Monday, June 29, 2009

In Odder News: A What-Man?...

Today I stumbled across an article from the BBC News about a young boy of thirteen who traded his iPod for a week to listen to his favorite tunes on the nostalgic Walkman. He had a lot to say about his experience (and I was pleasantly surprised to find his article extremely thoughtful and well-written...which I don't think would have been the case if it was drafted by some tween in LA or NY!), but the one thing that struck me the most was how he was so baffled by the big chunky buttons and taken aback by the sheer simplicity of it that some of the cooler "tricks" we used to perform with Walkmen were completely lost on him (at least for just a few days). For example, he didn't realize cassette tapes had two sides!

Le sigh; kids today.

I remember carting a Walkman to school when I was around 8 or 9 and we would take bus trips to whatever museum our class was visiting that week. I'd bring two or three tapes in my backpack because there was no such thing as a playlist. I wanted to have my favorite music at my disposal at all times even back then-- because I just never quite knew if I would be in the mood to hear "Dreamlover" for the thousandth time or "As Long As You Love Me" for the seven-hundredth. Of course, if you had a home stereo or boombox that had side by side cassette players, you could make a mixtape...but then it was often hard to skip around within that mixtape, as there was no "skip to the next track" option and only the scan of fast-forward/rewind. And yes, I admit I had to buy quite a few duplicates of tapes I either wore out or who were "eaten" by the machinery.

Then in junior high, I dragged a portable CD player (cleverly called a Discman) around, and if you thought the Walkman was cumbersome, this was worse! Though it was thinner, it was round and did not come with a handy belt-clip. If you ran or even walked too fast, the bumping sensation often caused the CD to skip. And more often that not, I was still carting around more than one CD, even though making mixed albums was much easier if you had an upgraded computer with a read/write drive.

I find it quite funny that today's youth have never seen these "archaic" players, and I wonder if any of them have ever seen the handheld TV sets of the eighties and early nineties. Yes, we can all agree that technology has come leaps and bounds from where it once was (and it should!), but for every wonderful discovery we've made, we shouldn't get too comfortable because there is still quite a bit that can be achieved. I mean, sure, the iPod is great for viewing pre-purchased video, but those silver and gray boxes that often only picked up UHF signals actually allowed you to watch live television from outside your own home. Why can't Steve Jobs do that???

Ironically, though, when visiting my mother last week, I found a whole drawer full of not only my old cassette tapes (in addition to Mariah and BSB there was Shania Twain and the Olsen twins-- oh yeah, I was cool!) but also a collection of old (and probably broken) Walkmen and you think I could get anything for them on eBay?

WMFATA: Isabel Lucas...

After spending two years on a nichely-popular Australian soap opera (Home & Away), Isabel Lucas broke out in mainstream America with the tabloid headlines that were Shia LaBeouf's 2008 car crash. Yes, Lucas was the girl in the passenger seat when he flipped his truck, and rumors flew that they were an item. The pair was filming the sequel to the pop culture phenomenon, Transformers, which is playing now. Lucas should soon be known for much more than just the potential girlfriend of a promising young actor, though, as she has four films due out in the next few months.
Why My Friends Are Talking About Her: Though most of my friends have agreed that the latest of the Transformers franchise is quite ridiculous, even in a genre that expects a severe suspension of disbelief as it is, Lucas has emerged as a breakout. In fact, my friends at Entertainment Weekly even put her on their Must List, saying she even manages to out shine Megan Fox. Considering Fox has had the media creaming in their jeans (excuse my French) for the last year or so now, that is quite possibly one of the biggest acclaims she could...claim.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Magazines Are As Out As Linear TV...

My friend Jamie made fun of me when she came over to watch the Oscars earlier in the year and attempted to rewind a specific portion because we were talking over one of the speeches. She tapped the button incessantly and then looked at me with confusion on her face, wondering what was wrong with my cable service. I had to break it to her that my HD cable box is DVR-less; I watch TV the old-fashioned way.

I understood her confusion: this was me, the girl who logs more hours watching television than anyone who isn't getting paid to watch it. And I write just as much and for just as free. Linear TV is a thing of the past, and for good reason: it's not very convenient for the "active" set (ie people with kids or rich dating lives or crazy busy work schedules-- but I'm not one of them...yet). Similarly, though, if Jamie had looked around, she would have noticed Entertainment Weekly and Emmy Magazines lying on my desk. Though I get a lot of immediate and breaking news from the internet, I still like to have a "book" to flip through on weekends when I'm lounging on the beach or in a bubble bath. I like having something tangible to browse at my leisure, glancing at photos and reading real print on real pages. However, after the week our media has just had, it is abundantly clear that magazines are well on their way out, too.

I don't normally buy tabloids. They're mostly made up of photos, and they take three to five minutes to flip through, so I don't find them worth the price of a cup of coffee that I could spend the better part of an hour sipping on while chatting with a friend. At best, I'm willing to glance at them while in line at the grocery store-- but even then only if someone good catches my eye on the cover. Today, though, I picked up US Weekly for the first time in what feels like years. Three of the five Real Housewives of New Jersey were on the cover, and I wanted to know just what drama went down that the other two (ironically the most level-headed and seemingly intelligent ones) didn't want to be there. Well, I didn't really get my answer, but for the first time I was slapped across the fast with just how dated they can be.

Such magazines go to print on Tuesdays, getting shipped off and sent to entertainment outlets and stores on Wednesday/Thursday, which means that this week they missed the two great deaths of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. And in a bout of the. worst. timing. ever, US Weekly's issue not only had some lame old news on the cover, but the only mention of Fawcett inside was a brief blurb on the News & Events page that said she was planning to wed Ryan O'Neal. Yeah, I know, but it gets worse. The Fashion Police page was dedicated to Michael Jackson, in some kind of ironic twist of fate, dedicating an 8x10 space to how tragic his ensembles have been over the years. Open mouth, insert Pliner covered foot, right Ken Baker??

