Saturday, April 07, 2007

57 Channels and Only This Is On vol. XIV

Quote of the Week: “I’ll take care of Julie for you, don’t worry about it. I’ll give her a nice call and tell her there's a new girl in town. And that girl is me.” (Jason Street, Friday Night Lights)

Song of the Week: Um, none really stuck out this week. Any suggestions?

Friday Night Lights: A bunch of twists and turns in the world of Tandry (or should I say Landra) this week. You knew once Tyra told Landry not to tell anyone that wasn’t going to end well. And I can’t believe Landry grew a pair and told Trya off about getting back with Riggins while she was trying to apologize (and dare I say Landry/Tyra/Riggins: best love triangle ever).

Elsewhere, Coach and Mrs. Taylor continue the “If we don’t get an Emmy nomination, they no longer have any credibility” Tour ’07 with more great scenes between them including the fight at the roast (on a side note, even though no one there laughed, Riggins’, “How about Saracen sleeping with the coach’s daughter” had me on the floor) and what a final scene with Mrs. Taylor telling the coach she wasn’t leaving Dillion then asking him to go to bed without missing a beat.

Next week we get the season finale but I’m really not ready for the season to end. And I’m certainly not ready for the series to end so hopefully NBC keeps the show around. Check out the latest episodes over at

Friday Night Lights on iTunes

Lost: After the dreadful Locke-centric episode two weeks ago, Lost is really doing its best to keep me from jumping ship since. Last week they opened the show at a strip club and this week we have a Skinamax style catfight in the rain. But despite all that I could care less about this episode because I stopped caring about Kate’s back stories two years ago. They really need to put a moratorium on Kate and Jack back stories because they are really bring the show down. Give me Other-centric or Rousseau-centric episodes. Those may actually be entertain or at the very least fresh. Check out the latest episodes over at

Lost on iTunes

Survivor: Ooo, so we get another Idol this week. I wonder what the rules are about them both getting played at the same tribal council. Of course the only thing better would be if Yoa Man’s fake Idol gets played too. I really hope someone finds that. Thanks to Dreamz we have the most entertaining tribal in recent mwmory. And it was funny that Lisi talked about it time that Dreamz gets a grown up name considering she calls herself Lisi. Check out the latest episode on Innertube.

Survivor on iTunes

Two of my favorite bloggers got to visit the set of Supernatural last week (my invite must have gotten lost in the mail, not that I'm bitter as I was too busy bombing a quiz last week). Check out the recaps from Ducky (No longer available) and Raelee (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4)

Promo of the Week: I posted an earlier version of this fan made Veronica Mars promo on my sister site Scooter McGavin Takes Pictures, but here is the latest version. If you have never seen the show, just take two minutes to take a look at the video coutesy of YouTube and if you like what you see, be sure to check out the show when it returns from giatus May 1st.

Pick of the Week: Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School, Sunday at 10:00 on VH1: This could possibly be the greatest show in the history of televised medium. The show takes Flavor of Love castoffs from both seasons of the show to see which one can become the most lady like. This may be the first reality show ever where they decide not to actual declare anyone the winner. Some of the notable contestants are Pumpkin (did the spit seen round the world), Toasteee (got the boot for her suggestive photographs), Saaphyri (beat some white girl up), and Buckwild (the blackest white girl ever). As great as the cast is, I gotta wonder where is Somethin, you would think the girl her did her business on the floor would be in the most need of charm school. Download all the episodes of the current season of these shows on Amazon Unbox which you can then transfer and watch on your Tivo DVR's:

Friday, April 06, 2007

Little Was Know in Sierra Leone and How it Connect to the Diamonds We Own

Blood Diamond

A few years back, I read an article on Diamonds detailing with Blood Diamonds that were fueling civil wars in several African countries. They were called Blood Diamonds of course because much blood was shed to control these diamonds so they can sell them to stores like De Beers just to spend the money on more guns and ammo to further the civil wars leaving innocent people that happened to be in the path of the rebels without hands or legs, well at least the lucky ones.

