Thursday, May 26, 2005

J.J. Abrams Hate Club Volume 2

I predicted correctly that I would be more forgiving of Lost, but it's not really that much more. I've slowly been getting irritated by this show all season and now I'm wondering, should I just get out now?

The problem with Lost is that it just moves SO SLOW. Networks want to make more money and stretch out successful shows as long as possible, but because Lost has a restricted setting and plotline, that just means that the viewers are perpetually left hanging. There is really just one big mystery to be solved (why the heck they're on the island) and once that's revealed and/or the survivors get off the island, there is no show. You can't just start over. And unlike the X-files (which also had a long, drawn out overarching mystery), there are no small cases that can be wrapped up in one (or two) episodes to keep the show moving. The flashbacks were fine for this season, but do we really want to be finding out even more details about why Jack got on the dang plane two or three years from now? I don't think so.

This season finale had a whopping three parts and we learned basically nothing and were given a whole shitload of other questions. At this point the writers have given themselves so many clues and loose ends that I wonder if any explanation will make sense. Do the writers really think that we're all still going to be watching three years from now if we STILL haven't seen the monster or security system or whatever the heck it is? Maybe there are some patient viewers out there, but I am NOT one of them. At this speed it's practically a daytime soap with better acting. But at least those give you a new episode every day...

J.J. Abrams, you can go and shove that stupid hatch up your ass. Lost is going up against Veronica Mars next season and guess what I'll be watching? If a good number of TWOPers say that the show has redeemed itself with some actual progress (which I highly doubt, considering J.J.'s track record) MAYBE I'll watch it on DVD. That way at least I won't be waiting weeks and months for some damn answers.

J.J. Abrams I hate you

I haven't watched Lost yet but judging from the Alias season finale I do not think I'm going to be happy. I'm not going to say much because Mira hasn't been keeping up and I don't want to spoil her, but I will say that if you haven't watched the finale episode yet, I do not recommend watching the last 3 minutes. Because obviously there is a huge-ass cliffhanger that is going to make you flip out. I seriously screamed "someone shoot me now" at my computer screen.

Anyway, I have decided that I'm never getting sucked into another J.J. Abrams show again, no matter how amazing the premise is. Because he is the most ridiculously manipulative TV screenwriter EVER. He thinks he knows exactly how to get the audience to think that this is great TV. And he's probably right most of the time, but you know what, J.J.? IT DOESN'T WORK FOR ME. Right now, I feel really fucked around with. This show isn't about good characters and realistically progressing's "how do I mess with the audience's heads?" It's frickin' annoying. For me, being shocked does not equal being satisfied. I want scenarios that are clever and surprising but that make sense, not ones that seem pulled out of nowhere for the heck of it. But of course everyone else will think that the show is still excellent, which will only feed J.J. Abrams' ego and ensure that we'll have even more of this crap to come next season, which of course I will be watching because apparently I like pain. See? He's making me hate him and yet I'm still going to be watching his show. Stupid Alias.

I don't know, I think I might be more forgiving of Lost because it was obvious right from the beginning that crazy inexplicable things were going to be happening. But Alias started out somewhat grounded in was all fine when it was just the double agent thing and the fun undercover missions. Now it's just become this preposterous free-for-all. Now that I think about it, the first bad sign was when that stupid page was found with a drawing of Sydney. Maybe I should have just dropped the show then...

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

American Idol, Season 3 done!

I'd only been watching on and off on the occasion, but nonetheless, I am super proud of Carrie Underwood. She's got a strong voice, a strong personality, and is super cute! I probably will not care for any of the music she puts out, but hey, it was fun rooting for her.

TV theme songs

This is a pretty strange and not very complete list, so feel free to comment in your picks. About half of these are songs that I really like and the other half are ones that I thought were very good fits with their shows.

1. Theme Song from Angel by Darling Violetta. All instrumental and just perfect for the feel of the show.

2. "New Version of You" by J.J. Abrams and Andrew Jarecki from Felicity. I actually liked the first theme song a lot and was disappointed when they changed it, but this one really grew on me because the lyrics are just so appropriate: "Can you become/A new version of you...I need a new version of me."

