Movie Suggestion from Opinionize: Shallow Grave

Title: Shallow Grave

Year of Release: 1994

Starring:

Directed by:

Recommend if you liked:

I went to see Shallow Grave in the movie theater having absolutely no idea who Ewan McGregor was, who Christopher Eccleston was, or who Director Danny Boyle was (well, it was his first feature film). I didn’t even know the plot. Amazingly, one of my friends told me after the movie he thought Jason Bateman was amazing in it, especially his accent (true).

So I was absolutely blown away by Shallow Grave.

It’s not that the actors’ performances were pitch-perfect, led by two at-the-time no-name actors, including an all-too-affable Ewan McGregor (Alex) and a frighteningly withdrawn Christopher Eccleston (David).

It’s not that the movie moves as fast as its really cool opening credits sequence and keeps you on the edge of the seat the entire time with an early view at the keen eye Danny Boyle has for scene-setting, building tension, and visuals that complement the story.

It’s not that the movie balances a fantastic story about three flat mates who discover that their new roommate is dead…and has a pile of money on him (Oh, what to do, what to do).

Well, yes, it is these three things.

Shallow Grave remains one of the best thrillers I have ever seen in my life. It is no surprise to me that all of the stars have gone on to do amazing work (Ewan McGregor has been Obi Wan Kenobi, Christopher Eccleston was Dr. Who in the U.K. and Danny Boyle just finished directing the Olympics as well as winning an Academy Award for Best picture for Slumdog Millionaire and nominations for 127 Hours this past Oscar season).

I won’t give anything else away except to say this movie is super-exciting, and doesn’t waste a minute in telling its story.

But be prepared, this movie definitely enjoys making its audience squirm in discomfort through some of the more visceral sequences (once again, I refrain from going in depth, this movie is best watched cold).

It twists. It turns. It’s a slow burn that leads to an extremely satisfying conclusion at the end.

Shallow Grave. What’s a little murder between friends?

Have you seen it? Do you love it? Please comment and let us know!

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Big Brother Recap: Veto Competition: Frank-enstein

Mike and Frank

“Excuse me Zingbot, but do you know how bright you have to be to be a spray tanner? Uhhh…a lot!” – Ashley

“Danielle, I hear Shane is going to give you a special gift after the season…a restraining order! ZING. ZING!” – Zingbot 3000

“It’s Alive” – Dr. Frankenstein

The interesting part of the book Frankenstein is that most people think that the monster itself is named Frankenstein. Untrue. As Gene Wilder will tell you, it’s A) pronounced “Fronk-en-steen”, and B) it is the doctor, and the creator who is Dr. Frankenstein. The monster is just the monster.


But let’s push that aside, because my analogy works much better if we assume the more nostalgic (and wildly incorrect) belief that the monster is called Frankenstein.

And think of this ethical question as it relates to the fine work by Mary Shelly (the only work of any worth that she produced) as well as the current Big Brother situation: who is to blame for the monster’s wrath and reign of terror? The monster may be inflicting the violence, but the monster wouldn’t even have come to life if not for the creator’s unnatural medical curiosity. But do we fault the doctor for pursuing  answers that can preserve life and potentially bring about immortality? Whoa this got too deep. Deep breath, everyone. Everyone inhale. Unless you’re running for office. Then just don’t tell anyone.

If you haven’t guessed by now, the monster is Frank, and the creator is Boogie. Granted, we could be looking at the Bride of Frankenstein given Frank’s tutu, their relationship’s mirroring of Chilltown with Doctor Will who converted Boogie to the monster he is today (wait, is this analogy actually working?)

So yes, everyone in the house is running around like scared cockroaches when the lights come on (or, you know, villagers when the monster comes pounding into town), with many of the people who were so unified against Janelle now terrified at the hands of Frank-enstein. For the record, that includes four members of the silent six: Britney, Shane, Dan, and Danielle. Throw in Wil who willingly voted for Janelle WITHOUT HAVING ANY ALLIANCE OR PROTECTION OTHER THAN HER TO BEGIN WITH, and the houseguests just can’t believe the situation they are in – and I totally can.

The whole point of the bonding together was so that Dan didn’t HAVE to worry about the veto challenge. The whole point of the bonding together was to unite the house against common enemies like Joe…who now seems to be working his way in with Mike and Frank behind everyone’s back.

And that is how this trashy, exploitative game – and a good reality show in general – works. Group think is great in the beginning – but the problem is that the sheep people who get herded into the slaughterhouse pasture think everything is great. Hey, the food’s great, at least we have company, and – wait, is that a shearer? OK, fine I don’t need the wool…wait is that a f&$%ing axe???

Look, our remaining houseguests

And so it goes. We were treated to a scene with Britney freaking out to and with Danielle.  We had Shane freaking out in his pink tank top (no you don’t pull it off well). We had Dan (legitimately smelling trouble) predicting his potential ouster right before the veto competition.

And we had Mike and Frank laughing their collective asses off. And rightly they should. They got everyone to vote out their biggest threat. And now have their pick of the litter (I support their choice to get rid of Wil).

Amazingly, Wil talks himself into major trouble (one ‘L’). The attitude that turned Janelle (and hopefully America) off popped up again during the cup of figurative coffee he has in the HOH room with Frank and Boogie. When he walked in, he was an ally. When he walked out he was a target. Bye Wil.

I bet you were terrible here too

Oh, and by the way, is anybody supposed to feel bad for you and your history of whatever the hell you did beforehand? Oh it was very tough being a signed singing artist when I was younger, and I just have so much attitude that I likely sabotaged my whole career? And I likely made an ass out of myself on American Idol. I don’t like you, Wil.  Do you get that nobody likes you in this house either? Blech.

It was apt who got zinged the most and the best by the Zingbot 3000. We saw harmless and impersonal zings at Jenn, since she has offered absolutely nothing in the way of value since the show started. She has literally not been on camera in the diary room for weeks. We saw harmless jabs at Dan, Britney, and Boogie. Even Shane got off light…until Zingbot called Danielle out as a stalker. Finally, a pretend robot on a network reality show has the strength to say what we are all thinking but can’t waste the mental energy to say: you are absolutely pathetic, Danielle. Me hate you. The Zingbot may have single-handedly destroyed your faux relationship with the Pink Panther – which will lead to your eviction much sooner rather than later.

Does anybody else think that America’s Choice this season would have been better if we had been able to vote Zingbot into the house to compete for the $500,000? Between the strategy sessions, the diary rooms, and the challenges, it is a home run idea and you know it!

Hey houseguests, I am more interesting than you, and I’m scripted. ZING.

At least we got the Zingbot, because the Zingbot challenge was brutal with a capital ‘Yawn’. Frank wins, as Jenn manages to do nothing but annoy, Joe manages to do nothing but continue to scream at us and Ashley manages to do…nothing.

Ashley, you are officially my favorite player this season. At least you are entertaining. And you’re right, you do need to be a lot smart to be a spray tanner, especially a mobile one…

So Frank wins. Nominations stay the same. But we definitely got the sense that Dan is in a s*&%load of trouble unless he wakes up and smells what the Boogie-Frank combo is cooking. Of course, with that logic, I am sure Dan will win HOH. Stay tuned tonight to find out!

So what do you think? Was the Zingbot super-harsh to the contestants this time? Was my Frankenstein analogy apt, annoying, or both? Will Joe yell at Julie Chen like he has at us the whole season if he gets thrown off tonight?

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I Can’t Complain about This ‘Campaign’

Imagine if you had to vote for one of them

Confession #1: I am an unabashed Will Ferrell fan.

Confession #2: I am an unabashed Zach Galifianakis fan.

Confession #3: I really liked The Campaign.

Before you read any further, I ask you to look at Confession #1 and Confession #2. If you don’t agree with either one, there is a 50% chance you may not like this movie as one of them – at all times (I think literally) is on the screen.

They complete me

If you don’t agree with Confession #1 and Confession #2, odds are you aren’t reading this review anyway, and you had no plans on seeing this movie.

So for the sake of argument (and making it 10x easier on me) I am going to assume you like at least one of them.

