Thursday, September 28, 2006

One Trick Pony

The Scissor Sisters sucked on Dancing with the Stars last night. The problem with a band like that is that you can really put out only one good album and then the rest will just end up sucking. It's like wearing the same Halloween costume two years in a row. You just can't do it. Two summer ago, the Scissor Sisters blew me away with their disco interpretation of Comfortably Numb. Their self-titled album ended up being the top seller of 2004 in the UK. They only enjoyed moderate success here, and had to play smaller gigs around the country in comparison to sell-out stadiums overseas. I saw them play at the Khyber in Philly, and it was one of the best shows I have ever been to. The energy and charisma of the band encouraged pretty much everyone in the audience to dance like animals; every gay man in the place had his shirt off and people just lost control.

Based on last night's performance, though, I'm betting that their fifteen minutes are completely over. It was a sad, sad sight. Jake Shears looked like he was as high as a kite, and the drugs definitely didn't help him through "I Don't Feel Like Dancing". That song wouldn't make me feel like dancing, either. It was shit. Sorry, Scissor Sisters. Your days here are numbered, but it looks like the UK will hold on to your gimmick for a little while longer.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

For Real?

I thought I misheard Tom Bergeron on Dancing with the Stars tonight, so I rewinded it and watched it again. Tom said tomorrow night the Scissor Sisters would be performing on the show. Huh? Last week we had Julio Englesias and the prior week was Tom Jones, so the jump to Scissor Sisters is very odd. I heard their new album is dance-tastic, so I will no doubt check it out. But I'm still in shock that it's happening. What's next? Ben Gibbard on Celebrity Duets singing Such Great Heights with Lucy Lawless?


Okay, so after a week of new shows I've come to realize that I prefer my seasoned favorites like a creature of habit. The Office, Earl, Survivor, Amazing Race, Grey's Anatomy, CSI, Boston Legal, all the stuff I've been watching for 2 or 3 years, this is where I feel happiest while passing time in front of the idiot box. The new shows I've tuned into have just not grabbed me, not much has tickled my fancy. Except Heroes that is.

The dream of every small boy is to obtain superpowers, and I was no different than most boys. However, I probably spent less time worrying about how I could use my powers for good and more time wondering if X-Ray vision would make me see boobs or bones. Heroes on NBC debuted practically commercial free last night and replayed tonight inviting viewers to watch as a group of ordinary people come to the realization that they possess special powers. In a word, I found the show intriguing.

In Lost fashion, the show appears to be slowly unveiling as little tangible information as possible to hook you in for a full season, but the premiere did give us some broad strokes about how these folks will band together to save mankind. I was worried going in that this would be X-Men-ish, but instead of mutants we have a cheerleader, a male nurse, a politician, a Japanese business man and a soothsaying, junkie artist. And there's an imposing man with glasses who is chasing(?) after an Indian professor who is trying to continue his deceased father's work.

It's early in the year, and there's still some show yet to bow, but right now I'm kind of digging the Monday night 9-11 double shot of Heroes and Studio 60 as my favorite new spot on the tube. Feeling like I'm 11 years old again for an hour a week works for me.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Jackass Number Two

Those dimwits hell bent on self torture are back and boy did I miss them. Looks like a lot of folks did based on the box office from this weekend, 28 million on a 10 million dollar budget and about 18 million more than any other movie out there over the past 3 days. Not bad for a bunch of bratty skater kids who maim themselves for our twisted and voyeuristic pleasure.

Knoxville, Steve-O, Bam, Dunn, Pontius and the rest of the gang take things in this sequel to the next level, truly giving the appearance that they want to be seriously hurt or possibly killed while performing some ridiculous stunt. As lowbrow and infantile as this type of stuff is, you have to respect the fact that right now, collectively speaking, Jackass Two is getting better reviews than Invincible, The Black Dahlia and Hollywoodland. What does this say about us as a culture? We prefer shit jokes and pranks to conventional story telling? In any case, these guys have figured out how to make a franchise out of pain and laughter. And good for them.

There are obvious staged scenes in this one (the fan letter on the wall), and occasionally the boys appear to be adding some padding for protection (Knoxville on the teeter-totter) but you have respect that they put themselves in precarious positions for our enjoyment and always have 2 or 3 throwaway lines that make you piss yourself. I'd recommend this one just to see the opening credits scene and the closing musical number alone.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Avett Brothers @ The Mission

If you haven't heard of the Avett Brothers outta Concord, North Carolina, go hit up their Myspace and let your ears be romanced. Scott and Seth Avett brought their energetic live show to Augusta on Friday night and once again stomped and strummed their way into my heart with their 21st Century take on Bluegrass. The boys put up a 2 hour set of both loud and soft; sweet, bitter and bittersweet tunes that make you want to fall in love and twirl about aimlessly on the dirty dance floor. Although their recorded stuff is worth buying, you have to catch the live show to truly appreciate the magic that is The Avett Brothers.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Television Overload

Whoa. What a very long week of TV. I still haven't gotten around to watching everything I wanted, Grey's Anatomy and Six Degrees are on the DVR ready for digestion today, but I did manage to give a looksee at a couple new programs, and a few old steady's back for another run. Here's my thoughts...

The Class on Monday night probably compliments the rest of the CBS Monday night line up (Two and A Half Men, Old Christine) but for me it was just a sorta Friends retread that wasn't very funny. The guy still living with his Mom seems too creepy to have gotten the interest of his 1st grade girlfriend back in one night, and what's with all the instant hookups? I thought this was a show about reuniting old classmates, and instead it looks like it will feature 4 couples who hang out together. Newsflash: Friends kept us waiting for hookups, it was why the show hooked us in. Don't show everything you got in episode one. Does anyone else see the late John Ritter in his kid's eyes. Creepy...

