Saturday, December 12, 2009

Coming Soon: ESC House

Since it's become obvious that pretty much anyone can get a reality show these days, we're thinking of getting a house that we can all live in together so that we can shoot for our own show. Of course, the house has to be ESC-friendly and reality show filming-friendly, so we'll probably need to have it build to our specifications. We've found a website that has thousands of different house plans and resources for home planning, so we're in the research phase now. We'll get to the 'how can we ever afford this?' phase later. Priorities.

*New house fantasy brought to you by

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fame Lite

Recently I was dragged by two 9-year-olds to see the new Fame movie.

I feel a little funny calling it "Fame" because it's really just a watered down "reinvention" that is merely trying to capitalize off of the popularity of the 1980 original. It's more like "Fame Lite". They would have been better off calling it "Musical High School" or something like that (although, that probably would have been criticized as trying to capitalize off of the popularity of the High School Musical franchise, which yeah they sort of are doing too). If they had just promoted it as "High School Musical: New York Style" it might have actually worked but as Fame it just falls flat.

Director Kevin Tancharoen explained why he didn't try to do a straight remake:
"Coco, Leroy, Bruno, Ralph, you cannot cast them again. [...] If you recast them, you will already have people who hate it, and I know there will be haters no matter what. You can, however, take the original idea and core message and integrity and play it to 2009."
The problem was that he didn't maintain the original message or integrity either. It's not that they didn't try to take inspiration from the original, because it seems that they did... The problem is that that inspiration didn't turn into anything really worth watching. For example, instead of the famous scene where Coco (Irene Cara) cries as she takes off her top for a sleazy fake casting director with a camera, the PG version gives us Jenny (Kay Panabaker) "running lines" with an actor who it turns out just wants to make out with her. After all of the juicy R-rated movie content (abortion, drug use, homosexuality) was stripped away, all that's really left is some PG singing and dancing.

Apparently I'm not the only person who feels this way. Sir Alan Parker, the director of the original 1980 Fame, described the remake as "dreadful". In fact, he compared the whole project to being mugged:
"It's a bit like being mugged. Such are the realities of Hollywood manners and American copyright law. [...] I feel very much that Fame is mine. I spent months with the kids at the school then spent a year making the movie. You do the work and make it as good as it can be, and you try to protect it. Then, because the copyright is owned by the studio, as with almost all American feature films, they can do a remake like this. It's extremely galling. There is no other area of the arts where you can do that."
Kevin Tancharoen, the remake's director, claimed in a recent interview that he had Parker's blessings and seal of approval, but Parker says this is untrue. "I have never had a single phone call from anyone - the studio, the producers - about this remake. No-one spoke to me about it. To say so is absolute nonsense." Parker is considering legal action over the use of the original Fame logo (the studio doesn't own the rights to that).

The critics have also been... well, critical. Here are some excerpts from a few of our favorite disses.

Lee Black, MSNBC:

Kevin Tancharoen knows what dancers do but keeps the movie as bright and scrubbed as a recent Disney Channel TV movie about some kids in an all-singing, all-dancing high school. [...]F-words: R-rated 1980 version = 39, PG-rated 2009 remake = 0. Whether you think that’s an improvement or not depends on your need to hear the way teenagers actually speak vs. your desires for an illusory “We’re All In This Together” cuddle-fest.
David Foucher, EDGE United States:
Alas, there’s nothing subversive or remotely steamy about "Fame" in 2009. The precursor had the audacity to tackle shocking issues in 1980: abortion, drug abuse, religion, and nudity. Here, an apparent attempt to latch onto the "High School Musical" demographic has crippled the film’s traction, leaving it largely without a significant thematic purpose in favor of a general admonishment that desire without hard work won’t get you fame. Duh. [...]

Either way, the movie is a soulless, inconsequential, vapid, hideously boring waste of time. That’s a shame, given the courageous nature of its predecessor and the culture of instant fame-making we live with thanks to reality television today. This should have been a creatively fulfilling remake; instead, "Fame" just leaves you creatively famished.

Fame gives us all four years of lessons learned, careers begun and hopes dashed, and that's just too much to cover with too many characters for this to gel. Quick sketches of characters, quicker sketches of their homelife, don't add to a complete portrait.

And if you're going to censor this material in imitation of The Disney Channel's greatest hit, you'd better fill in the holes with fun. Fame forgets that.

