4.30.2005

SERENITY NOW

Though it's supposed to be released in September, the movie Serenity is already making news with a ton of pre-screenings and Internet messaging by director/producer/writer/everyman Joss Whedon. Though this is probably a publicity move on the heels of cult-attitude in the media right now because of Star Wars, it's still nice to hear about.

For those of you unaware, Serenity is the movie-adaptation of the cancelled FOX series Firefly. The show itself is hard to distill into a few sentences -- A show about a crew and passengers aboard a space freighter that operates on the fringes of the known galaxy combining the genres science fiction with the old west and a little Chinese language. One of the passengers has a mysterious past that even she doesn't know about -- but the ever-present "Universal Alliance" does know and does want her back. Oh - and on the other side of the known galaxy are the Reavers - a space-canibal race that will eat your face off and tie your body to the hull of their ship, should you cross paths.

Confusing? Yes, at first. Worth your time? Hell yes. The movie comes out in September, and you can find a few weekends in between now and then to watch 14 blissful episodes. This is truly an original show that relies heavily on its characters and stories, rather than cheaply and easily falling back on special effects and naked women. Check it out.

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4.23.2005

Watch "The Wire" or Die

Reality TV might be on the outs, but the last nail is hardly being driven into the coffin. Recently my roomates and I have sat down to watch HBO's The Wire on DVD. If any of you have any taste in television watching, you will want to watch this subtle series and let it just grow on you. It's done by many of the same people who produced, wrote and directed episodes of the fantastic Homicide: Life on the Streets and the grittiness of the latter series is very evident in the former. If any of you are aware with Homicide, think of the Luther Mahoney storyline expanded into its own series. It's sad how NBC has applied gloss to nearly all of its current dramatic series turning its schedule into a bland marathon of pretty faces and easy-to-digest storylines. I'm not saying Homicide was a Masterpiece Theatre, but shows like Crossing Jordan and Las Vegas are making the viewing public dumber and dumber.

I caught E.R. last week and though the series has lost its freshness (hard to keep after nearly 10 full seasons), it was still pretty good. Point being: watch The Wire on DVD and watch E.R.

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4.13.2005

The OC Doesn't Suck Anymore

A few weeks ago I wrote that the OC sucked, and not in a good way. It was no longer "TV so bad, it's good." Well, in the last few weeks it has picked up significantly. No more subplots of the ever-so-slight, probably-not-gonna-happen infidelity between Sandy and Kirsten, no more paternity issues, no more sap -- just lots of popcorn-y goodness from the Cohens of Newport Beach.

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Park It Right Here

Read in the paper today: Mayor Menino isn't happy about lots around Fenway Parking charging upwards of $60 (rumors of one lot that charges $100) for parking during Red Sox homegames. Wow, big suprise that surrounding businesses would actually want to capitalize on 35,000+ neighborhood visitors on 80+ days a year. You know it's a slow day when this is actually on the front page.

I can't say that I agree these businesses should charge that much for parking, but, if people are willing to pay it, why not? 'Let the market it sort itself out' sort of thing.

So people are being gouged outside the park? Is it so unexpected given how much a family of four spends on average at the ballpark for the true Fenway experience? Tickets, something to eat, and a souvenier or two can run four people over $200.

Here's an idea. Save yourself $60 (or $100 if you're too stupid or lazy to find a space somewhere and walk) and take the T in. It's 45 minutes at most from most of the outlying, suburban T stops (Alewife and Riverside from my experience) and it can actually be a fun experience to be with other people, dressed in red, white, and blue and on their way for a fun time at Fenway. Doesn't it take just as long to drive in (during rush hour on most days) and drive out once the game is over? Save the environment.

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Taking Medicine to Avoid a Fever

So much to write about, so little time!

So Fever Pitch as finally arrived. Excuse me if I don't run to the closest megaplex to watch a flailing Jimmy Fallon make an ass of himself and all of Red Sox nation. I like to think I'm above commercials and previews of movies since those are the tools marketers use to get people into the seats. I should be able to look at the plot summary and decide whether or not it would be an interesting movie to see. But...

