Tag Archives: Disney

Michael Trevino Exposed – A (Sometimes Shirtless) Glimpse at the Man Behind the Wolf

As most of you probably already know (especially, considering you are reading this post) The Vampire Diaries  has just settled in for a LOOOOOOOONG winter hiatus . . .

And yet, tonight kick starts the CW’s airing of The Vampire Diaries Season 2 Marathon — which will showcase, not one, but TWO episodes of the show’s second season, each week day, starting at 8 p.m.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, I have decided to pay a little tribute to one of the stars of The Vampire Diaries.  This actor is a heretofore unsung hero of the series, who has recently received a significant amount of recognition for the “hair-raising” transformation his character has undergone, during the show’s Second Season.  Of course, I’m talking about Michael Trevino .  . .

My Michael, what great big . . . acting skills you have! 😉

I’m going to kick off the post, by discussing the Michael Trevino you all KNOW, namely the Michael who has portrayed Tyler Lockwood, for almost two full seasons now.  We’ll see how the character has evolved during the past couple of years, learn what Michael himself has to say about Tyler, and analyze where we think the character might be going.  (Of course, you can expect to see plenty of animated GIFS and hot shirtless screencaps, along the way too   . . .  This is MY SITE, after all! ;)) 

Now, now, Michael!  This is no time to get shy or cheeky!

After that, we will get to take a look at the Michael Trevino you might NOT know, by examining the actor’s life so far, through his past film and television roles . . .

[But before we begin, I must give some credit where credit is due.  Most of the animated GIFS you will see here, come from the amazing Oh My Michael Trevino Tumblr.  Photo stills and screencaps tend to come from my own personal collection, but I did get a bunch over at Fanpop and CWTV.com.  I owe much of my inspiration for this post to Michael Trevino, himself  (DUH!) but also to my fabulous blogging pal, Cherie, over at myspideysenseistingling.  Be sure to check out her kickass recent post dedicated to Tyler Lockwood and his new Girl Friday, Caroline Forbes.]

Well, it looks like Michael is ready to get started.  So, let’s not keep him waiting any longer.  Shall we?

Michael Trevino as Tyler Lockwood . . .

When The Vampire Diaries kicked off its first groundbreaking season, we actually knew very little about Tyler Lockwood, save for the stereotypical labels he embodied.  Tyler was an Alpha Male, in every sense of the word.  He was an Athlete . . .

 . . . a Man Whore Ladies’ Man . . .

 . . . a Spoiled Rich Kid with Daddy Issues . . .

 . . . a Bully . . .

 . . . and a Hard-Partying Substance Abuser .  . .

It wasn’t until the end of the first season, that we really began to scratch the surface of who Tyler REALLY was, beyond the aforementioned stereotypes.  For example, we learned that Tyler was also a Tortured Artist, with a penchant for drawing supernatural creatures . . .

And in the Season 1 Finale, entitled Founder’s Day, we began to suspect that Tyler’s untenable rage, along with his obsession with werewolves, might very well have a genetic explanation . . .

Here’s what Michael Trevino himself had to say about the evolution of his character, throughout Season 1 of The Vampire Diaries:

Season 2 of The Vampire Diaries really tore down the walls of Tyler Lockwood’s character, allowing him to seem more raw, and vulnerable, and, therefore, significantly more empathetic than he was during Season 1 . . .

In the course of just a few episodes, Tyler had to grapple with the death of his girlfriend . . .

 . . . and the death of his abusive father, about whom his feelings were both complicated and conflicting.  Tyler then learned of his werewolf origins from his Uncle Mason Lockwood, who was, at the time, his one true mentor and confidant . . .

But before Tyler could truly receive the guidance he needed to make it through this difficult and confusing time, Mason seemingly abandoned him (well . . . actually . . . he was murdered . . . but Tyler doesn’t know that yet). 

And yet, the poo didn’t really hit the fan, until Tyler’s actions, during one fateful Masquerade Ball unintentionally brought about the death of an very slutty innocent girl — thereby triggering the curse, which would force him to turn into a werewolf, during each full moon . . .

Fortunately, Tyler found a new ally in a friend / former acquaintence, who was also no stranger to the supernatural, Baby Vamp Caroline . . .

Having been through something sort of similar (though, admittedly, not nearly as awful), Caroline showed Tyler that he didn’t have to go through this terrible bone-crushing transformation alone.  She stuck by him, while he watched with horror a video that captured Mason’s painful first werewolf transformation, knowing that the same thing would inevitably happen to him.  She supported him, as he prepared to endure the worst night of his life . . .