US Weekly has embarrassed itself time and time again by reporting news that is speculation and rumor and uncommented on-- let alone uncorroborated-- by the person in question or his or her actual camp. It has started rumors and scandals quite a bunch of times, as well. But this time, these unintentional screw-ups with no time to retract or reprint might just mean its final demise. After all, fewer people have great amounts of expendable income these days, and most (it seems) are like me: they'd rather still spend four dollars on a cup of coffee than a magazine. Coffee is sustenance for the body and the soul, after all, while these magazines are often read in secrecy and shame. Besides, the "news" in these magazines can be found for free on the internet!

Perhaps it is best, then, that Entertainment Weekly didn't put out an issue this week. Maybe it was lucky timing that last week's "Must" issue was a double so they could take a brief hiatus this week rather than put out something that would bring shame to an otherwise smart-- but still trendy-- publication.

Friday, June 26, 2009

DanielleTBD's Must List...

Inspired by-- and in part in response to-- last week's Entertainment Weekly "Must" issue, I have compiled my own answers to the questions they posted hottie Ryan Reynolds about the current pop culture items he can't live without. And what lives at the top of my list, you might wonder? The alterna-EW covers provided inside last week's issue, especially the one in which he wears a tux and poses with a water gun ala James Bond.

Must Movie

I personally love to re-watch Camp Nowhere at least once a summer, preferably right around July 4th. It’s the perfect blend of hanging onto my own childhood for a little longer while simultaneously marveling at the simpler things I fear my own children will never get to experience.

Must TV Show

I literally laughed so hard at the Paula Deen episode of My Life on the D-List earlier in the week on a plane that the woman in the middle seat next to me flipped to the station to see what all the fuss was about. Though each season has gotten increasingly “stagy,” Kathy Griffin never shies from it; in fact she not only acknowledges it, but she pokes fun at it-- and herself—in full force. Plus, my dog is crazy obsessed with Chance and Pom Pom, so it’s a show we can watch together and bond over loving—though for very different reasons.

Must Band

I've always been more into individual singers than bands, and I haven't quite jumped on the electronica bandwagon that is the new Black Eyed Peas album, so I'm going to have to give this one once again to Mariah Carey. The AP calls her latest single, "Obsessed," the hottest song of the season, and her twelfth studio album, due out in August, is as anticipated as her second. Plus, did I mention she quotes Mean Girls at the top??? Almost twenty years later, and she's better than ever without having to constantly "reinvent" (*cough, front, cough*) herself.

Must Book

I just ordered about nine books from Amazon, including the critically acclaimed "Netherland" and the modern-day classic "Survivor," but the one that stands out the most right now is "Commencement." As an author, Courtney J Sullivan creates a refreshingly relatable tale of four young women during their supposed carefree college days. Though they have their differences and are each on their own paths, their friendship shines through engagements, anomalies, activism, and disagreements. It is the perfect beach read this summer for measuring just the right amount of fluff with seriousness.

Must Videogame

I don't own any gaming systems, unless an iPhone counts. On there I play a lot of virtual pool, Skeeball, and mini-golf-- the latter of which is actually a lot harder than I thought it would be! But the one game I think everyone should have is Rock Band because it actually teaches music comprehension and appreciation, as well as motor skills (hand-eye coordination and whatnot), and it is a game that actually brings people together instead of keeping kids stationary and secluded in front of a television in their own rooms.

Must Website

I guess it would be shameless to list my own site here, right?

Must Gadget

I’m probably the only person left in America who not only has not upgraded her iPhone to the new 3GS (faster speed and video?? What will they think of next???) but also still has the original, “classic,” first generation iPhone. I like my silver-backed, hard metal, 8GB device, and even though some of the pixels in my screen are burning out, I will rock this thing until it dies completely. Though I admit the 3.0 software upgrade to allow cutting and pasting, searching your inbox, and coming with a free voice notes application (even though I had already paid 99 cents for one in the App Store!) is pretty sweet!

Must Scapegoat For The Moral Decline of Modern Society

I don’t know if I agree with the term “scapegoat” here because as much as I think the media is at fault for building certain people up and always shoving them in our faces, it is not their fault that these people behave so appallingly or that young kids see them behaving so appallingly and want to emulate it. Kids are just human, and they make mistakes, and unfortunately some of those mistakes include picking poor choices in role models. That being said, I guess the person who has gotten the most heat but who has deserved it the least really is Britney Spears. She has made a ton of mistakes in her own life—no one can deny that, not even her—but she never asked to do it in front of the cameras. She never called paparazzi to “bump into her” when she was walking out of those gas station bathrooms in her bare feet; she’s no Jennifer Love Hewitt or Speidi! Her own morals may be a bit questionable at times—or it may be just manipulation from those around her, but whatever the case, she has so often seemed more like a little girl lost than anything else, and yet the media made her out to be a monster for such a while.

Pretty But Dumb...Oh, I'm Sorry, That's Pretty Dumb...

I think I'm going to start a new column called "Stupid Things Celebrities Say." Case in point:

"I was stressed that [Jennifer's Body] wasn't a movie about special effects, so people are actually going to be watching what I'm doing."

"I think I could be [a really good actress]. If I really buckle down, I think one day I could be a very good actress. But so far, I haven't done anything yet."

Le sigh, Megan Fox; le sigh. You were so much prettier before the nose job, huge tattoos, collagen injections, and smirky-sneer face posing on the red carpet. And now you're exhibiting that you think your chosen profession is a joke. Admitting you haven't had to actually act just calls out anyone who has ever hired you for doing so just because they wanted to sleep with you. Way to bite the hand that feeds you-- even if it's honest. Also, nice tense change in the first quote, Mensa Megan.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I'm Not Superstitious But...

It appears people really do die in threes...




The world of entertainment surely will never be the same.

I would post the photo of my doing my best Michael impression, but in it I'm seven, have stringy hair, am wearing a sequined hat, and am in underwear, so I will spare you the image. Just know: I was a big fan.

Hottie of the Week: Albie Manzo...