I could totally see this cast of teachers starring in a new TV version of Fame. But if you're just trying to reprise High School Musical, I don't think I'd bother watching it.

Jeffrey M. Anderson, Cinematical:
The new remake of Fame will appeal to pre-teens who hope to go to performing arts schools, but who -- implausibly -- have never seen any other movies, or plays, or dance performances or music recitals. Moreover, they must not yet possess the ability to tell good performance from bad, nor truly inspired plot twists from hackneyed ones. Parents, on the other hand, will find that the movie sucks their will to live. [...]

Tancharoen also tries to capture a "gritty" New York City feel, and his attempt is a failure; one shot of Times Square only reminds us that it has become a "walking mall," and a million miles away from the world of the original Fame. Despite all the collective experience of the teachers, not one of the students ever shows a moment of truth or real personality; it's all pre-programmed, test-marketed product for teens to consume, even if they don't know why. As for myself, as a lifelong lover of film and an admirer or artistic personality, I found this one of the year's most abysmally awful, depressing movie experiences.
Stephen Farber, Hollywood Reporter:
Let's be clear. The original movie, despite its iconic stature, was no classic. The script was riddled with cliches and overheated melodramatic confrontations. Nevertheless, the energy of the young performers propelled it. While this new version retains the basic structure of following several kids over four years at New York's High School of Performing Arts, it's been diluted in almost every imaginable way. [...]

Tancharoen doesn't weave the stories together gracefully, and the musical sequences are edited in the chop-chop MTV style that does no favors to the performers. Marguerite Derricks' choreography is lively, though very few dance routines are played out at any length. The new "Fame" is like a series of snippets and teasers for a movie still waiting to be made.
Peter Paras, E Online (UK):

Review in a Hurry: The '80s sensation is reborn for the High School Musical generation. But sadly, this one's all fame, no journey. [...]

At 90 minutes, cramming in four years of hopes and dreams at the fabled New York City High School of Performing Arts feels like one long music video, rather than a movie.

Kherington Payne of So You Think You Can Dance

If you loved the original Fame, don't go see this movie. You will be sorely disappointed. If you're into watching teenagers sing and dance and be overly emotive (or you happen to be between the ages of 8 and 16), then you might enjoy "Fame Lite". It's actually not a terrible movie - some of those kids are pretty damn talented - but it pales in comparison to the real Fame.

So my advice is: if you do go see this movie, pretend that it's not a remake and just try to enjoy it for what it is... instead of what it isn't.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sports Commercials are Dudely

So, between football and the baseball playoffs, I've been watching a lot of sports in the last few days. That also means I've been subjected to a lot of commercials. While it's no surprise that advertisers (much like the editors of Cosmo) assume that the default sports viewer is male, I've noticed that they also apparently think that every single one of them has erectile dysfunction.

Seriously, it's nothing but wall to wall commercials for Viagra, Levitra, Cialis, and probably a few other little blue pills that I'm forgetting. (And if you throw sports radio into the mix too, you also get the penis enlargement ads going.) One particular ad that repeated over and over featured a guy having a conversation with his own reflection in a window about how he really should talk to his doctor about his ED. I'm thinking that while this guy is having that very important talk, he should probably also mention to his doctor that he's having hallucinations, hearing things, and talking with himself out loud while walking down the street.

I get that they show all of these commercials during sports because they know that a lot of guys are watching, but I'm wondering if they think about the fact that a lot of guys are watching with a lot of other guys. Are the guys supposed to have a friendly chat about their...difficulties while they're sitting around the man wall watching Monday Night Football? Cause while I don't think there should be any stigma about erectile dysfunction, there often is, and with the macho culture that surrounds sports to begin with this seems more like a recipe for a bunch of guys grandstanding about how much they don't need any of these products.

I guess I shouldn't complain too much about having to watch all of these commercials. Since advertisers haven't yet figured out that hey, there are women watching sports too, it's generally a nice break from all of the ads for diet plans, cleaning products, and yogurt that they think us girls just love. At least with the dudely ads I get to be annoyed in a different way.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Our Inner Fangirls

We've been watching a ton of TV lately - trying lots of new shows (Glee, Modern Family, The Vampire Diaries, the already canceled The Beautiful Life, Cougar Town, and more) and also getting progressively more obsessed with True Blood, of course. We've written about True Blood more than any other show lately, and we admit that we're addicted - besides writing blog posts, we've watched episodes over and over, ordered the DVDs, investigated the True Blood beverage, created our own vampire stores, read lots of interviews with the cast, looked for season 3 spoilers, checked out the books, and endlessly discussed our theories about what has happened and what's going to happen with all of the characters.

