Sunday, July 31, 2011

Episodes Blog-A-Thon Reminder

There are only a few days left to think of that one TV episode from the past TV season that is your absolute favorite. That is, if you want to join in on Andrew's "Episodes Blog-A-Thon."

For my part, I've been having a ridiculously impossible time narrowing down my obscenely long "short list" of possibilities for the past week or so. The problem is I just watch way too many TV shows and even some of my not-favorite shows would deliver a brilliant episode or two over the course of a season. So I think I'm going to probably lean a little more on personal/tangential reasons why I've picked a certain episode. Oh god, the bargaining stage has begun.

Any scripted show and any episode which aired from June 1, 2010 to May 31, 2011 qualifies. But you can only pick ONE episode to talk about. Create a post by August 6 and partake will you?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Year of Gosling

As you are reading this, I'm probably inside a nice air-conditioned theater watching Crazy, Stupid, Love starring the suddenly ubiquitous Ryan Gosling. Seriously, if you count Blue Valentine, which for most people only came out sometime in January, he has four films this year. The real shocking thing is not really the number of films he has done this year, but the fact that all of them are quality films, playing wholly different characters.

Granted I have only actually seen Blue Valentine as I write this so who knows what's in store for the other three films? But Crazy, Stupid, Love is getting solid reviews especially for a summer romantic comedy while Drive was already hit at the Cannes Film Festival. And when you factor in people's reaction to the newly released trailer for The Ides of March with the pedigree of its cast and crew, it's quite likely that film will be an Oscar contender this year.

And thus speaking of Oscars, will Gosling get his second nomination after a great year such as this? Unfortunately, competition is tough and his age and pretty boy looks are actually working against him. Plus it seems someone else is always siphoning the praise from Gosling no matter how deservedly it may be--Michelle Williams was the sole Oscar-nominee for Blue Valentine; Steve Carrell is the lead in Crazy, Stupid, Love; Nicholas Winding won Best Director for Drive at Cannes; George Clooney wrote, directed, and starred in The Ides of March.

Then again, maybe he just makes every film or every actor he works with look that good. All I know is, I'll be partaking in "The Year of Gosling" by seeing each and every one of his films on opening weekend. One Two down...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Lady Gaga Visits Dance and Other TV Thoughts

The pace slowed down a bit for both Breaking Bad and Torchwood with both getting mixed reactions from me while both True Blood and Weeds ramped up the action a bit to positive results. But first Lady Gaga visited So You Think You Can Dance as a guest judge this week.

Her Lady of Gaga was joined by Oscar-nominated director Rob Marshall to judge the top eight dancers and to be honest they were kind of crap as have been most of the guest judges this season. Gaga kept dissing the props and the choreography which the dancers had no real control over while Marshall kept playing good cop going out of his way to praise the choreographers and anything remotely Broadway. Thankfully the dancers, like they do every week, BROUGHT IT, with the judges praising Melanie, Marko, Sasha, and Tadd mostly. Gaga performed two of my favorite songs from her new album during the result show ("Edge of Glory/You and I") before the judges eliminated out Jess and Jordan. Two more weeks until Melanie or Marko wins the whole thing!

Now for some scripted fare. Last week's Torchwood episode was written by none other than Buffy scribe Jane Espenson and I love her. In talking about this episode, she said they wanted to pull back on the action and take a breather in order for this new Torchwood team to get to know one another and to get a better handle on the events of the day. And yet, I felt it was a little too lax. The sex scenes, both straight and gay, felt ridiculously gratuitous and just made them feel like filler to an episode that really could've used more forward movement. It doesn't help that Rex is still an unlikable douche or that I'm now finding it difficult to watch Bill Pullman (in a good way because OMG he's terrifyingly skeevy). With that said, lovely moment between a drunk Jack and a preoccupied Gwen both invoking Ianto's name and the tag team of the Doctor and Gwen was nice. Let's go on with this though!

As for Breaking Bad, I understand why they felt they needed to take a breather after such an emotionally tense premiere, so the problem lies more with me and my expectations probably over the show's quality. In fact seeing how the events of last episode on Walt, Jesse, and Mike affected them was kind of beautiful. All of them on the edge of doing something truly crazy, but never quite getting there. Has it been officially recognized that while this is Walt's story, Jesse is very much the heart of the show? I'm thinking his journey this whole season will be the season's highlight. And just as an aside, I really hope Hank's new hobby has something to do with the biggest plot.

I personally believe that True Blood has been on fire this season plus or minus the Hotshot storyline. But speaking of that, I'm glad that Jason is finally done (for now) with that and giving a much needed kick to the domestic woes of Jessica/Hoyt. Who else was surprised that for a split second, Jason thought he was having sex with Hoyt? HOT. Please develop this. Speaking of other good developments, nice to see brothers Sam and Tommy work together on something and YEE-HAW on their parents finally biting the dust. Alexander Skarsgard is still doing mighty fine work with his lost Eric story while Pam's predicament is bringing out the snark in Bill Compton which makes me happy for him. Though of course that he now knows where Eric is, we'll see.

