Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Pfizer is in a lot pfreaking trouble

This battle has been brewing for years. Clearly AIDS groups have had just about enough when it comes to viagra. The AIDS Health Foundation is suing Pfizer Inc over their ads saying they encourage users to take viagra as a party drug and that its recreational use has furthered the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. The group calls Pfizer's ads misleading, indicating that they have nothing to do with selling a drug to cure impotence.

The impetus for this recent suit is the new series of Viagra ads that are set to debut during next month's Super Bowl. The ads will include the line "Be this Sunday's MVP".

This is not the first time Viagra ads have come under fire. In 2004, the ads featuring a middle aged couple as the voiceover explains "Remember that guy who used to be called 'Wild Thing'?" And the commercial ends with devils horns appearing on his head which then morph into a viagara pill? Pfizer was forced to pull that off the air as it failed to disclose known risks of the drug.

In the suit, aside from getting the ads off the air, the group is also asking that the FDA step up the way they oversee Viagra ads. Interestingly enought, this news comes forward just as Pfizer has announced lay-offs of 10 000 to help trim costs.

When the drug company Pfizer first released the drug viagra, it was meant to be a drug to help men with impotence. The release of this drug also coincided with the internet. To this day, I receive more emails, on a daily basis, at work and at home for viagara or viagara type drugs than any other product.

Is there really that much of a demand for this product? Is impotence effecting that many men, young and old! And the constant ads for the product. Enough is enough. Should I be worried? It went from being a head scratcher to know being just gross. During the same Super Bowl broadcast where Janet Jackson bared her breast and got CBS in trouble with the FCC, there were dozens of ads for viagra. Are you telling me hearing about a warning that if you have an erection for more than 6 hours to call your doctor is less offensive than a split second of Jackson's breast?

And how about these viagra ads? They used to feature Bob Dole. But the actors have become younger and younger. And now they feature music like the song Good Morning from the film Singin' In The Rain and Queen's We Are The Champions.

Top 5 Queen Albums
  1. A Night At The Opera
  2. The Game
  3. Jazz
  4. The Works
  5. A Day At The Races


Friday, January 26, 2007

Hammer of the Gods

The editors of Guitar World have created a list of the Top 100 guitar solos of all time. The list of course only includes the rock and roll era so there is no jazz or anything like that. I also do not think there is much pre 1964 on the list. The only one is Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Good. This seems pretty disrespectful to Mickey "Guitar" Baker who provides what I think is a groundbreaking solo in the 1957 Mickey & Sylvia hit Love Is Strange. If you don't know the song, it is used in a pretty famous scene with Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing.

Guitar World's list features a lot of obvious tracks from Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton as well as more recent works from Pantera and Jane's Addiction.

My personal top 5 guitar solos list

1. Song: Hey Jude
Guitarist: Duane Allman
Band: Wilson Pickett
Album: Hey Jude

Guitarist: Keith Richards
Band: The Rolling Stones
Album: Beggars Banquet

Guitarist: Elliott Randall
Band: Steely Dan
Album: Can't Buy A Thrill

Guitarist: Slash
Band: Velvet Revolver
Album: Contraband

5. Song: Magic Man
Guitarist: Nancy Wilson
Band: Heart
Album: Dreamboat Annie

Apologies to Jeff Beck and his stellar work on Rod Stewart's version of People Get Ready as well as the combination of Duane Allman and Dickie Betts on The Allman Brothers' song Whipping Post. I don't know a lot about the technical aspects of music (which probably explains why I own a KISS CD) but feel free to comment with your own top 5. Elvis, Stewbie, Coglero, guys actually play instruments!!!


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Academy Award Nominations!!!!

So the Academy Award nominations were announced today. The biggest overall surprise is that Dreamgirls led all films with 8 nominations but not one of them was for Best Picture.

Best Picture
The Departed
Letters From Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
The Queen

Babel did get a number of nominations but this category is The Departed's to win.

Best Director
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel)
Martin Scorsese (The Departed)
Clint Eastwood (Letters From Iwo Jima)
Stephen Frears (The Queen)
Paul Greengrass (United 93)

Scorsese is almost a lock to win this. Just keep this in mind, the rap group Three 6 Mafia has won more Academy awards than Scorsese.