After hearing this I made a silent protest, no longer wearing any time of jewelry including a watch but would be more than happy to tell people why whenever they ask why not. The lone non-clothing I wear these days is a LiveStrong bracelet (speaking of which, check out the latest issue of Newsweek that has LiveStrong on the cover for a great story on living with cancer). But it has been an uphill battle trying to convert other as most people I run into care much more about a rock than handless children hundreds of miles away. Seriously, see how fast your marriage proposal will be rejected when you tell her you didn’t put a diamond on the engagement ring because of the bloodshed it causes.

Despite almost two decades of Civil War in Sierra Leone, Blood Diamonds are just recently getting the much deserved attention. Two years ago, Kanye West changed one of his songs names to Diamonds from Sierra Leone, the video and remix of which delt with the effects of Conflict Diamonds. More recently VH1 filmed a documentary in which they took some rappers, a genre overly obsessed with bling, to Africa. But the biggest impact was that of the Leonardo DiCaprio led movie Blood Diamond.

The movie se in 1999 Sierra Leone intertwines the lives of two very different people, DiCaprio (The Departed) who trades arms for diamonds with the Revolutionary Untied Front and Djimon Hounsou (Amistad) as a fisherman who was put into slavery in the diamond fields by the RUF and separated from his family. When they are both incarcerated in the same jail, DiCaprio overhears Hounsou being accused of hiding a rare pink diamond and realizes this is his best chance at getting off the continent and makes a deal with Hounsou if he helps him get the diamond, he will help him find his family.

There is plenty road bumps in the way between the two and where the diamond is hidden, but both lead actors are up for the challenge even though the plot is sometimes hard to follow although the film does a decent job at relaying the atrocities that have been happening in these African countries. Another plot point that was really unneeded was a love story between DiCaprio and Jennifer Connelly (Hulk) but hopefully the film helps bring into light the civil wars brought on by the sale of Conflict Diamonds and change the practices of those profiting from them and ultimately people buying them something to think about.

Blood Diamond gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Download Blood Diamond on Amazon Unbox (which you can trasfer to your Tivo).

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Don't Download These Videos vol. XIII

There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I though I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form so here they are courtesy of YouTube. I advise you to watch them before you read my reviews if you don’t want me to spoil things. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available, if not the link goes to YouTube where you can watch the video in full screen). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.

What I’ve Done - Linkin Park

Do we need a political Linkin Park video? Probably not. But it looks like it may be part of the band’s new make-over as Mike Shinoda gets pushed into the background as it looks like they lived up to their promise to move away from the rap-rock combo that put them on the map. I’m not the biggest Linkin Park fan but I am interested how the rest of the Rick Rubin produced album sounds like when Minutes to Midnight (a doomsday clock reference?) comes out in May.

Makes Me Wonder - Maroon 5

Your typical Maroon 5 video: The group plays in front of a wild backdrop while the lead singer, Adam Levine, gets fondled by hot chicks. As for the song, if this is any indication of what we can expect from their upcoming album, it may be a sophomore slump that will make The Killers’ slump look not so bad. There last album was very top heavy with the single being really good while the rest, well, calling them filler would be too nice for most of them. Makes Me Wonder falls somewhere in between.

Put it Down - Redman

As good of a rapper Redman is, it’s his videos are usually more entertaining and his latest doesn’t disappoint. It’s nice to see the dude from Chappelle’s Show actually get work (Redman had a classic cameo on the show) although what’s up with the fat dude. Shouldn’t he be in jail or at the very least being stalked by Chris Hansen?

My Humps - Alanis Morissette

I assume this was an April Fools Day joke gone horribly wrong. Yet even though I absolutely hate both Alanis Morissette and Fergie, I can’t stop watching this. Yeah, Ben Folds already did the ironic, slow down a rap song and put it against a piano when he reworked Dr. Dre’s classic (Expletive Deleted) Ain’t (Expletive Deleted) to a much better effect, although Folds didn’t have a video to faithfully recreate which just makes My Humps even more disturbingly entertaining. And it is a little ironic that this is the most anyone has talked about Alanis Morissette since, well, Ironic.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

You Wanna Know Why I Look Sad and Lonely

Dignity - Hilary Duff

There is a long standing train of thought that all actors want to sing and all singers want to act. But as for the latter, from Don Johnson to Jared Leto, they have all sucked massively. Granted that hasn’t kept actors from trying. In recent years there is a special case of actor turned singer, the brand name. You know the “artist” that blankets all forms of media and lends their likeness to anything that there name can fit on from sleeping bags to perfumes. And an album is just another avenue to promote themselves.

