Saturday, December 30, 2006

ENTERTAINMENT DROPPINGS: The Living Embodiment of Albert Camus' "The Myth of Sisyphus" (Chapter One) Appears On

Somewhere, a dead Algerian-French Existentialist philosopher is smiling. For indeed, I was originally planning for this post to merely inform you about the multiple absurdities discovered in an article on detailing the specifics of George Lucas' upcoming Grand marshalling of the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena on Monday -- everything from the inclusion of fans marching as stormtroopers, to the twin planets of LucasSuckness Endor* and Naboo re-created as floats, to the marching band touting their interpretations of Star Wars music "with a Louisiana twist".

But then, what should catch my eye on this very same web page, but the banner ad which I have reproduced for you immediately to the right of these words? Yes, the producers of Superman Returns would like to offer the fruits of their labor to the Academy for their consideration as a candidate for Best Picture.

No, that's not a typo, and you didn't misread it: someone actually thinks the words "Superman Returns" and "Best Picture" belong in the same sentence.

This is the movie where a single stick of Kryptonite almost kills Superman/Jesus but a whole island made out of Kryptonite just makes him grunt a little. The movie where "intrepid reporter" Lois Lane is so smart she brings her kid along to help investigate Lex Luthor's private yacht. And it's the movie where Superman/Jesus has an asthmatic, learning-disabled five year-old son who can pick up a piano and throw it at a guy but can't help his own mother break the lock on a door so they can escape because he's so f*cking stupid.

So thank you, Jon Peters, Brian Singer and Gilbert Adler, for the astronomical amount of absurdity you have foisted upon my day.

* Yes, dorks, I know Endor is actually a moon. So shut up before I open up a "jar jar" of whoop-ass on you.

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I assume those of you at home playing the MOZART/MIKE TYSON DRINKING GAME™ already know the rules (they're frighteningly similar to those in place for Tupac and Snoop). But for the sake of the uninitiated:


1. Take a drink each time a newly-discovered piece of music by Mozart is performed.

2. Take a drink each time Mike Tyson gets arrested and/or does something strange with his mouth.

It's time to take two swigs this week, my friends!

'New Mozart Work' Gets Premiere [BBC News]

Mike Tyson in DUI, Cocaine Bust [The Smoking Gun]

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Monday, December 25, 2006


Truly, this is why God created YouTube.

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WHY GOD CREATED YOUTUBE™: The Hardest Working Man In Show Business Finally Takes A Break

Sad news for Xmas morning: The Godfather of Soul is dead, age 73, from complications related to pneumonia. So as tribute, if you've bothered to get online this morning, please enjoy the above Rocky-themed video before you slice your goose.

I just hope that JB said the same thing he says at the end of this video when it came time for his final curtain call...

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Friday, December 22, 2006


Riding the wave of ROCKYMANIA sweeping the nation due to the imminent release of Rocky Balboa, today's edition of has posted a brilliant piece of cinematic analysis, The Power and Glory of the Rocky Montage (tipped by Shady), featuring video clips of no less than eight majestic Rocky montages.

My personal favorite has to be clip number 3 (from Rocky II) wherein Rocky once again ascends the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum, this time followed by a group of schoolchildren who manage to run up after him (slightly tarnishing the amazing symbolic feat of strength and endurance Rocky has just accomplished) and join him in jumping up and down while chanting "Ro-cky, Ro-cky" until the inevitable slo-mo. However, keep going at least until you get to clip number 6 (from Rocky IV) which features a meta-montage of clips from previous Rocky montages. Priceless!

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Caveat emptor! We here at the First Church of Latter-Day Phil Collins Adventists™ would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight about some people you may have encountered who are claiming to be the One True Phil Collins. Do not believe these people. They are false Phils and are not to be trusted!

First off, there's this guy. He thinks that by pretending to be some kind of "artist" that he can claim rights to being the One True Phil. Well don't believe him, my friends, because he's just a bunch of BUNK! The only "art" we need from somebody named Phil Collins comes wrapped in a jewel case and gets played on Casey Kasem's American Top Twenty! So BEWARE!

And don't even get me started on this guy! Look, everybody knows the One True Phil doesn't care what his wives wear to the altar, it's how well they can understand what he faxes them. So shove off, False Phil! We don't need your kind here!

