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Demme (RIP) and His Players

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Entries in TV (546)


Stray Emmy Observations (and Supporting Actress)

Raising Hope is Wacky. So is the definition of "GUEST ACTOR"Now that this morning's Emmy nominations have sunk in here's a few things we didn't cover earlier or didn't dig deep enough into in the earlier rundown, largely inspired by your comments.

Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
This is where we are reminded that the Emmys have too many categories and category fraud adjusts to include all of them. How on god's green earth is Cloris Leachman a "guest actress" on Raising Hope when she's a member of the main family and in every single episode? I see her winning with that unfortunate advantage given that the Glee nominees (Gwyneth Paltrow, Kristin Chenoweth, Dot Marie Jones as "Beiste") may cancel each other out and Tina Fey (as host of SNL) is already buried in Emmys. Since I am adamantly opposed to category fraud and since Gwynnie's follow up Glee visits paled in comparison to her first and since Cheno had virtually nothing to do this season, my vote would have to go to Elizabeth Banks for 30 Rock.

Guest Actor & Actress in Drama Series
These categories usually belong to the Law & Order franchise but this year we're blissfully absent of rapists, perverts and victims. Unless some of the characters I'm unfamiliar with qualify and who knows. Three Mad Men made the grade including Cara Buono's jilted businesswoman, Robert Morse ("Cooper" of Sterling Cooper) and everyone's favorite dead woman "Miss Blankenship" (Randee Heller). 

"'Who got an Emmy nod for mouthing off and getting Lafayette laid proper?' I DID, HOOKER"True Blood's Troubles
True Blood which we've been writing about generally gets 3-5 Emmy nominations but last year it added a surprise "Best Drama Series" to its tally. This year it was demoted again with only four nominations for its third season, the one about the V addicted werewolves and the King of Mississippi. The weirdest bit of awards trivia for True Blood though: It has never been nominated for any acting prizes with Emmy (it's won Globes) until now and the person who did it for them is Alfre Woodard who basically only cameo'd in Season 3 as Lafayette's crazy homophobic mama.

Click to read more ...


Emmy Nominations 2011: Friday Night Lights (FINALLY) and More...

We'll start with the biggies: Drama, Comedy and Lead Actresses. Yes, that is the Big Four -- well, to the Film Experience it is!

Best Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire
Friday Night Lights *my vote because it's the last season and because I'm so mad at Mad Men for not returning this summer.*
Game of Thrones
The Good Wife
Mad Men

Aside from the way-better-late-than-never inclusion of Friday Night Lights, finally elevated to "Best" status in its fifth and final season, despite always having been better than the other nominees, save Mad Men, the newbie is HBO's Game of Thrones. We've discussed it a few times (in short: I'm less impressed than most though it has its moments). But still can we get crazy drunk and jubilant for Friday Night Lights?

Who will win? Can Mad Men do it again or will The Good Wife which is obviously beloved by the acting community take its first "best series" win?

Best Comedy Series

30 Rock
The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
The Office
Parks and Recreation *my vote*

Bummed that Nurse Jackie or Raising Hope aren't cited. Hasn't The Office outstayed its welcome and doesn't The Big Bang Theory have a laughtrack? Ugh. This category could have been so beautifully modern? If it doesn't I apologize. But what a relief that Two and Half Men isn't stinking up the category anymore. Who will win? My guess is that the consistently hilarious Modern Family continues its reign though if we're voting for Most Improved, Parks and Recreation takes all; what a season.

Comedy Lead Actress
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Laura Linney, The Big C
Melissa McCarthy, Mike and Molly
Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation *my vote*

Was The United States of Tara not eligible? Nomination I'm happiest about: Martha Plimpton in Raising Hope. I've been a fan of Martha Plimpton since the mid 80s and am so happy to see her having such a great decade lately what with the Broadway stardom and now the TV hilarity. Plus her twitter feed is love.

Who will win? I love Tina Fey as much as the rest of the world except that she does not deserve to keep winning acting prizes. Let's spread the wealth Emmy.

