3.30.2006

TV Shows and Politics


Britney Spears: Hotter as a Virgin

I'm not normally the type of person who does this, but I was watching Will & Grace today (I was waiting for My Name Is Earl to come on, give me a break) and was delighted to see Britney Spears on the evening's episode. I was not delighted because I am a large fan of Britney's, but rather because Britney was large. Unlike other celebrities, Britney seems to be taking her time in losing her baby weight, and to see her crammed into too-small dresses -- and to finally see her in a role when I'm not distracted by wanting to see her naked -- gave me a good laugh. Unsurprisingly, she is a wretched actress, but there were a couple things about her role that did surprise me.

Firstly, she was playing a 'Southern Belle' type character, but her accent was horribly exaggerated. Strange coming from a girl who grew up in Louisiana, but I wasn't terribly offended. If I was a Britney fan from New Orleans (assuming I still have a television), I might be a little disappointed in the character she was choosing to play.

In a very simplistic send-up of the neo-cons, Britney is a southern television producer who preaches against gay marriage and abortion but is secretly gay and "freaky." I suppose hearing the once-proud virgin listing vague, lesbian sexual terms of which even I don't know the meaning was supposed to be shocking, but I was too busy being shocked by Britney's political turn-around.

Remember when Britney won a Razzie? The Razzies are awards given out to the worst actors movies, scripts, etc. - it's like the Oscars, except the Razzies admit that the films they're awarding are big stinking piles of shit. I know what you're thinking, and no, Britney did not win the award for the unfortunately titled Crossroads (I say unfortunately because I love the admittedly crappy Ralph Macchio movie by the same title and when I tell people how much I love Crossroads they give me the look you would give someone who is a fan of Britney Spears movies). She won it for Fahrenheit 9/11, which you may not even remember she was in.

Yes, Britney Spears won Worst Actress for a particularly embarrassing clip that Michael Moore included in his film so that . . . Anyway, I'll come back to that. In the clip Britney says more or less that people should support George W. Bush no matter what. Now Spears has had a change of heart and for some reason is parodying herself. And looking fat.

And what can we say about a show that has not one, not two, but three guests in one episode? (Britney, Wanda Sykes, and George Takei as his gay self) And "boldly" makes overt political jokes? Does the term "jumping the shark" mean anything to you?

I am, of course, reminded that Arrested Development, in its third-to-last episode, had four guest stars, and in the episodes that followed, featured a storyline that had the Bluth brothers go to Iraq; their progress was impeded when, in Baghdad "Dick Cheney Road [was] blocked up all the way to Halliburton Lane." There are several differences between what that show did and what Will and Grace was doing, however. Allow me to point them out:

1) Arrested Development is aware of what was doing -- this is the show that, in the second season, had Henry Winkler, who single handedly invented the term "jumping the shark" when he jumped a shark in 1984, jump over a dead shark (without the water skis this time).

2) William Hung does not really count as a guest star.

3) Judge Reinhold appeared as himself, hosting a show called "Judge Reinhold" in which he was the judge of a mock trial. Bud Cort appeared as the host of a similiar show called "Bud Court." Brief guest appearances in the name of punnery do not count.

4) Jennifer Grey has had so much plastic surgery that nobody anywhere recognizes her anymore. What was that thing she said about Baby in that shitty movie? I'm pretty sure I could use it ironically here.

5) The Iraq thing was part of a three-year long storyline that has always poked fun at the latest headlines in Bush's War.

That's how I rationalize the shark-jumping of my favorite show while using similiar tactics by one of my least favorite shows to insult it. I believe it's called a double standard.

3.16.2006

Sincere WTF


I found this tangentially through BoingBoing, but seriously, when did Marilyn Manson become high fashion? Recently married to the improbably gorgeous Dita Von Teese, the couple didn't so much have a wedding as they did join forces. I found scans of Vogue's wedding coverage through Reverse Cowgirl's blog, him in John Galliano and her in Vivienne Westwood. It seems that the two have a genuinely loving marriage, as well as a mutually beneficial artistic partnership. It's just weird to me that Manson is maturing as an artist to the point where he's more interesting than his music, I still remember when people were banned from wearing Manson t-shirts in schools across the country. If that's not weird enough, it really feels like Manson is Von Teese's muse, and not the other way around. Here's to true royalty, they're better than Titney and K-Fed.

3.15.2006

"Man... You come right out of a comic book."

