David Boreanez and Emily Deschanel shine and have perfected their on-screen chemistry. Plus, for a procedural - I like this topic best...the Jeffersonian...bones, bugs, particulates, 3-D sketch artists...this show is consistently on.
3. Brothers and Sisters - Okay. I love Rob Lowe. And I will always love Ally Calista Flockhart and then there's Sally Field...and Amy...I mean Emily VanCamp..and Rachel Griffiths...and I love this cast and I love the stories they tell. I love their right and left wing arguments...and boy Justin, its all so very good and family-y. The kind of family moments that I can definitely relate to.
4. Men in Trees - I want to live in Elmo. I want Marin Frist to be my friend, I want to meet Plow Guy and Jack and deal with the weather...and the warm people. I'd even hang out in that bar, but I still wouldn't drink.
5. Grey's Anatomy - I shouldn't put this one the list...but, I decided that I had to (Sorry, How I Met Your Mother - honorable mention to you). I was going to quit Grey's. After last season..ick. But, I watched the premiere...and it was good...and then they had that scene with McSteamy and McDreamy...and McSteamy said "I came to get you back" and it made me laugh out loud. Then Ava came back...and Lexie is nice. Its better, its healing. I like it. Its not Denny-days good - but its good.

****Special mention to the show that should top this list, but since only 1 episode has aired for the season so far, I felt I couldn't include it. SCRUBS is back and better than ever. I love this show - its wacky, zany heart will be missed - but I'm going to savor this last season all I can.

Other returning favorite notables.

-Criminal Minds can move forward without Mandy. Still works, I still like it and I still can't watch it at night.
-House could have made the list - but its being to mean to Mormons- can't support that- I almost had to on principle stop watching it altogether - but, I haven't yet. I really do like the new format with the new interns...but, man the Mormon comments, the Joseph Smith comment. I need to write a letter.
-Heroes makes my brain explode. It takes too much concentration for me to get through those episodes. I still have the last 4 on my Tivo.
-Desperate Housewives seemed like it was getting good there for a minute - and now its flopping out on me again. I'm already tired of the new neighbor and the gay neighbors.
-In reality news - Biggest Loser and Dancing with the Stars are proving to have more drama than some of the scripted shows on-air. Neil on Biggest Loser is evil. Marie Osmond makes me laugh on Dancing - but then she fainted...and I'm sort of having a fight with the show right now - having just voted off my favorite - Sabrina this week.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Fall TV: Best New Shows

Gossip Girl CW Wednesdays - as one of my favorite TV friends says..."Okay, I'm a 14 year old girl. I love this show." (And we are both about 20 years older than 14!) Writer, Josh Schwartz - he of The O.C. fame...has done it again with an over the top teen-angsty soapy drama - the kind I love. At this point- no one is all good. No one is all bad - and who knows what will happen next. It is all the drama of The O.C. without the Seth Cohen fun snarkiness...but, Dan...Dan, may just turn out to be a Seth Cohen, yet. LOVE it.
The Big Bang Theory CBS Mondays - This show makes me laugh out loud a lot. These geeks are hilarious. I wasn't even planning to watch this show and just happened to catch it. Leonard is my favorite. Try not to laugh at their video game playing, Superman marathon, Jenga playing lives.
Dirty Sexy Money ABC Tuesdays- The Darlings are a fascinating family. I've read lots of comparisons to the Bluths of yesteryear...but, I love me some Peter Krause...much more Casey McCall than Nate Fisher - which is good. I love the zaniness.
Chuck - NBC Mondays - Love that Zachary Levi. Love the premise. Great Anchor for the NBC Monday night lineup.
Pushing Daisies - ABC Wednesday -Thought it would be weird - and it was...but good weird. Any show that can have Tony Winner Kristin Chenoweth belting out "Hopelessly Devoted to You" is a winner in my book.
Life NBC Wednesday- For a procedural - this is a good one - I like his back story. I like that he has a mystery to figure out himself. Please watch this show. It needs more viewers.

