Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Spirit Award Nominations

And we're off! Awards season that is. Yesterday the Gothams started it all by honoring Winter's Bone with Best Feature and Best Ensemble. This morning, Winter's Bone yet again takes the early lead by garnering 7 nominations at the Spirit Awards. The other nominees are...

127 Hours
Black Swan
The Kids Are All Right
Winter’s Bone

Happy to see 127 Hours in here since it's the only film from this list that I've seen that I actually more than liked (I haven't see Black Swan). The others are good, but I don't feel passionate about them. The lack of Blue Valentine makes me angry/sad. Also weird to see Rabbit Hole miss out since it did well below.

Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
Danny Boyle, 127 Hours
Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right
Debra Granik, Winter’s Bone
John Cameron Mitchell, Rabbit Hole

A respectable and totally awesome list of directors here. Would not mind one bit to see any and all honored not only here, but at the Oscars. Crazy Fact: Boyle is the only Oscar nominee in this list. Insane right?

Everything Strange and New
Get Low
Night Catches Us
The Last Exorcism
Tiny Furniture

Last year I had heard of all give nominees and eventually got to see them. This year, I have no idea what 4 of the 5 films are. The only one I know is Get Low. Oh well, more movies to put in my queue!

Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Greta Gerwig, Greenberg
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Greta Gerwig is the surprise here, but yay to Michelle Williams for getting the film's only nomination! The others were more or less expected and I expect to see a lot of these names repeated throughout the season all the way to Oscars. Poor Julianne Moore though.

Ronald Bronstein, Daddy Longlegs
Aaron Eckhart, Rabbit Hole
James Franco, 127 Hours
John C. Reilly, Cyrus
Ben Stiller, Greenberg

I've only seen Franco and Stiller's performances so I can't really judge, but I'm having a difficult time accepting the fact that Ryan Gosling's performance in Blue Valentine wasn't better than some of these. Odd snub also for Get Low's lead Robert Duvall.

Ashley Bell, The Last Exorcism
Dale Dickey, Winter’s Bone
Allison Janney, Life During Wartime
Daphne Rubin-Vega, Jack Goes Boating
Naomi Watts, Mother and Child

John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone
Samuel L. Jackson, Mother and Child
Bill Murray, Get Low
John Ortiz, Jack Goes Boating
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right

With me only seeing three performances out of the ten supporting roles (Ruffalo, Dickey, Hawkes), I don't really have much to say.

Daddy Longlegs
Lovers of Hate
The Exploding Girl

Mademoiselle Chambon
Of Gods and Men
The King’s Speech
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Oscar front-runner The King's Speech sort of came out of nowhere to appear here. Last year another British film to be nominated for an Oscar Best Picture, An Education, was nominated. This year's Palme d'Or winner, Uncle Boonmee, also fittingly finds itself in the shortlist.

Stuart Blumberg, Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right
Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini, Winter’s Bone
Nicole Holofcener, Please Give
David Lindsay-Abaire, Rabbit Hole
Todd Solondz, Life During Wartime

Diane Bell, Obselidia
Lena Dunham, Tiny Furniture
Nik Fackler, Lovely, Still
Bob Glaudini, Jack Goes Boating
Dana Adam Shapiro, Evan M. Wiener, Monogamy

Last year's Oscar winner, Geoffrey Fletcher for Precious, started his winning ways by capturing the Best First Screenplay Award at last year's ceremony. Wonder if any of these names here (and in Best Screenplay) will transfer over to Oscar in a few months.

Adam Kimmel, Never Let Me Go
Matthew Libatique, Black Swan
Jody Lee Lipes, Tiny Furniture
Michael McDonough, Winter’s Bone
Harris Savides, Greenberg

Exit Through the Gift Shop
Thunder Soul

Monday, November 29, 2010

Franco, Hathaway Make a Date with Oscar

With Thanksgiving done and the end of the year upon us, seems like awards season is starting to heat up. So of course today's breaking news that AMPAS has asked James Franco and Anne Hathaway to host this year's Oscars ceremony is all anyone can talk about.

First, I have to say I'm a huge fan of both actors and I thought they have done impressive work in the past and no doubt will do more of the same in the near/distant future. I also want to applaud the Academy for thinking outside-the-box going young, but not too young. After all she's already been Oscar nominated and he's pretty much a lock to get his first nomination this year.

But that latter point is exactly why this doesn't seem like the right choice THIS year. As much as I loved Neil Patrick Harris hosting the Emmys last year, the fact that he was nominated did make it a tad awkward. Plus, not as if it had any effect, he was the odds-on favorite to win and instead end up losing to Two and a Half Men's Jon Cryer. Might it be the same case this year with Franco? His impressive work on the 127 Hours already looks to go head to head with with Colin Firth's equally lauded performance in The King's Speech. Would hosting the show leave a bad taste in some voter's mouth the way some of the public already has in light of this news? Then again, does Franco REALLY care about this? I mean this is the guy who very recently did a stint on General Hospital. Seems that worrying about what other people think, especially in regards to his career, is the last thing on his mind. But again, how will that also affect his chances at Oscar glory?

Oddly enough, this might have an opposite effect on Hathaway's chances. Her movie, which debut with low box office results, was largely panned by the critics with a few praises for her work. With those kinds of lackluster results, it looked as if her Oscar campaign ended before it started especially in such a packed year for actresses. With this news, her name is all over the place again and may just remind voters that oh yeah, they love her.

So overall, cool picks, but I heavily question the timing. Will this be a death-knell on either of their careers? Far from it, but hope they thread lightly and bring on the laughs!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

ATP World Tour Finals: Semi-Finals

R. Nadal d. A. Murray 7-6(5) 3-6 7-6(6)
R. Federer d. N. Djokovic 6-1 6-4

OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. And with that, I probably just summarized the majority of reactions from tennis fans around the world as the two best players in tennis for the past six years or so and one of the best rivalries, not just in tennis but in all of sports, will contest the final title of the year. But before we get there, what happened during the semi-finals?

Murray stayed closed to no. 1 Nadal all match barely losing the first set and dominating in in the second set. Even in the final set, he kept up with Nadal and won the first three points in the final tiebreaker. Unfortunately, Nadal just had that extra championship gear that gutted him the win and his first ever final at this year-end event.

Federer had a far easier time dispatching Djokovic as Federer played a flawless first set. Djokovic's return game improved in the second set and actually ran to a 3-0 lead until Federer went in his own run to tie the second at 3-3. Djokovic held his serve the next game, but Federer rattled off three more games after that to set up a tantalizing match-up with Nadal.

Finals Preview
R. Nadal [1] v. R. Federer [2]

As I said above: OMG OMG OMG OMG. Actual words can't really convey the epicness of this match-up at this point of the tennis season, at this point of both of their careers. The stats for each man themselves is staggering. Nevermind that both man have been undefeated this tournament, but between the two of them they've won a whopping 25 major titles including one from every Grand Slam tournament. They're both even Olympic gold medalist!