The Campaign does a fine job of walking that fine line between silly summer comedy and political satire. At no point does the movie suppose that it has any real insight into the backroom politics that plague the actual citizens of the Washington D.C. beltway. For that, I recommend In The Loop, Armando Iannucci’s British masterpiece that reflects the absurd behavior of politicians on both sides of the Atlantic (Iannucci also created HBO’s VEEP):

Instead, The Campaign generates its strength on cartoonish yet endearing characters, a breezy and clever script, and familiar, accessible situations without beating us to death with a soapbox message.

Look how evil (they are pretending to be)

Side note here, the movie flies a HUGE Anti-GOP flag, with the Koch Brothers changed to the Motch Brothers (played in a lampoon fashion by two of my faves, John Lithgow and Dan Akroyd). Their nefarious plan to literally sell part of a US state to China to facilitate building a sweat shop in North Carolina to improve profits was insulting indeed, but black and white enough to vilify the Motch Brothers without drawing any real political lines (you know, like Healthcare or something…) – but it definitely stands for a Blue State philosophy. Fore-warned is fore-offended…vote Obama 2012.

The story is simple enough: Over-confident Congressional incumbent Rep. Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) gets embroiled in scandal and gaffes, which opens the door for a new competitor in a previously-uncontested race. Looking for a new candidate to puppet in Congress, the Motch Brothers (who used to back Cam Brady – this makes no sense how they swing from political party to party – no sense, but go with it) convince the endearing in that so-dorky-it’s-cute Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis) to take up the fight for the good people of North Carolina’s 24th District.

Will Ferrell’s character is pretty much Ron Burgundy with no facial hair and much less likable – both to us and his constituents. While nothing new in his bag of tricks, Will Ferrell slings insults and outrage better than almost anybody in the business, and what better place to do that than in the midst of a political campaign. It’s a recipe for success. And it tastes good.

The best line of the summer is being said right now

Zach’s character is against his usual type cast, as he trades the beard for his co-star’s Ron Burgundy mustache and even more unfortunate fashion sense. Incidentally, the character seems ripped right from his Live at the Purple Onion performance – which is fine, just know it did not come out of thin air. If you haven’t seen it (below), then the good news is that Zach does something a bit different from the slew of other movies he has been in.

Seth Galifianakis, Live at the Purple Onion

The scenes one would think of when imagining this movie are as expected: good debate scenes, some great political ads, and amusing pratfalls and situations while pressing palms and punching kissing babies.

The scenes are all funny, a bit shocking, and best of all, quick and light – no real issues hammered home, and no real substance other than the insults we wish our real candidates would use since there is no meaningful debate happening anyway. Strung together, it makes a movie short on depth but rich with good funny.

While the leads are heavily featured, each one of them has a sidekick which manages to steal scenes and add the modicum of dignity needed to mitigate and manage some of the hijinks their bosses get into.

No, your career is going the other way

Jason Sudeikis puts in another strong performance (the guy is making the transition to film seamlessly following good turns in Horrible Bosses and Hall Pass) as Cam Brady’s only voice of reason.

However, it’s Dylan McDermott who steals the spotlight, playing Tim Wattly (not the same as the dentist from Seinfeld but weird choice of name anyway?), the slimy snake oil salesman employed by the Motch Brothers to get Marty into shape physically, mentally, and politically. His overbearing intensity and surprising comments throughout the movie just add color around the edges of already grin-worthy scenes and scenarios. When it worked, it worked really well, and when it didn’t, it wasn’t obtrusive to the rest of the movie. Great job, Dylan Tim Wattly.

You surprised me too, Dylan

The Campaign is cute. I couldn’t go into more without spoiling the situations and lines that made the movie as funny as it was. Sure. we know a baby gets punched in the face, but there’s a lot more to chew on. Fortunately for some, the movie is laced with profanity, sexual innuendo, and offensive comments for everyone’s eyebrows to get some exercise.

This isn’t even close to the rudest thing in the movie

It’s also short, and to the point (very ironic given how long my review for it is). There is really no time wasted, and like I said before, no real plot to get in the way of the back-and-forth that we’ve been teased with for months. I definitely get the sense there was plenty that ended up on the cutting room floor, and that we will get in the DVD/digital copy/8-track – especially considering that several of the bits shown in the trailers and TV spots were nonexistent in the movie (a trend that grows frustrating with each movie these days…)

Regardless of what you think, it’s more entertaining than real politics, that is for sure.

Just say to yourself “It could always be worse” this November

I really liked The Campaign. I had high expectations given my love for both of those goofballs, and I was impressed how consistently it kept me laughing, and happy with its light-hearted tone and silliness.

I suggest The Campaign if you love them. I don’t if you don’t.

I love them. I loved it. I love you.

So what did you think? Did you like it? Do you hate them?

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Big Brother Recap: The Power of Two: Fear the Boogie-Man

The Power of Two

What a week it has been in the Big Brother household. I admittedly am slightly behind (apologies), but there has been so much going on, that without seeing all of the recent developments fully play out, it would almost be irresponsible of me to comment fairly (like that has stopped me before?) So let’s begin at the beginning of the end – for Janelle and almost everyone else in the house not named Mike, Frank, or…well, just Mike or Frank.

I am not going to re-hash as I am a bit behind. I am instead just going to focus on just the main events.

The power struggle in the house came surprisingly to life following the (what I thought was an) unfortunate decision to let the coaches play on last week’s live Thursday episodes. Boogie seemed filled with ennui and paranoia, while Dan, Janelle, and Britney predictably thought about banding together.

Coaches no more

If that happened, it would have been just…terrible. They obviously (even Britney) have some idea how to get results in the game, so they likely would have gone through the house, used and abused the weak (almost everybody left) and fought each other for the prize. And I would have shut off. Or watched and cursed the whole time…wait I do that anyway. Bottom line, it would have sucked.

But instead, Dan unwittingly made the game much more interesting by telling Boogie that Frank was going to go home. And we actually see Boogie show some true colors, telling the camera, Frank, America, and Dan that he had NO PLANS ON TURNING HIS BACK ON FRANK since he was so fiercely loyal to him before. Good on you, Boogie. You are a Big Brother douche bag, but points for integrity in a sea of weasels.

They complete each other

Side note here. I still like Dan. I think the guy gets that this thing is a game, can relax because he has won it, and seems to genuinely enjoy the machinations of the game. His willingness to morph his strategy as necessary that we saw this week show how intelligently he plays the game, and improves his chances dramatically at making a run for the money now.

Contrast that with Britney and Janelle. Sigh. I wish I didn’t have to bundle them together, but Janelle did this to herself. Forget the weird plastic surgery stuff that makes it look like some weird Madame Tussaud’s wax figure that melted in the sun

Wide right, Janelle.

and magically came to life just like Frosty the Snowman. Forget the obvious arrogance and sense of entitlement that she has that she is pre-destined to dominate the game, the challenges, and her housemates, all while shedding any sense of personality or shrewdness. She has become so bad that even dumb Britney turned on her, and before that, had trouble trusting her at all.  It is a shame because she was certainly fun to watch in prior seasons. Now she just made me uncomfortable. And I actually smiled when Boogie told her he beat her three times. He’s right. You’re like the Buffalo Bills of Big Brother. That’s not a compliment.

Not that Britney deserves any credit at all. She continues to disappoint. She thinks she has any semblance of control in the game. But obviously she doesn’t as Boogie walked in, convinced her and her minion to do exactly what he wants (which she finally, and way-too-late mentioned on Sunday, was stupid to vote out somebody who she HAD AN ACTIVE ALLIANCE WITH), and managed to get her to help drive the bus over Janelle’s corpse. Whoops, Britney. Are you aware that your closest allies have closer allies (Dan has Danielle and Boogie, Shane has Danielle Boogie and Frank)? Are you aware that you continue to flip-flop more than anybody in the house? Are you aware that at best, you will end up 6th behind Frank, Boogie, Dan, Ian, and either Danielle or Shane? Will you please stop whining, crying, or complaining?

I nominate the conversation between the coaches on last Sunday’s episode as a top 10 big brother discussion. Because it is rare on reality shows that we actually get cold-hearted frankness between two parties in parlay. And it all started so perfectly. Usually the reality show producers will cut footage to suggest proximity of events or conversations to add some line to the narrative. But there was no need for that here as Dan and Boogie were discussing VOTING FOR JANELLE and two seconds later, who knocks on the door? The reality gods smile on us sometimes.

