Friday, December 26, 2008

A Christmisfit's Guide to Holiday Movies

Yes Man
Exactly what you expect, but with fewer weird Jim Carrey faces. It's pretty sweet, very predictable, and Zooey Deschanel gets to sing and be kooky and you fall in love with her. Well, I did. (Again.)

Doubt is about doubt. I know this because of the opening scene, and the final scene, and many scenes in between, where that was made explicit. Bring a sweater to the movie theatre: nuns often sit outside on blustery days in this movie and it makes you feel very chilly for them. It's not a bad movie, but there sure is a lot of acting and talking and more acting.

Seven Pounds
If you want to see Will Smith cry, this is the movie for you! If you are spending Christmas Eve by yourself and think, "Hey, I'll just pop over to the Rainbow and catch a movie," this is *maybe* not the movie for you. It is designed to make you cry. Also of note: nice images of a field and an ocean front home and a jellyfish. And sometimes Will Smith is handsome.

A movie as good as its trailer. I saw the Valkyrie trailer and thought, "Holy fuck, awesome trailer. I will never see that movie, but well done, editor types." Then it turned out to be my Christmas Day movie and guess what! It is a good movie. A great story and so tense. But if you're like me, halfway through a Hitler-assassination-plot sequence, try not to think, "This movie should have been called Mission Impossible: 4." It takes a minute to get back into the story after that funny.

I also plan on seeing the Curious Button movie over the break (and maybe even Gran Torino!) so stay tuned. But don't stay tuned for me seeing Marley & Me. I refuse to see a movie starring a Golden Retriever and the two actors who most look like Golden Retrievers. Nope!

Hapslappy Boxing Day!

More! The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Notebook + Forrest Gump = Benjamin Button. I like tug boats and the Mississippi and in this movie, there is a tug boat on the Mississippi. Also it is undeniable that Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett are beautiful people. It is also undeniable that this movie is LONG.
It feels like the story is told in real time, so it's about 80 years long. (Luckily the audiences both ages and reverse-ages with Brad and Cate, so you walk out of the theatre the same age you went in.)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

but i think i'll miss this one this year

Spice Girls Chrimbo Song! Annoying but also: awesome. So raise up that cup of Christmas cheer.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Spotted: O Chuck Bass, Where Art Thou?

There are about 17 million brilliant moments in this episode, which all together left me heavy-hearted watching our Upper East Siders try so hard to be there for each other and to follow their hearts: Chuck and Blair, Blair and Chuck; Chuck hurting mourning Eric; Rufus telling Lily that he'll wait six months, six years...; Jenny offering to make Eleanor's wedding outfit in order to make amends; Dan thwarted as he tries to make the grand gesture for Serena, but is too late; Blair turning to Cyrus for comfort (and turning Jewish); Derota a bridesmaid at Eleanor's wedding; Mister Chuck broken and sitting on B's bed; B waking up alone and with that letter...

RIP Bart Bass?

How did Bart Bass die? Is Bart Bass actually, factually dead? There was an "accident"; that's about all we know. In the previous ep, we saw him in the limo with his PI, headed over to the Snowflake Ball to confront Lily not just about her new dalliance with her ex-lover but also about why she was in that hospital in France. This week we see the PI is alive and well and selling secrets so he must have got out of the car before the accident. Since Dylan McKay's father could rise from the dead (he faked his death to escape the FBI? the mob? I'm fuzzy on the details), I'm a wee bit suspicious that we didn't see the casket or the internment... Of course, if the city of New York is "rocked" by billionaire Bartholomew's death (as the newspaper headline declared), then let's accept this as fact . . . for now.

"Was it a boy or a girl?"
These van der Woodsen women sure have their secrets. Let's hope that Lily's "love child" secret doesn't turn out the same way Serena's "I killed someone" secret did, or we'll find out in the end that Lily held someone else's baby once and pretended it was Rufus's. I think we can safely rule out either Serena or Eric being the love child. The timeline just doesn't work for Eric. And if it was Serena, then Lily would have watched on as her daughter committed incest and the Dan/Serena love saga would come to a crashing, creepy halt better suited to a V.C. Andrews novel than a CW teen drama. We can also safely rule out the possibility that Lily had an abortion; you don't need to go away to have one, having one isn't a pay-obscene-amounts-of-money-to-keep-the-truth-from-coming-out scandal, she wouldn't know the gender of the fetus, and there's no chance Rufus Humphrey would have reacted the way he did. Which leaves us with a new member of the Gossip Girl family, perhaps soon to arrive on the Upper East Side (assuming the kid is alive). Welcome, Rufly. (I'll put my money on it being a boy, with the episode title's inspiration, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, being a tip off.)

The only good thing to come out of Grandma Ceci meddling in her daughter's life again is that now poor Eric won't have to spend Christmas alone. Seriously, Lily? Not only did she fail to mention baby Rufly to his father, she forgets about Eric — the boy who just lost his stepfather, his stepbrother, whose sister is off to South America, and who tried to commit suicide a short year ago. Were we to assume Eric was happily spending Christmas with Ceci, having gin toddies all the livelong day? Poor Eric. At least Jonathan showed up.

"I carried the watermelon garment bag."
S and E, two fellow Gossip Girl watchers at work, took issue with Serena going to Buenos Aires with Aaron even though she seems to be clearly in love with Dan. Why does she have to be with someone? they wonder. I felt similarly last season when Lily — clearly in love with Rufus but unable to be with him because of her daughter's eternal love for his son — chose to marry Bart. If you know for sure you're in love with someone else, don't marry a guy just to be with someone. And maybe Serena's learned from her mother? But I think Serena *does* like Aaron, and since (she thinks) she can't be with Dan, she would rather try to make it work with A than give up on love entirely. Oh. I can finally empathize with Lily's decision to marry Bart.

Take a Deep Breath. And Hold It.
I have watched this preview about 17 times already. Remember this morning when I was all, "Oh I don't mind waiting until next year for new Gossip Girl"? Times have changed. Next episode we meet Uncle Jack Bass; Dan and Serena are together at the Humphrey loft for some reason (love reasons??); Blair is at loose ends without Chuck; and Chuck is at looser ends without his father. What's with the ring box that S is opening? And what is with the dancing girls? Are we back at the Victrola? AH! I cannot wait.

