Saturday, June 9, 2007
Friday, June 8, 2007
That makes this year's awards interesting, because there's not a single show that looks like it has "sweep potential" (at least in the musical categories--in the play category, Tom Stoppard's nine hour epic Coast of Utopia became a substantial snob hit, and is likely to pick up the tech and direction awards, as well as the big "Best Play" award, and the complete raves for commercial bomb Journey's End will probably get it the revival award). Ultimately, my guess is that you're going to see one of the more spread-out sets of Tonys in a long time, with Grey Gardens getting Actress, Featured Actress, and Book, Spring Awakening getting Director, Featured Actor, Score, and Musical, Poppins getting most of the technical awards (flying nanny is worth something), and Company getting Best Actor and probably revival.
Closest race this year? Leading actress in a play, which pits the beloved Angela Lansbury and Vanessa Redgrave (both of whom garnered mixed-to-negative reviews) against Brit Eve Best and Julie White. White's performance was a force of nature, but it'll be interesting if she can pull out a win for a comedy that closed in February.
e.t.a. by Adam: YAAR! I did watch the show, and per the pirate tradition, I'm boarding this post and taking over.
Here's what's awesome about the show: the costumes. The over-the-topness of all the pirate stuff, like the actual serving of gruel. That there's not much else to watch this summer.
Here's what's not awesome about the show: I feel like there's a level of producers' intervention that's above and beyond what we normally expect from Mark Burnett shows (especially in the post-Stacey Stillman era) which we're not seeing -- such as the captain's decision to assign roles, and his general decision to be a douchebag insofar as how he's treating the rest of the crew. Like, did he really believed the deck needed swabbing?
So, here's my question: assuming the captain remains stingy with the doubloons, what incentive is there for the members of his crew to remain loyal to him during challenges, as opposed to sabotaging their chances and making a preemptive deal with a captain-in-waiting on the other crew?
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Also good? About 2/3 of tonight's Studio 60--even the Matt/Harriet material worked (mostly), Nate Corddry has become an impressive dramatic actor, and we're not beaten over the head with the Aaron Sorkin=Matt Albie=Genius property (heck, Matt is depicted as being wrong about something other than his drug use). Sure, the Danny/Jordan plotline didn't really work or make sense, but that's OK.
You know what else Bon Jovi-related fills me with dread? Keltner or not, they're getting into the Rock Hall, right?
The premise is a perfectly solid one: Fourteen (sixteen?) pirates are put aboard a ship to engage in various pirate-themed reality contests. It otherwise works as any other show: Beauty shots, daily grind, task, elimination strategy, elimination.
The cool thing here is that one fellow is made Captain and, if the initial rule set is the controlling one, he gets half of all the treasure and his two hand-picked officers get one-eighth each. While the Captain and the officers chose who will be set for elimination, the rest of the crew can either vote to bounce one of those guys, or -- if unanimous -- mutiny against the captain. I assume that, over time, the Captain accumulating a half-share will annoy the crap out of everyone else. So it could be good.
There's not much weight given to any sort of coherent narrative when the ultimate treasure (of $1M) is found in the Chest of Zanizbar, on a ship named the Pitcairn something or other, and they're off the coast of Dominica, three points on the globe scarcely to be further apart from one other. But, by gosh, those things sound piratey!
Anyway, I'm not really sure about this show. But I'll try to keep a thread going as long as their is some interest. If nothing else, I'm sure I can find good piratey-titles.
UPDATE: In a related note, Professor Bainbridge looks at the economics of pirate organizations.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
I ask because of the Miles Johnson story this week. According to the featurette, Johnson was a star football player, but started ballet to help rehab from a broken leg and ended up loving it so much that he quit the gridiron altogether. Then he became estranged from his cro-magnon father, who tearfully told the camera, "I had the All-American quarterback of the football team, dating the cheerleader ... but it's not what he wanted, I guess." As Billy Madison as this setup is, the editing is weirdly vague, and, conspicuously, nobody ever says that the reason that dad "disowned" Miles was the dancing itself. It looked, to my untrained eye, like this was a coming-out story where all references to coming out were left on the cutting-room floor, so that "dancing" became a euphemism for "gay." I'm not saying that's what happened; it's just what it looked like to me. I mean, otherwise, why would the ballet mean that he couldn't date the cheerleader anymore?
This is weird, right? You can have openly or semi-openly gay characters on everything from The Wire to Too Close for Comfort, but not on a dance show? Or is it because this is a dance show, which means that people like Johnson's dad think it is inherently gay, that SYTYCD, more than other television, needs to butch it up? But if that's true, why not just skip the story altogether? This was just a baffling decision all around.
