Friday, February 25, 2005

Last One in the Oscar Pool is a Rotten Egg

For what it's worth...

My tentative predictions are here.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Shameless Self-Promotion

If you haven't been keeping up with The Oscar Grouch, this is definitely the week to find out what you've been missing.

In addition to hosting the most in-depth Academy Awards analysis on the web and more excruciating minutiae than you can possibly care to fathom, my fearless Oscar predictions should be posted there some time tomorrow... along with my fearful, bet-hedging second guesses.

Top Ten Worst Best Picture Nominees of the Last Twelve Years Ever

1. The Cider House Rules
2. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
3. Gosford Park
4. Mystic River
5. The Thin Red Line
6. The English Patient
7. Sense and Sensibility
8. The Green Mile
9. Elizabeth
10. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings
10½. Ray

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Top Twenty-Five Best Best Picture Nominees of the Last Twelve Years Ever

1. Schindler’s List
2. Pulp Fiction
3. Forrest Gump
4. The Shawshank Redemption
5. Jerry Maguire
6. As Good As It Gets
7. American Beauty
8. The Fugitive
9. In the Name of the Father
10. Moulin Rouge!
11. Titanic
12. Saving Private Ryan
13. Shakespeare in Love
14. The Full Monty
15. Traffic
16. Good Will Hunting
17. Lost in Translation
18. L.A. Confidential
19. Life is Beautiful
20. Erin Brockovich
21. The Insider
22. The Hours
23. Fargo
24. Gladiator
25. A Beautiful Mind
25½. The Aviator, Million Dollar Baby, Sideways (tie)

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

You've Got the Wrong One Baby

Mastro's Steakhouse is keeping things simple with "Hit the Road Jack," a Jack Daniels and Coke named after one of the Ray Charles hit tunes featured in Taylor Hackford's film biography "Ray."

Shouldn't that be a Jack and Diet Pepsi?

Because of Because of Winn-Dixie?

Well, this just seems like bad timing.

Monday, February 21, 2005

"Women and Seamen Don't Mix"

Kids, don't try this at home!

Tonight, for the first time I can think of (outside of Marge’s tongue-in-cheek Treehouse of Horror warnings), The Simpsons opened with a(n oddly specific) parental advisory warning:


For as many hot-button topics and adult issues as the series has satirized over the years (even taking some pretty biting potshots at organized religion), apparently same sex marriage is the only one controversial enough to merit such caution. Heaven forbid some child accidentally views a half-hour of (fairly tame) animated satire of an issue that’s been all over the news for the past year. I appreciate that The Simpsons draws a very wide audience, including many young children, but I believe Malcolm in the Middle skews even younger and yet there wasn’t even so much as a “Kids, don’t try this at home” in front of the Malcolm episode that aired just before “There’s Something About Marrying,” which featured teenagers recklessly street luging. If you trust kids enough to watch a TV show and not run out and street luge into traffic, shouldn’t you trust them to watch a cartoon show and not run out to marry a member of the same sex?

The funny thing is that I was just thinking how far we’d come when FOX didn’t have to put a parental advisory notice on The O.C.’s Sapphic kiss – even though it featured and directly appealed to teenagers. It wasn’t so long ago that Roseanne, Ellen and even Mischa Barton’s previous girl-on-girl experience, Once and Again, had to warn (or tease) viewers about their same sex smooches. I guess gay kisses are one thing… but discussions of gay monogamy are just too lascivious for prime time.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Plagiarism

Speaking of FOX Reality, you know you're on to something special when somebody decides to rip you off.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, The Famous Original Ray's Pop Culture Petri Dish proudly announces the birth of our very first impostor!

Actually, this new Single White Blogger is an impostor in name only (dig the choice of Blogger templates, by the way!). The content and style appear to be quite different, and potentially intriguing. I'm not trying to get all WWF here (that's World Wildlife Fund, not World Wrestling Federation) or start any Doppelgang warfare -- this is just my passive aggresive attempt to shame the Bizzaro Dish into a name change while his "another Pop Culture Petri Dish" is still in its infancy. It'll help us both to avoid any Ghostbusters/The Real Ghostbusters type confusion in the future. Granted, it wasn't the most clever or original moniker in the world when I came up with it either, but as far as I know, this was the first blog on the block to be so named.

