Thanks for a Great Year!

This is probably the last post of 2010, so I just wanted to take a minute and sincerely thank everyone who’s been a reader this year. Not just faithful readers, but all readers.

It boggles my mind that people find anything I have to say even remotely interesting. I’m just a guy with a keyboard, an Internet connection, a digital cable package and a chip on his shoulder. But you keep coming back. Even if I can’t explain why, I’m extremely grateful that you do. I’m constantly surprised and flattered by the number of people who, when I introduce myself to them, say, “Oh, yeah, the PopRox guy!” That was never part of the plan, trust me. But I am wildly grateful for it.

As always, if you think you might know a way to make this blog better, please let me know. I’m willing to try anything since there really was never a blueprint for how this was supposed to go, and that was like four years ago now. It was just something I was doing to kill some time every now and then, but you, the fans, have made it something that hopefully won’t be going away for quite some time. It’s kind of grown to what it is now organically, but I’m always looking for ways to make it better. If you have a suggestion, leave it in the comments, e-mail me or leave a note on the PopRox Facebook page. Or if you were born before 1970, you can even use that phone thing-a-ma-jiggee. My number at the office is 570-420-4485, and I always return messages.

On to some year-end links, and just for being great fans, I added a couple extras:

the eyes of a good movie

the eyes of a good movie

It shouldn’t be surprising that 2010 wasn’t as good as 2009 at the box office. The American film-going public isn’t the smartest bunch of cats in the world, but sooner or later, we come around. This sequel-itis that’s hit Hollwyood and grown into reboot-itis may have fooled people for a little while, but sooner or later we’re all going to wake up and realize that we want original ideas. We need original ideas. We’ll make it just fine without A-Team, another Nightmare on Elm Street or sequels to 20-year-old movies. Trust us. We need people to come up with good, big ideas and turn them into visions of creativity and excitement. We will respond to that kind of movie. Hopefully Inception is the kind of movie that can convince Hollywood of this and keep them from making The Last Airbender 2. Oh, and we’d also like it if those original ideas are actually good/funny/interesting. We’ll pass on The Bounty Hunter, thanks. Why is this so much to ask?

Awesome, awesome list of TV season and series premiere dates for the winter thanks to Even though it’s not exactly a list filled with “Whoa, I can’t wait!” premieres — following the pattern of this entire TV season in general — there are about 10 on there that I’m at the very least semi-excited for. In case anyone’s forgotten, V falls in the category of semi-excited. This requires an entire blog post of its own, it will probably be Monday.

who woulda thunk this might be one of the most interesting people in hollywood?

who woulda thunk this might be one of the most interesting people in hollywood?

I’ve pimped the AV Club feature Random Roles about a hundred times ’round these parts, but I think I just read my favorite one — with Jon Lovitz. I know, right? But take 10 minutes and read this thing, really read it, and you get an unadulterated look at what Hollywood is. The guy should write a book. Did he write one already? Looks like no. If he wrote a tell-all about his Hollywood life, I’d buy it yesterday. Off the top of your head, you probably couldn’t name five movies with Jon Lovitz. After I read this, without the prejudice from reading the story, I tried to come up with the list of Lovitz works, and I realized I could only come up with the movies League of Their Own, Mr. Destiny, Trapped in Paradise and Three Amigos. And I think I only came up with Three Amigos because it was on last week and the part I watched had his bit part in it. Then there was his TV work, which I came up with SNL, NewsRadio and arguably the best guest spot in Seinfeld history. But I forgot The Critic and The Simpsons, forgot about his bit parts in Big, Southland Tales, The Benchwarmers, North — the guy’s had an amazing career. Two things I’m now obsessed with after reading it — that he and Dana Carvey were supposed to be will Smith and Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys (not a joke) and that he won’t talk about NewsRadio. He won’t talk about NewsRadio! Probably the funniest thing he’s done other than SNL, one of the few things on his resume he can be particularly proud of, and he won’t talk about it. He throws about five or six people completely under the bus in the interview — including a particularly nasty rant about Trapped in Paradise writer/director George Gallo — but he can’t bring himself to talk about NewsRadio. It’s not like he was bad, he wasn’t. It’s not like the show was bad, far from it. So it must be because he was the replacement for his friend Phil Hartman, who he credits with getting him into The Groundlings. Just fascinating stuff. And for being so honest, he gets a embedded video of the second best line of LoTO (and #1 is not “no crying in baseball”).


