She's still all grown up

Dakota Fanning is on Jay Leno tonight. She's turning 15 in three weeks, yet looks like a 20-year-old. What got me is that Jay showed a clip from her first visit to his show when she was seven. It almost seemed like they did a voice over of her current voice over her seven-year-old's body. She talked as maturely then as she does now. Wow.


I just wanted to say that I LOVE Fabio on Top Chef. Even though he hasn't won any challenges, he's hanging in there (I haven't seen the end of tonight's show yet--so maybe he won...I'll know later.) Anyway, I love his Italian accent and he's so cute. Tonight he observed that he doesn't see the point in eating vegetables when there are meat and seafood around. Fair enough.

UPDATE/SPOILER: So, Fabio didn't win, and even worse, he was in the bottom three. What do expect to happen when you ask an Italian to cook food representing Wisconsin?!


On American Idol tonight, which was in Salt Lake City, Donny Osmond's nephew auditioned and made it to Hollywood--he's a cutie! He and his dad have some form of MS, but he seems to be in remission now. I also enjoyed the female singers that made it through, especially the 5'11" 16-year-old, the one who sang the Amy Winehouse song, and the blonde at the end with the dreads. Final night of auditions will be on tomorrow and then we're on to Hollywood next week!


It's the most wonderful time of the year!

No, no, not Christmas! Not even back-to-school, like that Staples commercial. No....it's Oscar time!! I love this time of year with good movies and awards all around.

The Oscar nominations were announced last week, and now I've begun my work on seeing all the movies in the major categories, or, at least as many as I can. I've got a lot of work to do this year. Let's see...what've we got? Here are this year's nominees--I have not seen the movies with asterisks next to them.

Best Actor in Supporting Role
Josh Brolin, Milk**
Robert Downey, Jr., Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road

Best Actress in Supporting Role
Amy Adams, Doubt
Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis, Doubt (quick note about this later...)
Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler**

Best Actor
Richard Jenkins, The Visitor**
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon**
Sean Penn, Milk**
Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler**

Best Actress
Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie, Changeling**
Melissa Leo, Frozen River**
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kate Winslet, The Reader**

Best Director
David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard, Front/Nixon**
Gus Van Sant, Milk**
Stephen Daldry, The Reader
Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader**
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Original Screenplay
Frozen River**
In Bruges

Best Picture
Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader**
Slumdog Millionaire

Whew. See? I've got a lot to do.

About that role in Doubt that Viola Davis played. Last week Oprah mentioned on her show that she wanted to play that roll. She called to express her interest in the roll and was told en. oh. No. I give a standing ovation to anyone who tells Oprah no. This all started back when she had her 40th birthday. She tried to go into a hotel with her dogs and was told no by the clerk--the hotel had a "no pets" policy. Oprah got huffy about it and basically said, "But I'm Oprah Winfrey." The clerk wouldn't back down. On her 40th birthday episode, a manager from the hotel called to apologize and said the clerk had been dealt with. Excuse me?!?! She was doing her job and she was "dealth with"? That really changed my opinion of Oprah. She used to act like she was "one of us," but then this happened. Whatever. Kudos to whomever told her no on the movie part!

Deb and I tried to see Milk yesterday, but it was sold out. We ended up seeing Revolutionary Road. I thought the movie was very well done and the acting fantastic, but man, it was depressing. I think Michael Shannon's nomination as supporting actor is very well deserved--he completely stole the two scenes he was in. I think Leo may have been overlooked for a nomination because it's hard to buy him as a miserable suburban father--he's got such a baby face, it's almost like he's playing grown-up. Kate Winslet was wonderful--I'm curious to see her role in The Reader to see why she was nominated for that, and not Rev. Road.

For those Hok and Dominic fans from SYTYCD, you should know that their dance crew is now on America's Best Dance Crew on MTV, Thursdays at 10 (I think). It's great to see them and their crew is fantastic--they do some unbelievable tricks. Love 'em!


Inauguration of Barack Obama - 1.20.09

On Tuesday, I ventured to DC, along with 1.8 million other people, to witness the inauguration of President Barack Obama. I went with my sister and dad, as well as my two aunts who came down from NYC.

The whole day was fantastic! Everyone was so happy and it was fun to be among all the euphoria. Big cheers went up depending who was on the Jumbotron--big cheers for Jimmy Carter, Teddy Kennedy, the Clintons, the Obama girls, Michelle Obama. And then, the first time they showed Barack Obama--man! People went crazy!!! There were also huge boos when they showed GW and Cheney. Even though I completely agree with the sentiment, I thought that was in poor taste for that kind of event. I recorded MSNBC you could really hear the booing on their microphones. I wonder if Bush/Cheney could hear. I don't imagine the folks in the ticketed area at the Capitol Building were booing--at least, I hope not!

It was also a LONG day. We left home around 6:45am, and got home around 6:15pm. After the ceremony, we walked up 18th street, which was designated as pedestrian only, trying to find somewhere to eat. I have never seen so many people in my life!

