Thursday, January 29, 2009

Slumdog Title Fight

The decidedly non-canine residents of actual slums in Mumbai that serve as inspiration for the hit Oscar-locked Slumdog Millionaire (it's like Quiz Show meets Annie! But without all the crackers!) are taking issue with the movie's title. Turns out destitutely poor people don't like to be called dogs. Who knew? Meanwhile, mall security officers across the US are offended by the title Paul Blart: Mall Cop. They all failed miserably in their attempts at being cops. That's why they work in malls.

Did you like that one? How about this: Brides across the country are distancing themselves from the film Bride Wars. It's got nothing to do with the title. They just think it's an awful movie.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ashlee Simpson-Wentz Throws Surgically Modified Hat into Ring

Jessica Simpson's younger, smaller, somehow less-relevant sister spoke up about all the attention paid this week to her sister's apparent weight-gain. "I am completely disgusted by the headlines concerning my sister's weight," Ashlee said. "A week after the inauguration and with such a feeling of hope in the air for our country, I find it completely embarrassing and belittling to all women to read about a woman's weight or figure as a headline on Fox News." First of all Ashlee, you're missing the point. It's not the weight. It's those godforsaken mom jeans. At a CHILI COOK-OFF. Second, Fox News made their name in embarrassing and belittling headlines, which is why you should tell your weird dad that just because he'd let O'Reilly spank him, you shouldn't have to watch the station if you don't want to.

She also said, "How can we expect teenage girls to love and respect themselves in an environment where we criticize a size 2 figure?" This is from a girl who used the absurd amounts of money she made for barely singing banal pop songs to buy herself a new face.

She finished with "Now can we focus on the things that really matter." OK. Please god tell us why you hate your child so much. You know, Staten Island Thumper or whatever the hell idiotic thing you named it.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jessica, We Get It, You're Country Now

Jessica Simpson made an appearance in Pembroke Pines, FL this weekend to sing cuts off her latest attempt at some sort of relevancy. At a chili cook-off. In mom jeans. As you can see, she's been eating her feelings about the Cowboys' season. Just kidding. She has no idea who Romo plays for.

For anyone that's been paying attention, you should know by now that she's been hitting the country angle pretty hard the last year or so, after her handlers realized people don't seem to enjoy watching her fellate a microphone (seriously, have you seen her perform? Makes me all squirmy). This latest appearance shows a real breakthrough in her camp's imaging work. So what can we expect down the road for Ms. Simpson?
  • A ribbon-cutting at the new Piggly Wiggly in Stinking Creek, TN, wearing an American flag tshirt and Carhartt pants.
  • A charity performance for workers laid off from Pabst Blue Ribbon bottling plants, wearing a Confederate flag muumuu.
  • A bid to get on Palin's 2012 ticket.
PS I stole this picture from US Weekly's website, and they titled it "simpson-fat-b." Remember that in two months when they run an article on how unfairly she's being treated for gaining weight.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Confessions of an American Idol Producer

Hey folks, we've got a real exciting exclusive here today. I managed to wrangle a producer from American Idol into giving us a little insight into what it's like to be a part of the #1 show on television. Here's their account, given on condition of anonymity and, note the quotes, "if someone can please God get me out of this, dead or alive." So here it is...

I hooked up with Idol back in 2004, right before the auditions. I'd done some work with kids before, mostly corral duty, but the Idol guys thought I had an eye for good stories. And trust me, when Idol comes knockin at your door you open it. At this point they could do three hours a week of that retarded Chinese guy pooping on Simon and they'd still be #1. So my first job was at the San Antonio auditions. I had to go through the line & type people out. This part of it wasn't really that bad. The kids I ended up sending home either weren't quite attractive enough or weren't quite good enough to win it all, and they were too smart or raised too well to make good TV. I didn't feel so bad about this. They were good kids who worked pretty hard, so I knew this wasn't going to be the end for them. I was still sleeping most of the night. Finished out that audition season, and they told me to come back next year. Took a few months off with what they gave me, went on a cruise with the wife, started a solid college fund for my daughter.

