Happy Friday, b-rollers! Are you all having a lovely, lovely day? I hope so. I’ve been spending the last couple of days catching up on sleep – a chaotic vacation followed by a chaotic film festival trip will sap the energy right out of you, let me tell you! – and am thus delinquent on my b-rolling. But I shall carry on for you, faithful readers. I’ll be back tomorrow with my Disney post, and follow up on Sunday or Monday with a Tribeca post. Cool? Excellent. I’ll also be spending Sunday at Camden Yards in Baltimore cheering for my beloved Red Sox, who this year have thoughtfully decided to challenge conventional wisdom and declare that there is, in fact, crying in baseball. For the love of my sanity, Red Sox, please suck less.

So I’ll see you tomorrow with my etiquette guide for the Happiest Place on Earth. Until then!


Idol Live Blog: Top 6 Results

8:53: Good evening, b-rollers! How was everyone’s Wednesday? I’m currently watching the last five minutes of Minute to Win It as some woman plays a bizarro beer-pong game for a quarter million dollars. This show makes me depressed for the current state of television, I’ve gotta say. Back in 7 minutes with Idol results!

9:00: Apparently we’re back to the whole Idol-behind-the-scenes gimmick. Interesting. Did they really think that was what we were missing out of the whole experience? “Well, they haven’t seen the control room yet…”

9:01: I’m always discombobulated when Ryan comes down a different staircase. Stick to the shiny light-up one, Seacrest.

9:02: Whoa, lots of performers this evening! Theory in Casa b-roll: They pre-taped all of these people for Idol Gives Back and ran out of time last week. Since we just dove into a Rascall Flatts song, that seems likely, no?

9:03: I have to say – I’m not the world’s biggest Rascall Flatts fan (yes, I liked “Bless the Broken Road,” and that’s about it), but if their presence means no group medley of Shania Twain’s greatest hits (?), then they have my everlasting gratitude.

9:05: You know how the judges always criticize contestants who sing too nasally? In a related story, the lead singer of Rascall Flatts has made a career out of it. So not always bad, apparently.

9:06: Wait, Rascall Flatts and Shakira? Seriously? Maybe this will be a Bing Crosby-meets-David Bowie, so-bizarre-it’s-brilliant pairing. Stop laughing, it could happen.

9:07: I’ve made it seven minutes without mentioning Kara’s ridiculous (and – color me stunned – shiny) earrings. Progress, b-rollers. Progress.

9:08: Has anyone bought Avatar and watched it on a small screen? Does it hold up? I’m betting no, but that’s just me. Then again, I would’ve cut about 40 minutes of blue people leaping from that film, so I’m not among its biggest supporters.

9:10: Really, we’re going to feed the vampire craze? I know that Casey looks like Edward Cullen a little – shut up, I know it’s ridiculous that I know that – but I don’t feel like they had to turn this into Twilight: Yet Again.


Idol Live Blog: Top 6

7:50: Happy Tuesday, b-rollers! I’ve had a hellacious day at work and am looking forward to unwinding with…oh crap, it’s Shania Twain Week, isn’t it? Well, sure, that makes sense: Beatles. Stones. Elvis. Shania. I don’t mean to be a hater; Shania seems like a lovely person and all, and she’s certainly a charter member of the Sandra Bullock/Elin Nordegren Woods Memorial That Poor Woman, Men are Complete Scum Society, but couldn’t they have gone with a broader “country music” theme? Shania had a few good songs, but it’s not like they’ll be devoting a Glee episode anytime soon. There’s “Still the One” and “Man I Feel Like a Woman” (I’m rooting for Big Mike to sing that one) and…I’m out. Okay, end of rant. Back in 10, b-rollers.

8:00: Ooh, are we introducing people by their professions/easiest possible labels now? That seems overly simplistic. The blogger disapproves.

8:01: My b-roll roommie – the one who watches CMT every day, it should be noted – just heard the theme, made a face and said, “Oh.” Even country music fans are disapproving.

8:02: Kara is wearing a shiny necklace. Let’s make this a drinking game – every time we’re blinded by Kara’s garment or accessory, we drink. Everyone down?

8:03: I wouldn’t exactly call Shania a country pioneer. She’s not Hank Wiliams or Johnny Cash or anything. I mean, be serious.

8:05: Nope, scratch that. Shania is shinier than Kara. And she’s also wondering how in the hell anyone with a Y chromosome is supposed to sing her music. Join the club, Shania.

