Wednesday, July 25, 2012

London Olympics

Just a blogging note that I will be going on vacation for the next 10 or so days. I'm heading to the land of Matt Smith, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Dame Maggie Smith, Kate Winslet, Sir Ian McKellen, and most everyone in the Games of Thrones cast. My plans are sadly unformed other than the few days I have tickets to watch some tennis AT THE OLYMPICS. I know. I know. I'm psyched.

Until I come back, happy blogging everyone!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Box Office: Dark Knight Rises Amidst Tragedy

As I said last Thursday, The Dark Knight Rises was set to conquer more than a few box office records especially as the third installment to a well-liked trilogy. But like many Americans, I woke up Friday morning finding out about the devastating and tragic mass shooting at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado. With a dozen or so people killed and many others injured by a crazed psychopath, box office records were suddenly the last thing on everyone's minds. Warner Brothers, rightly so, decided out of respect not to release any numbers during the weekend. And now that they have released them, what about them?

The Dark Knight Rises made $160.1 million which is good for third best all-time behind The Avengers and the final Harry Potter film and just above the series previous film The Dark Knight. One may never know how much more money the film would've made if the shooting never happened especially with people, especially families, staying away as precaution or simply because many just didn't feel right about watching movies this weekend because of the pervading somber mood. The film, however, still managed to record the highest gross for a 2D film as well as get an impressive $19 million in IMAX. Its opening midnight gross of over $30 million is also a record for superhero films. And again it's the third highest grossing opening of all time. Not bad at all! Time will tell if Christopher Nolan's film will find legs to get close to The Dark Knight's $533.3 million final tally.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Final Dark Knight Looks Fly High

How cool is this poster? I'm shocked I hadn't seen it until today. It's being used to advertise the marathon screening of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy today leading up to midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. My friends and I did our own low-budget marathon of the prior two films last weekend with our DVD copies of the film. The Dark Knight Rises is aiming to take down the record-breaking weekend of Marvel's The Avengers, which to refresh your memory made $207.4 million on its opening weekend just a little more than two months ago. The Avengers managed an $18.7 million in midnight screening gross which is the highest midnight gross for a superhero film just eking out The Dark Knight's $18.5 million. Many believe that The Dark Knight Rises will easily win this battle.

As for the rest of the weekend, it'll certainly be a close race. With no 3D surcharges and a longer run time, many seem to think Nolan's film will just miss out on the record, but I think the anticipation for this film is as big as it can be with plenty of people still loving the prior film. Just this afternoon, Fandango is reporting that advanced ticket sales for this film was outpacing The Avengers. With many theaters surely devoting most, if not all, of their screens 24/7 this weekend to this film, I think the weekend record is well within reach.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My Emmy Ballot: TV Series

Tomorrow is the day the Emmys nominations will be announced. This year the beautiful Kerry Washington and the awesome Nick Offerman Jimmy Kimmel (Offerman had to cancel) will be doing the honors in announcing said nominees. Like every year I expect the worst, but always hope for the best. I mean that's why I do my own ballots after all. In any case, here are my picks for best TV series...

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.

Happy Endings
Parks and Recreation

Cougar Town
Modern Family
New Girl
How I Met Your Mother

I was so very, very happy when Parks and Recreation finally broke through last year to get nominated. Hopefully this year it will do one better and WIN the top prize it so wholly deserves. The only other repeat nominee in my list is Modern Family, which while still good seems to be running on the fumes of its brilliant first season. The rest of the list, if nominated, would be first-time Emmy nominees. Veep and Girls, with their HBO cache have a better chance that most to be recognized, but I'm really, really hoping Community makes the break through Parks and Recreation had last year.

Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
The Good Wife

Mad Men

Like last year, I think my top tier nominees will be well-presented tomorrow (with the exception of Fringe of course) as well as Mad Men. Speaking of Mad Men, I think they had a very good season, but I'm hoping Breaking Bad ends their streak providing the AMC hit actually gets nominated which it should be with all its buzz and the Academy loving its actors. Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones did well last year, but may Emmy voters want to reward them again for a slightly lesser quality sophomore season? Homeland is the new kid on the block, but it's definitely right up their alley. I would be shocked if it wasn't nominated.