Best Actor
Leonardo DiCaprio (Blood Diamond)
Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson)
Peter O'Toole (Venus)
Will Smith (The Pursuit Of Happyness)
Forest Whitaker (The Last King Of Scotland)

Interesting race with DiCaprio getting a nomination for Blood Diamond as opposed to the more nominated film The Departed. However, with Forest Whitaker doing an accent and playing a real person who recently died, he should win this category handily.

Best Actress
Penelope Cruz (Volver)
Judi Dench (Notes On A Scandal)
Helen Mirren (The Queen)
Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada)
Kate Winslet (Little Children)

Streep has no business in this category. Her performance was clearly a supporting one. Nice to see Penelope Cruz. It's funny, she seems to be a much better actress when speaking Spanish as opposed to english. Helen Mirren, playing the current queen of England is a lock for the Oscar.

Best Actor In A Supporting Role
Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine)
Jackie Earl Haley (Little Children)
Djimon Honsou (Blood Diamond)
Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls)
Mark Wahlberg (The Departed)

Lots of surprises here including Jackie Earl Haley (best known for 70s films Breaking Away and The Bad News Bears) and Mark Wahlberg. Though I question how a guy who was once known as Marky Mark should be allowed to be nominated for an Academy Award. I am also surprised that he would get a nod over his Departed co-star Alec Baldwin. Djimon Honsou gets another nomination. He is a terrific actor who really should be getting more lead roles. Eddie Murphy, an actor who makes more bad film choices than any actor on the planet should take home the award.

Best Actress In A Supporting Role
Adriana Barraza (Babel)
Cate Blanchett (Notes On A Scandal)
Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine)
Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls)
Rinko Kikuchi (Babel)

This category is always a crapshoot. From Marisa Tomei to Mira Sorvino, winners in this category are always the most difficult to predict. My brain says that ex-American Idol candidate Jennifer Hudson will win for Dreamgirls. However, my gut says Abigail Breslin. The little girl from Little Miss Sunshine.

Best Original Screenplay
Guillermo Arriaga (Babel)
Iris Yamashita and Paul Haggis (Letters From Iwo Jima)
Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine)
Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth)
Peter Morgan (The Queen)

This category usually goes to small independant films that are really successful but to artsy to get nods in the more major categories. Because of this, I will go with Michael Arndt's Little Miss Sunshine though with it's cross cutting storylines, Guillermo Arriaga could win for Babel.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham, Dan Mazer and Todd Phillips (Borat Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan)
Alfonso Cuaron, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Children of Men)
William Monahan (The Departed)
Todd Field and Tom Perrotta (Little Children)
Patrick Marber (Notes On a Scandal)

How Cohen's film made the list seems more like a "Hey we applaud your film's success by handing you a nomination" type nomination. How is it that it took five people to write a film that is basically an actor playing a character who walks amongst real people and simply reacts to how they react to him? I am going to go with Children Of Men here. This film should have received more nominations than it did.

Top 5 performances that should have been nominated this year.
1. Best Picture-Children Of Men
2. Best Director-Alfonso Cuaron (Children Of Men)
3. Best Supporting Actress-Emma Thompson (Stranger Than Fiction)
4. Best Supporting Actress-Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada)
As discussed above, she was nominated for Best Actress for this performance but since the lead performance of the film is by Anne Hathaway, it makes no sense. Just goes to prove that Academy voters often vote for names not actual performances. Though it is the studios fault, they obviously submitted Streep's nomination for Best Actress knowing that an actress with her pedigree would be nominated no matter what.
5. Best Supporting Actor-Danny Huston (The Proposition)


Monday, January 22, 2007

Rock and The Police (and other ramblings)

First off, J-Mac and I spent our Saturday night at a Toronto Rock game. My company had a box for the night and I was able to scam us two of the tickets. It was actually the first time I was able to enjoy a game from a box in my life.

The funny thing was that most of us spent the time watching the Penguins/Leafs game on a tv inside the box. It was so confusing at times, we would hear the roar of the crowd inside the ACC we would look up to the tv as if something happened in the game that was taking place in Pittsburgh.

