Sunday, August 30, 2009

Everything Old is New Again...Again

Sometimes when I read the entertainment mags, I have a hard time remembering what year it is. Like, my calendar claims it's 2009, yet the cast of Seinfeld is on the cover of this week's EW. There's talk of a Heathers TV series. And there is a Twilight Zone movie in the works.

They're Back, Baby! - Yes, Seinfeld is returning. But not in the way that you might think. And certainly not in some cheesy Brady Bunch-style reunion special that would find Jerry and Elaine getting married, George winning the lottery and buying the Yankees, Newman being named Postmaster General, and Kramer coming out (revealing Bob Sacamano as his long-time lover, of course). Knowing that a traditional reunion episode is probably the worst idea ever (aside from making a three-hour Seinfeld movie), co-creator Larry David came up with a novel way of bringing the gang back to life: a "fake" reunion on David's HBO sitcom, Curb Your Enthusiasm. It sounds like not only a great plan to appease Seinfeld lovers, but also to boost Curb's own ratings (even though the hilarious show isn't really hurting for viewers). The five-episode story arc (beginning on October 4) will revolve around Larry trying to win back his estranged wife by masterminding the Seinfeld reunion. I'm actually very excited about this. It's really the only way to bring back the show without actually bringing it back and ruining our collective memory of its greatness.

Someone Had a Brain Tumor for Breakfast - From an idea that is "so very" to one that is just so wrong...Variety recently reported that a small-screen version of Heathers is in the works, co-written by Jenny Bicks of Sex and the City fame. Although Bicks is responsible for one of my favorite SATC episodes ever ("A Woman's Right to Shoes"), I don't really have faith that a 46-year-old woman can tap into the darkly humorous minds of Heathers' teens. And bringing a hit movie to television never works. Remember Clueless? Fast Times? Ferris Bueller (poor, lovely Charlie Schlatter)? Apparently, the movie has to suck for the TV version to be any good, like in the case of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Submitted for Your Approval - Warner Bros. and Appian Way (Leonardo DiCaprio's production company) have plans to bring yet another update of The Twilight Zone to the big screen. As a huge TZ geek, I have mixed feelings about this.

On one hand, I wasn't a huge fan of the 1983 movie. While the first and last segments were well done, I was ambivalent about the "Kick the Can" update, and absolutely furious with the hatchet job done on the classic "It's A Good Life." I've also been underwhelmed by both TV reboots of the series, even though they have both produced a few gems (and the 2002-2003 update even features an episode with yummy Jeremy Sisto).

On the other hand, as I just said, the various tries at updates have occasionally had good results. And good stories are good stories. If the filmmakers respect the brilliance of the original tales and don't try to get too fancy or dumb them down for a sex and violence loving audience, there is really no reason why a TZ movie couldn't work. And I actually prefer the idea of remaking classic episodes to writing a new group of stories and slapping a Twilight Zone title on it. Mainly because if the new stuff sucks, I don't want it lumped in with the wonderful work done by great writers like Rod Serling, Richard Matheson, and Charles Beaumont, among others. Their stories are timeless. All that might be improved upon now are some of the hammy performances and the production and effects that were lacking back in the early-'60s.

In the spirit of positivity, I'd like to offer Leo & co. my suggestions for four original TZ episodes that could benefit from a remake:

1. Twenty-Two - This is TZ's take on the classic "room for one more" urban legend, in which a hospitalized dancer has prophetic dreams about her impending death. I'd always loved the legend and, although it should have been a slam-dunk for TZ, it's something of a disappointment for three main reasons: it's one of the few eps shot on videotape, Barbara Nichols is horribly grating in the lead role, and the big explosion at the end has all the drama of someone lighting a fart.

2. The Invaders - A really good idea that just turns out to be lame (even though a lot of other TZ geeks would disagree). The combination of Agnes Moorehead's incessant grunting, large lack of dialogue, and cheesy look of the aliens puts this one near the bottom of my favorites list, yet I can still see its potential to be something great.

3. One More Pallbearer - I've always basically liked this story, but something gets lost in the execution. Also, none of the actors are very interesting. But I think bringing this to the big screen today would be appropriate, since it centers on a very immature, entitled man who blames everyone but himself for the problems in his life, and is hell bent on making them apologize. That sounds like, well, just about everyone these days. And hey, I bet Leo himself could do a great job as the lead character. (I'm not saying he's a jerk, just a good actor.)