**UPDATE: I hadn't seen Women's Murder Club when I wrote this. I really like it - Honorable Mention to it. Also - everyone loves Samantha Who?...but me. A REALLY likable cast...Yay Sookie! and Brian! and Jesse...but, I don't really like the writing and its grating on me. I just don't get it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Prime Time Emmy Wrap Up

The Prime Time Emmys were full of zip and craziness. It was one of those nights with repeated use of the words: shocked, surprised, snubbed and robbed. I had more jaw dropping moments than I could count. But, I do always love when unexpected winners win - and that is how it went down.

The predictable winners:
The Sopranos - Best Drama - end of its 8 year run, so okay.
Jeremy Piven-Best Supporting Actor Comedy - 2nd straight win. (But, man Neil Patrick Harris was ROBBED!)
America Ferrera - Best Actress, Comedy - shoo-in. Its kind of ironic - that she won for comedy - because she always makes us her speeches, and okay because of some of her wardrobe on the show.
The Amazing Race - Best Reality Competition - well - because no other show has won this category ever - 4 or is it 5 year running now...Amazing Race had it in the bag.

Then...everything else pretty much went off script. From a very mis-matched musical tribute by the Jersey Boys to the jersey boys of the Sopranos - (its weird to see people getting shot to Who Loves You Pretty Baby?) to Ryan Seacrest in a hideous get up from the costume department from Emmy winners The was all so very unpredictable.

Kathryn Heigl won? - Best Supporting Actress Drama - Hmmm. Just like the Oscars, I guess - whose Academy has a penchant for correcting mistakes and awarding trophies to actors who should have won for the year before. The Emmys did the same thing - Kathryn should have won for last year for all the Denny stuff...but really, I'm sad that Chandra Wilson didn't take it. Just like her character didn't get the Chief Resident position on the show...but should have because she was already running the place, Chandra should have taken it. So, yes. Surprise. Unpredictable.

Ricky Gervais - Best Actor Comedy - Wh-Wh-What? For Extras - which was hilarious. But, no one saw this coming...but his no show did make for one of my fav moments of the night the Steven Colbert - Jon Stewart - Steve Carrell celebratory hug. Nice.

Terry O'Quinn - Best Supporting Actor Drama - I'm all for supporting LOST - but wow. I really wanted anyone else to win. I love Locke - O'Quinn is a great bad guy - but no one expected him to take it. And he told us that he dreams of living on Wisteria Lane with those Housewives, I really wanted to know that.

Sally Field Best Actress Drama - didn't expect this. Not at all. But, we do really like her. I thought she was amazing as the matriarch of the Walker family this year. I love that I get to watch her on TV. But, really, I thought her nomination was the gift and celebration for the whole show - at all (and that nod for Rachel Griffiths too) - I never thought she would WIN. And then there was the controversial speech...oh, just let her say it, already - she's just standing up for mothers of the service boys.

James Spader - Best Actor Drama - My biggest beef of the night. First, I should say I am a fan of Boston Legal.. amd specifically of James Spaker. I do think he is amazing - but I can not believe he won again a third time - when Hugh Laurie has yet to win a trophy and James Gandolfini was up for his last turn on the Sopranos...Crazy. At least his was one of the more entertaining speeches of the night -as it seems he was as surprised as anyone - I loved when he said "I feel like I just stole this from the mob and they are sitting right behind me." Or maybe stolen from the good doctor...yeah, James, we agree. I hate repeat winners - especially when the didn't have their best year. Spread the love, emmy voters!