In the mess that was the short season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, a clear star emerged. No, not table-flipping (not a metaphor!) Teresa or the heavily Botoxed Danielle-- I mean, Brooklynite Beverly Merill-- and not even Dina's sphinx cat who I not-so affectionately call Mrs. Whiskerson. The real star of this series was Albie Manzo, the only one who seemed to have a brain in his (hot) body (he is going to law school after all, so he can't be a complete goomba!). Though he comes from a family of intimidators, yellers, and otherwise nutcases, he seems relatively sane, calm, and down to Earth. And adorable.

Pop Culture Tourette's...

aka All Of The Things I Want To Comment On But Are Now "Old News"

Andy Cohen getting his own talk show (lame-- but lucky S.O.B.)...Perez Hilton taking to Twitter to report an assault (dumb ass)...Jon & Kate's no-surprise separation...Ryan Reynolds' half-naked Entertainment Weekly cover (hot)...The wannabes diving into a 7000 square foot cupcake on Paris' New BFF (heaven)...The klassiest New Jersey Housewife has a sex tape (spoiler alert: the sheets are stained with self-tanner)...Yet another Apprentice cast-off finding a reality home on Bravo (and one ex-Real World doppelganger, too)...Ryan Reynolds' half-naked Entertainment Weekly cover (hot!)...Teen Wolf as the next in a long line of revamps, redos, and revivals (being mucked up by Viacom)...Audrina Patridge getting her own show (yawn)...Ellen and Portia's dogs are their kids, and that's enough for them (and me!)...Bruno is coming...Ryan Reynolds' half-naked Entertainment Weekly cover (HOT)...Mariah responding to "Bagpipes From Baghdad" in her new single (and she quotes Mean Girls at the top!)...Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo broke up (who remembered/cared they were even still together?)...Best Week Ever getting cancelled...Troop Beverly Hills being released on iTunes (just in time for Mr. Troop Mom)...Adam Lambert's Rolling Stone cover delivering as much "news" as Lance Bass' People cover...Ryan Reynolds' half-naked Entertainment Weekly cover (HOT!)...


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Crime Never Looked So Cute...

Just when I was about to give up with Dexter after the repetition of Jennifer Carpenter's teary-eyed whining and the lame cat-and-mouse with the tree trimming killer, Showtime goes and unveils this as the promotional poster for the newest season:

The kid doesn't even look real-- like some kind of creepy robo-baby. Just like Dexbot! I love this season and all of its twists already!

Woof Wednesday #6...

Mad found the only palm tree his size, and it just happened to have a heart strategically cut into its trunk.

Yet Another Plea For My Own Show...

With all of the new web series being produced lately-- and at higher budgets, I must point out!-- I can't understand why my own hasn't been picked up yet. After all, The CW greenlit Jason Priestley's soapy melodrama The Lake, which sounds a lot like Harper's Island, only without all of the murder mystery intrigue; Michael Eisner's Prom Queen is back for a third season after only a moderately successful miniseries-as-second-season and two-year break; and Lisa Kudrow has Web Therapy, an improv'd comedy about a psychiatrist who doesn't care that is basically Head Case without the celebrity element. At least my projects are unique!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

An Open Letter To The Quintessential Stuy Student...

Dear Slightly Cross-Eyed Camille (aw, too much??):

I don't care that your family is rich (top one percent, my ass, though!). I don't care that you're striving to get a perfect SAT score. I don't even care that you are more obsessive about such a thing than your Bravo-forced "friend" Taylor, who attends my alma mater, Stuyvesant (though Bravo chooses to "protect" the "prestigious institutions" its stars of NYC Prep attend by never explicitly mentioning them, but they don't seem to acknowledge that some of those halls are just as recognizable as the name). Actually, no wait: I do care a little about that last one because just like how Bethenny is not really a housewife, she is not really a prep school student! But I will save that rant for just the voices in my own head. But the thing I do care-- and care a lot, enough to give you, flash in the pan reality star, infamy on this website-- about is that you very excitedly and very openly talk about your "life plan." You have everything so detailed down to the age, and you appear so dedicated and focused that everyone around you can't help but smile and coo over how determined and ambitious you are. And those are great qualities, sure, but what happens when things don't go exactly according to plan?

Now, I know what you're thinking: that can't possibly happen because you have a plan. I know because I was you. I was utterly and uberly convinced I would move out to LA at age eighteen (check), start working on one of my favorite television shows (check), sell a script or a novel (half-check), and then have my pick of project after project, only taking on things I really believed in (so far from that my eyes, ears, teeth, and heart hurt!).

Maybe you're saying that my plan sounds flighty and too dream-like to ever come to fruition, and yours is based in statistics and science and degrees, and therefore will come true. And I hope that's true-- for your sake as well as any tween girl who may watch your story unfold on Bravo and use you as the example that if she makes a plan, she can have a better life, too-- but to me, your plan sounds just as outlandish and far-fetched as mine must seem to you. So though you (or rather, your parents) have wealth and privilege and maybe even a little fame, you are not untouchable, and you can end up as just average. And I'm not saying this out of bitterness or judgment or to try to tear you down or get you to make a Plan B; I just think you should be prepared to fight in a way that such a privileged girl has undeniably never had to fight before.

Quarter Life Crisis...

So... it's my birthday today. I wasn't going to make a big deal out of it. I wasn't even going to mention it here (because really, why?), but I've been feeling a little weird few weeks. I found out my cousin got married over Memorial Day weekend and is expecting a baby. My First Boyfriend is engaged. Everyone appears to be doing...something, and I'm-- well, I'm still spinning in circles trying to make something come out of the same old sh*t.

A friend jokingly accused me (which, really, is an oxymoron, right?) of simply experiencing my "Quarter Life Crisis." "When you were a kid-- thirteen or so-- you went through similar feelings of "everything sucks," didn't you?" She asked. "And that turned out to be just normal angst. Well, it doesn't end when you get out of high school. Those feelings come back around at certain so-called pivotal moments in one's life."