I watched Smith but not to see Simon Baker and Ray Liotta ham it up, I was trying to gather clues for Gold Rush, the online Mark Burnett game. And so in all fairness I half watched it while I surfed the internet. Seemed like a very predictable show to me in the vein of The Thomas Crown Affair. I think the talent on the show is better than the material, so proceed with caution.

My DVR denied me and refused to tape 3 shows at once on Wednesday night. Therefore, I missed Jericho with Skeet Ulrich. In most of the suicide pools I've seen online about the new TV season, both Jericho and Happy Hour on Fox are predicted to get the axe first. Happy Hour is because it's nothing special in the sitcom department (I would argue that FOX still has the Michael Rappaport show on for another year...) and Jericho because it just won't find an audience in it's timeslot up against Dancing with the Stars and Biggest Loser.

Speaking of which, Joey Lawrence looked like a disturbing Leprechaun this week on Dancing with the Stars and most likely established himself as the man to beat in this laugh fest. Thank God Springer is on this, always making a funny. Otherwise all I would laugh at each week is the disastrous musical offerings that "the band" brings forth to accompany our dancing D-Listers. Seriously, Jump/Jump by Kriss/Kross is not quick step music. And Julio Englesias is still alive? I was unaware.

Celebrity Duets rolled on for another week and is making it's final run to the finale next week. GO HAL SPARKS! After performing with Dennis DeYoung and Dee Snider this week, Hal is my new idol. In I guess a surprising move, Hal beat out Jai Rodriguez from Queer Eye to take a shot at the whole enchilada along side Lucy Lawless (MILF) and Carlton. I wanted Hal to advance so much that I would have been pissed had he not made it, but Jai is kind of a better singer than both Lucy and Hal. I guess people just don't know him since Queer Eye was on Bravo and people stopped watching it like 2 years ago. Oh, and finally Cheech got the boot as well in this week's double elimination. Placing 5th with no singing skills to speak of is impressive Mr. Marin. Godspeed.

Ha. Did anyone see that crazy metal Hispanic dude on Survivor this week? Yeah, so the in week two of the new racial experiment edition of Survivor, the Hispanic team decided to throw the only competition in the episode to get rid of Metal Billy. Having a team not put out 100% in any competition, but on an episode with only one it makes for really boring TV. That is until said team gets to Tribal Council and Metal Billy drops a bombshell that he is in love with a team member from the White squad. Coo-Coo. The Hispanics and Whites have only met while at competitions and during these meetings, they are battling each other. Billy mistook something she said to his entire team to mean that she was in love with him and he was genuinely serious, making it all the more concerning. Jeff Probst was speechless. And angry that a team tossed a challenge. (Sidenote: I love when Probst yells at the Survivors.) The only saving grace about Billy the Loco getting ousted was that he in his exit interview thought it was cool to be voted off by a guy named Ozzy, the unofficial leader of the Hispanic team. Crazy.

The one-two punch of The Office and My Name Is Earl returned this week. Yeah! Earl was his usual white trash self, no surprises. The cast is intact, the stories are the same, never mess with perfection. Over on The Office however, a ton of shit has gone down this summer while we were "away" from the Dunder Miflin crowd. Jim took his promotion and is in Stanford at the Home Office, Pam called off her engagement, Oscar was outed as a gay man and both Micheal and his henchman Dwight believe that Gaydar is something that can be purchased at The Sharper Image. God how I missed these kids for the last 3 months.

In closing, let me say that my favorite show of the week was Studio 60. I'm sure you have heard about the raves it's getting. All I can tell you is that the hype is all true. Great writing, impeccable cast, and a pretty quick pace for an hour long show. Matt Perry hasn't been this good since season 2 of Friends and I love seeing the interplay between him and Bradley Whitford. Ok, I'm not gonna gush too much. Just check it out.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Reality TV Quickie

Anyone watching Celebrity Duets? I'll admit that the singing is sometimes laughably awful, but you have to get behind Hal Sparks who last week got paired with Dennis DeYoung from Styx. Talk about a match made in heaven. Hal got to duet on Come Sail Away for his judged performance, opening the doors on the following night to put it all out there and do Mr. Roboto with a voice modulator and a robot mask. Amazing!

Okay, so how about Dancing with the Stars? I haven't seen much of this show the past 2 seasons, but the prospect of seeing Jerry Springer, AC Slater and Joey "Whoa" Lawrence was too much for me to not tune in. Jerry Springer's segments building up to the performances are priceless, the guy is really funny. Joey Lawrence looks like a young, fit Mr. Clean and I would guess has the potential to win this thing like Drew Lachey did last year.

The new Survivor kicked off with the battle of the races and from the looks of it, blacks and whites are underdogs this time around. If this race racket was a ploy to draw more viewers, it's back to the drawing board for Burnett and the gang. The show actually lost more viewers than last season's premiere. The first survivor tossed off was an African-American big mouth guy who didn't realize until it was too late that the women in his tribe had all the power from the start (3 women, 2 men). I happen to be a big fan of the show regardless of how the teams are drawn up, so I'm hooked already.

