Friday, August 18, 2006

Coutdown Update

This week marks the third Columbus Alive! appearance of John Mallett's Sonic Sea Monkeys, which means that in just FOUR(4) SHORT WEEKS, Wasted Potential, the greatest comic strip ever, takes the sleepy town of Columbus, Ohio by storm!!!! (trust me, if I knew how to make those words blink, I'd do it!!)
Meanwhile, I have moved up to number 530 on the waiting list for the DVD of V For Vendetta. At this rate, it'll be about six weeks before I can give you a review. (If you don't feel like waiting, there's always "Learned" Larned Justin's comments on my August 14th post.)

Stayin' Home

Probably not going out to the movies this weekend. None of the films opening this week appeal to me at all. The least appealing is Snakes On A Plane. As much as I like Samuel L. Jackson, who was just about the only thing worth watching in the lameass Star Wars prequels, I hate snakes even more...always have, always will.
Then there's Accepted. It's about a kid who gets rejected by every college he applies to, so to convince his dad that he's not a total loser, he invents an imaginary college which then becomes a real school. The name the kid comes up with for the school is South Harmon Institute of Technology. Yes, that's South Harmon Institute of Technology...and if that's an indication of the level of alleged humor in this film, I think I'll skip it. From what I can see, the only thing this so-called comedy has to recommend it is that Lewis Black is in it.
Yep. looks like another weekend of watching my DVDs of the first season of Gilmore Girls....

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Fall TV Preview: Shark

In my last entry about fall TV shows I was looking forward to seeing on CBS, I failed to mention the upcoming legal drama Shark. The show stars James Woods as Sebastian Stark, a high powered successful defense attorney in Los Angeles (that's in California) who goes to work for the District Attorney, birnging with him the same tactics that he previously used to get his clients off only now focused on locking up the bad guys. The show offers a bit of a twist on the usual lawyer show formula and Woods is a great actor who's worth watching no matter what he's in (even if, as in Hercules, only his voice is heard), so this one seems worth giving a chance.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Fall TV Preview: Fox and CBS

Geez, where the hell has the bloody time gone? Seems like summer's almost over already...The brats'll be heading back to school in a few days and the Fall TV season is almost upon us. In the case of Fox, it begins in just six days with the premiere of Vanished.
As I have in the past, I'm going to pick out one or two shows from each network's line-up that look like they actually might be worth watching, and I will start with Fox and CBS.
Fox's Til Death is not one of those shows. The new Brad Garrett vehicle strikes me as yet another lame sitcom about a married that you can not believe would ever be a couple. To tell you the truth, no sitcom on any network really strikes me as being anything especially special. It seems that networks and producers are concentrating more on dramas, especially serialized dramas in the Lost mode or CSI/Law & Order style procedural dramas.
The two on Fox that look promising fit into the later mold. Justice, in fact, is produced by CSI's Jerry Bruckheimer and appears to apply the CSI formula to defense attorneys, specifically a high powered, high priced lawyer played by Victor Garber.
Standoff, meanwhile, follows the CSI model by spotlighting an area of police work that has not really been explored in a TV series before. The show follows two hostage negotiators who also happen to be romantically involved.
Meanwhile, CBS has Jericho, the story of residents of a small Kansas town who survive a nuclear war. The previews that I've seen remind me of one of my favorite novels, Pat Frank's Alas! Bablyon, another tale of survivors of a nuclear war, and that similarity of premise has me interested and intrigued enough to tune in and give the show a shot.
When I return to this topic, I'll look at what's worth watching, if anything on NBC, ABC, and the CW.

Monday, August 14, 2006

V For Vendetta: Who Was V, Really?

I just finished reading Alan Moore and David Lloyd's graphic novel V For Vendetta, upon which the movie of this past spring was based, and I have a question....
Since this concerns the ending of the book, if you have not read V For Vendetta or seen the film (though, not having seen the film myself, I have no idea how closely it follows the book), you might want to skip this entry and go to the Big Brother update.
Throughout the book, we never see V's true face, and then at the end Evey Hammond assumes the mantle of V following V's death. As I was thinking about the ending this morning, the following thought hit me: Is it possible that V was, in fact, Evey Hammond all along and the conversations between her and V took place entirely within her mind? Therefore, the new "apprentice" that Evey/V takes in at the end of the book would be yet another manifestation of Evey/V's psyche. After all, Finch says that V is not a normal human mentally and actually goes so far as to take LSD in order to think the way that V does. Plus, this is written by Alan Moore, so it makes sense to assume that there's more going on in the story than meets the eye.
If you've read the book, I'd appreciate any thoughts you have on this subject.

BB All Stars: A Whole New Game

A lot happened in the Big Brother All Stars house between Thursday and Sunday.
Erika's reign as Head of Household was short lived, as complaints of technical difficulties during the competition caused it to be re-played and this time Janelle won, making her HoH for the third. I'm not sure any other houseguest has ever had three terms as HoH, especially only six weeks into the competition.
Meanwhile, the power of coup d'etat, which will give the houseguest who wins it the power to overthrow the HoH and change the nominations on eviction night, is up for grabs. So far, Danielle, James, George and Erika have taken stabs at guessing the Big Brother related phrase which holds the key to the power.
The BB game enters a new phase this week, as, with only nine houseguests remaining, the next seven evictees will form the jury which will decide the winner from the final two.
So, are these All Star houseguests really great liars or just very gullible or a little of both? Last week, everyone seemed to buy into the ruse of Danielle's nomination of James, which was designed to hide their alliance, while Will told a series of whoppers, which, again, everyone seemed to swallow, designed to turn the house against Marcellas. This week, following Kaysar's eviction, Janelle began telling some tall tales of her own concerning Chicken George. Now, we viewers know that George did not "swear on his kids," as Janelle claims, that he would vote to keep Kaysar in the house, and Kaysar did not tell her that he did, yet Will and James appear to be buying that line of crap. My interpretatiion is that not only did George not make any promise to help Kaysar, he pretty much told Kaysar that he was going to vote him out without coming right out and saying it, since, in my experience at least, "I'll see what I can do" usually means "Sorry, Charlie."
The real question here is what Janelle believes. Her diary room testimony seems to indicate that she doesn't even realize that she's not telling the truth, but instead actually believes her own laod of BS.
I really hope that Danielle's guess was correct and she wins the coup d'etat power. Especially as she is one of Janelle's nominees this week, she will surely use it and Janelle will become the first member of the jury.
Meanwhile, it seems that Will is taking the competition a little more seriously than he wants people to think. Contrary to what he said in his "I Hate You All' screed a couple of weeks ago, the Evil Doctor really seemed to be trying to win the HoH competitions and looked genuinely pissed off both times he got knocked out.
Finally, I want to say that it was great to see Season 5's Marvin again during last nights food competition (if I were picking the All Star line-up, he would have at least made the Top 20 that people got to vote on), but I'm wondering what exactly qualifies a mortician to judge a cooking competition. (I don't remember what Season 4 winner Jun does for a living, and, as I didn't follow Season 2, this was the first time I'd ever seen that Nichole person.)
Yes, it's been quite a week in the BB house so far, and we haven't even seen the Veto competition yet. Things may get even stranger....Stay tuned.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Still Countin' Down

Updating my two ongoing countdowns:

Only 5 more weeks until Columbus is treated to the splendorifousness that is my comic strip Wasted Potential in Columbus Alive!
I have moved up to #609 on the waiting list for V For Vendetta.

BB All Stars Update: It's Time To Take Down Chilltown!!

While the plan to boot Janelle from the Big Brother All Stars house may have failed, outgoing Head of Household Danielle's larger objective of breaking up the Season 6 alliance was accomplished. With Jame's defection and Kaysar's eviction, the Season 6 alliance has been effectively neutered as a force in the game. (Note to Janelle: When your closest remaining ally in the house is Howie, you are...What's the word I'm searching for? Oh, yeah! ....SCREWED!)
With Season 6 broken up, the time has finally come, the Walrus said, to take out the "Chilltown" alliance, and I hope that Erika, the new HoH, sees this and acts on it.
As Kaysar awaited the vote last night he addressed his housemates and the TV viewers, giving the usual spiel about how he played the game with "integrity and honesty" and on and on and blah, blah, blah....BULL.
In truth, in all the summers that I have watched Big Brother, only one player has truly conducted himself with real honor, integrity and respect for his fellow players. I think that if you've been reading these BB updates of mine you know who I'm talking about: the man who has quickly become my favorite BB housguest ever--Chicken George.

Mike Douglas: 1925-2006

"(Mike) Douglas said in his book that people often confused him with (Merv) Griffin, another singer of Irish heritage." (from Columbus Dispatch obituary of former TV talk show host Mike Douglas)
I never confused them. Griffin's show bored me, but I always enjoyed watching The Mike Douglas Show. Douglas had music and comedy and interesting guests on his show, while Griffin's show was all about sitting on the couch in his Vegas studio schmoozing with fellow celebs, most of whose careers had long since faded.
Here's something you might not know about Mike Douglas...before he was a talk show host, he was a singer and provided the singing voice of Prince Charming in the Walt Disney version of Cinderella.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

V Update

I just checked, and I have moved up to number 617 on the waiting list to check out V For Vendetta. It's practically in my DVD player as I write this.