Janelle and Britney come in brimming with overconfidence and singular in purpose: trying to sell Boogie on working in a Coach’s Alliance. Boogie (correctly) tells them he has no plans to turn on Frank, and asks Janelle, as a sign of good faith, to vote Wil out instead. Or Joe. One of her people.

The silence was deafening. Boogie said as much. When you’re caught flat-footed in a reality show call-out, watch out. But usually it is done quietly. Not for Boogie. “I don’t trust you Janelle.” And with that, her fate was sealed.

There can only be one Highlander

Yes, maybe the Quack Pack or the Silent Six claim responsibility for the blindside bombing of Janelle. The best salesmen are the ones who get you to think that YOU are making the best decision and YOU are the one who came to that conclusion and that YOU are the one who benefits.

Make no mistake. Only two people benefit from voting out Janelle. Any girl  – Danielle, Britney, Ashley  (no Jenn, I am not including you – not because you are a lesbian, but because you are completely and totally and utterly worthless. They literally do not show you because you have nothing of interest to say. You may be the worst (and by worst, I mean most boring – the mortal sin of reality television) reality show contestant I have ever been forced to watch. You. Are. Terrible.)

That’s the most interesting you have been in weeks

Anyway, all of the (relevant) girls had  a partner in Janelle. She would have voted out all of the boys before turning on any of them (fact). So that’s three of the silent six. Then think about Dan’s original plan to stick with coaches. With leverage into Danielle – and through the transitive property Shane – Dan could have actually had control of the house if Janelle stayed – and at least another coach target to keep him off the radar for a while.

Shane is close with Danielle and could have benefited from Janelle staying around longer, if for no other reason than Janelle would have happily done the dirty work of getting rid of Frank for Shane (something he is dying to do and cannot do right now).

Wil (one L, no brain or tact) decided to vote out his own coach. And look where it got him (my money is on him going home on Thursday). Pride before the fall (two Ls) – your hubris has gotten you nowhere but in trouble with other people. Everybody knows that person who always seems to have issues with others, and then wonders why everyone is so difficult. It’s you, Wil. You are terrible (two Rs, one L).

There’s only one L in ‘asshole’ too

So if we are counting (I was) it is only Frank and Boogie who benefit. Oh, did I mention that they created absolute chaos as well, taking targets off themselves, sowing doubt among multiple alliances, and positioning themselves to leverage coach relationships (Dan, Britney) and strong players’ relationships (Shane) to their own benefit?

So fast-forward to the veto competition. Oh look, Danielle wins. This is surprising.

No talent required

She is not good at anything other than Shane-watching. It is even more infuriating that she believes she had anything to do with her own victory (I put it to you physics and/or gravity were much more important). You are still talentless. And annoying. And the whole “OMG Shane” routine is not only tiresome, but insulting to women everywhere. But alas, she wins. And as I have mentioned in the past, power on Big Brother is corrosive. it’s actually more like the ring in Lord of the Rings. In the hands of smart, powerful people, it can be used to further your goals. In the hands of those who are blindly ambitious but unable to control its power, it overtakes and destroys them. Enter Danielle’s brilliant idea to vote out an ally because Mike Boogie suggests it.

It takes Danielle as long as AFTER she replaces her own nomination with Janelle to realize how awkward her situation actually is. Janelle immediately runs up to Danielle and asks her WTF. Danielle’s answer smells bad to Janelle – like a fart in a car if you like your similes farty – and she realizes she may be in over her head.

It was interesting to see Janelle get so spun around. She was obviously unaware when a coach that her argument with Wil would push him against her as a contestant. She was visibly flummoxed when Boogie challenged her during the coach’s meeting. She seemed genuinely shocked when she got nominated at the veto meeting. She left the house so quickly that I don’t even think she realized what had happened – she went from untouchable as a coach to a volunteering contestant to evil super-villain and then Chenbot interviewee. In two TV days (about five real days). Finally, the season gets interesting.

So Janelle leaves, the HOH competition takes place, and guess who wins? Guess. Hint: it’s not Jenn. (for the record, she competed. then she went back to literally not talking ever again on the show). FRANK.

FRANK.

Let’s not forget, people. Just one week ago, when the coaches got to join the house, who were the only two people who were angry at everybody else in the house?

There’s good reason for laughing

So why do we think their opinions have changed? Janelle is gone. That makes Joe near worthless. So who’s left? Virtually everybody in the alliance sans Jenn (we remain unsurprised). There is nobody else of significance to nominate except people in the alliance (sorry Ashley you are not of interest…yet…i expect you to change the game for everyone when they realize how important your hippie vote is), not to mention that Boogie and Mike have strong feelings about getting a few people out of the house already, and have votes all over the place to do it. They can talk to Dan – and thereby get Danielle and maybe Shane and Britney – or go through Wil and try to get out Shane (that’s Wil, Joe, Mike, and Frank – and Dan, who would be happy to see Shane leave).

Boogie has actual pets now

So their flexibility through this faux alliance is alarmingly impressive. So impressive that it takes Janelle to leave the house for people to realize this (Britney says to the camera that maybe it wasn’t the best idea to vote Janelle out – a full day late). Joe realizes how in the dark he is following Janelle leaving. Wil has no idea how little protection he now has with Janelle gone. Dan realizes how serious the season is, and is bracing for impact. Everybody is running scared like cockroaches – and still not one word from Jenn. This is pathetic.

So well well well, who is going on the block? Joe the blue screaming chef, that is a given. But who else? Well, it could be anybody. I therefore would not recommend hanging out with the two most powerful people in the house and throwing attitude around right before the nominations. Anybody who would do that would be viewed as stupid with one D.

Nobody is that stupid, right?

So Wil and Joe it is. And just like that, everyone realizes exactly how screwed they all are. If Joe or Wil gets off the block, one of them is definitely going up. Imagining a scenario where Joe wins the veto, two of the so-called alliance would likely be put up against each other, effectively SHATTERING any alliance that was made before Janelle’s ousting.

Remember when I helped vote out Janelle and inadvertently crushed my chances of winning the game?

It is so surprising that these houseguests have no idea how in trouble they are. It’s not like this is a surprise. The only person who seems to know this – and verbalizes it – is Britney. She says that Frank has already been up three times and hasn’t gone anywhere – she therefore thinks he will win the show. She is right. He has an amazing shot of winning just on his own merit.

Add in Boogie’s competitive contributions, and full-blown protection of Frank, their ties to Dan and Shane, and there is a clear path straight through to the final 2.

Boogie and Frank are running this house. Running everything. Unfortunately, it seems the only people who seem to know this (Joe, Britney, Wil) are in serious, serious trouble. Dr. Will (two Ls) would be proud.

So what do you think? Are Mike Boogie and Frank destined to make it to the final two? What happens if Danielle and Shane are separated for more than three minutes? Does Jenn exist?

Don’t be shy. Opinionize.

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My Bitchy Review of Batman

I wish that was the screenwriter

I really love movies. I love good movies. I love bad movies. I love funny movies. I love action movies. I love dramas.  I love romances. I love Woody Allen and Michael Bay movies alike.

I loved Batman Begins. I loved The Dark Knight. I loved the Michael Keaton Batmans. I loved the Adam West Batman.

I hated this Batman. I hated it so much that I won’t even waste my time laying out a complete or logical argument citing the many glaring faults this movie had. Instead, I thought I would complain about it like a petulant child. So here we go.  Be careful, there are tons of spoilers in here.

Please consider putting this on at some point

Did I miss a meeting? Isn’t the goal of a super hero movie to focus on the hero doing hero stuff and being a hero? Shouldn’t we, the audience, be afforded the opportunity to see said eponymous hero jump around in tights for our cinematic amusement? Shouldn’t the BATMAN movie include more than ten minutes of actual BATMAN footage?

OK, let’s take a step back. The first and second movies introduced us to our villains in the first twenty minutes, so that is fine, let’s see the –

Wait a minute. I know Bane. He rocks. Fantastic comic book bad guy. The best part is that even though he wears a mask I can understand him so clearly as he talks in a clearly printed bubble over his head. Oh wait, this is a movie? Oh, so let’s distort Bane’s voice a little bit – let’s in fact envision this meeting with the sound mixer:

“How does that sound, people in charge of this movie?”

