Monday, January 31, 2011

The 100 Coolest Things of 2010... #100 - 91

If you are reading this on Facebook, you may want to just click over to Clouds In My Coffee, since this post has a ton of videos and photos you might not see on FB...

It took a while to get going, but I knew I'd get there eventually... this blog started in 2005, and at the end of the year, I did The 100 Coolest Things of 2005, all in one single post.  Right after 2006 ended, I broke up the list into ten installments, then the next year, did 2007's list, onto 2008's list, then 2009's list, and now here we are, the sixth time I've looked upon the previous year and gave you what I believe to be my favorite things of 2010.

What means "cool", asks you?  Just simply, its cool.  Its fun.  Be it a song, a movie, a TV show... something I really liked.  Maybe its a place to eat, one that I visited over and over during the year.  And sometimes its a person or a couple or a group... someone who had an impact, someone that I just adore or cherish or love dearly.  And its things that I discovered in 2010... thusly, as much as we love Steven and Calah Ray, they won't make this list, because they were in the Top Ten Coolest Things of 2009... and though they continue to be cool, they make way for new things, people and stuff.  There is even a few books and movies that came out prior to 2010, but I discovered them (or in one case, "re"discovered them) and thusly, here they are.

Well, let's get going, shall we?   Without further ado, here are the 100 Coolest Things of 2010

100... Alabama Wins the National Title
Okay, okay... yes I rib the Tide Nation, because yes, they've won multiple titles, and whether they can legitimately claim 13 national titles (which I think is a stretch) or they actually won their 7th or 8th title (more likely, methinks), the fact remains, that in this modern day and age, winning a national title in college football is a huge, huge thing. 

And they did it by beating none other than the college powerhouse known as The University of Texas by a closer-than-the-score-indicates score of 37-21.  Their star QB, Colt McCoy, went down early... but I think they would have prevailed anyway.  Because the difference in a team like Texas, and Alabama, at least in the 2009 season, is that Texas has a star player--McCoy.  Alabama had Ingram... and Jones... and McElroy... and a host of others that, even in the loss of one, would keep the team going.   And lest we forget, the game was really, really good. 

99... Queen Latifah Gets Her Man
I'll be honest... like The Lovely Steph Leann, I like the movies I like.  That means simply, sometimes a stupid movie is something I find hilarious (see "Employee of the Month" or "Deuce Bigalo: Male Gigolo") and supposedly incredible films are snooze-inducing or terrible (see "The English Patient"... or better yet, don't).  And sometimes a lame movie is where I find the most enjoyment.

And that brings us to "Just Wright", starring Queen Latifah and rapper Common.  This was ridiculed in the press, its got a less than 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and let's face it, the movie was badly acted and poorly written.  And yet, I found myself enjoying the heck out of it. 

Here's part of what I wrote on June 10th, 2010:

Anyway, the final reason I liked this film is simply... its clean. Very, very little language (a few "damns" and I think one "bull****"), no violence at all, other than aggressive play on the basketball court, and as far as sexual situations, there's one single scene where you know Leslie and Scott did the deed, but its the next morning and they are lying in bed looking at each other, completely covered by sheets. I can deem this movie completely Emmy Turnbow Safe. Its a good first date movie.

By no means spend $20 on this film, unless you are in fact on a date. At best, catch a matinee, wait for the $1 theater, or get the DVD or watch it online this summer when it will probably come out. For now, The Lovely Steph Leann will be stocking up on Common CDs.

98... The Miz Claims the Title
Hey, I'm a wrasslin' fan, and I admit it.  I ain't scurred. 

And one of my favorites is The Miz.  If you can believe it, his real name is Michael Mizanin, and he was a cast member of MTV's The Real World: New York in 2001, and then the subsequent Real World/Road Rules Challenge. 

What's also interesting is watching the evolution of The Miz in the WWE... he started more of a joke, and looking like it was possible he'd never be more than a jobber or a C-lister.  But over the last year, in large part due to a huge push, but also due to his committment and ability, The Miz has hit the big time, and is one of the headliners now. 

And this year, he won the WWE Championship by cashing in his Money in the Bank Briefcase, beating a worn down and exhausted Randy Orton, right after Randy Orton has successfully defended the title against Wade Barrett of The Nexus, and after he won, he yelled out of one of my favorite catchphrases...


Hey, I'm a wrasslin' fan, and I admit it.  I ain't scurred.

97... Lotso Huggin' Bear Comes Home
The Lovely Steph Leann went out of town on business, which took her to the coast and ended up with her at a Disney Store.  And she came back with a random surprise.

How awesome is this?

96...  SMU Pays Their Players
To celebrate 30 years, ESPN has been showcasing what they call "30 for 30"... that would be 30 documentaries, each made by a different noted director, each with their own creative control, and each telling a sports story that sometimes is famous--and sometimes is not. 

To me, the "30 for 30" has been amazing over the last year, be it the controversial games from The U of Miami in the 80s or the "where were you when" aura of OJ's White Bronco... but in my mind, the best was saved for last.  "Pony Exce$$" tells the fabled story of Southern Methodist University Mustangs football which, back in the early 80s, was a national powerhouse, including posting a 45-5-1 record from 1980 to 84.

Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson and Craig James joined Charles Waggoner to form "The Pony Express", leading SMU to a share of the national title in 1981.  All was not on the up-n-up, however, in Mustang land, as it was revealed in 1986 that for a few years previous, players were being paid from an under the table slush fund, allegations that were put on SMU after they were already on probation.

The NCAA had the power to use "the death penalty", which means barring a school from fielding a football team for a determined amount of time.  They had never used it... until they used it on Southern Methodist.  It devastated the school and the community, and SMU essentially never recovered.  In fact, it took over 20 years for the school to reach a bowl game again--a win over Nevada in The Hawai'i Bowl--and it only had a single winning season in that span up until their bowl season.

Another fallout from the decision is the thought that the NCAA will likely never use "the death penalty" again on a school because of the catastrophic effects of the decision.

All of this can be learned in "Pony Exce$$", a fascinating documentary completely worth the two hours it takes to watch it.  Look it up, DVR it, and enjoy the step back into college football history.

95... Big Al Makes An Appearance
So The Lovely Steph Leann and I are at The Magic Kingdom late last year, and are enjoying the Magic Hours, that is, late night in the park.  We are walking past Liberty Square into Frontierland, and headed to Pirates over in Adventureland, so we take that little cut through to get back there, and also to use the restroom.

We go in our respective bathrooms, and being a boy, I naturally finish first--amazing how much time can be saved by standing.  Anyway, I got out first, and who did I immediately spot standing by a tree?   Big Al.

No, Roll Tiders, not that elephant from Tuscaloosa.  Its actually none other than my favorite Country Bear from the Jamboree of the same name.  And in all the trips I've ever been to Disney World, I've never, ever seen Big Al.  And in all the trips The Lovely Steph Leann has been to Disney World, which is about a half-dozen more than me, she has never seen Big Al. 

I race over and say, "Hey Big Al!"  He turns around, waves and gives me a hug.  I text The Lovely Steph Leann and say "GET OUT HERE".  I try and stall, and ask the friendly Cast Member if she will take my picture with Big Al.  Of course she agrees, so I get my picture taken.  Finally, I spot The Lovely Steph Leann emerging from The Lovely Ladies Room, and she's looking around for me.  I call out, "The Lovely Steph Leann!  Over here!"  She turns and sees me, does a "there you are" wave with her hands, and starts ambling over. 

"Hurry!" I yell at her, and she looks confused... and then she sees Big Al.  Her face brightens, she says, "Oh!  It's Big Al!"  She races over, and we both get our picture with Big Al.  He waves, we smile, the camera snaps and Big Al is on his way. 

And it left me with a memory that was one of the coolest things of the year.

94... Hurricane Rhett Falls in Love
I gotta be careful where I tread... "The Other Guys" is a funny movie.  It's not in my Top Ten of the Year, nor is it the funniest movie I saw in 2010.  Its not nearly the best movie I saw, nor is it a movie that I own.  But according to Hurricane Rhett, it doesn't get much funnier than Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg teaming up as mismatched cops (I know, new concept, right?!) trying to catch some bad guys.

Really, the plot is not all that important... what is important is that this movie has a literally a murder's row of people I love to see in a movie... The Rock, who I have a man crush on... Samuel L. Jackson... Michael Keaton... Rob Riggle... and an incredibly priceless cameo by Derek Jeter.

This was also the film that helped me figure out what it is about Will Ferrell that everyone enjoys... he makes everyone better.  He makes everyone funnier than he is.  I think back to "Anchorman", and though Ron Burghandy is funny, Brick Tamblin, Champ Kind and Brian Fantana are funnier, feeding off of Ferrell.  In "Old School", Frank the Tank is funny, but Bernard and the Frat guys are funnier.  And taking "Talladega Nights", yes, Ricky Bobby is great.  But Reese Bobby is better, Jean Girard is snarkier and Cal Naughton?  Cal is priceless.  Oh, and Assistant Susan is smokin' hot.  Just sayin.