NLL-type lacrosse is quite an event to watch. The goalies have so much padding and the nets are so small, the only way to score is to fake a shot than fling it in the hole that is opened up by the goalies movement. Also there is this cool shot that players attempt where they put the lacrosse stick behind their head and literally shoot it from above their opposite shoulder. The ball then comes from a different angle than the goalie expects.

The hockey influence is pretty obvious in this style of lacrosse. Their is fighting, body checking, on-the-fly line changes and plenty of hitting along the boards. You do seem to be able to use your stick as a weapon more as when defending, you can clearly hit the offensive player with your stick in order to get the ball. The final score was 19-15 for the Rochester Knighthawks so offense is clearly not a problem in this league.

The game was aired on Rogers Sportsnet. There were 16 882 people at the ACC for the game. I have a feeling that number will be higher than the amount of viewers that broadcast will get on Sportsnet.

A funny segment from Sportsnet occured during last Thursday's Leafs/Panthers game. During the second period intermission, the hockeycentral panel featuring Bill Watters, Daren Millard and Nick Kypreos were discussing the game's action. Suddenly, his nose started bleeding. The funny part was watching Kypreos' face as he was looking off camera trying to figure out what to do. As well, he kept subtly looking into his pockets looking for a kleenex for his bleeding comrade. The segment is still not on youtube but I assume it will shortly.

In the title of this blog, I mentioned The Police. The reason is that the rumour du jour regarding their reunion (the worst kept secret in music) is that they will open the Grammy Awards show on February 11th with their first performance together in years. They have only played together twice since they broke up, an impromptu set at Sting's wedding in 1992 and when they were inducted into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.

Top 5 Police CDs (they only had 5)
1. Zenyetta Mondetta
2. Synchronicity
3. Outlandos D'Amour
4. Regetta de Blanc
5. Ghost In The Machine
And speaking of award shows, The Razzie Award nominations came out today. If you don't know what that The Razzie Awards are, they are the opposite of the Academy Awards. They are given out the day before the Academy Awards. At first they were an anti-establishment type thing but they have taken steps towards legitimacy as both Tom Green (Freddie Got Fingered) and Halle Berry (Catwoman) are the only actors to ever actually show up to accept the awards. Bill Cosby (Leonard Part 6), Tom Selleck (Christopher Columbus: The Discovery), Paul Verhoeven (director of Showgirls), Brian Helgeland (writer of The Postman) and Ben Affleck (Gigli, Daredevil and Paycheque) have all accepted the awards after the fact.
This year, the films Basic Instinct 2 and Little Man led the way with 7 nominations each.
Tomorrow, the Academy Award nominations will be released and I will have a full analysis. Why? Not because you asked me...but because I want to. I find the history of the Academy Awards fascinating.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Fresh meat for Zues and Appolo

So after months of rumours that included George Clooney, Vince Vaughn and Ben Affleck, the main casting for the movie version of Magnum P.I. is rumoured to be complete.

The role of Thomas Magnum, the former Vietnam vet living in a palatial estate as the head of security while being a private investigator on the side is Matthew McConaughey. Obviously with a light comedic actor like McConaughey, the movie is going to be closer to the early Magnum episodes which were more playful than some of the serious melodrama that the show got into in the latter years.

I guess from a sex appeal aspect, women are going to love this choice. I don't quite get it when it comes to McConaughey. I remember one woman (whose name I will not mention as I see no need to embarrass her) was telling me how she loved McConaughey. I said she should see A Time To Kill. She didn't recognize the title and asked me what it was about. I was telling her about Carl Lee Hailey (played by Samuel L. Jackson) who kills these guys who raped his daughter and that McConaughey plays the lawyer who defends him. She did not know the movie but told me that it sounded like another movie where McConaughey takes his shirt off. Turns out, it was the same film. It's the scene where after the KKK burns down his house for representing Hailey in court.

The Top 5 Matthew McConaughey movies
1. A Time To Kill
2. Lone Star
3. Amistad
4. Contact
5. Sahara

What is even more interesting about the cast is the fact that it will be a reunion of some of his castmates from the underrated action movie Sahara, William H. Macy and Steve Zahn. Macey will play Jonathan Higgins, the manager of the estate in which Magnum resides. Zahn, in the most inspired casting of all, will play local bar owner Rick Wright. The role of TC looks like it will be played by Tyrese Gibson.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Are celebs even aware of inventions such as television and the internet?

