Sunday, May 31, 2009

"Stars" Come Out For The MTV Movie Awards...

MTV as a network may not have been about music for a long time, but it was never about movies (not even the recent Pedro "biopic" can change that!), so the MTV Movie Awards have always felt a little random-- like nothing more than an attempt to get a bunch of the "it" people of the moment together under one roof with some flashing logos of a fledging network behind them. And judging by the red carpet at their most recent ceremony, this really should be renamed the MTV Reality TV Stars Show!

Here are just a few of what I consider the "highlights" from the carpet. I wasn't placed with the photogs, so it was really hard to take pictures whilst attempting interviews. I was also Press Outlet #48 out of 157-- placed just near enough the Crave Online guy, who was shouting "I have no idea who you are" at people like Vanessa Hudgens and Taylor Lautner. Let's put it this way: if he was kidding, they're not the kinds of celebs who have that sense of humor, and if he was just trying to get their attention so they'd stop, even if only to slap them, they didn't take the bait. If he really didn't know who they were, he had no place being there, and I was kind of pissed he had a lower number than I did. So you can imagine just how many felt like stopping to talk to me-- or even walk by at a leisurely pace. It really isn't worth it these days to attend such an event without a videographer; most of these celebs only want to talk if they're going to be on camera. But I did what I could.

Next time I think I'll just bring Madison with me. He always attracts attention, and what celebs don't love dogs?? Although, some of them probably still won't want to talk to me because they'll be intimidated that he is the prettiest one on the carpet :)

You know it's going to be a long afternoon with
fashion gems like this to look forward to.


Tyrese spent more time hugging fans than
chatting with the press.


Um, hello, random!


This made my day.

I don't think he's been on this side
of so many cameras since his SBTB days!


Even Brody's back is pretty.


Head over to starpulse.com to read my exclusive red coverage account, including quotes from some MTV reality and Twilight stars!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

DanielleTBD's Perfect Emmy Ballot: Drama...

The Emmy nomination season is just about upon us once again, so please allow me to make my recommendations to the Academy...this time in the genre of drama.


Best Supporting Actress:

Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet Burke, Lost)-- Ignore her act of attempted martyrdom in the show's season finale, but her greatest moments were much earlier on, when the Oceanic Six returned to the island, and she was faced with the fact that the man with whom she spent the last three years building a brand new life was still in love with someone else-- someone who she had to help join their new "home." She never ranted or burst into tears, but she suffered still; she is proof that sometimes it is the quieter performances that can be the biggest.

Poppy Montgomery (Samantha Spade, Without A Trace)-- Writing her real-life pregnancy into the show was a risk, but having the young, attractive FBI agent become a new mom definitely was the pay off the actress needed. It added an extra layer to her performance to have that little face waiting for her at home (in real life and on the show); so much more was riding on everything now. Besides, times of quality scripted programs are few and far between, so something should be said for the woman who never once slips into her native accent!

Allison Pill (April, In Treatment)-- The young actress was both gutwrenching and inspiring at when spilling her soul to her doctor, even though as someone stricken with cancer, she is unsure of how much time she really has left. Her eyes were both deep and guilt-stricken when it almost seemed like she was questioning even being there, spending what could be some of her last moments rehashing instead of going out and living to the very last minute.

Chloe Sevigny (Nicolette Grant, Big Love)-- She has big, somewhat crazy eyes and even bigger, somewhat crazy (and frizzy!) hair. But it is her snippy voice that really gets under one's skin when she sneaks and connives. She may be the housewife you love to hate, but in a less capable actress' hand, you'd just simply hate her.

Dianne Wiest (Gina, In Treatment)-- As a professional who has to get into everyone else's head-- even those with whom she has a complicated personal history, Wiest is understated and quiet, choosing to emote rather than speak. She is somewhat of a mystery, making her patients and her at-home audience wondering just what it is that she's really thinking, and she draws you in so easily. She is warm and inviting and always awesome, even in this somewhat small role.


Best Supporting Actor:

Robert David Hall (Dr. Albert Robbins, C.S.I.)-- Let's face it, after years of increasingly ridiculous storylines, personal trauma getting in the way of cases, and a somewhat revolving-door of characters, the one rock at the center has been the trusty coroner. Hall's gentle, calming demeanor during the worst moments of people's lives has been over-looked for far too long!

Ryan Kwanten
(Jason Stackhouse, True Blood)-- He's so much more than a pretty face, but he never got to prove it before. As a hillbilly who is sometimes suspected of murder and other times tripping out on vampire blood, he challenges himself and his fans, though.


Terry O'Quinn (John Locke, Lost)-- While so many around him easily allow the greater mythology to overwhelm them and therefore swallow them up, O'Quinn uses it to his advantage to build on the mysteriousness of his own performance. He has evolved from a somewhat helpless older man to a strong, defiant leader, and he never relies on gimmicks like staring off in the distance or letting the tail end of his sentences trail off and drop down in order to capture interest or intrigue.

Aaron Paul (Jesse Pinkman, Breaking Bad)-- I admit I don't actually watch Breaking Bad, though everyone I know who does raves and rants to no end about how I watch so much crappy reality TV and not this fine piece of fiction. And that is not an unfair critique, but I cannot watch anything about hard drugs. Call it a testament to the actors' performances that the seedy world of crystal meth just seems so real here, if it helps you. Everyone I know who watches, though, says that Paul is slowly stealing the spotlight in this show, transforming his boy-next-door good looks into a slang-speaking rock...well, slanger. And if he's not going to get anything for his time on Big Love, he should get something for this!

Jimmy Smits (Miguel Prado, Dexter)-- Though he was only around for one short season, his impact was felt like a ripple effect through the rest of the cast and the diehard (no pun intended) fans. For once, someone not only challenged but also threatened our unlikely hero, and Smits played sinister, secretive, and dangerous with the best of them. It was truly a far cry from the good guy officer he once played on a network cop drama, but that's what made his performance so much more nuanced; he played completely against type.