“Can you just kick the distortion up a bit?”

“Sure, how does this sound?”

“What do you think? You do the sound.”

“I think it’s perfect I can really hear it clearly and his voice sounds menacing.”

“OK good, turn the distortion up some more now.”

“But then you won’t be able to hear him clearly.”

“What if in addition to making to harder to hear him, we make it so that almost every scene he is in he is surrounded by lots of extraneous noise and explosions and talking through a microphone, would that make it better or worse?”

“Worse.”

“Perfect.”

Can you hear me in the back? (no)

It didn’t help that when Bane was talking, half of the time there was fighting going on

in the background, making it harder to understand his vitriolic rants. Worse still (and this has always been a pet peeve of mine about these movies), why does Batman sound like he has an advanced case of emphysema in these movies? Not only is he near-impossible to understand, couple that with Bane’s mumbling and you have a good few minutes of “I assume they are saying cool stuff to each other when is this part over” during the movie.

Speak up, you two

That is of course, when Batman is actually IN THE BATMAN MOVIE. If I wanted to see a movie where Christian Bale isn’t Batman for over two hours, I could have rented The Machinist. 

Why is Batman not in the movie until at least 45 minutes into the movie? Instead we are treated to this (are we supposed to feel bad for him?) beaten-down, hermetic billionaire who still manages to throw extravagant parties on his premises, but can’t afford to support an orphanage (oh, more on this shortly, believe me).

Well at least if we are to be spoon-fed Bruce Wayne scene after Bruce Wayne scene, at least we will get some good interactions with Alfred, played so effectively by a personal favorite of mine, Michael Caine. Oh, wait – he’s not going to be in the movie at all? Just two contrived, trying-to-capture-the-emotional-impact-of-the-first-movie long speeches and an ending so cheesy I asked for some wine to go with it? WHY IS ALFRED NOT IN THE MOVIE? WHAT POSSIBLE SENSE DOES THAT MAKE?

Is this a Batman movie or a period piece?

Instead, let’s add some contrived bullshit about investing billions of dollars in a fusion reactor that has been “mothballed” to Mr Boring Wayne’s completely unbelievable surprise.

The Bruce Wayne has no money plot made no sense. Zero. Yes, the Bane taking over the stock exchange thing was OK, and managed to create some tenuous at best, contrived to a fault at worst a connection between the Catwoman and Bane stories. And there is almost no way that those trades would have been cleared to cost Bruce Wayne his entire fortune. No. Way.

Occupy Wall Street

The “F&*$ the Rich” theme didn’t work either. Yes, I get it – the 99% are going to see this movie and want some fictional retribution on those rich 5th Avenue assholes (great case in point that they changed the numbers on the awnings for those shots on 5th avenue as the cultural elite likely had no interest in seeing their addresses in those scenes where they are being thrown out on the street). But the whole “the people have control now” thing did not work. It didn’t work as a background vehicle for the end of the movie (that scene at the end was absurd, why did they all decide to run down the most narrow street in America? If not the dumbest strategic move in the history of mob warfare, at least they could have attacked from more than one side. Maybe I should moonlight as a mush-mouthed, mask-wearing villain on weekends…

Look, it’s the narrowest street in Gotham

Social commentary be damned. Even the fine and stunning Anne Hathaway couldn’t sell that pedantic nonsense, telling Bruce Wayne that she was waiting for the day that the financial tables would be turned. Then half-assedly (yes that’s a word – now) introduced a thief friend who was supposed to represent her bad side, and disjointedly intercut her in with some of the endlessly long riot sequences. And I love Anne Hathaway. And thought she was great. Until her plot kicked in. Then she became nothing more than eye candy and window dressing on an already faltering narrative concept.

It’s not your vault or your fault, Anne

Speaking of people who had no business being in the movie whatsoever, what the hell was the point of Matthew Modine or his character?

You deserve to get shot for your performance in this movie

He vacillated between whiny prick, officious prick, and dumb-as-shit-and-soon-dead prick, and none of them were interesting, compelling, or necessary. Did he get paid a bonus for overacting every single scene? Can somebody explain to me how in a near-three hour movie they couldn’t take the time to explain how in a matter of minutes Matthew Modine goes from scared, protective family man to cop wearing his dress blues shooting blindly at a descending mob without any sense of safety, strategy, or sense. Total. Disaster.

And I am an unabashed fan of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The kid had amazing acting chops, and pick fantastic movies to be in. If you haven’t seen Brick you’re missing out. He has recently surged to prominence, and is quickly becoming a recognizable face on the silver screen. I was pretty excited to see what he was going to bring to the table.

He brought nothing. I won’t ruin the “oh wow” moment baked into the movie’s denouement, but for a good two hours and thirty-two minutes, he does nothing.

Coming soon starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Unless you call moving the plot along with completely unrealistic narrative reaches like how JGL knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman, or how he feels self-righteous enough to give him a speech on responsibility, all stemming from outrage that Bruce Wayne isn’t supporting the orphanage he works with anymore. OK, got it. That’s how he meets Bruce Wayne. I’m sure there is no room for a meandering plot involving funding an orphanage in Gotham City in this juggernaut of a movie, is there? What’s that? You have a better idea? JGL should spend the last hour of the movie admitting that he can’t do anything to help the situation and therefore decide to take an entire orphanage, priest and all, in a suicide mission to leave the city (knowing he is likely to be shot), then pile them all back on the bus for the anti climactic finale.

“Hey this movie is wrapping up, has ten disparate plot lines, and lots of over-the-top action that needs to be resolved.”

“OK, right as all of that is about to happen, cut to a priest, some orphans, and the Third Rock kid in a bridge with a school bus. Throw in the cop from Dexter for good measure – but make sure he looks 14 years old.”

I say this with all compassion for those impoverished, lonely souls who I feel for daily: WHO GIVES A SHIT. How is this important in the movie? Batman isn’t helping them specifically. JGL is not doing anything to stop Bane or the bad guys AT ALL. So why do I care AT ALL. Terrible, terrible. The rest of the time JGL just runs around Gotham spouting cheesy lines, yelling at Matthew Modine, and most importantly, wasting my time. What a massive waste of talent, character development, and film.

So to summarize, about forty minutes into the movie, this was the summary of the insanely anticipated The Dark Knight Rises:

“Hey Alfred, I know you are not going to be in the movie for very long, but I just checked my statement. Did I spend $42 billion last month? Why didn’t the kid from Third Rock from the Sun tell me? And where’s the guy from Vision Quest, I need some overacting stat. And can you explain what the guy with the mask was saying earlier in the movie? I am legitimately confused.”

Let’s do it for the orphanage and my flagging film career

And it is just all downhill from there. Not even the gadget scenes were cool. Instead of neat new things to go on his utility belt, we are treated to a completely unrealistic (even for a summer movie super hero) Transformers-inspired piece of CGI crap named “The Bat”. And for the first sequence that we actually get to SEE BATMAN,

I think Batman is in there somewhere

we actually just see this stupid vehicle. And Matthew Modine’s amazement at it.

Once again, who cares. How is a flying machine supposed to replace the bad-ass cape-and-fists-flying-everywhere Dark Knight we know from the first two movies? It is amazing that something so flashy could be so boring.

But at least we get to see Batman (or his flying car thing at least!). Great, we are about an hour into the movie, so bring on the Batman vs Bane fireworks! Yes, I enjoyed seeing Batman get the ever-loving shit beat out of him because:

A) I felt the same way,

B) at least we were getting some action, and

C) maybe this plot would actually go somewhere.

Oh, it goes somewhere all right. AS FAR FROM GOTHAM AS POSSIBLE. Batman, or Bruce Wayne, or Christian Bale’s paycheck, spend the next hour  convalescing and watching TV for our amusement. Apparently he is there for a number of months, and it feels almost that long. One conversation with the old, beaten-down prisoners/shamen would have been plenty. Two would have been enough. Three is fine, but probably overdoing it. At about the 46th conversation, I was ready to go to that prison, climb up the ledge that Batman has to leap across, and jump into the abyss just to escape the absolute and abject boredom I felt for this sequence.

