Saturday, December 3, 2011

28 Netflix streaming, free Hulu, and television recommendations: Part 1

Services like Netflix streaming make it easy to watch a show marathon-style, but sometimes it can be hard to find a good one. So I'm going to help you Netflix streaming subscribers find a tv show that you'll enjoy. I've also included a few suggestions from Hulu (free, not Hulu plus) and (also free). The WB site changes it's selection of available episodes pretty frequently, so if you're seeing this list much later than the date I posted it, their selections may have changed by now.

I've watched at least some portion of all of the shows posted in this list. Some of them are cheesy and light; others are high-quality television. All of them, however, are enjoyable in my opinion and come with my recommendation.

Before I get to the actual list, I'd like to quickly explain a couple of things about it.

First of all, Netflix Streaming recommendations have red text next to them, Hulu recommendations have green, and theWB recommendations have blue. Secondly I've put parentheses next to each suggestion with the available seasons and the total number of seasons. For example, if it says (2/5), that means that season 2 is available and that there are five total seasons. That does not mean that the first two seasons are available. Lastly, the second set of parentheses is either (sc) for series complete or (ca) for currently airing.

Now, without further ado, here's my list:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Link Roundup: Volume 9

What do you get when you combine the musical stylings of Robin Sparkles with Doctor Who? Magic!

Community fans, you might be surprised to find out the identity of one of the writers of the much-hyped The Descendants.

Guess which Big Brother couple is rumored to be on the cast of The Amazing Race next season.

Office fans, Dunder Mifflin paper is now a real thing.

This list of common movie poster cliches is fabulous and hilarious. My favorite has to be "Tiny People On the Beach, Giant Heads in the Clouds." You can also visit the site where these examples originated for more of them (I included the first link because much of this site is in French).

If you love Once Upon a Time as much as I do, you should check out this first look of Emilie de Ravin as my favorite Disney princess, Belle. Maybe I can finally forgive her for what Tess did to Alex on Roswell.

Speaking of Once Upon a Time, I'm disappointed in myself as Lost fan for failing to catch this Apollo candy bar reference. 

While I'm on the subject of references I missed, this one from Community is both brilliant and ridiculously subtle.

Bringing these links back around to Doctor Who, you'll never guess (okay, you might) which cartoon of the 90s contained a Dalek reference.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Trailers of the Week Roundup: The Hunger Games, The Vow, and More

Movie trailers and Breaking Dawn seem to have invaded the Internet this week. I'm not going to touch the second topic at the moment, but due to some extreme Spanish-studying procrastination, I would like to share my thoughts on the first. Here's this week's trailers in order from the movie I'm most excited about to the one I'm least excited about.

1) The Hunger Games

If you've been on the Internet much this week, you've probably either seen the trailer for The Hunger Games movie or have least heard that the trailer has been released. I just finished the Hunger Games books about a month ago. So I was pretty excited to see a preview of the film, and I must say, it didn't disappoint. I was initially a bit dubious about Jennifer Lawrence being cast as Katniss, but after watching the trailer, I'm convinced that she'll be great in the role. From the casting to the sets to the costumes, most everything in the trailer fits how I'd imagined it, and I can't wait to see to see this in March.

2) Brave

The Hunger Games trailer isn't the only trailer featuring a female archer that was released this week; a trailer for Pixar's upcoming movie Brave also shows a girl who's handy with a bow and arrow. I think Pixar is pretty fantastic, and I'm a sucker for princess movies. So I'm pretty excited for this upcoming release. I adore the Scottish accents in the trailer, and I just realized while writing this that Craig Ferguson's voice is among those accents. So there's another reason to be excited about Brave.

3) Gone

I like Amanda Seyfried (although it's hard to think of her as anything other than Lily Kane or Karen Smith) and maybe this is just a bad trailer, but Gone just doesn't grab me or strike me as particularly original. Still, it looks like a possibly-entertaining, mindless thriller that I wouldn't mind seeing eventually, particularly if it were on Netflix streaming.

4) The Vow

Since when is Hallmark able to snag stars like Rachel McAdams? Oh wait, this isn't a made-for-tv movie? You could have fooled me. Look, I can enjoy some sappiness from time to time (shout out to both the Walk to Remember book and movie), but this movie does not look good. The Taylor Swift song, the falling in love all over again montage, the brief glances at scenes featuring tears and dramatic outbursts followed by lighthearted moments, the tagline "Can the love of a lifetime find a second chance?" slowly appearing across the screen, and Channing Tatum's (or is it Tatum Channing? I can never remember.) "acting" are just too much for me handle. I think Rachel McAdams is fantastic, but she can do much better than this.

5) Mirror, Mirror

I love fairy tales and princesses as much, if not more, than the next person, but this looks 20 kinds of terrible. To be fair, I've never been much of a Snow White fan (although I'm loving Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow White on Once Upon a Time), but even if I were that wouldn't excuse dialogue such as "Snow White. Snow Who? Sno-way." Plus, Julia Roberts' performance as the evil queen looks absolutely dreadful. Visually, the movie looks pretty (which shouldn't be a surprise given that it's directed by Tarsem Singh who directed The Fall), but that's about the only nice thing I can say about it. I can definitely enjoy some campiness (which Mirror Mirror seems to provide in spades), but this looks like campiness of the worst kind.

Did I miss any of this week's trailers? Which of these trailers are you most excited about? Whether you agree with my opinions or think I'm way off base, I'd love to read your thoughts in the comments, as always.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A request to Hollywood: Please stop killing Matt Bomer

Warning: This post contains spoilers about deaths in movies and television.

Dear Hollywood and Other Entertainment Industries,

In July, Pajiba put together a death reel for Sean Bean's characters, proving they die quite often. There's another actor who seems to suffer from this syndrome. His death count can't compete with Sean Bean's, but it's too high for my taste. This fellow frequent death sufferer is Matt Bomer.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cream of the Crop: Raising Hope

With each new television season, there's a giant new crop of television shows. Some of them are rotten, others are just okay, but a few shine as the cream of the crop. In this series of posts, I'm going to share with you the three new shows from the last year that I've watched and enjoyed.

Well, it's time for the last installment of Cream of the Crop, for this year at least. I sincerely hope you've enjoyed this series, and maybe even decided to start watching one of my selections. I apologize that this last installment is a little late. I was hoping to have this series done before the new television season began, but that just didn't happen.

For my last but certainly not least pick of the year, I've chosen the FOX comedy Raising Hope. Last year, Raising Hope aired right after Glee (this year it's Glee, New Girl, then Raising Hope), so I caught a few minutes of it here and there. I decided to check it out on Hulu, and I found myself watching all of the available episodes in one sitting.

Would you like a synopsis of the show? It's about raising Hope. Ba dum ch. I'm just kidding; I can go into a little more detail than that. The show centers around the Chance family: Jimmy, his parents, and his grandmother. Jimmy has a one night stand with a girl, only to realize the next morning that she's a serial killer. She ends up getting pregnant and has Jimmy's baby before being electrocuted. Jimmy decides to raise the baby with the help of his family. He also has a crush on his friend Sabrina. Now, all that I just told you is about to become irrelevant because it's much more entertainingly summed up in this song from Raising Hope's second season premiere (found via Entertainment Weekly).

Raising Hope works for several reasons. One of the reasons is that it doesn't look down on its characters. Sure, it sometimes mocks their blue-collar craziness, but it treats them as real characters rather than one-dimensional stereotypes. Secondly, it has heart. I know that's one of the oldest cliches that can be said about a story, but it's really true in this case. The Chase family may bicker, but at the end of the day, they're a family that cares about each other. The show often veers into dark comedy (Hope's mother is electrocuted while Hope and Jimmy watch), but it has really sweet moments. Thirdly, the twins that play Hope are among the cutest and most expressive babies on television right now.

