Tag Archives: James Franco

Oscars 2012 – Who SHOULD Co-Host? (Five Suggestions)

(It occurred to me, while I was doing research for this post — which, mind you, I had been planning to write since LAST NIGHT — that everybody and their mother already beat me to this idea.  There go my delusions of “originality!  But, am I going to let that stop me from reinventing the wheel?  HECK NO!)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past week, you are probably already aware of the following: (1) the 83rd Annual Academy Awards aired this past Sunday; (2) Anne Hathaway and James Franco co-hosted the show; (3) for their efforts, they received HORRIBLE  humiliatingly bad  resoundingly negative  not very good mixed reviews.

ANNE:  “Lay off, OK?!  It wasn’t my fault!  James was stoned off his ass, and sleeping backstage, the ENTIRE TIME!  You think I kept saying ‘WOOOOOHOOO!’ for every presenter, because I’m just some a dorky fangirl, who can’t keep her sh*t together?  NO!  I was trying to WAKE THAT MOTHERF&*KER UP!”

JAMES: “Yo, Anne could you quiet down!  I can’t concentrate on my tweeting, with you yelling like that . . .That and I’m SERIOUSLY hungover!”

While the execution may have been flawed, I still believe that the Academy’s idea of choosing two fresh, yet familiar, faces to host the year’s most prestigious award show this year, was an inspired one.  For this reason, I have tasked myself with coming up with five celebrity pairings, each of whom, I believe, would be well-suited for the admittedly formidable challenge of Oscar Hosting.  So, without further adieu, here are my selections (in no particular order):

(1) Sandra Bullock and Robert Downey Jr.

Americans love a good survival story.  And there are no two bigger survivors in Hollywood than Sandra Bullock and Robert Downey Jr.  She endured a painful divorce from a TOTAL wanker (who cheated on her with some tatted-up Nazi skank uggo) won an Oscar, and adopted a baby boy, all in the SAME YEAR!  He battled drug and alcohol addiction throughout the first thirty or so years of his life.  He then spent four years rotating in and out of jail on drug charges, only to become clean in 2001.  Since then, Robert Downey Jr.’s career experienced a remarkable resurgence – one which made available to him a treasure trove of roles any actor would sell their soul for.

But none of this would matter, if Sandra and Robert weren’t the kind of people we could stand to watch on television for three hours straight, without getting nauseous.  Fortunately, both celebrities possess inherent charm, poise, intelligence, dry wit, and my personal favorite, matching self-depracating senses of humor.  All of the aforementioned qualities, in my opinion are ESSENTIAL for a good Oscar host.  But don’t take my word for it.  See for yourself!

Did I mention Robert Downey Jr. looks wicked HOT in a tux? 😉

(2) George Clooney and Matt Damon

Nobody does Hollywood Royalty, like George Clooney and Matt Damon.  Having starred in four movies together, and having endured countless hours of interviews and press junkets, sitting side-by-side with one another, these two seriously sexy men, have a bromance that is simply unparallelled in the movie industry (well . . . except for, perhaps, the bromance between Matt Damon and Ben Affleck).   

Everybody loves Matt and George.  And they love eachother.  The wry barbs, adorable smirks, witty banter, and mild to moderately homoerotic ass slaps that would inevitably result, if these two were to host the Oscars together, would certainly be worth enduring a few lame acceptance speeches and stale musical performances for, right?

Oh, and if they could do a reprise of the “I’m F*&king Matt Damon” song, so much the better.  (I’m sure the censors would just LOVE that!)

(3) Tina Fey and Jon Hamm

To succeed as an Oscar host, it is not enough to simply be likeable, or funny, or charming, you also have to have good material.  And solid material requires GOOD WRITING.  So, what better person to host the Oscars than one of the best comedic writers in the industry?  Having spent years, writing for Saturday Night Live, and now 30 Rock, Tina Fey definitely has what it takes to write a solid Oscar monologue.  Plus, her stand-up comedic experience has made her a whiz at ad-libbing.  Of course, this is a crucial skill to have on Oscar night, when the teleprompter goes down, or the microphone stops working, or Melissa Leo drops the F-bomb . . .

