Thursday, December 27, 2007

RT Editors' Best Movie Picks of 2007

I've decided that I'm going to post Rotten Tomatoes links that are relevant to me (translation: I helped write them) up here because Rotten Tomatoes is indeed the inspiration behind the name of this blog.

Check out RT Editors' Best Movie Picks of 2007! I'm all the way on Page 4.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Rotten Tomatoes Presents: 12 Days of Christmas Movies

I know this is movie-related rather than television, but I'd love for everyone to check out RT Presents 12 Days of Christmas Movies over at Rotten Tomatoes.

It's my first feature for Rotten Tomatoes and I'd love for everyone to check it out! Happy holidays!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Lauren Conrad's "Big Secret?" - The Hills: Season 3 Isn't Over

Let's start this out by disclosing that I had to read online about this "big secret" revealed earlier this week on what was scheduled to be the season finale's after show of MTV's most watched show The Hills, starring Lauren Conrad, of Laguna Beach fame.

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.

Happy Holidays by the way, everyone.

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.
From the personal collection

It's funny, but after five years on reality television, the connection that viewers seem to have with Lauren Conrad seems to go beyond that of what viewers have with characters on a scripted television show. While I feel like so much of this can be attributed to the demographic of people who watched 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.

Keeps it poppin' in the hood.

At a larger level, as a reality TV lover, how do I feel about the programming that's just over the horizon as a result of the writer's strike?

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


For those of you who are in daily contact with me, you know that this hasn't been the easiest weekend in my real, non-blogging life.

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.

Nicole Richie: Dad is an R&B legend. Dating Joel Madden of crappy band Good Charlotte. Former bff of fellow celebutante Paris Hilton. Co-star of reality TV show.

Taking Hollywood by storm lately is a relatively recent phenomenon known as "celebutantes." Not familiar with the term? Our good friends over at defined it as such:

"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.'"

Brody Jenner: Dad was an Olympic speed skater. Stepmom is fellow celebutant Kim Kardashian's mother. Brody himself dated reality TV near-celebutante Lauren Conrad and he is a supporting star on two separate reality shows.

These hybrid debutante/celebrity types pretty much spend their days partying and being out and about at the hottest of hot spots in Los Angeles. People can pretend that celebutantes spend their days in Manhattan, but it's in L.A. that these pseudo-celebs really make a name for themselves at spots like Hyde, Area, Roosevelt Hotel, and TMZ-hot spot Les Deux, which has the most famous and violent parking lot in the whole world. Celebutantes are rich, fabulous, famous, and they get to hang out with celebrities, not necessarily because they're very talented, but more because their families are wealthy and they're good looking. However, I'm not one of these people who hate celebutantes, as I actually feel like they are constantly working for their publicity to the point that it's actually a pretty fascinating look at PR to see how they manage to stay in the spotlight.

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.

Paris Hilton: Hotel heiress, former bff of fellow celebutante Nicole Richie, sex tape superstar, reality TV show star.
(You have no idea how hard it is to find a picture of her that won't get me kicked off Blogger)

What I liken the life of a celebutante to is that it is like living The Real World as your real life. Obviously, without the studio funding, it is up to you, as the "actor" in your one man reality show to find a "house," new people to hang out with, and interesting things to do so that people will watch you. You don't have the benefit of a TV show, nor a makeup crew, so you have to look your best and you absolutely have to make the best use of the paparazzi, sex tapes, and rumor mills to make sure that you make your reality show a top reality show.

Kim Kardashian found her second family on the celebutante scene

On the season finale of my new favorite reality show 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.