But seriously Mr. Ripley, there's room enough in the blogosphere for two completely different, original and unique pop culture petri dishes. So welcome to the neighborhood un-me! I mean, who doesn't enjoy a good Ten Best or Ten Worst list from time to time?

Best of luck,
The Pop Culture Petri Dish

2,4, 6, 8... Check Out The Rest of FOX' Slate

"As I count backwards from 24, you will get very sleepy, and when you awake, you will tune into FOX Monday nights at 9/8 Central."

Did anybody else pick up on the endless repetition of the number "24" tonight on American Idol? Every chance the judges and Ryan Seacrest got, they made sure to say "24." I would go back and count how many times they dropped the number "24," but I feel pretty confident that the final tally would be... 24. Sure, they kept saying "24" because there are 24 finalists moving on to the next round, but actually reminding us every 24 seconds that the number is 24 seemed just a tad excessive. I mean, 24's a pretty easy number to remember.

Oh, what am I saying? I'm sure there was no ulterior / subliminal motive for all the "24"s (this is FOX reality, after all - if we can't trust them, who can we trust?). Sometimes a "24" is just a "24."

Now if only there were some sort of program on television called something like 24, I would totally watch it... 24/7. Oh well. I'll just have to watch whatever's on after American Idol Monday night.

Too bad the number of finalists moving on isn't "Arrested Development."

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Bloggers ♥ Ralph

Everyone's first pick

Apparently, I wasn't the only one who thought of Ralph Wiggum on Valentine's Day. In the last 13 days, at least 113 bloggers have used the words "I Choo Choo Choose You" (and 142 have used the words "Choo Choo Choose").

Monday, February 14, 2005

Top Ten Best Movies To Set My ♥ Aflutter Ever

♥ beating at 24 frames per second

1. Annie Hall
2. The Apartment
3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
4. Harold and Maude
5. As Good As It Gets
6. Before Sunrise/Before Sunset
7. Shrek
8. The Graduate
9. Chasing Amy
10. Don Juan DeMarco
10½. The Family Man

Despite what Jay Leno says...

I was going to post something to this effect, but those clever bastards over at TVGasm beat me to it.

I would add: Did we really need not one, but TWO seperate tributes to Ray Charles last night? I mean, I think his music's great too, but this is just excessive. Didn't any other philandering, former drug addicts die last year that we could be celebrating for their heroism? I'm not sure who I'm more tired of - Jamie Foxx or Ray Charles - or are they the same person?

Actually, that's not true. I'm way more tired of Jamie Foxx.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Top Twenty Best TV Romances Ever

Happy Valentine's Day!

1. Ross and Rachel
2. Zack and Kelly
3. Tara and Willow
4. Paul and Jamie
5. Alex P. Keaton and Ellen Reed
6. Dr. Cox and Jordan
7. Spike and Drusilla
8. Dr. Ross and Nurse Hathaway
9. Miranda and Steve
10. Dawson and Joey
11. Felicity and Noel
12. Lucy and Ricky
13. Brandon and Kelly and Dylan and Brenda
14. Fry and Leela
15. Kris and Jon
16. Chip and Kim
17. Ed and Carol (only during the last half of the third season)
18. Luke and Lorelai
19. Heathcliff and Clair
20. Seth and Anna
20½. Monica and Chandler (until they got engaged)

20¾ . Lisa and Ralph

Friday, February 11, 2005

We Are All Made of Stars

I'm not a big fan of The Office, but I am a big fan of cross-series continuity, so I got a giddy little bit of joy at the reference to buying a paper company in Slough the other night on Lost. J.J. Abrams has become the new king of subtle inter-series conectivity, what with this and the Driveshaft song playing in an episode of Alias (I can't remember if there's ever been a connection to Felicity on Alias, aside from overlapping actors).