Finally tonight, let's talk about the new Amazing Race which started last night. The game appears slightly more challenging than prior seasons, and although I welcome the new tougher race, I didn't think a freakish elimination practially 10 hours after the race started appropriate. And the elimination mid way through the first leg turned about to be a disaster on another level when the real elimination took place at the end of the 90 minute premiere. I guess the show as trying to be more diverse and had a Muslim team and an Indian team added into the mix with the usual suspects; the gay couple, the bouncy white girls, the Alpha males who win every leg. (This time the men are ex-models (naturally) and (scandal) ex-junkies!) Too bad both the Muslims and the Indians are gone after episode 1. Thankfully the coalminer and his lady made the cut, because they look like fun. As in the fun to make fun of kind of team.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

premature speculation.

The new Killers album is going to be sick. I can feel it. Though I hated most of Hot Fuss, and thought it was a huge mess, I was blown away by their live performance at the 06 VMA's. Brandon Flowers is notorious for his inflamed ego, and has called Sam's Town "the best album in the past 20 years". I think his enthusiasm and spirit are almost refreshing. He's actually setting himself up for a lot of criticism, which will definitely get him publicity, but may end up stinging as well. He's a brave, brave man. Just look at him. He's even brave enough to sport a 'stache.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Last Kiss

I have been searching for the reason that I didn't enjoy The Last Kiss, the new Zach Braff movie that hit theaters yesterday. Considering that I'm a devotee to both Garden State and Scrubs, I should enjoy seeing Braff do what it is he does. And in this remake of an Italian film from a couple of years ago, Braff does indeed do his nebbish, geek with charm thing. And does it well.

So it's not Zach's fault I left this film feeling oddly uninspired. In post film discussions I came to two conclusions that are perhaps at play with me. One, the movie is about adultery which is a topic I don't like. I don't like cheaters, I don't like being cheated on and I don't care for people who allow themselves to be victimized, i.e. take the cheater back. Adding to this, is that peripheral story is about being lost on the cusp of 30 and with me being past that milestone, I guess I just couldn't relate. And that made me feel shitty and old.

Maybe I set the bar too high going in to see the film, expecting Garden State 2: Electric Bugaloo with a fierce new soundtrack I can come to admire and worship. Yeah, Zach lent his expertise to the soundtrack for this film, but Tony Goldwyn doesn't have the same flare that Zach did as a director to make music a supporting character. Instead we have the typical 3 or 4 musical interludes and that's about it. In fact, the lack of a score and the sparse use of songs created tons of silence that drove me kind of nuts.

Maybe I thought it would be funnier? For the first 30 minutes Zach basically played his character on Scrubs, JD to the hilt. Funny interplay between Zach and Jacinda Barrett quickly helped you to toss aside the fact that Zach has basically no chin and a huge nose and Jacinda is a goddess creating a very mismatched couple, and that's all because Zach is so fucking charismatic. But eventually the movie makes a shift into fear and loathing of unwanted pregnancy, unfaithful mis-steps and a general depressing mood fills the screen sucking all the fun out of most of the characters.

Perhaps I wanted a character I could relate to, or at least like. Nope. The four childhood friends creating the epicenter of this picture are all cliched portraits of essential one man known on the streets as Mr. Dick. There's the lothario who is afraid of commitment, the stalker ex-boyfriend who can't shake his feelings for his ex, the newlywed father who wants to bail on his new family and the Zach character, a guy who has the perfect life and wants to sabotage it for a piece of college ass. The only guy character who wasn't a jack ass was Barrett's father played by Tom Wilkinson who instead was a push over who stayed in an unhappy and loveless marriage for 30 years, driving his wife to have an affair on him and threaten to leave him. Thanks.

I guess I shouldn't be too hard on this film, as far as what's out there these days this is better than your Kate Hudson date movie crap but not as memorable as Beautiful Girls, the movie I had hoped it could be a nice companion piece to. Just very average.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

An Evening of Chamber Music, Sort Of

Tonight I took a chance. In the local rag a few weeks ago I saw an advertisement for a String Quartet appearing at the Imperial Theater here in Augusta, GA. Now normally I wouldn't pay attention to the words string quartet but the ad said this particular quartet hailing from Los Angeles plays Iron Maiden. Hmmm. Interesting.

I wouldn't consider myself necessarily a fan of classical music, but I don't abhor that style of music. And I'm not unfamiliar with the concept of a quartet, after all I do own every Elvis Costello album imaginable and in there somewhere is Old Mr. McManus performing with the Brodsky Quartet for a full length called the Juliet Letters. And I have been to many weddings, a forum where the music becomes background noise and is very easily forgotten as quickly as some forget their vows. But my point is, I know what a quartet is. Couple of violins, a viola and a cello. Right?

And I certainly have at least a passing knowledge of Iron Maiden. Curiosity led me to ask my lady friend out for a date and at the Imperial we did find ourselves this evening.

Not having done any real research on The Section Quartet prior to the show, I envisioned some head banger dudes who used to be band geeks back in high school toiling away at Judas Priest and Def Leppard interpretations. And I was okay with that, I was going for the spectacle no matter the execution. How misguided was I? Well, very quickly, as the band took the tiny stage I realized my foolishness as I set eyes on not one, but two very attractive females and a couple of guys who looked more like members of Yo La Tengo than Yo Yo Ma.

