Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Revisiting the Archives

Entertainment News has unofficially been online for two years now, so I thought it would be prudent to go back and revisit some of the web log entries from the past and provide necessary updates and add further sarcastic commentary.

I summed up the 2006 FIFA World Cup Presented by Adidas and now it deserves some commentary since we are a little more than a week from Euro 2008. Think of it as a mini-world cup, or better, half of a world cup. Instead of 32 teams from around the world including half from Europe, we get 16 teams, all from Europe. In a related note, watch for the Second Annual Entertainment News Soccer Week in August right after Shark Week.

I wrote The Overlooked Sub-Genre after the release of 2006's straight-to-video Air Buddies, a distant sequel to 1997's Air Bud about a dog that plays basketball, which, believe it or not, was based on a true story. Things sort got away from actual events over the years and after Air Bud Spikes Back ("A dog that plays volleyball helps investigators solve a rash of mysterious crimes"), the producers branched out and went on to talking puppies and their crazy adventures. Recently released was Snow Buddies: "Disney's adorable talking puppies are back and this time they venture to the frosty arctic and team up with new friends in a thrilling dog sled race across Alaska. When the going gets tough the daring dogs have to band together with their new friends Talon and Shasta and muster up the courage to face the fur-raising challenges ahead. But will they have what it takes to win the race and find their way back home? Join the Buddies for more fun and more action in this all-new heartwarming film about the power of teamwork and following your dreams featuring the all-star voice talents of Dylan Sprouse (The Suite Life of Zack and Cody)." If that's not enough, later this year, we can expect to see Space Buddies. I don't know what it's about exactly, but based on the title it shouldn't be too hard to guess.

In The Best of Reality TV I spotlighted two contrasting TV shows. One was Morgan Spurlock's 30 Days which returns to FX June 3. Also look for Morgan's new movie Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden? coming soon to theaters or video or TV, I'm not really sure. Also in "The Best of Reality TV" I introduced people to Dog the Bounty Hunter, that crazy biker-looking dude who hunts down fugitives in the name of justice. I followed that up with the web log entry Dog Bites Own Foot where I talked about Dog's woes and the suspension of his show. However, I also predicted that he would be back and I was right. A&E has decided that Dog has been punished enough (Translation: we think we can get enough sponsors to buy ad space during his show) and Dog will be back on the air soon. However, if you just can't wait that long, you should check out Bounty Girls: Miami. Remember how I described Dog the Bounty Hunter as Cops but with the white trash doing the chasing? Well, Bounty Girls: Miami is essentially four female Dog the Bounty Hunters chasing fugitives. So I guess the show should be called Bitches the Bounty Huntresses.

I'm still looking for help in deciding what group or artist musically defines this decade.

The entry most in need of updating is Fletch Lives Again. It now appears that Gregory McDonald is out as director and Zach Braff will no longer play Fletch. Instead we're looking at perhaps Mighty Ducks and Dawson's Creek star Joshua Jackson as the title character, which of course is just plain retarded. Also in that I web log entry, I spotlighted the abundant female beauty of JD's many escapades on Scrubs. Since then, Season 7 went by and sadly no one can be added to that list. Sure the season was shortened by the strike, but JD could have dated at least one hottie out of his league. Speaking of which, one of the girls on that list is Juliana Margulies who appeared on The Sopranos as one of Tony's would-be flings. Can an actress hook up with two more opposite characters than Dr. Dorian and Tony Soprano?

Last year I did a recap of the 2007 NBA Playoffs, but opted not to this year because my comments would be exactly the same. Instead let me be briefly say that I was really into this year's NBA season, but once the Jazz were eliminated, I abandoned the NBA cold turkey. Could it get any worse than Lakers, Spurs, Pistons, Celtics? Seriously. Maybe if the Knicks or Pat Riley were somehow involved, then it would be worse. I will say this about Kobe Bryant. I don't get why the media people love him. Yes, he's very talented, but he's also the worst teammate in recent NBA history with his public trade demands and open criticism of his teammates, not to mention is on-court tantrums where he refused to shoot just to show how bad his teammates are. Now, after the suspiciously lopsided Pau Gasol trade the Lakers are winning and suddenly Kobe Bryant is a media darling and Michael Jordan reincarnated. I don't get it.