All in all - an unpredictable night. I liked the theater in the round - but no one else did. I thought it was cool to see everyone sitting together in their show casts and have them on camera all the time while everyone was speaking. Ryan Seacrest? Eh. Fine - not bad...just fine. Ray Ramano's stand up- ick. Funniest riff: Kanye and Rainn Wilson not forgetting the lyrics with Wayne Brady. Second Funniest: Brad Garrett and Joely Fishers presenter bit. They are funny. Most shocking fashion: Leslie Caron - I love you...but OH MY GOODNESS!! At both the creative ARTS emmys and the Primetime night - she looked so old ...and just like a little old French lady should, I suppose.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Lessons from the Creative Arts Emmys

First, I love award shows. I specifically Love the Primetime Emmys. Last Saturday was the Creative Arts Prime-time Emmy Awards, the pre-cursor to the big show - all the technical awards that no one presumably wants to see. I usually just check the winners list to see who won the Guest Actor/Actress in Drama/Comedy - because those are the names that I recognize. This year there were a lot more names that I recognized at the Creative Arts Emmy's and I took a more definite interest in their out come.

Justin Timberlake, Kathy Griffin, Mia Michaels, Wade Robson and now even Leslie Caron are all Emmy Winners. Is is a travesty of some sort that Justin Timberlakes SNL spoof song with "in a box" in the title won an emmy? It seem a little like a flip off to the Emmy's in general - but then again, three 6 Mafia have an OSCAR - but that wasn't for a joke. Maybe Emmy is just relaxing a little and not taking herself so seriously. Well, however it comes off - "Step One" is that it won an Emmy. Kathy Griffin won an Emmy too. I think she is funny - but crass - her exaggerated sarcasm and attacks on celebrities and celebrity itself with her reality show "My Life on the D-List" won her an Emmy - guess she doesn't make fun of too many Emmy voters. With South Park also winning an Emmy, irreverence was definitely a theme of the night. The American Express commercial with Ellen and the animals (depicting her staff) - won an Emmy. I didn't know commercials could WIN Emmy's - I learned quite a few things reviewing the Creative Arts Emmys this year...and have compiled a lovely little list:

1. Commericals can win an Emmy

2. Area awards are categories that can have more than 1 winner or no winner - voters get to vote for as many of the nominees that they want to - and all nominees with a majority of votes wins an Emmy. If no one has a majority - no winner. That is how Mia Michaels and Wade Robson both "won" Emmy's - and even another contender in their category - it was an AREA AWARD. AHHHH Uh, Okay?

3. There used to be an award called "Most Promising New Comer" - I think I might have already known this - but I was reminded when Leslie Caron (who I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE) - Gigi herself (and star of one of my all-time favorite movies Father Goose) won her Emmy. She said she was nominated in 1951 for Most Promising New Comer and she was glad that at 76 she finally reached her potential.

4. There is a record for show with the most number of nominations without a win - and it is currently held by Newhart. AND - American Idol was encroaching on that record until Saturday - it finally won a technical direction Emmy for "Idol Gives Back" - after 6 years of nominations - it finally won an Emmy. Whew - I'm sure Newhart was worried.

5. 82 is the age of the oldest winner at this years awards - you'd think at 76, Leslie Caron had this one in the bag - but Elaine Stritch at 82 won that distinction when she won for Guest Star on a Comedy - for her turn on 30 Rock.

6. The Tony's can win an Emmy. I think I knew this one too - because I did know that the Oscars have won Emmy's before and did this year again for music direction...its all kind of funny the Oscars winning the Emmy's - the Tony's winning Emmy's. Its just funny when awards shows are honored at other award shows. Ah, how Hollywood loves to honor themselves.

7. Sometimes, my favorite winners are going to be at the Creative Arts awards and not live on my television. Friday Night Lights won for Best Casting - Amen! Its too bad none of those perfectly casted performances were nominated themselves - Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler were so snubbed! John Goodman won for Guest Actor on a Drama for Studio 60. He was great on this show - but I really wanted Eli Wallach to win for Studio 60 - either way its my favorite because any honoring of Studio 60 is my favorite - after one of my favorite shows from last years had to limp out the season in June - I'm glad to see it get noted ANYWHERE.

