“Do you hear the people sing?
Lost in the valley of the night
It is the music of a people who are climbing to the light.
For the wretched of the earth there is a flame that never dies,
Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”
I feel like most musical theatre fans of my age really cut their teeth on Les Miserables. While my parents had taken me to see other shows (including the other 80’s British Behemoth Phantom of the Opera), Les Mis was the first musical that I would listen to for hours on end. Oh, how I wanted to be Eponine when I was a teenager (which is interesting, because as an adult, my tastes lean more towards Fantine)! I would listen to the CDs in the car, often having a MAJOR solo singalong to “One Day More” in which I would do all the different voices. So needless to say, when it was announced that the musical was FINALLY coming to the big screen, I had high expectations. I devoured each little tidbit of news…Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean!! Russell Crowe as Javert? Hmmmm. Annie Hathaway as Fantine? Hey, she can sing. Amanda Seyfried as Cosette? Meh, nobody likes Cosette anyway. HOLD THE PHONE TAYLOR SWIFT IS GOING TO BE EPONINE?!?!?! NO. No no no no no no. WAIT…Eponine is NOT T-Swift but is instead West End Actress Samantha Barks, who was good enough to play the role in the 25th Anniversary concert? WHEW.
The trailer was amazing. All the art work was amazing. Word that came out of advanced screenings was rapturous. People were weeping and then giving it standing ovations. They declared the Oscar Race for Best Supporting Actress over before it even started…everybody else go home, cause Anne Hathaway has this in the bag.
All the online chatter did not help temper my expectations. Could Les Mis possibly live up to the hype? I dragged my family along with me to the first screening on Christmas Morning to find out…
Obviously, there are spoilers. But what do you care? You know the Cast Recording inside out, don’t you?
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the current state of the romantic comedy is not so good. It’s been steadily deteriorating since the rise of the soulless overstuffed ensemble holiday movie and the beginning of the dark reign of Katherine Heigl. Meg Ryan has been ritualistically sacrificing her face in protest for years.
Romcom junkies like myself mourned the passing of our patron saint, Nora Ephron, by breaking out the classics. When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle are the gold standard. But there was a time when Hollywood was kinder to us, and also churned out a series of relatively cheap and mostly inoffensive romantic comedies that are now largely relegated to the Wal-Mart $3.99 DVD bin. I’m here to point out a few of those films that deserve a better fate. Read on for six romcoms that I deem tragically underrated.
If you watched Just Friends once and thought it was just okay, I beg you to watch it again. And then watch it three more times. And from that point on, you will think it’s the funniest goddamn thing you’ve ever seen. It’s just that kind of movie.
Just Friends has everything you need in a Saturday afternoon Comedy Central movie: Ryan Reynolds in a fat suit; Anna Faris as a psychotic Britney-esque pop star (“You and I are gonna be the greatest musical manager team since Jessica Simpson and her father. Only you and I get to reooowr and they can’t, ’cause it’s illegal. I looked it up.”); the mom from What About Bob?; and some ruminations on whether we can ever truly escape high school.
It’s also immensely quotable, both in surprisingly clever one-liners (“You’re Chris Brander. You’re Hollywood, you date models. He’s Jersey, he skis in his jeans.”) or nonsensical outbursts (“TJ!”) And bonus for this time of year: it’s a Christmas movie! That means it will be on cable thousands of times over the next week, and you can quickly knock out the recommended number of viewings. PS: …Anna Faris.
Bob’s beloved wife Elizabeth dies in a car accident. Grace (Minnie Driver) is very sick, but gets Elizabeth’s heart in a transplant. Bob is completely destroyed until he meets Grace, who basically brings him back to life. The premise of this one is saccharine for sure (it’s the SAME HEART THAT LOVES HIM ALL ALONG), but don’t let it put you off. Return to Me is so simple and gorgeous, it’s stuns me every time I watch it. It’s a charmingly old-fashioned film completely devoid of irony and cynicism.