Recently, I've heard them bust out one-hit wonders like Luscious Jackson's "Naked Eye", "I've Been Downhearted Baby", "Deeper Shade of Soul", "Closing Time" and "I Could Never Be Your Woman", and I've noticed their occasional stabs at recency with that Ok Go song or a handful of hits by The Killers.
But basically, they've thawed out a "modern rock" station frozen in the mid-90s, and I couldn't be happier. Bring on the Soup Dragons!
It will air next Friday, June 15, both in daytime and on primetime.
Update: Here's her complaint. Notably, she does not allege (and a quick search of U.S. Copyright Office registrations appears to confirm) that she owns a U.S. copyright registration for the work. This is a serious problem for her under Section 411 of the Copyright Act.
LA natives Dane Cook, an architect, and Drew Barrymore, an artist, had a baby six months ago, and they are going crazy because they haven't had a moment to themselves since. They plan a weekend getaway to Mexico, but their flaky babysitter, Lauren Collins (DeGrassi's Paige Michaelchuk) cancels at the last minute because she gets cast as the beautiful star of a teen musical about a rich girl who falls in love with the immigrant son of Mexican rebels (Wilmer Valderrama?). The couple instead leaves their daughter with Drew's hilariously mentally unstable mom, Sally Field. Field accidentally loses the daughter in Griffith Park, where she is found by Ben Stiller and Sarah Jessica Parker (who are on a marriage-bonding hike ordered by their unconventional therapist, Martin Short), two Hollywood execs who have been trying to have a baby for ages. At Short's urging, Stiller and Parker decide to keep the baby and raise her as their own, while Field and an incompetent gumshoe (Tim Allen) look for her. Meanwhile, Cook and Barrymore's Mexican trip goes awry as they stumble into the plot of Collins's musical, which they think is real, and which they royally screw up while trying to foil the rebels' planned attack. Matters come to a head as Stiller and Parker, with baby, therapist, Field, and Allen in tow, rush to Mexico to get the production back on track. All ends well as Cook and Barrymore realize how much they've missed their daughter; Short, Field, and Allen concoct a crazy story to hide the fact that she ever went missing and explain their appearance in Mexico; Allen turns out to be Collins's dad and they have a bonding moment; and Stiller and Parker find out that they're pregnant. Oh, yeah, the baby's name is Fanning.
Every character and actor in this movie makes me want pull out my own teeth and eat them. Ergo, it would probably make its money back.
What, you think you could do better?
- Sham marriages between straight men posing as gay men are funny.
- Ill-considered marriages featuring honeymoon adultery are funny.
- Dane Cook's marriage-inducing penis is funny.
- Borscht-Belt priests attempting to derail the tallest celebrity marriage in history are funny.
- It's Good Morning Vietnam, except instead of Vietnam, it's the ghetto, and instead of Robin Williams, it's
the Ladies ManDon Cheadle.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
- "Irreplacable" (10 weeks at #1), which is all about the dumping of a man.
- "What Goes Around...Comes Around," which is all about a cheating girlfriend.
- "Girlfriend," which, for all its peppy vaguely cheerleader-y-ness, has a chorus of "Hey! Hey! You! You! I don't like your girlfriend."
Also, this is the first year since 2002 to not feature a single #1 (so far) from anyone associated with Idol. (Another interesting thing I didn't realize--Kelly Clarkson's only #1 thus far? "A Moment Like This." "Breakaway" topped out at #3, "Since U Been Gone" at #2, "Behind These Hazel Eyes" at #6, and "Because of You" at #7)
Between "Krusty Gets Kancelled" (featuring Eastern Europe's favorite cat and mouse team, Worker and Parasite), "A Streetcar Named Marge", "Whacking Day", "Marge vs. the Monorail" (heh heh -- mule) and "I Love Lisa", it's quite easy to choo-choo-choose it as the best, and that's even without Copeland mentioning such season 4 gems as "Clown Without Pity" (from Treehouse III), "Homer's Triple Bypass" and "Last Exit to Springfield," a/k/a DENTAL PLAN!
