Saturday, January 03, 2009

The blogosphere just got a whole bunch sweeter

Rosie O'Donnell has quit her blog.

I mean, it's not like I didn't know that Steven Moffat knows what he's doing...

Especially vis-à-vis Doctor Who. He's won Hugo Awards for it and all. Still, I like this quote from Moffat, who's takng over as head writer and executive producer for 2010, about Matt Smith, who'll be playing the part of the 11th Doctor*:

"The Doctor is a very special part, and it takes a very special actor to play him. You need to be old and young at the same time, a boffin and an action hero, a cheeky schoolboy and the wise old man of the universe. As soon as Matt walked through the door and blew us away with a bold and brand new take on the Time Lord, we knew we had our man. 2010 is a long time away but rest assured the Eleventh Doctor is coming - and the universe has never been so safe."

ETA: Here's a "coming out" interview with Smith:

He looks a bit goth, but I can see this working (and of course, the way he is now is not necessarily the way he'll be as the Doctor).

On the other hand, something just sank in as I was watching it. This Doctor actor is younger than me.

I may have to stop watching the series.

*If it were up to me, 10th, as I'd really rather not count McGann...but it's not up to me, and I suppose that's OK.

Oh my god, Jennifer Aniston is a wolverine.

Think of another explaination


We all know I think Summer Glau is as cute as cute can be, but I'm not so sure about this dress. You?

Eyes Wide Shut

Originally uploaded by MeganKS

Oh, she tells me tears are something to hide
And something to fear
And I try so hard to keep it inside
So no one can hear

(verse from Til Tuesday's "Voices Carry")

We better shut up...
Originally uploaded by missteree

Thursday, January 01, 2009

It's happened again

One of my reviews being cited as a source for a Wikipedia page, I mean. In this case it's the page on Don Henley's song "The Boys of Summer."

And now, let's chart Lindsay Lohan's growth and evolution as an actress

You'll like this.

I dunno how much low-class midriff blouses and tacky pumps can do in a case like this, but I wish her the best of luck

Erin Brockovich is coming to Tennessee. Seriously, I hope she can help.

A take-me-to-the-movies meme for the new year

(Sort of as a balanceweight to the Watchmen post)

Real simple. Name six comic book, fantasy or "shocker" movies you're looking forward to (or at least mildly curious about) seeing in 2009, and say why.

Mine are (in no particular order):

Race to Witch Mountain. I think the odds are probably better than even that this movie is going to suck. There's an outside chance that it might not, though, and the original movies were so big when I was a kid, so how could I not be curious?

Wolfman. I have the feeling this may turn out to be a guilty pleasure. I thought director Joe Johnston brought some much-needed young blood to the Jurassic Park franchise with his III.

Coraline. Now this one, I have full-on high hopes for. It's based on a bestselling book by Neil Gaiman (which I haven't read); I saw the trailer for it before seeing Bolt with my nephew, and it looks good.

I'm also glad to see director Henry Selick getting some credit for Nightmare Before Christmas, sometimes called "Tim Burton's" Nightmare Before Christmas, despite Burton's neither writing the screenplay for nor directing it.

Up. One word: Pixar.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I follow the movies, not the books...not purely because the books don't have Emma Watson, but...

And G.I. Joe. Sort of like the Witch Mountain re-launch, wherein I can't help being curious because of how big the originals were in my childhood, in this case it's because I played with the toys.

With "honorable mentions" to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and of course...Saw VI.

I'm tagging Alan Coil to see if he's out there, anyone else who wants to play is welcome.

One of my favorite mystery writers has died

Donald E. Westlake, a prize-winning author and Oscar-nominated screenwriter, has died in Mexico, apparently of a heart attack, his wife said. He was 75.

Westlake, who won three Edgar awards for his novels and was nominated for an Academy Award in 1991 for the screenplay for "The Grifters," died Wednesday night as he prepared to go to dinner, his wife, Abigail Westlake, told The New York Times.

Westlake was named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of American in 1993.