Best Actress:

Glenn Close (Patty Hewes, Damages)-- She hasn't been this ruthless since she scared puppies and kiddies alike in 101 Dalmatians, but in her second season she had to throw a little vulnerability into the mix, and she did so effortlessly-- even if it was still somewhat undercover. There is no one quite like her on television; she is incomparable in a lot of ways.

Toni Collette
(Tara, United States of Tara)-- In a show about a woman with split personalities, Collette's performance is equally manic. She flits in and out of the "alters" effortlessly, sometimes smiling and flirting and going for easy laughs, and other times digging deeper and darker. Throughout them all, though, you can't take your eyes off of her, and though the show moves at a snail's pace when divulging new information about her, you are emotionally invested when the "shocks" are finally revealed (and are no longer surprisingly since your imagination has already taken you there), all only thanks to Collette.

Mariska Hargitay (Olivia Benson, Law & Order: SVU)-- Though she has won before, NBC and Dick Wolf's endless campaign to give her another statue can't be ignored. She pulls from the gut, no matter what case she is working, and this time around, she did it at half-mast (she suffered through a collapsed lung while filming some episodes).

Kathryn Morris
(Lily Rush, Cold Case)-- Normally, I call a procedural out for jumping the shark the minute they start to introduce personal drama for the characters (especially when that drama includes the characters intermingling). However, the re-emergence of Rush's dad actually managed to stir up some cool character moments that gave Morris something to emote about other than a hazy ghost image she may or may not really see. Faced with the eternal threat of cancellation, she really pulled everything she had out for this character and deserves to be richly rewarded for it.

Elisabeth Moss (Patty Olson, Mad Men)-- The buttoned-up persona Moss gives to Olson is not just due to the times or region of the show's setting but also to her own self-inflicted repression after letting herself love a bit loosely and reap the consequences of it. Keeping her secrets and her sins to herself, even when being prompted by co-workers and a priest allow her to feature great moments of restraint, through which anyone looking into her eyes can see there is a much deeper story. However, it is not until she is with the one person who she let herself go with before that she is able to be so free again and finally spills everything in a cathartic rush of emotion. That scene alone is worthy of a statue!


Best Actor:


Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester, Supernatural)-- Okay, the Academy has never really been one to give kudos to The CW (even in the rare instance that it would actually be deserved), but if they decide to do so this year, the honor should go to Ackles, who took his demon-hunting past just snarky one-liners this season. Returning from hell may sound a bit campy, but it set his character-- and therefore the actor's range-- on a journey of deep emotion as he struggled to understand his greater purpose and come to grips with what his only trusted confidante became in his absence.

Michael C. Hall (Dexter Morgan, Dexter)-- Faced with his own impending fatherhood this year, his character was forced to develop layers that one would assume would be maturity but ended up just being nuanced ways of lying to the ones he loves-- and for once, he finally seemed to acknowledge that he actually is capable of love. He opened up; he tensed up when he realized he could be exposed; he was on a roller coaster of emotions, and he wore them all on his face as he still tried to keep them inside.

Hugh Laurie (Dr. House, House)-- Okay, this is an obvious choice, due to the quirky nature of his character, but just when you thought he couldn't get and weirder, he started seeing dead people and had to go for psychiatric help of his own (me senses a cross-over on Mental, if that show makes it to the fall), giving the actor something new to do at a time when such a character usually hits a rut.

Denis Leary (Tommy Gavin, Rescue Me)-- This is an obvious choice, too, but it is one that should be made because there is something to be said for this hybrid (writer/actor/producer) who used his influence in a positive way to take the show down a unique and creative path. Somehow he manages to not let anything get lost in translation as he wears multiple hats, and he only uses it toward his weary and worn-down character. He is at his best when he has just gone through something serious and emotional but then turns on his heel, and the lightness on his feet is still there, offering the hope that was set up in the pilot: things will be tough, but through them come anything worth having. Including an Emmy.

Christopher Meloni (Elliot Stabler, Law & Order: SVU)-- There has been a heavy-handed campaign for him ever since Mariska won her own statue. However, this season the actor has really gone above and beyond to prove he is worthy. The scenes in which he comes to terms with the fact that his own daughter is suffering from psychological issues (ones that the hardened cop would normally write off as "just excuses") that caused her to act out criminally was growth for him not only as an officer but also as a man.


Best Dramatic Series:

Cold Case, Dexter (though based on its last airing, I'm not entirely sure it's eligible), United States of Tara, Big Love, and okay, Lost.

Friday, May 29, 2009

DanielleTBD's Perfect Emmy Ballot: Comedy...

The Emmy nomination season is just about upon us once again, so please allow me to make my recommendations to the Academy.


Best Supporting Actress:

Kate Flannery
(Meredith Palmer, The Office)-- What's funnier than dry-drunk humor? Dry-drunk humor in a dry-corporate setting!

Alyson Hannigan
(Lily Aldrin, How I Met Your Mother)-- The pint-sized star brought mega-laughs even when suffering from "pregnancy brain." Sure, she missed a few episodes due to her oversized stomach being too hard to hide, but she more than made up for it when she was around.

Mindy Kaling (Kelly Kapoor, The Office)-- Her deadpan delivery is one thing, but the woman can riff with the best of them and often goes toe to toe with some of the improv greats, always holding her own. And I know you can't win an Emmy (yet) for your Twitter commentary, but that should be taken into account here, too, only because it proves her funny bone is truly hers and not simply the mark of a good script.

Eva Longoria Parker
(Gabrielle Solis, Desperate Housewives)-- Some called her fearless for strapping on a fat-suit and stripping off her makeup to play a harried mom this past season, but it was her ever-present eager, perky humor that lightened even the most dramatic of scenes, like when Eli the handyman passed away, or when she caught her husband's boss' wife standing over her husband's dead body after she had stabbed him.