And that's it for my ballots! I'll surely post my (disappointed) reactions to the actual nominations tomorrow. Here's to hoping at least one or two pleasant surprises. In the meantime, to refresh your memory on my wishlist for the acting categories, click the following: Guest / Supporting / Leading.

Pink Narcissus

This post is part of Nathaniel's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series in which the participants must post a single image from a movie he or she deems as the "best shot" for any particular reason.

I don't think I have ever seen an art-house erotic gay film before, which is pretty darn disappointing if you think about it, but after screening Pink Narcissus that is no longer the case. Directed and written by James Bidgood, the film centers around a beautiful male prostitute played by Bobby Kendall and his imagined masturbatory fantasies he uses as a form of escapism where he is a slave or an emperor or a matador or simply a guy jacking off with a butterfly. That latter part pretty much tells you how surreal this film could be. As another example, there's a sequence of a male belly dancer dancing with an erection that must have lasted a good 15 minutes or so (the movie is only a little more than an hour) and while sensual at first, the longer it went the more surreal and abstract it got. It was wholly hypnotic. Maybe that was the point.

In any case, the star of the film is Kendall as the male hustler. And that is certainly evident from the way the film lingers at his whole being--his youthful face, his ruby red lips, his tight body, his bubble ass and everything else. There were plenty of scenes in the beginning where he would just be looking himself in the mirror, such as the image above, and clearly infatuated with what he sees. The film has "Narcissus" in its title after all. With all of this said, I was quite tempted to pick as my favorite shot something that featured this beautiful specimen of a man like the aforementioned butterfly jack-off scene, which makes me giggle whenever I think about it, or this amazing shot of his naked backside from below:

I mean just... wow, right? The coloring (the titular pink) and the bright lighting of this shot really elevate it to another level for me. And yadda... yadda... it's just really hot, okay? And yet, my favorite shot ended up not featuring Kendall at all. The shot is from one of the scenes that takes place in the dark and sleazy cityscape which acts as the harsh reality that Kendall's character is trying to escape when he indulges in his various fantasies. It's of three men, a man inside the telephone booth (Kendall's john perhaps?) flanked on either side by the two other men who evokes two different iconic gay imagery, the cowboy and the leather-bound biker (both pleasuring themselves).

For me I picked this shot because it looked like a painting. A dark, naughty painting, you wouldn't want your grandma to ever know you own, but a work of art nonetheless. I wish I knew more why it grabbed my attention, it just did. Or you know I can stop intellectualizing as well as lying to myself and just own up to the fact that my favorite shot is actually Kendall's naked ass. Whatever!

Looking Forward To...

The Dark Knight Rises
Release: July 20, 2012
Distributor: Warner Brothers
Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, and Morgan Freeman

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Emmy Ballot: Leading Performances

You've seen which guest and supporting performances I would've put down if I had an Emmy ballot this year and choosing from the hundreds of names were nearly impossible. With the lead performances, however, it was surprisingly much easier mostly because there's just fewer actors in contention. And so here we go...

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
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Garret Dillahunt, Raising Hope
Joel McHale, Community
Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory
Adam Scott, Parks and Recreation
Elijah Wood, Wilfred

Parsons and Baldwin are veterans of the category winning the Emmys multiple times and I'm pretty sure they'll be duking it out once again this year. Do they deserve it? Certainly, which is why they are on my own ballot, but I do wish Emmy voters try and think outside the box once or twice. Speaking of, Wood has to play alongside a guy in a dog's costume. Come on! Dillahunt has great chemistry with co-star Plimpton while Scott and McHale are excellent playing the straight guy role with moments of pure hilarity in their fantastic shows.

Alternates: Zachary Levi (Chuck), Lucas Neff (Raising Hope), Ed Helms (The Office), and Rob Lowe (Parks and Recreation)

Lead Actress, Comedy
Courtney Cox, Cougar Town
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Jane Levy, Suburgatory
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

Apparently I'm not a fan of shows with the word "Girl" on it as I related a few of them to my alternates instead of my actual ballot. But really the six women above impressed me. Poehler's brilliance is self-explanatory. Fey and Plimpton were nominated last year and I happen to think this season they were better. Cox is so underappreciated I don't even really understand why. While her show has become less about her and more about the ensemble, she still manages to shine through making you want to root for her or at least give her some wine. Louis-Dreyfus is a veteran in a show that shows off her comedic skills perfectly. Levy is the newcomer but her age belies her adeptness at comedy.