This will be the 22nd meeting between these two legends of the sport with Nadal having a dominating H2H record of 14-7 against Federer. Upon closer look though, they're 4-4 in hardcourts and Federer leads Nadal 2-0 in indoor hardcourts. Federer has also won this event four times and based on form this past week, the advantage should go to Federer. But with Nadal-Federer, it's NEVER that black and white.

No matter what happens tomorrow, no doubt it's going to be epic, historic, and magical. Those words may be overselling the moment a bit, but these two men have earned all the hype.

Fun Facts: Federer is looking to claim his fifth title of the year with all of his titles coming from different levels (Grand Slam, World Tour Final, Masters 1000, 500, and 250). Nadal is looking to claim his first year-end title to go along with his tour-leading 8 titles, which includes three major titles (French, Wimbledon, US).

Friday, November 26, 2010

ATP World Tour Finals: Days 5-6

Group A
R. Nadal d. T. Berdych 7-6(3) 6-1
N. Djokovic d. A. Roddick 6-2 6-2

Group B
R. Federer d. R. Soderling 7-6(5) 6-3
A. Murray d. David Ferrer 6-2 6-2

Like last year, there was an interesting symmetry at play with both groups regarding their final results. Top seeds Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer won all three of their round robin matches making them leaders of their respective groups. On the other hand, their first round opponents Andy Roddick and David Ferrer fell for the third consecutive time forcing them to leave London with a dismal 0-3 record.

Those two needed to win to even have a chance, but once they were defeated, it was pretty easy math. With Nadal and Federer defeated Tomas Berdych and Robin Soderling, all Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray had to do was win a set against their opponents in the final match. They did, in fact they both won in straight sets.

Unlike last year, there were no super complicated tiebreaker scenarios needed to figure out who moved on to the semi-finals. The four players who won 2 or more matches in the round robin moved through. Easy!

Semifinal Previews

R. Nadal [1] v. A. Murray [5]
R. Federer [2] v. N. Djokovic [3]

Could anyone have scripted this any better? These four men, who will finish as the top 4 for the third year straight, are left to contest the ATP World Tour Finals. Plus If all goes according to plan we might even get our first Federer-Nadal final at the World Tour Finals! What a way to end the year!

Nadal is 8-4 in H2H over Murray, but the two times they met in hard court this year, Murray won in straight sets over the Spaniard. Federer has a 12-6 H2H edge against Djokovic and 3-1 in matches they played this year, with the one loss coming in that classic US Open semi-finals. Do note however that Federer with a 12-0 against Davydenko last year at this same stage and ended up losing to the Russian. GAME ON.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving! Second, a bit of self-promotion. Earlier this month I decided that I just wasn't stretched thin enough so I decided to get a tumblr account. Mostly it was so I could more easily follow people there, but also because it enabled me to use the little Photoshop skills I have. Plus lots of pretty pictures.

Anyways, if you have a tumblr feel free to follow or ask me a question or whatever. If you have a tumblr let me know so I can follow you. In the meantime, hope everyone is having a wonderful Thanksgiving. Or if you don't celebrate it... happy Thursday!

Fact: The two images used in this entry are my own creations and are on my tumblr.

Wednesday TV Report

Catching up on Wednesday's shows are easy now since I only watch two things and they are both half-hour comedies. Actually last night not only did I see news episodes of Modern Family and Cougar Town but I re-watched recent (fantastic) episodes of Community and How I Met Your Mother (Bottle Episode and Blitzgiving respectively).

Modern Family - Maybe they thought no one was going to be watching anyways since it was Thanksgiving Eve, but they delivered probably the weakest episode of the season (of the series?) last night. None of the three storylines managed to deliver the big laughs that the show usually brings effortlessly. It was actually bordering on painful as Mitchell tried to get Cam's mom to touch him or Jay's snoozeworthy story line of having a mysterious pain in his guy. Usually the Dunphys are the saving grace of the week, but even this week was weak with the Phil/Dylan/Haley triangle not as funny as it could've been. Luckily, they delivered a very fun episode last week with the three families making a fool of themselves as they all head over to Manny's birthday. Mitchell's surprise flash mob dance coupled with Cam's feeling of betrayal was totally on point as were the little moments between Claire/Luke and Phil/his daughters. The Jay/Gloria/Manny part was the weak link but even that had a gun-toting Gloria and Manny pranking himself on the phone. Good times.

Cougar Town - Last night's episode was the Thanksgiving episode and as I said last year, it's almost a TV tradition for Courtney Cox to host a Thanksgiving dinner on prime time. Last year's episode was one of my favorites, so this episode had a lot of live up to. And while it didn't quite match the heart of last year, if was still a solid effort. It was a tad unfocused, but the show is usually casual and always fun. So by the time we got to Jules' toast in the end, well it was all good. Last week was just an okay episode since they made Jules CRAZY MOM again when Travis brought his grad-student girlfriend home. The demise of Big Joe though produced a tear in my eye. For those who don't watch, Big Joe is a huge wine glass that Jules uses on special occassions (i.e. daily). RIP Big Joe.

Finally, it's not a Wednesday show but just want to give a shout out to Dexter this season which has been totally electric especially due to the addition of Julia Stiles' character, Lumen. The last scene of the most recent episode literally left me breathless. Three episodes left!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

ATP World Tour Finals: Days 3-4

Group A
R. Nadal d. N. Djokovic 7-5 6-2
T. Berdych d. A. Roddick 7-5 6-3

Group B
R. Federer d. A. Murray 6-4 6-2
R. Soderling d. D. Ferrer 7-5 7-5

Things are starting to get interesting! Actually, not really. After two rounds of matches, Nadal and Federer are leaders of their respective group after they spanked the usually more threatening Djokovic and Murray. For the Serbian, an errant contact lens may be to blame, but for the Brit he just couldn't find his serve. With their 2-0 record so far, Nadal and Federer look good for the semifinals with Federer only needing to win a set (or Murray to lose a set) tomorrow to clinch his spot.

Berdych and Soderling keep their chances alive garnering their first wins in London, but they both interestingly enough are hoping to win against Nadal and Federer respectively for their next matches. Roddick and Ferrer are in the very bottom, but oddly enough they are not done and out. They have to win in straight sets and have a few other things happen, but they too are still alive.

The ATP has a great rundown of possible semifinal qualification scenarios, which after you've seen it, puts the WTF in these World Tour Finals.

Tuesday TV Report

Some thoughts on Tuesday's episodes...

Glee - I really enjoyed Gwyneth Paltrow's guest appearance last week. Partly because I've really grown to not like the Schuester character so seeing his "replacement" was great. Plus she kind of rocked the house first with Cee Lo's "Forget You" and then the Chicago duet with Lea Michele. And while I thought the Singing in the Rain/Umbrella mashup was an abomination to one's ear, the choreography was sweet. Had a HUGE problem though with the Mercedes plotline especially as Kurt decided new boy > best friend which is all sort of lame of him. Also can't believe that he decided that for her to feel better was to set her up with another guy WTF? Love Kurt and all, but a lot of times he's incredibly self-centered and clueless.