Wanda Sykes (Barb, The New Adventures of Old Christine)-- It is a wonder why someone as smart, funny, and seemingly well-put-together would hang out with the mess that is Christine Campbell, but I'm certainly glad she does because she offers not only words of wisdom but comical ones to make the lessons fun! Plus one stony look from her is all it takes to understand she's annoyed and to elicit a giggle fit. With her getting her own talk show, though, it appears it will be her last season on ...Christine, and therefore her last shot at this award (at least for a little while).


Best Supporting Actor:


Charlie Day (Charlie Kelly, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia)-- It's hard to pick the most outlandish of the ...Sunny gang, but Day's "Night Man" performance and skittish line delivery set this "abortion survivor" in a class all by himself.

Neil Patrick Harris (Barney Stinson, How I Met Your Mother)-- for turning his catchphrase-loving, suit-wearing playboy into a real, relateable man with his pining for friend Robin all season.

Simon Helberg (Howard Wolowitz, The Big Bang Theory)-- As if the uber-tight jeans, high-tops, and bowl cut weren't enough, he also offers the show's main dose of swarm. He would be the Barney Stinson of his own group of friends-- if he didn't live with his mother and if he ever got laid, that is...but that would make him far less funny.

Jack McBrayer (Kenneth The Page, 30 Rock)-- His scenes are often few and far between, but he steals them everytime, and this past season he was finally given a little more to do when Jenna tried to kill him in order to hook up with a hot EMT. The lines he whispered while slowly swelling and choking may or may not have been adlibs, but they had me roaring regardless!

Chi McBride (Emerson Cod, Pushing Daisies)-- I admit I was one of the many who didn't watch Pushing Daisies enough to keep it on-air, but his crude comments always elicited a hearty laugh when the otherwise odd settings and characters were sometimes a bit off-putting (at least for me). Plus, he just seems like such a big goofball in real life, I just want to hand him an award and get a bear hug as a thank you!


Best Actress:


Christina Applegate (Samantha Newly, Samantha Who?)-- "Good" Sam is wide-eyed, just a little naive, and the exact opposite of "bad" Sam, who is cunning, calculating, and downright c-word-y. But Applegate plays them both with such finesse, it makes it hard to choose which one of whom you want to see the most!

Tina Fey (Liz Lemon, 30 Rock)-- She delivers quips so smoothly and effortlessly that sometimes you have to go back and watch the scene again to take them all in sufficiently-- and not just because you are often still laughing from one when a new one comes up. And this is not just a "nomination for me by extension" because she and I are the same person!

Jaime Pressly (Joy Turner, My Name Is Earl)-- Whether she is tying her kids to herself with rope to keep them from blowing away in a tornado or arguing over how smart she is, she makes white trash look like the kind of neighbor you'd want to find next door!

Portia De Rossi (Veronica Palmer, Better Off Ted)-- Though the show has only had a short, six-episode run thus far, and De Rossi spent a lot of it buried among a mediocre ensemble, she always managed to let her dry wit shine through, bringing just a little bit of Lindsay Funke to an office environment. And since it's too late to give her the Emmy she deserved for Arrested Development, I say the Academy pulls a Denzel and at least gives her a nomination for this new role!

Alexandra Wentworth (Dr. Elizabeth Goode, Head Case)-- Apparently I have a soft spot for funny, blonde improv comics. And Wentworth is the epitome of them. Even when she is interrupting a patient's emotional, heartfelt worry to attend to something personal of her own (taste wedding cake samples or read through messages), she is endearing and lovable.


Best Actor:

Alec Baldwin (Jack Donaughy, 30 Rock)-- Where to begin? This season Jack started going to Liz for advice on everything from business to dating matters, which was just preposterous enough to get a laugh on his own, but when peppered with his sometimes politically incorrect (but always political) rantings, those laughs turn into full-on snorts.

Steve Carell (Michael Scott, The Office)-- He's probably an obvious choice here, but he deserves every ounce of it for his buttoned-up performance of the World's Worst Boss.

Clark Gregg (Richard Campbell, The New Adventures of Old Christine)-- He is goofy and affable and a bit aloof, and when he matches wits with Christine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), it is like a battle of the dimwits. His smile charms, and his slight stutter wins us over even more, but his hapless and helpless personality is what wins us over the most. Perhaps sometimes we laugh more at him than with him, but that still counts, right?

Zachary Levi (Chuck Bartowski, Chuck)-- I always thought he was severely underrated as the "I take my job way too seriously" assistant on Less Than Perfect, but now that he is finally in the spotlight as the lead on his own show, he can get the acclaim he has so rightly deserved. The best thing about him is that he plays off his innate geek chicness, being light and playful one minute and a bit gawky and awkward the next. Plus, he has killer kung fu moves!

Jim Parsons (Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory)-- He is How I Met Your Mother's Pretentious Ted to a whole other degree, and honestly it is his rapport with next-door neighbor Penny (Kaley Cuoco) that is the most priceless, as her put-on ditz act drives him absolutely nuts, and it's fun to watch him unravel. Whether he is just knocking on her door, calling her name, or literally squirming in his seat to interject with some scientific facts during a lunchtime conversation, he takes "socially awkward" way past quirky.


Best Comedic Series:

None of these should need any explanation (especially if you read my past-- and biased!-- articles):
30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother, Samantha Who?, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Head Case.


Stay tuned tomorrow for my dramatic picks!!

Six Degrees Of Reality TV...

1) Danielle Staub from The Real Housewives of New Jersey has been exposed to really be Beverly Merill, an ex-stripper who was once involved in a drug-related kidnapping. Her mugshot is featured in the book "Cop Without A Badge," which I read during my true crime phase in junior high/high school, and though she is a bit sketchy, so is the author of the book: there is a reason they took away his badge! Though for the drama of the show's sake, I am going to believe all evidence, however soft, points to her tawdry past as being the "real" her. Everything else is just plastic parts and gold lacquer.

2.) Washington D.C. will be the host city to not only the new incarnation of Bravo's The Real Housewives series but also the next season of Bunim-Murray's The Real World.