3. "Truth About Romeo" by Pancho's Lament from Jack & Jill. Aw I really miss this show.

4. "Superman" by Lazlo Bane from Scrubs. A very quirky and folky sound which fits in with the feel of the show really well. "I can't do this all on my own/no, I'm no Superman."

5. "Here With Me" by Dido from Roswell. Yeah, I know, typical. I can't really hear this song without thinking of Max and Liz. The original opening credits with Max and Liz looking through the window at the Crashdown at eachother were just amazing.

6. X-Files Theme by Mark Snow. All of his scoring for the show was just excellent. I'm not really sure how to describe it but it's very creepy.

7. "Next Year" by the Foo Fighters from Ed. So I never really watched this show but I thought the song was just so appropriate, with the lyrics "I'll be coming home next year" (well, even though Ed came home this year...)

8. Theme from My So-Called Life. I've mentioned this one before...very watchable opening credits.

9. "For the Love of Money" by the O'Jays from the Apprentice. Come on, can you think of a better theme song for this show??

10. (tie) "Save Me" by Remy Zero from Smallville and "California" by Phantom Planet from the OC. I really like these songs independently of the TV shows (good thing because I can't stand Smallville anymore) but they were just such perfect, obvious choices for their respective shows.

And some ones that I hate: "I Don't Want to Wait" by Paula Cole for Dawson's Creek, "Closer to Free" by the BoDeans for Party of Five, and the stupid Alias theme.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

24 season finale

A lot of people have been bitter and critical about this season because a lot of things have been unrealistic or just plain ridiculous, and I partly agree...I mean, the ability of everyone to get from CTU to anywhere in LA or vice versa in the span of a commercial break is preposterous, and man, how many times can Marwan escape? Smartest terrorist ever, seriously. Plus CTU needs to learn to put up better perimeters. These things probably would have bothered the heck out of me on another show, but for some reason 24 still remains in my good graces. I think it's just the fact that each season is inherently self-contained and I know that the major crisis of the day is going to be resolved, so I don't have to worry about where the heck the plotline is going and about the season ending on cliffhangers or anything. And no one says "Dammit!" when things go wrong like Kiefer, hehe.

Anyway, I'm glad that the writers realized that even though they want to be known for taking risks and putting on a suspenseful and riveting show, the audience will still care more about the characters. Jack, Michelle, Tony, and Chloe were really the heart of the show for me, and killing off any of them would have really pissed me off, regardless of how it would make for good TV. That said, it was a smart move to resolve the whole missile issue without too many complications in the middle of the episode and then deal with what we really cared about: what was going to happen to Jack.

But first yay for Michelle and Tony getting back together! Haha, they might possibly be my favorite couple on TV because they're on a show where relationships aren't front and center and therefore don't have to be messed with. They agreed to leave CTU and start over somewhere else so I'm going to pretend that they're going to live happily ever after...well, at least until January. FOX is doing the nonstop season again, and they haven't revealed much about who they're bringing back, except for Chloe and Jack. Michelle and Tony are fan favorites though, so who knows. Although Jack's situation is going to make things really interesting...I mean, he has a new identity! How can Jack Bauer save the world if Jack Bauer doesn't exist??

I also commend this season for having pretty good supporting characters. Curtis was cool, and I ended up liking Buchanan too. I was annoyed by his presence as Tony's competition for Michelle or whatever, but once that got snuffed, I liked his efficiency. Audrey was also annoying for awhile, but I have to say that she's my favorite of Jack's love interests so far. Well, better than Kate and Claudia anyway. She definitely had the worst day out of everyone...she and her father get kidnapped, her brother was first suspected to be involved with the terrorists and then just ends up being gay, her husband dies, and then she's told that Jack's dead too? You gotta feel some sympathy for that. I ended up liking Paul Raines a lot too. And TerrorMom was awesome. 24 seems to be really good at introducing characters that you want to hate and then redeeming them later on.

