Saturday, June 09, 2007

57 Channels and Only This Is On vol. XXII

With the lack of summer shows, the 57 Channels will most like be spotty for the next couple months if not none existent. But I would be remised if I didn’t mention something. And most know by now, CBS has ordered up a couple more episodes of Jericho, which had originally been missing from the fall lineup in part because of a fan drive that sent lots of nuts (don’t ask, I don’t know either) to network. This was a surprised to me that people cared so much of the show because it wasn’t very good and was better off being canceled. The show was so slow moving that it made Invasion seem action packed in comparison, with worse acting to boot, and I jumped ship after five or six episodes.

With the surprise renewal of Jericho, it seemed to light a fire under the Save Veronica Mars movement, a show that is more deserving of a renewal, but instead of nuts, fans started sending Mars Bars to the point that fans have bought up all remaining Mars Bars in America and have moved onto Snickers Almonds, which replaced Mars Bars in America, as well as marshmallows, because as Wallace once told Ronnie, she’s a marshmallow. In fact the company that is these foods are being bought from even set up a blog to chart the progress, you can check that out over at The Indian Food Store - Bars for Mars Campaign. All order should be made Monday June 11th at 3:00 CST to make the shipping deadline. Other good sources of the drive are at Ain’t it Cool: Mission To MARS!! CW To Be Buried UnderPallets of Diabetes-Inducing Foodstuffs?? as well as Save Veronica Mars.

Now sending food is a nice symbolic gesture, but it is possibly the only thing that will accomplish is to give The CW executives cavities. Really the best way to help save Veronica Mars is to buy its products. In conjunction with the food drive, Save Veronica Mars is also having a Veronica Mars iTunes-athon where supporters should buy, appropriately enough; The Bitch Is Back on iTunes this Tuesday, June 12th for the low, low price of $1.99. If you have a lot of disposable income, you can always buy the season pass and/or gift the episode to friends and family. Of course you can also buy the first two seasons on DVD, which would make a great present for dads and grad and of course yourself. There is no better time than now to buy it because it is currently discounted on Amazon, both under $30. The people at Save Veronica Mars even bought an ad in The Hollywood Repoter (click to enlarge):

Okay, now onto some non Veronica Mars news, there is still some time left to enter my Win a Kyle XY Prize Package, also:

Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School: There is nothing more disturbing than New York being called a “celebrity interviewer.” Well actually the 24 hour coverage on “news” station even though there was a very important immigration bill in Congress. Who is actually interested in seeing Paris being driven OJ style to court? Okay to be honest, I have enjoyed this a little thanks to Al Sharpton’s outrage and the person who, after Paris was ordered back to jail, called it the OJ decision for white people. You can download the whole season on iTunes.

Pirate Master: I have had a lot to cover lately on the 9th Green so I didn’t have time to give a proper First Impressions for this show but it is pretty much in line with the few people that have also watched it: it sucks. The show is a complete rip off of Survivor, but it is almost like the producers knew this and decided to purposely change thing to make it less like Survivor, but changed the best parts like switching teams ever week and not reading the votes off, instead the host just looking at them and telling the person who is gone. The worst though is they don’t utilize the best part of the pirate life, walking the plant. Instead the person is “cut adrift”. Lame. With that said, I’ll most likely still turn in next week.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: Since coming back, the show has gotten progressively worse. It is almost like Sorkin stopped trying after he realized the show wouldn’t be coming back next year. But they did end the episode with one of my favorite songs of all-time Have a Little Faith in Me by John Hiatt. It also made a great backdrop to Matt and Harriet’s ongoing fight over religion. Check out the latest episode over at

Apple iTunes

Next Week’s Pick: Rescue Me, Wednesday at 10:00 on FX: The only summer show worth watching is back this week on a new day I believe (wasn’t the first three seasons on Tuesday). When we left, Tommy was drugged and in the middle of a fire. I think it is safe to assume he will make it out. Elsewhere, Shawn got married at his new dead brother in law, Franco failed his chief’s exam, Probie is no longer a probie but may or may not still be a gay homosexual, and the chief was tending bar in Neptune.

