Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I guess it's about what the market will bear

If by "the market," you mean "our stomachs." Does this mean I have to thank capitalism now?

The pictures of Suri Cruise fail to sell, because apparently, in Hollywood, $3 million is an insult (especially in light of other recent baby picture deals).

Tom was heard to say, "I don't get out of bed in the morning for less than $20 million. That is, if I slept. Which I don't. They won't let me. Why won't they let me? Just a little shut-eye? Just a little --" and then the handlers stepped in.

Forwarded to us by M&C operative, Tea, with the suitably arch note: "And the presents just keep coming."

Monday, June 26, 2006

Welcome to the Dark Side, Mom

When I was little, one of the scariest movies I saw was the one where the kid sees a flying saucer land over the hill and then every adult in town starts acting strangely. (I was so young when I saw it at the drive-in, I can't even remember the name, though I do remember that they re-made it badly later, and I saw that one on cable and it didn't scare me at all. And IMDB is not being psychic today, curse it. So forgive me for the verbose description. )

Anyway, the wacked-out adults all have the creepy little dots on the back of their necks, little grey dots that glistened like mercury. And I know I could totally see the strings on the flying saucer, and the hill was clearly made out of paster of Paris and, like, tissue paper, and I know the whole movie was meant to be some larger metaphor about Communism, but the absolute worst part (which had me waking up from my own recurring version for years) was when the kid realizes at the breakfast table that just above his father's neatly starched collar is . . . a grey dot. At which point, the kid loses his mind.

So, yesterday's conversation goes a little something like this:

Seren's mother: Have you seen this show, Deadwood ?

Seren: Uh, no. No pay cable channels in my personal ghetto. Have you?

Seren's mother: The language --

Seren: Yeah, I heard it's rough.

Seren's mother: No -- well, yes -- but it's like . . . Shakespeare.

Grey dot, people. Grey. Dot.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Newsweek -- our new total favorite

So, we linked to Newsweek, and Newsweek linked back!

Some of you already know this (having gotten here from there) -- and if so, welcome!

We'd like to thank the random Gods of the Internets (and/or Technorati) for the random plug. Our icecube hearts unfroze just the tiniest little bit in glee. We don't know if that's supporting evidence of global warming or what, but air kisses for everyone!

The contradiction of Aaron Spelling's TV legacy

There isn't a person alive who didn't think fondly of their favorite TV show when Aaron Spelling died. It's an uncontested fact the man built a TV empire, let alone legacy. Like Seren, I, too credit Spelling for giving us such strong female-centered roles. (Charmed, for example, is the longest running lead female show.) While Spelling's shows enjoyed the moniker of "campy" instead of "critical darling," there is something to be said for the aplomb to cast female leads as well as exploring the nature of good ole TV fun.

But on the flip side, the duality of Spelling legacy towards women in TV creates inner conflicts. While I loved seeing Phoebe, Prue, Piper and later Paige kick demon ass, they also jiggled, giggled and flipped their hair over their shoulders, much like Charlie's Angels before them. Phoebe spent much of her screen time half-naked. Amanda Woodward was the power executive who made the big bucks and got whatever she wanted. She was the bitch everyone loved to hate. Not that I wanted that much reality on TV (reality and Spelling don't really go hand in hand) but in putting women front and center on his shows, Spelling and his crew also tended to parade them. Certain feminists would point out that it's great to see a strong woman who also knows how to use mascara and lip gloss. Other feminists would argue the correlation between beauty and strength, asking why one could not survive without the other.

But no matter how one looks at it, Spelling has created and influenced enough to last generations and even inspire analysis. And isn't that the trademark of success--to keep those talking long after you're gone?

Flights of Angels sing you to your rest

Aaron Spelling has passed away at age 83.

Can any of us really say how much Mr. Spelling shaped television as we've known it for the last thirty years? What he didn't directly produce, he deeply influenced. Feelings about quality v. quantity aside, I'd like a moment of silence for the man who gave me Charlie's Angels. It wasn't often playing pretend with my brothers that I got to be the protagonist, that I got to be the one setting the rules of the game and writing the plot of the crime we were about to foil. But when I was Sabrina? Yeah, that rocked.

Thanks, Mr. Spelling. Growing up as a girl in the 70s was that much better because of you.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Among the many reasons to love Johnny Depp

He's got John Waters doing his PR:

"Nothing against Tom [Cruise], but Johnny may be a bigger star now," says director John Waters, who cast Depp in 1990's "Cry-Baby." "Nobody is sick of Johnny Depp."

"First of all, Johnny is a pirate in real life," says John Waters. "It's the closest part he's ever played to his real self, but the fact that he played it kind of nelly was a big risk." Pause. "If only real gay pirates were that much fun."

This being the blog-world, someone out there is totally sick of Johnny Depp (and posting vociferiously about it), but I am not. So, ha! I say. Ha!

