Opinions. Everybody Has 'Em.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

I'm Coming Out...Oh, wait, done that already...

So it’s National Coming Out Day for the LGBT community, is it? Wouldn’t it be nice if the world were someday to reach a point in its social evolution where ‘coming out’ wasn’t even necessary? After all, one doesn’t see National Coming Out Day for, say, opera fans. And that’s O-P-E-R-A, as in people in fancy period costumes prancing around a stage and loudly singing a tale of love, betrayal, and revenge in a foreign language, not Oprah. Although I suppose we could have a National Coming Out Day for her fans, too. I just think it says a lot about how backward the world still is that we need a National Day to make LGBT people feel better and more secure about coming out. Your sexuality should be no more anyone else’s business to make an issue out of ( well, besides the business of whomever you intend to have sex with, of course ) than the color of your underwear. Which presumably might also be the business of whomever you intend to have sex with to make an issue of, although not for long if you’re doing it right ;-)... It’s not as though at the age of forty you would find yourself saying to your parents, “ Mom. Dad. I have something to tell you. I’m a Formula One racing fan. You’re not too shocked, are you? You do still love me, don’t you?” So why should you be put through an emotional wringer about revealing your sexuality to anyone?

And if we must have a National Coming Out Day for the LGBT community, for the love of Prada, can’t we make it at least a wee bit fun and glamorous? I know we have Pride Days for parades and all that, but it’s our coming out and we should be allowed to make a party of it if we want to. So let’s make it a vodka-and-beer-soaked holiday parade of gays, lesbians, drag queens and kings, all the trans men and women, all our fag hags and lettie bags, and every other fabulous creature ( nod to GeeGee there…go check out her website Two Fat Cows And A Bottle Of Goose…it’s fabulous, too! ) on this green earth. Show the homophobes, who continue with their rabid ignorance to force us to make an issue of ‘coming out’ at all, exactly how dreary a place the world would be without us in it.

For National Coming Out Day...and just because there's always time for some glam-disco!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Loser's Town ( by Johnny Depp's Brother! )

Loser's TownLoser's Town by Daniel Depp

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After sleazy “fixer” Richie Stella does up-and-coming movie star Bobby Dye a favor by making a problem disappear, Bobby finds himself the subject of blackmail. Aware of what a scandal could do to his fledgling career, Dye hires PI David Spandau to sort Richie and the mess out. But this being Hollywood, things are, of course, not quite what they seem.
Daniel Depp ( brother of actor Johnny ) steps out of his role as screenwriter and into that of novelist in his first work, a wise-cracking modern noir detective story set in Hollywood. Depp introduces us here to David Spandau, one-time stuntman-turned-investigator. Spandau has all the requisite features of a noir PI: he’s weary and cynical, he drinks, he wise-cracks his way through life, he is the ban of his grumpy boss’s life, he’s still in love with his ex-wife, and deep down he feels he’s on the side of the angels. The plot doesn’t throw up too many surprises within the genre either.
But familiarity in this case is a good thing well enough done by Depp. The story jogs along at a nice pace, the characters interact with lines that occasionally make you actually laugh out loud, and Depp’s writing style, although simplistic, is entertaining enough to get away with it. If there is one thing I appreciate about how screenwriters handle novel-writing it is that they have learned the value of “less is more”. They know when a sentence will suffice rather than a paragraph. The fact that the plot is as thin as your average supermodel is neither here nor there.

View all my reviews

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Not Embracing The Change Doesn't Make You A Bad Person!

It really is okay to admit that you don’t like change. Not all change is either good for us nor done for the greater good, despite what the self-appointed cereal-packet therapists try to tell you, or what the brainwashed-by-the-Establishment middle-class herd wants to believe in order not to disturb its rose-hued vision of everything being well and taken good care of, Citizen. Not embracing every change then does not make you some kind of fearful Luddite bent on returning us all to a dark and dreary yesteryear. It makes you an individual capable of taking off the rose-hued spectacles and thinking for yourself.
The recent Facebook changes have met with a storm of protest from users, mostly because people feel that these changes have been railroaded through without Facebook apparently giving a flying status update about what its users think. Naturally, not consulting people on changes that will affect them is going to cause consternation. Not caring that it is causing consternation is what jars people to outright anger and resistance. Also, at the present moment it is hard for many of us to see where these changes are ‘improving’ our social networking experience rather than making it simply hard work and a headache, and no acknowledgement from Facebook of the problems faced by its users does not diminish our anger or will-to-resistance. It is easy, on the other hand, to see Facebook as caring less about its users than about achieving a kind of internet domination achieved by gathering as much personal information as possible from users for the purpose of luring in more advertisers and thus greater revenue for the CEOs and shareholders.

