Monday Notes

Happy Cyber Monday, b-rollers! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Just a few odds and ends for you on this unseasonably warm day (seriously, climatologists, what the hell?).

  • I saw The Muppets over the Thanksgiving break and this will shock you but I have some thoughts. Look for a Muppet post later in the week. I will warn you that it probably won’t be short; I adore the Muppets and, as faithful readers know, pithy isn’t my strong suit.
  • The season finale of The Sing-Off is tonight. I bring this up because, of all the singing competition shows on TV right now – and there are what, 72? 73? – I do believe The Sing-Off is the best. The judges really know stuff (take notes, Nicole Scherzinger!) and speak eloquently and knowledgeably (please retire, Randy Jackson!), and the vocal groups actually – how do I put this politely? – know how to sing music. They arrange. They harmonize. They sing these amazing arrangements with impeccable harmonies live in front of people. Have you ever noticed how a group performance on American Idol or The X Factor is either lip-synched or awful? This is the exact opposite of that. So of course this show gets a fraction of the ratings of those other juggernauts. I can’t hide my bitterness. Anyway, please watch.
  • I know that thanks to the sheer insanity of consumerism and marketing, the holiday season unofficially began in mid-October, and commenced in earnest at 12:01am on Friday; but that being said, it’s not even December yet and if I hear “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” in a commercial one more time I will murder someone with a candy cane. Anyone else feel like retailers are going slightly overboard with the Christmas advertising this year? (I’m especially looking at Walmart, whose entire holiday ad campaign I have already memorized. Unwillingly.)
  • And in a related story, is there a commercial more out-of-touch with our economic times than the “give your loved one a Lexus for Christmas” ad? Most infuriating ad on television, right? Except maybe for the “JLo drives a Fiat through the Bronx” commercial, which is more of a “Oh, come on, like she drives herself anywhere, especially in a Fiat” type of reaction. (The follow-up ad, in which she drives a Gucci-designed Fiat and emerges in an evening gown, is significantly more believable.)
  • And finally, I finished the book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close over the holiday break (and by “finished,” I mean “sobbed throughout the ending of.”) I bring this up because they made a movie of the book starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, which I knew about when I started reading and so I pictured Tom Hanks as the father throughout, and, well…this will probably end poorly. Check out the trailer below (and for God’s sake, read the book – it’s excellent).

The Hunger Games Trailer!

Just a short post today after taking the weekend off (because come on, two blog posts in two days? EXHAUSTION), but I just want to mention that while I am thrilled to be blogging again, my timing in rebooting this may have been – oh, what’s the phrase? – incredibly boneheaded. I’m going to be the maid of honor in a wedding this weekend, so I’ll be caught in a whirlwind of travel and to-do lists and chiffon. I’ll post when I can, but bear with me.

Anyway, the trailer for The Hunger Games premiered today! On the scale of “How embarrassed am I to have read this tween book series despite being an otherwise functioning adult?,” I’d put Hunger Games much closer to Harry Potter (Potterphile and proud!) than Twilight (Team Edward if forced to choose, and deeply mortified). So I’m excited for the movie – and the trailer looks really, really good. (My favorite quibble that I’ve seen, and it isn’t much of one, was that the trailer looked “much darker and more violent than expected.” It’s a film about a fight-to-the-death arena match set in a post-apocalyptic world; what EXACTLY were you envisioning?)

So here’s the trailer! Who else is excited, and will cop to having read this series? Who will be willing to see this with me, in public and everything? Anyone? Bueller?

Follow Friday!

A happy Veterans Day to you all! Check it out, two blog posts in two days! What a terrible job I’m doing of managing expectations.

Anywho, this will be brief-ish, but if you’re on Twitter (dear God I’ve gotten Twittified in the last several months, haven’t I?) then you’ve probably heard of the #FollowFriday phenomenon, in which you recommend people to follow. So how about we make that a feature of b-roll? Here are my suggestions, and the good news is that you can ACTUALLY follow them on Twitter if you’re so inclined, so we can just cross-pollinate the crap out of this:

