October 28, 2014

Conan O'Brien Vs Madeleine Albright

Yes! This may be my new all-time favourite twitter war....!

Sure I find O'Brien fast and funny, but who knew Albright was this quick? Hopefully she can bring some of that zing to the new TV show Madame Secretary, which she consults on...

October 26, 2014

About Renee Zellweger's Face...

Last week Oscar-winninger actress and Bridget Jones star Renee Zellweger stepped out on the red carpet for the first time in years, and the twitter-verse exploded.

Zellweger looked different, noticeably visibly different. Did she have work done? Was it just age and time and a different outlook?

As the story blew up, Zellweger issued a statement which addresses the issue but doesn't give specifics,  saying "I'm glad folks think I look different! I'm living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows... I am healthy." 

Every other fame-seeking plastic surgeon was on TMZ or ET or wherever speculating what work she had done... and all of a sudden it felt icky.

Did she have work done? Sure is possible. Should we care? Sure it's interesting and somewhat salacious and we are curious, but this is no Kenny Rogers or Meg Ryan episode of Botched... it is a middle aged adult in a looks-oriented business doing what she wants to.

Amid all the chatter, I loved what actor Zachary Quinto had to say about the discussion... 

"I thought [the Internet response] was completely bizarre and really aggressive, and it infiltrated the zeitgeist in such a powerful way in such a short amount of time — and she looks amazing, first of all. Second of all, she acknowledged her position, and I thought she did it in an intelligent and classy way. And third of all, so what? You know what I mean? Who’s not getting work done? Who’s not trying to bend to the unrealistic expectations of women when they’re young, let alone when they’re older? I thought she did it in a really bold and beautiful way. I think she looks amazing and if she’s happy, then shut the fuck up, everybody.”

October 23, 2014

The 'Scandal' boss & those gay scenes...

Acclaimed and outspoken TV writer and producer Shonda Rhimes, she of Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and the new series How To Get Away With Murder,  is famous for not only being talented and successful, but for putting women front and centre, and for mixing in characters of different ethnicity and sexual orientations and not making that their main storyline.

I love this woman, and not just for her spirit and politics... while I don't watch Grey's as much as I used to, I am totally hooked on Scandal and Murder. They are fun fast entertaining addictive soaps.

The new How To Get Away With Murder, which mixes high drama and high camp, stars Oscar nominee Viola Davis as a mysterious law professor. It has been controversial because of its aggressive gay character and his sex life shown on screen -- well shown as much as you can on network television, and no more than you would see with straight TV characters on a 10 PM drama...

From last week: 
One (soon to be dead) male character said of another: "He did things to my ass that made my eyes water."
One woman to another: "If that were my husband, I would be able to walk straight."
Okay so the sexes are even here...

Then this weekend in twitter land someone challenged producer Rhimes on 'the gay scenes'... and her comeback made me love her even more... #oneLOVE:

October 20, 2014

Jenny McCarthy, Blonde & Confused...

Actress, comedienne, writer, TV host, Playboy centrefold, and general all around annoying person Jenny McCarthy is sticking her foot in it again.

The former View host, best known for dangerous anti-doctor anti-vaccine campaign, and for making Sherri Shepherd look less dim during her one season on The View, is known for over sharing regarding her sex life, but that is not the issue now.

The blonde bombshell gave an interview last week where -- likely with the best of intentions -- she came across as at best naive and uninformed.

Talking about her guest shot on the sitcom Just Shoot Me as a transgender woman, she told PrideSource: “I feel like that inside. I always felt like one of the guys wearing, like, a Playboy bunny outfit. I was David Spade’s buddy to begin with, so I was a natural fit, and I always felt like his brother." 

So she thinks cross dressing is the same as transgender... and is totally missing the whole point of someone who is truly trans, i.e. their assigned gender does not match their expression or behaviour, often resulting in violence and discrimination towards them. 

And when asked how she'd feel if her son came out as gay, she said: “Oh my god, I would be so excited. We can shop! Do my hair!”

Yep, no stereotypes there...!

When asked about these comments, a spokesperson for the Centre for Transgender Equality simply noted this was not the worst thing McCarthy has said about trans people. So that's not good...

I'm not sure what McCarthy has been doing since The View wisely dumped her last season, but maybe she should read a book or watch the news?

October 15, 2014

Neil Patrick Harris, Oscar Host...

Producers announced today that Emmy and Tony winner Neil Patrick Harris will host the 2015 Academy Awards next February.

This is a great choice -- Harris is fast and funny, sings and dances, and does the occasional magic trick.

Long rumoured to be a contender for this high profile gig, Harris is an experienced host, having done the job at the Emmys and Tonys multiple times to great acclaim.

A TV star since childhood as Doogie Howser, Harris became a major star as womanizer Barney on the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, and when that ended earlier this year headed straight to Broadway, winning a Tony for Hedwig And The Angry Inch. He is currently on view in a creepy supporting role in Gone Girl.

Harris is also a gay role model and activist, having been out for many years; he recently married his boyfriend of ten years, David Burtka, with whom he has 4-year-old twins.

Often referred to as 'the gay Superbowl' because of its audience (hey, I watch) the producers are living up to the name, as last year Ellen DeGeneres hosted to great reviews and ratings... so who's next, Rosie O'Donnell or Matt Bomer?

This is a big week for NPH -- whose funny twitter feed is at @actuallyNPH - in addition to the Oscar gig, he published his first book, a creative twist on his own story called Choose Your Own Autobiography on Tuesday; I just started reading it.