This has been a public service message of the First Church of Latter-Day Phil Collins Adventists. Thank you for your time and attention.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

WHY GOD CREATED YOUTUBE™: Fool's Gold From The Block

I couldn't let myself get away with posting a Stone Roses reference in today's Top Model post and not use that as an opportunity to show off another of the mighty Thriftshop XL's excellent mash-ups. Today's mashup succeeds where millions of marketing dollars have failed: by wedding my favorite "Madchester"-era track with Jenny From The Block, Thriftshop XL have actually managed to make J-Lo listenable.

Truly, this is why God created YouTube.

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FIERCEFILE™: British Invasion 2-D

So that was it -- the last ounce of Top Model blood has been squeezed out of the stone that is 2006, and it certainly ended with a whimper. Top Model: British Invasion 2 was even less engaging than last week's two-hour special; it's just too much to ask of anyone to be able to condense and entire season of a TV show into two hours and still somehow make it compelling. But the conundrum for me was that I still somehow found myself getting bored even though everything was moving at such a fast pace. Perhaps I've come down with a case of Adult ADD.

One thing that might contribute to this is something that was brought up frequently by everyone I spoke to about TM at the holiday party earlier this week: everyone agreed that none of the contestants in the British show would make the initial cut in the American show, which is somewhat shocking. I can't imagine someone like Abigail making it past week one against Tyra and Miss Jay, and here she made it all the way to the final two.

It was also a bit jarring to me that the host of the show changed between seasons. I know those wacky Brits just lerve to recast people in the same parts, but there's something to be said for consistency. The most important reason for me to watch ANTM is because Tyra is like a car accident, and without that consistency of overbearing vision it just feels like any other "unscripted drama". Not that I found last week's host to be all that engaging, mind you, but last night Lisa Snowden was pretty annoying and at least Lisa Butcher had a smidgen of gravitas about her. Maybe they thought no one would notice because they're both named Lisa?

There was definitely one nice "ooooh snap" moment, when two models were both eliminated at the same time. It was the type of brutal honesty you would never find in an American reality show; in no uncertain terms, this was a wonderful "you both equally suck" move, and the blank photo held up by the host did wonders to add insult to the injury. Bravo.

Other than that we got the usual petty bickering, wacky challenges, pixellated naughty bits "too hot for America," a car-based photoshoot that turned into a tribute to the Stone Roses, and another disappointing final runway scenario. Am I wrong or was there not an ounce of tension during that runway challenge? Sure, they both tripped a bit, but it felt more like watching a challenge from one of the early episodes rather than the big final moment. And I'm sorry, but Lianna just looked bored and scared during it; the final outcome was very similar to this past cycle of ANTM where they boosted the winner's chances by showing you their portfolio rather than basing it solely on their final performance. Not that I would ever suggest that the outcome of these shows is predetermined in any way.

And with that, we bid farewell to the Fiercefile™ for the time being. What the hell am I going to do on Wednesday nights now?!?

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Another chapter in our ongoing series presenting the pearls of wisdom of a television icon . . .
"People ask me all the time: Why do you continue to work the way you do? Why not just relax and retire? I'll tell you why. I don't want to retire. It's because I can't imagine staying at home and getting in Candy's hair. What would I do without my shows? I'm like a hooker on a Saturday night. I just want one more hit."

--Aaron Spelling (as written by Jefferson Graham)

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

WHY GOD CREATED YOUTUBE™: When Holiday Parties Attack! (B-52s Edition)

Even those of us who work in private academic research libraries are not immune to the phenomenon that is the annual Holiday Party, and so it was last night I found myself once again nestled in the cold embrace of the campus' "Hall of Dead White Men" to partake in rituals old and new: playing "Who's Your Grandfather?" with the portraits lining the walls that give the Hall its name; having a duel to the death of the conversation with Ivy while using stick-shaped vegetables as weapons; attempting (and eventually abandoning) several America's Next Top Model-themed conversations; and dashing Legolas and Eels' hopes of witnessing my legendary Zinfandel-fuelled tabletop acapella performance of Eddie Murphy's Party All The Time. "OOOO, oo oo OO oo oo oooo" indeed.

But of course a Holiday Party just wouldn't be a Holiday Party without the inevitable declaration "This place blows. Let's go somewhere only slightly less socially inhibitive!" -- which explains how I eventually ended up in the company of Psychictoad, Shady, Legolas, and several non-aliased compadres in a dimly-lit corner of a local public house drinking Guiness, eating curry chips and denying up and down that the morning would find me writing this very essay (writer's block can be such a cruel, heartless animal).

