Posts filed under 'British Things'

World Cup 2010: The Commercializing

So the World Cup starts in two days. It’s exciting! We’ve been in a bit of a dead sprint getting all the pre–World Cup stuff done here at work, but now it’s really just time to wait till the games start on Friday (at 9:30 in the morning. I’m sure you can find a bar that has breakfast specials if you’re really interested in South Africa v. Mexico). So I thought I’d take a bit of a look at the TV aspect of the tournament, or at least the pre-tournament TV aspect: The commercials. I will not lie; there have been some fantastic commercials in advance of SA2010. Here are a few of my favorites.

Nike: Write the Future

It scares me a little to imagine how much this cost. Nike’s three-minute opus features about a dozen of the biggest names in the game, including a few who won’t be playing in South Africa (Brazil’s Ronaldinho, seen here doing his trademark samba over the ball, failed to make his team’s final squad of 23, because Brazil is just so good that they cut players other countries would kill to have. Also, Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba, the guy in orange at the beginning, has a broken arm and might not play). My favorite section is about 45 seconds in, when England’s Wayne Rooney sees the outcome of one play, if he makes a tackle or if he fails, and there’s a brief clip of American superstars (the closest thing we have to superstars!) Landon Donovan and Tim Howard laughing at him. Then, of course, he plays table tennis with Federer, which is hilarious. And I really enjoy the concept of Ronaldo: The Movie, starring Gael Garcia Bernal. Basically, this commercial makes me want to watch soccer. And buy Nikes. Mission accomplished!

ETA: Seth Stevenson over at Slate points out that the commercial was directed by clever Mexican auteur Alejandro González Iñárritu (hat tip to Friend of the ‘Faux Ali). Seth also spotlights another of my favorite moments in the spot and uses a particular bit of British football slang I love: “Later, Cristiano Ronaldo fantasizes that a successful World Cup will land him an appearance on The Simpsons (he nutmegs Homer, who exclaims, “Ronal-d’oh!”) and make him the subject of a blockbuster bio-pic starring Gael García Bernal.”

Click to continue reading “World Cup 2010: The Commercializing”

5 comments June 9th, 2010

Sara Talks About Craig Ferguson Some More

Yeah, I know. I watch his show a lot these days. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a Scottish accent. Dan agrees with me.

So y’all know there are a lot of things I love (it’s true! I’m not angry at everything), like cheese, Tim Riggins, American whiskey, moderately expensive writing implements, yoga pants, Triscuits, and shopping at mostly-empty Targets. And you know I love Craig Ferguson, puppets, and musical numbers on TV. Here’s something else: I also love Rosie O’Donnell.

I do. I never watched her daytime talk show, because I had to go to school, or her on The View, because I have a job, but A League of Their Own is one of my more frequently quoted movies (along with Ghostbusters, Top Gun, Moonstruck, Mrs. Doubtfire, and, of course, Center Stage and Bring It On) and I love her in it. I want to see the sequel when Doris not only rips up the picture of her ugly, mean boyfriend and throws it out the window of the moving bus, but also makes out with Lori Petty a little. I’ve always liked Rosie’s willingness to put herself 100 percent behind whatever she believes in, and to say what she thinks even if it gets her in trouble. I admire that in a lady. And I’ve always wanted to bitchslap Elizabeth Hasselbeck, ever since Dan handed me a layout of a Survivor story a thousand years ago and her smug, pointy little face was staring out of it. (Sadly, that page is not online in the vast digital archive of the work we did a long time ago that now embarrasses us. But I found a feature story Cristin wrote!)

Which is all a very long way of saying that Rosie O’Donnell was on Craig Ferguson’s cold open tonight, and they lip-synched Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love,” and there were puppets. It was great. Please to enjoy.

1 comment January 29th, 2010

Further holiday cheer from Tifaux

I meant to put this up a few days ago, but the week got away from me. So now I’m coming down off my Avatar high (OMIGOD IT’S GREAT) and trying to fritter away two more hours before I can head to Penn Station and try to get to northern Virginia ahead of this blizzard making its miserable way to New York. Fucking winter.

Anyway, my favorite late show host, Craig Ferguson, celebrated his 1,000th show earlier this week, and to mark the occasion, he let his beloved gator puppet, Wavy Rancheros, host the entire show. And for the cold open, Wavy sang Trace Adkins’ jovial ’00s update of “Baby Got Back,” “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk,” accompanied by some bootylicious ladies and one of the guys from that time the show opened with a bunch of dudes singing “In the Navy.” YES.

I giggled so hard the other night I almost ruptured something. Seriously, a network TV host let A PUPPET host his entire show. That takes stones.

So I’m hoping I’ll get home within the next few hours and embark on many days of cooking, drinking, talking about other people’s weddings, and awkward family interactions. (There will be a Friday Night Lights post in the next few days, I SWEAR.) Meantime, happy holidays, everyone. I wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year filled with TV hosts who do things like let puppets host their shows, because it’s FANTASTIC.

December 19th, 2009

Things to watch that are awesome

So last night I was watching The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson, as I do in these weeks where I can work from home and therefore sleep in, and his first guest was Michael Sheen, and the interview was completely awesome. I highly recommend it. My favorite parts are where they talk about how it’s not Dick Van Dyke’s accent in Mary Poppins that was a bit weird, it’s that the rest of Britain has it wrong, and the bit about the Welsh congregating on Cardiff.

