I have no idea where this week has gone. I have done almost nothing of any merit, unless reading books out in the sun qualifies. I just wanted to update to say that the server Kistenmacher used to host the sites sucks and they deleted everything, but he has risen to the occasion and fixed everything for us! He’s easily the best web slave a person could ask for. We don’t even have to provide him with shelter or food. (Update: what the fuck is up with those banners? If I’m whoring my site out to someone it’s going to be Google Ads or nothing at all) Anyway, I’ve been busy enjoying the gifts that my amazing aunt randomly decided to get for me and Taylor. She got a bunch of DVDs, some chocolates and a few books, and I got:
1. Finding Serenity: the collection of essays about the greatest sci-fi show ever made. I got to read part of the book on the road trip to California, and it’s amazing. The perfect assortment of philosophy, fanfare and speculation. It’s a must have for fans of the show!
2. Rent by Jonathan Larson: the huge hardcover book about the original Broadway cast of my favorite musical. The photographs are worth the price alone, but the stories of how Rent evolved and the overall presentation make this one of the best theatre books I’ve ever seen.
3. Citizen Kane: the DVD of my favorite film by Orson Welles. I’ve been growing more and more obsessed with him this summer, and I can’t wait to hear the audio commentaries of both Roger Ebert and Peter Bogdanovich.
4. The Complete Mr. Arkadin: a massive DVD set chronicling every possible aspect of the Arkadin legend. This include a novel, radio plays, three versions of the movie and an audio commentary, among other things. I can’t wait to start watching the special features on this! By the end of the year I’ll probably own every Orson Welles film out on DVD. I just wish Criterion would release them all, because the other DVDs are seriously lacking in the transfer and special features.
All in all, she’s way up on my heroes list right now. There’s nothing like relatives who like to spoil you with gifts. By the way, thea, I keep my Amazon list updated frequently and take things off when I get them…everything on there now is current. I’ll try to find some other things to put on there (that aren’t Frank Lloyd Wright books or DVDs that aren’t even out yet).
So I’m still here, just in a near vegetative state. I get up every once in a while to go make a gyro, but that’s really the extent of my daily exercise. Tivo really is the greatest invention since the Internet.
My obsession with Firefly has been reignited over the past week. It seems like my obsessions just cycle, with one taking over while another takes the backseat for a while. For example, when I stopped listening to Rent five times a day I began rewatching Firefly with Matt. This was then replaced by Orson Welles movies and documentaries. Last week was Rent-tastic, and now I’m back to Firefly. I just love the show so much that it actually makes me want to hurt Katie for not sharing in the love. I wish there was a way fans could contribute money to continue the series. Sure, there are DVD sales, etc. but I’m talking about something completely different. I want something where fans can donate to an account that would only be used if the second season or movie was greenlighted. This would prove to executives how much support they have and it would be backed up with hard cash instead of unreliable internet polls. This all came about from a Fireflyfans.net poll about how much you would be willing to contribute to continuing the show. Needless to say, I checked the $100 or more per season box. I’ve thought about it before, and the amount of money I would seriously give is borderline irrational.
In a geeky fit of joy, I pre-ordered the Firefly documentary DVD “Done the Impossible” this week. It’s basically a labor of love by hardcore Browncoats, complete with an 80 minute documentary about how it went from a show to a movie, and hours and hours of special features. Almost all of the cast helped with the DVD through interviews and narration.
I’ve also begun watching Battlestar Galactica season 2. Now it’s a great show, and I’m glad it’s getting recognition but I can’t help but feel some spite. The show basically uses the formula that made Firefly great, but to greater acclaim that Firefly ever saw during its run. They stole the shaky cam zooms, the empowered female heroes, the lack of hope, the realistic portrayal of space as a soundless vacuum (with music always playing over the space scenes). The storyline is undoubtedly different (and much more religious) but a great debt is owed to Joss Whedon.
