No Such Nonsense

A little of this, that and... what was I talking about again? It's TV, sports, pop culture and politics - all the stuff that really matters in life.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

And soon, the playoffs

With just a couple of weeks to go in the regular season, the NFL playoff picture is far from clear. Just five teams have locked up playoff berths - Indy, San Diego, Chicago and New Orleans have won their divisions and Dallas is in the playoffs whether they win the NFC East or not. And the fact is, all of these teams have some big questions hanging over them.

Sure, Indy has Peyton Manning, but unless he's going to get out there and play some rush defense, Indy's got some big trouble. Defense wins in the playoffs, and Indy doesn't have one.

Chicago does not have Peyton Manning. They have Rex Grossman. A few weeks ago, Grossman produced a single game passer rating of 2. That's 2. Out of 158.3. Once again, that's a rating of 2!! But man is that defense awesome.

New Orleans
Who doesn't want New Orleans to win? They are the feel-good story of the year. But you know what doesn't feel good? Losing at home to the Washington Redskins. As regular readers of my blog will recall, Washington sucks out loud. Maybe it was bad week, or maybe the rest of the NFC is going to watching game tape on how to defend Drew Brees.

Did you hear that T.O. spit in DeAngelo Hall's face this weekend? And he likes DeAngelo Hall. Owens also said there is a 'snitch' in the locker-room feeding unfavorable T.O. stories to the media. His name might be Terry Glenn. Distractions? In Dallas? What are the chances? Oh, and did you happen to see who'll be starting at quarterback for Philly against Dallas on Christmas Day? Apparently, he and T.O. have already met. And one of them might be gay. Or so I heard somewhere.

San Diego
OK. I lied. Not all of these teams have big questions hanging over them. Yep, one of these teams is not like the others. At this point, the only question is, can San Diego be stopped? Not if LT has anything to say about it. They just might be the real deal.

And on a final note, how bad does the NFC suck? Seriously. Green Bay might make the playoffs. That's how bad the NFC sucks.

Christmas Treats

It's that time of year when the networks roll out all those treasured holiday specials and films from days gone by. Some have aged well, some may as well be coated in Velveeta, but I watch 'em all, every year. And here's my list of the very best of the holiday season:

1. It's a Wonderful Life
I've got to say, this is one dark holiday film. A guy's life falls apart, he contemplates suicide and a slightly dim angel shows him how life would have been even crappier without him. A flop when it was first released, It's a Wonderful Life became a Christmas tradition when the U.S. networks aired it and aired it and aired it, basically because the rights were so cheap. The movie's got Jimmy Stewart at his earnest best, Donna Reed at her most sweetly adorable, a cop and cab driver named Bert and Ernie, and the best final scene in film history: 'To my brother George, the richest guy in town.' Just try not to cry.

2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Boris Karloff. Mount Crumpet. Max. Cindy Lou Who. You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch. A heart that grew 3 sizes that day. What's not to love?

3. White Christmas
Yes, it's sappy. What's your point? It's sentimental and gooey and warmhearted and that's what makes it delightful. That, and Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney singing about snow.

4. Love Actually
Really, the perfect movie. It's only this low on the list because it's a little too recent to be a true classic. It's got Hugh Grant, Colin Firth and Alan Rickman - a trifecta of brilliant British leading men in romances that are by turns funny, sweet and heartbreaking. And then there's Bill Nighy as a washed up pop star anxious for one more chart-topper, Liam Neeson as a widower helping his young stepson through the pain of a first love, glorious, perfect Emma Thompson and an elfish Rowan Atkinson. Perfect.

5. A Charlie Brown Christmas.
I'll be honest, this one is showing its age. Made in 1965, it looks a little worse for the wear. And this is another of those Christmas treats with a dark side - Charlie Brown is mercilessly mocked, and that Snoopy is a bit a bastard. Yet, I still get a little lump in my throat when the whole Peanuts gang decorates the sad little tree. And it has the best dance sequence in a holiday film, bar none.

6. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
I tried to explain to my hubby that this Rudolph can be viewed as an allegory for the gay experience. After all, it's the story of not fitting in because you're different and finding friends who will accept you anyway. Hubby didn't buy it. But man, that Hermy is sooooo gay.

7. Elf
Silly and sweet. I don't even mind that my hubby has a crush on Zooey Deschanel.

8. WKRP in Cincinnati 'Bah Humbug'.
There had to be a nod to A Christmas Carol. But which version? Alistair Sim was classic. Bill Murray was funny in a dated late-'80s kind of way. But this one - the WKRP version - has it all. On orders from his mother, Mr. Carlson tells the staff there will be no bonuses this year. Then he eats one of Johnny's special holiday brownies and, well, there are these 3 ghosts, you see.... You get the picture.

9. Blackadder's Christmas Carol.
Then there's this entirely different kind of Christmas Carol, from one of the best series ever made. Here, Ebenezer Blackadder is the kindest man in Britain, the white sheep of the Blackadder clan. The Spirit of Christmas stops by to congratulate him, and show him how much better he is than his dastardly forebears. These insights, plus two visions of the future, convince Blackadder to become a plotting, evildoer. God bless us, everyone.

10. Bing and Bowie sing the Little Drummer Boy.
Not a movie or a show, but nothing says Christmas like Ziggy Stardust and der Bingle.

Happy holidays!!