4. The Trade-Ins - Another essentially good plot that loses a little something in the translation and another that would be even more appropriate in today's image-conscious society, as it deals with a company that has perfected body swapping. An elderly couple visits the place to trade in their old shells for newer, younger ones but discovers that they can only afford one. Perhaps they could get Michael Douglas and CZJ to star in this one? (Sorry, that's my quasi-lesbian jealousy flaring up again.)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Project Runway 6: Episode 2

After watching last night's episode of Project Runway, I have a suggestion for next season: start out with 10-12 designers, max. I know that the show is a phenomenon and the producers want to keep it on as long as possible, but 16 designers (down to 15 at the start of episode 2) is just too many. So much is crammed into each episode that, come 11:00, it's hard to remember much of the fabric and fierceness (if any) that was flying around. (It's a good thing I'm a fast note-taker.)

Of course, it doesn't help that there are still no standout personalities in this season's group. Either all the fabulousness is being edited for time or there isn't any to edit in the first place. I hope it's the former or it's going to be a loooong season.

The beginning of last night's show found Mitchell thanking his lucky stars that he didn't get the boot last week after sending his model down the runway in a see-through dress. I assumed that all this early focus on Mitchell meant that he would either be this week's challenge winner or screw up again and be auf'd...

Continue on to Starpulse to read the full recap!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Battle of the Netflix Stars #8

Bout #8: Battle of the Ultra-Hip Movies About Sardonic Young Adults (in which Michael Cera plays Michael Cera)


Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist

Director:Jason Reitman
Peter Sollett
Star Power:Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Allison Janney, and my man J.K. Simmons
Michael Cera, Kat Dennings
Plot:After a one-time tryst with her best friend, Paulie Bleeker (Cera), quirky teen Juno MacGuff (Page) discovers that she is pregnant. Deciding that she can't go through with an abortion, she searches for adoptive parents for her unborn baby and quickly finds Mark and Vanessa Loring (Bateman and Garner), who seem like the ideal couple to raise her child. Over the following nine months, Juno discovers that the Lorings may not be as perfect as they seem (especially man-child Mark), and that Paulie may be closer to perfect than she originally thought.
Nice guy Nick (Cera) is dumped by his vixenish girlfriend Tris (Alexis Dziena), for whom he makes countless mix CDs that she promptly discards. Tris's girlschool frenemy, Norah (Dennings), routinely nabs the unwanted discs for herself and fantasizes about Nick, her "musical soulmate," whom she's never met. That all changes when Norah randomly kisses Nick later that evening as part of a ruse designed to get mean girl Tris off her back, not realizing that her fake bf is Tris's real ex-bf. The paths of these characters continue to cross throughout the evening, as well as with those of Norah's drunken friend, Caroline (Ari Graynor), Nick's fun-loving, gay band members, and Norah's quasi-boyfriend (Jay Baruchel), as everyone tries to find the site of a secret gig by Where's Fluffy, a mythical underground band.

Pros:Jason Bateman, who can always be counted on for a solid acting job and serious cuteness; J.K. Simmons, who is always delightful; Olivia Thirlby as Juno's best friend, for reminding us what a teenage girl is honestly like

Dennings and Cera's chemistry; genuine and believable performances by everyone
Cons:The music. It makes me want to punch babies. And then there's nearly everything else. I'll try to sum up below.

If you're not from (or have ever lived in) NYC, you may feel a bit detached from the story, as it sometimes feels less like a love story and more like a love letter to the city and its music scene.
My Thoughts:I think this has to be one of the most overrated movies I've seen in recent years. I remember just feeling alarmed after seeing it and subsequently asking my teenaged nieces, "Do you think that movie made teen pregnancy look not-so-bad?" Even more alarming was that they never properly answered the question.

Although I nearly shut the movie off during the first half-hour (in which we are all hit over the head with how super cool and "different" Juno is), I will hand it to Ellen Page. It's amazing that I can still see what a good actress she is despite the fact that I want to strangle her character with the cord of her oh-so-ironic hamburger phone. In fact, all of the performances are quite good; it's the story with which I have serious issues.

First of all, Juno plans a sexual encounter with her friend out of "boredom," but neglects to use protection, and is then surprised to find out she's knocked up. What? Diablo Cody goes out of her way to make sure we all know just what a sharp gal Juno is, so this set up makes the movie flawed from the get-go.

Secondly, the lack of believable characters makes all the good performances moot. Juno's parents are way too casual about her predicament. And Juno herself...well, everything about her is just RIDONK. Fo shiz.