Drama Lead Actress
Kathy Bates, Harry's Law
Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights *my vote*
Mirielle Enos, The Killing
Mariska Hargitay, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit
Julianne Marguiles, The Good Wife
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

Apologies to our Annie Wilkes but what, pray tell,  is the often great Kathy Bates doing here? I have literally never been more bored by her than on this very show as if she was heavily medicated or too sleepy to act. I tried twice though it didn't help that the show was plain old stale, like a series we might have seen 12 years ago but not now with the impressive elevation of TV drama over the past decade. Hooray for Britton who really ought to win this for five unimproveably naturalistic years on FNL. I'm trying to make peace with the fact that next time someone casts her in something it's bound to be a character-less procedural but I'm having a hard time. I will miss Tammy Taylor way too much. Who will win? It's obviously Marguiles, right?

But wait there's more...

Click to read more ...


True Blood 4.3 "If You Love Me..."

Another Monday, another day spent thinking about last night's True Blood eppy. My favorite B story thread this season is definitely Arlene's devil baby so we must begin with my single favorite shot in the episode. The little monster slobbering all over Jessica's Capital C Creepy family heirloom doll.

He's so cute. Don't you just want to procure victims for him and grind them up into mushy baby food?

"If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin'?" is a solid episode but can't help but feel like a smidgeon of a comedown after last week's instant classic in which Eric was robbed of his memories by the new witch coven led by Marnie (Fiona Shaw). This week's episode provided several fun moments and some promising future-implications but the plot mostly was little beats in which characters were trying to decide how to deal with the major events of the previous episode: where should Sooki hide Eric? is Tara getting sucked back in for good? will Lafayette's fear of Eric continue to get everyone in trouble? who is Pam going to eat if she gets too angry? exactly what is Marnie channeling?

Cheers: True Blood is giving both Lafayette and Tara more subtle emotions to play this season.

The major B story his season appears to be Jason's stud captivity in that redneck nightmare village (they mean to use him to sire new werepups). Someone rescue him!

Click to read more ...


TV @ the Movies: "Hoosiers" vs. "The Notebook"

I know that MTV's Teen Wolf is based on an 80s movie but it's not set in the 1980s so what to make of the bizarre opening scene of its latest episode "The Tell" in which Jackson (Colton Haynes) and Lydia (Holland Roden) visit that nostalgia-inducing endangered species, The Video Store, and have the following  ½ "80s" argument... 

Jackson: "Hoosiers" is not only the best basketball movie ever it is the best sports movie ever made. 
Lydia: No.
Jackson: It's got Gene Hackman and Dennis Hopper!
Lydia: No.
Jackson: Lydia, I swear to God you're going to like it.
Lydia: No.

[cut to: Jackson, defeated, inside the store]

Jackson: Can somebody help me find "The Notebook"? 

Haha. So, maybe this was intended it as a Men are from Mars / Women are from Venus argument but do today's teenagers (non film-fanatic variety... not you reading, obvs)  even know who Dennis Hopper and Gene Hackman are? It seems like this argument was between a 30something man and a teen girl. Or maybe Hoosiers mania still lives on in high school boys? I'm not a sports person or a high school boy so I cannot speak from authority.

Once inside the store, there are a ton of movies on view but none of them seem intentionally placed there for the camera. Lazy set dressers (kidding!). For instance, there's telltale signs of a dead body (a foot!) peaking out from behind the I Am Love row. But I highly doubt the director's were like "ooh, someone dies in that Tilda Swinton / Italian melodrama that won Best Pic at the Film Bitch Awards, so let's put the body there!".

This one on the other hand is 100% intentional.

Turns out there's an evil werewolf in the store and Jackson ends up hiding right next to a copy of Let The Right One In, the only movie with its own closeup. "The Tell" that it's intentional: It's out of sequence with the other movies sitting next to it, which begin with "S". Video stores may be on the verge of extinction but surely they still alphabetize.



True Blood 4.1: "She's Not There" 

Bill still makes her red eyed and weepyLet the Season 4 premiere of HBO's hit series True Blood be a lesson to all future showrunners. This is what happens when your show has introduced non-integrated plotlines for each and every member of a huge ensemble cast. This is what happens when you try a time jump so popular post Battlestar Galactica and don't trust the audience to just reconfigure the pieces on their own.  This is what happens when you back yourself into storylines that maybe weren't good ideas to begin with. I speak of Jason Stackhouse becoming the paterfamilia (of sorts) for a whole den of barely human hilbillies and a certain reveal about our heroine. To quote Sookie (Anna Paquin) herself with the same annoyed/surprised/this-is-stupid inflection from the Season 3 climax...

I'm a fairy?

And what is it that's happened, exactly?

The show's premiere episode "She's Not There" proved to be a random disjointed mess, forced to spend the entire hour on reintroductions to every character since we've missed a whole year of their lives (as has Sookie). I can't speak for television ratings but if True Blood hadn't already peaked in terms of the number of fangbangers gathered for each episode, this premiere had garlic all over it. Wouldn't it automatically repel new viewers?


"She's Not There" kicks off with a weirdly dull and anachronistic (for this show) opening. Sookie is trapped (though she doesn't yet know it) in an alternate fairy dimension which looks like a gaudy Maxfield Parrish knock-off painting with no-budget set dressing. Sookie doesn't eat the glowing fruit which turns out to be a good idea -- the side effects are both nasty and uglifying.

Click to read more ...


True Blood in Five Minutes

When I polled y'all about whether or not we should review True Blood Season 4 as it airs, and though the response was tepid in terms of button clicking it was "yay" in terms of coverage so we'll try it out. If response is good we'll keep going. If not, we dump. Every other film site seems to cover more and more TV [TANGENT: the worlds continue to converge though not, I should add, as they should: put the franchises on TV where no beginnings, middle and ends are appropriate and not in the cinema where you're supposed to tell a full story, damnit! [/TANGENT] and we gotta keep up or lose market share.

So before Season 4 begins next week, a quick recap of the first three seasons courtesy of HBO

For those who care about existing predispositions my favorite human is Jason (Ryan Kwanten being the show's acting MVP... and the least likely to ever be nominated for it), my favorite vampire is Pam (Kristin Bauer), my favorite eye candy is Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) and my favorite CGI creation is Joe Manganiello (as "Alcides) who cannot possibly be a real human actor considering that superhero body that makes Ryan Reynolds look like a gym slacker. I go back and forth on the quality of virtually everyone and everything in this show but I find it addictive and admire its looney commitment to all caps acting and total trashiness.


Congratulations to the Critics Choice TV Winners

In progress now but I'm about to leave for a Cars 2 screening -- Vroom Vroom (and wish me luck) -- so I won't know the rest of the winners till later. John Noble (Fringe) won Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. Margo Martindale (Justified) and Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) tied for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series and Jon Hamm won Best Actor in a Drama (Mad Men)

The reporters ask Margo about Paris Je T'Aime and it was clear from both the question and the response that that particular gig (courtesy of Alexander Payne) has been fruitful and meaningful for fans and the actress herself.

you can follow a live stream backstage here. My friend Roberta of Basket of Kisses / Mad Men fandom fame, just asked Christina a question!

UPDATE: Here are the winners

  • BEST DRAMA Mad Men
  • BEST COMEDY Modern Family
  • BEST ACTRESS, DRAMA Juliana Marguiles, The Good Wife
  • BEST ACTOR, DRAMA Jon Hamm, Mad Men
  • BEST ACTRESS, COMEDY Tina Fey, 30 Rock
  • BEST ACTOR, COMEDY Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
  • BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA (tie) Christina Hendricks, Mad Men & Margo Martindale, Justified
  • BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY Busy Phillips, Cougar Town
  • BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
  • BEST TALK SHOW The Daily Show
  • BEST REALITY SHOW HOST Mike Rowe, Dirty Jobs

This list of winners tells us that the new offshoot of the BFCA is much less concerned about "predicting" the Emmys than the film branch is to predicting the Oscars. Nice to see, don't you think?

Anyway... Ohmygod, I love that scene in Paris Je T'Aime so much and now it's all I can think of so let's watch it again.

Payne, je l'aime.