And how does this all relate to the above-embedded video, you ask? Well, between two-fisting buffalo wings and Coronas, Shady found the spare breath to continually ask me "How's this for generic music?" whenever the establishment's iPod-powered sound system spat out another feel-good party classic. It wasn't until the whoops, hollers and treble-soaked snare hits that herald the commencement of the pre-Metrosexual Revolution anthem-of-abandon Love Shack met my ears that I actually started complaining about the music; and considering this was at the point in the evening when the conversation had finally devolved into sharing stories about vomiting, I felt pretty lucky I'd made it so long without having to display my usual cultural consternation. Plus I'd like to believe it was my riveting high school story about witnessing the son of a local sausage magnate vomiting on the back of the head of one of my friends in sophomore history class that actually prevented our table from joining in the screeching cry of "TIN ROOF...rusted" that inevitably accompanies this song, but that may just be wishful thinking.

So here's to Holiday Parties, those special occasions each year when we find ourselves helping coworkers avoid walking head-on into traffic, drinking something so tasteless its name is actually an I.R.A. reference, and driving your friend's car home because they're too tipsy to remember where they parked -- all in the name of peace on Earth.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

ENTERTAINMENT DROPPINGS: Oprah, Mel Gibson, B-Fleck, That Woman From American Pie Who Threatened To Molest A Dog

• Oprah to create, star in, force her cult of personality to watch two new reality shows [BBC News]

• Mel Gibson lovechild conceived when hitchhiker got out of his dreams, got into his car? []

• Earth to Ben Affleck: "Too Late." [People]

American Pie actress turns self in for threatening to molest a dog. Honestly, I have no joke here. [CNN]

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Friday, December 15, 2006

WHY GOD CREATED YOUTUBE™: Bottom Of Barrel, Meet Scraping Implement

Okay, it's been a slow news week, I've been busy with other crap, and for the life of me I can't come up with anything useful or even remotely humorous to write about. So it's come to this: a Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan clip mashed up with a crank call by The Jerky Boys. It almost made me crack a smile when I first encountered it while in a morphine-induced delirium last week, and I figured I'd save it for a day down the road when I was really really desperate for content. Well, that day has come, my friends. Feel free to pelt me with rocks and garbage if you see me today, because this is the best you're gonna outta me.

Truly, this is not why God created YouTube.™

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

FIERCEFILE™: British Invasion 1

I have a feeling Anonymous A and I were probably two of the only people to actually sit through the entire Top Model: British Invasion 1 two-hour special last night. With every "chuffed," "gutted," and "snogged" uttered by the models I could just feel the American viewers changing channels. It seemed like they tried to keep the cultural references to a minimum but it just wasn't possible to excise them all, leading to what was no doubt a confusing two hours.

Not only were the models using slang that most Americans wouldn't get, but when they showed excerpts from the models' run-ins with "celebrities" it was always actors from freaky weird British things like Coronation Street or the guy who owns Harrod's, which I'm sure had everybody going "Whaaaa?"

Their attempt at cramming an entire cycle of Top Model into only two hours was a mammoth task, and the first hour was a bit of a blur of partially-realized challenges and eliminations held together by narration that didn't always do a good job of filling in the gaps. I was shocked when they got down to the final three in just over an hour until I realized that they were going to show almost the entire final episode, which was a pretty good strategy. It just meant that you got very little chance to get to know any of the characters, not even the judges, which made their attempts at ramping up the drama of models being voted off a bit flat. But for the most part I think it worked, which was pretty shocking to me.

Having so little content to go by, it was next to impossible to make any predictions about the outcome as it went along. I didn't even try until it got down to the final two, and even then it was a completely arbitrary choice. I ended up accidentally picking the winner, but there was no sense of accomplishment when it came true because I really had nothing to base the decision on.

I think instead of stuffing two cycles into four hours, they would have been better doing one cycle over two two-hour specials; that way there would at least have been the opportunity for a real cliffhanger; but I'm sure they assumed that they would be lucky if anyone would make it through the entire two hours as it was without having to come back next week to see how it all fell into place. As an experiment in repackaging reality television for an entirely different market, I think it was a success overall but I can't see it catching on. The whole point of these shows is to suck the audience in and make them feel they're building a relationship with the participants, and it's impossible to achieve that in a single self-contained episode.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Continuing our quest to re-enlighten the world about the genius that is everyone's favorite short bald British drummer, we present this clip from, ooo, about 1985 or so in which Phil reveals the secret of every celebrity's motivation: just wanting to be liked. You also get some bonus commentary by a man with some astoundingly Eighties hair about Phil's at-the-time upcoming acting project Buster.