Speaking of, this week's episode was Kurt-centric and continued the bullying storyline they started a few episodes ago. This time the school and the parents got involve and while all of the actors did a bang up job, really wished we could've seen the whole thing from Dave's point of view as well. With that said, the wedding storyline was adorable. Loved the wedding procession performance as well as Finn's touching tribute to Kurt. If I had one teensy tiny complaint, it's that it was yet again The Kurt Show, which yeah he's awesome but did it bother anyone else that during the wedding vows everyone made sure to praise Kurt while giving Finn an equivalent of "oh yeah, you're cool, too." Even Finn's heartfelt gesture to Kurt began as a toast for his mom and Burt! With that said, not sure how I FEEL about Kurt just up and transferring to Dalton, but I'm looking forward to seeing the repercussions of that next week during Sectionals, which totally snuck up on me!

The Good Wife - It's so difficult to talk about this show because I just devolve into a sniveling idiot praising every single thing about it. But that's pretty much what it feels like watching the show. Each episode has SO MUCH packed in and each element is executed so well that by the end you just need a break from all of the awesome. Take this week's episode. The Kalinda/Blake tension is heating up as well as the fight for the State Attorney's job. Then there's Diane looking to stage a coup while Alicia finally learns about the Lost Voicemail of Love from Will. All of this plus good writing and amazing acting and you have LOW RATINGS. Ugh. Seriously people, watch this show.

Raising Hope - Wasn't a HUGE fan of last week's episode where the entire family were blacklisted as sexual deviants, but the cast is still charming enough to make it work. This week's Thanksgiving-centric episode though was a riot especially with the introduction of Hope's other grandparents which tried to kidnap her, twice. At the end of the episode, it looked as if they were going to jail, but I do hope we see them again down the line. Also, it's nice they're fleshing out, very slowly I may add, Jimmy's friends. If handled correctly, they can add a lot to the show.

No Ordinary Family - Seems as if I have unofficially dropped the show. I haven't seen the last four episodes and I'm not exactly rushing out to catch up on it. Maybe with the long holiday weekend, I'll randomly decide to check it out, but don't hold your breaths.

Looking Forward To...

The King's Speech
Release: November 26, 2010
Distributor: Weinstein Company
Director: Tom Hooper
Starring: Geoffrey Rush, Guy Pearce, Colin Firth, Michael Gambon, Timothy Spall, Derek Jacobi, and Helena Bonham Carter

Note: Poster is not the official poster. The original was kind of lame so I did some photoshopping and voila.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Monday TV Report

Since I didn't randomly do TV Reports last week, this week will be catching up whilst at the same time talking about this week's episodes. Yay, double duty fun times!

So how about them Monday shows huh?

How I Met Your Mother - I'm so so so happy that last night's episode was practically flawless, because as much as I superficially enjoyed last week's third Robin Sparkles' episode, I wasn't THAT into it as much as I should've been. Yes, the song is catchy, but it can't touch the classic "Let's Go to the Mall." But this week's Thanksigiving-centric episode was just brilliant. It felt like the S1 episode "The Pineapple Incident" and I especially appreciated all of the Lost shoutouts courtesy of Hurley himself. IMO the show has been on fire this season.

Chuck - It actually makes sense to talk about the last two episodes together since it was more or less a two-parter. Last week Chuck went on a spy mission without his flashing capabilities to show he CAN be a spy without it, but also in a quest to get it back. Doesn't happen and he gets kidnapped and this week's episode is all about Sarah rescuing him and realizing that she doesn't care about him being a spy or the Intersect. All of this is nice and all, but looking forward to seeing what was on the laptop and also the return of Mommy Bartowski.

The Event - Last week's episode was a bit of a snoozer with us finding out about the VP's involvement of the assassination attempt and Leila kidnapping a doctor to treat Sean after he was shot. This week was a bit more interesting since we focused on the aliens who have made their lives outside. Even though we don't learn much, what we do learn is very intriguing ie do NOT mess with Sophia.

Hawaii Five-0 - Have to say, kudos to this show for giving us to really good episodes in a row. Last week was really tense as the team had to pretty much defend themselves against an armada. And this week, I was totally loving how they took down the Marathon Thieves especially that final takedown with each of them taking one bad guy each. Oh and we meet Danno's ex-wife and she's a firecracker! More of her please! Also, did Danno just call McGarrett "babe?" I mean they're not even being subtle about it anymore are they?

Castle - No episode this week which is just sad, but last week was quite fun with their alien/X-Files episode. Really didn't know where they were going to go with it, but it worked and wasn't totally cheesy. So kudos.

ATP World Tour Finals: Days 1-2

Group A
R. Nadal d. A. Roddick 3-6 7-6(5) 6-4
N. Djokovic d. T. Berdych 6-3 6-3

Group B
R. Federer d. D. Ferrer 6-1 6-4
A. Murray d. R. Soderling 6-2 6-4

The results through the first two days of the tournament haven't been surprising as three of the top four ranked men won, with only Soderling losing out to Murray who he replaced as the 4th ranked player before the tournament.

By winning today after being down a set and a break, Nadal exorcised his usual year-end demons that saw him go 0-3 last year. Federer and Djokovic are the current leaders in their group, but that can all change very quickly after their second matches.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Box Office: Magical Opening for Harry Potter

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, the seventh film in the Harry Potter series, opened this weekend and it opened big with $125 million. In fact it was the second best November opening of all time, second only to a film about sparkly vampires. It was also the highest-grossing opening weekend for the series, good for sixth best opening of all time.

While the number is big, many seem to think it should've been more. They seem to forget that in a little less than eight months from now, we will see these numbers again, probably bigger, for the very final film of the series.

It was even better news worldwide with the film making $205 million internationally, the fourth-biggest international opening ever and the biggest opening for a film outside the summer-season. In total, the film has already amassed $330 million.

For my part, my friends and I contributed about $52 to that gargantuan opening weekend and will do so again, probably on IMAX at a midnight showing, for the final film.

Whedon Out, Whit In for Buffy Movie

When I started this blog more than a year ago, my very first "real" entry was me reacting to the news of a possible film reboot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer happening without Joss Whedon's involvement. Basically I found it patently ridiculous. Since then, I had assumed no news was good news. I was wrong.

Seems like the project is full speed ahead especially since the project now has a writer and unfortunately her name is not Joss Whedon. The LA Times was the first to introduce us to 29-year-old actress-turned-screenwriter Whit Anderson who is a self-professed fan of Whedon's Buffy:

I didn’t really watch much television at all, but I always watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That was the one show I would watch when I got home. I just loved this character. I was the same age as Buffy, and it was so rare to have a female lead character on TV in those days who was strong and capable and smart but also allowed to be feminine.

So I suppose it's nice that she's at least a fan and I can't really blame her for getting every Buffy fan's dream job, but a Whedon-less Buffy is just wrong. And so far the reactions online have pretty much been the same as mine and if there's anything us Whedonites can be, it's INSANELY LOYAL and LOUD. So I'm looking forward to seeing what happens when the script is finished, casting begins, etc.

