Thursday, February 09, 2006

Things to do instead of the Olympics.

- Tonight, though you'll probably be watching the Opening Ceremonies of the Torino Winter Olympics, Fox is airing two hours worth of new ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT episodes as the show's "season finale." Essentially, this is the last you'll likely see of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT unless it gets picked up by another network, like Showtime or something. Airing its final episodes against the start of the Olympics seems unfair, but Fox has tried and tried to find a way for people to watch the show. And no one does. (I tend to watch the DVDs, not the show itself, for the show works best if you can watch three or four episodes at a time, and that's the opportunity Fox is giving tonight.) Anyway, tonight's episodes feature Justine Bateman (as Jason Bateman's long-lost sister) and Judge Reinhold (as a judge), so expect them to be very funny.

- If you've not seen CAPOTE yet and were thinking about seeing it on the big screen, find a theater where it's playing, and go this weekend. I think it's the lowest-grossing film currently nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Philip Seymour Hoffman is brilliant as the title character, and he has a shot at the Best Actor Oscar. It's gone to more theaters in the past couple weeks, so there's a chance that it's playing near you. But that probably won't last, for the DVD release is coming soon. See it in theaters. It's really dark, but it's very good.

- Kacoon and I have been planning for weeks to see the likely awful, absurd FINAL DESTINATION 3, and it's finally in theaters this weekend. I'm not sure which is going to be my favorite: the roller coaster deaths, the tanning bed deaths, the nailgun deaths, the gym workout deaths, the fireworks deaths or the train deaths. I just appreciate the opportunity to watch how complicated and bizarre the deaths are. When Kacoon and I go, we're bringing her pregnant sister with us. I hope the roller coaster scene isn't hazardous to her health.

- Harrison Ford seriously needs to stop appearing in the same damn movie. Once again, he's in a thriller where he gets to beat people up to save his family. At least in AIR FORCE ONE, he was the President of the United States ... and he didn't look so elderly. In FIREWALL, he apparently plays a bank's tech-support guy. This time, Paul Bettany, who deserves better than this movie, and a gang of robbers kidnap Ford's family, and Ford has to shout "DON'T HURT MY FAMILY!!" and run around beating people up. Been there, done that. Ford needs to appear in an independent movie. Ford needs to take on a MOSQUITO COAST-type role. Maybe he should work with Peter Weir again. He needs to remind viewers why we care about him. He needs to prove once again that he can act.
- Kaye Gibbons is signing copies of THE LIFE ALL AROUND ME, her sequel to ELLEN FOSTER, at the Margaret Mitchell House next week. ELLEN FOSTER was a short book, one of Oprah's chosen, so I imagine someone somewhere out there read it and would be interested in its sequel.

- CURIOUS GEORGE looks bright, cheery and fun, just like the books my little brother devoured ages ago, and the Jack Johnson soundtrack seems fittingly cool and upbeat. Of course, I can't think about CURIOUS GEORGE nowadays without remembering that my friend Mike thinks that CURIOUS GEORGE is racist. But that's a long story.
- Finally, next week is Valentine's Day, and all you lovey-dovey, google-eyed couples can burn in the everlasting fires of hell, for all I care. (Of course, you who come here for my delightful, requisite bitterness probably expected me to say that. I don't really mean it.) Now that we've got that out of the way, I will now confess that I am actually a fan of the romantic gesture, the well-told love story, the heartbreaking ballad that actually transcends schmaltz to become the saddest, most beautiful song you've ever heard. I love some good jazz, some Ella Fitzgerald, some Dinah Washington, some "Will they or won't they?" TV sitcom romance, the transcendent, impossible movie romance that sweeps you away the tortured, unrequited love that burns you up, the argument that you never want to end, the modern love and the love that, in some way, changes you for the better. I mean, sometimes, love is nice. Romance is fun. Having someone in the room with you can make the room more bearable sometimes. I can't deny that. So, in the spirit of admitting sappiness, I ask you THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: What's your favorite love story? What's your favorite love song? Your favorite TV romance or movie romance? Do you have a story about your best date ever? A good proposal story? What's the most romantic thing that ever happened to you?

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