3.) Ex-Real World Hollywood star Joey Kovar has signed onto the newest season of VH1's Celebrity Rehab. He is the cast member who left the show mid-season to check into rehab, and not ironically at all, he was placed at the Pasadena Recovery Center with Dr. Drew as his "coach."

4.) Dr. Drew has been poked fun at (and probably poked in other ways) in ex-patient Mary Carey's latest project, a porn spoof called Celebrity Pornhab. Clearly he didn't "cure" her, so why do people keep looking to him for all of the answers? I know: exposure!

5.) God, there are so many places to go from "exposure," but American Idol Season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert has been over-saturating the media this week, despite not actually winning the show. Kara may have outed him to the ladies of The View, but that would not deter the Glambert! He literally told reporters that he wants people to "keep speculating" about his sexuality (yeah, because that will at least keep them talking about you, right, Glambert? And by the way, anyone called Glambert is unequivocally homosexual. Just own it!); he gave exclusives to US Weekly, any Fox affiliate that would have him and Best Week Ever. Though he gave the most fantastic interview ever to Michelle Collins, that credit goes to her phenomenal sense of humor and lack of shame.

6.) Sorry, Viacom, but Best Week Ever has been replaced with The Soup as my favorite clip show. It's not just because Joel McHale is cuter than Paul F. Thompkins but also because the humor is more up my alley, and all of the clips they feature are ones I, too, would select. Web Soup has some HUGE footsteps to follow!

That was fun. Maybe I'll do it again!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hottie of the Week: Kristoffer Polaha...

He played J.F.K. Jr in a televised biopic. He played a modern-day Eros in last year's (sadly failed) mythical dramedy Valentine. He is a husband, a father, and a ridiculously down-to-Earth and sweet guy. This week's Hottie of the Week needs no other introduction. He is Kristoffer Polaha, and he is back on The CW (at least when mid-season comes around) with a show that has been described as Gilmore Girls for the even quirkier set.



Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Two Beautiful, Moving Videos...

Admittedly, I choose to focus the attention of this blog more towards ridiculous celebrity and television "news" than anything of real merit. I much prefer to read up about lighthearted topics to distract me from all of the things I hate about this government, this country, this world. I don't believe I am turning a blind eye to anything: I vote in every single election, regardless of how many propositions are on the ballot, and I volunteer during the larger campaigns to spread awareness and increase numbers. However, I choose not to surround myself with bleak news more often than not just to get me through the day a little easier. Last night was not one of those days.

I felt privileged to be out in West Hollywood last night, walking among hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals all fighting for the common goal of basic human rights. As you already know by now, it was announced yesterday morning that Proposition 8 was upheld, denying gay couples the right to get married but more importantly the right to be considered equal among their peers. For example, if you are gay and your partner is sick and in the hospital, you can be denied visitation rights because you are not technically considered "family." It was moving and humbling all at the same time to walk last night, and I want to share with you two videos that have emerged today from the event. Both of these videos give the cause celebrity faces, which, let's face it, makes them more accessible than some of the others that might be floating around out there. The message is clear regardless of who is delivering it, though: in 2009, we will no longer stand for inequality.




The Only Real Chance To Be On A Talk Show...

This is the best (funny) thing I've seen all week, and not just because of how last minute you know the booking was or how little host Chelsea Handler could care about the guests and what they have to say. Take a look and be sure to tune into VH1 in August to see season two of Real Chance of Love!

Woof Wednesday #2...

I love my gay canine son! Fight against Prop 8!

(Baby Madison and his boyfriend, Simba)


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

An Open Letter: What's Up, Bravo?...

Dear Andy Cohen:

So, you'll greenlight and begin production on The Real Housewives of D.C., but you won't take my pitch of The Real Housewives of the San Fernando Valley?? Or if that's "too close" to Orange County (though you're already stretching it with NYC/NJ), how about The Real Housewives of Dallas? I'm willing to temporarily relocate, and I swear to you, my quote is not that high!!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

MMFATA: Sam Worthington...

Y'all know I have loved me some soap operas (why am I talking like this?)! The romance, the mysteries, the ridiculousness, the drama... so Sam Worthington in Love My Way would have been right up thirteen year old me's alley! The Australian actor, who I first saw in 2002's Dirty Deeds with Toni Collette, has stayed true to his roots and mostly worked on projects done Down Under thus far. However, his first parlay into the Hollywood scene is in the summer blockbuster Terminator: Salvation, and after its opening weekend, Worthington has already made quite an entrance.
Why My Friends Are Talking About Him: Sure, his accent in Terminator: Salvation was a little spotty at times (but being that it's an action film, I'm not even sure how many people noticed-- besides, even Lapaglia would slip in and out on his series; when foreigners get tired, man, their true colors (and voices!) come out!), but his overall performance stole the movie-- at least for me and a few of my friends. Perez Hilton said he was the real star of the movie, and my friend Jaime was smitten enough to feature him as Daily Eye Candy on her own site. But maybe the reason he is being talked about as "better than Bale" is not simply for his performance but also because he seems to be one of those rare actors who actually cares more about his work than his fame. Instead of going off on a crewmember, Worthington has had this to say about the movie making process: "I also care that the public are getting their 12 dollars' worth when they go to a movie and that they're not coming out not wanting to ever see a movie with me in it again. I don't care what people think of me as a person, but I do care what people think of my work, and whether I'm investing enough into it."

Saturday, May 23, 2009

MTV And The Great White Return...

One week from today I'll be covering the MTV Movie Awards red carpet. I wasn't excited about the screaming tweens, R-Patz, Miley, or the Jo Bros, but after Kris Allen won American Idol (and the winner was rumored to attend), and now this, needless to say, the event is looking up for me!