Finally, Weeds finally delivers an episode that I mostly liked. Yes, I zoned out over whatever is happening with Andy because really who cares. Plus I think Shane enrolled in college or something and Doug is wearing a suit? Whatever. This has become a Silas and Nancy Botwin show and I'm just find with that. They fly out to the West Coast for a custody hearing that is then promptly rescheduled giving Mary Louise Parker a much needed cause to fight as she dukes it out with her sister over intercom. Silas is also forced to defend her mom, as he testifies to the judge, and their relationship is finally getting back on track. I'm much more excited, however, by the surprise reappearance of Heylia in the end. WOO!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Awesome Guest Star Casting Day

Perhaps it's because the networks are prepping for the TCA Press Tour happening in the next few days, but somehow a bunch of TV shows announced some excellent casting decisions today...

David Anders
, most recently appearing in Vampire Diaries, will always be Julian Sark to me. This TV season though, he's guest starring on the new show Once Upon A Time. I was actually left lukewarm by the teaser shown during upfronts earlier this summer, but this casting news along with all the praise from critics is making me optimistic. At the very least, it's a show I will make sure to check out in the fall.

Fresh from his Emmy-worthy guest role on United States of Tara, Eddie Izzard is heading into the court room to go head-to-head with another strong-willed wife and mother in The Good Wife. I'm thinking Julianna Margulies will have her hands full with Izzard as the opposing counsel.

Party Down and Freaks & Geeks alum Martin Starr will appear in an episode of Community next season as a poli-sci professor. Already this month, the show has announced John Goodman and The Wire's Michael K. Williams to guest star next season. Goodman will play a rival dean while Williams will tackle being a biology professor.

Last, but certainly not least, Parks and Recreation finally cast the ever mysterious Tammy 1, Ron Swanson's first wife, and it is none other than Oscar-nominated Patricia Clarkson! If there ever was a woman to strike fear in Megan Mullaly, it'd be her, and I'm so looking forward to the interaction she'll have with real-life couple Mullaly and Nick Offerman. The latter, by the way, was unfairly snubbed by the Emmys yet again. Had to be said.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later

Ten years ago, Wet Hot American Summer debut in New York City and according to Wikipedia, it promptly became a "commercial and critical flop." Was the film perfect? Hardly. But it had an energetic cast doing silly antics and has thus gaining a cult following of which I'm a proud member. I re-watched the film today and I was cracking up at all of the same places I cracked up a few years ago. The film is also a wonderful time capsule of the careers of most of the actors in the film who have since gone on to bigger fame. Thus this following quote from the film, uttered by the then unknown Bradley Cooper, takes on new meaning:
Hey, let’s all promise that in ten years from today, we’ll meet again, and we’ll see what kind of people we’ve blossomed into.
Let's see just how they blossomed, shall we?

Both Janeane Garofalo and David Hyde Pierce were already household names when they did the film back in 2001. They already got a couple of Emmy nominations, with Pierce winning three at that point for Frasier. So really it was all downhill from there. Okay, not really. Both kept working throughout the decade mostly sticking to TV. Garofalo most recently appeared on the now-canceled Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior while Pierce finished his stint on the Broadway stage in La Bête earlier this year.

Michael Showalter
wrote the film with the director David Wain. Both were part of the MTV series State in the mid-90s. He has mostly stuck to writing and hosting in his own shows, sometimes collaborating with fellow co-star Michael Ian Black. Browsing through her credits, it's probably easier to name TV shows that Marguerite Moreau hasn't appeared in. She was clearly in demand before the film and kept quite busy since. More recently, she made a multi-episode appearance in Parenthood and Shameless.

This entry is really devoted to these two. Not many people knew who the heck Amy Poehler and Bradley Cooper were when this film came out and now? Let's start with what happened right after the film was released. She started her stint in Saturday Night Live and he went on a show named ALIAS. The rest, shall we say, is history. She went on to appear in a few movies and TV shows before branching out on her own show Parks and Recreation where she is brilliant and has been twice Emmy nominated. He, on the other hand, has turned into a in-demand Hollywood heartthrob getting his huge break in The Hangover. He starred in the film's sequel this year and is rumored to play Lucifer in an upcoming film adaptation of Paradise Lost.

Looking Forward To...

Cowboys & Aliens
Release: July 29, 2011
Distributor: Universal
Director: Jon Favreau
Starring: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Paul Dano, Adam Beach, Walter Goggins, Keith Carradine, Abigail Spencer, Clancy Brown, and Sam Rockwell

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

RIP Amy Winehouse (1983-2011)

Today family, friends, and close associates attended a funeral to mourn the death Amy Winehouse who died just three days ago at the age of 27. The news of her death was both shocking and expected, the latter due to her well-known history of drugs and alcohol addiction. She skyrocketed to fame upon the release of her second album "Back to Black" which eventually won her five Grammy awards. The loss of a single life is heartbreaking enough, but to also lose a talent such as hers is absolutely tragic. May she finally rest in peace.

In reaction to her death, British comedian and personal friend Russell Brand wrote on his blog a touching tribute to the late singer. He briefly talked about his personal history with Winehouse as well as her brilliant talent, but the heart of his piece is a call to action on behalf of addicts. It's wonderfully sincere and beautifully written. An excerpt below:

When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction you await the phone call. There will be a phone call. The sincere hope is that the call will be from the addict themselves, telling you they've had enough, that they're ready to stop, ready to try something new. Of course though, you fear the other call, the sad nocturnal chime from a friend or relative telling you it's too late, she's gone.

