Photo Courtesy/Copyright CBS
June 09, 2011
May 31, 2011
Okay, Scotty McCreery was pretty easy because he won just last week.
Last year? A little tougher...oh yeah, Lee DeWyze.
But tell me, what does good old Lee look like? Can't remember? I wouldn't be surprised.
First a little congrats to Scotty McCreery. He seems like a nice kid and he'll sell a whole bunch of country records, so I wish him well.
I'll never listen to another thing he sings because that style of pure country just ain't my thing, but the kid's talented and good on him for winning.
Having said that, from this viewer's standpoint, this year's "Idol" was a big disappointment. After starting out promising enough and coming up with a talented group of contenders, for some reason the show squeezed all that talent right out of them as soon as they became finalists.
During the auditions and Hollywood week, they took chances and they created memorable performances. Once they hit the big stage, almost all of them became cookie cutter, ballad singing, nervous wrecks.
Naima Adedapo took the most risks and was an excellent performer but her fusion of Elton John and reggae did her in. Jacob Lusk had a fabulous, pure gospel voice, but his overtly gay mannerisms probably did him in. James Durbin and Casey Abrams were the most entertaining performers, but Casey's evil beard and James' mix of metal and tears weren't what this year's voting public wanted.
Then there was the judging. Or lack thereof. Steven Tyler was a waste of time with his effusive compliments no matter how mediocre a performer was and though Randy tried to bring some honest critique to the table, too often he also got caught up in the lovefest.
The highlight of the season? Jennifer Lopez. She did herself and her career a whole lot of good by getting this gig, and with just a bit more honesty, will turn into a terrific judge. Being treated to hubby Marc Anthony performing on the show was an added bonus.
But back to business. Here are five things Nigel Lythgoe and his producing cohorts need to consider for next year to make this viewer happier:
- Give the judges a good talking to. Remind them that if they're going to say that everyone is wonderful, there's no reason for them to exist after the auditions and they'll be fired as soon as the final twelve are picked.
- Limit the number of ballads. I don't care if they have to have up-tempo nights or something, but they gotta get these kids off that ballad bandwagon and make them perform. You listening Pia Toscano?
- In the same vein, have a couple of "judges choice" nights where the judges choose songs for the performers. The only limitation being that the songs have to be of similar tempo or style.
- Bring back more guest mentors. Yeah, that producer guy who was mentor all season was supposed to be the "music industry expert," but viewers didn't care who he was and he added nothing to the proceedings. On the other hand, Lady Gaga showing James Durbin how to shake his hips? That stuff was priceless, and we need more of it.
- Limit text voting. Yeah, I know I'm spitting into the wind on this one, but the bobbysoxer vote has run amok and it's time to balance the voting so that the few remaining adults viewers feel their votes will count as much as the fourteen year old Bieber-babies.
I've said my peace. Nigel, ya' listening?
Images Courtesy FOX
May 25, 2011
The Oprah Winfrey Show is over and I've used up the last of the Kleenex.
Before watching the show, I had all kinds of things I planned to say about why I’ll miss Oprah’s daily hour of love, laughter, pathos, confession, inspiration and enlightenment.
But what I wanted to write changed after watching the show.
You see, today's Oprah show finale talked to me like so many other Oprah shows have talked to me in the past, and at a time when I needed it most.
Right now my life is in upheaval: I’m going to graduate school to figure out what the next phase of my work life will be, and that’s frightening as hell; I’m dealing with my difficult mother who’s alone since my stepfather passed away last year; I’m still looking for that lifetime partner that I often despair of finding; And hardest of all, my usual safety net of friends has, for a variety of reasons, not been available for the support I desperately need.
But today, Oprah did for me what she always does: she inspired me, she gave me hope, she reminded me that I have the power to change my life, and she reminded me I’m worthwhile.
Because as she said during the show, she too was “a lonely little girl who felt not a lot of love.”
May 13, 2011
Ashton Kutcher has been confirmed as Charlie Sheen's replacement on CBS' "Two and a half Men."
And all is right with the world.
Kutcher said in a statement:
I can't wait to get to work with this ridiculously talented 2.5 team and I believe we can fill the stage with laughter that will echo in viewers' homes. I can't replace Charlie Sheen but I'm going to work my ass off to entertain the hell out of people!
Chuck Lorre, creator and executive producer of "Two and a Half Men" said in a statement:
We are so lucky to have someone as talented, joyful and just plain remarkable as Ashton joining our family. Added to that is the deep sigh of relief knowing that our family stays together. If I was any happier, it'd be illegal.
Speaking of Chuck, among other things, he told TMZ:
Enjoy planet Chuck, Ashton. There is no air, laughter, loyalty, or love there.
Yeah, sure okay.
It's a great choice for CBS and a great choice for Kutcher!
I know I'll be watching--and so will Charlie.
May 02, 2011
Now that the snow has melted and the sun has returned, it's time to think about summer movies! Big blockbusters, exciting sequels and best selling adaptations are all in the mix, so here's my take on some of the movies you can look for this summer:
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"
Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, 7/15
Harry and the gang have their final battles in this, the last of the Harry Potter cinematic dynasty. The three stars have already moved on: Daniel Radcliffe is on Broadway, Emma Watson is dropping out of Brown and Rupert Grint's in Norway shooting a movie. But no matter what these three do in the future, they'll always have the pride of knowing they were part of one of the best movie franchises of all time.