Also last year I did a big Summer Movie Preview, but really didn't see very many of the summer movies until months later so this year I'll keep it brief by saying I'm interested in seeing Indiana Jones and Batman, and maybe Hancock and Iron Man, but I'm in no real hurry to see any of them.

Back in June of last year I commented on The New Mystery Science Theater 3000. To be more specific I spotlighted the work of Mike Nelson and his venture He also uses former MST3K pals Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo) and Bill Corbett (Crow). Since that post I have merged their wisecracking MP3's with six more DVD's to augment my total Rifftrax library to eight. So essentially I have the Mystery Science 3000 version of X-Men, Fellowship of the Ring, Casino Royale, Fantastic Four, The Bourne Identity, Transformers, Independence Day and Jurassic Park. Next, I'm considering Harry Potter or Raiders of the Lost Ark. Any suggestions? As a further update, the guy Mike replaced on MST3K was Joel Hodgson, who apparently is also trying to cash in on the Mystery Science fan base. He has launched a project called Cinematic Titanic, in which he and a bunch of fellow comedians including Trace Beaulieu (Dr. Clayton Forrester, Crow) and Frank Conniff (TV's Frank) make fun of old movies. I'd be curious to hear how the each feels about the other's venture.

Finally, back in November, I posted a video I spliced together entitled The Best of Kevin from The Office. As a follow up, below is a video (2:30) from the recent season finale of The Office with Toby's replacement Holly and how she thinks Kevin is slow, you know, in his brain.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Entertainer of the Month: Art Garfunkel

Entertainment News' Entertainer of the Month of May is none other than the "Old Pop Warrior" Arthur Ira Garfunkel. Though he'll always be remembered as Paul Simon's sidekick, to me he represents a time when music was simple and singers could actually sing. One of the best concerts I've ever been to was a few years ago when I had the opportunity to go see Art Garfunkel live with the Utah Symphony as part of his Across America Tour. You see, back in the mid 1980's, Art developed an interest in long-distance walking. Over the next decade or so he spent chunks of each summer walking across America until he finished in 1996. Along the way he would perform concerts. The great thing about going to an Art Garfunkel concert as opposed to a Paul Simon concert is Paul Simon is going to sing his new stuff, whereas Art Garfunkel mainly sings songs you would find on the Simon & Garfunkel's Greatest Hits album. Don't get me wrong, I like Paul Simon's solo work, especially Graceland, but it's not as beloved as the stuff he wrote when he was with Garfunkel. So at the concert in Salt Lake, Art sang most of the hits from the old days like "Scarborough Fair," "Mrs. Robinson," and of course "Bridge Over Troubled Water." In fact most of his albums are a mix of the old S & G hits with some original stuff.

Speaking of the hits, below is clip (4:41) from the Concert in Central Park in 1981 in which Simon & Garfunkel performed before 500,000 people. The song is "The Boxer" and early on you can see Garfunkel screw up by singing "I have squandered..." a bit early. I love the look Paul Simon gives him.

Up next for Art is a European tour. In October of this year he will stage concerts in the UK, Holland, Belgium, Sweden and Denmark.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The List

Americans love lists. They can't resist reading rankings of things whether it be lists of greatest, worst, wealthiest, funniest, most influential, or sexiest. So in the spirit of America's love for the list, I have come up with my own list of the 100 most list-worthy people. In other words, I have ranked from 1 to 100 the people that most deserve to be on a list. Eligibility rules were simple: (1) The person must be either real or fictitious. (2) If real, the person must still be alive. (3) The person need not be a person at all. All other criteria is strictly confidential. So without further ado, below is a countdown the 100 Most List-worthy Individuals of 2008.