And, most importantly, she stuck by him, when it mattered most — during his own first werewolf transformation.  Caroline held him and calmed him down, by whispering in his ear encouragingly, stroking his hair, and rubbing his back, when he was in so much pain, he nearly couldn’t bear it . . .

And when it was all over, and he was crying out her name . . .

 . . . Caroline was there to comfort him, and keep him strong . . .

Here’s what Candice Accola (who plays Caroline . . . obviously) and Michael Trevino had to say about their characters’ budding relationship, during Season 2 of The Vampire Diaries . . .

In addition to adding so many different and complex layers to Tyler Lockwood, the character, these past few episodes have really illustrated the range and skill Michael Trevino has as an actor.  Through his role as Tyler, Trevino has seamlessly woven together strength, warmth, rage, intensity, masculinity, romance, and vulnerability, into one VERY SEXY package . . .

As for the second half of the season, I predict for Tyler Lockwood a fair amount of brooding . . .

 . . . some angst . . . a little bit of romance . . .

 . . . some more wolfishness . . .

 . . . and, hopefully, a WHOLE LOTTA NAKED!

But enough of about Tyler Lockwood, and his sexual acting prowess, let’s get to know a bit more about the guy who plays him . . . Michael Trevino.

Michael Trevino – The Actor

Michael Trevino was born January 25, 1985 in Montebello, California.  He is of Mexican-American descent.  After nabbing guest starring roles in popular dramas like Charmed, and Summerland, Trevino nailed his first major role in the Disney film, Cow Belles, starring alongside Ally and Amanda Michalka . . .

In Cow Belles, Trevino played Jackson Meade, the love interest for Ally Michalka’s destined-to-be-reformed spoiled rich girl, Taylor Callum . . .

Though heir to a milk empire himself, Trevino’s character Jackson, was a down to earth guy, who loved animals, and wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty . . .

This is the only time in my life that I have EVER wanted to be a pig . . .

But, perhaps, more importantly, when he got his shirt dirty, he TOOK IT OFF!

My, my, Disney Channel, I didn’t know you had it in you . . .

Shortly thereafter, Michael starred in the short-lived presidential drama Commander in Chief.  He also landed the starring role in an episode of CSI: Miami.  The good news is, I found a very high quality video of that CSI episode.  The bad news, is that it’s in Spanish.  So, if you do speak fluent Spanish, you can find the episode by clicking here.  And if you don’t, feel free to click there anyway, and watch Michael Trevino looking super hot, as an American soldier fighting in the Middle East.  (So what, if you can’t understand a word he’s saying, right? :))

After that, Michael Trevino landed a role in the CBS television drama Cane, about a wealthy Cuban American family, running a sugar cane business in South Florida . . .

Trevino played Jaime Vega, son of Jimmy Smits’ character Alex . . .

Trevino’s wife on the show (that’s right . . . I said wife) was played by Alona Tal, who you may remember as Meg from Veronica Mars . . .

And yet . . . judging by this clip . . . it looks like Michael’s character may have had some issues with fidelity . . .

(Special thanks to my new friend, Gen, for this sexy little clip!)

Unfortunately, Cane was canceled after just one Season.  But Michael kept busy, landing the role of Joshua in the Hallmark Channel romantic period drama, Love Finds a Home . . .

I didn’t actually become familiar with Michael’s work, myself, until around 2008, when he landed a role in the CW’s update of the classic 90’s teen drama, 90210 . . .

Trevino played Ozzie Cardoza during the new 90210‘s first season.  Ozzie was a down-to-earth high school student and aspiring chef.  He was also the unlikely love interest for Queen B*tch Naomi Clark, who is played by blonde bombshell AnnaLynne McCord (Geez!  I guess Senor Trevino really likes blondes!)  . . .

You can get a taste of the pair’s magnetic antagonism, and intense sexual chemistry, by watching the two clips below:

Trevino’s stint on 90210, and, consequently, his character’s romance with Naomi, ended after just four episodes.  In protest, I stopped watching the show, shortly thereafter.  (OK . . . that wasn’t really why I stopped watching.  But, you have to admit, it’s an interesting coincidence.)

While Michael Trevino’s career has surely had its ups and downs (as have most actors his age), he truly does seem to have found his home on The Vampire Diaries, in the role of Tyler Lockwood.  And for that, we are TRULY thankful . . .

We just wish he’d wear less clothes . . .