Hilary Duff certainly wasn’t the first to do this but she stared the most recent onslaught of Disney approves entities that included Lindsay Lohan and numerous High School Musical alums. And did Disney certainly milk that cow for all its worth releasing three albums in the span of two years (in addition to the five movies released during that period), one of which was actually a greatest hit package despite the little amount of song in her library.

With the year and a half lay off since her last album, a lot has changed as the High School Musical cast have successfully taken her tween queen crown and Duff has wisely gone in a different direction with her new disk, Dignity. She slightly moves away from the pop setting she started out in going for more of a dance vibe complete with Euro-trash beats and layered vocals, another wise decision as Duff really wouldn’t win any singing contests so anything that hides her weak vocal styling is a good idea. Certainly the more upbeat tracks like Never Stop, Outside of You, and the produced Play with Fire will have all the Middle School girls dancing this spring.

This time around, Duff even sits in on the writing process getting name credited to all but one of the songs on the album. But with at least two co-writers on each song, you have to wonder just how much input Duff actually had on the album. And in a chicken or the egg scenario, I wonder if Duff named her perfume, With Love after the song or the song was written for extra promotion for the fragrance. God bless synergy. The most noteworthy song on the album is the title track where Duff takes pot shows at people famous for being famous (most likely including Nicole Richie who just happens to be dating Duff’s ex) with lines like, It’s not news when you got a new bag. It’s not news when somebody slaps you.” Oh snap. Maybe if Duff filled the album with more biting and vengeful lyrics, it would have been more enjoyable. Maybe she should have Alanis Morissette help write the next album.

Song to Download - Play with Fire

Dignity gets a Terror Alert Level: Guarded [BLUE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Warning: Parental Advisory

This Film Is Not Yet Rated

Ever walk out of a movie and thought, how did that garner a PG-13 rating when it drops a couple F-Bombs. How many F-Bombs is too many before it gets bumps up to an R rating? That is the basic premise of This Film Is not Yet Rated, a documentary where Kirby Dick (I won’t point out the irony that the dude behind figuring out the ratings system is named Dick) tries to figure out how the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) comes up with their basis on which films get which ratings and an even harder task, who exactly is on the board that gives out the ratings.

The second is the much more interesting part of the film as Dick hires a private investigator team to track down these raters that are hidden in secrecy. These segments have a distinct Veronica Mars feel to it as the investigators involves one of their moderately attractive daughter to help out with clerical work and the occasional field work where it would be easier for an attractive young woman to gain access. But in a very un-Ronnie way, the mother daughter team is on the case over a month. And the hypocrisy of the raters remaining anonymous is that head of the MPAA, Jack Valenti, has stated the secrecy is to keep them from being pressures, but they are in constant contact with movie studios, the very ones that would have the most to gain from influencing the raters.

The other part looks at the inequalities between how certain films are rated featuring interviews with filmmakers that had there own wars with the ratings board including John Waters (A Dirty Shame), Kevin Smith (Jersey Girl), and Matt Stone (South Park). First is how Independent films are rated compared to one from the major studios. Keep in mind the MPAA are made up of members from the big six studios formed to advance the interest of the studio. So a major studio movie like Basic Instinct can show Sharon Stone in all her glory and get an R yet the independently released The Cooler gets an NC-17 for showing parts of Maria Bellow that is usually covered by undergarments. If you show heterosexual intercourse, you can get an R (well depending on the number of thrusts which leads to a funny montage in the documentary), but if it is two dudes: NC-17.

But the biggest argument, one that has been going on for decades, is how violent acts can get a PG-13. So in the mind of the MPAA, you can kill as many people, but as long as there is no blood it is okay. There is something significantly wrong with that yet the MPAA decides ignore all the psychological reports on how it violent images effect kids because they make more money off of PG-13 movies than R rated ones, which is the main reason they created PG-13 back in 1984 to get better box office revenue from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

The highlight of the film is when Dick himself submitted This Movie Is Not Yet Rated into the ratings board and of course got slapped with the NC-17 rating. This led to an appeals possess which is shrouded in as much secrecy as the original rating process. Once you get to this point of the documentary it is not surprising that the appeal was rejected, although getting the ruling overturned never looked like Dick’s goal of the appeals process.