“Why Can’t I Be You” is my new guilty pleasure of summer. The episodes are short, and focus on building self-esteem so it is not quite as brainless as other crap (like Laguna Beach, the Hills or whatever else Brandon is watching this week). My favorite episode is the one where the gay model helps the pizza boy realize how fabulous he really is. The only problem with the show is the host, Nick Zano. To quote from my IMDb board post, “I think the host is a total tool. He condescends to all of the people on the show, as if they should be honored by his talentless presence. The guy makes situations more awkward than they need to be, and makes geeky kids feel like there is something wrong with them because they don’t look like him…MTV, please find a better host who doesn’t make the participants feel like *beep* They’re the ones taking a risk and putting themselves out there…don’t let this jerk knock them back down.” This was met with a badass response from bitchy_br: “You take it too seriosly, how does he make them feel like *beep* He just asks them about themselves and what they want to change and if they did.” Normally I would just have “bitchy” shot for sticking up for Zano and misspelling seriously, but I thought I might instead offer some examples of his degradation. Most of these are obvious to ANYONE who has ever seen five seconds of the show, but some retards can’t pick up on the obvious. Zano always makes inappropriate sexual inuendos, slapping asses, proding people about their sexuality and staring the girls up and down. These are not that bad, however, because they don’t directly take away from these kids’ self-esteem. Zano constantly pokes fun at people’s weaknesses in front of their faces, as if they weren’t standing right next to him. They’re left to stand there foolishly while Zano just smiles and makes another ridiculous joke. He is also far too honest in telling people how much better they look as the “new” them. His comments make the person feel as if there really was something wrong with them before, which is a terrible message to give any of the contestants. For a show about self-esteem, MTV has chosen a cocky, arrogant host who ultimately hurts the show. May he burn in F-list hell.
Are we ever going to have an Unseen Movie Marathon? I still think we should, even if it’s just Brandon, Merbitch and me. It’s already gotten out that my movie is going to be Battle Royale, but I was also thinking about showing A Bronx Tale. This week I realized that the kid who plays ‘C’ at age 9 is Francis Capra, from Veronica Mars! He’s actually amazing in the movie, and I can’t believe I didn’t put the two together earlier. Funny side story; Lillo Brancato, who plays ‘C’ when he’s older is currently in jail facing murder charges for killing an off duty police officer. The kid was plucked off the streets and given the opportunity of a lifetime (by Robert DeNiro, no less!) and he just ends up becoming a drug addicted hack.
No matter how many movies I have to watch or TV shows I have downloaded, I keep putting them aside to watch and re-watch episodes of Scrubs. I also spent most of yesterday watching disc 1 of Arrested Development season one. This brings me to my next topic: I have ranked my top five favorite television shows of all time. This list was made in about ten minutes, and I’m sure it will change a lot over time, but all five shows are incredible. Let’s begin.
5. The Sopranos
This show probably has the best acting of any show on the list. James Gandolfini turns in one of the most nuanced and quietly brutal performances ever seen on television. Many critics have compared his powerful performance to those of Marlon Brando, which is pretty much the best compliment you can give an actor as far as I’m concerned. The storylines for the first five seasons are possibly the best dramatic writing in the history of television. The sixth season was hit or miss, but still better than almost everything put out. Of course, I love anything to do with the mafia, but the show can appeal to almost anybody (*Hint hint* people who claim to be my friends need to start watching this).
This show about nothing that was so much more than that. I purchased the first six seasons on DVD and think it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. The episodes, while occasionally dated, continue to work incredibly well. The laugh track is occasionally annoying, but the show is so good that I’m usually laughing along with it and don’t notice. I’m sure that I will own ever season of this show eventually. I can’t say that for any other show with nine seasons. No other show with nine seasons is worth it, nor are they as consistently good.
3. Arrested Development
Probably the most quotable show on the list. This is Brandon’s favorite TV show and undoubtedly the best thing I have started watching this year. I saw the first episode of the show three years ago with Emily Driskill and thought it was amazing, but never took the initiative to watch the rest until Brandon encouraged everyone. I really had no idea what I was missing. Almost everything about the show is perfect, from the completely immoral characters to the outrageous plotlines. This will probably go down as the most underappreciated show of the 2000s.
Joss Whedon’s gift to the world. I have an irrational love of Firefly. Actually, it’s completely rational and well-thought out, but the emotion I attach to these 14 episodes is overwhelming. I love everything about the show, and would do just about anything to continue seeing the stories put on screen, in whatever format. I have always said that if I had millions to spare, it would all go towards producing more Firefly. Unfortunately, as time goes on, it looks less and less likely that we will ever see these characters on film again. I can’t believe I’ve only known about this show for seven months! Regardless, I believe Firefly will remain the most influential sci-fi show of our generation. “Out of Gas” is an incredible accomplishment in every way.
This is a completely personal choice. This show probably doesn’t have the consistent greatness of Firefly or AD, but it is undoubtedly my favorite. I could watch Scrubs on repeat for the rest of my life and never get bored. The characters are all so rich with detail and the actors really bring them to the next level. I absolutely love every major character, which is rare for a sitcom. Bill Lawrence set out to make a live-action version of the Simpsons in a hospital, and he ended up with something far greater. It is the perfect blend of humor and tragedy, with enough quirkiness to last a lifetime. “My Screwup” is possibly the best 30 minutes of television ever filmed.
Hopefully this will be posted sometime in the next month, but it’s very likely that everything I wrote will be outdated by the time you are reading this.