Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Goodfellas & Lifetime are like oil & water

I don’t care how many pastel vines you adorn on this image,
it will not be targeted at women.

I watch Lifetime. There we go, a confession for you. I do watch this network that is synonymous with “programming for women” and gripping low budget films like “My Stepson, My Lover; The Shannon McDonald Story” Ever notice that the titles almost always involve a colon or semi-colon. Anyway, I find myself watching this network when one of two things happens.

1. Scrabble with Mom- I’ve been trying to hang with Kris a little more often these days. I try to meet her on her terms and so I let her watch whatever she wants on TV while we play Scrabble. I gave up long ago trying to influence her choices in media. So if there isn’t a wedding show on or Oprah, she defaults to Lifetime. She’s my mom; I love through this lapse in judgment.

2. TiVo records Will & Grace- That show has some funny moments and my TiVo doesn’t care what network it is on. This is one of the rare times I watch commercials with TiVo, but the Lifetime Network is so bad the commercials are like a car wreck. I have to slow down and give it a look.

A few weeks ago I came across a horrible idea. They are showing Goodfellas on Lifetime and promoting it. I really don’t get this at ALL! What’s next, Soprano’s on the Oxygen Network? Seriously, this makes no sense to me at all. I noticed that nearly every clip they used in the promotion showed the character Karen Hill, wife to the notorious gangster/informant and protagonist of the film. While she has an interesting storyline and makes a great supporting character in this film, she is not the driving force. This is kind of like telling a friend who loves animals that they should watch Season 2 of Friends on DVD because Ross owns a monkey.

A friend of mine had mentioned a while back that Lifetime was trying to re-brand itself. If this is how they plan on doing this then they must have had their brainstorming session after sustaining head injuries. Lifetime, stick with the poorly produced empowered woman stories. Don’t waste your money on the fees to air a classic gangster movie, just because I want to be entertained while playing Scrabble. I am not your target market.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Luck of the Irish runs out.

I purposely made this photo block out your tattoos
for the sake of prettiness. Just my opinion.

For my faithful readers, I’m sorry this is a day late. For those that don’t notice or don’t care, I’m not sorry.

The little Irish girl takes off quicker than I believed was deserved. I think everyone was shocked that night because she had such a good night with show tunes. Sharing the judges praise and then telling her she was gone made for dramatic TV. And let’s talk about Andrew Lloyd Webber Week! I have always been honest about liking things that may not be perceived as masculine. (I think the fact that I blog weekly about Idol is evidence of that.) (I also think the fact that I call it Idol is evidence.) I own the fact that I like Disney, Show tunes, and girls. Granted, affinity for all three things aren’t usually present in one guy but I have no problem being the anomaly.

This week of music reminded me how much I like Show tunes, Broadway is just plain awesome. There is great storytelling and raw emotion in the songs of this genre. If you haven’t seen a Broadway play, then you need to. Go enjoy Wicked before it leaves town. (More on Wicked in a few weeks!) None of the other Idols conquered Webber’s music like Syesha. Thirty seconds into her performance I thought to myself, “okay this girl will leave the Idol Summer Tour in September and head straight to Broadway, and she will be great.” These are two very different styles, Pop and Broadway, and therefore require different singers.

Interestingly enough, David Archuleta who has more of a Josh Groban-ish voice that can do well in Broadway did a curious Pop arrangement. I found this to be very deliberate. It’s clear that he know the thing that people find enchanting with David Cook is his arrangements and edge. Consequently Archuleta decided to do a funky arrangement of a Broadway hit. It wasn’t a hit in my opinion. David should just do his thing and stay the cute boy who constantly needs to clear his throat.

With Brooke dodging the bottom two this week, it is clear that she has a large following and that fan base is very forgiving. My guess is that she will pick up a lot of votes from Carly (the remainder going to David Cook.) By the way, that’s half the issue when making these predictions. I consider who people would be fans of and where else they would put their votes. Carly really didn’t seemed bummed about being voted off which shows me that she knew she wasn’t going to win. Who will win? Here’s my adjusted prediction.