Wait, I’m here for almost half of the movie?

And just to be clear, the ONLY person to make this monumental jump was a 12 year old girl. Question. Why couldn’t the extremely muscular trained assassin jump over the chasm? What about one of the hundreds and hundreds of other strong male political and social dissidents? Could they have built some sort of rudimentary bridge across?

Most importantly, did Batman/Bruce Wayne feel the need to get a running start to make this jump, or just half-heartedly leap at it? And just out of curiosity, how did he get back from the desert wherever he was and back to SNOWY GOTHAM in a matter of hours.

No, I didn’t buy this, No I didn’t like this. Yes I thought it was not only stupid and illogical, but completely unnecessary. Even if you argue that the scenes existed to explain Bane’s back story – as well as another (yawn) character – in the movie, I argue that could have been accomplished through Marion Cotillard’s (annoying as always and perhaps the most contrived part of the movie) character near the end of the film.

Dear lord, just give us some Batman please.

And we get him. For about fifteen minutes at the end of the movie. Now, he has the massive “Bat” plane thing which has enough firepower to destroy at least one person – and there are hundreds if not thousands of armed, rioting bad guys around. Now may not be the best time for hand-to-hand combat.

A Poor Decision

And I didn’t realize this movie needed to end like Armageddon. All it was missing was Ben Affleck and a bad Aerosmith cover. Holy cow, that was bad. You know how you do super hero martyrdom in a summer blockbuster? Like this brilliant imagery in Spiderman 2:

Is that Spiderman or Jesus?

And bringing Alfred back at the end of the movie did nothing more than irritate me. What. A. Joke.

OK, I’m done. I genuinely don’t understand why this Batman was so long, and yet so very very hollow. It seems that it was a 5 hour movie that they cut the good 2 hours out of.

I really do love super hero movies. I really do love Batman. I really don’t understand what happened here. That said, I can’t wait for the new movie Robin Saves Some Orphans which should be storming the multiplexes just a few days before the apocalypse.

What did you think?  Am I way off base here?

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Big Brother Live Episode and Nominations: America F*&@s It Up for Everyone

If only the coaches watched Family Guy

Is anybody surprised that America voted to give the coaches a chance to join the game again?

Is anybody surprised that any of the coaches pressed the “Reset” button and voted to join the game again?

No, and No.

Glutton for Punishment

But I do feel slightly bad for Boogie. He seems to be the only “mature” one in this band of miscreants. Hell no he doesn’t want to go back to kindergarten. Grad school is so much cooler. It’s like a porn star that makes her way into (semi) legitimate work. Why would they go back to humiliating themselves in front of a camera when they can just phone it in, maintain some level of dignity, and cash a more modest, but easier-to-look-at-yourself-in-the-mirror paycheck?

But let’s rewind – briefly – to Thursday. I blame my friend for cursing my DVR to not work to tape Big Brother on Thursday – so I apologize for the delay in summarizing the most obvious and expected really exciting and totally unpredictable twist in Big Brother history with the coaches joining the game.

In hindsight, I don’t feel that bad, because really the entire hour was a waste. For us, for the Big Brother contestants, and most of all for Shane the Brain. The whole episode was an exercise in futility. We already KNEW that Shane planned on getting Frank out (unbeknownst to Boy Wonder). We knew he had the votes to do so (shockingly, Boogie and Frank both seemed to be genuinely surprised when this came to light – which genuinely surprised ME).

So Shane uses all of his HOH capital to get Frank out of the house. He pulls the wool over Boogie’s eyes, Frank’s eyes, and Britney’s eyes (oh no, she is just oblivious in general).  And he is ready to strike. And that is when America decides to ruin it for Shane. And us.

Even Stimpy waited a few seconds…

Aside here, Wil with one L is a jerk. I’m not going to even waste more time on him. He is pompous, self-righteous, and most of all, completely annoying (two Ns). And rule #1 in the Big Brother house: don’t frak with Janelle.

Wil

His argument and castigation of Janelle, both to Joe the Screaming Coach, and the camera, came off as whiny, petulant, and full of misdirected anger.

YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN ON THE BLOCK IF SHE HADN’T SAVED YOU THIS WEEK, MORON (ONE ‘N’).

YOU HAVE BEEN A MAIN TARGET FOR WEEKS AND HAVE YET TO WIN A CHALLENGE.

SHE IS SAVING YOU BY BROKERING DEALS FOR YOU DAILY.

SLOW. IT. DOWN. WIL.

So here we are at the live eviction ceremony and the Chenbot tells everyone the terrible good news: coaches can join the game again! So how will they vote? Predictably. Boogie has no interest.

Janelle can’t hit the button fast enough. Fair. She hasn’t won. She wants to win.

Dan has a nice speech and also hits the button. He doesn’t have a restaurant like Boogie does, so I guess this makes (no) sense.

Britney hits the button because she is interested in tormenting herself and us for another two months before losing. again. I’m looking forward to seeing it coming a mile away before she does. That is always fun.

Boogie maintains a modicum of self-respect. Though in fairness at the time he thought Frank was staying. With Frank gone, Boogie’s Coach’s chances dwindle considerably to Ian (still on the fence between lovable dweeb and sexual predator) and Jenn (who I think is playing the game still because they keep on asking her and her dead tooth questions).

So what happens for everyone? a CLEAN SLATE. Nobody goes home. Shane can win HOH again – and the chances of everyone winning decreases by 50%. Who wouldn’t be happy?

Well, let’s count:

(1) Shane wasted his entire HOH,

(2) Joe would have been saved,

(3) Janelle (since Joe would have been saved),

(4) Danielle – because Shane is unhappy,

(5+6) Boogie and Frank ironically since they thought Joe was going home,

(7) everyone but Boogie’s team – because the red-headed head of the Boogie dragon would have been gone.

Well done, Big Brother. All aboard the weird Pirate ship thing for the HOH challenge.

I hate these “tune in on Sunday to see who wins HOH” challenges. Why? Anyone who cares enough to watch 12 grown people hang onto a pretend pirate ship for any amount of time are sure to tune in on Sunday to see who stayed on the pretend pirate ship the longest. So stop it. Just tell us who won. I don’t even need to see the challenge.

In many ways, there are no winners on Big Brother

Fast-forward to Sunday. Boogie adopts Frank as the red-headed stepchild of Chill Town, telling him he is the new Will (two Ls). This is of course after Boogie and Frank unceremoniously fail the challenge together. Boogie’s apathy is understandable on multiple levels (strategy, literal apathy at competing again), but Frank’s seemed to be more…rigged. Look who was left at the end. Three super-light, ok-let’s-just-say-it WEAK contestants, while all of the bigger, more physically competitive players fell off VERY early (Shane, Boogie, Frank, Janelle were all among the first off). Not that this show is rigged. Just…positioned. Frank never had a chance.

Look who’s having trouble at the Pirate Ship challenge

But this gives Boogie and Frank plenty of time to over-analyze Dan’s whispered info that “Frank was going home” right before the HOH challenge. I remain surprised that Boogie was so trusting of the other contestants that he actually sized the situation up incorrectly. Maybe he doesn’t have nearly as much control of the house as we have been led to believe.

So after a very boring exciting challenge, we are left with Danielle, Ian, and Britney hanging on for dear life.

Kudos to Big Brother for cutting to Frank and Boogie talking INSIDE about how they have their faith in Ian to win and save them this week then cutting back to Ian making a deal with two of Frank’s threats to safety in the house and offering to VOLUNTARILY JUMP OFF – which he does. And we have a winner. Shane Danielle.

Yay. Danielle is so interesting to watch. Look, there she is talking to Shane to get his opinion. Look, she’s talking about kissing Shane. Oh there she is talking to Shane and thinking about kissing him! Kill. me. now.

Wait I won? Where’s Shane?

So she nominates Wil and Frank. There’s not a lot of ceremony around this. Frank was screwed because Danielle is still realizing Shane’s dream of controlling Danielle getting rid of Frank, while Wil seems to have pissed off the wrong people. A physical threat with fewer and fewer friends in the house (what a fall from grace, he seemed like a surefire contender for America’s favorite player a week ago)Wil seems destined to leave the house shortly, if not this week, then shortly afterwards. Frank, on the other hand, seems to have nine lives. Since he has only used up three of them, I expect him to finagle his way out of this mess, and regain power within the week (calling it now, Frank or Boogie is the next HOH).