There’s nothing worse than snobby movie lists — which is why I hate this one, even though it’s supposed to be the defining list of the 100 greatest movies ever made or something like that. To tell you the truth, I’m not even sure what the list is ranking since “essential” is pretty open-ended. I know my tastes are pretty high-brow, I’m pretty hard on people that don’t demand something intellectually stimulating from their movies and I’ve been called a movie snob more than once, but when I come up with a top list of the year there’s one thing I can guarantee — you will have access to that movie. You might have to go to the Pocono Community Theater to get that access, but you can find it. Try going to Blockbuster and finding #27 Voyage in Italy. Try finding it on Netflix. If you put it into Netflix’s search, two of the movies that come up, somehow, are Up in the Air and Whip It. You may not have heard of Winter’s Bone, but when you see it on my top 5 this year, you can go straight to your nearest Redbox and pick it up — just like I did. I think I’ve seen 22 of these movies and only really, really liked 12 or so.

did, umm, did i miss something?

did, umm, did i miss something?

Lists about overrated movies are much better — especially ones that take aim at movies that actually were rated in the first place. It’s easy to say whatever Twilight came out this year was overrated under the theory of “It made $300 million, so people must have loved it!” even though everyone with a brain knows it was probably pretty stupid. But taking aim at movies like Shutter Island and Kids Are Alright is much more daring — therefore making it far more interesting. It helps that I agree with the Shutter Island and KAAR arguments. Some quick explanations:

Shutter Island: Finally got it a couple days ago and watched it Monday. After a little more than an hour of the 2:20 minute movie, I fell asleep and went to bed, figuring I’d just rewatch it Tuesday or tonight. My wife, who is vulnerable to scary movies, finished it and came to bed. I asked her if she was scared and she said, “No, it wasn’t that scary. I’m wondering how much longer it’s going to take for you to figure out the twist.” I told her I thought I already had a solid theory and devised it after about a half-hour in, I just didn’t want to say it and ruin it for her. She pulled it out of me to tell her what I think the twist will be — and I apparently nailed it. After a half-hour. In a movie that critics said had one of the coolest twist endings in a while. That made me utterly depressed, I couldn’t get back to sleep for, like, an hour and I’m contemplating returning it without watching the last hour-plus.

The Kids Are All Right: The guy who wrote that blog post absolutely nailed it — there really isn’t much that sets this movie apart from any other relationship/family movie. Except, that is, for the fact that Annette Benning and Julianne Moore are a gay couple. But in today’s world, that shouldn’t matter and it shouldn’t make it that much difference. Why is it better than Made in America? That’s right, I said Made in America! The crappy movie that put Whoopi Goldberg and Ted Danson together and even more importantly, put Will Smith and Nia Long together a year before she showed up on Fresh Prince. That gave us Will Smith’s worst movie-trailer line ever, “Hey, there’s a white dude at the door.” Actually, I’d say the makers of Made in America probably have a pretty good lawsuit on their hands. It’s the same argument I had with Brokeback Mountain. If that movie had been made with a guy and a girl, it would have been a Lifetime movie of the week. It gets made with two guys, and GLAAD nearly pickets when it doesn’t win best picture. I didn’t get it then, and I don’t get it now. It will probably make my top 20 because it was still better than Iron Man 2 and Harry Potter (I think), but five years ago when I was seeing 60 or 70 movies a year, it wouldn’t have been.

hot in cleveland, boring on tv

hot in cleveland, boring on tv

On New Year’s Day, TV pretty much cedes itself to two things — football and hangovers. That’s why there are usually marathons of shows on that day, because they don’t want to waste anything else and they want to play to a niche. TV Land and USA are going with two shows whose popularity escapes my comprehension — Hot in Cleveland and NCIS. Enjoy them if you can.

An interesting local TV note — WNEP2, seen on Blue Ridge channel 131, is getting a new network affiliation. And it’s just in time. The network is going from the ultra-boring RTV to the only slightly less boring start-up network Antenna TV — but anything is an improvement. You would think a network like RTV that shows old TV shows would be somewhat retro-cool, but when you try and sit through an episode of Mannix, Adam-12 or Airwolf, you start to question your own sanity as to why you liked those shows in the first place. Antenna TV’s lineup at least includes Married with Children, The Monkees and The Three Stooges — shows that stand up against time. The network is doing a two-day marathon of Three Stooges (Saturday) and Benny Hill (Sunday) to kick it off.

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