Saturday, May 12, 2007

Can You Be Perfect

Friday Night Lights

When the movie version of Friday Night Lights first came out I passed on it because most sports movies are all the same and really you cannot write anything better than Flutie’s Hail Mary, Gibson’s home run, or the many heartbreaks of Cleveland sports. But after going through a season of the hands down best new show of the season of the same name, I decided to finally give the film that it based on a try. My first assumption that you cannot write anything better than actual events in sports gets thrown out the window because the film is based on a true story, which can sometimes is a little dubious because you, as the viewer never really know exactly how much is real and how much was exaggerated by the writer (but be sure to see the excellent DVD extra interviewing the real Panthers to get a sense of what really went down).

Much like the show, the movie itself is inspired by a book by the same name, coincidentally written by H.G. Bissinger, the cousin of Peter Berg, writer and director of the movie and creator of the television show. Bissinger followed the Permian Panthers of Odessa Texas around for their 1988 season and did Bissinger pick a good season to chronicle. For those who have seen the show knows just how much Texans take the high school foottball and for those who haven’t, just for an example, whenever the team happened to lose, the coach would return tom his house where fans have placed a “For Sale” sign in his yard.

Even though the television show isa fictional account set in current day Dillon Texas, there are a few themes that overlap: Brash running back that referes to himself in a third person nickname, check; a quaterback with a maternal figure that has mental issues, check; star player goes down thretening any hopes at state, check; Connie Britton as the coach’s wife, check; hot cheerleaders in their mid-twenties, well you can’t have everything I guess. But there is the dude who plays Buddy Garrity with a mustashe.

The problems with the movies are definitely ironed out with the television show. Hot cheerleaders aside, with a twenty two hour television show we get to know the characters much better off the field which are rarely touched upon in the two hour movie. Most of the movie is dedicated to the football and even that is severely condenses to about four games. And at the end of the day, I’m taking Kyle Chandler over Billy Bob Thornton as my coach. But if there is one thing the movie does better is Tim McGraw (yes that Tim McGraw) as the former Panther standout turned disappointed, alcoholic dad of the current tailback. This was somewhat touched upon with Riggins’s dad, but the movie did a much better, and creeper, portrayal of the situation.

Friday Night Lights gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Also check out my review of Friday Night Lights 1.x: Clear Eyes Full Hearts Can't Lose.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Don't Download These Videos vol. XVII

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.

Extraordinary - Mandy Moore

When I first heard this song I liked it. It was breezy and soothing. With that said, this may be the cheesiest video of the year. Yeah I’ll take as many Mandy Moore’s as possible, but this whole tower of people is pretty lame, in a Third Eye Blind has already done it kind of way. Note to Mandy, if you are going for a new folksy sound, don’t make a big budget video that still looks cheap. Just go out to the local field with a dude and an acoustic guitar and look cute. That would have saved you a couple thousand dollars and would have been better on top of it.

Someone to Love - Fountains of Wayne

It is doubtful this is the song that will lift Fountains of Wayne out of the pantheon of One Hit Wonders and the video is certainly missing Rachel Hunter, but it is entertaining in a sad kind of way. Seriously, no one should be resigned to watching King of Queens along. Actually is that show still on. Is this another Will and Grace situation where a show is still around five years after I though it was canceled?

Hang Me Up to Dry - Cold War Kids

I can’t say I really liked this song at first listen but all the sudden it showed up on my iPod and I’m really starting to dig it now. Yeah the video as a movie trailer has already been done by My Chemical Romance, but they suck massively (much apologies to all the fourteen year old white girls who aren’t cool enough to be cheerleaders) and Cold War Kids did a much better job with the noir themed trailer. Speaking of noir, don’t forget to check out my contest where you can Win a Copy of Neptune Noir. Okay, end shameless plug.

