Monday, February 18, 2008
We're taking this traveling pony show over to my real URL, DaveChung.com with a brand new layout for the new year that gives me a lot more control over my site. I've been talking about doing this for a very, very long time and it's finally been done!
I hope to see you guys over there!
Monday, January 21, 2008
I spoke with Eva Longoria last week and it appears that Desperate Housewives has seen its last episode of the season with its post-tornado episode. Friday Night Lights is chugging along and Gossip Girl seems to still have some episodes up its sleeve, but beyond that, with the conclusion of The Amazing Race this past week, there is not a whole lot of new TV going on for me to watch.
Dun na na na na na na naaaaah, waaaah ahhh!!!!
This season, Randy, Paula, and Simon have been a bit nicer so far compared to previous seasons. While the ridiculousness of the outrageous auditions continues, we're not having as much of our time wasted with them. However, at least through the first two cities, I don't think we've seen talent that really gets me excited like Katharine McPhee, Kelly Clarkson, Baylie Brown, Carrie Underwood, Ruben Studdard, and Blake Lewis managed to do in their first auditions in previous Idol season.
Some of my early favorites are:
Kristy Lee Cook - A country-sounding crooner from Oregon
Chris Watson - A soulful, dreadlock wearing R&B type that looks like Lennox Lewis' smaller cousin
Kady Malloy - So far, she's Season 7's hottie, does voice impersonations and is one of Simon's early favorites as well
Instead of choosing an overwhelming amount of abrasive auditioners for Simon to shoot down, some of the funny auditions were actually really good! From The Stalker Song, to We're Brothers Forever, to No Sex Allowed, there were all kinds of keepers just from the first two episodes that I don't think anyone is going to forget by the time the Season 7 finale rolls around.
It's a kinder, gentler Idol so far this season, but I hope that we get to see some more real talent this week as the auditions shift to San Diego. Hollywood is still missing some real rockers and could use some more hotties, along with a military guy (a la Phil Stacey or Josh Gracin), to make the top 24 after Hollywood Week.
So far, so good. American Idol auditions hit San Diego tomorrow and hopefully, it'll show a little more talent in this leg, even if it's at the expense of some really good laughs we got from the "bad" auditions.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Kyle Chandler of CBS' Early Edition fame (or not) plays Eric Taylor, coach of the Dillion Panthers, a Texas high school football team that is the center of the small town's attention. Like any football team, there are a variety of personalities that have to come together on gameday, but what makes Lights so great is that none of the personalities are so different that they aren't believable. While I wouldn't say that I necessarily relate to the characters, I do recognize and care about the storylines for each of them, which is saying a lot in a crowded space of popular episodic dramas. After watching a few episodes of Lights, you'll never see a character and have to ask, "Wait, what's going on with this guy again?" Why? Because not only will you remember, you'll care.
Instead of the awkward acting and over the top caricatures that makes a show like Gossip Girl a ton of fun, Friday Night Lights has one of the best young ensemble casts that I've seen on television today. From team superstar running back Gaius Charles (Smash Williams)...
To the show's do-gooding Christian hottie Minka Kelly (Lyla Garrity)
All of the young actors, many of whom aren't even close to being household names, feel like they were perfectly cast into the roles they play. The acting is spot-on, never overacted, and as an audience you get completely immersed into the world of Dillon Panther football.One of the best parts about having Friday Night Lights be an episodic television show instead of a feature film is that the show gets to have so many dimensions to the team and the season. Instead of a rapid fall and rise to win it all every week, there are episodes of triumph and defeat that leave you coming back for more. While the town is focused on the Dillon football team, the show does a great job in showing that football isn't everything in the lives of these good-looking high schoolers. The characters have real lives and real personalities beyond the limited scenes of football action that summarize the week's preparation and match up. The show never has a "Disney movie" feel to it because the characters and storylines are so deep that you can't help but feel like this is a show everyone needs to watch. Perhaps most importantly, the show has DEPTH. It is a show for anyone in your family with storylines that can matter to anyone in any age group.