JUST KIDDING!  (No, really, stop wearing clothing, Michael . . . like altogether.)

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Filed under Michael Trevino, The Vampire Diaries, Tyler Lockwood

Oh, We’re Jammin’ – A Brief Look at Disney’s Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam (contains spoilers)

This weekend marked the premiere of Camp Rock 2, a follow-up film to the 2008 Disney-produced Jonas Brothers / Demi Lovato vehicle of the same name (without the 2, of course).  The made-for-TV movie received pretty stellar ratings for a film of its genre, earning 8 million viewers on opening night, as well as the designation of “2010’s Top Cable Movie.”  Although the film lacked a bit of the heart, and felt somewhat less genuine, than the original movie, it still made for an enjoyable two hours.  For me, a lot of that enjoyment could be attributed to two key performances in the film  — both of which I will touch on in just a bit . . .

“Are they ACTUALLY doing the funky chicken?  Is this supposed to be a musical number, or a scene from my 55-year old, Uncle Marvin’s 4th wedding?”

It’s a brand new summer.  And our main character, Mitchie Torres (played by Demi Lovato) is gearing up for yet another “awesome” camp experience. 

On the surface, things look pretty perfect for Mitchie.  She has a great group of friends as bunkmates.  No longer does she have to hide the fact that she (gasp!) is part of the cooking staff at the titular Camp Rock.   And . . . she has a boyfriend.  Well . . . at least in the Disney Channel’s “we hold hands, and make googly eyes at eachother, but that’s about it” highly neutered definition of the term. 

Did I mention he’s a FAMOUS ROCKSTAR?  That’s right boys and girls.  Last summer, Mitchie won the heart of the floppy-haired, tight-pants wearing Adonis, Joe Jonas Shane Gray . . .

  . . . of The Jonas Brothers Connect 3!

(Sidenote:  Also featured in Camp Rock, is Jonas Brothers’ little brother, Frankie Jonas, who plays one of the younger campers.  Poor Frankie has been designated by fans with the unfortunate nickname, “Bonus Jonas”  — a moniker that will be sure to earn him YEARS of therapy, once he reaches adulthood.)

Frankie “when’s it going to be my turn” Jonas

Mitchie must be REALLY good at hand-holding and googly eyes, because Shane has convinced his band to take an ENTIRE SUMMER off from touring, just so he can “get to know her better.”  (Really, Shane?  That’s your idea of a fun summer?  No bikini-clad groupies, or all-night keggars?  Just summer camp, with your sort of / kind of girlfriend?  I guess “Shane” wears a purity ring too.) 

Aside from some “transportation problems,” on the part of Connect 3 . . .

You know, I really HATE IT when my tour bus falls off a cliff.  Don’t you?

. . . Shane arrives at Camp Rock, with no trouble at all . . . Well, unless you count the massive chicken sitting on his head . . .

But trouble DOES arrive soon enough, in the form of an invitation sent to Camp Rock from the mysterious Camp Star, which was conveniently built right across the lake, seemingly overnight.  It turns out that Camp Star is run by the EVIL music producer, Axel Turner . . .

Um, yeah .  . . this guy NEVER has to worry about being typecast as a villain.

. . . who’s been holding some long-standing grudge against Camp Rocks’ owner and director, Brown Cesario . . .

. . . since Brown kicked Axel out of his band, back in the ’80s. 

So, the EEEVVVILLL Axel Turner lures the entire staff and all of the campers from Camp Rock to Camp Star for a “bonfire.”  There, the group is treated to a flashy music number, and offers of immediate enrollment.  Axel even goes as far as to offer to double all Camp Rock counselors’ salaries, for “making the switch” to Camp Star.  Most of the Camp Rock counselors jump ship, along with some of the campers.  Most notable among the defectors is Tess (Meaghan Jett Martin), the resident mean girl and “villain, ultimately redeemed,” from the previous film.

Suddenly, without a staff to properly run it, and with the threat of massive future camper desertions looming large, Camp Rock faces possible bankruptcy.  Fortunately, Mitchie has a plan.

Why can’t the older CAMPERS be COUNSELORS?  (This actually makes a lot of sense, seeing as most of the film’s cast seem WAY TOO OLD to be campers, anyway.)

Camp Rock also decides to challenge Camp Star to a televised sing and dance off.  Our protagonists believe that winning such a contest will help Camp Rock to establish itself as a worthy camp, and, therefore, maintain its enrollment. 