Seriously, Kate Beckinsale left this man for this guy? That’s just madness. You might also note, if you’ve been reading any Twilight-related promotional material at all, as I have, since I have a subscription to Entertainment Weekly and they have turned themselves into Stephenie Meyer’s handmaidens of doom recently, that he did not repeat the extremely tired anecdote about how his daughter (with Kate Beckinsale) lost her shit when she found out he was going to be within hugging distance of Robert Sparklypants Pattinson. That is what I like about Craig’s show. It’s fun.

2 comments December 1st, 2009

Antidote to the Mondays

Er, the Tuesdays after a long weekend. Yeah, I bet you’re hating being at work as much as I am right now. To make up for it, I have a special treat for you.

So I started watching Torchwood a while back. And while I enjoyed it, a lot, I didn’t think it lived up to the creators’ insistence that the show would be dark and adult. Um, that changed. Shit got REAL. Like existential dilemma real. And then it got awesome. I present to you a bit of the first episode of series two. If you enjoy boys kissing, and/or you liked Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and/or you have a pulse, I think you will enjoy this. Ignore the French. Fun part starts about a minute and a half in.

Don’t say I never did anything for you.

1 comment May 26th, 2009

Hot Welsh People + Aliens

So I have started watching Torchwood lately. (Yeah, Rescue Me has been postponed slightly.) If you haven’t spent much time watching BBC America lately, Torchwood is a spinoff of Doctor Who that began in 2006. It is about a team of sexy people:

We really enjoy black leather and snogging each other.

We really enjoy black leather and snogging each other.

who are kind of like Mulder and Scully, in that they investigate aliens and shit like that (also they have a pterodactyl in their office—damn, pterodactyl is a hard word to spell) but unlike Mulder and Scully, they like to make out with each other. And strangers. And aliens. People talking about the show in the extra features on the DVDs often refer to the show as “dark,” which only proves they’ve never seen anything on HBO, because it’s frankly a little cartoonish at times. The drama seems a little lightweight; when people are killed, it has about as much impact as the opening murder on an episode of Law & Order. Maybe I’m jaded, but I’ve seen a hell of a lot darker stuff on CSI.

Torchwood is also, kind of hilariously, set in Cardiff, the capital of Wales, which is kind of like setting The X-Files in Portland, as it’s amusingly improbable that an agency described as outside the government, more powerful than the CIA or MI5, is set in a smallish bayside town full of castles. I’m sure there’s some UK joke about it being set in Cardiff that I’m not getting. Overseas readers (both of you), feel free to educate/yell at me.

I will be honest: I started watching Torchwood because John Barrowman, who is in the middle up there, is one of the judges on Any Dream Will Do, and he looks like a hot, butch Tom Cruise and is a delightfully bitchy judge. I have kept watching it because it’s pulpy and silly and EVERYONE MAKES OUT WITH EACH OTHER. I’m not kidding. Everyone. Without regard for sexual orientation. There are boys kissing in the first episode, girls kissing in the second. Boys kiss girls too, occasionally. It’s incredibly fluid; basically, everyone is bisexual, or at least kind of unconcerned with labels. It’s interesting in both an academic and a lusty way; I have heard the word “gay” used exactly once—they don’t really discuss it. The characters just sleep with who they want to sleep with. It’s not something I expect to see on American TV any time soon, and in that it certainly has a leg up on HBO.

1 comment May 15th, 2009

BBC Reality Series Rocks My Twinkly Face Off

Since Gossip Girl was a repeat this week (I know! I was sad too), I thought I’d share with y’all what my roommate and I did Sunday night (aside from watching the Academy of Country Music Awards, because I know you don’t care).

We watched a zillion hours of the BBC reality competition series Any Dream Will Do and squealed like insane people at every hilariously cheesy music cue, kick-ball-change, and pinched glare from LORD ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER AND DON’T YOU FORGET THE “LORD” PART.

How can you not love this hot mess?

How can you not love this hot mess?

So Any Dream Will Do, which is about casting the lead role in a new West End production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, originally aired in the UK two years ago, and the winner has presumably been playing Joseph eight times a week ever since in the finest tradition of Donny Osmond Jason Donovan. I’m kind of trying not to find out who wins the show, because I like suspense, but if you want to know, mosey on over to Wikipedia. They’ll tell you.

But the best part isn’t who wins. It’s the SHEER TECHNICOLOR INSANITY of this show. First, the … I don’t know what to call them. The judges? But they’re also mentors. And several of them appear to want to sleep with various contestants. I shall call them the Seacrest-Gunn-Abdul team. They include host presenter Graham Norton and judges/mentors John Barrowman, LORD LLOYD WEBBER, and several other people who are not as cute as John Barrowman or as bitchy as LORD LLOYD WEBBER so I don’t care about them. There are also eleven remaining Josephs after an audition process that went a lot like American Idol (I guess): They started with like 100, invited 50 to “Joseph school,” and then cut it down to 12 for the first live show. And Joseph school, let me tell you, was fucking hysterical. The part where the producers decided to score a dance rehearsal with Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” was the first time I spilled wine all over myself because I was laughing so hard.

Ah, shit. I just found out who won. Oh well. I will enjoy anyway.

So. This show is fantastically campy, especially the SING-OFF AT THE END. The two wannabe Josephs who got the fewest phone-in votes from the discerning theatre critics of Britain had to battle each other in song. It was epic. I present to you: The Bridge Over Troubled Fashion.

And then when the fellow on the right was eliminated by LORD LLOYD WEBBER, the other Josephs took his Dreamcoat away! And they made the poor eliminated sap sing “Close Every Door To Me”! That was the fifth time I spilled my wine in a fit of giggling glee. This show is awesome and I’m going to watch every rainbow minute of it.

5 comments April 8th, 2009


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