100. Ernest Borgnine
 99. Detective Harry Callahan
 98. Sandra Boynton
 97. Dr. Strangelove
 96. Brian Doyle-Murray
 95. Razor Shines
 94. Alan Greenspan
 93. Fredo Corleone
 92. Michael J. Fox
 91. Sonic the Hedgehog
 90. Tyra Banks
 89. Dbrickashaw Ferguson
 88. Kim Jong Il
 87. Fred Weasley
 86. Casey Kasem
 85. Laura Bush
 84. Billy Joel
 83. Robert McCall
 82. Dan Jansen
 81. Cheech Marin
 80. Lando Calrissian
 79. Dido
 78. Dida
 77. Stephenie Meyer
 76. Billy Zane
 75. Amelie Poulain
 74. Weird Al Yankovic
 73. Dan Quayle
 72. Delta Burke
 71. Dr. Egon Spengler
 70. Tim Kurkjian
 69. Willie Nelson
 68. Rocky Balboa
 67. Uwe Boll
 66. Uwe Blab
 65. Gloria Gaynor
 64. Patrick
 63. Derek Jacobi
 62. Ringo Star
 61. Warwick Davis
 60. Franka Potente
 60. Count Chocula
 58. Meatloaf
 57. John Astin
 56. Nausica√§ of the Valley of the Wind
 55. Dirk Benedict
 54. Rachel Ray
 53. David Bowie
 52. Jessica Rabbit
 51. Vidal Sassoon
 50. Edward Scissorhands
 49. Alex Tribeck
 48. Engelbert Humperdinck
 47. Ozzie Canseco
 46. Q
 45. Steve Buscemi
 44. Mischa Barton
 43. David St. Hubbins
 42. Barry Sanders
 41. Garth Algar
 40. Queen Elizabeth II
 39. Queen Latifah
 38. Colonel Mustard
 37. Jason Priestly
 36. Pl√°cido Domingo
 35. Ichiro
 34. Phyllis Lapin
 33. Jim Nantz
 32. Brigitte Bardot
 31. Detective Lennie Briscoe
 30. Fat Lever
 29. Lara Croft
 28. Vin Diesel
 27. Winnie the Pooh
 26. Ahmad Rashad
 25. Patrick Swayze
 24. Randy "Macho Man" Savage
 23. Lex Luthor
 22. Stephen Hawking
 21. Don LaFontaine
 20. Danielle Steel
 19. Dr. Emmett L. Brown
 18. Ivan Lendl
 17. Arthur Fonzarelli
 16. Melanie Chisholm
 15. Bat Boy
 14. Pauly Shore
 13. Chief Clancy Wiggum
 12. Antonin Scalia
 11. Sinbad
 10. Hobbes
  9. Edson Arantes do Nascimento
  8. Xena, Warrior Princess
  7. Dog the Bounty Hunter
  6. Buster Bluth
  5. Chuck Norris
  4. Rowlf
  3. Fabio
  2. The Most Interesting Man in the World
  1. Xuxa

Who am I missing? Who is ranked too high or too low? Let the debate begin.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Gladiators vs. Ninjas

NBC has been putting a lot of marketing effort behind the new American Gladiators. I, for one, will pass. After only two episodes I decided that the American Gladiators were best left in the past. I've commented before that I couldn't stand the ultra annoying contestants. Tina Fey's character Liz Lemon on 30 Rock said it best: "If reality TV has taught us anything, it's that you can't keep people with no shame down." How can you root for the blue contestant over the red one when all you want is for both of them to fall flat on their face? I suppose you can root for the gladiators, but... eh.

So rather than American Gladiators, I have turned my attention to a purer form of physical competition. On the G4 Channel there is a Japanese import called Ninja Warrior where each tournament (held semi-annually from what I can gather) 100 contestants attempt to conquer four obstacle courses. Usually 10-15 pass the first round, of those, 7-10 make it to the third round, and as many as three, although usually none make it to the fourth stage which has only been defeated twice in 17 tournaments, most recently by fisherman Makoto Nagano. The guy is amazing. Below is a clip (5:05) of him defeating the third and fourth stages. It's a grueling task, despite how easy he makes it look. As the tournament has gone on, competitors from all over the world have come to participate, including several Olympians, and virtually all of them have failed.

Look at it this way: if American Gladiators is Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, Ninja Warrior is Jeopardy. One is flashy and built on gimmicks and hype. The other is tried and true and has an established foundation of consistency.