Curse of the Corn People

Lyle mentions Curse of the Corn People, a failed pilot which I actually saw (for you younguns: the networks used to actually show the failed pilots during the summer doldroms, often facinating in terms of what worked and what didn’t.) It was a nice launch for a drama, about a bunch of small town folk working on a low budget horror film. Think “American Movie“, and you have a sense of the goal. Frankly, this is a concept that they should take another look at. Much good to be done with it.

Published in: on June 28, 2006 at 10:15 pm  Comments Off  

Outta debt

I just wrote the check for our last payment on the car. It is ours!

This may seem a minor thing to you, but it’s a rare thing for us. Beither of us is much one for going into debt. Neither of us have ever owned our house, so no mortgage. This car was a repacement for Lara’s first car, which was a gift. I’ve only owned used cars and always paid cash. I paid off my student loan more than a decade back, Lara never had one. We pay off our credit card bill every month. I bought a computer on a one-year payment plan about eight years back, but other than that… well, neither of us is used to paying things off.

(We would normally have bought this car – a then-one-year-used ex-rent-a-car Saturn – for cash, but at the time we were hoping to purchase a house, and for that a bit more cash on hand and more of a track record of making payments would both be of use.)

The car is ours… and at least for now, that’s about $250 less coming out of the bank account each month. Yay!

Published in: on June 26, 2006 at 11:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bad reunion movie idea

It’s 5:30 AM, but I’m awake, and I feel the need to chronicle this fact: Richard Greico showed up in my dreams last night.

This is not a usual occurence. I cannot say that I give the lead of TV’s short-lived Booker a passing thought more than twice a year. But last night, I was dreaming about things going on in a high school, and it became obvious that I was dreaming not of real high school but of a Fox prime time high school soap opera, and that the sullen junior was played by Richard Greico, and that he had been playing that role for six years, which is why the show no longer felt fresh.

Of course, Greico is not in reality on a high school soap opera. He’s slid from potential leading man to simply a working actor, doing films that sound designed for some 3 AM slot on Showtime. (Before you think that’s a harsh condemnation, it’s far more than most working actors achieve.)

But it did set me thinking – isn’t it time for a reunion movie that brings the 21 Jump Street gang back together for one last case? Don’t we want to see Greico, Johnny Depp, Peter Deluise, Holly Robinson Peete, and Dustin Nguyen trying to pass for teenagers to go undercover in a high school yet again? The time will never be better than now!

Published in: on June 21, 2006 at 7:48 am  Comments (1)  

Dog Bites Man Bites

This is Spinal Tap showed everyone that by doing a fake documentary, you could do great comedy without the need (or the cost) of an expensive look.

Alas, as anyone who watches indie film comedy can probably attest, this technique has given birth to a lot of bad films, ones that don’t have the comedy core that is required. Outside of the films featuring the same Christopher Guest core team that made Spinal Tap, these “mockumentaries” don’t add up. TV has had a little more success (The Office, and, ummm, The Office, but I understand those who like Reno 911), bit the new Comedy Central semi-improv news crew mockumentary Dog Bites Man is yet another example that the formula doesn’t promise anything… and with the way that this show left me feeling like we’d seen it all before, it may actually be a major hinderance.

Published in: on June 21, 2006 at 12:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Saved comment

Oh, there was one other thing about the Saved pilot I should have brought up last message (he says, as he watches episode 2.) There was a major reality stupidity in it. The character has to get something postmarked that day, so as midnight approaches he’s spending time deciding whether to mail it. Midnight’s the big countdown. He’s just got to drop it into the mail and he’ll be find.

But in reality, when it’s not income tax day (and it’s not), where can you actually get something postmarked at midnight? Metered, perhaps, but there was no sign he was headed to a postal meter.

Published in: on June 20, 2006 at 10:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saved

TNT launched their new series paramedic series Saved with a commercial-free pilot, they did it in an odd way. They didn’t run an hour show, they didn’t run a bunch of ads before and after the show, they ran it for the 40-some minutes that really make up an episode, and then they started the next show (an episode of The Closer)… about a dozen minutes earlier than it was scheduled for. I’m glad I wasn’t trying to watch that series!

There’s a couple good acting names on Saved. Tom Everett Scott, who was last heard from being dropped from the series Stacked before it ever aired, plays a parademic with dark father issues and a gambling streak. In what looks like a minor roll in terms of screen time, the delightful David Clennon (Miles Dentrell of thirtysomething and Once and Again is the important credit to recognize him from here, although he has also done well with less buttn-down characters as well) plays the brilliant doctor dad disappointed in his son.

There is money poured somewhere into this show, if only blatant from the soundtrack – there’s some big name classic rock in here, stuff that doesn’t come cheap, and some if it is integrated to a degree that it can’t be easily replaced in reruns. I’m not sure that much is gained from this.