Some argue that Facebook is a ‘free’ service and therefore we should all put up and shut up as far as the changes go. This argument turns itself in circles when you realize that Facebook is only a free service insofar as the user doesn’t pay an upfront monetary charge to use it. We pay for our usage in other ways, however, by providing information to advertisers via our likes, status updates, links etc. Without users, advertisers would find no purpose in Facebook because they’d have no audience to target, therefore there would be no staggeringly huge profit to be made and no Facebook. Besides, providing a free service does not entitle the provider to change what it likes, whenever it likes, without consulting its users, not unless the price of using a free service is wearing the yoke of dictatorship? In which case it isn’t a free service… and around and around we go. But we end up at the same point: there’s no such thing as a free lunch, or a truly free social networking experience.

Protest and complaint are the legitimate ways by which we voice our displeasure at changes affecting us negatively. How else would the entity behind the changes, be it government or social network, know that it has done anything wrong in the eyes of its service users? ‘Putting up and shutting up’ is what a brainwashed and cowed population does. Is that what we have become…the zombie foot-soldiers of Facebook, marching in mindless obedience to the beat of the profit drum?

Or can we still view things clearly enough without our rose-spectacles to see that we are being so used, and to then realize that we really do have the right to rebel, to tell our wannabe Facebook masters that we don’t like it, we don’t want it, and goddammit, we won’t have it?


Sunday, 7 August 2011

My Top 10 TV Crime Fighters ( Male )

Usually I have much to say about the ladies of TV Land’s crime-fighting programs but today, in the interests of equality and all that is fair, I will give this post over to the crime-fighting chaps who weekly rid the world of bad things at the sides of their female counterparts. My Top 10 TV Crime Fighters ( Male ) then would look like this:

    Coming in at NO. 10, but definitely not the least for being last, is body language expert and cheeky git Dr Cal Lightman ( Tim Roth ). Although 'Lie To Me' has now been canceled by those clueless networks, Cal remains a lovably roguish crime fighter. He might not have been hunk-handsome but he had a certain sly charm made him sexy, certainly it was good enough to make him attractive to cute colleague Dr Gillian Foster which makes him good enough for me then.

At NO. 9 and once described as “a pipe cleaner with eyes” is the BAU’s Dr Spencer Reid ( Matthew Gray Gubler ), who brings geek-chic to swoonsome new levels for many a 'Criminal Minds' fan. Spence needs to be my little brother ASAP, he’s puppy-dog-level adorable! It also has to be said that on top of his genius, neither is Spence is a bad shot for someone who once failed his yearly FBI firearms proficiency test! At least he’s a better shot than colleague SSA Emily Prentiss ( as much as I am chagrined to say so ) who over the course of six seasons has continually failed to hit anything smaller than the side of a barn, and I might even doubt that. Of course, if you need some sharp shooting in a tight situation, the smart money is always on JJ…

Striding in at NO. 8 with the ever-present cup o’ joe in hand, is the one, the only, the legendary Leroy Jethro Gibbs ( Mark Harmon ) of 'NCIS'. A man of few words and steely-blue eyes, it’s no surprise that often the distressed damsels prefer to put themselves in the care of this Silver Fox than that of younger agent Tony DiNozzo.

At NO. 7 is yet another of the BAU’s best, the delicious SSA David Rossi ( Joe Mantegna ) also of 'Criminal Minds'. The original profiler and the man for whom the no-fraternization rule was made, Rossi has that roguish, twinkly-eyed, slightly grizzled, bad-boy charm in spades. So much of it does Rossi possess, in fact, that I’m pretty certain even the disagreeable Section Chief Erin Strauss secretly harbors a crush on him! As disturbing an image as that may be for many Rossi fans… I do apologize! Let me make it up to you with a pic of Rossi looking all mean 'n' moody...

