Heroes continues an ugly trend

You know what pisses me off? I'd like to say when a show starts strong in the first year and then the quality plummets like eagles fucking. That would normally be enough. But Heroes, season 2, seems to be raising the suck bar to new heights. The show has regressed considerably, and I'm seriously considering dumping this ostensible piece of shit. Let's look at a few examples.

By the way, I wasn't going to write this piece at all. I had watched Monday's episode last night, and although it wasn't too bad (excluding the Mexicans and Claire at this point can only help), it was better than the any of the previous episodes. So I go to bed and happen during the night to dream about Heroes, where I'm actually in it. Normally, this would be a pretty cool thing, but my unconscious starts to get irritated to the point where I wake up from the dream and I can't go back to sleep BECAUSE THE SHOW HAS BECOME A 42-MINUTE WEEKLY LAUGHABLE, POORLY WRITTEN, PAINFUL EXPERIENCE. At 4:30 in the morning, I am just plain ANGRY about it, and I'm going to talk about why. (Because if I tried to explain this in person rather than writing it down, you would easily confuse me with a ranting loon.)

Felix at Film Threat thinks a large part could be saved if they just kill off a lot of the characters. Basically Claire, wolfman (the flying boy), Niki, her son Micah, the new black sibling (don't know her name, don't care, if that tells you anything), the mexicans (maya and whomever) and Ando. I don't really have a problem with any of that, but it's probably not going to happen. Were it Heroes of last season, I would fear for all of their lives because the show was refreshingly merciless in killing off interesting characters, making you wonder if anyone was safe. This season seems to be coddling mediocrity as a virtue. Here's some of my peeves:

Guest Stars. I'm really thrilled the you could have Uhura come on and play the grandmother to Micah and have a few sassy lines. Very critical. Also, way to use Kristen Bell in this week's episode. She showed off her acting chops to say a very boring, canned lines (more on that later) and zap the Irish chick's brother (completely unprovoked) and then get 'called off' the case. Ms. Bell must have done a spit-take on the script when she compared the quality to that of her former Veronica Mars show. My point here is that the guest stars can't save the weak-ass writing. It's as if the producers go: "Look! It's Veronica Mars! Please don't pay attention to the fact that our writing sucks!!!" And this is BEFORE the dreaded writers strike. Are you telling me it's going to get WORSE?

Plot Device. Speaking of hacked scripts, it's pretty clear that Kristen Bell was only there to give Peter a reason to leave Ireland and go to Montreal with his new chick. Still it's better than having Nathan go with Parkman to visit his Dad. Why again? Oh because he can fly. On the other hand, once he's there, they can beat each other up! Oh, and what's Micah's cousin's name? You know the one who was there expressly to showcase Micah's ability to get Pay-Per-View? Who cares! Plot device, exit stage right. I'd say the sword in Ando's possession that has the scrolls is a plot device to keep him in touch with Hiro's "adventure", but then that would accuse Ando of being involved in something resembling a plot.

New characters. D.L.'s sibling, who is struggggling in New Orrrrleans to make her way and do some high kicks and... urrrrrgh. I forgot to care. Just like I am hoping and praying that Sylar rips the heads off the two Mexicans before they become any more retarded. They are great TV if you want to portray your latinos as super-stereotypes (God-following, gullible, over-emotional), but in the end I end up laughing.

Conversation. Speaking of laughter, I can't count the number of times I have said "oh my god", rolled my eyes and laughed aloud to the drivel coming out of some of the characters' mouths. At LEAST three times a show, someone will say something so phenomenally melodramatically unbelievable I will be tempted to chuck my shoe at the screen. Daytime soaps aren't this bad. To me, this is the death of a serious drama, when your characters say and act so cheesy that you no longer stifle your laughter.

Overall quality. I grow weary of even thinking about this show, so I'll conclude with this: Every episode this season feels like a short, slammed together creation of people who ran out of ideas. Every single episode from last season, even the worst -- the finale -- is head-and-shoulders above every episode this season. It's almost ridiculous how far this series has fallen in such a short stretch of time. I'm angry because I'm bitterly disappointed, and I'm really not sure if I have the patience to go back for more.


Pushing Daisies does it again

I put off watching Wednesday's episode of Pushing Daisies for a day in order to enjoy a calm, peaceful night out of socializing. I didn't realize when I returned to my very pretty DVR that the second episode would match, even surpass the pilot. Right now this show is setting the bar so high that it is already not only my favorite show of the year, but one of the most unique shows to come on TV since... well Buffy. And that's setting the bar pretty damn high.In this episode we learn that Ted's 1-minute rule isn't restricted to adults, knitting can save you life, full-body plastic suits can be useful in many ways, and a CDC-type protective glove protruding through a glass shield can be very romantic. The latter of which again demonstrates the show's producers' knack for toying with censorship (if you didn't first think that was for "road jobs", then you should try watching the show through a naughtier eye).

All that aside, the scene-stealer of the show comes from waitress Olive (Kristen Chenowith), who does an impromptu musical number from Grease, "Hopelessly Devoted", that had me laughing out loud at how funny and clever it was. AND I HATE MUSICALS. Watch it again here -- thinking about the floor cleaner dancing in the background just makes me giggle every time.

I know that Barry Sonnenfeld has directed the first two, so I'm hoping there isn't a drop-off in the quality once someone else takes the helm.



One of the new shows that I’m starting to watch is “Moonlight”, basically a tale of a vampire that is a detective that has morals. He had to “kill” his vampire wife years back to save a young girl, who is now a reporter. I heavily suspect that the vampire wife will resurface. It’s not so much because her death flashback wasn’t really conclusive, but more that CBS has her pictured on their Moonlight page as one of the main characters. Nice tell.

Instead of reworking the CBS writers’ pitch department’s prose, let’s just examine their interpretation of Moonlight from their about page:
    Mick St. John is a captivating, charming and immortal private investigator from Los Angeles, who defies the traditional blood-sucking norms of his vampire tendencies by using his wit and powerful supernatural abilities to help the living.
Stop right there. I’ve seen two episodes of the show, and I think that they should be embarrassed to accuse Mick of having wit. Within the space of 84 minutes of television, he has all but screamed “I’m a vampire” through his mistakes; this from a being who is actively trying to keep his nature a secret.

