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Archive for November, 2008

Amy Poehler

Let’s face it. Amy was the best thing on SNL for years, but this year, her Hilary Clinton was as spot on as Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin- but in some ways, funnier, because Hilary appears to be totally humorless while Palin- well, she didn’t seem to mind the joke so much. ( I have not crossed over to the dark side, I’m making an observation- Dems forever…) But Add to that the fact Amy made Baby Mama really hilarious and that Palin rap ( above) was a gem in a lackluster SNL season… and she did that mere hours before going into labor, I swear. Plus,  as my friend Rose pointed out, she and husband Will Arnett ( forever Gob…) get massive cool points for naming their son Archibald. Archie. We’re living in Riverdale, too? Awesomeness!!!!!

( President-elect) Barack Obama

We Liberal types hoped it never had to be said, but we knew it would have to come. And when Obama stood on a stage and gave his speech on race in America, he gave the speech of the election cycle. You would have to be hard hearted and possibly the worlds greatest cynic if there were not moments in that speech that moved you. Racism isn’t over, but there was a huge victory in the desire to see it diminish even more.

Ari Graynor

When you have Michael Cera and Kat Dennings in a movie, you already have a good start. But Ari Graynor’s role as the lost drunk best friend- that was priceless. And the scene with the gum- I never laughed so hard while trying not to throw up before. There’s even award buzz.

Robert Sean Leonard

What does he have to do to get some Emmy love? House is an easy role- it’s loud and obnoxious, and easy to see. Leonard’s Wilson is the more difficult role- you put up with such insanity, you are a martyr. But when he gets the story he deserves, he delivers, and breaks your heart in the process. His performance in ” Wilson’s Heart” was devastating.

Hugh Dillon

To us Canucks, Hugh Dillon is a legend- front man to the Headstones, awesome mohawk, and the lead in the cult classic Hard Core Logo. But in Flashpoint and Durham County, he proved himself more than capable as an actor- he was the heart of the former, the indisputable star. Astonishingly understated and moving.

Anne Hathaway and Bill Irwin

She plays against type as a destructive, self absorbed, vicious creature who comes home from rehab for her sister’s wedding. He’s a loving, placating, nurturing, heartbroken father. She’ll get an Oscar nod, he’ll be overlooked ( shame, Academy, shame!) But they are both absolutely luminous.

Tom Bergeron

The man makes DWTS bearable. Quick on his feet funny always wins.

Jane Lynch And Matthew Gray Gubler

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Matthew Gray Gubler just gets better and better as Dr. Spencer Reid, and the popularity of Spencer-centric episodes among CM fans means we can’t get enough of him ( many fan fave lists include Spencer-centric episodes). But the occasional appearance by Jane Lynch as Diana Reid lifts the show up even further. Emmy chances for Gubler in a crowded drama field seems unlikely but that’s a shame, as his performances in ” Elephant’s Memory”, ” Minimal Loss”, ” The Instincts”, and ” Memorium” ( above, top) were astonishing. Lynch, though, deserves an Emmy award for underplaying ( and there by, giving a true performance as opposed to award bait) the schizophrenic Diana, and if she doesn’t get one, CM enters my list as shows that Emmy voters will never get ( with Gilmore Girls and Buffy- seriously.)

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Whatever.

Yes, let us start with an obvious list. Read about them after the jump. (more…)

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What the hell is AlphaInventions, and why am i getting so many hits off of it? Not that I mind, but when i click the link, I’m lost in a sea of computer babble that is way over my head. Anyone who clicks from there, help me out. I’m brilliant at music, television and movies, but the internet is still one giant mystery to me.

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Do you like movies? Do you love them with a passion  known as geektastically so? Do you want to listen to amazing music, and read amazing text? Then travel on to Internet Archive. I was perusing one day earlier this year and came across a lot of Keaton and Chaplin. No surprise they were there, as these movies, now nearing the century old mark, would seem to have lapsed into the public domain. The archive specializes in public domain ( and therefore, completely legal) media. I found there Salt of the Earth, the classic movie made by the Hollywood Ten ( specifically, Biberman), and while the quality sucks ass, it remains a vibrant and vital film.

How freakin’ amazing is that? Also there- Night Of the Living Dead, Reefer Madness, The 39 Steps, Shadow Of A Doubt… apparently, Patricia Hitchcock allowed the copyright to lapse on a few of her dad’s films… But go, and see if you can find a lost gem. I sure did.

(more…)

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Congrats are in order

To A.J. Cook and her husband, Nathan Anderson. Their son, Mekhai, was born on September 13.

We all love you, A.J., and we wish you all the joy in the world. Nathan and baby Mekhai, you too.