For his part, Joss Whedon spoke to Kristin Dos Santos and gave his hilarious and totally classy take on today's news:

Kristin, I'm glad you asked for my thoughts on the announcement of Buffy the cinema film. This is a sad, sad reflection on our times, when people must feed off the carcasses of beloved stories from their youths—just because they can't think of an original idea of their own, like I did with my Avengers idea that I made up myself. Obviously I have strong, mixed emotions about something like this.

Head over to E! Online for Whedon's complete quote. It's most definitely worth it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

ATP: 2010 World Tour Finals

The year-end championships aka the ATP World Tour Finals strive to gather the best of the very best of tennis during the past year and they couldn't have done a better job this year. The top two spots are occupied non-shockingly by the two lone Slam winners this year, but the next fours spots funnily enough are taken up by this years Slam runner-ups. The men in this line-up also won 8 of the 9 Masters 1000 tournaments this year. All of this is to say, this field is STACKED TO THE BRIM.

And these elite eight are:

1. Rafael Nadal - The year-end world no. 1 looks to cap off his already fantastic year, which saw him win three major titles including the US Open to complete a career Grand Slam, by capturing his first WTF title.

Grand Slam Results: QF, W, W, W
Titles: Wimbledon, US Open, Roland Garros, Madrid, Rome, Monte Carlo, Tokyo
Runner-Up: Doha

2. Roger Federer - The 16-time Grand Slam champion started the year strong by winning Australia and ending the year strong by winning three straight tournaments. He's the first player to win a Grand Slam title, a Masters title, a 500-level title, and a 250-level title in the same year.

Grand Slam Results: W, QF, QF, SF
Titles: Australian Open, Cincinnati, Basel, Stockholm
Runner-Up: Shanghai, Canada, Madrid, Halle

3. Novak Djokovic - Strong and consistent showing at the majors made him this close to end the year as #2, but the lack of big wins hampered his great showing elsewhere.

Grand Slam Results: QF, QF, SF, F
Titles: Beijing, Dubai
Runner-Up: US Open, Basel

4. Robin Soderling - If there's one place he has proven himself, it's Paris. He again reached the French Open finals, beating the defending champion two years in a row. He also won his first Masters title later in the year in Paris.

Grand Slam Results: 1r, F, QF, QF
Titles: Paris, Rotterdam
Runner-Up: Roland Garros, Barcelona, Bastad

5. Andy Murray - After reaching his first Australian Open final and losing to Federer, Murray went into a funk which didn't really go away until Wimbledon. He then avenged the Australian Open loss by beating Federer later in the year twice for his only two titles of the year.

Grand Slam Results: F, 4r, SF, 3r
Titles: Shanghai, Canada
Runner-Up: Australian Open, Los Angeles

6. Tomas Berdych - Though he has failed to capture a title this year, it's been a career year for Berdych reaching his first semifinals at the French Open and beating Djokovic and defending champion Federer to reach his first final at Wimbledon. He's been a ghost of his former self since then, however.

Grand Slam Results: 2r, SF, F, 1r
Titles: -
Runner-Up: Wimbledon, Miami

7. David Ferrer - Lackluster results at the Grand Slams belie the fact that he improved greatly over his results last year when he ended the year ranked 17th. In fact it was only last month he returned in the top 10 since October 2008.

Grand Slam Results: 2r, 3r, 4r, 4r
Titles: Valencia, Acapulco
Runner-Up: Rome, Beijing, Buenos Aires

8. Andy Roddick - While his results are nothing to write home about, his consistency and longevity is to be admired. He qualified for the ATP WTF for the eight consecutive time and will end the year in the top 10 for the ninth straight year.

Grand Slam Results: QF, 3r, 4r, 2r
Titles: Miami, Brisbane
Runner-Up: Indian Wells, San Jose

If I had to predict, I'd put my money on players #2-#5 since Nadal has never really done his best here and the other three are not 100% physically. With that said, Nadal's chances were slim to none at the US Open and last year Nikolay Davydenko shocked everyone to get the biggest win of his career so ANYTHING can happen. Game on.

As for any juicy storylines, not really so much. Other than Federer and Djokovic, the rest can win their first ATP WTF title including Nadal who already has every other tennis title ever. With the top two ranking sealed up, the fight for year-end #3 (Djokovic/Murray/Soderling) is the one to pay attention to.

The tournament begins today (aka Sunday) at London's O2 Arena for the second year running.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

2010 World Tour Awards

Just a day before the best tennis players in the world congregate in London for the ATP World Tour Final, the recipients of this year's ATP World Tour Awards were announced.

As already determined by the rankings a few weeks ago, Rafael Nadal wins the ATP World Tour No. 1 for ending the year at the top spot after a glorious season that saw him winning three of the four Grand Slams and achieving a career Grand Slam after winning in New York. Bob and Mike Bryan, with a monstrous 11-0 in finals this year, were awarded the ATP World Tour No. 1 Doubles Team.

Nadal also picked up for the first time the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award which is voted on by his fellow ATP players. He breaks the impressive streak of Roger Federer who had won this award six consecutive times. Don't fret for Federer though since for the eight consecutive time, fans around the world voted him the Fans' Favourite. He was followed close behind by Nadal. Both garnered a staggering 89% of the vote. The Bryans Brother claimed the equivalent doubles' award.

Doubles sensation Rohan Bopanna and Aisam Ul-Haq Qureshi, dubbed the "Indo-Pak Express," took home the Arthur Ashe Humaninatarian of the Year. Robin Haase wins Comeback Player of the Year ending the year within the Top 60 after falling precipitously to 450 last year. Andrey Golubev received the Most Improved Player of the Year while 24-year old Tobias Kamle, who reached the third round at this year's Wimbledon, wins Newcomer of the Year.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Looking Forward To...

Love and Other Drugs
Release: November 24, 2010
Distributor: Fox
Director: Edward Zwick
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jake Gyllenhaal, Judy Greer, Hank Azaria, Oliver Platt, George Segal, Gabriel Macht, & Jill Clayburgh

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

If Other Directors Made The Social Network

The Social Network is one of the best films of the year crafted by one of the finest directors working right now. But what if the film had been handled by a different director? CollegeHumor showed us the possible results with one of their hilarious videos.

Great range of directors they decided to pick, but I think they missed out on an M. Night Shyamalan version wherein Facebook was created not by Mark Zuckenberg not because of some girl or even because he wanted to capture the college experience in one bloated-ass website, but because the website is alive and is spying on you. And it's an alien life force. And, okay I lost it. But so did Shyamalan.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Soderling Savors Paris Victory, London Next

Robin Soderling must love Paris. The two-time French Open finalist captured his very first Masters title over the weekend in the city of lights beating hometown favorite Gael Monfils in the finals. Soderling and Monfils both nearly didn't make the finals, saving match points in their semifinal matches. Soderling had to save three match points against another Frenchman Michael Llodra while Monfils somehow survived five match points up against Roger Federer.

