Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Next week: Veronica and Gaius Baltar get it on

This week's Veronica Mars shout-out to Battlestar Galactica:

"She was dressed as a Cylon, and you only knew her as 'Six,' right?"

I'm starting to wonder if there isn't a different show VM creator Rob Thomas would prefer working on.

Humiliation Squared, DVD Style

No, I will NOT pledge that.

QUESTION: What's more humiliating than having to appear in a movie produced by a franchise that hasn't been funny for almost two decades (I'll be generous and include 1989's Christmas Vacation in the "funny" column), with second billing to renowned non-actress Paris Hilton?

Paula Who?

ANSWER: Having them misspell your name on the DVD box.

It's Paula Garces, geniuses. Or Garcés, if you want to go the extra mile and throw in the accent mark. Criminy! How long does it take to spellcheck a DVD cover that has literally eleven words on it?! (Twelve, if you count "Sorority" on the building in the background.)

P.S. No, I did not watch this abomination. I just noticed it on the shelf at the video store. And even though I'm not overly familiar with Ms. Garcés or her work (though I have seen her, apparently, in both The Shield and Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle), I still immediately suspected "Paula Graces" had to be wrong. Yes, I notice random DVD cover misspellings. That's how I roll.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

MUSIC: Me First and the Gimme Gimmes Love Their Country


Me First and The Gimme Gimmes Love Their Country is the most enjoyable album I've purchased since Green Day's American Idiot. And I still think American Idiot is the best album of the new millennium, so... there you go.

If you're not familiar with Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, they're a supergroup, of sorts, consisting of moonlighting musicians from various Southern California punk rock bands. They're exclusively a cover band. Each of their albums cover a different genre -- Me First and the Gimme Gimmes Are a Drag, for example, is all showtunes; Me First and the Gimme Gimmes Ruin Jonny's Bar Mitzvah was recorded at an actual bar mitzvah, and includes a take on "Hava Nagila."

Love Their Country, as you may have surmised from the title and the album cover above, is all country songs, reinterpreted via punk rock. And it is fantastic. It will rock your face. And what truly makes it shine is that it isn't meant to be a "Weird Al"-style parody (though they do play around with some of the lyrics), and it isn't meant to be a comedic piss-take, like the lounge covers of Richard Cheese (though it is frequently very funny). The band isn't covering John Denver or the Dixie Chicks as a joke; they're not setting themselves up as better than the material -- or at least, not as I see it. They seem to have a genuine affection and respect for these songs, and they do them justice, while still having fun with them.

And it just plain works. You might be surprised, before hearing this album, just how perfectly suited Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again" is to a punk rock reinterpretation; after hearing it, you'd believe that this is the way Willie always intended it to sound.

A few other standouts include their fiery take on Jerry Reed's "East Bound and Down" (from the movie Smokey and the Bandit), though it sounds like these Cali boys have never heard of Texarkana (they misspeak it as "Texarcanada"); their raucous covers of the aforementioned Denver and Dixie Chicks ("Annie's Song" and "Goodbye Earl," respectively); and, possibly the gem of the collection, a searing and sincere version of Dolly Parton's "Jolene." Tangent: I have to respect MF&TGG for not altering the original lyrics of "Jolene" -- "I'm begging of you, please don't take my man.... Please don't take him just because you can." Certain other male singers covering songs originally by women are apparently too uptight about their sexual identity not to monkey with the lyrics -- I'm specifically thinking of Counting Crows' version of Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi," where Adam Duritz replaces "took away my old man" with "took my girl away," but you can probably think of other examples.

I have to thank Dorian and Mike for introducing me to MF&TGG, via mix CDs -- from Dorian I've got their take on "Cabaret," and from Mike I've got "Science Fiction" (from The Rocky Horror Picture Show). I love this band, and I might never have discovered them without Dorian and Mike pointing the way. I've listened to Love Their Country from beginning to end at least once, and usually two or three times, every single day since I bought it, and it just gets more and more entertaining. And I can't wait to get back to the music store and buy another one of their albums. Great stuff!

Monday, January 29, 2007

1 Vs. 100: Second and Third Episodes, Part the Last

At long, long last, here is the promised/threatened finale to my grand televised adventure, including my reminiscences on the last half of my second episode, and all of the third episode (up to the part where I got eliminated, because after that who gives a rat's ass).

Let me preface this by saying: I know at points in my blogging I've joked and/or bitched about the whole 1 Vs. 100 saga. But the simple truth is, it was one of the most exciting and rewarding (in more ways than one) experiences of my life. Strangers paid me real cash money for knowing stupid crap, and they let me be on TV while doing so. You can't beat that, my friends. Frankly, I would've skipped the TV part and gone right to the cash, but I guess they don't really work that way.

Another note: when I wrote about the first half of the second episode, I said that my next episode would be the one featuring Mob members from the cast of the movie Grease, promoting NBC's reality show Grease: You're the One That I Want. That turned out to be a lie. They substituted an episode of Deal Or No Deal instead. I think they still haven't aired that 1 Vs. 100 episode.

Now, when my third episode did air: no cast members from Grease! Why did I ever think my third appearance might be on that episode? Answer: the vagaries of taping. The Grease episode was taped out of sequence; I was backstage (or, technically, on an adjoining stage) when the Grease cast members were in the Mob, watching the taping on closed-circuit TV. But I still thought I might appear in the second half of that Grease episode, due to the way things seemed to get mixed around with the tapings I was actually part of. Guess not. I doubt any of you even noticed any of this, but it nagged at me enough to try to explain it. Hope I haven't muddled it even more than it already was.

So! When I left off recapping episode two, Barry (whom I still want to call Dennis, for no good reason) had just answered his ninth question, accumulating $184,000. Further notes from here:

--While deciding whether or not to go on to the tenth question, Barry said, "I haven't even talked about #66 yet!" #66 was the seven-foot-tall drag queen directly in front of me (#81, remember?). Some of the most significant edits from the taping to the final show, in my mind, were in the back-and-forth banter between Bob Saget and Barry, and #66. (And not just because it would've likely meant more camera time for me.) They talked to her frequently, and she was extremely flamboyant and funny. But for some reason they chopped out almost all of that. For example, right here, Barry threw out his reference to her, but the show cut out all of the subsequent joking that followed. I'm not really sure why (though, to be fair, they cut a lot out of Bob's banter with everyone). I'll assume it was for time considerations, and stop worrying about it.

--Just before Bob asked the tenth question, there was a three-shot of me, the woman standing directly to my right, and the drag queen below us. This shot recurred frequently for the rest of Barry's run. I think it's because there were only 38 Mob members left at this point, and the three of us, who were all still in the game, formed a little island amid the many others surrounding us who had been eliminated. An easy-to-frame-in-camera island.

--The tenth question threw me for a loop for a moment:


How the hell should I know how much Kim Jong Il sleeps? And who's reporting this four hour statistic, anyway? Kim Jong Il himself? If so, why not phrase it like answer C: "He SAYS he sleeps 4 hours a night." I wanna meet the guy who can verify this four hour figure! (Well, maybe I don't.) That qualifier, "He SAYS," is why I never really considered answer C, and the lack of it is why I almost picked A. Eventually, I decided to go with B, the Tom Cruise answer, just because I knew Tom Cruise was short, but he couldn't be that damn short. And I was right.

--Barry asked the Mob for help on this question. One randomly selected Mob member (who picked the wrong answer, C) cited his knowledge of Kim Jong Il as coming primarily from Team America: World Police. Which is understandable. That's how I best know him. But they edited out all of the Mob member's references to that film -- even references to puppets. All that's left is a very odd, out-of-context remark about "DVD commentary." Guess they couldn't get the rights to use the film's name.

--The other person Barry spoke to in the Mob, Gloria, in pod #7, was wearing a lovely blue-green blouse here. I don't know why I noted that. It's so unlikely that that will pay off down the line.

--Barry picked the right answer, eliminating 17 people at $7,000 per head. That's another $119,000 on one question. Damn. Is it any wonder I wanted to be the 1, instead of one of the 100?

--After commercial, we see Adam West was eliminated on that question. NOO!! Not Batman! Aside from the actual money, my favorite part of my entire game show experience probably was playing in the same Mob as my childhood hero. Very, very cool, even if I never got within fifty feet of him.

--At $303,000, Barry had already won more than any other contestant in 1 Vs. 100's short history. And yet he pushed it, and went for an 11th question. Good man! And got so very, tantalizingly close to blowing it, and giving all the money to the Mob. But he didn't. Bad man!

--The question was:


This question couldn't have been more perfectly tailored to my area of expertise. I knew it was Kelsey Grammer before they even revealed the choices. And I knew for which shows he was nominated: Cheers and Frasier, of course, and the third? Wings. Why did I know that? I have no clue. It's just an example of the kind of useless crap that makes me so suited for game shows like this. Barry, on the other hand, wasn't sure. He narrowed it down to Grammer or O'Connor. And he almost talked himself into going for O'Connor -- after all, how many spin-off possibilities were there for O'Connor's Archie Bunker character to guest star on? Maude, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Gloria, Archie Bunker's Place.... Whether he actually appeared on/was nominated for any of those shows, I don't know, but the possibility was there. But Barry eventually decided to use his last help: Trust the Mob, in which he was automatically locked into the most popular answer chosen by the Mob.

Here's where what I believe to be the relatively short memory of the Mob as a whole benefited Barry. Most of the Mob tended toward youth, certainly younger than Barry (or even myself, at the ripe old age of 36). Most of them had almost certainly never watched All in the Family or The Mary Tyler Moore Show; hell, they might not have known who Carroll O'Connor or Ed Asner even were. But they knew Frasier, which only went off the air in 2004. I think they picked Grammer's name more out of familiarity than any real certainty that he was the correct choice. Lucky for them, and lucky for Barry, Grammer was the correct choice, and Barry was able to add to his already record-setting total, and walk away with $343,000, leaving us 16 remaining Mob members to stew over what-coulda-been.

--Next up: my audition-buddy Kwame. I saw from the comments on previous posts that Kwame rubbed some viewers the wrong way. A lot of that was genuine Kwame: he's just a boisterous, bigger-than-life dude. A lot of it was also just the way of the game: the producers fostered a competitive spirit between the 1 and the 100, which, yes, included trash-talking. But trust me when I say you'd like him in person. He's a good, fun, friendly guy.