My fascination with Paula Abdul on American Idol still continues. Her drunken or drugged out ramblings are by far the best part of the show.

However, during an interview with a local TV network, she really stepped over the line. She was so drunk that she could barely sit down. I actually thought it was a Saturday Night Live skit as she rambled, flirted, pointed and almost slipped off her chair and that was in the first 30 seconds of the interview.

According to a spokesperson for Abdul, she was, wait for it...exhausted.

This was at the end of three days of press (interviews and appearances), and she has had cameras following her around for a reality TV show, too,” said Jeff Ballard.

Here is the clip from youtube. Judge for yourself.

This, of course, will not be enough to make me watch American Idol this year. I do sometimes enjoy the first shows where the hundreds of people get to try out. Last season, I was immediately hooked by eventual winner Taylor Hicks. Here he is singing the song The Runaround.

He really does have that Michael McDonald vibe but much cooler.

Top 5 Doobie Brothers songs.
1. Black Water
2. China Grove
3. Listen To The Music
4. Takin' It To The Streets
5. South City Midnight Lady

But, I can't see me making it through another full season of that show. No matter how entertaining Paula Abdul continues to be. It makes you wonder if this was all a joke just to get even more people to watch American Idol.
There is a conspiracy theory being floated around that this is all to kick Abdul off American Idol and replace her with Posh Spice (also known as Mrs. David Beckham). She is now going to be living in LA as her husband recently signed a ridiculous contract to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy of the MLS.
Her judging on American Idol is pretty ironic since I don't believe she ever actually sung on any of the Spice Girls songs. They didn't even hide that in the videos, she doesn't actually appear to be singing in them either.


Friday, January 12, 2007

My weekend is SET

For the first weekend in a while, we actually have a lot of plans. Friday night, J-Mac & I are having dinner with Jayman at our favourite German restaurant Wally's in Etobicoke. His wife MC is currently in Germany on business so we decided to do the next best thing.

What I am looking forward to most, other than the huge schnitzels, is they have Hacker-Pschorr on draught. It will probably be the best draught I've had since leaving the UK.

Saturday will also be good as my sister and her two kids are staying with us overnight. My 3 year old niece is basically a full time job on her own and I am sure she will have us up at 6:30 am Sunday morning wanting some breakfast.

However, Sunday is the big night, the 2 hour season premiere of 24 with another 2 hours on Monday night. A co-worker actually gave me a copy of a screener of the first four hours of the show on Tuesday. Due to my excitement, I just had to put it on just to see what it was like. I was enjoying the first hour, though it seemed a little short.

Your Faithful narrator lawyers have demanded I edit out some key words in the next paragraph

I was confused when all the sudden **** decided to **** by **** one of the ****. I started watching the second hour and the previews showed a scene from the first hour that I had obviously missed. It seems that the low quality of the DVD was actually skipping scenes. I officially gave up and will watch the four hours of 24 this Sunday and Monday.

24 has been all over the media this past week. The National Post has had articles about the show everyday this week. Today's article was about the torture tactics used throughout the show's run. Thursday's was from a writer who decided to watch the entire first season of 24 in one sitting. Wednesday was about Jack Bauer's(Kiefer Sutherland) right-hand woman Chloe O'Brien (Mary Lynn Rajskub). Tuesday was a feature about the ongoing hiring of Canadian actors for this US-based show. Monday's article centred on the character of Jack Bauer.

The entire cast was interviewed by an aging and forgetful Larry King on Monday night. Here is the transcript. It wasn't a great interview as King is clearly losing it, was asking the wrong people the wrong questions and forgetting people's names.

My favourite part was when Larry was about to ask James Morrison (who plays CTU Director Bill Buchanen) a question. Without looking at his notes, King starts, "Jim...". King realizes he has made a mistake so he tries to cover it up by asking "can I call you Jim?". Morrison just looks at him coldly and says, "I'd really prefer James." Guess he isn't much of a Doors fan.

The bulk of the questions were obviously for Kiefer and one viewer emailed a question asking Kiefer about whether there will ever be a role for his Dad Donald Sutherland. Kiefer sidestepped the question by saying that his character's father would be making an appearance this season and would be played by James Cromwell (you know him from Babe). I mention this only in passing as my Top 5 list is as follows.