Never sappy, never stupid, Friday Night Lights very well could be the best episodic drama on television that you're not watching. 30 Rock turned it around with viewers by finally having the audience to match its critical acclaim and Lights deserves the same.
MSN said of the series, "And make no mistake about it: the first season of “Friday Night Lights” was about as perfect as any debut season can possibly be."
Here are some of the media outlets who have written about Friday Night Lights:
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Check out RT Editors' Best Movie Picks of 2007! I'm all the way on Page 4.
Friday, December 21, 2007
It's my first feature for Rotten Tomatoes and I'd love for everyone to check it out! Happy holidays!
Friday, December 14, 2007
Why did I have to read about it? Because my wretched DVR did this to me:
LC: "Wait, can I say it?"
*Me sitting up and leaning closer to TV*
TV: "Delete recording? Don't Delete Recording"
Me: *Mouth agape*
So my DVR cut off the finale by the last minute that was really the only reason to watch the silly webcam-filled after show. I was a little upset.
In a move that says "Ha!" to the writer's strike, MTV is prolonging The Hills to "document" Lauren and Whitney's trip to Paris and beyond. With the writer's strike still going on and networks turning to shows like American Idol, American Gladiators, Deal or No Deal, Clash of the Choirs, Celebrity Apprentice, and other reality-based competition/game shows to carry them through what some believe to be the "dark days" of television, this is a pretty genius move by MTV, as I'm pretty sure that The Hills audience wouldn't mind if the show took up its Monday nights year round.
So Lauren finally gets her chance to finally go to Paris after she turned down the opportunity to spend a summer in Malibu with Baller Jason Wahler after her first year in Los Angeles. Clearly, she made it back, so at least we know that nothing catastrophic happens, but it will interesting to see how Lauren and Whitney survive without sushi and Pinkberry while they're in Europe. Apparently, the two will be hanging out with some French rock stars courtesy of the show's publicists who were trying to strike up a romance for two 20-something icons. I was in Paris last summer and was enamored by everything but the high-priced food (I ate delicious French fast food, cold cut sandwiches, and fruit to save money so I could do things I wanted to do), so I'm guessing that we'll be counting the number of times that Lauren says words like "amazing," "incredible," and "beautiful," because that would have been a game in itself for me while I was over there.
Laguna and currently watch The Hills, the reality is that Lauren Conrad has become as important of a character to fans of the show as Michael Scott is to fans of the The Office.
We want to see her do well and we're disappointed in her when she does something that goes against what we'd expect of her, though all we're doing is watching her go about her semi-scripted day to day. So who cares if the New York Post is reporting on the perceived holes in the "reality" of the show? Who cares if Heidi may or may not work at Bolthouse? And who cares if she awkwardly likes to sing catchy songs on the sidewalk in Hollywood?
The reality is that Adam Divello and crew have put together a show that makes its viewers not only care about the characters, but talk about the show on a level that makes it relevant well outside the confines of its 30 minutes weekly block (and 500 replays on MTV). So hate if you want, but The Hills is what so many TV shows dream of being - a brand that matters that people love to talk about. And beyond this extended season? It's coming back for Season 4. Take that, haters.
Honestly, I think it'll get old fast (other than Idol, which I cannot wait for). What the strike does do however, is give me the chance to get caught up on countless episodes of Ghost Whisperer and Friday Night Lights that have been taking up space in HD on my DVR for this entire season. What the strike does teach people (and hopefully writers) is that television and everyone else's lives continue to go on, even if it's without the benefit of having the exceptional writers that put together the shows we know and love.
While the strike is costing studios millions, the reality is that we're not watching salt and pepper fights on our HDTVs, nor are we seeing multi-colored lines on our screens just because there's not any new content coming from the Writer's Guild. Sure, the content gets more limited, but there will always be someone, somewhere out there looking for the best ways to get our attention under any circumstance. I think that many writers have a tendency to occasionally overestimate the value of their work in a larger context (myself included!) and I hope that this isn't something that hinders the negotiations that are leading to such an awkward season of television.
For now, bring on Paris!