Well, needless to say - I'm going to watch the show now - airing on E! on Saturday - even though the winners are no surprise - I just want to see my favorites and then the BIG awards on Sunday. I'm definitely looking forward to the weekend.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Reality TV Love

I love reality shows - well a few of them. Not ALL of them - but, okay, a lot of them. When I finally got on the So You Think You Can Dance bandwagon in Season 2 - Summer TV became a thing I cherished. American Idol, Nashville Star, Dancing with the Stars, Project Runway, Survivor (sometimes), The Bachelor (I know why? why? why? - reality show love at its best - I'm still obsessed with Andy and Tessa, even if they have called off their engagement, and she didn't move to Hawaii - they ARE still together!), On the Lot, ROCK STAR (my favorite of ALL of them - sadly no longer in production) and the Biggest Loser - have all graced my DVR with fanaticism - favorite episodes saved for months or years - re-watching my favorite moments for days on end... I love me some reality TV.

There are only 2 things I love more than the shows themselves in reality world: Reunion Specials and Reality Show Love. Last night, to my delight, was an amazing combination of both. The Biggest Loser: Reunion show was a good reunion with a little reality "showmance" added in. I love The Biggest Loser. I love it primarily because watching it makes me think I've worked out - that I'm getting in shape with them. Somehow just by watching - I have actually found myself feeling healthier and in better shape. What a bonus! - drama, hook ups and a good work out. I tend to become a little obsessed with the big success stories - and always love a good follow up - especially when it includes making people weigh themselves on National TV - for no other reason than to appease curiosity - there is no money involved - they are stepping on the scale again, just for me. And again I feel better - knowing they all (but 1) put a little (or a lot) of weight back on - just like me - since the show has been off and I haven't been getting in my "work outs".

Everyone gained weight back (except for the girl from Season 1 -who lost more - but I didn't watch Season 1 - so she didn't count). I loved how they spun it and focused on how much weight they had "kept off". Even Eric, by far - the most transformed of any contestant - any season - losing more than 200 lbs on the RANCH gained back 50 lbs - but he still looked good and transformed and everything.

Alison Sweeney is the new host and while of course I'm a fan of Sami from Days of Our Lives, I thought Caroline Rhea was funny. Alison is coming off as awfully smiley and breaks into hysterical laughter WAY too often - she's got an overcompensating/nervous something going on. I like her okay - but am wondering what happened to Caroline - did she get too fat to be the host of a weight loss show? Did I just write that? I would love to hear her take on it - her sarcastic wit would be entertaining.

So, Marty and Amy, in love, started a company together, own a home together (info courtesy of the most recent PEOPLE magazine) - and now ENGAGED. I had no idea this was even brewing. It makes me want to go back to season 3 and re-watch to look for signs of possible affection. I hate when I miss it. I knew Suzy and Matt were happening - that was an easy call - and was thoroughly impressed by both the Today show proposal and the wedding spread. Now, thanks to the reunion special - we've met the first Biggest Loser offspring - Rex...and his parents who have gained back a good deal of the weight they lost...he,he,he. Just like me! All in all - a good night of catching up with my favorite "losers" and the ones they "love"!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

TV Season

Its September and there is a feeling in September. The season changes -and as the temperature drops, I get excited...its TV TIME! Fall TV preparations have begun. I've posted my Fall 2007 Programming Guide on the wall in my office - (its poster size) and I'm pouring over the minutia of all the new shows and deciding what will get programmed into my TIVO/DVRs. Because of recent life changes (4 kids and 2 parents moving into my house and life) - I haven't had the time I usually have to prepare. Fortunately, though, I got to spend an oh-so-relaxing day with one of my "TV Kindred Spirits" over the weekend and had a little time to pour over what lies ahead. Its audition season - as all of the networks trot out their newbies across my television screen, to try to win my TIVO hours. Who will make the cut? Last year at this time, I had no idea that Friday Night Lights, Heroes and Brothers & Sisters would become fast favorites and their sophomore outings would be so hotly anticipated. Can't wait to fall in love with some new TV!