5. Syesha Mercado
4. Jason Castro
3. Brooke White
2. David Archuleta
1. David Cook

Tonight is NEIL DIAMOND. Enough said.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Office provides lots of laughs
and lessons in love.

This is just one example of why I absolutely LOVE this couple.
They make my heart smile.

So, I’ve had this blog for a few months now. I tend to write about things I encounter each day. Rather than talk about old favorites that seem obvious, I talk about whatever crosses my mind. Okay, tonight and old favorite crossed my mind. I laughed so hard at the last two episodes of The Office. I probably woke my neighbors with my guffaw! I got home and watched an episode on (which is great by the way, check it out!) and another on TiVo. How great is the freedom of Hulu and TiVo? While it’s exciting to not having to worry about missing your favorite shows, more importantly its thrilling to have shows that are worth watching.

The Office is worth watching, buying and watching again. If you are not watching episodes twice, then you are missing some great moments that are revealed in your second viewing. This is a testament to the directors and editors. While this show is brilliantly written, having great characters and edited in a way to capture every moment to the point where simple cuts make me laugh. While I could go on about many aspects of the show, I’d like to focus on my favorite part; Jim & Pam.

I’ve never seen a show capture an organic and real couple. Even loveable characters were always split up for the sake of drama. I remember listening to a commentary track on Friends where one of the creators is talking about how they constantly had to keep Ross & Rachel broken up because it made for better TV. Always wondering whether Ross & Rachel would remain “on a break” was a part of why I loved this great show. The exact opposite is currently the case for The Office. I love tuning in and seeing people that I relate to, relate to each other. They haven’t sacrificed their own personalities and genuinely enjoy each other without seeming sappy or boring.

My hope is that the producers of this great show keep them together. I was saying the other day that it would be great to see them eventually get married. I’d want to see them experience life together. Not every show has to be the fairy tale quest, it can be about the “ever after”. I think that I will require the next girl I am dating to watch 4 seasons of The Office and ask if she likes the dynamic between Jim & Pam. If she says yes, then I will kiss her and smile. If she says no, I will curse her and cry. I know the stakes are high, but I stand behind my rubric.

So are Jim & Pam the best couple on Television? Share your opinions and if you have one, share you’re alternative couple.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Big words doesn’t make you smart and it sure doesn’t make your movie good.

I would bet that the image of Ellen Page was added
later because of her success with Juno.

Dennis Quad, Ellen Page, Thomas Haden Church, Sarah Jessica Parker, this movie was sure to have good performances. With the script being from the writer of Sideways it was sure to be witty and well crafted. Don’t be so sure . This movie never delivered on it’s potential.

When I am sitting in a theater continually checking the clock on my cell phone, this is an indication of one of two things. Either it is poorly paced with one section of the film going on far too long, or I want to be somewhere else and long for this pain to end. In the case of Smart People, it was both. I spent my time in the theater feeling like all the characters were out of focus. This wasn’t because of a bad projectionist in the theater, it was because of a bad director on the set. No one was well developed, I didn’t want to see anyone grow or succeed.

Dennis Quad plays a character that should have layers but unfortunately is very one dimensional. Thomas Haden Church’s role as the uncle is simple comic relief and lacks heart, he never goes anywhere. Sarah Jessica Parker seemed to be playing a similar character to her role in Family Stone, except I didn’t care what happened to her. Ellen Page was funny in moments and had the most evident character arc, but it still falls short.

This film is filled with a bunch of big words and literary references. Many people will leave the theater thinking this movie went over their heads. I understood 90% of the big words and literary illusions, and trust me, it still wasn’t funny. I believe the blame lies with the script and the director. The ending felt extremely rushed. It was like someone hit fast forward for the last 15 minutes and then hit spot. I am sure that this was because of cuts made after screenings that revealed people felt like it dragged. Well, simply cutting things at the end doesn’t help the first two hours. Start making trims earlier.