"Cowboys and Aliens"
Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, 7/29
You know the age-old, fanboy question: who would win in a fight, cavemen or astronauts? Well the title of this movie reminds me of that. Who would win in a fight, cowboys or aliens? If it’s a movie produced by Hollywood, I’d have to give the edge to the cowboys. And when it stars Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford as two of the cowboys, you gotta know the aliens won’t have a chance.
With a screenplay by "Fringe" and "Alias" alums, Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman, and "Lost's" Damon Lindelof, among others, I have high hopes for this one. Saddle up!
April 22, 2011
April 14, 2011
Stevie Nicks and Sheryl Crow, Joan Jett and Miley Cyrus, Salt-N-Pepa, Pat Benatar and Avril Lavigne all sang and it was a nice musical flashback.
It all ended with a rousing rendition of "We Are Family" with Sister Sledge, Oprah and the others.
You can catch some of the performances on Oprah.com.
And even though it was a good time, what was really frightening was, I know I'm old when "Push It" by Salt-N-Pepa sounds quaint compared to some of the raw stuff being downloaded from iTunes today.
Photo: Harpo Productions
March 25, 2011
They nearly gave him a heart attack when they gave him the save, but the judges gave it to him anyway.
It happened because America's teeny-boppers don't like Casey Abrams' big talent and even bigger tendency to growl, and gave him the boot.
Then, in dramatic fashion, Ryan Seacrest interrupts Casey's "sing for your life" performance so the judges can deliver the verdict. Poor Casey looked like he might end up in a hospital for the third time this season and collapsed onto the stage, he was that stunned.
"Oh my f*cking God," was how he put it.
He was emotional, the other Idols were emotional, the judges were emotional. Casey ran over to the judges table to ask them all if they were serious. They were.
So the save is off the table y'all. Let this be a warning to all the other Idols. Oh, and if I'm not mistaken, that means two will go home next week.
In other Idol news, Boo on the producers for tipping their hands by having Seacrest continuously say there was going to be a shocking elimination. Way to telegraph, people!
Of course that could only mean Jacob Lusk, Casey Abrams or the country baratone whose name escapes me at the moment. Oh yeah--Scotty McCreery.
None of the others, for a variety of reasons would be that shocking.
Meanwhile, we had a welcome visit from the incomparable Jennifer Hudson, who also brought former Idol, George Huff as a backup singer. Nice of Jen to keep it in the family.
And Stevie Wonder was there for a little, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," during the group Motown tribute. He forgot some of the lyrics. Heh.
Then he and the Idols sang "Happy Birthday" to Steven Tyler. Tyler doesn't look a day over a rock 'n roll 60.
But the real excitement was whether Casey was going to need the paramedics before he left the stage. As far as the save, the judges got it right.
Images: Michael Becker / FOX
March 23, 2011
On April 10th, TCM is scheduling a 24-hour tribute featuring 11 of her films, including "Who's Afriad of Virginia Woolf," "National Velvet," "Father of the Bride," and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."
A true original. Drop dead gorgeous. A woman who lived like crazy.
RIP Elizabeth Taylor.
March 13, 2011
I read in the paper today that Conan O'Brien's documentary is out this weekend. The one that chronicles the purportedly healing journey/concert tour he went on after his messy divorce from NBC. I also read that Charlie Sheen is suing Warner Brothers for $100 million and the two of these things reminded me of one of the more character-building experiences that I had in my career, many years ago.
Those are the words of Alec Baldwin. Ya' gotta read the complete post in which he gives Charlie Sheen some excellent advice about how to handle his "Two and a Half Men" fight with CBS, Chuck Lorre and Warner Bros.
And remember, Alec knows a little something about having his worst showcased for all the world to see. He's recovered--publicly anyway--so he knows what he's talking about.
It's guaranteed that Charlie won't take Baldwin's advice. Nevertheless, it's excellent advice and an excellent post.
March 12, 2011
Here's tennis great Serena Williams on "The Today Show," telling Matt Lauer about recovering from a very dangerous pulmonary embolism and how she hopes to get back on the court by summer.
Wishing her the very best as she recovers.
March 10, 2011
Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS
After the cancellation of Seinfeld, I'd pretty much given up on sitcoms. As far as I was concerned, the genre was tired, overused and creatively spent. And while I had memories of great classics like The Cosby Show, Roseanne, The Golden Girls and even I Love Lucy to keep me chuckling, I had little tolerance for pale imitations.
Of course every season I would check out the latest the networks had to offer, but even pretty good shows like Modern Family couldn't get my comedic juices flowing. So I had to find my laughs in dramedies like Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives.
Then came The Big Bang Theory.
March 02, 2011
If y'all didn't get a chance to watch "In Performance at the White House: The Motown Sound" on PBS, here's your chance.
