Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Day Well Spent

If you know me at all, you'll know just by the title that my day was not well spent by the average definition of well spent, and you'll assume that it involved a lot of television viewing (I swear that watching television is not all that I do, but for some reason, tv makes me blog). And you'll be correct.

So, for some reason, I find it impossible to sleep in. Every time I have a day off work, I wake when my alarm would usually go off on a work day. I'll get up to blow my nose and then lie back down thinking I'll drift back off to sleep, and then I start sneezing. It's ridiculous, so then I just get up. So the last two days have been quite lengthy for me in terms of awake hours, and with Daniel on vacation with his dad, and Rob ill, I had to amuse myself rather than be amused by them. Mainly, this amusement took the form of lying on the sofa watching tv, with a few chores thrown in to make me appear less lazy -- in fact, I've managed to completely excavate Daniel's room, and it's amazing what I found there. But mostly, it was all about television.

Here is what I've watched the last two days:
  • Documentary about new archaeological evidence supporting the Exodus tale. Somehow this involved James Cameron.
  • Two episodes of You Are What You Eat.
  • Fools Rush In. I've seen this movie six-thousand times. You'd think eventually I'd just spring $7.99 for a copy on DVD, but no. I'm also pretty certain I'm the only person on the planet who actually loves this movie. It's because Salma Hayek is so hot, and I have a major girl-crush on her.
  • Two episodes of Drake & Josh.
  • Degrassi episodes that I missed earlier in the season.
  • A handful of Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? episodes.
  • The last seven episodes of Lost. I'd been saving them up on the DVR, and finally had an opportunity to watch them all.
And oddly, this was all way too much television, even for me.

But I'm glad to be all caught up on Lost. And weirdly, though he is an evil crazyass, I do find myself rooting for Ben over Widmore. I'm sure I'll come to regret this.

I've been missing Harry Potter a lot lately. I think I'm about to launch a re-read.

Rob is playing Assassin's Creed right now, and I've noticed that he makes his character wander around a lot like he drives through parking lots. It's pretty funny.

We hid 250 chocolate eggs for Daniel and we're leaving a note from the Easter Bunny saying he has to find them all. This is the sort of thing that amuses us. But I mean, one should have to work for one's endless supply of free candy. So I don't feel too badly about it.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I take it back...

I realize this is my own fault for making gross cultural generalizations and then watching The Bachelor because nothing else is on, but what I said about assuming that British men are always funnier and smarter than American men? It is no longer true. Witness:


New Bachelor Heartthrob Loves London and All It Has to Offer, But is Crazy About American Women

Matt Grant, 27, a handsome global financier from London is out to prove that love has no borders when he steps into his role as the first-ever international Bachelor, searching for a woman who can be the love of his life and start a family with him. Matt begins his pursuit of his ultimate soul mate when the 12th edition of ABC's popular romance reality series, The Bachelor, premieres with a 90-minute special, MONDAY, MARCH 17 (9:32-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

Matt, the 6'5", blue-eyed business development manager who works with millionaire businessmen and is crazy about American women, wowed the 25 bachelorettes hoping to be the love of his life. This totally charming English gentleman has something on his mind that is more urgent than any business deal -- he wants to find the love of his life and to start a family as soon as possible. The youngest of five brothers, the rest of whom are married, Matt is very close to his parents and siblings. His parents are still best friends and have a sexy relationship, even after 30 years together. The native of Bishop Stortford, a short distance from London, Matt received his B.A. in modern history and politics from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. His fondest dream is to share stories and a laugh at the end of the day with someone special, and his sexy good looks, intelligence and strong family ties make him a perfect catch.

Romantic and adventurous dates will reach new heights this season, as some of the women are taken to a sexy fashion show only to be surprised to find out they are the models. Las Vegas is the backdrop for a glittering evening of gambling and partying in a fabulous suite at the Paris Las Vegas hotel. One woman is treated to a private Hollywood movie screening of Columbia Pictures' Made of Honor, starring Patrick Dempsey, at the legendary Mann's Chinese Theater, as the couple gets the "red carpet" treatment by the paparazzi. A sexy game of rugby -- Matt's favorite English sport -- a fun afternoon of tennis and English tea, a classic 50s Americana date, a home-cooked meal by the Bachelor himself and a glamorous group date on the snowy slopes of Sun Valley, Idaho, will test the ladies' perseverance in pursuing their romantic objective, along with fun, exciting and exotic dates that will elicit real and raw passions. As in the past, women will continue to be eliminated each week, but if at any point along the way a woman should decide that she's no longer interested in the Bachelor, she can reject his invitation to continue dating. Some lucky women will meet his family, and he will visit their hometowns for a slice of their life in an effort to determine the woman with whom he is most compatible. At the end of the journey, the Bachelor may quite possibly have found true love. But the big question is: After all of this, will he pop the question, and will she say yes? Hosted by Chris Harrison, The Bachelor is from Next Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Television. Mike Fleiss, David Bohnert and Martin Hilton are executive producers.

