Archive for the ‘television’ Category

Okay, I know who he is. He’s marginally talented and apparently arrogant enough to think he’s such a success that he can put his name in the title of nearly every project he comes up with, unlike…well, pretty much everybody else. (Except Sid Meier.) He’s a guy whose highest rating over at Rotten Tomatoes is merely 53%. (Could change since it’s for his latest flick.)

By the way, this is the real Tyler Perry. And sir, until you come up with something 10% as brilliant as Walk this Way, Back in the Saddle, or Draw the Line, take their name out of your mouth.


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I’ve been at a conference out of town and am just now catching up to the whole Will Leitch/Buzz Bissinger/Bob Costas train wreck. Watch here.

A few thoughts:

First, King Kaufman over at Salon wrote a wonderful rebuttal to Bissinger. It’s full of links and everything! You know, the exact kind of thing you can’t do on your old-fashioned typewriter. In any event, it’s much better than anything I could write so if you want to read it, I highly recommend it.

Second, from the above-linked clip of the show, at about the 4:41 mark Bob Costas says:

A.J. Daulerio [Deadspin contributor]… said ‘you can’t brutally criticize athletes and expect them to give you any access.’

Two parts to this question: Isn’t that a false choice? Brutally criticize them or kiss their ass? What about responsibly criticizing them and responsibly praising them when they deserve it? Why would access preclude that?”

Is Bob Costas serious? That’s not a false choice but it is a false question. Rather than focus on the actual point Costas tries to create a straw-man and focus on the descriptive word “brutally”. When writing about politics, does a guy like George Will “responsibly” criticize some liberal political position or does he “brutally” criticize it? Peter Travers is the film critic for Rolling Stone magazine. In his review of the Matthew McConaughey/Kate Hudson movie Fool’s Gold, he began: “It’s early in the year but I defy any 2008 comedy to be as stupid, slack and sexless as Fool’s Gold.”

Okay Mr. Costas. Now is that “responsible” or is it “brutal” criticism? Isn’t it a matter of perspective? (Or perhaps it is “responsible” since Travers writes for a print publication.) Of course Costas can’t answer that because it’s all semantics and he’d rather get bogged down in the idea that “brutal” must necessarily be synonymous with “unfair”.

But never mind that. Consider also that he asks why access would preclude responsible criticism or responsible praise. I wish at that point Leitch would have turned to the athlete on the panel, Braylon Edwards of the Cleveland Browns, and just rattled a bunch of questions right at him: Have you ever experienced a writer shading a story or situation in the favor of an athlete he has a good relationship with? How about one where the writer and athlete (or coach or general manager or owner or whatever) didn’t have a good relationship? Have you ever had a teammate who intentionally tried to gain favor with any member of the media? How about a teammate or opponent who leaked information to a member of the media in the attempt to create a controversy of some sort?

And so on. And the answer is: of course! Geezus, Costas. Off the top of my head: what about Bob Hammel and Bob Knight? Do you really think Hammel, who’s close friendship with Knight was in part chronicled in John Feinstein’s excellent book A Season on the Brink, could be totally objective about The General? Hammel went on to help Knight with his autobiography for crissakes. Jim Rome obviously has different standards of criticism for people who come on his show and those who don’t. Just this year Doug Gottlieb suggested that perhaps Ty Lawson’s injury was a result of “karma” because Roy Williams would not come on his radio show.

You don’t think access has anything to do with that Costas? That’s just stupid, and it’s absolutely one of the advantages those of us wearing pajamas in our mother’s basements have over people like you, Buzz Bissinger, and everyone else who thinks that journalism is something you are, not something you do.

Finally, a while back I reviewed Friday Night Lights(the book, not the show). Until this controversy broke I had never seen Buzz Bissinger before but I’m somewhat comforted–I feel more justified in my reaction to that hit-piece than ever.

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George Will once famously said: “Football is a mistake. It combines the two worst elements of American life: violence and committee meetings.”

Nice quote. But it’s wrong. First of all, football is great. Second, Bill Maher’s show actually combines the two worst elements of American life: celebrities and politics.

If I ever stumble across this disaster again, where I might have to watch Richard Belzer (celebrity?) blather on and on for half an hour…ugh, shoot me. Where’s Hulk Hogan when you need him? (Scroll ahead to about the 5:30 mark.)

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Well, I’ve bailed on the VMAs after about 75 minutes. Maybe I’ll miss something good, but so far, that’s just a collosal disaster. I know it is fashionable to slam MTV and has been for years, but the one thing you could usually count on out of the network was a fun awards show. It’s cliche’ to point out how there isn’t much “music” in MTV anymore but that misses the point–MTV long ago transformed into a channel about the youth culture and usually they never were better than the were on the night of the VMAs.

Last year was pretty poor though but this has taken the cake:

  • Britney: Where do you start? They barely led into it at all. The Elvis-ish opening (“Trouble”) might have been neat and Vegas but it went nowhere. Her once impossibly good body is gone and has been replaced by the body of a young mother who got rode hard in frat house for a couple years and apparently nobody has bothered to tell Britney. She stumbled a couple times. Her once sharp dancing was almost non-existent. (Maybe that was the “smoke and mirrors” promised with the participation of Criss Angel–that her dancers would do the work and somehow we’d be fooled into thinking she was actually moving. Didn’t work.) Lip syncing was expected but she blew that and just mailed it in there at the end. If one was looking for a sports metaphor, I’m reminded of Mike Tyson: overhyped, peaked too young, mentally and emotionally troubled, self-destructive (chemically and otherwise), and going to be given a lot of second chances but can’t be trusted to take advantage of them, even when they are set-ups.
  • Sarah Silverman was next. Did she even think prepare? If she wasn’t mildly pretty would anyone even care? Anyway, that was terrible. This was the first example that the show needed a host, someone who has a more considerable investment of their time and talent into the show in the hopes that it will be great…
  • And then there was the second example–Alicia Keys kinda introducing the concept that the show was at one hotel with a bunch of different parties. Or whatever. Anyway, she kinda stumbled through exactly in the way Chris Rock (for example) would not have. And then she threw it to that doofus in Fall Out Boy and his mic didn’t work. Nice!
  • Why were the live performances in the “parties”? Shouldn’t they have been on stage instead of the lip syncers? Not that it would have mattered when the Foo Fighters were first featured as Dave Grohl’s mic was way down in the mix if it was working at all. 
  • The Chris Brown thing was…okay. Of course, he lip synced when some rapper in the JT/Timbaland room was getting down, Kanye perfomed live, Fall Out Boy actually played, etc. Again, I don’t know why you’d keep the people actually performing live away from the awards show, but at least he had some spectacle that Britney could have used. Granted, the spectacle involved a little Charlie Chaplin, a Rhianna performance that seems like it deserved better billing, and a useless Michael Jackson impersonation, but at least it was all fun.
  • What’s up with the awards? Best Quadruple Threat? It’s remniscent of MTV’s Movie Awards, and perhaps an acknowledgement that they don’t play enough videos anymore to have a legitimate competition.

In a just world, Axl Rose would have shown up and handed in the master tapes of “Chinese Democracy” to some record exec. Oh well, there’s still ten minutes left–I guess I’ll go see the big finish.

Edit: Yep, big dud. Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, and Nelly Furtado walking around, aimlessly riffing to a forgettable beat, and then it’s over. Maybe they should have thought about how to close it before they got up there. Oh well, Eli has the Giants back within 10.

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