The 1999 Mel Gibson movie "Payback" was based on a Westlake novel, and he wrote the screenplay for the 1987 thriller "The Stepfather." The 1972 Robert Redford action comedy, "The Hot Rock," was based on one of Westlake's series of crime novels featuring one of his most popular characters, the small-time criminal John Dortmunder.

Born July 12, 1833, in New York, Westlake attended several colleges but did not graduate.

Hup! Hup! Heads up!

As you may have heard, the release of the "Watchmen" film, which was planned for March, has been delayed thanks to a lawsuit by Fox about the distribution rights.

There's a possibility--I dunno how good it is, but there's a possibility--it won't be released at all.

Some fans feel, not entirely without reason, that Fox is being rather "dickish" about it. For myself, though...I don't say I wouldn't go to see the film, especially if it gets good reviews (assuming it is ever released).

See, like many of you, I loved the original comic book. But I've always been (extremely) skeptical about filming it. And when I learned of comic book creator (with Dave Gibbons) Alan Moore's dark feelings on the subject...

Well...I'm not exactly displeased by its hitting this stumbling block. More amused. Anything that gets a bunch of comic book/fantasy fans to start acting as their civil rights will be violated if a movie isn't that's funny.

Read this.

This is lengthy--and in two parts (fair warning) but it's rather wonderful. At Pam's House Blend, a diarist calling themselves "Stuffed Animal" has written an essay taking off from Dr. King's famous Letter From A Birmingham Jail.

They make a point-by-point comparison with the grievances, suffering and oppression of African Americans then, and lesbian, gays and bisexuals now.

Part One

Part Two

I feel like a dumb joke (or two)...join me, won't you?

Ahem. From an post on Stars' 2009 New Year's Resolutions...

"To give up meat."

Lindsay Lohan might be able to help you with that, Eva.

"I have always had the same New Year resolutions: to stop smoking, to start wearing a bra and to stop shopping."

Don't feel you have to do all that, Cameron.

(Read the post and if you think of any other dumb jokes, send 'em in)

Jesus Christ.

Well, here's a little bit of good news and bad for the new year.

The good news is, three arrests have been made in the case of the Northern California lesbian who was gang-raped. If this leads to convictions, I hope they're thrown underneath a jail for the next 20-25 years.

The bad news is, two of the arrestees are teenagers, 15 and 16 years old.

15 and 16 years old.

One man and two teens have been arrested on suspicion of gang-raping a woman last month in the San Francisco Bay area while allegedly taunting her for being a lesbian, police said Thursday as they searched for a fourth suspect.

The 45-minute attack started when one of the men approached the woman in the street, struck her with a blunt object, ordered her to disrobe and sexually assaulted her with the help of the others, according to detectives.

When the group saw another person approaching, they forced the victim back into her car and took her to a burned-out apartment building. She was raped again inside and outside the vehicle and left naked outside the building while the alleged assailants took her wallet and drove off in her car, police said.

15 and 16 years old.

So young to do something that should be so unthinkable.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Balanced, well-acted, entertaining but never glib


Mickey Rourke has been going around saying that Sean Penn is a homophobe. I don't really know why. If Penn is, privately--and I'm not aware of much evidence, certainly in the last 10 years, to support that, in fact rather the opposite--I don't really care.

Unless you can show me that Penn has been using his stardom to promote intolerance, all I'm really interested in is him as an actor. And he is an extraordinary actor.

I think of him in Mystic River, for which he deservedly won an Oscar, as the man who turns his ferocious anger against a friend he thinks has killed his daughter.

And I try to tell myself that the same man gave the exquisitely human performance--though that's the wrong word, as it didn't feel like a performance at all--I saw tonight in Milk. Let me back up a minute.

The film itself succeeded with me where other films about gay men and/or politics have not for three main reasons.

It didn't seem stuffily to be trying to Teach Me A Lesson.

I think most of you who have read this blog for even a day know my feelings on civil rights for homosexuals. Nevertheless, my tolerance threshold for screen or stage dramas where the theme seems to be "But honest and truly, gays really are people too!!" is remarkably low.

I just think we should be past the point wherein that kind of statement arouses any reaction other than "Well...duh." I understand that we're not; you can make an argument that we need such works to play in more conservative parts of the country than those in which I've lived. But I don't think I'll ever have respect for them creatively.

Milk, on the other hand, I don't think sets out to Teach A Lesson. It sets out to tell a man's story. Since he was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in America, the story does inherently have some historical and even educational value.

But all praises to Jesus, it's about a man who was gay, not just a Gay Man.

(This is not to say that the film denies his sexuality in any way--which would be hard to do in the first place, tho' not impossible. But it makes it a part of the picture, not the whole thing.)

It didn't get thrown off by movie stars.

Apart from Penn, James Franco as Milk's longtime partner (later friend) and Josh Brolin--who we won't count because he's unrecognizable as Dan White, Milk's assassin--there aren't any.

I don't know if it's what a film student would call "cinéma vérité," but those are two of the words that came to mind. As I understand it, that means the sort of film which opens up a door upon real life, and that's what this felt like to me.

You almost never catch any of the cast acting. Penn's an actor, not a movie star first; in this movie, Franco shows signs for the first time (at least that I've seen) he might be one, too.

Like them, Brolin disappears into his character. And inhabiting White, he makes him full bodied. The performance, and the movie, does not take the cheap shot of presenting him simply as a belt-suited bigot, rather as someone who was messed up.

When we get to the (beautifully terrible) ending, you hate him for what he's going to do and does, yet you don't, not completely. (And yet I was glad to know, and the film reminds us, that White eventually took his own life.)

Just as White, though a villain is not a caricature, Milk, though a hero is not a plaster saint. We see his blind spots and his weaknesses, both personal and professional, and get an idea of his flaws.

Aided by Gus Van Sant's direction and Dustin Lance Black's screenplay, Penn and Franco--both straight AFAIK--convincingly portray something I've seen too little of in movies: A loving, intimate gay relationship.

It has its ups and downs--but that is because relationships have their ups and downs, not that this one is somehow false.

(They even kiss innumerable times, something that was beyond certain other acclaimed movie stars who shall remain Tom Hanks.)

The movie is smart and funny, but that is because Milk and his friends were smart and funny, not because a writer is trying to make them (and thus the writer) appear so. At least, that's the way it played to me. Which leads me to:

It didn't work too hard to entertain us.

This relates to my first reason in that it's kind of the flip side.

Political dramas, when they aren't solemnly trying to Educate The Public, can sometimes err in the other direction and become so "audience friendly" that they lose sight of whatever they might have been trying to say.

Milk unquestionably has something to say, but it says it the way drama says things best, by showing us part of the life of a person. Making us care about him; not just because we care about the same things he does.

Despite the fact that it's a tragedy, it's moving (honestly so) but not depressing. And it has dignity. It doesn't beg for it like some Lesbian Series for the Showtime network (I could mention) does. It just has it.

This is a great biopic.

I'm saying, I really think you should see it.

A bigoted one?

President-elect Barack Obama's choice of Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation drew one kind of protest. Whether the evangelical pastor offers the prayer in the name of Jesus may draw another. At George W. Bush's 2001 swearing-in, the Revs. Franklin Graham and Kirbyjon Caldwell were criticized for invoking Christ. The distinctly Christian reference at a national civic event offended some, and even prompted a lawsuit.

Warren did not answer directly when asked whether he would dedicate his prayer to Jesus. In a statement Tuesday to The Associated Press, Warren would say only that, "I'm a Christian pastor so I will pray the only kind of prayer I know how to pray."

The Bush hawks: They love war like Christopher Walken loves cowbell

John Bolton sez: Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran....


(click to see punchline)

Just when you thought I couldn't find any new reasons to worship Summer Glau

I mean as if it's not enough that she's as cute as it gets; that she moves like the dancer she is. That her acting as the almost-but-not-quite feeling cyborg deserves more respect than it's thus far gotten.

And now I find this photo--

--of her and other members of the Terminator - The Sarah Connor Chronicles cast showing their support for the writers of the show during the strike earlier this year.

Sigh. Could she possibly be any more wonderful?

You'd think they'd deliver

Britney Spears reportedly snuck out of her home in disguise for a secret sex session.