As for Jon Hamm,  well the man is gorgeous, for one thing . . . and surprisingly modest, especially considering just how gorgeous he is.  Jon is also a real stand-up guy — one who’s not afraid to be goofy, or make a bit of an ass of himself.  He even knows how to DANCE (sort of).    Being able to boogie certainly can’t hurt, especially if you are an Oscar host saddled with a ridiculously cheesy musical number . . .

Hamm demonstrated both his comedic timing, and his chemistry with Tina Fey, during the actor’s guest stint on 30 Rock.  But it is the couple’s adorable debut as 2009 Emmy Presenters that really convinces me that these two have what it takes to be amazing 2012 Oscar hosts.

(4) Nathan Lane and Jane Lynch

The Oscars are nothing if not theatrical.  And my next two celebrities have theatricality up to their expertly plucked eyebrows!  Nathan Lane is comedic actor, who got his start on Broadway, and has brought his larger-than-life persona and musical talents to films ranging from The Bird Cage to The Lion King to The Producers.  You can’t help but laugh, everytime Nathan Lane is working his magic on the stage or screen.  He also looks pretty amazing in drag . . . which is a HUGE PLUS, during the Awards season.

Jane Lynch has also had a long-standing comedic film career that began on the stage.  Of course, now, we know her best as the prickly and unabashedly evil cheerleading coach, Sue Sylvester, on Glee.  Can you just imagine all the delightfully evil barbs targeted against Hollywood’s A-listers, Jane could get away with at the Oscars, if they were spoken in the context of an “As Sue Sees It” News Broadcast?

(Oh, and if Nathan and Jane could, at some point, during the ceremony belt out a duet to my favorite Disney tune “Hakuna Matata,” I would be a VERY HAPPY CAMPER!)

(5) Rico Rodriguez and Sofia Vergara

You want YOUNG Oscars, Academy?  Well, it doesn’t get much younger than Rico Rodriguez!  This pint-sized tot from Modern Family has already earned his stripes, both hosting Red Carpet Events, and tackling press junkets and interviews like a champ. 

See what I mean?  Dude brings the funny!  And he brings it HARD!  Book him NOW, before puberty hits!

It should be noted that Rico has fantastic chemistry with his TV mommy — the smokin sexy, Sofia Vergara.  Vergara’s sassy sensibility and adorable accent make absolutely everything she says hilarious.  Case in point:

Oscar telecasts, as we all know, have a tendency to get a bit long and dry, particularly during their final hours.   What better way to spice things up a bit, than with a little sultry Latin Flavor?

And, hey, even if things DON’T go well for these two as hosts, you could probably get at least an hour’s worth of material out of jokes about Rico’s age and height, and one about Sofia’s accent and bountiful . . . busom.  You can’t say that about Steve Martin or Billy Crystal!

So, there you have it, my top five picks to host the 2012 Oscars.  What are YOURS?

[www.juliekushner.com]

16 Comments

Filed under Oscars

7 Hot Guys and 7 (well . . . actually 8) Holiday Movies: Tis’ The Season for Sexy!

Because we all need “a little Christmas,” right this very minute . . .

So, what symbolizes the start of the Holiday Season for you?  Is it the sight of multi-colored lights strung across your Christmas Tree?  The massively jaw-dropping increase on your Visa Bill?  Television’s sudden saturation with So-Sweet-You-Could-Barf Christmas movies?  For me, it is actually none of these things.  Nope . . .when I think of the holidays, I think of holiday movies.  And when I think of holiday movies, I think of the hot guys in them . . .

If you were expecting a more intellectual answer than this, CLEARLY you’ve come to the wrong blog!

Fortunately, Holiday Season 2010 is JAM PACKED with silver screen sexiness that will be sure to “rev up your Santa Sleigh” and make you wish that movie theaters came equipped with mistletoe.  So, without further adieu, it is my pleasure to bring to you Seven Sexy Stars who will be “coming” to a theater near you, this Christmas . . . (in no particular order).

(1) Garrett Hedlund – Tron Legacy and Country Strong

This adorable 26-year old Minnesota-born actor is already making himself at home in movie theaters across the world.  Currently, you can catch him as the heroic Sam Flynn in the sci-fi fantasy thriller, Tron Legacy.  And, as far as I’m concerned, any guy who can wear a “light up” spandex jump suit and make it look sexy (as opposed to REALLY creepy) is already a hero in my book!

And if THAT image didn’t convince you to go see the film, perhaps this one will . . .