Luckily there is so much to talk about in "O Brother, Where Bart Thou?" that we can keep our minds busy until January 5th. Favorite moments? Best funeral outfit? Did Jenny forget to put on her pants because she was so sad for Eleanor and Eric? Is B a masochist to love a narcissist like C? Was Grandma Ceci really trying to help Lily and Rufus eventually be together or is she sabotaging them again?

*update* a lot of fun times happening over in the world of Twitter!

Spotted: Oh Brother, Where Bart Thou?

"I carried the garment bag."

good morning Upper East Siders. my full post on this episode -- which i thought was beyond excellent -- will come later tonight. i just wanted to put down a few of my reactions as i sip my morning mega c vitamin water...

last night's Gossip Girl was written by Stephanie Savage, genius, and you can tell the difference. It was so tight, with so many echoes of moments from Gossip Girl gone by -- Rufus singing "Everytime," a key scene in Grand Central, Chuck's penchant for twins, Blair finally being able to say those three words...

And the tone of the episode was a perfect mix of pathos and a touch of signature GG wit, set in the first five minutes with breakfast at the van der Woodsens (formerly Bass) household and then at the Waldorfs (both matriarchs admiring the photo of Bart and the necessity of sending a thank you note to the photo editor -- genius). A great episode to end the first half of the season on. I have so much to ruminate on, that I won't mind waiting til January for the next installment.

Anywaysy, read Daily Intel today and I'll post more tonight!

Friday, December 05, 2008

one Lively, but not the other

i was extra specially excited for last night's episode of 30 Rock, because Liz Lemon is my girl (my dad always says, You're just like Liz Lemon. and I say, Thanks! wait...), but also rumor had it that Blake Lively and Leighton Meister were appearing on the show in a flashback to Liz in high school. But Liz was the mean girl, not our Constance Billard kids. Then in the present day high school reunion scene, Blake's character would be played by her real-life older sister (also an actress) Robyn. that info turned out to be only half true. so apologies to any Gossip Girl fans who I urged to watch last night's ep of 30 Rock (Tammy). while there was no Blake or Leighton, it was still full of comedy gold tho! and the Vanity Fair profile of Tina Fey is vair interessant, if a little obsessed over the fact that she wasn't always skinny.

If you want to be motivated to shop at the Gap, the CW has kindly posted the portraits of Serena that are in the current Aaron Rose exhibition. Also when I was thinking about Dan Humphrey (as one does), I realized how uncomfortable and awful it would be to have your dad's gallery exhibiting your ex-gf's new bf's art, especially when it consisted entirely of "artistic" glamor shots of her.

Finally: Monday's episode of Gossip Girl is the last of 2008. Gulp. Weeks without GG are coming. And that means this next episode will likely be a big old cliffhanger. What is Lily's secret? What could it be that is so disgusting to Chuck Bass? (Or maybe that comment in the preview has to do with how she's already moving on with Rufus before Bart is cold in his grave? My brain just went all Hamlet-y: the funeral baked meats/Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables...)

oh man i should probably go to work as it's real Friday and not proto Saturday.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

my 90210pinions: That Which We Destroy

I don't think there was a new New Nine Oh this week, but I did finally watch the last New Nine Oh: "That Which We Destroy." And it picked up right where we left off, with the arrival of the new son in the middle of Annie and Naomi's epic battle.

The new son has the Wilson nose and is one of those patriotic Americans, as Granny Wilson calls him. He's proud to serve his country and so on and so forth. The only slightly funny thing about this whole opening sequence of course belongs to Granny Wilson. She gets Dixon to figure out how old she has to tell people she was when she had Principal Wilson in order for him to have had a son at age 18 who is now 25 years old. The answer: 11. "A little unseemly."

Kelly gives Naomi and Annie the "friends are more important than guys" talk using a metaphor: girlfriends are like plants, and guys are cut flowers. I think this scene was supposed to be funny? Judging by the girls' expressions, it may have smelled funny. I wonder if this whole friendship talk will come into play later when Brenda returns...

Silver continues to make poor wardrobe choices. Silver live blogs lunch. This whole cafeteria lunch business: a total Mean Girls rip off. Annie shows Ethan her bitchy side and he loses his appetite. The lead "blended" girl needs help with her phone, and we, the audience, learn that the real message behind this episode is not about being true to oneself or the importance of friendship and family. The real impetus behind this episode: product placement.
Brenda returns! And I presume is playing Lady MacBeth. Of course she is. And she can recognize an office plant when she sees one.

Granny Wilson tells Momma Wilson a nice story about Jean-Luc and the Chihuahua. Actually a useful, if predictable, little fable.

Naomi is so sexy when she's having a panic attack, according to that guy who keeps showing up and doesn't like game-playing. It's hard making new friends, eh Naomi?

Dixon doesn't care about destroying Bel Air on the lacrosse field because his dad is ignoring him and only paying attention to the new bio-son. The whole coach and disgruntled/distracted player dynamic is making me miss Friday Night Lights in a major way.

Yikes on Silver's two hairdo joke when Annie puts on a skirt that's too short. Really? Non, merci. Stop trying to be risqué, 90210. And don't make Annie take her shirt off all casually, just so viewers at home can see her in her bra. Especially not in the "be yourself" scene.

At the lacrosse game, Audrina mysteriously barfs after smelling a hot dog. And I smell a teen pregnancy plot line. It also smells bad.

Quel surprise. Dixon is playing poorly and New Son is meddling in the business of lacrosse and father/son dynamics. Back off, New Son. New Cheerleader Love Interest sees what is really going on with Dixon while Silver is reading a book, listening to her iPod, and playing with her Rubik's cube. Dixon storms off the field and Coach/Principal/Poppa Wilson confronts him. Finally, Dixon gets a real scene! And is able to raise some good points! Well done. We have been waiting for 12 episodes for a solid father-and-adopted-son conversation and we got it. In the locker room during the big game, no less.

And! Annie finally says something we can all agree on: "I'm not cool." She decides not to be mean anymore. I have not decided that. So, here's some classic Shenae Grimes acting faces:

Oh, I am meaner than Naomi. [Sidebar story: I went to the Geminis last Friday (Cdn Emmys) and Shenae was there to present an award and was up for the people's choice for hottest Canadian on the telly. And she didn't win. As soon as the show went to commercial, she got in the biggest huff and stomp spaz attack, grabbed her leopard-print fur jacket and her little entourage and stomped out of there. It was pretty hilariously spazzy. She made all the faces pictured above and then some.]

