Hey, it’s Awesomeness Wednesday again!

Today’s first bit of awesomeness comes from my beloved Sports Night, which lasted only two seasons but told great stories about friendship, love, and asshole corporate media overlords. In this condensed version of the episode “The Six Southern Gentlemen Of Tennessee,” Isaac (Robert Guillaume) struggles with how to respond after his network boss, Luther Sachs, orders him to do something he knows is not right. This show could be really preachy (it was Sorkin, after all), but somehow, it worked for me, and this is no exception. I’d love to show you all the full episode, complete with the hilarious discussions of the Play Of The Year, but we’ll have to leave it here for now.

In the second Sports Night clip of the day, the adorable Jeremy Goodwin ‘fesses up to having freaked out while working on a hunting segment. Try to ignore the goofiness of Jeremy’s “hunting is mean” rant (which rings painfully false for me given my friendships with some hunters in Minnesota who assuredly do not hunt to be “mean”), and focus your attention on Isaac’s discussion of how a smart manager deals with smart people. I admit, it’s no “divide and conquer,” but it’s pretty great.

And finally, because it’s hysterical, I bring you this. What makes it wonderful is the title. It’s not that I expect you to care about the new Starbucks roast — though it’s pretty tasty — but the title of this document is like something out of a particularly biting piece of satire.


For those of you who are into this kind of thing, an old project will return tomorrow with the first post in a year and a half. I forgot how much I liked doing that. Why did I stop doing that for a year and a half? Or, mostly, for three years? I do not know. Anyhoo, the rest of you can return to your pop-culture ramblings while we discuss Cardio Party, whether to eat an egg for breakfast, and other surprisingly controversial topics.

If you saw Time‘s Blog Index, in which one of the world’s most traditional magazines tries to demonstrate that it understands the internet, you already know this, but wow, they have a few things to learn about the internet.

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Wow, what do you suppose went on there? Maybe somebody forgot to watch what happens.

Apparently, we’ve already begun eulogizing Leatherheads and discussing what went wrong, because it only made $13.2 million over the weekend. WAAAAAH!

Leatherheads is a nicely executed movie with some very good qualities, and it’s clearly been made with a great deal of love, which goes a long way. There’s a lot of joy in it, which can’t be said about an awful lot of “romantic” “comedies” currently floating around. George Clooney and John Krasinski as a duo — that’s a very, very good idea. They have spectacular comedic chemistry when they’re allowed to get going, which unfortunately happens only a couple of times. Krasinski plays the first part of the movie quite straight, but there’s a moment when his character, the young college football phenom, gets drunk, and all of a sudden, the thing just explodes comedically, and it becomes really satisfying.

Unfortunately, the thing you have read over and over about this movie if you’ve been following the reviews is absolutely true: Renee Zellweger just about kills it. This simply is not her area, the snappy dialogue and crisp delivery. She became famous from Jerry Maguire, you remember, where her soft, fuzzy, slightly awkward naturalism was really an asset. But she’s one of those actresses who would be better off staying in her comfort zone, which is emphatically not this.

I found myself thinking over and over that there was enough charm in this story that I desperately wished I were watching it with a different actress. Someone more self-possessed, more mature in carriage, and more believable as someone George Clooney would actually fall in love with.

Because seriously, George Clooney is wonderful in this movie. Effortless, funny, breathtakingly movie-star-ish in the best way. Watching him in this after so recently seeing him in Michael Clayton elevates my respect for him, because the sort of eyebrow-popping, electric comedy presence that he brings to Leatherheads almost literally could not be more different from the weary, angry performance in Michael Clayton. In addition to being sexy and charismatic and breezily funny, Clooney is a hell of a good actor. There is a certain generosity to his persona — the same fundamental good nature that was on display in the now-famous video of him poking around Joel Stein’s house looking for the source of a beeping noise — that makes him a pleasure to watch in almost everything.

And that’s part of the Zellweger problem, too. It sounds absurd, but the fact is that when a guy is this magnetic and powerful on screen, you have to put a woman up there with huge chops. Because Clooney went gray at a relatively young age, it’s easy to think this is partly about the fact that she’s too young, but she’s not — it’s only a seven-year difference, which is piddling by Hollywood standards. It’s not that they chose an ingenue, because they didn’t: she’ll be forty next year. But she just doesn’t have the smart, earthy quality they needed to find for the mouthy-dame role.