That’s not to say that Return to Me lacks raw emotion. Nope, nope, nope. Elizabeth’s death is brutal, and the movie lets poor Bob (and their dog, sob) mourn her. My favorite part is after Bob has first meets Grace and he makes an excuse to go back to her family’s Irish-Italian (yes) restaurant where she works. He gets on a step stool, takes a box down from a closet shelf, brushes off the dust, and puts on his good shoes for the first time in who knows how long. All my creys. No movie like this would be greenlit today, and that makes me incredibly sad.
Return to Me‘s other charms include: David Alan Grier and the fabulous Bonnie Hunt; signing gorillas; a Dean Martin-heavy soundtrack, obviously; the cutest old people YOU WILL EVER SEE; and permanent entry on my Common Law Top 5: David Duchovny.
I was expecting madness on the TV Comedy side this morning when The Golden Globe nominations were announced. I ranted about it yesterday in my post about the SAG nominations. So while I am not happy about the insanity that is the TV Comedy section of the Globe Nominations, as LEAST I was prepared. I was NOT prepared for the madness of the drama nominations. Let’s get right to it, shall we?
Best Television Series — Drama
THEY SNUBBED MAD MEN.
I’ll say it again.
THEY SNUBBED MAD MEN. The show that THEY were the first real champion of. The show that has won this award THREE TIMES.
The Hollywood Foreign Press is notorious for not only loving shiny new playthings but for constantly sucking up to super famous people. And The Newsroom is both a shiny new plaything and it’s from a sort of well known guy called Aaron Sorkin. So of COURSE The HFPA was going to fawn over The Newsroom. I just never thought it would be at the expense of Mad Men. (Also, I am saying all of this as someone who is a FAN of The Newsroom. I really am. But…but…MAD MEN THOUGH, YOU GUYS!!)
Also, I still don’t get the obsession with Boardwalk Empire. It bored me to tears in the first few episodes of Season One, so I gave up on it. I can see why it’s an awards magnet: it’s a lavishly designed period piece (see also: Downton Abbey, except Downton is freaking flawless and emotionally engaging). I just never really connected with Boardwalk, so I gave up. Should I try again in ALL of my free time, dear readers? Let me know.
All of this being said, I still think this award is Homeland‘s to lose.
Well, my friends, it is that time of year again: Awards Season is upon us. The time of year when we celebrate the best of the best in film and television at the Golden Globes, The SAG Awards, The Critics Choice awards and the Super Bowl of Pop Culture, the Academy Awards.
It’s also the time of year when people with evolved tastes in television scream at their TVs and Computers in agony on a regular basis.
The SAG nominations came out this morning, and the Golden Globe nods come out tomorrow. So expect to hear a LOT of me screaming about my shows over the next few days.
It never ceases to amaze me at how while the SAG nominations tend to get the film side SO RIGHT, they get the television side (ESPECIALLY the comedies) SO WRONG. Are the Comedy ballots at the back of their books and they are just tired of really thinking about who should be nominated so they just check off all the usual suspects because they are lazy??? Do they know what the word “ensemble” means (here’s a hint: it DOESN’T mean just a really big cast)? More importantly, do they know what the word “COMEDY” means?? I really question whether or not they do.
I will also never cease to understand how they don’t have a category for supporting performances on the television side. How in the HELL can you lump in a supporting player like Christina Hendricks or Neil Patrick Harris with leading performances like Juliana Marguiles and Jim Parsons? The supporting actors, outside of the Modern Family cast or Dame Maggie Smith, don’t have a chance in HELL of being recognized.
Let’s take a look at the nominees, shall we?
Best Comedy Ensemble
The Big Bang Theory
I’m sorry…in what UNIVERSE is the really big cast…erm “ensemble” of Glee better than the ensembles of both Parks and Recreation and Community?? Are the SAG members merely sucking up to uber-producer Ryan Murphy because they all want jobs?? Glee lost its relevance and critical acclaim several seasons ago and is a SHADOW of its former self creatively. And this is coming from someone who thought Glee was BRILLIANT in its first season and a half or so. I don’t understand at all how it is still getting nominated for ACTING. Are they WATCHING the show? The acting is horrendous. And the cast does not work together as an ensemble. Jane Lynch and Matthew Morrison are barely on the show anymore. Most of the original cast has been downgraded to recurring status. Also tears/over emotive singing does NOT equal good acting.