I came back to the same position next season. First city or two were fine. Then, due to a couple events higher up the chain that might have been accidents, might have been self-inflicted, we lost a few decision makers after the next city, maybe Chicago, I don't know. It all looks the same to me now. So based on my performance so far, it fell on me to start deciding who went in front of The Judges. This is where things get interesting. The showrunner called this part "Sad Sacks and Circus Acts." Here we've got cattle that will get to sing for someone, but is it us or The Judges? Here's a little secret: most of those Gold Ticket kids you see don't meet Simon til Hollywood. No one wants to watch an hour of attractive, talented young people getting what they want. They want to see those people get knocked down a notch or two. Or they want to see People Who Can't Catch a Break actually, well, catch a break. Or they want to see freakshows try to act like they aren't the result of a brother and sister getting inappropriate. So we sent a few obligatory Mouseketeers through to The Judges with all the Sad Sacks too, recorded the rest auditioning for us, and that leaves the freakshow. That's all Judges. We got none of them.

This was around the time I started feeling tired, dragging around these convention centers drinking gallons of burnt coffee. Then when we finished and I got to the hotel, I couldn't sleep to save my life. Couldn't peg it. I was making crazy bank now, I should have been overjoyed. I could take off the whole time before the next season, my kid could have gone to fuckin Yale if she wanted, but here I was in Salt Lake City or some other armpit trying to get Zs on stale motel pillows, giving up and watching infomercials.

I got another pay bump next season, so I coasted on autopilot most of that one. It wasn't until this year that I really pegged what was going on, and I'll tell you just who was responsible for it. Rebecca Garcia. Damned if I ever forget that name. She's that cute, awkward brunette from Nashville that showed up at our Louisville auditions. I don't know how she made it in front of The Judges, and I'd sure like to make a few heads roll, but I know that wouldn't really change anything. She was too attractive to be weird enough to be interesting, if you follow, and she wasn't quite bad enough to give the lumps at home that familiar sense of superiority. But I watched the tape on her that night, and I felt the weight of what I'd been doing for the last four years. She really thought she had it. And I know what you're thinking. Plenty of people think they have it when they walk into that room, and they're thinking otherwise when they walk out. But most of those people are the freakshow, born into failure. It's written on their faces, and they're too dumb to see it when they look in the mirror. Garcia was different. Something ended that day that was really important to her, and I'm the one that ended it. Blame it on autopilot, blame it on some kid below me in the food chain, it doesn't matter because it made me see how many roads I'd turned into dead ends. For what? For Nielsen points. For money. For holes like you, so you can sit at home stuffing your face, knowing you're better than these kids because you've got the sense never to try anything, never to stick your wattled neck out on the line to get something. Well good for you.

Why don't I quit? My family, I guess. The network suits are wise to us after the "accidents" I mentioned earlier. Anyone threatens to quit, they sweeten the pot til you can't resist. Anyone mysteriously disappears, or maybe they leave the car on too long in the garage, their family loses everything. Damned if it doesn't work. So I'm not sleeping much these days. Every once in a while I manage to find some sort of trance-like state before the sun comes up. And what do I dream of? Some nutjob coming in and just slaughtering the whole staff. Then my kid could go to Yale, and I could sleep.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

And They're Off!

The annual art-as-horserace event known as the Academy Awards fast approacheth, with the nominations being announced today. Much noise seems to have arisen about the absence of The Dark Knight from the Best Picture category, but I can't say I find that to be much of a surprise. Sure, it's a fanboy's dream (I say fanboy with love and self-inclusion), but while we have a black president, I'm not so sure we're ready for a superhero movie in the Best Picture slot. I am disappointed with the lack of both Christopher Nolan and Darren Aronofsky from the Directing category, as well as Springsteen's absence from Best Song category (really Slumdog, two songs?), but I'm well past the point of giving a damn what the Academy thinks about movies that I enjoy (thank you 73rd Annual Academy Awards; Julia Roberts definitely deserved the award over Ellen Burstyn /sarcasm). And while I loved The Wrestler, if Aronofsky wasn't nominated for The Fountain or Requiem for a Dream, then he shouldn't be nominated for this either. That would be like Scorsese winning for The Departed instead of Raging Bull...oh.

I understand that the film industry is largely that, an industry. You don't hear anything about the watercolor industry, or the bronze sculpture industry. That would be absurd. But combining elements of art, business, and March Madness into an event dubbed the "Women's Superbowl" (thanks guys) basically tends to melt my brain stuff. It's sort of like voting for someone because you'd like to go drinking with him...oh.