So what do you think? Was the coaches twist blatantly unfair to Shane? Were you surprised that so many of the coaches jumped at the opportunity to play again? Is Ashley not only the most interesting person in the house, but a dark horse to win the game now?

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Big Brother Nominations and POV: Ian Is Too ‘Frank’ With Shane and Britney

It’s hard to be the ball when you’re on the block

“I’ve got to do what’s best for me and that might be not listening to coaches right now. – Shane

“If Shane has anything in that jock brain of his, he’ll nominate Frank.” – Joe

“As long as Shane feels safe, he may put Frank up on the block.” – Janelle

“Shane winning the POV is great for me – it makes his target bigger and at the same time we are working together – so I am safe.” – Frank, right before being nominated

I am standing right now. Clapping. Yes, the perpetually-in-pink, aw-shucks-i’m-not-good-i’m -just-built-this-way, super Big Brother hero known as Shane did the impossible: he made a good move. I almost owe Shane an apology – he actually seems to be pretty shrewd. On a relative basis, he is lapping his airhead coach, Britney, and has impressively gotten the entire house to sit in the palm of his hand.

But let’s not give him so much credit. If for no other reason than it makes me look bad.

Instead, let’s quickly rewind to Sunday, which was an entire hour of almost nothing. Save the extremely awkward, too-jiggly-and-too-flashdance-for-my-taste Coach’s competition, and Joe’s obscenely transparent ass-kissing move of WAKING THE HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD UP WITH FOOD HE DIDN’T WANT OR ASK FOR, Sunday’s episode seemed headed to its obvious, inexorable conclusion.

Before the nominations (hint, they were not surprising), we were treated to a series of disturbing images, including and not limited to:

  • I can think of four things wrong with this picture

    Mike Boogie and Dan riding the Booty Scooty 6000 like it owed them money;

  • Dan and Janelle making out with a stick – I don’t even know what to say about this;
  • Wil dancing around in a banana (one ‘N’) hammock (two ‘M’s), one NOBODY NEEDED THAT;
  • Shane molesting Danielle (who must be getting a daily lobotomy in the confession room) in the snack room

Back to what matters (barely): We’ve all seen Frank and Shane and Boogie devise this master plan to rule the universe, and I admittedly put my chips on Frank and Boogie, using Shane to get where they want in the game. So when Shane decided to put up Hippie Dippie Ashley and the Screaming Chef Joe instead of Danny Noonan Frank, not only was I not surprised, I was also not surprised (wait I just said that).

Originally, Wil was the target, and that actually made sense. But Janelle’s quick tongue afforded her the opportunity to save the one L’d wonder, leaving Joe and Ashley prime for Britney’s revenge.

This show is 100% more interesting than Britney

Revenge on what, I am not sure, but Britney seems to have a vendetta against Janelle. Which is funny, considering Janelle considers Britney nothing more than window dressing in relation to the other, COMPETENT contestants. So la-dee-da, despite Joe’s screaming at the camera, and Ashley’s pining for soaring with the eagles, they both end up on the block.

Of course, us Big Brother historians begin to speculate if there is a grand back-door in the works. It seems like that is not the case, as Wednesday’s episode found us right back with Britney feeling that Janelle’s (nonexistent) slights against her must be addressed, and that her pathetic attempt to stay in the game is not only a waste of her time, but demanding of her predictable and off-putting eye rolls and damn-it-i-hate-to-say-it great impressions (we got a spot on impression of Joe screaming his strategy). Shane seemed to fly the same flag, claiming that it is about time that Janelle’s people felt what it is like to be on the block.

Pssst! Danielle, you are almost as interesting as Jenn.

Fast-forward to the largely uninteresting Power of Veto, which saw a true battle of wits between…nobody. Ashley and Joe were out as soon as they opened their mouths, Frank has obviously been infected with Boogie’s over-confidence, while Danielle continues to insult women everywhere by being absolutely useless (and nothing more than Betty or Veronica to Shane’s Archie in the house – but with less personality or depth). Oh, and apparently Jenn is still in the house as she hosted this challenge. Great casting there, Big Brother. Maybe the couch cushion can host the next challenge and be more interesting…

Of course Shane won. He’s the new Janelle (the current title holder for POV and overall challenge victories in Big Brother history). So at this point, I am thinking it is time to start thinking of snarky one-liners to describe Shane’s numbskull gameplay.

ALAS NO! THANK YOU IAN! In an attempt to have any sort of conversation with Milhouse, Britney asks him a question about Ian’s thoughts on voting out Shane.

And Ian answers her…

I may just be a brilliant, never-make-a-mistake Big Brother fanatic, but I am pretty sure that rule #1 of reality television in general is if someone from a reality show team asks you what you think of their strongest, best-looking, threatening player, try not to suggest that you MAY VOTE HIM OFF WHEN YOU HAVE THE CHANCE – oh and i may or may not be speaking for my entire team which is already on thin ice and in a tenuous situation with new nominations in limbo.

So Britney tells Shane. Then Shane tells Frank. Then Frank tells Shane that obviously Boogie hasn’t told Ian what to do yet. Then Shane thinks “wait a minute, I don’t have NEARLY as much control of this group as I thought I did” and then he does something amazing – wait for it – wait for it…

He nominates the right person. He takes Moon Shadow Ashley off the block, and to almost everyone’s amazement, puts Frankie on the block. Is Frank shocked? No. Does he blame Ian? Definitely. Do we care? Absolutely not.

So it is Frank vs. Joe as we head into tonight’s LIVE episode (oh Chenbot what will you do to fascinate me tonight). I’m actually pretty excited as I am not sure who will go home. Bad news for Shane if Frank stays (unlikely if you assume Jenn and Ian will vote for Joe to go home, Wil and Ashley will vote for him to stay, and Danielle will vote for Joe to go home because, as Shane says “[Danielle] will do whatever I want her to do”.)

So what do you think? Has Frank gone from hero to zero? Is Shane the obvious target next week given he has no teammates to defend him? Is there a reason that every time we see Shane, his clothes are getting pinker and tighter at the same time? Will Julie Chen speak in ebonics again tonight? And most importantly, whose reaction will be most annoying when the coaches find out they are joining the game? So many questions!

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Big Brother Live Eviction: Grab a Life Jacket

Quick, what do the this boat and the Titanic have in common?

“Shane is over there trying to board the Staten Island Ferry.” – Ian

“Iceberg, dead ahead!” – Titanic

“If your players are getting evicted for violence, you’re doing a terrible job coaching.” – Dr. Will, about Britney

Like any good movie, the most powerful story lines always seem to revolve around the down-on-their-luck, nobody-believed-in-them underdog stories of triumph out of defeat, success from failure, celebration from tragedy. Luckily, Big Brother offers similar emotional story lines that tug at our heartstrings three times a week, and live on Thursdays.

Take Shane for example. Like any good underdog story, Shane, the very good-looking, universally liked house flipper (more on that in a second)  has all the cards stacked against him:

1) None of the girls like him (or, they are jealous and actually fighting over him),

2) the guys hate him (or he is really close with the most powerful guys in the house), and

3) he can’t win challenges (or he’s won three our of the last four).

Good for Shane. He may be vacuous, but the guy successfully extricated himself from The Titanic Britney’s team. Just like the good-looking rich people on that fateful cruise, Shane grabbed himself a life vest, pushed over the people with funny accents and “Love Me or Hate Me” shirts, and jumped into a lifeboat. The only difference is I’m assuming none of them said “You left me with some pretty good dreams” as they were floating away…

Look, It’s Britney’s Team

But let’s begin and the beginning, shall we? Poor Danielle! One of the early favorites, a media darling – and now in jeopardy of being unceremoniously left off the podium! FOR SHAME – and it’s not even because she is pretty and affable – it’s because the rest of her team stunk. And worst of all, Shane, who apparently she likes (which, unless you have watched Big Brother After Dark on Showtime you probably wouldn’t know at all) – is talking flirtatiously with JoJo? What?

