Thoughts, notes, observations on the everyday nonsense of American Pop Culture from one of the most not-hip people on the face of the planet...

Monday, June 04, 2007

Seeking snarky busybodies for new blog

Also, I have this idea I'm going to toss out there, feel free to throw it right back. At one time I wrote this blog in Milwaukee called "Seen and Heard" (see right column) devoted to people-watching, overhearing conversations and generally being snarky.

I, for one, miss having an outlet for my snarky thoughts about other people's public behavior. I've found a lot of people and incidents in Cincinnati that deserve ridicule and/or inspection. I also think the world has gotten a little bit weaker and softer without it.

So here's what I want to do. I want to launch a worldwide group blog dedicated to the fine art of people watching and occasional mockery. If I were to start a blog like this, would you participate? Would you write about your city and the people you see? Can we take the snark to the next level?


Friday, June 01, 2007

What's new?

So my promises of picking up the blog ASAP upon my move to Cincinnati proved to be empty. So sue me. Because it’s been so long since we’ve all sat down and had a round-the-campfire Hollywood-bashing, I’d like to take this time to review the past few weeks/months and bring us all up to speed on exactly what I learned during this hiatus.

1. The third time is not a charm.

You know things are bad when even a geek like me is asking there to never be another Spider-man or Pirates movie. Ever.

I’m not hard to please. I like cute boys, over-the-top special effects, loud noises and good marketing – I can handle sub-par acting and campy dialogue – and Hollywood can’t even please me this year.

Spider-man 3
, much like X-men 3 before it, was a perfect example of a series gone awry. Sure, the move was enjoyable on a very basic level (shiny!) – but it came nowhere near the first two installments in dedication to the source material and characters. This movie had so much potential – what with the presence of one of the most-beloved villains in all of comics making an appearance – but what did they do? We saw Venom only after two hours of singing, useless eye candy and sappy subplots based around special effects availability. *gag*

Pirates suffered the same fate of bloated filmmaking. The series had no spark left – which is what happens when special effects become justification for plotlines. Really, both movies turned out as though the studios said, “Ah, to hell with it, let’s cram this movie full of broken plotlines and unfinished ideas. Those idiots will still see it as long as it has good effects.” And they were right (you idiots).

I have no problem with Hollywood making sequels – which seems to be a big complaint in critic land – I have a problem with studious churning out shitty sequels.

2. America can’t be trusted to judge singing – or write music

I know, this isn’t really a new lesson. American Idol has proved more than once that its audience has a tin ear and a fickle devotion (what’s Taylor Hicks up to these days?). But this year seemed especially lacking in talent recognition. Every episode it seemed Simon Cowell was about to open fire on the audience for voting for looks or kitsch instead of singing ability. I actually started to feel bad for him – any week he’d give us the old Donald Sutherland from Animal House: Come on people, this is his job.

Aside from the only mediocre talent, the songwriting competition proved to be yet another confirmation that AI is watched by the worst people in the world. I could have guessed the winning song would completely blow because its writer would be an American Idol viewer (housewife, sexual predator or preteen girl) – but I had no idea just how much it would blow (a lot). “This is My Now” sounded like it was written by an 8-year-old at Bible camp – a song completely devoid of meaningful lyrics, decent arrangement or even a good hook. Possibly the worst song ever created – and that was the winner. Imagine how godawful the others must have been.

3. Grey’s Anatomy rules your life (and you suck for that)

This show is bigger than Jesus and for the life of me, I don’t know why. If I were to believe everything I read and hear, I’d think that everyone except for me in America watches this show.

But we know that isn’t true. The ad wizards at ABC and the unabashed fanboys that work in entertainment media just want me to be guilted into joining their cult. I ain’t buying it – and neither should you.

The show is a soap opera. The only difference between Grey’s Anatomy and General Hospital is the programming schedule – but you don’t want to hear that, do you? Every time I have ever come across Grey’s Anatomy, somebody is having sex in a coat closet. I didn’t even know the show was about doctors until I read the DVD box.

This show has ruined America. It has made people think a medical show doesn’t have to involve medicine. It made people think it deserves a spin-off which will be exactly like the original, only with new pretty people (it worked for CSI). And worst of all, it made people think The Fray is a good band (see below). The time for judgment is coming, ABC. At least, I hope it is. (Please, please, please have the spin-off fail miserably)

4. Nobody actually likes The Fray, they just really like Grey’s Anatomy

If you ever take a look at the network statistics for various MySpace and Facebook groups, you’ll see that a lot of young people claim The Fray as a favorite group. They’re mistaken. They don’t actually like The Fray…they like “How to Save a Life” as played over a montage of doctors intermittedly getting it on and crying. It’s ok, I fell for it too.

I thought I liked their sound, then I obtained a copy of their album and found out every song sounds exactly like “How to Save a Life”. In fact, I kept thinking every track was the ubiquitous single until it got to the chorus. This band barely exists. As soon as ABC and that infernal soap opera finds a new poster band, they’ll be forgotten. Mark my words.

5. The White Stripes still rule

If the new single (“Icky Thump”) is any indication, this summer is going to rock in the way that only a quasi-conscious pretty drummer can rock. This album should be the biggest of the year. Don’t disappoint me, rock fans. I know some of you still exist.

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