Oh but President Logan was a total wuss and I gotta say, I'm going to be examining vice-presidential candidates more carefully from now on....

Lots of thoughts and I could probably go on and on but I'll stop. I'll end with my only nitpick about the finale...what happened to Behrooz?? Poor kid. He had a really crappy day too...

Monday, May 23, 2005

some links

I should be posting relatively often this week, what with the big season finales of my "serious" television shows: 24, House, Lost, and Alias, but I thought I'd just make a quick post with some of our new favorite links:

  • Go Fug Yourself: Hilarious fashion commentary. I used to like E!Online's Fashion Police, but Go Fug Yourself is infinitely more amusing because they post only the most ridiculous and yes, fugly, celebrity outfits.

  • Pink is the New Blog: Updated daily with lots of celebrity gossip and photos. I like the hot pink captions on the photos, haha.

  • Meg's Diary: Author of the Princess Diaries, the Mediator and countless other girly young adult books. She babbles about TV and movies and gossip and her life, all while sounding about 15 years old (I guess that's why she writes teen lit). Gets tiring after awhile but I really wonder if I'm going to end up like her.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

the OC is postworthy

I don't want to push down Jen's post on Episode 3 but man, today's season finale of The OC is so worth it. Okay, most of the episode had me cringing. And then when the scene that looked like Marissa was getting shot happened and it turned out she wasn't shot? I was pretty darn pissed. I felt like I was robbed of that moment by the writers. Then there were all those rumors about Oliver showing up? And he didn't, but it was awesome when Seth and Ryan were commiserating over Kirsten's departure and the doorbell rings, and Seth goes, "The only thing that could make this better would be for Oliver to be at the door now." (that's definitely not word-for-word, but you get the general idea)

Anywho, the final final scene... Ahh, writers of The OC, you are extremely good at redeeming yourselves. Mid-season when it looked like it couldn't get any worse, the characters couldn't get any more annoying? You fixed it with the Seth-Summer Spiderman kiss reconciliation. Today when it just felt like the show was getting worse and worse and worse? You fixed it with the final scene. That was beautiful. I read somewhere that the director of the show didn't even give the cast the final page of the script until the day of the shooting. Because he wanted to keep the grand finale a big secret. Man, that was wonderful! The OC, you made me happy with you again. Now I can go into the summer feeling fuzzy happy thoughts towards your show. And next season when the 3rd season premiers? I'll actually look forward to it!

Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith

So I'm not really a hardcore Star Wars fan but I went to see this yesterday (er, today) at midnight. I was a little disappointed that there were no crazy people in costume and stuff like that, but I guess this is Ithaca and basically everyone in the theater was a college student in the middle of finals...not too much time to plan those things.

Anyway, no, this was not the best Star Wars movie ever. But it was such a vast improvment over the last two installments that I left the theater feeling pretty satisfied with how the whole saga was finished off. The second half, which was setting up the beginning of Episode IV, was especially good.

The bad stuff first: George Lucas still writes some of the worst dialogue on the planet. That campy, cheesy stuff worked back in the 70s and 80s with the plastic models and whatever, but this is a visually slick, serious movie. The "romantic" scenes between Anakin and Padme were so fantastically bad that they were comical. I wonder how the actors managed to get some of those lines out without cracking up. (A classic: Padme crying "Hold me!") A lot of the acting left something to be desired too, but I blame most of that on bad writing. There were some bright spots though: Ewan McGregor was wonderful in his last pleas to Anakin, Ian McDiarmid did a pretty good job at revealing himself as the Sith lord, and Samuel L. Jackson and Jimmy Smits were solid. And the computer generated characters were great too...who knew that beeps and flashing lights could be so expressive?

But what is up with the ridiculous names that Lucas makes up? He seems to really like the "oo" sound, with Count Dooku, Naboo, Wookies, Tatooine...seriously, even Voldemort sounds scarier than DOOKU. And General Grievous? He just sucked all around, but his name was so stupid.