We’re through the looking glass here, people

Well, according to Ian, who tells almost everyone else in the house, Shane is in fact trying to “board the Staten Island Ferry” – best line of the season to-date. It was weird, a bit awkward, and off-putting. But to Danielle, it inspired Shakespeare. Of course, we didn’t really see the woman scorned. Instead we saw a Danielle crying and whimpering. Nor did we see Dan’s big move. I think he was sleeveless for part of this episode, so maybe he left the trick up his other sleeve…

The girls have a fun session saying Shane is too small, with all of them deciding they would crush him. More importantly, it seems that Danielle is getting in good with Ashley and Janelle, so she may have a chance yet.

Britney, on the other hand, wouldn’t only not be suited to be a coach in the olympics, I don’t think she could work in a Coach store – “Basically I don’t know if you’re staying” she tells JoJo. Translation: “Not only do I not have any confidence that you will stay, I am also useless and not in touch with anybody else in the house. Oh, and by the way, I hate you, and you’re “I know” response to everything. To the point where I smack talk you in the confession room.” Oh Britney, you are so…Britney.

Britney and Boogie discuss potential strategy (as if Britney has any leverage at all) – and Boogie discusses keeping Dan around should the coaches become part of the game. Mike Boogie continues to be the only one with the vision (and luxury) to look more than 1/2 step ahead in the game…

Longer, blonder, and grosser

Oh Live eviction, you are so awkward. Winner this time had to be the chef Joe and his insanely blonde soul patch pubic hair thing. What is that? Why did it turn super-blonde? I know you’re a chef, but thank you for reminding me by WEARING A CHEF’S JACKET TO THE LIVE SHOW – This is not Top Chef. It’s not even one of the numerous shitty Gordon Ramsay shows. Put that thing away.

The highlight of the episode for Big Brother historians was checking pin with Dr. Will. Usually this is just a good ten minute time-suck on the live episodes, but Will is so goddam entertaining that it was probably better than 2/3 of the show. He had a great line about everyone, and a fascinating observation.

About Boogie: “He’s got the jock with the crazy hair, he’s got the nerd, and he’s got the rocker. He’s turning Frank into Frankenstein.”

About Will: “If Kermit the Frog and Ryan Seacrest had a baby, it would be Dan…He picked a lot of hot ass to put on his team.”

About Britney: “If your players are getting evicted for violence, you’re doing a terrible job coaching.

About Janelle: “She is a phenomenal competitor. The question is, is she good at strategy. If she loses, she is just a three-time loser.

About who is going to win the show: “If I had to guess today the one person to win this game, it’s going to be Ian…” Why? “Boogie is just a 40-year old Ian.”

I miss you, Will

My other bitchy comments about the live segment of the show:

  • Julie Chen, saying “Are you my home skillet” to Frank, or anybody in the universe, is a horrendous idea. Don’t ever do that again ever. Ever.
  • Danielle, why were you dressed for Prom? Or were you dressing like a birthday present for Halloween? I sense that you never felt that you would be going home – and sincerely hope that you would have rethought your wardrobe if you thought you were actually leaving last night.
  • Joe, the blonde facial hair thing is still weird. As is the coach’s jacket.
  • Ian, your “Thermodynamics Get Me Hot” shirt was incredible. I almost forgive you for your weirdness in episodes 1  through the end of the show.
  • Shane, the opposite for your “you left me with some pretty good dreams” comment to JoJo after she left
  • JoJo, you really did a great job hiding your contempt and frustration, mouthing “Shocker” as they announced you were going home, and responding to Chenbot’s “What did you think of Britney as a coach” with an initial response of “Ummmm…” –  I know, JoJo. I know.
  • Jenn has one too many ‘N’s and Wil has one too few ‘L’s and neither apparently is interesting enough to get more airtime. Yawn.

Then surprise, surprise,surprise. Shane wins an overly long, and who-cares hockey challenge for Head of Household. Shane is so excited, he’s…well, let’s just say it:


So Shane is king, and Britney is drowning. Janelle and Boogie seem to be floating away, and unconcerned about any turn of events, whether it be coaches joining the house, who is Head of Household.

I think it is a foregone conclusion that at least some of the judges will enter the house. They don’t know that yet, but it definitely seems to favor the quieter, more subtle players in my un-humble opinion (Janelle, I am looking squarely at you and your very strange plastic-surgery face and body).

So who do you think Shane will nominate?  Will the players team up against the coaches when they join the house? Will Britney even be there by then?

Most importantly, did you hear that Willie Hantz got arrested for DWI?

Don’t be shy. Opinionize.

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Big Brother Nomination and Veto: Mimbos in Charge

Frank and Shane are pretty close to busting out Blue Steel

“Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?” – Derek Zoolander

“Planning ahead is always good, kids.” – Mike Boogie

“Why are they voting off all of the weak people first? Are they that stupid?” – Me

As I was watching last night’s episode in all of its glory, I wondered what the producers’ motivation was with adding coaches this year. There has certainly been speculation that the coaches will end up joining the game. Yes, it’s possible (I don’t think so). It’s also possible that the coaches’ participation is exactly as it has been explained to its avid audience.

So let’s take that as read. If that is the case, did the producers expect the continual mutinous acts of Shane and Frank to subvert the pre-established alliances so early? By the end of the second week of the show, I am not sure if things have gone as planned, or not.

What I do know is that the coaches have largely lost control. Well, not all of the coaches. Well, OK, just Britney. But with Dan down to one, it’s looking like the Janelle-Boogie show for now. Will that change? Absolutely. Why? Because the mimbos are officially in charge.

But let’s start from the beginning of the episode. With Willie gone, Shane and JoJo popped the cork on the traditional “we are definitely getting nominated” pity party – even Britney joined in on the action.

Pity party, table for three

While JoJo and Shane are busy wallowing with Britney, Frank is upstairs partying with…the coaches. Wasn’t Frank about to be thrown out a week ago? Now he’s effectively a fifth coach, laughing it up with Janelle and Mike. With all of the power in his hands, Frank can’t help but flex his muscles – and flex he does. He tells JoJo “you had your chance” when she goes groveling to him for help.

I don’t understand why the rest of the house is castigating Shane and JoJo for voting for the person in their alliance – hindsight is 20/20, but Frank’s afro must be getting in the way, because his self-righteousness is a bit off-putting, and by a bit, I mean COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY.

Oh, and one more thing before we continue. Frank, please STOP BLINKING SO MUCH. It is not only distracting, but…well, it’s just distracting. Please stop. now.

Get Used To It, Folks

So unpredictably predictably JoJo and Shane go up. But not before Boogie floats the idea of back-dooring somebody, likely Shane. For those neophytes, the backdoor is intentionally NOT nominating the person you want to go home, with the expectation that you can nominate them following the veto challenge, and strip them of the ability to save themselves. But this is just something to get us through one more set of commercials, so Shane and JoJo it is. Britney is a big help to them. By crying, offering little advice, and proving that she shouldn’t have been brought back in the first place, her sulking pout is likely the only look we will get from her until her eventual departure.

Boogie, however, keeps his eyes on the prize, telling Frank to “nurture” his relationship with Shane. And he gets his chance after Shane wins the veto challenge.

Ashley, this is Earth, do you read me?

Aside here. We got more information about some of the contestants this episode than we have ever gotten before. By far the winner of the hour was Ashley, who is orbiting further and further away from Earth with every episode, but in a fantastically endearing way. Her best quotes were “this is the coolest thing ever” in response to the Mexican-themed veto challenge, and her strategy for the challenge “if I just remember the first four letter of each word…” – that is infinitely harder than just remembering the entire word – just fantastic.

Shane gets bonus points for his “I have a bad short term memory” quote. You? Mr shallower than a wading pool?

Shallow he may be, but the guy can win a veto challenge (second week in a row). Shane smartly goes to Frank Boogie and pledges his eternal loyalty to him. Bye, bye, Britney’s alliance. Now it’s just you and JoJo. That won’t be annoying. Shane and Frank and Boogie  all scheme and connive, with Boogie telling Shane: “the key component is you cannot tell Britney” – which he doesn’t.

Sure enough, Shane uses the veto on himself, and Frank puts up Danielle.