The show is dark, but the good news is that it’s not relentlessly dark. There can be some moments of light, some moments of positivity. This puts it in contrast to Rescue Me, where you can generally tell what is going to happen simply by thinking “what’s the bad thing that could happen here?”

It’s too early to judge the plot; episode one is set-up, let’s see where they go with it. But the dialogue, well it could use some work. It’s never quite natural. When they’re trying to convey information, it’s too on-the-mark. When they’re trying to avoid giving certain information yet, it’s clearly effortful dancing, people speaking as if they’re pointlessly trying to avoid something they both know, rather than simply not happening to mention what they both know.

Not a must-see, but given the slow summer TV months, I’ll watch at least one more of these.

Published in: on June 20, 2006 at 12:40 am  Leave a Comment  

The Jake Effect

Okay, I’m way behind, but I’m playing catch-up.

The Jake Effect was run on Bravo, showing all six never-aired episodes of a sitcom to promote their BrilliantButCancelled.com website. And… it wasn’t quite brilliant. It was good, it was aggressive, but it also stumbled over itself at times. It starred Jason Bateman and Nikki Cox, and that was a combo that was attractive to me. Nikki had starred earlier in the sitcom Nikki, a surprisingly good sitcom that had no right being good. After all, it was a WB series about a wrestler and a Vegas showgirl, starring someone who looked like obvious eye candy who had come off of knock-off of Married With Children. Nothing about that phrase screams quality… but it worked quite well (better first season than second), due in no small part to the comedy chops of Ms. Cox.

Anyway, enough about that show. The Jake Effect was about a high-priced attorney who leaves that role to be a school teacher – a measure of goodness that justifies his mischieviousness on other fronts. Nikki plays the sexy teacher who is intended to be the long-term love interest. The style plays somewhere between Arrested Development and Malcolm in the Middle or My Name is Earl - cheeky, irreverent, not always following the expected path. All sounds good.

But the details miss at times, and Nikki as the sexy teacher is possibly the prime example of that failure. “Sexy teacher” is not a hard concept to play. We all had them. But the way she looked, it wasn’t as a sexy woman who happens to be your teacher, it was as a woman who was trying to be the sexy teacher, dressed and made up more like the Vegas showgirl on her day off than like a teacher. Now a showgirl is supposed to be intentionally seductive. A teacher is not, and going that route has some rather perverse overtones… which possibly could have worked in a dark comedic way had they done it intentionally. However, there was nothing in the script that suggested he was supposed to have that aspect. It was a mismatch. Attention to detail matters.

This series was still better than most of what makes it to air, and it could have found its way and rounded off those rough edges with time. It’s worth watching, if you have the chance. But its absence is not a tragedy.

Published in: on June 15, 2006 at 12:47 am  Comments (1)  

Truth in numbers

There is some ugly assumptions about numbers out there. Some folks consider many numbers to be “odd”, simply because they don’t believe that they are even.

Well they’re wrong. All numbers are even.

Sure, it’s easy to think of a number like eight as being even. If you have eight cookies, say, well, eight is certainly sufficiently even to consider it “even”. But if you have nine cookies, that’s even more than eight!
This message brought to you by the Comittee for Numeric Equality, making sure that some day, all numbers will be equal.

Published in: on June 9, 2006 at 8:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Show within a show

I’ve been watching the Henson sitcom Dinosaurs off of DVD lately. It’s got its higher points and its lower points (and I’m still coming up on the highest point, the two part “Nuts to War” a remarkably pointed attack on the whole war process). But on this Flintstones-as-Dinosaurs series, they watch TV, and the shows within the show are generally nice little moments. I’ve now passed the two that I remember best from watching them the first time all those years ago – a Mr. Wizard-like show where they always destroy the kid sidekick (“Looks like we’re gonna need another Timmy!”) and this gem of a new series ad:

Coming this fall on ABC: He’s a big city dinosaur detective who leaps through time to adopt seven interracial children. She’s a ghost with seven interracial ghost children of her own. Now they’re all moving to the country to become District Attorneys. And watch the sparks fly when mother moves in! It’s all… Way Too Complicated! Wednesdays at 8.

Thank goodness for the Antedeluvian Broadcasting Company!

Published in: on June 7, 2006 at 9:52 am  Comments (1)  

Gameshow Marathon

Watched the start of tonight’s episode of Gameshow Marathon, a competition which puts a bunch of players through a number of classic game shows. Which could be at least a vaguely interesting idea, except all interest in the outcome was killed by having the players be celebrities, playing for someone at home and for a charity. Which means no personal involvement, no personal excitement, and frankly it all looked rather staged. Plus tonight;s episode was Let’s Make a Deal, where there is no show of player talent and the only thing is to get excited about what you’re winning, which as noted earlier is pointless. And Ricki Lake, playing the host of the game proved that she’s not a gameshow host. I didn’t make it halfway through the episode, but I wanted no more.

Published in: on June 2, 2006 at 12:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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