Monday, July 26, 2010

The Best Little TV Club In Texas!

Read it here or read it but read it somewhere.

CC: ANOTHER MAN DOWN! Jesus christ. What's WITH this season? Anyway, Billy Bell aside, this week was of course not going to reach the insane crazy heights of last week. I will say I looove Adechike and reiterate that I LOOOOOVE Robert. And boy...I wonder what would've happened with that step routine if Billy hadn't busted a knee...because with Twitch in there, who the hell was looking at Kent? Also, I love Cat and generally think her self-styling is a delight, but this week she appears to have just wrapped herself in tissue paper and called it a day. And the results show? Don't even get me started. That was a total shocker...maybe I shoulda seen it coming, but I figured they would just boot Billy for our 3rd injury boot in a row and be done with it. The only other thing I have to say, and I sincerely mean this as a compliment to BOTH of these ladies (for reals!), is that Lauren G. looked right at home as a backup skank, whereas Allison did not (and Dom was FANTASTIC. have I mentioned that I'm totally into Dom this year? I'm totally into Dom this year). Anyway, fun math question, how many of that ballerina's spindly upper arms do you think could fit in one of DJ Smart's thighs? Because those are some thighs. And those are some spindles.
JB: What if it's a plot? What if the serial crippling of male dancers is a pre-meditated act by a contestant hellbent on flipping his way to the finish line? Suspect #1 would obviously be Kent. Behind that farmboy smile is the cold heart of a killer. Too obvious. Froderman? She didn't have to lift a finger and the other girls fell down like dominos around her. But all those boys were still standing in her way. Possible. But what if there's more than one guilty party? Remember when Mia Michaels called Adechike a doughnut hole? What if that was misdirection? What if they were in it together? I smell my next best-seller here. One more thing: I wasn't fully on board with this show during it's first three seasons so this is my first exposure to Lauren Hottlieb, BUTT...if there's a flaw to this All-Star format, it's this: whenever she's dancing with a rookie, I'm watching a solo.

Mad Men
CC: Did I throw my arms up and cheer at the first glimpse of Joan in that office? Yeah. Yeah, I did. I can't even talk about this show, it's so awesome. Next.
JB: Don and Betty Draper. Together they were toxic. Apart they're a tragedy. Up until Tobacco Road kicked in at the end, this was a merciless look at a man out of time. That Old Draper Magic failed with the one-legged reporter, didn't persuade the supernumerary up to his apartment, forced him to hire a hooker for Thanksgiving slap-me sex and, most grievously, caused him to throw a tantrum in front of the it's-not-a-bikini-its-a-two-piece-bathing-suit clients. And he's still fascinating. Whereas the ex Mrs. Draper...I just hope Mad Men stays on the air long enough for little Sally Draper to grow up into a uncontrollable badass who treats her mother like complete shit. Oh, and Roger Sterling? King of comedy.

CC: I can already tell I'm not gonna be smart enough to understand this show, and the fact that 80% of the cast mumbles 90% of the time is not helping. Also, Rubicon's hair makes him look like a busted Mr. Schue. #rubiglee
JB: Seconded. But the creator was voluntarily removed after ep 1 and replaced by a guy who was one of the main writers from Homicide which, if we were doing TV Club Classics-- and we probably should have during these threadbare summer months-- I would have been hailing as one of the best shows ever ever. So I might let the DVR hoover up a few weeks and check back in.

JB: ABC Family's approach to casting makes The CW look like Diane Arbus. It's bizarre enough that a show about a fat camp ends up between their regular output of Skinny Weeping Teens In Trouble but it's doubly, maybe even trebly, weird that it's a show about a fat camp that's shot and acted like an indie movie It's slow and dreamy and there's lots of unspoken looks and averted eyes. And even though all the promo stuff made Nikki Blonsky out to be the Randall P. McMurphy i-love-my-XXX'ness shit-stirrer of the camp, she ends up being semi-buried under the enormity of the rest of the cast. By enormity, I mean there's a lot of them. Not that they're enormous in any other capacity. Which, of course, they are. But if that's their choice, I'm fine with it.