--That said, the minute I saw Kwame was going to be a contestant, I knew the Mob would win his money. I don't say that to be mean. I just knew from the audition process that he was a bold, aggressive player, whom I knew would charge forward and answer a question even if he wasn't sure of the answer, even if he had some help left. Which is exactly what he eventually did.

--That was in my third episode, though. In this second episode, new specialty Mob members included six child geniuses, two infomercial millionaires (including the dude in the green suit with question marks who looks like the Riddler):

Riddle me this: if I'm a millionaire, why can't I afford a normal suit?

AAAHH!! Sorry. Scary. Let's see, who else? There was also giant slab of man-meat, Fabio. And lastly, unfortunately, there was a passel of clowns directly above my head. Oh, man, those clowns. Those damn clowns. They JUST. WOULDN'T. STOP. Stop being clowns! Stop it!! Blowing their slide whistles, flinging balloons into the Mob, laughing the laughter of nightmares, and, worst of all, pounding on their tabletops. Those tabletops make a very loud noise when pounded, and when you're directly below someone making that noise, it can drive you a little batty. Trust me. I turned around and asked -- very nicely, I'll have you know -- if they wouldn't mind not pounding on the tabletops. Well, I was very nice the first time I had to ask. Less so the second time. Stupid clowns.

--Before Kwame's first question, there was a shot of our friend Gloria in pod #7. Only now she was in pod #12 -- and she was wearing a beige blouse! What happened to the blue-green number she was wearing five minutes ago?? Because of course there's no pause in between contestants, right? No time to change clothes. The show just continues without a break... doesn't it? The answer may surprise you!

Well, probably not: no, it doesn't. There was indeed a break between contestants Barry and Kwame. A two-day break. My first day of taping ended with Barry; my second day of taping began with Kwame. We returning Mob members were supposed to wear the same clothes we wore in our previous appearance, since the taping ended in the middle of an episode. I did as told. Guess no one told Gloria!

--For me, the near-stumper question during this first part of Kwame's run:


I was totally blank on this one almost to the end of our ten-second time limit. Just no clue. I finally picked Roy due to this solid reasoning: I thought the one who was attacked had a short name. That was it. I thought I remembered from the news reports that it was the shorter name. I was very lucky that I recalled it correctly. A whopping forty Mob members got knocked out on this one -- I repeat: very lucky!

--Let's skip ahead to my third episode. This will be the first time I watch the whole thing. It's still painful!

--Ned Andrews, the "reigning Mob champion," had answered 41 questions correctly at the beginning of this episode. I only made it to 26 during my run, which only stings my pride when I think about it. Which is constantly. I wanted to get more right than that guy, dammit!!

--Kwame's second question in this episode was one of the toughest questions I think the Mob has had to face:


How many people are accomplished enough touch-typists to get this in ten seconds? I about had a heart attack when I saw this. Fortunately, over the past few years, I have become an accomplished enough touch-typist that I could get this one by sense memory. I just closed my eyes, reached out my hands, and typed the words on my tabletop. Luckily for me, my hands remembered that G-A-S is found in the second row on a keyboard.

--I didn't remember that Kwame used a help on this question! I thought he just jumped ahead without even using his two remaining helps. But he did use one help: Poll the Mob, where he can find out how many people picked any one answer. Unfortunately for him, he asked about answer A, and found out that only two people in the Mob had chosen it -- which effectively ruled it out. Now, I'm not positive about this, but I think a contestant can only use one help per question. I may be wrong, but I think that's the case. Which makes his decision to jump ahead and pick one of the remaining answers less rash than I had originally thought it to be. Still, he didn't take much time at all thinking about it, and strangely -- in my eyes, anyway -- he decided to go with the answer that shared two letters with the answer that had just been ruled out by the Mob. Instead of WIN, he picked KIN -- and you could hear the audience's moan of disappointment as he did so. He knew right away that he was wrong, but he kept a brave face. And there was a commercial break before Bob revealed the answer. That's brutal.

As he walked off stage after losing, I called out to him, "Thank you, Kwame!" He looked up and spotted me, and grinned a big grin, and said, "Tom Collins! You're welcome!" I'm telling you: very cool dude. I'm sorry he didn't win. But I'm more happy that I did win!

--The next contestant was Shelley. You may remember her: she was the self-described "Miss Fitness" champion in the turquoise dress who... how do I put this delicately? Had a bouncy personality. And by "personality," I mean "chest." In fact, I'm just going to go right ahead and blame her cleavage for my getting eliminated during her run. It's not true, but it will make many of my male readers sympathize with me more.

--Shelley's first question involved Tammy Faye Bakker. After, Bob asked one of the Mob members why he had chosen incorrectly. "I have no idea who Tammy Faye Bakker is," he said. "I was born in 1980." Remember my assessment of the short memory of the Mob? Yeah, right there. And it comes back again in a big way shortly.

--Ah, me. Here we are. Shelley's third question, and my downfall.


"General Motors!" you are all saying. "It's General Motors, you idiot!" Well, I know that now, goddam it. But at that moment, all I saw was: there are cars involved, and I don't know anything about cars. OH, SHIT!! My brain just shut down. I completely froze. I had not a single thought in my brain, other than: "You are going to get this wrong." And so, I did. I picked B, Chrysler. AAAAHHHH!!!

If I had had five more seconds to think about it, to gather my wits about me -- but I did not. I had only ten seconds, and about eight of them were spent panicking. Then I just pressed B, and I knew instantly I was wrong. But I was already locked in. I was already totally screwed. It was one of the very easiest questions asked of me the entire time I was there, and I blew it, big time. All I can say is, be more understanding of people who make dopey choices on game shows. It's a lot of pressure, and without warning it can pile on you and completely overwhelm you. That's what happened to me, and I'm never going to stop regretting it. GRRR!!

Fourteen other people missed it, by the way, so I'm not the only dummy.

--After the commercial break: okay, this is the first time I've seen this promo for upcoming 1 Vs. 100 episodes -- including the "Survival of the Smartest" episode, in which previous Mob champs come back to compete in a winner-take-all competition for $250,000. Dude, I answered 26 QUESTIONS. There is NO WAY that there are that many Mob members who answered more questions correctly than me, even subtracting for room to fit in all the celebrity Mob members they wanted to include as well. That is bullshit. Now I'm angry. I should be in this show. I SHOULD BE IN THIS SHOW. And they didn't invite me... why? Because I wasn't as loony as other people who answered fewer questions, or because I never got randomly picked to be a contestant's help? Total bullshit. Wow. Way to turn me into sheer bitter resentment on a dime.

--Okay, let's skip ahead to Shelley's last question and get this over with.


Another question geared especially for my trivia sweet spot. Too bad I wasn't still in the game to answer it! I knew it was De Niro; every time they talk about an actor gaining weight for a role, they always make sure to remind you that De Niro did it first, and did it bigger. (Although, according to IMDb trivia, Vincent D'Onofrio actually broke De Niro's record weight gain for Full Metal Jacket.)

And here's where the Mob's general short-term memory paid off for those Mob members with knowledge older than 1990. Shelley opted to use her Trust the Mob help, which meant she was locked into the Mob's most popular answer. And the Mob's most popular answer was the highest-profile, most recent (2001, as opposed to 2000 for Hanks, 1980 for De Niro) weight gain for a role: Renee Zellweger. And it was completely wrong.

"Cast Away, he was skinny, so... that didn't happen," Shelley said with a dismissive wave of her hand when considering her choices. Everybody remembers Hanks getting skinny; they don't seem to remember how much weight he packed on for the beginning of the film, pre-plane crash, before losing all that weight back, and more. IMDb says he gained, then lost, 50+ pounds. De Niro: 60 pounds. (D'Onofrio, in case you were wondering: 70 pounds.) And Zellweger? 20 pounds. A miserable, measly twenty pounds. So far in third place it's hardly worth mentioning.

She would definitely have been my last choice. Everybody seems to think she got huge for that role. She got a little curvy, and that's it. It's just that she made so much more of a stink about it, as did the media, that everybody seems to think she bloated herself up to Brando proportions. It's more attention-getting, I guess, when a pretty actress gains a little weight than when an actor -- even one of the most popular actors in the world -- gains nearly three times as much.

So, Shelley trusted the Mob. And, as with Barry's trusting the Mob earlier, the Mob picked the most recent answer. It's just that this time, they were wrong. As was Shelley. 17 Mob members split $86,000. Meaning if I had only gotten General Motors right, I'd have made another $5,058! But I didn't. Damn it.

--You know who else didn't? Ned Andrews! He missed it, and left with a still-impressive string of, if I'm counting correctly, 48 questions correct. That means I would've been the reigning Mob member if I hadn't blown it. Dagnabbit!

And that's the end of my 1 Vs. 100 saga! (There's more stuff that happened in that third episode, but I was gone, so screw it.) I'm a little frustrated that now that I finally felt sanguine enough to recap my losing episode, I saw the promo for the future show I should've been a part of, but wasn't. I didn't want to put a capper of sourness on my game show story. I loved being on the show, and I'm ecstatic to have won a decent amount of money. But to find out I've been shut out of a competition which by all rights I should've been invited to... well, that smarts.

I hope I've answered all you wanted to know (and likely, much much more) about the 1 Vs. 100 experience. If you've got any more questions, leave a comment and I'll try to answer it. And if you're a casting agent for the show: dude! Don't be cruel! Invite me back!!

[EDIT: In the cold, hard light of perspective, some of this seems much more whiny and self-entitled than I intended. Of course nobody owes me a shot at another appearance on the show, however much I might have wanted it to be offered to me. I should just appreciate what I've already gotten out of the experience. Which is a tough thing for me to do, because I am whiny and self-entitled. But I'm working on it.]

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Two nerdly tastes that taste nerdly together

Message on Mac's dorm room dry-erase board, as seen in the last episode of Veronica Mars:


I know this isn't the first time they've given a shout-out to Battlestar Galactica... but it just makes me so happy.

Friday, January 26, 2007

COMICS: They still make those things?

Went to my local comics shop today for the first time since... the last time I talked about how long it's been since I've been to the comics shop. That was a month and a half ago. Keep in mind, before I made my decision last year to give up, more or less, buying single issues and switch over to trade paperbacks, I had been going to comics shops as near to every single week as I could possibly manage ever since my Freshman year in college. That was 1988. Eighteen years ago. Exactly half my life. So, yeah, that was a tough habit to break.