The group wasted no time with any preamble and churned out some Cream immediately catching my interest and making me rethink what I was about to see. Next up some Bowie, some Pink Floyd, The Clash, then a nice cluster of Radiohead covers from OK Computer and the Bends and the new song from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Whoa. Is this really happening? I was on the edge of my seat by the 3rd song and was fully engulfed in the magic of this quartet. Nudging my girlfriend, I was like a school kid constantly uttering the oft use phrase "this is awesome" and sounding every bit as retarded saying it. At the intermission all I could think about was how many of my friends would have enjoyed this and how sad it was to see a less than half full historic theater welcome this rare find to our crappy little town. Although we as a crowd were enthusiastic, I can't help but think the guys and gals on stage were somewhat disappointed by the turnout. Body count aside, I was fully engaged and so ready for a second half to this rousing, rock and roll orchestration.

Just when I thought I was as dazzled as I could be by 4 people playing modern rock hits on some fiddles, I was astonished when the second set started off with a string of songs geared directly towards my friend Joolie who utterly shunned the entire idea of this whole concept and opted to not bother joining us tonight. A Muse song, Grace by Jeff Buckley, Queens of the Stone Age, Iron Maiden...I was waiting only to hear a Mastodon song and I was gonna call that girl and yell at her for not coming.

In just under 90 total minutes of playing, The Section Quartet managed to make me completely sold. The free sticker I snatched up at the merch table (yes, a quartet with a merch table...PUNK ROCK.) is already affixed firmly to the bumper of my car. I can only hope that the record deal with Decca that the band was happy to announce tonight, leads to a more wide release of this material. But for now, I see they have some stuff on Itunes and I'm gonna grab me at least a Radiohead tune. I know I'm not doing the band justice with this review, my knowledge of classical nuances in music just isn't there so I rely on the cromagnon style of "me like", but trust me I had a blast.

Wolfmother Live

A special guest reviewer, my dear old Dad.

Normally when I go to a concert, today, I feel a little out of place due to my age. Tonight I felt like if I closed my eyes I was a twentysomething again, at the Electric Factory or the Spectrum, listening to Led Zep,The Who or Black Sabbath.

Appearing at the Norva in Norfolk, VA was Wolfmother with fellow countrymen The Mess Hall warming up the crowd. Normally I yawn through the opening act. Not this time. Mess Hall is a 2 piece band, like the White Stripes, that produces musical depth equivalent to bands of a larger scale. Every song they played was faster than the previous with the drummer attempting ,it seemed, to break his set by pounding holes in it. Their sheer energy was uplifting and set the stage nicely for what was to follow.

From the moment Andrew Stockdale walked out sporting his DR J afro, opening with Dimensions holding and playing his guitar like Jimi Hendrix, he had the crowd in the palm of his hand. He jumps in the air like Pete Townsend while the bass/keyboard player plays his antiquated keyboard at a 45 degree angle. They do hard driving songs (Woman /Pyramid/Love Train) that remind me of Queens of the Stone Age then go to trance like songs (Tales from the Forest of Gnomes) that remind me of Pink Floyd .

I feel lucky to have seen these guys in a small venue for small money because judging by the sellout crowd, sale of shirts and audience participation they will be playing larger places next time around. If they come near you, see them! If you can't, go to their web site where you can listen to every song they do for free. It sounds almost as good as the live show.

- Joe "the worst" Richard

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Lukas With The Lid Off

Poor Joolie, she finally chimes in with a Rock Star post and is way, way off base. In all fairness, my Big Brother predictions haven't really been quite dead on considering Boogie stole that shit from Janelle. I digress.

Not only did Toby not win, but he was let go before they got to the final two. And although Toby's original tune was catchy, I kind of liked Lukas' more. Dilana moved on to the final two, but once Toby was sent packing you could all but assume Lukas was the "winner."

Ironic is the fact that apparently today it became official that Supernova can no longer call themselves that since they lost the lawsuit to the original Supernova band. Wow, that's gotta cost some loot. I imagine a lot of promo has been done for this alleged world tour.

Good Luck Lukas.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Boogie Bags A Half Million

I guess I should take comfort in the fact that Janelle won 25K in the pity prize awarded to America's Favorite Juror, but even that doesn't take the sting from watching Mike Boogie Malin get the votes needed to win Big Brother All Stars. During their final pleas tonight to the seven jurors, I thought Erika presented a pretty strong case. Afterall, she did get Boogie to put up Will and Janelle to vote Will out and in doing so ensured that the finale would be between two utter pond scum players. But alas, Mike took the votes easily and got the money. And another sad season of Big Brother comes to a close and leaves in me a wake of heartbreak that yet again the people who play the best don't get to win.

Joolie's Rock Star Moment

Just finished watching the last performances for this season of Rockstar before voting begins. Toby is going to snatch that bitch up like candy. The others pale in comparison, in my eyes. Toby already has a hit song ("Throw it All Away"), a hit "phrase" (Evs, which is catchy), and a smokin' look. It's in the bag for that kid. The other three rock stars are just odd. Magni looks like the dude from Live, Lukas looks like a Klingon, and Delani is too angry.

And seeing Dave Navarro record Lukas' version of Coldplay's "Fix You" on his hot pink Razr only made my theory of his homosexuality even more concrete.

High School Movies

Entertainment Weekly put out their Top 50 High School movies in the latest issues on shelves now and I take issue with a couple of omissions as well as some ranking problems. With lists like this, which are completely arbitrary, there is no criteria used to rank films. It's more or less a bunch of writers submitting lists, probably by email, to an editor who just picks 50 movies from a nice cross section of decades to apeal to the most readers. How else could you explain that Spendor in the Grass made the cut?

Below is the list according to EW, my top ten choices highlighted unless otherwise missing. Anything you think got short changed? Comment with omissions or favorites.