Included in the show were Amber Rilery and Mark Salling from "Glee," "American Idol" winner Jordin Sparks and assorted Motown royalty like Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder.
President Obama and his wife Michelle couldn't help from tapping their feet to all those wonderful Motown classics and all the performers were on their game for the Pres, his wife and guests.
Hosted by Jamie Foxx, the show also showcased Nick Jonas, John Legend, Seal and Cheryl Crow. I dare you to keep from singing along. Enjoy.
February 28, 2011
© 2010 The Weinstein Company
Well The King's Speech got a standing ovation at last night's Academy Awards. It dominated all the big awards including Best Picture, Best Actor: Colin Firth, Best Director: Tom Hooper and Best Original Screenplay: David Seidler.
Natalie Portman took home Best Actress for her role as a disturbed ballerina in Black Swan. Christian Bale won Best Supporting Actor for his role as a down and out trainer in The Fighter. And the first acting award of the night went to Melissa Leo for her portrayal of Bale's tough talking Momma in The Fighter.
Hosts Franco and Hathaway
When it came to the TV show, the big question was how would Anne Hathaway and James Franco do as hosts? Well, let's put it this way, they were capable enough that no one will blacklist them from working in Hollywood again. In fact, Hathaway probably gained quite a few more fans because she showed off her versatility, her humor, her willingness to laugh at herself and that she can look absolutely stunning in an array of haute couture.
However, there's no reason for the Academy to ever ask her to do it again.
February 27, 2011
© 2010 The Weinstein Company
It's here! Oscar night. And also here is my annual list of 10 things to look out for:
- How co-hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco will do a really great job hosting or a really bad job hosting. There won't be an in-betweeen.
- When "Black Swan" squeaks through the vote split between "The Social Network" and "The King's Speech" to win Best Picture, the audience will actually gasp.
- How beautiful and touching Natalie Portman will be when she wins Best Actress for "Black Swan."
- How beautiful and touching Colin Firth (pictured above) will be when he wins Best Actor for "The King's Speech."
- How stunned everyone will be when Hailee Steinfeld wins Best Supporting Actress for "True Grit"
- Aaron Sorkin saying some kind of controversial social statement when he wins for Best Adapted Screenplay for "The Social Network."
- How much we'll miss Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins saying some kind of controversial social statement as presenters.
- Some kind of mention of Elizabeth Taylor who turns 79-years-old today and is hospitalized with heart problems.
- How gorgeous Sandra Bullock will look a year after her Oscar win and her tabloid-loving marital breakup.
- How more than one person will mention the upheaval in the Middle East and how they'll awkwardly try to tie it into the glory that is movies.
See you on the red carpet.
February 25, 2011
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures
With the Oscars a couple of days away, I had the brilliant idea of comparing the classic 1969 John Wayne version of "True Grit" with last year's Oscar nominated version starring Jeff Bridges. The good, the bad, and the eye patches. Here's are the results.
***Final warning, I give away some plot points so if you don't want to know them, turn back now***
February 17, 2011
Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone, Roadside Attractions, 2010
Living in the backwoods of the Ozarks is no picnic in the best of circumstances -- but even worse when your Daddy’s skipped out on his bail and your house and land are at stake.
That’s the pickle 17-year-old Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) finds herself in. Daddy Jessup skipped out on a “crank cooking” charge and now Ree, her young brother, young sister and incapacitated mother are close to being thrown off their land and into the woods.
Trying to head that off, Ree goes looking for Dad. That means questioning her less than law abiding relatives who ain’t too keen on answering. See they’re all in the “crank cooking,” or as it’s more commonly known, meth lab business, and between them and the bounty hunter on her Dad's tail, Ree's got her hands full.
February 14, 2011
Image courtesy CBS
Last night's Grammy show was a musical knockout. There were stars galore, one bang up performance after another, and oh yeah, a couple of awards thrown in. Christina Aguilera nearly fell on her face, Mick Jagger proved age ain't slowin' him down and Esperanza Spalding proved that Bieber-fever isn't as deadly as it seems.
It kicked off with a rousing all-star, diva salute to the ailing Aretha Franklin by Jennifer Hudson, Christina Aguilera, Martina McBride, Yolanda Adams and Florence Welsh and ended with a rock performance by Arcade Fire.
In between, Justin Bieber, Eminem, Usher, Rhianna and a whole bunch of other people I never heard of but whose albums I want to run out and buy, took to the stage.
Here are my highlights and lowlights:
February 04, 2011
The former Buffy the Vampire Slayer actor, 48, tied the knot with longtime girlfriend Patricia Rahman Marsters, 25, in a private L.A. civil ceremony on Jan. 14, the actor's rep tells PEOPLE exclusively.
More "Buffy" news this week.
That's right, James Marsters, Spike on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is now off the market.
Does Drucilla know about this!?
February 03, 2011
All you Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans take note: Sarah Michelle Gellar is on her way back to prime time TV, and I, for one, am jazzed!
Gellar has been cast in a new pilot for CBS called Ringer, a thriller about identical twins sisters, one of whom ends up dead and the other who ends up on the run from the mob.
The producer of the pilot, Peter Traugott did an interview with EW.com about the show and gives some details: