TV08 Mar 2011 04:57 pm

tp_pbs

When I was young, PBS offered a wide-range of eclectic programming. From news programs to entertainment from all over the world to shows so frankly bizarre they defied categorization. So what happened? Why has public television, for the last decade, become a cesspool of infomercials? A festering swamp of New Age gurus hocking all manner of dopey ideas about healthy living or clean living or living your true potential or humping your spirit animal in front of the kids and neighbors while smiling and waving and farting ocean sounds and making (throaty and inappropriate) whale calls? (more…)

Media03 Mar 2011 11:23 pm

tp_charliesheen
The truly horrific thing about the Charlie Sheen debacle for me is that, in spite of the (far too numerous) allegations of him beating women, I find myself, reluctantly but helplessly, being drawn over to his side, against the media. In this age of the gutless corporate wonder, the yes man/woman, the asskisser, brown-noser, living executive embodiment of that old joke everyone standing up to their chins in liquid shit saying “don’t make a wave” – it’s hard not to side with Sheen. Who acts like a star anymore? (more…)

Media& Movies& Music& TV03 Mar 2011 01:56 pm

tp_oddsends
This is a collection of all the idiotic showbiz things I’ve noticed recently, but weren’t big enough to earn an entire post on their own. Enjoy! (more…)

Movies& TV28 Feb 2011 05:34 am

tp_oscar
Feeling down today. This one will be a more bitter post than most, so buckle up. The 83rd annual Academy Awards are over, and with them, any hope I might’ve had that the movie industry, that Hollywood, Hollyweird, what-have-you, will rebound and become the bastion of worthwhile fantasy it once was, rather than the empty, solipsistic shithouse it has been for oh, about ten years, now. What can I say? It all comes down to one moment for me – one moment in the entire show that summed everything up – the uselessness, the despair, the pointlessness in ever believing American film is going to come back in any way, shape, or form. (more…)

Books& Music24 Feb 2011 12:25 am

tp_motleycrue

Traditionally, there’ve been two types of tell-all showbiz books: the first, “written” by a celebrity (read: said celeb talks it out with a ghost writer), is generally a dreary by-the-numbers affair, blandly describing their history, with a few “revealing” items about the celeb’s life, but nothing so shocking as to render them a monster, quite the contrary – the shocking bits are geared to create sympathy, as in: abusive childhood, drug habit (that never by some miracle grows to include said celeb ripping people off, though female celebs prostituting themselves is OK, as it is both sexy and shows how low they fell, and therefore how much sympathy we owe them), debilitating accident/disease (which can include psychological inflictions, but never to the degree that they hurt others like a manic babbling trainwreck of flailing catastrophe, only themselves, thus again necessitating that you feel for them in their wealth of excruciating pain, etc.). (more…)

Movies20 Feb 2011 11:46 pm

tp_observereport

When the super-violent hockey comedy “Slap Shot” was released in 1977 it received mixed reviews. On the one hand, critics noted the joy with which star Paul Newman and his co-stars relished their characters’ vulgarity and brutality, praising the cockeyed passion behind their portrayals. But on the other, they seemed reluctant to give the film too rave a review, out of the fear that, by doing so, they might be mistaken for somehow approving of the bloodshed and ignorance onscreen. In the intervening years, “Slap Shot” has become a cult classic, earning a sea of diehard fans, not to mention books about the making of the movie and its ever growing mythology. If any film could be said to be the “Slap Shot” of our times, it’s the Seth Rogan vehicle “Observe and Report.” (more…)

Movies& TV17 Feb 2011 02:05 am

tp_tomgreen

The basic problem is marketing. When a new talent comes along, someone completely original, there’s no existing marketing category for them. The most a marketer can do to assess their potential is describe them as a combination of this person or that (read: this existing marketing category or that). Like this guy over here is Paul Lynde meets Mike Tyson. Or that gal over there is the love-child of Kathy Griffin and Ruth Buzzi, with a smattering of Imelda Marcos sprinkled over her and a wad of Dom DeLuise mashed up against her backside (what was actually said about Margaret Cho when she made her debut). But these are ham-handed characterizations that can’t help but miss the mark. Unfortunately, the entertainment industry depends on them to hype a performer, and also decide which performer is going to get a shot, and who’s not. (more…)

Movies15 Feb 2011 08:34 pm

tp_monsters

A new gallery of mine has gone live on MSN’s sci-fi/fantasy website Parallel Universe. It’s called “Making Out With Monsters,” and counts down a list of movies that feature hanky-panky between humans and decidedly inhuman things. You thought polyamory was all that? Please. Take a gander at this nasty nookie.

Media13 Feb 2011 05:02 pm

tp_glove
There’s a moment at the end of Barry Sonnenfeld’s movie “Get Shorty” where the camera pans out to show that all the major players on a particular movie set have the same car, an Oldsmobile Silhouette. The reason this is absurd – the main character, Chili Palmer, only drove the Silhouette by accident. When he first arrives in L.A., he wants a Cadillac, but the rental place gives him the “Cadillac of minivans,” instead. But because Palmer is a confident character (he’s a mafia Shylock), and the showbiz personalities he meets throughout his adventures in L.A. are decidedly not, as time goes on, more and more of them end up getting the same vehicle. (more…)

TV10 Feb 2011 06:15 am

tp_pleasestandby
Very odd things going on in the world of TV commercials. I’ve already talked about the morbid mixture of pharmaceutical drug ads and law firm ads (calling out for victims of pharmaceuticals) airing back-to-back on cable news networks (in my HuffPo rant), but there’s other weird business afoot in the electrostatic land of the hock and hustle. The following are examples of the most bizarre offenders, in no particular order. Chances are you’ve noticed some of these yourself… (more…)

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