Archive for February, 2008

I suppose this makes TiFaux a partisan blog

By now, I’m sure a good portion of you have seen or at least heard about Mike Huckabee’s appearance on last week’s SNL. (For the rest of you, he appeared on Weekend Update to talk about the dead-end nature of his floundering candidacy.)

Here’s a clip of Huckabee behind the scenes at SNL.

I still can’t really understand why he did it — acknowledge that it’s all over and then go right back to the campaign trail. I’m guessing he’s just hoping that any publicity is good publicity.

But also, I’m struck by how likable and level-headed he seems. When you think about the things he says (letting gay people get married would end civilization, quartine AIDS patients) and then you talk to him in person, the disconnect is huge.

This appearance goes to the heart of my idea that Republicans have nothing on the rest of us when it comes to funny. Huckabee has been pretty consistently humorous throughout the campaign (think of that little “uh oh” he let out in the clip above — great timing!) I don’t think that Republicans not being funny is really a theory I have, as much as it is an assumption I’ve been working under for a long time. Case in point, Fox’s ham-handed attempt at a Daily Show-type program was Half Hour News Hour, which, thankfully, has not caught fire. Or maybe it has in other circles, but I haven’t heard about it in a year.

I guess there have been some funny Republicans. I hate to break it to you, but I think Brian Williams from NBC is actually a huge Republican. Even though we all love him on The Daily Show.

5 comments February 29th, 2008

The More You Know: Unexpected charity edition

February 29th, 2008

Project Runway gets its final three

chrisrami.jpgNext week is the big Project Runway finale! Hold on to your hats, suckers!

This week, though, we found out who would be joining birdy Christian and personified nervous breakdown Jillian at Fashion Week.

I’m breaking down last night’s results with some hardcore analysis after the jump, but for now you can say who you think should have won.

Who deserved to go to Bryant Park?
View Results

Click to continue reading “Project Runway gets its final three”

2 comments February 28th, 2008

The More You Know: Bad pairings edition

Eh, enough of that.

February 28th, 2008

Beauty and the Geek celebrates diversity

gaysian.jpgThe Ashton Kutcher brainchild Beauty and the Geek is shattering another cultural norm this season.

After previously proving that girls can be smart too, now they’re tackling the illusion that gay men can be socially inadequate. This season, in some sort of boys vs. girls set-up, they’ve cast a self-proclaimed “gaysian.”

Viva the rainbow.

February 27th, 2008

Welcome to the Captain: You’d be surprised

In the dwindling days of strike doldrums, there are some bright spots besides Project Runway and Lost. One of them is a little show called Welcome to the Captain.

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I think Welcome to the Captain might turn into one of those shows, like How I Met Your Mother, that I never really make an effort to watch, but usually enjoy when I accidentally tune in. I never really even realized it was on until alerted by my brother that Jeffrey Tambor was in it — playing a trademark off-kilter comedic supporting role.

The show has a strong ensemble cast playing wacky residents in a large apartment complex. The main characters are Josh (the Ross/Jim/Sam) and Hope (the Rachel/Pam/Diane). Josh is a comedic protagonist archetype — the scruffy-haired creative (in this case a screenwriter) with lady troubles. Hope is the pure, perky and smart girl in a dead-end relationship that creates the driving tension for the series.

The supporting cast makes the show come alive, like all good ensemble comedies. First up, there’s Tambor who is predictably great as the space cadet neighbor who is convinced he was on Three’s Company. There’s Josh’s roommate who is played by Chris Klein. Klein actually does the job pretty well — cast perfectly to type as a vapid prettyboy. His character is a Los Angeles-ified, somewhat less lunkheaded version of the character he played in Election. Also, Raquel Welch plays the vampy post-cougar.

One of the highlights of the show is the wacky ethnic sidekick — in this case Jesus the doorman (Jesus, pronounced like the lord and savior — not “hey Seuss”). He’s kind of a twenty-first century Balki Bartakomous. Played by stand-up comedian Al Madrigal, his schtick can be a little cheesy, but Madrigal’s timing and reactions are often laugh-out-loud funny.

2 comments February 27th, 2008

The More You Know: Large German words edition

February 27th, 2008

Guest straight columnist: Justice League reviewed

Hey guys, here’s a TiFaux guest contribution! I got my straight guy friend Rob to write up a review of the Justice League: The New Frontier. I keep a few straight guys in my circle of friends to make it seem like I’m open minded about other lifestyles. Seems like most of them have beards these days (Rob, folk singer Justin) — go figure. Anyway, here’s what he had to say…

(Oh, and he wants me to tell you that this probably deserves a PG-13 rating because heads blow up at certain points in the movie.)

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When Dan made sure that a review copy of Justice League: The New Frontier made it into my hands, I couldn’t have been more pleased. I’m a big fan of the comic book it’s based on, and pretty much everything by its author and artist, Darwyn Cooke, who served as a creative consultant for the movie.

So, apparently the DC comics animation guys who made Batman: The Animated Series and the Justice League cartoons have moved away from television and into the direct-to-DVD market. Fine by me, if it means they can do more mature, long-form stories but still, while The New Frontier is a great book, it’s kind of an odd fit for a film. Y’see, the story takes place in the 1950s, involves a huge cast with several separate storylines and takes its atmospheric cues from Cold War-era paranoia. I can see the instant appeal for comic book readers, but to the uninitiated who haven’t subjected themselves to decades of comics lore, it might be a little bit jarring.

There’s a lot to love in the first two-thirds of the film, though. For the most part, the animation is nice – better than the Batman cartoons, although not on the level of, say, Spirited Away. The book’s cast list was chopped down, so what we’re left with two main plotlines: a hotshot pilot’s path to becoming the Green Lantern and a Martian visitor slowly learning the ways of earth. There are also a handful of other supporting players with their own stories, including a morally conflicted Superman who’s been drafted as a government agent, a really cool interpretation of Wonder Woman who’s built like a linebacker, and my personal favorite, a nice-guy version of the Flash who has a couple of sweet moments with his fiancé. The narratives are filled with fun little 50s-era flourishes, especially Green Lantern’s, which clearly draws much of its inspiration from Tom Wolfe’s “The Right Stuff.”

Unfortunately, all of those storylines come together in a messy pileup at the movie’s end, which pits the assembled heroes against a poorly defined superthreat that turns out to be (spoiler alert) a flying dinosaur island that can shoot energy beams. And, although the movie makes some weak attempts at foreshadowing, this thing basically just appears as an excuse for everyone to provide a common enemy. Plus, a bunch of heroes from the book who were mostly cut from the film appear for the climactic scene, but you’d have no idea who they are, because they have no lines.

Of course, I know all of the characters and I’ve read the book, so I was OK. But, just to test my accessibility theory about this movie, I watched it with the girlfriend. Here’s a sample of our conversation:

g/f: What’s that Wonder Woman’s flying in? A cage made out of blood?
me: No, Wonder Woman has an invisible plane. I think she was just bleeding all over the cockpit.
g/f: Wonder Woman has an invisible plane?
me: Yep.
g/f: That’s awesome.

So, yeah, the uninitiated would probably find much of this movie – especially the last 30 minutes – almost incomprehensible. It seems like the writers either should have further simplified the original material even further or given the story more room to breath, which would have required more than its meager 75-minute run-time. But even with those fairly glaring flaws, it’s still fun for nerds, though, especially those who want a companion piece for the book.

February 26th, 2008

The More You Know: Homeless, DC, crackheads edition

February 26th, 2008

Big Brother — you’re incorrigible

Exploitational reality TV shows are like snowflakes — they’re all perverse in their own special way.

There’s the Fear Factor variety of exploitation — the “I’ll pay you a modest sum to do something disgusting” kind — where the host is the equivalent of a weaselly redheaded schoolboy who dares the kid most in need of attention to eat bugs. Then there’s the kind of exploitation embodied by The Biggest Loser and Starting Over– where people with huge problems reveal way too much of themselves.

But Big Brother is a special case among the genres. They seemingly cast exclusively from the pool of LA waiter/actor/models, thereby getting a crop of people who are willing to do anything for screen time. As mentioned before, one of their current cast members has a career kissing boys on camera.

Now, one of Big Brothers more sadistic twists has caused two of its cast members to need medical attention. The show often forces half of the cast to eat a diet of “slop” in order to incite conflict and misery. According to Reality Blurred, while one cast member had an allergic reaction to the slop, another had an out and out seizure:

Amanda Hansen passed out and then had a seizure on the live feeds after saying, “I need sugar really bad, and they won’t let me in the DR,” The “DR” is the diary room, where contestants interact with producers, and “they” equals the producers. She then said it was “because I’m hypoglycemic. I need bread or fruit or something. I need sugar really bad, and I went in the DR and told them. … They better give me some. I think I’m going to go again.” In other words, producers apparently refused to help her until after she collapsed and had a seizure, when houseguest Josh pushed the emergency button that the houseguests later said summons police and paramedics.

Of course, in some sort of bizarre commentary on fame and competition, both contestants have returned to the game after getting checked out.

This is kind of perverse, but in retrospect (now that you know everything’s okay) kind of hilarious: the video of the seizure is interrupted by the producers cutting away to Big Brother trivia clips.[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/TVnuKf9KuJo" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

February 25th, 2008

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