2.24.2010

Dear American Idol Producers

Please retire the song "Get Here" from American Idol.

You can reach me by caravan
Cross the desert like an Arab man


That is the lyric I hate most in the whole-wide world. Also, can you please find out why none of the judges pointed out that when Jermaine Sellers sang it tonight, he was off-key the whole time?

Thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter.

Sincerely,

Valerie
___________

OK, after I saw Apolo Anton Ohno race tonight, I switched over to watch American Idol on Tivo. I only got as far as Jermaine before it was time to get ready for bed.

And speaking of the Olympics, did you see the crazy fog during the Giant Slalom races. Good grief. SO dangerous!

2.23.2010

We interrupt this blog...

The Olympics have completely usurped all of my TV time, so I won't be commenting on American Idol until they're over, other than to say my favorite guy (so far) made it to the top 24 last week, so I'm happy. Look out for Andrew Garcia. Here's his rendition of "Straight Up" that he did during Hollywood week.



While we're at it, here's one of my favorite girls (again, I must stipulate: so far):



See ya after the Olympics!

2.11.2010

Long weekend = Oscar movie time!

My friend Erika asked in a recent post about which movies I still need to see before the Oscars on March 7. I took a look, and I only need to see three more movies in the Best Picture category, and seven more movies over all.

Here's what I still need to see:
  • Avatar (Best Picture, Best Director)
  • Crazy Heart (Best Actor - Jeff Bridges, Best Supporting Actress - Maggie Gyllenhaal)
  • An Education (Best Picture, Best Actress - Carey Mulligan)
  • Invictus (Best Actor - Morgan Freeman, Best Supporting Actor - Matt Damon)
  • The Last Station (Best Actress - Helen Mirren, Best Supporting Actor - Christopher Plummer)
  • The Lovely Bones (Best Supporting Actor - Stanley Tucci)
  • The Messenger (Best Supporting Actor - Woody Harrelson)
  • Nine (Best Supporting Actress - Penélope Cruz)
  • A Serious Man (Best Picture)
  • A Single Man (Best Actor - Colin Firth)

I checked my local listings and I think I might have to miss a few (like Nine and The Lovely Bones, but I'm not too concerned, because the nominees aren't really being talked about as favorites to win. I'm going to try to knock a few of these out this weekend. Wish me luck!

~~~~~~~~~~~~
I watched Tyson--a documentary about Mike Tyson--the other day. Mike Tyson talks the whole time, with a few TV clips featuring interviews of other people thrown in. It's almost like Mike's stream of consciousness. In the DVD extras, the director, James Toback, said that during filming, he'd ask Mike a question, and 40 minutes later, Mike would finish the answer.

To keep all this talking interesting, the director added a bunch of effects. For example, you see and hear Mike talking, and then it will go into a split-screen, and on the left side, Mike's still talking, but on the right side, he's just staring into the camera. Then it will split again, and in the 3rd scene, he might be smiling. Then it might split one more time. I found this annoying and distracting, but it didn't happen that frequently, so I got over it. The director also looped some of Mike's dialogue in an effort to display Mike's jumbled thoughts. Once I heard that, it made sense, but while watching the movie, it was also annoying and distracting.

Anyway, it was interesting to hear Mike's point of view on his career and life. I came away feeling bad for him, and having a bit more understanding of where he's coming from. My favorite moment came when he was discussing his various managers. He said his first management team signed a contract with him before he was 18 and of legal age to even sign a contract. They took a full third of what he earned. He got rid of them, and then this is what he had to say (try to hear his voice in your head): "And then I got caught up with this other piece of shit, Don King...who's a wretched...just a wretched, slimy, reptilian mother fucker." That made me laugh out loud.

~~~~~~~~~~~~
I had my family over last night to celebrate my mom's birthday and to watch the Olympics Opening Ceremony. There were some cool scenes, but I felt ultimately let down. I didn't feel moved like I did during the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony. We were all happy to see the Native Canadians featured so prominently. It was interesting to see that their costumes and dances were so similar to those the U.S. tribes. Some of the dancers looked like they came from New Mexico and Arizona. (My dad worked for the Indian Health Service for 20 years and I was born on the Navajo Reservation, and lived in NM in the 70s.)

The death of the Georgian luger was so tragic and sad. I do believe they gave him a nice tribute during the opening ceremony.

The lighting of the Olympic flame was weird and anticlimactic. After some sort of technical glitch, four participants, including Wayne Gretsky, lit one flame indoors at the stadium, and then they transported Mr. Gretsky by car to an outdoor location for him to light the structure again. It was disjointed and broke the spirit of the event, IMO. Anyway, I'm excited to watch the games--ice skating and speed skating in particular. Let the games begin!

2.10.2010

It's still snowing



So, we're on round two of Blizzard 2010 in the DC area. I just finished the last of five movies I got from Blockbuster, and I'm all caught up on Tivo. I still have a couple of things from Netflix that I can tackle. I've been off work since Friday, and judging from what I see outside...heavy winds (40-50 mph) and more and more snow--I can barely see the houses across the court--refer to the picture above), tomorrow will likely be another day off.