And in "The Other Guys", Det. Allan Gamble is funny.  But feeding off of Ferrell, Det. Hoitz (Wahlberg) is funnier, as are Danson and Highsmith and Rob Riggle's Det. Martin is absolutely hysterical, as is Damon Wayans Jr's Det. Fosse...

What was my point again?  Well, whatever.  Anyway, The Lovely Steph Leann and I saw this movie with Hurrican Rhett and his wife Amarylis By Morning (up from san antone), and THAT is the best way to see a movie... with friends that like and laugh at the same kind of movie you do.  We probably would have enjoyed it well enough, but perhaps not as much as we did with the Barnetts in tow. 

So the 94th coolest thing of 2010 is not "The Other Guys", its watching "The Other Guys" with good friends.

93... Jamie Makes a Post
"Happy Harper Stories" is a blog that I check out about once a week or so, written by a young lady who goes to Valleydale Baptist Church (an sbc fellowship, natch), and its a fun little blog about the Christ-Following life, a Christian family and so on.   But one day, she decided to write a little blog called "Biblical Submission and Worship in the Bedroom", and it was excellent. 

I've shared this on the blog already, and linked to her blog while I posted by own on a very similar subject, which you can read it--"Sex Love God and Gifts"--by clicking here and can also read the first paragraph of her post. 

Just wanted to mention it again before it gets lost in her blog and in mine, like so many excellent posts do in blogs that are updated a few times a week. 

92... Amy Adams (whom I'm in love with) Goes to Ireland
To clear up a misconception, just because a movie has Amy Adams, whom I'm in love with, in it does not make it a good movie.  Sometimes she can be in crap, just like anyone else.  I watched a movie called "The Last Run" starring Fred Savage, aka Kevin Arnold, and though it said "Amy Adams, whom I'm in love with" as one of the main credits, she was only featured minimally.  And, not that this has anything to do with her screen time or lack thereof, the movie was one of the worst films I've ever seen in my entire life.  I mean, bad.  Like, bad bad.  Not so bad its good, but so bad its bad bad.

To be real honest, "Psycho Beach Party" and "Cruel Intentions 2" weren't much better, and perhaps it was "Junebug" that gave her the chance to make better movie choices... either way, like any Hollywood star, even amongst tons of success, there are those "paycheck movies" (see, Cage, Nicolas, post-Leaving Las Vegas), and the movie at #92, "Leap Year", is probably in that catagory for Amy Adams, whom I'm in love with.

"Leap Year" simply tells the story of Anna Brady, a socialite who is itching to be hitching to her boyfriend Jeremy... when he has a "surprise for her", and it turns out to be something like earrings and not a ring-ring, Anna is sad.  When Jeremy goes to Ireland, Anna decides that she is going to find him, partaking of an old Irish tradition that states on a Leap Year day, February 29th, a woman may propose to a man.

But on her way to Dublin, she gets derailed in the Irish countryside by bad weather, she meets a guy she can't stand that agrees to take her to Dublin and... well, let's be honest, we aren't watching "Schindler's List" here, we all know where this is going... okay, to be fair, we knew where "Schindler's List" was going to, but thats not my point.  My point is, this isn't a movie you over-analyze.  I could tell you that Anna ends up dumping Jeremy for the Irish guy at the end, and I would not be spoiling this film for you, because you know this the moment the new guy takes the stage.

I must say, though, another star of this film besides Amy Adams, whom I'm in love with, and Matthew Goode is probably none other than the Irish Countryside.  The views are spectacular, the scenery is marvelous and the cameras always make sure you see a field blowing in the wind, or the cliffs with the water crashing against them, or so on and so forth.

Its a fun movie that you don't have to think about... you just let yourself have a good time with it, and if you are like me, just stare at Amy Adams when she's onscreen.  Cause she's beautiful.  And I'm in love with her.  

91... RDJ Wears the Suit (again)
There have been been few turnarounds in Hollywood that have been as huge, as monumental and as successful at the career of Robert Downey Junior.  He's gone from prison, drug use and a life spiraling into an overdose that was directing him onto a list with Heath Ledger or Brittany Murphy in the gone-too-soon department... into one amazing actor who is finally making some good choices.  Okay, okay, "The Soloist" notwithstanding... there's "Sherlock Holmes", there's "Due Date", there's "Tropic Thunder"... and of course, there's Iron Man.

And in 2010, there was Iron Man 2.  And I thought it was just splendid, if I do say so myself.   Here's what I wrote about it in June after seeing it:

...I was thrilled. The opening sequence, the introduction to The Stark Expo, Whiplash [Mickey Rourke] shows up and lashing his whips, bad accent and hair and all, Sam Rockwell being awesome like he always is, Iron Man fighting, and don't think I didn't notice the similarities between Stark's dad's plans for a futuristic community and Disney's old Epcot plan... in fact, there's a song over the ending credits called "Tomorrow Today", and it was written by the famed Sherman Brothers, the same guys who wrote "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" for the Carousel of Progress at Walt Disney World, amongest other great Disney classics.

Speaking of the ending credits, stay til the very end. Its worth it.

And there is our first ten...

Coming up... Bosses go undercover... Helen Mirren gets violent... and later, my night eating Lebenese...

Next:  The 90th to 81st Coolest Things of 2010

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Music City Idol

I don't usually post Idol performances, especially during the audition rounds, because there are too many I'd want to post, and it would be hard to pick... unless they are remarkable.  And this one is remarkable... not because of how good he is (he was good, but not the best I've heard) but because of the Sob Story around it.  I say "sob story" in jest, because Idol likes to manipulate our "awww" buttons, but this time, it was more than an "awww", it was a tear inducing "wow" that leaves you speechless.

From last night's Milwaukee audition, here's the story of Funky Chris Medina, and his girlfriend...

Of course, we kick off with Darius Thomas from sweet Birmingham, AL, hitting a high note somewhere so high that its still lingering over Lake Michigan.  Mariah Carey saw that guy do that note and said, "I wish I had that range."  He didn't make it to Hollywood.

So... lets get to tonights show...




In Nashville, 17,000 people gathered together to audition, and the crowd looks like my last birthday party!  The legendary Ryman Auditorium is the host arena, and up first is annoyingly annoying Christine McCafferty and she's singing as she comes in.

"What is she..." The Lovely Steph Leann asks, "...what... what is she doing?"

And even better, this chick is doing one of The Lovely Steph Leann's least favorite songs ever, outside of rap music, "I Hope You Dance".  I have a feeling Lee Ann Womack is passing out.

Chelsea Oaks and Rob something are here together--and are exes.  And they still live together.  They sing together.  And they used to date...

Say it with me...


Smashcut to outside, where Ryan is talking to the family... including Chelsea's current boyfriend, who says he was not the reason for the breakup, and how Chelsea and Rob (Bolin, by the way) were broken up by the time he entered the picture.  Drama.

Rob sings, and he's got a great bluesy voice, despite the fact he looks like Giovanni Ribisi.  Chelsee (e, not a on the end) is singing one of my favorites, "The Story" by Brandi Carlile (thats Carlile not Carlisle) and also sounds great.  They both get Hollywood tickets. 

The Lovely Steph Leann giggles as they play "Need You Now" over the video.  Chelsee gets a big hug from Her Boo, while Rob gets a handshake from Seacrusty.  Kinda funny.  No, really funny.

Steven Tyler's jaw just drops as Big Booby Blondie comes in, and another girl gets a cheer from him as she touches her tongue to her nose.  He's kind of like the funny, yet somewhat creepy, yet somewhat cool old uncle.

Now here comes tattoo artist Allen Lewis singing "Simple Man" by Lynyrd Skynyrd... though he looks like he would be more comfortable beating his wife and his girlfriend (yes and, not or) while doing it.  Randy the Dawg kinda pins him as a band guy... J-Lo laughs... Steven Tyler is inspired.  We all are, in fact.  Allen Lewis tells us that his failure here will make him work harder.  I am going to go run a marathon now.

Idol forecast?  Stormi Skies.
From Beast to Beauty... Miss Teen USA 2009, as a matter of fact.  Stormi Henley comes in, dressed in a little Steven Tyler approved dress.  Singing something I don't know, she belts it out, and looks sounds hot great.   J-Lo says no, Steven Tyler says yes (of course he does) and Randy the Dawg gives his vote... a Yes.  I am digging the Stormi weather.

Nashville doesn't seem to be the talent pool we have seen in Milwaukee and New Orleans, as we see a No Montage.  Here is Adrienne Beasley, a black chick adopted by two older white people.  They show her on a farm, riding with hay trucks, driving a tractor, picking corn, praying with the family.  That's fantastic.

The Lovely Steph Leann is happy that not only Adrienne is singing "American Honey" by Lady Antebellum, but also happy that I recognized the song right off the bat.  And Adrienne sounds great... she's what chick black country is to Darius Rucker is to dude black country.  I'm a fan, and so are the judges, as she gets three YES votes.