[...] Now Amy Winehouse is dead, like many others whose unnecessary deaths have been retrospectively romanticised, at 27 years old. Whether this tragedy was preventable or not is now irrelevant. It is not preventable today. We have lost a beautiful and talented woman to this disease. Not all addicts have Amy's incredible talent. Or Kurt's or Jimi's or Janis's. Some people just get the affliction. All we can do is adapt the way we view this condition, not as a crime or a romantic affectation but as a disease that will kill.

We need to review the way society treats addicts, not as criminals but as sick people in need of care. We need to look at the way our government funds rehabilitation. It is cheaper to rehabilitate an addict than to send them to prison, so criminalisation doesn't even make economic sense. Not all of us know someone with the incredible talent that Amy had but we all know drunks and junkies and they all need help and the help is out there. All they have to do is pick up the phone and make the call. Or not. Either way, there will be a phone call.
To read Brand's full tribute, click here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Link Roundup: Comic Con Edition

So didn't it feel like everyone who's everyone was at Comic Con and reporting on it? Every year, I get so jealous, but then I realized as awesome as it may be to be surrounded by so many like-minded geeks and be close to celebrities, I would absolutely hate the crowds, waiting in endless lines, and my indecision over which panels to check out would render me catatonic.

With that said, here are some Comic Con-related links for you!

Vulture Watch Andrew Garfield deliver a touching love letter to Spider-Man as only a true fan can.

In Contention Kris Tapley summarizes his Con experience the highlight of which was his screening of Winding Refn's Drive.

TVLine Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof debut lost footage from Lost starring the Man in Black and Jacob.

Flix Chatter Ruth gives us an enviable inside look of her great day inside the very popular Hall H.

Doctor Who The trailer for the second half of the sixth season has been released complete with Rory punching Hitler!

Hitfix After some great coverage all weekend, notably from Alan Sepinwall and Daniel Fienberg, the Hitfix staff present their Best and Worst.

Whedonesque Take a look at the massive banner for the Whedon-helmed Avengers combining all of the released character posters.

DailyMotion Some familiar, unexpected, and hilarious faces auditioning for the role of Fringe's Peter Bishop.

These are just a handful of links and news that came out during this very busy weekend. In the days ahead I'm sure there'll be some more news to filter down or a few follow-ups. Feel free to share a link or any news from Comic Con that you want to highlight!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Birthday Boy: Daniel Radcliffe

Just want to give a quick birthday shout out to an unknown young British actor. His name is Daniel Radcliffe and he mostly does small independent films which almost no one gets to see since they usually play in three theaters for a week. Sometimes he dabbles in off-off Broadway plays playing bit roles and such. I'm really hoping his big breakthrough comes. He seems like such an affable young man with lots of enthusiasm and charm.

No, but seriously isn't he like the richest and most famous British actor? It's actually even more amazing that he IS so friendly, down-to-earth, and humble with all of his wealth and popularity. There are as many opinions about the Harry Potter films and how Radcliffe performed as the titular character as there are stars in the sky, but in the end I'm glad he seems to be one of the good ones. Oddly enough, he caught my heart with this scene from the first film:

Couldn't help but root for him from that moment on really.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Breaking Bad Returns and Other TV Thoughts

I'm really happy that Breaking Bad is back. I only started watching the show about 10 months ago marathoning the first two seasons like it was my job. I finally caught up with the third season just a few weeks ago in preparation for this season and thank God I only had to wait a few weeks, because that cliffhanger was deadly.

Now as a regular episode, the premiere was pretty good, but I really expected MORE from a season premiere. Comparing it to other season premieres, it was actually quite tame even if there was a significant death as well as the nerve-wracking resolution to last season's cliffhanger. There were also some amazing performances from Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, and Giancarlo Esposito. The latter brought me chills while Paul probably said 5 words total all episode and he still broke my heart. So again, it was good, but the ridiculously high expectations I had didn't help. I still can't wait for the rest of the season though.

A few brief thoughts on other TV shows:

True Blood - Sookie gets all the luck, doesn't she? In one scene, she's surrounded by a naked and wet Eric (taking a dip and ready to pounce on some crocodiles) and a naked and growling Alcide (helping Sookie rescue Eric). I think words were exchange during that scene, but hell if I processed any of them. In other news, Jason is finally out and thank goodness because that storyline was growing stale. The witch stuff didn't kick into high gear until the end when Marnie put her mojo on Pam by literally melting her face off! NOT PAM!

Weeds - Shane gets a shave/haircut! I'm sure a bunch of other stuff happened in the episode, but yay for this! Episode still setting things up, but I feel an actual plot is evolving. I'm still wholly intrigued by the evolution of the Silas/Nancy relationship. Now they have this shaky business weed-dealing relationship as partners. All they need is weed. Still waiting for SOMETHING to happen on the show though.

Alphas - Unfortunately for this show, their second episode reminded me of a very similar episode that Fringe did and done much better. This team is still not gelling with me and I think they thought that teasing the Big Band Conspiracy in this episode would keep viewers. Not sure how successful they will be.

Still need to see tonight's episode of Torchwood. Maybe tomorrow if I don't die from the heat.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Flames on the side of my face

It-it- the fl- it flame- flames. Flames, on the side of my face, breathing-breathl- heaving breaths. Heaving breaths... Heaving...

This is pretty much how I've been feeling the past few days. No energy to do much anything, least of all write. Anyone else feeling the heat?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Looking Forward To...