While the characters may not be the brightest people in the world, Raising Hope is surprisingly pretty clever. It occasionally uses easy jokes (there was a vomit gag early on that really grossed me out), but many of its jokes are witty and current. On the second season premiere, there was a storyline that reminded me of a plot I'd seen on Happy Endings, another one of my Cream of the Crop picks. Not only did Raising Hope subvert the plot, but they even referenced the episode of Happy Endings (and subtly, not even by name).

Raising Hope is a surprisingly funny, sweet comedy that is well worth checking out. You might be surprised at how enjoyable it is. You can watch season two of Raising Hope Tuesdays on FOX at 9:30/8:30c. If you want to check out its first season, it's currently streaming on Netflix.

What are your thoughts about Raising Hope? Do you think it's worthy of the "Cream of the Crop" title? Are there any shows that I missed that you would have chosen as part of the "Cream of the Crop?" As always, I'd love for you to share your thoughts below.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New Fall Pilots You Can Watch Right Now

It's getting to be that time of the year when the new fall television shows are premiering. I believe that Ringer kicked off the premiere of the pilots last night (which I've yet to see any of other than its much-ridiculed boat scene but sadly haven't heard great things about). Tonight, the CW is premiering H8R (yes, that's actually the show's title). On Thursday, NBC is airing the pilots of Up All Night and Free Agents, and the CW is airing the pilot of The Secret Circle.

While Ringer may have been the only pilot to air so far, there are a few other pilots you can check out now.

As I mentioned in my last post, New Girl is currently available on Comcast ON Demand. I've since learned that it's also available as a free download on iTunes. I wasn't extremely impressed with New Girl, but I think it might have some potential. For a more detailed description of my thoughts on the pilot, you can check out my post specifically about New Girl.

Also on iTunes, you can download the pilot of CW's new show The Secret Circle. I haven't watched this pilot, so I can't give you much of a recommendation as to whether you should watch it or not. 

Finally, the pilot for ABC's soapy drama Revenge is currently available online. If you download a free script for the show off Amazon's Kindle store, you'll find a link to pilot. I'd wholeheartedly recommend this pilot. It's definitely soapy, but it's much less cheesy than I thought it would be. It was really enjoyable, especially for a pilot. Revenge is a fun, vengeancey show, and I'm excited to see where they're going with it.

Have you seen any of the pilots of the fall season yet? Are you planning on watching any of this weeks' premieres? Do you know of any other available pilots? As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Edited to add: I've just come across another new pilot that's available online: Showtime's Homeland. I haven't heard much about it, to be honest, but I thought I'd share the link for anyone who's interested. You can check it out on Vulture.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New Girl: My Thoughts on the Pilot

As I was browsing through the Comcast ON Demand offerings, I saw Fox’s upcoming comedy New Girl listed. I figured it was just a short featurette, but to my surprise, they had the complete pilot available. Intrigued, I decided to give it a shot.

Credit: FOX

Before I get too far into this review, I have to make a disclaimer; I went into New Girl with negative expectations. I was somewhat curious about it, but I didn’t like the previews. My biggest issue with New Girl’s pilot is something that had already bothered me in the trailer: I found Zooey Deschanel’s character to be annoying. I’ve enjoyed Zooey in other movies like Elf and 500 Days of Summer, but I thought her performance in New Girl was too over-the-top in its quirkiness. It’s not just Zooey’s fault; the script practically begs viewers to see her character, Jessica, as adorably quirky because she sings a lot and wears glasses. There were a few brief moments where I bought into her character and thought her to be funny. It’s possible that these brief moments could be glimmers of improvement in the future. However, I currently find the character annoying for the most part. I could see some viewers finding her endearing, and I think most people’s opinions about New Girl are going to depend on if Zooey’s character and performance works for them.

I enjoyed her male counterparts a bit more. They form a fun little group and were well cast. However, I was a little disappointed at how one-dimensional the male characters are. Damon Wayans Jr.’s aptly named character, Coach, is portrayed simply as the tough, sometimes insensitive coach, and Max Greenfield’s Schmidt is the girl-obsessed toolish guy. Jake Johnson’s character, Nick, is the closest to having more than one dimension, but he’s still just the guy who’s not over his girlfriend. To be fair, it’s hard to develop characters in a short thirty minute pilot, and I feel like this flaw will be quickly overcome. The three actors have a nice chemistry together. Unfortunately for New Girl, that chemistry is going to be disrupted. Damon Wayans Jr. is currently working on the second season of Happy Endings, so his character has been written off after the pilot. I’m curious how the replacement of his character will affect the group dynamic.

Plotwise, I wasn’t really impressed with New Girl’s pilot. If you’ve seen the show’s trailer, you’ve seen the whole plot of the first episode. There’s just not that much to it, and it’s far from original. Again, this is somewhat forgivable because this was a pilot. Pilots often have scanty plots because they have the difficult task of setting up a series. I did really enjoy the series’ premise. The idea of three guys adjusting to living with a girl may not be an out-of-the-box idea, but it's a fun one. There's a lot of interesting ground that the show could cover.

New Girl's pilot definitely had that pilot feel to it. I see this as both a bad and a good thing. It’s a bad characteristic because it gave it an raw and slightly unfinished mood. As an episode, this pilot just didn’t work that well for me. The writing wasn’t particularly unique or witty, and the main character annoyed me. As a pilot setting up a show, however, it did a decent job. This pilot feel could be a good thing because it gives some hope that New Girl will improve over time and just needs to find its footing.  Plenty of great shows have had mediocre pilots. Plus, there were a couple of moments that I enjoyed, and the premise has a lot of promise. I think New Girl will instantly charm a lot of people. It has that hipstery, Zooey Deschanel vibe going for it, and some people will be drawn to that. Personally, however, pilot just didn’t work for me, I’m probably not going to seek out future episodes unless I hear that it’s improved, but I might stop and watch another episode if I found it while flipping through channels.

If you’re interested in checking out New Girl, you can watch it on Comcast ON Demand like I did, or you can watch it Tuesdays on FOX at 9/8c starting September 20.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on New Girl in the comments. Do you plan on watching pilot? If you've seen the pilot, what did you think? Do you think you'll watch regularly?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Reality TV: The Importance of Having a Favorite?

I'm not sure if I've ever talked about it on here, but I've been a fan of Big Brother since its eighth season. Before then, I, lacking in basic literary references, assumed it had something to do with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. Once I gave it a shot, however, I realized it was a lot more interesting than that. Now, I know it's trashy, but I can't help but get sucked into it. Each season, I like to pick someone (or multiple people) to root for in the competition (Sadly, I guess reality television is to me what sporting events are to many people). Unfortunately, at this point in the current season, I'm not sure who I want to win. I feel like I need to root for someone, so I've basically defaulted to rooting for two contestants by eliminating the three I don't want to win.

This got me thinking about the importance of having a favorite contestant (or multiple ones) when watching reality television. I may not always choose a favorite contestant, but I normally pick someone to root for once I've seen a couple of episodes when I watch a show regularly. It makes it much easier for me to be invested in the outcome. I wouldn't necessarily stop watching a show if I despised all of the contestants, but I definitely prefer to have a favorite.

Sometimes the casting people do a wonderful job, and I really like a certain reality television contestant. When I was younger, I was such a huge Ruben Studdard (America Idol) fan that I made buttons showing my support with my B-Stylin' Button Designer that I thankfully just wore at home. Recently, I shared with you my support of Damian in The Glee Project. If I don't have an obvious favorite, I normally just pick the best of the worst.  This season of Big Brother is a good example of that. Regardless, I like having a favorite.