Friday, June 08, 2007

You Gotta Keep Playin', No Matter with Who

That Thing You Do! Tom Hanks Extended Cut

Going all the way back to the Bosom Buddies days, I have been a big Tom Hanks guy (no pun intended, okay, maybe a little). Many kids today probably never heard of that show or even now that Hanks was arguably one of the funniest men of the eighties. This may be thanks to his back to back academy awards for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump along with the one that got away, Apollo 13. With that trio of films, Hank pretty much had carte blanche to do as he pleased in Hollywood and after a few serious films, Hands decided for a lighter fair that he decided to write and direct himself.

That Thing You Do! followed the rise of a sixties band, the One-ders, from talent shows in Erie, Pennsylvania to the Billboard charts thanks their the uber-catchy song that shares the name of the movie. Even though stars in the movie, he doesn’t show up until the middle of the movie as the bands’ big time manager who wisely changes the band’s name to the Wonders to avoid confusion and mispronunciation. Instead Hanks leaves the movie in the hands of a cast who were relative unknowns back in 1996.

Leading the way was the Tom Hanks look-alike Tom Everett Scott (Dead Man on Campus) as the last minute replacement for a talent show as the band’s original drummer, played by Earl Hickey’s old pal Ralph, broke his hand right before the show. Not that he endeared himself to his new band mates, primarily principle writer Johnathon Schaech (The Sweetest Thing), who song Scott speeds up as Schaech wrote That Thing You Do as a balled. But the rest of the band, Steve Zahn (Saving Silverman) the rambunctious guitarist, and Ethan Embry (Can’t Hardly Wait) filling out the quiet one quota in the band.

And Hanks isn’t the only one in the cast with a little golden man as the film was one of the first times anyone saw Charlize Theron (Sweet November) as she shows up as Scott’s disinterested girlfriend. Then there was Liv Tyler (Jersey Girl), who may be a little more well versed in seventies rock than sixties pop, as the unofficial fifth member of the band and Schaech’s main squeeze. Hanks wasn’t shy about also giving some work to his friends and family as both his wife and kid, Colin in his first on screen roll, make cameos as well as his former Bosom Buddy Peter Scolari who hosts the Ed Sullivan like show the Wonders performs on.

Just as important as the casting was the role of writing a song that actually could have been a hit back in the sixties. And they definitely were successful with that with That Thing You Do, a catchy ditty written by Adam Schlesinger, who later got a hit singing about Stacy’s Mom with his band Fountains of Wayne years later. The song was so good that not only did the song fictitiously land in the top ten on the Billboard charts in the sixties, it peaked at forty-one back in 1996 for real.

Over ten years after its initial release, the movie gets a special edition treatment with the Tom Hanks’ Extended Cut with over thirty minutes of footage of scenes that originally saw the cutting room floor for the original theater version. This does make the the Extended Cut a little long in the tooth in parts of the film (but you can always check out the Original Theatrical Release if the extended version is too long for you). There is also a second disk chalk full of extras that includes three featurettes, a reunion of the cast, HBO First Look, your garden variety of TV spots and trailers, and more.

That Thing You Do! Tom Hanks’ Extended Cut gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Don't Download These Videos vol. XIX

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.

Fluorescent Adolescent - Arctic Monkeys

Take out the obvious Karma Police rip off of an ending, and the latest from the Arctic Monkeys could be the most entertaining video of the year. C’mon, old dudes and clowns beating the crap out of each other, how has someone not thought of this already?

Stranger - Hilary Duff

I never thought it would happen, but someone when and made Hilary Duff remotely attractive, specifically the Indian set up and the purple dress look. Granted even though she looks almost good, it is still hard not to laugh during her dance sequence. As for the plot of the video, your guess is as good as mine.

When You’re Gone - Avril Lavigne

I’m not sure what we need less in the world, another silly little pop song that shamelessly exploits the war, this time from a Canadian no less, are a love song written about the dude from Sum41. Okay, but at least the whole walls falling down near the end were pretty cool so I will give Avril Lavigne some points there.