Let’s tick off the list of blunders so far: Attempting to kill a criminal with fangs but failing and thus reveal himself to the criminal, check. Do a video interview on the internet and become a city-wide celebrity, check. Rescue drugged female foil and be seen getting stabbed and then when she awakens at HIS place hours later be STILL WEARING THE SAME BLOODSTAINED SHIRT WITH A HOLE IN IT, check. Visit old blind cop buddy who thinks he has aged like him, then give female reporter case file allowing her to track the buddy down and wonder why he thinks he’s that old, check. Should I be this offended they used the word “wit”? This irritation feels justified, like a well-simmered pot of football fan anger.

Let’s continue with the CBS description:
    In a life-altering twist of fate, Mick was "bitten" 60 years ago by his new bride, the seductive Coraline. Forever 30 years of age, Mick's as handsome and charismatic as the day he was "turned," and he eschews others of his kind who view humans only as a source of nourishment.
Still haven’t seen Coraline (well, really haven’t seen her since “First Knight”, but I digress). I could harp on the “charismatic” thing again, but there’s a bigger gaffe here with the choice of “eschew”. Either the writers don’t know what the word means (to abstain or keep away from; shun), or they haven’t seen the show. Mick’s BEST FRIEND Josef is exactly one of those vampires. Mick’s contact at the morgue is one of those vampires. In fact, I haven’t seen a vampire he hasn’t cosied up to yet. Instead of “eschew” a more accurate phrase would be “pouts in front of”. Continuing:
    With only a handful of like-minded confidantes for company, including the eternally young, wealthy and mischievous Josef, a hedge fund trader who relishes his uniqueness, Mick fills his infinite days protecting the living.
Josef is a realist (for a vampire) and fun, and so far has demonstrated a much greater decision-making prowess than our hero. I’m not sure who is the foil for whom at this point.
    One night years ago, a single act of kindness changed Mick when he saved a young girl's life, making him want to be a better vampire. Now their paths cross again and Mick develops a distinctive bond with Beth Turner, who has grown into a beautiful, ambitious Internet investigative reporter.
Sophia Myles, who played a supporting role (vampire) in Underworld. Can’t escape the genre, I guess. All you need to know is that she is very, very pretty.
    Reconnecting with her unleashes feelings Mick knows he can't pursue without exposing that part of him that would make him a monster in Beth's eyes. As Mick lives between two realities, fighting his adversaries among the undead and falling in love, he discovers the mysteries and pleasures that a valuable life has to offer.
See, I was watching the show and Markman asked me “why can’t he be in a relationship”, and I was dumbfounded to answer. The best I can come up with is that he needs some extra mopeyness. I can just see the production meeting where an executive says, “We need to ‘Angel’ him about 25%”. So they dress him in a dark overcoat (check), make him mopey (check), longing for a mortal girl (check) who he can’t be with (check) because… well is that really important? We’ll figure that one out later!

Anyway, with that premise, I can’t wait to get to this week’s episode, can you? I was going to describe it in detail, but the most important thing you need to know is that Beth (reporter hot chick) finds out that Mick is a vampire at the end. You see, Mick has been rehearsing how to tell her (mentally saying “I’m a vampire. Doesn’t sound good no matter how you say it,” at one point – there’s that trademark wit again!) but can’t quite tell her because he doesn’t want her to see him as a “monster”. He likes to use that word a lot, but I really haven’t seen much of it, unless you mean a well-dressed stalking dimwit who has in the space of two episodes managed to get shiv’d in the chest twice by two regular humans head on. Oh THAT monster!

So, Beth finally remembers him from her childhood (replete with memories of his vampire battle with his wife), and figures out he doesn’t age, and sees him saving another potential victim from a convicted felon by getting shot several times with a shotgun, and later happens upon him in his home where he is drinking blood out of a IV bag and drooling the red stuff. So what does she say? Yep. “What are you?” THIS IS AN INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST WHO MIGHT HAVE SEEN A VAMPIRE MOVIE, OR READ A BOOK. Did I mention she is VERY pretty. Clearly the line was meant to give him a chance to say “I’m a vampire,” but the writers really don’t need to sacrifice her brains so eagerly.

Favorite “huh” moment before that: Beth walks out of the warehouse after Mick had rescued the victim and she shot the felon in the face (nice!). She walks by a cop detective who is interviewing the victim, “So, Mick St. John shot Lee Jay?” Beth comes up to him and says, “No, I did,” then, dazed, walks off. Meanwhile the cop is yelling at her, “Hey! Wait! Come back!” and then gives up after she keeps walking. WELL SHIT I TRIED! WHAT ELSE CAN I DO??

At this point, this show is becoming my guilty pleasure because it is so inadvertently funny and ridiculous. So, yeah, I’m looking forward to this week’s episode. Vampires are better than any reality show.



Never heard of it until today, but I'm already interested because Doug Liman is directing it. A sci-fi adventure about someone who can teleport or "jump" around (apparently, from the trailer) from place to place instantly -- and who also only uses it to make his life easier and not be a superhero.The trailer at the official site is tight. I couldn't stop there, though, so I looked it up on Wikipedia, and found the "premise":
    "A genetic anomaly allows a young man to teleport himself anywhere. He discovers this gift has existed for centuries and finds himself in a war that has been raging for thousands of years between 'Jumpers' and those who have sworn to kill them."
Seriously, who is conspiring to ruin my fun? Why do they always have to throw in the "war that has been raging for thousands of years" angle? I mean, aside from it being uber-cliche, you'd think that someone would win one of these things after a while. I guess you have to pitch it so that p-brained executives can understand. Aside from that, they also got Jim Uhls (of Fight Club) to rewrite the script, so double bonus. Put it officially on my list of movies-to-see-in-the-theater-2008.

A Tasty Pie Hole

The premise for ABC's new fall series, Pushing Daisies, seemed somewhat interesting but not quite enough to get me into watching the show. Ted, the protagonist (but not narrator of the show, and one of the high points, as it turns out) of the series, has been gifted since youth with the ability to reanimate the dead with his touch. At first, this gift seems miraculous, except for two huge caveats: (1) if he ever touches that person/animal/food again, they die, this time permenantly, (2) if he does not touch that person again within 60 seconds, someone else within close proximity will fall over dead.