The first volume (dropped May 19) of "Relapse" was frenetic. It chronicled the complete (in Eminem's case, four year) journey of addiction (battling demons in "Stay Wide Awake"), detox (experiencing a fever dream in "Insane"), rehab (looking inside himself in "Beautiful"), relapse (a "Well, duh" with "Deja Vu"), and back again. It was all done in a non-linear, manic fashion to aptly capture what was swirling around in the artist's mind. Locked up in his own head, away from the game, for so long had him itchy to get back to the image he so poignantly crafted but also dying to squash it and start anew. And therein lay his central dilemma: should Eminem give his fans what they had been missing for four long years or stay true to-- and debut-- his new sober and somewhat somber maturity? "Relapse" had a hard time making a decision on which Eminem it would reveal. Coming full circle to his "Guilty Conscience" days, Eminem exhibited his two sides interchangeably (no angels here; just two types of demons), each battling for his soul, his career, and his life in general. However, in only a few more months, the second disc of the two-volume set will drop (probably just in time to rival Mariah's "Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel" in pre-holiday sales), and he will be forced to tie them up once but hopefully (for the hip-hop game's sake) not for good. I know I'll be staying tuned!

And come back here next weekend to see my exclusive pics from the MTV Movie Awards red carpet...and maybe a little video, too :)

Friday, May 22, 2009

It's An Homage?...

Today a screener landed on my desk for a movie that, while once called Recoil, has been aptly re-titled, Silent Venom. From the DVD cover (yes, it-- of course-- went straight to DVD), it appears to be Snakes on a Plane but set on some sort of secret Army island (ala Lost). The plot centers on a rebel Army captain who has put in for his retirement but is given one last gig before his send-off; he must lead a team to this island, where the reptiles are growing at alarming (and violent!) rates, to "rescue" the two scientists stuck there. The "mother" ran off somewhere on the island and is nowhere to be found (and God-- well, and the audience from the first ten-- only knows how big she has gotten!), and researchers are disappearing. Apparently the Chinese may have dumped some chemicals in the water around the island, creating these angry mutants, and though scientists have sent up a rinky-dink Dharma Initiative camp to study them...they don't seem to have gotten anywhere.

The movie, from the opening big block white credits, to the indicating "Tell me what really went on there, son" in order to get a character's backstory, to the drums-and-horns military score, screams Made in the 80s! Silent Venom does not belong on DVD (or cable networks/VOD) in 2009 but instead on a scratchy old VHS tape dug out from my childhood boxes. Hell, it even stars once teen idol Luke Perry playing to type as that rebel Army captain (though I can admit "rebel" and "Army" are bit contradictory)! Now, I have been told it is indicative of the sci-fi b-movie/campy genre to look that way, but I laughed in places I probably shouldn't have...like when everyone kept referencing the Army when wearing hats/uniforms that said Navy...and when the creature was revealed in what appeared to be an early draft of a Jurassic Park villain.

I just feel like a monster movie, of any caliber, can't be scary (or taken even a little seriously) if the image of the monster does not evoke some sort of shock and awe feeling in the audience-- and the shock of "That's it?" does not count. Yes, snakes can cause the squeamish to shudder no matter what they look like, but for everyone else, do we really need another "Snakes? Why did it have to be snakes?"- esque tag? It's too many laughs and not enough gasps.

The rest of the movie, which was shot through a sand filter, apparently, does nothing to elicit anything new, either. In fact, I can't help but feel I've heard the whole "we must destroy the snakes before we go so they don't harm anyone...but really I'm going to smuggle them onto the sub with us so I can make a fortune off them back on the mainland" angle before. Silent Venom may have "updated" a bit by making a weak "No snakes left behind" joke, but let's face it, even that is yesterday's news now. I know greed is one of few universal motivations, but come on now! Or maybe it is just because Silent Venom has Krista Allen leading the cast that it feels like just an long overdue sequel to The Haunted Sea...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Another Upfront, Another Blast From The Past…

Okay, admittedly, I was pretty upset about the upfronts the other day, when ABC announced bringing back a bunch of old stars with crappy shows just to attempt to regain control of their nights through nostalgia ratings. I ranted a bit about how no one can be original anymore and name always seems to win over talent. Grant it then, I should be equally upset today, with the official unveiling of yet another redo, Melrose Place on The CW. However, like the true hypocrite that I am, I found myself squealing at my desk despite the equally bad writing here as say on, oh I don't know, Cougar Town! (But with the addition of Caprice Crane to the writing staff, that will all probably change and fast!)



I did the gay gasp when I saw how fabulous Laura Leighton looks today, so many years after she appeared in the original. I clapped my hands when I saw the fantastic Katie Cassidy in a role that may actually have her sticking around for awhile. I felt a lump in my throat at seeing the old courtyard once again. And I clapped my hands wildly when Thomas Calabro pulled up in his fancy, fancy car. I ignored the cheesy lines and even worse delivery and body language. I pretended Ashlee Simpson was someone else. I pushed aside the fact that the dead body floating unseen in the pool is a character (no spoilers here; email me if you want to know who it is now) I would have liked to see stick around because of all of the added drama he (or she!) will undoubtedly stir up. I couldn't, however, not stop for a moment to wonder if the original was just as poorly written and if I just didn't notice then because I was just a kid. Ultimately, though, I decided it doesn't matter. It's a campy, soap guilty pleasure, and it always has been. Just because the cast has changed doesn't mean the purpose will! And I will be there every Tuesday at nine p.m. to root them on and hope for a few choice cameos of other castmembers past.

Hottie of the Week: Adam Gregory...

I admit I didn't know who Adam Gregory was when he strolled so casually onto the red carpet at last week's Maxim red carpet event. The beautiful boy with the bright blue eyes and crisp leather jacket was fresh-faced and cheeky-smiled even though the majority of the paparazzo were just taking red snaps. Well, their loss is definitely my gain because I took actual photos of "the prettiest one to show up to the event."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Yay!...


Can't wait to see what he has in store for us! He will be the first AI winner since Kelly Clarkson whose album I will buy!

