Monday, October 29, 2007

Bye-bye, free time

When I was a kid, I was so into playing Atari that I used to regularly break joysticks in bouts of extreme frustration. (My parents really loved that.) Since then, though, I've never really been much of a gamer. I've had occasional flirtations with specific games -- my addiction to Tetris and Dr. Mario was a real problem, and I played a lot of Super Mario -- but that was years ago. Until I bought a PlayStation 2 in January, I hadn't owned a game system in about a decade. I bought the PlayStation specifically for Guitar Hero, which looked like a fun little lark, and probably a good party game. I had no idea that I would be spending much of 2007 hunched over a plastic guitar, fingers cramping like crazy.

But here I am. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock came out Sunday, and it is so cool. I haven't had a chance to really get into it, but the track listing is a dream for a gal of the '90s such as myself. My music of choice tends to be chicks with acoustic guitars, but I love a lot of '90s rock and '70s rock. Some of the tracks I'm super-excited about: Weezer, "My Name is Jonas"; Pearl Jam, "Evenflow"; Smashing Pumpkins, "Cherub Rock"; Beastie Boys, "Sabotage" (I know!!!!); Heart, "Barracuda"; Rage Against the Machine, "Bulls on Parade"; Rolling Stones, "Paint It, Black"; and so help me God, Metallica, "One."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pound for pound, the best around

When Veronica Mars was canceled last year, I was pretty upset. Not so much because it was an great show -- which it was, although it had slipped from its first-season excellence -- but because it meant Kristen Bell wouldn't be on my TV anymore. In falling head over heels for the show, I also fell for Bell's acting. She packs a shitload of talent into her tiny, tiny frame. (Seriously, even for Hollywood, she is so wee.) Bell was asked to do a lot with the Veronica character, and she never failed to hit a home run -- even when Veronica was someone you didn't particularly like at the moment. Veronica had a lot of sadness and anger in her, and thus was too quick to think the worst of people, even those who loved her. She could also be arrogant and dismissive. But Bell was always able to pull off the high-wire act of letting the viewer see all of Veronica's flaws and baggage and anger without tipping too far one way and making her a character you didn't like or couldn't relate to, or tipping the other way and getting all Lifetime movie "mommy left me and I have trust issues" with it. Of course, strong writing helped a lot. But make no mistake: Kristen Bell absolutely has the goods. So I was quite thrilled to learn she has joined the cast of Heroes, a show my little geek heart just loves to pieces. (Actually, nerdy though I am, I've never been a comic book fan at all, and was a little surprised that I liked Heroes so much, given its premise. But I digress.)

I haven't watched Monday's episode yet, so I don't know what her special Hero purpose is. I kind of hope she's evil, because she played evil so well in a short arc on Deadwood, as the world's tiniest homicidal maniac/lesbian temptress/whore. (No, I am not making that up.) Whatever her super ability is, I have no doubt she's going to be kick-ass awesome. The photos from Dorothy Snarker's blog are highly, highly tantalizing, from a potential-lesbian-goodness standpoint. Which, let's face it, is why I get up in the morning: potential lesbian goodness, real or imagined.

This is my favorite Veronica, circa the first season. The Veronica that was on the fringe of high school society, fell asleep in class and took shit from no one.

UPDATE: I finally got around to watching it, and Bell was just as kickass as I had hoped. It appears that she's probably evil (yes!), and she can totally shoot electricity out of her fingers. I love TV.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Locomotives? What?

So I'm watching the CSI: Miami rerun that I recorded earlier (yes, because I totally have crush on Emily Procter; I'll get into that whole thing another day, I swear), and I just saw what must be the strangest, most ill-conceived commerical ever. It's blue-collar worker types singing "Take My Breath Away" while building or cleaning or doing something worker-like with giant locomotive engines built by GE. It's a commercial for TRAINS. Is A&E's demographic really people whose jobs involve buying goddamn locomotive engines? I don't understand why this commercial exists. I mean, what the fuck french, toast?

Which brings me to my favorite commercial in recent memory -- the Orbitz dirty mouth commercial. Everyone in it is funny. Doesn't "lint licker" sound wonderfully profane? Enjoy it with me, so I can forget the weird thing with the trains.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Becki Newton is bringing the funny

She's fabulous, she's hilarious, she's bitchy, and when under duress, she has a weakness for candy and carbs. She's Ugly Betty's Amanda Tanen, played brilliantly by the beautiful and talented Becki Newton. On a lesser show, Amanda would be all mean girl and no heart. But on Ugly Betty, she's ... well, mostly mean girl. But we also get to see a lot of the vulnerable Amanda, and Newton is just as good at that stuff as she is at the comedy. Her facial expressions slay me every week. Favorite quotes: "Have you been smoking one of your ponchos?" and (when Betty's dad offers Amanda a delicious flan) "Ohhh, BRING IT!" Favorite moment: I just can't pick one. But I do love this clip I found on YouTube, because when this episode originally aired, I was at least halfway into it before I figured out that Becki Newton was playing the nerdy Bizarro Amanda (aka Ruthie). So funny.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Friday night's all right

The long wait is over. The series I'm absolutely not at all ashamed to say I'm madly in love with -- Friday Night Lights -- returns tonight, and I could not be happier. Go Panthers! State champs, wooo! Ahem. When I first heard about this show, I assumed it wouldn't be very good, if the natural order of things held true. That is to say, when you take a wonderful book (by Buzz Bissinger) and turn it into a movie, the movie is often a letdown. Which it was. And when you then take that blah movie and turn it into a TV show, well ... you get what I'm saying. But while the Friday Night Lights movie was nothing to write home about, the show is incredible. It can break your heart at one turn and make you feel full of youth and hope at the next. The characters and relationships are so damn real. These are people who are trying to figure out how to love each other, how to find happiness and meaning in their small, football-psycho town. Really, it's a joy to watch. I know I watch a lot of TV shows, and I can freely admit that some of them are not so great. But trust me when I say that this is one of the the best shows that's been beamed into our homes in the last several years, and it kills me that no one's watching. I'm so paranoid that it's going to get canceled.

And that would be a crying shame, because then the world would be denied the glory of Connie Britton, who is acting her white-hot ass off in FNL. If you can watch even one episode and not fall in love with her character (and with her), then you are made of stone. Every time I watch the show, I can't decide whether I wish she were my wife, my mother, my sister, or my friend. (Usually wife wins out, like that's a surprise.) You can catch up with last season's episodes for free at What are you waiting for?