Of course, had I known that Barry Sonnenfeld was not only the executive producer of the show but the director of the pilot, I wouldn't have waiting nearly a week to watch it. (Okay, there was a lot of football on this weekend, so things might have just happened this way no matter my excitement level.) For those of you who are too lazy to Google, Barry is either best known as the early cinematographer for the Coen Brothers (e.g., the Raising Arizona and the top notch Miller's Crossing) or as the director of such offbeat films as Addams Family, Get Shorty, and Men in Black. Within one minute of the start of Pushing Daisies' pilot, you know he has brought his bizarre, yet charming talents to the series. The already cliche description of the show is a 'fairy tale for adults'. I think it best a mix like this: cartoonish, gharish, dangerous. And utterly fun.Let's compare where this series is already on target, and Chuck is already flailing. Lee Pace plays Ned as restrained, unquirky, sincere and completely likeable. Zack Levi plays Chuck as frantic, over-the-top, and rather pathetic. Ted and his Chuck (not Zach Levi, thankfully, but Anna Friel) have a genuine chemistry that is obvious from minute one, and they are very cute together. Chuck (from Chuck -- I did not realize how confusing this could get, and now I regret it) likes Sarah Walker for some reason that I can't figure other than she's hot -- oh wait it's in the script.

Perhaps it's unfair that Pushing Daisies also got the services of Jim Dale to do the voiceover. As the voice of the audiobooks for the Harry Potter series, he brings a fantastical feel to the show, I'd go so far as to say a feeling of wonder. But aside from his sonorific voice, someone was clearly cribbing notes from Ron Howard's voice work on Arrested Development -- Jim delivers some terrifically funny insights that otherwise would be awkward to put into the regular story.It is not yet known if/how many needless strawberries have met their untimely fate because of his bakery business. What is also unknown is how Barry got the name of his store, 'The Pie Hole' past network censors. (Christ, even the picture capture - above - of the store on ABC's site is captioned "Inside the Pie Hole". Are they trying to get in trouble?) What we do have is the first pilot of the year to set the bar high enough that the series is under pressure to follow up with as smart and engaging episodes.

Bonus: Check out the comic from the series. If this goes anywhere near this level, this show is going to rock.


Heroes: Bah

In my previous post, I mentioned in passing that I wasn't very please with the new season of Heroes. Let me elaborate on that a bit by talking some about the characters.

Mohinder: He's trying to take the 'company' down from the inside, but he's already demonstrated that he's a bumbling professor. Or was that all on purpose? Sure didn't look like it. One thing is for sure and that's I'm pretty sure the writers didn't intend the 'My Two Dads' angle to be so inadvertently funny

West: Speaking of inadvertently funny, the new (obviously boyfriend-to-be) cute guy talking to Claire needs to speak a lot less. And by that I mean he needs to develop the ability to be mute. Every time he opens his mouth he's either snarky, sarcastic, or annoying. And he peeps in windows. I don't care if they have a genetic tick in common, that Claire would then be kissing him ten minutes after his reveal makes me want to scream "Oh COME ON" at the pretty, pretty HDTV (but I won't do that because it is too pretty. Now that I think of it, is the HD exposing the writing flaws, too? Hmm.). To top it off, the end of the third episode implies that Claire is back to not trusting dad because of the new boytoy. Arrgh.

Claire: If this point she doesn't have an lifelong masochistic sexual fetish, I'd be shocked.

Hiro: Hiro has apparently mastered his powers, but not well enough to conquer the Quantum Leap-stolen new problem with his powers: he can't come back to the present until his has finished what he needs to do. Which is probably going to be making out with the cute Japanese chick. (Aside: Even though Kensei has healing powers -- wouldn't you still be worried about fighting 90 angry samurai who might, say chop off your head?) I'm really not sure, but I am sure that I'm already bored with this subplot, which isn't a good sign

Peter: Speaking of not a good sign, Superman is already adjusting to his life over in Ireland, and apparently liking his new powers. And liking to use them to inflict pain. Interesting, but the quick romance between him and the Irish lass was far too quickly brewed. Well, it's obvious he used his powers for that one. I mean, does he conveniently have to have his shirt off every time she appears? I get it you worked out, Milo.

Niki: No one still cares about you. Even if you are going to work for 'The Company' in a twist at the end. Very sad they let the hot girl get the worst material. Well, not worst, just neither good nor bad.

HRG: Still the best guy on the show, because he's got some great history and the menace to get things done. And now the Haitian is back with him so he's got 'all he needs'. Unfortunately for him, apparently Isaac's painting has pretold his forthcoming doom. Figures.

Sylar: His resurgence single-handedly saved my interest in the episode. Still a murdering psychopath, he unfortunately dispatched Candace before they could ever do some good work. It's only natural for the writers to bump off the morally questionable powered characters as quickly as possible. Oh well. I guess she deserved it for not seeing this coming. Unfortunately for Sy, he couldn't absorb her power, and he's stuck in the middle of some jungle. I'd call that lack of foresight. For a 'super-villain', he's not the sharpest tack in the box. Then again, up against some of the 'Heroes', he really doesn't need to be.

Spanish siblings: Okay, neat power that she takes life and he gives it back, but aside from that, Maya suffers from the constant-whine syndrome that has me tapping my foot waiting for something to happen to them. Three episodes now and I'm getting a little tired of their desperation-shtick. I am hoping they get mauled by a vicious fan boy in episode 4.

Bottom line: C- so far. I won't abandon the series just because the writers are trying to irk me. But this feels like watching your talented football team piss away a victory by turning the ball over 5 times in a game you should have won. Dammit, we're better than this.


The one-sentence set-up: Charlie Crews (Lewis) was a cop who was convicted of murdering his friend and wife and sent to prison for 12 years. When the case was re-examined years later, he was exonerated. Now, he's decided to come back to work as a detective.

If that were all there was to the show, that wouldn't be enough for me to watch it. In fact, it really wasn't, but the thanks should go to two things: one, NBC video rewind, and two, other series' pilots or season premieres not coming up to snuff. Yes, I'm looking at you, Heroes and Chuck.

There's more to Life than meets the eye. Crews won a multi-million dollar settlement for his 12 years wrongfully imprisoned, so he lives in an empty mansion and just bought an orange grove because he liked the red tractor. His financial advisor (Adam Arkin, great), whose life he saved in prison, lives in the room above his garage, and sometimes opens the door for Crews' hankering for pretty young women (I suppose 12 years in prison will produce a tweaked Zen outlook). His new senior partner has a history of drugs and alcohol and, despite not liking Crews' Zen-attitude, won't rat on him to their superior who for some reason wants him off the force. The superior is also on Crews' wall list of suspects, along with his former partner and lead detective, which he is using to piece together who really was responsible for the crime he didn't commit.

But the glue that holds it all together is Damian Lewis. The lead actor was one of the best things about the great HBO miniseries Band of Brothers. He hasn't lost any of his screen presence, and pulls off Crews' odd mannerisms with charm and aloofness that you believe he's been cut off, abused, and removed from life for over a decade and is just now getting used to being back amongst the living.