Top 5 Donald Sutherland Movies
1. M*A*S*H
2. Klute
3. Blood Relatives
4. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers
5. A Time To Kill

If you want some entertaining video, here is Kiefer Sutherland in full Jack Bauer mode for a series of commercials for a Japanese food supplement bar called Caloriemate. They are really short and amusing if you like 24 or Japanese energy supplement commercials.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Gwynn is IN!!!

So the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown announced who are going to be inducted this year. The big news is that one of the two is Padre outfielder Tony Gwynn.

Top 5 reasons Tony Gwynn should be in the Hall of Fame
1. Gwynn's lifetime batting average was .338. His career average is the highest among players whose careers began after World War II. He hit below .300 only once in his career. His rookie year of 1982 when he hit .289.
2. He led the National League in batting average 8 times. Only Honus Wagner has won as many NL batting titles.
3. He struck out a total of 434 times in his career. That equates to once every 21 at bats. Putting this into perspective, in 2006 Adam Dunn struck out once every 3 at bats.
4. Gwynn was a 15 time All Star. He started 11 of those All-Star Games.
5. Gwynn won 5 straight gold gloves from 1986 to 1991.

Oh yeah, Cal Ripken was also elected into the Hall of Fame on Tuesday. I like Cal Ripken. I get that he has revolutionized the short stop position and he has the record of playing in 2, 632 consecutive games. Though there are some who would argue that his pursuit of that streak actually hindered his team. Had he rested more throughout the season, he may have been able to lead his team to more post season success.

Similar type arguments could be made against Gwynn. Apparently, there were times when his team, the San Diego Padres wanted to deal Gwynn in order to improve. Gwynn refused to be traded. He went to school in San Diego, was a college baseball star in San Diego, played his entire career in San Diego and now that he has retired, is actually coaching at the University of San Diego. It is really difficult to trash someone with that kind of dedication.

Voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame has a lot of distinctions. Only baseball writers can vote. They can vote for as many people who are eligible up to 10. Eligible candidates must be on 75% of the ballots in order to be elected into the Hall. If an eligible candidate gets less than 5% of the vote, he is kicked off the ballot in future seasons. If you do get more than 5% but not enough to be inducted, you can remain on the ballot for 15 years. Despite all this, only one or two players get elected each year.

Here is the breakdown of the ballots this year:

Cal Ripken 537 (98.5%), Tony Gwynn 532 (97.6%), Rich “Goose” Gossage 388 (71.2%), Jim Rice 346 (63.5%), Andre Dawson 309 (56.7%), Bert Blyleven 260 (47.7%), Lee Smith 217 (39.8%), Jack Morris 202 (37.1%), Mark McGwire 128 (23.5%), Tommy John 125 (22.9%), Steve Garvey 115 (21.1%), Dave Concepcion 74 (13.6%), Alan Trammell 73 (13.4%), Dave Parker 62 (11.4%), Don Mattingly 54 (9.9%), Dale Murphy 50 (9.2%), Harold Baines 29 (5.3%), Orel Hershiser 24 (4.4%), Albert Belle 19 (3.5%), Paul O’Neill 12 (2.2%), Bret Saberhagen 7 (1.3%), Jose Canseco 6 (1.1%), Tony Fernandez 4 (0.7%), Dante Bichette 3 (0.6%), Eric Davis 3 (0.6%), Bobby Bonilla 2 (0.4%), Ken Caminiti 2 (0.4%), Jay Buhner 1 (0.2%), Scott Brosius 0, Wally Joyner 0, Devon White 0, Bobby Witt 0.

Here is what I find interesting. 8 of these baseball writers believed that Cal Ripken should NOT be elected into the hall of fame and 13 of them believed that Tony Gwynn should NOT be elected into the hall of fame. If those two aren't good enough...who is good enough for these idiot writers.

Even worse. 3 of these writers believe Dante Bichette SHOULD go in the Hall of Fame. Bichette who hit less than 300 home runs in his career and had a lifetime batting average less than .300. And even those numbers are inflated as he played 7 seasons in the best hitting park in Major League Baseball, Colorado's Mile High Stadium.

So with the news of Gwynn's induction, I have informed J-Mac that we are to be heading down to Cooperstown this fall. We aren't going for the induction ceremony, I just want to head down later to play some golf, check out the scenery and check out the new plaque for the greatest hitter of our generation, Tony Gwynn.

She is already on board by figuring out our route down to Cooperstown, picking out some good hotels and trying to determine whether we will drive back to Canada up through the Adirondacks up past Plattsburg and meet up with Coglero in Ottawa or not.

We did this same trip in September 2000. My favourite memory of being in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown was standing outside the Negro Leagues section of the Hall. I was waiting for J-Mac who was admiring the Babe Ruth memoribilia when I hear this guy in front of us pointing out the Negro Leagues section and saying to his wife, "We don't need to go in there." I love Americans.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

How is Grease STILL the word?

So I spent part of my Sunday night watching a new reality show called Grease: You're The One That I Want. Essentially, it is American Idol with a male and a female who will end up winning the competition. Those winners will get to play Danny Zuko and Sandy Dombrowski in a new broadway production of the musical Grease.

The producers, who were also the culprits behind Dancing With The Stars, are obviously serious about this as the three judges have great resumes. The first is Kathleen Marshall, Tony Award winning director and choreographer. She is set to direct the upcoming Broadway production of Grease. The second is original Grease co-writer Jim Jacobs. The third is the most powerful person in the UK theatre industry David Ian.

After just one episode, not one of these three judges are flighty like Paula Abdul or trying to be your buddy like Randy Jackson. It appears to be three Simon Cowell's without the "always trying to funny" vibe. The worst part of the show is the host of the show Billy Bush. He clearly does not understand the industry and foisted one contestant back on the stage for a second audition after the judges said no after the woman's first audition. The judges played along, let her have a second one. She over-inunciated the same song she did the first time, her voice cracked and the judges nicely thanked her for her time. You could see Kathleen Marshall look off-camera as if to say, "Tell that fucking host that THIS is why I have a Tony Award."

Actually, Bush's claim to fame should be his lame interview with Entourage's Jeremy Piven before the 2006 Emmy Awards. On the red carpet, Bush kept asking Piven if he'd seen any of the celebrity babies like Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck's baby Violet or Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's baby Shilo.

Piven, tired of the questions, finally said, "No, I have 116 other things to do. I don't go hunting for celebrity babies, thank you." When Bush kept asking, Piven snapped and said, "You need another job. You have potential as a human being. This may not be right for you. Seriously -- can you focus on other things?"

Apparently the first bunch of shows involves them going to Los Angeles, Chicago and Las Vegas. Candidates are first required to do a quick singing audition. If they make it through that, they have to come back the next day for a quick dance audition. If you make it through that, you get to go to "Grease Academy". Not sure how the show's production is going to work from there. Perhaps Grease competitions with the loser being ousted each week. I can't see me lasting this long with the show.

Ratings for the first show, according to Variety magazine, were simply okay up against NFL post-game coverage, The Simpsons and Desperate Housewives. What is interesting is how this show will fare for an entire season. The show, like American Idol, is beginning at the audition process. However, they are spending too much time creating stories with candidates and not enough time showing the multitude of people who are trying out. It really looks like only 30 or 40 people are showing up at each audition. And the bulk of them are unprepared and too old for the roles. Plus, if I see one more waify blonde sing "Hopelessly Devoted To You", I may throw up. Most auditioners are using songs from Grease but there aren't that many songs that are good for an audition so it sounds like we will be hearing the same songs over and over. Overall, the show is a bit of risk. If the show fails and gets cancelled, what will that end up meaning for the broadway production?

The show was originally structured in the UK for a show called How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? A talent show to find someone to play Maria Von Trapp in West End London production of The Sound Of Music.

What I don't understand is the ongoing popularity of Grease. I've never seen the musical on stage, however I find the movie version was unwatchable.

Top 5 things wrong with the movie Grease
1. All the actors are too old. John Travolta was 24, Olivia Newton John was 30 and worst of all Stockard Channing was 34. And they are playing high school teenagers!!!!!

2. The first half of the movie isn't bad if you look at it as a spoof of 50s culture and musicals. But the second half of the film lacks any humour or anything really important to say about male/female relationships. The school dance scene is so messily directed that you really aren't able to focus on what is important or moving the plot forward.