On to Break!

Back from Break!

Kameela has been singing since she was a little girl.  This is her dream.  She wants to sing for the world.  Tonight, she's singing "Sweet Thing" by Chaka Khan... and I knew it was coming.  It is awful.  I mean, really, really awful.  It was pretty horrendous.  Randy the Dawg tells her it was horrible, Steven Tyler tells her to go home and practice and J-Lo says no way.

Here's someone in a blue outfit, like a reject from The Blue Man Group.  Here's a dang fer-ahner.  And here's a country boy.  All equally terrible.  The country boy walks out to no one waiting, and starts crying.  The Lovely Steph Leann yells, "Oh, the horror!  Its horrible!  Ohmigah!!!"

This is Jackie Wilson.  But not the one that
auditioned.  Just so you know.
And now Jackie Wilson (no, not the black dude from the 50s that sang "Lonely Teardrops") is singing something fun, and was doing well even in the high note.  J-Lo whips around, looking behind her and grimaced.  But it works somehow, and she goes onto Hollywood.  The Lovely Steph Leann says, "Dear Jackie... don't be sexy.  Longer skirt.  Longer skirt." 

And now, without ado, here is LaToya Moore.  She's a recording artist, from Nashville, and she sees herself as a star... people see a glow about her.  This is going to be a train wreck... I'm excited.  She's even holding a CD with her picture on it.  And she brings it into the judges... "This is my album, and I brought you one to share."

"Younique" Moore is her nickname... and she is definately Younique.  And it was awful, just like I thought, no, I hoped it would be.  And Younique wants to sing another song, and can't believe she wasn't picked for Hollywood... and she leaves singing, stopping at the door.  Randy the Dawg says, "Its... still a no." 

She is still singing as she walks out, and tells Seacrusty that "They would have liked it better if I sang a little slower".

Paul McDonald sings "Maggie May" and sounds... well, cool.  Jimmie Allen sings something else, and sounds... great.  Danny Pate sings "Papa was a Rolling Stone" and sounds... rockin'.  And they all head to Hollywood.

Matt Dillard, from right outside of Nashville, is 27, and is a foster father of special needs kids.  Like, a brood of them.  His family has hosted over 700 children in the last 23 years, and wow, talk about being inspired.  Watch The Blind Side after this, and I might head to Ensley and find us an orphan.

"You Raise Me Up", one of my least favorite songs, is being sung, and Matt is doing it all kinds of justice.  Sounds great.  He kinda looks like Daughtry's really odd little brother.  Randy the Dawg says yes, reluctantly.  J-Lo says no.  Steven Tyler says Yes, of course. 

Sob Story Alert!!  Finally, here is Lauren Alaina, who is 15 years old, and she's been singing all her long life.  All fifteen years.  And her best friend and cousin Holly is featured, and of course, Holly has been diagnosed with a brain tumor.   She has had chemo, so it seems like Holly will be okay... and long haired, red headed Holly comes in, healthy. 

I am not familiar with the song, but man, it was great.  Randy the Dawg said, "Best I've seen today!" and J-Lo tears up.  Steven Tyler tells Lauren its okay to cry because "you are going to make 40 million people cry".  One-two-three YES!  The whole family comes in, and Lauren sings "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" because its her parents song too... Steven Tyler jumps in.  Its a warm moment.

Melanie just texted me:  "Seen Idol yet?  I bet you a 15 year old wins it this year"
I replied: "With 322 of them in the contest, it's a good bet."

Next week... on to Texas!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Milwaukee's Best Idol

Sitting with Amarylis By Morning (up from san antone), Hurricane Rhett, JustFish and his wifey wife KellFish, the reviews are in... Idol... is pretty good.  Okay, JustFish and KellFish didn't really give an opinion, but Amarylis By Morning (up from san antone) and Hurricane Rhett are digging it.  And so is The Lovely Steph Leann and so am I.

Tonight, its the third episode of Idol 2.0, with Steven Tyler, J-Lo and Randy the Dawg, and we open up with Steven and Randy doing a little freelance version of "Sweet Emotion", one of my favorite Aerosmith songs.  No joke, its a great driving song.

We're coming from Milwaukee, WI, the home of The Widower Danny Gokey... and in fact, we see The Goke himself talking to some of the crowd.



Scotty from Garner, NC, is up first.  He's clean cut, he's dressed to the nines, and he's 16.  If Paula Abdul was here, her room keys would be thrown at Scotty's feet.  "Your Man" by Josh Turner is his song... and I'm glad he's singing this song, because that's one of those songs that I keep hearing, but didn't know who sang it.  I'm going to download it right now.

The Lovely Steph Leann looks up at me, and says, "He's so smooth...."

At the judges request, Scotty from Garner sings "Put Some Drive in Your Country" by Travis Tritt, which makes Steven Tyler say something about getting something, get the matches, &#*$ a duck and see what hatches.  What the?

Scotty from Garner heads to Hollywood.

The Lovely Steph Leann looks up at me from under her blanket and says, "I'd listen to him on the radio..."

I just down loaded "Your Man" by Josh Turner.

Joe Repka comes up... and sometimes you can just tell this is going to be a disaster.  He's kinda tall, he's kinda frumpy, he's got a fat head, he's got a bad 'stache, he's dressed horribly... this is going to a train wreck of heavy duty proportions.   Seacrusty just talks to him like Joe actually has a chance. 

And the judges know this is going to be bad too.  He says he is 19, but he could pass for 31.   And when he says he's going to sing "The Longest Time" by Billy Joel, both The Lovely Steph Leann and I groan.  And when he actually starts singing, she grimaces, I giggle, Steven Tyler sways and J-Lo hangs her head. 

Steven Tyler says, "Do not quit your day job.  Brutally honest."  The others agree.  And Joe jumps into the classic Idol mistake of, "They hated my first song, so I'll sing something without being prompted so they will hear me sing beautifully..." and in all my years of watching Idol, I have never seen this work.

From the previous commercial break, we see a chick saying something original like, "This is my dream", while crying.  Well, now we see her and her family in an SUV, and she tells us how she was 5 when Kelly Clarkson won the first Idol (The Lovely Steph Leann whimpers, "We are so old"), and how they came from Colorado, and drove 16 hours to Milwaukee.

Emma Henry, 15, is singing "True Colors" from Cyndi Lauper... personally its one of my least favorite songs ever, but she's not doing as badly as I thought she would.  Steven Tyler says he likes her character, J-Lo says she needs to keep working on her quality, and Randy the Dawg says he's not sure that she is ready.  J-Lo says no, and she needs to work on it. Steven Tyler says yes.

"I want this so badly, music is my life..." she starts crying, cue the sad music.  Randy the Dawg says she's going to be swallowed up in this whole process.  She whimpers, and says, "I'm going to work so hard!"  Randy the Dawg relents, and Emma Henry shouts for joy as she gets her golden ticket.

My own opinion?  She's got talent, and she's pretty good... but she needs to be trained up.  She needs more work, and I think she'll be pheeeeenomonal.  The Lovely Steph Leann agrees.

Trailer for "The Roommate" comes on.  The Lovely Steph Leann pipes up, "I've seen that movie!"  When I look at her, bewildered she's seen a movie that hasn't been released yet, she says, "Yeah, I've seen it.  Its called 'Single White Female' with Jennifer Jason Leigh!"
And we're back, with a quick montage of people who think they can sing, but cannot sing.  ATTENTION IDOLOONIES... DO NOT AUDITION WITH LADY GAGA.   DOESN'T MATTER THE SONG, DON'T AUDITION WITH LADY GAGA'S MUSIC.  BAD, BAD, BAAAAA IDEA.  Thanks.

And now, we hear about SummerFest, a huge music festival in Milwaukee, and we meet Aduba Malukaahaa, or whatever her name is, who works ground crew at SummerFest.  And Idol will change her life.  Sometimes she cries because her music means so much to her.  Her words, not mine.

So Naiuma Arkardapoo is going to sing Donnie Hathaway, and shockingly... she's not bad.  Actually, she's pretty good.  Here I was all set to make fun of Noxema Alahyoudaoo, and here she goes and does her thing right.  And she goes to Hollywood with three yes votes. 

I look forward to not being able to spell, type or pronounce Nobooboo Arachanidco's name in the future.

Back from break!   We see a somersaulting contestant somersault straight into a cameraman and it was awesome.  Here's the montage of bad songs... including a "Jenny from the Block" take.

Jerome Bell, a bar-mitzvah singer, is singing "Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye.  He brings it loud, a little over the top.  I'd like to think of Song of Solomon had a soundtrack, this song would be it.  Yay God.

The judges dig Jerome's groove, and he's headed to Hollywood.

The Lovely Steph Leann:  I'd like one single year without that song being used in an audition.
Me:  I haven't heard any Mariah or Whitney so far
The Lovely Steph Leann:  I'm okay with that too.  But no more "Let's Get It On".