I am kind of waiting for the New Son to turn into a total weirdo freakshow and be, like, the Emily Valentine of the show and stalk the Wilsons or something. That would be great. But anyway... Brenda slept with Ryan. Shocker. Don't put the big reveal of the last minute in the promo for the episode, CW.

Now the Wilsons + Sean are all happy times and huggy times. Oh no, wait... Sean is alone and he is raising one eyebrow and making a phone call that could be entirely innocent or entirely diabolical! I vote for diabolical.

The end. Another episode in this pitiful saga comes to a close. Let's hope this Sean kid starts effing shit up!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Spotted: It's a Beautiful Lie

And we're back! After the excruciating extra week wait for this episode, our UESers return . . . and once again spoilers get the best of me!

Had the "someone dies" spoiler not been leaked months ago, the end of the episode would have had way more punch and I wouldn't have said to myself throughout the show, That's the last thing Bart will ever say to Chuck. That's the last time Bart will stare daggers at Rufus. That's the last limo ride Bart will ever take.... Maybe he's not really dead! There is a chance it's all a ruse related to Lily's Mysterious Trip to the Sanatorium (and if it is, it would firmly place GG in the soap opera category). Until I see our not-so-beloved billionaire laid to rest, I won't believe it entirely.

Which of Vanessa's looks is more humiliating?

Let's get what drove me coco-bananas out of the way first. The sin of the
Gossip Girl writers in this episode lay in the implausible Vanessa Is Nude At the Ball plot. I don't care if you are an artistic type who puts a dress on in a gallery in Brooklyn, there are mirrors and you look in one if you are about to go to a ball with your true lurve. Or you look down and notice that you can see london and france or your lack of underpants. The basic idea of having Jenny temporarily team up against Vanessa with the "Three Evil Stepsisters" is a good one, but the execution was crap. Particularly the slo-mo crowd shots of hysterical laughter. Boo. And I am still reluctant to believe that Vanessa is so crazy in love with Nate. I thought she loved Dan and was a vegetarian. Clearly: not. Props to Jessica Szohr though; all her crying and upset this ep was believable. (90210 girls, take note.)

I do love a Gossip Girl party and the Snowflake Ball seemed like a promising event in the first half: B trying to find a "ringer" to go as her date, and Chuck expertly knocking out his competition with one trait sure to make B crazy. Dan and Serena's friendly but flirty catch-up and remember-when in the hallway was charming. V lying to Little J followed by Penelope and V's excellently brief interaction —

Penelope: Hello, Weird Documentary Girl.
Vanessa: Bye, Sad Blair Wannabe.

— was the perfect set up for the tensions of the rest of the episode. Lily's Marital Do-Not-Disturb sign opening the door for a Rufus+Lily reboot whilst Bart lurks in the background. Excellent!

But the Aaron-Serena-Dan-Lexy love quadrangle was tiresome before it even began, and both girls were being complete tools, particularly Serena and her faux-friendliness. On a positive note, at least Lexy's pompous talk of exotic cat coffee got Humphrey to reveal the location of the cat we saw in the loft in the pilot ep of GG: it's in Florida with Grandma. One loose end all tied up! Not to be out-pompous-ed, Dan regails the group with stories of sitting on benches writing, overlooking the river and thinking about knocking on Mailer's door. Help me, I am having secondary embarrassment overload. Serena's "Can't she just vote?" to Aaron's overshare that Lexy sleeps with guys on the first date "as a political statement against the male dominated sexual hypocrisy" was really annoying. In a one-two punch, it mocked feminism with Lexy's over-the-top attitude and belittled the serious inequalities that exist between the genders with S's comment. Argh! But onward to my favorite non-couple: Chuck and Blair.

"Facebook! I joined few groups."
what does long hair symbolize in Poland, Derota??

As if Chuck Bass wasn't hot enough already, he's casually playing the Waldorf grand piano as he waits to make his wager with B. Srsly, he knows what mellifluous means, he plays piano, has afternoon shiatsu, dresses like a dandy, and understands the glory and usefulness of Derota. Chuck Bass is perfect. B may think she knows "every inch of his wafer thin soul" but I think she's in for a surprise or two in the coming episodes. The death of his father may push B and C together in a real way. No more games!

Beta Bass and the Canal Street Knock-Off B look like actual teenagers

Let's have a moment for Little J who must be totally completely gutted to have superhot Nate Archibald tell her that he's glad she didn't get the letter 'cause she's not who he thought she was. Sad times for J! And maybe Vanessa did feel *so* bad about stealing the letter, but it was at least a week before she fessed up about it, while J felt instantly bad about the whole dress fandango. But Lurky J seems to get some wind in her sails again and I'm guessing next week she'll return to Constance to do battle with the senior girls.

Dan and Serena's conversations about moving-on sex were pretty sweet, i must say. And it need feel like they were about to cut some mythological tie. Don't they know they should get back together? oh man. maybe that's why i hate Aaron and Lexy so much. they are the inevitable obstacles in the way of true love!

So was Bart Bass's apology to Lily in earnest? He did fire the P.I. so it looks like he was trying to reform his assface tendencies. But only in relation to Lily: blaming Chuck for opening a safe full of secrets Bart shouldn't have been keeping is a low, low move. And Chuck still had his pops' back, giving him the head's up on the return of Rufly and having a frank conversation with Lily . . . if you can call that a conversation when one person talks and the other just nods.