The stress of preparing for this big event puts a major crinkle in the “quality time” (read: more hand holding and googly eyes) that Shane wants to spend with Mitchie.  The fact that Mitchie has undergone a complete personality transplant since the first film — going from shy, sweet, unassuming, and slightly insecure  — to raging Type A, diva taskmaster, certainly doesn’t help matters . . .

I won’t tell you how it all ends.  (Though I’m sure if you think hard enough, you can figure it out.)  Needless to say, a lot of singing and dancing is involved.

But what really made this film for me, was not its main plotline — which basically served as a mere framing device for the various musical numbers — but its clever subplots, and three-dimensional supporting cast.  My two favorite moments of the film came from actors Matthew “Mdot” Finley, and Nick Jonas, respectively.  Finley plays Luke Williams, the ambitious and arrogant (but with good reason) ingenue of Camp Star. 

Those of you out there who are Glee fans can probably understand Luke’s character best, this way:  If Camp Star is Vocal Adrenaline, with its’ “all work, no play” attitude, snooty performers, and over-produced, automaton-esque, musical numbers, then Luke is Jesse St. James.

And yet, while there are definitely things about the Luke character that seem borrowed and cliche . . .  (He also dresses and dances a bit like Usher, circa 2001.)

 . . . Finley manages to give the role a certain complexity and inherent likeability.  Even when the character is being a total douche, he’s somehow extremely charismatic.   Plus, Finley and Meaghan Martin (who plays Tess) exchange their fair share of witty and biting banter during the film.  The pair have excellent chemistry, which crackles and pops, during the few scenes they share together  — chemistry that could have downright sexy, if this wasn’t a Disney film.  So much so, that I found myself wishing the pair had more screen time. 

Finley’s solo rendition of the very danceable “Fire,” was impressive, and showed extreme talent and skill, on his part.  For me, it was the second best performance of the entire film.  (I’ll get to the first in a moment.)  See for yourself:

As I mentioned earlier, my other favorite performance of the evening, belonged to Nick Jonas, and his character, Nate Ericcs.  Nick actually had very little to do acting wise, in the first film.  So, it was nice to see him really get a chance to perform here. 

Throughout most of the film, the shy and intelligent Nate finds himself pining over fellow performer, Dana Turner (played by Chloe Bridges), who just so happens to be the daughter of Camp Star’s EEEEVIL director, Axel Turner.  (Kudos to Disney for NOT going the way-too-obvious Romeo & Juliet route here.)

 You see, Nate obviously likes Dana.  And Dana obviously likes him.  But the BIG FAMOUS ROCKSTAR is SHY!  And he doesn’t know how to talk to girls.  (Stop laughing!  It could happen!)  So, he sort of / kind of stalks her, through the first half of the movie, ogling her from behind bushes and peering at her from beneath overtuned canoes . . .

Finally, Dana confronts Nate, telling him to buck up and CONVERSE with her.  “I don’t even know anything about you . . . aside from the fact that you like canoes,” she whines.

Who doesn’t?

So, Nate, who has always been someone who can best express himself through song, serenades Dana with the quirkiest and sweetest little ditty ever, appropriately titled,  “Introducing Me.”

(If you’re a fan of things like cute little puppies, teddy bears, and candy Conversation Hearts, click on the internal link, which will surely satisfy even the most stubborn of sweet tooths.)

If the rhythm of the above-referenced song sounds slightly familiar to you, you are not alone.  Many have noted the similarity between Nick Jonas’ “Introducing Me” and Jason Mraz’ “I’m Yours.”  But I’m going to keep my opinions on this matter to myself, for now, and let you decide.  You can listen to an acoustic version of “I’m Yours” by clicking here.

Both “Introducing Me” and “Fire” are available for download on ITunes, as is the rest of the Camp Rock 2 soundtrack.  As for the film itself, your best bet is probably to Netflix it. 🙂

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Anatomy of a Trailer: The Social Network

Of all the films set to be released this coming fall, NONE has so precisely embodied the recipe for box office glory and Academy Award recognition as The Social Network.  Heck, even its moody, unabashedly emo film trailer could win awards for its strangely captivating portrait of fame and financial success, derived from nerdy college angst.  Check it out . . .

For those of you curious about the song in this trailer, it’s a cover of the popular Radiohead song “Creep,” as performed by a Belgium girls choir named Scala & Kolacny Brothers.  Both the original version of the song and this version are currently available for download online.

So, now that you’ve seen the trailer, let’s take a few moments to break down what’s makes it “tick.”