Yes, two episodes in, and like the preseason college football pools, my top ranked teams are already looking shaky, and there's a new, sharply written contender in town.


Teaser Tidbits

A few teaser trailer links for general consumption. The first is a full trailer and site for a movie called Balls of Fury. Even though it is 50/50 whether this movie is hilarious or could be doomed to the unfunny "Knocked Up" bucket, I'll put faith in any film has this title with Christopher Walken as an evil ping-pong player.Second is a little prequel teaser for the upcoming Battlestar Galactica movie. For those unaware, the movie is going to focus on the history of the Pegasus crew. Just those few clips got me jacked.Finally, from our old friend Indiana Jones, the briefest of teaser clips from the forthcoming new addition to the series. Not much to chew on, but I'm already getting nostalgic for one last adventure.And lastly, via Pop Candy, some things should not be remade.


Michael Moore vs. CNN

If you haven't seen the clip of Michael Moore berating Wolf Blitzer and CNN during an interview, you're missing out on some pretty funny, informative, and embarrassing TV. I don't know if it's been three years since Mr. Moore has been on CNN, but he sure sounds like he's pent up three years'-worth of bitterness.

And, true to his form, he updated his SiCKO site with plenty of rebuttal facts and figures. I don't claim to know much about health care, but it's sure fun to learn about it when it's done in 'showdown' format.

Hot Witch of the Day

Eva Green, from the forthcoming The Golden Compass film.On my list of books to read as quickly as possible so I can forget it and enjoy the film!

...And one church to rule them all!

In another in a consistent stream of demonstrations about the idiocy of religion, yesterday the Pope (he of the head of the Catholic Church), decided to bring back tradition (how far off can canings be?) by saying that the Catholic religion is, wait for it, the one true religion:
    Pope Benedict XVI has reasserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations were not true churches.

    Benedict approved a document from his old offices at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that restates church teaching on relations with other Christians. It was the second time in a week the pope has corrected what he says are erroneous interpretations of the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings that modernized the church.

    On Saturday, Benedict revisited another key aspect of Vatican II by reviving the old Latin Mass. Traditional Catholics cheered the move, but more liberal ones called it a step back from Vatican II.
Benedict, pictured above, had only to say in response that, "It's the will of the Lord, and all those other 'religions'," -- he used the traditional hand-quotes here --, "can kiss my ass." When further pressed about the sanity of this reversion, he declared that "I never slice."

This basically presents no change in policy for liberal Catholics, who only pay attention to the rules that they choose to care about instead of the thousands of dogmatic, contradictory, inflammatory rules. Good for them, I say, in seeing how stupid organized religion can be. After all, I would hate my mother (Catholic) to have to sanction or smite my father (Protestant) because of this.



I don't know what this movie is called or what it is about (but that's not any less informed than anyone else, but the trailer sure got my attention.It's already got a slew of weird, cryptic websites up, not that they tell you anything. But it's got J.J. Abrams behind it, and I'm already penciling in 1/18/08 as a movie night.

UPDATE: According to AICN, the last two sites linked above are bogus. From the letter director JJ Abrams wrote:
    For what it's worth, the only site of ours that people have even FOUND is the 1-18-08.com site. The others (like the Ethan Haas sites) have nothing to do with us.

Aw, Hell

Surprising developments from a church down under...:
    MELBOURNE (AFP) - A boy called Hell has been barred from enrolling in a Catholic school in Australia because his surname jarred with its religious teachings, the child's father said Monday.

    The youngster's dad, 45-year-old Alex Hell, has expressed outrage after the primary school in the southern city of Melbourne allegedly refused to admit his son, Max.

    "We are victims of our name," said Hell, whose name is of Austrian origin.

    "We're quite devastated by the whole thing," the Catholic father of three told the Australian Associated Press.

    "It's 2007, not 1407 -- it's not the Dark Ages."
It's a wake-up call, dummy. I'm devastated that you haven't grown up yet. In fact, you should be looking on this as a boon. I can't believe they'd let a little thing like a name get in the way of getting more young boys.

Soon I Will Be Invincible

You shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but sometimes I'll buy one just based on an irresistable title. With barely a glance at a review for the book or plot, that's what happened when I first heard about Soon I Will Be Invincible. I bought it and I loved it.Set in a world where superheroes exist, the story of an "evil" genius' return to power is told from the two disparate perspectives of an aging super-villain and a newbie super-heroine, providing hilarious realism, insight, and laugh-out-loud commentary. As a former collector of comic books, this refreshingly serious and simultaneously comedic take really struck the perfect chord with me.

Still, all you need is to have seen any of the recent docket of superhero films that have come out in recent years to gain an appreciation for the novel. My only lament was that the book (less than 300 pages) was over far too soon.

That, and if Mr. Grossman decides to write a sequel, it'll be quite some time before I can read it.


Fighting the Law in style

I'd never thought I'd see the day when Alexandria, Virginia would have a city-wide smoking ban, but sure enough, the city council voted (amidst a shit-storm of local protest, mostly by bar owners) to make all restaurants "smoke free" come this time next year.

The countdown was lot nearer for those in England, but one guy had a creative solution:
    For pub-goers who enjoy a cigarette with their drink, next week's ban will make England a very different place. So one landlord has claims to have found a loophole to fight the new law - by declaring his pub to be part of a different country. The Wellington Arms in Southampton is set to transform itself from a public house into the official embassy for a tiny Caribbean island.

    If it is successful, the pub would be classified as "foreign soil", allowing smokers a haven from the smoking laws covering the rest of the UK. In theory it would then also be allowed to serve cheaper drinks because the pub would be exempt from VAT.

    Earlier this month, the pub was named as the official consulate in Britain for the island of Redonda, which lies 35 miles south west of Antigua in the Caribbean. Landlord Bob Beech is now making plans to upgrade the pub to an embassy to allow drinkers to continue smoking in his pub.

    If successful it would become the only pub in Britain where smokers can light up after July 1.
Road trip? Or ocean trip? Seems like fun, and since it would be the only smoking bar in the UK, it would probably be the most packed constantly. Unfortunately, there is one small drawback:
    A Foreign Office spokesman said: "In accordance with the Vienna Convention the establishment of diplomatic relations between states, and permanent diplomatic missions, takes place by mutual consent.