So, a quick review of what I've been watching:

The Hurt Locker
- This is nominated for nine Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay and Best Director. It's a good movie with strong performances. I can't take anything away from it. BUT, (there's always a but, right?) I've come to realize that I really don't care for desert war movies. I don't know what it is. Watching them, I almost feel the same way I do when watching submarine movies, where I feel closed in, slightly claustrophobic. Maybe it's the monotonous brown color. In submarine movies, everything's a monotonous blue. I dunno. I guess I'm just weird like that.

Adam - I really enjoyed this movie with Hugh Dancy and Rose Byrne (from TV's Damaages about a romance between a guy with Asperger's Syndrome and his neighbor. Very sweet.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs - this was cute, but maybe 15-20 minutes too long, which is saying a lot since it's only 90 minutes. I found my mind wondering and then I was thinking too literally about it and was annoyed that people never seemed to get hit in the head by falling hamburgers. I'll have to check out the book some time--I imagine it's better as a short book.

Whatever Works - This is Woody Allen's latest with Larry David and Evan Rachel Ward. I enjoyed this a lot too. I probably enjoyed it so much because Larry David's character, Boris, has a world view/philosophy that's pretty similar to mine, though I hope I'm a *little* more optimistic that he is.

and finally....

District 9 -

Before I discuss this, I have to give a little back story. Last year, I was at a movie theater where there was an older couple sitting a few rows in front of me. During the first preview, which was some sort of horror film, the gentleman in front of me did this elaborate dramatic display--waving his arms in the air and ultimately putting his hands into a thumbs-down format. I was like, WTF was that? Next preview comes on--he does the same thing. It was pretty funny. I wish I could have video taped it so you get the full picture, but alas, I could not.

Flash forward a few weeks to my annual trip to Omaha. We were watching TV at my cousin's house and a commercial for District 9 came on. I proceeded to give a thumbs-down the same way I'd seen the old guy do. My cousin said, "that doesn't look good to you?" I told her that aliens ain't my thing.

Now, this movie turns up as a nominee for Best Picture! Even though there are a couple movies nominated that I'm not so sure about (this and Avatar come to mind), I decided to stick with my usual goal of seeing all the nominees in the major categories, and I rented District 9

Well, I have to say. I was wrong. This movie was really enjoyable. Really gross at times. But enjoyable. It was intelligent, funny at time, and completely original. An alien mother ship hovers over Johannesburg, South Africa. The aliens were removed from the ship and placed into a shantytown (the film crew filmed this in the real shantytown, Soweto.) In this movie, instead of the Blacks being oppressed, it's the aliens. A guy is hired to lead the effort to move the aliens out of Johannesburg to a new concentration-camp like home 200 kilometers away from Johannesburg. Then something happens to him and all hell breaks loose. I don't want to give anything away, so I'll leave it at that. Great movie! I'm glad I gave in to my Oscar See-Everything Nuerosis.

As for TV

There was a great documentary about Soul Train on VH1. That was a lot of fun. The Good Wife had a great episode this week. And I'm still loving Life Unexpected.

Oh, and I forgot to mention--I watched that show, Undercover Boss after the Super Bowl and was very pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed it. On this episode, the CEO of Waste Management went undercover and found out what his folks in the trenches did. He was moved by their stories and implemented changes in his company to make things better. He took it to heart when he discovered that some policies he'd put in place earlier really weren't working. Every person in upper management should do something like this. It was a good show. Also, looking forward to the new Amazing Race, I think it starts this Sunday.

2.09.2010

It's Hollywood Week!

I don't want to make too many comments about Idol just yet, but let me just say, I LOVE Ellen on the show! I'm writing this 15 minutes in, so I reserve the right to change my mind in the future, but I don't think that's gonna happen.

It's still WAY too early to pick any favorites, but tonight I loved a guy named Andrew and and a gal named Janell. Andrew did an AWESOME acoustic rendition of Paula Abdul's "Straight Up" with his guitar. Fantastic! I'm just sorry Paula wasn't there to enjoy it. And Janell did a really nice acoustic version of "American Boy." Loved it!

My favorite performance of the night: Crystal (the blonde with dreads) sang "Natural Woman." While she was performing, the other hopefuls sang impromptu backup vocals. When she sang, "Oohhhh, baby what you done to me," you could hear someone off stage sing, done to me, then she sings, "You make me feel so good inside," good inside... She continues, "And I...just wanna be" and they show the whole audience as they sing wanna be! That was cute, and she was great.

More tomorrow!

2.07.2010

Super Bowl Ads

My thoughts on the Super Bowl ads. I had a couple of chuckles.

  • Boost Mobile - Chicago Bears Shuffling Crew doin' it again. It was a preview for the Boost Mobile ad that prompted me to post the Super Bowl Shuffle the other day. Though tonight's commercial wasn't great, it was kinda fun to see those guys together again.