Thirdly, the ending pisses me off to no end. (SPOILER ALERT!) There is a fleeting glimpse of Juno finally having some feeling for the baby that she has just given up and will never know, and then it's suddenly spring and she's riding her bike and making super cool indie music with her super cool indie bf again, and all is right with the world. I'm sorry, but what message does that send? Maybe it's just supposed to be a quirky comedy and not send ANY message but if that's the case, then that's just irresponsible. And it isn't nearly funny enough to get away with that.
It's actually great to put this movie next to Juno because, unlike that movie, this one accurately captures what it's like to be young in the new millennium. It gets across all the sarcasm, boredom, and disaffection with seemingly everything but music in a way that's just simple and true, whereas much of Juno (especially the dialogue) felt like parody written by an adult who doesn't understand these "crazy kids" today.

I've heard some people criticize this movie for having "no substance," but how much substance do you want for a story that unfolds over one evening? If there is too much going on, you end up with Adventures in Babysitting (a movie I thoroughly enjoy despite its high cheese factor), instead of something more subtle like Dazed and Confused. N&N isn't quite as good as D&C, but it is more focused and offers up a real story between two main characters who are easy to root for.

I've also heard some people criticize the ending. (SPOILER ALERT!) Some don't understand why, after finally making their way to the Where's Fluffy show, Nick and Norah decide to go home. Come on, cynics! Where are your hearts? Can you not see that this long and winding search for an elusive band is just a metaphor for everyone's long and winding search for love? Well, Nick and Norah found it.
Final Grade:


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pop Culture I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down

As three London ladies once said, it's a cruel summer. Starting with the Celebrity Death Spectacular in June, this usually fun-filled season has been a real downer where entertainment is concerned. And the gloom train just keeps rolling. Murder and suicide are putting the reality in reality TV, turns out Jacko was "murdered," Ted Kennedy's dead, and Heidi Montag is still alive.

And when something awful or depressing isn't happening, NOTHING is. Aside from Up, there haven't really been any movies worth talking about (although I've heard good things about Inglorious Basterds). Aside from Top Chef and Project Runway, summer TV is what it always is - rerunny. And aside from the latest Pearl Jam single, there hasn't really been any new music worth pushing (seriously, Third Eye Blind has the #3 album in the country right now). There isn't even any trainwrecky goodness to enjoy since Paris went MIA, Britney is evidently concentrating on losing weight and actually paying attention to her kids, and LiLo is on the best behavior a hot mess like her can manage.

So, what am I to do while stuck in this black hole? Yes, what? I'm asking you! More dumb lists? Some sort of odd Photoshop project (I never did get around to that mythical second issue of Pop Eye Candy)? Fake record reviews? Another Battle of the Netflix Stars? Tell me what you want, people.

Monday, August 24, 2009

We're All Doomed. Doomed, I Say! DOOMED!

It's only fitting that the force that will one day unravel the entire fabric of the universe would have flaunted her destructive powers at last night's Miss Universe Pageant. Of course, not even I realized just how evil Heidi Montag was until she showed up in a TJ Maxx flesh suit and proceeded to set music back by 300 years by joylessly plodding around to a beat no one else could hear, crushing Alison Moyet's soul, and making anyone unlucky enough to be watching wish for the sweet, sweet relief of swift death.

No, I don't watch the Miss Universe Pageant. I was dumb enough to watch this shit on YouTube. And now I'm sharing it with you. Because if I can't enjoy life anymore, none of you can!! Of course, there's a chance you won't press play...provided your name is Jesus Christ. He is the only one strong enough to resist such darkness.

Hey, while we're waiting for those four horsemen, why not check out Britney's 2007 VMA performance again? It's like a blinding light from Heaven compared to the Hell we just witnessed, isn't it? Oh, Brit. Forgive us for crucifying you back then. We knew not what we were doing.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Forgotten Classic Video(s) of the Week (12" Extended Dance Remix)

No, I'm not posting the video for a dance hall classic. The title actually refers to the length of this post. I'm in an obsessive mood, so settle in for some rhapsodical waxing.

You know those artists who sort of lie at the outskirts of your musical mind? The ones you're vaguely aware of and seem to enjoy whenever you hear one of their songs, but some unknown force (e.g., laziness, forgetfulness, lack of resources) always keeps you from finding out more about them? Usually, there is some point when you finally decide that you ARE going to investigate, and one of three things happens: (1) You decide they suck and it wasn't worth the effort, (2) You discover a few more good songs for your collection, or (3) You fall completely in love and curse yourself and those unknown forces for cheating you out of that music for so long.