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Confederacy Conspiracy

I'm not usually one for pointing to other articles in my blog, but I found this one particularly interesting. It's about the (so-far) fruitless quest to bring John Kennedy Toole's book 'A Confederacy of Dunces' to the big screen. It's been a long and torturous process, all the more interesting given that the book itself had a long, torturous path to the Pulitzer Prize. Toole, who committed suicide before the book was published, might have remained a forgotten, unpublished author if not for the perseverance of Toole's mother, who pushed and begged and did everything she could to get the book out there. Evan that tenacity may not be enough to get the film made - leading men have died, the city where the film is set - New Orleans - was irrevocably changed by Hurricane Katrina - challenges are everywhere.

Ironically, the saga of the book and the film may be more engaging than the book itself. The book has some passionate fans; many claim it is a work of comic genius. That, for me, is a bit much. I'm not sure I've ever read a book with such a relentlessly unpleasant, unlikable lead character. I mean, Holden Caulfield can be a tool and Humbert Humbert is absolutely a sick pervert, but Ignatius Reilly can be deeply irritating and unsympathetic is way neither of them can match. Yet the book is worth a read for the supporting characters and the absurdly amusing plot. Give it whirl, because at this rate, you may never get to see the movie.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

And none for you...

The Golden Globe Awards nominations were announced this morning and the papers are in a tizzy with the excitement of it all. Sure, the Globes are really just Oscar's whorish little sister, but they give us something to talk about until the real awards come out.

So let's see... we have nominations for Leo (twice), Clint (twice), Affleck (apparently now finished his post-Gigli purgatory), Brad (again, can't wait to see what Angelina wears on the red carpet), Meryl and Scorcese. A few surprises were in the mix- like the critically panned but star-heavy Bobby for best drama (not really all that surprising, considering the Globes' traditional obsession with Hollywood wattage - I mean, Racquel Welch has a Golden Globe for Pete's sake) and a strong showing for Borat and its star, Sacha Baron-Cohen. Think Cohen will turn up as Borat at the ceremony? Without a doubt. Let's not forget that Trey Parker and Matt Stone once dressed as Jennifer Lopez and Gwenyth Paltrow at the Academy Awards. And this is just the Globes. I say Borat makes the scene and brings Pam Anderson as his date. Sexy time. Take that Kid Rock!

For TV (interestingly, really just film's whorish little sister), there were a bunch of doctors and housewives. Ho hum. I'm betting Heroes for best drama series - the Globes love to reward the new shows.

But we all know that the glory of nominations day isn't in who made the cut. It's all about dissecting who got snubbed. So, buckle up kids, here we go.
  • Evangeline Lilly is the only Lost cast member to get a nomination!?! Do these people watch Lost? Clearly not. No Matthew Fox (Jack), no Josh Holloway (Sawyer), no Jorge Garcia (Hurley), no Naveen Andrews (hey, where is Sayid lately anyways?), no Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (the late Mr. Eko), no Michael Emerson (delightfully creepy as Henry/Ben). But the eternally annoying Kate gets a nod. Seriously, what the hell?
  • World Trade Centre and United 93 were entirely shut out. Conspiracy, or were there just better movies out there? Or, more likely, have the voters seen Oliver Stone's Alexander and opted to never forgive him?
  • Canadian Sandra Oh, a winner last year, gets no love this year.
  • Jason Lee makes the grade for My Name is Earl, but the brilliantly funny Jaime Pressly does not.
  • The double-nomination for Leo likely pushed Canadian Ryan Gosling off the Best Actor list. His performance as a drug-addicted teacher in Half Nelson had gotten some serious buzz and was almost enough to make one forget Breaker High. Almost.
  • The Wire - one of the most written-about and critically beloved series on TV - gets nada.
  • Apparently, Marie Antoinette is no Lost in Translation. Sorry Sofia.
  • Neither Matt Perry nor Bradley Whitford got a nom for Studio 60 - usually the Globes love Aaron Sorkin. This year, it's just Sarah Paulson for supporting actress.
  • No Gilmore, in Lauren Graham's last legitimate shot as Lorelei.

That's it. On with the show...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Got a spare $350 million?

Got a loose $332 million burning a hole in your pocket? Then, you can buy yourself the Toronto Maple Leafs, ranked by Forbes as the most valuable team in the NHL. That's more than $100 million greater than the value of Montreal Canadians - one of the winningest franchises in sports history - and more than twice the value of the 2006 Stanley Cup champions, the Carolina Hurricanes. Just for the record, the Leafs are currently second-to-last in the northeast and pretty much suck out loud. Go buds!

Oh, and a little perspective may be worthwhile... The Leafs are still worth much, much less than the very cheapest NFL franchise - the lowly Minnesota Vikings are still worth more than $700 million. That list, incidentally, is topped by the Washington Redskins who are worth $1.4 billion and also, coincidently, suck out loud. Manchester United, once the most valuable sporting franchise is the world and still the top soccer team, is worth $1.37 billion.

A little too rich for your blood? Maybe a CFL franchise then. I think we can scrap together enough dough for an Ottawa franchise from the change in the sofa cushions.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Vaughn, Aniston Break Up

Really? I hadn't heard that they were dating.


I gotta say this. A year ago, Jen had all the sympathy in the world going for her. Sure, she married out of her league, but no one deserves to have her man poached by Angelina freakin Jolie. I mean, the woman is stunningly beautiful, the sexiest woman in the world (no matter what FHM says about Scarlett J.), and an Oscar winner to boot. No one could complete - certainly not little Rachel from Friends.

But after a year of watching Jen's international pity party and digesting the whole media manipulation around the Vaughniston affair, my Team Aniston jersey is getting worn a little less often. Sure Angelina did what no woman should ever do to another - sleep with another woman's husband - but man is Jen getting on my last nerve. And to be honest, if I had a shot with Brad Pitt, I'd probably forget that he was married too. Or that I was, for that matter.