Seacrusty discusses the age limit being dropped to 15, partly due to the popularity of 9 year old Justin Bieber.  Thia Megea is 15, one of the many 15 year olds who have auditioned. 

"Chasing Paper" by Adele is her song.   And she's fantastic.  She sounds like she's 29 years old, and a veteran.  And she kinda sounds like a sista, too, though her look is more Hawaiia'n.... and they all say yes, so Thia is headed to Hollywood.

And every 15 year old that came in walked out with a Golden Ticket.  Steven Tyler says, "Thank God for people who can sing..."  And we see the teaser for the bad, bad singers to come.

Back from break, we see a guy named Nathaniel who is a Civil War Re-Enactor.  Was the Civil War in Wisconsin?  Was that a state in the 1860s?  No, I'm being serious.... that's a real question... Nate is in full Civil War regalia, and his dad is joining him, looking totally like a hippy.  Nate tells us, however, that dad is not a hippy.. "He's not a hippy!  Hippies have sex!"

When Nate walks in, J-Lo mutters, "oh no..."  And she was right for saying that... because "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" is being slaughtered with a Civil War musket.   And the judges mock him, though Steven Tyler does it a little more discreetly.

This next guy can barely start, he's so nervous, and he ends up facing the other wall, composing himself.  He should have just walked out.  Yikes.  Neither me or the woman knows the song, but it doesn't matter, because it was gawd-awful. 

The next girl? "I am an intern at the White House and I'm in love with this president."  I now don't like this chick and will root against her completely.  She went to Harvard, so she is probably extremely book smart... but seriously?  In love with the President?   "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" is her song of choice, and she's not as bad as I want her to be.  Molly Swenson is her name, by the way.  Or I'll just call her The Idealistic Ignorant Molly.  She goes to Hollywood.

After the break, its Day Two!

Back from break, its Day Two!

The bubbly, pretty, toothy Haley Reinhart comes in, telling us this is everything she wants.  She auditioned last year, and didn't make it, so now she's back.  "Oh Darling" is her song, and I guess she got better, because she sounds great.  Steven Tyler loves her.  J-Lo loves her.  Randy the Dawg loves her.  Haley is Hollywood!

And from Chicago, its Tiwan!  He's busting out some Sam Cooke, and The Lovely Steph Leann pipes up, "I like him.  He needs braces.  But I do like him."  He sounds good.  They all like him, and Tiwan and his Elliott Yamean teeth head to Hollywood.

"It looks like his mouth needs, you know, three more teeth to fill in the spaces," The Lovely Steph Leann adds in.

Steve is a CPA, and is an auditor... "So I really don't have many friends," he says.  He adds, "I'm a wedding and funeral singer... weddings tend to be more fun."  And he has the humor of an auditor.  His voice is not great, but its not bad.   Both The Lovely Steph Leann and I are going back and forth on whether we like him or not...

Steven Tyler likes him.  Randy the Dawg says yes.  J-Lo says yes.  And Steve the auditor goes to Hollywood.

And here comes the girl from the teaser, when Seacrusty said, "And the judges have a showdown..."  Vernika is singing "Loving You" by Minnie Riperton, and "singing" is a stretch.  I just looked around and the glass on the front door of The Cabana just cracked. 

J-Lo tells her no, and how its not going to work.  Steven Tyler says she won't work for this show.  Vernika declares that "half'a dese peoples don't even sing good, I sing better than then half'a dese people.  Its cause I ain't skinny."  And she walks out, straight past Seacrest and the camera. 

We get a few crying chicks, including a few choice words by some, a mama who is protective of her kid (who she then tells to shut up), and a dude who drops his own words. 

Back from break, we get Albert Rogers III, who thinks he sounds like Usher, Ruuuuuben Studdard and Luther Vandross.  He's going to sing "Stand By Me", and J-Lo starts to giggle.  She knows what's coming.  And its a disaster.  Albert Part III is trying way, way too hard... and he gets a no from the judges.

Scott Dangerfield comes out, a 22 year old student teacher in shorts, a long sleeve button and square glasses.  He's going to sing "Dreamin'" by Amos Lee.  And right out'ta gate, Scott throws down and does it right.  J-Lo says, "You might just be my favorite so far." All the judges say YES enthusiastically.  The Lovely Steph Leann says, "I wasn't expecting that... and he kinda has a Jodie Foster look about him."

Back from Break!

And now we see one of the Green Bay Packers biggest fans ever.  Or so she says.  She loves the Green-n-Gold... her name is Megan Frasier, 20, and yells "Go Pack Go!" to the judges.  She's going to sing "Baby" by The Beebs, and its atrocious.  The judges all yell, "NO!" at the same time.

Alyson Jados is shown in tears when Steven Tyler came through the crowd early in the day.  And now, she goes to meet the judges, Steven Tyler included, who gives her a giggly-inducing hug.  She's going to sing "Come Together" and gives it that rocker edge, sort of a Allison Iraheta tone. 

She continues with "Dream On", though she admits she can't hit that last note, which Steven Tyler fills in.  He then tells her she's very pitchy, J-Lo tells her she's got a good quality, and Randy the Dawg says he doesn't think she's ready.  J-Lo says yes.  Now, its up to Steven Tyler to determine a yes or no.  Of course, he says yes. 

And now we get one last guy, which is our Sob Story (always disguised by the phrase, "his incredible journey") of the night.  Chris Medina is 26, from Chicago.  He's engaged to be married, and she works at a Starbucks!  She was recently in an accident, and she has a traumatic brain injury... and in a month or so, she woke up, with severe movement disabilities. 

"Break Even" by The Script is his song, and he slows it down to a bluesy kinda of jam.  Snapping fingers, he belts it out, and sounds great.  The judges ask to meet his girlfriend, and they wheel her in to meet the judges.  They shower her with hugs, kisses and love, and its probably one of the most sincere moments I've ever seen on Idol. 

You wouldn't see that with Simon. 

Milwaukee puts forth 53 contestants to Hollywood, out of the 1000s that showed up... and tomorrow night, its Nashville! 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

WAY TO BE RACHEL! (and other random thoughts of basketball, pictures and Bon Jovi)

Some random thoughts I thought I'd mention...

Due to a computer malfunction, I wasn't able to post the Golden Globe running diary like I always do.  So, I posted it today, with some links and such... you can either scroll down to read it (or if you read this column several months from when it was written, 1/23/11, then just click here to read it...)

The Lovely Steph Leann and I are having dinner at CiCi’s Pizza. It’s a local pizza buffet, and you can even order the pizza you want at the buffet counter. They’ll bring you several slices of it, and its pretty awesome for a $7 meal. I tend to eat more than my $7 would normally buy.

Sitting on the couch, she decided she didn’t want a burger, or tacos, or a sub sandwich, and I didn’t have have a hankerin’ for Chicken Fillet, so I piped up with “CiCi’s Pizza?” It’s a question that I ask and get not just a no, but sometimes a “Aw, haylz to tha’ no”, when The Lovely Steph Leann is feeling especially gangsta, but this night, I got a “Yeah, that’s fine.”

I will take a “that’s fine” any day. So we went to CiCi’s. We are sitting there, she with her cheesesticks and me with my black olives, pepperoni and mushrooms, and she perks up suddenly. She looks towards the ceiling, as do I, and we both hear the same thing… “…and as my broken heart lies bleeding… you say true love is suicide… you say you cried a thousand rivers… and now you’re headed for the shore…”

We then get onto a lengthy conversation about Bon Jovi lyrics, and in that conversation, The Lovely Steph Leann actually gets giddy.  She starts giggling while remembering old Bon Jovi songs, and Jon Bon Jovi himself.  It would be the same for me if the Debbie Gibson "Foolish Beat" video or Alyssa Milano circa 1992 "Who's The Boss" just appeared.

So, later that night, we are both laying in bed about to fall asleep, and I randomly start singing "I'll Be There For You", which results in another long conversation about the differences in that song and "Never Say Goodbye", how Bon Jovi songs tend to reference the bottle as a solution to the pain, how all of his videos are just the band in concert with no story line, and an iPhone interweb search for lyrics to "Blaze of Glory".

Jon Bon Jovi was the stuff back in the late 80s and early 90s, and let me tell ya, every girl I knew loved Bon Jovi.  The band escaped what plagued New Kids on the Block, that being the sissy-boy image that forced all dudes to denounce any sense of enjoyment, whether you liked them or not.  Truthfully, I kinda like a few New Kids songs, including "Tonight", "Step by Steph" and "Please Don't Go Girl", but there's no way I'd say that around the likes of Daniel Stephenson, Shane Gillis or even Greg Avant... but seriously, it was senseless being an open Michael Bolton fan and verbally denouncing Joey, Jordan, Jonathan, Danny and Donnie.

Anyway, it was cool to like Bon Jovi.  "You Give Love a Bad Name", "Bad Medicine", "Livin' on a Prayer" and of course, my favorite, "Blaze of Glory" were songs on the soundtrack to my high school life.  Somewhere around the mid-90s, Bon Jovi kinda feel out of favor overall, his songs no longer hitting the charts on a regular basis, but they are still going strong.  Jon has short hair now, though. 

And The Lovely Steph Leann still gets giddy thinking about it.

Another night, we were eating at Mt. Fuji with DeNick and DeLisa, and they had brought Baby George with them.  The food was pretty good and reasonably priced--we had coupons, which is why we went.  The Lovely Steph Leann and I are hibachi fans, but we chose to sit at the regular table, instead of one or the four or five grills they have set up.  The plan was actually to get some sushi, but we all ended up with entree platters. so the hibachi would have been better--though we weren't sure how Baby George would have handled the fire and the rice rice baby and the woo woo choo choo.

We are sitting there, catching up, having a good time, and DeLisa shares that she didn't know what channel Sesame Street came on... until a friend of hers was visiting, and using the remote, went straight to it on the TV.

DeLisa:  I had no idea where it was, and she found it!
Me: You know another way you could have found out?  Just call the cable company.
DeLisa:  Call the cable company?
Me:  Yeah.  Just call them and say, "Hey, can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?"

Ba dum dum

When The Lovely Steph Leann and I went to Samson a few weeks ago, for Christmas Eve, I had already decided on a plan for something.  In my parents house were about nine photo albums, filled with pictures from the last, oh, I dunno, 30 years and more of my own life, plus the life of my cousins, aunts, uncles, sisters, extended family, friends and the like.

Here's my mom and my late father, taken probably '81 or
'82... that shirt was my favorite shirt, and I wore it daily.
The problem?  Well, as its been documented on this here very site, I grew up in a smokers home, so all the albums are full of that stale cigarette smoke that they've been sitting in for two or three decades.  My master plan is to get all the albums, remove every single picture from those albums, air them out, scan them, burn all pictures onto a CD, then send that CD to all the cousins, so they will have all the photos. 

I started almost immediately when I got back.  I've probably scanned over a hundred pics so far, but there are several hundred more to go--each photograph is in an old photo album, where the plastic has to be peeled back, and the photo has to be carefully removed from the adhesive that has held it in place for all that time.   I'll tell you I've accidentally torn a few of them, but nothing disastrous. 

Another problem is in the scanning, as most of the pics were taken with 70s and 80s era cameras, which in my family meant nothing too expensive.  I have a dozen or more pics taken from a visit to the beach at Chesapeake Bay in Virginia taken with a disc camera.   Like, the the camera was a thin square, and the film was a disc that looked like a ViewMaster disc with the white cover removed.  And it had a little slot on the top where you bought and inserted a flash that could be used six times. 

Nowadays, we don't like the picture, one that we take and immediately look at to see its quality, we just delete and retake it.  Back then?  You used your flash only when needed, and wasting a photo was too expensive. 

Melanie invited myself and The Lovely Steph Leann to watch her daughter, Special K, play some girls basketball.  The team are St. Rose Academy Knights, playing in a Catholic School League, and they were playing the St. Aloysius Somethingorothers...

The Lovely Steph Leann couldn't come, due to a Creative Memories event, but I was all about rooting on young Special K to victory.  The game was an away game for the Lady Knights, coached by Special K's father, Daddy Z himself, so we all rode out to Bessemer, Alabama, to the Catholic Church gym. 

One side of the gymnasium had two rows of chairs, where the teams were warming up, the other side had a small set of bleachers, about six rows, running down the side.  Melanie, Yours Truly, The Zach Attack and Jay-Z walked to the middle, where Knights fans bled into the other fans (and by fans I mean "parents" and random people like me who thought it would be fun to watch), and sat down.  Jay-Z, being of a young teen age, quickly split to go find friends much cooler than his mom and her friend. 

In a pic taken a few weeks before this particular game day, here's
Melanie smothering The Zack Attack and Special K with motherly
love and embarrassing affection.  Cause thats what cool moms do.

The girls who played are all 13 and under, so the game was a low scoring one.  The quarters are 7 minutes each, and by halftime, it was something like 8-0, with The Lady Knights burning it up.  Special K and her teammate, Chase Lake, were rock stars, running that ball through the crowds, getting the fast breaks, and making the plays. 

There was a girl named Rachel, however, on the other team that we all noticed.  Well, there were a couple that caught my attention, one of which I called Tank Girl, cause she was a beast.  Rachel was the other one.  The reason I noticed her?


I looked at Melanie, she looked at me, we looked around, and there was a large father sitting up by the wall on the top row.  Clapping vigorously, he screamed, "WAY TO GO RACHEL!!"

We both looked back out at the girls teams, and Rachel was giving it her all. 


Melanie looked at me then cracked up.  "Don't let them come into our house?" she mouthed to me.  "What does that even mean?"

What was even better was by 3rd quarter, The Lady Knights were up something like 10-2. In a game full of pre-teen offense and grade school defense, an 8 point deficit was a heckuva lot to overcome.  Melanie warned me that The Lady Knights always start fast, then have to hold off comebacks, but there wasn't to be much of a comeback today.


Which I found to be funny, because The Lady Knights were earning everything, and dominating.  I whispered to Melanie, "Don't eat the ball, Rachel", to which she almost lost it.


This was said several times when anyone other than Rachel had the ball.   Remember, we are in a small gym, so everything echoes in there.  His voice, while loud, was considerably amplified through the walls of the building.


I made that last one up. 

Melanie had already warned me that were he to make a bad remark on Special K, she, Melanie, would in fact come unglued.  However, Melanie's glue stayed together, as Loud Father never did such a thing.  To his credit, he never disparaged any other player, he never mocked any other player or either team and he was never insulting to any girl on the floor, or their playing ability. 

I told her that Loud Father was the kind of guy who would be all up in the coaches face if dear Rachel, heading no doubt for the WNBA right out of 6th grade, was benched for any reason, even if it was for an injury.  When Rachel did in fact sit down, which wasn't long, I half expected Loud Father to still yell "THROW IT TO RACHEL!  SHE CAN DO MORE ON THE BENCH THAN YOU CAN ON THE FLOOR!!!" But he didn't, which was probably a good thing.

All in all, it was an enjoyable game, with The Lady Knights scoring the winning basket with less than a minute left, making it 12-4, and putting the game all but out of reach.  So, when the game was over, The Lady Knights victorious, Melanie and I met the others on the court, and I shouted, "WAY TO BE, SPECIAL K!" to which I got prodded by Melanie. 

"What?" I looked at her.  She smirked.  Then laughed.  Cause I'm awesome.

**Went to the Waffle House this morning for breakfast.  The one on 280 has a health rating score of something like, 85.  Normally, this would dissuade me from going to a particular restaurant, but Waffle House is in a class all its own.  Its my theory that at Waffle House, the higher the health score, the worse and more bland the food will be.  Waffle House health rating of 96?  Clean restaurant, sure, but its missing all the stuff that makes the food good.  Waffle House health rating of 85?  Now THAT is a restaurant with secret ingredients to make those hash browns perfect.  Sold.

**The Lovely Steph Leann and I enjoy watching television shows on DVD, mostly because we can knock out an entire season in a week or two... we just finished CSI: Crime Scene Investigation's tenth season--I think I've actually watched less than five episodes when they actually came on television.  Other shows we catch on DVD include Grey's Anatomy, and the last two seasons of LOST.  Now?  We are diving headfirst into Mad Men.  So far, its pretty awesome... especially the authenticity--like the pregnant woman smoking (everyone smokes on this show, probably like they did in real life) and the kids playing while wearing big plastic bags over their heads.

**Just finished Walt Disney's biography.  Going to try to work a review in soon... its a massive book that was massively entertaining.

**Yes, yes, I know its the middle to late part of January, and still not a 100 Coolest list.  I have it, but I just haven't written it out yet.  Its coming, I promise.  Soon.

**Speaking of Disney, I'm so flipping excited about going in February.  We leave for Walt Disney World on February 3rd, and don't return until February 13th... here is what we are doing while we are there:  The new Wild Africa Trek... Hoop-de-doo-Revue... La Nouba... the Epcot Segway Tour... eating at Kouzzina... eating at Rose & Crown... eating at Via Napoli... eating at Le Cellier... and, the reason we are going actually, an all day Disney World Trading Pin Event at Epcot on January 5th.  We've already got a lot of pins reserved for purchase, so we are pumped that we get exclusive merchandise. 

**Oh, and lest I forget, we are meeting some very dear friends while we are there, and going together to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Islands of Adventures. 

In 12 days!

The 68th Annual Golden Globes

This is a week late, but I did want to post it finally... our computer was down until mid-week, and because American Idol came on, I never got it up.  So, here is the running diary of the Golden Globes...

So, this is being typed on a Word Document, while nibbling on some Papa John’s. The lovely Steph Leann is on the other couch, also nibbling on pizza, and we are set to watch the whateverth annual Golden Globes Awards… 68th, as Ricky Gervais just said!