Cleansing the palate

For those of you who feel the need to take a shower to wash off all the stupid after reading the interview with Brandon Routh, or for those of you who'd just like to hear the English language used accurately, I give you the delightful Anne Hathaway.

Choice moments:

AP: Have you ever had a job as an assistant?

Hathaway: I've honestly been really lucky. My only jobs have been babysitting and acting.

AP: Did you ever dream you'd work with Meryl Streep?

Hathaway: Well, of course I dreamed, but you also dream about being president — the likelihood is slim.

Hathaway: I'd like to be a working actor. I know it sounds very simple, but the importance of that cannot be overstated. It sounds really trite, but there really are no small parts, only small actors. And so as long as I'm a working actor, I can improve. I want to work with people that frighten me and excite me, and characters that I don't believe I'm the best person for the part but I'm still gonna try anyway. Those are my favorite roles.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Thanks for the red haze before my eyes!

Okay, I admit, I am predisposed not to like Brandon Routh, but I'm still going to have to ask him to stop saying things that TICK. ME. OFF.

Among the blander, duller, overly explained things he has to say is this:

"I think I initially dashed my thoughts of being an actor when I realized I lived in Norwalk, Iowa," Routh said. "I didn't think it was realistic. It wasn't until I got older and some doors kind of opened and I explored a couple of paths that I realized maybe this is OK and I can give it a shot. I can always come back to school and go back to being an English major and pursue my writing career if it doesn't work out. "

It's not only that one cannot dash thoughts, sir. It's that some of us do not pursue writing as a backup career, and some of us do not appreciate when dilettantes assume it's something you do only when what you really want to do fails to pan out. The correct formulation, sir, is that when your acting career falls through, you can always work at T.G.I. Friday's. Your fallback position, sir, is "Can I take your order?"

Maybe I'm mistaking youth and naiveté for arrogance here, and if so, my bad, but I'm about thisfar from climbing a water tower.

(P.S. I had no idea I had so much Superman hate in me. I think it's maybe that I never really got over Star Why-Don't-You-Just-Kill-My-Dreams-George Wars. Going to seek therapy right now, I swear.)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Sometimes a retread is worth it

Newsflash: Holmes could cash in on wedding to Cruise.

Does this mean that the Scoop knows more than all the other speculating Internet sources -- or less? Because Defamer had this area covered circa the Treacly Proposal Era.

The details fluctuate as to how much she's getting (answer: not nearly enough, of course), and I don't find this account any more credible than others, but what I do find interesting is this:

If the marriage lasts longer than eleven years, the contract becomes void and California's community property law kicks in — giving Holmes half of Cruise's rather sizeable fortune.

What's spooky is what Scoop doesn't mention, in light of this new fact, but which a glance at IMDB can tell you: That surprise divorce between Nicole Kidman and the TomBot? Happened at just under 11 years.

There's something to make you sleep with the light on.

Why Superman is going to suuuuuuck

1) Bryan Singer is a whore.

Bryan Singer had a steady thing going with his X-Men audience -- and, we thought, with the X-Men. He rewarded us with two outstanding movies; we rewarded him with increasing returns at the box office. Around my house, we used to insist that his name be said reverently, sotto voce, Bryan Singer, the way you might announce the pope.

But Superman bats his long black eyelashes at him -- and off Bryan goes.

And I say to you, the man who would abandon us to Brett Ratner on a movie in which (SPOILER ALERT!) Magneto, Mystique, and Rogue get de-mutantized, Jean Grey kills Cyclops and Charles Xavier, and Wolverine, with his emote level set at Absolutely Stunning, must kill Jean?!? -- that man is no friend.

How could he leave us, you ask? Fine, he's greedy, he's restless, he has some outsized respect for the Man of Steel, blah, blah, blah. But how could he leave the X-Men? How could he leave that narrative, knowing where it was going? What kind of integrity is it to maneuver your characters into a harrowing wasteland of a plot -- and then walk away?

Dear Bryan: Dead to me. XO, Seren.

2) Two words: Mis. Casting.

A little birdy tells me that cardboard cutout Brandon Routh cannot act in any sense of the word. Rumors aside, you can see it for yourself. As Pari's S.O. whispered to us in a dark theatre: His facial expression didn't change once through that whole preview. Let me put it this way: the dog I grew up with had more gravitas and pathos when we dressed him in a t-shirt and made him stand on his hind legs and walk.

Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane?!? You're telling me that one of the few really gutsy, quirky, independent, and charismatic women in the comic book universe, one of the few characters that little girls can choose to be when playing superheroes, is going to be portrayed by someone who didn't even have enough spunk to keep her own nose? I weep.

And what about Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor, you say? A good decade of bloat and what-were-you-thinkin-there-Kev roles have done their damage. I'm willing to wager that Kevin may redeem himself slightly, but the entire movie? No. There is only one character actor currently capable of redeeming an entire movie simply by his appearance in it, and he was too busy buttressing the entirety of The DaVinci Code with his charm and wickedly, wryly mouthing bad one-liners in the Ratner-wreck of X-Men 3. I guess even Sir Ian McKellan has to sleep once in a while. More is the pity.