Also SAG voters? The Sopranos (one of the most overrated shows in the history of TV IMO, but that’s another post) went off the air five years ago. Mayhaps it is time to move on from your infatuation with all things Edie Falco. Cause that is the only reason I can think of for your constant nominating of Nurse Jackie. I’m not even a massive fan of Girls, but even I can say that if you were going to nominate an edgy cable comedy, it should have been Girls over Nurse Jackie. I think some people are jealous of Lena Dunham being so successful at age 26.
The Big Bang Theory is the biggest comedy on television, so their nomination was a given. Modern Family, while some (me included, only cause I want other shows to get a chance) whine about it being overpraised, is the three-time Emmy champ and an excellent ensemble of comic actors. It’s the last hurrah for perennial winner 30 Rock and past winner The Office so I wasn’t surprised by those nominations. 30 Rock is having a pretty stellar final season and while it’s not at all what it used to be, the cast of The Office has always been a true ensemble, so I am fine with their nomination. But I can’t help but think/rage that the other two Thursday night NBC comedies, Community and Parks and Recreation are the ones who should be on the list.
ESPECIALLY Parks and Recreation. If you look up the word “ensemble” in the dictionary, you would find a picture of Leslie Knope and Company.
Every since FGQ (Flawless Ginger Queen) Christina Hendricks took runner-up in our Sexiest Woman Alive poll, I’ve been wanting to do a post dedicated to some of our other favorite redheads. Just doing my part to preserve the tradition, since apparently we are headed to extinction. Help me appreciate these flame-haired wonders while you still can.
Dana Scully – The X-Files
Special Agent Dana Scully has been my role model since I was 13. She’s tough, compassionate, and basically a genius. Also, she got exponentially hotter as the show went on. Do all redheads age so well? One can only hope.
Hoban “Wash” Washburne – Firefly/Serenity
Siiiigh. Oh, Wash. Waaasssshhh. *sobs*
Still not over it.
Amy Pond – Doctor Who
Amy Pond brought some trademark ginger sauciness to Doctor Who. She’s that girl you wanted to hate in high school because all the boys wanted her, but you couldn’t, because she was so cool. P.S. She essentially inspired Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. How many blondes can say that?
Ariel – The Little Mermaid
Ariel is the most realistic Disney princess of our generation, possibly ever. She is the same selfish, whiny teenager we all were, only with fins. It was actually refreshing. I like my heroines flawed. And can we please talk about the gorgeousness of the animation of that hair?
Lily Aldrin – How I Met Your Mother
Friend. Wife. Mother. Slap-Bet Commissioner. Lily Aldrin-Eriksen does it all.
Donna Noble – Doctor Who
If Amy is the sauce, Donna is the sass. Donna Noble won’t be having any of your shit. But she will have a salute, thank you.
The Weasleys – Harry Potter
No list of ginger worship would be complete without the Weasleys. Sure, they’re wacky and fun. But let’s not forget their sheer badassery. If it weren’t for the Weasley family, we’d all be Death Eaters by now.
There are many, many more awe-inspiring reds in the world of pop culture, and this post is far from comprehensive. Did we miss your favorite ginger character? Put it in the comments.
“Screw it, we’re doing this.”
The fact that we both subscribe to this philosophy has always been one of the best parts of our friendship. In other words, when faced with a potential celebrity encounter, if one of us starts to chicken out, the other is always there to say, “Nope, this is happening.” Some may call this behavior enabling. We call it making sure our lives are as awesome as possible. Allow us to reflect on how this mantra has worked for us.
Earlier this year I went to a screening of Friends With Kids with Sage and our friend Samantha. This wasn’t any ordinary screening, mind you. This was a screening that had a Q&A with the Sexy Elf King himself, Adam Scott (who happens to be in Sage’s Top 5). First of all, if you haven’t seen Friends With Kids, bump it to the top of your Netflix queue IMMEDIATELY. It’s fantastic, and Adam is perfect in it. We got seats at the front of the theatre so we could have the best possible view of Adam and his epic hair. And believe me…the hair is more epic in person.