A sea of people after the swearing-in

Of course, everyone was doing the same thing, so all the restaurants were packed. We ended up walking past Dupont Circle and went to a Mexican restaurant we like there. I think it took about 2.5 - 3 hours to get there. I tried to map it out on Mapquest and I we walked at least 3 miles. (We probably did a mile and a half in the morning, so a good 4.5 - 5 miles for the day. Whew!) A three-mile walk in and of itself isn't that bad, but after standing for 4 hours, it was rough. When I got home that night, my feet were killing me. But. It was SO worth it!

I'm really glad I got to participate. Despite the cold and the crowds, I think we made the right decision to go. I'm so pleased and proud to say that I was there.

Here are a few other pics from the day:

U.S. Flag

Washington Monument

And more people

Now, I think this is my favorite clip from the day. Those Obama girls are so dang cute, and Sasha is too much!

Oh, and to get the weekend kicked off right, I went out dancing with my sister and our friend Traci. We went to a club called Park at Fourteenth. Mainly because their website advertised that my future husband, rapper/actor Common, would be there. (And, it is a nice club.)

Anyway, at some point, I realized I was missing my little change purse which had all my money, my driver's license and my ATM card. Ack! We split up and my sister went upstairs back to the bar where we'd last bought drinks, and Traci and I went downstairs to the front desk. (The place has four levels.) We get to the front desk, and amazingly, they have my change purse! I couldn't believe it! And all the money was there! I'm guessing an employee turned it in, but who knows. So, we head back upstairs to find Debbie and we notice all this commotion. I look over, and there's Common, surrounded by a bunch of women squealing taking his picture. I told Traci I wanted to stop and take his picture, but she said, "We have to find Debbie!" I was like, "Debbie who?" But, we found her, and then went back to the crowd. I didn't get a chance to ask him to marry me, but I did get a shot of his profile with my phone camera.

If I hadn't lost my change purse, we wouldn't have been on that side of the club, and we would've missed him all together. It was fate!

UPDATE: Forgot to mention something. Best Buy was hosting a viewing party at D.A.R. Constitution Hall, which is on 18th Street. Folks could get in from the cold and watch the ceremony & parade in the auditorium. We didn't do that, but we did take advantage of the restroom facilities on our way to and from the Mall. This place has the largest women's bathroom I have ever seen. Even with so many people stopping in, there were NO lines. At the end of the day, a lot of the stalls were without TP, but I brought my own, so all was good. My mom pointed out that the place is run by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Nice job, ladies!


Night 2 of AI 2009

Just wanted to make a few comments about last night's American Idol. I loved Anoop (the guy who Simon said looked like he was coming from a meeting with Bill Gates) and Asa, with the adorable little girl. I also really like Matt? (Or Michael?) Can't remember his name, but he was the one whose wife died recently. How sad. [Note: found out his name is Danny. So I was a little off. Who cares?]

I forgot to say from Tuesday night: did that girl really call Simon, "Simey"?!? Who does she think she is???

Not much else stands out from last night. (That's my cover for "I don't really remember anything else.") Oh, I did think of something else--the girl with WAY too much eyeliner singing a song written by Simon Cowell for Leona Lewis. The song is called Footprints in the Sand, and the girl came out singing "Footsteps in the sand...." Simon cut her off immediately and said "It's footprints." Whoops!

Update: I just had to post this funny comment from Lisa de Moraes' TV blog on washingtonpost.com:
Back from the commercial break, the judges are still mulling Von Smith. Randy announces the vocals were pretty good. Simon guesses Smith's family loves his over-the-top performances, while Kara wants to talk about his "big instrument," which 18 viewers misinterpret, leading them to start crafting letters of complaint to the Federal Communications Commission. Miraculously, Smith gets sent to Hollywood.


Here comes AI 2009

First show of the new season wasn't so bad. There were some funny moments, like the dude with the super-duper baritone voice, and good moments, like the tattoo girl who sang "Barracuda." It was painful to watch Randy and Simon thinking with their *tiny* heads and letting in Bikini Girl. I was with Kara and Paula all the way on that one. That girl was bad. I liked Kara a lot--I think she's a good addition. I was impressed with her vocal skills.

I really like the montage they do at the end of the show--this time with everyone singing "Dead or Alive"--hilarious!

Verdict: So far, so good.

In other news...did you see Bob cuss out Joelle on The Biggest Loser?! Whoa Bob!! Jillian said she'd never seen him that mad. Veins were popping out of his forehead, and he dropped the f-bomb at least 10 times. Later in the show, Bob commented that he was possessed by Jillian when it happened. It did seem that way!


It's here already?

American Idol starts tonight. I guess they'll have a few weeks of auditions and then they'll get down to it. As I've mentioned before, I'm a little ambivalent about watching this year. But, I am curious about the new judge and the new dynamic among the judges. The new judge, Kara DioGuardi, was on The Today Show yesterday, and you know what? I liked her. She seemed down to earth, and like a straight shooter. She's a songwriter who's worked with Santana, Carrie Underwood, Celine Dion, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, and more. We'll see how it goes.