3) Superman Returns does not get credit for the reflected glory of Batman Begins.

Firstly, when you say Superman Returns is going to be like Batman Begins, do you mean it's going to recycle hackneyed Orientalism generally (at what point is or has Liam Neeson ever been Tibetan?) and the entire plot of The Shadow specifically?

Secondly, logic, people: Neither Christian Bale nor Christopher Nolan are anywhere near this movie.

Thirdly, I ask you to consider this conspiracy theory: Katie Holmes on the set one day looks around at the exploding chaos, counts her six lines, and realizes that this is all Hollywood has in store for her. And then she goes and MARRIES TOM CRUISE. Now ask yourself if you want to support a movie that has that kind of repercussions?

I rest my case.

P.S. When all y'all see Superman Returns and you really like it a lot and as the credits roll, you find yourself saying, "That bitch Seren," what you should be doing is thanking me for calibrating your expectations so that, as the credits roll, you don't find yourself saying, "That bitch Singer." So, for that moment after the popcorn tub has emptied, I say: You're welcome.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

For all you Screech lovers out there

My husband found this story: Screech is losing his home due to bad credit and getting screwed over by some big NYC finance guy which totally made my morning.

Basically, you can buy a T-shirt to help Screech save his house and help him seek vengeance on the guy who dicked him over. When I asked my husband if he was going to buy a shirt (thinking this could be a scam born out of a scam and seriously, who really loves Screech enough to buy a T-shirt?), husband replied, "Oh yeah, these will make great birthday presents."

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Going soft

No, I'm not talking about my committment to blogging (though, seriously, sorry about the absences, folks, and for those of you whose email lacks response, doubly sorry).

I'm talking about this: After a life-altering experience last night, I now think Marc Anthony is a genuinely sweet, likeable, and humble guy.

I know that this is the part where the cynic in me, the bitter, bitter cynic we all know and love, would whisper That's exactly what his ex-wife says about him.

But for now, we're going to pretend that he didn't abandon his entire family to take up (for a second time) with Jennifer Lopez, for whom he alleged last night he wrote all his songs, including, I'm guessing, the ones that he wrote before they got back together for the second time while he was still married and a father of two. But I digress.

Here's how it happened:

I accidentally watched ten minutes of the Alma broadcast last night, because my VCR was still set to record some show that has long since had its finale. Prior to those ten minutes, I did not know that the Almas existed, and even now, ten minutes to the wiser, I'm not sure I know what they are really -- some kind of Latino entertainment achivement awards? (This is the part where the ignorant gringo in me should Google and where the lazy bones in me refuses.) Point is, I watched ten minutes of Marc Anthony being feted and awarded the Celia Cruz Lifetime Achievement Award.

And the man rendered me verklempt. He made me touch my chest and suck back tears. I know. Read on.

It sounds insincere recapping it here, but he bit his lip, teared up, wiped his eye rather overdramatically at a certain point but otherwise behaved as if he were manfully holding back real emotion, and then salsa-ed in his seat while people whose names I should maybe know, but don't (see note about gringo = me, above), performed works from his oevre. Performed them in ways that made them sound . . . listenable. I know. Read on.

Marc Anthony seemed genuinely touched by the canned speeches, even. Admittedly, Jimmy Smits can so smoothly sell a canned speech that it seems freshly picked off the tree. (I love me some Smits.) But not everyone was so -- let's call it persuasive, shall we? Nevertheless, the man of honor looked as if he was grateful and humbled that everyone decided to show up. He even looked into my blackened heart and seemed to say, Seren, I'm glad you showed up. Even with the asides about the ex-Mrs. Anthony and the children who are seemingly dead to me now, I'm glad you showed up.

How does a man sit through a montage of bit parts he's played (junkie and/or cop) in really unimportant films (I mean, I personally like Hackers, but.) and keep that goofy, kid-like smile on his face, except that he be sincerely humble?

It could be that he benefits from his anatomy. Let's face it: he looks like an earnest, gawky twelve-year-old. Those emotions I'm crediting as genuine -- if they were going across the face of someone who actually looked his age? I might have found them smug. But I did not.

I'm not saying that after ten minutes, I'm ready to buy all his albums. I'm not saying that I'll ever attend any one of his concerts. I'm saying that I may perk up a bit when he plays a bit part in the next blockbuster I see. I'm saying that I forgave him when he got all fatuous about Jen at the end. And that is saying a lot. It's saying I've gone soft.

And then on top of that, Keanu Reeves goes and says something really meaningful:

"Grief changes shape, but it never ends. People have a misconception that you can deal with it and say, 'It's gone, and I'm better.' They're wrong. When the people you love are gone, you're alone."

Clearly, the universe is soaking me in milk like a graham cracker. It's all just priming me to actually enjoy The Lake House.