3. At the end of the film, Travolta and Newton-John hop into a car and the car then flies away. Why does the car fly? Is this some sort of alternate universe that I don't know about?

4 (from J-Mac). Newton-John can not dance. They needed a lead female who could at least keep up with Travolta's dance ability.

5. Too many anachronims to mention from cars to planes, air conditioners to juke boxes that were clearly made after 1959 were the movie is supposed to take place. But then again, since the movie ends with a flying doesn't really matter.

What kills me is that a movie like Grease continues to be loved while a British musical from 1986 entitled Absolute Beginners has been essentially forgotten. It is about that turbulent time in the late 50s in London. The time that the jazz age is over but the mucial revolution of the Beatles, Rolling Stones and The Who has not yet begun. Musicians from Sade, Ray Davies and David Bowie all have roles in the film. Here is one of the musical sequences with Mr. Bowie.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Happy Birthday Bowie (updated!)

So today, January 8th is David Bowie's 60th birthday. 60 years old. It is hard to believe. Even harder to believe? It would also be Elvis Presley's 72nd birthday. Bowie and Presley...born on the same day. That seems incredible to me.

Top 10 David Bowie videos (yes, I am straying from my normal Top 5 list)

1. Loving The Alien (from 1984's Tonight)

2. Never Let Me Down (from 1987's Never Let Me Down)

3. China Girl (from 1983's Lets Dance)

4. Fashion (from 1980's Scary Monsters)

5. I'm Afraid Of Americans (from 1997's Earthling)

6. Boys Keep Swinging (from 1979's Lodger)

7. Ashes To Ashes (from 1980's Scary Monsters)

8. Jump They Say (from 1993's Black Tie White Noise)

9. Let's Dance (from 1983's Let's Dance)

10. Strangers When We Meet (from 1995's Outside)


Thursday, January 04, 2007 all about it

As a lot of you know. I am a big fan of the British series The Office. If you haven't seen any of them, may I suggest the peekvid website where you can see every single episode that has ever aired.

Anyway, Office creators Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant have created a new show called Extras. The series has already had two season completed but has yet to be aired here in Canada. Gervais plays Andy Millman as he struggles to find work in the acting field, taking minor roles in film and TV productions.

The show has had limited broadcasts here in Canada. I found a press release from CH Television that indicated the show aired on their network last May but I don't know many people who watched it. TMN or Bravo have certainly has not picked up the rights for it. Though you can find many scenes from the show online.

Each episode features a guest star. Samuel L. Jackson, Kate Winslet and Daniel Radcliffe have all appeared in episodes of the show. My favourite guest cameo is by David Bowie. In this scene, Gervais' character meets Bowie in a restaurant and Bowie proceeds to create a song on the spot that makes fun of Gervais. As a Bowie fan myself, this is the first footage I have ever seen of him playing the piano.

Top 5 David Bowie Singles
1. Young Americans
2. Golden Years
3. Starman
4. Drive-In Saturday
5. Modern Love

My favourite footage of David Bowie on TV would have to be the time he debuted the song Young Americans on The Dick Cavett Show. This is about late 1974, look for David Sanborn on saxophone and Luther Vandross as one of the back-up singers.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A triumverate

I already wrote about Michael Jackson and James Brown, I found this video of Jackson, Brown and Prince sharing the same stage. Judging by Brown's apparent age, Jackson's look and Prince's style...I would say this is about 1987.

Top 5 Prince Albums
1. Purple Rain
2. Controversy
3. 1999
4. Sign O' The Times
5. Emancipation

Not that the above video is all that good. I just like how Prince is smart enough not to follow James Brown by singing...he just plays guitar. But still, the three of them sharing the stage, at least for a moment is pretty incredible. The music equivalant of that time Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente started for the National League in the 1962 All-Star Game.

For a more interesting Prince performance on TV, I really prefer him and Beyonce singing at the 2003 Grammy Awards.

Unrelatedly, Chris Rock has a new movie coming out. And unlike Down To Earth, Bad Company, Head Of State, Pootie Tang and any other Chris Rock starring vehicle you can think of...the trailer actually looks funny. The title is called I Think I Love My Wife.