It's funny though...when we read some of the most hardcore fan sites, we realize that we're totally just amateurs. Sure, we have our True Blood diversion program, but we haven't hosted any viewing parties (yet), we don't have our True Blood Halloween costumes ready, we haven't created any character alter egos on twitter, and we don't convert and download youtube videos by the dozens to make fan videos promoting our favorite characters and couples. Clearly we need to step up our fame.

I've always been kinda fascinated by the fan video thing. There are tons and tons of them on youtube, and they're especially popular with teenage girls who want to express their devotion to Pacey and Joey, Chuck and Blair, Dylan and Brenda, Troy and Gabriella, Edward and Bella, or some other amazing supercouple. Sure, you can make fun of them for their fanaticism, but it's also kinda amazing how much some of these young women know about how to search for and download youtube videos, how to cut up and edit clips together, the best programs to use to put their little movies together, and of course which power ballads to set their masterpieces to. I do hope that many of these young women end up putting their tech skills to even better use in the future.

Okay, that's it. Forget finishing this post...I've got to go and download youtube videos all night so that I can get to work on my Eric & Lafayette: True Love Always fan video.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Good Authority Officing

We always love talking about our future plans for our empire. Lately we've been talking a lot about an official Good Authority office - where it would be, how we would decorate, what kind of snacks we'd have. You know, all of the important stuff. We're not as worried about the less critical stuff, like office equipment, phone and internet connections and various other telecommunications products and services, and oh yeah, how to pay for it. Those minor details will work themselves out.

So we were talking about how much fun it would be to have a receptionist to answer our many many important phone calls. And then we thought, why stop there? We should totally have our own call centers to provide support to our many fans and customers. (Instead of a receptionist, we could have a director of call center operations.) They can be scattered across the country and eventually the world, once we achieve global fame. It's a very practical and reasonable idea, we think. There are a lot of people out there who need to have their Good Authority-related needs met at all times.

But then we realized that we just have a romanticized view of the whole call center thing thanks to our recent viewing of the fabulous movie The Other End of the Line, in which the dude from John Tucker Must Die plays a guy who falls in love with the Indian-but-pretending-to-be-American woman who works at the credit card call center and helps him with his fraudulent charge issues. (Happens all the time.) Of course, she falls for him too, so she comes to America to find him and wacky multicultural hijinks ensue.

So, we were forced to face the fact that having our own call centers won't bring us happiness or true love, and further, the reason we'll never need them is because all of our strategic planning meetings devolve into 'hey, let's watch this horrible cheesy movie with that John Tucker guy!' Maybe we should just start with a personal assistant to help keep us organized...and to make the popcorn.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Our Musical Career

So we've been watching Glee, and watching the awesome performances on that show got us thinking about our own very excellent musical entertainment skills, which we put to use most recently for Chiquita and The Lord when they visited over the summer. So we're thinking of starting our own group. Why stop at a media empire, right? We're Renaissance women, we can multi-task. As Kathy Griffin has taught us, why stop at an Emmy when you can try to win a Grammy too?

There are only a few small problems. None of us really play any instruments - we don't know piano chords, tambourine chords? Is there even such a thing as piano chords? Or is that more of a guitar thing? Maybe we can just get away with fake-playing, like they did on The Partridge Family. Or we can try to bring the triangle back as an edgy trendy instrument that everyone wants to play. Can you tell that I went to a tiny elementary school where we didn't learn to play instruments? (Or whether piano chords actually exist.) We may need to take some remedial music lessons or find some sort of supergroup boot camp to go to before we start recording an album or performing in Penn Station.

Okay, maybe we'll just stick to singing, show choir style. At least that we know we're totally awesome at. And dancing, of course. So if anyone wants to join our group, let us know soon, cause we're totally going to make it in New York City like in our favorite movie of all time, Fast Forward. Then comes the reality show, and then the memoir, and then onward to the empire! There's absolutely no way that this plan can possibly go wrong...right?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fall TV Preview

So our beloved True Blood (HBO) ended its 2nd season - as you already know - and we're not quite sure what to do with ourselves. We checked out the first episode of Vampire Diaries (the CW) and while it was sort of like "True Blood Lite", we're not sure if it will end up being an acceptable substitute.