Much of what I said about my last visit still applies. I still miss the social aspect -- hanging out with Mike and faithful employee Aaron (no blog yet, Aaron?), talking comics and movies and pop culture, and cracking awful jokes which grow more and more vile and upsetting until someone has to walk away and cover their face in horror. It's fun! And I still don't miss the actual comics all that much. I'm still pretty financially strained (that game show money's more than two months out!), though I did treat myself to a bundle of goodies today, but even if I had the money, I think I still wouldn't be much interested in weekly comics purchases anymore. Frankly, I don't have the time, patience, or retention to follow all those books one issue at a time, especially these days, when releasing books on a regular schedule appears to be so woefully out of vogue. How many issues of All-Star Superman came out last year? How many issues of Wonder Woman? For crying out loud, how many issues of the "monthly" All-Star Batman and Robin came out in 2006? (Was it none? I guess none.) There are a lot of books that do meet their schedules, mostly, but why try to keep up with the rich, complex stories of, say, Fables or Y: The Last Man from issue to issue when I know each storyline will be six issues long, and will be gathered together in easy-to-read-in-one-sitting book form in the near future?

Anyhoo. I did buy me some comics goodness today, and here's what it was:

--Castle Waiting #4. Which is one of my favorite comics ever, and which I'll still buy in individual issues because, unlike most other comics, I need to read it NOW.

--All-Star Superman #6. Which will be the last monthly issue I buy, since I had already bought the first four or five issues before deciding to switch over to trades, and the next issue will be the beginning of the second trade collection. This is the only comic I've read so far, and it was good, but not as good as I was hoping from a Grant Morrison/Frank Quitely* book that took -- how many months to produce? And certainly not as good as I'd been hoping from the comics blogosphere buzz. I mean, it's got Krypto, and a visit from the Superman Squad (from the year 853,500!). It's got neat stuff, and poignant moments with Jonathan Kent. And I caught the sly bits, like the "Calvin Elder" alias (Calvin Elder = Kal-El) and the fact that the golden leader of the Superman Squad is in fact our modern Superman, who, 851 millennia in the future, still has yet to die. ("Which of my descendants are you?" asks our modern Superman. Golden future Superman merely replies: "Ha.") I enjoyed it. There was nothing bad about it. But it didn't blow me away. Which is what I expect from this comic, and this creative team.

--The third The Goon trade. Turns out it's not really the third one. Sure, it's got a 3 on the spine, and I've already got what are definitely the first two collections. But it turns out the first collection is labeled 0. Making the second, 1. Which means 3 is really the fourth, and I've skipped a book. Oh well.

--The first two trades of Ed Brubaker's run on Captain America. This is where my new "trades only" policy will finally, finally be put into practical effect. This is a comic I definitely would've bought on a monthly basis. And this will be the first trade of a comic I've bought after deciding to switch to trades (other trades I've bought, like The Goon, are of comics I never bought issue-to-issue, and other comics I used to buy weekly have yet to produce collections of material I haven't read yet). I like Brubaker's work, and I've heard mostly raves about this series. But I decided to wait for the collection. Now, I'm going to read both books back-to-back, really immerse myself in it all, and I'll at long last see if it's really a better reading experience than individual issues, if it was really worth the wait. Hope so!

Enough jibber-jabber. Time to read some comics!

*It took me a long time to realize this, but... that's not his real name, is it? "Frank Quitely"? A spoonerism (or whatever the proper term is) of "Quite Frankly"? Really? Maybe I'm being crazy here, but it just all of a sudden started sounding like a blatant pseudonym to me. And I can't be bothered to look up whether I'm right or not.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Another Quick One*

Brief note tonight: just finished the Jeopardy! online test, which consisted of 50 questions asked over about 10 minutes (15 seconds per question, no pausing). I'm pretty sure I tanked it hard. Might've gotten about half right, if I'm lucky. And I'm guessing the standards for applicants to "America's Favorite Quiz Show" are fairly high, so I'm not expecting a call from Alex Trebek anytime soon. (Unless it's to apologize. HE KNOWS WHY!!)

Okay, time to go watch some of that TiVo backlog (or, as Tim Goodman calls programs you record but don't watch, the "TiNo"). Gee, I wonder what shenanigans Ralph Malph got up to in the last episode! (I'm really backlogged.)

*That's what she said! Sadly.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Mini Sidebar Update

Mini Sidebar Update for today. I'm not changing the Reading or Watching items, since I'm still reading Quicksilver (and possibly may still be reading it until the day I die), and I'm still watching the Entourage season 1 DVD. So there.

This week's Object of My Affection is Kate Walsh. I understand she's on some prime-time hospital-based soap opera which is inexplicably award-winning and popular. Bah to that show, I say. BAH! I was infatuated with Kate back when she was appearing on The Drew Carey Show and, later, The Norm Show. She was hot (and funny!) then, and she's hot ten years later. Everybody knows her now from that damn Grey's Anatomy. But I had a crush on her first. So hands off, chumps! Ms. Walsh also inspired the Lyric of the Week: a snippet from the theme song (in later seasons) to The Drew Carey Show, Ian Hunter's "Cleveland Rocks," as performed by The Presidents of the United States of America.

And the Hating slot goes to Rosie O'Donnell, for the impressive feat of making every wretched, awful person she feuds with seem sympathetic, sheerly by virtue of the fact that they are being attacked by Rosie O'Donnell. Stop making me pick sides with all these horrible people, Rosie! First Donald Trump, then Simon Cowell. If you make me start defending Paris Hilton against you, I will never forgive you (or myself).

And that's pretty much it. I just got sick of seeing the Sidebar stagnate, and wanted to spruce it up, even if only a little bit. Tomorrow night I may or may not be updating, as I'll be occupied with the online Jeopardy test! Boy, these game shows are really taking over my life, aren't they?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

2007 Oscar Nominations

Wow, I lasted 19 whole days with my unofficial New Year's Resolution to update daily. 19 days, then a 3-day break. Well, that's better than the "3 days of updates, 19-day break" schedule I lapsed into toward the end of last year.

I'll finish relating my 1 Vs. 100 saga soon, I swear (and by "swear" I mean "maybe"). Hopefully tomorrow. Today, let's take a look at the Oscar nominations!

Several striking items of note, #1 being the Dreamgirls Best Picture snub. Interesting. I still haven't seen it, nor do I want to, frankly, but I always had the feeling that it wasn't going to clean up at the Oscars the way Chicago did, despite it being a similar feel-good musical sensation, despite the early buzz, and, since last week, despite its Best Musical or Comedy win at the Golden Globes. The backlash was strong on this one, and the lack of a Best Picture nod is cutting. Still, it scored eight nominations, more than any other picture, which is also surprising. Made me wonder how many other times that had happened, most noms with no Best Picture. And, thank you for providing the answer, Yahoo: none. None other times. Ouchie.

Another big surprise to me was Leonardo DiCaprio's nomination for Blood Diamond rather than The Departed. Personally, I think he really did give a better performance in Diamond, though I liked Departed much better overall. Which I think is a widely held opinion about the two movies, leading me to believe the Oscars would reward DiCaprio with a nomination for the more beloved film. The Best Actor nominees mirror the Golden Globe Best Actor, Drama nominees, except the lack of a double nomination for DiCaprio means Ryan Gosling slipped in for his work in Half Nelson, which I've heard is an amazing performance, so: nicely done. Sadly, it also means none of the Golden Globe Best Actor, Musical or Comedy nominees made it in, including Globe winner Sacha Baron Cohen, and my dark horse favorite, Will Ferrell for Stranger Than Fiction. Oh well. Also, Forest Whitaker did indeed grab a Best Actor nomination, despite pre-Golden Globes (where he won Best Actor) buzz that he'd be up for Supporting Actor instead. Good for him. I haven't seen The Last King of Scotland yet, but he's so awesome in general I can only assume he richly deserves the nomination and more than likely eventual win.

Okay, I don't really want to go category by category here. I'll just pick out a couple other points of interest, such as the potential record-setting losses that have been set up. Peter O'Toole is currently tied with other actors for most acting nominations with no win, which would be seven. His nomination for Venus could be -- and will be, I'm saying now -- his eighth loss, a record-breaker. It's a shame; he's a brilliant actor, and everyone who didn't vote for him for Lawrence of Arabia deserves a kick in the ass, even if they have to be dug out of their graves for it to be delivered. But this is not his year, once again. And Martin Scorsese can break the tie he's in and set the record for most Directing nominations without a win if he loses for The Departed, his sixth chance. I think he's got a strong shot at it -- in fact, despite Eastwood beating him for the Globe, I think he's a mortal lock. [EDIT: As Noel points out in the comments, I am an idiot and a liar, though he says it more nicely; Eastwood won for Best Foreign Film, while Scorsese in fact did win the Directing award.] This is Scorsese's year, this is the time the Academy finally gives him the award, as much for their past neglect and for his career as a whole than specifically for The Departed. (Though The Departed was pretty kick-ass.)

Not surprising, to me, anyway: once again, the Academy shows its bizarre proclivity for rewarding very young actresses with nominations in the Best Supporting Actress category (Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine). Remember Anna Paquin for The Piano? Remember Tatum O'Neal for Paper Moon? The Oscars love youngsters in this one specific category, year after year. It's weird, but a good way to impress people with the occasional random upset pick. (Not that Breslin is going to win -- Jennifer Hudson is the one to beat here.)

I'll eventually delve into other areas when I do my Oscar picks, but for now, this is enough for a first response. Anyone else have feelings about this one way or the other? What got snubbed? What shouldn't be nominated? Nitpick away!

Friday, January 19, 2007

1 Vs. 100, Post-Game Report: Episode Three

Well, if you watched my third appearance on 1 Vs. 100 tonight, you saw that my man Kwame was eliminated, leaving 36 Mob members -- including me! -- to split the $62,000 he had accumulated to that point. I'll do the math: I won another $1,722!! And twenty-two cents. Which brings my grand total as a contestant on the Mob to $6,143.27!! Not bad for about two hours of on-air work. (Post editing, that is. You all know it took a lot more time and effort than that for me to get on the show and to tape those three episodes. Still, it beats my usual pay rate!)

And sadly, you also saw me get eliminated on the next contestant, on an extremely easy question, which I don't even want to reiterate here. I'm embarrassed. What can I say? I froze, I choked, I picked the wrong answer, I suck. And that contestant went on to get eliminated -- on a question I definitely would've gotten right -- which makes it even worse. Since taping that episode, there has literally -- and you know how much I hate misuse of the word "literally" -- there has literally not been one single day in which I did not stop at some point, struck by the memory of that moment, and, in the middle of whatever I was doing -- driving, reading, watching TV, showering, attending a baptism, whatever -- grit my teeth, clench my fists, and shout to the heavens: FUUUUUUCK!! And there probably will not be another day in which I do not continue to do the same for at least another year. Or three. Or fifty.