The Client List
JB: Jennifer Love Hewitt is a total whore. In this movie! This Lifetime movie I found myself watching intermittently but mittently enough to file the following observations:
1) Number of occasions JLH's character and supporting characters refer to how great-looking JLH is: Really a lot.
2)Number of scenes in which JLH breaks down into racking sobs before the economic downturn forces her into prostitution: several.
3) Number of scenes in which JLH's character breaks down into racking sobs in the formative stages of prostitution: several.
4) Number of scenes in which JLH's character breaks down into racking sobs after the Texas police raid her place of business and lead her in handcuffs to a waiting police car in full view of rabid local news teams who broadcast the story live so that her husband sees her while he's pounding back beers with his buddies at the bar: every single scene.
5)What happens when we cut away from the scene revealing JLH's raging cocaine addiction? We cut to a scene in JLH's kitchen where her innocent little daughter pipes up ` Mommy, can I have a Coke?' and a wired-looking JLH snaps `WHAT did you say?'
6) How does JLH's husband confront his wife after he finds out how they've suddenly been able to pay the mortage? In the most pathetic way possible. He sobs his way through a monologue about how his old dog got sick and he didn't have the strength to put it down. So she sang The Beatles' `In My Life' to the dying dog and then carried it to the vet to put it out of it's misery. And then came back to comfort him. Through tears he tells her, "You're not that girl anymore."
7)How successful a whore was JLH at her peak? So successful that corporate heads would fly from Germany to her bordello. At the back of a massage center. In a small town Texas strip-mall.
8) What's the surprising fate of the whores who justify their profession with a cheerful chorus of `It's better than waitressin'? They become waitresses.

Movie Club
CC: This movie can be summed up thusly: awesome stuff, boring stuff, awesome stuff, boring stuff, cool coat, bulletproof wings, kid from Tokyo Drift.

JB: this movie can be summed up thusly: repulsive, splattery, freakish, the Splice creature sort of adorable? She is! Splice is adorable! Oh no, there's erotic mutant heat between Adrien Brody and Splice? Are they gonna do it? They're gonna do it! And Brody's girlfriend and Splice co-creator Sarah Polley( memo to Sarah Polley: act more) sees them do it. Which can only lead to a killing spree climaxing in mutant sex change rape.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Movie Club:Bad Movie Marathonathon!

At , CC has an early sighting of Zoe Saladana in Center Stage. Here, it's D.E.B.S. Schoolgirl spies. Short skirts, big guns. Pervtastic! Except not. D.E.B.S is sort of a Trojan horse hiding the love story between head D.E.B and the smirking criminal mastermind played by Jordana Brewster who, on the strength of this, ought to have devoted the rest of her career to playing evil lesbian geniuses with giant lasers. But, sadly, didn't.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Movie Club:Bad Movie Marathonathon!

Over at ,CC celebrates gay warlock classic The Covenant. That film's director, Renny Harlin's career is a one-man bad movie marathonathon. Cuthroat Island. Deep Blue Sea. Driven. Mindhunters. 12 Rounds starring John Cena. And The Adventures of Ford Fairlane. Which is today's choice. For some reason, even though Andrew Dice Clay was unknown outside the US, this movie got a British release. I saw it in a Glasgow theater that was completely empty except for myself and my friend Gus. Neither of us were entirely sure what we were watching. The following year, I relocated to New York to work at SPIN magazine as the country's least qualified and erudite film critic. During my first few months on the job, I got the chance to interview directors like Quentin Tarantino, Cameron Crowe and Jim Jarmusch. Before the q&a sessions ended, I always made sure to ask my subjects, "Did you ever see this Ford Fairlane movie?" Tarantino had seen it and hated it. I told him, "It gets better after the first 20 minutes." He stared at me. "I walked out after the first twenty minutes." Then he made a note to see it again. Cameron Crowe had not only seen it but could quote from it. I can't remember what Jim Jarmusch said but we totally bonded over the fact that I was living in a Brooklyn apartment he'd recently vacated. A few years later, I moved to LA to give the movie business a shot. I found myself in a meeting with Renny Harlin. Obviously, this was an amazing opportunity to tell him of my efforts to spread the word about his movie. But he was more interested in talking about his phone's shitty reception. Then he pitched a movie idea that I forgot while he was talking about it. Which was just as well. What would I have said to him? "I'm not a fan of your work. I'm especially not a fan of Dice Clay. But I am a big fan of Heathers screenwriter, Daniel Waters. I like how he gets brought in to save big unsalvagable messes like this and Hudson Hawk and he just makes them weirder and more ridiculous."
Ford Fairlane completely torpedoed Dice's chance of a big screen career, for which we should all be grateful. It's first twenty minutes are a complete abomination. And, of course, this trailer consists almost entirely of highlights from the first twenty minutes. But trust me, after that...actually, don't trust me, it's been years since I've seen it.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Movie Club:Bad Movie Marathonathon!