Now, I want to know what you think on the matter of favorite contestants. Feel free to vote in the following poll, or you can leave a more detailed response in the comments.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's Baaack...Final Destination 5

I mentioned in my "week of movies" post that the one movie from my list that I failed to see was Final Destination 5. On Sunday, I rectified that failure. I'm not sure what this says about the relationship we have, but watching the Saw movies and the Final Destination movies is a guilty pleasure that my sister and I share. Out of the twelve movies that includes, I believe we've watched ten of them together. I was bummed when we never got around to watching the fourth Final Destination in the theater. Mostly, I wanted to see a 3D horror movie, and a Final Destination movie was the only one I would be brave enough to see. Anyway, I was pretty pumped to see that there was going to be a Final Destination 5 because I could finally experience one of these movies in 3D.

Credit: Doane Gregory/Warner Bros. Pictures

Let me tell you, 3D was made for this kind of movie. I saw Captain America recently in 3D, and it added very little to the movie. For Final Destination 5, however, 3D was a huge enhancement. As sick as this may sound, gore looks really cool in 3D. Whether it's an eye ball rolling towards you or a protruding pole on which someone has just been stabbed, it simply produces more of an effect than a slightly-more-dimensioned superhero (even if that superhero is as attractive as Chris Evans is). These visual effects are an important part of the movie because the Final Destination movies are largely visual. Let's be honest; nobody goes to these movies for character development or the complex storylines. If you do, I suggest you view some more movies. I still think Final Destination 5 can be enjoyed in non-3D, but if you are going to see it and you have the option, go the 3D route.

The 3D element also added to the movie's camp factor. The makers of Final Destination 5 were fully aware that this is not a movie that people take especially seriously. Thus, they had fun with it, and there was plenty of campiness and comedy. I wasn't laughing at the movie, I was laughing with the movie. While there was plenty of campiness and comedy, they also made sure to not let these elements completely overwhelm the movie. The deaths are still pretty horrifying, and there's more thought put into the movie that I had expected. The basic plot is still the same always: someone has a premonition of a disaster (this time, an awesome bridge collapse sequence); they use this premonition to escape the disaster, bringing several people with them to safety; death follows them around and tries to kill them in freak "accidents." However, there are a couple of interesting twists to the movie (namely one in particular), but I don't want to spoil it for you

I think a large part of the reason that I enjoyed Final Destination 5 is its fun cast. I wasn't overly familiar with any of them, but I did recognize a few. Rather than knowing them by name, however, it was more like "hey that's Claire's love interest from season two of Heroes," or "that's the girl who I've already seen traumatized in Frozen," or even "I've never seen that girl before, but she could seriously be a Megan Fox/Cobie Smulders hybrid." I must admit that a large part of the cast's charm is that their Saved by the Bell/Final Destination music video primed me to like them (I've embedded it below this paragraph for your viewing pleasure). Honestly, I felt like I would have enjoyed that cast even if I hadn't seen their music video, but maybe that's just my priming speaking.

In short, Final Destination 5 is very much a Final Destination movie. It's more gore than plot. If you don't like the previous ones at all, you probably won't magically like this one. However, if you liked the first movie, but have been disappointed by some of the sequels, you might be pleasantly surprised. I'd say that it's definitely the best one of the bunch since the first, and a case could be made that it was better (although it's been a while since I watched the first movie, so I'd have to watch it again to truly evaluate it).

I would like to give a warning however, that you may find yourself especially paranoid for a couple of days after watching Final Destination 5. Riding home from the movie was somewhat stressful, and since the movie, I've imagined various ways in which an unlikely "accident" could kill me. The latest idea was a ceiling fan becoming detached somehow, spinning towards me, and beheading me.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Cream of the Crop: Nikita

With each new television season, there's a giant new crop of television shows. Some of them are rotten, others are just okay, but a few shine as the cream of the crop. In this series of posts, I'm going to share with you the three new shows from the last year that I've watched and enjoyed.

Photo Credit: Ben Mark Holzberg/The CW

Much like the last show I included in this series of posts, I mocked Nikita before I give it a shot. I had no plans to even give it a chance, and I thought it looked like Alias: The Teen Edition. Well, truthfully, that's not entirely inaccurate, but it's not a bad thing either. I first got a glance at Nikita when the pilot came on after an episode of The Vampire Diaries (another show I initially scorned due to its network). I didn't really pay much attention to it, but I thought that it looked less lame than I had expected. Still, I shut it off about half way through. Flash-forward in time to my experiencing a period of boredom during a break. I'd heard a surprising amount of positive buzz for Nikita, so I decided to give it a shot. I quickly caught up on the episodes and was hooked.

Despite my Alias comparison, Nikita is actually based on prior source material that predates Alias. I've read that there was both a movie, Nikita, and a television show, La Femme Nikita, but having seen neither of these, I can't tell you how similar the current version of Nikita is to either of these. I can however, give you a brief rundown of Nikita's plot. Nikita is former member of an organization named Division. Division was once a U.S. government organization with good intentions but has abandoned those intentions in favor of bad ones. After the death of her fiance at their hands, Nikita has become focused on taking down Division, a goal made easier by the fact that she's got a mole on the inside, Alex.

There's plenty more to the story, but there's enough twists and turns that it's probably best to just let the story unfold by watching it. In fact, the constant shifts in its direction is one of Nikita's best qualities. The plot constantly marches onward; several twists that I would have expected years later if at all happened well before the first season's end. Another aspect I love about the show is that it features two kick butt women (sorry to scandalize you with the PG language, but some ideas call for strong words). Along with categories like "Witty Romantic Opposites Attract Movies," Netflix often recommends TV shows and movies with "Strong Female Leads," and Nikita provides that. There are lots of action sequences where Nikita and Alex kick major butt. Sometimes Michael aka Shane West (who I like to call Shanye West) even joins in on the fun; I like "strong leads" of all genders.

While I've been surprised at how good Nikita is, I'm not going to pretend like Nikita is flaw-free show. It tends to suffer from cheesy dialogue. The cheesiness is not as bad as it could be, but it's undeniably there. In addition to cheesy dialogue, I don't feel as attached to the characters as I feel I should. I like most of them, but they just don't have that extra something that makes me care about them overly much. I feel like part of the reason for this may be that the plot moves forward at such a fast pace that there isn't a whole lot of time for character building. The plot is fun and fast enough for me to enjoy Nikita, despite the deficiencies in its characters. However, I haven't felt much of an urge to watch any reruns, and I think the lack of character development plays a big role in that. That being said, I'm still super excited for new episodes in the upcoming second season.

Overall, Nikita is speedily-paced, entertaining show. If you can withstand a little cheesiness and like watching people kick butt, I'd recommend giving it a try and watching a couple of episodes. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy it, and you might even find yourself hooked.

The new season of Nikita premieres on Friday, September 23 at 8/7c on The CW.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Link Roundup: Volume 7

Friday Night Lights joins Veronica Mars and Arrested Development on the growing list of shows I love that tease me with the possibility of a movie. I'm not sure if it would translate well to the big screen, but I know I'd have to check it out if it were to happen.

Speaking of Arrested Development, there are rumors about about the plot for the movie that I refuse to believe is actually happening until I see it in theaters.

Unless I die and somebody drags my corpse to theater, I doubt that I'll be seeing Spy Kids 4-D. However, I was curious to find out what was meant by "4-D." Apparently it's just a scratch and sniff card. I'm pretty sure Cartoon Network did this several years ago. The child version of me did think it was really cool though.

As much as I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I'll be the first to admit that their idea of fashion was often pretty wonky (although viewing the episodes years after the original air dates didn't help). The Bitter Buffalo's "Buffy Fashion Roulette" is a hilarious series of posts about the wardrobe of Buffy. 

Speaking of Buffy, Angel Does Stuff is one of the funniest tumblrs I've seen. If you're a Buffy fan, you must check it out.

So Starbucks Spelling is technically not related to television or movies. However, it reminds me so much of the fantastic "Swarley" episode of How I Met Your Mother that I felt it was okay to include it.