While Federer, who has been on a roll this fall, was unable to reach the finals, he still had a career best showing, making it all the way to the semifinals. With these results and the early losses of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, Federer locked up the year-end #2 ranking. This means that for an astonishing six years straight, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have occupied the top two spots at the end of the year. That's... ridiculous to say the least.

In less than a week, the top eight players including Soderling, Federer, Nadal, Murray, and Djokovic will join Andy Roddick, David Ferrer, and Tomas Berdych in London for the ATP World Tour Finals to contend the final title of the year. Only Federer (4x) and Djokovic have won the the year-end tournament among the players participating.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

TV Report Catching Up

Just a couple of quick thoughts on a bunch of shows. And I swear I'll start posting stuff other than my "quick thoughts on TV" in the next few days.

Thursday, 11/11

Community - If I said it was perfect, you probably would think I was overselling it, but whatever, I thought it was brilliant. Started worrying about the show the past few weeks (not including the great zombie episode), but this was like back to S1 brilliance. This show is so very good when the talented ensemble bounce lines from each other and reflect on their messed-up relationship/connections and this "bottle episode" was all of that. I've seen it THREE times already. Definitely my favorite episode of the season so far.

Fringe - The fact that no one is watching this show pains me, but only because they are just missing out on a really damn good sci-fi storyline. Can't say enough how much I'm loving this season and its back-and-forth on the two universes and the wonder that is Anna Torv. Also props to the costume/makeup department as well for making the two characters different enough that we, the audience, can see the differences while at the same the other characters don't.

Grey's Anatomy - Kind of glad Calllie's mourning period seemd to have lasted a day. I don't think I can handle Callie being all downtrodden AGAIN because of a relationship (George, Hahn, now Arizona). Plus she totally got a bitchin' haircut. Still not sure what they're doing with Cristina, but interesting that she's dealing with it with Derek and not with Meredith or her husband. I hope they don't follow the same storyline with Alex/new peds attending as they did with Cristina/Hahn. Though I'm totally looking fwd to seeing the awkwardness that will be Alex/April/Avery (wow that's a lot of A-names) after the events of this week's episode.

30 Rock - Nearly forgot what the episode was about, but then John Slattery popped into my head and it all came flooding back. Not sure how I felt about it. The pants/politics storyline was a little heavy handed and not particularly hilarious. And in a bit of switcheroo, I actually found the Tracy/Jenna antics much funnier this week. Not sure if that's good or bad, but let's just put that in the plus column and call it a day.

Big Bang Theory - It was the return of Evil Will Wheaton, but to be honest I could've done without the guy portion of the episode and would've probably just preferred a full episode on just those three girls in their slumber party. They were hilarious and it's so nice the show has some fresh blood now and a nice bit of estrogen to boot!

Friday, 11/12

Supernatural - Castiel-less episode and y'all know how I feel about that. But if I thought last week was anti-climactic, well then this episode wouldn't have fared better. It was pretty much a freak-of-the-week episode except this time Crowley is directly telling them to go after it. The story itself was nothing to write home about and the only "redeeming" quality about the episode was the scene at the very end when Sam basically tells Dean he didn't care about him. Ouch. Also, WHERE ARE THEY GOING WITH THIS?

Sunday, 11/14

The Amazing Race - Ugh. In terms of location, challenges, and all of that the show is still aces, but WORST EPISODE EVER since all of the teams I love ended up in the back while teams I hate/don't care about made it to the top three. What's worst is that my most hated team Chad/Stephanie pretty much OWNED the episode. First they showed up TWO HOURS late to the pit star, which I've never EVER seen before, and when you thought this would mean the end of this obnoxious team they quickly recover and pretty much lead the entire episode. But oh wait, what's this? Chad is proposing to her? GAG GAG KILL ME. They get first place and it's all honeymoon and lollipops. UGH. The race for elimination was brutal since it was between two teams I love. Nat/Kat overtook Dan/Mallory and thus the cute father/daughter team is no more. Damn.

Brothers & Sisters - Pretty much a Luc episode with his mom issues so it was a snoozer. Kevin & Scotty seemed to be working through their issues, but other than that nothing much to report there. Norah is getting jiggy with it with Karl aka Jack's dead dad from Lost while Justin is getting jiggy with it with every other woman including Luc's mom (AWKWARD!). Overall, meh. WHY IS LUC A CHARACTER? WASTE OF SPACE!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tuesday TV Report

A bit late, once again, but here are my thoughts on Tuesday's shows. And BTW I kind of ramble on about Glee so I saved that to the end.

Raising Hope - Another cute, if not spectacular, episode of this totally charming show. The chemistry of the cast, especially the son/parents dynamic is really good and Hope is just the cutest baby this TV season, apart from Lily on Modern Family of course.

The Good Wife - How fantastic was Michael J. Fox? Very. While I love the episodes when I get to cheer on Alicia Florrick, it's also really nice to see lawyers up to her level on the other side. But the big thing about this episode was Kalinda and her (not so shocking) lesbian relationship. Still not 100% sure why Blake and Kalinda are making each other's lives pure hell, but the chemistry and tension is giving this already nearly perfect show that more sizzle and buzz.

And now me rambling on about Glee...

I've been holding back on talking about this episode since I needed about a day or two to process it a bit. There were a few things the episode brought up that could make for some very interesting story lines to follow in the future. The bullying theme of the episode was nicely handled not only by using Kurt and the bullying he has gotten for being the only out gay kid in school, but also by showing us the bullying of other such as Beiste and to a certain extent even Puck.

The episode itself was another showcase of the extraordinary talents of Emmy-nominated Chris Colfer. He deflty handled and expressed the anguish, the anger, and the hopelessness one encounters at the hands of bullying. Great contrast to the absolute joy on his face as he watches Blaine (the delightful Darren Criss) sing with his glee group, The Warblers. Right now there's setting these two up as mentor/mentee, but it's not difficult to see sparks flying with these two. I do have to comment that the writers really need to deal with Kurt's boundary issues. Only a day or so after he meets this wonderful boy, he already has a picture of him framed on his locker. Um... no. That's just creepy.

The big twist though was that the football jock who bullied Kurt is gay for Kurt! Or who knows if he was actually attracted to Kurt, but he definitely kissed him in the locker room! Fandom seems severely split on this. Half are afraid the show might actually develop a relationship for these two with Kurt helping him come out and them being the new power couple. The other half, well, wants this to happen and love the twist i.e. Murphy giving us Sam and then Blaine as red herrings. My preference is for Kirt and Blaine to get together, but I'm also not at all offended if they somehow organically did a story involving Kurt/Karovsky. But this is Glee and rarely does it do anything "organically."