This reminded me of the brilliant website I found thanks to a tip from Liz back in October: Tommy Westphall's Mind - A Multiverse Explored, which I find infinitely fascinating (and it's become even better now that the students of Degrassi Community School exist in Tommy Westphall's mind).

However, there are a number of paradoxes, that I'm not sure are addressed on the site (I haven't studied it thoroughly enough).

The most obvious is when the same actor has appeared on two shows within the multiverse playing different, unrelated characters (Friends got around this nicely with Buffay twins). If Driveshaft really does exist within the world of Sidney Bristow, does that mean that Weiss and Kendall had evil Francie-type doppelgangers made of them?

The other paradox is when a show that exists within the multiverse references another show in the multiverse as a fictional TV series. The most glaring (and headache-inducing) examples I can think of stem from Seinfeld. It's established on an episode of Mad About You that Paul Buchman leased his apartment to Kramer... but years later, George watches Mad About You in bed with Susan. But the real Mobius Strip (and/or Ourobouros - I'm not sure which) is that on Seinfeld, Kramer "acted" as a secretary on the TV show Murphy Brown, which is linked via an O.J.-esque carchase to Love & War, on which a character writes a spec Seinfeld script that's read by Jerry Seinfeld (the actor, not the character) and Larry David. But all of them are connected in the fictional multiverse.

I need an Advil.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

A "Softer, Gentler" Snuff Film

The other cheek

First Deep Throat, now The Passion...

Mel Gibson is releasing The Passion of The Christ: Recut – the movie’s got more cuts, the messiah’s got less.

So what was the point, Mel?

If the graphic violence is so readily dispensable, then why include it in the first place? Despite conventional wisdom, it’s now apparent that the buckets of blood were not in fact what the movie was about. So if the violence is unnecessary in order to convey the film’s message, then by definition that makes it gratuitous.

I may not totally agree with him, but at least Steven Spielberg had the conviction that every shot, every drop of blood, every utterance of the f-bomb and every exposed breast was absolutely integral in both Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan – even when it could’ve jeopardized his own financial gain or the films’ ability to be shown in certain nations and media.

At least now we’ll all be spared the uproar when some network decides to air an edited version of The Passion. Won’t we? Won't we?

Bening vs. Swank II

Round 2

There's an extensive analysis of the Best Actress title bout up at The Oscar Grouch. So float on over.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Look How Pha She's Come!

In the tradition of "Before They Were 'Stars'":

When Elizabeth Pha's not trawling for shrimp, she's trawling for help:

To Whom It May Concern,

Hello, my name is Elizabeth Frieda Pha. I am 19 years of age and a student at University of the Pacific. Throughout my high school years to this day, I have tried so hard to become discovered as a Pop / R&B singer. I feel that I have a singing ability that can touch and reach others. God gave me the gift of singing for a reason and that is to help others and to somehow touch their lives through music. That is my journey and my passion in life. I am young and I do not know where to start or what direction to take, but I would really want to get there. Please help me in any way you can.

I really hope to hear from you.

Elizabeth F. Pha

Since she's still got the same dream four years later, I wonder if she's still got the same e-mail address:

Sideshow Freak Occurrence

Bob Terwilliger meet Bob Terwilliger

Super journalist Theo's Gift has brought an incredible story to my attention. Really, it's amazing.

And it is in the humble opinion of this narrator that this is not just "Something That Happened." This cannot be "One of those things..." This, please, cannot be that. And for what I would like to say, I can't. This Was Not Just A Matter Of Chance. Ohhhh. These strange things happen all the time.

Stunt doubles

Idle Votes

Can somebody please explain to me why when there was a two-to-two tie tonight on American Idol for Elizabeth Pha (who was dressed like a Chesapeake Bay Seafood House), she made it through to Hollywood, yet when J.P. Molfetta again received a two-to-two tie, he did not?

Does Simon serve as Vice-President of American Idol?