If you have missed his hosting gigs, here are two samples of NPH at work....

Ok, forget the others... for 2016 bring on Fey and Poehler!

October 12, 2014

Love Is All You Need...

Sometimes you discover a totally unknown movie on Netflix or on demand, and it's a treat... okay more often it's a black hole time suck that you regret, but sometimes it is a real treat.

We discovered one of those treats this week; it's a Danish film called Love Is All You Need, a 2013 multi-lingual romantic comedy about and for grown-up's.

Love Is All You Need stars Pierce Brosnan as Philip, an angry widowed career-obsessed executive who goes to Italy for his son's impromptu wedding, where he falls for Trine Dyrholm as Ida, the mother of the bride, who happens to be going through a marital split and chemotherapy at the same time.

Her husband brings his young girlfriend to the wedding, the young bride and groom encounter some hurdles, and while Philip blames the world for his wife's death, Ida is trying not to be a victim of either her cheating husband or her cancer.

You will see the ending coming, however you won't see all how we get there in this feel good movie with depth.

I have some minor quibbles - the generic title, that the Brosnan character doesn't speak Danish but seems to understand it, that we hear That's Amore way too often - but they are minor in a really charming heartfelt movie.

This one is a quiet winner... the characters are intriguing, the plot has some twists, and the scenery is breathtaking... I was entertained and touched. Hell, I put the laptop away and just watched it old-fashioned like... now that is high praise. Check out Love Is All You Need ... or look for it by its way better Danish title, The Bald Hairdresser.

October 8, 2014

Black-ish isn't Gay-ish

We are in fall TV premiere season, and tonight ABC will air the third episode of its acclaimed new comedy Black-ish, starring Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Laurence Fishburne.

The show focuses on an upper middle class black family, where just as he is promoted to the highest ranking back man in his white company, the father worries that his kids are not culturally black enough.  So he interferes and bumbles as he tries to make them more culturally black. The dad is goofy, the mom is sweet, the kids are snarky... so a typical sitcom.... inside of 22 minutes, insight and comedy ensue.

The first episode, which focused on the dad's promotion while his son decided he wanted a Bar Mtizvah despite not being Jewish, was smart and funny.

This weekend while on the treadmill I caught the second episode on demand, and was surprised.

While ABC has put Black-ish in a prime spot, between two hits, the super-gay Modern Family and the gay-ish Nashville, Black-ish is not gay friendly.

In episode two, the dad is approaching the son to have the sex talk, and finds him stretching... and says of the stretching that "it looks a little gay" ... so gay like lame? Or gay like stupid? Or gay like gay?

Later in the show, when the dad is shirtless, his son takes off his shirt to mimic, and the dad says "two shirtless dudes standing around starts to look weird"... so 'weird' means gay, right? Gay is weird?

At best that is lazy outdated writing. More likely it is casual homophobia. Either way it's not good enough, TV people.

Sure these are just two quick lines, but they went through the writing and rewriting and filming and editing and whatever else those network people do... and made it through.

Much as I like TV, and crappy TV, I won't be going back to Black-ish which I now file away with Ducky Dynasty and Tim Allen... bye bye.

October 5, 2014

Aretha, Adele, & Surly Cissy Houston...

Legendary singer Aretha Franklin has a new album coming out, and last week was on Letterman to promote it.

Franklin's voice is iconic and undeniable, though her choice in songs has ranged from classic (Think, Natural Woman) to fun (Freeway Of Love, Jump To It), to utterly forgettable (the last twenty years).

This new album sounds like it has potential -- Aretha Sings The Great Diva Classics includes covers of great songs like Midnight Train To Georgia, At Last, I Will Survive, and Nothing Compares To You.

Check out the Letterman clip below, where Aretha performs her take on Adele's Rolling In The Deep. I love this song, though it may be too soon to call it a 'diva classic'... and I'm not sure how I feel about this take on it. She may be overdoing it, I may have issues. And I do have many, many issues with the dress.

Especially check out the surly background singer throwing shade... that is Cissy Houston, Whitney's mom, in one of the most bizarre performances of the year. She is out of sync with the moves, looks both angry and bored, and then seems like she doesn't even know the words... rolling her eyes as she judges Aretha, the audience, and everyone. Nasty.

October 2, 2014

Netflix & The Perfect Gay Wedding...

It's an age old story....

Boy meets boy...
Boy falls in love with boy...
Boy gets drunk, does stupid shit and loses boy...
Two years later at the wedding of his adopted interracial sister, now-sober boy meets same boy again, who is traveling with his pretend new boyfriend...
Now sober-boy falls for his ex's fake boyfriend..
Romance and comedy ensue.

Okay it's more of a modern story.

In The Perfect Wedding, now on Netflix, the budget is low and it shows, the acting is earnest rather than experienced, and the script is not subtle at all, and yet the whole thing works.

What I liked about this flick was its sweetness, and that in this family and circle of friends, being gay or straight, black or white, is all normal and not even mentioned... there are no closets, there are no stereotypes.

These friends and family love and laugh, they care, they stare into their loved ones' eyes, they try not to hurt each other so they lie and hurt each other... and then it all comes together into a happy ending.

The message is the same as any other romantic comedy: life is better when you take that risk and open yourself up to finding that one special person to walk through life with. True in this film, and just true.

Oh... also discovered here... the gays love ABBA. In case that was a secret...

Check out The Perfect Wedding...