This tee shirt has never
seemed so relevant!

Tell me about it! Except the difference here was that this birthday is not really a pivotal point in my life but for the number. And the number is only important to people who buy into all of the stereotypical social traditions. What upset me was not the number-- far from it; I'm finally on my way to the number I've felt ever since I was that thirteen year old! What upset me was the diagnosis: using basic math, a "quarter life crisis" implies that I will live to be one hundred years old. Biological factors aside, I have never wanted to live that long. I'm not even sure I want to see seventy-five! I've never been one of those people who are willing to accept what life has handed them; I always set lofty goals and shoot for whatever people tell me is out of my reach. But as the years have gone on, I've found that most of those things are still out of my reach, and if this is as good as it's going to get, then I certainly don't want to have to do this for another fifty or sixty or seventy some-odd years! This better be a mid-life crisis, not a quarter-life anything!

But don't hear what I am saying now and get all concerned for my mental health. Even if suddenly everything exploded-- my show got picked up; my book got published; the adoption agency fished my application out of the trash-- I'd still have qualms about getting old. I mean, really old. I mean, Three-Quarter of a Century old. I'd still feel the same way about wanting to go out younger (even if it was so I could go out while I was still on top). People don't change; their situations may, but people, at their core, always remain. I have always been the same person and had the same beliefs-- ever since I was that thirteen year old (well, okay, since probably well before then, but I don't remember much from the earlier days), and I have always felt this way about birthdays.

Monday, June 22, 2009

MMFATA: Patrick J Adams...

Patrick J. Adams is a theater kid whose more traditional training explains just how his talent has been honed past the very many procedurals he has guest starred on since the early 2000s. He has stamped his place in this industry already, working on all of the hot ticket projects like Lost, Friday Night Lights, and in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. Adams is also one of the busiest men in show business right now, with two upcoming television shows and two features (in which he may prove to be the biggest name) on the horizon. Adams is able to flit back and forth not only between mediums but also genres, making it obvious that whatever he sets his mind to, he can accomplish-- and well.
Why My Friends Are Talking About Him: Adams' warm eyes and gentle smile wins over Tricia O'Kelley's "sassy" title role in the independent comedy Weather Girl that screened at the LA Film Festival over the weekend. But it is his scruffy, easygoing portrayal that won over audiences. Such an up-and-comer doesn't have to take such a low budget role (and many don't), but Adams, who had worked with Writer/Director Blayne Weaver on a previous project, saw the potential of the script even without the dollar signs. That is the best asset for a young actor to have! Plus, Adams went to USC, which is always a big hit with my alumni friends!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hottie of the Week: Jason Cook...

Anyone remember when I created the "Wall of Jason" and ran right up to his Beemer window when I saw him pulling out of the NBC parking lot? Yeah...I loved him, and love makes you do crazy things. After Jensen left DOOL, Jason Cook was my daytime hunk of choice, and after all of these years, he's still hot!
I'm not even sure which look I like better: baby-faced or manly and rugged (with the beard)...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Woof Wednesday #5...

Madison makes the Fom pillow his bitch after the bath makes him its bitch.

A boy defeated.

Monday, June 15, 2009

WMFATA: Courteney Cox Arquette...

Courteney Cox Arquette got her big break as the girl who was pulled up on stage in the "Dancing in the Dark" music video, and though she had roles in pop culture hits like Seinfeld and Ace Ventura, she didn't become a household name until she was part of a three man/three woman ensemble in the Greenwich Village on Friends. For ten years she made countless girls (and a couple of guys!) laugh, cry, and grow up with her. She went from freckle-faced ingenue to high-powered hybrid producer/actor who could have her pick of any script. She also finally became a mom.
Why My Friends Are Talking About Her: Sure, Cox Arquette has an ABC comedy on the fall line-up; Cougar Town was discussed on a previous blog, and let's just say that underwhelming pilot could have people talking about her-- but for different (and not altogether positive) reasons. No, Cox Arquette is back in the spotlight amongst my friends and colleagues for the details circulating about the next installment of the Scream franchise. According to reports from horror king Wes Craven, since the first batch were done as a trilogy (and therefore, as Randy reminds us, "certain rules do not apply"), so will the next batch: in other words, there won't just be a Scream 3 but also a Scream 4 and 5! And getting Cox Arquette to sign on is the first and perhaps foremost to stamp these as authentic.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Proposing A Change For Future Romantic Comedies…

I still find it fascinating that we are entering the back stretch of 2009, and today's chick flicks, even those that call themselves "cynical," still give off the image that if a woman is fiercely successful in business, it is because she has failed at relationships for the past few years-- to the point where she admittedly "has become quite comfortable" and finds it "easier" to just be on her own. Take the most recent perpetuate of this theory, The Proposal, as your example.

Sandra Bullock's Margaret Tate is a high-powered editor at a New York literary agency who runs a ship as tight as her ponytail. She is the "Miranda Priestly" of her world; other members of her agency literally scurry out of her way as she saunters down the hall, her head literally stuck in her Blackberry. In fact, her assistant, Ryan Reynolds' Andrew Paxton, gives the rest of those on the floor the courtesy of a "heads up" whenever she is in the vicinity, with such charming company-wide instant messages as "The witch is on her broom" and simply "It's here." She speaks in short staccato, with a tone as firm as her legs must be after incessantly wearing those four-inch spiky pumps. Bottom line is: she means business, even when she is discussing wedding arrangements.

It is no secret that her wedding is a sham-- well, to the moviegoers, anyway, as long as they've seen any romantic comedy ever. Margaret is Canadian and facing deportation, so she blackmails Andrew, her eager assistant, into posing as her fiance. That's the kind of quirky gimmick these movies are made of! Throw in a wacky cast of supporting characters (Andrew's mom and ninety year old "Gammy") and an even more oddball setting (Alaska! And not the capital either but some tiny town that one needs to take a special charter plane and boat to reach), and you quickly get a fish out of water comedy that threatens to soften even the hardest ball-buster in business (which Margaret certainly is!).