Monday, December 10, 2007
While I won't say that this is the most difficult time in my life, nor the toughest thing that I've ever had to deal with, if there has ever been something that's been able to really take me off my game, it's this. This is actually the least productive weekend that I've had in probably over two years, but at least I made it to work for a few hours on Sunday night as I'll be taking the day off on Monday to try and regain some sanity. I'll probably end up at the driving range and the beach, pretty much trying to do whatever it takes to clear my mind.
However, as all this was going down, I happened to take a seat in my disgusting new bathroom (absolutely hate it, the worst part about our new apartment) on my crappy porcelain throne and a towel that I stole from the Heart of Gold hostel in Berlin, Germany was hung up backwards on my shower door. And I was thinking, not really searching for answers, but very much open to any, when I saw that the word "Gold" backwards spelled out "Blog" with the font that was used on the design.
In a weird, fortune cookie way, this had been on my mind all weekend and while I don't really want to blog about my personal life, I thought that it might be the best way to bring me back to some form of normalcy. So here I am, pushing 2:00 in the morning, searching for sanity.
Now that we're past that, let's talk about a Hollywood phenomenon.
"A person of high society and wealth whose [sic] famous just for the fact of being rich and fabulous. A socialite who is 'famous for being famous.'"
While some people will say that "these people are so stupid!" These "stupid people" are still managing to make thousands and thousands of dollars from just appearing at places and they're getting comped to "live the life," while the haters are picking up someone else's phone or waiting for someone to quit his/her job so they can get that lavish "assistant manager" title and the 5% raise that comes with it. Oooh. Celebutantes hustle. And they hustle hard. Because if they don't, they start to become regular people. And that's exactly what they cannot become.
(You have no idea how hard it is to find a picture of her that won't get me kicked off Blogger)
Keeping Up with the Kardashians, the lovely Kim Kardashian (sex tape star, daughter of one of O.J. Simpson's lawyers, reality TV star, celebrity dater, turned Playboy model and DUB spokesperson) had a crisis that involved her sister Kourtney. While the show was filled with drama, I was just really interested to see that Kim has her own dedicated publicist.
The hottie Kardashian isn't really an actress, nor does she make that many public statements outside of gossip magazines that the common man reads about, but she has become important enough to have her own publicist who looks out for her and the stories being written about her. Aside from the fact that she is one of the hottest women walking the face of the planet right now, Kardashian is no doubt treated with the same kind of respect that some of Hollywood's biggest names are when it comes to being out on "the scene" of Young Hollywood and something about that is truly amazing.
No need to sing, dance, or act, but you just need to dress well, look good, have contacts, and play the part. But while it all seems like fun and games, these pseudo-celebs have to be out and about all the time. Whether it's a simple trip to Pinkberry or the latest club, once the cameras stop caring, they stop mattering in the eyes of the paparazzi public. While yes, the money that funds these faces is a little unbelievable to me, I know that there are definitely days and nights when I just don't really feel like doing anything. However, for these people whose "job" it is to be in the public eye, they don't really have a choice. And I wonder if it gets to the point where they become obsessed with fame, or if they still are able to enjoy the simplicities of having a regular day.
What is most fascinating to me about the celebutante culture is its future. Whether we like to admit it or not, one of the things that is most interesting about celebrities is the cycle of celebrity that they go through. Celebrities rise to the top (Mike Tyson, Lindsay Lohan, Michael Jackson, Michael Vick) only to hit rock bottom (Mike Tyson, Lindsay Lohan, Michael Jackson, Michael Vick) and we watch to see how they manage to reinvent themselves in order to find their way back on top.
Some of them make it only to fall again (Tyson), while others seem to struggle to find the identity that once made them who they became (Jackson, Lohan), and others face an incredibly uncertain future (Vick), which could lead to the greatest story of all (imagine if Vick comes back to the NFL and is incredible?). Since we're riding this upswing of celebutante culture, I'm wondering if "real Hollywood" will strike back and take back what is theirs, leaving these "rich kids" to fend for themselves and try and do something that would justify their position on "the scene," beyond cash flow.
