The Weekend Awaits

First notice — we’re two weeks away from another PopRox chat. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

Today’s links:

yay! nanny mcphee is back! yay! I've been counting the days! is that sarcastic enough for everyone? good.

yay! nanny mcphee is back! yay! I've been counting the days! is that sarcastic enough for everyone? good.

This is always the most depressing box office week of the year, when studios trot out its trailer trash hoping to get some kind of return on the fact that it’s still summer, even though the movies look like they should have come out in mid-January. This weekend is distinctly niche, with a kids’ movie (Nanny McPhee), an African-American movie (Lottery Ticket), a cheesy horror movie (Piranha 3-D), a chick flick (The Switch) and a quote-unquote comedy (Vampires Suck, which registered all of a 3 on Rotten Tomatoes). So after more than three solid months of getting the best movie studios have to offer, this is what we’re stuck with now. Awesome. We’ve got six weeks of this lined up before the Oscar contenders start releasing.

Looks like NBC is going back to the drawing board of its Rockford files reboot, an idea too valuable and easy to just let slip away. Now Sawyer from Lost is going to be the one taking over the Jim Rockford role, one I don’t think anyone can fill from James Garner. NBC already shot a pilot with a different cast that was supposed to be on this fall’s schedule, but it was so unwatchable the network decided to start from scratch. With some of the junkyard fodder NBC has put on TV in the last few years, if they thought Rockford Files was unwatchable, it must have sucked out loud. Or it just learned its lesson from airing other unwatchable reboots like Knight Rider and Bionic Woman. Nah, we’ll just say it was unwatchable. It’s tough to believe anyone in TV has learned anything, especially with a crop of new shows this season that look about as original as a photo copy.

she keeps it together for two months. tops.

she keeps it together for two months. tops.

Second choice? Who cares! Mariah Carey doesn’t, apparently. She’s looking better to be the next American Idol judge instead of J-Lo. The clock keeps getting turned back on these judges and the peak of their popularity. J-Lo (1999) and Carey (1995) aren’t exactly spring chickens anymore. When the Carey negotiations break down, Janet Jackson gets the next call, then Madonna, then … who? Belinda Carlisle? Donna Summer? Diana Ross? It’s just as satisfying as I hoped it would be to watch this show destroy itself.

Somewhere, Samuel L. Jackson is shedding a tear of venom because Snakes on a Plane didn’t make one list of the cheesiest movies of all time. It’s tough to argue with anything on this list, but SoaP was probably the only movie designed, named and filmed as a completely cheesy movie that no one was supposed to take seriously for a second. This might be just a list of cheesy sci-fi movies, but it doesn’t matter. Piranha 3-D surely isn’t sci-fi. And if it is, it’s about the loosest definition of sci-fi ever. You could make a list of cheesy Shakespearean -based movies, and SoaP needs to be mentioned. It’s kind of a rule of life.

Those of us looking to stay on top of Oscar nominations love stuff like this, a pretty comprehensive list of what the best actress category could look like come January. At this point, I’ve seen all of one of the movies with a possible nominee, Greta Gerwig in Greenberg. That’s my own fault, they’ve all been at the Pocono Community Theater. So it’s not like all of us didn’t have a chance to see these performances. We should probably all start catching up before Oscar season heats up and we can’t find the time to see everything we want to.

The interesting part of this Spider-Man news isn’t the list of actresses being courted to play Spider-Man’s love interest. It isn’t that the girlfriend won’t be Mary Jane Watson, either. The part that opened my eyes the most is the movie’s budget, $80 million. That’s the catering bill these days on a movie set! Spider-Man 4 ended because the $150 million or so budget Sam Raimi wanted was shot down by Sony, so it was always going to be less than that. But $80 million? For an effects-laden, 3-D movie? I have no idea how much more 3-D costs, but it’s gotta be a good chunk of change. I’d say 3-D done right has got to be about one-quarter of a movie’s budget, so the movie probably costs $60 million and the 3-D effects cost $20 million. Scott Pilgrim cost $60 million. Are we putting Spider-Man on the same level as Scott Pilgrim? An $80 million budget seems like a pittance for a July 4 movie. A buddy of mine tried to talk me out of the reboot a couple weeks ago when I said I was squarely on board with it. That budget number is the first thing that’s started to scare me away.

i know, i'm just as surprised as you are that i could live without espn

i know, i'm just as surprised as you are that i could live without espn

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m starting to think I can comfortably live my life without ESPN. Maybe not, I’d probably go into some convalescent seizure as soon as it would be swiped from my cable box, but I definitely find myself watching it less and less as the hours, minutes and seconds get gobbled away by life. SportsCenter is pretty useless unless I’m at the gym on the treadmill, my ADD kicks in constantly when I try to watch a non-Sixers NBA game and I end up watching a Seinfeld rerun and I don’t think I watched a non-Eagles Monday Night Football game at all last year. If I did, it certainly wouldn’t kill me if I lost it. Seeing as there are separate networks for baseball, football and NBA — not to mention the Internet and Philly sports — ESPN isn’t as much of a need in my life as it was 10 years ago. I used to get the shakes if I went to bed without watching SportsCenter and would arrange my Sunday Mass schedule around NFL Game Day and NFL Primetime. I don’t think I watched either of those shows at home for more than a half-hour total last year. I’ve got to imagine I’m not the only person who feels this way, so if Disney wants to roll the dice and play hardball with Time Warner, be my guest. If people get ESPN taken away from them, they’re going to learn it isn’t as big a deal as they think it is. Hopefully Time Warner wins and other cable companies will stop paying outrageous fees for cable channels.

You know, this isn’t the first time Burn Notice has sucked me in for a finale after I spent the whole summer considering taking the show to dinner at Pomodora’s. But last night’s episode was really good— just like the pre-finale episode over the winter — and I’m legitimately psyched for the finale. Stupid Burn Notice. Always sucking me in.

OK, Sept. 9 just got a lot more interesting …

My only problem is that Nina Dobrev’s acting as Elena was the one thing that brought the show down last year. She’s like Sheila on Rescue Me — when she comes into the scene, you groan because you’re preparing for all the life to be sucked out of the episode. She’s a human bathroom break. So now she’s going to be playing two roles? Not a good sign.

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