Anne Fletcher never claimed to be reinventing the wheel with The Proposal, her third feature as director. But she seems to consider herself a feminist, and though I never saw Step Up, I would have to agree 27 Dresses supports such a claim. In The Proposal, there are no dippy, dew-eyed girls so smitten with the idea of love and a big fat ring that they ignore blindingly obvious flaws in the guys in their lives. I admit that for a minute after seeing the preview, I worried-- not necessarily that Margaret would turn into one after a few short days with Andrew in his hometown (you know, because Alaska is cold and therefore can't melt her own icily-guarded heart), but that Andrew himself would. It might be a step in the right direction for the female/male dynamic in such films but such a "twist" wouldn't do much for the genre or film in general!
Although, I admit, I totally
understand falling for that!

No, I was instead worried that Margaret would end up thinking she had to give up her crazy hours and insane client-wrangling in order to be with this guy who she was clearly seeing had much more down-to-Earth roots. Romantic comedies rarely spend time focusing on balance, and that is why so many young girls (and even grown women!) get the wrong impression about how to "have it all." The truth is, if you are such a work-a-holic that you're in your office at dawn every morning and don't leave until dark, taking coffee and lunch breaks only to schmooze potential clients, then there is no way the perfect guy can ever sweep you off your feet-- regardless of what past movies may have told you. Hell, even the completely wrong guy can't find you in your fortress of paperwork and emails. If you stop looking altogether, it doesn't matter what kind of signals you send out ("I'm too busy/important for you" or otherwise) because you're not at the right places to even send them. Unless you have a thing for janitors or FedEx guys (and there's nothing wrong with it if you do; it worked for Paulette in Legally Blonde!), you will never get a chance to meet anyone.

So I guess it makes sense that in the right light (which in this case just happened to be the perpetual six month sunlight of Alaska), that bossy businesswoman would come around to her hunky (really too old to still be an) assistant. And it is refreshing that when she finally does, it is not in the stereotypical cathartic way but in a slightly unaware, very much emotionally stunted one that would befit a woman who has focused so long and hard on making deals that that is all she knows. It is a step in the right direction for the genre, as far as this jaded filmgoer is concerned; however, the question is still begged as to how when the "vacation high" wears off, such a woman could even attempt to balance a new relationship with her still just as intense as ever job? I challenge the writers, producers, and directors of this genre to step outside the formula box and challenge themselves (and their audiences) with such a difference-- because it would certainly be an important lesson for us all.

I propose (heh, get it??) that the next such film starts with the big life-changing revelation for once-- instead of the audience paying thirteen-fifty for an anticlimactic third act-- and then goes on to show the story of just how it affects the character when she (or he-- or both) is forced to bend and compromise and change. Maybe I'll start writing that. I am about to have a lot of time on my hands, after all...

By the way, when did Betty White become such a gay icon???

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hottie of the Week: Ryan Reynolds...

I said all I needed to say about Ryan Reynolds in my Men My Friends Are Talking About profile on the hottie actor. Today I'm going to let the photos speak for themselves; he's serious; he's funny; he's in shape...but most of all, he's a dog lover!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Woof Wednesday #4...

Madison got some new headshots! I thought it was time because his old ones were taken when he was like six months old, but he was much more willing to sit for photos back then. Now he's a bit jaded and over the camera. But I am determined to make him a star!!!

Since Madison is a small dog, he'll always
have his adorable puppy face-- even
when he's old and gray.

For his first part, I'd like to suggest "The Poky Little Puppy." They're making every other childhood book/toy into a movie, what's one more? Besides, Mad looks just like that dog!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

You Made Eight Year Old Me So Happy!...

I don't find Jimmy Fallon particularly funny. Nor do I watch a lot of late night talk show television in general. However, I cannot believe I missed this! Breaking the fourth wall in a way only the early 90s made seem cool!? Time outs, a remote control cutout of Tiffani Thiessen, a giant cell phone!? A LIVE PERFORMANCE OF "FRIENDS FOREVER" WITH THE ROOTS!?!?!? Le sigh. I'm in love all over again. If Fallon gets Dustin Diamond (please, what else is he doing these days??) and Tiffani Thiessen to sign on for the reunion, I will fly back to NY to see that taping!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

MMFATA: Ryan Reynolds...

It might be a little obvious to choose Ryan Reynolds to profile, not just this week but in general, but I'm going to do it anyway because a smile (and abs!) like his just can't be ignored. Reynolds gained some acclaim during his "obvious joke" phase on the sitcom Two Guys and a Girl (and a Pizza Place), as well as in films like Van Wilder and Waiting. However, he spent a considerable amount of time and effort to show off his more dramatic acting (and action) chops in an effort to be taken seriously as a mature man and not a goofy boy. He added credibility to genre flicks like Blade: Trinity and Smokin' Aces and even gave Nicholson a run for his money as creepiest dad-turned-demon in what could have been otherwise campy horror, The Amityville Horror.
Why My Friends Are Talking About Him: Reynolds' resume is as long as his...never mind; the guy can do it all, but he is at his best when he combines his serious side with his comic chops to pull off a lighthearted, even somewhat cynical, "every man" tale. He solidified that he could shine in such a hybrid genre with his sardonic sweetness in Definitely, Maybe, and next week he will win hearts all over again when The Proposal opens in theaters. I thought I disliked Scarlett Johansson before, but taking Reynolds off the market bumped her right to the top of my list!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

DanielleTBD's Summer Reading List...