In conclusion, don’t see this movie in the theater. By the time I’ve posted this it has left most theaters, but still avoid it. Avoid renting this movie, don’t plague your Netflix queue with this garbage. This movie would be worth watching if you are on a plane and longing to get some sleep. If you see it on your movie menu, hit play and recline your seat; you will be dreaming of a better movie in minutes.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It was time.

This was when we first met you Kristy,
It’s been down hill ever since then.

As much as I like hotness, I love justice. This weekend justice was served and Kristy Lee Cook said goodbye to Idol. Even though she gave a performance that was great for Country Music, it wasn’t good enough for Idol. She will likely go the route of Kelly Pickler and sell a few million Country records. Part of why I don’t like Country music is their unending acceptance of crap. Sure there are talented artists in there, but then these are the same people that make Larry the Cable Guy a millionaire, so they can’t be expected to have discerning taste.

This lack of discernment is not limited to Country Music. Last weeks show made me wonder, why has Mariah Carey had more number ones than Elvis? She is not a transcending artist like the Beatles or U2, she is still churning out the same lame songs as when I was in Junior High. She looked so fake and silly during her mentoring sessions. She looked like she was going to fall over in her 8 inch heels, completely ridiculous. Why this woman is still selling millions of records is beyond me, I mean come on…GLITTER! If it weren’t for 9/11, this would have been the most tragic event of 2001.

Kristy Lee Cook being voted of was clearly America’s penance for the early departure of Michael Johns. I think that many people stopped voting for the nice girl and started voting to the guy that they think deserves it. And when I say guy I mean it to refer specifically to a male. Look at who is left, I think it’s obvious we’re going to have a man win this year. Of course, I could be wrong and it may be a boy.

6. Syesha Mercado
5. Carly Smithson
4. Jason Castro
3. Brooke White
2. David Archuleta
1. David Cook

Care to comment? What is your prediction?

UPDATE- 4/23/08 2:50 am
I got home from school and crashed, so tired. I woke up at 2 and couldn't sleep, so I played Idol. This week's theme of show tunes got my attention. At the start of the show I said to myself, "oh my, this changes everything!" After watching the show I was right. SO, it's a toss up. Last night, Brooke White gave an awkward performance and gave a look of defeat and agony. Syesha absolutely rocked, giving an audition for Broadway. (In my opinion, she got the part!) If America votes based on the entire season, it's See Ya Syesha. If America votes based on last night, Bye Bye Brooke. Next week we'll have my thoughts on the show overall.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A powerful performance, worth having someone drink your milkshake.

Two great actors fill the screen and make this film enjoyable for all three hours.

I wasn’t sure why I had such respect for Daniel Day Lewis. I couldn’t get into My Left Foot a few years ago. I really didn’t like Gangs of New York when I rented it. But I knew that this Oscar winning actor had some acting chops. This last weekend my opinion was given solid evidence as I enjoyed There Will Be Blood for a second time. Lewis’ performance fills an empty landscape and entertains every minute of this lengthy film. I found his portrayal of Daniel Plainview to be so enjoyable. I could see him process his circumstances and experience pain.

This movie by Paul Thomas Anderson felt like Stanley Kubrick could have directed it. The first 15 minutes are without dialogue and it has the camera just sitting on situations. It was great to see a period piece from Anderson that is not based on the San Fernando Valley. He really let the actors do their job and didn’t rely on words to communicate the message. Paul Dano plays two roles, primarily that of Eli Sunday, the disingenuous preacher. This is the older brother from Little Miss Sunshine, and in this film he shows his range and charisma.

Multiple people have asked me if the statements made about religion offended me. It is such an easy response, not at all. I don’t think the film slams religion; I think it shows the emptiness of greed. It shows the greed of two men, and how one uses oil and the other uses God to gain power and money. I loved to see greed come to fruition. I also loved the soundtrack of this film, it really drives the intensity and really made me feel the competition that consumes Plainview.