You can watch the trailer for Tron Legacy here:

If Garrett Hedlund’s sexy gravel-dipped voice in the above trailer made your heart sing, I have good news for you!  Starting January 7, 2011, you can catch Garrett SINGING in the upcoming film Country Strong, which also stars Gwyneth Paltrow, and Gossip Girl‘s Leighton Meester.

Below is a clip from the film, featuring Garrett as singer/songwriter Beau Hutton, singing an impromptu duet with Leighton Meester’s character, Chiles Stanton.  Now, I’m not usually a fan of country music, but I’ve gotta say, this is GOOD!

Garrett Hedlund: a hot guy, with a great body, and amazing voice.  And he’s in not one, but TWO films?  YES, PLEASE! 

(Heck, this guy can even make LEOPARD PANTS look good!)

2) Cam Gigandet – Burlesque

OK . . . so I saw Burlesque in theaters, during the Thanksgiving break.  And I’ll be the first to tell you that, with the possible exception of Best Song,” it’s probably not going to win any Oscars this year.  HOWEVER, the sight of 28-year old, Cam Gigandet, in the film, clad in nothing but a strategically placed box of Famous Amos cookies (Can you say, “Best Product Placement EVER!) is worth the price of admission ALONE. 

Good ole,’ Cam!  So many movies . . . so little clothes . . .

You can check out the trailer for Burlesque here:

3) Jake Gyllenhaal – Love and Other Drugs

Dashing, debonair, smart, sexy, charming, and adorably cute, is there anything (or, for that matter, any ONE) 30-year old Jake Gyllenhaal can’t do? 

Taylor Swift’s hearty breakfast

In addition to offering a “WHOLE LOTTA NAKED JAKE” . . .

. . . Love and Other Drugs is actually supposed to be a pretty darn good movie, in it’s own right.  Just ask my blogger pal, the Always Brilliant Amy!

You can check out the trailer for Love and Other Drugs here:

4) Armie Hammer – The Social Network

If you haven’t seen The Social Network by now . . . step away from your computer . . . and GET THEE TO A THEATER, GO!

This Aaron Sorkin-written, David Fincher-directed, more or less, true tale of Mark Zuckerberg’s founding of Facebook, was amazingly well-acted, riveting, extremely well-written, and surprisingly informative.  This is the type of film you will still be talking about with your friends weeks after you’ve seen it.  And there is already Oscar Buzz surrounding its director, actors, and screenplay. 

But enough of all that smart stuff, you came to this post for the Man Candy, right?

You’re welcome!

In The Social Network, 24-year old Armie Hammer plays not one, but TWO characters!  Thanks to some mind-boggling special effects (not exactly the type of thing you’d expect from a smart, dialogue-driven film about Facebook, right?), Armie Hammer plays BOTH of the handsome, wealthy, and dignified, but ultimately outsmarted, Winklevoss twins .  . .

Double the flavor.  Double the fun!

During, the film, one of Hammer’s characters can be quoted as saying, “I’m 6’5” 220, and there are two of me.”

Christmas gifts don’t get much better than that . . . You can catch the trailer for The Social Network here:

5) Paul Rudd – How Do You Know?

I knew I was in love with Paul Rudd, ever since he sat on the staircase of an opulent mansion, and made out with his sort-of, kind-of sister, in Clueless.

Too bad I was pre-pubescent at the time.  Otherwise, the two of us could have really started something beautiful, I think!  After all, this 41-year old actor has everything a girl could possibly want in a Fake Boyfriend! 

He’s hilariously funny, insanely cute, unabashedly dorky, and self-depracatingly charming.  He also, apparently, shares Cam Gigandet’s dislike for clothing, which is always a good thing . . .

Given all that, is it any wonder that Paul turns Reese Witherspoon’s head in the new film, How Do You Know?

You can watch the trailer for it, here:

6) Mark Wahlberg – The Fighter

Hey Marky Mark!  You can come play with MY Funky Bunch, ANYTIME!

This 39-year old Brooding Badass, who based the HBO hit series Entourage on his own awe-inspiring beginnings, is not only an Academy Award-winning actor, he’s also a singer-songwriter, a television and film producer, and, perhaps, most importantly,  a former underwear model . . .