Anonymously avenging the justice system’s mistakes at NO. 6 is sexy serial killer Dexter Morgan ( Michael C Hall ) of the eponymous 'Dexter'. Never has murder looked so good as it does wrapped up in the package that is the blood-splatter-analyst-by-day-serial-killer-by-night Dex. And besides, any guy who has a wonderfully foul-mouthed, man-shirt-wearing, sexy cynic of a sister like Detective Debra Morgan ( Jennifer Carpenter ) absolutely must be on this list! I long for the day that Deb realizes men are just not her forte and embraces her latent lesbianism…

At N0. 5 is Sheriff Rick Grimes ( Andrew Lincoln ) of 'The Walking Dead'. Rick may have swapped fighting crime for fighting zombies, but he still looks damn good doing it, and without a doubt he’d be my go-to guy for any living dead problems I might have…well, you never know these things. Do you know for sure that the government isn’t working on creating an army of zombie-soldiers? No. Well. Just sayin’.

At NO. 4 we have another unconventional crime-fighter, Guerrero ( Jackie Earle Haley ), the Man of Only One Name, from 'Human Target', another show canceled by the stupid networks. Forget Chance, forget Winston, the little guy in the glasses is the one I want standing between me and the people hellbent on making me a non-living soul. Kind of like Dexter, Guerrero is a borderline psychopath on the right side of justice, if not quite the law, and the man does have great taste in clothes. I must agree with Mrs Pucci on that one.

Bringing us into the Top 3 at NO. 3 is Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens ( Timothy Olyphant ). The handsome modern-day cowboy of 'Justified' sure knows how to fill a pair of jeans and a Stetson, every damn week making me wish that Raylan had a twin sister also happened to be a lesbian…*sigh*… The man also has the most perfect freaking hair I’ve ever set eyes on, not to mention that wonderful Southern drawl, and damn, can he shoot! Please…someone give this guy a gay twin sister…then put her and Deb Morgan together…

In at NO. 2 in a closely-fought crime-fighter race for the top spot, is The Man That Is Sam Axe ( Bruce Campbell ). Sidekick of 'Burn Notice’s spy Michael Westin, Sam epitomizes cool and he knows how to Get Shit Done. He’s Sam Axe. He’s Bruce Campbell. What else is there to say? He rocks either way.

But, coming in at NO. 1 with a bullet, is the Classic of all Crime Fighters, the hero extraordinaire, The Ginger One himself, the only man who can wear the Sunglasses of Justice, it is Lieutenant Horatio Cain ( David Caruso ) of 'CSI: Miami' fame. Oh yes, if Horatio were a real crime-fighter in the real world, we could all sleep safe and sound in our beds at night, knowing we were being protected by a man true of heart, upright of intent, way smarter than the criminals, as invincible as his sunglasses, a man who can wear black suits in hundred-degree Miami heat and not lose his cool for a moment. Vegas may have survived the departure of Gil Grissom but Miami…nay, the world…will always need Horatio Cain.
" He who wears the Sunglasses of Justice must be invincible..."

Oh, just stop fighting it, Deb. We all know you look too damn good in a man's shirt to be anything but gay...!

Need some shootin' done...? Smart money's on this blonde...not the other blonde, who just needed to be shot!
Making pipe cleaners sexy for six seasons!

Oh, stop denying it, Strauss, you want a piece of the marvelousness is Dave Rossi, too!

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Fascinating Stuff In The Junk Box...

Ooh, an email from the FBI...seems the Bureau haven't enough work to do these days so they are sub-contracting themselves out to Nigerian banks to trace long-lost relatives who have inheritances awaiting. Just send all your private bank details to this nice bank managar ( yes, that is how it was spelled ) in Nigeria and he will promptly send you that $10 million dollars that Great-Uncle Fester left you, for some reason having chosen to leave it in the care of a bank several thousands of miles distant from the USA in which he was resident...except WAIT A MINUTE! I don't have a Great-Uncle Fester, and that isn't the real FBI logo...