Fallin’ for You - Eva Avila

Found this little gem over at Tapeworthy and apparently Eva Avila is Canada’s top karaoker. What does it say about are karaokers when they can only come up with one song better than the top Canadian karaoker and the best karaoker in all of New Zealand, James Morrison put out a much better album than any of ours have. But anyways. And not did Eva create a much superior song to any song not named Since U Been Gone, so is certainly more attractive to any of our karaokers, winners or losers. I don’t know what it is, but the mismatched socks are uber-cute.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Win a Copy of Neptune Noir

This contest has ended, congradulations to those that have won, if you did not win, you can order the book at the BenBella Books website. You can check out my review of Neptune Noir here: Well it's About a 17 Year Old Girl Who Happens to Be a Detective. Also any television fan who is dreading the upcoming summer without your favorite shows should check out other books in their Smart Pop Anthology Series including books dedicated to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Simpsons, Gilmore Girls among others.

A must have for any fan of Veronica Mars, the good people over at BenBella Books have given me the opportunity to give away up to five (5) copies of Neptune Noir: Unauthorized Investigations into Veronica Mars. I got my advance copy a couple days ago and will have a review of it up in the next couple days but here is a synopsis:

More than just a high school drama, Veronica Mars is a smart and savvy teen detective show that offers complex mysteries and rapier wit, engaging social commentary, and noir sensibilities—with the occasional murder thrown in for good measure. This collection, edited by the creator and executive producer of the show, offers supreme insight into the class struggles and love stories of the series. Essays by top writers intelligently address a multitude of questions such as Is Veronica a modern-day vigilante? Why is a show that features rape, potential incest, and a teen girl outsmarting local authorities so popular with America’s conservative population? and Why is Veronica and Logan’s relationship the most important story-driving factor in the show?

So know you know what you will be getting, here is how you can enter the contest to win yourself. There are three different ways you can enter to win:

Win a copy of Neptune Noir1. Name your two (2) favorite cases that Ronnie has worked on over the three season of the show, you are not allowed to pick more than one mini or full arc mysteries, and in a hundred (100) words or less tell me why they are your favorites.

2. For those that haven’t seen the show but want a good read, watch the first episode of the third season, Welcome Wagon, which you can download on iTunes or Amazon Unbox or stream it on, and in a hundred (100) words or less, review the episode.

3. Link this contest on your blog or link it a message board (only one entry allowed per message board).

You can e-mail your entries to ScooterKSU(at)aol(dot)com (subject: Neptune Noir) or leave them here in the comment section (but if you leave a comment make sure there is an easy way for me to find how to contact you). If you link the contest, make sure you let me know somehow so you get credited with an entry. You may enter multiple times (up to three times), but can only win once. The contest ends Sunday, May 20th at 11:59 PM EST. The winners will be picked at random from all eligible entries and will be contacted shortly after. Also this contest is only open to people with shipping addresses in the Untied States or Canada.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I Like This Show, it’s Tawdry week 8

Have a final tonight and I also have a take home final due today so again I will make some quick notes on last night’s episode of Veronica Mars. If you have yet to see the episode, you can stream Debasement Tapes over at or download it on iTunes or Amazon Unbox.

- You know a recurring character is a good one when you smile just by seeing them on screen much like with Jeff Ratner, Deputy Leo, and Vinnie Van Lowe.

- Something is fishy with Vinnie, well more than usual. He was on retainer for the Fitzpatricks then he “infiltrated” their gang; remember Danny Boyd was part of the heist, using just a cheap mustache. Boyd ain’t the smartest person in the class, but I’m sure even he could tell the difference. I have a feeling this was all a set up to get Vinnie into the race.

- There is just something entertaining about the way Ronnie says “Ratner.” Hopefully her falsely accusing him will become a running theme.

- When everyone argues Duncan or Logan, Logan or Piz, my favorite ex of Vee has always been Deputy Leo. And by the look on Ronnie’s face when he said they would be seeing more of each other seems that he may still have a shot.