The Idea – Facebook

Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past six years, you’ve probably at least heard of Facebook.  The online social networking website, launched back in February of 2004, has, for better or worse, become practically ubiquitous in modern culture, with over 500 million users to date, and counting.

The Players

The idea for Facebook was developed on the campus of Harvard University back in 2003 by college roommates Mark Zuckerberg,

Eduardo Zaverin,

Dustin Moskovitz,

and Chris Hughes (who eventually went on to become the online campaign coordinator for now-President Obama during the 2008 elections).

Also involved in the inception of Facebook was Sean Parker, who you may remember as one of the dudes who founded a certain music file-sharing site, which USED to be awesome (until you actually started having to pay for it), Napster.

(Parker went on to become the president of Facebook, Inc.)

Litigation

A sizeable amount of litigation arose out of the founding of Facebook, and the manner in which the company was managed.  Most notably, twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, along with their  friend Divya Narendra, claimed that Facebook infringed upon their copyright for the social networking site ConnectU, which was also started at Harvard University. 

Eventually, this lawsuit was settled out-of-court to the tune of $65 million (although the exact about of the settlement itself is still subject to additional litigation).  The Winklevoss twins, who are also nationally acclaimed rowers, eventually went on to compete in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Nice abs, newly rich dudes!

Eduardo Saverin also sued Facebook, alleging misappropriation of company funds on the part of Mark Zuckerberg.  He also petitioned for the right to be listed on the website as one of the company’s founders (which he now is).  Both lawsuits were settled shortly before the publication of Ben Mezrich’s book The Accidental Billionaires, on which The Social Network is based.

Source Material:  The Accidental Billionaires

The Accidental Billionaires, a purportedly nonfiction account of the founding of Facebook, Inc., was published in 2009, and debuted at #4 on the New York Times Nonfiction Bestseller List.  It’s author, Ben Mezrich . . .

 . . . is perhaps best known for his other nonfiction book, Bringing Down the House, about a bunch of MIT students who took the casino world by storm, by developing an ingenious card-counting scheme for the game of Blackjack.  The book was eventually made into a movie called 21, which starred Kate Bosworth, among others.  Mark Zuckerberg took no part in the writing of this book.  And Eduardo Saverin, who was one of its main primary sources, backed away from it significantly, once his lawsuit was settled.  (Shocker.)  The book received mainly mixed reviews.

The Men BEHIND the Curtain

The pedigree of this film has been measurably increased by the big names responsible for its screenplay and direction, respectively.  On the screenplay side, we have Aaron Sorkin . . .

 . . . who you may remember as head writer for the fabulous Emmy award-winning television drama, The West Wing.

I love you, Josh Lyman!

As far as directors go, David Fincher, is pretty much as awesome as they come!

Kind of cute too!

His resume includes critically acclaimed and award-winning films such as . . .

Fight Club,

Seven,

and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

The Cast

In terms of its cast, this film’s IMDB page reads like a Who’s Who in twenty-something Hollywood.  For the lead role of Mark Zuckerberg, we have the immensely talented and charmingly geeky, Jesse Eisenberg . . .

 . . . who you might remember from that homage to all things ’80’s film, Adventureland, in which Eisenberg starred alongside Bella Swan herself, Kristen Stewart . . .

the Academy Award Winning film, The Squid and the Whale, and /or Zombieland .   . .

Playing the role of Eduardo Saverin is Andrew Garfield . . .

 . . . who has recently been vetted to play Pete Parker, in the upcoming Spiderman prequel / reboot . . .

Napster Guy, Sean Parker, is being played by none-other-than Justin Timberlake!  (How much do you want to bet that one of his songs will be featured in the movie as an INSIDE joke?  After all, it’s not like the “product placement” wouldn’t make sense, in context.  Find me ONE person who WASN’T listening to Justin Timberlake in 2003, and I’ll find you a LIAR!)

And yet, what we sometimes forget about Justin, is that he’s not only a successful singer / songwriter, he’s also a pretty talented actor, having shined in both dramatic films . . .

 . . . like the critically acclaimed (and highly awesome) Alpha Dog, and comedic ones, like Shrek 3.  And let’s not forget, Dick in a Box?

Other stars in this film include Rooney Mara . . .

 . . . who just recently landed the role of Lisbeth Salander in the U.S. adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s almost annoyingly successful (You can’t walk two feet without seeing SOMEONE reading the damn thing) novel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo;

Malese Jow . . .