7p… Ricky Gervais is out, and onto his monologue, which is usually all about the celebrities, with zingers and jabs tossed freely. First up, Charlie Sheen, of course. And now its onto “The Tourist”, insulting it, as Johnny Depp looks on from the audience. Next to “Sex in the City 2”, and then to gay Scientologists (I can only assume he is jabbing Tom Cruise and John Travolta)… yeah!

705p… The first award, presented by Scarlett Johansson!  I’m not a ScarJo loyalist, but she looks great tonight. The award is Supporting Actor in a Movie. Noms including Chrisitan Bale, Edward Garfield, Geoffrey Rush, Mike Douglas and someon else I didn't catch before the winner was announced.

The winner is? Christian Bale for “The Fighter”… this is the first award out of many he’s going to get from now until Oscar season, when he wins the Supporting Oscar actor. Its weird hearing him talking in his regular British accent, cause I’m so used to hearing him be deep and throaty Bruce Wayne, and loud and obnoxious in The Fighter. It also stars Amy Adams, whom I’m in love with.

709p… Here’s LL Cool J and Julie Bowen for lead actress in a TV Drama. And the winner? Katie Segal for “Sons of Anarchy”. Never seen the show, but I’ve heard its intense, awesome and manly. Camera cuts to Ed O’Neill who is clapping and smiling for Katie’s win. Very cool.

716p… And now here’s Julianne Moore and Kevin Spacey… Julianne has a horrible dress, and likely no bra. Shame. Best TV Movie/Mini-Series. The Pacific is nominated and I’m guessing its going to win.. though “Temple Grandin” is also nominated. Tough. And the winner? “Carlos” wins, whatever the heck that is.

While the Hispanic director is talking in the broken English, I’ll point out that every year, the person who helps present the awards is called “Miss Golden Globe”, and it’s a chick who is the daughter of a prominent actor or actress. This year’s Miss Golden Globe is Gia Mantegna, who is the daughter of actor Joe Mantegna… she looks a lot like him, but she’s beautiful, so go figure.

720p… Ricky is back up. There is confusion on stage, as the Mexican crew scatters, unsure where to go from there. Ricky then says, “you know this next actor from such films as…” and he goes on to name some horrendous films like “Hudson Hawk” and “Mercury Rising”… Ricky says, “And here is Ashton Kutcher’s dad, Bruce Willis!”

Bruce walks out with a smirk, introducing a film nominated for Best Comedy or Musical, that being “Red”… which was a fun, fun movie.

722p… From “Country Strong”, which is a movie I have no desire to see, here are two people that I don’t care about… Best Supporting Actor in a Series/Mini-Series/Movie. I’m rooting for Scott Caan, but I’m thinking the Extremely Gay Chris Colfer from Glee will get it.

And the winner is? The Extremely Gay Chris Colfer. And to me, its because he’s as gay as a football bat. The Lovely Steph Leann defends him, saying, “Well, maybe, but its also because he’s so awesome!”. No, its because he’s a flamer. Matter of fact, I’m surprised he’s not kissing a guy right now.  Lea Michelle is crying, which is actually kinda sweet.  Not as sweet at Chris Colfer, mind you, but still...

My prediction? You’ll hear some magazine, website or the like tell us that Chris Colfer’s win was important for the gay community.

Here is Michelle, circa 1989, from "The Fabulous Baker
Boys"... by the way, an absolutely fabulous drama.
729p… Michelle Pfieffer comes out… let me tell ya, back in the day, she was The Stuff. Back in the late 80s, early 90s, she was everything that Angelina Jolie is today, and more. Michelle was amazing. She still looks great. She’s introducing the next Best Comedy Movie nominee, “Alice in Wonderland”.

731p… Eva Longoria, sans Parker, almost fell. She usually looks great, but tonight she looks especially classy. Its like he was saying “Hey Tony… check this out. You had this. But you lost it. Sucka.” Tony, you’re a friggin’ idiot.

The president of The Hollywood Foreign Press comes out, and his name is Philip Berk. I immediately think of the obnoxious guy I knew in college named Philip Burke. He was a Lambda Chi Alpha, and I think student body president at one time. But this guy is not that Philip Burke—though that would be funny.

733p… Kevin Bacon and Milla Jovavich is giving the award for Best Drama Series. Actors from Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Dexter and House are nominated as usual, along with Steve Buscemi from “Boardwalk Empire”… and Steve wins. I thought that show was great… but it’s a little too much. Too much sex, too much violence, the language is horrible, and I just couldn’t get into it. But it’s a well done show, and its cool to see That Guy Hall of Famer Steve Buscemi get himself an award. He says, “Im going to talk fast, before that sad music comes on!”

737p… And here’s are the Best Drama nominees… Boardwalk Empire, Dexter, The Good Wife, Mad Men, The Walking Dead… and the winner? Boardwalk Empire. I do eventually want to see Dexter, The Good Wife and The Walking Dead, which are all on the list to watch on DVD. And I’ve got Mad Men coming on Netflix.

Can’t believe they are doing the Best Drama already! And Mark Wahlberg is on stage? He is in this show? What did I miss?

743p… Andrew Garfield, himself a nominee for “The Social Network”, is out to introduce… well, “The Social Network”… he stumbled over the teleprompter, eliciting a few laughs. By the way, “The Social Network”? One of the five best movies of last year, I gotta say.

745p… Alec Baldwin and Jennifer Lopez are out to present Original Song, after some horribly written banter that they awkwardly read from the teleprompter. Burlesque is nominated twice—I’ve been hearing that is a awful movie. The song from Tangled is nominated, but doesn’t win. “You Haven’t Seen The Last of Me” from Burlesque wins, and The Lovely Steph Leann is disappointed it wasn’t “See The Light” from "Tangled".

749p… And Alec and J-Lo comes back up to give out Original Score. Danny Elfman’s “Alice in Wonderland” is nominated, and I thought that music was brilliant. Inception is also nominated, and that movie’s music is fantastic. The winner? Trent Reznor for “The Social Network”, and I can’t complain, because it did set a great tone for that film. Nine Inch Nails now has a Golden Globe.

755p… The young chick from "True Grit" comes out—she was amazing in that film—and Justin Bieber—I’ll refrain from the jokes—comes out with her to give out the award for Best Animated Film. I’m guessing "Toy Story 3" will take this, but I’m fearful that “How to Train Your Dragon” will be the dark horse. I wouldn’t have a problem with "Tangled" winning this, but I don’t know how "Toy Story 3" can’t win.

And the winner? "Toy Story 3", in one of the least shocking wins of the whole night. The director comes up, and takes the award, and turns to Hallie Steinfeld and The Beebs and says, “Were you two even born when the first one came out?” to which they both just smirk at him.

759p… Ricky says, “I love this guy, star of 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang', 'Two Guys and Girl', 'Bowfinger'… I’m sorry, are these porn films?”  Then he makes the obligatory "RDJ spent time in prison" joke that always comes around when RDJ makes an appearance.

And of course, its Robert Downey Jr! He has gone from cool to jerk to cool again in his career. And he gives a hilarious monologue on the nominees about how, in his career, he’s gotten with everyone one of them… and when he gets to young Emma Stone, its fantastic. Award for Best Actress Comedy or Musical. I’m afraid Annette Bening or Julianne Moore will get it for The Kids are Alright, because that movie was horrific. Annette Bening gets it.

Chris Colfer is somewhere in the back shouting “Hooray For Gay!”

I haven't done a review yet, but "The
Fighter" was a great film.  Great story, great
acting, and Amy Adams, whom I'm in love
809p… Sylvester Stallone comes out. Lets see how much we can understand. He’s here to introduce a film for Best Movie Drama, “The Fighter”, starring Golden Globe winner Christian Bale, Marky Mark sans Funky Bunch and Amy Adams, whom I’m in love with.

811p… Tilda Swinton comes out with Geoffrey Rush, and I gotta say, Tilda Swinton is one of the most unattractive chicks ever, with an eccentric fashion style. Eccentric means terrible. Heres the award for Best Actor in TV Movie/Mini-Series. Winner is Al Pacino for the Jack Kavorkian story, “You Don’t Know Jack”. Wanted to see it.  And Al talks.  And talks.  And talks.  Aaaand talks.

815p… My guess is the guy starting the Wrap Up Music is about to push the button, and someone who makes more than him says, “Dude! No! That’s AL PACINO! You don’t wrap up Al Pacino!” And they didn’t.

Up next, Actress for TV Movie/Mini-Series. Claire Danes wins for “Temple Grandin”, which she won the Emmy for as well. I’ve never seen the film, and really don’t expect to either—not that I don’t think its great, but it just doesn’t interest me—but its supposed to be an awesome film. Its right up The Lovely Steph Leann’s alley, so she can see it, and I’m sure she’ll tell me how great it is when she sees it on The Hallmark Channel or The Hallmark Movie Channel.