Are the names that fill gossip magazines today for seemingly no reason at all just a flash in the pan? Or will they disappear, only to emerge as Hollywood's next big thing? How long will partying and taking drunken pictures while looking hot be reason enough for people to take notice of peoples' actions? Will anyone know who these people are in ten years? Let alone five?
For now, we're in the age of the celebutante and I think we're just starting to get tired of them. Who knows how these attention whores will reinvent themselves, but I can't wait to find out.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
This weekend, I finally caught a few episodes of two of E! network's newest reality series Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane. While I can't really say which one is "worth watching," seeing as they don't really add a lot to society, nor your outlook on the world, help in the fight to stop global warming, etc., I can definitely say that Keeping is by far a better show.
First, what kind of drove me crazy about the shows was the fact that I didn't find their lives to really be all that outrageous. Sure, they have a lot of money, but when you live in Los Angeles (like I do), I think that so much of this spoiled craziness just becomes normal to you. While I watched Kimora Lee go shopping for multi-million dollar homes in Beverly Hills, I watched her do so while knowing that I've been to people's houses in Beverly Hills that weren't that far below on the "fab scale" to what Kimora was shopping for. Of course, this is after I've lived in Los Angeles for six years and have been to a red carpet event or two, but it was definitely weird for me to realize that I wasn't so shocked at many of the things on Fab Lane and Keeping that would likely be "out of this world" for many of the shows viewers. Just a side thought, but it was weird.
Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane is kind of like watching a gender-flipped Diddy-centric episode of Making the Band without the singing, cool fellas, and house drama, except that Diddy is a lot more fun to watch. Honestly, I just didn't really understand what the point of the show was. I know that it's supposed to follow Kimora's life as the CEO of Baby Phat, but it was more about the work that the people who work directly with her have to do for her while receiving very little direction from the show's main diva.
The show just isn't very fun and while it's over the top and very "fabulous," it's lacking the drama and excitement that normally makes a reality show a "can't miss" reality show. I tried to watch a marathon, even with hottie assistant Mallory helping glue my eyes to the screen, but just found myself getting annoyed with the scatterbrained organization of the show. There are very few ongoing story lines that make you want to keep watching, but I feel like the main problem is that you don't get to know the people well enough to really care about any of the struggles that they're going through. As a result, you don't like anyone enough to really care about the story, nor care enough to tune in again.
It's "just ok" and I will not be watching the show ever again. Actually, even just thinking about how "ok" the show was right now really annoys me.
That brings us to Keeping up with the Kardashians, a Ryan Seacrest production.
If you haven't caught this guilty pleasure yet and you're a fan of The Hills and The Real World, this one is a keeper. Going off the "visual" post, let's start out by saying that the show gives you an excuse to look at the beautiful Kim Kardashian for 30 minute periods at a time.
So while the Kardashian klan (plus Olympian Bruce Jenner and his son Brody Jenner) is pretty spoiled, at least they have a store that they run, so it creates the illusion that this is where all the money comes from. The Kardashians are of course, the family of the late-Robert Kardashian, best known for being one of OJ Simpson's lawyers back in that trial that no one heard about a little while back.
Clearly, the family has a ton of money and Kim caused quite the stir for the family after being seen with friend Paris Hilton out and about on the Hollywood scene and making the obligatory sex tape that showed her hooking up with R&B has been and Brandy's lil bro Ray-J. Put it all together, mix in Lauren Conrad's ex-squeeze Brody Jenner, and throw in some Ryan Seacrest production muscle, and what do you get? A really entertaining 30 minutes of reality TV.
From never dodging the effect of Kim's sex tape on the family to watching the family discuss whether Kim should be in Playboy or not (and she is in the December issue NSFW), the show is fun, but doesn't seem too scripted for a family that is as over the top as this one is.
Perhaps the best episode I caught was the episode that was filmed on the anniversary of Robert Kardashian's death. The episode had some very honest and very touching confessionals by each of the family members who were recounting the memories they had about their father.