And while we're at it with the Buster thing, why not check out this blooper reel of Phil (while on his Buster press junket) and Katrina from Katrina and the Waves repeatedly flubbing their lines while trying to tape a quick promo bumper for Glasgow University Student Television? Like most blooper reels it's completely unfunny except for Phil's "wet look" and Katrina's sweater-and-perm combo.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

ENTERTAINMENT DROPPINGS: Nicole Richie, Courtney Love, Borat, Mel Gibson

• Nicole Richie sees Paris Hilton's DUI, raises her a DUI with Vicodin and marijuana [TMZ]

• Courtney Love proves those acting classes didn't all go to waste [US Weekly]

• Frat boys fail to convince judge they aren't frat boys [BBC News]

• Americans reach new level of sheer boredom but still wouldn't rather watch paint dry [Mercury News]

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Monday, December 11, 2006

WHY GOD CREATED YOUTUBE™: Billy Ocean's "Loverboy"

Last week, an extended illness provided me with ample free time at home. While most of it was spent sleeping, re-watching the fifth season of Curb Your Enthusiasm or vomiting, I managed to find time to digitize a few of my old vinyl records. After giving the 7" single of Billy Ocean's Loverboy a spin, it reminded me just how much I adore the ramped-up cheesy 80s production on that song (courtesy of Robert John "Mutt" Lange, the man who made the backwards snare hit synonymous with Def Leppard on the Pyromania album). I couldn't really remember what the video for Loverboy was like, so of course that led me to YouTube and the above-embedded gem.

WTF--I mean really, W...T...F. It has absolutely nothing to do with the song. The director apparently got the concept for the video from the song's synth overture that sounds vaguely Vangelis-like, so of course this means the video must be set in a futuristic...oh, shall we say, "cantina" of sorts, populated by a madcap crew of aliens and robots that would have been slightly more fashionable had this video been released a year previously when Return of the Jedi was still in theaters. The aliens are just amazing...there's the alien with a TV for a head, the robot DJ prop dusted off from the set of Herbie Hancock's Rockit, and the pink-haired Gelfling love interest. But my favorite creatures of all are the Jawas-that-aren't-Jawas -- because they're tall -- whose miraculous reappearance at the video's climax as the choir singing the octave-higher reprise of the refrain is nothing short of brilliant.

Truly, this is why God ceated YouTube.

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Friday, December 08, 2006


AN INTRODUCTION: Many moons ago, a kindhearted friend named Wedge gave me a precious gift he found in a bargain bin that has served me well through good times and bad. That gift? The hardback edition of Aaron Spelling: A Prime-Time Life (St. Martin's Press, 1996), the prolific producer's partially ghost-written autobiography.

This tome has often occupied my bedside table, lulling me to sleep while offering me heartfelt advice in times of need. Because while Aaron and his ghostwriter are for the most part pontificating about the rigors of television production, I think what they have to say can be applied to anyone's daily life.

It's now time for me to offer to you, my three to seven valued readers, an occasional glimpse into Aaron's words of wisdom. So without further adieu, I present to you the first installment of AARON SPELLING: AFFIRMATIONS FROM A PRIME-TIME LIFE™.

"The secret to producing television? The ability to pick pepper out of fly shit. They both look the same. But in order to pay attention to detail, you have to be able to pick the pepper out of fly shit."

--Aaron Spelling (as written by Jefferson Graham)

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

FIERCEFILE™: The Heartbreak Of Psoriasis No More

So can I call it or what? Last night we found out America's Next Top Model is CariDee, and it played out almost exactly as I had predicted. Not only that, they didn't even try to drag it out to a special two hour episode like last cycle. Either the writers strike thing really took its toll, or they just realized that no one wanted to watch Melrose cry for an hour and a half, because that's basically what all the filler would probably have been since she's a LOSER. Nyah, nyah, nyah Melrose, you big LOOOOOSER!!!

Man, Melrose was terrible in that first photoshoot/commercial. The comments during the judging made absolutely no sense to me, especially after they'd edited all the footage to make you think that she stunk it up. Every judge told her she was fabulous, even her biggest detractor Nigel. WTF?? And I was all like "Oh no you DIN'T" when they eliminated Eugena. Damn, was that predictable yet frustrating. It was typical Tyra: when it comes down to the wire, attack the black girl. It's the same crap they pulled with Danielle (or "Dani," as we found out she's been rechristened last night) with the whole "your accent is too ghetto" thing. Eugena easily bested Melrose in the commercial and the photoshoot, and they still dumped her for their little manufactured controversy over whether or not she wanted to be there. They kept telling her every episode that she didn't want to be there and since her personality isn't exactly bubbly -- and they knew it -- she didn't give them the fake enthusiasm they demanded. At least they couldn't eliminate her for the dead eyes thing, which I always thought was a bunch of crap in the first place.