Under WHERE? 😉

Wahlberg is already gettting rave reviews for his portrayal of real-life professional boxer, Micky Ward, in The Fighter.  You can check out the trailer for the film here:

7) James Franco

In a recent post, I poked a little bit of fun at 32-year old James Franco’s generalized “stoner mentality,” his brief period od soap opera “stardom,” and the Academy’s controversial decision to have him host the Oscars.  But, all kidding aside, James Franco is receiving rave reviews for his portrayal of Aron Ralston — the hiker forced to amputate his own arm with a dull knife, after being trapped under a bolder for weeks — in the film 127 Hours . . .

Sure, watching a guy SAW HIS OWN ARM OFF might not exactly be this shallow shirtless male-oriented blogger’s idea of a good time.  But when the guy doing the sawing looks like THIS . . .

 . . . I may be able to make an exception. 

Besides, the more Oscar-nominated films I see before the New Year, the better chance I have of winning my annual Oscar Pool, come February.  And Mama needs a new fake plastic award to put on her MANTLE!

You can watch the trailer for 127 Hours here:

So, there you have it, seven holiday films (well .  . . actually eight), and seven sexy holiday stars, who are sure to put you in the Spirit of Giving (and TAKING!) this year.  Now, don’t you be telling people I didn’t get you anything for Christmas!

Happy Holidays, fellow fangirls (and boys)!

[www.juliekushner.com]

10 Comments

Filed under Hot Actors, Movie Trailer Recaplets, Shirtless Film Stars, Winter 2010 movies

James Franco is Hosting the Oscars . . . Seriously.

So, by now, you’ve probably all heard that the 83rd Annual Academy Awards (set to air February 27, 2011 on ABC) will be co-hosted by James Franco and Anne Hathaway.  And I’m willing to bet that you’ve had at least one debate with your friends recently, as to why that is or isn’t a good idea.

Perhaps, you’ve even read the interview, in which Franco explained his decision to accept the job hosting the Awards, by saying, quite eloquently, “Why not? . . . I don’t care.”

“Yeah . . . umm . . . I guess I’ll do the Oscars.  Whatevs.  I mean, I don’t have to . . . like . . . get up early for this, do I?”

“So, who the heck is James Franco?”  You might be asking yourself . . . Well, for starters, he’s the guy in that movie about that dude who chopped of his own arm . . .

 

All kidding aside, I heard 127 Hours was actually quite good.  I’m just too much of a Big Baby to go see it.

He also played a supporting role in the 2008 Harvey Milk biopic, Milk, alongside Sean Penn . . .

Tight jeans + Porn Star mustache = Super Sexy

Although these are the two roles for which James Franco is most well-known, he’s been in plenty of other stuff too.  Here are just a few of Franco’s “Greatest Hits:”

James played The Hot Guy in Freaks and Geeks . . .

He was also The Bad Guy in Spiderman 3 . . .

Check out Franco’s Awesome, “Bad Guys Don’t Botox” Face

He was The Stoned Guy Who’s Not Seth Rogen in The Pineapple Express . . .

And he was That Weird Guy Who Killed People, and then Painted About it on General Hospital . . .

But all of the aforementioned roles mean nothing, if Franco can’t host a decent Award Show, right? 

And so, without further adieu, I would like to present to you my argument as to why James Franco has all the qualities one needs, in order to be a FABULOUS Oscars host (complete with photographs, videoclips, and . . . well . . . not much else).

Like all the best Oscar Hosts, James Franco has the ability to stay “cool” under “pressure” . . .

He’s also real good with THE LADIES . . .

Franco is funny (though not always intentionally) . . .

He’s precise!

He’s hardworking . . .

 . . . not to mention, INTENSELY DEDICATED to his “craft” . . .

And James can be VERY articulate . . . when he puts his mind to it . . .

(Warning:  The below clip contains a bit of what your Mommy would call, “Harsh Language.”)

So, let’s put our Franco-fied doubts to rest, shall we?  When it comes to hosting the Oscars, our main man James, is going to do just FINE!  And if not?  Well . . . who doesn’t like to watch a good train wreck, every now and then! 😉

See you February 27th, James!