Here's what I hope happens: Jenny returns to Constance and does battle with the Mean Girls and gets an age-appropriate bf, Blair becomes a real girlfriend to Chuck as he mourns for his father, Lily tries to keep her sanatorium secret from Rufus while they try to make a relationship work, Dan or Serena decides to make the grand gesture and they reunite, Eric gets more screen time, Derota gets even more screen time, Nate and Vanessa finally show us why the heck they're in love with each other 'cause even tho I want them to be happy, I ain't buying them together. Oh, and that we get a very Gossip Girl chrimbo and more Humphrey/van der Woodsen epic conversations. Dan/Serena, Rufus/Lily, it don't matter because those kids know how to talk love.

holy smokes the trailer for next week looks amazing: Chuck goes after Lily's secrets and it looks like everything goes to hell in a handbasket. zomg.
UPDATE: low-res promo!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

the Circus starring Britney Spears

it's been a month of Britney here at the Tribune. her new album, Circus, comes out on her 27th birthday, this Tuesday. and tonight on MTV (and on MuchMusic in Canadia), the much-previewed documentary Britney: For the Record premieres. And I bet by the end of the week I will be scrambling to get tickets to her tour -- which hopefully will come to Toronto, or else I'm travelling for Britters.

let's walk through the Circus, track by track. You can stream the entire album on B's website, if you want to play along.

y'all know "Womanizer" by heart now. my favorite part of this is singing along to the "just-just what you are-are-are" part. fuck that's fun! and that is what Britney Spears songs are best for. having a dance party. Title track/second single "Circus" didn't knock me off my chair at first, but once it gets going (all eyes on me in the center of the ring...) it's killer. And the video is going to be all sexy fire ringleader shiz.

"Out From Under" is a proper ballad and while it's prolly a bit personal for Britney, it ain't the best song. It's no "Not A Girl," no "Everytime"; it's more of a "Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know." I'll sing along but I won't be feelin' it, you know? A maybe skip the track for me.

But if you do skip that track, you land on one of my favorites on the album: "Kill the Lights." This song is about paparazzi fucknuts, but mostly it's just a fun dance party. "Shattered Glass" will drive you crazy if you don't like Britney cuz she doesn't sing "glass," she sings "gla-eee-ass" and she says it nearly 1,000 times. But near the end of the song it goes all crazy electronic mess-around and gets fun.

"If U Seek Amy" is my other top shelf song. It's playful and catchy and bombastic. The joke with the "if u seek amy" sounding like "f-u-c-k me" is a bit juvenile, sure, but this song is awesomesauce. "Unusual You" was EW's standout song in their otherwise tepid review; I find it a little bit depressing. The object of her affection is so unusual because he hasn't broken her heart yet, and is where he says he'll be. :(

Things get creepy with "Blur" -- this song is about waking up in someone's bed, not knowing how you got there or if you had sex with them. (Who are you? What'd we do last night?...Hope I didn't but I think I might have.) It's like the less-fun sequel to "Early Mornin" from In the Zone. The one track I can't bear to listen to: "Mmm Papi." Even the title gives me the shudders. Let's not talk about it.

But we get right back on track with "Mannequin," which is as good as anything on Blackout. "Lace and Leather" sounds like a Prince song from the '90s, i.e. kinda pervy and totally killer. Skip "My Baby" -- I feel mean to say that, 'cause it's about how much Britney loves her kids, but it's a descendent of "Dear Diary" from Oops... And for those of you not familiar with the deep Brit tracks, that means it barely has a melody and is impossibly Hallmarky.

Inexplicably, "Radar" from Blackout appears again here. It's a great song but ...? "Rock Me In" is not much to write home about, but fun and dancey. At first, I thought "Phonography" would be about the study of phonographs. But no, it's a combo of phone and pornography. This song is about how dirty talking on the phone is super sexy times. (Side note: my blog is going to start popping up in some interesting google searches. thanks Britney.) It's like that *Nsync song "Digital Getdown," only with more phone euphemisms than you ever imagined were possible. Content aside, the song is pretty wicked.

There's a few bonus tracks -- "Trouble" (haven't heard it) and "Amnesia" (really love it; i would have replaced "Mmm Papi" with this track) -- and that's it, kids. Show's over.

Britney gets in her requisite number of baby babys and overall, I'd say this album is only 5% less awesome than Blackout. Blackout was ballad- and "Mmm Papi"–free so there was nary a track skipped. Circus gets a solid A from me. I wish that Britney would sometimes sing about things other than partying and boys and sex. But if I were in her position, I wouldn't want to share anything earnestly personal with the world either. And we'll get a glimpse of why not in tonight's documentary: all eyes on B in the center of the ring just like a circus.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Spotted: Your One and Only Unofficial Guide to Gossip Girl

my big news: I am writing a book and it is going to be published!

Since there's no new episode of Gossip Girl on tonight, I thought I would seize this Monday night opportunity to tell you all that I am in the midst of writing Spotted: Your One and Only Unofficial Guide to Gossip Girl to be published this upcoming September by ECW Press. (!!!) Spotted will follow in the grand tradition of Nikki Stafford's guides to Buffy, Angel, Lost and so on. Behold the promo copy, wherein I refer to myself in the third person:
Best friends, boyfriends, high school and haute couture — Gossip Girl started as a bestselling book series for teens set in the posh Upper East Side private schools of New York City but catapulted into pop culture’s stratosphere when the CW adapted those books for television. Now in its second season, Gossip Girl was proclaimed by New York Magazine as the “greatest teen drama of all time” and by Vanity Fair as hitting “the sweet spot of the Zeitgeist, the X mark where sex appeal and pop sociology intersect.” Sweeping its categories and winning six awards at the 2008 Teen Choice Awards, Gossip Girl has proved itself a popular and critical darling, influencing fashion and providing biting social commentary on this generation of entitled, tech-savvy youth.

Spotted: Your One and Only Unofficial Guide to Gossip Girl takes you episode by episode through the first two seasons of the show, leaving no Jimmy Choo unturned as Calhoun dives below the surface plotlines to detail the cultural references, the fashion, the music, and the morality on the Upper East Side. With bios of the cast and creators, a comparison of the show to its teen soap and literary predecessors, a look at the adaptation from books to screen, and a Gossip Girl guide to real-life New York City, Spotted is a must-have accessory for any Gossip Girl fan — second only to a Blair Waldorf–inspired hair band.
I am as excited and over the moon as when Dan found out he was being published in the New Yorker, when B saw her dad was home for thanksgiving, when S was in love with Lonely Boy and Georgina hadn't shown up yet to ruin things, and when Chuck's wishes came true in the back of that limo . . . okay so not excited in that way. So far it's been a ton of lot of work, but fascinating and I am learning ever so much and having a laugh too. Which hopefully will be the effect on whomever chooses to read this thing. I have vowed to use complete sentences and (mostly) words that appear in a dictionary. Will keep you posted as my editrix and I sort out cover concepts, and the book is posted on Amazon and the like. I've of course only done this from the other, non-authorial side and it should be interesting to be the author, and not the editor. I plan on making unreasonable demands just for the funny. Just kidding I won't. Just kidding I will but they won't be funny.

alright. back to it!