. . . who fans of The Vampire Diaries television series (like me) will instantly recognize as the way-too-soon departed Vampire Anna . . .

And Brenda Song .  . .

 . . . who is perhaps best known for playing the ditsy Paris Hilton-esque heiress, London Tipton, on the Disney Channel’s The Suite Life series . . .

So, there you have it:  a hot young cast, a brilliant director, an Emmy-award winning screenwriter, a bestselling book by a critically acclaimed author as source material, a controversial story, a hip trailer, and a groundbreaking idea that changed the way our world socializes on a daily basis.  When it comes to Hollywood films, they just don’t get much more “Alpha Male” then this!

And, of course, with every successful film idea and trailer comes the inevitable barrage of spoofs and copycats.  The Social Network is no exception.  I particularly enjoyed THIS ONE about ANOTHER social networking site that some might deem equally filmworthy . . .

The Social Network requests to be your “Friend” on October 1, 2010.  Confirm or Deny?

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Filed under Facebook, Movie Trailer Recaplets, The Social Network

Whatever Happened to TV Theme Songs? (THE SEQUEL)

A little while back,  I wrote a blog entry entitled  Whatever Happened to TV Theme Songs?  In it, I complained about the fact that most television programs today seem to have done away with theme songs, opting instead to use a few bland instrumental chords to introduce their show.  Some shows, like Lost or The Vampire Diaries,  have scrapped their opening sequences entirely.

When I was done bitching, I chose ten theme songs and opening sequences that I really enjoyed from my TV watching past, and shared them with anyone who might be interested.  And you guys seemed to like it.  (By “like it,” I mean you “clicked on it.”  For all I know, you may have took one look at the theme songs I chose, said “That TV Recapper Girl  is a total Poopyhead,” and slammed your browser in my face.)

But here’s the thing. . . .   There are SO MANY really great theme songs and opening sequences out there, that I DIDN’T get to show you.  And, for that reason, I thought it might be fun to try this again.  So, without further adieu, I present to you, ten MORE old school TV theme songs (in no particular order) that I find pretty cool.

1) All in the Family

All right.  So I can’t really say that this show was part of my childhood.  After all, it was already off the air, by the time I was born.  But I catch it in reruns ALL THE TIME, mostly just to watch the opening sequence.  I’m not entirely sure why I like it so much.  Perhaps it’s because there is something about Archie and Edith Bunker that reminds me a lot of my paternal grandparents.  Also, any opening sequence that involves that much ridiculously bad, off-key singing, is pretty cool in my book . . .

2) The Jeffersons

Like All in the Family, its spinoff, The Jeffersons, aired a smidgeon before my TV watching time.  But I watch it in reruns whenever I can find it, basically because I think its Sherman Hemsley is “the bees knees.”  He could just be standing around doing nothing, and I would find it absolutely hilarious.  Sherman is just so cute!  To me, he’s kind of like a black Danny Devito . . .

Did I mention that the song in the opening sequence is super catchy?  I still find myself singing it out loud every time I move into a new apartment, much to the extreme displeasure of anyone unlucky enough to be helping me move.  Just listen, and I dare you not to sing along!

3) Roseanne

This “smarter than it looked” show, about a working class family, was on the air, pretty much throughout my childhood.  During its nine-year run, the show’s opening sequence underwent nearly annual tweaks and changes.  Ironically, my favorite opening sequences for Roseanne came near the end of its run, when the show itself was losing some of the good humor and sharp writing of earlier seasons.  The opening sequences for the last two seasons of Roseanne, featured these really cool character morphs, illustrating how (for better or worse) the characters had aged during the show’s long run.

My favorite morph was for the Becky character, who, during the show’s nine years, was played by two different actresses, Lecy Goranson and Saarah Chalke (Scrubs).  The sequence morphs the two together, as if they are the same person.  My second favorite morph was for Roseanne herself, who made some really bad hair and plastic surgery choices during that decade.  In one picture in particular, her entire face seems to droop downward in a perverse, overly-botoxed sneer that actually used to give me nightmares.  When you see it, you’ll know why.

(Unfortunately, there is no embedding on this video.  So, you have to click the internal link, to watch it on YouTube.  Sorry!)

4) The Wonder Years

I loved this show when I was a little kid, for so many reasons.  For one, I thought Fred Savage was a total hottie.  I wanted to be Winnie Cooper, so that I could date him.  If my first TV crush was Jonathan Taylor Thomas from Home Improvement, Fred Savage comes in a close second.  Also, the dad on the show, Dan Luria, looked a lot like my dad, which I thought was pretty cool.