823p… Zac Efron is out now to introduce “The Kids are Alright” as a nominee for Best Comedy or Musical. I’m thinking this will win. Why? Because its gay.

825p… Ricky tells us that Tina Fey and Steve Carell are coming out, but not before dissing on Steve for leaving The Office after this season, “killing that cash cow for both of us!” The award is Best Screenplay. Tina: Here’s a movie that ruined our ability to interact with one another… Steve: I heard about that film on Facebook from a friend I’ve never met.

The winner? Aaron Sorkin for “The Social Network”. Its based on a book called “The Accidental Billionaires” by Ben Mezrich, who also wrote “Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions”, which was made into the Kevin Spacey movie called "21".  Book is good, "21" was okay. I plan on downloading The Accidental Billionaires next month as my selection.

829p… Chris Helmsworth, the new Thor, and Chris Evans, the new Captain America, are giving out the award for Best Actress in a TV Series, Mini or Movie.   Their banter is terrible.  Why am I not a writer at one of these shows?   Take me, Scotty Latta and Hurricane Rhett, and I guarantee the jokes would be funnier than anything you've ever heard in your life.  Ever.

And the old lady they cut to when announcing Julia Stiles for “Dexter” was NOT Julia Stiles. The winner, though, is Jane Lynch for Glee… she also won an Emmy for this last September.  And Lea Michelle is crying.  That's... well, it is kinda sweet again, I guess.  Not as sweet at Chris Colfer, but still...

836p… Ricky introduces Olivia Wilde and Robert Pattinson, saying, “Here to present an award that no one in America cares about, the Best Foreign Film!” He’s right. Denmark’s “In a Better World” wins, and I really could care less.

838p… Out comes the most attractive 93 year old in America—no, not Betty White—it’s Helen Mirren! She’s out to announce the nomination of “The King’s Speech”, starring the president of The Colin Firth Club, that being Colin Firth himself…

Okay, so what is The Colin Firth Club? We’ve discussed this before, but I feel like we’re getting new readers all the time (wishful hoping?) so I thought I’d explain again… It’s a small group of actors and musicians that The Lovely Steph Leann finds herself a little hot for. Whilst I have my Amy Adams, whom I’m in love with, The Goddess, Reese Witherspoon, Kristen Chenoweth, Martina McBride, Lesley Mann and Kate Winslet, she has The Colin Firth Club.

The Lovely Steph Leann would never cheat on me. If Jake Gyllenhaal ever propositioned my wife, I am positive she’d say, “Yeah, thanks, I’m honored, but no. I gotz a man.” Then he’d say, “What yo’ man got to do with me?” and she’d say, “I ain’t try to hear that, see!” I’m Positive (K)!

However comma

If Colin Firth propositioned The Lovely Steph Leann, I’m pretty sure she’d say no. She’d hesitate. She’d probably give it a few seconds, and maybe flush and stammer, but ultimately she’d say no. Other guys that would elicit this reaction include Hugh Jackman, Bradley Whitford (in West Wing days, not so sure now), Patrick Dempsey, Hugh Grant and Jon Bon Jovi. Thus, The Colin Firth Club.

840p… Vanessa Williams and Blair Underwood, two extremely attractive people no matter the color, are here to announce the award for Best Actress in a TV Series. The winner is Laura Linney for The Big C… what can top gaydom? Cancer! If there was movie with a gay guy with cancer, its sweeping these awards.

846p… Here comes Jane Fonda! Screen legend! Have you ever seen any of her movies? She doesn’t have much on her resume. Yet, she’s a screen legend. And she’s here to show off “Burlesque”, a nominee for Best Comedy or Musical.

847p… Two people I don’t know are announcing Best Actor in Comedy or Musical Series… the winner is Jim Parsons from “The Big Bang Theory”, which is a show that I’ve never seen, but I’m hearing that this show is getting better and better as the years go on.

850p… Jeremy Irons is giving out the Best Supporting Actress in a Movie, and sounds almost like a Jeremy Irons imitation, though he’s actually him. Amy Adams, whom I’m in love with, is nominated for The Fighter, but it goes to the other chick in the film, Melissa Leo. And really, she kinda deserves it, because her part was great.

Just saw a McDonald’s commercial that features a guy coming through the drive thru, whispering his order, and continuing to lap the building without stopping. The somewhat attractive and seemingly smart young chick behind the drive thru mic is confused. He whispers into the speaker again as he drives by slowly. The young chick glances in the backseat as he rides by and sees a baby. The third time he rolls around and whispers, she whispers back his order, and its all sweet and cute and such. Do do do da doooo… I’m lovin’ it.

There are a number of falsehoods in this commercial.

First, I’m sure there are pretty people that work at McDonald’s, somewhere, somehow, so that’s not an issue. But the fact that she’s understandable is unrealistic.

Secondly, no one whispers in that drive thru. Right off the bat, you get a really clear voice that says in a perky voice, “Hi, would you like to try (insert whatever they are promoting at the time)!?” You think, “Ah, someone understandable!” and you say, “No thank you, but I would like to get (insert what nutritional combination you actually do want)".  A pause.  Then you get some chick who can barely talk intelligently, and has a tendancy to start speaking before she hits the drive thru mic button, and then turns the mic off before she's done talking... you hear "...getta number four and what you want to dr..." in a loud voice.

What happened to the pleasant voice you heard first??  Ah... it was a recording.  It was a a tease, thinking you'll have an understandable drive thru experience.  Then you realize... this ain't Starbucks.

So that commercial is full of crap.   

858p… Matt Damon is out to give the Cecil B. DeMille Award to Robert DeNiro… gotta tell ya, Robert DeNiro IS a screen legend. Who cares about Jane Fonda? DeNiro has done some incredible films, but has also done some real, real crap.

My favorite Bobby DeNiro films include “Midnight Run”, #56 on The Dave100… “Heat”, #87 on The Dave100… “Goodfellas”… “Casino”… “Untouchables”... and yeah, he was pretty funny in “Analyze This”. And no, I didn’t like “Analyze That”, or any other feature where the characters are named “Focker”.

Like all actors, he’s made some turkeys, including “The Fan”, “The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle”, “A Shark Tale” and “Showtime”. And I tried to watch “Ronin” three different times… couldn’t get into it. The car chase was spectacular, as its been hyped to be, but the movie couldn’t keep me interested after that.

Robert DeNiro is an actor that everyone loves, and there’s a huge ovation that lasts for several minutes. He quips that “I’m glad this award was announced two months ago, well before you had time to review ‘Little Fockers’” which gets an uncomfortable laugh from the audience. He also says that “Awakenings” was one of his favorites. Anyway, I’m glad it went to Bobby DeNiro instead of someone I'm barely aware of.

913p… Megan Fox comes out, and I’m still unimpressed. Someone is who is completely overrated and overhyped is fittingly announcing an overrated and overhyped film, “The Tourist”.

914p… Annette Bening comes out to give the Best Director Award. As I thought, David Fincher for “The Social Network” takes the prize. Its kinda of surprising, though, that such a mainstream film has been taking so many awards and such. Fincher is also the director of The Dave100 film “Se7en”, as well as “Benjamin Button” and “Fight Club”.

917p… Jimmy Fallon and the smoldering January Jones come out to give out the award for Best TV Series Music or Comedy, in another bit of awkward banter. And The Lovely Steph Leann squeals in delight as Glee picks up the award for Best TV Comedy/Musical Series. At least the show has Jayma Mays, who I kinda think is pretty… not tonight, but usually.

923p… And here’s Alicia Keys to tell us about “Black Swan.” I am not sure if I want to see this movie or not… part of me does, but part of me figures it will be like “Brokeback Mountain”, that is, I should see it because of all the nominations, but once Oscar time rolls around and passes us by, I can skip it.

925p… Halle Berry comes out to give the Best Actor in Comedy or Musical Award, to which Johnny Depp is nominated twice. Paul Giamatti gets the award for “Barney’s Version”, a film that I know soooo little about.

932p… Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who might be the coolest cat in any movie in 2010, is out to tell us about “Inception”, which to me was the best movie of 2010. I loved every single thing about this movie. The fight scene in the hallway with JGL was amazing.

933p… Jeff Bridges, who Hollywood loves like crazy right now, comes out to give out the Best Actress in a Drama Movie. Right before they announce Natalie Portman’s name, I say it out loud. And then Jeff Bridges says, “Natalie Portman, Black Swan.”

937p… Wow, we haven’t seen Ricky Gervais in like, an hour. He spends 45 seconds introducing Tom Hanks, then says, “the other guy is… Tim Allen…” Here’s the award for Best Comedy or Musical… and The Kids are Alright is probably going to win.

Julianne Moore and her offending dress
The winner is? The Kids are Alright. Yep. Its Award Day To Be Gay.
The Lovely Steph Leann pipes up, “Her [Julianne Moore] dress is horrific! I cannot get over that!”