[www.juliekushner.com]

10 Comments

Filed under James Franco, The Oscars

OMFG? Not so much . . . – The Top Ten “Been There, Seen That” Teen Television Cliches (Part 1 of 2)

It is probably no secret to anyone who has ever stopped by this blog before (or even just examined the above “collage”), that I am a sucker for Trash-tastic Teen Television.  I have been a fan of these types of shows since the age of eight.  That was when I first decided that I desperately wanted to be a teen.  And I have no doubt that I will remain a fan, long after I have cruised past “old age,” and am forced to squint through my coke bottle glasses, and smile through my dentures, at the sight of some pipsqueaks (who bear a suspicious resemblance to my grandkids) attending prom on my small screen.

“That is one hot threesome.  Oh, when I think back to my first threesome . . . ah memories!”

Having been around the “teenage television” block quite a bit since my eighth birthday, I have come to notice a few patterns among my favorite teen dramas.  Over the years, I have watched in wonder, as certain storylines traveled across decades,  time zones, and networks, just to reach my lowly television set, over and over (and over and over) again . . .  So I’ve decided to investigate these storylines, in hopes of FINALLY figuring out what makes them so “gosh darn special!”

1) “Hit me with a baby, one more time!” – The Pregnancy Scare and/or Actual Pregnancy Plotline

The Storyline: Our teen female protagonist has sex . . . usually for the first time.  Her partner is either a long, LONG time boyfriend, with whom she has been discussing doing the deed for the ENTIRE season . . .

 Or, conversely, he is a one night-stand, who she (a) barely knows; or (b) seemingly despises.  There is never any in between. 

In the very next scene, our protagonist learns that she has missed her period.  She is FLIPPING THE F&CK OUT!

She keeps her discovery a secret from everyone, except for her best friend.  And the best friend is inevitably the one who convinces the protagonist to take the pregnancy test.

Regardless of the pregnancy test’s ultimate result, inevitably there comes a time when our protagonist has to have “The Discussion” with “The Maybe Baby Daddy.” 

 Sometimes, he takes it well . .  . usually, he doesn’t . . . at least, not at first.

Now, if the protagonist ends up not being pregnant . . . well then . . . THAT’S IT!  Our protagonist is RELIEVED!  She feels brand NEW!  She’s CHANGED!

She will pretend this whole little sweeps week episode never happened (or, in the case of Manny Santos, and Degrassi, the U.S. will pretend this whole episode never happened . . . by NOT AIRING IT, until about 3 years after it was actually filmed).  However, if our protagonist IS pregnant . . . we get stuck with a baby storyline for ALL ETERNITY (or at least it will seem that way  . . .)!

Examples: Brenda on 90210 (not actually pregnant); Andrea on 90210 (actually pregnant / had baby / raised baby); Summer on The O.C. (not actually pregnant); Manny on Degrassi: The Next Generation (actually pregnant / had abortion); Liberty on Degrassi: The Next Generation (pregnant / had baby / gave baby up for adoption); Emma on Degrassi: The Next Generation (not actually pregnant / feeling left out because EVERYONE else on her show actually was); Blair on Gossip Girl (not actually pregnant);  Georgina on Gossip Girl (To Be Determined?); Amy on Secret Life of the American Teenager (actually pregnant / had baby / is raising baby); Quinn on Glee (actually pregnant / had baby / gave baby up for adoption).

Why it’s a cliche?

“Hey there, boys and girls!  I’ve got a message for you!  Premarital sex is BAAAAAAAAD!”

Teen television programs tend to be written by adults.  And even the most hip and forward thinking adults, don’t like to think about their 15-year old kids f*c*ing eachother’s brains out like bunny rabbits on acid. 

So they ever so subtly try to scare the crap out of their kids, by showing them how having sex once can RUIN THEIR LIVES FOREVER!  It doesn’t really work . . .

This storyline is SO overdone that precisely NO ONE is shocked or dismayed by the prospect of a female protagonist  . . . missing her period.  Hey writers, want to REALLY scare your kids celibate?  Give your television characters crabs. 

That will permanently glue your teen’s legs shut for sure!

2) “OH NO!  You killed .  . . what’s his name again?” – The Death of the Peripheral Character Plotline

 

The Storyline:  There is this recurring character on your favorite show that has becoming increasingly annoying, of late. 

You can’t quite put your finger on it, but you just think the character really sucks. 

And you can’t wait for him or her to leave your television screen ALONE! 

You spend WAY too much time bashing this minor character on online message boards, and in snarky recaps of the show.  In those messages, you may or may not beg the show’s writers for said character’s untimely demise. 