Krasinski is terrific — he’s not the star of the show, but he makes the most of the part and, as I mentioned, has great pop when he works with Clooney. His talent for goofy comedy is not a revelation, but it is well used, and since the last thing he was in was License To Wed, there’s no question he’s moving in the right direction.

There’s no reason for it to be seen as a flop at all — there’s plenty to like about it. It’s pleasantly diverting, and if you like Clooney, you should absolutely see it and revel in his cinematic glow. But you’ll like the chemistry among the boys better than the love story, is my guess, so go in anticipating that and you’ll probably be satisfied.

Previously on No Time (Like The Present) For Losers: Kathy couldn’t face the world without Jonathan and his Leg Hole Of Nobility, and she shuffled right off the island before she started setting her surroundings on fire. Hey, I know just how she feels. Ozzy found the hidden idol and put a stick in the hiding place, hoping that maybe, if he got very lucky, someone would actually be enough of a buffoon to think that maybe the idol was just a stick this year. Meanwhile, back at camp, two rocks clunked together in Jason’s head and made a noise that sounded like, “Maybe the idol is just a stick this year,” and when he found the stick, he put two and two together and got a boiled potato for a brain, so he’s now walking around with a stick shoved down his pants that he thinks will protect him from harm. I think I saw that on House. Write “hallucinations” down on the white board next to “shelter-hoarding”! We carefully followed The Secret Love Of Erik And Ozzy, also known as The Love That Probably Could Not Spell Its Name. Ami tried to get something going with the fans to get out Ozzy, but it fell apart for reasons that were not shared with the stupid, nosy audience, and Tracy was sent home. Erik is the only Malakal fan person! Do you suppose it means anything that nowhere in the credits did anyone explain anything about the dynamics over at the other tribe? Nah.

And now: this week.

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This incorporates so many of the things we have been discussing around these parts that I will just say it makes me happy. Special bonus for fans of Friday Night Lights!

It probably goes without saying that this is the most charismatic person I have ever seen in person, let alone met for thirty seconds. Seriously, you can get pregnant from across the room.

One of my little shopping fixations is the idea of getting a digital SLR that will take the Canon lenses from my old film camera. This is absolutely not going to happen anytime in the foreseeable future, because of my currently self-employed status. However, from time to time, I go and salivate over various digital options, most recently the Rebel XSi, scheduled for release at the end of April. Now and then, I go to Amazon and visit this camera, the way you might visit a puppy at the pet store that you know you can’t adopt.

If it’s really true that it would accept my old EOS lenses, then I’d really only need the camera body, but I was looking tonight at the package that includes a lens, and I noticed that it was listed at $899.99, but Amazon said that in order to see their discounted price, you had to click. Why do you have to click to make the price appear? Well, as I’ve seen them explain this before, sometimes their discounts are SO AWESOME that they violate manufacturer policy unless they hide the price behind an extra click. That’s right — they could tell you how much of a discount they can give you, but then Canon would kill them. So I clicked on the box, and this is what I saw:

That’s right. You can save on the wildly inflated price of $899.99, and you can obtain this item for $899.95. Those four cents? They are right from Amazon to you, baby. FROM AMAZON TO YOU.

Now say “thank you.”

Not a lot to say today, except that you guys were right, and the root canal this morning was really pretty non-traumatic while it was going on. Unfortunately, the dentist warned me that there was a lot of inflammation around the tissues from everything that was going on, and that it might be pretty sore.

Which is also turning out to be true. So I think it’s going to be a weekend of taking it very, very easy and taking Advil. Sigh. But I have survived, and I have a nice, rootless tooth to show for it.

This got linked all over the place almost a year ago, but since I wasn’t doing this then, I missed my chance, and now, I will take it. There’s a certain way that I feel about music performed by large groups, and this is the sort of thing that can almost make me burst into tears. I know that sounds weird, but when I used to do more singing, if you got me in the right choral setting, I would become completely overwhelmed by the energy, and I can tell you that if I had been in this room, my guess is that I would have been bawling, despite how amazingly warm and happy it is to watch. This is Ben Folds, from a MySpace appearance.

June 2018
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