946p… Ricky comes out and introduced Sandra Bullock… with quite an intro. Funny stuff. Here is the award for Best Actor Movie Drama… The Lovely Steph Leann is rooting for her Colin Firth… and when he wins, she shouts “YEESS!!!!”, with her arm in the air.

So, I expect Colin Firth to win the Oscar, though a Jesse Eisenberg win for “The Social Network” wouldn’t shock me… though I’m guessing that Colin Firth will get the one award given to recognize The Kings Speech, so The Social Network can pick up everything else… and Jesse Eisenberg loses out.

953p… During the commercial break, I looked up at The Lovely Steph Leann and asked, “What’s left?” She thinks, and says, “Drama TV?” I replied, “Boardwalk Empire.” She says, “Wow, I guess that’s it then.”

954p… And cancer free Michael Douglas comes out for the Best Movie Award, and gets a standing ovation. He even says, “There has to be an easier way to get a standing ovation…”

The winner, en route to an Academy Award for Best Picture in February? “The Social Network”.

Gotta tell ya… though I hate that its taking away all the momentum that Inception was getting, if this wins the Oscar I won’t be bothered… it was a great film. It was an amazing film, from the acting to the story to the effects to the music… and its so much more than a movie about Facebook… its about friendship, its about loyalty, its about betrayal, its about business. Its great. I know that Amarylis By Morning (up from san antone) didn’t like it, but I’m hoping that she at least appreciated it.

So there’s your Golden Globes. Your Oscar nominations will be announced in a few weeks or so, and I’ll be right here, doing my annual running diary during the awards show!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Idol in Weezyana

Its time.  The reviews are beginning to come in, and guess what... its not a disaster.  Far from it, night one of American Idol was somewhat of a success--now, that's having the bar set pretty low, because when Simon the Cowell, Kara the New Hotness and Ellen the Lezzie all jumped ship, the expectation was that this show would be a sinking ship, maybe one more season, maybe even two, but Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez would totally suck it up, Randy the Dawg would finally expire and it would be over.  Idol would be dead.

But a funny thing happened last night... people actually kinda enjoyed it.  For one, I did... I was fairly surprised, as Steven Tyler was great, he was smart, and even had that twinge of "dirty ol' man" that always makes us laugh when its on TV and not right around us.  Randy the Dawg was better, not as "dawgy" and "yeah yeahy" and "yeah boyey" as normal, having lost some weight and actually slipped into a Simonesque kind of critique a few times.  And Jennifer Lopez, looking quite nice I will say, toed that fine line between Paula Abdul blubbery and sincere, genuine concern when telling contestants yes or, especially, no. 

Overall?  One episode down, and it worked.  So far.


Let's head down to The Crescent City, that being Nawlins, Weezy-Anna... here comes the judges, and let's get this show rolling.

Right off the bat, we get BackStory #1... there's no mention of the projects, cancer, death or child handicappedness, so its not a Sob Story.   Jordan Dorsey comes in, singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and man, its great.  He starts traditional, then starts the snapping fingers, giving it a little jazzy, bluesy feel, and this show is off and running!  Yeah!

J-Lo has goosebumps!  The judges all three shout YES in unison, and J-Dor is on his was to Holly the Wood.  Seriously, that guy is fantastic.

Back from break, we're back in Gator Country, known as Cajun Land, known as Louisiana.  Or Weezyanna.  And let's cut straight to a screeching, horrible audition, and another, and a white guy singing a soul song that should never happen again.  Oh, here's Kiana, who Randy the Dawg cuts off within five seconds, and then keeps singing... and starts crying.

Sarah Sellers comes in, and has lips that Steven Tyler actually relates to.  No, seriously, he says, "Where did you get those lips?"

"To Make You Feel My Love" is her song, and all I can compare it to is Billy Joel and later, Garth Brooks.  But Sarah puts a slight rasp on it, and it sounds good.  Not great, but good.   And Sarah heads to Hollywood.

And Cuban Casanova Jovany is up next, and looks like he's bringin' da flava... his words, not mine.  And he's threatening to take his shirt off for J-Lo, and is singing a Latin song.  No, I don't understand it... despite my own Latin Lover look, I don't know Hispanicola. 

Thats right!  Another season of Idol, another season
of random pictures of Pickles! 
Cuban Casanova Jovany now expresses his love for J-Lo, and how he's excited to be here in front of her.  She's cute, but she's no Pickles.  Aw, I miss Pickles.

Big Yes for Cuban Casanova Jovany, and here comes the abs.  And Randy the Dawg and Steven Tyler join him as they flash their abs for J-Lo.  Her clothes stay on. 

It appears that Randy the Dawg was born and raised in Batah Rooge, Weezyanna, and the next contestant brings in some Randy Jackson high school photos, with the 'fro and everything.  Here comes his old football coach, and its a good ol' reunion.

Jacquelyn Dupree is doing "I'll Stand By You", care of The Pretenders.  While her voice is good, its kinda boring.  So, while she sings, I'll tell you that The Lovely Steph Leann is not here tonight, she's down in Pensacola, so I'm Idol Alone this evening.  The blanket lay motionless, in a chaotic pile on the couch across the room of The Cabana.  Jacquelyn gets a YES from all three judges, heads to Hollywood, and I won't remember her in fifteen minutes.

Brett Loewenstern is from Boca Raton, Florida, and looks alot like Shaun White, the red haired Winter Olympian who does the snow sports.  At 16, Brett is lamenting about how he's a loner, and how no one likes him much, and how he's picked on.  "I want to give a message to kids who are picked on by bullies... be who you are, no matter what."  I am inspired. 

If this kid called me on the phone, I would spend the first five minutes of the conversation trying to determine if it was a dude or a chick calling me.  And he's going to sing "Bohemian Rhapsody"... good tone... good control... here comes the big note... can he do it?  Yes!  His singing is much deeper than his talking voice, so he really should sing everything at school--might help his picked-on-edness.  Three yes votes and he's on his way to Hollywood.

Commercial Break!

Back from Break!

David O'Franks, 24, IS the next American Idol, or so he says.  He's kinda... dopey looking, though he's got that ugly rock star who gets all the hot chicks kinda look about him.  Steven Tyler says that the kid has Mick Jaggar's mouth, which might be a blessing or a curse.

"Bad Romance" is his song... yes, Lady GaGa.  Not sure that a one time opportunity to sing in front of Aerosmith's front man, a former bassist for Journey and the hot chick from "Out of Sight" would be best fulfilled by a Lady GaGa tune.  And he gets punted.

Montage of bad auditions, with lots of screeching and a few bad costumes, and our first Aerosmith cover song--"Dream On".  Another guy hits a note that lasts about 30 seconds, and is only the best part of his horrible song.  Here comes a bad white rapper (redundant phrase) which makes J-Lo say, "...awkward..."

Commercial break!

Back from break!

Here's our first forgotten lyrics--"I Wanna Be a Billionaire"--and another bad costume.  And now comes Alex Retardo, which is a terrible last name.  He did go to Idol Camp and learned how to sing... well, maybe.

"Proud Mary" is his song.  And he needs to go back to Idol Camp, or ask for a refund... wow.  If I were Tina Turner, I would kill myself for hearing two straight nights of song desecration. 

This has also got to be the worst commercial for Idol Camp, EVER.  EVER. 

Jaycee Bedeaux was actually the winner of
Fox 44's Baton Rouge Idol
Jaycee Badeaux is 15, and he looks 12, and he looks like a marshmallow.  He thinks he's the next American Idol, and to hear him even say "Otis Redding" is funny, because he looks like he is too young to know "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" even exists... and wow, his voice is great.  Not perfect, not awesome, but he's like a fat Justin Bieber, only more fun. 

Prediction.  Put it in the hands of the audience, the viewing public, this kid makes it into the Top Seven, whether he deserves it or not.  J-Lo loves Chunky Bieber, Randy the Dawg loves him and Steven Tyler loves him... Chunky Bieber goes on to the Hollywood Round!

So, up next... a sob story... let's see if we can fill all the cliches:

Unsure of surviving... this is my dream... this is all I want... judges split on sending her or not... this could make or break the family... we can overcome...

Let's see...

Paris Tassin, 23, from Nawlins... young mom, pregnant at 18.  The baby might not survive (check!). Wouldn't be good if the baby was delivered... and Kiera the daughter is overcoming (check)....

Paris comes in, and is going to sing Carrie Underwood's "Temporary Home"... she does well until the notes get big, and she seems to struggle a bit.  J-Lo wipes away a tear.  Randy the Dawg is intrigued.  Steven Tyler is pleased.  Paris says, "I sing for my daughter... I love to sing... this is my dream" (check!!!)

All three judges say Yes enthusiastically, and all we needed was the split judges and the poor family, and this could have been a sob story complete sweep. 

So, Nawlins Auditions are done, with 37 hopefuls getting a Golden Ticket.  Next week, we'll take our Idol Train over to Milwaukee... and for the first time ever... someone "wants this so badly..."