A few other tidbits about the episode:
  • I get they were trying to make that all-boys school like the complete opposite of McKinley High, but glee kids as rock stars? Slow-mo running in the hallway? Too much. TOO MUCH.
  • Hoping they actually go through with this friendship they've started with Artie and Puck and not drop it like a million other threads they've started.
  • Mercedes is still in the show right? Sometimes I forget.
  • A little Rachel goes a long way. I love her impromptu scream of SPIES and her (and the rest of the ladies) looked HOTTTTT performing, the song on the other hand... meh.
  • Will kissing Beiste was kind of TMI. I actually love the Beiste character, but I'm still not into Will. So ah whatever.
  • I will extremely cheated if we don't at least get a glimpse of the geriatric glee group.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Monday TV Report

Belated thoughts on Monday night's TV offerings...

How I Met Your Mother - While I really liked the episode when I saw it, I've grown to LOVE it as I thought more about it. I just really enjoyed having the gang, separately, dealing with Big Character Stuff. What I mean is, I like the forward progression they all took in this episode with Ted/Zoey, Marshall/Lily, Barney/Robin, and Barney and his quest for his father. Zoey's story was a bit out of left field, but it's encouraging that they seem to be developing her somewhat. Marshall and Lilly's "fight" felt a bit like how real-life married couples who have been college sweethearts would react. Then of course there's the return of Barney/Robin and as silly as their antics were I LOVED it when Smulders and Harris are just let loose to have fun together. Then of course there's the twist of Barney's father to end the episode in an intriguing note.

The Event - One positive thing I can say about this show, even if it gets canceled, is that I'm probably going to try to see the remaining episodes to see how it all ends. Is it my favorite show? Far from it, but a few of the characters are wholly intriguing. Not sure how I feel about the now weekly flashbacks of one solitary character. I mean it worked on Lost, but here it feels a tad hokey? With that said, how about that Twilight Zone-like ending with the little girls looking like old ladies? Eek! WHAT?

Castle - To be honest, probably one of the weaker episodes this season which is still to say it was a fun episode, but nothing overly memorable about it. The case itself wasn't all that interesting as well and we didn't get to meet the totally two dimensional bad guys until the last two minutes. Then they ended the episode with Ashley fawning over Alexis as Castle looks on nary a sarcastic reply to the situation! I felt cheated there a bit.

Hawaii Five-0 - I have finally FINALLY caught up. Unfortunately, I can't really review the last 3-4 episodes I viewed the past week or so. But I still like the show. The bromance between Danno/Steve is getting a little too much (and I'm a HUGE fan of bromances on TV). Or maybe it just seemed that way since I saw a bunch of episodes in a row? One of my favorite episodes was Kono having a nice romantic moment with one of her old surfing buddies. Can we get him back please? Last night was good since we explored a bit of Danno's and Chin's past at the same time. Plus the beautiful Dichen Lachman made an appearance.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Friday/Sunday TV Report

A few thoughts on Supernatural, The Amazing Race, and Brothers & Sisters...

So last week's Supernatural episode really did a lot in moving the story. We got a ton of answers about a lot of people's motivations and there were a couple of big reveals. So why did it all feel just a little bit anticlimactic? First we get to the answer of "what's wrong with Sam?" out of the way by Castiel confirming that Sam has no soul. As the audience, we start putting together the previous suspicious behaviors from Sam and it all fits. Next, we get Dean finding out about Samuel's mission to collect Alphas and the ensuing confrontation. We find out one of their cousins is actually a demon and oh yeah Crowley has been orchestrating this whole thing including making Samuel his bitch and getting Sam out of the cage sans his soul. His goal? To find purgatory. The why? Well, we don't know yet. So, all of that and while acted well, it just felt like one info-dump and thus lacked emotional resonant. Plus I'm kind of over the whole "Sam's a freak" storyline. Been there, done that.

Nick and Vicki were somehow saved from elimination last week on The Amazing Race, but they made up good time following third this week behind my two favorite teams. Both of them happen to be the two all-female teams and if both of them aren't in the final three, I will be sorely disappointed. A team I cheered on since the beginning were Michael/Kevin, but a couple of broken rules (read your clues!) cost them the game and sayonara. The rest of the teams, save for the adorable father-daughter team of Gary/Mallory, are kind of annoying and I'm hoping for their ousters in the weeks to come.

Finally, Brothers & Sisters was all right. As I said last week, I pretty much watch now out of habit and even then it's mostly to see what's going on with Kevin/Scotty. Thankfully they resolved their fight from last week by the end of the episode, but not before we get some top-notch acting from both Luke McFarlane and Matthew Rhys. Justin's story line with Holly/David and the new girl (name escapes me, but she's his real life wife) was actually interesting to me, but maybe that was only because I was so happy not to have a Luc storyline this week. Oh and how could I forget Sally Field flirting with Jack's dead dad from Lost? CREEPY! Also, kind of cute, if you're into old people flirting.

Hometown Love for Federer, Ferrer Plus Ivanovic, Italy Win

Roger Federer is suddenly on fire reaching three consecutive finals and winning two titles in a row. After he finished second to Andy Murray in Beijing, he traveled to Stockholm to capture his 64th title of his career tying for all-time fourth place with Pete Sampras. He then went one better by getting his 65th title in his hometown of Basel in front of his family and twin daughters. The final was a rematch of last year's duel between Federer and Novak Djokovic which the Serbian eventually won. This time around Federer kept his composure even after losing his concentration in the second set to win 6-1 in the third set to get his fourth title of the year. With his win, Federer puts just a little bit more distance between him and Djokovic for the #2 end-of-year ranking. More good news for Federer, he can gain a lot of points in the last Masters tournament in Paris taking place this week while Djokovic is defending a ton of points.

David Ferrer went on to win in his hometown of Valencia defeating Robin Soderling in the semifinals and lucky loser Marcel Granollers in the finals. Disappointing single results, however, for defending champion Murray, but he did win his first ATP doubles titles and with his brother Jamie Murray to boot!

Finally, if you thought the WTA ended their season last week when Kim Clijsters won the WTA Championships, think again. Over in San Diego, the Fed Cup finals were held between the USA and Italy. With the Williams sisters missing, the USA were trounced by defending champion Italy led by Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta. Over on the other side of the world in Bali, a few also-rans played the very last tournament of the year. Former world #1 player Ana Ivanovic finished the year on a high note by capturing the title. With the win and her great record of winning 13 of her last 15 matches, she recovers from a sub-50 ranking earlier this year to end the year within the top 20.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Birthday Girl: Emma Stone

Fellow Scorpio Emma Stone celebrates her birthday today turning just 22 years old, which is totally making me feel ancient right now.

She's a relative newcomer making her film debut only three years ago in Superbad. A year later, she played minor roles in the hilarious The House Bunny and hilariously awful Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. Climbing the ladder a bit higher she then appeared in almost-lead roles in indie-dramedy Paper Man and addictively fun Zombieland. In the latter she was practically the lead since she played the love interest (opposite Jesse Eisenberg who is making a name himself this year playing Mark Zuckenberg in The Social Network).