We barely got any non-competition footage last night since it was only an hour long, which was kinda weird. I mean, the whole reason they eliminated Eugena was so that there could be a big-ass bitchfest between CariDee and Melrose at the end, and what did we get? "She stepped on the fucking dress." That's it. Oh, please. There must have been no end to the snippiness going on back at the Top Model house that was broadcast-worthy. Didn't Melrose do anything like spit in CariDee's breakfast cereal, or stay up all night crying because she was CRACKING UNDER PRESSURE? Although, can I say how pleased I was that we got no less than two crying Melrose scenes last night? Damn, she was practically wearing a crocodile one cared except you, Melrose, you LOSER. Nyah, nyah, nyah Melrose, you big LOOOOOSER!!!

Yeah, fine, she did better than CariDee in that stupid haunted bride challenge. Whatever. I was only slightly nervous when it came down to the judging. CariDee knew she blew it, and so did the audience, but as soon as they reminded everybody that the judging for the final winner isn't just based on the last challenge but all the other challenges so far I could hear the collective "Ooooooh, SNAP" emanating from the mouths of the American viewing public. When they ticked off who won each photoshoot you knew what was what and that Melrose was a BIG, FAT LOSER. LOSER!!! LOOOOOSER!!!

So there we have it, Cycle Seven is now complete and CariDee is our nation's next Top Model. I look forward to her appearances at custom van and auto shows throughout the midwest, next year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and a VH1 Celebreality™ series currently in development for fall of 2008.

But wait, what's this? We get two Top Model: British Invasion specials for the next two weeks? Yeah, bay-bay!! We get to watch highlights from the UK's version of ANTM, and you get to read my rantings about them! Aren't you lucky? I predict I stoop to no less than three bad teeth jokes in next week's recap! Until next week...

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

ADVENTURES IN THE DESIGN WORLD™: "Think About The Importance Of A Logo"

Do you have a shitty band? Would your shitty band like a shitty new logo? Then why not let the shitty graphic designers at Coconuts create a shitty new logo for your shitty band?

I don't know what's worse: the GRAPHIC DESIGN non-logo logo, the stream of bullshit promotional copy in that first paragraph under the non-logo logo, or that bizarre figure used in all three images that looks like the bastard lovechild of Larry David and The Martian Manhunter.

Or maybe it's that shitty-looking "angel" in the third image -- the one that's more than vaguely ripped off from the Led Zeppelin angel and is either dry-humping the edge of the picture plane or doing something vaguely Clay Aiken-ish with his right hand.

[Thanks to Anonymous A for the tip]

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WHY GOD CREATED YOUTUBE™: "I Have A Question For You Young People."

Honestly, I shouldn't even have to write anything here. It's only ten seconds long, just watch it and you'll understand.

Truly, this is why God created YouTube.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

JOHNEATS CONTEST™: And The Winner Is...

The votes are in. By an overwhelming majority of both Psychictoad and myself, I am happy to announce that the winner of the Win A T-Shirt You Probably Won't Feel Comfortable Wearing In Public Contest is . . .


Yes, as fate would have it, the woman who sent in no less than TWO ENTRIES has proven herself worthy of receiving her very own John On John Women's Cap Sleeve T-Shirt. Hopefully we can convince her to let us post a photo of her modelling her new pride and joy once it arrives just to prove to you all that we really were serious about this whole thing.

Congratulations, Eels. Sorry Michael Knight, maybe next time.

And now for the rest of you. Can I just say how disappointed I am in you all that you couldn't be bothered to take a few hours out of your oh-so-busy month to slap together something? I mean really, would it have killed you?!? Geez Louise.

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ENTERTAINMENT DROPPINGS™: Indiana Jones and the Farmer Tan of Doom

Courtesy of US Weekly's "Stars: They're Just Like US!" page this week: Proving that all good adventurer archeologists really do spend most of their time in the library, Harrison "I'm still fit enough to play Indiana Jones" Ford rocks a mean farmer tan as he buys drywall supplies.

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