I've recently gone all #3 over Blur.

Blur (l-r): Graham Coxon (guitar), Damon Albarn (vocals/keyboards), Dave Rowntree (drums), Alex James (bass)

The easiest scapegoat on which to blame my Blur-deficient existence is American radio. I suppose that, in the early- to mid-'90s, grunge ruled the radio (and, as a Pearl Jam fan, I'm not really complaining), leaving absolutely no room for Britpop. As that name implies, Britpop bands were SO British. More British than Queen Elizabeth playing footy in her knickers whilst eating a scone. The only band that broke through big in America was Oasis. Probably because they were all about big guitars and rude attitudes, a combination that was much easier for all our disaffected, angsty youth to digest than Supergrass's proclamations that being young is actually pretty awesome ("Alright") or the slick, artsy stick figures in Suede purporting to be "Trash."

Blur were probably the most overtly British of all. Streams of British slang flowed from the cockney mouth of lead singer Damon Albarn, who complained about the Americanization of England ("Parklife") and satirized the "Girls Gone Wild" party-centric culture of the '90s to a Eurotrashy disco beat ("Girls & Boys"). I recently read that, after being torn apart and shunned on one of their early American tours, Albarn returned to England with the intention of "destroying grunge." I should probably hate him for that, but I can't, for two good reasons: (1) He's brilliant, and (2) He's one of the most beautiful men I've ever seen. (Hey, this is all about the music, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the superficial cherry on top.)

My rediscovery of Blur started a couple of months ago, when their video for "Country House" popped up on VH1 Classic's 120 Minutes. That song was one in a small handful of Blur songs that I knew, but I hadn't heard it in years (probably since it was first released in 1995), and I'd never seen the video. The song was at the heart of the "Battle of Britpop," the infamous UK chart battle between Blur and Oasis that even most Yanks knew about. Apparently, the song was ready to go weeks before but Albarn (supposedly at the suggestion of NME) moved the release date back to coincide with Oasis's release of "Roll With It." When "Country House" outsold the Oasis single, Blur won the battle but Oasis ultimately won the war by becoming an international sensation. (Though Blur would never find success in the U.S., Albarn finally broke through on his own, as the creator and only full-time member of animated hip-hop band Gorillaz.)

The video got me to thinking about this whole "battle" nonsense (after rekindling my old crush on Damon, who appears in the bathtub in that vid) and how, even though I liked Oasis, I much preferred the few Blur songs I knew to anything in Oasis's catalog. It was then that I stopped being lazy and finally delivered on my recurring promise to myself to find out more about Blur. Of course, it's much easier now than it was back in the '90s. If I haven't said it on this blog enough, YOUTUBE IS THE GREATEST THING TO EVER HAPPEN TO THE WORLD.

So, all of this babbling brings me to the first forgotten classic this week - one of those few songs of Blur's that I actually DID know (and probably my favorite) before fully immersing myself in discovery and obsession - "Charmless Man." Like "Country House," it was a song that I remember hearing and liking back in the day (both singles were from 1995's The Great Escape), but lack of any radio or MTV play caused it to be purged from my memory. Also like "Country House," I don't remember ever having seen the video, but it's a good one. It actually reminds me a bit of that Twilight Zone episode, "The Hitch-Hiker," in that the lead character can't seem to shake the unwanted person(s) on their trail. Of course, if Damon Albarn was following me around all day, showing up in my bathroom and breathing down my neck, I would certainly not be unhappy.

And now, to help you all along on your own path to discovering Blur, I'd like to give you a little video primer: one gem from each of their other studio albums. (You can also click the links throughout this post to see some of the ones I didn't embed.)

"Bang," from Leisure (1991)
Ahhhh, young Damon. This is actually kind of a dumb song (and apparently the band hates it), but the title gives me impure thoughts.

"Chemical World," from Modern Life is Rubbish (1993)

"To The End," from Parklife (1994)
Kind of a weird vid, meant to be an homage to some obscure French film. But Damon looks delicious as always. And the song...oh, the song just makes me want to cry. It's so sadly beautiful.

"Beetlebum," from Blur (1997)
Even though this record's "Song 2" was Blur's only true hit in the U.S., I think this song is so much better. I can't figure out why American radio wouldn't have embraced it, especially since we were all falling in love with Radiohead around that time and this has a bit of their vibe.