Lots of movies that shouldn't be remade are being remade but nobody's rushing to remake the one movie that needs to be remade RIGHT THIS MINUTE. A movie that points the finger at aliens in human disguise for making the rest of us poor, stupid and celebrity obsessed. John Carpenter's They Live.
And here's the classic scene where Roddy Piper tries to persuade Keith David to put on the special glasses that identify the evil aliens. Clearly, integral to the plot and in no way included to accommodate Piper's wrestling notoriety.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Movie Club:Bad Movie Marathonathon!

Yes, another of our highly-popular and fun spin-offs. Somewhere in the bowels of Movie Club, CC made the bold claim, and I quote, "I love seeing entertainingly bad movies". Which made me think, Hmmm, there was a time I loved seeing entertaining bad movies, too. Over the next few days, our respective blogs will feature trailers and clips from movies dismissed as atrocities but which we genuinely like, genuine atrocities that we--or at least, I--have seen more than movies I actually like, terrible movies that live on in our hearts due to misguided nostalgia, movies we can't believe we ever sat through....You get the idea.

1) ORPHAN! aka probably the most awesome bad movie of the last decade. Think long and hard before you argue otherwise.

The bad seed in this movie pulls a gun on a deaf toddler, murders a nun and attempts to shag her adoptive dad. The shocking reveal that she was actually a psychotic 30 year-old dwarf hooker was just icing on the cake.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Good News: Tv Club's Back! The Bad News: So Is Movie Club.

Back by popular demand--one person is still capable of demand-- both here and over at

CC: I've watched this episode like a zillion times. Seriously. Best ep so far this season; there were SO MANY rewatchable routines. I almost cry EVERY FUCKING TIME Robert walks Allison on his feet (and I think it's well into the double digits at this point), and Boogie Shoes? Fucking Boogie Shoes, are you kidding me? LOVED IT! And lemme just say, I am *so into* Dee Caspary. He's kicked ass two out of two times he's been on. He seems like he might be totally uncomfortable on camera, or at least, just, like, not very emotional, but my god, he's awesome (the fact that he was in Newsies as a kid just cements that). By the way, and I realize TV Club was on hiatus while we were saying RIP to Alex Wong's achilles, but...fuck, man, RIP to Alex Wong's achilles. I trust they sewed that thing up but good and lord knows he's in great shape and will recover like gangbusters, but that shit is fucking HEARTBREAKING. On a lighter note: 1) hilarious that Neil goes for a chest bump after they kicked ass in the baseball routine and Kent just hugs him and 2) we already knew it was about Mark's abs, but boy oh's also about his legs. Jesus, Lady Gaga. Take me on tour with you and bring me back fucking *rocked* too, will ya?
JB: Just for purely asshole, contrarian reasons, I would love to see, just one time, an Important Routine not wring tears and standing O's from the judges. But I don't want to see it just yet because I, too, came over all unnecessary during that one(especially when it sped up into the in-our-dreams-we-dance-forever segment. Waah) This whole season' s turning into an emotional rollercoaster. The broken bones and shattered dreams. The bulletproof b-boy. The world without women. The underdog from the farm ending up on top. The defeated look on Billy Bell's face as he takes his weekly trip to the bottom 3. Lythgoe talking shit about Travis Wall twice on the same night( and getting a deathglare back both times). Cat having the big shiny balls to call the judges on their it's-okay-when-Jose-does-it double standards and getting an apology from Mia Michaels. Shankman, all the material you need for Step Ups 4, 5 and 6 is right here.
CC: UPDATE: Oh my fucking god, I just found this youtube interview of Dee Caspary and now I am just fucking in love with him (look, I realize that I am madly in love with, like, every single person having anything whatsoever to do with SYTYCD but just go with it). He explains that yeah, he's not really an on-camera kind of guy, and then at the end they ask him what advice he wants to give to dancers and he goes into this thing of everyone should take all different classes cuz there's so much information out there, and he compares it to a LIBRARY cuz of how many different books are in a library and OH MY GOD, DEE CASPARY, COULD I BE MORE IN LOVE WITH YOU THAN I AM RIGHT NOW? NO. NO. This is my moment, that I am having with you, that you don't know about, and I am a huge fucking nerd, and I heart you, and I heart libraries, and that is all. (By the way I've been getting like no sleep lately so everyone can blow me if they think I sound incoherent.) Also by the way, he's perfectly normal on camera in this interview, so clearly those little snippets on SYTYCD when he's in the audience just sort of expressionlessly clapping are not telling the whole story. Which is clearly an awesome one.