    "However, Redonda is the territory of Antigua and Barbuda and is therefore not entitled to have an embassy or a high commission."
You can't fight city hall. Until you become Emperor!

via QuizLaw


Before the Devil Knows Your Dead

Cinematical talks about an upcoming film that I remember hear was filming, but didn't know anything about it. Apparently, if you show a trailer in France (the trailer is dubbed), you can get away with a lot more than here in the States. Like Marisa Tomei being topless. In a trailer.

I have to admit, I'm a little giddy about just that fact, because it's not something I'm used to seeing. But there's a lot more to be excited about, as the article details:
    You know what most movie trailers need? Marisa Tomei, completely topless. You know what else they need? An end tag that tells us the film is "now in post-production"! You know what else they need? Long, drawn-out clips of Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke, as down-on-their-luck businessmen planning to rob a mom and pop store that happens to be run by their own mom and pop. Needless to say, this trailer, for Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, is my favorite of the year so far.
Here's the trailer. And you can't go wrong with having a little Massive Attack in your trailer soundtrack.


Fall Battlestar TV Movie

Usually, the surfing ends up having a theme, and today's is Battlestar Galactica. It started from a Pop Candy reference to a Katee Sackhoff Esquire interview. It didn't occur to me that she's still a baby (27).She's going to play the bad bionic woman in the upcoming TV show (on my list of things to watch in the fall mostly because of this) on NBC. When asked if she's seen the show:
    Not until my boyfriend started driving me nuts doing the sound effects. When I finally got the job I was like, "You've got to stop this." And he was like, "Why?" And I was like, "Because I have no idea what you're doing!" And he was like, "You've never seen it before?" He went and bought all the DVDs and made me sit down and watch it. And we both decided that it's still a great show.
First of all, who is your boyfriend so that I can crush him? Secondly, that sounds like something I would do, so he's probably a cool guy. So, even though I will crush him, I promise he will not suffer. Much.Unfortunately, Wikipedia does not list any name or location of Ms. Sackhoff's boyfriend, but it does have a link to Kara Thrace. Then, I end up reading about the synopsis to the last episode of Season 3, just because it was so money. But then I notice a link to the NEXT episode, "Razor", which apparently isn't an episode so much as a full-length TV movie:
    According to IGN, "the movie will indeed focus on an untold story about the Battlestar Pegasus, and feature Admiral Cain (Michelle Forbes) ... While this story with Cain occurs before she and the Pegasus crew joined up with Galactica, the entire cast of the regular series will appear in the movie, as the Pegasus portion is portrayed via flashbacks"[2].
And just to spice things up, we're going to throw in some hot girl-on-girl action:
    According to several unconfirmed reports, it will include flashbacks to the original Cylon War, complete with original series Cylons and spacecraft, and reveal that Cain watched her parents and sister be killed by Cylons. A lesbian relationship will also be hinted at between Cain and Gina [Number Six].
The writers never have disappointed with the series, and according to SyFy Portal, they look to start off Season 4 with a bang:
    "Razor," however, won't just be a typical flashback episode, sources tell SyFy Portal. It will bring together fans of both the original 1970s series and the 2003 remake like no episode has before, and it will feature revelations that will make jaws drop and instill fear on what might come in Season 4.

    Michelle Forbes -- introduced to genre fans as the Bajoran Ensign Ro in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" -- will reprise her role as the iron-balled admiral in the telemovie, proving to viewers that her sunny disposition wasn't exactly the result of the Cylons annihilating nearly all of the human race. Cain is fighting some demons of her own, one of the biggest ones stretching back to the original Cylon War 40 years before where she watched her parents executed by the 1970s versions of the living machines, and being forced to make the impossible decision of leaving her little sister behind in an effort to save herself.

    But the biggest skeleton in Cain's closet will finally come out, so to speak. Remember the disgust Cain had for Gina (Tricia Helfer), the Number Six Cylon prisoner she was holding on Pegasus by the time the military vessel met up with the Galactica? Well, things weren't always that bad between the two ladies. In fact, before her exposure as a Cylon, things were much, much, much, much different.

    "Cain and Gina were quite close," a source tells SyFy Portal. "In fact, they were lovers. We don't exactly come out and say it, but you'd have to be sleeping through the middle of all this to not pick up on their relationship."
The only downside is that the TV movie (which will be released simultaneously on DVD, I hear) will be the only Battlestar episode in 2007; the rest of the last season won't be until 2008. At least for a show that loves cliffhangers, it gives good ones.


Welcome to the 21st Century

In a stunning display of common sense, Egypt finally instituted a law that really shouldn't be necessary, but apparently is if you live in an ass-backward religiously-driven society:
    CAIRO (AFP) - Egypt on Thursday finally banned all female circumcision, the widely-practised removal of the clitoris which just days ago cost the life of a 12-year-old girl.

    Officially the practice, which affects both Muslim and Christian women in Egypt and goes back to the time of the pharoahs, was banned in 1997 but doctors were allowed to operate "in exceptional cases".

    On Thursday, Health Minister Hatem al-Gabali decided to ban every doctor and member of the medical profession, in public or private establishments, from carrying out a clitoridectomy, a ministry press official told AFP.

    Any circumcision "will be viewed as a violation of the law and all contraventions will be punished," said the official, adding that it was a "permanent ban".

    A survey in 2000 said the practice was carried out on 97 percent of the country's women.

    In the latest fatality, 12-year-old Bedur Ahmed Shaker was taken by her mother to a private clinic in Minya, a town on the Nile south of Cairo, for the operation. She died before she could be transferred to hospital.

    Her mother accused the woman doctor of negligence, charging that her daughter's death was linked to the anaesthetic and not the removal of the clitoris, for which she had paid 50 pounds (nearly nine dollars). Police have arrested both women.
Of course, there are some countries where the practice is culturally driven rather than by religion. You'd also think that this was one of those "duh" decisions and Egypt was the last to stop this barbaric tradition. Unfortunately, you'd be wrong. Here's a map from Wiki showing the prevalence of FGC (Female Genital Cutting):Maybe they finally got this Law & Order re-run in Eqypt. Ah, the power of Lenny Briscoe.


Six Times as much fun

Clearly, Sam Raimi has failed to learn the lessons of Spider-Man 3 and X3, in that more is not necessarily better. It appears that the following comments were made with complete candor:
    As Raimi sees the next installment, according to MTV: "I would love to see Electro, Vulture, maybe the Sinister Six as a team."
So, even though most of the negative press for Spider-Man 3 was focused on there being far too many characters involved in the film (which is now the 11th-highest grossing film of all time, proof that $ <> :)) to the point that story and development were sacrificed, Sam thinks it would be great to add a few more villains the next time around. Say, another three.