How stupid do they think we are?

And oooh tripled, looky at this...another email, this one from Mr Charles ELVIS... he wants to notify me of a payment awaiting me on e-bay and I should just pop all my details over to him in -surprise! - Nigeria so that he can make sure I get this payment. It's odd because I don't have an e-bay account...? Never have had.

Mr Elvis, please leave the building.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Fact vs Fiction

Whenever I hear someone say “ Oh that would never happen in real life!” about something they have seen on a TV cop show or read in a cop/mystery novel, I want to grind my teeth. I also want to tell them, “ No, it wouldn’t happen in real life, but that isn’t real life you’re watching/reading. It’s fiction. And the point of fiction is to entertain.”

Real life is just not that entertaining. The day-to-day reality of the average police officer’s life is taken up with paperwork and court testimony, neither of which makes for giddy viewing. The rest, too, is often non-glamorous calls such a petty thefts, petty assaults, domestics, and traffic incidents. Spend an evening watching those fly-on-the-wall cop documentaries and you’ll see just how similar they all are. It doesn’t matter whether the cops are in LA or London, most often you will see them dragging recalcitrant drunken students into vans, separating drunken friends who’ve decided to fight over some woman, or arresting some drunken driver. Even raids in reality tend to proceed smoothly, carried out deliberately at dawn when the occupants of a house are bound to be asleep and possibly hung-over, unlikely anyway to put up any significant resistance. On TV the raid will take place at night, usually when its pouring rain for atmosphere, and inside the crack house will be a dozen tough-guy gang members, all busily cutting rock cocaine on the kitchen table, and every one of them will have a huge-ass nine-mil in front of him, so that bad guys and cops can enter a tense Mexican stand-off, all pointing guns and screaming at each other. On TV the cops are always pointing their guns and shooting bad guys, and everyone pats them on the back and tells them “ Atta boy/girl!” In reality the average cop may draw his service weapon less than a dozen times in a full twenty-year career, and he may fire it ( outwith the practice range ) once or twice at most. Many cops will never fire their service weapon in their entire career. Discharging your weapon in reality sets off the kind of landslide of paperwork and IA aggravation that no cop needs or wants.

Many ex-cops-turned-writers-or-advisors will praise a show such as Southland for its ‘realistic portrayal of police procedure’ and whilst this may be true in many respects, they are turning a blind eye to the less realistic aspects of the show. For instance, in reality a uniformed cop with an obvious substance abuse problem, discovered drunk, stoned, and handcuffed naked to a bed at a disreputable party, and all whilst on active duty, would likely be dismissed from the Force for conduct unbecoming. A detective would never have to shoot a bad guy breaking into her home to find a witness ( and do so with the 12-guage shotgun she handily keeps in the hallway closet ) because in reality that detective would never have been allowed to take a vital child witness into her own home. Even ‘realistic’ shows like Southland need to inject a little unreality to keep the viewers hooked.

One of my own favorite TV cops shows, Criminal Minds, bears only the most distant resemblance to FBI procedural reality. There is a Behavioral Analysis Unit at Quantico but their work is mostly consultancy done via email and telephone. There is no team of ridiculously good-looking agents who travel around the country on a private jet and help the local law enforcement to solve their crimes. There certainly is no Miss Penelope Garcia doing whizzy things with computers!

These days, it isn’t just the cops either who solve crimes in fiction. We all know that CSI’s don’t carry weapons, they don’t interview witnesses, they don’t make arrests, and they certainly do not solve the crimes all by themselves…except on TV. The streets of LA were surely safer back in the day when Quincy, ME was running around doing the LAPD’s job for it. Two of today’s most successful crime writers are James Patterson and Harlan Coben. Patterson’s runaway success ‘The Women’s Murder Club’ employs a cop, a journalist, an ME, and a lawyer as a crime-solving team of women friends. Coben has Myron Bolitar, a sports agent who inevitably winds up embroiled in dangerous mystery situations on behalf of his clients. We, as viewers and readers, don’t sit around questioning the qualifications of these characters to solve crime, we simply jump aboard and enjoy the ride that they take us on. Yes, every now and then a TV show or novel will jump the shark, stretching the viewer or reader’s willing suspension of disbelief to breaking point, but we accept this and we move on, usually with minimal rancor. We do so because we understand that fiction is allowed to take these kinds of liberties with reality. It is by this means that it entertains us.

