13 February, 2008

Tina Fey To Return To 30 Rock To Host 'SNL'

I don't usually watch Saturday Night Live. But in SNL's first post-Strike broadcast (Feb. 23), Tina Fey will be returning to 30 Rockefeller Center to host the show she once worked for. I'll watch it because I think Fey is a comic genius, and 30 Rock, her scripted series based around an SNL-style variety show, is so funny I want to take it behind the middle school and get it pregnant.

But here's the thing: when Fey was head writer for Live (the first woman to hold that position), the show was in one of it's worst creative slumps in recent years. It was during her reign that I really stopped watching the show (although, in all fairness, blame can also be placed on Jimmy Fallon, whose biggest talents were botching his lines and mugging for the camera). So I wonder: How will the performer in Fey (who recently won a Screen Actors Guild award for her work on 30 Rock) fare without the pressure of heading the chaos of a live television show? When she was behind the Weekend Update desk, SNL was actually (wouldn't-you-know-it?) funny. That's not to say the WGA-card-carrying scribe is a bad writer (she isn't, not by a long shot), but... Well, I don't know. That's the thing. Why didn't SNL work better with her in charge? ... I guess that's why I'll be tuning in on Saturday night, to see what's changed.

P.S.: Tina,
If you're reading this, ditch your husband and marry me.
xoxo Ben

I Finally Got Around To Watching the Second Half of Season 3 of 'LOST'...And It Was Awesome!

It had been nearly a year since I last watched an episode of Lost (according to IMDb the last one I saw, "Stranger in a Strange Land," aired on February 21st, 2007! That's last year!). But that's all changed now. Over the past three days, I hunkered down and watched all 13 episodes of Season 3 I missed, including the time-warpy finale.

And it was awesome! ...Hey, check out Jack's beard!

I know, I know, I'm still behind the times. But FYI, there is no other show on TV that has the potential to excite me as much as Lost does. Just so you know.

11 February, 2008

The Best Thing About The End of the Writers' Strike

The chance for Once stars Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova to perform their Oscar-nominated song "Falling Slowly" live on-stage at the Academy Awards.

Oscar-Themed Food!

The folks over at Epicurious.com have done exactly what I was too lazy to do: They've assembled an Oscar-night menu with foods themed around the Best Picture nominees! So while you're watching No Country for Old Men sweep through the ceremony, you could be munching Texas-Style Chili and Sage & Honey Skillet Cornbread (make sure to wash it down with an adequately Tex-Mex beer like Negra Modelo!). If you're rooting for crowd-favorite Juno, you could be enjoying Waffled Ham & Cheese Sandwiches and Frozen Chocolate Bananas. If high-minded political pretentiousness is more your style (or if, like me, "upscale" food still sounds just as delicious), you could opt for a Michael Clayton-inspired Filet Mignon with Merlot Sauce

As a novice foodie, I don't know if I'll want to go this far out of my way to please my Oscar party invitees, but it's a cool idea, and it all looks and sounds delectable.

Warning: It's just the Best Pic nominees, so no, you don't get to make human meat pies with Sweeney Todd.

Scarlett Johansson: A Case of Diminishing Returns

Don't get me wrong: Scarlett's hot. According to Esquire, she's the Sexiest Woman Alive (or at least she was last year). I saw her in person once, when she guested on The Tonight Show while I was in the audience, and--needless to say--I was not disappointed.

So shouldn't I be more excited about the news that Scar Jo and Penelope Cruz have a steamy love scene in Woody Allen's new movie, Vicky Cristina Barcelona?

I've come to realize that the more I see Scar Jo, the less I like her. Back when she was fresh and new to the Hollywood scene, her scintillating mix of vulnerability and understated sex appeal, showcased in intelligent turns in top-notch indies like Ghost World and Lost in Translation, made her into the thinking man's dream babe. There was a mystery about her, as if she knew more about life (and, perhaps, sex) than she'd ever let on except under the most intimate of circumstances. But the more popular she got, the more confidence she displayed (see photo above), and the less interesting she became. Gone is the sense of mystery and measured vulnerability, to be replaced with a blatant and self-congratulatory awareness of her own sex appeal. Which actually makes her less sexy. Sigh.

(Apparently, the two actresses, Johansson and Cruz, also have an on-screen threesome with Javier Bardem. Now he's mysterious.)

10 February, 2008

Amy Winehouse + 'Quantum of Solace' = Awesome

Seriously, who cares about the Grammys? Sure, Amy Winehouse took home, like, a bazillion statues, but the big news this weekend, at least in my mind, was the rumored coupling of the "troubled" star and the new James Bond flick. I, for one, think 007 theme songs are best served by sexy-voiced women (Tina Turner, anyone?), and in that respect this pairing makes perfect sense. Her distinctive sound--a mix of old and new--is perfectly suited to this franchise-in-transition.

And anyway, if not her, than who? Who would be your top choice to sing Quantum of Solace's theme?

'Project Runway' is better than 'America's Next Top Model' ...barely

Yeah, yeah, I know. But it's true.

Tell me, though: What the heck are ANTM contestants Dani, Jaslene, and Bianca (pictured) doing in Runway's Bryant Park finale? Couldn't they find enough real models? ...JK, girls, JK.

Not that I don't love me some Top Model success stories--especially when they involve two of my past favorites (Cycle 6 winner Dani, left, and Cycle 8 winner Jaslene, center)--but don't you think this is a strange case of reality TV cross-pollination? Project Runway is like Top Model's cooler, hipper, and sexier cousin, what with it's highfalutin "School" of design, and requisite "talent."

Could this new development, paired with the relocation of ANTM back to New York, make for a new infusion of "class" into the Top Model proceedings? Also, I'm interested to see whether the girls get specifically mentioned on the Runway finale--or, if in a case of ironic serendipity, they actually had to earn their way into the fashion show.

Oh, and since I went ahead and spoiled the designers' final collections for myself by flipping though Bravo's online photo gallery, you might as well know that I thought Christian's was the best. And the fiercest. See it here.