Alternates: Zooey Deschanel (New Girl), Lena Dunham (Girls), Beth Behrs (2 Broke Girls), and Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds)

Lead Actor, Drama
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Jason Isaacs, Awake
Damian Lewis, Homeland
Dan Stevens, Downton Abbey

First, I don't care that Isaacs' show was canceled or that no one saw it, because he still kicked ass and that should be rewarded. Stevens went through war for Pete's sake and had to pretend he's not hopeless in love with Michelle Dockery. That takes great acting. Hamm and Hall have inhabited their characters for so long and have done great jobs in adding layers year after year. I'm guessing though that the Emmys will be between Cranston or Lewis (or someone else perhaps) which is more than deserved as they both gave one of the best performances of the past year. Saying they left me breathless every single episode may seem like hyperbole, except it's pretty accurate. They took the audience to the dark depths of their characters and it was chilling.

Alternates: Nathan Fillion (Castle), Andrew Lincoln (Walking Dead), Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), and William H. Macy (Shameless)

Lead Actress, Drama
Claire Danes, Homeland
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Emmy Rossum, Shameless
Anna Torv, Fringe

No, I don't know why Madeleine Stowe is not in my ballot. It's insane. And yet... and yet... I really couldn't see a ballot without any of the six women above. They all are so fierce at what they do and at the same time also so heartbreaking. That's pretty much it. I could talk about Danes' powerhouse performance, Dockery's subtle emotive expressiveness, Margulies' quiet intensity, Moss' scene-stealing skills, Rossum's dramatic strength, and Torv's impressive range or just say... they are amazing. Each and every single one of them. Nothing is left to be said.

Alternates: Madeleine Stowe and Emily VanCamp (Revenge), Jessica Paré (Mad Men), Stana Katic (Castle), and Elizabeth McGovern (Downton Abbey)

Just for your information, my power actually went out three times today including once before writing this final paragraph so yeah. At least I was able to save the entry before each of the outages! In any case, you know the drill, check out Andrew's blog for his alternate ballot (comedy, drama). Two more days until nominations! Just my picks for Best Comedy and Drama Series left tomorrow.

Monday, July 16, 2012

My Emmy Ballot: Supporting Performances

So I meant to post this way earlier, but my power went out and so did my 75% finished blog entry which I then irretrievably lost. I'm sorry to say that those beautiful words will forever be gone and will sadly be replaced with this hastily put together version. With all of that said, below is my Emmy ballot for the supporting categories. They're the most competitive categories as evident by my "short" list that ended up having 20-30 names and that's me only seeing a fraction of performances that were submitted. So without further a due...

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
Adam Driver, Girls
Jason Gann, Wilfred
Max Greenfield, New Girl
Nick Offerman, Parks and Recreation
Jim Rash, Community
Damon Wayans Jr., Happy Endings

First and foremost, Offerman will always be in my ballot and I wait with bated breath until Emmy voters do the same. It's pretty ridiculous he hasn't been nominated yet for playing Ron freaking Swanson. Oscar winner Rash steals every single scene he is in and considering his show with that cast, that's saying a lot. Greenfield and Wayans are consistently wacky without overdoing and are usually good even if the episode is bad. And finally, Driver and Gann really suprised especially in very, very tricky roles. I mean the latter has to dress up in a dog suit for Pete's sake!

Alternates: Ty Burrell (Modern Family), Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), Hunter Parrish (Weeds), Danny Pudi (Community), Reid Scott (Veep), and James Van Der Beek (Apartment 23)

Supporting Actress, Comedy
Mayim Bialik, Big Bang Theory
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
Eliza Coupe, Happy Endings
Cheryl Hines, Suburgatory
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Zosia Mamet, Girls

While Chlumsky's role is not as flash as some of the others here, I commend her great chemistry with every in the cast making me look forward to her scenes many times. Bialik and Mamet have quickly become my favorite actors in their respective shows especially since they both do SO much with the very little screen time they are given. It also helps that they give me the most laughs on their shows as well. Coupe and Hines are consistently funny and adept at physical humor. Last, but not least, Krakowski is just a star. She probably had her best season yet.

Alternates: Alison Brie and Yvette Nicole Brown (Community), Aubrey Plaza and Retta (Parks and Recreation), Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother), Elisa Cuthbert (Happy Endings), and Carly Chaikin (Suburgatory)

Supporting Actor, Drama
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad
Gabriel Mann, Revenge
John Noble, Fringe
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Jeremy Allen White, Shameless

In retrospect, it wasn't that difficult to pick my top five or so performances in this category, but it really did seem nearly impossible in such a packed year for this category. The Emmy winners of the past two years, Paul and Dinklage, should be seen as the front-runners just based on history and if it was up to me it would still be between the two of them. With that said, Esposito just had such an explosive year while White successfully tapped into the fuckery of being a young adult. Mann was my favorite thing about his show while Noble broke my heart more than once this past season. Quick shout out to Minnette in my alternates... that's how you portray a teenage boy on network TV. Watch and learn, actors.

Alternates: Robert Carlyle (Once Upon a Time), Mandy Patinkin (Homeland), Matt Czuchry (The Good Wife), Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones), Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad), Christian Borle (Smash), Norman Reedus (Walking Dead), and Dylan Minnette (Awake)

Supporting Actress, Drama
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Lena Heady, Game of Thrones
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Archie Panjabi, Good Wife
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones

This is always such a fun category full of supremely talented and awesome women. Williams shone this season especially acting alongside side guys who are way older. Dame Maggie Smith is well... Dame Maggie Smith so enough said while Heady really got deeper into who her character was and what made her tick. Gunn was a delight with her character catching up on breaking bad and the hilarious/scary consequences of it all. And what to say about Hendricks and Panjabi except to say how awesome they both are... again. Both play women who are so inherently sexy, cool, and collected and whose resolved were severely tested to the point of extreme measures. Quick shout out to Vanasse in my alternate... can someone give her a starring role in a TV show soon?

Alternates: Christine Baranski (The Good Wife), Kristen Bauer van Straten (True Blood), Karine Vanasse (Pan Am), Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter), Morena Baccarin (Homeland), Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones) and Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood)

Tomorrow, barring another power outage, I'll tackle the leading performances which are thankfully a tad easier than the supporting ones. For an alternate take on supporting performances, make sure to read Andrew's ballot (drama, comedy). Our ballots are so hilariously different mostly because I just don't watch some of the shows he does and vice versa.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

My Emmy Ballot: Guest Performances

Believe it or not, the Emmy nominations are just four days away. With my on-and-off summer blogging hiatus I almost missed my chance to weigh in on who I thought SHOULD be nominated for an Emmy award for their work this past TV season. So in the next few days I'm going to give you all a peek at who I would've put down if I had a ballot. These are not predictions, of course, just my own personal wishlist. First up, guest actors and actress!

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.

Guest Actor, Comedy
Max Adler, Glee
Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live
Justin Long, New Girl
Mike O'Malley, Glee
James Marsden, 30 Rock
Paul Rudd, Parks and Recreation

For a show I mostly hate-watch it's a testament to Adler and O'Malley that I still consider their work to be award worthy with both giving the show rare moments of substance especially the former tackling a gay teenager driven to suicide. Long, Marsden, and Rudd took a break from their movie careers to brighten up (or in the latter's case to make chaotic) the lives of the shows' leading ladies with consistently funny results. I admit to not being a huge fan of Fallon, but his Christmas SNL episode was one of the season's highlights on that show.

Alternates: Ed Helms (Wilfred), Bradley Whitford (Parks and Recreation), Will Forte (30 Rock), Dermot Mulroney (New Girl), Christopher Abbot (Girls), and Greg Kinnear (Modern Family)

Guest Actress, Comedy
Elizabeth Banks, 30 Rock
Patricia Clarkson, Parks and Recreation
Kathyrn Hahn, Parks and Recreation
Dot-Marie Jones, Glee
Leslie Mann, Modern Family
Maya Rudolph, Saturday Night Live

This was a tough category considering a cursory glance at my alternates list boasts pretty damn good performances as well. With that said, I do love the ladies I've picked above. Like Fallon's stint, Rudolph's SNL episode was a season highlight for the show. Clarkson and Hahn made the best comedy on TV even better (and I'm hoping we get more of them next season), while Banks and Mann showed off their funny bones as expected with great skill. Jones was hammered this season with a controversial storyline, but she nonetheless acted the hell out of it.

Alternates: Ellen Barkin (Modern Family), Jane Kaczmarek (Wilfred), Megan Mullaly (Parks and Rec/Happy Endings), Becki Newton (How I Met Your Mother), and Sherri Shepard (30 Rock)

Guest Actor, Drama
Jim Beaver, Supernatural
Colin Hanks, Dexter
Jared Harris, Fringe
Mark Margolis, Breaking Bad
Matthew Perry, The Good Wife
Sebastian Stan, Once Upon a Time

From the looks of my nominees here, my tastes clearly run more genre than Emmy voters, but so what? I actually wouldn't be surprised to see Perry, Margolis, and Hanks all nominated since their shows are Emmy-respected enough and all of the actors had flashy performances to promote. But I do want to give kudos to Beaver (impressive farewell episode), Harris (doing double duty in both universes), and Stan (his scene-stealing Mad Hatter) and what they did. The latter especially really just had the one episode to make an impact and I already wanted a spin-off immediately.

Alternates: Dylan Baker and Michael J. Fox (The Good Wife), Michael Cerveris (Fringe), Mos Def (Dexter), Ben Feldman (Mad Men), and Iain Glen (Downton Abbey)

Guest Actress, Drama
Joan Cusack, Shameless
Louise Fletcher, Shameless
Bailee Madison, Once Upon a Time
Julia Ormond, Mad Men
Martha Plimpton, The Good Wife
Carrie Preston, The Good Wife

Like last year, I don't get why Cusack is in this category rather than supporting, but she's good enough that I'd nominate her in both anyways. Fletcher was fantastic as well as Frank's mom (and her scenes with Cusack were particularly well-done). Madison may be an odd choice here, but the way she mimicked Goodwin's Snow White acting style was downright eerie. Ormond was a pleasant surprise this season on Mad Men while Plimpton and Preston impressed yet again despite the small screen time they had.

Alternates: Pamela Dunlap (Mad Men), Barbara Hershey and Meghan Ory (Once Upon a Time), Bernadette Peters (Smash), Anika Noni Rose (The Good Wife), Rebecca Mader (Fringe), and Margarita Levieva (Revenge)

I'm sure I'm missing plenty of people who deserve nominations. I watch a lot of TV, but I don't watch every single show. For an alternate take, I recommend checking out Andrew's ballot for the guest categories (drama, comedy). Tomorrow I'll try to narrow down my picks in those super competitive supporting categories.

Wimbledon: The Finale

Here I am slacking again since it's been a week since Wimbledon ended and nary a word from me (in this blog at least) on the results. Suffice it to say I was very, very happy with them and like the French Open, two of the sport's greats made history with their wins and made their many, many fans a cause to celebrate.

The king of tennis is back as Roger Federer won his 7th Wimbledon title last Sunday tying him with Pete Sampras and extending his all-time Grand Slam tally at 17 trophies. His win over 4th seed Andy Murray, who was seeking to be the first British man to win a Grand Slam singles title in 70+ years, also catapulted Federer back to the no. 1 ranking also tying him of Sampras' record of holding the top ranking for 286 total weeks. Federer is assured of breaking the record next week. For my part, I always knew Federer had another Slam or two in him, but the way Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have dominated the game in the past couple of years I was almost certain Federer would never be back as world number one. He proved everyone wrong the same way his finals opponent Murray proved everyone wrong when he handled the great pressure of reaching his first Wimbledon finals surprisingly well. In fact, Murray started off flawlessly winning the first set and continuing to be aggressive in the second set. It was Federer however who lifted up his game just in time, breaking late in the second set to win just before the rain forced the tournament to close the roof for the very first indoors Wimbledon Men's finals. Once the roof was closed, Federer was able to play more aggressively with his serves, with his forehands, and more interestingly with his net play. A 20-minute 10-deuce game on Murray's serve in the middle of the third set where Murray fell a couple time and Federer broke serve set the tone. Before you knew it, Federer was lifting the trophy while Murray tearfully and endearingly expressed his immense appreciation for the support he has received. To be continued at the Olympics?