The 'Womanizer' singer apparently defied her father Jamie's ban on men to enjoy the saucy rendezvous with a mystery friend - and even bragged of her romp when she got home.

A source said: "She's been a prisoner in her own home and began to crave affection and attention from someone other than her parents, which is only natural.

Actually, I think if she'd gotten affection and attention from her parents, her whole personality could have been avoided.

Monday, December 29, 2008

So you say you want to see a hottie fake-beating some guy's brains in

What good luck that I just happen to have one, then.

Your spine isn't going to grow back, Rather

Via Pam's House Blend:

A $70m lawsuit filed by Dan Rather, the veteran former newsreader for CBS Evening News, against his old network is reopening the debate over alleged favourable treatment that Bush received when he served in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam war. Bush had hoped that this controversy had been dealt with once and for all during the 2004 election.

The story originally broke two months before the 2004 election, CBS went on to retract the story and Dan Rather was fired after the election. The conservative media went ballistic claiming the documents had been falsified.

Dear Dan:

CBS were idiots. Everybody knows it.

Trouble is, you were an idiot, too, and CBS did a good thing for a bad reason when they "allowed you to resign." Or maybe you thought we forgot about your going on the Letterman show after September 11, getting down on your knees and sucking Bush's cock on national television.

I believe you were a good reporter once, Dan, but that was yesterday, and I think it went to your head.

This lawsuit isn't about doing anybody any good except your ego, Rather, and there's much more important things than that. It isn't going to change the fact that Bush was elected (not re-elected) in 2004. It isn't going to make CBS News any smarter.

The time of network news is over, Dan, and you helped it come to a bad end.

Go the fuck away.


A little late, but I only just found out about this and wanted to say something about it here: Larry Gelbart, the playwright, screenwriter; personal hero and inspiration was
presented with the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Literary Awards Festival gala dinner (LitFest) Dec. 3.

PEN USA is the West Coast center for the renowned writers' organization International PEN.

"In a salute to the range of his accomplishments in multiple genres, award-winning television writer, screenwriter, playwright and author," two-time Tony Award winner Gelbart ...received the PEN career award from award-winning writer and producer Aaron Sorkin ("The West Wing," "Charlie Wilson's War," "A Few Good Men").

Emphasis mine, of course.

How fitting is that?


Say what you will about Seattle...and I have...but we are one of the two most literate cities in the U.S. Tied with Minneapolis for first place.

Los Angeles? Not in the top 10.

That's all I'm saying.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

To quote The Smiths: "because you're evil, and you lie"

Via Think Progress:

Only 29 percent of Americans approve of the job Dick Cheney is doing as Vice President. In an interview with his hometown Wyoming newspaper, The Caspar Star-Tribune, Cheney expressed his bewilderment over his low approval numbers:

QUESTION: How do you explain your low approval rating?

CHENEY: I don’t have any idea.

I intend calling this guy "R.G."

Via TPM Election Central (where there's two or three other good links), here's an ABC News story about incoming Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs.

Known as a bit of a political knife-fighter on Capitol Hill for his work as something of a rogue operative after he left Sen. John Kerry's campaign amid a staff shake-up, Gibbs became a close adviser to Obama in the Senate and took an even more prominent role in the senator's 2008 presidential campaign.

Now, however, he is preparing for the actual act of governing, which can be even tougher. Is he prepared for the intense scrutiny of his every word? Is he ready to serve as a media piñata? And, given that he could likely have served as a senior adviser to the president-elect, why would he want the gig?

What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening...

The PopEater web site counts down the top 30 celebrity news stories of 2008. Among them:

Jennifer Anistion's Photoshopped GQ cover
Kate Winslet's not retouched GQ photos

Lara Logan becoming a parent
Tom Cruise not being a parent (oh please, let this one be true!)

And the death of Heath Ledger.

A Minute in (what I wish was) America

This is the final scene from another of the strongest episodes of The West Wing, the two-part "20 Hours in America."

As you see, the person who posted it to YouTube wanted you to associate it with Obama. I'm not so sure about that.'s a dreamy speech.