"Coffee and TV," from 13 (1999)
BEST.VIDEO.EVER! Well, okay, maybe that's an exaggeration. But Milky is the cutest thing I've seen in quite a while. (Note: Guitarist Graham Coxon sings lead on this one.) And what a wonderful melody.

"Out of Time," from Think Tank (2003)
Just a gorgeous song. The video is actually a live performance from Last Call with Carson Daly. I guess all that time I spent making fun of Carson Daly's show, I should have been watching it, eh? The official video doesn't feature the band, but centers on a female maintenance technician on an aircraft carrier.

Blur never officially broke up, but after Graham Coxon left in 2003, they refused to replace him and stopped making records. They reunited this year and played several gigs in the UK. Although Albarn has claimed that they wouldn't do any more shows, Coxon recently reported that they are talking about not only touring more, but also about recording some new music. I hope this is all true, and that a "tour" includes North America! I'm so angry that I missed out on Blur the first time around, and I would love a chance to see them live.

I hope you've enjoyed this blurry trip through musical history today! If I've made even one of you appreciate this incredible band, then my job is done.

Oh, and if anyone has Damon Albarn's phone number, please email me. Yes, he's missing a front tooth these days (and wears a goofy gold-plated one) but he is still hotter than most men with all 32.

Now, to close this post properly, here is a bonus vid for the song "This is a Low," a Parklife track that was never released as a single, but one that is rightfully a fan and band favorite, and one that they have often used to close their shows. It's a gorgeous, haunting song inspired by the Shipping Forecast, of all (British) things. But I think it's really about loneliness. Whatever it's about, it makes lovely Damon a wee bit emotional, as evidenced by that single tear at the end.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Make It Work! (Your Mouse, That Is)

Readers! Gather round, please. I have an announcement.

I'm now doing Project Runway recaps for Starpulse. If you're not a fan, you'll be glad that I'm not recapping them here. You're also ridiculous, because who doesn't love that show?? Seriously.

If you are a fan (and I think we just established that you SHOULD be), I hope you will make the trip over to Starpulse to check them out and leave witty comments and declarations of love.

It begins here: Season 6, Episode 1!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I'm Baaa-ack Like a Poltergeist, Bitches

I’m back! Did you all miss me terribly?

Oh, you did? REALLY? Yeah, I can tell by the zero comments you all left, begging for my swift return. Fickle blogospherians. What do I have to do to get you people to be lost without me?

Perhaps I wasn’t really needed over the past week or two because the entertainment world hasn’t been very, uh, entertaining. To prove it, here is a recap of some of the top stories that hit while I was away. I will do my best to make all of this shit sound much more interesting than it really is.

In the “Circle of Life” file:

Guitar inventor/legend Les Paul passed away at the age of 94, while Olivia Newton-John’s presumed-dead boyfriend appeared to be alive…and living debt-free (for now).

Country duo Brooks & Dunn split, while rumors swirled that Britpop band Blur is considering extending their recent “comeback” by playing more gigs and recording a new album.

In the “Things That Should Have Happened Long Ago” file:

Robin Wright-Penn filed for divorce from Sean Penn. For realz this time. Boy, I hope these crazy kids can finally make this break-up work. Third time’s a charm, I suppose.

It was announced that Michael Jackson
will finally be buried on his birthday, August 29 – more than a month after his death. (Ew.) I’m sure the funeral will be quiet and dignified, like everything the Jacksons do. And I’m sure Joe Jackson won’t take the opportunity to promote his new record label.

In the “Dirty Little Sluts” file:

Miley Cyrus worked the pole at the Teen Choice Awards while her pop beamed proudly from the sidelines. Ugh. Billy Ray Cyrus has definitely reached a Your Mama Don’t Dance kind of creepiness, but still has a while to go before reaching Joe Simpson's level.

Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Greene, and Channing Tatum were the latest to be inducted into the “Oops, I never thought those pictures/videos would get out” club. And now people over the age of 14 actually know who they are.

In the “Who Cares About American Healthcare, When We Have American Idol” file:

Kelly Clarkson was Photoshopped to all hell by Self, in an issue that purports to teach women how to achieve “total body confidence” and features an interview with Clarkson in which she states, “When people talk about my weight, I’m like, ‘You seem to have a problem with it; I don’t. I’m fine!’” It’s really no surprise that the cover was altered. I doubt there is a magazine in the world that doesn’t Photoshop its cover models. The controversy probably would have blown over if Editor-in-Chief Lucy Danziger wasn’t a complete simpleton who thought admitting that the mag skinnified Clarkson “only to make her look her personal best” was a good defense. Or if she hadn’t made it even worse by telling Today that “she’s essentially like she was on the cover.” And Danziger is essentially full of shit.

