Clash of the Choirs

I watched the first show of Clash of the Choirs: Holiday Challenge tonight. The gimmick is that five famous singers have recruited choirs to compete in a four day competition.

The first thing I noticed was that the “Holiday Challenge” seems to be a misnomer. Nary a holiday (we like to call it Christmas round these parts) song was heard. For the most part, the songs were pop hits. Performances included “Life is a Highway” and Bon Jovi’s “Living on Prayer” – you know, traditional choir fare (or maybe not).

Then Patti LaBelle’s choir took the stage and sang an amazing rendition of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” This competition may as well be over. Just give her choir the award now. None of the others have a chance. First, she arranged a song that is actually a fit for a choir (Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer”? Please!). Second, they did an amazing job of singing it. Smart move going gospel. It is just a natural fit for a choir.

Patti LaBelle’s choir is the only reason to watch this show.

Couple of suggestions for NBC. Have the Choir’s sing “holiday” (i.e. Christmas) songs for a “Holiday Challenge” and don’t try to force pop songs into a choir genre. That just doesn’t work.

Movies I want to see this summer

I’m not one for seeing movies in the theater, but this summer looks to have some promise. Here is what I’m planning to see this summer:

1. Spiderman 3 (yeah, it opened last week but I haven’t seen it yet)

2. Shrek 3 (May18)

3. Pirates of the Carribean: At World’s End (May 25)

4. The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (June 15)

5. DOA: Dead or Alive (June 22) Based on the video game of the same name, this will most likely the worst movie of the year. Still, gotta go for the cheese factor. 

6. Transformers (July 4) Looks like a special effects spectacular

7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix  (July 13)

8. The Simpsons Movie (July 27)

9. Stardust (August 10) – maybe this generation’s “The Princess Bride”

Summer movies that I’ll probably wait for the DVD:

1. Ocean’s 13

2. Evan Almighty

3. The Bourne Ultimatum

4. Live Free or Die Hard (The latest installment of Bruce Willis “Die Hard” movies) 

Stupid names

From the “I don’t think it means what you think it means” file:

CNN says that Israelis are puzzled over the name Tom Cruise has given his newborn daughter, Suri. He says it is an ancient Hebrew variation of Sarah. Israelis say it sounds more like a blunt term that means “get out of here” (like scram).

And why is a scientologist using old Jewish names anyway? Let this be a lesson in naming children from languages you don’t understand.

(hat tip: Betsy’s Page)

Canceling Daniel

NBC has cancelled “The Book of Daniel”, the TV show about a drug addicted Episcopal priest whose family includes a drug dealing daughter and promiscuous son. The show also characterizes Jesus as a sidekick to Daniel.

Do you think there are producers working for NBC that are scratching their heads and wondering why a show that addresses “spiritual issues” isn’t being watched?

It amazes me how these networks completely misunderstand their audience.

Alexander the Gay

Oliver Stone is about to release his $160 million epic “Alexander the Great” to some controversy. I had high hopes for this movie. Years ago, I read a biograhpy of Alexander. His military accomplishments were amazing. It is almost incomprehensible that a man could conquer the known world by the age of 30. His troops were outnumbered in most of the battles they fought, yet his brilliant strategies conquered every army fielded against him.

My hopes for a good movie have been dashed by seeing the trailors of an effeminate (although fit) looking Collin Farrell. Oliver Stone has decided to showcase Alexander’s alleged homosexual side, complete with a masscara wearing male lover. A line in the movie even claims, “Alexander was defeated only once — by Hephaestion’s thighs.”

First of all, there is no conclusive evidence that Alexander and Hephaestion (Alexander’s closest friend for 19 years) had a homosexual relationship. There best argument for the claim is circumstantial evidence based on the permissive Macedonian culture. There is evidence for his heterosexuality based on the fact that he had three wives and other female lovers.

It’s not looking good for a hit movie here. Middle America does not go to movies about guy-on-guy action. If there are as many as 10% of the population that is gay, that means the other 90% can’t relate to him.

Finally, the supposedly great director Oliver Stone is reduced to cliche. In one scene, Alexander’s wife puts a knife to his neck on their wedding night after seeing him take a ring from Hephaestion. How many times has the woman-threatens-to-kill-man-before-he-takes-the-weapon-away-and-they-have-hot-sex gimic been used in the movies? It’s happened so often in the movies, I almost think I missed out on something because it never happened to me. You’d think Stone could come up with something more original.

I’m starting to think the recent movie Troy will look like a Shakespearean play compared to this one.

Bad career advice

You can tell when a actor/actress is having career problems when they star in a sex flick. Neve Campbell is having career problems. The Rocky Mountain News reviewed the film and wasn’t too flattering in their opinion.

Apparently the movie becomes a series of random sex scenes complete with an orgy in Central Park and another scene with some lesbian action involving Neve Campbell’s character. Unlike the movie Wild Things, Neve does drop her clothes in this one.

Why do actors think that these kind of movies will help their careers. Bo Derek’s career was pretty much ended with Bolero. Elizabeth Berkeley became a laughing stock after Showgirls. Demi Moore’s Striptease was a bomb. Eyes Wide Shut was a disaster for Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Their careers improved in spite of, not because of, that movie which only revealed that Stanley Kubrick had some wierd fantasies.

So why are stars so gullible that they keep doing this stuff?

Update: Add Meg Ryan to the list for “In the Cut”

Hollywood: Dumber than I thought

I was mostly kidding when I posted an fictional account of a studio planning meeting for a remake of the Ten Commandments movie.

Now, Hollywood has topped me. A couple days ago producer Jerry Weintraub announced he would remake the movie Oh God! Who would they pick to play God? Ellen Degeneres was Weintraub’s obvious choice. Once again confirming that Hollywood has no clue about mainstream America.