Jezebel has gotten herself hooked on Mad Men (the 3rd season came back to AMC a few weeks ago) and I'm totally psyched for the next season of Heroes (the 4th season returns to NBC on September 21). Even though it's been progressively getting dumber, I'm still obsessed with it and I have no shame in that. And you know we're both going to watch the newest season of Bones (Fox, September 17) after we accidentally got ourselves addicted to it in our hotel room while we were in Chicago for Blogher09.

But we weren't really sure what else was in store for us this Fall.... so we checked out the New York magazine "Fall Preview" issue to see what else we could possibly set our trusty DVRs to record.

The series premiere of the "new" Melrose Place apparently aired on the CW on September 8th and we both just completely missed it. And we're really okay with that. Sure we occasionally watched the old version and we even watched some of the new 90210 and the CW is a guilty pleasure (I know Jezebel is going to watch the new season of Gossip Girl on September 14)... but we just couldn't bring ourselves to care about Melrose Place again. Maybe we'll check out an episode or two before the series gets cancelled, um, we mean before the first season comes to an end. Maybe.

We are definitely going to set the DVRs for The Beautiful Life (the CW, September 16) because we're just dying to see if former Disney stars Corbin Bleu and Sara Paxton can pull off the so-called "glamorous world of New York's fashion elite". Plus we have to support any show that gives us another naked picture scandal (just kidding) but we're not exactly overly optimistic.

Bored to Death (HBO, September 20) looks... interesting but we're not sure about HBO right now. They've been a little hit-and-miss lately. True Blood has been pretty damn great, but some of their other shows have sucked hard (for example Hung is some serious crap and Entourage has been slowly going downhill).

Check out the full Fall Preview from New York mag and let us know which shows you recommend or are getting excited about.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wonder Woman

We're not exactly avid comic book readers... but we are fans of strong, powerful women.

In the early 1940s the DC comic line was dominated by male superheroes. In 1941 William Moulton Marston, upon the suggestion of his wife Elizabeth, created Wonder Woman as a "distinctly feminist role model". In The American Scholar (1943) Marston wrote:

"Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don't want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women's strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman." [via Wikipedia]
So here's a guest blog from our friend ceirdwenfc on the recent postcard campaign to get Wonder Woman the props she deserves:

Well, it's finally happened. For the last twenty-one years, my husband has been trying to get me interested in comic books. He even gave me an autographed Sandman(by Neil Gaiman) as a gift when we were first dating. I know – what a romantic. When I was a kid, I read Star Trek comics, Green Arrow, , you know, the usual, but as geeky as I was, I just wasn't very interested in reading them anymore.Archie
Until yesterday.

I was driving and he was reading his comic books. In passing, my husband mentioned that both
Superman and Batman comic books were coming up on their 700th issues and that it was a big deal. I don't really pay that much attention to the comic talk. "This is a big deal", he assured me. I nodded and tried not to get hit by a truck in the left lane. Then he mentioned that Wonder Woman was coming up on Issue #45.45? I thought that was impossible. Wonder Woman has been around since the 1940s. Hasn't she? I always thought that the big three were all about the same age. How is it possible that she is that much "younger" than Batman? Maybe Wonder Woman is vain and lies because she doesn't want people to know her real age? (In actuality, she is 65, having been created in 1941; only five years younger than Batman and seven years younger than Superman.)

What happened in the Wonder Woman series of comic books is that they've restarted her stories, and therefore restarted her numbers. It was noticed by some fans that if you added all the issues of her series that her #45 really equals #600, therefore putting her on a more equal footing with the men.

DC Executive Editor, Dan Didio, stated in his recent column DC Nation that he thought the renumbering was more conducive to getting new readers. (He may have meant younger readers, and that would also be fine.) The first thing I thought, personally, was that it was sexist. No one would reduce Superman's numbers. I simply don't think it would happen. Superman and Batman get a party, but not Wonder Woman.
He said if he receives 600 postcards from fans, they'll renumber #45 to #600 and Wonder Woman gets her due. That's great. She deserves it. But the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me. It really bothered me.

Now, my husband thinks that I'm being too hard on Dan Didio and pointed out that Mr. Didio didn't begin the renumbering. This is something that's been going on in many other comic books for years (
Green Lantern, , Aquaman, Doom Patrol and at least four more that he mentioned by name.) My husband is right. I am blaming one man. It's not his fault.