Summer may not technically-- officially-- be upon us just yet, but in Los Angeles the sun has been shining and the temperature sweltering for weeks now, allowing me (when not covering faboo celebrity events, that is) to drag my butt out to the sands of Malibu and flop down with my pillow-towel and a good book. Yes, good readers of My Life, Made Possible By Pop Culture, not only do I watch enough television for three people, but I read quite a bit, too. Admittedly, when reading in the hot, hot sun, I do prefer lighter topics, like relationship memoirs or chick lit about groups of friends who come together over book clubs (or chocolate clubs!) of their own. Now, since summer has barely started for me, I have to admit I haven't read a whole lot just yet-- though two weekends ago I plowed through "How To Sleep Alone In A King-Sized Bed" (surprisingly refreshing) and "The Chocolate Lover's Club" (surprisingly stereotypical and left me hungry-- for another book and for chocolate!). So the list you will find below is not a list of my recommendations of what you should read this summer (ala Stephen King's column in Entertainment Weekly) but simply the stack that I plan to read this summer. If any strike your fancy and you pick them up, too, please feel free to comment back on what you think of them!

"Holly's Inbox"
Written by a man under a female pseudonym, "Holly's Inbox" is the perfect digital-aged way to become invested in a character and her exploits. Told through a series of email exchanges with friends and colleagues, "Holly's Inbox" is the perfect "chick lit" tale of long lost love and the obstacles in its way to read on the beach this summer! Besides, I've definitely had fantasies about hacking into certain people's email accounts to get the "inside dirt" on other certain people, and this is like the perfect voyeuristic way to do such a thing.

"I'm Down: A Memoir"
To continue with the theme of attempting to scope out my competition in the way of short-story chapter memoirs, "I'm Down" by Mishna Wolff just seemed to be the next logical one on the list. The daughter of a single (white) father grew up in a poor black neighborhood, being raised by a man who wore a perm to reflect an Afro, gold chains, and a Kangol, and wanted his daughter to sing, dance, and play basketball. But she found she didn't quite fit in. And to add insult to injury, she didn't fit in at the rich, all-white school he sent her to, either; she was a girl divided, and the results prove to be quite comical.

Told in choppy chapters that jump around in time and in mood, Terri Cheney's own memoir of her debilitating lifelong struggle with manic depression is admittedly not be the typical "light" reading that I like to do in the harsh summer sunlight. However, the subject matter has been of interest to me since I read "An Unquiet Mind" in high school and based on my own screenplay on the stories depicted there, and everyone from The New York Times to Entertainment Weekly raved about just how poignant and memorable this one is.

"Cat's Cradle"
It's a bit unforgivable that as a writer I haven't read Kurt Vonnegut's masterpiece of metaphoric writing, but for many years I took the "scientist and G-Men" filled summaries at face value, and sci-fi/fantasy was never my genre. However, after catching an episode of The Unusuals, in which Adam Goldberg's character plucks the novel off a dying man's bedside table, it became clear that the underlying themes of man's self-destruction were just as present as the aforementioned scientists, and that was something I could definitely get behind!

"Smart Girls Like Me"
Diane Vadino takes a page from my own past life as she creates a period piece (late 1990s) world of ever-growing worry and distraction. Her main character in "Smart Girls Like Me" not only works at a magazine, plays fast and loose with TV references but also is at odds with herself and her opinions on what "true love" really looks like-- or even if it actually exists. Though the story has been compared to "Bridget Jones' Diary," I have a feeling that's not giving it enough credit!

I don't have a Kindle, so I missed this Stephen King novella release back in February. I did just download the Kindle app for my iPhone, though, so now is the perfect time to download an eBook and check it out (I just hope the glare on the screen isn't too strong! In "UR," King is self-reflexive towards his medium, telling a tale of an "old school" professor who is hesitant to get onboard with too many new technologies, but after his ex accuses him of "not being with the times," he orders a Kindle. What is delivered to him, though, is the stuff of only a King novel, as it unlocks a secret literary world that upon first glance appears magical but turns quite grim quite fast.

I tend to go through a book every time I'm at the beach and/or the pool, and I plan to be there every Saturday and Sunday at least until October, so as you can imagine, this current list will barely get me into next month! Leave your suggestions for books I should check out (old or new) this summer in the comments below!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

What I'll Be Watching: Summer 2009...

Okay, this might be a bit backwards, but after I put together the compilation of Must See Fall TV, I realized I never put my five cents in about shows that are closer on the horizon. My apologies. Let me do so now, though.

Weeds returns on Showtime next week (June 8) with a baby scandal and a couple of new guest stars (Alanis Morissette and Jennifer Jason Leigh), but the same hotness that is Hunter Parrish and the sick, twisted sense of humor that we have come to count on from these merry band of drug dealers (and the network in general). Plus, Celia (Elizabeth Perkins) was kidnapped after getting exploring the smuggling tunnel at the end of last season, and getting a ransom for her proves to be a tougher feat than one might imagine!

Also on Showtime on the 8th is the new Edie Falco-helmed dark comedy Nurse Jackie. Normally I'm not one for medical shows, but this one has many more laughs than discarded bloody gauze pads. Re-teaming Falco with her Sopranos priest (although this time he's playing a fellow hospital worker who just happens to be her secret lover), Nurse Jackie focuses on the unsung heroes that are those behind the white coats (albeit through quite an unorthodox one). I caught an advanced screening of the first episode and was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of heartwarming character moments amidst the obviously-there-for-shock-value drug use of the character. Falco plays flawed perfectly, especially when she is debating whether or not to save a choking restaurant patron because she has had a long day and just wants to eat in peace.

NBC's The Philanthropist doesn't premiere until the day after my birthday (June 24), but it may prove to be the perfect present in a sea of fluff. Centering on an eccentric billionaire who travels to South Africa to give away his money to deserving tribes in an effort to better their way of life, The Philanthropist is not only a scripted drama, but it is one with a message. And those are becoming as rare as the bald eagle these days! The show was primarily shot overseas in South Africa, Mozambique, and Prague and will undoubtedly feature every last little authentic touch. Plus, it co-stars Jesse L. Martin, and my television set has missed him greatly!