Of course Serena Williams would beat third seed Agnieszka Radwanska at the Wimbledon finals to claim her 5th Wimbledon title (and 14th overall), tying her with her sister Venus Williams. After all, in the past 12 years, one of the Williams sisters have won Wimbledon 10 times. To make it sweeter, both sisters went on to win their 5th Ladies' Doubles title last weekend as well. Serena's superb serve (106 aces for the tournament's best including the men) and under-appreciated court smarts carried her through the final, but Radwanska also didn't give up. While Radwanska must have been overwhelmed by the huge occasion of her first Grand Slam final, losing the first give games of the match, she hung in there especially in the second set as Serena's level dipped a bit. Radwanska's Hingis-esque game helped her squeak out the tight second set, but Serena would recover and just the way the match started, would win the five straight games to win. Certainly the drive to win was great for Serena who had to overcome many health concerns during the past couple of years. With the Olympics looming, do not count out either Williams sisters to claim yet another gold medal. As a final tribute to Serena and Roger, it must be noted that both are over 30 years old which in tennis terms is close to retirement, but both of them have proven time and time again that age is just a number. Certainly Nike must be ecstatic this summer as four of their marquee players--Maria Sharapova, Nadal, Serena, and Federer--won Grand Slams and in historic and impressive fashion to boot!

In doubles, joining the Williams sisters who took out sixth seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, are wildcards Frederik Nielsen and Jonathan Marray who beat fifth seeds Robert Linstedt and Horia Tecau for the Men's Doubles title. Marray thus becomes the first British man to win a Grand Slam title giving the county some much needed emotional boost. In Mixed, Americans and second seeds Mike Bryan and Lisa Raymond defeated fourth seeds Leander Paes and Elena Vesnina. Again, with the Olympics being held at the All-England Lawn and Tennis Club in a couple weeks, we'll be seeing the same people in the same setting but this time playing for gold. And I will be there to watch it live! Exciting times to be a tennis fan!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer Reality TV Binge

It's summer which means none (or very few) of my scripted shows are on and since I'm so addicted to TV that I can't NOT watch anything, I turn to reality TV. Below is just a list of the once I've been paying attention to the past few weeks.

So You Think You Can Dance - If it were up to me, Amazing Race would ALWAYS win Best Reality TV Competition at the Emmys, but I wouldn't hate seeing this show triumph a couple of times. Consistently great cast of supremely talented dancers, relatively inoffensive and smart judges, wonderful host, and often brilliant routines make this my favorite summer reality show. This year there's no All-Stars and there'll be a boy and a girl winner, but I'm okay with those small changes. For now, at least.

Currently rooting for: Too early to say, but Daniel is just so gosh darn adorable.

Glee Project - Everyone should watch this. Even Glee haters, which I'm closer to than Glee lover. My roommate turn me to this show this season and it's great fun. It's a bunch of kids in the longest audition process ever, but they get to sing songs, make videos, and create a little drama every week. The BEST thing about this show though is that even if your favorite is eliminated it's OKAY especially when you realize that the prize is to star on Glee. Run, run away.

Currently rooting for: Nellie because she's gorgeous and super talented (but she doesn't know it).

Masterchef - This is another show my roommate got me to watch. I never checked it out because Gordon Ramsay is such a grating personality, but I have to admit that this show is quite enjoyable mostly because of its great pacing, talented cooks with strong personalities, and judges that actually seem to know what they're talking about.

Currently rooting for: Christine because she has more talent than many of her sighted peers.

American Ninja Warrior - Apparently this has been happening for a few seasons now and also in Japan? Never heard of it until this year and it's pretty mindless TV. Basically it's a bunch of guys (and few gals) going through a tough obstacle course. My main reason of watching are the cute, most times shirtless, super athletic boys who participate. I don't ask for much with my TV summer viewing.

Currently rooting for: All of them to not break any bones.

Duets: I only really tuned into this singing competition show because Kelly Clarkson was one of the mentors and to be honest, it remained that way with my pretty much ffwd every non-Kelly Clarkson part of the show. This meant I only really formed a connection to Kelly's duet partners and was unable to get a feel of what the show was actually like. It didn't help that my favorite contestant left early and that's all she wrote.

Currently rooting for: Jason who is the last of Kelly's duet partners, but Jordan was my favorite from the beginning.

HGTV'S Design Star - I used to regularly watch this show a few seasons ago, but time got in the way. This season I've only seen three episodes tops and while I love the addition of David Bromstad as host/mentor nothing made me really want to catch up on the episodes I missed.

Currently rooting for: I don't even know who's still around nor can I remember any of their names. Oops.