The Week of Movies: A Mostly Successful Plan

 Before I begin, I just want to point out that the "double the 'c,' double the 's,' and then you'll have success" quote from Full House went through my mind as I was typing the title of this post.

Now that you know that, I'll tell you about my week of movies. When I reviewed Crazy, Stupid, Love. last week, I revealed my plan to have a week of movies. In case you missed that post, let's have a "previously on" segment. I know it's lame, but please indulge me for a second.

Previously on I Like TV and Movies:
"After going to a grand total of one movie in the theater this summer,
I've decided that this week is going to be the week of movies. 
I planned it out two nights ago; Tuesday is reserved for Crazy Stupid Love.,
Wednesday for The Help, Friday for Final Destination 5,
and possibly Saturday for Captain America."

After checking off Crazy Stupid Love. on Tuesday, I followed my plan and saw The Help on Wednesday. Then on Thursday, I ended up going to see Captain America. At this point, I was ahead of schedule. Unfortunately (although I suspect some of you who don't appreciate an good ole' gory guilty pleasure might say fortunately), I've yet to see Final Destination 5. Still, three out of four planned movies in one week isn't bad. In fact, the sane might even say that three movies in one week is a bit too much. But, they aren't any fun. Anyway, I don't have a whole lot to say about The Help or Captain America: The First Avenger, so I'm just going to condense both reviews into this post.

The Help

After reading the book in January, I was really excited for the theatrical adaption of The Help. As a big fan of novel, I can say that I was fully satisfied with the movie. All of the performances and casting choices are wonderful. Octavia Spencer was a fabulous choice for Minny, and her performance in the pie incident scene is just perfect. Bryce Dallas Howard, Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain, and Emma Stone give great performances as well. Even though his part is smallish, I was excited to see Chris Lowell cast as Stuart Whitworth. Although I know this is an unpopular opinion, I loved him as Piz in Veronica Mars, and I may or may not have whispered an excited "Piz!" to my sister when he came onscreen. Because The Help is a fairly long book, it was obvious that parts of it would be left out of the movie; overall, I was impressed with how it was condensed for the big screen. However, there are one or two changes that I found slightly baffling, and one particular scene from the book was left out that I was hoping would be included. That being said, The Help is a really well-made movie and a faithful adaption. 

Captain America: The First Avenger

Of the movies I saw last week, Captain America was probably my least favorite. That doesn't mean, however, that I didn't enjoy it. I just really enjoyed the other two movies and had some issues with this one. Most of my problems with Captain America centered around its villain, Johann Schmidt or Red Skull. I found him to be rather boring and over-the-top, and his scenes drag immensely. He becomes slightly more interesting part way through the movie, but I feel as if his character was not explained well. I went into Captain America knowing nothing about the comics, and perhaps I would have enjoyed the villain aspect of the movie if I had entered with knowledge of the back story. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the hero portion of the story. While snarky anti-heroes like Batman are fun, Captain America's earnest heroism is a refreshing break from the trend. His transformation from scrawny to brawny is gratifying to watch, and his underdog beginnings make him an endearing character. Plus, speaking from a completely shallow place, Chris Evans (who plays Captain America) is a very attractive man. I also enjoyed the 1940s setting of the movie; it adds a fun element to the story and provides a interesting style for the movie. Overall, Captain America is a fun summer action flick. It isn't spectacular, but a likable lead character makes it work watching.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Lying Game's Alexandra Chando: A Human Rorschach Test?

While I've watching ABCFamily lately, I've been bombarded with ads for their new series The Lying Game. I honestly know very little about this show other than the fact that's based on a book series by the author of Pretty Little Liars and the main actress plays a pair of twins. Also, it looks like it features some kind of mysterious twin-swap hijinks and maybe murder or something fun like that. Anyway, the plot is irrelevant to this post because it has nothing to do with the real mystery of this show. No, the real mystery is how Alexandra Chando, the lead actress, resembles so many different people. 

The trailer for the show came on the screen while I was watching television with my sister. I said that she gave off a JoAnna Garcia vibe, but my sister said that she reminded her of Mischa Barton. After she rewound to a certain clip, I had to agree with her. I understand that Alexandra is made up differently for different characters, but this girl truly is a chameleon. For those of you who have your doubts, I'm submitting proof below. The celebrity lookalikes I'm listing should be fairly recognizable, so I'm not going to insult your recognition by providing comparison pictures. Okay, that was a bit of a lie. I really just don't want to go through the trouble of finding them.

Joanna Garcia lookalike       Credit: ABCFamily Promo

Mischa Barton lookalike       Credit: ABCFamily Promo

Maggie Grace lookalike           Credit: ABCFamily Promo

I know this picture is from a bit of distance, but I also see a resemblance to Victoria Justice. 
Credit: ABCFamily Promo

 That about covers it for the promos, but I'm not done yet. In the course of my researching Alexandra for this post, I realized that there are a few other celebrities that can be added to her lookalike list.
 I'm linking to them instead of posting them here.
Maybe it's just the bangs, but I get a serious Rachel Bilson vibe from this photo.
I must have The O.C. on my mind because this picture looks like Willa Holland to me.
Finally, I see a resemblance to Sophia Bush in this shot.

Maybe Alexandra Chando is a human Rorschach test; perhaps the celebrity that a person sees her as reveals something about that person. Maybe she's just a master of disguise. Likely I'm just crazy for making this strange post.

Do you agree with any of my selections? Do you think Alexandra looks like a celebrity that I haven't mentioned? Do you think I'm completely crazy for writing any of this? Whatever the case may be, feel free to weigh in on the matter in the comments.

I'm editing to add this picture that I forgot to post:
Alexandra also reminds me of Nina Dobrev. Part of this is her voice and mannerisms, but I think she does resemble her, at least a bit.        Credit: ABCFamily promo

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

After going to a grand total of one movie in the theater this summer, I've decided that this week is going to be the week of movies. I planned it out two nights ago; Tuesday is reserved for Crazy Stupid Love., Wednesday for The Help, Friday for Final Destination 5, and possibly Saturday for Captain America. Before you judge me too much, you should know that I acknowledge that one of these is completely a guilty pleasure. I'll let you guess which one. Anyway, my week of movies is right on track; yesterday, I saw Crazy, Stupid, Love..

Credit: 2011 Ben Glass / Warner Bros.

I'm not going to bother summing up the premise of Crazy, Stupid, Love. to you. If you watch any amount of television, I'm sure you seen the trailer about five million times. Even if you haven't seen the trailer, I'm sure you can conclude from the title that it's a romantic comedy. Romantic comedies can easily stray into a groan worthy level of awfulness that is neither romantic nor comedic. However, I can gladly say that Crazy, Stupid, Love. delivers a satisfying amount of both. Towards the beginning of the film, the humor is less present and tinged with some sadness, particularly for Steve Carell's character. As the film progresses, the humor become a bit more traditional, with one scene in particular causing me to laugh more than I have in a while.

As for the romantic side of the movie, it largely succeeds because of its absolutely stellar cast. Steve Carell is a charming leading man, Emma Stone is one of my girl crushes of the moment, and Ryan Gosling won my admiration for his readings of the "Hey Girl" meme. All of these actors were, as I expected, completely winsome. I'm less familiar with the works of Julianne Moore and Marissa Tomei, but they were wonderful as well. The member of the cast that surprised me the most is Analeigh Tipton. I was a fan of hers on America's Next Top Model, but I was a bit wary of her acting skills. She impressively managed to hold her own among a great group of actors.

If I had to pick out a flaw in Crazy, Stupid, Love., it would be that there was almost too much going on in the movie, and at some point towards the middle, the movie seemed slightly unorganized. However, like I just stated, I was so charmed by all of the actors that this really didn't bother me. If I were to retool the film a bit, I might take out a little of the screen time given to Jessica (Analeigh Tipton) and Robbie (Jonah Bobo) and replace it with additional screen time of Hannah's (Emma Stone) and Jacob's (Ryan Gosling) relationship. While I enjoyed the Robbie and Jessica storyline, I feel that it could have been done in fewer scenes; Hannah and Jacob, on the other hand, weren't really given many scenes to built their relationship. To be fair, however, these flaws are relatively minor and don't take much away from the film.