It was this year, however, when she finally broke through playing the undisputed lead in the well-liked Easy A. Most of the reviews praised Stone's portrayal of Olive Pendergast, the girl who everyone thinks has slept with everyone else. With her undeniable charm and obvious talent who knows how high she can go. A lot of people are even talking about a possible Oscar nomination (not likely, but I'm hoping for a Golden Globe nod).

What's next for her? According to her IMDb profile, she has 3-4 films coming out next year. But it's her role as Gwen Stacy in the Spider-Man reboot that's getting all the buzz. The film is slated to be released in 2012 and she'll co-star with another relative newcomer/current "IT" young actor Andrew Garfield (who is, funnily enough, in The Social Network with Eisenberg). Here's to hoping both will come out a little more like Kate & Leo post-Titanic and a little less like well everyone else.

Thursday TV Report

Due to a prior obligation, I started watching Thursday's shows very late (11:30pm) that night. Shockingly I actually got through a good chunk of them only having to see ABC's dramas the next day. With that said, lots to talk about so...

Fringe continues to astound me this season and thank God baseball season is over, because I honestly couldn't wait another week for this story to move forward and move forward it did! This week's episode saw Olivia finally discovering that she doesn't belong in this alt-universe. Her scene at the very end of the episode (seeing the view from Ellis Island, calling up her niece) was exciting and heartbreaking at the same time. I honestly didn't know Anna Torv had it in her until this season and bravo to her! But even though I know things will come to a head and inevitably order will be restored, I'm going to severely miss the alt-version of the Fringe team, pretty Agent Lincoln Lee most of all. BTW the freak-of-the-week case was a little too on point, but it's nice seeing the Ashmore twins work together for once and we already learned people stuck in amber are fully aware. OMG I'm going to have never-ending nightmares.

On to the NBC comedies and well, I found them both a bit lacking this week. In fact, in the case of 30 Rock, the only thing I can remember is the end tag of the episode showing us a montage of Liz's opinions on possible names for Jack's baby. Oh wait, I just remembered Jenna writing her own obituary. Okay, that was a little funny too. In Community, it was a good episode, but it felt off just a bit. Maybe it was because the group was divided into two smaller groups or that the trampoline storyline was too weird (and a zombie attack to the tune of ABBA last week wasn't?). I did love the payoff in the end with the racist gardener. Caught me off guard and it was definitely a highlight. Hilary Duff didn't make any huge impact, but I guess that's better than ruining things. BTW this is a bitch free zone.

Finally, we got three shows that were invaded by Buffy the Vampire Slayer alums which forced me to watch one show I stopped watching. The first was Eliza Dushku appearing along side Sheldon and the gang in the Big Bang Theory as an FBI agent. Sad to say she made very little impact and didn't even deliver any fun lines. I actually wasn't particular a fan of the episode except for three scenes: (1) Leonard being confident and hot to Raj in the cafeteria, (2) PENNY IS BACK PENNY IS BACK and she had a scene with Sheldon, and (3) Sheldon's touching gesture of offering Howard his spot. But I want to go back to that second scene, YES she's back. Please, never ever ever go away again. The show needs you more than I realized.

The super talented Amber Benson showed up on Grey's Anatomy and she delivered the goods as one of the patient's estranged daughter. Her scenes weren't plentiful, but they all packed emotional wallop. The episode itself was good as well and I really need to stop referring to this show as a show I once loved, because this season I've "liked" episodes more than I've "hated" which is an accomplishment that's worth its due. The Callie/Arizona ending was not completely shocking, but it hurts just the same and seeing April shine against Hunt and Alex was nice. Not sure what to think about Cristina's storyline. Guess we'll see where they take it.

Last but not least, Nicholas Brendon turned in a magnificent performance as a deranged rapist in Private Practice. His performance was so good, I was afraid I'd never be able to watch old episode of Buffy ever again. But the episode belonged to KaDee Strickland who played the rape and assault victim, Charlotte King. A lot of the scenes were understandably hard to watch and I just have to give her props for really taking this storyline for this character and putting it her all. Brilliant job from her and the rest of the cast in this intense and unforgettable episode. Many are already shouting her name for an Emmy nomination. I'd vote for her in a heartbeat.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wednesday TV Report

A bit late with this Wednesday TV Report, but better late than never. Plus for a second there I thought I had forgotten to do a write-up for Tuesday's shows until I remembered that it was Election Night and everything was preempted.

First, let's have a moment of silence for Undercovers which was officially canceled yesterday. Frankly, I'm not too torn up about it because the show didn't offer anything different from the various spy shows, past or present. It certainly couldn't live up to the visceral quality of those early seasons of ALIAS or to the pure enjoyment of Chuck. It's worthy repeating that both leads are drop-dead gorgeous, but they couldn't make the writing as beautiful as them.

With that show and The Whole Truth canceled, Wednesday suddenly has become very light for me with only two half-hour comedies to keep me entertained. Thank goodness both shows are fantastic.

It was always going to be difficult to follow up that humdinger of a Halloween episode from last week, but Modern Family did okay. My favorite parts include Haley misinterpreting her mom's relationship lamentations, Phil burning his ladyfingers (BEEP!), and Cam picking up the other Asian kid in the end. So as not to be painted as completely blinded by my love for the show, I actually think it was one of their lesser episodes. Phil's questioning his masculinity is a bit out-of-character at least in how they executed it here in this episode and the whole Jay/Manny/Gloria storyline didn't really do anything special for me.

And then there was Cougar Town aka Modern Cougar Town. Sigh. I shouldn't love this show as much as I do, but I do and I can't help it. As flawed as the show is sometimes, it and its characters are just so damn fun. It makes excusing away the flaws so much easier. For example I could've done without the whole neti pot storyline with Travis and his dad, but it was nice that the show is trying really hard this season to give Bobby some emotional heft. The episode itself non-subtly paid homage to The Usual Suspect painting Andy as the Keyser Soze type, which was refreshing since we actually learn more about him and how his relationship with Ellie is JUST RIGHT. Plus how can I hate an episode where Ellie drives Grayson to tears (gift whisperer!) and the gang gets into a finger gun stand off and melee with bonus Spaced shout out? I can't. LOVE THIS SHOW.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Looking Forward To...

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Release: November 19, 2010
Distributor: Warner Brothers
Director: David Yates
Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, Emma Watson, Michael Gambon, Tom Felton, Julie Walters, Daniel Radcliffe, Ciaran Hinds, Rupert Grint, Maggie Smith, David Thewlis, Rhys Ifans, Bill Nighy, Bonnie Wright, Jason Isaacs, and Helena Bonham Carter

Meryl Streep to Appear in Lisa Kudrow's Web Therapy

Finally! It has happened! My prayers have been answered! Meryl Streep and Lisa Kudrow will finally appear on screen together. Granted it will be on the computer screen rather than the small or silver screens, but I'll seriously take what I can get.

Deadline broke the news yesterday of Streep joining fellow Vassar College alum Kudrow in her web series Web Therapy (co-produced by another Vassar grad Dan Bucantinski) which I've already mentioned here previously. The article says Streep will have a 3-episode arc during the fourth season of the web series which apparently is set to begin any day now.