Frankly, two villains at a time is about the most you should attempt to muster. One has generally proven to be the most reliable number (but it is the loneliest number, and so must be consoled), with the original Spider-Man, Batman, Superman doing quite admirably. There are always exceptions to this guideline (I'm looking at you, Fantastic Four, which I didn't loathe, but I didn't necessary tolerate without being heavily sedated.), but with the origin story of two -- hero(es) and villain -- to cover within the framework of an actual tale, it's best to not get bogged down with multiple threats in the first episode of the series.

Beyond two, you get into murkier territory. Generally, when you take on two new villains, you'll need an origin story for both, so again, you incorporate their stories into the general plot and development of the film. When you have too many egos involved, you'll get mixed products like Batman Returns or Batman Forever. Not to pick on Batman, I will say that Batman Begins is the how-to in handling two villains in one picture.

Now, I have to admit I haven't seen Spider-Man 3 precisely because I thought there was going to be too much going on. I can't confirm this, but neither can I say that I think putting SIX villains in a picture will make it anything other than an incoherent mess. Maybe this is a warning to those contemplating making a Justice League or Avengers film, or for fuck's sake another Brett Ratner's X-Men, where this time it's 20-on-20! I hope that Sam comes to his senses and, IF he can make Spidey-4, he scales it back.


Heroes: No filler to be found

Most quality shows, including my favorites Battlestar Galactica and Lost, occasionally have what's referred to as 'filler' episodes. Though 'filler' typically refers to an episode that does little to advance the plot, they are great for character development or to tell a self-contained story that can be just as compelling as a season's plot.

In the case of science-fiction shows, though it's technically a 'filler' episode, the "mirror universe" episode is a usually a fan favorite, where we get to familiar characters behaving most unfamiliarly. This past week's episode of Heroes, String Theory, explores a variation of the mirror universe by going 5 years into a dark future where the heroes have failed to 'save the world'.

I don't have to explain that I was looking forward to this episode, and it delivered everything that mirror episodes traditionally deliver: character allegiance flips, vague references to a past that hasn't happened, and new twists on old tricks. Yet, aside from containing one whopper of a cool twist towards the end, the episode was revealed to not be filler, but essential to the current plot, and ended up explaining more of what is going on than any other episode to date.

We understand how Isaac's knowledge will enable him to be a hero, why Peter had to save the cheerleader, and maybe most importantly, Hiro learns how to stop Sylar. Again. Or maybe for the first time. See, the coolest thing about the future episode is that it is actually the 'real' universe; the present is the alternate timeline the Hiro has created to change things. I haven't been so impressed by an episode since... well I don't know. I'm hard pressed to compare it.

Only three episodes left.


Michael Bay

I am completely disinterested in this article, except for its stellar heading:
    Michael Bay May Yet Cause the Apocalypse
It harkens back to Walter Chaw's scathing X3 review:
    Without a sense of weight, the references in the piece to genocide and The Holocaust ("Ink shall never again touch my skin!" says Ian McKellen's Magneto) become pure, laggard exploitation in the service of a sub-par superhero action film that shows its true colours time and again in its hatred of women ("Hell hath no fury!") and loathing of female sexuality, as well as in its flat-eyed regard of children trying to hasp off their wings while their fathers attempt to break down the bathroom door. It's Michael Bay's Schindler's List: a reptilian populist, at ease with the slick and facile, has been asked to take the reins of a project that, for whatever its crimes of pacing and exposition, had in its Bryan Singer-helmed episodes the good sense not to kick over ant piles it wasn't prepared to contain.
I would feel bad for Ratner and Bay, if only they weren't so deserving of a kick in the balls.


You are the... weakest link

Thanks to Katie Holmes' "scheduling conflict", we are getting rid of the only weak part of Batman Begins and replacing it with a huge upgrade:
    [Maggie] Gyllenhaal is being tapped to play D.A. Rachel Dawes, the love interest to Bruce Wayne/Batman (Christian Bale). In the first movie, Dawes was played Katie Holmes, who, like Gyllenhaal, is repped by CAA. But reps for Holmes said she was unable to reprise her role because of scheduling conflicts.
This should be filed under worst decision ever by Holmes, and best luck ever by a budding franchise. Yee haw.


Bun, James Bun

Starz has a new bunny short, a compilation of clips from all 21 Bond films.Perhaps if I have the time, I'll list them off by movie, for those of you who can't figure them all out. My intellectual charity knows no bounds.



You already know I'm a huge fan of the new Heroes series, but now it looks as if I'll also have to watch Zeroes.Powers that no human can wield... or would be caught dead wielding.

Oscar recap

Dave White over at MSNBC did a running blog for the nearly four hour show, and does a bang up job. Here's a choice section:
    10:50 pm
    Gael Garcia Bernal and Eva Green are presenting for Best Documentary Short. I saw Gael Garcia Bernal and Natalie Portman at my local Whole Foods this morning, cutely rumpled together and shopping for pastries. I know, who cares? Then the movie about AIDS in China wins. One of the gays in the room says that if you’re gay you can’t adopt a baby in China.

    I believe that. We wonder how they know you’re gay? Do they ask you trick questions? Like “What did you think of ‘Dreamgirls’?” And then if you gasp and go, “Ohmigod, I LOVE ‘Dreamgirls’!” then you don’t get your Chinese baby.

    Here comes Jerry Seinfeld to present for Best Documentary. They cut to George Lucas, who is SO RICH YOU CAN’T EVEN BELIEVE IT.

    The docs are about how priests are raping your kids, how the world is coming to an end, how the Middle East is about to explode, how Christians want to brainwash your children before handing them over to the priests and how the Middle East is about to explode, part two. And the winner is... “The World Is Coming To An End.”

    Accepting for “The World is Coming To And End” is Al Gore and the guy who directed the trashy fun Kate Hudson movie “Gossip.” Leo wants to kiss him so badly right now he’s sweating. Al Gore, that is, not the “Gossip” director.
Frankly, it was a lot more interesting that Oscars themselves. Way too much singing, prancing, special montages, and Beyonce. I think we can all agree on that.


Friday Eva

Eva Green at the BAFTA awards in London. Because I can.