One thing that I found odd about Crazy, Stupid, Love. was the amount of foot shots that were included. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if someone involved in the making of the film has a foot fetish. It's possible that the movie included a normal amount of foot shots, and I was just hypersensitive to them because Julianne Moore's shoes in the first scene caught my eye. While I'm on the subject of fashion, I have to comment that Emma Stone's wardrobe in Crazy, Stupid, Love. was fantastic. I don't think she wore one dress that I didn't like. Anyway, I think I should now move on from this strange little paragraph about dresses and foot fetishes.

If you don't like romantic comedies, you probably aren't going to like Crazy, Stupid, Love.. Despite the fact that it's one of the better movies in the genre to come out in a while, it still very much belongs in the genre. Also, if you aren't a fan of the cast of Crazy, Stupid, Love., you might want to skip it because the movie's success relies largely on their charm. Now, if you don't fall into either of those two categories, I'd definitely recommend Crazy, Stupid, Love. for you. I spent the whole movie being thoroughly entertained, and I left the theater with a smile.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

5 Reasons Why I Have Hope for Glee's Third Season (and 5 More Reasons Why That Hope is Probably False)

 Oh Glee. It truly is the show that I just haven't been able to quit. I both hate to love it and love to hate it. Like many of Glee's viewers, I was hooked by its initial greatness (the first half of season one or debatably the majority of season one) and that hook has dragged me along through some of its not-so-greatness (most of season two). Well, you can call me crazy, but I actually have some hope for season three. There are several reasons why I've developed this hope for season three, but as per norm with my Gleepinions, these opinions are going to be mixed. That means for each reason that gives me hope, I'm going to have a corresponding reason why I'm keeping that hope low.

1) More Writers

           Why I'm Hopeful: 
   When watching The Hollywood Reporter's Emmy Roundtable of Comedy Actresses I was surprised to hear Lea Michelle reveal that Glee was being written by only three writers, all of them male. Although I was surprised, this perhaps lends some insight into why Glee's writing is so shoddy. However, there's recently been an announcement that Glee's more than doubled their writing staff by adding six new writers for the new season. Hopefully, this increase in writers will allow them to think through their storylines more carefully and have some consistency. As a further bonus, one of these new writers is Marti Noxon of Buffy fame who wrote excellent episodes like "Surprise," "The Wish," and "The Prom."

           Why That Hope is Probably False: 
   Even with only three of them, the writers of Glee seem to be horribly out of sync. Most of the characters are ridiculously inconsistent, and I suspect that part of the reason for that is the different writers feel differently about the characters. If three writers couldn't create consistent characters together, who's to say that nine writers will be able to write harmoniously. As for Marti Noxon, well, she wrote the "Bad Eggs" episode of Buffy. Enough said.

2) Actual Story Arcs 

           Why I'm Hopeful: 
   Among the many things that have been said about the new season is the statement that Glee will feature more story arcs next year.  The Hollywood Reporter reports that Ryan Murphy stated, 
"Last year you had the baby story line that everyone could follow and this year we didn’t do that." "Next year we’re going to be doing that more. What I have learned from this season is I think people want story arcs,” he said. 
I think most of us can agree that story arcs are an important element of most shows. They give us something in which to become invested and help to keep the viewers' interest. In the past, Glee has had a bad habit of pressing the reset button after many of their episodes, resulting in us getting the same storylines ad nauseam. Story arcs could be a good fix to this problem, would actually allow for plot development, and might even give us some character development.
           Why That Hope is Probably False: 
   Honestly, for a show like Glee, story arcs should be enough of a no-brainer that there's no question of including them. Furthermore, the fact that Murphy cites "the baby story line" as an example of a successful one is cause for alarm. For the most part, the baby story line was a drawn-out, confusing, soap-operaish hot mess. From what I've heard of the planned story arcs for season three, I'm not sure that they're going to be much better. I mean, Sue running for Congress may be a new development, but at best, it's extremely questionable.

3) No Guest Stars

           Why I'm Hopeful: 
   Throughout the first and second seasons of Glee, viewers were exposed to a plethora of guest stars. Admittedly, some of these guest stars (Josh Groban, for example) were excellently incorporated. However, many of them were just distracting and took even more screen time away from some of the lesser featured cast members. In fact, I think Gwyneth Paltrow's character Holly Holiday has had more solo numbers than Tina, one of the original New Directions members. However, according to TVLine, Ryan Murphy has said of season three, "We’re not going to have any guest stars." A lack of guest stars could be a huge improvement for Glee and give them more screen time for neglected characters.

           Why That Hope is Probably False: 
   There's a good chance that this statement is simply not true. Reportedly, Idina Menzel is already signed on to return. Perhaps Murphy was just referring to new guest stars, and since her role is big-ish, the term "guest star" is debatable. Still, it's hard to believe that he'll stick to his statement.

4) Damian May Appear 

           Why I'm Hopeful: 
   As I wrote in my post about The Glee Project, Damian is by far my favorite contestant. I'd be excited to hear his adorable accent on Glee. Due to a lack of acting challenges on The Glee Project, it's quite possible that he has about as much acting ability as Tommy Wiseau. Still, I'd be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, and I'd be excited to see what character Glee came up with for him.

           Why That Hope is Probably False: 
   There's only a one-in-six chance that Damian will be the winner of The Glee Project. That's a five-in-six chance that this hope is false. Plus, according to its Wikipedia page, Damian has been in the bottom three twice and has been at "low" risk two weeks as well.

5) Samcedes 

           Why I'm I Was Hopeful: 
   When writing my thoughts on the season two finale, I mentioned that I was intrigued by the idea of Sam and Mercedes as a couple. It was a somewhat unexpected pairing, and I was curious to see where they were going to take it. If nothing else, it was a way to give Mercedes a story line that didn't involve tater tots or being an over-the-top, ridiculous diva. Plus, it seemed that they were keeping their relationship a secret, and there was a chance for an interesting plot concerning the reason for that secrecy.

           Why That Hope is Probably False: 
   It's been reported that Chord Overstreet, the actor who plays Sam, will not be returning to Glee this season. So, unless Glee decides to delve into the supernatural and incorporate body swapping into their show, it appears that this pairing is officially dead.

With that, I end my ranty list of my feelings about the upcoming season. Whether you agree with the part of me that enjoys Glee or the part that loves to hate on it, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the upcoming third season in the comments section.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cream of the Crop: Happy Endings

With each new television season, there's a giant new crop of television shows. Some of them are rotten, others are just okay, but a few shine as the cream of the crop. In this series of posts, I'm going to share with you the three new shows from the last year that I've watched and enjoyed. I know there are several more shows that were well received and that I would likely enjoy (The Walking Dead, for example), but I've not seen every show from this past season. Now that you've been introduced to the concept of these posts, let's get on with the first installment.

                                                                   Photo Credit: ABC/CRAIG SJODIN

The first show I'm going to feature is Happy Endings. If you haven't watched this show, you might be a bit surprised that I'm including it in this series. Trust me, I'm probably as surprised as you. There are multiple things that initially turned me off to this half-hour comedy. First of all, Casey Wilson stars as one of the main characters. I was never a fan of hers on Saturday Night Live, and I was worried that would ruin my enjoyment of this show. Secondly, this show's setup was far from original. A gaggle of "group of friends" shows popped up last season like Traffic Light, Mad Love, and Perfect Couples. Finally, the pilot sucked. Despite my reservations, I watched the first episode within days of its airing, and I was completely turned off to the rest of the series.

