Pop Media Notes

Haven’t seen all the movies I want but with luck I’ll catch most before they leave the big screen. In fact, according to Entertainment Weekly’s list of the 25 movies I have to see before the Academy Awards I’m way behind, having seen just about a third. We get out when we can and last Saturday Deb, Kate and I saw Casanova. It’s frothy and delightful made moreso by the sumptuous setting in Venice and a cast headed by Heath Ledger and Sienna Miller. All I knew about Miller was the tabloid reports about her private life and I was pleasantly surprised to see her hold her own against such veterans as Oliver Platt, Lena Olin and Jeremy Irons. Irons was in dripping Scar-mode and Platt was happily nibbling at the scenery. Olin hasn’t been this fun to watch in ages, usually because her parts have tended to me in dramatic efforts. Cleverly plotted, it’s well worth a look. My only quibble may be the R-rating given the lack of blood, gore, foul language and bared body parts. I suspect I had to do with some unseen but suggested business going on under a table but that’s hardly worth an R.

(Which reminds me, The New York Times had a piece on the document that explores the ratings business, This Film is Not Yet Rated which opens over the next few months. I suspect we’ll all be curious to see this one.)

Over on the tube, we’ve been catching up on the new episodes of our favorites. As usual, Gilmore Girls is stirring the pot nicely, advancing the many storylines with its sprawling cast. Tonight the latest monkey wrench is tossed into the Rube Goldberg-plotting so it’ll be fun to see how this develops. Also, we’re overdue to check in on the Gilmore elders.

Boston Legal can be maddeningly inconsistent, playing its stories very broadly and then getting very serious. David Kelley has clearly made Alan Shore his personal mouthpiece on the issues of the day to mostly good effect. Denny Crane has gone too broad in most recent episodes and I wish they played his fear-of-illness more seriously since it makes for a good character study. His current infatuation, though, with the gold-digger played by Joanna Cassidy, is entertaining. And the actually serious storyline with guest star Michael J. Fox (nice to see him again) and Julie Bowen looks promising.

We were thrilled to have Battlestar Galactica back for a new season and I loved the way the first ep ended with the parallel plots. The payoff, though, was weak and disappointing. It would have been far more interesting to see Starbuck blow Cain away or see the attempted coup aboard the Galactica bridge and then watch the fallout. It’s as if Ron Moore and Mark Verheiden lost the courage of their convictions. Still, it’s a fine ensemble and we’ll back this week.

There have been other new shows starting, none of which seem worth the effort. Heck, after one showing, they’ve already shut down production on Emily’s Reasons Why Not. If there’s something worth trying out there, let me know.

A few years back, Kate got us to watch season two of American Idol and while we had her around, it was fun. With her gone at college, we stopped watching. Given that she is now doing ballroom dance, we have been following Dancing with the Stars and it is entertaining. The fun is having Kate’s commentary for the first two episodes of the new season since she knows what’s real, what’s staged and what would never be allowed in her competitions. Swelling the contestants from six to ten may have been a mistake but the mix of personalities is nice. I have to say, I think Master P’s attitude sucks but I am rooting for his partner, Ashly DelGrosso who is selling their numbers harder than anyone else. Ex-football pro Jerry Rice or wrestler Stacy Keibler are my bets for the winner. (And watch Tia Carrere get tossed this week.)

Another competition worth noting was the National figure skating championships. Given the miracle of DVR technology, Deb blew through the endless hours of ESPN/ABC programming over the weekend. While the men, ice dancers and pairs seem well stocked, the women this time around appear less ready. Sure, Sasha Cohen looked wonderful, but Kimmie Meissner and Emily Hughes didn’t appear overwhelming. Michelle Kwan will have to convince a panel of five next week that she’s healed and ready to compete. I give Kwan credit for suggesting this and hope she stands behind her words.

4 comments

  • Eliz and I fought bitterly about the developments in Battlestar: Galactica. I thought the whole bit where Adama and the Admiral were going to have the other assassinated was ludicrous. How am I supposed to care about somebody who will consider murder as a reasonable solution to political disagreement? Worse, it made no sense to me (or wasn’t well enough set up) that the Admiral would have become that evil. I know her XO confided in the Galactica’s XO about some bad things done, but offscreen evil is never potent enough to convince a viewer. And since the death of the other ship’s crewman was so clearly an accident, I found it odd that an entire shipload of reasonable people would have permitted the Galactica’s crewmen to be sentenced to death; hard time, sure, but not death. And the two ships from the same side sending their fighting ships against each other was therefore, stupid.

    That’s how I saw it. Eliz didn’t.

  • Jackie

    It’s great that Kate has taken up Ballroom dance. It’s a lot harder than it looks.

    Jackie

  • James Blight

    Bob, my favorite two shows on TV right now are Veronica Mars and the Shield. Both are very smart, dynamic shows, and I’d highly recommend giving them a look. (All seasons up to the 2004/2005 season for both shows are available on DVD).

  • Mary Box

    You can’t be 33135 serious?!?