50. Splendor in the Grass 1961
49.Sixteen Candles 1984
48. Just One of the Guys 1985
47. Napoleon Dynamite 2004
46. Flirting 1992
45. My Bodyguard 1980
44. Can't Hardly Wait 1998
43. Stand and Deliver 1988
42. Fame 1980
41. Can't Buy Me Love 1987
40. Risky Business 1983
39. The Virgin Suicides 2000
38. Bye Bye Birdie 1963
37. Friday Night Lights 2004
36. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 2005
35. Brick 2006
34. Get Real 1999
33. Hoop Dreams 1994
32. Scream 1996
31. The Karate Kid 1984
30. Bring It On 2000
29. Gregory's Girl 1982
28. Back to the Future 1985
27. To Sir, With Love 1967
26. Pretty in Pink 1986
25. Hoosiers 1986
24. Rushmore 1998
23. Cooley High 1975
22. American Pie 1999
21. Grease 1978
20. Dead Poets Society 1989
19. The Last Picture Show 1971
18. Rock 'n' Roll High School 1979
17. Peggy Sue Got Married 1986
16. Lucas 1986
15. Carrie 1976
14. Donnie Darko 2001
13. High School 1968
12. Mean Girls 2004
11. Say Anything 1989
10. Ferris Bueller's Day Off 1986
9. Election 1999
8. Boyz N the Hood 1991
7. Clueless 1995
6. American Graffiti 1973
5. Heathers 1989
4. Rebel Without a Cause 1955
3. Dazed and Confused 1993
2. Fast Times at Ridgemont High 1982
1. The Breakfast Club

Missing from the list appears to be Weird Science, Valley Girl, 10 Things I Hate About You, Some Kind of Wonderful and I'll even go old school and say Blackboard Jungle from 1955!

Fall TV Preview - Disturbing Trends

My final thoughts as we roll into the new fall season on the tube. I guess the networks have decided that either we want something we have seen before, something we are in essence comfortable with, or we want to see shows that remind us of movies that we kind of enjoyed. How else can you explain these offerings?

Jericho, Heroes, Big Day, Day Break, Kidnapped and 6 Degrees are playing on either the themes present in Lost or 24, arguably the two most successful shows on right now. People intertwined but not sure of their purpose works for Lost, but will it work for half of these new serial dramas? And the continuing action adventure done incrementally is tough to pull off, but apparently hugely popular with Emmy winning 24 fans. Will fans of these powerhouses be open to adding another similar show into their already busy lives?

In this vein, networks putting out similarly themed shows, you have to point directly at the connections between 30 Rock and Studio 60 which both center around sketch comedy shows. I'm anxious to see both as I mentioned before, but the closeness makes me uneasy. Both shows have addresses in the title, and the numbers correlate to their running time each week. Just too creepy that two networks green lit such seemingly closely linked shows. Then again, 30 Rock is a sitcom and Studio 60 is a drama, so perhaps this can be done. I'd never compare 7th Heaven to Just the Ten Of Us, but both feature really large families but they are very much different executions of a similar theme.

Kidnapped, although not coming right out with it, is essentially the movie Ransom stretched out for a television season. Perhaps the downplay of how this show resembles a film starring Mel Gibson is a strategy to avoid bad press? In any case, Tim Hutton is a wealthy guy whose kid gets held for ransom and we suffer along with the family for 24 weeks. And we also have Friday Night Lights on the docket, a straight up translation of the movie about high school football minus Tim McGraw and Billy Bob Thorton. Whenever I see shows like this crop up, I think to myself....didn't I already see this before?

I think a lot of viewers are like me. We want something new, fresh, exciting...why do they continue to force recycled shit on us? That's why I like reality TV. It's still in it's infancy, whereas the sitcom has been around since the days of radio. Give me a celebrity doing anything and I'm there. Put strangers in any situation, offer them money, film them and I'm there. Thank God I see some interesting reality shows on the schedule. Yum.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Miami Vice

Let me preface this by saying that this movie was at the $1 theater, so I didn't spend the typical $9 cover charge to see it. But the harsh reality is that I would still like my dollar back.

This movie was the worst movie I have had to sit through since Heat. Fittingly Michael Mann was behind that crap fest too. For a cop action movie, Miami Vice was incredibly boring, slow, quiet except for the occasional blaring of Latin music or Audioslave which always triggered an approaching sex scene. (By the third helping of Chris Cornell's voice and Gong Li's ass it is almost laughable.)

Where did this movie go wrong? Besides Colin Farrell's look I mean. (Holy porn stash and Scott Stapp hair!) Well, I would say you don't want to have 5 major roles and cast them with three people who have no command of the English language for starters. Next, I would not make partners seem like complete strangers to each other like Foxx and Farrell appear in this film. Zero chemistry. And neither really says much period. All the dialogue is given to the foreigners who I couldn't understand. Then again, I couldn't really make out the plot for 2 hours either, I guess thanks to the script as a whole. There is the money scene that appears in every Colin Farrell movie, you know the one where his character has to yell and his Irish accent just flops out because he can't yell in American.

Miami Vice takes place in Miami where I thought the beautiful people lived. How come I didn't see one hot chick in the movie? Gong Li is like 50 and in book not that hot. And she was the only "eye candy" offered. Then again, wasn't Heat the same way? I don't remember any hotties in that movie either. Maybe Michael Mann is homosexual? I need to look into that. In the meantime, heed my warning. This movie blows. Big time.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Boogie Bites Back!