Also, Kara is a better singer than I thought (and much better than she is a songwriter and/or judge), but she's not as good as she seems to think she is. Maybe she should just focus all of her energy on getting better at only one thing next year.

In Honor Of Woof Wednesday...

On Twitter, there is apparently such a thing as #woofwednesday. I haven't quite figured out what the purpose is yet, except everyone seems to upload a ridiculously adorable photo of their dog, along with a one line anecdote about something particularly cute and/or funny they did. So to honor that, I have decided to feature my own little star right here with his own (photo) column.

Woof Wednesday #1: Shaggy Dog Goes To Malibu
Okay, admittedly this photo was taken last Wednesday, but I think it should still count!

WWATN: My First Jack and Jen...

I started watching Days of our Lives a little late in the game-- in 1996-- so I was introduced to the characters of Jack and Jennifer not as the original Matt Ashford and Melissa Reeves but instead as the very blond Steve Wilder and Stephanie Cameron. To me, then, they became the originals, and when they both left the show around 1998, there were some pretty big shoes to fill. I admit that at first I wasn't so keen on the comical take on Jack that Ashford brought (back) to the show, so I was more than pleasantly surprised to find both Wilder and Cameron pop up on Melrose Place. It appeared these two were bound to have parallel careers, and I decided, like any loyal soap fan, to follow them to whatever show on which they ended up.

Recently, after scrounging YouTube for clips of old talk show appearances for a project I was working on, I came across Leeza Gibbon's Days of our Lives Christmas special episode featuring both of these once-great soap players and realized that I hadn't followed through with my silent vow. Sure, there were some ex-Days actors that I still kept up with (namely Jensen Ackles) and others who fell by the wayside but not for lack of trying (like Austin Peck, who's independent romantic comedy I checked out but who has now been spending his days on a competing soap-- one which I just have no interest of attempting to get into), but these two had fallen off my radar completely. I had to find out why!

A little deeper investigation on YouTube (as well as IMDb) quickly shows that Cameron hasn't strayed too far from her roots: she appeared in the made-for-TV movie The Hollywood Mom's Mystery alongside Melora Hardin, Justine Bateman, and George Hamilton, and then in Detective with Annabeth Gish and Rick Gomez. Both sound like chick-lit-turned-Lifetime niche projects, and then Cameron dipped out of the Hollywood scene for a few years, resurfacing just briefly in 2008 to shoot the independent short comedy F'n Frank about a guy who has to go to a cursing support group after his baby's first word is an f-bomb. Cute, but can't exactly say she's come a long way from daytime with those gems.

Wilder, too, did some semi-popular programming in the early 2000s (an episode of Charmed and one of V.I.P) before virtually disappearing only to attempt his comeback in 2008. Wireimage credits him as also being a writer, though no information could be found on just what he happened to write. Wilder appeared alongside Eric Roberts and Daryl Hannah in Dark Honeymoon, a made-for-TV movie about a man who uncovers a "terrible truth" about the woman he married after a brief but intense relationship.

It appeared I was a bit psychic about their parallel careers, no???

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Why I'm Agro Today: Upfronts' Announcements...

The caliber of today's shows really gets my goat (or HIMYM's Ted's goat, as it were). If you're an up and coming star (an actor or even a writer), you really need to have a colossal cultural hit in order to get noticed and get the acclaim you may rightly (or may not) deserve. Courteney Cox Arquette's big break was with Friends. Her impeccable sense of comic timing and fearlessness for pratfalls and abrasive character moments created the very first lovable, relatable O.C.D. sufferer on TV. After she helped the show skyrocket to icon status in the nineties, Cox Arquette was given ample opportunity to expand her career in movies and now other television projects. She has had projects written for her, and just because they have her name behind them, they get made. It doesn't seem to matter how low the quality of the writing is-- or even how unimaginative the concept-- the star ensures the green light while countless creative projects and new talent still fall by the wayside, collecting dust on some assistant desk's, or if they're lucky, lasting for an episode or two before getting pulled from airwaves for someone else (Bob Saget, Jenna Elfman, Kelsey Grammer, Ty Burrell, Patricia Heaton, Cox Arquette)'s "comeback."

I think these clips from Cougar Town prove my point:





I knew there was a reason I was gravitating toward pitching Starz and not network! Fingers crossed!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Guess Who's Back!...

I have always judged the "success" of an album by how much I am inspired to write while listening to it-- not write in response to it, mind you, but what kinds of song lyrics or even short stories I imagine while feeding off of the creative juices of another artist. Looking back through old collections of writings, I have come to find (maybe not-so-surprisingly) that the majority were spurred by the words of Eminem.

Like so many things I end up really loving, I came to Eminem a bit late in the game, after holding one of the girls in my day camp group's CD player during swim period. She had "borrowed" "The Marshall Mathers LP" from her older sister, and I "borrowed" it from her then. And just like Em proclaimed, "I was instantly hooked right in." I connected with what he was saying, especially his "Encore" album. I have always preferred him when he is political and personal, and there, combining the anti-Bush anthem "Mosh" with the soft and sensitive ode to his daughter "Mockingbird," he is at his most so. His humor and celebrity-bashing makes for some fun, lighthearted tracks, but it is when he is introspective that causes me to be so, as well.

Lately I haven't been inspired to write much of anything but these blogs. I can always find something on television about which to have-- and want to share-- my opinion, but it is a much rarer for thing for me (at least of late) to come up with something from nothing. Perhaps that is because I am not surrounded by creative people in my daily gig at the corporation. Perhaps that is also because Eminem has been on hiatus for the past few years. So needless to say, I have been eagerly awaiting the release of "Relapse," and each time it was pushed, I felt a little bit of me worry I'd never write again. Two weeks ago the album leaked online after the first two videos had already been released. Already feeling somewhat let down by the first two single choices, I wasn't jumping out of my skin to track down the album online. I looked it up on YouTube and managed to hear each individual song-- though not in the proper order-- and I couldn't help but notice how much they all sounded the same. I was further disappointed, but I decided to hold my tongue-- or my keyboard, as it were-- until I downloaded the album legally, and listened to it from start to finish, skits and all.