Renumbering, restructuring, restarting series was happening long before he came along. I just think that if this were Green Lantern or even
, it would have been a no-brainer to acknowledge #600. It certainly makes sense to renumber when the story ends and a new one begins. It's why we declare "life begins at 40" or 50 when we get divorced or lose a job or our kids go away to college.

This is the society we live in.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but it honestly reminds me of many women (myself included).
I have a Master's degree in education and was a teacher for over ten years. Now, I've spent just about that amount of time staying home with my kids. My youngest is three and won't go to school for two more years, which means I will remain out of the workforce at least until then.
I'm out of touch with new techniques for teaching, so consequently, a younger person just out of college - with the advantage of having just gotten the new educational information - will get hired before me. Even if I wanted to keep up with workshops and auditing classes, the amount of money I would have to spend would be astronomical, as well as the fact that we need to make the mortgage and car repairs. I've put in my forty quarters, but I won't get near enough money from social security to pay for groceries let alone a living wage.

I don't know when the idea of renumbering Wonder Woman's issues became about me, but it really bothered me. And the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to make a point. There is no just compensation for a woman to start over. We are not given credit for all that has gone before. We shouldn't need a postcard referendum to get Wonder Woman her 600th anniversary party. Superman and Batman didn't have to ask for it. Someone remembered.

I do realize that the postcard thing established a buzz about the character that may not have been there, and it makes sense on a publicity level, but it seems as though the women need to ask for this instead of simply expecting it to happen. I still think that we should try to send in more than 600 postcards. What about 6,000?

So if you're so inclined, send your postcard to:

Dan Didio
c/o DC Comics, Inc.
1700 Broadway
New York, NY 10019

"Wonder Woman" image courtesy of NY Sun. "Wonder Woman #1" image courtesy of "Wonder Women" image courtesy of Amazon Princess. "Wonder Woman 1941-2008" image courtesy of "Wonder Woman vs. Wonder Woman" image courtesy of Apropos of Something. "600" image courtesy of DC Nation. The Wonder Woman Chronicles Vol. 1 will be released on March 9, 2010.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Brand New Amazing Invention!

So as you may already know, we always pick up a copy of Cosmopolitan magazine when we travel. Cosmo has taught us many things over the years - how to stay safe by planting a cactus, how to save money by eating dinner at the grocery store, how to get guys to like you by pretending to like sports, how to stop being insecure by acting like a man, and of course, how to prevent looking like a slut by not having sex too soon - but we were not prepared for the groundbreaking discovery described in the August 2009 issue...

There's this new fangled invention called personal lubricant. Although we hear the kids today are calling it "lube". I know it sounds crazy, but it's true... Cosmo said that if we use this lube stuff, we can turn our man into an orgasm whisperer. (That's actually the title of the article: "Turn Him Into the Orgasm Whisperer"). If you don't believe us you can pick up a copy and check out pages 122-125 and learn all about this amazing totally brand new product that apparently no one has ever heard of before.

Lubrication is very important... not just because dry sex can be a real pain (literally) but because if you're not wet enough it will totally traumatize your man.

...psychologically, dryness can have an even more negative and traumatizing effect on his libido. "While a guy may logically know that a woman's wetness has nothing to do with his sexual prowess, subconsciously, he still may think he's not enough in bed to arouse her"
Cosmo was kind enough to explain exactly how to use lube - because it's really hard to figure out on your own - and even gave some sexy suggestions for ways to use it. For example, they suggested putting it in your vagina or on your man's penis. Who would've thought?! Apparently, you can use it during sex, awesome idea! There are all kinds of lube and each one is specially designed for Cosmo's "advanced tricks" including:
You can also use lube to "surprise him with a hand job" - you know, for anyone that still actually gives handjobs. They even suggest using it in substitute of massage oil... because as we all know there aren't any actual massage oils on the market.
Bottom line: There isn't a spot on your body that lube can't go.
Yes, according to Cosmo, you can use lube anywhere... except you know... um... in your bottom line. We had heard this crazy rumor that you can also use lube for anal sex, but Cosmo doesn't mention it so it probably isn't true. Also, Cosmo doesn't mention use of lube with sex toys of any kind... because I guess a woman doesn't need one if she has her very own "Orgasm Whisperer." (Heh.)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Who's Who in the Obama Administration

Meet the Obama Squad!

Tomorrow is Inauguration Day, so here is your oversimplified guide to Barack Obama's Cabinet (and other important people)...