With all of these things working against it, you may wonder how Happy Endings has made its way into my favor. As to my first complaint, I've found that I shouldn't have judged Casey Wilson by her performance on one show. She's really found her niche in Happy Endings, and as strange as it feels to say this, her character is one of my favorites. My second issue with the show didn't turn out to be much of an issue. While the show's setup may be somewhat unoriginal, their storylines are normally pretty fresh and funny. And lastly, well, I shouldn't have judged Happy Endings by its pilot. Hearing some positive buzz about the show and seeing some clips from subsequent episodes thankfully convinced me to give it another shot.

 For those of you who've never seen or maybe even heard of Happy Endings, I'll give you a brief overview of the show. It centers around a group of six friends. Two of the friends, Alex and Dave, were on the verge of getting married when Alex pulls a runaway bride and leaves Dave at the altar. This show mostly consists of the aftermath and its result on the group dynamic. While several of the storylines do revolve around the resulting awkwardness, this mostly just gives the show a framework with which to play.

Now, even after getting caught up on all the episodes, I still find myself sometimes watching a summer rerun of Happy Endings if I catch it on television. It's not a hundred percent perfect show, but I realized that I'd become considerably attached to it when I felt relief at hearing the news that Happy Endings was being renewed for a second season. The cast is pretty likeable, the storylines are fun, and the show is usually pretty funny. That's plenty of reasons for me to enjoy Happy Endings, and if those reasons are enough for you, you can catch reruns Wednesdays on ABC at 8:30pm (CST). Alternatively, episodes two through seven are currently available to watch on Hulu. The new season will premiere Wednesday, September 28, 2011 in its current time slot.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Link Roundup: Volume 6

Are any fans of Modern Family reading this? Word is that they're looking to recast Jaden and Ella Hiller's role as Lily in favor of a child who'll be more lively on camera.

You think you're being sneaky by fast forwarding through commercials?    Reruns of How I Met Your Mother are using a method of advertising that brings product placement to a whole new level.
(Note: These are two separate links with different examples.)

If you're amazed, intrigued, or made fearful of the future by the last links, click here for a demo reel highlighting other potential examples of this advertising technology.

SPOILER ALERT for all Big Brother US fans. There's been a change in the house. Click here to find out more.

I don't know why, but I'm addicted to this type of thing. I've clicked through an alarming amount of pages on I Spy a Famous Face and Kidcasting (although the second hasn't been updated since March).

Urgent News For Horrible People Like Me That Like to Laugh at Young Children

Okay, so maybe urgent is a bit dramatic of a term to use in such a circumstance. However, what I have to say concerns something that will be airing on television today. You might be able to catch a rerun somewhere, but I'm not sure where that would be. Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Like I said, this recommendation is only for those who enjoy laughing at kids making fools of themselves. If you do not enjoy doing so, do not read this. I feel like you will think much less of me.

That being clarified, I'm talking about kid's week on Jeopardy. Unfortunately, I missed the first two days of this glorious edition of Jeopardy, but the two days I've watched have invoked much laughter. A good bit laughter simply stems from laughing at the dumb answers that the kids provide. And of course, the personal stories segment is also fun. The true gem of this show, however, was a young boy named Neil.

Neil was so stuck by nerves that he made multiple mistakes like forgetting to chose from the board when it was his turn and stuttered quite a bit throughout the show. Much of the game, his score remained firmly in the red. By the end of the show, however, I couldn't help but root for this little kid who probably is fairly accurate representation of how I would act if I were ever to appear on Jeopardy.  Poor Neil didn't manage to win, but he pulled through in the last couple of questions and ended up in second place.

Unfortunately, I don't believe that Neil will be appearing today. However, if you tune in, you'll most likely be greeted with a new batch of awkward kids. I know I'll be recording it.

Also, if you're questioning the strangeness of this post, consider that I wrote it at 3:30 in the morning.

The Glee Project: Glee Has Found a Way to Haunt Us Year-Round

In general, television kind of sucks during the summer (except for the gloriously trashy Big Brother, of course). So, I've been watching The Glee Project. Judge me if you will, but it's actually pretty entertaining. Think about it. The show involves taking a bunch of dramatic theater-type kids, most of whom consider themselves special snowflakes, competing against each other while kissing Glee's butt. How could that not be entertaining?

Plus, the show itself is such a hot mess that you can have the added entertainment of mocking it while watching it. If you haven't seen The Glee Project, it's a competition for a role in Glee. Each episode is focused around themes like Individuality, Theatricality, and Vulnerability. The contestants then perform songs that relate to these themes. So while the contestants have learned to embrace their special snowflakeness, be dramatic, and cry about their feelings, they've yet to actually do any acting outside of music videos. And honestly, isn't that what counts? I mean, it's nice if the winner can sing, but we all know that they autotune their voices anyway. However, my favorite actually does have a nice voice.

So, who is my favorite, you might ask? The utterly adorable and Irish (I think) Damian. Perhaps it's a bit strange to describe someone who can't be much more than a year younger than me as adorable, but I stand by the description. Anyway, his accent definitely endeared him to me from the start, but he truly won me over with his performance of Jessie's Girl. Unfamiliar with the song, Damian sang "I wish that I was Jessie's girl" rather than "I wish that I had Jessie's girl." It was a truly inspired rendition.

Okay, I know this post is kind of all over the place, but honestly, so is my mind right now. Anyway, to make a long story short: if you want a laugh and something to mock or enjoy adorable Irish accents, you might try watching The Glee Project.

Have you been watching The Glee Project? I'd love to hear what you think about it in the comments.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Name Game: Julie Style

I can't believe it's been over a month since I lost blogged. I was initially going to write that opening line as some kind of "since my last confession" joke. However, I googled it to make sure I had my wording right, and tons of blog posts popped up containing that very joke. Plus, I realized it probably wasn't going to be a very funny joke anyway. 

Somehow I believed that I'd be some kind of non-stop blogging machine during the summer. Instead, my brain went into summer hibernation. In my defense, one of those weeks was taken up with a vacation, but that still translates into a lot of days of laziness. I managed two very time-consuming posts on my other blog consisting of youtube videos and a handful of sentences. Impressive, right?

Anyway, I've spent a lot of my non-blogging time marathoning the amazing show Friday Night Lights. Before watching FNL, I had a irrational dislike of Aimee Teegarden that was based pretty much on fifteen minutes of an episode of 90210 that I saw once and her short role in Scream 4. It was with this irrational dislike of her that I entered FNL. However, near the end of the first season her portrayal of Julie actually started to win me over a bit. This ended when season two started, and Julie turned into a complete brat. She's yet to win me back over. So, while my dislike of Aimee Teegarden remains irrational, my dislike of Julie Taylor is completely rational in my opinion. This is a bit of a bummer because as you possibly (but probably don't unless you've looked at my about me on the side of the page) know, my name is Julie.

I know, I know. According to Shakespeare, names aren't that important, and roses smell sweet regardless of what they're called. Whatever. I think names are kind of important. And I don't appreciate sharing mine with a bratty, fictional teenager.

So, I started thinking of other characters sharing my name, and I thought of Julie Cooper from The O.C. Not that much better. I mean, sure, she was fun to watch, but she was evil.

So, the search continued. I couldn't think of any more characters named Julie. So, I did some IMDB research.

As you can see, there's a quite a few characters named Julie. But I'm sticking with the ones from shows and movies I've seen, and that limits the results quite a bit.

With that criteria in mind, we end up with Julie from Friends, Julie from Jawbreaker, crazy Aunt Julie from 7th Heaven, Julie from Sleepover, Julie from Monk, Julie from I Know What You Did Last Summer, Julie from To Grandmother's House We Go, two different Julies having single-episode roles on Grey's Anatomy, and Julie from Final Destination 3.