I'm very proud of making it as far as I did -- 26 correctly answered questions in a row, before getting knocked out on the 27th -- and I'm very thrilled with making as much cash as I did. But to have blown it on a dumb question, when I know I could've gone farther -- that will always rankle. I try to think of the positive, I really do -- over six thousand dollars! -- but then I think, "I could've made $5,000 more from that one contestant alone if I had only answered 'C'!" If I had had only five more seconds to think about it -- to take a deep breath, calm down, and think -- ah, but I did not have five more seconds, and there's the rub.

I'll have more to say later about the end of last episode, which I still haven't gotten around to writing about, and the end of my run in this episode -- but for now, this is about all I can stand thinking about it. The promise of my prize money coming sometime in the next 90 days eases the pain, but only a little. Thanks for watching my TV saga -- though if you missed this episode, I might be a little relieved, frankly. One less witness to my shame!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

1 Vs. 100 Alert

Okay, it looks like tomorrow night is my next episode of 1 Vs. 100. NBC, 8PM PST. And I really, really mean it, this time for sure. I hope.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Yet another reason why HBO is awesome

Via TV Squad: HBO is planning to adapt for television George R. R. Martin's epic series of fantasy novels, collectively known as A Song of Ice and Fire. They propose to make each novel into one season of the TV series, seven seasons total to match the (eventual) seven books.

I'm skeptical. First of all, any announced project like this should be taken with a grain of salt up until you can actually see it on your television with your own beady little eyes. Secondly, the feasibility of ever being able to satisfactorily adapt these complex books, massive in story, setting, history, and cast of characters, into a TV series is a questionable proposition. Thirdly, there's Martin's chronic lateness problems that have plagued the release of each book in the series, and which at some point will surely have an impact on the HBO series as well.

That said: if this happens, it will be NERD HEAVEN. I'm intentionally trying to keep my excitement in check here by focusing on the reasons why it might not happen, because thinking "What if it does happen" is enough to make my brain explode with nerdly anticipation.

With this, and the recent announcement of plans to adapt the Garth Ennis/Steve Dillon comic Preacher to the TV screen, HBO has just become the #1 source of geek-related bliss and hysteria on television, narrowly edging the Sci-Fi Channel. BLESS YOU, HBO!!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

List of the Week: The Best Picture Oscar Winners

Getting into the spirit of the movie awards season, following last night's Golden Globes, I thought with this week's list I'd take a look at the Oscars -- specifically, the films that have won an Oscar for Best Picture. I'll italicize the ones I've seen, and make a few other notes on the way.

1928 - Wings
1928 - Sunrise
According to Wikipedia: Wings won for "Best Production," Sunrise won for "Best Picture, Unique and Artistic Production." The latter Oscar was only awarded this first year, and since "Best Production" is the award that evolved into "Best Picture," most lists mention Wings as the first ever Best Picture winner, and neglect to mention Sunrise at all. I haven't seen either one of them, so this is a big waste of space right here, isn't it?
1929 - The Broadway Melody
1930 - All Quiet on the Western Front
1931 - Cimarron
1932 - Grand Hotel
This is Greta Garbo's "I want to be alone" movie. I'm interested in seeing some of the other films above, especially Wings, the only silent film to win Best Picture, F.W. Murnau's Sunrise, and the supposedly still-harrowing to this day war film All Quiet on the Western Front, but this is the first on the list I really feel I must see.
1933 - Cavalcade
1934 - It Happened One Night
The first film on the list I've seen, and one of my all-time favorites. This is sheer delight. Frank Capra directing Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert: heavenly. It's the first of only three films ever to win Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay.
1935 - Mutiny on the Bounty
Clark Gable and Charles Laughton. I'd love to see this. Wikipedia trivia note: the last film to win Best Picture, and no other Oscar.
1936 - The Great Ziegfeld
I'd like to see it just for stars William Powell and Myrna Loy, who were such a fantastic pair in the Thin Man movies.
1937 - The Life of Emile Zola
1938 - You Can't Take It With You
Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart -- another one I really need to see.
1939 - Gone With the Wind
Pretty magnificent filmmaking, but you probably knew that. I've only seen it once.
1940 - Rebecca
Surprisingly, I've never seen it, and I've seen a lot of Hitchcock's work. And apparently this is the only Hitchcock film to win Best Picture, beating one of my absolute favorite movies ever, The Philadelphia Story.
1941 - How Green Was My Valley
Also known as "the film that beat Citizen Kane for Best Picture." Never seen it, though I understand it's pretty damn great.
1942 - Mrs. Miniver
1943 - Casablanca
A perfect film, from top to bottom. Just perfect. Every time I see it, or just think about it, it goes up in my already sky-high estimation.
1944 - Going My Way
I didn't even know this was the antecedent of The Bells of St. Mary's. It's got Bing Crosby singing the Oscar-winning "Swinging on a Star." I should see this.
1945 - The Lost Weekend
Billy Wilder, one of my favorite directors -- but for some reason I haven't seen it. I must.
1946 - The Best Years of Our Lives
1947 - Gentleman's Agreement
1948 - Hamlet
1949 - All the King's Men
1950 - All About Eve
I rented this once, watched about 15 minutes, got distracted by something, and never finished it. Shame on me! I need to rent it again.
1951 - An American in Paris
1952 - The Greatest Show on Earth
Often cited as one of the worst Best Picture winners.
1953 - From Here to Eternity
Can you believe I haven't seen this? What kind of a monster am I??
1954 - On the Waterfront
"I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am." Legendary.
1955 - Marty
Always wanted to see this, but haven't yet.
1956 - Around the World in 80 Days
Another frequent nominee for worst Best Picture Oscar winner.
1957 - The Bridge on the River Kwai
I didn't know this won Best Picture. Great stuff.
1958 - Gigi
1959 - Ben-Hur
Can't believe I've never seen this one, either! One of only three films to win eleven Academy Awards.
1960 - The Apartment
I had no idea this won for Best Picture. One of Billy Wilder's best, which means one of the best, period. Jack Lemmon is amazing.
1961 - West Side Story
Looks like we're at the beginning of the film era of which I am knowledgeable. I love this film, despite recognizing its weaknesses.
1962 - Lawrence of Arabia
A masterpiece. Glad I finally saw it on the big screen a few years back. True epic filmmaking.
1963 - Tom Jones
1964 - My Fair Lady
Some very nice stuff here, especially Audrey Hepburn, whom I love, but Rex Harrison's character is such a major jerk it always sours me a bit.
1965 - The Sound of Music
Watched it again over Christmas. Still love it. Good decade to be a musical at the Oscars!
1966 - A Man For All Seasons
I don't remember much at all about this film. I'd like to see it again.
1967 - In the Heat of the Night
Only seen bits and pieces of it.
1968 - Oliver!
And the string of great '60s musicals ends here. Another candidate for worst Best Picture winner. This one generates some true hatred among film fans.
1969 - Midnight Cowboy
Like to see this one again, too. I remember not being nearly as impressed with it as I'd been led to expect, but there's some great work from Voight and especially Hoffman, the tragic Ratso Rizzo.
1970 - Patton
Fantastic. Watched it again recently. One of the most brilliant opening scenes of all time. "When you put your hand into a bunch of goo that a moment before was your best friend's face... you'll know what to do."
1971 - The French Connection
Need to rewatch it. I remember being underwhelmed.
1972 - The Godfather
Genius, genius, genius. One of my top three favorite films.
1973 - The Sting
Haven't seen it! I really should.
1974 - The Godfather Part II
Best sequel ever. Equal to the first, if not better.
1975 - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Second film to win the top five Oscars. Tremendous, powerful movie.
1976 - Rocky
A lot of people forget this won Best Picture. I still have a great deal of affection for it, though it's another of those mentioned as worst Best Picture winner (compounded by the fact that it beat Network and Taxi Driver).
1977 - Annie Hall
Saw it once, nearly 20 years ago. Frankly, I didn't love it. I should rewatch it.
1978 - The Deer Hunter
Powerful stuff, or it was at the time I saw it; some have told me it hasn't held up very well, though I find that hard to believe. Brilliant performances. You want to see Christopher Walken giving a great performance, before he became a pop culture icon? Watch this.
1979 - Kramer vs. Kramer
Never had any interest in seeing this. Is it worth it?
1980 - Ordinary People
I thought it was pretty boring -- plus, it beat Raging Bull (and Redford beat Scorsese for Director), which is possibly the most outrageous injustice in Oscar history.
1981 - Chariots of Fire
1982 - Gandhi
1983 - Terms of Endearment
I remember going to see this with my mom (the first movie on this list I saw in the theater in its original release). She cried like a baby. I just liked seeing Jack being Jack.
1984 - Amadeus
I wonder if this holds up. I liked it a lot at the time.
1985 - Out of Africa
1986 - Platoon
Another one I'm curious to see again, 20 years later, to see if it's stood the test of time.
1987 - The Last Emperor
1988 - Rain Man
I liked it, but thought it was pretty lightweight.
1989 - Driving Miss Daisy
The first of Morgan Freeman's "wise old black man" characters? It's good, but very lightweight.
1990 - Dances With Wolves
I loved this, but come on: this won Best Picture, and Costner Best Director, against Scorsese and Goodfellas. That's some major bullshit right there.
1991 - The Silence of the Lambs
The third film to win the top five Oscars. It was a nice, smart, gory horror movie, but I don't know if it was that good.
1992 - Unforgiven
Love this movie. I could watch it every day of the week. Great script, great performances -- and you know how much I love Westerns. Eastwood is the man. "I don't deserve this -- to die like this." "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it."
1993 - Schindler's List
The last of the Best Picture winners I've never seen. Shocking! How could I never have seen this? I don't know, I just never feel like renting three hours of depression.
1994 - Forrest Gump
I liked it, but thought it was overrated from the get-go.
1995 - Braveheart
I still like this a lot, despite Gibson's recent self-destruction. Fantastic, Kurosawa-level battle scenes (yes, I said Kurosawa!). But you can see the seeds of Gibson's messiah complex, and especially his repugnant personal beliefs (it's funny to throw gay people out of windows!), taking purchase here.
1996 - The English Patient
I'm with Elaine: hated it!
1997 - Titanic
But not nearly as much as I hated this awful, moronically-written, painfully acted, self-important, bloated piece of crap. As far as I'm concerned, this is the worst Best Picture winner. Second film to win eleven Oscars.
1998 - Shakespeare in Love
I thought it was delightful. Better than Saving Private Ryan? Not by a longshot. What a ridiculous win this was.
1999 - American Beauty
I like this one a lot more than many revisionist film fans. Got huge amounts of love at the time, but a couple years later, everyone seemed to hate it. I still think it's pretty great.
2000 - Gladiator
Hate this one. Overblown, mindless mess.
2001 - A Beautiful Mind
Liked it, didn't love it.
2002 - Chicago
Another one that was showered with praise at the time, but seems to have plummeted in stature since. I'm lukewarm on it.
2003 - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Loved the whole trilogy. Third film to win eleven Oscars. A question: used to be, The Godfather Part II was the only sequel ever to win Best Picture. Is that no longer the case, because of this film? Should it be considered a sequel, or just part three of one long story?
2004 - Million Dollar Baby
Another Eastwood triumph, though once again I have to feel sorry for Scorsese's loss. Maybe this year?
2005 - Crash
Hated it. So stupid, so smug and condescending, so self-satisfied, so empty.