1) New England's own Farrelly brothers, along with Jimmy (former no-sport fan, former Yankee fan, current Red Sox fan) Fallon are giving us the story of a socially imbalanced sports nut whose zeal for his local team is more of a social impediment than grace. This is were the filmmakers first go wrong.

Red Sox fans are extremely proud and knowledgeable. Zealous? Sure. Socially inept? Some of them; but to the point of weirding out all your friends and scaring off women? I don't think so. There are a lot more worse things about which to be enthusiastic. I just have a bad feeling this movie will paint Red Sox fans the wrong color in the eyes of the entire country.

Remember last year's Red Sox documentary, Still We Believe? That's how Red Sox fans should be remembered. Imagine if they had waited just one year to do the filming of that. It seems like there's a Red Sox-themed movie every year. Maybe 2006 will be The Johnny Damon Story: How I Whored.

2) Jimmy F-ing Fallon. I liked him on SNL for his Patrick Sullivan from Lexington routine (which could be the topic of another blog, since almost no one living in Lexington would get it). But for him to be a leading man and actually get Drew Barrymore?

3) Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore on the field after the Red Sox won it all. This is probably the most unforgivable act of them all, and it's not even in Fever Pitch! You may recall that Fox's cameras cut to Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore running onto the field to embrace, right as the entire Red Sox organization was coming onto the field to embrace also. I can see how the Farrellys were in a bind -- it was a great opportunity and it wasn't in the script for the Red Sox to win, because, hey, who would have thought they would actually win the World Series? But for Fox to cut away from the players' celebration to an actual scripted moment is just the complete rape of a historical moment. The World Series victory was for all the long-suffering fans and longtime players like Johnny Pesky and longtime employees... not for Hollywood to steal.

So, if this is just case of spite towards the filmmakers taking advantage of the greatest moment in Boston sports history, or a crappy, mismarketed trailer, maybe I will see the movie... for free... on HBO... on demand.

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4.07.2005

News That's Unfit to Print

OK, it's ANGRY time. I'm AN ANGRY YOUNG BOSTONIAN. Guess what I'm angry at now: the Internet Movie Database news service. Yes, not a particularly important issue in today's post-9/11 world, but an issue nonetheless.

I've been a fan of the IMDb ever since almost the time it arrived on the web in the mid 90's. It was fun to be able to look up an actor's entire filmography or discover early films by directors and other production crewmembers or look back on cancelled TV shows. Hey -- even I'm on the IMDb. It was also a good source for news information about the players in Hollywood and elsewhere in the world of film and television -- and this is what I'm ANGRY about.

The current IMDb news section is a joke. Ever since Amazon.com bought the site in 1998, it's been rolling downhill as it rapes the definition of "news" with its sweeping language and useless information. Here are some examples of "Celebrity News" (with a summary each blurb):

Singer and actress Lindsay Lohan has furiously blasted reports she's secretly dating actor Christian Slater. (Her spokesperson calmly stated she's not dating Christian Slater, to her knowledge).

Britney Spears has been barred from looking after her eight-month-old stepson Kaleb... (Actually, the baby's mother says he lets Britney look after the child along with her).

Nicole Kidman has vehemently denied reports she is pregnant... (She does deny it, but hardly vehemently).

Oscar winner Sean Penn's latest movie All The King's Men has left him with such severe exhaustion, he's retiring from the movie industry for several years to recover. (He jokingly comments that he's going to take a couple years off, despite having two newer films on his filmography).

And on and on and on...

Is the World Entertainment News Network (the source of IMDb's news) bent on getting its readers so worked up about stupid celebrity news? And really, who cares if Britney Spears can't see her husband's bastard child? Tell me more about films in development. Tell me more about roles that are being taken (based on fact, not rumor). Entertain and enlighten me!

Screw IMDb's news service. I'm out.


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