- It was also good to see Piz’s hot boss again. I was hoping she would be recurring ever since Piz got the job but sadly has been MIA since. Hopefully we don’t have to wait long for another sighting.

- But the episode belonged to Paul Rudd. His radio interview was an instant classic. His new names for Piz were great. Dude can actually sing. Loved his argument with Keith (the Beatles are overrated by the way, had Brian Wilson had been shot in 1980 instead of John Lennon, everyone would be talking about how the Beach Boys were the greatest band ever, but anyways). And his conversation with Dick was hilarious.

- But as funny as Rudd was, Dick still had the funniest moment of the night as he watched himself “Ghost Riding the Whip.” The expression on my face was pretty much the same as his during that scene.

- I much prefer Max to Bronson. Although I would have loved to see Mac trying to play Ultimate.

- For some reason I know have a strange craving for Wrigley's Extra Gum.

I may have more to say this weekend about the episode during my weekly television round up. And be sure to stop by early tomorrow as I have big news (and by early I mean 4-ish).

Monday, May 07, 2007

Musings From the Back 9: Music Edition V

As I was busy working on my major project last week, there a couple of albums worth reviewing that were released last we, here are a quick review of those:

Indiana - Jon McLaughlin

Aw, Indiana, the great state that has given us John Mellencamp, David Letterman and, un, certainly there has to be more, oh yeah, and Dan Quayle. The latest export from the Land of the Indians is singer-songwriter Jon McLaughlin who named his debut album after his home state. Unlike his fellow Hoosier, McLaughlin’s music in not distinctively Midwestern instead focuses on more uplifting fair of love in a small town. And instead of a guitar as his instrument of choice, he instead goes with the piano listing Billy Joel and Ben Folds as influences. But McLaughlin lacks the wit of Folds and the emotion of Joel leading to songs best fit to play over the speakers in your local supermarket with songs that won’t make you run for the exit but won’t make you stop and wonder who that was. Of course with Mother’s Day this weekend, Indiana would make the perfect gift if your mother doesn’t already have the latest Norah Jones album.

Indiana gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

The Reminder - Feist

Speaking of exports, Canada doesn’t really have the best track record. It seems for every great artist like Sarah McLachlan or Neil Young we get, they send us artists like Avril Lavigne, Shania Twain, Sum 41, and Nickelback. The latest artist to come stateside from the Great White North is Feist (Leslie Fiest to her friends and family) and quickly became an indie queen. Her latest album, The Reminder, got some early buzz thanks to a really cool video (featured here not to long ago). On the album, Feist somehow is able to sound subdued yet have a big song, thanks to multi-instrument tracks, at the same time. When listing to The Reminder, it can seem longer than its fifty minutes which can be a good or bad thing depending on your mood. So thanks Canada for finally sending down some good music again, but not all is forgiven for Celine Dion yet.

The Reminder gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Spider-Man 3 Soundtrack

During the nineties and before, record companies would con fans into buying movie soundtracks even though they may have only featured on artist they wanted to listen to much Ghostbusters II did so I could get the Bobby Brown song (hey I was young). But with the advent of downloading, which enables fans to pick and choosing their favorites without actually buying the whole album, has pretty much killed the movie soundtrack business. This hasn’t stopped Spider-Man from releasing a soundtrack for each of its movies full of songs that haven’t actually appeared in the movies sans the end credits. The beginning of the album is top heavy with songs from Snow Patrol, The Killers, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs with songs not as good as anything on their most recent albums. The rest of the album is filled with modern rock bands most people have never heard of except stuck in the middle of the trainwreck is Chubby Checker’s version of The Twist. The most interesting song here (keep in mind interesting is not synonymous with the best) is The Flaming LipsThe Supreme Being Teaches Spider-Man How to Be in Love, a song that follows a bout between the web slinger and Muhammad Ali of all people.