Friday, November 21, 2008

privileged: all about overcompensating

just finished watching this week's Adventures with Tutor Megan and her Unruly Charges. Not bad!

the two episodes of Privileged before this one, I found dullsville. The only standout mo
ments were from that one where the twins get a publicist and we find out that Rose can sing but neither Rose nor Sage should be allowed to dress themselves. What a total wardrobe fail. And the hair and makeup! This was following their Sonny and Cher get-up at rehearsals. They make the 90210 fashion look good. Yikes.

This week, Megan and Will, the hot billionaire next door, follow up on that not-so-spontaneous kiss at the end of the previous episode. The casual dating plotline was so very Aaron and Serena. The CW seems to be telling us that boys like to date many girls at once, and girls do not. But then boys will fall in love with our heroines and ditch their other girls. (Which works out well for Megan and Serena, but what of those other left-behind gals?)

The history exam answers sewn into the purse was a stroke of genius — a vair cool purse, plus way sneakier than when Mike Seaver wrote the answers on the soles of his shoes. But really are we supposed to care whether or not Rose cheats? I guess we are supposed to care. I do not. I think she's learned her
lesson, feels like shit, and she'll be studying harder for the rest of her finals. The likelihood she is caught and expelled? Slim. Unless she's dumb enough to answer *all* the questions right. That is totally suspicious. And seems like the kind of thing Rose might do. (And why would Sage be expelled too? Why wouldn't Rose just say she got the purse made herself? LIE and CHEAT, girls.)

A refreshing change that Laurel and Megan were getting along — even if Granny Lamoges was just using Megan as her P.I. That means that
all billionaires don't have private investigators on retainer? Just the Bass men. OK!

Charlie having his own, only slightly-related-to-Megan's, plot is nice. But maybe my favorite ongoing deal with this show is the relationship between Megan and Marco the Chef. He's hilarious, she's relaxed and funny with him and it looks like the food he makes is effing spectacular.

The man who knows everything, Michael Ausiello, says the CW has added five episodes to Privileged and is putting it on Mondays after Gossip Girl for its next two episodes. Which is fine by me cause I have too many shows to watch on Tuesdays anyway!

Maybe one of those extra episodes is called "All About the Benjamins."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

my 90210h man I didn't watch it

Hello and good eve, loyal blog readers. I missed two of my regular shows this week — 90210 and Privileged — because someone's roommate thinks those shows are dumb and also thinks he has a right to choose what television programs are viewed some of the time. Weird, right? but never fear, i shall find and watch and blog them.

also i have had the honor and privilege of listening to Britney's entire new album Circus and I wanna do a track by track review for y'all. my first impression is that it is goodly greatly awesomesaucey. minus a creepy song called "mmm papi." ...shudder...

see you soons you tablespoons

Monday, November 17, 2008

Spotted: The Magnificient Archibalds

B: "Remember: Serena doesn't share."
S: "And Blair should learn to."

Thanksgiving is Blair's favorite holiday and it's also mine. Especially in the Gossip world. "The Magnificent Archibalds" managed to have that very special episode feel without being at all corny. Well, a bit corny. (Corn: grain of the future.) I liked the references to last year's thanksgiving: Gossip Girl doesn't blog over the holiday, Serena will miss Rufus's mashed potatoes but not everyone over 30 acting weird, B bakes her dad's pie in an attempt to keep up the Waldorf traditions. . . .

Before we start in on the awesome, the sad, the ludicrous, and the heartwarming, let's talk GG fashion. Wait, the clothes are all those things and more. Jenny's red plaid dress? Adore it. (InStyle says it's D&G.) Serena's Thanksgiving outfit? HORRIDly horrible lamesauce. That skirt (Porter Grey) is doing her no favors. It is painful. The only good part about it is it shows off a LOT of her tights (which should not serve as pants), and her tights are lovely. Points to Serena's earlier outfit at school — I like the leather jacket/vest thing and once again her tights: perfection.

B's green thanksgiving dress was, of course, perfect — the back in particular. And let's give a special thanksgiving thanks to the hair & makeup department for making Connor Paolo's hair normal this season. On to the family dynasties!

The Formerly Magnificent Archibalds
: Poor "Nate the Not So Great." He really tugged at the old heartstrings this episode, making impossible choices with his craptastic father. Really, Captain A? You're going to take your wife and son to Dominica and ransom them to your parents-in-law? Bad bad bad plan. So cruel to dangle the prospect of a happy family life in front of his son. His "I've been living in the Caribbean" facial hair was too much. Skeezy. Poor Nate was not looking his finest in this episode, but hat's off to Chace Crawford for all his emoting -- happy Nate, surprised Nate, conflicted Nate, sad Nate, flirty Nate, happy to be besties with Chuck again Nate. We got 'em all. And he totally made me well up when he talked his dad into being carted off by the FBI. (Teary moment tally: 1.) I am sure that is an accurate depiction of FBI investigations. Talk to teenagers.

Two Dads and Two Mums — Thanksgiving at the Waldorfs: Eleanor Waldorf just can't win. If she had told Blair that Harold was coming, the gods (read: the writers) would have kept him away. If she keeps it a secret, B will kidnap substitute mom Derota and pout whilst feeding the ducks. Our second episode in a row that featured amazing Derota moments. When her phone rang and the ringtone was Britney's "Slave 4 U"? Fell off the couch. Glorious. And when Derota tries to keep a secret from B on that back servant stairway? And B's all, "Who do you work for?" I love these two. (Have we seen that back of the kitchen stairway before?)

B's fortuitous run-in with height-of-misery Little J followed by Eleanor's arrival, shawl for J and maternal love for B on hand — love, love, loved it. (Teary moment: 2.) And it was only made better by the surprise of Harold. (Teary moment: 3.) As for second dad Cyrus, I'm sure he means well with the dinner at B's favorite restaurant and all, but eating the sacred pie! No! And dissing the cinnamon/nutmeg ratio? How can a ratio simply be "not enough"?