I’m actually a big proponent of censorship as it spawns creativity. But it is obvious that the current system for rating movies is broken. The biggest problem is that the movies are being rated by the very system that makes the movies which sets up a big conflict of interest. Second is the lack of general guidelines and since raters are changed out occasionally, you run the risk of movies that could get different rating depending on who the raters are at any given time. It may be time for someone to set up an independent ratings board as the lack of competition has led the MPAA rate on how things suit their interests.

The Film Is Not Yet Rated gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Just a Bit Outside

Major League

The DVD format has been around so long now that almost every movie has been released on it. But unfortunately there are a few movies that just get released and that’s it, no special features or anything. These are mostly older movies that wouldn’t have had much in the way of special features because there really wasn’t need for them back when they were released, but at the very least they could throw in the trailer for the movie on the disk. One of the more egregious examples was one of the greatest sports movies of all time; and this month’s induction into the Scooter Hall of Fame, Major League which has gotten two releases on DVD with a combined zero extras.

Well that is going to change as the movie is finally getting the special edition treatment with the release next week of Major League: Wild Thing Edition. And they didn’t skip on the extras either as you can expect an audio commentary from Commentary by Writer/Director David S. Ward and Producer Chris Chesser. There are also a couple featurettes including My Kinda Team which includes interviews with Charlie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen, Tom Berenger, Dennis Haysbert, and Bob Uecker, A Major League Look at Major League, and Bob Ueker: Just A Bit Outside. There is also an alternate ending, a tour of Cerrano's locker and the very lucrative photo gallery (has anyone actually looked at photo gallery included on a DVD?).

The movie itself hits close to home as a life long resident of Northeast Ohio who, back in 1989, had never seen the Cleveland Indians end higher than sixth. In fact even my parents couldn’t remember the last time the team had a winning record. What’s worse, in retrospect, was the storyline of a team moving out of Cleveland thanks to an evil owner actually came to fruition less than a decade later thanks to evil Art Modell and the horrible coaching job of Bill Belichicken.

But enough about the Browns. Watching Major League is a trip down memory lane for me because I lived with the Tribe losing so much that I actually preferred the team back then compared to the team of the nineties when they brought in hired thugs like Joey “corked bat” Bell and Robbie” I spit on umpires” Alomar. I even remember as a child seeing Greg Swindell’s first major league start where he gave up seven earned runs on no outs. For those keeping track at home, that’s an ERA of infinity. Those were good time.

The fake Indians were just as pitiful leading the team’s owner to bring in a bunch of has been’s and never were’s to try out for the team (sounds suspiciously how they cast Dancing with the Stars) in hopes that they will be so bad the team can move to Florida. The team is anchored by Tom Berenger (Eddie and the Cruisers), a catcher with chronic knee problems and had spend the last couple years in the Mexican League. But I guess that is more respectable than Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men), a pitcher with a lot of speed and little command, who came from the California Penal League. Then there is Corbin Bernsen (LA Law) as an athlete we see way too often these day, the one that doesn’t try as he bides his time until free agency.

The movie also a few unknowns who because breakout stars thanks to their roles including Wesley Snipes (Demolition Man) who ungraciously didn’t return for the sequel as the brash centerfielder who had a penchant for popping out. Also in her first major role was Rene Russo (The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle) as the token hot chick and love interest for Berenger. Then there is Dennis Haysbert who would go on to become president and Allstate pitchman, but, along with Jobu, stole every seen in Major League with his voodoo antics. But no one stole the movie more than former baseball player Bob Uecker (Mr. Belvedere) who has reverted to drinking while doing commentaries on the games.

As great as the movie is, the film has actually Also had a lasting impact on Major League Baseball as it become common place for relief pitchers to come to the mound with accompanying music just like Sheen did in the film with The TroggsWild Thing (as performed by X in the film). The film also introduced that song to an all new generation including myself. So I’ll definitely be picking up the DVD on the 10th and hope to see you in line. Now hopefully a fully loaded Major League II DVD won’t be far behind.