8:06: Lee is singing “Still the One.” I have now heard all of the Shania tunes that I know.

8:07: Let’s all welcome back Lee’s pitch problems. Just when we think he can possibly crash the Crystal Bowersox party, too. Yeesh.

8:08: Really, Randy? One of the greatest songs ever written? What in the hell is in that Coke cup?

8:09: Did the judges take a hit of nitrus oxide before the show tonight? FOR REAL? That entire song was out of tune! And I like Lee! No haters in Casa b-roll!

8:10: Et tu, Simon? I feel completely insane. What is going on?

8:12: Conversation happening in Casa b-roll: Which country musicians are worthy of having an Idol theme night? My list: Johnny Cash, Garth Brooks and Dolly Parton. Roommie Jen – a knowledgable country fan – suggests Reba McEntire, George Strait, Kenny Chesney (maybe), Patsy Cline. Suggestions, b-rollers?


The Triumphant Return of b-roll

Happy Monday, gentle b-rollers! If you’re a regular visitor – and if so, God bless and keep you for your faithful patronage – but anyway, if you are, you’re probably wondering where the hell I’ve been. Well, I’ve been at the Tribeca Film Festival! Let’s all pause and take a moment to contemplate how that makes me sound far cooler than I really am.


Everyone good? Moving on. So yes, I was at the Tribeca Film Festival. That big festival in Tribeca. In New York City. With all the celebrities and media people and stuff. I WAS THERE. I saw eight films and seven celebrities. Well, I’m going to say seven and a half celebrities – I did not witness the blessed occurrence, but I was near two security guards in a theater lobby when one whispered to the other, “Mr. De Niro will be here in fifteen minutes.” I’m counting that as a half. And I was there. I’m still basking in the glow of being awesome-by-association. There will be no living with me for a very long time.

I’ll have some thoughts on the festival (in Tribeca) later this week, once I’ve had time to catch up on sleep and food (my weekend intake consisted mostly of bolting a slice of pizza from the nearby pizzeria and/or sprinting to the local Starbucks for caramel macchiatos between film screenings), because there are two interesting theses that I took out of the festival that I look forward to sharing with you fine people. I also owe you some follow-up thoughts on my Disney trip – I’ll give you a preview by telling you that the post will be titled “The Idiot’s Guide to Disney Etiquette” – and, of course, I’ll be live-blogging American Idol. Did you even doubt that I’d be back in time to do that? Silly rabbits.

But first, if you’ve really been paying attention, you know that I owe you a movie! Remember two weeks ago, when I started The Monday Movie? (Why didn’t you post a movie last Monday, you ask? I was flying back to DC from Disney World and was too tired to write a birthday card, never mind a blog post. So apologies.) Well, whether you do or not, here’s another documentary suggestion for all you Netflix subscribers. It’s a (controversial) doc that came out last year on HBO called Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired. It’s a fascinating story of the director’s life and the (also controversial) criminal charges that forced him to flee the country. The film definitely has a pro-Polanski bias, but you can’t disagree with many of their assertions – particularly those that the legal system failed to give Polanski anything close to a fair trial. I thought about this film this weekend at Tribeca (did I mention I was there?), when I was watching a documentary about Vidal Sassoon that was far more interesting than a documentary about hairstyles has any right to be, and Sassoon mentioned his friend Roman Polanski. I flashed right back to this film; as it turns out, my first reaction to hearing Polanski’s name is now to think, God, that was a fascinating film. What a riveting story that is. Watch the movie, and see if you don’t feel the same way.

See you back here tomorrow for the Idol live blog!

Live-Blogging Idol Gives Back

7:53: Happy Wednesday, everyone! Are we all ready to have our souls wrenched every which way by this evening’s Idol Gives Back episode? And are we still reveling in the glory that was last evening’s Madonna-themed Glee? I know I am. Onward, b-rollers!

8:00: We open with red, white and blue spotlights. And…cut to the Obamas. This is a far classier opening than Ryan’s usual Busby Berkeley-ing down the Seacrest Memorial Staircase.

8:02: Wow, the judges are quite dressed-up this evening! No t-shirt for Simon tonight. Although Kara is still wearing something sparkly. Of course.

8:03: That’s got to be one of the only times anyone has said “a big thanks to ExxonMobil,” no?

8:04: And now Queen Latifah is thanking ExxonMobil. Admittedly, they’re doing a nice thing by sponsoring this event. I’ll hold my (liberal) tongue.

8:05: Once again, the Top 12 shall sing an auto-tuned medley (are we not searching for credible live performers, for the love of all that is holy) and again this year, they are dressed all in white.

8:06: How short is Aaron? I know he’s the youngest, but he looks like a member of the Lollipop Guild out there tonight.

8:07: First celebrity sighting, non Seacrest/Queen Latifah edition: Jennifer Garner, reporting from Appalachia.

8:09: I love when celebrities introduce themselves in a refreshingly normal way (“Hi, I’m Jennifer…”). You always wonder if the other person is thinking, “Um, yeah. Duh.”

8:12: God bless this little girl for talking about her self-esteem issues in front of 30 million people, and doing so while seated next to Victoria Beckham. That is not an easy task, and she handled it with aplomb.

8:16: Do all of Olive Garden’s chefs really train in Tuscany? I call BS. That seems implausible, no matter how popular the breadsticks.


Idol Live Blog: The Top 7 (Hopefully) Inspire

7:50: Good evening, b-rollers! I’ve spent the past 45 minutes catching up on last week’s penultimate Project Runway episode (Seth Aaron FTW! God, I hope Emilio comes in dead freaking last…), and now I’m pumped to see what this evening’s performers are wearing. And singing, I guess. Though if anyone breaks out “I Believe I Can Fly” all bets are off. Back in 10 minutes!

8:00: We open with Ryan/Idol copywriters reveling in self-congratulations. “We’ll change lives this week!” And THIS is American Idol!

8:01: So is Ryan less caffeinated than last week? That was the excuse he gave for being absolutely bonkers during the last performance show, right?

8:02: “To mentor this week, we thought we’d ask a superstar who’s given so much back. Then Bono said no, so we asked Alicia Keys.” Just kidding, I like Alicia Keys. “No One” is in heavy rotation on the official b-roll iPod.

8:04: Casey shall sing “Don’t Stop.” Who else flashes back to the Clinton presidential campaigns of yore when they hear this song? Man, I feel old now.

8:05: I really like Casey, but I’m not feeling this. Then again, it’s not one of my favorite songs.

8:06: Okay, I’ll say it again: Casey is a (much) hotter version of Taylor Hicks. Consistent, has a blast onstage, decent performer, might be fun to see in concert, probably won’t buy the CD.

8:08: By the way, who else is stunned to see Simon in a cardigan? Is it cold in the Idoldome this evening? I really would’ve loved to see the look on the face of the wardrobe department when they found out he wanted to war something over the t-shirt.

8:09: Upon hearing that Lee was singing “The Boxer” next, I reflexively exclaimed, “I love ‘The Boxer’!” to… no one in particular. Casa b-roll is empty, except for me. Apparently I really like that song.

8:12: Kara and Randy are now telling me to recycle. Fitting, since they so frequently recycle critiques.


I’m Back!

Hello, wonderful b-rollers! I’m back from the Happiest Place on Earth. Unfortunately, I caught a head cold from one of the thousands (it seemed like millions) of plague-ridden children at Disney World, which made it the My Throat Hurts and I Sound Like Elmer Fudd Meets Harvey Fierstein But I Went on Space Mountain And Drank a Gallon of Frozen Lemonade So It’s Still a Quite Enjoyable Place on Earth. But anywho, onward I go! I’ll have a blog post with expanded thoughts from my Disney adventures on Thursday, but let me just tell you – even if you’re not a fan of the pixie dust and SpectroMagic, there is no better place to people-watch (and pass silent, slack-jawed judgment) than Disney World. Clinton and Stacy from What Not to Wear could find a year’s worth of subjects in a single afternoon, though I think that after one loop around the Magic Kingdom they’d need post-traumatic stress counseling. My top-prize for “What the what?!” goes to a woman (impossible to tell her age, but she was with a clearly-much-older man – draw your own conclusions) with uber-bleached hair and tanned skin a la Snooki from Jersey Shore. She was wearing an Atlantic City after-dark dress, chunky gold jewelry, white stilettos and a full face of stage make-up. At 10am. On a Friday. AT EPCOT. She would’ve fit right in if they’d had an Amsterdam red-light district section of the World Showcase, but alas.

Anyway, I’m sure that you’re wondering, “Will there be an Idol live-blog tonight? Are you feeling up to another round of sarcastic running commentary? Since you’re already awash in “When You Wish Upon a Star” enchantment, can you possibly handle any more inspirational melodies?” The answers: Yes, Always, and Barely. But I shall forge ahead for you, faithful b-rollers. See you at 8pm.