What I found was that while the majority of the songs do have the same opening (with Eminem using more "Yos" and "Uhs" than one would expect from someone of his caliber), and though a handful (such as "Bagpipes from Baghdad") bring up old-news celebrity stories, Eminem does not find himself reaching too far for interesting things to say. Though the "voices" he puts on can be a bit off-putting because they just don't sound like him, it is clear they are done on purpose and with a deep purpose. On each track, Eminem is revealing a part of the split personality that comes with being an addict: one moment you're the fun life of the party drinking and drugging with your buddies but the next you're on the floor, shaking and head-spinning. It is on "Relapse" that Eminem is his darkest but perhaps also most challenged. Given handpicked beats by his mentor-producer Dr. Dre, Eminem approached each track like a mini-test to find the strongest compound-syllable sound combination to work for each. Though his taste for crude shock-value has never been more present, like on "Medicine Ball" where he cusses superfluously and takes stabs at Rihanna, if you really stop to listen-- not just to the words, but the pain behind them-- you'll find that though he sings that it "Must Be The Ganja," Eminem's lyrics have never been more sober.

On "My Mom," Eminem does not continue to diss Debbie Mathers as he has on tracks past but instead finally takes a look at how her addictive personality caused his own. His voice echoes at the end with the unknown hanging on the tip of his tongue: will he pass these demons on to his own child? In "Deja Vu" he opens up about just how bad his addiction got and what it still stands to lose him. Just take a listen at the bonus "Careful What You Wish For" and "My Darlin'" to hear his deepest fears ("I'm not in the mirror/I'm inside you"). Titling a song about the depression he fell into in the last few years "Beautiful" is poetic on so many levels. When he raps after the intro bars: "I'm just so f***ing depressed/I just cant seem to get out this slump/if I could just get over this hump/but I need something to pull me out this dump," I sit straight up in my chair because I, too, know the feeling all too well.

After a tumultuous break-up/reunion/break-up with Kim, the death of his best friend, and two rocky stints in rehab, just as Dre rapped in "Say What You Say" ("The Eminem Show"), Eminem is "unstoppable...alive and on top again." There's no obstacle he can't conquer. "Relapse" is Eminem's "spark to get psyched back up...in order for me to pick the mic back up." Anyone who says he doesn't have anything new to say obviously hasn't listened hard enough. And not surprisingly, it is also mine to open a new blank document in Microsoft Word and get started...though on what for me still remains to be seen.

NJ Ain't Got Nothin' On NY!...

I can't believe they put off the second season of Bravo's The Real Housewives of Atlanta for the (not hot) mess that is ...New Jersey! After even a portion of the first episode I wanted to claw my eardrums out (and step away from the poolside lounge chairs). I'd much rather watch a full season of this instead:


WMFATA: Allison Mack...

Though I personally last remember seeing Allison Mack in 1994's Camp Nowhere as the quiet, freckled girl who seemed to be perpetually by Marnette (then Marnie) Patterson's side, she has been the second female lead on The CW's Smallville since its debut in 2001. Her popular character, Chloe Sullivan, even earned her own spin-off of sorts in Smallville: The Chloe Chronicles. She has worked steadily between both ventures, including guest roles on 7th Heaven and Providence and a recurring on Opposite Sex, as well as taking the time for some smaller, more independent projects (2008's Alice & Huck and this year's directorial debut from Melora Hardin, You).
Why My Friends Are Talking About Her
: I'm just going to go with a straight quote from my friend Liz on this one: "[Mack] rarely gets any promotion even though she's the female lead in Smallville and is truly a talented actress. The promotion is usually [around]...Erica Durance, who is only on the show part-time, and who provides the T&A. [Mack] has her own personal blog that I've been reading for a while [where] she discusses all different types of topics, and the fans get to give their take on it. She challenges her fans to be creative with her Mack Events which range from her asking us to put on video six words that describe us, to asking us to perform our favorite piece of literature, movie, or music. I love that she takes the time to not only express what she feels but to keep herself open to her fans. She shares what she loves and what she's passionate about and only asks that we do the same."

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bidding Adieu To 30 Rock For A Few Months...

In the season finale of 30 Rock, we pick up last week's kidney cliffhanger with Jack feeling some sort of obligation to help the man he admits he does not even know for sure is his dad. He goes to Liz to ask her opinion, stating that the kind of hopes he's not even a match. Well, if anyone can fudge results of a compatability test, it should be Dr. Leo Spaceman, who mixed up the forms and documented that Jack would be giving his professor dad the kidney. Hell, he probably won't even need to fudge anything; I'm sure he makes lab mistakes all the time.
Thanks to the success of the Time Out cover (also referenced in last week's episode), Jenna has been booked on a Tyra Banks-esque talk show. It is on that show that she was previously blindsided by the emergence of a half-sister who lunged at her from across the stage, so the fact that Liz has also been invited to be a guest actually excites Jenna for once. At least this time, she won't be alone in the humiliation. But Fake Tyra really wants nothing to do with Liz and instead gets the audience to grill Jenna on her relationship advice. She freezes and turns to Liz, who offers some sound advice-- and still manages to work in the "dealbreaker" catchphrase. She continues on, much to everyone's surprise, and comes off as a much more worldly woman than usual, even coining a new catchphrase: "fruit blindness" (see below for explanation). Something tells me there is a tee-shirt with her face and a word bubble on it in the TGS future!