So, to all of those who cry “Oh that would never happen in real life!” I would like to say also… if you want to be educated, read a police manual. But if you just want to be entertained, read Patterson.

"Hey, we're CSI's...we do all the work!"

Monday, 13 June 2011

" I am ... Dracula."

There have been many Draculas come and gone on our screens, big and small, through the years, but for me the greatest incarnations of the Mighty Fanged One still are Bela Lugosi in Todd Browning's 1931 movie, and Frank Langella in John Badham's 1979 version.

Browning's 'Dracula' sticks pretty close to the novel and is fitted with wall-to-wall cliches, from the oversized hovering bat ( " Be careful, it might get in your hair" Jonathan Harker warns Mina at one point, thus forever perpetrating an urban legend that bats will get tangled in your hair ) to the Count's cheesy-and-ham accent. Love him when he tells the suitably Freud-like Van Helsing, " Your will is strong" as the professor gamely resists the dastardly bat's mind-control shenanigans. The second half of Browning's movie rather sags its way into a sort of drawing-room drama with altogether less doing and more talking, but we should bear in mind that this movie was a very early talkie and they probably got a bit carried away with the novelty. The use of matte paintings and Hollywood backlots for outdoor Transylvannia sets is still remarkable and the whole thing is undoubtedly an eerily atmospheric, pretty rockin' classic. And if you can take nothing else at all from it, at least know that Dwight Frye is as mad as bag of spanners as Renfield!

John Badham's 1979 'Dracula' is rather more of a rock video and its eponymous anti-hero a suitable rock god sort of vampire. It also takes a few more liberties with the storyline, including introducing a romance between Dracula and Lucy Westenra, but who cares about liberties? It's Frank Langella. And he's gorgeous, in a lived-in-for-a-very-long-time, crumpled and dissipated sort of way. 

Anyway, " Listen to them ... the children of the night. What music they make!" Failing being able to spend a night in a run-down, cobweb-festooned castle in some remote and craggy corner of Transylvannia with a man in a black cape and oversized canines, listening to the howls of the night's children and unexpectedly donating some of your blood, you could do worse than grab some popcorn and settle into your sofa to watch these movies back-to-back.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Emily Says:

Death By Cucumber. Or Birdbath.

With the recent linking of cucumbers - a vegetable so apparently unlikely to inspire fear and loathing - to an outbreak of a virulent strain of E.coli in Germany, it now seems to be official ...

Everything in the world is OUT TO GET US.

Humans, a puny species subject to being preyed upon by all manner of evil and nasty things, are consequently at war daily with pretty much each and every object and substance that we might come into even the most fleeting contact with. To judge by the daily reports of doom in the media ( and who does not believe in what the media tells us? ) we are taking one hell of a beating in this war. Think you'll be safe if you don't eat cucumbers? Think again. The cucumbers may have infected your lettuce. And your tomatoes. That summer salad isn't looking quite so 'healthy' now, is it? Don't imagine that you'll be cheating death by indulging in a steady diet of cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets either ... you do not even want to know how many sad unfortunates go to a purple-faced demise every day choking on their nuggets. And don't be so quick to reach for that calming glass of red wine just yet, not until you've absorbed that no one in the medical profession can come to a consensus of opinion on whether it will prolong your life, or just give you killer migraines. Do you REALLY want to take the risk?