It was legitimately fascinating to watch the family look back on home videos they had with their late father and see what their lives were like in simpler times, before the sex tapes, celebutant status, and Hollywood scene took over their lives. I was really impressed with this episode, along with the preceding episodes that followed Kim's struggles with posing for Playboy magazine because of the relative honesty of each of the characters and exceptional editing that make the show work.
Keeping Up made it onto my DVR and but Life in the Fab Lane definitely did not and I recommend that you pass on that one too.
Friday, November 23, 2007
On Thanksgiving, I got into a conversation with an older parent of my friend's boyfriend about how visual our society has become. For him, he was referring to how President John F. Kennedy was helped by his dashing good looks during his run for the White House (this conversation started because I said that Barack Obama was "cool" and that I thought Hilary Clinton would benefit from doing the "Soulja Boy" dance during a stop on the campaign tour).
Of course, in my mind, I was thinking more about how most of my favorite celebrities and singers are incredibly hot. Case in point, my favorite celebrity and personality in all of Hollywood/Nashville is Carrie Underwood, who I believe to be the most physically flawless person to ever walk the planet. I love her music, but if I'm being honest, I know that it helps that I am cognizant of the fact that her face is singing it.
Taking into account that I am a guy and the fact that males are generally believed to be more visual than females, it works even more.
This got me to thinking, who are the hottest women on television today? Generally, I like to watch TV in silence, much like I watch sports. I don't like it when people talk, nor do I like missing things, then rewinding them on DVR to hear what the person said. I like to watch the show in its entirety and enjoy all of it, in the visual and auditory fun that is the marvelous invention of video.
However, I have narrowed it down to two actresses/characters who force me, a devout television silentist (kind of like a scientist, but without schooling, nor a lot of thinking...ok it just means I like it to be quiet when I watch TV) to repeatedly say, "Oh man, she is really freakin' hot" numerous times over the course of a single episode. I tried to stay away from extremely well known hotties (Grey's Anatomy's Katherine Heigl, rated 78 on AskMen.com) and perennial hotties (Ghost Whisperer's Jennifer Love Hewitt, rated 82 on AskMen.com) and came away with two very different actresses who I believe manage to steal all the eyeballs that advertisers are drooling over every second they're on screen, or in the latter's case, off the screen.
Chyler Leigh (Lexie Grey on Grey's Anatomy)
Not only is Lexie Grey hot, but she's intelligent and quirky in a way that is neither annoying, nor forced upon viewers. After seeing Chyler on Grey's this season, I realized that Lexie Grey is pretty much the closest thing that we'll ever see to Jennifer Love Hewitt's character from Party of Five, Sarah Reeves, interning her life away in Seattle hospital during a second season of her quickly cancelled spinoff Time of Your Life. Both brunettes use similar speech (in terms of intonation), speak simply, yet with a decent amount of intelligence, tell it like it is when they have to, are naturally beautiful, and are impossible not to look at while they're on screen. Ok and really, they just kind of look like each other.
Maybe it's just me.
Because she's hot.
Kidding. Because she's really a strong actress with just the right about of... dare I say it... cuteness to make her lovable and not over the top-quirky-annoying...like I believe some of the characters are on Grey's. So Chyler Leigh, you are hot.
Kristen Bell - (Elle on Heroes, the voice of Gossip Girl on Gossip Girl)
And to me, that is Kristen Bell. First, she's blonde and I have always had an affinity for brunettes. Second, she's really not THAT hot based on physical appearance alone (AskMen.com gave her a 74).
Sure, there are other hotties - Olivia Wilde from House, M.D., Autumn Reeser from The OC (if this show was still on, she'd be a top 2), Becki Newton from Ugly Betty come to mind - but these two stuck out to me as the perfect balance of looks and compelling television character that make them absolutely impossible not to notice while they're on screen.
If anyone says looks don't matter on television, it's because they don't watch television.