I was surprised that Shane’s alternate idea for nomination which he pitched to, but never had any legs with Frank and Boogie was to try to save JoJo and target Wil as one of the biggest physical threats in the house. The surprising part about the nominations (and not going with Shane’s surprisingly well thought out idea) is that Frank and Shane are themselves the biggest physical threats in the house – so why are they going about eliminating the already-down-in-numbers girls on the show who don’t have their massive muscle-bound physiques, egos and hubris? Have they not learned from the past? Flex your power too early, and lose your shot at the $500,000?

Danielle, You may be screwed

After the veto, Dan tells Danielle “I can’t help you”. Translation? You are pretty screwed. There was a bunch of crying and (justified) complaining about how screwed she had been on the show, and now is the last low hanging fruit in the game. Personally, I think she has enough charisma to make it through the week. Dan promises there is some Hail Mary play he has up his sleeve. Of course, when he said that he was wearing short sleeves, so I am less confident.

Just as in the past episodes so far this season, the biggest winner here remains Boogie. though kudos to Janelle for nicely and quietly bouncing along, under the radar, and ready to pounce. Dan is one move away from leaving the game himself, and Britney is one sulking fit away from me breaking my television…but I expect a mix-up soon because the coach twist seems to be losing some steam. Let’s hope that comes as soon as Thursday.

What do you think? Are the mimbos going to make it to the end? Will Danielle make it out alive this week? Who will win HOH? And does anybody actually like Mike Boogie?

Don’t be shy. Opinionize.

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Big Brother 14 Second (and Third) Eviction – Steamboat Willie Blows His Stack

The Biggest Competition on Big Brother This Week Wasn’t Planned

Oh what a difference a first name makes. Reality show aficionados, regardless of whether you love him or hate him, universally agree that Russell Hantz is one of the best reality show contestants to-date. His brother, Willie?? Not so much..

Steamboat Willie

We knew Willie was starting to feel the power at the end of the last week, as he sat with Frank and deviously planned a coup de coaches that would lead to Willie’s ultimate demise. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – when people on this show get any sense of power this early in the game, they usually trip all over it. And trip he did.

What’s funny (to me, at least) is that what Britney unwittingly  did by getting Willie paranoid about the coaches potentially entering the game as contestants is exactly what Russell would do knowingly if he was in that position. Sow seeds of doubt, and watch them blossom into social disasters.

The Good Book

So Willie gets everyone together. Sorry, not everyone. “Players only”. Aren’t the coaches players? What would the players hope to gain by teaming up against the coaches who are a) supposed to – and incentivized to – help them, and b) scheming against people that not only can you not vote out, but still remain somewhat subject to their discretion and whims. Meeting about it isn’t going to fix that. Just ask Wil with one L, oh wait he’s taking a 24-hour break.

So Willie has meeting after meeting – one with the house, one with Britney, one with the mirror. But then he decides to impersonate Wil with one L – I mean it’s just us manly men here, right? Wrong, and Frank uses this to galvanize the entire house against Willie. The irony is so perfect Alanis Morisette could release a single – Willie himself brought everyone together with a common purpose – to vilify Willie.

Even These Couldn’t Heal The Wounds of Big Brother

And vilify they did. He was so ostracized in a matter of minutes that the best threat he could come up with for the house was that we would eat Fruit Loops outside and smoke whenever he wanted. I thought over-sweetened breakfast cereal was supposed to bring us together, or at worst, keep us believing in the magic of talking pelicans, leprechauns, and kleptomaniac rabbits. Apparently it’s the line in the sand on Big Brother.

So Kara goes home. It really doesn’t deserve more screen time than that – yes it was a close vote, but the first week usually is as alliances aren’t fully solidified – bottom line is that if Frank was able to whip the house into that much of a frenzy so quickly against Willie, odds are he could get one more vote than Kara, who apparently left her personality in her other centerfold. In my opinion, the best and most telling look we got at Kara’s impact on the Big Brother house was Shane’s completely vapid, shallow, and all-too-douchy “I’ll miss your legs” – and he said it twice. So will CBS…

On to the Head of Household (HOH) challenge, where it seems poetic justice and political correctness unite above the final two contestants for HOH – Frank, leader of the anti-Willie and pro-Wil with one L movement, and Wil himself! Oh reality show gods how you smile upon us.

How perfect that Willie with two L’s ad Wil with one L are the ones at odds with each other – it seems like the extra L is important after all, thank you for clarifying that early Wil with one L.

OK let’s refocus on the coaches before we watch Britney drive her own contestant out of the house – I said as the show started that we would see Janelle and Dan join forces, as the battle of the sexes quickly runs out of steam. Sure enough, if you look at the vote, it seems that Janelle’s people voted to keep Frank – and vote out Kara. So Boogie still seems to hold the chips, but it is telling that Britney’s people voted the opposite way…so much for the all-girl Coach alliance. Oh, and Janelle made all of Britney’s team have-nots for the week. And Dan told Danielle the Teen Boy Fantasy Nurse that she should team up with Janelle to create a block.

So if we are keeping score, it’s Boogie with 1 point, Dan and Janelle now joined together with one point, and Britney with no points or clue and a psycho on her hands.

Well, Boogie would have had one point, but he is such an arrogant asshead that as he was about to win the Coach’s challenge, he jumped off the beam to say something about being an asshole and LOST the challenge as a result.

Oh Britney – I know you are outraged at Willie, how dare he blah blah blah – but I don’t really think it serves your interests to tell the person who is already hated by the house that he is hated by the house. I understand you want to distance yourself from him. But that doesn’t mean you poke the bear. Especially when that bear is a Hantz. Maybe you wanted to goad him into going bananas, but that would conflict with the idea of keeping him around to draw attention away from other players. So all in all, what you did made no sense.

Look, I’m Driving Myself Into the Ground

That is not to say that Steamboat Willie behaved well – at all. His brother thrives in this environment, making a few friends out of enemies, and subverting trust in the house. But what he didn’t do was go absolutely batshit.

CBS has tried valiantly to inject the Hantz formula back into its biggest reality shows, first with the lame-brained (and sure-to-become-a-case-for-Law & Order SVU) idiot of a nephew Brandon – who we will hear from shortly, and then with Willie. Obviously that success has been hard to replicate. But that won’t keep the Hantzes from talking and offering their wackjob opinions.

Just an aside here – hey Brandon – if your defense of Willie includes the following line, it is probably better if you go back to dealing with your own issues, of which there is obviously a long list.

“I make fun of people all the time — I don’t care if you’re black or white or Hispanic or gay or homosexual. Whenever I joke around, I don’t discriminate.”
-Brandon Hantz, in defense of his uncle

You knew there was trouble brewing when the argument spilled out from behind closed doors. Even Pointdexter eating his pudding couldn’t distract Willie from his path of destruction – “Just eat your pudding” he tells Mighty Mouse – and indeed he does…but Willie is just getting started.

And finished. He runs into Joe, Big Brother comes in and throws him out of the house, and the episode ends. It all happened so quickly that we couldn’t even enjoy the pudding line. You’re not allowed to physically threaten or actually hit any other contestant – so we knew Willie was done as soon as he head butted Joe, who instigated all of this by saying in response to WIllie’s eloquent “there are a bunch of f&^*ers up in this b#$tch” with “you’re the only f&^*er I see”. It was quick, it was over before it started, and it was awesome.

Here it is in the Hantzes’ own words on the family-run enHANTZed podcast, starting at 5:05 in the video.  (My favorite quotes are “let’s get to the pudding” and “i want to get inside you”:)

But the Hantzes aren’t going to go out without removing class and dignity from the discussion. So we look at Twitter even today as crazy Willie is THREATENING JOE ON TWITTER.

Willie Hantz’ Twitter Page

Maybe not as flat out entertaining and middle-finger-up-at-the-producers (and completely unhinged) unsubtle departure of Chima two seasons ago, but it was wild.


So Willie gets thrown out of the house. And nominations are pushed until Wednesday.

So who do you think will get nominated? Is Britney right that they are losing too many contestants too quickly? (YES) Are the coaches going to join the game? Will they use crazy Willie’s departure as a way to get a Playboy Playmate back into the house? See you on Wednesday.

Don’t Be Shy. Opinionize.

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