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davidc4

My undying devotion to the one known as SBF during American Idol is legendary. The punk rock chick in me is needing to know that rock still has a place in the pop culture universe, and AI is the music equivalent to the Psychic Friends. Rock indeed can sell in today’s market, even in the context of a popularity contest disguised as a talent show. That being said, AI this year was also awash with pure talent.

The typically quick turnaround ( 10 weeks) of our reigning champs debut means two things. One, it’s uneven. Two, it’s a good representation of what we shall expect in David Cook’s career. Overall, DC’s independent debut/ mini masterpiece Analog Heart, self written and self produced, is a better album. That doesn’t mean David Cook is a bad album. On the contrary, in the realm of Idol world, it’s freaking Abbey Road to Kelly Clarkson’s Breakaway ( the Sgt. Pepper’s of this analogy) and Carrie Underwood’s Some Hearts ( Let It Be). ( Chris Daughtry’s album would be Let It Bleed– similar, but not the same, regardless of what other hacks try to say). It also is one of the better rock records of the year. Take it from someone who is coming out of her GNR denial and realizing what crap that record is. DC is modern despite his throwback sound.

Songwriting by committee, though, rarely serves a rock album well. With names like Chris Cornell, Raine Maida, John Rzeznik, and Kevin Griffin, DC is working with some of the best, most melodic songwriters in the biz. The delicate ” Permanent” ( co-written with Maida and Maida’s wife, chanteuse Chantal Kreviazuk, and it has her fingerprints all over it) is the loveliest song on the album. the lead off single, ” Light On”, has grown on me significantly since my first review, and is now one of my favorite songs of the year, with it’s minor key intro and soaring chorus. ” Declaration” ( a.k.a. the other song played on SNL) is melodic and rocking. ” Bar-Ba-Sol”, the best track on the album, is blessed with an asymmetrical melody, grinding guitars, and a solo that peels the paint off the ceiling, teamed with an awesomely off-kilter vocal melody. ” A Daily AntheM”, a holdover from his solo writing, is the truest song, the one completely in his voice, and it’s connection on an emotional level with me is pretty amazing.

Not every track works for me. I know fans love ” Life On the Moon”, which is blessed with a great melody, but the lyrics buckle under the titular conceit.  DC’s usual hyper-literate lyrics are missing ( go check out Analog Heart for comparison sake- once a word nerd, always a word nerd, but clever and CLEVER play differently). ” Come Back To Me”- I have listened to that song a dozen times and I can’t remember much about it. It’s lost among stronger material. ” Mr. Sensitive” is too on the nose ( I like my rock songs with a little quirk in them). The inclusion of the truly now grating ” Time Of My Life” is certainly not DC’s fault, as I’m sure 19 Entertainment contracts stipulate the Idol will forever be saddled with that claptrap.

It’s not a perfect album. It is, however, thoroughly enjoyable, well produced ( props to Rob Cavallo for not making it sound like it went through a digital blender, but like a rock record), and overall, considering this year in music, one of the better albums of the year.

Grade- B

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Emmy.

That’s my word and I’m sticking to it.

Jane Lynch deserves a freaking Emmy.

Those of us who spend way too much time watching movies by… say… Christopher Guest… are very familiar with funny Jane Lynch, who was delightful in Best In Show and A Mighty Wind ( one of my top twenty movies of all time- I should post that list…) and I love her. I adore her. And her turn as Diana Reid is one for the ages. I commented last week on how she’s not portraying Diana as a stereotypical TV schizophrenic. She doesn’t appear troubled. She just is. And I love that about her on Criminal Minds.

Oh, and what an episode we got this week. Our beloved genius Dr. Reid has a huge chip on his shoulder, and as brilliant as he is, he still allowed emotion to color his investigative skills. Top that with an exquisitely raw performance by Matthew Gray Gubler and you have what is the best episode of the series. Bar none. Kudos as well to writers Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie for crafting an amazing script that allows for character growth of the highest calibre mixed with the psychology and crime fighting we love to see.

This episode picks up the day after the previous. The team has stayed in Vegas a night. Prentiss is paying for it with a hangover. Reid informs the team he would like  to stay and ” visit his mother”. Yeah, right, we know Reid avoids Bennington Sanitarium like the plague if he can help it. Morgan knows better, but plays along. So Reid treks to the local precinct and asks to see all the files on Riley Jenkins. He meets the cop who responded to the scene. The family was the original group of suspects, but the detective never liked them for it. Reid has an alternative theory, but doesn’t share it with our neighborhood Friday. He instead takes the files back to his hotel room- where Morgan and Rossi are watching Y&R on the TV ( thank you, Ed, for that cookie! For those in the know, the producers like to leave little fan pieces called cookies- Reid driving is a cookie, the inside to any team members house is a cookie, the name Andy Swan is a cookie, and the fact Shemar Moore is watching Y&R- major cookie. Mrs. Fields cookie worthy). Morgan can’t believe that Reid keeps trying to get away with lying to profilers who see him every day. Rossi insists that they are here to help Reid sort out his subconscious mind scrambles and if they had a suspect. Reid informs them that he has one- his father.