To be honest, a lot of these things that I've seen, I saw a long time ago. I do not really recall how likable most of these Julies are. So, I'm going to go with the winner of most deserving of the Julie name being Julie (Ashley Olsen) from To Grandmother's House We Go. This really is a bit of a cheat because I don't think I've ever seen the whole movie, and I don't really remember the parts that I have seen. But how could an Olsen twin role not win?

Do you have a different opinion on who should have won the Julie name game? Do you have a favorite or least favorite character that shares your name? If so, let me know about it in the comments.

Also, I'd love for you all to play the name game as well. If you want to blog about characters that share your name, please share a link to it with me in the comments as well. If anyone (fingers crossed) plays along, I'll make a list of those blogs posts in this post. If not, well, no harm done.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Glee Rantaholic's View of Episode 2x22 "New York"

I'm seriously starting to think that I'm addicted to ranting about Glee. If you've read any of my other posts about Glee, you know that I have a love/hate relationship with it. I obviously care about the characters and show enough to watch it, and yet, it's so ridiculously bad at times. In fact, I kind of abuse the show. If I were not me, I would probably tell myself to just stop watching. But honestly, it's fun to criticize and it actually manages to be really good at times. For the most part, however, "New York" was not these times. Anyway, I wanted to embrace my rantaholicism for this post. I'm not even going to write in nice little paragraphs. I'm just going to list what bugged me about this episode, and then I'll say a couple of nice things about it. I know this is kind of an unclassy post, but what can I say? Glee brings out the worst in me. I feel like there's a little more class in my non-Glee related post so please don't judge me solely on the basis of my Glee posts.

  • Why would Quinn know more about Broadway shows than Rachel? I'm pretty sure Rachel would be aware that Cats is closed.
  • Speaking of Quinn, I was way disappointed that her "big plans" turned out to be NOTHING. I was actually looking forward to her sabotage. 
  • Why was the Glee club acting like that kiss is what ruined their chances? Maybe it was the fact that they waited until they were in New York to even write their forgettable and auto-tuned songs.
  • I miss the Jessie St. James of season one (pre-egging, of course). I feel like they've made him into some nasty sleezeapalooza in an effort to make Finn look good by comparison.
  • But if that is their plan, the liking Finn part is not working on me. I'm just sick of Finn. I actually used to like him a lot and Cory Monteith seems like a cool guy in interviews, but Finn has turned into such an unlikable character. First he's dating Quinn, but he starts to have some feelings for Rachel. Then the whole baby drama happens, and he and Quinn break up. He starts dating Rachel but really doesn't even seem that into her at times. Then, they break up and he has ~*~fireworks~*~ (yes, I used sarcastic wavy lines and asterisks) with Quinn, and gets back together with her even though she's dating someone else. Then, Rachel seems to finally be semi-happy with Jesse for a second, and Finn throws a tantrum. Then he breaks up with Quinn to be with ~his true love Rachel~. Then he throws all this romantic crap at her. Ugh. Oh, what do you know? This kind of turned into a paragraph. I guess, I just really dislike Finn.
  • My dislike of Finn had me hoping that Rachel would turn him down because he's a jerk. I mean, she sang "Jar of Hearts," a song about being done with a heartbreaker, just a few episodes ago. So, she says no to him because Broadway is her true love. Good enough for me. Except, oh wait. They're getting back together for their senior year. Ugh, again.
  • That song or song mashup or whatever it was that they sang as they jauntily bounced around New York was just embarrassing.
  • The Vocal Adrenaline performance was pretty boring. In fact, it's already been mostly erased from my memory.
  • The original songs were pretty boring too. I honestly don't remember what they were about. 
  • That kiss scene had me cracking up with the disappearing audience. So cheesy.
  • I was pretty disappointing with Glee for dropping another storyline so quickly. Will has a Broadway gig lined up, and just like that, he drops it for the kids? Seriously? Well, at least he got to pimp out his new album.
  • In general, much of the episode was kind of a snoozefest.
That's enough ranting. It's time for:

The Good
  • I actually think I like the idea of Sam and Mercedes as a couple. It's fun and a bit unexpected, but I can see it. So, props on that pairing. Plus, Mercedes is finally getting a storyline not about her tots!
  • The "For Good" performance was so good. Yeah, it was a bit unrealistic, but it was actually, dare I admit, a bit moving. 
  • Quinn's new hair cut was adorable.
  • It was nice to see a scene between the three ex-cheerios.
  • The New York scenery made the episode very beautiful.
  • It was cute that Kurt and Rachel at breakfast at Tiffany's.
  • "My Cup" is an amazing song.
  • "Whereas I'm spending my summer composing Pip, Pip, Hooray, the Broadway musical about Pippa Middleton."
  • "Yeah" had me cracking up.

That's it for now. If you have any thoughts on the episode, be they good or bad, please feel free to share them in the comments.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Television-Triggered Commentary

Hey everyone! I survived finals, and as promised, I'm back. I started writing a post about the upcoming pilots that I'm most excited about (which I still might finish). However, a certain Youtube video caught my eye, and I felt like writing a post on it. It features an excited-no, exuberant-(I don't really know what's going on with my punctuation there, but I'm just going to claim artistic license) Smallville fan's commentary on the final few minutes of the show. It's probably the it's-five-in-the-morning-and-I-still-haven't-gone-to-sleep-and-in-fact-might-try-to-stay-up-all-night effect taking its toll, but I didn't just laugh at this clip, I guffawed. I guffawed at a Youtube video at five a.m. while sitting in my bed in a room by myself. And, I just publicly admitted that fact. 

I haven't regularly watched Smallville in years. Okay, scratch that, I guess I never regularly watched it, but I used to watch the earlier episodes from time to time when they aired on ABCFamily. Anyway, I did manage to catch some of the finale because a family member was watching it. Honestly, I was pretty much just cracking up at how lame and cheesy the whole affair was. However, I'll resist the urge to snark too much on the show and this Smallville fan (and honestly, I'd be in a more appropriate place to snark if I'd actually seen enough episodes to know what was going on) because I too have been known on occasion to talk to the television screen. Granted, I've never had a reaction quite like this and sincerely hope to never do so. 

The fact remains, however, that I do lamely talk to the television at times. The most recent example I can think of is during The Vampire Diaries season finale. I'm pretty sure I whispered "what?" to myself in a creepy, low voice for at least thirty seconds after the episode ended. This second example is not exactly talking, but I found myself uncontrollably making some kind of strange squeal a couple of hours ago during a cute scene (I'm currently rethinking the whole not going to bed today scheme because I just spelled that "seen" and had to correct it.) from Letters to Juliet. (Edit: I just realized that that's a movie, and I'm talking about television in this post. The principle still applies, though, so I'll leave it in.) These example are kind of tame, but I know I've done much weirder that I just can't remember.

Honestly, though, is it that strange to talk to the television or get emotional over the fictional events that occur on it? Yes, it probably is. But, most of us  many of us some of us hopefully someone other than me will admit to having strange audible reactions to a television show. You know what? I think it's okay as long as we make sure that they stay far away from Youtube.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Just a Note

Hey everyone. I just wanted to let all of my amazing readers know that I'm going on a short hiatus. I only have a couple weeks left of school, and there's a lot of studying and schoolwork that I'm going to have to finish by then. So, in the interest of my grades, I'm not going to post anymore until I'm done with this semester. I should have a lot more free time then and will be able to post more often.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Thursday Night TV aka The Night That I Stayed Up Until 3-Something In the Morning Because Too Many Good Shows Air on Thurdays and I'm Impatient

Geeze Louise! That's probably the longest title I've used so far on this blog, and I'm not sure why I used it because now I don't have much to talk about in the intro. So, yeah, like the title says, I stupidly stayed up watching all my Thursday shows when I had an eight o'clock class the next morning. I watched a total of five shows: two CWs and three NBCs. Sad? Maybe. True? Yes. Worth it? Oh yeah. Because I got from 3-4 hours of sleep last night and because whoever's reading this most likely won't care one iota, I'm not going to write up full reviews of any of these shows. However, most of the shows were awesome, and I wanted to touch on them. So, it's mini review time. They may not be as good as other mini things like mini burgers, but they're still pretty awesome. What's that? My lack of sleep is showing? I guess that means I should get onto the reviews. Not that it matters, but they're ordered by the order in which I watched them. Also, be warned. There are spoilers ahoy up in this post.