If I were going to make a list of the worst Best Picture winners, they'd almost all be from the last decade, decade-and-a-half. I haven't seen enough of the classic stinkers to make a fair (unfair?) list, so I'll skip it. But I'll make a list of my favorite Best Picture winners.

1&2. The Godfather/The Godfather Part II (it's nearly impossible to separate these two, so I'm not going to try)
3. Casablanca (though it could be #1 if I did this again in a year)
4. The Apartment
5. Unforgiven
6. It Happened One Night
7. Lawrence of Arabia
8. Patton
9. The Sound of Music
10. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

I could monkey around with the order a little bit, but that's about right.

Okay, now you: what are your favorites? Your least favorites? What haven't you seen that you really should? Which are the best, but still should have lost to something else? Which film am I crazy to love? Which is the one I haven't seen that I need to see most? And... go!

Monday, January 15, 2007

TV: Minute-by-Minute at the 2007 Golden Globes

The 2006 Golden Globes Pre-Show.

The 2006 Golden Globes.

My 2007 Golden Globes Picks.

There doesn't appear to be an official network Pre-Show this year, and I don't feel like searching for one on cable, like on the TV Guide Channel, or E! That's a surefire recipe for disaster. Never know where you might run into Joan Rivers! And I may be a glutton for punishment, but I'm not that masochistic. So let's jump right into the main ceremony!

8:00 -- Live! Everywhere but the time zone in which it actually occurs! It's the 64th Annual Golden Globes! An anonymous announcer declares it "Hollywood's party of the year," and, as usual, I feel that's a pretty hefty claim for an event taking place on January 15. Might as well write off the remaining 350 days in the year right now, Hollywood, 'cause apparently this is as good as it gets!

8:01 -- As usual, a horrible intro song plays over taped highlights of the stars on the red carpet. Sounds like Beyoncé, singing the phrase "One night only" ad infinitum. Have I mentioned how much I'm not looking forward to seeing Dreamgirls?

8:02 -- Inside the auditorium, George Clooney takes the stage, and says, "All right, here we go, let's get started." Whatever else may be wrong with the Globes (and there's a lot), I always admire the ceremony's straightforwardness. There are no opening monologues, no clip reels, no performance numbers. It's just award after award, with the winners having the luxury to enjoy themselves and give memorable, unrushed acceptance speeches. Now that I've jinxed everything, let's see what happens next.

8:03 -- Clooney is presenting Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture. "And the first one goes to... Leonardo DiCaprio, strangely." I love that. The presenters don't get to screw around like that at the Oscars. The award actually goes to... Jennifer Hudson! I love jumping out to an early lead on my picks. 1-for-1.

8:04 -- Hudson thanks God. God says, "Fuck you, I picked Rinko Kikuchi in the office pool."

8:06 -- Justin Timberlake presents Best Song. "Leo again?" he says. Don't push it.

8:08 -- It actually goes to Prince, who's not there. Timberlake spends like a full minute waiting for Prince to show up, then finally catches on. He crouches down about a half a foot in front of the microphone and says, "I'd like to accept this award on his behalf." Seriously, I want to not like Justin Timberlake, but when he does stuff like this, or like "Dick in a Box" -- heaven help me, but he's funny!

8:11 -- Adrian Grenier and Eva Longoria introduce Miss Golden Globe, Lorraine Nicholson -- Jack's daughter. Man, you thought your parents were embarrassing. Think about what Lorraine must have to deal with. Imagine your father giving interviews to Rolling Stone magazine in which he says stuff like, "But I love being able to say things like, 'Cunt is an acronym.' 'For what?' 'For can't-understand-normal-thinking.'" She probably just wants to crawl under a rock and die. Except, you know, for being totally rich and getting to be Miss Golden Globe and that kind of thing. That probably eases the pain.

8:13 -- Grenier and Longoria present Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (what a mouthful!). It goes to Jeremy... Irons. Not Piven. I started chalking up another win in my picks before they got to the last name. I wonder if Piven started to stand up. Oh well. Irons gives a humorous, if rambling speech.

8:15 -- Presenter David Spade is introduced as the star of The Showbiz Show. Shouldn't they be promoting his soon-to-debut sitcom instead? Or, better: shouldn't David Spade not be on TV anymore?

8:16 -- Spade, along with Tina Fey, who is looking hot, present Best Actress in a TV Drama to Kyra Sedgwick. In the audience, Sedgwick does this totally phony, hand-to-open-mouth, "I can't believe it" act that I don't buy for a second. Husband Kevin Bacon is there. Have I mentioned recently that I'm only two degrees of separation from him? No? Well, I am. It's true!

8:18 -- Here's why I don't buy the "who, me?" routine. She gets on stage, and gives a long, humorless, from-memory recital of the names of every single person involved in her professional career, from executives at TNT and Warner Bros. to her manager to her publicist to her lawyer. Who thanks their lawyer?? You're not fooling anyone, Sedgwick. By the way, that makes me 1-for-4. Ouch!

8:19 -- Oh good lord. Rather than being confined to the red carpet outside, Nancy O'Dell and Maria Menounos are inside the auditorium and hijacking the ceremony to conduct interviews. Are the Golden Globes now a subsidiary of Access Hollywood? Menounos talks to Sedgwick. It's very interesting, if by "interesting" you mean "not interesting."

8:24 -- Remember those old Warner Bros. cartoons where Frank Sinatra is depicted as so skinny he disappears behind his microphone stand? That's what Naomi Watts looks like, especially in that shapeless dress. Meow! What a bitch I am.

8:25 -- She introduces a clip from Babel, and accordingly she babbles a bit, especially when saying the names of the writer and director. Foreign names are hard!

8:26 -- Squinty McGee -- sorry, Renée Zellweger -- salutes the Hollywood Foreign Press. Those darn foreigners again! Then some guy from the Foreign Press speaks, and it's death.

8:27 -- What the hell is going on with Will Ferrell's hair?

8:28 -- Presenters Jessica Biel and Sean Combs -- wait. Did they just say Puff Daddy is starring in an upcoming TV version of Raisin in the Sun?? Oh, HELL no. That sounds appalling. Watch him win a Golden Globe for it next year.

8:30 -- Emily Blunt wins the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (and the Golden Globes lose the award for Brevity in an Award Title). Man, I'm about 45 minutes behind real time on the TiVo already. Well, these beers aren't going to drink themselves! (I know, I've tried.)

8:31 -- The cast of Heroes presents Best Actor, TV Drama to Hugh Laurie for House. This is the first pick I'm happy to have lost on -- and I've lost on a lot of them already (I'm a miserable 1-for-6.)

8:32 -- Laurie thanks "a truly wonderful crew. I know everyone says they have a wonderful crew, and logically that can't be the case. They can't all be wonderful. Somebody somewhere is working with a crew of drunken thieves."

8:34 -- Laurie: "I would like to thank Robert Sean Leonard -- I can't remember why." Now this is the kind of speech I look for at the Globes. Awesome.

8:36 -- O'Dell speaks to Hilary Swank out in the crowd. I don't know which is most distasteful about O'Dell -- her orangey fake tan, her alarmingly overexposed cleavage, or her very existence. (It can be all three.)

8:40 -- Charlie Sheen introduces his brother's directorial effort, Bobby.

8:41 -- Sheen forces Emilio Estevez to stand up in the audience. Man, I haven't seen the Vez for so long, I was afraid he'd be all bloated and sad. But he looks as good as he did fifteen years ago (which is approximately the last time I saw him act in a film released in theaters).

8:42 -- Steve Carell presents, in suprisingly unfunny fashion, Best Animated Feature to Cars. Woohoo, I got another one right! That's the first one since... the first one. I'm... 2-for-7? Can that be right? (It might not -- it takes a lot of alcohol to get through this show.)

8:46 -- When Joaquin Phoenix announces the nominees for Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy, Annette Bening does a "who, me?" routine that's about ten times phonier than the one Kyra Sedgwick pulled earlier. GOD, I hope she doesn't win.

8:47 -- She doesn't. It's Meryl Streep. I'm 3-for-8! (Fingers crossed I'll hit .500!)

8:48 -- Streep pulls out a written-down speech. There are a couple of audible groans from the crowd. (I bet one of them is Nicholson.) Streep: "Oh, shut up, it's not that long."

8:48 -- They briefly cut to Reese Witherspoon in the audience. Man, she looks fantastic now that she's had that unsightly lump of hers surgically removed. By which I mean Ryan Phillippe.

8:49 -- Streep thanks "Delicious Emily Blunt, darling Annie Hathaway... dreadful Stanley Tucci." I love Meryl Streep. See, she doesn't pretend like this is all a surprise. Not that she's acting entitled (*ahem* Annette Bening), not that she's been jaded by it all -- it's just that she doesn't have to put up a facade of "oh, I never would've thought I'd win, now here are the names of forty people I've memorized by pure coincidence." She's just grateful, and graceful, and genuine, and unpretentious, and this is a small reason why she's the best.

8:55 -- As Ben Stiller comes out to present a clip from Borat, half the audience is still on their feet, talking and mingling, and they audibly and lazily find their ways to their seats as Stiller speaks. I get a kick out of that.

8:58 -- Salma Hayek looks hot as she presents Best Mini-Series Or Motion Picture Made for Television to Elizabeth I (which is not a prequel). That makes me 4-for-9 (I think).