David Cook recently crashed Green River Ordinance’s set at the West Virginia State Fair dressed as Green Man and won a special place in my heart.

Adam Lambert remade New Order’s “True Faith” video. Or got a gig as the Michelin Man’s goth brother. Or he starred as Robbie the Robot in an all-gay stage production of Forbidden Planet. Or he was just trying to guarantee himself a spot on the Most Ridiculous Album Covers of All Time list. Whatever. He still has a special place in my heart. But maybe he should consider posing as Green Man for the album cover? (Not to be confused with this green man. Been there, done that.)

The Paula Abdul saga continued. AI is still unsure (or so they claim) about who, if anyone, will permanently replace Drunky. Right now, producers are lining up a bunch of guest judges for the audition rounds, including Shania Twain, Victoria Beckham, Katy Perry, Mary J. Blige, Joe Jonas, and #1 Idol, Kelly Clarkson. However, a recent report claims that FOX is turning to focus groups to decide whether to suck it up and make a deal with Paula. I think it’s kind of funny that the article states that “FOX loves focus groups.” I wonder…did they use focus groups when deciding to bring a 4th judge on the show – one who is almost cartoonishly unlikable?

In the “Most Awesome Thing I’ve Seen In A While” file:


The couple in the photo swear that it's not doctored in any way. I believe them. I must. I can’t think of anything more soul crushing than finding out that this is a Photoshop.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Forgotten Classic Video of the Week

Today is my sister's birthday (the big 5-0), so I thought I'd post one of her faves, The Bay City Rollers. Since everyone remembers "Saturday Night," I'm treating you all to a lesser known gem, "Summerlove Sensation," a song that was on the charts when Toots was 15 and I was 1. (That bit of info isn't really important; I just needed to rub in our age difference.)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Caption Crotch-test Contest #25

"Okay, who peed in these gloves before I put them on?"

And there is your caption for August, supplied by Bond. This is his first time as a Firecrotch, so I hope he can stand the heat.

Sorry for taking so long to pick this month's winner, folks, but as I said, I'm on vacation. (I'm not in a tropical paradise or anything, so you don't have to envy me too much.) And because I'm on vacation, I'm not going to the trouble of picking runners up this time around. But I'll give the Extra Achievement Award to Doc for entering so many damn times.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Forgotten Classic Video of the Week

This week's vid is for all the John Hughes fans out there: "Fire in the Twilight" by Wang Chung, otherwise known as "the running through the hallways trying to avoid Principal Vernon song." If it weren't for John Hughes, I would never have posted one of this band's videos on my blog. I can tolerate this song because it reminds me of The Breakfast Club, but everything else of theirs makes me want to hammer corn cob holders into my ears.

I really never thought there were any hardcore Wang Chung fans out there. It sounds ridiculous, right? But apparently, they do exist. At least on YouTube. One commenter said that the band "changes lives," while another declared, "Wang Chung is more powerful than anything you can imagine." Anything except the drugs that commenter is on, that is.

By the way, peeps, I'm on vacation this week, so I may only be posting and commenting sporadically. But remember, you don't have to wait until I come back to leave me comments.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Don't You (Forget About Him)

John Hughes, the guy who helped get me through my craptacular teen years in one piece, has passed away. Another in a recent string of celebs who have died relatively young, Hughes died of a heart attack while walking in Manhattan today. He was only 59.

In honor of the man's work, here are my Top 10 John Hughes Films:

(All films listed were written by Hughes; the ones he also directed are marked with an asterisk.)

10.Home Alone - I like to pretend that Macauley Culkin never grew up, and that he's still that little lost boy who learned about aftershave the hard way.

9. Mr. Mom - A friend and I saw this in the theater soon after I had developed a crush on Pittsburgh boy Michael Keaton from watching Night Shift way too many times on HBO (a movie that a 10-year-old really had no business watching at all). I actually remember writing in my diary later that evening that I wanted to marry him.