The Vampire Diaries
I know all-caps are annoying and kanye-esque so I'll resist the urge to use them. But pretend that they are there to get the full-effect of my opinion because they encapsulate my feelings. Also, don't judge me if I sound like a teenybopper. This is a CW show, so I'm allowed to embrace my inner teenybopper. Anyway, this episode was so so so so awesome. Jenna finally found out about the vampires, and now, maybe she won't be so extraneous to the plot/useless/inviting vampires in/ect. Stefan was so awesome and supportive in this episode. Damon kind of sucked and had a lot of feelings. Stefan, Elena, Elijah, & co. are trying to come up with a plan that doesn't involve Bonnie dying, and Damon's off sulking in the corner. I'm glad that they're finally addressing how awful he's being though, so props for that. What else? Oh yeah, apparently there's no sun and moon curse. Hahaha. Sometimes a twist like that would anger me, but I kind of love the writers for making all of that stuff up. But, apparently Klaus is a werepire?!?!? What? It's a little bit crazy, but I think I like that twist. Also, Elijah is his brother. What? And he's also totally awesome. I liked Elijah okayish the last time around, but he totally won me over in this episode. Okay, I better stop writing because I feel like your opinion of me is dropping with each additional word, and this is supposed to be "mini."

Nikita wasn't quite as thrilling as TVD, but it was still a pretty solid episode. I like the Michael, Nikita, and Alex combo quite a bit. I know that a common criticism of recent episodes is that there's been too much focus on Alex. I definitely think that the show could use some more focus on Nikita, but honestly, it hasn't bugged me too much. I like both Nikita and Alex, and so I enjoy watching whichever one the show runners choose to show me. Jaden, on the other hand, could use less screen time. She's annoying, and I would have shed any tears if she'd died in the explosion. Her little turncoat move at the end just proved that I'm justified in not liking her.

Parks and Recreation
I finally got caught up to Parks and Recreation last weak (in a shamefully short amount of time, might I add), and I love this show! Amy Poehler is the reason I started watching, but the whole cast is great. From Andy's favorite food to Tom's lingo, this episode was chock-full of amazingly hilarious moments. Also, the moment between Leslie and Ben in front of the mural was kind of adorable. The whole episode worked really well, and I was really impressed with it.


Community was pretty brilliant this week. I typically dread flashback episodes, but using fresh material for the flashbacks was an amazing idea. My favorite parts of the episode were the Jeff/Annie and Pierce/Abed montages featuring one of my favorite songs, "Gravity" by Sara Bareilles. In case you didn't know (I read this online before watching the episode), these videos were a spoof of a Jeff/Annie fanvideo posted on Youtube. But, honestly, the whole episode was pretty ace.

The Office 
For some reason, this episode of the office didn't click with me (for the most part, but we'll get to that in second). The jokes weren't that funny to me, and the storyline was just kind of blah. However, what did work about this episode was a nostalgia factor. This was Michael Scott's second-to-last episode, and for that, it was worth watching. It was touching to see all of the employees embracing the Dundies that they had earlier mocked. And the final song was unbelievable sweet. It may have even brought a couple of tears to my eyes. I guess it's a warm up for next week when I will most likely be bawling my eyes out (figuratively, of course because literally that would be disgusting).

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Glee: "A Night of Neglect" aka the Writers Neglected to Write Anything Interesting

For the latest episode of the show I love to hate on but just can't quit, I thought I would do a recap. Recaps are more fun when you can make fun of show because otherwise, you're just retelling what happened. If you neglected to watch Glee, you didn't miss much. It was a pretty sucky and forgettable episode. The only thing that really progressed the plot was that the Glee club got money to travel for their next competition, and we hopefully saw the end of Gwyneth Paltrow's character. And really, they'd had money from the Cheerio's budget (I think) prior to this episode. So, really the plot didn't progress much at all.

The episode started off with (shocker) the Glee club needing money again. Apparently the money they would have received from the Cheerios budget (the Cheerios were disbanded, right?), has been put in untouchable offshore accounts by Sue. I guess it's no surprise that Glee got rid of that money because otherwise, they'd have to think of a plot line that doesn't consist of New Directions raising money and being thwarted by Sue. To be honest, I'm just impressed that they remembered the Cheerios money plot line. Will (surprisingly not wearing a vest) gets super-pumped about selling $20,000 (then $20,250) worth of taffy. Also in the opening, we find out that Mike, Tina, Artie, and Brittany are in some kind of academic club which will most likely be forgotten about by the next episode. Also Will makes some crack about being surprised that Brittany's on the team, insinuating that she's dumb. As true as that may be, I don't see that as being a great thing for a teacher to say. Also, Sunshine from about a million episodes ago is on the opposing Braniac team.

Next up, Sue has a meeting with the director of Sunshine's glee club, Terri, and Sandy. Any guesses as to what the meeting is about? Because Glee is incapable of giving Sue any other storyline (except for those moments that she shows kindness/growth that's forgotten by the next episode) she has assembled this team to bring down the Glee club. The only notable thing about this meeting is that Sue makes a reference to the hilarious honey badger video on youtube. 

Will and Holly have a pizza date as his house. Thankfully, this part is brief because I think they're kind of gross couple. They're both so gross, inappropriate, and annoying.. He brings up his taffy plan, probably expecting Holly to admire his brilliance. Instead, she says it's stupid and suggests that they hold "A Night of Neglect." Will possibly loves this plan even more than his taffy plan. It's a good thing that Will is a Spanish teacher because he really has no financial sense. How in the world did he expect to make even a dent in the $20,250 with some concert? He explains the plan to the glee club (somehow believing it will being an annual event), and he's still not wearing a sweater vest!

More boring Sue scheming happens. It makes me sad that Sue's become so one-note, cartoonish, and repetitive. She used to be one of the best parts of the show, but now I get bored every time she's on screen.

Both Mercedes and Rachel, missing the point of the "Night of Neglect," decide do do songs by well-known artists. Sunshine offers to participate in their performance. Sunshine also misses the point of the show and sings a song about neglect rather than one by a neglected artist. I guess it's a little more understandable than Mercedes and Rachel because she didn't actually hear Will explain it. Rachel tries to point out that Sunshine may be trying to spy on them, but of course, everyone gangs up on her.

Lauren has some dumb conversation with Mercedes and tells her to be a ridiculous diva leading to a stupid plotline. Lauren really just needs to go. Confidence is not the same as being rude and pushy. She's just annoyingly rude. Same with Mercedes. She was so terribly divaish and annoying in this episode. It was much, much worse than Rachel. Yet, everyone's nice to her and terrible to Rachel who normally seems to have good intentions, despite her self-centeredness.

Then, there's a nice scene with Emma and Will about Emma's OCD problems. As much as I think Will is way too terrible for Emma, it was actually a sweet scene.

This episode is boring me, so I'll just quickly sum up the rest of it. Sunshine bails on the benefit. Karofsky (is that his name) makes fun of Blaine/Kurt (who appears to wear a hippo head broach) but is bested by Santana. Only a handful of people show up the benefit (despite the fact that the glee club's school performances usually get a good response from the crowd), most of them "hecklers." Tina, yet again, fails to get to sing a full song. Mike dances. Gwyneth Paltrow manages to get another solo. Mercedes sings an Aretha song, inspiring Sandy to donate the necessary money. And Will and Holly break up. The end to a boring episode. The most surprising thing about it was probably the lack of vests.