Stoned and Dethroned: Classic Alternative

For a band known for its feedback-heavy distortion-laden alternative rock songs, to release an acoustic album as a follow up to its breakthrough, Automatic, seems like a foolish maneuver. Indeed, when it debuted at the peak of the alternative era (1994), Stoned and Dethroned clashes with everything else out there. This was a time of Weezer's Blue Album, of Green Day's Dookie, of the explosion of the radio-friendly but edgy and smart band.

The Jesus and Mary Chain were poised to take a big chunk of that, but it wasn't meant to be. No one wanted to hear acoustic melodies, heck not even fast-paced songs, on college radio back then. Stoned and Dethroned single handedly drove a wedge between even the most hard-core J&MC fans of the day, and baffled critics and music executives alike be its timing.

I bought the album when it came out, but I never really got into it, mostly because it just never mixed with what you expect from J&MC. Still, I honestly never really gave it a good listen, so it stuck around in my CD collection all these years, waiting for me to rediscover it.

Stoned and Dethroned continues to surprise me. Not just because most of the 18 acoustic tracks are short, tight, and infectious, but that I didn't have the time or appreciation to recognize a great album when it came out 13 years ago. I suppose tastes change, and maybe I was too young to see it for its mellow, pleasing, somehow upbeat tunes. I highly recommend you don't wait a decade before adding it to your collection.

Or I can just burn it for you :).

Ghost Ride to Ho Hum

Just days after basing my opinion of the impending release of Ghost Rider on its trailer and my knowledge of the comic's history, Cinematical has validated my uncanny vision:
    So after months of delay, several unimpressive pieces of promotional material, and an alleged press blackout, tonight (only a few short hours before its release date) we finally got to take a look at Mark Steven Johnson's Ghost Rider -- a Marvel Comics adaptation that, frankly, never should have even made it past the pre-production stage. This is a shapeless, confused and entirely muddle-headed movie, and it's one that got green-lit only because, hey, Spider-Man, Batman and X-Men turn huge profits, and as of a few years back, each movie studio was falling all over one another to get their hands on some of the "secondary" Marvel characters.

    And therein lies the basic problem with Ghost Rider: It's not about anything. One could argue that the Spider-Man films are about growing up and learning responsibility; that the X-Men represent the strength of the marginalized, the disenfranchised and the weird; Batman focuses on that inner battle between light and dark that we all have to deal with. Ghost Rider? Well, it's about a skull-faced undead motorcycle rider who wields a chain and whose face is on fire. Beyond that, I give up. I've seen coffee commercials with meatier subtextual elements.
I'm just sad to see that Wes Bentley somehow has gotten involved with the movie. Where has he gone? Well, with reading the further description, on top of the heap of crap that is this film:
    Seems that Meph needs Johnny to become his "ghost rider," a magical bounty hunter who must stand in the way of the evil Blackheart (Wes Bentley, so wooden he splinters) and his three elemental sidekicks. Johnny must also woo his old girlfriend (Eva Mendes, counting the beats until her own line deliveries but packing a whole bunch of cleavage-intensive blouses), chuckle briefly with his comic relief (Donal Logue, completely un-comic), and deal with huge volleys of exposition from a wizened old weirdo (Sam Elliott, the only actor in the flick who seems to realize how insipid the whole thing is).
Is this finally the death knell for Nicolas Cage? One can only hope.


Trailer Day

It should be a snow day for me here in DC, it's not, unless you happen to be a student or a teacher. The upside is that it has snowed enough to give people 'liberal leave', and most do take it, which means the work environment is a ghost town.

So, seeing opportunity, I have decided to watch a few trailers and pass along my impressions; that is, how the trailer has or has not influenced me to seeing the film. That's the trailer's purpose, isn't it? Persuasion?

Sunshine. First impression: Very interested in seeing it. Cool visuals, interesting concept; tantalizing. May be swayed by overwhelming negative reviews, but will probably go anyway because of Cillian Murphy and Danny Boyle.

Factory Girl. First impression: Somewhat interested in seeing it. They have some cute clips of Guy Pierce in Andy Warhol mode, and Hayden Christensen is always good, but I'm not that into Sienna Miller as an actress. It's likely that unless someone else is really motivated to see it, I'll relegate to DVD.

Ghost Rider. First impression: No chance. Decent special effects, but the 'plot' doesn't convey any sense of being all that great. Of course, I can't be surprised, because the comic itself didn't have that great of a plot, and it petered out after Issue #81. (Which I have, naturally.) Add in ho-hum Nick Cage and ho-hum Eva Mendes (every time I see her, all I can think about is Will Smith's comment that her breath stunk because she loved to eat a lot of garlic), and we have a film that I may only see on TNT.

The Invisible. First impression: Possibly, if it gets some decent reviews. Having the co-writer of Batman Begins is a laudable point, but not sold on Justin Chatwin (annoying older brother from 'War of the Worlds') as the lead. The trailer makes it look to much like an skewed inverse of 'Sixth Sense', which feels like tired grounds, which probably doesn't help that the trailer begins by citing that it's produced by the same guy who produced 'Sixth Sense'. (Further, does anybody care who the producers are of a film? And what has this guy been doing since 'Sixth Sense'? That was eight years ago!)

Knocked Up. First impression: Very interested in seeing it. I'm shocked, but I actually laughed three times during the trailer. I can't recall the last time I did that. This looks like a capitalization vehicle for Katherine Heigl's film career, and the title is rather lacking, but looking closer it's the same supporting cast and director from 40-Year-Old Virgin, which has become only funnier to me on repeated viewings.

Starter For 10. First impression: Not so much. Looks to be a typical romantic comedy, only using relatively unknown British actors. Ho hum.

Gray Matter. First impression: Interesting. I have to admit, I had heard nothing about this film, so I was jaw-dropped when the trailer took a twist away from the romantic-comedy formula. We'll see.


But by no means have I lost Lost

I know of a couple people who have stopped watching Lost, and casual Internet browsing of fan reactions seems to confirm this on a wider scale, but I still have faith in the series, and will still continue to watch it, despite its somewhat lackluster beginning to Season 3. Why?

1. Great first two seasons. They were phenomenal television, and unlike anything I'd seen on regular TV before. I won't so easily dismiss a series that had repeatedly moved, shocked, thrilled me, and made me wonder.

2. Too many unanswered questions. I can't just walk away without knowing what it is all about, and I don't want to find out about it from some sarcastic fan boy's blog.