The Choir:
JB: David Tennant's Dr Who popularity reached such epic proportions a few years back that the BBC cloned him. They named the clone Gareth Malone and passed him off as an insanely enthusiastic choir master hellbent on turning the UK's mumbliest, least vocal, most hostile teens into a full-throated, harmonious singing unit capable of taking part in the Choral Olympics in China. This, the first of an endless stream of documentary series Malone has churned out over the past three years is Glee and Dead Poets Society and Mr Holland's Opus and To Sir With Love and every movie where an out-of-place, idealistic young teacher ever wandered into enemy territory and told a problem kid, "I know you can do it. I believe in you." I've watched every one of Gareth Malone's shows( no great feat, none of them run longer than 4 episodes). Which means I've seen the moment when the self-conscious kids hear themselves singing in harmony for the first time and instantly change from cynics to true believers. I've seen it a lot. And it never fails to get me. Even when they're singing Can You Feel The Love Tonight.

Come Dine With Me
JB: The phenomenon comes to America. Brilliant format: four strangers throw dinner parties for each other on consecutive nights. The guests secretly score the hosts on edibility and entertainment. On the final night, a winner is declared. Sounds simple. But just think about that: three strangers are coming to your house. You have to cook three courses for them and keep them entertained. I thought about how I'd cope under those conditions and I just shat myself. This week's episode threw together a medium,a tiny expat of the Philippines, a hard-nosed businesswoman and a cheerful woman-hater whose suburban home is filled with trophy heads. It takes this guy maybe seven seconds to size up the medium as his next trophy. Over the course of the next three meals, he calls her a lesbian, a gullible idiot and a slut, yukking it up and mocking her for not being able to take a joke while he does it. That's what makes CDWM unbelievably uncomfortable but also awesome. Even when it doesn't go out of it's way to cast guests pre-determined to rub each other the wrong way, they still do. Someone chokes on the starter. Or tries too hard to show how homophobic they aren't. Or makes a clumsy pass. Or thinks they're funny. And that's not even getting into the celebrity editions where washed-up soap stars and news anchors have been known to drunkenly make out while the host frantically mops up the custard she dropped in the kitchen. BBC America is currently running UK-based episodes but the show begins throwing American parties later this year.I'll be watching( through the cracks in my fingers). Oh, and the hard-nosed businesswoman won. The medium came last.

Warehouse 13
JB: I ought to like this Syfy show. Jane Espenson gets a Created By credit. It's half X-Files, half Moonlighting and half the last two minutes of Raiders Of The Lost Ark( yeah, three halves). Bickering agents looking after a warehouse filled with arks and clocks and toyboxes and keys and glasses with unimaginable powers. Stopping them falling into the wrong hands.This week's guest stars were Sean Maher and Jewel Staite from Firefly. He played a piemaker who got hold of a pair of trunks that turned him into a superhero. A superhero that the male part of the play-fighting Feds totally geeks out over. And THAT, I believe, is why I'm not on board. The wisecracking agent dude looks like a beaten-up, boozed-out Robbie Williams. Do not buy him as the geek of the duo. Do not buy him as the goofball Mulder. Ought to like show. Show makes it hard for me.

Next Food Network Star
CC: This is the first episode I've watched all the way through (I sort of skimmed that food truck one from last week), and I find this program joyless. There is not one single contestant that I'd want to watch on their own show so far. Maybe the guy with the hat, except why is he always wearing that hat? That is all.

CC: I was fortunate enough to go to the premiere of this, where I spotted none other than: Legacy, Noelle, Ivan, this guy from season 6 whose name escapes me right now, Lil C, Harry Shum, Jon Chu himself of course, Ryan Hansen, Maksim from DWTS (that guy is not afraid of a tight shirt), and a bunch of other people. It was awesome (woulda been more awesome if I had the balls to go up and talk to anyone, but I never do and then always regret it). Also awesome was the fact that we got to watch ALL TEN EPISODES of season 1, unlike the rest of you, who are having to wait a week before each one comes out on hulu (at least I think that's the schedule). Anyway, suffice to say, this shit rocks. Madd Chadd (ep. 3) is mad hot, there's Step Up & SYTYCD alumni all over this thing, and it's just crazy awesome dancing paired with comic book nerd heaven storylines. Get there.

