Tag Archives: Film/TV

Ehh-mmys

The good news was that tonight’s Emmy broadcast ended on time, roughly three minutes past the hour. The bad news is it seemed like the show took twice as long.

No, I’m not bitter that my guesses were as awful as usual; in fact I was delighted that a couple of my “should win” nominees actually did. And I thought Jane Lynch did about as good of a job as she could given the circumstances – aside from a weak jab at a superior talent (Ricky Gervais) she looked like she was having some fun up there. But as these shows often are, there was more pomp than circumstance.

All the winners are listed on the official site.

My take on the event…

  • Opening bit was very clever but waaaaay too long considering there were only a couple of truly clever sight gags.
  • Thinking’s a pain in the ass“. Yes, I watch television – this is likely a mantra.
  • Betty White is the reason we start the show at 5pm“. Great line.
  • Was I the only one watching the The Emmytones thinking there would be a wardrobe malfunction by Kate Flannery?
  • Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon should go on the road together. And either would make a great Emmy host.
  • I did like the staging and the hi-tech graphics; first-rate technology.
  • I wish the guy commenting on the winners was louder because he was often hilarious.
  • Was Julianna Margulies wearing a rocks glass for a top?
  • Ty Burrell can’t not be funny.
  • Ricky Gervais was the funniest guy in the room and he wasn’t even in it.
  • Best camera aside – Steve Levitan’s wife. Twice.
  • Maybe he was pimping his upcoming Comedy Central Roast, or maybe it was supposed to be satire and his delivery sucked…but WTF was up with Charlie Sheen’s “apology”? I don’t know what they had over him, but that was the worst confession of guilt and remorse since…well, I’m going to have to think about that.
  • If after that speech Jon Cryer won Best Actor I think Vegas would have shut down the betting. He didn’t. They didn’t.
  • Why did I have to wade through Reality TV to get to Variety TV? That’s like offering me vanilla ice cream but insisting I mix in two tablespoons of shit before eating it.
  • Guy Fucking Pearce. Awesome actor.
  • Either Amy Poehler’s stage-jump was truly spontaneous or Edie Falco is an even better actress than I thought – her moment of hesitation looked genuine. And if it was…well, that explains why Amy Poehler should have won.
  • There are a lot of talented people writing comedy for Conan, Jon Stewart, Steve Colbert and others. Why doesn’t Emmy hire some of them to write the presenter banter?
  • Lonely Island does not work as well live as on video but “Freak Bill Macy” was worth it.
  • The Daily Show is an unstoppable force and I feel bad for anyone nominated against it. And damned if I’d be as humble as the host after an unparalleled record of success.
  • Nice to see Friday Night Lights finally get some love, albeit too late.
  • Kate Winslet is a great actress but I had hoped I had seen the last of her over-the-top insincere “I’m not worthy” acceptance speeches. Apparently not.
  • Line of the night – Martin Scorcese seeing the “hurry up” light and offering to “talk a little faster“.
  • No one followed up with the Two And A Half Men jokes when Peter Dinklage won? Where is Gervais when you need him…
  • Since when does Drew Barrymore get to “pass the torch” for Charlie’s Angels? Like anyone thinks that movie has a tenth of the legacy that the TV show did.
  • In Memorium always gets me, although this new trend of live vocalists is unnerving. Focus on the departed.
  • Mad Men is four-for-four and Modern Family is two-for-two. So much for change.
  • Margo Martindale gave the best performance of the year by anyone and I was fully prepared to see her get screwed over. Maybe the glass is half full after all?

"We're all winners!" (Um...not really.)

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Bobcat Strikes Again

Just when you think he couldn’t get stranger…

Too many people know Bobcat Goldthwait from his lesser accomplishments – several Police Academy films, that screeching banshee voice (too many people missing the great jokes within) and lighting Jay Leno’s chair on fire (in retrospect, something more people wish they did). But Goldthwait, who occasionally returns to the stand-up stage, has made his mark as a television director, and with three unique films in five six , as a screenwriter and filmmaker as well.

It seems like a billion years ago that Bob made Shakes The Clown, “the Citizen Kane of alcoholic clown movies“, but it holds up twenty years later as a raucous and psychotic comedy. If you laughed at the gang-fight in Anchorman, you might want to check out the movie they lifted the idea from.

But while his later movies have been funny, they have mined humor from uncomfortable and disturbing situations. Consider the sick relationship in Sleeping Dogs Lie, the creepy father-son bond of World’s Greatest Dad, and finally this year’s God Bless America, which on first pass sounds like a cross between Repo Man and Natural Born Killers. Goldthwait’s newest film reportedly kicked ass at the Toronto International Film Festival. I can’t wait to see it. (Goldthwait told the L.A. Times that he thought the gun-happy film “was his own Springtime For Hitler”.)

Many people bailed on Bob after it seemed that his career would be a series of loser films like Burglar and Jumping Jack Flash. But Goldthwait, 50 next year, has found his true calling as a filmmaker with a unique voice.

As one of the biggest Kinks fans on the planet I am thrilled that he is making Schoolboys In Disgrace with the full cooperation of Ray Davies. Maybe Bob will get The Kinks the recognition they deserve…and get his own in the process.

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T.G.I.F. – Ten Emmy Guesses

And you thought Justice was blind?

I used to call them predictions, but when you’re wrong this often…

Yes, it is geeky, but I do like award shows. They are often an odd combination of ridiculous pandering with the occasional anomaly which generates a well-deserved career boost. But there are always severe omissions, so I caveat my choices below by stating that who I think should win is limited to the nominees.

Sunday night I’ll be bouncing between a thrilling Falcons/Eagles game and the pomp and circumstance of the 2011 Emmy Awards…where the television industry kisses its own ass. You can follow along here.

So here are Ten Emmy Guesses for Sunday’s spectacle…

(01) – Best Actor, Comedy: Steve Carrell will win, Louis CK should win.

(02) – Best Actress, Comedy: Laura Linney will win, Amy Poehler should win

(03) – Best Supporting Actor, Comedy: Chris Colfer will win, Ty Burrell should win.

(04) – Best Supporting Actress, Comedy: Betty White will win, Julie Bowen should win.

(05) – Best Comedy: Modern Family will win, Parks & Recreation should win.

(06) – Best Actor, Drama: Hugh Laurie will win, Timothy Olyphant should win

(07) – Best Actress, Drama: Julianna Margulies will win…and should.

(08) – Best Supporting Actor, Drama: Peter Dinklage will win, Alan Cumming should win.

(09) – Best Supporting Actress, DramaArchie Panjabi will win, Margo Martindale should win.

(10) – Best Drama: The Good Wife will win…and should.

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The Ballad Of Mott The Hoople

Times like this it pays to be British – or at least have a region-free DVD player!

The long-awaited DVD release of The Ballad Of Mott The Hoople is finally upon us – October in the UK (followed by a November US release). Much like with the Bill Hicks documentary, I’m not waiting.

Video: Trailer for the film

The feature-length documentary also features Mick Jones of The Clash (who cites Mott as a huge influence) and Roger Taylor of Queen (Queen opened for Mott during their famous Broadway residency). It tells the story of the band from beginning up to the original implosion, plus includes the bittersweet coda of the 2009 Hammersmith Apollo reunion gigs.

Amazon UK has it here.

The official film website.

Official Mott website

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Goodbye (TV) Summer

Not that I had any free time to watch all of it.

Summer used to be the dead zone for television, but basic cable has been kicking the networks’ asses for a while thanks to their willingness to go against the grain. Sure, people spend more time outdoors in the summer, but watching at ones own schedule has been a choice since the earliest VCR. With digital television, I don’t think I ever watch a program in its actual time slot; I’ll even start a show late just to zip through the endless commercials. (Don’t worry, advertisers, your product placement is hard to miss…)

So the summer ends and the flurry of new shows are being dangled in front of us like a basket of cant-miss gems…even though we know most of them will suck out loud. And if there is something truly ground-breaking, it will likely get cancelled. Gotta keep those inbred families and their reality shows numbing the minds of America.

So a fond farewell to some favorites:

  • The Closer, winding down towards the series end although the rumored spin-off Major Crimes sounds great.
  • Breaking Bad, which just gets better every year even when you think it can’t possibly raise the bar.
  • Rescue Me, Denis Leary’s often-brilliant series that did for firemen what M*A*S*H did for war vets
  • Friday Night Lights, a class exit for a class act (although you Direct TV subscribers had a jump on me)
  • Louie, which finally let the brilliance of Louis CK shine through to a bigger audience.

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TGIF – Ten TV Teasers

Ahh..the new television season is upon us. And there’s TV Guide, telling me in ridiculous detail why I’m going to be glued to a chair for the next eight months, although they seem to be focusing on the fragile and damaged network programs. I’m not their demographic. Hell, who is their demographic these days? People who like formulaic copycat television?

But I’m a betting man, so why not look at the lump of crap on the platter and see if I can find ten worth giving a chance to? So along with these Ten TV Teasers are two words why I will try them at least once while I wait for Justified.

(01) – Person Of Interest: It’s Ben!

(02) – Terra Nova: Stephen Lang!

(03) – New Girl: Best Sister!

(04) – Man Up: Ping-Pong Man!

(05) – Up All Night: Great Cast!

(06) – Playboy Club: Chocolate Bunnies!

(07) – Prime Suspect: Majestic Scripts!

(08) – Whitney: Saucy Comedienne!

(09) – Free Agents: Stand-Up Comics!

(10) – Allen Gregory: Jonah Animated?

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Louie

Shameless? More like fearless.

So I’ve been catching up on life after the sabbatical, and given the need to lift the spirits I opted to start with the saved episodes of Louie and Wilfred. There is too much to see and not enough time, and since I had been fairly current with both shows before the departure, they seemed like the logical places to start. Wilfred, of course, did not disappoint – still riotously funny and as black a comedy as we’re likely to get on television this year.

But Louie is playing at another level.

Where last year’s shows had been irreverent and original, the second season of Louie is exponentially greater. Not only has Louis CK become a better actor – partially because his character is so much richer – but the writing has been sharper, darker, and yes, fearless. He’s always been able to write himself as the central figure in uncomfortable situations, but now he is not only scripting extended guest roles into the mix, he’s getting compelling performances from fellow comedians.

Doug Stanhope’s recent turn as a bitter and despondent road comic was outstanding, as he skewered the celebrity of mass appeal comedians while reaching some poignant conclusions about his own life. So too was the performance from Joan Rivers, playing herself, chastising Louie on his lack of work ethic and his inability to overcome insecurity. Although Stanhope’s “Eddie” was a fictional character, he inhabited it with much of his own persona; he was the yang to Rivers’ yin as polar opposites on the comedy hierarchy.

But the jaw-dropping moment had to be Dane Cook, who Louis humbles himself to meet backstage at a gig hoping to score some Lady Gaga tickets for his daughters (the logic is that Gaga and Cook share an agent). In the scene, Cook – who has long been accused of ripping off jokes from Louis CK in real life – is bitter towards TV Louie for not coming out in his defense. Louie explains that although he didn’t think Cook stole the jokes on purpose, he likely knew that they had come from somewhere else and didn’t really stop himself, either. TV Cook is clearly angered by the lingering accusations, and amazed that Louie would still put himself through the humiliation just to get the tickets, but both men get to speak their piece without either really backing down.

About halfway through this exchange, I realized that I was watching two people who didn’t want to have this conversation in public actually have this conversation in public, albeit within the framework of a script. As clever as it was for Louis the writer, it was an equally ballsy move by Cook to participate.

And that’s just one part of one episode. Louie will not likely win the award for best comedy or best drama, but right now it just might be both.

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