If you should doubt any of this everyday danger by which we are faced, take a look at the annual Accident & Emergency reports compiled from NHS Trusts around the UK ( I daresay other countries have their versions of the same ). The figures published in these ( often unintentionally hilarious if you have a sense of humor anything like mine ) reports clearly illustrate how people are being constantly assailed and benighted by the contents of their own households, coming to grief on everything from birdbaths and ironing boards to tin openers and even their underwear. Every night we go to bed in peril of being strangled in our sleep by a legion of evilly-intended duvets. If you are lucky enough to actually wake up in the morning, all manner of hazards await you from the moment you set foot out of bed in the form of lurking slippers, sneaky soap dishes, treacherous toilet paper, and chairs that are anything but easy to get along with. Don't let your guard down if succeed in making it to the office either because therein awaits the terrifying gauntlet of pens, pencils, rubber bands, and the sharp edges of countless manila folders.

So be warned. That innocuous-seeming box of cornflakes on the kitchen counter? It could be plotting your demise right now.

Yes, it may look like an ordinary, innocent birdbath ... but do you really know what it's thinking?

Sunday, 22 May 2011

This Just In ... Facebook Creates Zombies!

A source more or less close to something or other has revealed to me that Facebook has been making secret preparations for the Zombie Apocalypse predicted by the CDC. From Friday 27th May, Facebook will be sneaking into your home whilst you are asleep to take samples of your brain for tastiness testing. The reason they are doing this is because Facebook has been breeding and training its own army of guard zombies to protect it during the Apocalypse. Apparently these guard zombies have, however, become dissatisfied with the genetically-modified freeze-dried re-hydrogenated faux-brains that their social network masters have been feeding them, and so Facebook needs real brains to keep their pets satisfied. Anyone whose brain sample passes the tastiness test will be subsequently abducted by the race of giant-lizard aliens who are secretly assisting Facebook in its dastardly plan, and taken to an underground complex somewhere so secret that even the aliens piloting the abduction crafts don't know where it is because they are required to wear blindfolds and fly by an autopilot system installed using a Facebook app. Once there, the abductees will have their tasty brains extracted to be fed to the guard zombies. What becomes of their bodies is at this time unknown. And it's probably best not to think about it anyway.

In order to avoid this grisly fate it is recommended that you lock all your doors and windows at night. Because they are just aliens after all, not Vegas magicians, they can't walk through bloody walls. You might also want to reconsider that alarm system you bought five years ago and never learned how to arm.

This information was passed to me via a dirty, crumpled handwritten note in a 'Understanding Your Psychosis 101' night class, by a friend - well, more of an acquaintance really - who got it from his ex-girlfriend's sister's boyfriend's third cousin, who was given it by a defrocked priest, who was told all of it by a parishioner during confession. Presumably before he was defrocked. Although I can't in all honesty vouch for that. It may not be the most reliable information, is what I'm saying. But I wouldn't recommend that you risk totally disregarding it either. Not where Facebook is concerned.

Big-ass lizardy-thing assisting Facebook.

Sadly, there'll be no Erica Evans to save our asses.

Another defrocked priest. Ours probably wasn't as chiselledly handsome as this guy.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Dear Facebook ...

It strikes me that as far as making friends via social networks goes today, you may be in need of some updating.

Since the movie of your life came out even those of us who previously didn't care a jot about these things now know that you started out on your road to world domination as a rather more modest method for college students and other clique-prone sorts to keep tabs on their peeps, and hence users in those days tended to 'friend' people they were already personally acquainted with. But that was then and this is now. And what you need to know now, FB, is that the 500 million users of which you boast ( by the way, congrats on achieving that world domination ) have evolved their usage way beyond simply keeping tabs on their classmates' love lives. The activity of social networking is now conducted on a global scale, with many people who are otherwise unknown to each other daily interacting via cyberspace. And that, all told, is a good thing, knowledge being power and all that.

I want you to think a moment about a statistic, FB. The average number of people that the average person can know on a personal level is 150 ( 'personal' here meaning someone with whom you interact regularly in meat-space and whose birthday you can remember without a prompt down the side of the page ) and interestingly enough it continues to be 150 despite global social networking. However, the same average person has many, many more 'friends' than 150 in cyber-space. You, FB, allow your users to have 5000 such 'friends', and yet you expect them to know these 5000 personally. You cannot be serious? In fact, given that you have 500 million users, it wouldn't be unreasonable to suggest that this limit is on the miserly side. A word, too, about your 'friending warnings'. They beggar belief. Let's just think for a moment, FB, that a good deal of these friendings will have been made at suggestions you have put forward to users. Bit of an own goal there, eh?