8. Pretty in Pink - This is one of those movies that I always try to like more, but can never do it. I want to like it. It's got a great soundtrack. James Spader is a wonderful bastard, as always. And, hey, the Dice Man makes an appearance! There are a lot of good pieces here, but they just don't all fit together the way they should. The main problem is that I can NEVER buy the Andie/Blaine pairing. He's such a little wussy boy. But that doesn't mean that I think Andie should pick Duckie, either. She wouldn't want to jeopardize that friendship. Besides, he's kind of a spaz. No, Andie totally should've given up on high school boys and hooked up with an indie rock dude.

7. National Lampoon's Vacation - Someone recently told me that they didn't think this movie was funny. I can't remember who that was. I probably cut him or her out of my life after that because, let's face it, he or she was probably a communist. I mean, seriously. Who doesn't think this is funny?

6. Some Kind of Wonderful - Even though this is kind of a rip-off of Pretty in Pink (with a more satisfying ending), it ranks higher on my list for many reasons - most of which are unknown to me. But the ones I do know are:

  • Eric Stoltz is adorable
  • Craig Sheffer is almost as good at being a dick as James Spader...or even ZABKA (hallowed be thy name)
  • Elias Koteas basically plays a teenage Travis Bickle
  • My favorite '80s song, "Beat's So Lonely" (the instrumental part, anyway) can be heard at the snob party; Flesh For Lulu's "I Go Crazy" is prominently featured
5. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - Yep, I like the Griswolds' Christmas story better than the original one. SQUIRREL!!!!! cracks me up every time.

4. Weird Science* - This movie always reminds me of my Dad, because it's one of his faves. He's 81. (Boys never grow up.) I know a lot of people think it's stupid, but those people should be forced to eat a greasy pork sandwich served in a dirty ashtray. Come on, it's not supposed to be deep. It's just supposed to be silly fun, and it succeeds. Plus, it put Robert Downey, Jr. on the map, who went on to be a huge movie star. And it gave us Bill Paxton, who also went on to movie stardom despite the fact that his role here as Chet is still the best one he's ever had.

3. The Breakfast Club* - Back in the day, I probably would have put TBC as my favorite Hughes film, but the older I get, the more I cringe at certain parts. (While I did recently name this the #1 High School Movie in a Starpulse piece, that list was less personal than this one.) It still may be the model against which all other teen movies are measured, but it really could have been improved by cutting back the angst just a tad. Because really, I can't help but laugh every time Ally Sheedy earnestly proclaims that, "When you grow up, your heart DIES." Come on. I didn't even believe that when I was a teenager.

One of my very early posts here on The Pop Eye was about the The Breakfast Club's influence on generations of high schoolers and the strange, sad irony that no one ever got the message. Like parts of this movie, I often look back at old posts and cringe, but I'm still pretty proud of this one. (Even if I did use a similar, lame Simple Minds pun as the title.)

2. Sixteen Candles* - Yes, everything about this movie is hilarious: from the simple but brilliant premise to Grandpa Howard asking the Donger, "Where is my automobile?" But when thinking about John Hughes's impact in the film industry and in the lives of teenagers, it's really quite special to watch this movie now and realize that a good part of why these characters seem so real is because their portrayers look real. Anthony Michael Hall looked like a real geek. They didn't just grab some guy who looked like Brad Pitt and slap glasses on him. And Molly Ringwald became a star because girls everywhere could relate to her. She was normal. She could have been any girl in any one of our high schools. How many of us can say our classrooms were filled with people who looked like Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens? Not many, I'm sure. So, why do the teen stars of today have to be so perfect? There's a sad realization here: if Molly Ringwald were just starting out now, she could never be a star. There's a good chance she wouldn't even get an audition.

1. Ferris Bueller's Day Off* - Ferris Bueller is my hero. Plain and simple.

Here's an old trailer with a peek at some obviously cut scenes.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Happy Birthday to Everyone's Favorite Pill Popping Hood Ornament, Tawny Kitaen!

Yes, the one-time video vixen and her wall of hair turn 48 today. She hasn't aged too badly, I suppose. Certainly better than David Coverdale. (Unless he really is 75.)

On her special day, let's forget about the hot mess that Tawny turned into and take a moment to reflect on the just plain hot mama that she used to be. Long before CZJ came along, she may have been the first woman I considered having a late night feather pillow fight with, if you catch my drift. And if you were a frequent viewer of USA Up All Night, I think you do.

Still, even if Tawny was hot, her career was not. The only good things she ever did were those Whitesnake videos and Bachelor Party. (And in my baseball loving days, I gave her major points for scoring Chuck Finley. But then she had to go and beat him with her shoe.)