Hating Bill O'Reilly For Fun and Profit

Just last night, I started reading a book called Sweet Jesus, I Hate Bill O'Reilly by Joseph Minton Amann and Tom Breuer, creators of the web-site of the same name. The book is devoted to debunking the lies, distortions and general BS of Rupert Murdoch's Golden Boy, but as much as I loathe O'Reilly and his fellow Fox News blowhards, I'm not enjoying it as much as I thought I was going to. After all, is there anyone besides O'Reilly's fellow lunatics who takes this loser seriously anymore. By now, making O'Reilly look like an idiot is just too easy, as he does it himself almost every time he opens his big fat lying mouth. It's liking shooting fish in a bucket with a Howitzer, which could be fun at first but would probably get a little boring after a while.
As far as I'm concerned, the fatal wound to O'Reilly's already crippled credibility was when his and Fox News' bogus lawsuit against Al Franken in an attempt to block publication of Franken's Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right by claiming that Franken infringed on Fox's incredibly weak and indefensible trademark on the generic phrase "Fair and Balanced" was literally laughed out of court. I think the judge may still be chuckling.
Bill O'Reilly is a loudmouthed lying jerk. That is all ye know and all ye need to know (at least about O'Reilly). Skip the show, skip this book, let the healing begin and get on with your lives.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Waiting For V

You may remember that I wrote quite a bit about the film V For Vendetta prior to its theatrical release in March, especially about how it might cmpare to other filmed adaptations of Alan Moore's work, which have been utterly bloody awful--especially From Hell. (I am so glad I had a free pass to that film and didn't actually have to waste any money on the piece of crap.)
Well, I never did get to see V during its somewhat brief theatrical run, but now it is out on DVD and, sooner or later--well, later, I will be watching it and giving my review here. I have reserved it from the Columbus Metropolitan Library and when I checked just minutes ago, I was number 629 in line to check it out. Considering that I was #730 a week ago when I made the reservation, it looks like about six and a half weeks until I can tell you how it stacks up against the comic, which is good because it gives me time to actually read the comic. Yes, I will admit now that I had not read the book at the time the movie was released, but I checked it out about the same time I signed up for the DVD, and I'm about two thirds of the way through it. I could be done already, but I'm also reading I Don't Mean To Be Rude, But... by Simon Cowell, in which he talks at length about his own greatness.
In the meantime, I guess you'll just have to suffer through my analysis of Big Brother All Stars, and my continued and growing admiration for Chicken George.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Entertainment News Round-Up (YEEE--HAAAH!!!)

I had no idea what I was gonna write today, so I cast about the 'Net for some random entertainment news...let's see what I came up with.
Hey! This is exciting. At least, it is to me. Hong Kong Phooey: The Complete Series comes out on DVD next week. The set contains all thirty-one episodes of one of TV's greatest super-hero spoofs, not to mention one of the few shows that Hanna-Barbera produced during the 70's that was even watchable (Remember The Hair Bear Bunch and Inch High, Private Eye? Yech! I still cannot believe that I ever liked either of those shows. Sure, I was a kid, but that's no excuse.), on two discs that also contains commentary on three episodes, a documentary entitled "The Phoo-Nomenon", and complete storyboards for the episode "The Batty Bank Gang".
In movie news, Talladaga Nights: The Ballad of of Ricky Bobby topped the box office over the weekend, and was probably hugely popular with NASCAR fans too stupid to know that they were being made fun of.
In second place was Barnyard: The Original Party Animals (subtitles are very in this week), despite reviews that could charitably be described as lukewarm. To me, the film appears, based on the promos I've seen, to be a cheaply produced quickie whose sole puropse for existing is to cash in on the popularity of computer animated films.
Meanwhile, reports that Heath Ledger will be following in the footsteps of Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, and Mark Hamill. He has been cast as the Joker in The Dark Knight, the sequel to last summer's Batman Begins. Hopefully, unlike Romero, Ledger will actually shave off his moustache before putting on the makeup.
Finally, your chance to be insulted by a snotty Brit has come around again, as auditions for season 6 of American Idol began today, as reported in the Columbus Dispatch. The audition nearest me appears to be Monday's at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J. This blogging thing hasn't made me rich, so maybe I'll take my shot at a singing career.

Monday, August 07, 2006

BB All Stars: Can Danielle Be Trusted?

That, as a certain Melancholy Dane famously said, is the question. At least it's the question that James has to be asking himself after the nomination ceremony shown in last nights Big Brother All-Stars episode, in which Danielle, the first non-Season 6'er to win the power position this summer, nominated him along with fellow 6'er and apparently former ally Janelle for eviction. The idea, as Danielle explained it to James, is that she wanted someone as the other nominee who could keep Janelle from winning the Power of Veto competition and James, this summer and last, has won more Veto competitions than any other player in BB history. James seems to trust her, and her diary room testimony makes it appear that she is, in fact, sincere, but as with everything else in the game, we'll have to wait and see and the only thing that counts is the final vote tally.
Meanwhile, my respect and admiration for Chicken George continues to grow.
This week's HoH competion challenged the houseguests to hold on to a giant spider web as long as they could, with the last person remaining being the winner. The first five who dropped out could chose from five "golden" eggs, two of which contained prizes of value in the game and one of which contained ten thousand dollars. One of the prizes was a pass allowing the holder not to have to eat Slop for a week.
Remember now that George, because of the Veto competition two weeks ago, has to eat Slop for the rest of the time he's in the house, so when it came down to the last egg and all the other prizes had been claimed leaving only the Slop pass, the others houseguests urged George to jump off and take the pass. George, however, hung on, determined to give it his all in an effort to win the competion. Marcellas was the next to fall and claimed the pass. George lost his grip a few minutes later, but it was too late.
Fortunately, Marcellas later decided to let George have the pass so that he could join the others for some pizza, though it seems this is hardly a selfless act and Marcellas appears to expect some quid pro quo in the future.
The way that George has conducted himself in the game has seemingly won not only my respect and admiration, but his fellow houseguests' as well, which is why I predict that he can't win the half million dollar grand prize. Suppose that he makes it to the Final Three, but fails to win the final HoH competion. Now, in BB, the winner of HoH when only three are left is automatically in the Final Two and gets to pick which of the other two faces the jury consisting of the last seven houseguests evicted beside him. If you were one of the other houseguests. would you want to be up against this guy who everyone likes and respects or just about anyone else? You might not even want to let him reach the Final Three, as I think there's a good chance that he'd win the final HoH. The Veto competition two weeks ago showed that he's capable of doing what has to be done when his ass is on the line.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Saturday, August 05, 2006

(POKER MOVIES) I Really Hated This One...

As I don't really have anything to new or interesting to say, here's another one of the series of posts on poker related movies that I wrote some months ago. When I first wrote this review of A Big Hand For The Little Lady, I was a little concerned about breaking the film critics' "rule" about not revealing the ending of a film in the review. How, I wondered, could I hold to that and still write an honest review when, after all, my problem with the film is the ending. Well, I reasoned, if I'm writing this to discourage people from seeing this film, then I don't have to worry about "ruining" the ending for them. Besides, as my friend Mustafa said to me a few weeks later regarding a completely different matter, "Rules are like bones, they are meant to be broken."--R"!!"T (Aug 5, 2006)
Over the course of last summer, as I strove to learn all I could about the game of poker prior to hosting my first game at my 40th birthday party, I watched quite a few poker themed movies. Some were very good and some, well, weren't, but there's one that I simply hate with an intensely burning passion. That exercise in wasted celluloid is called A Big Hand For The Little Lady.
In director Fielder Cook's 1966 film, a frontier family on their way to establish a homestead out west stop, when their wagon breaks down, in a small Texas town that is playing host to an annual high stakes poker game. While the wife, Mary, sees to the repairs, the husband, Meredith, a reformed gambler, gets into the game, playing with the money designated to buy their land, and is losing until he gets an apparent monster hand and promptly has a heart attack. While the town doctor sees to her husband, Mary takes his seat at the table. After securing a loan from the town banker to cover all bets, she wins back all Meredith lost and then some, along the way teaching the jaded old gamblers a few lessons about life, love, family devotion, and other such B.S.
Then, BOOM! the scene shifts to New Orleans and it is revealed that the "family" are con artists employed by the banker to exact revenge on the poker players for swindling him in a crooked land deal twenty years earlier. Up until that point the viewer is given no clue that the characters and the story are anything other than what they appear to be. I had invested emotionally in the characters and story as they seemed at first and when they were revealed at the last moment to be something totally different, I felt cheated, tricked and used. Twist endings are fine, but the person you should never trick is the viewer. I came away resenting this film and everyone involved with it. Except for Burgess Meredith, who played the doctor. After all, man, he was the Penguin and that makes him cool no matter what.