So prepare yourself for an entertainment "journalism" assault consisting of what they wore, what they said, how Brad and Jen avoided each other, and absolutely zero discussion about who should win and why. Because that's clearly not what these awards are about...oh.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Joaquin is Wack Yo

In an astounding display of business acumen, Oscar-nominated (twice) actor Joaquin Phoenix recently retired from his craft of twenty years to pursue a career in music. This weekend he gave everyone a taste of his talent in Vegas. Based on his abilities that he displayed in Walk the Line, combined with his hippie upbringing and family's penchant for rock & roll, I expected something with guitars that focused on vocals. The vocals part was right; the genre, wrong. He rapped. Apparently pretty badly. One can only hope he was at least wearing a costume from Gladiator. On some other plane, Johnny Cash is in a drunken rage. For a bizarre little topper, his brother-in-law Casey Affleck was there to film it. In light of this event, I thought I'd look at some other misguided second careers from history.
  • Tired of the high-pressure world of having a shit-ton of money, Steve Forbes took a break and a chunk of his own wealth to finance and star in his own spy thriller. Unfortunately, no one would distribute it due to the graphic violence and Forbes' near-constant nudity.
  • Convinced his immense knowledge of physics could help him master golf, Stephen Hawking tried competing in the PGA. However, the board deemed that the robotic attachments he added to his chair in order to play were in fact completely illegal.
  • Richard Simmons felt his bubbling personality and can-do spirit were just the thing to help reform hardened criminals. He entered Riker's Island on September 15, 2007, and was never heard from again.
  • Shaquille O'Neal, knowing his body couldn't last much longer in the NBA, decided to slow things down and teach kindergarten. On his first day, confused by all the words and numbers surrounding him, he went into a berserker rage and began slam-dunking children into trash cans.
  • Failed oil man and failed baseball club owner George Walker Bush thought it might be a good idea to give politics a shot.
That's my rhyme. I'm out y'all.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bud's Back

David Faustino, following the footsteps of many before him, has done a web series in which he plays an exaggerated version of himself trying to gain a foothold (and a few bucks) in LA. Corin Nemec appears as his roomate/best friend, and Ed O'Neill has a fun cameo in the first episode (posted below).

I'm not too sure what I think about this. I grew up on Married with Children, so it's great to see Faustino on camera with O'Neill again. There are a few gags that could have mileage, particularly Faustino's habitual suicide attempts. Really his character is more like Bud Bundy in his 30's than Faustino; he lives in filth, has a loose moral compass, and unabashedly checks out women. But the shocks they go for don't seem quite earned, and it looks like everyone's trying just a little too hard. They seem too intent on aping It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (even using some of the same open-license music) to break any new, worthwhile ground. Because nobody will do what Philadelphia does better than Philadelphia.

By the way, this series is featured on, which you probably don't know is Sony's online comedy extension. They also featured The Line. They also do a terrible job of publicizing themselves.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hef, It's Just Creepy Now

I'll admit I've seen my fair share of Girls Next Door episodes (meaning I don't leave the room when my fiance watches it), and the show is a lot of fun. The girls might not be published in Scientific American anytime soon, but they're sweet and the show lacks any of that tacky VH1 drama. Also I have a thing for blurry nipples.

My enjoyment of the show stems largely from my ability to completely forget the fact that the girls must, in order to live their carefree lifestyle, sexually satisfy a man who is most likely older than their grandparents. This is hardest to ignore when Kendra shares screentime with him, but it's still doable.

But now he's thrown these twins into the mix, and it shatters that wall that I've deftly put up in my mind between his saggy medicated penis and these young blondes. Because I don't buy the twin fantasy. Sure, I get its basis. What's better than sleeping with one surgically engineered blonde? Throwing another one on top that looks just like her. But come on. Would you bang a grampa with your sister? No, you wouldn't. Because what's worse than banging an 82-year old man? Banging an 82-year old man while someone with your DNA watches. It ain't right.

I've seen the "entertainment news" interviews with Hef on the subject, and they all pretty much have the "you old dog" attitude. But I live in a world where reality sort of takes precedence over everything else. And that usually makes me want to vomit away the bad things.

Predictions for The Real World: Brooklyn

•The wide-eyed innocence of episode one will be replaced with back-biting paranoia by episode three.

•The faux-hawked Mormon virgin will decide he “might be into boys” in the fourth episode.

•The Iraq vet will decide he isn’t ready to be under a microscope for two months and leave in the fifth episode. The beauty queen’s breasts will take his place.

•The transgendered woman will have the fewest hang-ups.

•I will lose a piece of my soul every Wednesday at 10 PM.

•Who am I kidding? The Vegas cast took my soul. And my youthful illusion that Vegas was a place of wonder and vitality. Which is still true if wonder=elbow herpes and vitality=discounted implants.