Crazy, Stupid, Love
Release: July 29, 2011
Distributor: Warner Brothers
Director: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa
Starring: Steve Carrell, Julianne Moore, Marisa Tomei, Kevin Bacon, Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, John Carroll Lynch, Dan Butler, and Josh Groban

Monday, July 18, 2011

Box Office: Massive Opening for Final Harry Potter

The Harry Potter movie franchise may be coming to an end, but not before it made some serious bank worldwide with its final film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 breaking almost every opening record in box office history.

In fact the film conjured up the highest grossing opening weekend of all time (beating $150-million+ opening of The Dark Knight and Spider-Man 3) with $169.2 million which included a record-breaking midnight tally of $43.5 million and a mind-blowing $91.1 million opening day, both records held by Twilight films Eclipse and New Moon respectively.

The story was the same worldwide as the film notched a record $312.3 million internationally dethroning the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film which came out earlier this summer. All in all, the last Harry Potter film took in a massive $481.5 million worldwide besting the series' sixth film, Half Blood Prince. Basically, its opening gross was nothing short of magical.

In other box office news, Transformers: Dark of the Moon became the first 2011 release to pass the $300 million milestone while Midnight in Paris officially passed Hannah and Her Sisters to become Woody Allen's highest grossing film grossing to-date $41.3 million. Finally, the only film to open against Harry Potter, Winnie the Pooh opened with $7.8 million.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Torchwood Returns and Other TV Thoughts

I've been meaning to talk about the return of Torchwood since I saw the premiere last week, but I guess the lead-up and then the reaction to the Emmy nominations sapped my energies regarding TV. Since then though I've seen the second episode and a bunch of other TV shows. My thoughts on them all below!

The first two episodes of Torchwood gave me a lot of hope that this season could be great. I enjoyed the first episode, but there was so much set up and hand-holding for new viewers for me to really get into it. Never mind the fact that after all this time, I'm STILL recovering from the trauma that Children of Earth inflicted (in a good way!) and so I also needed a bit of hand-holding to bring me back to Jack, Gwen, and the world of Torchwood. This season's arc of people unable to die is epic, intriguing, and just plain engrossing. That's been my favorite thing of the season so far, seeing how this "miracle" is affecting humanity from the small to the global, from the benign to the horrific. Gwen has been given plenty of moments to shine from her gun/rocket launcher skills in the first episode to her taking lead in making the anecdote in the second and I love her for it. Bill Pullman is creepy as all hell and I'm so uncomfortable watching him, which is to say he's doing a wonderful job. It's slow-going for me to warm up to Mekhi Phifer's character, but I'm thinking now that he is forced to work together with Torchwood, he'll turn around. Plus I'm still giggling over his "Wales is the New Jersey of Britain!" line from the premiere. Right now I'm just thinking the sky is the limit when it comes to this season. I'm expecting lots of shocking twists and turns to come.

Now just some brief thoughts on other TV shows:

True Blood - Other than the whole Jason storyline, I've pretty much liked-loved everything this season has to offer. The most latest episode though, I want to give kudos to Alexander Skarsgard for playing an amnesic-smiling-confused-adorable Eric Northram to perfection. Lovely to see Alcide again. Claudine's death was very unexpected.

Weeds - The scene I was most looking forward to was the reunion between Silas and Nancy and while it was nothing special, at least it didn't disappoint. There's lots of complicated emotions at play and both Hunter Parrish and Mary Louise Parker are treading them nicely. Also, yay for more gratuitous Silas-in-underwear scenes.

Alphas - Saw the first episode last Monday and it was just okay. I'm a sucker for these type of show aka humans with superabilities. At the moment it all feels a tad dour even if they tried to shoehorn some funny into the pilot. I'll probably give it an episode or two, but this summer I've gotten impatient. Speaking of, I really should catch up on Falling Skies.

So You Think You Can Dance - We're down to the top 10 which means the couples are broken up and everyone is now playing for themselves. My favorites (Melanie, Marko, Jess, Sasha, and Ricky) are all still around so that's good. The whole star guest judge though has been mixed this season, but next week's Neil Patrick Harris will surely be amazing.

Friday Night Lights - It's been months since I saw the series finale, but it aired on NBC this past Friday and I just wanted to say that I thought it was a fitting end to a great show. I, sadly, never really warmed up to the new kids except for perhaps Jess, but all I really needed was a happy ending for Mr. & Mrs. Coach and that's what we got. Though one pet peeve I had... no reunion scene with Landry and Tyra? Really? REALLY?

Breaking Bad - The premiere is tonight! The premiere is tonight! You need to be watching this show.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Emmy Nominations: The Good, The Bad, and The Whatever

So the Emmy nominations were held this morning and despite some very awesome surprises, a few of the snubs just felt really wrong. With that said, my wish list ballots went 34 out of 85 nominations which is pretty dismal. I did slightly better with my actual predictions going 56 out of 85 (47 out of 60 if you don't count the usually difficult-to-predict guest acting categories). I'll be discussing the nominations and how I did in my predictions with Andrew in the next few days. For now, a straight-up Good, Bad, Whatever reaction post...

Mr. and Mrs. Coach feel the love


- Parks and Recreation and Friday Night Lights breaking through in Outstanding Comedy and Drama Series categories respectively. Plus the much-deserved repeat nominations for their leads--Amy Poehler, Connie Britton, and Kyle Chandler.