Monday, November 12, 2007
The Hills came back in a big way on Monday night by focusing on the characters that loyal fans are most interested in, Lauren Conrad and Heidi Montag. With the introduction of one of the weirdest characters in beautiful-people, semi-scripted reality world history in Audrina's boyfriend Justin Bobby and the relatively pointless dragging storyline surrounding Lauren and on-again, off-again bff Brody Jenner, Season 3 of MTV's most popular show has ultimately been a disappointment so far. Why? Because we've come to expect more.
This season, episode after episode trudges on, and really, not a whole lot happens. Cliffhangers have been few and far between and the fact that Lauren Conrad is no longer "just a girl," but one of Hollywood's better known faces makes her less of the clearcut protagonist that she was in both preceding seasons of the show. There are moments when we're left thinking, "Hey, maybe she's not right this time around..." It's a fairly simple show and when you lose sight of the "good guys," it makes the storylines less effective, which has really hurt Season 3 in my mind.
Somehow, someway, and thankfully, The Hills brought it back this past Monday night by bringing the show back to its roots - drama, brutally blunt honesty, and profound poetic statements with simple words and matching sentence structures that are just simple enough to appear completely genuine. Instead of focusing on how awkward Audrina is, the funny faces Whitney makes, how not cool Justin Bobby acts around strangers, or how wasted Lauren can get, "Forgive and Forget" focused on the relationship between former roommates turned arch-nemeses Lauren and Heidi.
Season 3 started off with a bang that was really satisfying to watch. MTV didn't try and dodge the Lauren Conrad sex tape rumors that were circulating before the new season aired, nor did the network pretend that its audience wasn't hip to one of the juiciest gossip stories around Hollywood. In a move that not only gave credit to its audience, but provided fuel for what has otherwise been a relatively uneventful season, MTV tackled the story head on in the season premiere. After hearing that Heidi, along with her boyfriend Spencer were behind the sex tape rumors surrounding Lauren Conrad and now-Celebrity Rap Superstar emcee Jason Wahler ("I'm a baaalllerrrrr, JASON Waaaaaaaahlerrrr!!!"), Lauren screamed out against Heidi in a rage that had gone unseen through two seasons of The Hills and another two seasons of Laguna Beach, "YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID!!!!" in a television moment that will never be forgotten by fans of the show. Season 3 was alive and well...for a minute.
After starting at the highest of highs, Season 3 was fizzling by the episode. After yet another uneventful episode where we watched Lauren and Whitney take people to their seats at the Teen Vogue Young Hollywood party, MTV chose the best possible moment to bring the drama that is Lauren and Heidi back to the small screen. And in the best five minutes that the show has seen all season long, The Hills returned to its truest form, a triumphant return to brutal dialogue and reactions shots that is most effectively told through quotations from the show's main character Lauren Conrad during these five glorious minutes.
Blunt honesty: "You're lying to me."
Simple words, complex phrases: "Don't look at me and tell me that you don't know, because you know."
Confusing, yet profound and thoughtful life philosophies: "I think you know that Spencer did this and I think you don't want to believe it because you love him and I understand that. Because sometimes, when you love someone, you want to believe they're good."
Things that make you go "hmm...": "Heidi, sometimes whether you did something or did nothing, it's just as bad."
Questions that cannot be answered: "How can you hate someone so much that you literally want to make them wish they were dead?"
With yet another fitting song by Los Angeles singer/songwriter Alissa Moreno acting as the background music to one of the season's darkest, yet brightest moments, Lauren unleashed the second best line of the season:
"The only thing really that there is to do is to forgive and forget. So I really do, I want to forgive you.... And I want to forget you."
Say what you will about The Hills - the fact that it's more than semi-scripted and doesn't really contribute a whole lot to society apart from showing people my age some cool places to eat and go on dates - but when The Hills is good, it's really good. The looks of death that Conrad burned through Montag's skull go beyond anything that has ever been seen on The OC, Dawson's Creek, or even Grey's Anatomy, because the anger is genuine. Gossip Girl, while it reigns as television's newest guilty pleasure on the CW, would kill to create one second of the tension that The Hills managed to create on Monday night because of how surprisingly well the characters have been developed through two short seasons of 30 minute episodes.
For a brief glimpse, The Hills was back and it was glorious.