And, of course, the opening sequence was amazing!  You see, I was an only child, and, from what I gather, not a particularly photogenic one.  Therefore, we never had home videos in my family.  (I don’t even think we owned a video camera.)  So, when I would watch The Wonder Years, as a kid, I liked to pretend that Kevin Arnold’s home videos were mine.  Sometimes I would even reenact Winnie’s parts, as I watched  . . . It was kind of embarrassing.

5) Blossom

You know what?  When I said that NO home videos exist of me as a child, that’s not entirely true.  I do distinctly remember one video that was taken just before one of my dance recitals.  In it, 7-year old me BORED MY POOR FAMILY TO TEARS, by suiting up in my dance costume, and reenacting the ENTIRE RECITAL, casting myself in all the crucial roles, of course. 

 Funny looking costume?  Bad goofy dancing?  I imagine it looked a lot like this . . .

6) Dinosaurs

The things you learn when researching a blog entry!  I distinctly remember watching this program as a kid, during ABC’s fabulous Friday night TGIF lineup.  The show was sort of a live action Flintstones, only all the characters in it were dinosaurs.  Now that I think about it, the whole thing was a little bizarre . . .

But regardless of the quality of the show itself, I remember really loving what I thought was the show’s theme song.  Today, I looked up the theme song to Dinosaurs on YouTube, and learned that what I THOUGHT was the theme song, wasn’t the theme song at all.  It was merely a song, and accompanying video, that was featured during one of the show’s episodes.  The actual theme song kind of sucked.  But THIS song was SO GOOD and SO FUNNY, that I’ve decided to share it with you instead . . .

7) Salute Your Shorts

By now, you already know how I feel about theme songs that  feature ridiculously bad and off-key singing.  So, of course, I simply had to include this theme song on the list, from a Nickelodeon show about a very poorly managed sleepaway camp . . .

8 ) Step by Step

Yet another installment from ABC’s TGIF lineup makes the list at Number 8.  Step by Step was kind of a revamped Brady Bunch for us ’90s kids to enjoy.  It starred Suzanne Somers — as the mom of a blended family — one who looked remarkably similar to Chrissy Snow from Three’s Company.

Around the time this was on the air, I was spending a lot of free time hanging out at amusement parks with my friends.  So, of course, I absolutely adored this amusement park-themed opening sequence.

9) Freaks and Geeks

I’m cheating a bit here, because I didn’t actually watch this show during its initial run.  Rather, I caught it recently on Netflix, and was amazed by how brilliant it was, and how many of its cast members (and writing staff) eventually went on to do bigger and better things.  If, by chance, you are interested in my take, on the show itself, you can find that here. 

However, right now, I am here to talk about its kick ass opening sequence, which features the rebel anthem Bad Reputation by Joan Jett, and accurately portrays the extreme awkwardness and pure horror that is Yearbook Picture Day!

10) What I Like About You

Even though it has been off the air for a few years now, I still enjoy watching repeats of this classic WB show about two very different sisters living under one roof, and navigating life and love in New York City.  On the surface, it looks like your typical cheesy teen romcom.  However, Jennie Garth and Amanda Bynes made the show way better than it should have been, with their amazing on-screen chemistry and fabulous comedic timing. 

But, of course, my favorite episodes of the show were the ones from later seasons.  After all, these focused on Amanda Byne’s character, Holly, and her relationship with on-again, off-again boyfriend, Vince, played by MY TV boyfriend, the painfully gorgeous, Nick Zano.  This guy doesn’t get nearly enough work these days in my opinion . . .

Oh, and did I mention that the show’s opening sequence features the cast riding and dancing around Times Square to the tune of Lilix’s awesome cover of the song What I Like About You?

So, there you have it folks — ten more TV theme songs to add to my collection of nostalgic television awesomeness.  Have I missed any of your favorites?

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Filed under 80s television, 90s television, music, television, TV theme songs

Anatomy of a Trailer: Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland

By now, you know that I LOVE television shows, particularly hour-long dramas.  What you may not know is that I also love movie trailers!  It’s a bit hard for me to admit this, but, sometimes, I find movie trailers to be the best part of the movie-going experience.

(Sometimes the movie trailers you see before the movie are even better than the movie itself . . . MUCH BETTER!)