Then the character actually DIES. 

And you’re secretly happy that you got what you wanted. 

But NOW you’re convinced you are very sh*tty person.  Because, REALLY, what kind of nice, normal person is HAPPY when someone dies, real or fake?  Even though very few of the characters on your show seemed to like this character any more than you did, while he was alive, they all make a big show of mourning and /or having a funeral for him or her.  

Your favorite character will inevitably give the eulogy for this character.  And it will be all warm, and fuzzy, and heartfelt . . . and, of course, totally depressing. 

And YOU will surprise yourself by crying like a baby when you watch it (probably out of guilt for openly hating the character so much . . . or . . .  maybe the scene just reminds you of a dead relative).  After the episode airs, the show’s entire cast will COMPLETELY forget that this dead character ever existed . . .

Examples: Scott on 90210, Abby on Dawson’s Creek; Rick on Degrassi: The Next Generation, Johnny on The O.C., that dude Serena supposedly “killed” on Gossip Girl, Percy and Reed on Grey’s Anatomy (not technically a teen show, but still . . .), Vicki on The Vampire Diaries

Why it’s a cliche?  The “Very Special” Dead Person episode of any teen show is sure to be a ratings grabber, no matter how unlikeable the soon-to-be dead character was before he met his demise.  Plus, killing any character on their show (even if it’s just a one-episode guest star) allows producers to run that oh-so-original . . . “SOMEBODY WILL DIE!” promo the week before their episode airs, and you know how ALL producers LOVE that promo! 

3) “Hot for Teacher!” – The Inappropriate Student / Teacher Relationship Plotline

The Storyline:  The protagonist has a crush on his or her very attractive (yet obviously lonely, and very desperate), teacher. 

The teacher makes a lame ass attempt to rebuff the protagonists affections, but fails miserably. 

Soon the student and the teacher are doing the horizontal mambo together in secret. 

Someone always finds out.  Someone always exposes them for the sluts they both are. 

It always ends badly . . .

Examples: Pacey and Miss Jacobs on Dawson’s Creek, Paige and Mr. O on Degrassi: The Next Generation, Dan and Miss Carr on Gossip Girl, Aria and Mr. Fitz on Pretty Little Liars

Why it’s a cliche?  Forbidden love is HOT!  And cougars are all the rage!  Plus, who HASN’T had a crush on one of their teachers and indulged in a naughty fantasy, or two (or twenty) involving same? 

 Mine was my freshman history teacher in high school.  He was pretty young, compared to most of my teachers at that time . . . probably in his mid-to-late twenties . . . and single.  Actually, he kind of looked like this . . .

 . . . only he was a wee bit older . . . and he generally wore shirts (unfortunately).  Coincidentally, Mr. Devlin, if your reading this . . . 😉

4) “Cheaters never win, and winners never . . . whatever.” – The Cheating on a Test / Plagiarism Plotline

Storyline: The protagonist REALLY needs to pass a particular test or ace a certain paper.  He or she is under a lot of external pressure to do so. 

 But something happens, so that he or she doesn’t have time to do the appropriate amount of studying and /or research.  He or she is tempted, upon receiving answers to the test or a pre-written paper, to . . . CHEAT!

The protagonist struggles with whether or not to enter into the dark evil world of “school crime,” but ultimately does. 

Because the character cheated, he or she does so well on the test or paper that his teacher inevitably wants to enter him or her in some national competition of some sort related to the aforementioned paper or test.  Smothered by guilt, the character eventually comes clean.  He or she then gets in trouble . . . 

But not in nearly as much trouble as the character would, if caught, in . . . say . . . the REAL WORLD . . .

“It can’t possibly be worse than when I got that awful haircut . . .”

Examples: Felicity on Felicity, Andie on Dawson’s Creek, Rusty on Greek, Lindsay and Daniel on Freaks and Geeks, Spencer on Pretty Little Liars

Why it’s a cliche?  One word:  schadenfreude.  You see, here’s the thing . . . every teen show has that one uptight overachieving character, who always gets A’s, is super judgmental of all of her “less brilliant” friends, and never seems to do anything wrong.  Admit it!  It’s kind of fun to see tight asses like that crack under the pressure . . .

Make that VERY fun!

5) “I’m gonna do real bad things to you .  . . and make you DO real bad things!”  – The “Bad Influence” Plotline

The Storyline: Our protagonist is going through kind of a “rough patch” in his or her life.  He or she is therefore looking to let loose, and have some sort of emotional and/or physical release.  In walks a character who is fun, adventurous, and more than a little dangerous. 

Our protagonist starts hanging out with the “dangerous” character a lot. 

(Click the internal link to watch!)

Before you know it, he or she is behaving just like the “dangerous” character, and getting into all sorts of trouble as a result.   

 The protagonists other friends are jealous of all the fun their typically boring protagonist is now having.  But they are also worried.  Inevitably, the moment comes when protagonist is about to get into a cr*p load of trouble with the “dangerous” character. 

 The friends stage an intervention of sorts. 

It works!

 The dangerous character rides away on the evil broomstick by which it came.  All is, once again, right (and boring) with the world . . .

Examples: Abby influencing Jen on Dawson’s Creek, Georgina influencing Serena on Gossip Girl, Damon influencing Caroline on The Vampire Diaries, “The Freaks” influencing Lindsay on Freaks and Geeks, that character Paul Wesley played on Everwood influencing Hannah on Everwood, that character Paul Wesley played on The O.C. influencing Ryan and Seth on The O.C.

Why it’s a cliche?  Everybody’s got a dark side.  Secretly, we all want to be a little “bad” sometimes.  The good news is that we can do it safely and vicariously, by watching our favorite “good” television characters “go bad,” albeit temporarily.  They have fun while doing it . . . and so do we, at least until their lame friends bring them back to earth.

Well, that’s all the teen television cliches I have for tonight.  But please tune in tomorrow, when I tackle love triangles, love-hate relationships, prom, the ever enlightening “trip to Europe,” and, of course, the dreaded ski trip  .  . .

10 Comments

Filed under Freaks and Geeks, Glee, Gossip Girl, Greek, Pretty Little Liars, The O.C., The Vampire Diaries, Top Ten Lists

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?

14 Comments

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

Anatomy of a Trailer: Eat, Pray, Love

I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir Eat, Pray, Love a couple of years ago, when I was going through a particularly rough patch in my own life.  (I think it is the closest I will EVER come to reading a self-help book.)  Without going into too much detail, I liked it.  Sure, the narrator was a tad whiny and self-absorbed at times.  I also thought that the heavy-handed, kind of preachy (no pun intended), “Pray” section could have been downsized a bit.  However, it was a fast, at-times humorous, and life-affirming read.  And, yes, it did help me a bit with what I was going through at the time.

When I heard they were making the memoir into a movie, and that Julia Roberts had been cast in the “Liz” role,  I was a bit surprised.  The author’s inner struggles just didn’t seem as though they would translate that well to the big screen.  Plus, Julia Roberts seemed too strong, and a bit too long in the tooth, to play the story’s vulnerable and fragile early 30-something protagonist.  I’d always pictured someone more like Kate Winslet in the role.

But, of course, I could be wrong.  It’s not a bad trailer.  The location shots are gorgeous.  Plus, the makeup artists and film stylists did a fairly decent job making Julia Roberts look younger, wispier, and blonder than I have seen her in a while.   And . . . well . . . maybe I should just shut up, and show you the trailer  . . .

:12 – It’s Mr. Miyagi from those old Karate Kid movies!

 . . . oh, wait . . . that’s not him.

:35 –  “When some guy who . . . yes . . . looks a little like Yoda, hands you a prophecy, you have to respond.”

“May the force of big box office bucks be with you, Julia.”

:40 – The wise and sassy best friend . . . a requirement for all Chick Flicks, since the dawn of time.

Because chicks LOVE sassy and wise friends.

:43 – Interesting sidenote:  Did you know that the writer of Eat, Pray, Love was the free-spirited table-dancing bartender who penned the GQ article that inspired this movie?

To be honest, after reading this book, I wouldn’t have thought she had it in her . . . I guess people can change . . .

:58 – “Your underwear, my queen.”

Granny panties

Oh, James Franco, always looking perpetually stoned, no matter what movie you’re in!

I still love you, though . . .

1:19 – This “Julia in a bathtub” scene totally reminds me of that scene from Pretty Woman.

You know, the one where she sings  “Kiss” by Prince, amidst a sea of bubbles . . .

Coincidentally, the film Pretty Woman turned 20 this week.