9:00 -- As Rachel Weisz announces Eddie Murphy as a nominee for Best Supporting Actor, Motion Picture -- you can see Prince sitting at the table behind him! What the?! Where the hell was he earlier? No wonder Timberlake waited for him for so long.

9:01 -- Eddie wins! A second Dreamgirls acting nod, making me 5-for-10 (at last), but I still don't think the film is going to win any other major awards. I think my reasoning, so woefully far off in other categories, is dead-on in regards to Dreamgirls and its potential haul.

9:04 -- Regarding that commercial for NBC's Thursday night sitcoms that has been running so frequently: Jim and Pam did not become "Jam," and Dwight and Angela most certainly did not become "Dwangela." Shut up now.

9:06 -- The fact that presenter Sarah Jessica Parker is a four-time Golden Globe winner makes me a little sad. And definitely makes me question the integrity (and sobriety) of the Hollywood Foreign Press. She presents a clip for The Devil Wears Prada.

9:08 -- Terence Howard and Sienna Miller present Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie to Bill Nighy. I'd be resentful for missing a pick (5-for-11) if not for the fact that Nighy was in Shaun of the Dead which is awesome, and earns my forgiveness.

9:11 -- Howard and Miller also present Best Actress in Etc. It's no surprise that it goes to Helen Mirren. It's for Elizabeth I (my pick -- 6-for-12), not Prime Suspect. Mirren defeats Mirren! In a steel cage match. (Now that, I would watch.)

9:17 -- Huh. When did I start hating Cameron Diaz? That's weird. Anyway, she presents a clip from The Departed. Which awesomely includes a snippet of a Dropkick Murphys song.

9:20 -- Jake Gyllenhall and Hilary Swank come out to present Best Screenplay. I just want you to know that I don't even have to look up how to spell their names anymore (not even whether "Hilary" has one L or two). I've done enough of these awards show recaps now, even the most difficult-to-spell name is a breeze for me. (As long as they've been nominated a dozen times before.) The Queen wins, by the way. That surprises me; I thought Babel was tailor-made for screenplay awards.

[EDIT 2/23/07: I can't believe nobody ever caught me on this. In bragging about my spelling skills, I wound up misspelling one of those names. Jake's last name is Gyllenhaal. With a double "a" at the end, instead of a double "l". Whoops!]

9:21 -- The Queen's screenwriter delivers a brief, mild political speech, and then announces that he's being told to wrap up, and rushes offstage. What? That's part of the charm of the Golden Globes -- there's not supposed to be a time limit on acceptance speeches. I wonder why he was rushed off... or if he overreacted to a mild hurry-up from somewhere and left too early.

9:22 -- Vanessa Williams and Tim Allen present Best Actor, TV, Musical or Comedy. Allen says of Williams, "If looks were a minute, this would be a long day," which I get a kick out of. But then he announces the award as "Best Actor in a TV Series or Comedy," which is close, but not quite right. He follows up by crediting nominee Alec Baldwin as starring in 3rd Rock, which is very different from 30 Rock. I think Allen's been hitting the open bar a little too often.

9:23 -- Alec Baldwin wins, and if it were anyone else depriving Carell of an award (and me of a correct pick -- 6-for-14), I'd be upset. But it's Alec frickin' Baldwin. He's so great on that show, I can't hold it against him for a second.

9:24 -- There's a bizarre, but simultaneously awesome, shot of Jack Nicholson and Puff Daddy side-by-side, giving Baldwin a standing ovation. What were they talking about just before that moment? What it's like banging Lil Kim? Or Angie Dickinson?

9:24 -- When Baldwin thanks Tina Fey, you can see Jenna Fischer sitting behind her at the next table. A double-shot of adorable!

9:29 -- Geena Davis and James Woods present Best TV Comedy. Oh, James Woods, it's comedy enough that you're inches shorter than Geena Davis.

9:31 -- It goes to Ugly Betty, and I know I said if any show but The Office won, it would mean the fix was in. But I was halfway expecting this. Still doesn't mean it's right, but at least it's not Desperate Housewives-level disgraceful.

9:35 -- Jamie Foxx presents a clip for Dreamgirls. Wow, was it only three years ago that I wasn't sick of him?

9:36 -- The Globes try to throw me for a loop with the next presenter, but I'm going to say his name is spelled Djimon Hounsou without checking, and I'm sticking with it. Also with him is Basic Instinct star Shahrrone Stowunn. (Ha! You see what I did there with the oh never mind.)

9:38 -- They present Best Foreign Language Film to Letters From Iwo Jima. I didn't notice until now that Clint Eastwood was sitting next to Steven Spielberg. Wait -- Spielberg is one of the producers? Interesting. Eastwood opens with, "You don't know what this does for my confidence," echoing an earlier line from Jennifer Hudson. Funny.

9:45 -- Jeremy Irons introduces a clip from The Queen. I think he's been drinking with Tim Allen. Also, the entire show is over by now, while I'm still playing catch-up on TiVo. Look, you can have timely liveblogging, or you can let me have some much-needed beers, and the leisure time to look up things like a link to the You Tube video of "Dick in a Box." Can't have it both ways!

9:46 -- Presenter Hugh Grant informs us that Prince was stuck in traffic earlier when he missed his win, and he gives Prince a moment in the spotlight, which is cool. Then Grant and Drew Barrymore award Best Original Score to The Painted Veil. Whoopee.

9:47 -- Jennifer Love Hewitt and John Stamos present Best Actress, TV, Musical or Comedy. You can tell by the way the audience goes wild when she's announced as a nominee, America Ferrera is going to win. And she does. I just want to note here that it's a sad day when the Golden Globe dresses are so conservative, not even Jennifer Love Hewitt can elicit a lewd "Golden Globes" pun from me. Hell, Nancy O'Dell is the only one who's even tried tonight, and that just makes me nauseous.

9:50 -- Ferrera's speech is tear-filled and emotional from beginning to end. I want to cry, too, but then I realize it's just because my beer is empty.

9:53 -- It's Menounos again. Dammit. Ferrera stands dutifully next to her while Menounos babbles endlessly about other stuff; Ferrera finally says screw it and wanders off. Menounos has to drag her back onscreen, and then she leads with this question: "What do you say to all those people out there who did not want you to play Ugly Betty?" Fuck YOU, Maria Menounos, you dumb bitch. God, way to ruin a wonderful moment. You ruin everything, you ruiner! Ferrera, for her part, is gobsmacked: "I don't know. I don't know who they are."

9:59 -- Tom Hanks gives a pretty funny introduction for Warren Beatty's Cecil B. DeMille award. Then there are some nice clips from Beatty movies. I'm gonna gloss over this part. But I will say it is not possible to overpraise Bonnie and Clyde. Great, great film. Same for McCabe and Mrs. Miller, only greater.

10:10 -- Beatty finally takes the stage. I'm gonna gloss over this part, too. He goes on for quite a while.

10:23 -- Dustin Hoffman presents a clip from Little Miss Sunshine. He also threatens Ishtar 2 if we're not good.

10:24 -- Steven Spielberg presents Best Director, Motion Picture to -- Martin Scorsese! I miss another pick, but frankly I'm just happy for Scorsese. I don't know if he necessarily deserves it -- I haven't seen every film nominated, but I certainly loved the hell out of The Departed -- but I really hope he finally, FINALLY gets his directing Oscar this year, because if not now, when? I think this makes me 8-for-19. I'll have to double check tomorrow.

10:27 -- Reese Witherspoon gives Best Actor, Musical or Comedy, to Sacha Baron Cohen, for Borat. (Another win for me -- 9-for-20?)

10:30 -- Cohen, on his naked wrestling partner, Ken Davitian: "When I was in that scene, and I stared down and saw your two wrinkled golden globes on my chin, I thought to myself, 'I'd better win a bloody award for this.'"

10:36 -- Dane fuckin' Cook is presenting? Why not just get the chimp from MVP: Most Valuable Primate? He's a better actor, and doesn't steal his material from Louis C.K. Inexplicably, Cook introduces a clip to Thank You For Smoking.

10:37 -- Aw, crap. Jennifer Lopez presents Best Musical or Comedy to Dreamgirls (well, at least it's actually a musical, as opposed to previous winners Ray and Walk the Line). Guess my theory was wrong. I'm 9-for-21, I believe.

10:43 -- My favorite husband-and-wife team, David Arquette and Courteney Cox, present Best Drama, TV, to -- Grey's Anatomy. Creator/executive producer Shona Rhimes echoes my feelings on this: "Seriously?? Seriously?!?" What horseshit. Shouldn't even have been nominated, especially when The Shield, Deadwood, Battlestar Galactica, and The Wire, to stop at only four, were criminally ignored. Horse. Shit.

10:45 -- Philip Seymour Hoffman delivers the fait accompli of Best Actress, Motion Picture Drama, to Helen Mirren. I actually wrote that sentence before Hoffman read the winner, that's how sure I was.

10:52 -- They're really trying to speed things along now. Felicity Huffman comes out to present Best Actor, Motion Picture Drama. And of course it goes to Leo Di-- wha?? Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland!! WOW. I did not expect that. You know what? I'm going to take this as a validation of his brilliant role on the last season of The Shield, in addition to however good he may have been in this movie. You cool with that?

11:00 -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger comes out to present the final award, Best Motion Picture, Drama. Here's my political observation of the evening: Schwarzenegger is now to Republicans what Joe Lieberman is to Democrats. I mean, come on! It takes a Republican governor to push for universal healthcare? When did Schwarzenegger become the best Democratic governor in office?

11:01 -- Well, I was right on this last pick -- Babel wins. (Or as Arnold calls it: Bobbel.) That makes my final tally 10-for-25, if I'm counting correctly. That sucks. I took a few wild guesses here, but there were some sure things that turned out to be not so sure after all, too. Oh well.

11:06 -- Arnold calls things to a close with a "We'll be back" joke. Ugh. Hey, six minutes late -- it's just like the Oscars! I think this is the first time I've watched where the show has run over the alloted time. Usually they manage things much better than this. I guess that's why they rushed some of the winners in their speeches this year. Well, some interesting upsets, some obvious wins, and some food for thought for the upcoming Oscar race. Babel looks like it's established itself as a Crash-style frontrunner, and Forest Whitaker has definitely made a case for himself for Best Actor, even though I think he's being pushed as Best Supporting Actor for the Oscars. Thanks for following along, people. And thanks to Samuel Adams for making good, reasonably-priced beer. Good night!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Coming Attractions

Well, looks like they didn't air my third episode of 1 Vs. 100 tonight after all. TiVo lied to me! And after all we've been through. Sorry if I made you tune in to Deal Or No Deal instead. Hopefully, my show will be rescheduled for Friday. [EDIT: I see my TiVo recorded Deal Or No Deal, but the program description is still for 1 Vs. 100: "A Kentucky woman plays for $1 million against a mob that includes actor Jeff Conaway, members of Sha Na Na and former "Apprentice" contestants."]

