On My Radar

29 05 2012

Here’s a recap of some things I have been following/thinking about lately:

1.  Amanda Bynes is a HOT MESS. 

Amanda Bynes, 2008 SAG Awards

In 6 weeks time the former Nickelodeon darling has gotten a DUI and been involved in (by my count) four fenderbenders — the first of which had her sideswiping an LAPD patrol car.

Bynes, 26, has worked consistently as a comedic actor since childhood. First featuring on Nickelodeon’s Saturday night program All That, an SNL-like variety show for the tween set, before starring alongside Jennie Garth in the fan-favorite What I Like About You in 2002. Bynes was last seen on the big screen in Easy A (2010) and Hairspray (2007).

Until recently, Bynes seemed to be humble and healthy. I’m thoroughly surprised at her antics; they certainly feel more fallen-Disney-star (*cough*LiLo!*cough*) than disgraced Nick star (*cough*JamieLynn!*cough*).  I hope she pulls herself together, because I know she can continue into adulthood and be just as funny and just as successful as before.

I think it’s time for someone to ‘Ask Ashley’ about a 5-step program.


2.  John Edwards is (still) a douche.

The disgraced politico and one-time presidential hopeful has done little to change his image, or himself. In all fairness though, theres not much he could do.  You cheat on your cancer-stricken wife and have an illegitimate child with the bimbo, you get a special seat in Hell.

His trial has concluded, and (literally) the jury’s still out as to whether he violated federal law by using campaign funds to cover-up his affair with videographer Rielle Hunter.

I am STUNNED that his daughter Kate has been at his side throughout the trial, much like she was by her mother’s side as she was DYING. I am not part of their family, and want to refrain from being too judgemental, but WHAT’S UP WITH THAAAT?!!  She’s an adult. She should be able to look at the situation objectively and say “He’s still my dad… but he’s also a douche.”  He isn’t looking out for ANYONE but himself, so don’t get too wide-eyed at the possibility that if he is acquitted, he will live the rest of his life trying to atone for his flaws. He won’t.


3. Movies whose announced release dates have been moved back — This is never good!

G.I… Just Kidding

It was announced just days ago that GI Joe: Retaliation will not hit theaters June 29 as planned. They apparently decided to delay the premiere in order to apply a 3D treatment, ya know, so they can squeeze more money out of us. 

I think two things occurred to Paramount execs a little too late; they realized that the first one wasn’t great and they were going to be EMBARASSED by the continued success of The Avengers.  Also, they would have had two Tatum flicks pitted against eachother: GI Joe Retaliation and the testosterone-rich ensemble film Magic Mike.


4.  Ted Kaczynski lists convictions/sentences as achievements on Harvard Class of 1962 alumni newsletter.

I read a couple articles about this:  I chuckled to myself then I wondered for a second why it was news, before remembering how stupid and touchy people are. I think the reunion committee took the harder of two options; someone (probably a liberal) would have objected to Kaczynski’s total omission from all things related to the Class of ’62 reunion, but I’m guessing now we know that MORE PEOPLE object to the mockery being made of their own successes by listing his legal tribulations amongst their MDs, PhDs and the like.  Either way, he’s still in prison and they’re all presumably quite rich… Let’s focus on that instead.

A mildly-related item: I immediately was reminded of a CLASSIC Will Ferrell skit on SNL in which The Unabomber attended his class reunion. I still pee my pants a little, even having seen it dozens of times. ENJOY!



5.  Phil Phillips wins American Idol! 

Phillip Phillips, 21, of Georgia, wins Season 11 of FOX reality competition AMERICAN IDOL

Season 11 closed out with a high and a low; record-breaking numbers of votes and viewers. 132 million votes were logged between the finalists, but Nielsen Soundscan reports that this was the least watched conclusion of any AI competition season (nearly 8 million fewer than last year).

My brother and I liked Phil from the beginning. HOWEVER, I told my brother I would not cast a single vote for him until he performed a Dave Matthews song. (Which he finally did when he made the Top 6!)

I love that he never picked big numbers to get votes; he was always authentic and original. I have described his voice to non-Idol-watching friends as “if Dave Matthews, John Mayer and Tom Waits had a vocal lovechild.”   He’s hot. That’s all there is to it!

Runner-up Jessica Sanchez, a 16-year-old powerhouse from the San Diego area, was no slouch. I cannot and will not deny she is a great talent. BUT I also cannot and will not deny that she lacked personality. Singing a big song is only part of being in that business, and she just needs to live a little more life before she can top the charts.

I’m also glad Phillips won because I never felt that Sanchez should have been allowed to compete. Her Wikipedia page lists a number of accomplishments and professional opportunities earned before her Idol audition. The format of the show has evolved so much since season 1, but I know you cannot have had a record deal prior to auditioning. (Carly Smithson of season 7 was controversial for being in violation of that rule.)  Sanchez was featured on two major recordings, which from a technical standpoint I guess doesn’t violate the eligibility requirements, but it doesn’t seem fair. She’s got a lot of famous fans, and thanks to the show she’s had more exposure, so I don’t doubt that she will get a deal regardless of taking 2nd place. But who’s to say she wouldn’t have gotten the deal anyway? And if she hadn’t made the Top 24, would Phillips still have won?  I guess I’m glad they let her through, because ultimately she didn’t win.

But still, what kind of pop-culture consumer would I be if I didn’t obsess over people I don’t know and speculate on things that didn’t happen?

New Miley Doll… for Adults.

5 04 2011

 Unlike the Vanity Fair photoshoot, the leaked cellphone pictures, the bong video, and the age-inappropriate clothing and performances, the latest Miley Cyrus scandal isn’t her fault.

This most recent chapter in an epic novel of Miley missteps, comes in the form of an inflatable, laytex companion marketed by Pipedream Productions.

I hadn’t heard about this controversial new product until a friend blogged about it for Q103.  A little while later I was swimming in blogs and statements regarding the “Finally Mylie! Love Doll.”

On Amazon.com, the doll is going for $27.45 and is eligible for Super Saver shipping.  Pipedream spokesman Kevin Johnson says that demand has been so high since the latest in their “Super Star Series–” which includes inflatable likenesses of Jessica Simpson, Jessica Alba, Pamela Anderson, Jennifer Lopez and Christina Aguilera– they have sold out in under 48 hours.

Johnson is aware of the online rumors that Cyrus’ camp will pursue legal action, but has yet to receive a cease & desist order.

The teenybopper is said to be “disgusted” with the item, which reads “Just add air and this teen-queen pole-dancing princess comes of age right before your own eyes!” on the packaging.  (Other punny quips emblazoned on the box are not PG.) 
No doubt papa Billy Ray is outraged, having just gotten his family back on track after a tense fall, unflattering GQ interview and separation from wife Tish.


Is this just par for the course in the life of an increasingly too-mature-for-her-own-good poptart?
I wouldn’t go so far as to say she deserves to have pervy guys huffing and puffing before, during and after opening the “Mylie” doll… but I’m not entirely surprised it exists.

With her purity ring no doubt somewhere on the floor of Justin Gaston’s car and her dignity buried in the fake sand back on the Hannah Montana beach set, Miley is going to have to either get in on the joke that her ‘career’ is or she’ll have to just make a more sincere effort not be the worst influence for girls age 9-15.

Disney should be making moves to distance themselves (further) from the Cyrus’– not only because of the disparaging comments Billy Ray made in the March issue of GQ, but because the longer they try to save face and support this one-time cashcow the more sour the milk will be when it splashes back in their face.
Some of these Disney girls were just NEVER going to live up to the wholesome, all-American, pure little princess image they have to fit into.  Ex) Lindsay Lohan, Vanessa Hudgens, Demi Lovato.

Movies with Talking Animals: Career Killers?

24 03 2011

James Marsden used to be Leading Man material.
He preformed well as ‘the other man’ in 2004’s The Notebook; connected with comic fans as Cyclops in the X-Men trilogy ; and he was  oddly sweet in 2007’s Enchanted.  His kitschy singing TV host in Hairspray and apathetic-to-commitment journalist in 27 Dresses were forgivable, but this?   Dude, wasn’t making The Box punishment enough for the year?

Coming to theaters next Friday, April 1, is Hop
In short, the Easter Bunny’s son (voiced by Russell Brand) runs away to make it as a musician in Hollywood where Fred (James Marsden) almost runs him over. Fred takes E.B. in and hilarity, self-discovery, and a minor coup by some yellow chicks who want to take over Easter, ensue.

At least Brand, Hugh Laurie and Hank Azaria don’t have to worry about their FACES being associated with this film, should it flop.  Marsden, co-star Kaley Cuoco, Gary Cole and Elizabeth Perkins won’t get off so easily.
As someone who has had the (mis)fortune of working at a movie theater, kids movies can go either way. If it rains opening weekend, odds go up. But there are only so many talking animal movies a parent can sit through.

That being said…  Here’s a little list I compiled of talking animal movies we really never needed, and the stars who– for no reason other than a large paycheck– signed on for them.

  – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

1.   MARMADUKE (2010)

Starring (voice): Owen Wilson, George Lopez, Stacy Ferguson, Emma Stone, Steve Coogan, Kiefer Sutherland and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.

Now, Emma Stone, I don’t blame you for doing this movie. You gotta do what you gotta do when you’re having a hot year.
And you, McLovin, I don’t blame you. You can try and try but you will always be McLovin!!!!

But Mr. Wilson– Was this the wisest choice we could have made to follow-up Marley & Me? Two dog movies in a very short period of time… Give us another John Beckwith, and fast, so I’m not ashamed to like you anymore! 

This movie may have taken in $78 million, but it ruined a classic Sunday comic and killed the braincells of 7-year-olds across the country.


Starring (voices): Drew Barrymore, Andy Garcia, George Lopez [Repeat Offender!], Cheech Marin and Luis Guzman.

I’m leaving Jamie Lee Curtis out of this, because her early work (HALLOWEEN, A FISH CALLED WANDA, MY GIRL) makes up for the junk she’s making now (CHRISTMAS WITH THE KRANKS, YOU AGAIN).

Drew Barrymore… Drew. Barrymore.
In the same year that you appear in Grey Gardens, which was outstanding, you make this crap?  This part doesn’t do anything for a career already peppered with questionable role choices (MUSIC & LYRICS? DUPLEX? RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS?)

 Andy Garcia. What, did you get bored counting your OCEANS money?  It hurts me, literally hurts me, to have heard the guy from WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN’s voice coming out of a freaking German Shephard.


3.  GARFIELD  (2004)


Starring: Breckin Meyer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Bill Murray (voice)


Oh, Breckin Meyer. I had high hopes for you.
I absolutely loved the doofy-but-lovable stoner in Clueless and I rooted for you in Road Trip and Rat Race
[You + Amy Smart = Playful, fresh…  Loved it. Call her. Make another movie!!!]

I guess I will just have to accept that you have relegated yourself to the brother and best friend parts (Ghosts of Girlfriends Past), and behind-the-scenes work in animation (Robot Chicken).

Jennifer Love Hewitt: You’re the only one on this entire list that makes sense. You have had a long, consistent career, yes -but with THE CLIENT LIST, THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE, and HEARTBREAKERS on your resume… Can you even take yourself seriously?

4.  KANGAROO JACK (2003)

Starring: Jerry O’Connell, Anthony Anderson, Christopher Walken


Jerry, Jerry, Jerry. You’ve done well for yourself, the family is adorable. But there are only three items on your IMDB that I can say something positive about.
Stand By Me – Greatest 80s Movie Ever. Sincerely.
Crossing Jordan (TV) – You were near-perfection as vulnerable cop in a big city, Woody Hoyt. I loved you, the dynamic with Jordan, the whole show really.
The Defenders
(TV) – Great pairing with Jim Belushi. Looking forward to Season 2

Anthony Anderson – Finally took you seriously when you guested on NBC’s Law & Order SVU.  Loved the bit part in The Departed.  Nice move with The Shield.  Hustle & Flow was ingenius.  You’re going places, but be sure to remind your agent:  NO MORE TALKING ANIMAL COSTARS!

Mr. Walken, this film just didn’t do it for me. Not enough cowbell.  ❤