I was also a little underwhelmed with Anakin's turn to the Dark Side. I mean, yeah, we saw that he was all conflicted and upset and blah blah, but those final moments before he finally gave in didn't really cut it for me. He was all like, "that's not the Jedi way!" and "what have I done?" and then all of a sudden, "yes, I will serve you, master." Maybe a better actor would have made it more believable, but I wasn't too happy with that.

Anyway, the first half was a lot like Episode II, with plenty of special effects, battle scenes, stupid romantic encounters, Anakin's whining...but the second half really picked it up. Obi-Wan's fight with Count Grievous was fun, and the scenes where the Jedi were betrayed and killed were pretty chilling. The final fights between Obi-Wan/Anakin and Yoda/Palpatine were cut together really well, as were the suiting of Darth Vadar and the birth of the twins. They were very serious...tragic almost. Anakin's final transformation in to Vadar wasn't a triumph, as you might have expected. It was depressing. Especially since the so-called reason he turned to the Dark Side didn't even work out (Padme still died in childbirth). Emotionally, a very well done ending.

A few fun things: the Wookies and Chewbacca make their first appearance, Jar Jar Binks shows up at Padme's funeral (someone in the audience said out loud, "It's Jar Jar!" which was great), and Padme wears Leia's classic hairdo (I guess hairstyle runs in the family).

Oh, and my one big nitpick: Padme was definitely not big enough to give birth to two pretty normally sized babies. I personally know a woman who recently gave birth to twins who were both almost seven pounds, and she was HUGE. Yeah, Natalie's a small girl and it probably wouldn't have been attractive to put her in a larger pregnancy belly, but come on, people. She really barely looked pregnant at all.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Gilmore Girls finale

I don't really understand why all the critics are saying that this season of Gilmore Girls has been the strongest yet because all I'm going to remember about it is how completely unlikeable and irritating Rory has become. Even Luke and Lorelai aren't making up for that because the writers gave them such little attention and seemed to be more concerned with Taylor and Kirk and even that stupid troubadour.

About Rory dropping out of Yale: I was actually glad that Mitchum gave her the smackdown last episode because truthfully I don't think that she'd make a great journalist either. I mean, I'm sure she's a good writer and she'd probably do fine at a smaller paper but Christiane Amanpour she is not. I mean, I did feel a little sorry for her, because she obviously feels like her dream has been crushed, but her comment about not wanting to be around people with goals? I don't go to Yale, but I'm pretty sure that the Ivy Leagues are FILLED with people who have no idea what they want to do with their lives. Plus Yale (along with most other universities) does not have an undergraduate journalism major. I assume she's majoring in English or something similar, which we've seen that she enjoys. Heck, she supposedly enjoys learning about EVERYTHING. Yeah, so being an English major isn't exactly career-oriented, but it's been known to serve as a pretty good background for almost anything liberal arts oriented that you would want to do. I mean, is Rory really going to realize that she really wanted to be an engineer instead? Highly doubtful.

But seriously, if she's been wanting to be a journalist for her entire life, wouldn't she have put up more of a fight?

On the other hand, I do think Lorelai was overreacting a little. I mean, Rory wasn't wrong about it being common for college kids to take time off. But Lorelai seemed to think that this meant that Rory wasn't ever going to go back and that her life was ruined. I think Rory's been incredibly stupid, but I don't think she's going to give in to a life without a college degree. Yeah, Lorelai fed the whole Harvard dream from day one, but last time I checked, Rory was the one driving.

And Rory running to Richard and Emily and crying? Geez, maybe if she was like ten years old that would have been acceptable. This whole situation is just ridiculous. If next season is going to have Rory living off of Richard and Emily and discovering some artistic passion or some other junk I'm going to barf.

Luke and Lorelai better get married dammit!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

This makes a grand total of two movies that I've seen in theaters this semester...although I guess I have gone to Cornell Cinema more than usual.

Anyway, I spontaneously went to see this movie last night. I hadn't really been planning to, but I had heard some good things about it although my expectations weren't too high. I read the book a few years back and I was kind of afraid of the prospect of it turning into a movie because it's so wacky and a lot of things could have gone wrong.