So, if you are at Blockbuster and want a light movie to enjoy on a weekend, and have this DVD in one hand and Click in the other, just watch Click. This is not your movie tonight. (By the way, Click, really?!?) But if you want to be wrapped up in an epic then grab There Will Be Blood. In my opinion it doesn’t disappoint and is a masters workshop in acting and cinematography.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

21; not worth doubling-down, but not a bust.

***Standard Spoiler Warning. This article contains my opinions on this film and reveals parts of the story that you may want to be surprised by. I find these twists and turns predictable, but if you haven’t seen it you may want to be surprised.***

The hot girl that wouldn’t talk to you back home on your arm
and tens of thousands of dollars in winnings in front of you
This is the way Vegas works right?

I had heard from a few people that this was a great movie. Critics gave positive feedback, America certainly supported it at the box office, so this should be good right? Well, I would say yes it was pretty good. Not great, but pretty good. I found the story to be kind of weak and predictable. None of the performances were distracting and that is a good thing for a film with young stars. Vegas is an amazing visual setting for any film and this was certainly the case in this movie.

But I found myself mildly entertained throughout this film and only annoyed at a few moments. The first thing that made me laugh was what caused the protagonist to make some bad bets that jeopardized his future. This guy got in an argument with a couple friends over a microchip for a robot competition. After this nerd fight he goes on to make 2 bad bets and loose $200,000 dollars in 40 seconds. This is ridiculous. I mean, really? A nerd fight that leads to you risking your livelihood? Come on.

The other issue I had was with the ending. Not the “surprise” at the end, but the way that the lead combined his Nerd friends with his Vegas friends and every walked out having made money. I mean it was just lame… come on, we don’t need to tie everything together at the end, it’s a film not an episode of Growing Pains. So, with those minor complaints, I’d encourage you to check this film out with friends, but don’t feel the need to rush out and watch it. It’s popcorn, it’s fun, it’s worth your time.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I was once assured that Uncle Sam was a U.S. president.
he wasn’t in case you’re wondering.

Yesterday’s Obama blog sparked a conversation with a friend. We were commenting about the majority of people do not frequent cable news and do not vote. He said that it is sad that those who vote are influenced by the cable news networks and how their bias is hurting America, not helping. We continued to discuss what we wanted to see from America.

He went on to admit that he was in the minority; people who follow the news, develop opinions and yet don’t vote. I threw my hands up. We had discussed his need to register a few times. It was silly for him to pontificate, to complain, yet to not exercise his freedom and fulfill his responsibility.

So, I am calling him out, in fact I am calling out anyone that reads this but doesn’t vote. Here are some reasons you should vote.

1.People died so you can vote.
2.It is your responsibility to make your country better by choosing the leaders you believe are best.
3.You will not be able to share your opinion with any integrity if the candidate you prefer looses.

I know there are more, but these are what came to my mind. Now, registering to vote gives you the opportunity to participate. This doesn’t mean you have to tune in to cable news from now until November. In fact, I would avoid doing that completely. Take 45 minutes a few weeks before the election. Look at a c of the candidate’s opinions and plans on the issues and cast your vote. Hey, you can even vote by mail if you don’t want to go to a polling location. You will miss out on the cool “I voted” sticker, but it’s an option.

So, I would love to have some comments on this post about registering new voters. It would not only make my day, but make you a better citizen. I made it so easy, all you have to do is click here.
(If you just happen to live in, let’s say, Oklahoma…Click Here.)

Go register and comment. God Bless America.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

In Politics, it takes an elitist to know an elitist.

This video is the comments in their entirety,
feel free to listen at your leisure.

