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Who Wants to Be a Superhero? (2006)
Second Season Looks Almost as Cheesy/Fabulous as First
Like a lot of reality shows that I intend to stay far away from, Who Wants to Be a Superhero sucked me in like a Hoover last season. At times, it was like watching a horrific scene, trying not to look. At others, it was genuinely sweet, and had an admittedly good message.
After watching Feedback cry and hearing about Major Victory's history as a stripper in almost every episode last year, I didn't think I could stomach another season.
And again, I was wrong.
It's hard not to be drawn to this show, simply for the curiosity of watching grown people act serious in sparkly capes and tights. Add in the ridiculous challenges and Stan Lee's deep analysis of their every move, and you've got attention-grabbing TV.
You got to get a load of Mr. Mitzvah and The Parthenon and...Well, all of them. It's kind of endearing to watch these guys so earnestly vie for first place while chasing imaginary bad guys and saving planted characters around the city.
I can't think of what would make this show better, but if the finale is as sweet as last season's, it'll be worth following this one.
Saving Grace: Pilot (2007)
Pilot is a good start, but has a long way to go....
After months and months of endless promos on TNT, "Saving Grace has finally debuted. I've been interested in seeing the show, since it stars one of my favorite actresses, Holly Hunter.
Here's the thing that makes me nuts about pilot episodes of shows and casting major actors in them: There's always a ton of exposition thinly disguised in not-so-clever dialog, and the actor, not matter how great they are, can hardly live up to all of the expectations.
Holly Hunter plays a "Bad girl" cop.("She drinks! She smokes! She sleeps around! She doesn't believe in God!") After a drunken car wreck, a tobacco-chawing angel appears and tells her that it's her last chance for redemption. Between swigs and flings with a fellow officer, she's trying to solve a missing child case.
The thing is, this show has potential. Unlike a lot of the formulaic shows on TV, this one appears to have a different angle that could take the character and the show on interesting paths. I know pilot episodes always have a lot of "es'plainin'" to do, so maybe the rest of this season will be more realistic.
The Closer: Dumb Luck (2007)
A Nice Blend of Humor and Continuing Story lines
For me, The Closer is one of the better offerings on cable TV. This episode, while not my favorite thus far, demonstrates the slick writing and ease of transition that a lot of series don't attempt to do.
Unlike the Law & Order series or many of the other detective crime shows, there's a consistent storyline to follow, for those who watch week after week, but fresh cases that don't require a lot of exposition. I appreciate this approach, since a LOT of shows beat the viewer over the head with minutiae while trying to get the plot moving.
The realism of the show may be questionable at times, but that point can be forgiven since the humorous and clever twists make the show worthwhile.
Absolute Must-See Movie
Regardless of how you feel about Michael Moore, his politics, or how he crafts his documentaries, you absolutely must see this movie.
Being someone who hasn't had health insurance for over five years now, I was almost dreading this movie. Now that I've seen it, I feel compelled to tell everyone I know to plunk down the 7 or 8 bucks to see it. It's compelling, disturbing, bi-partisan, sometimes funny, and completely necessary to identifying what we need to make our country a better place to live.
Michael Moore seems to be the only filmmaker who has the vision to, not only point out what's wrong with the picture, but make reasonable suggestions as to how to fix it. Unlike some of his previous movies, he skewers anyone who has had a hand in the way our health care system works (or doesn't), and that means parties on both sides of the political aisle.
The greatest amount of attention recently has been focused on his trip to Gitmo with a boatload of 9/11 rescue workers, and the federal investigation that inevitably followed. I have to say that it is one of the most compelling segments of the film, especially since it follows a slew of stories from Canada, England and France, detailing how great their socialized health care programs are.
There's a lot more to say, but please just go see this movie. It's too important to ignore. Even if you don't agree with Michael Moore's style, it's a subject that will be debated for many years to come.
I hate to admit it, but Charm School is one of my guilty pleasures, and I can't get enough! I was a closet devotee of the original Flavor of Love shows, in that "watching an impending train wreck" sort of way, but this one takes the cake. How could one seriously think they could reprogram a bunch of foul-mouthed girls willing to fight at the drop of a hat? At first glance, I thought it was a great joke. Throw a gaggle of girls who've historically not been the best of friends into the same show, and expect them to come out of the series with manners? Oh please.
What I didn't expect was true moments of breakthrough for a few of the girls, especially Becky, AKA Buckwild, and a few of the others.
It's hilarious and genuinely entertaining. Mo'Nique is a riot, and the characters on this show make it well worth the watch!
The Sopranos: Made in America (2007)
Unexpected, But Ultimately Satisfying.
The news this morning is bubbling over with reports of irritated fans that feel last night's finale was highway robbery. I, for one, couldn't be more OK with the ending. For the last week or so, I've scoured the bulletin boards for spoilers, hoping to brace myself for the end, and no matter how plausible each scenario seemed to be, none of them were ideal. From apocalyptic visions of Tony's entire family being taken out to a surprise claim of paternity from Junior, to Tony being sent to prison, none of these endings would have been satiating.
So, I may be alone in this, but I am comfortable with the ending of the show. Nothing is wrapped up in a neat package by the show's end, but if it were, there would be little room for future movies or specials, and it wouldn't be true to the nature of the show. If David Chase and the show's creators decided to go against their original goal of making The Sopranos as realistic as possible, devotees would be angry. The realism is what defined the show as being heads and tails above the rest.
The thing that did crack me up about most of the show were the moments where David Chase clearly intended to build up the viewers' worry of something drastic about to happen. Particularly with the final scene, and the intentional drawing of attention to other patrons who could whack the whole family, it was an artfully crafted moment of uncertainty.
I also think David Chase did what he set out to do: present a finale that no one expected. Almost all of the predictions called for major violence and death. One of them said that we'd see Sil flat-lining in the hospital. Another suggested the A.J. would try to blow himself up in the swimming pool. Aside from the true prediction that Phil Leotardo would be shot at a gas station, there was little violence or death, and that was unexpected.
In the end, I'm satisfied with the finale, and would have been a lot less pleased if everyone had died or all the ends were tied. Life isn't neat and tidy. So why should America's most realistic mob show be?
The Sopranos: The Blue Comet (2007)
Hold Your Breath. Here It Comes...
Blue Comet is definitely one of those episodes that had me holding my breath. Of course, we're probably all expecting violence and bloodshed, but no amount of bracing for it can take away from the great direction and writing in this one. If you've been wise enough to not read any of the speculative comments on Sopranos bulletin boards, you'll be taken aback by a lot of the action in this installment.
******** SPOILERS ********* The Hobby Shop scene, despite the fact that I was half-expecting it, was more poetic than I anticipated. There have been scores of killings on this show, but I don't remember one with such an appropriate touch. THe trains derailing, the close-up of the toy woman with her hand over her mouth in shock, and the overhead shot of Bobby splayed across the shattered display were perfectly appropriate for the one LCN member with the most heart.
I LOVED the scene with Dr. Melfi reading up on psychoanalysis of criminals. At every highlighted word, we're lead to remember all of the things Tony has said and done over the years. SLICK. And her consultation appointment with Tony? FIERCE.
Like most of the episodes over the years, I know I missed a LOT of details in this installment, so I'm anxious to watch this one again.
The Sopranos: The Second Coming (2007)
The Pot's About to Boil Over
Tonight episode dealt primarily with A.J.'s increasingly somber mood and the worsening relationship between Tony and the NY guys. Tony's in deep, deep trouble with Phil Leotardo, so much so that even Little Carmine tries to intervene.
It's an interesting episode, full of drama, and even a jarring, violent altercation (or "alteration," as Little Carmine calls it). This episode really blurs the line between Tony's humanity and his animalistic responses. One minute, he's saving A.J. from himself, the next, he's avenging a slight towards Meadow. In my opinion, this is probably James Gandolfini's finest work so far on The Sopranos.
Now, if only the next two weeks could fly by a little faster!
The Sopranos: Kennedy and Heidi (2007)
Whatta ya gonna do?
OK, this first part is for those of you who haven't seen it: One of those episodes that you CANNOT miss. Don't miss the first fifteen minutes. There are reasons why HBO only gives short, vague synopsis for each episode. Do yourself a favor and don't read any spoilers about this one. Seriously.
We've all been looking for something to happen to CM, but I certainly wasn't expecting what happened tonight. It's ironic to me that this installment comes the week after Christopher shot J.T. without much reason to do so.
Sure, Tony has had reasons to be irritated with Chris, but making him asphyxiate on his own blood? Oh, and I loved the bit with Paulie being mad over the low attendance at Nucci's wake. Even after the teary-eyed speech about how he may not have treated Chris well, Paulie can find a reason to feel slighted, and by a dead guy, no less.
Great episode. I can't wait for next week!
The Sopranos: Walk Like a Man (2007)
Loaded With Questions, But Satisfying
This week's installment of The Sopranos returns to some of the relationship issues left open between Tony, Paulie, and Christopher. Carefully crafting the tension from three of the most recent episodes, we're beginning to see where this is going, as we head into the final four episodes.
Remember last week when I said something about not seeing enough of A.J.'s story lines in the past to care where it's going now? Well, scratch that. When Blanca dumped A.J. last week, there wasn't a whole lot of previous detail as to why he would be so emotionally involved with her, therefore, I wasn't too concerned with the direction of the story. This week, however, we realize that it isn't the breakup or the relationship that was so important, but how Tony directs A.J. in an attempt to cure his breakup blues.
Overall, it's a good episode, though I think/hope that this is just a warm up for the final four.