“I talked to a pretty wealthy lawyer in Cambridge, and he won’t go to Starbucks,” says [Temple University history professor Bryant] Simon. “For him, it’s an expression of his relationship to New England, but also to working people. Like he’s more populist through that.”In April 2006, reports the Wall Street Journal, "Dunkin' Donuts last year paid dozens of faithful customers in Phoenix, Chicago and Charlotte, N.C., $100 a week to buy coffee at Starbucks instead. At the same time, the no-frills coffee chain paid Starbucks customers to make the opposite switch. When it later debriefed the two groups, Dunkin' says it found them so polarized that company researchers dubbed them 'tribes' -- each of whom loathed the very things that made the other tribe loyal to their coffee shop. Dunkin' fans viewed Starbucks as pretentious and trendy, while Starbucks loyalists saw Dunkin' as austere and unoriginal. 'I don't get it,' one Dunkin' regular told researchers after visiting Starbucks. 'If I want to sit on a couch, I stay at home.'"
Then again, Simon says, “Lots of working people go to Starbucks. It’s pretty clear that Starbucks is increasingly becoming more middle-market, but they go in a different way. They go for aspiration. ‘By drinking this am I acting middle class?’ My dental hygienist gets Dunkin’ Donuts every day. That’s her coffee. But on Friday, when she gets paid, she goes to Starbucks to treat herself.”
Fair or not, these are the stereotypes. Starbucks is fancy, indulgent, haute-bourgeois. Dunkin’ is simple, unpretentious, to the point. One encourages lounging and relaxation, one encourages getting in, getting out, and getting on with your day. Look deeper, and it’s fascinating how these conventions play out.
“Starbucks regulars hate the idea that their individuality is somehow compromised in Dunkin’ Donuts,” says Simon. “They don’t have many choices, they can’t put their own milk and sugar in. Part of what they’re buying [at Starbucks] is this sense of individuality.”
On the other hand, Dunkin’ sometimes seems to keep certain, perhaps more culturally loaded aspects of itself under wraps — or at least keep them understated. “All of Dunkin’ Donuts espresso drinks are fair-trade coffee,” Simon points out. “But all they do is put a little circle [fair trade symbol] on the door.” It’s as if they want to do the right thing, he says, but also know that “their customers don’t like all that value-added shit.”
Meanwhile, it's time to remake the donuts, as the chain prepares for NYC's trans fat ban.
Monday, June 4, 2007
I mentioned that the song ["That Was Me"] seems to express amazement at the life he has led.
“That’s exactly it, and I am amazed,” he said. “How could I not be? Unless I just totally blocked it off. There were four people in the Beatles, and I was one of them. There were two people in the Lennon-McCartney songwriting team, and I was one of them. I mean, right there, that’s enough for anyone’s life. And there was one guy who wrote ‘Yesterday,’ and I was him. One guy who wrote ‘Let It Be,’ ‘Fool on the Hill,’ ‘Lady Madonna’—and I was him, too. All of these things would be enough for anyone’s life. So to be involved in all of them is pretty surprising. And you have to pinch yourself. That’s what that song [”That Was Me”] is about.”
The profile reminds us that as accomplished as Macca is as a songwriter and as a bass player, he's also a hell of a good singer, with a voice "he could alter to fit whatever style of song he was playing: throwing his voice into an ecstatic high register, like a young Elvis Presley, on a song like 'Can't Buy Me Love,' or belting like Little Richard on 'I'm Down.' 'I'm very luck with my voice,' McCartney said. 'I have no idea how it happens.'"
Every time I listen to something like "Golden Slumbers" or "Hey Jude" (note: not the Dr. Hizzy version), the vocals . . . well, everything still blows me away. I mean, c'mon: it's Paul McCartney. Is there any way to describe everything that makes him genius?
Right now, we're looking at Friday, July 13, so please let us know (a) if you can attend on that date, or (b) you really want to attend, but on some other date. Once a date's established, we'll try to get a group rate on the tickets, and determine places to meet and hang out perhaps before and certainly after the festivities. Cool, cool considerate men (and women) -- sign up!
(As I think I've mentioned here before, my goal for the year is to eat at Craft once a quarter in order to work my way through the seasonal vegetable offerings -- pretty much my idea of culinary heaven. Winter and spring are now checked off.)
Everything was scrumptious, but I just wanted to mention our surprise at discovering that Craft's fiddleheads were only about 20% better than the ones I made last week, instead of the 2-3x better I'd been assuming. Go me! Or at least go apparently unscrewupable fiddleheads!
Sunday, June 3, 2007
It may all come back to the Seven Souls. I'm not sure. But it definitely feels like Berlin, April 1945 to me.
e.t.a.: Yochelson and Samenow summarized. And Sepinwall summarizes: "Chase is making every effort to ensure that we go out with no illusions about who these characters are and the impact they have on the world around them."