Truth be told, I actually feel very little sympathy for William Reid, but my own father issues may have something to do with that as well. Spencer has every right to be pissed at the man. Who abandons their ten year old son and schizophrenic wife?  Who abandons their ten year old son with their schizophrenic wife? But those scenes in Revelations now make more sense.  But William Reid is surprised to see Spencer ( Spencer seems ready to punch his father when they meet up, but instead lashes out with arcane facts- the best way to fight is to say you can’t possibly resemble someone you haven’t seen in nearly two decades). But he is not shocked by the fact Spencer would see him as a murderer in a dream. ” I stopped being surprised by Spencer’s mind a long time ago,” he admits. Spencer is unimpressed by anything William has to say.

Spencer Reid started out in season one a quiet, meek human computer, good for exposition and facts. His emotions ranged from A to C.  It wasn’t till ” L.D.S.K.” we got a little something from Reid,  and he grew a bit in the last two thirds of the season. ” Sex, Birth, And Death” was a real gut kick of emotion, and the one that proved how conflicted Reid was. Reid has a tendency to identify with the unsubs more often than not, and to be that brilliant with that much internalized anger must make for one troubled angry young man. You know everything, but try to deny feeling anything. He’s a walking example of a John Osborne character is Osborne wrote CBS crime shows instead of kitchen sink dramas. Here, Spencer is a boiling cauldron of fierce emotions. He seems willing to sacrifice anything and everything to nail the person who hurt him the most in this world, even as everyone around him keeps saying that William Reid doesn’t fit the profile. The arrival of a possible real suspect doesn’t faze Spencer. He plows ahead, and in his determination to prove his dream the truth, he sends his mother over the edge, causing a spastic freak out. Jane Lynch ( glowing here) does the most graceful melt down on TV. Even here, in the most stereotypically crazy moment, she somehow underplays it, and seems lucid enough to recognize the truth in the face of her son’s painful accusations directed at a man she still feels a connection to ( is it me, or does she still wear a ring on her left ring finger?).  Spencer, even as the evidence mounts to point the finger at Gary Michaels, is convinced everyone is trying to protect William Reid by producing a more obvious, and therefore convenient suspect. When Michaels turns up in CODIS as a murder victim, and the real truth about the bloody clothes William Reid burned in the backyard BBQ pit comes out, Reid is almost shell shocked by it. He admits to his momentarily reunited parents that he was wrong about everything. William admits that he left because the secrets were too much to bear, no matter how hard he tried to keep it all together. I suspect, due to ” Revelations” scene moments, that Diana Reid went downhill after the incident. And then, sounding like the sad ten year old he seems to still be at moments, Spencer looks at his father and says ” You could have come back.” Even a genius can believe in the myth of his divorced parents somehow getting back together again. Even when he’s now twenty seven.

The B story this week was about JJ. JJ had her baby, folks, a boy named Henry. Poor Jordan lost out on two weeks of training as JJ went into labor early. But JJ had her baby. Thing I love about CM- even the woman going into labor scene was atypical of TV story telling. No one panicked ( except JJ- she was in labor, that should happen). Hotch, Prentiss, and Garcia were family, talking her through it and aiding her without freaking out. When Reid finally gets home, he visits JJ, who asks him to be Henry’s godfather. Reid is hesitant- babies are not his thing, he has believed- but he takes one look at Henry and the emotions run high. One call, and Henry is in CalTech, although Yales pretty good, too. It was Spencer’s safety school.

Overall- amazing. So good. Performances all around were great, but again, the show would have fallen apart if Matthew Gray Gubler and Jane Lynch do not play with the levels of subtlety they do. Understated performances by these two anchor the story, and they both shine. Jane Lynch right now is the front runner in my upcoming annual Pedalicious awards. Just so you know. There’s still… six weeks left to try and stop her, you know. And Gubler- he keeps impressing me as an actor. He’s always been charismatic and charming, but these last two episodes show his astonishing range and his control of that range. Blow me out of the water, Gubes. You deserve a shot at Emmy gold yourself. And I thought you deserved a nod last year for “Elephant’s Memory”.

Grade- A+ ( A++ for realsies, but I really shouldn’t be ridiculous with my grades, you know).

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