These words from Senator Obama have had the media in a frenzy the last few days…
You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them...And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

People are not discussing the first paragraph and its accusations against republicans and no no… that would involve a debate of the issues. Instead they take comments in the second paragraph to attack Obama. There are two things that bother me about this situation. First of all, let’s take a look at what his comments are really saying. People are devastated when jobs leave their communities by the thousands and many of these people are bitter. Their bitterness finds solace in unhealthy passions. Do I think Obama is saying that all guns and religion are always unhealthy? Absolutely not. Look at his other comments about faith and how he has personally embraced religion.

I think that Obama is saying that at there are people who don’t allow faith to be a healing and positive transformation in their hearts and lives. They use it as a way to gain social acceptance and identity. Rather then allowing God to change their hearts, they take on a judgmental spirit. He is not saying that this is the case of everyone who goes to a church, or owns a gun.

People who have been devastated economically are hurting people, and rather than pursuing healing they often pursue hate. Instead of hearing this message the sound bite media and other ‘down to earth’ candidates are taking it as a chance to slam Obama. Is Hilary Clinton really going to try to give off the impression that she isn’t an elitist? Is she really going to call out Obama?

This woman epitomizes what she is criticizing. Is she really going to present herself as a pro-gun, pro-religion candidate? Her comments in the last few days are evidence of how out of touch she is with her own history. Now I am not a Hilary-Hater. I will not allow a simple distaste to cause me to spew venom when her name is uttered. But, it makes me sad that she is playing the game and trying to come across as if she loves Smith-Wesson & Jesus.

Here is an idea, let’s stop trying to vilify people based on a few words. Let’s take a look at their past and their plan. Let’s make judgments based on positions not parties. Let’s take the economic situation in Pennsylvania and give a plan for change rather than a justification of their hate. Stop kissing voters butts and validating their unhealthy response to circumstances. Start to tell them why you are the candidate that will create opportunity for new circumstances and prosperity. This is just an idea.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Idol gives SHOCK!

We knew you wouldn’t win,
but still, you left us too quickly.

When the announcement came this last Thursday, my jaw dropped. I thought to myself, “What is America smoking? It clearly must me the same stuff Jason Castro is smoking.” (Did you notice how baked this guy looked again. It made me laugh the way Ryan didn’t even interview him after his performance. Yeah pothead musicians!) Michael Johns being voted off was a reminder that while the voters had been doing better, this is still a popularity contest. Michael Johns will go the road of Chris Daughtry, get a band and sing some good songs. But he didn’t have what it takes to make it as an idol.

I knew he wasn’t going to make it to the end, but this week was his first time in the bottom three and BOOM he’s gone. I am sure that is making all the other contestants feeling uneasy. You could see the surprise on his face when he was announced as the loser. It seemed so clear that he was trying to figure out how it is that Kristy Lee Cook remains and he is gone! I was trying to figure it out too, but again I need to see Idol as a popularity contest.

There are a bunch of states in the middle of our country. Most of us fly over these states, cities and towns not realizing that there are a lot of folks living here. They are likely to love the story of Kristy selling her horse, and want to keep her around. I should have known that these people had the power to sway a nation wide vote. For additional evidence, notice who is the resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. So with that staying power in mind, I have adjusted my predictions below.

7. Syesha Mercado
6. Kristy Lee Cook
5. Carly Smithson
4. Jason Castro
3. Brooke White
2. David Archuleta
1. David Cook

Care to comment? What is your prediction?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

David Ryan Harris

Go to this Show Recommendation:
Saturday April 12th 9:00
@ The Temple Bar in Santa Monica

His vocals are amazing, his songs tell great stories...
ok, I admit it, I’m a super fan!

This last week a friend of mine mentioned my blog and how she was shocked that I hadn’t written a blog about one of my favorite artists David Ryan Harris. As I thought about it, I realized that I have tried multiple times to sit down share my thoughts on this artist. Every time I wrote about it, I felt like I was gushing and didn’t feel like what I wrote was up to DRH standards.

Today when I looked at my Google Calendar for the upcoming week I realized that David Ryan Harris had a show this weekend. It was time to get over trying to write the perfect blog and just post about this guy. This last March he played three times at the Hotel Café in Hollywood. This is a treat, as he usually only plays out here once a year. Because of other commitments I could only make it out to one of those nights. I would have been at all three if possible.