Lifetime is back with the melodramatic primetime soap Army Wives in early June, but after season two brought us watered-down everything, I pretty much gave up with that show. Instead, I will turn my sights this summer to the second season of the overly dramatic Real Housewives of Atlanta on Bravo. Though the season premiere date is still TBA (at press time, all we know is that it will begin after The Real Housewives of New Jersey ends-- sometime in July, though it may be safe to assume ...Jersey was given a thirteen episode order), the claws have already come out among the women. Sheree threw a divorce party and snubbed some of the cast; Kim is back with Big Poppa and still threatening to put out an album; and NeNe may or may not decide to track down her biological father. I can't wait!!!

A little sooner on Bravo (like around the weekend's corner on June 8), Kathy Griffin returns with My Life on the D-List. She may be down one assistant (she's been out-of-characterly-quiet so far on just how bad her falling out with tattooed Jessica was) and one rich boyfriend (though she and Woz still remain "friends"), but Griffin returns with another rotating door of famous celebrity "friend-guests." Bette Midler, Rosie O'Donnell, Whoopi Goldberg, and of course everyone's favorite-- I'm not talking about Cher but of course-- Maggie Griffin!

Griffin is just the smart and cutting shot in the arm the lazy days of summer need!

We have had to wait more than a year for the sixth season of Project Runway, so what's another two months, right? On August 20, the hit fashion reality competition will finally return to television, even if you can't find the channel on which it will air. Finding a new home with Lifetime after lawsuit after countersuit, Project Runway also had a new production home in Los Angeles, and though the designs that debut on this season may no longer be fashion-forward, considering the challenges were filmed over a year ago, the personalities and guest judges are guaranteed to be larger than life. In fact, one guest judge was so awe-inspiring, he or she almost caused a contestant to faint on the spot!

Hottie of the Week: Dominic West...

Am I the only one who was turned on by Dominic West's somewhat demonic doctor in the intro skit of Eminem's newest album? His voice alone wins him Hottie of the Week! He kind of sounds like Bravo's Make Me A Supermodel resident hottie (and should-have-been-winner!) Jonathan Waud...And I'm one of those rare breeds who doesn't usually melt over accents.

(The audio on this link was slowed down to get around copyright laws on YouTube, so it doesn't necessarily do justice to West, but it should give you an idea...)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Woof Wednesday #3...

Bringin' ya back once again: my favorite picture of baby Madison. Here is where I first realized the kid had a sneaky side; just look at the expression on that face! What was he up to??

Probably plotting to steal my cookie!

WWATN: The Hottest Reality Show Winner (At Least On CBS)...

When Drew Daniel was in the Big Brother house during season five, there was something about him that seemed familiar far beyond the normal "boy next door." His season was the "twin twist" season, solidifying Big Brother as a show that casts its contestants rather than looks for "real people." And that's when it hit me: Daniel was a former model and probably wannabe actor (like so many that came before him, including "firefighter" Jase who was really a model and wannabe actor himself). In fact, Daniel and his twin brother were featured in the stock footage stills used in the bump in and outs of Reba. Daniel probably thought Big Brother was his big break, but though he won his season, he disappeared for the five years that followed.

Now, though, Daniel is promoting a film called He's Such a Girl starring Patrick Duffy, Ed Begley Jr, Alexandra Paul, and the equally adorable Bryan Fisher. The film is clearly an indie, probably set to make the festival rounds, about a guy who acts like the stereotypical clingy girl in relationships and seeks advice from all of the wrong people when his girlfriend starts to pull away from him. Though Daniel's role appears to be somewhat minimal-- probably just the friend of the main character-- it is still finally a step in the right direction if he is serious about this whole acting thing.

And how will this season's Big Brother contestants fare? Find out on July 9th when the newest season premieres on CBS!

Who Knew Paris Could Act?...

Last night on the new season of Paris Hilton's New BFF, the diva herself went "undercover," so to speak, ala Gordon Ramsay on the bus to Hell's Kitchen in his own last season. That's right, ladies and gent(s?), she donned a long brown wig, clip-on nose ring, and deep New York accent to pretend to be just another wannabe vying for the "top prize." And surprisingly, she stayed in character and was never found out...but whether she really deserves credit for her "acting" chops or if the other wannabes were just too vapid to pay too close attention to her remains to be seen. All that really matters is the b*tch is back with a brand new season (and she brought season one fan favorite, Onch!, with her!!!)!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What I'll Be Watching: Fall 2009...

The CW may have angered some Jason Dohring fans by not picking up his political drama for Fall 2009-- instead opting to choose just another revamp to add to the line-up. Melrose Place may follow the same formula as the new version of 90210: campy primetime soap relationship drama set in the shiny, pretty people part of Los Angeles. It will feature some old faces (my favorite Stuy alumn Thomas Calabro; some slightly new faces (like cutie Shaun Sipos); and some that fall somewhere in between (Katie Cassidy; Ashlee Simpson-Wentz). It will also feature some things stolen directly from 90210: staff writer Caprice Crane and actress Jessica Lucas. Viewers who already tune into 90210 may find they seamlessly transfer to a courtyard apartment complex without even realizing one show ended and a new one began; sure, it's mindless entertainment, but sometimes after a long day at work, you need that kind of fictional drama to help you forget (or feel better about) your real kind.

NBC is attempting to keep their stronghold on Thursday night comedies even after deciding not to renew My Name Is Earl. Picking up on the popularity of clip show host Joel McHale, NBC has given the green light to Community, a half-hour about a lawyer who is forced to go back and obtain his degree all over part of a misfit community college. It's like Glee without all of the singing (though I don't think there's anything wrong with singing, and in fact Glee is on my Must Watch list, too-- see below)! McHale's charm, combined with Chevy Chase (what??)'s years of comic experience make this slightly ludicrous premise much more than just a high concept flash in the pan.

CBS may have bombed with their attempt at a musical series, Viva Laughlin, but Fox may have hit the nail on the head by playing to the younger crowd (without falling into the High School Musical sinkhole). Glee is their musical comedy series, previewed on May 19, that follows a high school glee club made up of everyone from an uber-over-achiever to a jock who decided to follow his "true self" (hmm, okay, so maybe there's a little HSM in there!). The adorable Matthew Morrison is the faculty advisor; Jessalyn Gilsig is his high-strung wife, and the incomparable Jane Lynch is the cheerleading coach hell-bent on "bringing down" the glee club.