3. It still beats watching American Idol or some other reality crap-fest.

4. Still one of the coolest shows on TV.

Which brings me to the bandwagon that is Heroes. I admit I love the show, as much as I did when I first got into Lost, you know, back in its first season. Remember that far back? Heroes is the new kid on the block, and is riding that wave, but Stephen Lackey points out that we shouldn't anoint it as the new king just yet:
    Heroes has grown into a phenomenal series but it’s not innovating, or breaking new ground as a series like LOST did. Heroes is in fact riding on the coat tails of the success of 24 and LOST and the Spider-Man and X-Men films. Without those series and films, you’d have no Heroes. Hopefully Heroes will learn from the mistakes that LOST has made this season, but only time will tell. We should really revisit this discussion once Heroes has been on for 50 or 60 episodes and then we’ll know if it was able to maintain its current level of quality. If we’re going to be forced to constantly compare the series, then let’s really do it, because as great as Heroes is and as bad as the first 6 episodes of LOST was this season I believe that Heroes still has a lot to learn from LOST.
Hopefully, Lost can recover from the string of filler episodes that started off Season 3 and get back to what made it great. And if it takes looking at the younger show and remember its own lessons, then so be it and get 'er done.

And the hits just keep on coming...

I didn't think it was possible to get involved with network TV like I have on a freaking Monday night, but I'm thoroughly hooked. Heroes continues its streak of incredible cinema by following up last week's intense Distractions episode with yet another thoroughly thrilling chapter in Run.This week's commentary track features Greg Grunberg, who features prominently in the episode as the telepath Mark Parkman. Aside from Parkman finally getting a practical and intertwined use of his powers, Grunberg is fast becoming my favorite cast member to do commentary because of his storytelling and wit.


Giving back to get laid

Any fan of Lost has probably heard about actress Michelle Rodriguez' recent crosses with the law:
    “Man, I got so many hours of community service,” says the actress, whose alcohol-intake-monitoring bracelet turned heads at the Marc Jacobs show last week. Rodriguez pleaded no contest to a hit-and-run, DUI, and driving with a suspended license in 2004, and then violated probation with a DUI bust in Hawaii the next year.
Apparently, the community service took, because she's planning on doing it for free. Well, not for free.
    She’s currently the spokesperson for a nature-sanctuary foundation called Sanctuary. “Eventually,” she says, “you’re going to see me do some Jane Fonda–type shit. I’m keeping it hush right now. But it’s going to be fucking hot. I’m going to make giving back sexy and fuckable.”
Does she have some kind of skewed self-image? Doesn't seem like she'll have to do much more than toss a quarter in the leukemia jar to attain status of 'fuckable'. Okay, a dollar at least, any less than that and it's rejection alley.

Abe Lincoln finally dies

According to Corpus Obscurum, the actor who played Abe Lincoln on an episode of classic Star Trek (abreviated TOS by the geekified). It was towards the end of its last season, 3, noted for some of the nuttier plots. Here's a synopsis:
    His most famous role was playing Abraham Lincoln in a 1969 episode of the original Star Trek in which Captain Kirk enlists the former president to battle Genghis Khan in a display of "good versus evil" for an alien race that has the Enterprise held captive.
Luckily I was not drinking anything when I read that, otherwise I'd have to wipe off my monitor. Seriously, warn me when I'm about to get a rehash of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Didn't they fight in that movie, too?

Streaming TV

ABC has finally taken NBC's lead by posting its TV shows free of charge for streaming video. I used NBC's Heroes links to get caught up on episodes I missed this season, and now it has become my favorite show (probably tied with Battlestar Galactica).

Unfortunately for those not caught up on Heroes, they look like they have removed all of the first half of the season from posting. The reason is probably that they'll be on DVD shortly. However, they have compensated by providing cast commentaries for this year's episodes. Fun.

I don't know what that will do for the iTunes market, but it certainly has made it a lot easier to (a) not have to bother with taping episodes and (b) take it to the next level with web surfing.

Hot Fuzz

Simon Pegg's follow up to the fantastic Shaun of the Dead won't be From Dusk 'til Shaun, but an action flick about an elite cop (Pegg), who is so good that he makes everyone look bad on his force, so they ship him off to a tiny town where there is no crime, where of course he uncovers a vast conspiracy. And finally gets to shoot a gun while jumping.

The trailer for Hot Fuzz has whetted my appetite for this film's release, which, of course, compared to the recent batch of theatrical vomit isn't saying much. (Do you realize, according to Rotten Tomatoes that no film in 2007 has yet to receive a 'fresh' rating?) Sadly, it doesn't look like it's coming out until mid-April around here. Which is fine because it's nearly time for March Madness. I can wait.

There are several extremely positive early reviews around, too.


The Greatest College Game Ever Played

There's been a lot of talking by some sports fans about last night's amazing Fiesta Bowl win for Boise State. An electrifying game, for sure, but does it deserve to be talked about as the best bowl game ever?

Nay, my friends, Michael Weintrab disagrees. Not only is it not the best bowl game ever, it's not even close to the best Fiesta Bowl ever.
    This was Jan. 2, 1987, and for the first time, the college football season had been extended beyond New Year's Day. Because of a quirk in the system, because Miami was ranked No. 1 and Penn State was ranked No. 2, and both schools were independents at the time, with no ties to any conferences, meaning no affiliations with any specific bowls, the Fiesta Bowl landed the dream matchup. Before this, the Fiesta had been second-tier, unable to stand up to the cabal of Rose, Cotton, Sugar and Orange, but now the Fiesta Bowl was in the right place at the right time, and so was NBC, which took the radical step of shifting the game to a Friday night and preempting its most popular television show to make room for, of all things, a college football game.
The article is fantastic, and obviously I couldn't agree more. Here's a few more snippets...
    That Nittany Lions drive accounted for nearly half of their 162 yards of total offense; Miami would finish with 445. And all of this was fine with Paterno, and it was fine with Sandusky, because they had built this team on a philosophy that, two decades later, has begun to seem more and more quaint: You win with defense first, and you win with special teams second.
Ever wonder who the first person in prime time to get 'jacked up' was? Why none other than Michael Irvin:
    DANIEL STUBBS, DEFENSIVE END, MIAMI: "I'm a Jersey guy, and the one thing I knew about Penn State was that their defensive backs could hit. They crushed Michael on one play, and he came to the sidelines and I said, 'I told you so.' "

    TREY BAUER, LINEBACKER, PENN STATE: "Irvin got totally jacked up early in the game by one of our guys. I mean, he got hit. And I don't think he did much of anything the rest of the game. I think in the press conference afterward, he said the ball was slippery or something.
Read the entire article if you have a chance, on this the 20th anniversary of the greatest college football game ever played.