Nothing much else to say tonight. Coming soon: the second half of my look at my second appearance on 1 Vs. 100.

Also coming soon:

--The excursion Ian and I made to the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in L.A., where host Jimmy Pardo and a panel of six comedians played an honest-to-goodness brand-new stage version of the classic TV game show Match Game -- and Ian even got picked to be one of the contestants!

--A new Sidebar Update.

--A new List of the Week.

--And of course my epic Minute-By-Minute coverage of the Golden Globes Awards, beginning with the red carpet pre-show at 7PM (PST) tomorrow night! Much fun is guaranteed. (Much more fun than actually watching the show. Especially if you get as drunk as I'm going to be.)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

1 Vs. 100, Post-Game Report: Episode Two

This game is simple.

If you watched last night's episode of 1 Vs. 100, you saw me answer another nine questions correctly (bringing my total to 22 in a row), taking me to the end of the show. Which means yes, I will be back for a third episode! And according to TiVo, that episode will be airing THIS SUNDAY NIGHT, with special guests from the original movie version of Grease (and yes, Jeff Conaway is one of them!), as a promotion for NBC's Grease: You're the One That I Want. And it's at an earlier time, too. So to catch my third appearance, watch NBC at 7 PM (PST) tomorrow night.

You got to see a lot more of me in this episode. Which isn't necessarily a good thing. There's one full-screen shot of just me at about the 36 minute mark where I just look awful. My eyes are all squinty, there's some weird look on my face... yikes. I think it was because I was trying so hard to make Barry lose with my mind. Didn't work.

So, some notes on Barry and his big win in last night's episode. He won $343,000, more than any other contestant on the show so far. First of all: that coulda been ME!! Damn it. If I had only done better on that final camera test at the audition. Oh well. He was a good player, and he deserved the money, even if I did think his questions were mostly pretty easy.

And then there was the second player, Kwame. I wrote about him when talking about my contestant audition in Culver City. Still quite an outgoing, charismatic guy.

Before the show begins, the Mob is introduced to the contestants that will be playing that day, to make sure that nobody knows who they are, so that there's no cheating, no conflicts of interest, whatever. This takes place in the side studio, the gathering area, before entering the main studio, where the game show set is. When Kwame was introduced, he recognized me, and just shouted out, "Tom Collins!" He came up and gave me a hug and chatted with me a while. (And no, the show doesn't care if you know somebody only from the audition process, so there was no conflict there.) Very, very cool dude. Gee, I hope he does well on the show! Guess we'll have to find out in the next episode.

The editing this time around was a lot more jarring to me than in the last episode. Is it noticeable to you folks, too? Whenever Bob Saget talks to someone in the Mob, or to Barry's wife and sister in the audience, it seems like there are a lot of jerky cuts, where it's obvious extra material has been cut out. Maybe that's just because I was there, and I'm expecting a lot more chitchat.

In the comments to a previous post, Noel Murray asked me if a Mob member gets to stay on the show as long as they keep answering questions correctly. Yes, they do, up to a point. The show is filmed in blocks of episodes. For instance, when I was there, they had an order of, I believe, ten episodes to film. I got into the Mob during the 6th or 7th episode of that set. Once those ten episodes are filmed, the Mob is dismissed, even if they were still getting questions correct, and a new Mob is brought in for whenever the next episodes are ordered.

That said, I see from his blog that Ken Jennings is being brought back to the show, in episodes filmed just this last week. And, as he notes, so is Annie Duke. That doesn't bother me too much -- they're "special guests," after all. They get special treatment by the show. So what if they were eliminated -- they still get to come back. What really hurts is that in that blog post, Ken mentions a 6'4" drag queen also being in the Mob. I'm almost positive he's referring to the one who was standing directly in front of me all throughout yesterday's episode. If she got asked back to the show, and not me -- that sucks. I know, the drag queens were technically special guests, too; they got the same special treatment as, say, Fabio. Not like us regular peon Mob members. But still, that really sucks. I may have more to say on this at some future date, but it's painful to think I might be missing out on getting to come back just because I wasn't, I don't know, flashy. I mean, I answered a ton of questions correctly. I was a great player, if I do say so myself.

Okay, here's some miscellaneous notes as I watch the rest of the show.

--Every single time I see Barry, I want to call him "Dennis." I don't know what that's all about. Maybe he reminds me of Dennis Weaver.

--I thought it was funny when Bob talked to the 40-year-old virgin at the top of the show, and asked him, "A whole week has gone by, and nothin'?" You know how TV works: of course it hadn't been a week; it had been about an hour, while Barry changed his clothes, Bob changed his suit, and the Mob took a break. If the 40-year-old virgin had scored in that hour, well, he'd be my new hero.

--Ned Andrews, the reigning Mob champion: that son of a biscuit. If he'd missed a question during this episode, I'm almost positive that would've made me the reigning Mob champion. I would've liked to have gotten a little bit of his elite treatment -- he was treated like a special guest, and led away to a separate area from the rest of the Mob during break times. But alas, it was not to be: by the end of the show, he'd given 41 correct answers in a row, compared to my 22. But hey, my 22 is more than he had when he first became the reigning Mob champion, at the beginning of my first episode (he had 19 correct at that point). And if I find out that Ned Andrews got to come back for a new set of episodes, like Ken Jennings or Annie Duke, I'm going to flip out. If there's anyone who's the opposite of flashy, it's Ned.

--1st tricky question:


First, notice that Bob calls Flavor Flav "Favor Flav" every single time. I noticed that during taping, and assumed someone would correct him, and when nobody did, I assumed they would correct it in post. Guess not! As for the actual question: that's fairly tough! Dennis Barry needed to use one of his helps on it. I mean, when's the last time you bought some Lifesavers? It's probably been more than ten years since I've held a pack of Lifesavers. But fortunately, I was still able to remember there was no grape in the mix.

--Bob to the 40-year-old virgin, who was eliminated on the Lifesavers question: "Cherry would've been your favorite, if I'm not mistaken." Bob made a lot of risque quips that were cut out of the final show. I thought for sure that one wouldn't make it in! Wow.

--Here's a stumper:


This was the $6,000 question. Barry's ninth question overall. You see what I mean about easy questions? I'm assuming I don't have to tell you the answer for that one. It would make me sad if I did. At least only one Mob member missed that one, which balances the question's simplicity by depriving Barry of much extra money.

I'm gonna have to take a time out now, and finish this up later, probably tomorrow. Don't forget: my third appearance, NBC, 7PM this Sunday night!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Sidebar Maintenance; Fall 2006 TV Reviews

I've spent the past couple hours tidying up the sidebar to this blog. Tedious work, which is why I always let it go for so long.

I got rid of a bunch of links to other blogs, primarily because the blogs have been abandoned. If I got rid of your link, and you merely moved your blog to a different address without my noticing, please let me know.

And I removed all the individual links to my reviews of the Fall 2006 TV Season. That project kind of stalled out, didn't it? I didn't come anywhere near the completeness of my 2005 effort. A lot of life got in the way of the blog during the last half of 2006. I never got the chance to see a lot of shows (and, since most of those were the victims of quick cancellation, I have to assume I didn't miss much), and for some of the shows that I did watch, I never got around to writing an official review. Oh well.

Now, there's just an overall link to the reviews I managed to complete, which directs you -- here! Below is the list of all the new Fall 2006 network shows, and links to my reviews, if reviews were ever written.

See you tomorrow with the post-game report on my second episode of 1 Vs. 100!

Brothers & Sisters (Accidental Free Pass)
Help Me Help You
Men in Trees
The Nine
Six Degrees
Ugly Betty

The Class

30 Rock
Friday Night Lights (Accidental Free Pass)
Kidnapped (Accidental Free Pass)
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Twenty Good Years

Happy Hour
'Til Death
Vanished (Official Free Pass)

The CW
The Game (Accidental Free Pass)
Runaway (Accidental Free Pass)
Sorry, the CW!

1 Vs. 100 Reminder

Don't forget: tonight I'll be making my second appearance as Mob member #81 on 1 Vs. 100! Will last week's carry-over contestant Barry walk away a winner? Or will he fall victim to the Mob? Watch NBC at 8PM (PST) tonight to find out!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

2007 Golden Globes Nominations

First of all, thanks for all the responses to my look at the AV Club's Best Music of 2006. I'm intrigued by a few of your recommendations regarding music on the list, especially Neko Case and the Thermals, and maybe Midlake, though to the Decemberists and the Hold Steady, still I say thee nay. Guess List of the Week is a pretty good idea after all -- 30 comments and counting! Sweet. That's my favorite thing about this blog, that kind of interaction. Keep it up!

Next order of business: the Golden Globes! They're simply awful, and I'm going to watch them!

The 64th Annual Golden Globes Ceremony airs this Monday, January 15, and I'll be doing the usual Minute-By-Minute recapping/bitching that I tend to do with these awards shows (check the sidebar for a list of the many other awards ceremonies with which I have punished myself). Last year, Ian Brill and Silver Batman (and much alcohol) were on hand to help me get through the Globes. If you're still in town, Ian, you're welcome to join me again, if you can take it. Silver Batman and several bottles of liquor have already RSVPed.

In preparation for my semi-liveblogging event (remember, it's tape-delayed on the West Coast), I'm making my picks in the major categories, by which I mean "whatever categories I feel like writing about."