- Game of Thrones gets 13 nominations including acting honors for the show's breakout actor Peter Dinklage.

- Dot-Marie Jones nominated alongside Glee guest actresses Kristin Chenoweth and Gwyneth Paltrow! Jones getting nominated is probably my favorite nomination this year. Also Matthew Morrison NOT getting nominated is probably my favorite non-nomination!

- Emmys giving The Good Wife, especially its actors, lots of love with nominations for Julianna Margulies, Archie Panjabi, Christine Baranski, Josh Charles, Alan Cumming, and Michael J. Fox.

- Elisabeth Moss, Christina Hendricks, Cara Buono, and Randee Heller from Mad Men getting nominated. They should really change the title of the show to Awesome Women.

- My summer not-so-guilty pleasure So You Think You Can Dance picked up a series high 8 nominations including one for Reality Show and 5 of the 6 choreography nominations! Cat Deeley also FINALLY gets recognized. Tonight's episode is going to be amazing.

- I haven't seen these performances, but I only hear great things regarding Timothy Olyphant, Margo Martindale, Louis C.K., Mary McDonnell, and Melissa McCarthy so I'm very happy for their nominations. McCarthy had to present the nominees this morning and her reaction when she heard her name was so precious. Also I'm going to pretend McDonnell's nom is for Battlestar Galactica.

- Outstanding Writing for Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special is awesome. Julian Fellowes vs. Todd Haynes vs. Steven Moffatt. Wow.

- Big tally for Mildred Pierce! 21 nominations, the most out of any show, including acting nominations for Kate Winslet, Evan Rachel Wood, and Guy Pearce. Hoping for Winslet to win so she can claim EGO out of her EGOT.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Perfect 10 for Elle Woods

During the past decade, Reese Witherpoon won the Academy Award for Walk the Line and starred in five films grossing over $90 million (including doing voice work on Monsters Vs. Aliens). And yet if you ask me her greatest role of the past decade, I'd probably say it was Elle Woods with her go-get-em attitude, endless pink ensemble, scented resumes, Delta Nu pride, and vast knowledge of hair care rules. I bring all of this up today because it happens to be the 10th Anniversary of Legally Blonde.

"You got into Harvard Law?" "What? Like, it's hard?"

It's been awhile since I've seen it, but the one thing I remember about the film is how FUN it was and how charming Reese was in it. Actually that's a lie, since I remember another thing from the film, The Bend and Snap.

And speaking of what-the-heck-have-they-been-up-to, what is Jennifer Coolidge doing at the moment? A quick IMDb search says she's mostly doing TV in The Secret Life of the American Teenager and will soon reprise her role as Stifler's mom in another American Pie film. And I'm getting sidetracked here. Where were we? Oh right... Legally Blonde, bend and snap, Reese needs to do more movies like these, etc. So yeah, lovely memories. Victor Garber playing a sleazy guy, Luke Wilson at his most adorkable, Holland Taylor before she sold her soul to Two and a Half Men... good times.

And again, just a really fun film with some great work from Witherspoon. I also still think of the movie whenever Hoku's "Perfect Day" pops up in my mp3 player.

Updated: I also want to say one reason to love the film is that it spawned a pretty good Broadway musical. I especially love, love this showstopper of a number by Laura Bell Bundy:

My Emmy Ballot: TV Series

Tomorrow the Emmy Award nominations will surely break my heart as they've done so many times in years' past. Now I've come to accept this and instead learned to channel my disappointments to cheering on the shows I do like and would love to be nominated i.e. why I'm filling out my own ballot. Andrew and I talked about which shows we thought would get nominated so click here to see our chat and our predictions.

Disclaimer: Even though they only nominate 5-6 shows, voters are asked to pick "no more than 10" shows they "feel worthy of nomination." So I'll be picking 10, but making sure to highlight the 6 shows making up my top choices.


Cougar Town
How I Met Your Mother
Modern Family
Parks and Recreation
United States of Tara
Big Bang Theory
Happy Endings
Raising Hope

It's crazy that even from this list of ten shows, only one show is sure to be nominated tomorrow (Modern Family). It's even crazier to think that one of the best shows on TV, drama or comedy, will have to breakthrough to get a nomination it should be getting automatically (Parks and Recreation). The rest of the list consists of hip, wacky shows the Emmys won't even watch (Community, Cougar Town, Happy Endings) or old favorites (How I Met Your Mother, Greek, Big Bang Theory). But really all of my energy is focused on getting Parks and Recreation the nomination and the WIN it deserves.


Game of Thrones
The Good Wife
Mad Men
Friday Night Lights
The Walking Dead
White Collar

This drama list is a bit more Emmy-friendly than my comedy one, but it also contains a show that they would most certainly ignore despite of its superbly high quality (Fringe). The rest of my top tier nominees I can actually see getting nominated, even Shameless with the shows on the bottom tier having very little chance. With that said, this probably means that I'm going to be just fine come nomination morning regarding this category. If only I had watched Boardwalk Empire (or they would watch Fringe), then we'd probably match up pretty well.

And that's it for my ballots! I'll surely post my reactions to the actual nominations tomorrow. In the meantime, to read my ballots for the acting awards, click the following: Guest / Supporting / Leading.

Looking Forward To...