Another year, and it will be old enough for me to take it bar hopping, without a fake ID . . .

1:42 – Since I was a little girl, I always had a thing for elephants, and secretly wanted one for a pet.

So cute!

It’s probably never going to work out for me, though.  For one thing, I don’t think I could find a pooper scooper big enough (or toilet, for that matter . . .)

2:06 – Who knew Javier Bardem was such a hottie, underneath all that bad No Country for Old Men hair?

But wait, wasn’t Liz’s Bali lover (and now husband) supposed to be older than her?  Like in his 50’s?

Eat, Pray, Love hits theaters August 13, 2010.  Will YOU see it?

16 Comments

Filed under Book, love, Movie Trailer Recaplets

Freaks and Geeks – The Best Show You Probably DIDN’T Watch (and neither did I), But We Should Have

Before Katherine Heigl got Knocked Up, before Jason Segel spent an entire Hawaiian vacation Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and before Steve Carell endured the ignominious label of The 40-Year Old Virgin, there was a funny New Yorker named Judd Apatow, and a little  television show called Freaks and Geeks.

Although the show aired roughly ten years ago, I didn’t come across it until fairly recently.  I was looking for a prospective candidate to fill my ever-dwindling Netflix queue, at the timeThe show was described as a “period piece” of sorts, in that it took place at a Michigan high school during the 1980-81 school year. 

Now, as you can probably tell from this blog, I LOVE my high school dramedys.  Plus, I have always been a bit obsessed with the ’80s as a decade, despite the fact that I was itty bitty during most of it.  (The Breakfast Club was the first R-rated film my mother let me watch on video.  It is still one of my favorite movies of all time.)  So, I figured this was right up my alley.

The Pilot episode opens with a clichéd jock and his clichéd cheerleader girlfriend engaging in a vapid discussion about the nature of their relationship, while cuddling on the bleachers at the high school football field.  Within moments, the camera pans beneath the bleachers to reveal the show’s real stars: a group of stoners smoking weed, and a trio of nerds discussing Star Wars.  I was instantly hooked.

The series follows the lives of Lindsay Weir (played by Linda Cardellini of ER), a shy overachieving mathlete who becomes disillusioned with her dull life and quickly falls in with a “bad crowd,” and her younger brother, Sam (John Francis Daley of Bones), a good humored and intelligent, but diminutive and undeveloped (his voice still hasn’t changed) high school freshman.  Lindsay hangs with the titular Freaks of the show, played by James Franco, Busy Phillips, Jason Segel, and Seth Rogen (all of whom have gone on to become regular staples in Judd Apatow films).  Sam’s friends comprise the Geeks, who are played by Sam Levine and Martin Starr. 

Rather than creating a glossy and stylized version of high school, as most teen dramas tend to do, Freaks and Geeks portrayed a more realistic version of the teen years, one rife with awkwardness, discomfort, growth spurts and acne.  Unlike most teen shows airing during that time, the actors here actually looked like real teenagers (even Cardellini, despite the fact that she was already 25 when the show started taping).  They even talked like real teenagers — their speech rife with the trademark inarticulate umms and uhhs that characterize “teenspeak” (and, on occasion, my own “speak”).

Freaks and Geeks  stood out from other teen television shows, in that it was primarily NOT about romance.  The “couples” in the show weren’t portrayed as soul mates, star-crossed lovers, or adults trapped in young bodies.  Instead, the Weirs’ respective relationships much more closely resembled those of  my limited high school dating experience.  Namely, they were frightening and cringe-inducingly uncomfortable. 

I love, for example, how Lindsay’s “love interest,” Nick (Jason Segel of How I Met Your Mother), is not smooth or cool at all.  In fact, he is kind of smothery and more than a tad creepy at times.  Lindsay generally sticks with him because he is part of her social circle, and because she wants to have a boyfriend.  Unforunately, I too have been there . . .

Freaks and Geeks also took risks with its storylines.  One episode dealt with a hermaphodite student in a way that was surprisingly tasteful and heartfelt.  In another episode, viewers spent a good deal of time watching the Geeks watch a pornographic film.

So, if your Netflix queue has been looking a bit anorexic lately, and you are in need of some quality programming, I highly recommend Freaks and Geeks.

Oh, and did I mention James Franco looks really hot in it?

8 Comments

Filed under Freaks and Geeks