When we arrived to the club, my anticipation was building. I had been talking about DRH for years and my friend was happy to be there but not as excited as me. I went straight into the main room to get a good spot and she made a stop at the bathroom. I stood in the back of the club, a good spot for tall people who want their own space. Soon my friend came over with friends of her own. “I went to High School with her, and this is her dad.” Before I could process the strange scenario of Father/Daughter night at hip nightspot, the dad chimed in. “I’m a musician and manager, my name is Bud.” If my dad was a record producer, I would totally hang out with him on a Saturday Night. I later found out that Bud had worked as an executive with a major label and is currently starting his own management firm.

Bud asked me what I thought of David Ryan Harris before. Masking the fact that I am a super fan, I shared how DRH hasn’t caught the well-deserved break in the industry. He has great vocals and a cool bluesy style, like a mix of Donny Hathaway and Stevie Wonder (great mix, I KNOW!) But besides opening for John Mayer and playing in Mayer’s band, he’s never made it big. I went on to share my opinion about his career and why it had stalled. I talked about how he is great live but most of his work in the studio just isn’t up to par. I said that he hadn’t been put together with the right producer yet and it’s set him back.

After pontificating for a couple minutes Bud gave an affirming touch to the shoulder and said “You’re absolutely right, that is the problem.” I looked over at my friend and she gave me a knowing look. She later said she knew I was going to let that go to my head. She was right. Bud and I talked more about music and he left me with the encouragement that I had a good ear and mind for music. I spent the rest of the night wondering if I should be a producer…I decided to be an amateur blogger instead.

Still, to hear these words from a producer of his caliber was not only a victory for myself, but for David Ryan Harris. This guy is an amazing talent and just hasn’t been able to catch the lightening in a bottle and make a great record. Until then, I will continue to see him live every chance I get. And you should too! If you like John Mayer, Gavin Degraw then I’d encourage you to check out David Ryan Harris. If you are going to buy a CD, then get “The Bittersweet” that’s the only one worth listening too. But before going to itunes, I’d encourage you to go to the Temple Bar and listen to him for yourself. You will not regret it.

I hope to see you there this weekend. Message me and let me know if should look for you.

Saturday 4/12/08 9:00
Hotel Café Santa Monica

View Larger Map
Please Note: This is a 21+ show. I am not encouraging underage peoples to attend, give me a break!

Monday, April 7, 2008

I am glad millions of people agree with me.

Ramiele, you knew it was coming…right?

First, I am sorry for the delay in posting. Last week was nuts with school, work and sister's wedding. Thanks for the messages about the blog. Nice to hear you're reading. I don’t say good job enough, so this blog is my chance to say GOOD JOB AMERICA! (rising out of my chair, initiating the slow clap, others join in, it’s beautiful.) It was time for Ramiele to go, we all agreed and she left. Now it’s time for us to keep on making good choices.

This week, Kristy Lee is due. I know that my last post said she should stick around because of the pretty factor, but I am into justice and it is her turn. I was looking at the American Idol website and it was SO clear, that she is now the weakest link.

I was going to end my blog here, but I decided to go out on a limb and list who I think deserves to be voted off. I have a pretty good track record when it comes to this. My friend called me the Sam Seaborn of American Idol Predictions. That is a HUGE compliment for a West Wing fan!

8. Kristy Lee Cook

7. Syesha Mercado

6. Michael Johns

5. Carly Smithson

4. Jason Castro

3. Brooke White

2. David Archuleta

1. David Cook

Now Remember this is not a list of who I think deserves it, or is most talented, it’s my predictions based on voting patterns, swing votes and other factors. A whole lot can happen in 7 weeks, but if things continue as they are…I’m pretty confident about my predictions.

Care to comment? What is your prediction?

© 2011 trent lewis

all rights reserved