In the world of reality television, ABC follows Donald Trump's footsteps with Shark Tank, a show that puts ordinary inventors/creators in front of a panel of millionaires, each of whom is a leader in his or her chosen field and has a junk of his or her own personal money (supposedly) to invest in the project-- if they like the pitch enough. Dreams will undoubtedly come true on this show, but just like American Idol, we are bound to see some really crappy "auditions," too!

And if none of these strike your fancy, you can always hold out for mid-season. ABC has V, starring Lost's Elizabeth Mitchell and the yummy Joel Gretsch, which may prove to be nothing more than just a technologically updated attempt at a less-than-mediocre 1980s b-series...or it could be modern-day revolution, sparking debates about faith, hope, and cult-like devotion.

The one that already proves to be more than interesting, though, is The CW's Parental Discretion Advised, as it has been called "Gilmore Girls for the even quirkier set."

Plus, it stars Kristoffer Polaha, who is just too adorable and sweet not to finally succeed with one of his shows!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sarah Chalke, You're Better Than That!...

With obtaining the rights to Project Runway, set to air in August, and a hit dramatic series (Army Wives) returning this week, it has been said in the press that Lifetime has "come along way from the Mother May I Sleep With Danger? days." And while that might be true-- to a degree (after all, they did air those heinous Nora Roberts miniseries-movies just last month)-- their latest concoction, Maneater, is slowly tugging on the channel, bringing it back down to the bowels of scripted television.
Maneater aired over the weekend and starred Sarah Chalke, Judy Greer, Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon, and Maria Conchita Alonso, all of whom are much better than the low-rate production and even lower quality writing. Maneater centers on a shallow rich girl from Beverly Hills (of course) who learns her white-collar incarcerated (but still rich!) daddy is planning to cut her off in just a few short months. Her plan is of course to entrap an equally (or more so) rich guy and marry him within three months-- because she figures three months is all the time she has before the credit card companies come knocking down her door. Now of course Chalke's character comes with relationship baggage, too, in the form of an ex-boyfriend who she still pines for, and who just maybe will pine for her, too, once he sees what he might be losing for good.

Chalke's "cast of characters" is rounded out by her BFFs, equally vapid girls who try to "up-bitch" each other, get injections in their faces like one would buy packs of gum, all have daddy issues and sleep with married men and then pitch a drunken scene in public about it (though that might be redundant after the "daddy issue" comment). There's the rich guy with a secret who Chalke seduces and then ultimately falls for herself; there's a proposal in record time-- something that would only happen in such a film and give sad, single women everywhere unrealistic hope; there's even montages and references to other "great" chick flick/romantic comedy moments-- and those are especially sad because at the top of that list is a mention of Maid in Manhattan as one of "every good romantic film." Oh yeah, and there's also the wealthy friend who falls for, and slums it with, a pool boy-slash-caterer. I'm not even going to mention the ridiculous Vaseline sponsored product placement!

Maneater, and its excruciating voice over, took two nights to play out-- the film clocked out at a whopping three hours-- and featured the obligatory "twist" which really wasn't a twist if you had been paying attention, let alone scrutinizing this production like any other film. I'm not just talking about the twist with the ex, either. In fact, from the very first scene in which Chalke's "man love" is introduced and another character tells him to "put her to good use," he says he will with just enough of a sneer to know he's not who he claims to be-- but not in the evil way that would turn this into something as soapy and dagger-filled as Mother May I... He's just keeping something from her that might change how she feels about him-- or change her future plans.

But then of course there's another development (a who's the daddy? scare-turned-scheme-to-extort-money) that takes them-- well, at least, her-- right back to "ugh." Instead of dealing with anything like a responsible adult, she lies to counteract his lies-- and the ex's lies-- to create one big convoluted mess of an epic TV movie-- one that eventually takes us into the ...Danger realm, but not soon enough for us to actually have an inkling invested in these people or their world. And the fact that it took so long to get to the same ending point that all of these movies do without anything unique or interesting occurring is really just appalling in this age of six minute webisodes and 140 character attention spans! Plus, I just take great personal offense at the "when women don't know what to do with their lives, they work at a magazine" commentary because I for one have always known what I wanted to do with my life, and it has always included working for a magazine! Now why can the fictional, unqualified (seriously, how did she ever get a meeting if she didn't submit writing samples?) fake writers get interviews at high profile glossies when this very real, very experienced, very opinionated writer cannot!? Maybe because I do use commas...and don't know the "uber-famous"...and don't accidentally confuse my cell phone for someone powerful's. Be careful; you can really twist an ankle if you fall in those plot holes.

Only redeemable thing? No, not hot men-- which was surprising, considering it aired on a made-for-women channel-- but the typecasted Judy Greer as the sarcastic, eyerolling, borderline alcoholic best friend! Oh, Gigi, you should have stuck to The Starter Wife; just because USA was done with it didn't mean the internet would be!

WMFATA: Katee Sackhoff...

Admittedly my friends are nerds. Not just the math-and-spelling-bee-champion type nerds with whom I once shared a classroom back on the lower West Side of Manhattan, but nerds nonetheless. Needless to say, they are all huge fans of such shows like Firefly or Battlestar Galactica, the latter of which Katee Sackhoff starred in. And though the actress has played a prominent doctor on Nip/Tuck and voiced quite a few different characters on Robot Chicken, she is still best known-- and perhaps will always be known-- as Starbuck.
Why My Friends Are Talking About Her: Rumors spread like wildfire in this town, so when Sackhoff was spotted buying a lot of Marvel Comics featuring Typhoid Mary, the entertainment media pounced, assuming she was doing research for an upcoming Daredevil sequel. Why the thought that she is just a fan of the series/character never crossed anyone's mind is beyond me! Her fans are nerds, so who’s to say she isn’t one, too??