" People may feel harrassed, threatened, or otherwise unsafe" you self-righteously pronounce on behalf of your entire 500 million users, at being subjected to something as ungodly petrifying as a friend request made in cyber-space.

Well, gee willickers, FB, I wonder how the human race has survived thousands of years of social interaction, made on a daily basis, with strangers, face-to-face, without you being around to police it for us? We have the option to 'unfriend' and even to block persons we do not desire to have in our cyber-lives, that's safe enough for most of us. We don't need the extra nannying from you, FB. Chill out.

Face it, FB. It's time to get with the modern social networking program, to realize what it means to be the global phenomenon that you are, and to try considering that your closest rivals, Twitter and MySpace, don't limit the amount of friends or followers a user can have, and guess what? The world hasn't ended because of it.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Garcia Says:

It's Alright JJ's Comin' Back ... And Prentiss May Well Be, Too!

There is no doubt that Season 6 of CBS's hit show 'Criminal Minds' found itself jumping a whole school of sharks, and it has been an irony - apparently not missed by the network - that the only episodes pleasing to fans and critics alike has been those concerned with the exit arcs of the two inexplicably and unforgivably fired actresses, AJ Cook and Paget Brewster. The latter's final fling, 'Lauren', although seen by US audiences nearly two months ago, only aired last week on UK TV, an otherwise ungodly annoying situation good only for having taken the sting out of the blow. By the time we saw Emily's did-she-die-or-didn't-she-die? finale, we already knew that no, she didn't. We also know that AJ Cook is returning full-time for Seasons 7 & 8, and that Brewster's pilot show 'My Life As An Experiment' has not been picked up to go to series, thus increasing her chances of returning to her own rightful place in the BAU. Co-star Joe Mantegna said he is "optimistic" about Brewster's return in an interview with TVLine.com Well, can I get a "Hell yeah!" on that?
On the whole Paget Brewster got a more deserving send-off than did poor AJ Cook but there were things nonetheless bothered me about 'Lauren'. Not least that Ashley Seaver got to play such a large role. Considering her unpopularity with we fans, it felt a bit like rubbing salt into an already very raw and aching wound. Personally, despite trying to find some means of at least tolerating her, ever since this character joined the show I have only been able to find her the human equivalent of Jar Jar Binks. I have watched her alternately clumsy and insipid delivery of teeth-grindingly inappropriate utterings with something approaching manic irritation ( No, Ashley, there is no chance in hell that a 10 yr-old autistic child is your Unsub ... go back to the Academy RIGHT NOW for even thinking that! ) but having to endure her declaring in the middle of 'Lauren' that she thinks dating a few narcissists makes her an expert on those, well, it made me want to throw something at the TV. And I love my TV. A great deal.
Putting Ashley aside for the moment ( Please, CBS, put her aside someplace ... anywhere that isn't the BAU ), what's done is done with regard to Prentiss, but the good news is it ain't anything can't be undone. Hurrah! All we need now is for the network to hire some new dedicated-to-canon writers who will make it their mission to find a suitable cliff to push Ashley over, and then we can all get on with forgetting that this horrible season ever happened. Me, I'm more than ready to make like Bobby Ewing waking up from a bad dream in the shower.

Yes, we will.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Kitsch(en) Heaven

Ever since the lovely GeeGee Curtained posted a piece about Royal Wedding tat 'n' trinketry from Oddee on her blog Two Fat Cows And A Bottle Of Goose I have become quite fascinated by the idea of bespoke fridges. The company who makes these £2050 bad boys ( pictured above ), GEAppliances, claim they can put any photograph on your fridge, which is great since Wills 'n' Kate would not be my choice. I'm thinking more along the lines of JJ & Prentiss from Criminal Minds on mine. In full Kevlar. It'd be fangirl-in-kitsch(en)-heaven for me. Only thing is, I'd either put on a ton of weight or start seriously drinking again... any excuse to keep going back to the fridge! Now, I wonder how the bank manager would feel about giving me a loan of that two grand to buy my BAU's Best-bedecked bespoke fridge ...


Just one more thing about the Royal Wedding tat ... is it my mind that is simply going to awful places or does that cruet set look a bit, well, phallic? I couldn't imagine shaking anything outta those onto my food ... I have, however, purchased a nice Royal Wedding ashtray for my housemate. Watching her stub her cigarette butts on a couple of royals just kind of appeals to a childishly subersive, rebellious part of me.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Shoot Out : Surviving the Fame and (Mis)Fortune of HollywoodShoot Out : Surviving the Fame and (Mis)Fortune of Hollywood by Peter Bart

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love Hollywood, from past to present, technical to gossip, and I have a large collection of books reflecting this. I bought this one because it appeared to be in the mould of Julia Philips's 'You'll Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again' and William Goldman's 'Adventures In The Screen Trade', and whilst that is true to a degree, 'Shoot Out' is still not quite as good as either of those. Written by two long-time insiders, Peter Bart and Peter Gruber, both studio heads and movie producers at one time or another, it is on the whole an entertaining read. It did get quite technically detailed at times, to the point of being dry, especially when the authors are describing the financial shenanigans of today's 'corporate Hollywood'. Still, I suppose financial wheeling and dealing isn't easy to make sexy unless you are Gordon Gecko!

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Saturday, 15 January 2011

A sad, senseless farewell to a beloved character ...

Sorry, Reid. They can just take her away.

Beginning its 6th Season on UK TV on 7th January 2011, 'Criminal Minds' played out the 2nd part of the serial-killer-in-the-blackout storyline that ended last season, with a stand-out performance given by AJ Cook as her character manages to get through to killer Billy Flynn using an All Emergency Channel broadcast. The same power was delivered by Cook in her last-ever episode as Special Agent Jennifer ‘JJ’ Jareau, the BAU’s media liaison and so much more ( shown on January 14th 2011 on UK TV ), appropriately enough titled simply ‘JJ’. I am rarely given to displays of weepiness but I admit to tearing up a little as I watched this sad, senseless farewell to a beloved character. Senseless, because suddenly fans were expected to accept that we had entered some strange, alternate universe where an FBI employee can be ordered to take a promotion by the Department of Defense, and that said employee does not have any other options to fight a forced removal from her job for no good effing reason. It was pathetic and it has angered fans no end. Sad, because the farewell scenes between the characters so closely echoed how the actors felt about the wholly unexpected firing of Cook. Spencer Reid’s lip-quiver and desolate, “ But they can’t just take you away from us” was like watching Baby left alone by Mommy, and Garcia’s desperate denial of the inevitable and her helpless sobbing as JJ left, would have cracked even the stoniest heart. It was by far not the first time Cook has shone in this role either. The Season 2 episode ‘Revelations’ still is one of the very best, mostly down to how well Cook played out JJ’s self-blame and doubt at her fitness to be in the field after Reid is kidnapped by a psychotic killer. Season 4’s ‘Cold Comfort’ is effectively humanized by JJ alone as she tells David Rossi, regarding a victim’s mother, “ All she has right now is hope. How can you take that away from her?”
Just as the fans might ask CBS, “ How can you just take JJ away from us?”

CBS has already canceled 'Cold Case' and 'Ghost Whisperer' in similarly unsatisfying circumstances, and its track record of treating female employees with shameful disregard, continues unabated. This is the same network that gives a raise to spoiled, drunken, wife-beating brat Charlie Sheen, and continues to pour money into the dire 'NCIS' spin-off, 'NCIS: Los Angeles', nothing more than a weekly testosterone-fest which, incidentally, killed off the only decent female character immediately after the pilot show. Without any explanation either, leaving that to an obviously cobbled-together episode of 'NCIS' to do later!

It seems like these days ( unless your name is Mariska Hargitay ) if you are female and on TV, you are imminently expendable. What message does that send to all those young women watching who might be seeking role models? “ If you are strong, smart, and independent, you will be treated disgracefully … but hey, if you act like a violent, chauvinistic boor or a simpering bimbo, you’ll be rewarded!”

And no, Garcia, they don't care.