The Rat Cage - Beastie Boys

I own every Beastie Boys album, but I’m not sure I can get behind an album of all instrumentals. They are cool when they slip one or two on a usual album and The Rat Cage is really funky, but I’m sure I would want to hear their trademark quirky lyrics eventually. Hopefully one of those isn’t too far behind. As for the video, it is still classic Beasties.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Now That it's Raining More Than Ever

Good Girl Gone Bad - Rihanna

With her previous two albums released over the previous two years, Rihanna was always good for at least one great summer jam that most people have forgotten by the time the leaves began to fall. For the third straight summer, the Barbados native attempts the three-peat of summer anthems but unfortunately Umbrella falls way short of Pon de Replay and SOS. Not surprisingly, the song was rumored to be passed on by artists such as Hilary Duff among others, but the song actually could have been as catchy as her previous hits if it wasn’t for that annoying chorus (“Umbrella-ella-ella-ella-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh”). Seriously, how could no one, from the writer, producer, anyone at the label or Rihanna herself not hear that chorus and think, “yeah, that doesn’t work.”

But even though the highs are not as high as previous outings, Rihanna’s latest album, Good Girl Gone Bad is the most solid as a whole that her previous. This is thanks to a diverse range of songs that range smooth R&B (Hate That I Love You with Ne-Yo which is a much better anti-love song than Unfaithful) disco (Don’t Stop the Music), rock (Shut Up and Drive), Caribbean (Lemme Get That), and old school R&B with a modern twist (Say It). And with the success of the Tainted Love sampling SOS, Rihanna has dug into the eighties hit to be the basis of a couple songs on this album including Running with the Night on Push Up on Me, Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, and Blue Monday on Shut Up and Drive.

That’s not to say there aren’t some clunkers, Breakin’ Dishes is a Ring the Alarm wannabe but without the siren in the background or even the sound of breaking dishes. Plus you could tell Beyoncé was legitimately pissed, Rihanna sounds like she is singing just another song. Then the three Timbaland tracks, Sell Me Candy, Lemme Get That and Rehab just song like cookie cutter filler. And sadly Rehab isn’t even an Amy Winehouse cover instead the rehab in the song is just a cheesy metaphor because “you’re my disease.” Yawn. But what can you really expect from a song written by Justin Timberlake? If you are asking me if you should download that song then I say, “No, no, no.”

Song to Download - Shut Up and Drive

Good Girl Gone Bad gets a Terror Alert Level: Guarded [BLUE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Monday, June 04, 2007

We on Award Tour: 2007 MTV Movie Awards

After years of just having random hot chicks host, we finally have an actual comedian host the MTV Movie Awards. But as soon as the get something right, they do something as equally wrong to cancel out the goodness, namely replacing professionally done movie spoofs with amateur ones which after seeing the final three, was a huge mistake. You know the spoofs were really bad when the best actually spoofed United 93. You know, the movie that documented the flight that went down in Pennsylvania on September 11th. But the show wasn’t all bad; here are some more thoughts on the festivities:

- We get are very first commercial free pre show and it is pretty clear the Transformers was the one that picked up the tab. I would say a good twenty minutes of the half hour was devoted to the movie. And even though I was a huge Transformers in my youth, there is no way you can get me to see a live action movie version. I have leaned my lesson from the live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies.

It is my newest friend, Mandy Moore- One of the few non Transformers interviews was with Mandy Moore and the dude from The Office (I choose not to type his name not because I can’t spell it but because, well actually, that pretty much sums it up) who hilariously pull out the sarcasm when it is mentioned that Paris Hilton arrive.

- That may have been the worst opening in the awards history. Obviously someone was smoking something when they wrote that.

Your Host Sarah Silverman- At least that was saved but the monologue when Sarah Silverman has even more fun at Paris Hilton’s expense. Is it wrong that my biggest laughs of the night were when people started cheering when Silverman mentioned Hilton’s impending jail team and the subsequence look on her face when Hilton realize everyone hates her.

- We are live for the first time tonight and it seemed there were a lot more cursing then usually even if you take away Silverman’s closing song.

It's the cast of Fantastic 4- The cast of Fantastic Four is out first to present. Pretty much every presenting team was a cast of a movie (I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Live Free or Die Trying, License to Wed, Transformers, Hairspray). It’s like MTV doesn’t even try not to hind they are a complete industry shill. I guess they don’t have to when people like me come back every year. Not surprisingly they handed out the award for best villain to Jack Nicholson because he was prominently shown during the monologue and Jack isn’t showing up if he didn’t win. And since there were no gratuitous shots of him after the award, I bet he walked right out of the auditorium after picking up his award.