Friday, August 04, 2006

6 Weeks and Counting Down

A new strip by John Mallett began its six week run in Columbus Alive!'s "Columbus Comix Spotlight," meaning that it's only six weeks until Columbus is treated to a taste of its soon to be new favorite comic strip, Wasted Potential, by everyone's already favorite cartoonist/blogger, moi. I've decided that while the strip is running, I'm going to offer commentary on each strip each week here at The Word From On High, thus giving my vast reading public (all six of them) a glimpse into the workings of a truly demented yet blindingly brilliant creative mind.
Meanwhile, I'm going to have to put off my analysis of last night's Big Brother All Stars episode until tomorrow because I've got to check the BB web-site and find out who won Head of Household, as the competition for the honor was one of those all night endurance tests that come down to a question of who wants it more.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Sue and the Rats: Still the Champ

I said last week that Dr. Will's "I Hate You All" speech at the Big Brother All Stars Veto ceremony last week could stand beside Susan Hawk's infamous "Rat/Snake" speech from the first Survivor finale. Well, after watching that speech again just this past weekend, I realize that I was wrong. Nothing in television before or since compares to that moment. It is truly the purest expression of raw, unbridled hatred seen on the small screen outside of daytime soap operas, and it is, however unitentionally, utterly hilarious. I crack up every time I hear it, and not even Steve Martin at the height of his stand up career has that effect on me every single time. (I wonder if this reaction to such a vitriolic stream of pure bile says anything about the kind of person I am...Well, of course it does, but I've long since accepted that I'm a horrible, bitter troll and learned to live with it.)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

BB All Stars: Veto Aftermath--James Defects

Back when I lived in Kane, Pa and worked as a DJ at WKZA AM Stereo 960, there was a woman from my home town also living there and teaching at the High School. Now, under normal circumstances, she's not someone who I would hang around with, because, to be frank, as much as I love the rest of her family, especially her mom and dad, who were like second parents to me, I absolutely cannot stand her. She's a mean, hateful, bitter, just plain horrible person. But back then I did talk to her and hang out with her a bit, because in this unfamiliar setting, she was someone I knew.
What, you ask, does this have to do with Big Brother All Stars? Well, that familiarity is, I believe, the sole reason James was hanging around with the other returnees from Season 6, especially since they weren't all that friendly the first time around. Now, however, the Season 6 alliance appears to already falling apart, with James pissed off by Janelle's nomination of Diane to replace Boogie after Boogie won the Power of Veto, while Janelle truly does appear to be in the thrall of the Evil Dr. Will's Svengali like charm.
(It sounds like I'm describing the plot of a comic book, doesn't it? Which, it occurs to me even as I write this, may be part of Big Brother's appeal for me.)
Meanwhile, it appears, as I predicted, that the Season 6 focus on picking off the so-called "floaters" may forge them into an actual alliance, though it seems like James may try to form his own alliance with some of the "floaters," especially Danielle. It appears that James' anger at Janelle has caused him to forget his focus on breaking up "Chilltown" (Dr. Will and Boogie), but that makes a certain sense, since Season 6, even without James, is still the most powerful alliance in the house and if he's not going to be a part of that team, then they are natural targets for him to go after. Of course, he would do well to remember what happened to Kaysar when he returned to the game last summer and let his emotions, particularly his desire for revenge, get the best of him and ended up evicted for the second time only a week after being voted back into the house by the viewers.
I think that if James really wants to rally the house against Janelle, he needs to arrange it so that this week's vote is tied and Janelle has to cast the deciding vote. Thus, whatever happens is all on her. She made the nominations; she cast the deciding vote; and whoever walks out the front door tomorrow is doing so because Janelle made it happen. James can then use this to drum up support for evicting her later on.
Well, enough for now. More after the eviction.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Word's TOP 5: Great Movie Lines

5.) You can't fight in here! This is the War Room!
4.) A toast, Jedediah. To love on my own terms; the only terms any of us ever know.
3.) We all create God in our own image.
In truth, this line, by far the best bit of dialogue in the movie, isn't actually in the movie, at least not as it was released to theaters in December of 1979. Rather, it is among the deleted footage that was added for the film's TV debut and initial home video release in the early 80's.
2.) Ray, when someone asks if you're a god, you say "Yes"!
Sadly, no one has ever asked me.
Drumroll, please! The Word From On High's No. 1 All Time Great Movie Line is:
1.) Somedays you just can't get rid of a bomb!