Big Brother - Here's another show I used to watch all the time, but have since learned from my mistakes. I did end up checking the season premiere last night just to see the new twist (four previous houseguests will act as coaches to the new people) and apart from bringing back my favorite BB contestant ever in Janelle I'm almost positive I won't be watching this season. With that said, the producers picked good coaches and the cast (for now) seem okay. I give it 5 days until they all devolve to hell.

Currently rooting for: Someone in Janelle's team? I don't really care.

Don't fret though. I'm still watching scripted TV like True Blood, Weeds, Newsroom, and Bunheads. This Sunday is the premiere of Breaking Bad and Political Animals. Which reminds me... I really need to start thinking about the Emmy nominations which is happening soon, right?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Wimbledon Finals Preview

After nearly a fortnight of rain, royalty, and unbelievable upsets, a former champion reaches the final in hopes to match their past successes while going up against a first-time finalist with overwhelming pressure to succeed. I just described both the men and women's final match-ups at this years Wimbledon Championships which will be contested this weekend.

For the women, 4-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams blitzed past the defending champion (Petra Kvitova) and the world no. 2 player (Victoria Azarenka) for a chance to tie her older sister Venus with 5 Wimbledon championships. Just as an aside, Serena and Venus are also in the Women's Doubles Final with a chance to win their 5th Wimbledon title there as well. Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska will be Serena's opponent reaching not only her first Wimbledon final, but her first Grand Slam final ever. In fact she's celebrating a lot of first by also reaching her first slam semifinals after outlasting Maria Kirilenko in the quarter-finals and then deftly handling the hard-hitting German Angelique Kerber in the semifinals. Many have remarked her easy draw, but credit her for staying focus to give herself a chance to win her first major title which would also vault her to the number one ranking. Unfortunately, she seems to be suffering from a respiratory illness oh and also facing the best serve in women's tennis.

History will be made on the men's side no matter who wins. Six-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer can recapture the number one ranking by winning his 7th Wimbledon title on Sunday which will also put him in a tie with Pete Sampras in number of Wimbledon titles and help him surpass Sampras at total weeks at number one. A few people predicted Federer at the beginning of the tournament especially with the kind of relatively easy draw he received and that belief got stronger with Rafael Nadal's shock early exit. He certainly cruised for the most part with the exception of having to come back down 0-2 sets to Julien Benneteau, but after that scare Federer found new life dismissing Mikhail Youzhny in the quarter-finals and more impressive taking out world number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic. Federer's final opponent will be none other than the lone British hope Andy Murray who reaches his first Wimbledon final ending that particular drought. Were he to win the title, he would be the first British man since Fred Perry to win Wimbledon. With the London Olympics in a few weeks, this is an opportunity of a lifetime for Murray. Can he handle the pressure? He certainly showed great composure in getting through the toughest draw of the top 4 taking out Ivo Karlovic, Marin Cilic, David Ferrer, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Predictions: Radwanska was overmatched even before she got sick and if Serena continues to serve like she has been, she will be unbeatable. Then again might playing too much tennis (doubles) mean it'll be closer than we all expect especially with Radwanska's Hingis-esque game that could prove useful. As for the men, the pressure will be huge on Murray and while he leads his H2H with Federer, I think the occassion and his past slam finals history will play with his mind especially against a champion as experienced as Federer. Then again what better storyline for Great Britain for a homegrown champion right before they host the Olympics? With all of that said, I'm going to go with the tried and true and pick Serena and Federer for their 14th and 17th Grand Slam titles respectively.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Birthday Captain America!

Saw the above image on tumblr last night and I knew I had to post it over here to wish y'all a Happy 4th of July! Kind of odd to think that this time last year, we hadn't even seen what Chris Evans could do as Steve Rogers aka Captain America.

Sure, we saw the commercials with Evans' head on some puny dude's body and we all snickered at the image, but I remembered walking away from Captain America: The First Avenger quite happy with the casting. Evans has that perfect mix of sensitive all-American alpha male puppy dog thing going for him that really works. He further proved his chops in The Avengers making the audience believe that even with the ego of Stark, the bigness of the Hulk, and the godly status of Thor, it is Captain America who is the captain of their band of heroes. And yes, his flying monkeys line never fails to amuse.

I'll be spending America's and Captain America's birthday with the usual bbq and fireworks and perhaps seeing his fellow Marvel superhero Spider-Man sling web.