I watched the Golden Globes on Sunday night (yes, the whole show--my coworker was surprised by this) and was rather pleased. Slumdog Millionaire won Best Drama. Vicky Christina Barcelona won Best Musical/Comedy. I think Slumdog will get the Oscar too. There were two poignant moments in the show--one, of course, was when Heath Ledger won for Best Supporting Actor for his role as The Joker. It's so sad that he's no longer with us. The other was when Mickey Rourke accepted his Best Actor award for The Wrestler. He profusely thanked his agent for taking a chance on him, and talked about how none of the studios wanted to put money toward a movie with his name on it. He thanked his dogs, and said that when you're alone, sometimes your dogs are all you have. I wish him the best in his come back.

I hate to admit it, but I've gotten caught up in ABC Family's Secret Life of the American Teenager. There was a marathon over the weekend; I turned it on because I was curious to see Molly Ringwald, and now I'm all into the show. I'm flabbergasted that the top teen actor from my high school days is now playing the mom. Beyond that, the show amuses me because it's the most politically correct show I've ever seen. They've got everything covered. They have the Christian-values family, with the son who has Down Syndrome and the cheerleader daughter who wears a chastity ring. There's the foster kid who lives with a foster dad who is perhaps Middle Eastern. There's an Asian couple. There's the Hispanic girl, who, although she's a slut, is also a majorette and the top of her class. There's the rich kid--son of the "Sausage King." The main character, who is pregnant at 15, has two best friends--one's black, the other's white and is dating the black girl's brother, so there's your interracial romance. All that's missing is a gay character--I'm sure that'll come along at some point. The show is like one long extended after school special. In fact, I think that when Oprah moves to her own network, they should put this show on in her place after school.


Damages is back tonight!

With the exception of Friday Night Lights, Damages is the show I've been anticipating the most and it starts tonight! It'll be on FX at 10pm eastern. William Hurt is joining the cast--love him!

The Washington Post provides a nice write up of what the show's about.

I'm all giddy that it's starting tonight!

(Meanwhile, FNL starts Jan 16!)

Lots to catch up on

Happy 2009! I hope everyone had a happy holiday season. Hard to believe it's 2009--seems like we just went through all the Y2K stuff.

So...what's been going on? Following is a little of what I've seen/done over the past couple of weeks.

At the Movies
  • Doubt. As soon as I saw the first few seconds of this movie preview, I knew I wanted to see this movie, based on the cast alone (Meryl Streep, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams). It did not disappoint. All three were fantastic and there's a scene between Meryl Streep & PSH that was mesmerizing and warrants them both being nominated for Oscars. Wow.

  • Slumdog Millionaire - Very good story about a young man who goes on India's version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire in hopes that his childhood friend (and love of his life) finds him. The young man, his brother, and their friend are all played by three actors in different stages of theirs lives (young, teenagers, young adults). The little kids were fantastic. They live in the slums of Mumbai and are orphaned when their town is raided for being Muslim. The kids move along on their own, and their story is told as the young man answers each of the Millionaire questions. I just loved this movie--it's a little intense at times, but it's also very sweet and very well told. The film started out in the independent theaters but is now going more mainstream, and I was happy to see that the AMC theater where I saw it was packed.

  • Marley & Me - I really liked this movie too, though I think it could've been cut 15-20 minutes. I thought Owen Wilson & Jennifer Anniston had great chemistry and the dogs were SOOOOOO cute. (Owen Wilson told Jay Leno that they used 27 different dogs to play Marley from puppy to old dog.)

On video
  • You must check out the documentary, Young @ Heart, which follows a senior citizens' singing group who perform songs from Cold Play, Sonic Youth, and James Brown, to name a few. What a wonderful story. My favorite part was when the group performed for inmates at a correctional facility. Wow. Make sure you have tissues handy.

  • I also really enjoyed Burn After Reading - typical Coen brothers wackiness--it reminded me a lot of Fargo. I thought Brad Pitt was great, and I enjoyed the DVD extras that featured an interview with the costume designer who was responsible for making George Clooney look like an ordinary guy.

On Broadway

I went to NYC for Christmas and saw a couple of shows: Jersey Boys and In the Heights. I knew I wanted to see In the Heights as soon as I saw the writer, Lin-Manuel Miranda, rap his acceptance speech for the Best Original Score Tony Award. I'd never really had much interest in Jersey Boys, but tickets were hard to come by, and that's what my aunt recommended. I figured I'd go up there and LOVE In the Heights, and have an okay time at Jersey Boys.

Well. When Jersey Boys ended, I jumped to my feet, clapping and woo-hooing. It was FANTASTIC!!!!! And though I really liked In the Heights a lot, I just didn't love it like I thought it would. My expectations were probably too high. Jersey Boys though...wow. What a great story. I bought the CD soundtrack and downloaded a bunch of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons songs once I got home. Did you know that Joe Pesci (yes, that Joe Pesci) introduced the group's songwriter to the rest of the group? Great stuff. Only one problem: the couple sitting behind us felt the need to 1) talk during the dialogue and 2) sing the songs out loud. Deb ended up saying something to them at intermission, and though it got better, they didn't completely stop. WTF? We didn't pay $97 to hear THEM sing! What is it with people????