If you didn’t know who MIA was Sunday morning, you probably do now. And isn’t that the point of flipping the bird while 111 million people are watching? To make sure you get noticed by the 110.5 million that didn’t know you before? So good for her. She made sure she’ll stay in the international conscious for a week instead of 24 hours. If she didn’t, she would have been known as the Lady Who Dressed Like Gwen Stefani in the Holla Back video. Now she’s the lady who tried to upstage Madonna — and failed. It’s impossible to do it, I’m not sure why anyone tries.
Lots of talk about the Clint Eastwood commercial and it’s good, but was I the only expecting to see, “Directed by Michael Bay” at the end of it? It looked like a trailer for Armageddon 2 or something. But sholy hat Clint can sell that cheesy dialogue. Not kidding — that might have been the greatest acting job of his career. One of the ways I always rate performances was if there was any one else you can see in that role. No one else could do Sean Penn’s work in Milk. No one else can do Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood. That’s why they win the best actor in those years, hands down. Who else does that commercial and give you chills? Tommy Lee Jones? Clooney? Johnny Depp? Clint is it. Without him, that commercial bombs.
Why am I getting more OK with Battleship? I know everything that’s going to happen, it looks like it might as well be called Transformers 4 and I could probably sit down for an hour and type out the entire script and be about 75 percent right. That hasn’t changed since the first trailer, and nothing they’ve done since has looked any different. So now that there’s only three months before it comes out or so, why am I starting to think, “Maybe I’ll make sure I save it in my Blockbuster queue.” Why am I softening on this thing? Is my Taylor Kitsch mancrush that strong? I’m setting myself up for extreme disappointment, I know. But if this was pre-kids, I’d definitely be planning on seeing it in the theaters. I don’t know how this happened. What’s going to happen in a month? Will I be anxiously awaiting it? In two months, will I be buying advance tickets to a midnight show? Yeah, I don’t think so either. They must be doing something right.
This is usually one of the softest movie opening weekends of the year because of the Super Bowl, but Hollywood said eff that and threw out three new wide releases. It went fine for Chronicle (already added to my queue) and The Woman in Black (Daniel Radcliffe is officially a star), but not so well for Big Miracle. What the heck is Drew Barrymore doing within 500 feet of this thing? John Krasinski? Stephen Root? Sure, they can go for the paycheck with a “Save the Animal” flick or two on their resume. But Drew Barrymore? She’s in a little bit of a slump, yeah, but to lose the top line to a whale? Not the best career plot. Incidentally, I HATE “Save the Animal” movies. I can’t think of one good one that’s ever been made, except for the director’s cut of Free Willy.
SMASH (10 p.m. Mondays, NBC): There already have been the fictional yet real-seeming looks at the inner workings of Hollywood. Tons of movies. (Swimming with Sharks, Get Shorty, The Player and Bowfinger would be four of the best, off the top of my head.) But that wasn’t enough — then TV shows had to start doing it too, like Entourage. Then TV realized, “Hey, people wanna know about us, too!” so we got Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. But even that wasn’t enough, because Studio 60 gave us the impression that we want to know about backstage at TV shows, just not really. So in comes 30 Rock to parody life backstage — and that, we liked. So movies, actors, TV -- there’s only one place left to go, right? Broadway! God help us all if that was the logic behind bringing Smash to TV. That would mean we’re a step or two away from a TV show about lacrosse, since it’s just about the only sport a TV show hasn’t been based on. But Smash and the media are pulling a little trick on you. Instead of letting you think it’s just the next logical place for a TV show to go for a backstage look at the entertainment industry, everyone is playing the copycat card because it’s a musical. So it’s obviously a copy off Glee. Except it’s not. Not in any way, shape or form. The only coincidence is that people sing. My new favorite hobby with Glee is to DVR it then fast forward through the songs. It gets me through an episode in about a half-hour (15 minutes for the Michael Jackson episode last week, a new record) and I still catch everything I need/want to catch. And it’s still funny, dramatic, surprising and charming. And I still care. If I tried that trick with Smash, I’d be bored to tears. The musical numbers are actually a good reason to watch Smash, they’re impressive. There is a baseball number that beats the snot out of any musical number Glee has ever done. But that’s all it has. Nothing else makes me want to watch another episode of the show. Katherine McPhee is a great singer, that’s obvious from her audition of Christina Aguilera’s Beautiful, but if she’s not singing, she’s boring. Nothing about Debra Messing’s character is interesting. Her writing partner isn’t interesting. No one is interesting! Maybe that’s just because the theater isn’t interesting to me as a whole. And one more pet peeve — using Christina Aguilera’s Beautiful. Glee already did it! I know Glee’s probably done about 150 songs so far, but there’s a song or two out there left for Smash’s table scraps, right? If you know you’re going to be compared to another hit show and be accused of being a copy — and the only reason this show is being made is because Glee was a success, there’s no getting around that — why would you, in your FIRST FREAKIN’ EPISODE, call attention to the show you’re allegedly copying? It makes no sense, unless the producers aren’t even trying to hide it and just going all out to say, “You know what? Yeah, we’re riding their coattails. Deal.” Well I won’t deal, kind sirs. PREMIERE GRADE: C-.