  1. @FoxSearchlightYes, this is a film studio, and the reason that I recommend you follow it is that I just saw the Fox Searchlight film Martha Marcy May Marlene today, a haunting little indie that is quite fascinating and does not have its own Twitter page, so I may be fudging this ever so slightly. The movie is worth a watch for the wonderful performance of the Olsen twins’ little sister Elizabeth (I’m as surprised as you are by the previous sentence), and the adorable Hugh Dancy, on whom my crush is well-documented (I have seen Confessions of a Shopaholic about 964 times because he wears a tuxedo through most of it, and trust me, it is a deeply awful movie). Also, my recommendation is that you purchase a ticket online, because if you try to say “Martha Marcy May Marlene” aloud you will most likely embarrass yourself and have to make awkward chit-chat with the ticket seller. It’s worth the extra $3 in online fees, I promise.
  2. @DaveHolmes – Dave Holmes is a former MTV host (Remember? All of my contemporaries are going, “Ohmigod, yes!”), current Ford spokesman, and the TV recapper/blogger that I would like to be when I grow up. His X Factor recaps will make you howl with laughter, even if you don’t watch the show, which I don’t, since American Idol‘s most recent season created a major crisis of faith for me. (Also, Simon apparently used his hiatus to have some, uh, work done. I flipped on an early episode and yelled, “Oh, dear God!” and said a prayer of thanks for my old-school low-definition television set.) Anyway, start with the premiere recap and settle in to catch up on the rest. You will laugh. Hard.
  3. @DwainSmith – Is your friend a published novelist? Because mine totally is. Meet Dwain Smith, then buy one of his novels, because they are seriously good (and available on Kindle, too!). He even has a fan feed, @EvilDwainSmith – whose profile picture appears to be a strange synergy of Spock, a serial killer mugshot and Simon Cowell’s new face – and sure, Evil Dwain has only three followers, but it’s a process, people. In summation, there’s really no downside to following Dwain, so I highly recommend that you do so.

So there are my recommendations; if you have any, share away. Have a great weekend, b-rollers!

b-rolling again

I have not been the world’s most consistent blogger this year, friends. No freaking duh, they thought, scrolling down to realize this was blog post #3 of 2011. Okay, it’s been a while. I may have needed to reset my password to gain access, and I have the same three passwords for everything. Not an awesome start to the reboot of my blogging career (or, you know, hobby).

So why am I here? I had a slight revelation today. Not surprisingly, it involved my complete obsession with entertainment and awards shows. I know that the world has gone all to hell and that I should probably turn this into a blog about #occupying something – you’re legally required to hashtag that, right? – but whatever. And so I begin, and as with all good fables, this one takes place on Twitter.

This afternoon, I was watching tweets come in – you know, as you do – and I saw one from Billy Crystal, and it’s a credit to my profound Oscar love and nostalgia that even though I’m not remotely old enough to qualify for Medicare, I follow Billy Crystal on Twitter. The tweet said, and I quote directly for posterity, “Am doing the Oscars so the young woman in the pharmacy will stop asking my name when I pick up my prescriptions. Looking forward to the show” (Also, not to harp on the age thing, but way to stay current with the kids with a prescription drug reference, Billy. Okay, I know I just made a Medicare joke. I’m a little rusty. Let’s skip ahead.)

Now, I saw the tweet as it came in, and for a few moments it seemed like no one else did. I waited for Twitter to blow up (or at least the tiny little corner of it that I follow, filled with entertainment journalists, bloggers and celebrities), but nothing happened. I actually tweeted, “Did I just hallucinate?” and “Did Billy Crystal tweet in a forest with no one around to hear?” I had a Twitter conversation with an awards blogger asking, “Is this real?” And it started spreading, a few more people noticed, and the real journalists and bloggers – I can hardly consider myself a blogger given that my last post was a Golden Globes live-blog, but hey, just saying – started confirming. And suddenly I got my “breaking news alert” email from The Hollywood Reporter and realized, “Holy crap, I knew this before The Hollywood Reporter.” And if you don’t believe me, check my timeline (or look to the right): this is all true.

I didn’t break a story or anything; I dumb luck-edly saw a tweet as it happened, and you could really attribute this to the populism of Twitter and the spread of news in the digital era more than any particular skill or work on my part. Seriously, I did nothing of any value whatsoever. But as the adrenaline rushed and I @-ed people and made sarcastic comments – my particular forte, remember, b-rollers? – I thought, “Damn, this is fun.”

I miss blogging, and having the ability to share my thoughts in larger than 140 character bites (not that that’s always a good thing, this post might wrap up by Christmas). But life gets in the way when you have a full-time job and attempt to go to the gym enough to justify the membership that you optimistically signed up for, and (in a related story) laziness takes over. So anyway, this is my mea culpa: I’ll try to do better, and be worthy of your time. And in exchange, please let me know what you’d like to read, so that I can avoid just making this a brain dump and hopefully provide something focused and valuable. I am clearly in no position to make any guarantees, but I’ll do my best, and I can promise one thing: With awards season just around the bend, I will live-blog the holy bejeesus out of it, sarcastically and joyfully.

You’ve been warned, Billy Crystal.