Over the
Humphreys: Jenny, accompanied by BFF and roomie Eric vdW, learn that to go ahead with the emancipation from her parents (1) they're going to find out about it (duh), (2) there will be an investigation to find proof of neglect. Shit. That is serious times. Poor Little J is in way over her head, but luckily Eric isn't the only van der Woodsen who has her back. Lily is awesome with Jenny and so good at managing Rufus. Gods bless Lily.

R: "Marshmallows. She likes them on her sweet potatoes." (Teary moment: 4.) It's kind of surprising how uninvolved in this whole situation Dan has been. Remember back in the pilot when Jenny was being molested or needed fashion advice? She texted Dan. :( I hope their relationship gets mo' better. As predictable as it was, when Dan and Rufus arrive home to the loft, both hoping that J will be there and realizing she's not, and then! she walks out of her room? Teary moment: 5. And the Humphrey Hug. Aw.

The van der Woodsens realize Bart is a Basstard
: Chuck's relationship with Eric continues to warm the cockles of my heart; I love that he would open his father's safe for his stepbrother. That scene was hilarious. (But as if the combination would be the mom's birthday. The most obvious combo possible.) Of course Bart Bass would have his staff P.I. follow Serena and Eric as well as Lily. (thank you, prop department, for clearly labeling the files so I know how many Ls there are in Lily. Just the one.) The dangled secret from Lily's past from a few episodes ago promised to bring havoc into this household but I didn't see it playing out this way. Love that Lily put her kids before Bart and got the eff out of there...

L: How did you get so wise?
E: The nanny.
Teary moment number 100. Eric and Lily at the restaurant barely eating their fries and Eric revealing Lily's secret sanitorium past. And where does Lily turn to salvage the holiday? To the
place that feels most like home, the Humphrey Loft. Hurrahza, Rufus and Lily together again. Rufly for life.

While I know I'm getting ahead of myself, I'm just glad to have one budding romance to root for. Aaron is not cool, at all ("He's just like Bill Paxton, but younger and with facial hair.") and his wall of Serena photos is creepy, not "artistic." Serena is acting all lamesauce around Aaron. She is way less herself than when she was with Dan. She's not so self-assured and is lying about her partying past
again. (The black dress she wore to dinner at A's house was killer tho. Her hair, notsomuch. And the hair braid on thanksgiving!) I hope Aaron's arc wraps up soon. And that Serena never ever hever gives a boy a File Full of her Secrets again. Ever. You put your File Full of Secrets straight into the crackling thanksgiving fire.

Dan and Serena seem to be getting along better than ever... When they have problems, they talk that shit through. With the whole Aaron he said/she said/he said thing, they apologized for what they each did wrong and were over it in record time! Hope for the future! The extra episodes at the end of the season? Dan & Serena and Rufus & Lily going on double dates.

And finally: When will Vanessa learn that she sucks at being devious? She sneaks off into another room and then reads J's letter in front of a mirror. Le grand sigh. She needs to put her wannabe-Blair tactics to rest, take off some of that jewelry and make-up, and move on. But at least her deviant behavior led to one of Gossip Girl's best sign-offs yet: Signed, stealed and delivered, I'm yours.

The preview for the next episode looks encroyable. A fancy dress party. (I was thinking we're overdue for the whole cast in the same room in costumes.) Chuck and Blair. Rufus and Lily. Dan and Serena. Nate and the Jenny or Vanessa conundrum. And the event that's been spoilered all over the internets. ZOMG I can't wait two weeks, CW. I just can't wait. (I'll link to the trailer when it's up.)

I thought this was an excellent episode. Feel good, funny, loads happened. So much that I can't cover all the glory in one post. What were your favorite parts, lines, outfits?

** The promo!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Britney is a goob: her impression of her pops

**update: the way that video started up every time i went to my blog was driving me bananas! watch the video of Britney imitating her dad here. It's hilarious town!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

my 90210pinions: Games People Play

"No more games, boy," said Donnie Wahlberg. That is the sentiment Annie and Naomi needed to embrace this week on 90210.

i love it when an episode starts exactly where the last left off. excellent! double bells: the return of Kelly Taylor!

Naomi is back to making the best faces! the "divorce" conversation faces are classic AnnaLynne McC. poor Annie can't tell her the truth. wait—what? Naomi is lying about being sad and lonely? "I've got my own games to play..." Didn't see that coming! Oh wait, yes i did. Two can play that game, Naomi.

I kind of wish Naomi had her own show. Like Veronica Mars but TERRIBLE and only half an hour long, so an episode would end before our brains exploded.

Looks like Navid is scared of doing it with Audrina. Virgin, perhaps?

Kelly SUCKS as a guidance counselor. As if you would say those things to a student! Accusing Kimberly like that is insanesauce. Boo on the return of Kelly. Does she not remember her high school years? She should buy the DVDs.

Apparently the ex-bf Jason has excellent lung capacity and was able to wait underwater in the pool for Annie to come home from school. He can also walk in slow motion AND yes, Lucille Bluth, you could crush mint on those abs. I think this show would be approved immensely if Lucille was in every scene, just hovering in the background, making awesomely crass comments.

Teacher Ryan looks way hotter in his I-am-depressed clothes than in his everyday teacher wear. Big news: Silver's posts have crappy grammar!

Another moment I'm going to hold on to: our first double-door bathroom scene! This is episode 10 and we have not yet been in the classic Walsh bathroom! in the old Nine-Oh, we were in the bathroom between Brenda and Brandon's rooms, like, 90% of the time.

Navid is a virgin! What a surprise. This is the main problem with new 90210: every single plotline is predictable. It's like there's a tired-trope machine at the CW and it spits out these episodes. The Gossip Girl team should give a master class in Writing Excellent Teen Drama for their CW pals.

WHAT! Annie has her name in neon lights at her birthday party! classy!
OMGWTFJessicaWalters! I'm glad this show exists for this very moment: Jessica Walters singing karoke. I knew there was a reason I watched this shit.

Oh a moment between Annie and Ethan. If Ethan gives her that octopus thing, I will 100% believe in that predictable-plot-generating machine. wait for it! yup, even Annie saw the "pentapus" coming. (ooherrr, that sounds dirty.)