OMG! Boogie gets all pumped up after Will got tossed from the Big Brother house and destroys the girls in the HOH competitions. And he bounced my girl Janelle for strategic reasons, thus making this show the most frustrating television show I've ever devoted time to.

Taking Erika to the final two was the only move Boogie could make since Janelle would have won easily over either of them in the vote. However, now we have to watch either a complete misogynist dick or a floater win a half million. Ugh. This is like worst case scenario shit. I'd rather see Will and Janelle go head to head and have a real player have a shot at winning. Think about it, Boogie coasted by on Will's coat tails and Erika jumped on Boogie's coat tails late in the game, so neither deserves to win. This is All Stars and a scrub is gonna get the prize money. I want my summer back!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Fall Television Preview - Dramas Edition

Installment number two of my look at the new season is an overview of upcoming dramas that have potential. Just as with sitcoms, I only see five new shows worth a looksee and that will probably whittle down to one or two after about 3 weeks. I recall last year being high on Invasion, and that lasted about 6 episodes, so I'm gunshy anymore with all the hype about new dramas.

Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip is the yang to 30 Rock's ying apparently. Do we need two shows on the air simultaneously that detail the inner workings of a late night sketch comedy show? Probably not. But, and this is a big but, Aaron Sorkin is behind this show and the cast assembled has some of his West Wing alumni and a certain Friend who is making his way back to the safety of a TV show paycheck. I happen to like Bradley Whitford and Tim Busfield (West Wingers) and Amanda Peet and Matthew Perry had some good chemistry in The Whole Nine Yards. So maybe, just maybe this show will entertain me enough to get hooked in.

For whatever reason, I'm really curious to see Heroes. Although I'm not a huge superhero fan, I like the X Men-esque plot line alluded to in the trailer for this one. Regular joes discovering their super powers around the globe appeals to the kid in all of us, I just worry that this will turn into another Lost. Meaning, do I want another show like Lost in my life that never actually goes anywhere?

That's a good segue into my fears about Jericho. Again, intriguing concept, but might get tiring without any resolution each week. This one is about a nuclear holocaust hitting and the residents of one town have to band together to figure out what is going on. Or something like that. Skeet Ulrich, the poor man's Johnny Depp, is the lead and Simon and Simon/Major Dad star Gerald McRaney plays his old man. We'll see. This one has potential to be the first of this lot that I stop watching early on.

Justice over on Fox has Bruckheimer in the producer chair and looks to be a exploration of the judicial process. Maybe Jerry can do for the law what he has done for forensics ala the CSI franchise? Victor Garber of the late Alias is a lead, but the real reason I'm interested is to see Jack McPhee from Dawson's Creek as a lawyer. I like CSI and Boston Legal, so maybe this will be a nice blend of the two? Then again, it's Fox so I'm not getting my hopes too up.

And finally, I'm looking to see 6 Degrees because J.J. Abrams always gets interesting people on to TV shows. Intertwined New Yorkers, mysterious box, yadda, yadda, yadda. Here's the cast, Hope Davis, Campbell Scott, Jay Hernandez and Erika Christensen. Hmmm. Indie film stars and a couple of teen actors who haven't made too many bad choices (Swim Fan aside). JJ knows a thing or two about making quality shows, so it's gotta be worth a peek, right?

Rock Star

Anyone give a shit about this show? I thought not.

Yeah, so Toby the Aussie is now the front runner after unveiling his catchy little ditty this week, Throw It Away. Ha. That could be Dilana's theme song for her collapse on this show, right? The band liked his song so much, they gave him a Honda Element. Storm finally got her walking papers, but not before making me wish for Marty Casey to be here. Storm's cover of Wish You Were Here was ter-ri-ble and I'm glad she got the boot. However, Dilana better be next as she is on the downward spiral big time, this week tearing some tendon's in her leg on top of alienating her housemates and the viewing public with her mouth. Cheap Trick is punk rock Dilana? Ever heard of the Sex Pistols or the Ramones? Idiot.

I will admit that I am warming up to Lukas, his original song exuded some real emotion and his cover last night was a barely recognizable Livin On A Prayer by Bon Jovi that worked for me. Everyone else just annoys me at this point, and Lukas seems oddly detached from the group which I like. But then again, is winning this show the thing for Lukas? I wouldn't wish winning this show on my worst enemy, having to perform with those tools and tour with Panic Channell...give me a break.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Return of Janelle!

Big Brother All Stars got really interesting tonight...

For weeks Boogie and Dr. Delicious have worked their magic to showmance themselves further in the game, manipulating both Janelle and Erika to turn on their friends. Finally, Janelle showed that she is smarter than people think she is and came to terms with all that has happened to her at the hands of the Evil Doctor. Of course, Erika had to work her a little to make her realize that they are just pawns for Chill Town, but Janelle had to have the balls to vote out her flirting partner Will. And that's exactly what she did. Getting a glimpse into Howie's behavior in the jury house, Will is in for it when he arrives. Howie is still steaming he got sent home as early as he did and beat up Marcellas for a while before getting fresh meat in Chicken George to rip apart this week. Poor Howie, I wanted to like him. I loved him last year, the way he took it to Busto and the Nerd Herd, but the reality is that he is a manchild and it's sad to see him harbor such resentment towards people who are playing a game. At least he will be happy to see his girl Janie is still in the running...

