Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sidebar Update

For some reason, I'm still not compelled to sit down and write a review longer than two sentences about any new TV show. Also, I've now seen Martin Scorsese's The Departed, and I'd love to rave about how freakin' incredible it is, how utterly brilliant Jack Nicholson and Leonardo DiCaprio are, two standouts among a uniformly tremendous cast, but I just can't seem to work up the energy. Yet somehow, I find the time to change all the little pictures on my sidebar and update my template. Weird. Okay, here we go.

This week's Object of My Affection is the lovely and talented Hope Davis. I've been an infatuated fan since her beguiling turn in Next Stop Wonderland, and she's given a plethora of great performances in many other overlooked and underseen pictures, from The Daytrippers to Arlington Road to About Schmidt to The Secret Lives of Dentists to American Splendor to The Matador. And let's not forget one of my very favorite nobody's-seen-it-but-me movies, Mumford. I think that's where I really fell head over heels for her. It's such a sweet, wonderful little picture by one of our best screenwriters and directors, Lawrence Kasdan. (I'm pretending he didn't actually have anything to do with Dreamcatcher.) You should really go rent it. Currently, Hope is on TV, on Six Degrees, which is so bad, even she couldn't get me to watch a second episode. Pity.

Reading The Book of Jhereg, a compendium of the first three Vlad Taltos novels by Steven Brust. It's been a while since I've read a good, straightforward fantasy book. I'm midway through the first book in the collection, Jhereg. It's solid entertainment, if not especially outstanding in writing or plot. Takes me way back to my junior high school Dungeons & Dragons days, what with the dragons and the psionics and all. I'm led to believe the series gets better as it goes along.

I'm currently re-watching my Futurama season 3 DVDs. No special reason why I've decided to pull them out now; they're just somehow comforting to watch. Plus they're damn funny, of course.

Listening to The Who's first new studio album in 24 years, Endless Wire, which was just released today. Hooray for new Who music! Although at this point, they really should be calling themselves The Townshend/Daltrey Experience rather than The Who, what with half of The Who being dead and all. Some fine songs here, even if it doesn't sound much like The Who of yore. I have the feeling it's only going to grow on me more with repeated plays.

The Hating category was pretty much a no-brainer this week: I'm hating Rush Limbaugh. In a big way. Hating. Here's the deal: Michael J. Fox makes a political ad for a candidate in favor of stem cell research, which has the potential for medical breakthroughs in areas such as Parkinson's, from which Fox suffers. Then Limbaugh sees the ad and decides to attack Fox like the rabid little skunk he is, mimicking Fox's uncontrollable shaking (caused by his Parkinson's medication), accusing Fox of exaggerating or faking his condition, and calling Fox "shameless." What a scumbag. He's probably just jealous of Ann Coulter's position as America's #1 right-wing nutbag, and wants to reclaim the title for himself.

And the Lyric of the Week comes from The Who, naturally enough; it's from John Entwistle's classic "Boris the Spider." Apropos for this creepy, crawly Halloween night, no? Happy Halloween to you all, and hopefully I'll be back here again before too long.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

TV: Lightning Round!

I'm so far behind on my TV blogging for the Fall Season that I've decided to steal a gimmick from Salon's King Kaufman, who sometimes does this with his NFL picks: I'm going to review a handful of the new shows in exactly two sentences. It's not going to be especially informative or clever, but it is going to clear out a lot of the backlog. Which will make me feel better about myself, which is all that really matters.

Smith: Slick, stylish, often compelling heist action, with some fine acting, especially from Ray Liotta, though it is hard to root for any of these characters. Not that it really matters, since CBS cancelled this show after three episodes.

Jericho: Surprisingly more addictive and well thought out than I had anticipated. Sprague Grayden and, god help me, Skeet Ulrich are especially good, although, following his turn as the evil George Hearst on last season's Deadwood, I keep waiting for Gerald McRaney to rape and murder someone -- possibly Skeet.

Twenty Good Years: The lamest vehicle for the immensely talented Jeffrey Tambor since his co-starring role in Three's Company spin-off The Ropers over 25 years ago. John Lithgow is wasted here, too, though to a lesser degree, since he's overacting in exactly the same fashion as when he was playing a wacky alien.

Runaway, The Game, Friday Night Lights, Kidnapped: I waited too long to watch these shows, and my TiVo deleted them to make room for new stuff. Oh well.