I really tried to think of something else that I could give her props for: Witchboard? Hell nah. Her guest spot on Seinfeld? Not memorable enough. All looked lost until I remembered IT. The movie that is so mind-numbingly bad that it is damn near brilliant - Crystal Heart. I tell you people, if you have not seen this, drop whatever you're doing and RENT IT IMMEDIATELY. Don't tell me you can't find it. Netflix has it. I checked.

Basically, some hack screenwriter thought it would be awesome to make a rock 'n' roll (and I use that term very loosely) version of Boy in the Plastic Bubble, replacing all the interesting parts with musical montages and replacing gorgeous and charming John Travolta with the dweeby white-man-fro'd pianist from Fame, Lee Curreri. And then he thought it would be even more awesome to have Tawny Kitaen play an '80s pop star cliché (lip synching, of course), who eventually shows her boobs when she and bubble boy have sex - er, that is, when they DRY HUMP EACH OTHER THROUGH THE "CRYSTAL" WALL in a clumsy, foggy attempt to be erotic.

And you know what? That hack screenwriter was on to something. Because it is awesome! This movie will teach you what life and love are all about! I believe in Crystal Heart 'cause I believe in me!

If you can't wait to get this movie in your hot little hands, here is something to tide you over: Tawny as Alley Daniels in the cheesetastic video for "Don't Touch the Heart."

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

I Call Abdullshit

Oh c'mon, this is just another negotiation strategy, right? A scare tactic? A call to arms for all Idol fans? It has to be, right?

I know I said that four judges is one too many, but it's more specifically one Kara too many. Look, I know I mess with Paula a lot, but it's out of love. She can't leave! Who's going to be my "magnet of joy?" KARA?? Eff to the no! Kara won't critique people before they sing. Kara can't do the seal clap. Kara can't hear colors. Kara doesn't know where the pocket is. KARA DOESN'T DARE TO DANCE IN THE PATH OF GREATNESS!! Sure, DioHarpy thinks that Studio 57 was a real place, but not because she's drunk or stoned. She's just stupid.

Okay, I'm not going to get all atwitter (ha ha) about this. Until I get a REAL confirmation from a reliable source (tweets aren't exactly binding contracts), I am going to just assume that P-Ab will be returning next season.

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ETA: Well, according to EW, FOX has confirmed that Paula has tweeted the truth. *sigh* I'm still hoping for a last minute change of heart. Unless Paula knows that this show is going in the shitter sans Glambert and wants to make a dramatic exit now.

Monday, August 03, 2009

I Feel Like Bob Geldof Looks

Oh man. Why must we have Mondays? I wanna shoo-oooooo-ooo-ooo-oooot this whole day down, peeps.

Several of my brain cells died this weekend, and nothing interesting is going on in Tinseltown. Either that or I've suddenly become extremely hard to amuse. Whatever the case may be, I've got nothing. So, keep an eye out for the caption contest. I may have to post that later today.

In non-entertainment news, I met up with the lovely Candy (of Daily Dandy fame) on Saturday, who was visiting one of her gal pals in New York. It was just like hanging out with an old friend - she was devoon and her BFFs were awesome too. I felt a little bad letting Candy down though. She was under the impression that I was kind of a big deal in the blogging world and that - get this - I had actually met Sir Glambert. (It's all her fault that I had several dreams about him this weekend. Bless her heart.) I guess this proves that while I'm not Ms. Bloggy Bigstuff, I am a Photoshopping genius.

I'm really glad that Candy and her gang were late to meet me, because I thought I would have to spend the first 20 minutes of the evening trying to defend my own tardiness. (In case you don't know this about me, I am NEVER on time.) Luckily, we all got there at the same time and I didn't have to fess up with the real reason I was late. I suppose I can tell you all now, though. Can't Buy Me Love was on TV, and I couldn't turn it off.


Who Does This Broad Think She Is?

My photo
I am a winsome muse who was sent to Earth to inspire an artist to turn a vacant building into the world's coolest disco roller rink. We fell in love along the way, and I foolishly gave up my immortality. When the disco craze ended and all the roller rinks were shut down, that lazy bum wouldn't get a job. We broke up and I was stuck on Earth with nothing to do and no one to inspire. So, now I write a blog.

What Do Others Think of BeckEye?

"You're like an idiot savant of terrible garbage entertainment." - Falwless

"You're my hero." - Candy

"Get yourself a life. Better yet.....eff off." - Ann Onymous

"There's no one like you." - Klaus Meine