Now, I will concede that the toolishness inherent in the above press release is solely the fault of the person who wrote it, and those responsible for the plague that is The Bachelor. But what kind of tool gets himself involved in this situation? Someone made the argument that it's a free home and lots of hot chicks for however many weeks it lasts, but you would think that a man who works with millionaire businessmen and is reasonably attractive about the face would be able to afford decent housing and bag a few hot chicks without the added humiliation of having America watch it on television for their amusement (and we are, I admit, an easily amused bunch).

But I sat through about 10 minutes of the first episode, and the guy looked stunned, and it was really difficult to tell if he was thinking, "Wow, I'm overwhelmed by all the lovely ladies in the room," or if he was thinking, "Oh Christ, what did I get myself into?"

One sort of hopes he's doing it on a dare.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Bring It On Again! And again! And again! ad nauseum...

My son has lately become obsessed with "America's Funniest Home Videos." He thinks this show is hilarious from start to finish. I don't argue too much because I find it decidedly more palatable than endless episodes of "Ben 10" or "Danny Phantom." However, I'm not certain that a small child being bitten in the face by a snake constitutes a "funny home video." I find the preoccupation on this show with people being injured or maimed kind of disturbing. Call me crazy. What's even more disturbing is how often Rob and I laugh out loud at some of the selections. Alas, reruns air every weeknight on ABC Family, and Daniel knows this, and also knows how to work the remote (which happened sooner than I might have hoped; I was hoping he would remain clueless about the remote until high school, at least, but he IS a guy, so I know I was foolish). So... "America's Funniest Home Videos" it is.

Luckily, with all the time I've spent viewing ABC Family channel lately, I've had ample notice of some programming I might have otherwise been unaware of: the numerous sequels to classic films Bring It On! and The Cutting Edge. Bring It On!, as I'm sure you're aware, is the cheertastic movie about Kirsten Dunst and Eliza Dushku and their cheerleading teammates taking on the East Compton Clovers in the national cheerleading competition. For my (four) international readers, this competition does actually exist. In fact, aside from its melodrama, Bring It On! is a pretty factually accurate flick. And its melodrama makes it a classic. It brought us such brilliant made-up words as "cheerocracy" and "cheertator." "Cheertator" being a play on "dictator," not something to do with a cheerleader and tator tots. Just so you know.

But I am glad to say the story did not just die with the Toros taking second place to the East Compton Clovers. Oh no! We now have such gems as the straight-to-DVD-then-resurrected-for the ABC affiliates Bring It On Again! in which something cheer-related happens at some college. And then there was the made-for-ABC-Family Bring it On: All Or Nothing, in which Disney tried to milk Hayden Panettierre's pre-Heroes contract and her newfound Heroes-related popularity into big ratings with a movie about a cheerleader (and isn't Hayden Panettierre everyone's favorite cheerleader??) who moves to a new town and is confronted with a bitchy cheer captain played by Solange Knowles (probably channeling all her inner-resentment towards older sister Beyonce) who insinuates that our Hayden isn't good enough to be part of her squad. AS IF! Hayden, as we know, is the whole world's favorite cheerleader. What was really funny about this particular Bring It On! sequel is that it aired parallel to the start of Heroes season 2, and just seemed like an extended version of the Claire plotline. Especially if you are easily confused by television. Like, I could completely imagine some viewer new to Heroes and unfamiliar with the Bring It On! film franchise watching this sequel all confused, thinking Wait -- I thought her name was Claire. And where is Adrian Pasdar??