  • CBS: Dave Letterman says, "This is the worst Super Bowl Party ever." Camera view widens a bit, and you see he's talking to Oprah, who says, "Oh, Dave, be nice." View widens even more and you see that Jay Leno's sitting on the other side of Oprah. He says, "He's just saying that because I'm here." Then Dave mimics Jay in a high-pitched voice.

  • Budweiser: Cute Clydesdale commercial with the pony and calf becoming friends, and then seeing each other years later as a Budweiser Clydesdale and a bull. (Baby animals get me every time.)

  • My fave of the night:




Other comments:

  • e*Trade: they had several baby commercials tonight. In my opinion, none topped last year's:




  • Go Daddy: BAER. (This is a new acronym I learned on a message board. It stands for BIG-ASS EYE ROLL.) Seriously?!

2.06.2010

Tivo and Movies Time!

This is the view out my front door, and it's going to snow another 6 inches before it's over.



I rented a bunch of movies in preparation for the Snowpocalypse of 2010. On queue:

The Hurt Locker (Oscar nom for Best Picture)
District 9 (not really interested in this, but it's also an Oscar nom for Best Picture)
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Adam
Whatever Works

And I already had Tyson, La Dolce Vita, and season one of Dexter from Netflix. I'm caught up on Tivo, so after some shoveling, it's movie time!

Speaking of Oscar nominations, here are the TEN nominees for Best Picture. (I starred the few that I've already seen.)

  • Avatar
  • The Blind Side**
  • District 9
  • An Education
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds**
  • Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire**
  • A Serious Man
  • Up**
  • Up in the Air**

2.03.2010

My favorite Grammy performance

When the Grammys were on the other night, I rewound and watched this three times in a row. By far my favorite performance of the night.

NOTE: Wyclef Jean gives a LONG intro. The song actually starts somewhere around two minutes. Enjoy!

2.01.2010

As if I needed to add another show!

Yes, I've found yet another show to add to my Season Pass list on Tivo. This one is called Life Unexpected. It's on the CW on.....Mondays? At 9? (I need to check that season pass--I really don't know when it's on for real. OK, I was right--Mondays at 9.)

Anyway, it's the story about a teenager (Lux) who was given up for adoption at birth. She was never adopted, and in trying to emancipate herself from the state, and out of foster care, she tracks down her birth parents. Some court stuff happens and instead of Lux being emancipated, her birth parents are given temporary custody. The birth parents (Cate and Baze) had a one-night stand in high school which resulted in Lux. Baze run a bar and hasn't quite grown up yet. Cate is a radio host and is engaged to her co-host. Now they're all just trying to be a happy family.

I'm really enjoying it...I love the main characters, and the actors are great in their roles. Every once in a while the dialogue is a bit syrupy, it's just sometimes. Not enough to turn me off. Check it out!

********

I was watching Animal Planet this weekend and came across some interesting things. First: Pit Boss on Animal Planet. I saw this a couple times over the weekend while I was snowed in during our dusting of snow on Saturday. (Meteorologists called for "a dusting to 2 inches" in my area. I'd say we got between 5 and 6 inches.) Anyway, Pit Boss is a reality show about little people. The boss runs a company that hires out little people for acting roles and appearances. He does that business so he can support his true passion - running a pit bull rescue and raising awareness about pits. He's an ex-con and spent ten years in prison. He's feisty and a pain in the ass to his staff, but when you see him around the dogs, wow--what a softy. I don't need to add this to Tivo, but if I come across it again, I'll be happy to watch.

Oh gosh, after Pit Boss, there was a show about people who have survived shark attacks. Oy vey. One guy found himself in the jaws of a shark from his head to his middle back. The top half of his body was INSIDE A SHARK'S MOUTH. Can you imagine?! I can't even tell you what he did to escape because it grosses me out, but it involves his fingers and the shark's eye. (Ick.)

And finally, I saw commercials for the Puppy Bowl!! Back in February 2007, I wrote the following on my blog about Puppy Bowl III:
Basically, a bunch of puppies were running and playing on a pretend football field. There were some toys out there, a water dish, and two goal posts. I imagine the space was probably 10' x 15' but I'm not sure (maybe it was 15'x 20'??).

I rested on the channel and went through the following thought process: First, "Are you kidding me?!" Then, "This is it?! This is all they're showing?!" Then, "So...there's no dialogue or anything? It's just puppies running around back and forth?! Hmpf." And finally, "Look how cute that little guy is!!! They're so adorable!" and I stayed on the channel for at least 20 minutes. The whole Bowl lasted three hours--I couldn't have lasted that long, but I loved the 20 minutes I did see.

Well, I just found out that this year (and perhaps it's always been this way, I don't know) all the puppies are up for adoption. Awww...what a way to promote them! SO cute...I can't wait. Super Bowl, Schmuper Bowl.