But I did enjoy it. I thought parts of it were really funny but then the audience didn't seem too receptive...I guess most actual fans of Hitchhiker and this kind of humor had seen it already. There were more than a few moments where I was one of the only people in the theater laughing.

I thought that the casting of Arthur was just right and I really loved Marvin with his perfect voicing by Alan Rickman. And Mos Def was pretty good too.

Not much else to next movie review will probably be the infamous Episode III which I am prepared to hate but maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised?

Saturday, May 14, 2005

What was I thinking?!

So, I went and saw Monster-in-Law yesterday on its opening day. It LOOKED cute, and Michael Vartan IS cute, so no matter how many bad reviews I saw about it? I decided to go anyway...

Okay, the dialogue was so terribly written. I think that if they pushed a little harder, and took the movie less seriously, it could've been a good mockery of all bad romantic comedy movies. But nope, they actually took themselves seriously and managed to combine all the worst elements of romantic comedies. It was like watching a junior high school play. Seriously! Also there were points in the movie where you just didn't feel like it could get worse? And then all of a sudden it took a nosedive and became even more terrible. And by points, I really do mean that this happened SEVERAL times.

It did have 1 redeeming factor though. Well, no, I'll say 2. First one, the lesser of the two, is that Michael Vartan is indeed a very, very goodlooking man. The second one is that there were these two annoying vertical green stripes going through the movie the ENTIRE time. And on the occasion it would dance across the screen. Well due to those two annoying green stripes, I got a free movie pass to the theater. So that terrible movie I had just sat through? I can officially feel like I didn't really have to PAY to see it. *whew*

All in all, don't go see Monster-in-Law in theaters. When it comes out on video, don't rent it. When it finally gets thrown to TBS "we know funny," I'd strongly suggest changing the channel.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Renee Zellweger and Kenny Chesney MARRIED?!?!

I thought she was dating Damien Rice!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

rewatching Dark Angel season 1

I really loved this show when it first aired, and watching it again, I think I love it even more. There just hasn't been anything on TV quite like it since. The premise is very movie-like, which isn't suprising since the show was created by James Cameron. The two main components of the show work amazingly well together: first, a future United States as a rundown third-world country, and second, a group of escaped genetically-enhanced soldiers trying to keep their cover but also make some kind of life for themselves. Seattle made for the perfect gloomy setting, and the sets and locations were amazing.

I suppose a lot of people would say that the acting wasn't too great on this show and I'm not really going to disagree...there was a lot of slang that ended up sounding forced and kind of ridiculous, but I kind of just got used to it. I personally really liked Max, and I thought Jessica Alba did a pretty good job at blending Max's tough, kick-ass exterior with justifiably tortured inner self. She had a strong presence and had no problems carrying the show. And I loved Logan. (Haha, what is it with me and characters named Logan?) Plus he and Max had really good chemistry.

What really makes or breaks a superhero type storyline for me, though, is the villain. And Season 1's villain, Lydecker, was just the way I like villains, complex and almost relatable. While you could feel and understand Max's hatred toward the man, it was obvious that he almost thought of and cared about the X5s as his children.

Max's friends rounded out the cast. Her first roommate Kendra, was pretty annoying and I'm glad that the writers phased her out. Normal was hilarious, and in my opinion Valarie Rae Miller put on the most natural performance of the entire cast as Original Cindy.

The special effects and fights were all incredible too...a lot of the scenes looked like a movie, and I've read that the budgets were indicative of that too.

Oh, and the best thing about this DVD set? The really great commentary by Jessica Alba and Michael Weatherly on the season finale. I love commentaries! This one seemed especially honest, as they didn't hide their unhappiness with the second season, and also made mention of their real-life relationship, even though I don't think they were still together at the time of recording.

People are constantly comparing this show to Buffy, but I think that's kind of unfair, because they have really different feels. I think it basically boils down to the fact that Buffy was fantasy while Dark Angel is stauchly in these things could actually happen. Sigh, I miss sci-fi on TV.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Slope Day 2005

So my last Slope Day has come and gone, meaning that I am only four final exams (and one lab report) away from graduation! Yay!

For those unfamiliar with Slope Day, another quick explanation: the last day of classes (though not too many people actually go to their classes), large stretch of green hillside known as the Slope, only Cornell students and a limited number of guests allowed, two IDs checked to get $1 cups of beer (although most people get trashed beforehand), lots of cheap and free food, and this year, performances by the Starting Line, the Game, and Snoop Dogg. For photos see here. Good times had by all!

Anyway, not to stray too far from the theme of this blog, my takes on the performances:

The Starting Line: Went on at 2 o'clock-ish before most people even got to the Slope and there were only a handful of us who were actually excited for them. I was right up front and had a great view of the band. Perhaps it was the outdoor venue, but the sound was really good...the vocals weren't drowned out at all. They sounded pretty much exactly like their album, which was a good thing. The only annoying thing was the people behind me who were obviously just waiting for Snoop and were making comments like "who ARE these guys?" Oh, well. They're not my favorite band ever but I thought they were pretty good.

The Game: Um, wasn't really paying attention because we were wandering around getting beer and ice cream and trying to find people.

Snoop Dogg: REALLY FUN! Haha, so I'm not a fan of rap at all, and I've only heard his most famous stuff, but well, it was Snoop! By the time he started, the Slope was packed, so I couldn't see anything until my very nice friend offered to lift me up on his shoulders so I could watch for a little while and get some pictures. That was pretty awesome. I think I was mostly just amused because the whole thing seemed so noncohesive with our Ivy-League-ness. Haha, well, whatever. He finished off with Drop it Like it's Hot at around 5, ending a somewhat surreal but definitely memorable day.

Friday, May 06, 2005

holy crap the oc

HOLY CRAP! Agh, AGH!!! AGH!!!!!!!!!

That is all.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

gilmore girls again

*sigh* This is getting painful to watch! Frickin'... I think I'm switching favorite shows to the medical ones: House and Grey's Anatomy... Man, and Desperate Housewives is just getting worse and worse! TV, you're NOT keeping me happy! GRR!!!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (by Ann Brashares)

In anticipation of the upcoming movie of the same title, with Alexis Bledel and Amber Tamblyn, I read all three books in this series over the past month or so. Yes, I know that I'm sort of too old to be still be interested in teen books and movies, but it's still my favorite kind of "light" entertainment because it's so fluffy and requires such little concentration.

The Second Summer of the Sisterhood and Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood are so similar to the first book that there's really no point in reviewing them all separately. This is classic teen girl stuff: it's sappy. It's cliched. At points it's rather annoying. But it's cute enough to be somewhat comforting. It kind of reminds me of the movie Now and Then because it's about four best girlfriends who all fit into different personality categories. The difference is that the Sisterhood books are set in the present and the girls are older, but the same feel is definitely there.

The four girls are: Tibby, the artsy chick with former hippie parents and much younger siblings; Lena, the quiet and beautiful Greek girl; Carmen, the outgoing girl with divorced parent issues; and Bridget (Bee), the spontaneous soccer jock. My favorite was Tibby, partly because her storylines were more unconventional. Lena was pretty boring, Carmen was too predictable, and Bee I just couldn't relate to. (This only reinforces the fact that I don't get along with most girls very well.)

There isn't really much else to say...the premise of the books is a bit odd though, now that I think about it. Magical jeans that perfectly fit 4 girls of different heights and sizes? What the heck? They decide to rotate the pants among eachother during each summer, which is, of course, only something that silly teenage girls would do. In the first book, the girls are in different parts of the world (Greece, Mexico, Maryland, and South Carolina), and the first thing I thought about was about how much postage that was, and how much time the pants spent in the mail. Haha.

Anyway, I have to say that I did enjoy reading the books. I haven't read any teen lit in awhile, and I kind of miss all those teen movies from the nineties like 10 Things I Hate About You and Bring it On and She's All That so I'm looking forward to seeing the movie too.