In typical BB fashion, the 3 part monster HOH contest that concluded tonight's episode fell apart much like many of the twists the show has tried to incorporate, c'oup de tat anyone? Boogie decided to model his image after Richard Hatch from Survivor 1 and took himself out of the contest within a minute, spewing the fact that both would be idiots not to take him to the final two for voting purposes. I'm not certain how he came to this conclussion, but it's a pretty bold move to pull right after your one and only ally was tossed out and your showmance has been exposed as a fraud. Then while on the final commercial break, Janelle allegedly took her hand off the key she was required to hold and was disqaulified, thus ending Round 1 of the HOH competition. Huh? I think the producers expected this round to go on overnight, or at least a few hours. Instead, it was over before it really even began, the entire contest taking place while we at home are on a commercial break. Ah, live TV...

With a week to go, Janelle and Erika have made a pact to take each other to the finals (something Boogie doesn't know) and it appears as though one of the ladies will get HOH and make the selection. Are the stars lining up for my Janelle? Did she wake up in time to undo all the mistakes she has made in the game? Is she really this much better than the other players? The girl took the last few weeks off from coniving and back stabbing and let Will call the shots and still dominated the competitions. Ladies and Gentleman, if Janelle doesn't win this thing...well, let's not think like that. Go Janie!

Emilio Estevez, Oscar Worthy?

I guess I shouldn't be too shocked by the buzz around Emilio Estevez's Bobby coming out in November. Afterall, George Clooney was once on the Facts of Life and Paul Haggis was a writer for The Love Boat, so why can't a brat packer be part of something quality? And from the looks of the cast, I must not be the only one who is thinking this movie is good. Anthony Hopkins, Lindsay Lohan, Elijah Wood, Helen Hunt, Freddy Rodriguez, Laurence Fishburn, Christian Slater, Wiliam H. Macy, Nick Cannon, Shia LeBouf, Ashton Kutcher, Joshua Jackson, James Masden, Martin Sheen, Heather Graham, Sharon Stone and Harry Belafonte all signed on to for practically no pay considering the film has a paltry 10 million dollar budget. Yikes.

Emilio not only directed this fictional account of guests present when Bobby Kennedy was killed, but also wrote the sceeenplay which sounds like it's miles from Men at Work his last writing effort back in 1990. And, he apparently has a role in the movie playing "romantically linked down and out entertainers" along side his former fiancee Demi Moore. Emilio has been missing from action since 2000 and now pops up as a triple threat poised to possibly net some Oscar nods? Whoa.

Fall Television Preview - Sitcom Edition

It's September and that means the networks are going to roll out their new schedules for we here at Poison Scooter to tear apart. But before we start bagging on the junk, let's take a closer look at the shows that seem like they have half a chance. All week long, I'll be breaking down the new shows...starting with...


In looking over the new schedule, I see five new situation comedies that look somewhat promising despite the fact that the sitcom is my least favorite genre. What is drawing me to most of these shows is the pedigree involved in either the cast or the creators. A closer look...

The Class is heading into the Monday Night CBS comedy powerhouse line up to lead in to How I Met Your Mother and has been trying to shake off comparisons to Friends. Maybe the fact that David Crane (the creator of Friends) is behind this show has something to do with that buzz? Or maybe it's the large group of 20-something friends that make up the cast? (There's 8 not 6, so there.) What makes me excited is the same thing that worries me, this comparison to the Friends. John Ritter's kid is the lead and he comes from some genuine sitcom God roots, so maybe this will have half a chance.

Another show I'm digging because of the man behind the scenes is The Knights of Prosperity over on ABC. Knights is from the guy who made the very likeable Ed, Rob Burnett, and features the capable Donal Logue as the lead. This show was once being called Let's Rob Jeff Goldblum, then Let's Rob Mick Jagger and despite the name change, the show still centers around a band of misfit working men looking to rob the Rolling Stone legend's penthouse. I like to see sitcoms take chances, and this concept sounds the most refreshing on the schedule this year. See: My Name Is Earl.

Notes from the Underbelly has some potential based on the female leads, Rachel Harris (smart alec blonde on all those VH1 shows) and Jennifer Westfeldt (Kissing Jessica Stein) and the director who is Barry Sonnenfeld. I'm not usually into shows centered around women, this show is about a couple who try to hide their pregnancy from friends and family, but the strong buzz on the pilot and the casting is making me sniff this one out on ABC.

NBC looks to have paired up a couple of freshman sitcoms into a solid hour of programming ala their Earl/Office one, two punch already on the schedule. 20 Good Years and 30 Rock both look good on their own, but I find when you have two shows back to back that are a draw you are more likely to invest the time in watching. John Lithgow (3rd Rock) and Jeffery Tambor (Arrested Development) paired together as two men who in their old age decide to live life bigger will certainly be silly, and that can be enough unless this goes the way of Golden Girls and tries to appeal to retirees. 30 Rock is a look at life behind the scenes of Saturday Night Live, even if they don't come right out and say that. Tina Fey, former head writer of SNL, pairs up with Tracy Morgan and some other SNL cast offs in this Lorne Michaels produced venture. What I've been saying for years is that Lorne Michaels needs to transition his folks from SNL into TV and get away from the 90 minute abortions of his sketches he has produced over the years. I'd never see a full length feature of Brian Fellows, but I wouldn't mind watching Tracy Morgan on this ensemble. And oh yeah, uber SNL host Alec Baldwin comes to TV playing a Micheals-esque boss to Tina Fey. I'm really excited about this show.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Jord's Top Ablums of 2006 (so far)

5. Wolves in Wolves Clothing - NOFX
- NOFX continues to steadily release great albums year after year. “Wolves…” is a barrage of rapid fire songs meant to stir the pot of complacency infesting today’s music by questioning prominent conservative political and religious viewpoints. Since the election of George Bush in 2000, Fat Mike and NOFX have found their sworn enemy. This has proven beneficial for NOFX as they have shifted into 5th gear putting out poignant and cutting punk rock songs that bring back the aggressiveness that punk rock has seemly been lacking. NOFX, as always, adds their signature humor to the songs making this album an instant classic for fans.