Captain America: The First Avenger
Release: July 22, 2011
Distributor: Paramount
Director: Joe Johnston
Starring: Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Stanley Tucci, Tommy Lee Hones, Sebastian Stan, Hayley Atwell, Neal McDonough, Toby Jones, Derek Luke, Richard Armitage, and Dominic Cooper

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Emmy Ballot: Leading Performances

Just two more days until the Emmy nominations. The past couple days I've been talking about who I would pick if I could fill out a ballot. Today I'm tackling the lead actors and actresses, which by their definition, gave me less to work with compared to the supporting or guest categories. To read the chat Andrew and I had regarding about who we think would get nominated in these categories, click here and here.

Disclaimer: Only performances I have seen are qualified and I'm going to honor the category the actors have chosen to submit themselves in, even when I think it's ultimately wrong.

Lead Actor, Comedy
Steve Carrell, The Office
Zachary Levi, Chuck
Rob Lowe, Parks and Recreation
Joel McHale, Community
Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory
Josh Radnor, How I Met Your Mother

This was tough, because after I put down Carrell, McHale, and Parsons I was stuck. These three were pretty damn wonderful this past season especially Carrell during Michael Scott's swan song. I'm not saying that Radnor, Levi, and Lowe don't deserve my nominations, they do, but this category was ridiculously open. I guess that's why Lowe wrongly submitted himself here rather than the much more competitive Supporting category. I think another reason is some shows/performances that would fit right at home here (White Collar's Bomer, Castle's Fillion) are randomly in the drama category.

Alternates: Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Lucas Neff (Raising Hope), and Johnny Galecki (Big Bang Theory)

Lead Actress, Comedy
Toni Collette, United States of Tara
Courtnex Cox, Cougar Town
Kaley Cuoco, Big Bang Theory
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

I'm heartened at the fact that half of my picks seem like a good bet for the Emmys namely Collette, Fey, and Poehler. It's hard to compare Fey and Poehler's work to the darker and amazing performance put up by Collette during her show's last season, but they do set the standard for network comedy. I developed a better appreciation for Cuoco early in the season when she had to miss episodes due to and injury and the show SUFFERED for it. Cox is a veteran that has shockingly never been nominated and Plimpton is the new girl, which is kind of weird to say. Crazy mothers for the win!

Alternates: Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds) and Brooke Elliott (Drop Dead Diva)

Lead Actor, Drama
Matt Bomer, White Collar
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights
Nathan Fillion, Castle
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Andrew Lincoln, The Walking Dead

Even though I already mentioned it above, I still want to say that Bomer and Fillion probably feel more at home in the Comedy category, but since they've submitted here, I had to give them their props. Though I do feel bad leaving out Tim Dekay since he and Bomer ARE the show. Last time I saw Lincoln, he was professing his love for Keira Knightley in Love, Actually so naturally he's now a zombie-killing sheriff and clearly loving it. The last three, who were nominated for an Emmy last year, should be nominated again for another strong season. Hall and Hamm especially showed off the vulnerable sides of their usually stoic characters.

Alternates: Sean Bean (Game of Thrones), Tim DeKay (White Collar), William H. Macy (Shameless), and Bill Paxton (Big Love)

Lead Actress, Drama
Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights
Stana Katic, Castle
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Emmy Rossum, Shameless
Anna Torv, Fringe

Can I just declare my love for all of these ladies? Britton and Katic did impressive work especially in tandem with their partners. Margulies shined as a stronger and simultaneously more damaged Alicia Florrick while Moss rose this season to become the MVP of her magnificent cast. Whoever gave Rossum this role deserves a gift from not just Rossum, whose career had flatlined after Phantom of the Opera, but from the audience as well since we get to see this fierce, sexy, affective version of Rossum on a weekly basis. Finally, I've continually praised the excellent and brilliant dual/triple/inimitable work of Torv this season on Fringe. Her being most likely snubbed will be Emmy's biggest mistake this year.

Alternates: Lena Heady (Game of Thrones), Elizabeth Mitchell (V), Anna Paquin (True Blood), Jeanne Tripplehorn (Big Love), and Mireille Enos (The Killing)

Based on my ballot picks for guest, supporting, and now lead categories, it's pretty easy to parse out which shows I'm going to choose tomorrow, but patience is a virtue!

Teaser Poster: Dark Knight Rises

The marketing team behind Christopher Nolan's much-anticipated film The Dark Knight Rises is already hard at work releasing the first official teaser poster for the film last night, which you can see above. The teaser trailer is not far behind, making its debut in front of a million or so eyeballs this weekend who will be seeing the final Harry Potter film.

The poster itself is exactly what you expect for this movie so while it's hardly a ground-breaking poster design, it's still quite strong, evocative, and really just aesthetically beautiful. Though is it just me or is it most obviously influenced by two of Nolan's previous films, namely Batman Begins and Inception?

Batman Begins + Inception = Batception? Dark Knight Rises?

In any case, plenty of people are already trying to wring out clues from the poster, be it the tone or even the actual plot of the film. Apart from the obvious image of Gotham City in ruins signaling an ever darker turn for the city, it's still a fairly vague image and doesn't really tell us anything we didn't already know. The third film is going to be darker and more intense? THAT IS BRAND NEW INFORMATION!