Our generation is now reaping the seeds that have been planted thirty years ago by Blaxploitation and Hong Kong Phooey. I've been watching a lot of Boondocks and have come to the conclusion that though none of the ideas are original, it's probably one of the most (would it be too pretentious to use a wine metaphor?) full-bodied shows on TV right now.
If any of you haven't seen the Boondock's "Let's Nab Oprah" episode, I insist you BitTorrent that shit right now. Starring the incorrigable team of Wuncler and Rummy, the real treat is the episode's fight scenes. Clearly stealing the character's movements from Bruce Lee, Huey poceeds to beat the shit out of Riley ninja fucking style. Later on, Huey fights Oprah's bodygaurd "Bushido Brown", a truly cold fucking samuri straight outta "Enter the Dragon". Brown quotes the famous line from the movie, the line that really shows how black culture viewed characters like Bruce Lee at the time. The cross-fertilization of Asian and American heroes led to G.I. Joe's infamous "Kung Fu Grip" introduced in 1974. Now thirty years later, the influences are apparent, and form the basis of the Gen Xers collective memories. Shit, Wu Tang puts out old Kung Fu movies on their label, just 'cuz they know motherfuckas love them some Kung Fu.
If that isn't enough, the last scene is set to Madvillain's "All Caps". Are you beginning to understand how fucking crucial this scene is? Madvillain for those of you uninitiated, is outsider hip-hop. His raps reference comics of the silver age, which was when, class? That's right, the seventies. MF DOOM takes Dr. Doom's name from the time when Steranko or King Kirby would have been drawing him. As a symbol, though the mask is so good for showing how far away MF DOOM is from the rap community. His raps are so abstract, whereas most rappers make references and talk to their audience, creating a dialogue, MF DOOM's raps are a monologue. If you get the references he's making, it's only because you come from the same school, his raps are about our collective memory. This shit is like Jazz, too, Madlib's beats are taken from old science fiction and horror movies. Lots of horn stabs and tense screams remind you of pulp comics and dime matinees.
Thirty fucking years its taken to turn this shit into high art, thirty fucking years. I'm happy about, but what the fuck is our generation going to talk about? Somehow, rapping about Google seems less fulfilling. I constantly feel like I was born into the wrong generation, but Madvillain's album makes me feel that at least if I wasn't there, I can still feel like I knew how it was.

3.14.2006

A Critical Mess.

Now, I understand that it is necessary for movie critics to exist; they keep me from seeing movies like Ultraviolet. But what I don't understand is the critics who: 1) are only looking for movies with a deep plot, but not too complicated. The movie must also have a resounding message which is unique and if bot this critic will give the movie a bad rating. Or perhaps 2) the political movie critic, the dumbass, and then there is 3) the "genre" critic (who really is confined to small things and not much of an importance, so I'll leave them off).

For your first category you need only to look at the nearby NewYorker. I'm pretty sure they only given two movies a good rating: The English Patient and Mulan.

What?

Such criticism causes the reader not to know the difference between an awful movie (Pluto Nash) and a fun but not significantly substantial film (98% of movies), thus the veiwer either: doesn't see movies in general, or accidentally chooses Pluto Nash. You play Russian Roulette with The NewYorker.

The second category I came upon last night, and refund this morning and it pissed me off so much I decided to blog about it (obviously).

Look at the reviews for The Hills Have Eyes, a movie I saw last night :

"I don't care for a French filmmaker making a contemptuous, smug, proselytizing allegory about the legacy of Yankee colonial/expansionist violence." -
Walter Chaw, FILM FREAK CENTRAL

"And to think that the French wonder why we hate them!" - Scott Foundas, L.A. WEEKLY

ah yes, Now I know why the movie was bad... It has something french in it.. the certian Je ne sais que... Thank you. Amelie, naturally, still holds the bar for worst movie I have ever seen, because it is French. Chocolat ou merde, comme Je dis, parce que it dealt with the French. Because of my thoathing of French, I hate baguettes, crepes, Impressionism, Absinthe, berets, oral sex and also revolutions against an oppressive state... which brings me to my next point, from V for Vendetta:

"...A lackluster comic-book movie that thinks terrorist is a synonym for revolutionary." - Jeff Giles, NEWSWEEK

WHAT?! WHAT?! WHAT?! WHAT?!.... Ce Que?!
Last time I checked TERRORIST WAS a synonym for REVOLUTIONARY, it is simply the side you are on. And taking in perspective of this movie, Jeff Giles must be aligned with the Nazis.
And I also like how "comic-book" is used as a pejorative.
Jeff Giles, you are a moron.

Seriously, that quote sums up the biggest problems in America.

"...A lackluster comic-book..." - pejorative used for something that is not understood
"...Thinks..."- large entities and objects don't think
"..Terrorist..." - evil, never good.
"...Revolutionary..."- AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!! (our forefathers were not terrorists to the British, they were Revolutionaries!)

But V for Vendetta looks good and otherwise received good reviews and The Hills Have Eyes was scary as hell and if you can survive a hour and a half of complete tension (with gaps just long enough to catch you breath so they can freak you out again) then go see it.

-tre

ps. Jeff Giles is a moron.




3.06.2006

Google Video Schmoogle Video

Well, I just discovered youtube.com, which lets users put their videos online and share them with the world. Not only does it have all the videos Alen and Tre keep sharing, it has much more!

Like this video of Prince playing the most badass version of the solo from While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Most people who haven't seen The Artist live don't realize what a badass guitar player he is. On his records, hes oddly conservative about displaying his prowress on the axe, but in live performances like this one, taped at George Harrison's posthumous induction to the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, he shows how talented he truly is. I missed this when VH1 aired it two years ago, and even gave my computer a virus trying to find it on LimeWire. Thank God for youtube.

Also, something else for which I've been looking for a long time: a highlight reel of the Illinois vs Arizona Elite Eight Game from last March. I've already found a place to order the entire game on DVD, but this highlight video is better than the other one I managed to find on the Internet. Nothing will ever beat the thrill of watching this game in real time -- never have I felt so many different emotions in a two-hour period -- but this highlight reel is helpful for those who saw the game and want to remember what it felt like.

Last and quite possibly least (though not bad at all), they have the Natalie Portman rap from last week's SNL. These Digital Shorts are the only things keeping my respect alive for the sketch comedy show. Hurry up and watch it on you tube; some copies have been removed because of copyright infringement.