- Seriously, the Mac guy is going to be in the next Die Hard movie? Did Bruce Willis just okay this to get iPods for his family? And did he get the Windows guy a cameo?

- They really needed to black out more than they did in the Borat fight scene.

- Apropos that Dane Cook introduced all of the laughless amateur spoof. Almost as unfunny as the spoofs and Cook were those Human Giant spots. Now I know to never watch that show.

- In the rare non-cast presenting team, they took the time machine back to 1997 to team up Posh Spice and Chris Tucker.

Don't ask me what Rihanna is wearing- Is Umbrella really the number one song in the country? The live rock version is was a little better than the album version. Although Rihanna must really be talented if she can sing if we can hear her without her lips movie like at the ends of the performance.

- At least we got one good spoof with Silverman trying to find a presenter. Unfortunately it ended with another poor idea, having a random webcam user present an award.

- Why have an Orbitz Dirty Mouth if they don’t even show the winner let along the nominees. Oh yeah, it was just for a blatant cooperate sponsorship.

- They are resurrecting the Unplugged series for Bon Jovi? Or are they reshowing one from twenty years ago?

- It was nice that MTV made fun of all the annoying people who quote Borat ad nausea with the Boratititus segment. Yes random frat boy, I’m talking to you, stop it, it is not funny when you do it.

- When I heard Mike Myers was going to win the Generations Awards I was excited thinking they were going back to their roots like the great Lifetime Achievement Awards. That was until I realized they were awarding it to Austin Powers not the unkillable homicidal maniac. What was really sad was Myers pulled out an old Wayne’s World joke with the whole sell out part of his acceptance speech.

- As much as I like Amy Winehouse, her performance was a little disappointing as it was the same as her Letterman performance and every other show of the like. They could at least show pictures of Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, et al, behind her. In fact, they just released a remix of the show with Jay-Z, he was already there, he could have jumped on stage.

Amanda Bynes: I'd hit that- I would personally like to thank whoever decided to turn Amanda Bynes into a stripper. She didn’t quite pull it off entirely, but it still worked for me.

- It was nice to see a movie that was universally panned by critics and viewers alike, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest actually took home the Best Movie award. And it is not a good sign when your live awards show actually ends two minutes early. No wonder we rarely saw the morbidly obese dude with the freakish bellybutton.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Best Television Shows of 2006-2007

Much like the STA’s, to be eligible, the show must have had the bulk of the season’s episode between June 2006 and May 2007. So without further ado, here are the top ten best shows of the past year:

1. Veronica Mars 3.x (CW)
2. Friday Night Lights 1.x (NBC)
3. Rescue Me 3.x (FX)
4. My Name Is Earl 2.x (NBC)
5. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip 1.x (NBC)
6. Knights of Prosperity 1.x (ABC)
7. The (White) Rapper Show (VH1)
8. Lost 3.x (ABC)
9. Heroes 1.x (NBC)
10. Survivor: Fiji (CBS)

The breakdown of the networks is below as NBC dominated quality television last year, yet sadly they have been near the bottom of the ratings for most of the year. Also I added up all the Quote of the Week and Song of the Week winners from my 57 Channels and Only This Is On posts that I started back in January of this year just for the fun of it:

NBC (4)
ABC (2)
CW (1)
FX (1)
VH1 (1)
CBS (1)

Quote of the Week
My Name Is Earl (5)
Veronica Mars (5)
Friday Night Lights (3)
Knights of Prosperity (1)
Supernatural (1)
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (1)
South Park (1)
Late Night with Conan O’Brien (1)
Everybody Hates Chris (1)
Lost (1)
How I Met Your Mother (1)

Song of the Week
Knights of Prosperity (5)
Veronica Mars (4)
My Name Is Earl (2)
Friday Night Lights (2)
Everybody Hates Chris (2)
How I Met Your Mother (1)
Smallville (1)
Late Show with David Letterman (1)
Jimmy Kimmel Live (1)