Movie trailers are not just entertaining, they are also cost efficient.  Consider this: according to the National Association for Theater Owners, the average movie ticket price in 2009 was $7.50 cents.  And I live just outside New York City, where movie tickets can set you back as much as $13!  These are some pretty hefty prices to pay for ONE MOVIE that you may or may not actually enjoy. 

On the other hand, if I get to the theater early, I can sit through 20 minutes of trailers.  These trailers contain all of the best scenes (often giving away most of the plot and, sometimes, the ending) of some FIVE or SIX movies . . . ALL FOR FREE

If you don’t get to the movies early enough to catch the trailers, that’s OK, because movie trailers are also on television.  Then again, maybe you missed the trailer for  Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland on TV too.    Perhaps you fast-forwarded through it with your DVR.  Or, maybe, you were peeing during it.  Fear not, because this is where I come in . . .

A lot of juice for one trailer right.? Here’s what I saw . . .

:18 – Mia Wasikowska, who was absolutely awesome as the troubled gymnast, Sophie, during Season 1 of HBO’s In Treatment, will be taking the helm as the titular Alice.  My initial thought was that she looked a bit old to be playing the young child from Lewis Carroll’s novels.  Later, however, I read that Burton’s Alice will not actually be a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, nor its follow-up Through the Looking Glass, but, rather, a sequel of sorts.  Here, Alice revisits Wonderland 10 years later, with no memory of her experiences from the first two books.

This is an important fact to note for high school students who are assigned the Alice books as required reading, as I was during my junior year.  This movie will NOT HELP YOU!  (Unfortunately, neither will the original Disney cartoon).

“Oh dear!  If I knew I ACTUALLY had to READ, I wouldn’t have smoked so much with Caterpillar . . .”

:22 – Is it just me, or does the guy proposing to Alice look a bit like Ronald Weasley from the Harry Potter films?

:40 – Down the rabbit hole goes Alice . . .

:54 – CGI Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are really creepy looking.  They are the size of Oompa Loompas, wear clothing like Pugsley from Addams Family, and have heads like Uncle Fester (also from the Addams Family).  No me likey . . .

:59 – The Cheshire Cat is kind of cute looking, as is the White Rabbit.  I guess Disney needed something they could sell as a stuffed animal from this film that wouldn’t give kids nightmares . . .

1:03 – Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter looks like someone took Johnny Depp’s Edward Scissorhands, crossed him with Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka, and dropped the amalgamation in a vat of tie dye.  One day, I’d like to see Johnny Depp really push the acting envelope and play . . . an accountant.  Now that would be risky!  (I can’t hate on Johnny Depp though.  In a Hollywood world filled with divas and D-bags, sources tell me that he is a stand up guy, not to mention a big tipper!)

1:18 – The Tea Party scene was my favorite, both in the first Alice book, and in the Disney movie.  It looks like Burton did a great job representing it here.

1:25 – Here’s Helena Bonham Carter, as the Red Queen, doing what she does best: playing a character who is wacked out, crazy, and creepy . . .  but has awesome hair!  She seems to be playing croquet using a flamingo as a mallet, just as the characters did in the first Alice book.

1:41 – Piglets are adorable, even when they have Helena Bonham Carter’s feet on them.

1:52 – Here, it looks as though Alice is the rook in a giant game of chess being played out between the Red Queen and the White Queen.  In the second Alice  book, Through the Looking Glass, a chess game is the framing device for the story, with Alice playing the pawn.  If you buy the Cliff Notes for the book, (which I did) you will actually find a chess diagram that maps out Alice’s precise chess moves in the story from pawn to Queen.  Coincidentally, a life-sized chess board was also featured in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (both in the book and in the movie version).

1:58 – Anne Hathaway looks absolutely stunning as the White Queen.  In the past few years, Hathaway has really shown herself to be a brilliantly versatile actress.  She has definitely come far since her Princess Diaries days.  I suspect we will be enjoying her films for a long time to come . . .

2:17 – Here we get our first glimpse of the Jabberwocky, which is described, in a poem that Alice reads in Through the Looking Glass, as a dragon-type monster.  Burton has said that the Jabberwocky story will be the framing device for his film, just as a card game framed the first Alice book, and a chess game framed the second.  I think this is kind of a strange choice, seeing as the Jabberwocky poem is actually jibberish.  But I’ll admit that the concept is  intriguing . . .

2:24 – Ah, another movie in 3D . . . I am really glad I saved those goofy glasses I bought last month to see Avatar.  That’s going to save me $3.00!

So, those were my thoughts on the trailer.  What did you think?

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Filed under Movie Trailer Recaplets, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland