Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Etc--Party Down, Oscars, and More

I love Twitter and Facebook, but there are some topics that cannot be fenced in by a 140 character count or status updates. Conversely, I don't feel that every one of my cultural experiences deserves its own blog post.

There's got to be a better way!

Well, let me present The Etc, which will serve as an end-of-the-month depository of pop culture quick hits. Think of it like Larry King's old column for USA Today though handled by somebody who actually writes in complete sentences, or the old "Jeers & Cheers" column at TV Guide.

Away we go.

1.) Party Down: I realize that the New Orleans funeral for this show has come and gone, but it's one of those rare shows that's as good as its fans proclaim. The big reason: Though it's technically a sitcom, the writers never stuck to the contrivances of that label. There's a dramatic depth that you don't see in traditional comedies--problems don't get easily solved; characters don't have a set range of behaviors--which is why I loved it so much. Plus, the cast is a wealth of riches: Ken Marino, Adam Scott, Lizzy Caplan (the newest member of the Tina Fey Funny & Sexy Society).

It's gotten to the point know that it's almost a sign of honor if a TV show has an abbreviated run ("Freaks and Geeks," "Can't Get a Date?"). Party Down is no exception, which is a mixed blessing.

2.) Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work--Loved it because Rivers comes across as being like everyone else--working her ass off not to become irrelevant. Whether that's a good thing or not is left to the audience to decide. Too bad this was such a strong year for docs, otherwise we'd be talking awards. Which, of course, leads me to...

3.) The Oscars: Meh. I have a feeling that I know who's going to win. No real surprises. I'm short on rage. I've already accepted the fact that Christian Bale is going to win for swallowing the scenery whole in "The Fighter." I know Firth will win for the it's-not-your-fault rebirth in "The King's Speech." Amy Adams will get her kudos because she's young and went beyond playing a naive waif.

Just let Annette Bening win, for crying out loud. Better yet don't let Natalie Portman. Give awards for performances, not allegories.

4.) The Town: Really wanted to like it. Two problems: First, Ben Affleck and Rebecca Hall had zero chemistry; second, the ending was awful. The late Pete Postelwaithe was great, though. The movie looked spectacular on the new TV. So, that was kind of worth two hours.

5.) Great movie article to read: Movie journalist extraordinaire Mark Harris ("Movies at a Revolution") looks at the day movies died in GQ. Can't find a link. Will post soon. And not related to movie news: Katie Baker's wonderful first-person account of using the Internet to be someone else--with haunting results--on the sports site

6.) Can someone please explain the relevancy of Giuliana Rancic? What does she do exactly?

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