And now there is a fourth Bring It On! And I am happy to report that it is a modern-day retelling of West Side Story:

Southern California high school senior Carson arrives at the all-important "Cheer Camp Nationals" determined to lead her squad, the West High Sharks, to victory. But chic New Yorker Brooke and her team, the East High Jets, are equally steadfast in their pursuit of the competition's coveted "Spirit Stick." As tension mounts between the two rival squads, Carson falls for fellow cheerleader Penn, not realizing he's a Jet. When Brooke discovers the budding romance, she raises the stakes by challenging Carson to a one-on-one cheer-off. A spectacular "cheer fighting" sequence erupts into a no-holds-barred brawl and cheerleaders on both sides are suspended from the competition. With their dreams of taking home the top prize all but shattered, the leaders of both squads realize they'll have to take drastic measures to stay in the game. Written by Universal Pictures

I mean, it just sounds amazing, does it not? "A spectacular cheer fighting sequence?" Could you even dream of anything more cheertastic than that to sell this movie? I can't wait to see it. I think it's on tomorrow afternoon.

And then there's The Cutting Edge. Where Bring It On! finds its way onto the top 10 list of every former cheerleader, The Cutting Edge will always find its way onto the top 10 list of any former figure skater (I bet hockey players secretly love this movie too, but would never admit it. I know they are all secretly jealous of figure skaters.). It is cheesy and sometimes makes me cringe, but I love it! I love it the way former dancers love Center Stage (which has not, at press time, spawned any sequels... to the best of my knowledge... but wait! I think that's incorrect! I think there was one! I will research this and get back to you!*) -- it's kind of cringe-inducing and poorly executed, but the idea of it is brilliant, and in the case of The Cutting Edge, all the actors were fantastic in a movie that was totally beneath all of them. And the only place the cinematography really failed in this movie was during the actual skating sequences, which is too bad. Plus, this girl I used to figure skate with was Moira Kelly's skating stunt double, and weirdly, I recognized her skating style long before the credits rolled the first time I saw the movie.

So Disney/ABC somehow obtained ownership of this movie as well, and made a part two starring Kristy Carlson Romano as the daughter of Kate Moseley and Douglas Dorsey. And she too is a budding champion, but as a singles skater, and then when she gets an injury, they decide she should skate pairs instead (as if pairs skating is somehow easier with an injury than singles skating), and set her up with a partner with whom she bickers while romantic sparks fly. What's awesome is that they didn't even have to come up with a new plot, except for like the first fifteen minutes of the movie, and that fifteen minutes was just giving us what we wanted to hear -- that Kate and Doug got married and had a kid and now Kate is a figure skating coach... for her own kid. And there's some sort of tension between KCR and father Doug. Because what would an ABC Family movie be without ten subplots? I must admit that I haven't seen the entire thing because the first half an hour gave me the willies and I changed the channel, but one of these days, I will watch it all. I'm sure it's as fabulous as it sounds.

And now they have brought us The Cutting Edge 3: Chasing the Dream. This one is merely a retelling of the original with the characters backwards -- it is the boy who has been training to be a pairs skater and has a partner who can't cut it, and his coach finds this female hockey player to learn to skate as his partner. And she's Hispanic -- I'm not sure if that's just one of Disney's attempts to be multicultural or if it's crucial in some way to the plotline (girl from the wrong side of the tracks! Ooh!), but what I do know is that this movie has the requisite "Tooooooe piiiiick!" jokes which it would fall completely flat without. I can't wait. My only fear is that I think both this movie and the 4th Bring It On! movie are on this weekend, and I would hate to have to choose between them. I can only hope that Disney and ABC Family will air them both a thousand times so I have a chance to catch them both.

(Insanely, I still get offended by factual inaccuracies in the original Cutting Edge movie. And the one that gets me the most is the use of spotlights on the skaters during the competition sequences. They did this in Ice Princess as well, and it drives me crazy every time I see it. You don't get a frickin' spotlight during competition. Of all the things about these movies that I could find offensive, it's an inappropriate spotlight.)

I have no idea what the point of this entry was, other than to sort of question whether or not these sequels were really necessary. Obviously they're necessary, because otherwise, how would the young people of today know the joys of Bring It On! and The Cutting Edge? They would live such sad, empty lives without ever hearing the words, "BRRRRR! IT'S COLD IN HERE! THERE MUST BE SOME TOROS IN THE ATMOSPHERE!" and "When we're done here, can we teach it to breathe with its mouth closed?"

*I knew I had seen something about a sequel to Center Stage somewhere, but it turns out it is still in production. I suspect this one goes straight to DVD. But Johnathan Reeves and Cooper Neilsen are both returning. Yay!