I think I might have full reviews of The Nine, Ugly Betty, and 30 Rock somewhere in me, so I'm holding off on them for now. Plus there's Brothers & Sisters, which TiVo has yet to delete, but which I still haven't watched (and don't much care to, despite the fact that, if Roger is correct, it takes place in my hometown of Ojai). If I can't get around to them, watch for Lightning Round II in the near future.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Monthly Sidebar Update

Well, I managed one "weekly" Sidebar Update in August, and one in September. Now it's mid-October. I'm not very good at updating this site anymore, am I?

I'm still feeling under the weather, but I'm on the mend. I just felt like I needed to do something on the ol' blog here. I'd like to get into the TV season, finish reviewing all the new shows. I'd like to talk about how much I've been loving the new seasons of Battlestar Galactica, Lost, Veronica Mars, The Office, House, and How I Met Your Mother, among others. I'd like to go into detail about how far I've turned around on Studio 60, to the point where I think I actually hate it now. So smug, so condescending, so self-important, so preachy, so humorless... I can't remember ever going from such a positive opinion of a show to such a negative one so quickly.

But all that's for a later time. For now, the Sidebar.

The Object of My Affection is Heather Graham, who frankly is not a very good actress. In fact, she's pretty awful. But hot DAMN is she good lookin'. Although I did find, while searching for a decent, non-nude photo of her on Google Images: that's a surprisingly difficult commodity to locate. In an alarming number of photos, she appears disturbingly bug-eyed or buck-toothed. Not attractive. And yet, I still went with her for the OoMA, because that is one darn cute picture. Wow, this is not a flattering commentary on her at all. Just watch, this will be the one time a celebrity Googles herself and finds this blog. Gee whiz, now she'll never date me.

Reading: Janet Evanovich, Ten Big Ones. Oh, the hell with you. I'm sick. It's like comfort food.

Watching: Justice League, season 2 DVD set. This is where they figured out what didn't work in the early episodes, and everything came together perfectly. Much darker, smarter, more exciting and more complex. A great season of a great cartoon.

Listening: Michael Franti and Spearhead, Yell Fire! This, like the above, was a gift from my good buddy Lew. I'm still learning to like this album. There are a few tracks that have really grabbed me -- especially the title track, the righteously moving "Yell Fire!" -- but the album starts sounding repetitive after a while. It's kind of a reggae/hip-hop fusion, and I guess I can only take that in small doses.

Hating: Stupid Dodgers! Got swept by the Mets in the first round of the playoffs. They haven't been to the World Series now since 1988 -- which was an incredible Series, with one of the most thrilling, iconic baseball moments of all time, the near-hobbled Kirk Gibson's game-winning home run in Game 1. Picturing that gimpy son-of-a-gun's fist-pumping glee as he rounded the bases still gives me goose bumps. But that was two decades ago. Sure, sure, there are plenty of baseball fans reading this whose teams haven't gone all the way for even longer -- maybe never during your lifetime. But these are the Dodgers. They went to the World Series twice in the '80s, three times in the '70s, three times in the '60s, five times in the '50s... this is a franchise with a long tradition of playing for the championship. They are expected to play in the World Series multiple times per decade, much like the Yankees. This 18-years-and-counting drought is an embarrassment. Sheer agony. Stupid Dodgers!!

Lyric of the Week: Da Vinci's Notebook, "Heather Graham." I actually came up with this lyric before deciding to also choose Heather Graham as Object of My Affection. This is a hilarious song (as are most of those by Da Vinci's Notebook), all about the wonders of Ms. Graham, and the singer's stalker-ish fantasies of her. How can you not love a song that includes the line, "I have made it my sworn duty/To sing the praises of her booty"?

And that's it. Hopefully I'll have something else to post before too awful long, but don't bet on it.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Can you spot the counting error?

From the introduction to tonight's Heroes:

Previously, on Heroes: five strangers across the globe begin to discover they have extraordinary abilities. From the cheerleader who realizes she's invincible, to the artist that can see the future in his paintings; the single mother with the deadly alter ego; the two brothers who realize they can fly; a police officer whose special powers get him into trouble; and the office worker who teleports to New York and sees a vision of their future.
Wait, how many strangers? Does one of them have the power to change what numbers mean?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A quick update

This last week has seen a death in the family, and some wickedly brutal and tenacious sickness on my part. Updates may resume this weekend, or not.

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