But it got the fans salivating and the media/blogs talking. That's all the teaser poster is being asked to do, so it's so far successful. Plus there's still a year left for everything else. Now where is that teaser trailer?

Monday, July 11, 2011

My Emmy Ballot: Supporting Performances

So what if I had an Emmy ballot? Well yesterday, I wrote about who I'd pick for guest acting. Today, it's all about those supporting characters, which are usually way more interesting than the leads. In fact, for most of these, it didn't take me long to fill up my alternate slots with another half dozen actors. In any case, if you want to read the conversations I had with Andrew talking about supporting characters and my predictions to these categories, click here and here.

Disclaimer: Only performances I have seen are qualified and I'm going to honor the category the actors have chosen to submit themselves in, even when I think it's ultimately wrong.

Supporting Actor, Comedy
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Nick Offerman, Parks and Recreation
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
Danny Pudi, Community
Adam Scott, Parks and Recreation
Jason Segel, How I Met Your Mother

I view Burrell and Pudi as the MVP in their respective shows which is saying a lot since their shows are full of crazy talented people. And though it was a weaker year for Harris, he still knocks it out of the park when he's asked to, namely his scenes with John Lithgow. The MVP honors for How I Met Your Mother though goes to Segel who handled the death of his character's dad with a great blend of emotion and humor. Playing the straight man, Scott's role isn't as flashy as most of his castmate's, but his chemistry with Poehler is undeniable. Speaking of flashy, don't let Ron Swanson hear I called him that, but Offerman really should've been nominated already for this role a couple times over.

Alternates: Keir Gilchrist (United States of Tara), Donald Glover (Community), Chris Colfer (Glee), Adam Pally (Happy Endings), Josh Hopkins (Cougar Town), and Hunter Parrish (Weeds)

Supporting Actress, Comedy
Mayim Bialik, Big Bang Theory
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Alison Brie, Community
Heather Morris, Glee
Busy Phillips, Cougar Town
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family

Not sure when it happened, but Morris's Brittany S. Pierce went from background character to supporting player to one of my favorite characters on the show. In a way I could say the same about Bialik to a smaller extent since she just joined the cast this season. Phillips and Brie bring lots of energy and sass to their roles that keep me coming back while Vergara and Bowen just keep doling out funny, consistent work time and time again. Those latter two have a great show at Emmy nominations and one of them could just win.

Alternates: Jane Krakowski (30 Rock), Jane Lynch and Naya Rivera (Glee), Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother) Christa Miller (Cougar Town), and Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation)

Supporting Actor, Drama
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Nelsan Ellis, True Blood
Jared Harris, Mad Men
Cameron Monaghan, Shameless
John Noble, Fringe

Don't want to say career-best roles, but some of these men seem to be doing just that. I speak mostly for Cumming, Dinklage, and Noble, which in their defense have already done great work before they landed on TV playing the wonderful characters of Eli, Tyrion, and Walter. Ellis and Harris are two bit actors that are probably overshadowed by others in the cast, which is why I was compelled to nominate them myself. No regrets. Actually, I do have one in that I found only room for one Gallagher boy. I could've just as easily pick Jeremy Allen White, but I gravitated towards Monaghan's character more, for obvious reasons.

Alternates: Denis O'Hare and Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood), Joshua Jackson (Fringe), Jeremy Allen White (Shameless), Matt Czuchry (The Good Wife), and Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men)

Supporting Actress, Drama
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Michelle Forbes, The Killing
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Sara Ramirez, Grey's Anatomy
KaDee Strickland, Private Practice

Probably in bad taste of me to put Forbes' and Strickland's names here having only seen a handful of their episodes, but in my defense, they were damn good. Everyone else though, I'll defend wholeheartedly. Clarke really owned a complicated and difficult role and all the while with very limited screen time. I've been a fan of Ramirez since I saw her Tony-winning performance in Spamalot and this year she was on fire. When Panjabi won last year, I literally jumped up and down and the 2nd season fleshed her character out a bit more. Finally, I will always nominate YoSaffBridge aka Hendricks.

Alternates: Chloë Sevigny (Big Love), Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men), Michelle Fairley (Game of Thrones), Sandra Oh (Grey's Anatomy), Kristin Bauer van Straten (True Blood) and Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter)

Three more days until Emmy nominations!

7-Eleven Super 8 Scene

Was trying to think of a film/TV-related thing I can talk about that has anything to do with 7-Eleven since today is 7/11 and other than getting a free Slurpee, what else does one do particularly a TV/film blogger as myself? A quick Google search gave me this bonus clip from Super 8 in which Charles (Riley Griffiths) drops a bombshell on Joe (Joel Courtney), as they head over to their local 7-11, telling him he's invited Alice (Elle Fanning) to be part of his movie.

I think the final cut to make it into the movie doesn't show it's a 7-Eleven, but that connection is pretty tangential and really I just wanted to take a brief moment to give Joel Courtney his props. The reviews for the film were mostly positive and they do praise the kid actors so while Courtney is not exactly under-appreciated, there seems to be a general consensus that Griffiths and Fanning steal/make the movie. I don't disagree with this point per se, since they are great, but Courtney is the heart of the film and a strong one at that. Plus in the above clip alone, I love some of his reaction shots (when Charles tell him about Alice) and line deliveries ("Are you making this up?" "I don't think that's what it is.") Poor boy is so flustered at the thought of getting to spend some time with his crush. Adorable.