4. Shanked! - Toys That Kill
- From the ashes of West Coast punk legends F.Y.P. arose Toys That Kill. Fans weary of the rise and fall of such an influential band were relieved at their first release, “Citizen Abortion“ in 2001. “Shanked!”, TTK’s third full length record continues to impress. Todd Congliere, lead man and brains behind Recess Records, pens some excellent melodic punk on this album. Toys That Kill have effortlessly slid into being one of punk rocks funnest band to listen to.

3. In Bocca Al Lupo - Murder By Death
- Murder By Death are well on their way to becoming a household name thanks to their industrious tour schedule and art infused performances. Adam Turla’s unique and powerful voice is rich with influences that range from Johnny Cash to Nick Cave. "In Bocca Al Lupo", the bands third release, strays from the story infused narrative lyrics of their sophmore release "Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left Of Them". "In Bocca al Lupo", which translates roughly to "In the Mouth of the Wolf" examines themes of sin, transgression, punishment, and redemption, touching on different lives and different stories in each individual song. The resulting album resembles the 1979 murder mystery from which the band takes its name-a pastiche of bad deeds and good intentions, of last minute heroism and, in some cases, nearly impossible forgiveness.

2. To the Confusion of Our Enemies - The Riverboat Gamblers- I have seen The Riverboat Gamblers come a long way in their struggle to become punk-n-roll forerunners. Their tremendous energy-infused live show that enabled them to share the stage with greats such as X, Rollins Band, and MC5 had long shadowed the talent possessed by the band. "To The Confusion Of Our Enemies", brings The Gamblers out of the shadows and into the spotlight. This is the bands first release on recently assembled Volcom Records and it proves to be a smart move. The larger budget for the recording sets the album apart from their previous two releases by portraying a more professional and grown up sound without sounding over-produced. Rolling Stone named the Riverboat Gamblers one of the "Top 5 bands to break out at this year's SXSW". I'm inclined to agree with them.

1. Oh! Calcutta! - The Lawrence Arms
- The dirt and grit seeps under fingernails and coats the nose and throat with every revolution of the Lawrence Arms' fifth proper full-length album "Oh! Calcutta!" The Chicago three-piece upstages its monumental previous effort "The Greatest Story Ever Told," which demonstrated the band's knack for literary and pop culture references (complete with footnotes in the CD booklet). The laryngitic frog in singer/bassist Brendan Kelly's tobacco- and alcohol-stained throat scratches in complicity with the album's punk-fueled, two minute anthems. Meanwhile, the latter day Jawbreaker-esque croon of singer/guitarist Chris McCaughan, featured heavily on "The Greatest Story Ever Told," maintains his melodious tone but gives way to a throatier, fervent intonation that matches the thematic and musical elements of each song. One of the most pleasing and surprising prospects of this album allies with the sharing of vocal duties on nearly every track. Prior albums demonstrated a distinct separation between both songwriting and structure between Kelly and McCaughan - Kelly leaned more toward the fast-paced, straightforward punk tracks whereas McCaughan delivered the more mid-tempo, sentimental songs, verging on balladry; the dichotomy does not suggest that one member tended to write a more rollicking or passionate song, but there was a tangible disparity. The scathingly witty, clever and insightful lyrics are even more hard-hitting and effective with their dual vocal offering.

Simply stated this album is a monumental achievement, not just for the punk rock scene, but for music in general. During a time when dime a dozen pop punk and fashion core bands slither out of the ashes of the dying indie scene, The Lawrence Arms prove there is hope in underground music.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Decent Downloads

The Thermals -- The Body, The Blood, The Machine
Everyone in the south, it seems, have these wierd "W" stickers on their car with the year 2004 underneath of it. It took me a long time to figure out what these stickers meant, and when I finally did, I wanted to shoot myself in the face. Every one of these stickers stands for a family of suckers who voted for George "W" Bush. It really pisses me off when I see one, and I bet the Thermals would be rather disgusted as well. They're sick of all the bullshit and wrote a few ditties about it. If you're looking for happy lyrics about puppies and gumdrops, you're gonna have to go somewhere else. The Thermals lay it out on the table in all of its bloody glory--they tell you to get the f*** out of the country while you still can.

A post-punk outfit from Portland, Oregon, The Thermals are gaining a much wider fanbase with this new album. The Body, The Blood, The Machine was recorded by Fugazi's Brendan Canty, and is a straightforward album that rocks your balls off. Or in my case, my tits.

Sounds Like: Third Year Freshman, Zoloft the Rock and Roll Destroyer

The Duke Spirit -- Cuts Across the Land
I first discovered British band The Duke Spirit on Amazon of all places. Sometimes I get lost in a tangled web of "lists" and eventually stumble on something half decent. The Duke Spirit have been quite popular in England for several years, but were only officially introduced to us via their American release of Cuts Across the Land in March. As vocally captivating as Karen O., Liela Moss sings in a driving, yearning manner that has you charmed immediately. The Duke Spirit depend highly on a blues, garage rock base. Liela is backed by four incredibly talented musicians who take care not to overpower her vocals.

Sounds Like: a tough My Bloody Valentine, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Kills