Best Motion Picture - Drama

The Departed
Little Children
The Queen

I suspect Babel is a little like last year's Crash, an overrated intertwining story which Oscar will love, but which the Golden Globes won't quite fall for. The nomination for Bobby has to be somebody's idea of a joke. I'd like to think it'll be The Departed, which I loved, or The Queen, which has been getting insanely huge rave reviews for Helen Mirren, but... you know what? Unlike with Crash, there's no accompanying Brokeback Mountain, no overwhelmingly obvious frontrunner competing against it. I'm going with Babel after all.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama

Penélope Cruz -- Volver
Judi Dench -- Notes On A Scandal
Maggie Gyllenhaal -- sherrybaby
Helen Mirren -- The Queen
Kate Winslet -- Little Children

As with Reese Witherspoon in last year's Walk the Line, this one is a done deal. Mirren wins the Golden Globe, Mirren wins the Oscar. Bet the farm. Surest pick of the awards.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama

Leonardo DiCaprio -- Blood Diamond
Leonardo DiCaprio -- The Departed
Peter O'Toole -- Venus
Will Smith -- The Pursuit Of Happyness
Forest Whitaker -- The Last King Of Scotland

I don't know whether to pick Leo, or Leo! Interesting that Forest Whitaker is in the lead actor category; all Oscar talk about his performance has him in the supporting category. This could be a wacky upset, with Will Smith taking it -- the Globes like proving they're "hip" like that. But, despite his vote-splitting nomination vs. himself, I think it goes to DiCaprio in The Departed.

Best Motion Picture - Musical Or Comedy

Borat: Cultural Learnings Of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan
The Devil Wears Prada
Little Miss Sunshine
Thank You For Smoking

Dreamgirls isn't getting near the traction as did the last major award-winning musical, Chicago (remember, though they were nominated in this category, neither Walk the Line nor Ray were really musicals, they were dramas about musicians). It has huge pre-release buzz, which seems to have faded greatly since then (except supporting acting categories). Borat would be the "hip" choice, but I think it's too out there even for the Globes. I'm picking Little Miss Sunshine.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy

Annette Bening -- Running With Scissors
Toni Collette -- Little Miss Sunshine
Beyoncé Knowles -- Dreamgirls
Meryl Streep -- The Devil Wears Prada
Renée Zellweger -- Miss Potter

Miss Potter? What the hell? Was that even released? No to that. And Beyoncé has been way too bitchy in the press recently for her to get considered here. (Believe me, that's taken into consideration, especially at the Globes.) Toni Collette is a strong contender, as is Annette Bening, if only in her own self-congratulatory mind. But I'll take Streep.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical Or Comedy

Sacha Cohen -- Borat
Johnny Depp -- Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Aaron Eckhart -- Thank You For Smoking
Chiwetel Ejiofor -- Kinky Boots
Will Ferrell -- Stranger Than Fiction

Even if the voters don't go for Borat as Best Musical Or Comedy (and they still might, who knows), I think Cohen's insanely funny and devoted performance in that movie gets the win here. Though I'd personally prefer his Talladega Nights co-star, Will Ferrell, to pick it up for Stranger Than Fiction. I just hope Depp doesn't win. He's awesome, but seriously, that pirate shit is not what he should be winning awards for.

Best Performance by an Actress In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

Adriana Barraza -- Babel
Cate Blanchett -- Notes On A Scandal
Emily Blunt -- The Devil Wears Prada
Jennifer Hudson -- Dreamgirls
Rinko Kikuchi -- Babel

Haven't seen any of these. I'm surprised to see Emily Blunt here for Prada instead of Anne Hathaway, though she probably should've been in the lead actress slot, which was taken instead by Streep. Going from buzz alone, I'll take Jennifer Hudson. The shine is off Dreamgirls, but her personal stock keeps rising.

Best Performance by an Actor In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

Ben Affleck -- Hollywoodland
Eddie Murphy -- Dreamgirls
Jack Nicholson -- The Departed
Brad Pitt -- Babel
Mark Wahlberg -- The Departed

Same here for Eddie Murphy. Nicholson and Wahlberg were both terrific in The Departed, and Brad Pitt -- well, he's just dreamy. But I've gotta go with Murphy.

Best Animated Feature Film

Happy Feet
Monster House

My guess is Cars, which was very fun, another Pixar winner. I tried watching Monster House, and that style of animation is seriously disturbing, just like it was in Polar Express. It's the Uncanny Valley effect. The motion-capture animation used in both those movies turns the characters into hideous mockeries of humanity. I don't see how any child could watch those things and not get horrible nightmares.

Best Foreign Language Film

Apocalypto (United States)
Letters From Iwo Jima (Japan, United States)
The Lives Of Others (Germany)
Pan's Labyrinth (Mexico)
Volver (Spain)

I love that two of the Foreign Language nominees are American productions. It's gotta be Letters From Iwo Jima, though Pan's Labyrinth isn't without a chance.

Best Director - Motion Picture

Clint Eastwood -- Flags Of Our Fathers
Clint Eastwood -- Letters From Iwo Jima
Stephen Frears -- The Queen
Alejandro Iñárritu -- Babel
Martin Scorsese -- The Departed

I love Clint Eastwood (politics aside), but seriously, is he going to deprive Scorsese of an Oscar again? The winner of this Golden Globe will be a solid indicator -- and I think it'll be Eastwood for Iwo Jima.

Best Screenplay - Motion Picture

The Departed
Little Children
Notes On A Scandal
The Queen

Honestly, I'm surprised not to see Stranger Than Fiction here. I think The Departed and The Queen are more beloved for their performances than for their scripts -- not that the performances could exist without the scripts, but that's just the way things are perceived. I think this is Babel's category.

Best Television Series - Drama

Big Love
Grey's Anatomy

Much as I hate to say it, it'll be 24. I think any of the other series are probably more worthy -- except maybe Grey's Anatomy, which I have yet to be convinced is more than a trashy hospital-based soap opera. It's disgraceful that Big Love, while admittedly very good, is HBO's representative in this category, rather than the excellent Deadwood or (I'm basing this on, like, every TV critic's recommendations, since I haven't watched it myself) The Wire. But against Lost's generally-considered weak second year, and Heroes' fledgling status, and especially considering last year's Emmys, I think 24 takes it walking away.

Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series - Drama

Patricia Arquette -- Medium
Edie Falco -- The Sopranos
Evangeline Lilly -- Lost
Ellen Pompeo -- Grey's Anatomy
Kyra Sedgwick -- The Closer

Still hate to see Arquette's name up there. And, though she's mostly very good, has anyone actually heard Kyra Sedgwick's accent on The Closer? Not even close. This is a really tough call, because of the poor reception to the most recent season, but I'll take Falco.

Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series - Drama

Patrick Dempsey -- Grey's Anatomy
Michael C. Hall -- Dexter
Hugh Laurie -- House
Bill Paxton -- Big Love
Kiefer Sutherland -- 24

Disgraceful. No Ian McShane? No Forest Whitaker or Michael Chiklis? Their roles on Deadwood and The Shield were so astronomically fantastic, it's simply criminal they're not included here. Especially Whitaker, who may have given literally the finest performance I have ever seen in television. The only puffball I see here is Dempsey -- really? You're putting Loverboy up against Dexter and House? -- but I think again it's 24's award. Sutherland wins.

Best Television Series - Musical Or Comedy

Desperate Housewives
The Office
Ugly Betty

God DAMN, what does it take to get Desperate Housewives off this list, a stake through the heart? I'm a big fan of Entourage, and I'm becoming a big admirer of Ugly Betty, but if The Office doesn't win this, the fix is in.

Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series - Musical Or Comedy

Marcia Cross -- Desperate Housewives
America Ferrera -- Ugly Betty
Felicity Huffman -- Desperate Housewives
Julia Louis-Dreyfus -- The New Adventures Of Old Christine
Mary-Louise Parker -- Weeds

I'm really, really hoping America Ferrera gets recognized here. Whatever problems I have with her show, none of them are with her. She's wonderful, just a pure delight. In fact, I'm going out on a limb here: I'm picking Betty.

Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series - Musical Or Comedy

Alec Baldwin -- 30 Rock
Zach Braff -- Scrubs
Steve Carell -- The Office
Jason Lee -- My Name Is Earl
Tony Shalhoub -- Monk

Wow, tough call. I'd have put Baldwin in the supporting category, because even though he's got enough screentime to be considered the lead, I guess, his role on the show is of the supporting variety. Not that he's not brilliant in it; it's just not the category I'd have expected. He'd have been a slamdunk in the supporting race. I could see him stealing it from Carell here, who richly deserves the award, but Carell is my pick and I'm sticking with it. But I swear to you, if that goddam Shalhoub wins again... I like Tony Shalhoub, I do, but that show, and his role on it, have become excruciatingly bad, just mockeries of how entertaining they once were. And still, the awards shows seem to love him!

Best Performance by an Actress In A Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Gillian Anderson -- Bleak House
Annette Bening -- Mrs. Harris
Helen Mirren -- Elizabeth I
Helen Mirren -- Prime Suspect: The Final Act
Sophie Okonedo -- Tsunami, The Aftermath

This is so Helen Mirren's year, I wouldn't be surprised if they gave her two awards in this category. I'm calling the Elizabeth one-two punch: a Globe for her title role in Elizabeth I, and a Globe for Elizabeth II in The Queen.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

André Braugher -- Thief
Robert Duvall -- Broken Trail
Michael Ealy -- Sleeper Cell: American Terror
Chiwetel Ejiofor -- Tsunami, The Aftermath
Ben Kingsley -- Mrs. Harris
Bill Nighy -- Gideon's Daughter
Matthew Perry -- The Ron Clark Story

I love that the Globes just nominate as many people as they feel like! If only the Oscars would loosen up and let, say, six Best Actor nominees in when they deserve it, or cut it down to four when they don't. That said, I've got no idea here. I'll pick Duvall, just because.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Emily Blunt -- Gideon's Daughter
Toni Collette -- Tsunami, The Aftermath
Katherine Heigl -- Grey's Anatomy
Sarah Paulson -- Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip
Elizabeth Perkins -- Weeds

Hey, it's Emily Blunt again! And holy CRAP, Sarah Paulson?? Her character is possibly the worst thing in a show where everything and everyone is a candidate for worst thing. I'll take Toni Collette, because I like her. Though it could also be Perkins.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Thomas Haden Church -- Broken Trail
Jeremy Irons -- Elizabeth I
Justin Kirk -- Weeds
Masi Oka -- Heroes
Jeremy Piven -- Entourage

If Alec Baldwin were in this category, he'd win. He's not, so Piven will. Which is fine with me.

[EDIT, about 15 minutes before the Globes begin, I swear: I picked just about every category, I might as well throw in my picks for the three remaining. Best Mini-Series Or Motion Picture Made for Television seems pretty likely to go to Elizabeth I. And the two music categories -- I have no clue on these, so I'll just randomly take Babel for Original Score and Dreamgirls for Original Song.]

And there you go! Stop by the blog on Monday evening and follow along with my semi-liveblogging, where you'll get to see just how far off base these picks are. In real time! (Not counting the three-hour delay. Or my laziness with updates.)

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