Spider-Man 3 Soundtrack gets a Terror Alert Level: Guarded [BLUE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

57 Channels and Only This Is On vol. XVIII

Quote of the Week: “I've been studied up, I watched My Super Sweet 16. That reminds me, you don't know where I can get a dozen eunuchs do you?” (Logan, Veronica Mars)

Song of the Week: Hurts So Good - John Cougar Mellencamp (Everybody Hates Chris)

Big News of the Week: Gilmore Girls Going, Studio 60 Coming Back: Okay so I have never watched Gilmore Girls except maybe the last five minutes of the current season as I prepare for Veronica Mars. But with its demise you got to wonder if this gives Veronica Mars a better chance to return next season now with three extra hours than The CW had last fall. The channel did green light fifteen pilots, a third of which were reality programs. Then there is Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip which is returning May 24 in ER’s timeslot.

Everybody Hates Chris: One of the main problems about doing an episode about dirty jokes is that you can’t actually tell them on national television. But they did do a clever thing avoid the seven words you can’t say on TV especially with Craig talking about his parents going back and forth calling each other four and five. Check out the latest episode on

Apple iTunes

Heroes: Okay, Hollywood, I get it, George Bush is evil and exploited 9/11 for his own political gain. There is no need to continually put these not so thinly veiled allusions to him and his administration in your movies and television show. And when Heroes wasn’t exploiting someone exploiting a tragedy this week, they were totally ripping off the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode where Cordelia wished herself into a parallel universe where Buffy never came to Sunnydale and everyone, sans Giles, ended up dieing. But will all the Heroes dieing in the future, why was Nikki the lone hero spared? What really bugged me about this whole thing is why did Future Hiro keep on going back to make sure everything happened to ensure Sylar didn’t blow up New York City but never thought to go back and kill Sylar himself? Speaking of Hiro, he gets a little to happy to see Ando when they have been apart and Future Hiro is uber depressed without him, could Hiro have a man crush on Ando? Check out the latest episode over at

Heroes on iTunes

Veronica Mars: Just an addition to I Like This Show, It’s Tawdry from earlier this week. Someone made a video of all the great elevator scenes in the show’s history (see below) and it is really interesting the elevator played a part with Ronnie catching Logan with Kendall and Logan catching Vee with Piz. On a side note, I am totally disappointed that Dick hasn’t accepted my friends request on MySpace. Check out the latest episode on or download it on iTunes.

Lost: Lost is really good this season for giving huge hints to their big reveals that when they are actually revealed, they are not that surprising (see Jack and Claire being siblings). After the last Locke-centric I wrote on this very blog, “how many seasons until we get the hyped, shocking revelation that the original Sawyer is Locke’s dad?” Okay so we didn’t have to wait that long, but it wasn’t any less shocking. The big new this episode was Juliet and Jack argued over whether to tell Kate something big, which of course this being Lost, they didn’t. I’m putting my money on her planning on turning on the Others and wanted to let Kate in on the kidnapping that is about to occur as Sawyer most likely impregnated her. Although assuming that Sun is also on the list, who is the third? Check out the latest episodes over at

Lost on iTunes

Smallville: Loved the noir parts of the episode, the other part, not so much. They really should have made this more stand alone having only about five minutes of “real life.”

My Name Is Earl: Maybe I looked forward to the whole scratch and stiff way too much, or that the last two episode were two of the series best, but this episode was a bit of a let down. Sadly the funniest part of the show was in an interview the show’s creator gave complaining that he wasn’t given smell approval and not to blame him if the smells don’t quite smell like they should. Check out the latest episode over at or download it on iTunes.

Next Week’s Pick: Lost, Wednesday, 10:00, ABC: It seems like every week I complain how useless the flashbacks are because there have been just way too many from Jack, Kate and Locke. And not so surprisingly the best episodes this season have been the Juliet and those random people centric one. Next week may top them all as we get flashbacks from a guy not named Henry.

Download these shows on Amazon UnBox and watch them on your computer or transfer them to your Tivo: