Monthly Archives: August 2013

2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Show

 

Damn, I’m old.  I had to look up “twerking.”  But I’m still not sure.  Is Miley Cyrus twerking in the picture above?  Or is that spelunking?

 

*****

 

Capture

 

Makes sense to me.  I don’t think that humans, at least, belong on this planet, and the evidence for this is overwhelming:  1.  Unless you live in Hawaii, there is practically no place on Earth with a comfortable climate; you either need to strip down to escape the heat, or bundle up to ward off the cold.   Of all life forms on Earth, only humans have this need for artificial clothing.  2.  Everything we like to ingest — chocolate, alcohol, tobacco, heroin, Miley Cyrus — is bad for us.  Everything good for us — water, green vegetables, PBS — is a crashing bore.  Things had to be better on the red planet.

 

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Just listened to Obama’s speech.  Apparently, there will be no new war in the Middle East this week.  Be sure to check in again next week. …

 

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Arianna

 

Jerk of the Week:  Arianna Huffington

The media queen plans to ban anonymous comments from The Huffington Post, apparently because her cocktail-party pals have had their feelings hurt.  Better to stifle honest discourse than to offend the high and mighty, right Arianna?

 

*****

 

Cassidy1

Cassidy              Stalker

Lopez

 

It’s been a tough month for former teen idol David Cassidy.  First, busted for squatting at J.Lo’s house, and then nailed for DUI.  Sorry, dude, but that wig doesn’t fool us.

 

*****

 

Olivia Colman, David Tennant, "Broadchurch"

 

Broadchurch:  As we’ve come to expect from British television, this is a smart and entertaining whodunit.  My problem is with the lead detective (David Tennant, above with Olivia Colman).  Either as written or performed by Tennant, I’m not sure which, this guy is so relentlessly sour and unpleasant that I find myself sympathizing with anyone he encounters — including all of the murder suspects.

 

*****

 

Quote of the Week:

“I just thought there was no way they could find people this awful in the world.  But they did.” — houseguest Elissa, describing her initial impression of fellow cast members on Big Brother

 

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                                                  by Randy Wayne White                                                              

Sanibel

 

Stop me if any of this sounds familiar:  A rugged loner with a mysterious past lives on the Florida coast, interrupting his sojourn with nature (and beer) just long enough to seduce every woman in sight and to do battle with megalomaniacal bad guys, in this case a militaristic pedophile from Central America.  White’s plot and characters don’t carry a gram of originality, but I suppose that when you buy one of his books, just as when you buy anything by Lee Child, you know what you want and you want what you know.

 

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Slowball

 

Baseball’s Bold Move

Major League Baseball announced that it will add more instant-replay challenges to games, beginning next year.  Great idea.  Complaints have been rampant about the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, rapid pace of baseball, so anything that slows down the game has got to be a good thing.

 

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Starr

 

I keep seeing Barbara Starr doing special reports for CNN.  Someone at that network obviously needs to be chastened, because this is not in keeping with standard cable-news practice of featuring nothing but Hooters-girl journalism.

 

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God help me, I am a sucker for hidden-camera shows, no matter if they are real, or obviously staged.  TruTV’s (Impractical) Jokers is the epitome of stupid-funny, and I love it.

 

*****

 

51

 

I’m going to stop making fun of “conspiracy nuts.”  Area 51, NSA spying, black boxes in our cars, ad infinitum.  The government, led by Professor Obama, is much too fond of keeping secrets … and Jesse Ventura is looking less crazy to me every day.

 

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Butler

 

Now there are two reasons to skip Lee Daniels’ The Butler — Oprah, and Lee Daniels.

 

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Shepard

 

“What is wrong with people?” — Shepard Smith, pretty much speaking for all of us.

 

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Idiot

 

Not sure why this is considered news.  Isn’t this knucklehead wrong about nearly everything?

 

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Lebowitz

 

Jimmy Fallon had Fran Lebowitz (above) on his show.  Every talk show needs more Fran Lebowitzes — and fewer Hollywood starlets.

 

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From Entertainment Weekly:

“The Oscars Atone with Ellen:  That was the message when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tapped Ellen DeGeneres, 55, to emcee the Academy Awards on March 2, 2014.  The fact that a woman was selected felt like a well-earned apology for the arguably sexist humor of this year’s Seth MacFarlane.”

Yes, because in hiring MacFarlane, the Oscars reached out to a straight-male audience, and as a result its ratings went up.  Don’t want to repeat that mistake, right, Entertainment Weekly?

 

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by Scotty Bowers

Service2

                                                                       

I suppose that when you buy a book written by a Hollywood male prostitute, you really shouldn’t be surprised when it turns out to be about a male prostitute in Hollywood.  Bowers drops famous names and spares no ugly detail in this chronicle of his sexual exploits with everyone from Cary Grant to, possibly, your mother, during a “career” that spanned from World War II to the 1980s.  It’s titillating stuff, certainly, but it’s also a great way to ruin your enjoyment of Turner Classic Movies.  When I put down Full Service, I empathized with movie legend James Dean, whom Bowers quotes from a long-ago Hollywood party:  “Ugh!  Don’t like it,” he sneered.  “Bring me something else.”

 

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                                    Evil Dead

Evil2 Evil3

 

Fede Alvarez’s remake of the 1981 classic lacks the black humor of the original, yet it’s never boring.  Alvarez knows how to stage a scary (and gory) scene, but his film is undermined by the usual bane of young-people-in-peril movies:  a script that has our heroes constantly doing and saying unbelievably stupid things.  Release:  2013  Grade:  B-

 

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                                       Session 9

Session1 Session2

 

At a creepy, abandoned mental hospital in Massachusetts, the asbestos-laden walls are slowly being peeled away — but so is the sanity of one of five workmen hired to do the job.  Session 9 is a rarity, an intelligent chiller for viewers who believe that the real horrors in life aren’t found in cabins in the woods, but in the human brain.  Release:  2001  Grade:  B+

 

*****

 

                                           Thor

Thor1 Thor2

 

It’s a bit empty-headed and relies on glitzy special effects, but Thor is also armed with good old-fashioned storytelling and plenty of charm.  And yet … by thunder, am I the only one wondering why the esteemed Kenneth Branagh is now directing comic-book movies?  Release:  2011  Grade:  B

 

*****

 

                                          Starlet

Starlet1 Starlet2

 

A young porn actress befriends a grumpy old lady (85-year-old Besedka Johnson, in her first and only film before her death earlier this year), and a sweet and funny relationship ensues.  I must be getting old, because at the midpoint of this surprisingly good twist on Harold and Maude, there is a brief but explicit sex scene — and I thought it destroyed the mood.  You heard that right:  I am complaining about a sex scene.  But not enough to turn me off to this unpredictable, touching little drama.  Release:  2012  Grade:  B+

 

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Dome

 

Summer TV Report

 

Under the Dome:  CBS shot its special-effects wad in the first episode.  Since that cow-splitting, plane-crashing introduction, this Stephen King-based miniseries has just been tepid soap opera under glass.  Grade:  C+

Orange Is the New Black:  Some of the humor is sophomoric and a few of the characters are cartoonish, but this Netflix comedy-drama about a well-off woman who finds herself in prison is mostly smart and entertaining.  Grade:  B+

 

Orange2

 

The Bridge:  Lots of plots and subplots in the first four episodes — maybe too many — but the lead characters are intriguing.  Two quibbles:  When did cigarettes replace the black hat as the prop that signals “villain,” and must every journalist on TV be written as a jerk?  Grade:  B

The Killing:  Critics and fans who wrote off this series when it failed to resolve “the killing” at the end of its first season made a mistake, because this continues to be a great cop show.  Grade:  A-

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo:  June and clan are a likeable bunch, but the hillbilly novelty has worn off.  At some point, subtitled English and fart jokes lose their luster.  Grade:  B-

 

*****

 

Clapper

 

Buttwipe of the Week … er, Month

Director of National Intelligence James Claptrap.  If you are a high-powered government official, evidently you can lie to Congress, get busted for doing so, and be penalized by … nothing.

 

*****

 

Gries

 

Quote of the Week:

“My vagina came out!  Sorry, America … it just popped out!” — controversial houseguest Aaryn Gries (above) on Big Brother After Dark, having an oops! moment while climbing into a hammock

 

*****

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                               Bream  Bream2

 

Fox News sex bomb Shannon Bream (above left at journalism school, and right at Fox) interviewed a doctor who told us that we should all be eating fruits and vegetables.  I did not know that.  Next thing you know, they will be telling us that smoking is bad.

 

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