16 items from 2010
Brian Logan on the giddy rise of John Bishop, ex-pharmaceuticals salesman turned superstar standup comedian
Three years ago, in his show on the Edinburgh fringe, John Bishop described walking out of a career in pharmaceuticals to pursue comedy. His show, called Stick Your Job Up Your Arse, had considerable confessional appeal, the more so for being performed, in Bishop's words "in a hut". The venue, a prefab, was certainly inglorious and the audience was very small: it seemed Bishop's gamble was not paying off. And things got worse. "There was a deficit," says Bishop, "between what I was earning and what my family needed to live off. I was resigned to the fact that, while I may do the odd night, I was going to have to get a proper job."
Well, Bishop's got a proper job now – if "primetime TV comic" counts. His riches-to-rags tale has swung back to riches, »
- Brian Logan
Filed under: Columns
Ah, curmudgeons. They've been a Hollywood staple since the dawn of movies, and Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau perfected the cinematic archetype in their aptly titled 'Grumpy Old Men.' We've grown to love movie curmudgeons over the years - y'know, prickly men getting on in years who are quick to shout out insults but almost always prove to have hearts of gold. (Well, hearts less cold than they initially appear, at least.) Last year, 'Up's Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Ed Asner) was everyone's favourite curmudgeon du jour.
This week's release of 'Morning Glory' looks poised to earn Harrison Ford a spot in the movie curmudgeon hall of fame. He plays a sour morning show anchor who reluctantly accepts a job co-hosting America's lowest-rated national morning show. Much to the chagrin of his ambitious producer, played by the Rachel McAdams, Ford's grumpy character »
- Annette Bourdeau
The best part about being a TV junkie is that once you've watched the episodes, you can come over to Buzz and discuss them too! You guys always have a lot of great comments, so I gathered up my favorites of the week, and here they are. 30 Rock's live episode verdict: a success! "I liked the feel of the episode and watching the cast work without a safety net. I thought Jon Hamm was the best thing about the show, though Matt Damon was a close second. I think it would add something special if a consistently good show like 30 Rock was live more often." - stephley "I loved it! Taping live really shows you how good the actors are (or aren't). I love Julia. She nailed Liz Lemon in the flashbacks!" - Carri "I loved it! The alternative Liz Lemon was great! Also, I really appreciated them doing a »
One day recently, Bryan Batt decided to keep track of the number of people who stopped him to commiserate about the disappearance of his character, Salvatore Romano, from AMC's Emmy-winning "Mad Men." Batt quit counting at 30. "Some days it's really heartwarming, and sometimes you really want to make it go away," he says. "I'm doing other things, and then I'm reminded that Sal's been fired."The proud gay actor's closet-entrenched character was eliminated (at least temporarily) from the 1960s-set hit series in the third season—ironically, after art director Romano resisted the advances of a male client at the Sterling Cooper ad agency. "So many people identify with the character, including a lot of straight women," says Batt. "They really empathize with Sal's plight. I don't know what it is."In any case, Batt has been busy in the last year, and he credits "Mad Men" with having opened doors for him, »
We know his constant griping is getting on viewers' nerves and the truth is we already know many of the buttons we shouldn't push with the guy or else he'll totally blow a gasket. It's really not that hard to figure out.
After all, he's just a regular guy who loves himself a good ascot, a haircut with swing and watching sports with his tragically hipster friends. Typical, right?
In Tuesday's (Sept. 14) episode of "The Rachel Zoe Project," we were able to find 5 easy ways Rachel and company could have avoided a Rodger meltdown.
1.) If you go grocery shopping with Rodger, don't bring along your assistant (no matter how codependent you are on her). Rodger can hold your list. Duh.
2.) Don't talk fashion when Rodger is talking baby-making. »
The director of Toy Story 3 takes us through Pixar's upcoming production slate while reflecting on his summer success story
This past weekend, the mega-blockbuster summer sequel Toy Story 3 became the first animated film to pass the billion dollar mark at the box office. This milestone came right before Pixar announced they were putting their latest original project Newt on indefinite hold to make way for two more sequels, Cars 2 and Monsters, Inc. 2, as well as the original animated movie Brave. To help celebrate Toy Story 3's success, and to find out more about what Pixar has planned for the near future, we caught up with Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich for a quick update.
Here is our conversation:
Congradulations on this milestone for Disney/Pixar and the Toy Story franchise. Does crossing the billion-dollar mark at the box office change how you feel about the movie? »
[Once again thanks goes to the incomparable Diva Velez, for the following interview - one which was edited down from an hour long conversation... oh, to have been there, fan boys...]
The Lady Miz Diva: Mr. Yam, you started your acting career under contract with the Hong Kong television network Tvb... Simon Yam: Ah, it was a long time ago! Lmd: Yes, but so many well-known actors like yourself have come from Tvb. Sy: Yes, right, including many famous directors and actors and actresses all come from Tvb. Lmd: What did you take away from your time there? What did you learn then that you use today? Sy: Being on time! Actually, I didn't, I learned being on time from my father, who was a policeman. They're always on time. I learned manners from Tvb. And how to be energetic; cos in the old days we'd shoot today and then we're dubbing and then we're editing and then the third day, we do this again. This was the routine of before. This was horrible. So when you are sick, you need to do the work. »
I used to have this boyfriend who would get totally creeped out -- and rightfully so -- when I would randomly quote Silence of the Lamb's Buffalo Bill (played by the awesome Ted Levine) at completely inappropriate times. He'd also cringe when I'd blast Q Lazzarus's Goodbye Horses (it still gets regular iPod rotation!), which always made me giggle. Sketch comedy group, The Greater Good, brought the lulz in their latest video about the man in the woman's suit at the heart of Jonathan Demme's film. Clearly the video shows that although I might find this somewhat endearing, not every woman thinks so.
In the clip, a distraught wife is begging her husband to stop talking like Buffalo Bill. Naturally this leads to countless opportunities for him to recite classic lines from the film in a completely real-world context. Take the infamous "Put the lotion in the basket! »
- Alison Nastasi
The former Israeli tank gunner turned award-winning director talks about his controversial film, Lebanon, and why he's still in the line of fire
Samuel Maoz was 20 years old when he killed a man for the first time. It was 1982 and Israel had recently begun fighting a war against the Plo and Syria in Lebanon, a campaign which, although supposed to last for just three weeks, would continue, in various guises, for 18 bloody and horrifying years. Maoz, an Israeli soldier by dint of the fact that he was still doing his national service when the war began, was a member of the tank corps. Specifically, he was a gunner. At 6.15am on 6 June, in the stony hills of southern Lebanon, he looked down the sight of the gun of his rackety, ageing tank. In the crosshairs was a small truck. It was speeding down a dirt track towards him, its middle-aged »
- Rachel Cooke
'Paxman is in full election Hulk!Smash!Smash! mode. "Don't talk over each other!" he yells at guests'
In absence of anything on British TV remotely resembling the snarky, hyper-topical vibe of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, we Brits are forced to sit on sofas during election mania making our own plutonium-grade political satire. "You're Nothing without the other Cenobites, Butterball!" I've yelled, for example, the last 52 times Tory chairman Eric Pickles's bulbous face has appeared on Channel 4 News. For further Lolz also try: "Calm down Judge Jules! This doesn't involve you!' whenever one spots BBC political expert Nick Robinson, or "Where's Popeye, Olive!?" each time SamCam hobbles on to the screen in those cheap Zara shoes, acting as though husband David has locked all her Louboutins in a box in the cellar until after the election. And if Twitter is any reflection of real life, »
- Grace Dent
The love gossip is flying on the "Dancing with the Stars" -- and "Extra" is breaking down some of the rumors.
Are partners Erin Andrews and Maksim Chmerkovskiy "heating" things up offstage as well? The two have been spotted out and about together, and when "Extra" caught up with them as they were rehearsing, there were definite fireworks.
See photos of the "Dancing with the Stars" contestants rehearsing!
Chmerkovskiy recently tweeted @maksimC: "Just finished rehearsal »
Actor Kyle MacLachlan says that his BlackBerry is damn fine – if only it played video too
What's your favourite piece of technology, and how has it improved your life?
There's two, actually. One is my Sonicare toothbrush – I don't know if that counts as technology or not, but it keeps my teeth clean and keeps the dentist happy. But the piece of technology that has changed my life the most is my BlackBerry, I would say. It allows me to be in contact with a lot of people and do business when I'm on the road.
When was the last time you used it, and what for?
Just a few minutes ago, to set up dinner plans for the evening.
What additional features would you add if you could?
If it could play films, it would be ideal. I'm probably going to have to go into the iPod Touch for that. »
- Stuart O'Connor
[Editor's note: Huge thanks to rochefort for representing Quiet Earth at SXSW 2010. Get some sleep man and sorry about the computer.]
Austin, Texas. South by Southwest 2010 is over and I have a screwed-up sleep cycle, crashed computer and empty wallet to prove it - but I don't regret a single minute. Met a lot of nice people, ate good food and saw a lot of movies. This year I ended up with kind of an even split between premieres and flicks that have already been written about here at Quiet Earth and so I'll just give my quick two cents on the previously-covered ones. I also figured I'd offer up a few observations and what-not for anyone thinking of coming to the next one. I've lived in Austin the better part of the last twelve years and have tried to pay attention to the patterns that emerge in our fair city during big events like Acl, SXSW and Fantastic Fest, so maybe somebody will glean a benefit or two from a local's perspective. »
By now you probably know almost everything about last night's Baftas. You know Kathryn Bigelow triumphed and that James Cameron swan-dived. You know Kate Winslet wore Stella McCartney and that Jonathan Ross seemed awkward and out of place.
I spent most of last night working the Baftas red carpet. Actually, that's a lie. I didn't "work" anything. What I actually did was stand in a freezing cold pen of assorted bloggers and competition winners, and together we were ignored by anyone important because we were classified as neither fans nor journalists.
Worse still, our pen was partially blocked off by the BBC3 red carpet coverage. That meant that, rather than seeing the great and good of Hollywood at their most beautiful, we were mostly treated »
- Armando Iannucci, Stuart Heritage
Words! Words! I'm so sick of words!
I get words all day through; First from him, now from you!
Is that all you blighters can do?
Don't talk of stars burning above; If you're in love,
Tell me no dreams filled with desire. If you're on fire,
Sometimes an image is all you need. But movies don't start with an image (unless its a comic book franchise or maybe something in pitch form: think Pixar's Up and its house lifted by balloons) but with a screenplay. "Words words words...." I'm not really sick of words. I just like the song from My Fair Lady and "show, don't tell" definitely applies to the cinema.
and (500) Days of Summer are all nominees right here.
Writing screenplays must be a bizarre practice, as if building a sturdy enough skeleton »
- NATHANIEL R
Hello fellow Modern Family watchers! I will be taking over the recap reins for what is, in my opinion, the funniest new comedy of the season (back away Gleeks and put down the Slushees). What I love about this show is that even its weaker episodes are still better than most of the comedies on TV, and are still guaranteed to have a number of belly laughs. For me, the weaker Family episodes are those when the three family units don't interact, like in "Up All Night." That doesn't mean there wasn't plenty to laugh at, and I did laugh. But, since the families were kept completely separate last night, let's take their stories separately as well, after we look at the framing for the episode: adults acting like children.
"Up All Night" began with the children answering the question, "What irritating things do parents say to their children? »
- Michael Salerno
16 items from 2010
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