Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, everybody!

And if you don't celebrate Christmas, hope you had a happy Hanukkah, fun Festivus, or killer Kwanza.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

I’ve been trying to find a way to describe the plot of this movie in a couple simple sentences, but I just can’t do it. Maybe that’s one of the reasons it failed to grab moviegoers’ attention. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang takes a classic noir plot and turns it on its ear with lots of comedy.

Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey, Jr.) is a petty thief who is mistaken for an actor and later mistaken for a private eye. Harry is teamed with private eye Gay Perry (Val Kilmer) to learn the ins and outs of the detective trade. On a stakeout, Harry and Perry stumble across the body of a murdered heiress and get pulled into the case. Meanwhile, Harry’s childhood sweetheart Harmony Lane (Michelle Monaghan) thinks Harry is a real private eye and hires him to look into the death of her little sister. As with all classic noirs, the two cases eventually become one.

And there are a lot of different styles of humor used in this movie - black, slapstick, wordplay, you name it. One thing I really dug about this movie was the use of Raymond Chandler titles as chapter titles. For those with writerly aspirations, there are a couple moments that stand out. For example, this scene that takes place between Harry and Harmony in a bar:

Harry: Umm, clearly I'm interrupting. I feel badly. Let me... What are you drinking?
Harmony: Bad.
Harry: Bad? Sorry... feel...?
Harmony: You feel bad.
Harry: Bad?
Harmony: Badly is an adverb. So to say you feel badly would be saying that the mechanism which allows you to feel is broken.

There’s a funny followup a few minutes later where Harry tries to correct Perry’s use of the word “badly” and Perry shuts him down.

Also is this scene where Harry and Perry turn the tables on a gunman:

Gay Perry: I want you to picture a bullet inside your head right now. Can you do that for me?
Gunman: F--- you. Anyway, that's ambiguous.
Gay Perry: Ambiguous. No, no, I don't think so.
Harry: No, I think what he means is that when you say "Picture it inside your head" okay is that that a bullet will be inside your head. Or picture it in your head.

I’d seen this movie on several “overlooked gems of the decade” list and thought I’d give it a try. I’m glad that I did. The performances by the three lead actors were great. The storyline was classic noir and the humor was actually funny. Oddly enough, someone blogged about this movie at Big Hollywood on Saturday – the day I watched it for the first time.

Highly recommended.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Elmore Leonard's Justified

Last week, a trailer popped up on the internet for the new TV series "Justified" (formerly "Lawman"). It's based on Elmore's character Raylan Givens who appeared in the novels "Pronto" and "Riding the Rap" and the short story "Fire in the Hole". Executive Produced by Graham Yost ("Boomtown"), the show is scheduled to air on FX in March.

From what I've heard, the pilot is based on "Fire in the Hole". As evidenced by this clip, Givens (Timothy Olyphant) goes head to head with a character played by Walton Goggins - known best around here as Shane Vendrell from "The Shield".

Are you excited as I am?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Best of the Decade has a cool new series up called "Best of the Decade". It's a series of interviews with the creators and writers of some of TV's biggest and best shows. Included are J.J. Abrams (LOST, Alias), Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse (LOST), Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing), David Simon (The Wire) and Shawn Ryan (The Shield).

I came across this series because of the interview with Ryan. He talks openly with TVGuide about what inspired him to write The Shield (ride-alongs for Nash Bridges plus the Rampart Scandal), how it came to be on F/X, and it's influence as a catalyst for the recent cable drama boom. The ever humble Ryan doesn't claim credit, but is happy his show is usually singled out as the forerunner.

I do think [The Shield] had a big impact, but I'm also aware that the impact was ready to happen. The conditions existed for it to happen, and if The Shield never happened, it would have happened with a different show. It was going to happen. I'm grateful that we got there first and got credited with changing the perception, but you just look back and cable TV was ready to explode like that.

Very interesting series. I'm definitely going to read the other interviews.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Man v Food: Pittsburgh

I've recently started watching Travel Channel's show "Man v Food". If you're unfamiliar with the show, host Adam Richman travels to different parts of the country to sample local foods and take part in a local eating challenge. Examples of past challenges include a 12 egg omelet, a 72 oz steak, and a 6 pound, two foot long burrito.

In one season one episode, Adam traveled to Pittsburgh and sampled a local favorite: a Primanti Bros sandwich. This tasty concoction comes with fries and coleslaw in the sandwich. I've had them many times and can attest to their tastiness.

Here's a clip of Adam's visit:

Friday, December 4, 2009

MST3K Friday: Rough Cut

While working on the cut of the final MST3K episode Diabolik, Mike and the 'bots were surprised by clips from older episodes of the show (mostly season 10 episodes). Check out their reactions:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Shield / Lie to Me

So, there's some fun news today. As many people know, Shawn Ryan (creator of The Shield) is now the showrunner for Fox's Lie to Me. episode 12 of this season, Ryan is bringing back 6 of his Shield stars in guest roles.

They are Benito Martinez (Aceveda), Catherine Dent (Danni), David Marciano (Billings), Cathy Cahlin Ryan (Corrinne Mackey), David Rees Snell (Ronnie), and Kenny Johnson (Lem).

According to Ryan's Twitter page, both Walton Goggins (Shane) and Jay Karnes (Dutch) were too busy to shoot spots. Maybe in future episodes? One can hope.

More here and here.