Friday, January 18, 2008

Farewell to New York City: "Cloverfield", Favre To Eliminate Various Aspects of the Big Apple

Everyone is back in the Bend and settled in for what will be the best, worst, happiest, saddest and generally awesomest semester of all-time. There’ll be plenty of time to wax poetic about the four years as things get considerably colder and then thaw out (hopefully), so we won’t linger. We’ll just say I have four classes all on some scale of “pretty good” to “awesome,” and hopefully some rather eventful weeks ahead. We’ll proceed with some rambling…

1) As happy as I am they finally decided to bring American Gladiators back – various friends and I have been pushing this idea for years – it’s sad the great ratings are only going to drag this writer’s strike out longer. The WGA has screwed this up on so many levels, especially neglecting the fact networks were adding more and more reality programming as it was, so adding more game shows and lie detector tests (yeesh) – which are cheaper anyway – was no problem. Sure, ad revenues will be down over the next few months, but the networks aren’t going to lose that much money.

It’s also a shame that the writers have done such a great job in the past few years, as there’s so much great television no one has ever seen, meaning repeats and DVD sets can fill the primetime hours instead of new original programming. I’m glad there’s new Wire and Friday Night Lights episodes and people are all pumped for Lost to start back up and get confusing again, but the DVR and every other aspect of life are happy there’s a relief in great new shows.

(Quick note on the new Gladiator: It’s awesome to have it back and updated, but the scripted interviews between contests definitely have to be reduced or eliminated. Bill Simmons’ Unintentional Comedy Scale is going to have to add another level for Hulk Hogan at the rate he’s going. Also, how soon until people realize that the hand bike is a complete and total waste of time and energy, and one would be better served by just jumping off and climbing. Anything better than discussing the strategy of a show where one guy in spandex is named “Wolf” and howls? I think not.)

2) Speaking of Lost, J.J. Abrams’ much-hyped flick Cloverfield drops tonight, and we’ll be there, as the reviews are positive all around and I haven’t seen a blockbuster on opening night since summer. Whitney Matheson at USA Today encourages everyone to see it in a crowded theater, as it’s “best enjoyed on a big screen in a packed theater.” I think I’ve seen what the monster looks like, and I’ve skimmed the production notes, so while I’m not going in spoiler free (I’d like to be, but I’m weak and click too many things) I’m still very excited. Getting quality reviews at RottenTomatoes, although as Barcus pointed out to me, the Washington Post critic is complaining about dialogue in a monster-disaster movie. If people were stopping in the streets to riff on Faulkner or debate the value of Scorsese, I’d say that would be more of a problem.

I’m going to savor this senseless destruction as it’ll probably be the last non-Oscar-related movie I see over the next month. Nominations come out early Tuesday, and they’re apparently going to have a show, writer’s strike or no writer’s strike, so we’ll be gearing up for coverage, my annual beat down of Sean in the picks and my eventual Juno vs. No Country For Old Men breakdown. If independent movies are your thing, Sundance is going on, and with the writer’s strike, studios are getting out the wallets. Great list from the AV Club of Sundance flops you probably never heard of (Livey fell in love with The Tao of Steve at some point during high school, although I never saw it).

3) Fun sporting weekend ahead, with Notre Dame taking on Georgetown at noon tomorrow (although I don’t think it’s being shown, even in South Bend) and the potentially blowouteriffic conference title games Sunday. Anything can happen when it’s freezing cold out and Eli Manning is involved, but I don’t think anything would be more shocking than the Chargers upsetting the Patriots. They do have the advantage in game-planning that they can look at the Week Two beatdown when New England ran roughshod over them and just do the exact opposite.

Bonus fun on Saturday night as Avants’ uncle got us tickets for the Pistons/Bulls game in Chicago. Granted, the Bulls are sort of awful and both teams will be playing on the second night of back-to-backs, but it’ll be my first trip to the United Center.

Sorry for the brevity and lack of imagination in this post, but I just wanted to get something tossed up. If you find yourself unsatisfied, please direct yourself to the Rachel Bilson photos I linked to on the side, as they’ll do the trick.

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