Any 7-Eleven scenes from TV/film you can think of? Maybe if people chime in, I won't have to Google for them next year!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Emmy Ballot: Guest Performances

The Emmy nominations are set to be announced July 14th which is just a few days away. To prepare for the announcement, Andrew and I have been having a few great conversations, tackling each of the main categories and predicting which actors and shows the Emmys will shower with their love. He has been posting all of our talks on his blog, Encore Entertainment. I'll do a postmortem after the nominations come out to see how good my predictions are, but I'd like to take some time the next few days to imagine what my own ballot would look like if I was a voting member of the TV Academy.

Disclaimer: Only performances I have seen are qualified and I'm going to honor the category the actors have chosen to submit themselves in, even when I think it's ultimately wrong.

Today I'll focus on guest actors and actresses. To read my convo with Andrew and see my predictions on these particular categories, click here.

Guest Actor, Comedy
Timothy Dalton, Chuck
Matt Damon, 30 Rock
Eddie Izzard, United States of Tara
John Lithgow, How I Met Your Mother
Jim Rash, Community
Ben Schwartz, Parks and Recreation

Damon and Lithgow are probably the surest bet here for nominations, because Emmys love to nominate 30 Rock guest stars and they can't help but nominate Lithgow for everything he does (he won last year for Dexter). Damon does well to go toe to toe with Tina Fey as her pilot boyfriend while Lithgow does fine work alongside Neil Patrick Harris as Barney's father. I've predicted Izzard to be nominated, but it's not a slam-dunk prediction since the Emmys only have love for Toni Collette on the show. Both Rash and Schwartz though should be recognized for their scene-stealing work from from two of NBC's critically-loved, but audience-starved shows.

Alternates: Darren Criss (Glee), Patton Oswalt (United States of Tara), Justin Timberlake (Saturday Night Live), and Nathan Lane and James Marsden (Modern Family)

Guest Actress, Comedy
Kristin Chenoweth, Glee
Dot-Marie Jones, Glee
Cloris Leachman, Raising Hope
Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live
Megan Mullaly, Parks and Recreation
Parker Posey, Parks and Recreation

There are a few former Emmy winners on this list (Chenoweth, Leachman, Mullaly) and they could find themselves nominated again especially Leachman who has more of a supporting role than a guest role. My love for Parks and Recreation is evident though, but Mullaly goofing it up with real-life husband Nick Offerman and Posey battling it out with Poehler were great highlights of a fantastic season. And yes, my P&R love spilled over to Poehler's stint on SNL. Jones' work on Glee is probably my favorite, second only to the two ladies involve in the Brittana storyline. And finally, I picked Chenoweth less because of her April Rhodes and more because it's Kristing frickin' Chenoweth. Plus I think it was either her or Paltrow.

Alternates: Mo Collins (Parks and Recreation), Tina Fey (Saturday Night Live), Frances Conroy (United States of Tara), and Gwyneth Paltrow (Glee).

Guest Actor, Drama
Nicholas Brendon, Private Practice
Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife
Zach Gilford, Friday Night Lights
Johnny Lee Miller, Dexter
Denis O'Hare, The Good Wife
Andre Royo, Fringe

I no longer watch Private Practice, but when I heard about the powerful rape storyline with Brendon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Xander Harris) playing the rapist, I checked out a few of the episodes and well yeah it's as powerful as you'd expect. Plus I'm forever a Jossverse fanboy. One need only watch the performances from Fox, Miller, and Gilford to see how they add so much even in just the few episodes they were a part of. Same could be said about Andre Royo who had to do more in even less time in a more difficult show than those guys and did it quite effectively. Finally, there's O'Hare who I would've nominated here in a heartbeat for his role in True Blood, but he oddly decided to submit himself in Supporting Actor for that role and Guest Actor for his solid work here. I should punish him, but I just can't.

Alternates: Norman Reedus and Lennie James (The Walking Dead), Joe Manganiello and James Frain (True Blood), Bradley Whitford (The Mentalist), and Dallas Roberts (The Good Wife).

Guest Actress, Drama
Joan Cusack, Shameless
Loretta Devine, Grey's Anatomy
Anika Noni Rose, The Good Wife
Jessica Paré, Mad Men
Julia Stiles, Dexter
Evan Rachel Wood, True Blood

There's a bit of category fraud here since Cusack and Stiles clearly belong in Supporting, but submitting here does make it easier for them to be nominated and in any case, they deserve to be honored in either category. Hasn't it seem like it's been forever since these two gave their fans a great performance? Glad they did so this year. The Good Wife probably could've used Rose a bit more this year, but when she did appear, she was quite perfect. Devine was asked to finally do something substantial on Grey's Anatomy as her character struggles with early stage Alzheimers. Finally, Wood looked liked she enjoyed herself very much playing Queen of Louisiana while Paré snuck into our hearts the way her character snuck into Don Draper's.

Alternates: Ellen Burstyn (Big Love), Adrianne Palicki (Friday Night Lights), Carla Buono and Randee Heller (Mad Men), Ana Gasteyer (The Good Wife), and Melissa Rauch (True Blood)

So is there anyone I'm missing? What does your own list look like? Next post will focus on my picks for supporting performances and then after that, I'll talk about lead performances. Finally, I'll end with a post of which shows I think deserve best-of honors. Three more posts in the next three days.