Movie Club
CC: Quick background: never read any of the books, although do know vaguely what happens (and am appalled that by the end, we find out that Jacob is gonna fuck Bella's kid...what the fuck is that?). On-demanded the first two movies instead of going to the theater, heard this one was better so thought okay, you know what, this could be entertaining bad, why not go see it for reals. I *love* going to see entertainingly bad movies. Unfortunately, this wasn't one of them. I was checking my watch. A lot. I was totally texting multiple people by the last 45 minutes, that's how bored I was. Like, I don't even know what to say, it was THAT BORING. That being said, it did have a few moments. Very few. Most of them involved Jackson Rathbone (TEAM JACKSON RATHBONE!). If I'm remembering correctly, in the last movie he went nuts and almost ate Bella and basically just walked around looking hilarious in a bad wig, but in this one he was AWESOME and got a big ol' long flashback scene and a training scene and he and Ashley Greene are super cute together. Oh, and vampires in this universe are apparently made of ceramic. Like, when you rip off their arms or heads, it looks like a really big version of if you ordered a figurine from the Franklin Mint and broke it. The last time I checked, Franklin Mint figurines were not cool or scary (for cool and scary, check out the director's previous vampire movie, 30 Days of Night), so all the people who said this movie was better than the first two, nice try, but no. But #teamjacksonrathbone!

I Am Love
JB: I am loved this movie the more melodramatic and ridiculous it got. There was an outdoor sex scene that literally(ie:not literally) climaxed with a trainload of woodland critters riding through a rubber tire. CULT OF SWINTON!

JB: Even if you've read and heard how brutal and inhuman Sex And The City 2 is, you don't know, you're not ready. It's not like I walked in expecting "The Year Of The Nazis, My Stolen Innocence And The Yellow Balloon". I'd seen some of the series and the first movie. I wouldn't call myself a fan but they were watchable. The horrifying thing about SATC2 is the more repulsive and degrading the characters act, the more the movie is desperate for us to love them. There isn't a minute in this film a sane person won't be thinking "Why would anyone ever put up with these fiends?" And THAT is what I found myself thinking during a lot of Cyrus. Obviously, it's better than Sex And The City, it's a whole species better. But John C Reilly's character is so damaged and pathetic when Marisa Tomei meets and is attracted to him. And he keeps being damaged and pathetic. And her son is damaged and pathetic on a mammoth scale. And she just accepts it all. Where is this woman in life? This woman does not exist. Clearly, I'm the demographic that's having it's wish-fulfillment fantasy catered to by Marisa Tomei( who has aged better than ANYBODY EVER!) but if I can't accept that any man could ever put up with SATC2's version of Sarah Jessica Parker, I don't believe there's someone willing to lavish affection on John C Reilly and Jonah Hill.

JB: I did not pay to see this but I did pay to see Funny People which was one of the better films of last year, even though it went a bit off the rails when Eric Bana showed up. Grown-Ups is like it was written by Adam Sandler's asshole egomaniac comic from that movie. I might be reading this wrong but it looks like Sandler cast his less-successful friends in a film he wrote where he plays a big successful Hollywood guy who lives in a mansion and is married to Salma Hayek. He reunites with his teenage friends at a funeral and pays for them to spend the weekend at a lake house. They try to hide how intimidated they are by his wealth and hot wife. He gives them little handouts and jobs. He runs up against flabby, gone-to-seed locals and rubs their faces in how cool and athletic he is. Chris Rock, not much of an actor, but certainly the funniest guy in this group, is given a part where he's the cringing househusband to Maya Rudolph. Watch this when it shows up on cable and tell me if you think I'm crazy or this movie is one long sustained act of bullying and humiliation. I'll wait.

The A-Team
JB: I remained wide awake during the entire film and enjoyed a lot of it. I nodded off briefly during Inception--I think it was around the time the snowmobiles appeared-- therefore I am going to say I liked The A-Team better than Inception. Who's with me?

Thursday, July 15, 2010