Tracy's high school invites him to come speak at graduation, but he refuses because he claims drug dealers ran the school back when he attended, and they wanted him to cut open a baby. He claims he had to drop out to escape them, but as it turns out, those "drug dealers" were really just science professors who still believe in frog dissection. Tracy cried in front of the whole class, and his humiliation is what caused him to forgo his further education. Kenneth gets him to admit the truth, though, and he explains that where he comes from, street cred is all there is, and he vowed never to cry again. Kenneth remembers the times he has already broken that vow-- and we are treated to a montage that reads like Tracy's greatest sad one-liners. Kenneth convinces Tracy to go back and show he really is a just a sensitive guy, which could probably heard his street cred even more, but Tracy's speech is surprisingly thoughtful and low-key. He advises the kids to just be themselves ("especially you, gay kid." "Who told?") and never give into fear. Then he guarantees each one of them will become President of the United States someday. He is still given an honorary diploma, and he promptly bursts into tears. So much for saving face in his old high school.

Jack's dad stops by his office to tell him he doesn't really want a kidney, just a chance to make up for lost time (especially if he doesn't have much time left). Jack invites him to a Yankees game, and his dad is glad they have baseball in common because he just so happens to have one (a ball) in his bag right now. He wants Jack to have it, but he says he can't accept, and they toss it back and forth in an odd game of father-son catch about forty years too late. It gets him thinking that he really does want to help this guy, and when Dr. Spaceman announces he's not a batch to be a donor, that works out even better. Now he can come up with a way to manipulate someone else to help. Jenna suggests a star-studded concert, like when she needed to help "old gays." And so "Kidney Now" is born.

Jack asks Elvis Costello, Mary J Blige, and Clay Aiken to help him plan the event because they all have a charity background. Mary, for instance, is celebrating her tenth year with the Mary J Blige Foundation to Find the Loch Ness Monster. He also makes the point that it's a lot easier to see results when you only need to help one person. No one asks why Jack doesn't just pay for a transplant himself, considering how well he is doing back on top as an executive, because apparently they all owe him. He got Mary out of a contract singing for Sea World; Elvis is really an international art thief; and Clay's cousin already promised he would do it. Oh yeah, his cousin is Kenneth. Cute but who didn't see that one coming?

Jack gets some more talent to sign up, including Cyndi Lauper, Adam Levine and Sheryl Crow, who comments she played a kidney in a school play once...but he lies to Jenna about it so she won't want to do a song, too. And so starts a musical collaboration like no other: "Just give a kidney/to a father or a dad/just give a kidney/we hear it doesn't really hurt that bad." Jenna squeezes in, too, of course, just in time for the "spoken word" portion, where they admit "only" three of them are drunk. Funniest telethon ever! And if they sold the song as a music video on iTunes, I'd donate the $1.99 toward the kidney foundation! Jack's dad's or otherwise!

Liz has been asked to appear back on the Fake Tyra show as a sort-of relationship guru, which is funny and sad all at the same time, but Jack tells her to go for it because life is short, and really TGS only has about two more years left in it. I hope that's not true for the show outside of the show: 30 Rock! I want to see this baby hit double digits! But as Jack mentions, it's not Wings. Pete and Tracy's wives (yes, Sherri Shepherd returns!) come to Liz for advice, too, and at first she resists because she knows both them and their husbands and finds it might be a breach of-- oh but the gossip is too juicy, and her hesitation from the saucy "S.I.D.D (Shut. It Down. Dealbreaker)" is short-lived. Even Jenna and Cerie get in on the action, and soon Liz' office is full of women cheering for her like they would normally only do for Oprah.

Liz is off to meet a publisher about a "Dealbreaker" book when Pete and Tracy confront her for ruining their relationships with their wives. Pete doesn't want to go on the family vacation because it's to a working farm, where he would have to guide the bull during mating season. And Tracy only got that hotel room so he can go to the bathroom in peace and quiet. They both tell her she doesn't know what she's talking about and can't go around telling people how to run their relationships, but she's a woman on a mission and can't believe what a year it's been. "What are you talking about? It's May," Jack points out.

Maybe so, but I miss you already, 30 Rock!!!




Best lines of the night:

Jack: "Since Guiliani left it's gotten really hard to harvest hobo organs."

Liz: "You're fiance's gay. Look at him; look at you: classic case of fruit-blindness."

Liz: "There's no such thing as bi-sexual; that's just something they invented in the nineties to sell hair products."

Jack: "The Donaughys do not talk: we let things fester until they erupt in inappropriate anger at a wedding or an elementary school graduation."

Liz: "Get yours. I like that. Can I use that as one of my new catchphrases?"
Jack: "Sorry, Leo Spaceman is using that as the title for his new sex book for couples."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

General Douchebaggery...

New in the world of "My Life, Made Possible By Pop Culture" is a pictorial column I like to call "General Douchebaggery." Sometimes only one photo will be featured, sometimes a dozen, depending on how many offenders I find at whatever particular LA locale I have recently been. Today's comes straight to you from last night's Maxim Hot 100 party and features everything from chin pubes to popped collars to a Guido suit. Enjoy!

Hottie of the Week: Brian Austin Green...

After so much focus on hot women in the last couple of days with Maxim unveiling their newest list, I'm certainly glad to get back to my weekly Hottie of the Week column! In case you haven't noticed, I only profile men I find attractive here. No suggestions welcome ;) PS: People Magazine, feel free to contact me if and when you decide to have an event for your Sexiest Men issue because you know I would be all over covering THAT!

I'm not usually all that willing to overlook some past fashion missteps, like MC Hammer pants and fade-tops and shiny hoop earrings (on men). I'm even less inclined to overlook some past creative missteps, like poor writing (and even worse dancing) in white-bread, corn-fed rap videos. My feeling has always been that you have to know who you are as an artist before entering this business or you'll be too easily swept up by thoughts of fame and dollar signs. Brian Austin-- err, excuse me, I mean A. Green falls into the latter category, unfortunately, as eye-candy-actor-turned-rapped-turned-serious-actor. Normally, I would never indulge his behavior, especially for a single dad who is "engaged to" a twenty-something-child who prides herself on parading around in bikinis, bras, and the occasional trucker hat. But something about Green is attractive, even after all of these years-- oh that's right, it's just him. He has truly come into his own not as the boy who caught Donna Martin's eye in the nineties but as the man who has caught mine today.