Before reading the article, I thought Streep would actually appear on the half-hour TV series that Showtime has picked up based on the web series. But maybe her role is open-ended and she can come back? Then maybe they can star in the movie version together? And since we don't really know much about her character yet, what if she played Fiona's mom! Okay, I'm getting way too ahead of myself. Can you blame me?

To watch the first three seasons of Web Therapy, click here and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Monday TV Report

The talking heads are babbling about election results on the TV right now which means no Glee, Raising Hope, or The Good Wife this week. At least with baseball season over, we're getting Fringe back on Thursday! But let's back up a bit on the Monday TV shows I saw...

Chuck - A wonderful episode full of comedy, heart, action, and OMGWTF moments. Timothy Dalton showed off his comedic side and did it brilliantly which is something I didn't really expect. The scenes between Ellie and her mom moved me to tears. Big kudos to totally underused Sarah Lancaster for those scenes. The twist in the end is still reeling in my mind, but I'm excited that it was left WIDE OPEN for both Linda Hamilton and Timothy Dalton to come back. God, just make them regulars. I'm only half-kidding.

How I Met Your Mother - Where's the poop? I mean really. I actually was totally fine with the episode until we saw Robin seemingly degrade herself yet again. I'm just tired seeing this character down and out and so very ISOLATED from her friends. Like the idea of the Zoe character, but the execution in this episode was not so hot. And Randy and his Wharmpiss was funny for the first half, then not so much. Overall, one of the weaker episodes this season.

Castle - Can't lie. It was very nice seeing some male eye candy throughout the episode. Unfortunately none of the male main characters actually stripped last night, but it was a hoot seeing Esposito and Ryan reacting to being labeled as "A-Rod" and "Twilight guy." The only thing, I kind of figured out who the bad guy was first time we see him. It's actually rare I do that in Castle, but it didn't diminish my enjoyment of the show one bit.

Women of SNL - Hilarious. Too bad I was only able to see the first hour. But it was really fun seeing all of those women again. I was actually hoping they brought back Jane Curtin, but alas it wasn't meant to be. The Debbie Downer sketch brought me to tears just like it did the first time they aired it. Also, how quaint is it now that sketch Fey and Poehler did as Palin and Clinton? "Bitch is the new Black." Good times.

Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to see Hawaii Five-0. Before today I was three episodes behind, but I managed to see the episode from two weeks ago so I'm now just TWO episodes behind. Things have just been hectic.

Monday, November 1, 2010

TV Report Catching Up

Because Halloween kind of delayed this a bit, here are my recent TV thoughts:

Thursday, 10/28

Community - I would just like to thank the cast and crew for forever fusing the music of ABBA and the zombie apocalypse together in my mind. Hilarious episode from beginning to end, from Dean Pelton eeriely appropriate Gaga get-up to Troy's sexy Dracula costume to the randomly flying cat to the George Takei's framing narration. Well done!

Big Bang Theory - It's clear, from Kaley Cuoco's absence, that this show needs her back. Sheldon is great, but it's really just not the same without him playing off of Penny. As funny as Sheldon's ordeal with avoiding meeting Amy's parents, him not going to Penny for advice was too big of an inconsistency to get over. Too bad. Though the end tag with Sheldon and Amy lying to her mom about their sex lives was a beautiful thing.

Grey's Anatomy - I loved this episode. There, I said it. The annoying parts of the characters were kept to a minimum because the documentary structure just couldn't entertain them. Plus it's such a good follow-up to last season's finale especially seeing Ryan Devlin and Mandy Moore as a young couple who very much went through the same ordeal these doctors did. The last 10 minutes were heartbreaking though. Damn you show!

Fringe was still way-laid by baseball (boo! hiss!) while 30 Rock took a breather for a Shrek-tastic Halloween special.

Friday, 10/29

Supernatural - Probably weird to complain about this aspect of the show since I know A LOT of people watch the show because of it, but DAMN I'm SOOOO tired of the drama between these two brothers. I cheered Lisa on when she finally told Dean what I was thinking i.e. his relationship with his brother ain't fucking healthy. Oh I get there's a bond and a history and yadda yadda but COME ON. Plus this whole "no soul" thing isn't exactly A-grade original in sci-fi/fantasy films so I'll reserve my thoughts on that "mind-blowing" plotline until next week. At least Castiel was back, if only for a few minutes.

Sunday, 10/31

The Amazing Race - What is it going to take to get rid of Nick/Vicki? When I heard the challenges for the Detour, I was ready to pack their bags for them. Unfortunately it was a non-elimination leg and they survive another day. At least this meant all my favorites are also still in the race. I especially appreciated how challenged they all were of the tasks they had to do in this leg. Frustrations breed entertainment!

Brothers & Sisters - It was just a bit painful to watch the drama unfold between Kevin & Scotty. I still don't really buy Scotty actually cheating on Kevin, but other than that contrived plot point, the two actors did a phoenomenal job. Oh other things happened to other characters, but as per usual it's so difficult to care.

Clijsters Wins Doha, Player of the Year?

Kim Clijsters continued reshaping her legacy during her second tennis career after her comeback to the game last year as she defeated world no. 1 Caroline Wozniacki at the WTA Championships in Doha. She becomes only the fifth player in WTA history to win the year-end event three or more times tying Monica Seles with three wins. Only Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, and Chris Evert have won more. With her win in Doha, Clijsters has compiled an amazing 6-0 record in finals since her comeback. Her other five titles include two Grand Slam wins at the US Open as well as titles from Brisbane, Miami, and Cincinnati.

Wozniacki ended her year bitter-sweetly, clearly happy for clinching that year-end #1 ranking and winning the most titles on the tour and yet obviously disappointed for not winning any of the major titles, hearkening back to the slam-less #1 reigns of Dinara Safina and Jelena Jankovic.

The match itself was worthy of a final between two top-tier players. Clijsters cruised to a 6-3 4-1 lead with Wozniacki digging deep to even the second set at 5-5. Clijsters' concentration and level of play dipped and suddenly it was the third set with Wozniacki up an early break. Clijsters finally came alive again, breaking the Dane right back and rushing to a 5-2 lead. Two games later, Clijsters was able to serve it out winning 6-3 5-7 6-3.

The question to ask now is who is the Player of the Year?

As I wrote above, Wozniacki ends the year as the top ranked player in the world amassing more titles than anyone, but her lack of success in majors is suspect. Serena Williams won the most majors out of anyone, 2, one at the Australian Open and another in Wimbledon. Those would be her only titles of the year, however, and she was largely absent during the second half of the year. Francesca Schiavone and Clijsters grabbed the other two majors with Clijsters also winning Doha and three other titles. Plus there are those who have made career breakthroughs this year such as Samantha Stosur and Vera Zvonareva who both reached their first Grand Slam finals as well as their highest rankings. If I had to pick someone, it would be Clijsters. She won a Grand Slam as well as multiple titles both in the first and second halves of the year. Coincidentally, she does top the tour on one thing, prize money won.