Hurrah! Let me give 90210 credit where credit is due: nice ending. A good battle between Kansas and Queen Naomi followed by the arrival of their half-brother Sean. And in uniform!

D+. Just enough to keep me watching!

The Magnificent Archibalds promo

Chuck Bass, doff thy name

a comment to this article on Daily Intel — Stephanie Savage (co-creator of GG) saying the writers on the show are more inspired by Edith Wharton, Evelyn Waugh, and our main man Billy Shakespeare — had me in Les Britches of Stitches, in the throes of lolz.

behold JohnJPreston's reponse:

'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Chuck Bass.
What's Chuck Bass? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Chuck Bass would, were he not Chuck Bass call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Chuck Bass, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.

By JohnJPreston on 11/10/2008 at 3:29pm

Monday, November 10, 2008

Spotted: Bonfire of the Vanity

Now let me level with you: this was not my favorite episode of Gossip Girl ever. Perhaps because Chuck and Blair shared no screen time, Nate was AWOL (I miss Nate?), and I'm tired of Rufus being all boring-parent chasing after his petulant teenager and never hot-90s-rocker-guy chasing after his one true love.

So what happened? Things are still amiss at the Humphrey loft. Jenny is off Agnesing, Dan is selling his soul for Yale, and Rufus is Judgey McJudgerson.

Blair chooses blood orange martinis for her 18th birthday party and Hazel really wants a boyfriend. Is that what I sound like when I say that? Lovely.

Agnes and Jenny have a meeting with Mr. Smith. A colossal meeting fail. I'm watching season two of The O.C. and that was nearly as bad as Seth, Zach and Summer's meeting with the comic book people.

What I did LOVE about this episode: Derota! Derota had major moments in this episode. For example, as she sets the table for Cyrus's imminent arrival:

B: Derota! Are you insane?
Derota: I don't know.

And then: Miss Eleanor has a glow like a Chinese lantern!

Excellent casting, Gossip Girl. Wallace Shawn a.k.a. Vizzini from Princess Bride is perfect for the Cyrus Rose character: in one moment you can see exactly why Eleanor loves him and why B is disgusted by him.

In other parental trauma plotlines, it's the 20th anniversary of Bass Industries. Chuck makes a "nice gesture but misguided as usual." Bartholomew Bass doesn't "have time for hockey games." (Is that what it sounds like when I say I don't have time for horses?) Grumble grumble, Bart Bass. What happened to the happy family eating cake from a few episodes back? I knew you were fake cake eating.

So apparently Dan Humphrey has both chops and has grown a pair! Lovely talk, Writerly Types. Senior Editor at New York magazine (a "quality publication") says: "If your reporting is as good as your fiction..." to Dan. Ha! Dan's fiction is reporting! He just changes up the names (sometimes) and chronicles his and his classmates' adventures. Lonely Boy needs to start a new tradition for his story titles. Plz not the date every single time. It is old.

But I cannot wait until I can pause this episode and read his Charlie Troutt story! It will be so epically Dan, judging by the two sentences I could skim over Bart's shoulder. and speaking of Dan and Bart...
Top Betrayal of the Episode goes to Dan Humphrey. AS IF Dan disses his father and his life's work in front of Bart Bass. For shame.

I've cooled on Aaron and the whole Aaron and Serena plot is not doing much for me. Plus it weirds me out to see Gossip Girl characters in Times Square? weird! but points for a grand romantic gesture to that perfectly appropriate song by the perfectly popular kings of leon. And without Serena and Aaron, Blair Waldorf would have had no extended Picasso analogy. Genius. Particularly the ending 'cause before you know it ... it's some other girl's eye coming out of her forehead.

The A+S+RandomModels plot was also inadvertantly responsible for the BEST MOMENT IN THE EPISODE: B squishing onto the couch next to Serena, pushing Isabel and Penelope out of the way. And then giving Nelly Yuki the Blair Death Stare when she pipes in.

Plotline that Got Draggy Fast has to be Jenny and Her Fashion Adventures with Crazytown Agnes. That coffee shop scene was un petit peu boring. all i cared about was: have i tried that flavor of vitamin water? (yes.) Then in the big climax when Agnes lights Jenny's dresses on fire, why why why doesn't Jenny stop her? With her arms! her hands! Not just by shreiking, "Don't don't! Give me my dresses! What are you doing?" She could have just taken the dresses out of the garbage can. Or hit Agnes or something. We haven't had a rumble in a few episodes, have we? Not since B and S.

ALL CHUCK DOES IN THIS EPISODE IS LURK. Chuck Bass the Super Spy! Calling Gillian the Intern at NYMag. Peering and eavesdropping from behind pillars. I love how Bart and Chuck both have a signature snarl face. The Bass Snarl. Dan is a brave boy to withstand a two-pronged Bass attack.

And why doesn't Chuck go to B's party? Remember last season's bday party for B? illicit encounters and extravagant jewels.

Blair versus Cyrus Rose: I kinda dug that plot. Probably because she always has excellent outfits and dialogue. Blair listens to Cyrus's true love story in a gorgeous outfit. I probably need that? I totally fell for the set-up and pay off with Cyrus outmaneouvring Blair. And how!

Cyndi Lauper! Somehow I missed her name in the opening credits and didn't realize we were *actually* going to see her. So my reaction was pretty much identical to Blair Waldorf's. Cyndi Lauper! And Derota loves Cyndi. The Cyndi song at the beginning of B's party, "Echo," is kinda super awesome. thank you Gossip Girl, for reintroducing me to her glory.

I didn't catch (the first time) that Jenny crashes at the gallery and not on some random blue couch. That makes sense. I just hope Vanessa doesn't find her there!

The most Touchingly Implausible Scene was definitely Bart and Chuck having their first honest talk ever. The Bass boys will go to a hockey game. It's more unlikely than the cake-eating, but so sweet that it brings a tear to my eye.

What are we left with...?
  • Will Little J divorce her parents right when Rufus is about to cave?
  • Will B go bananas with Cyrus living at the Waldorfs?
  • Is Serena really as conventional as Blair and will she tire of tripping through Central Park in a slip with Aaron?
  • Will the Rangers win the hockey game?
Next week it's Thanksgiving on the Upper East Side and it looks like our young Archibald is threatening to leave for good. (I'll post the promo when I can find it online.)

Don't leave, Nate. I was just starting to like you.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

me + Daily Intel = 100% tru love?

As you careful readers know, I am in love with the New York Magazine blog Daily Intel. Their Gossip Girl posts are unbelievably hilarious and astute. The love Jessica Pressler and Chris Rovzar have for the show is the same as Chuck and Blair's love for each other: intense and over the top and critical and saucily precise.

So imagine my delight when their Friday post (their follow-up to Tuesday's reality index) contained the following: 'Everyone also had a problem with the "mailing of letters scene" at the end — and with that we agree. What was that? Product placement for the U.S. Postal Service? Wait, was it? If so, that is genius.'

zong, I made that joke too! And all the boob talk! we were talking boobs too! I know, I know, I am lame but I think we could be friends in real life and stuff?

another Daily Intel–related story: it's Wednesday morning, post election, we're chit-chatting at the office. Talking election and talking about that frakking hologram thing on CNN. next day on Intel, our exact conversation! hilarioustown starring ecwers. and judging by the comments section, that exact conversation occurred across North America (and Kenya).

only a few short hours til Gossip Girl for this lucky-ducky Canadian. i get it a whole day early. <3

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

my 90210pinions: Election Night!

welcome to the Calhoun Tribune's Election Coverage:
Pseudo-Live Blogging 90210 but Not Forgetting about that Election!
(or Calhoun is Annoyed by 90210 and CNN in the same hour)

My Tuesday nights are complicated: 90210, Privileged, Pushing Daisies. So I'm watching the 7 p.m. (EST) feed of 90210. Just so's ya understand that my CNN flippery occurs before the polls have actually closed. And I have a high intolerance for election coverage. Seems to me that after waiting for this historically long election campaign to end, we can wait a few more hours and stop all the conjecture. Sigh.

On to 90210! The episode: Secrets and Lies
Principal Wilson explains to his children that he has a secret love child. He knocked up Naomi's mom in high school but Naomi's mom "didn't not have" the baby. HOLY SMOKES just say abortion! Network TV, you frustrate me!

I assume Annie's reaction is meant to be one of surprise but it looks alarmingly like a yawn. Dad is the biggest dummy ever: "i hope this doesn't affect us in any way." Why would it? A new half-brother born to the mother of your new bestie who is also the ex of your new bf.

Onward! Reusing a song from Gossip Girl season one! from the scene where Serena walks down the street and throws her phone in the garbage can after the Bass brunch.

As if Annie thinks Jimmy Choo is Chinese food. Sigh. Annie can't lie at all; I think maybe Shenae read Naomi's line, "Are you having a stroke?" and decided to really act that honestly so AnnaLynne McCord would have something to react to. Fail, Shenae. That's a fail.

Ethan's impression of Naomi is kinda funny but not nearly NEARLY even slightly close. That was your moment, actor who plays Ethan. Tsk, man. And the choice of dialogue? You can watch me blow off David Spade for the 80th time? yikes yikes yikes.

A recession joke! After the proverbial penny for his thoughts, Silver and Dixon talk about his adoption. It's backstory time! Break it down!

[Commercial Break CNN: There's a screen projection of a lady (Jessica Yellin) into the studio! She's a hologram like Princess Leia. It looks like shit and they think it looks awesome. Oh Wolfy. McCain 8, Obama 3. Honestly, I do not know what those numbers mean.]

Naomi's hair is out of control. Navid is stalking Adrianna. Bore bore boring. Annie is misbehaving by buying boots and sneaking off to slumber parties. Oh no wait! Tequila shots and a six of beer!

[Commercial Break CNN: Folks are running into Grant Park for an Obama speech later. Woot! Woot! Eep — Florida: 54% McCain, 46% Obama with 1% reporting. Oh. False alarm for FL. Right this is why I think election coverage is useless.]

Nothing like watching bad actresses act drunk. Silver looks at the ceiling when the doorbell rings. Crazy how the slumber party turned into a REAL party where everyone arrives at precisely the same moment. This is unbearable. Annie doesn't know how to drink a beer.

Naomi and the New Hot Guy break it down on the porch over grilled cheese and she learns her old tricks won't work. So she freaks out and starts yelling for Annie.

[Commercial Break CNN: Blah-de-blah, everyone's talking at the same time. Less than 1% in North Carolina and Obama has 51%. Oh 2% reporting in Florida, technical glitch, 57% lead for Obama.]

Annie is sleepy. Adrianna and Navid are totally going to do it. No wait they are not! Embarrassment! Naomi and Annie break it down on the floor. They hate liars. But wait...Annie is a total liar. And hold on...wait for it... there's the requisite barfing.

What! Is the undercover cop the dumbest in the whole universe? You ask your teacher boyfriend to pick you up a block away from the party? FAIL FAIL FAIL.

[Commercial Break CNN: So same as half an hour ago, McCain "8," Obama "3." Microphone fail with the lady in Grant Park. More praise for the hologram from Anderson Coop. When will we get some real numbers, asks Anderson. McC is leading in Kentucky. Well, Bucky Kentucky.]

Eek! Principal Wilson at the party! Embarrassment! The principal and Annie break it down on the floor. Annie has vomit boots. That is kinda the only cute thing she has ever said. Vomit boots.

George confronts Mr. English Teacher. Ryan takes a paid leave of absence! Embarrassment! Navid and Adrianna break it down at the lunch table. I will not stop saying "break it down," never ever. Adrianna is pretty and Jessica Lowndes (sp?) a reasonably OK actress.

Naomi tells Ozzy she likes him as he starts down the hallway. Then Ozzy changes course, heads the opposite way after giving Naomi his digits. And Naomi does the uber obvious and calls RIGHT away. But ruh-roh! She spots the make-out happening in the classroom. Who would have thunk that would happen right after they resolved to go public with the relationship? And we're done!

CNN is projecting McCain to take South Carolina even though Obama is currently in the lead and there is only 1% reporting. They put a big checkmark by McCain. THIS is why I hate election coverage. AH. Just start the coverage later and stop making stuff up!

Well, folks, 90210 was boring, like not even funny boring. And now a Pushing Daisies repeat, the first episode ever, and it's kinda really delightful in the best possible way. I wonder wonder who has won in America-land...