Could've Been Obama

It’s not easy following up Darrell Hammond and Will Ferrell, playing two of the most easily caricatured presidents we’ll ever know – reviews for Fred Armisen’s take on President-elect Barack Obama rate him in the serviceable/middle of the road range at this early stage, and Obama’s relatively gaffe free run up to the presidency hasn’t helped Saturday Night Live in providing comedic bullet points to hone in on. The Daily Beast retracted some speculative talk in a piece last week alleging that Armisen might ousted as SNL’s resident Obama, though they’d already done the legwork in identifying some names (with video) that once reportedly auditioned to fill the Loren Michael’s now long-term need. If you want to daydream in an alternate sketch comedy universe or dabble in fanfic, the comedians reportedly up for consideration were: Jordan Carlos (Colbert Report), Donald Glover (writer – 30 Rock); Wyatt Cenac (The Daily Show), and Jordan Peele (Chocolate News, MADtv). (via Slog)

Related, unaired sketch: Andy Samberg as Obama’s new Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. (Thompson on Hollywood)

Posted by Ted Zee on November 25th 2008 | 1 Comment

Quantum Intro

Opening titles for Quantum of Solace. Music: “Another Way to Die” by Alicia Keys and Jack White. Sequence by Kansas City based design house MK12 (previous works: The Kite Runner and Stranger Than Fiction).

Related: Quantum typography (Goldenfiddle)

Posted by Ted Zee on November 24th 2008 | 1 Comment

Bloodthirsty Ratings


Is it a Twilight trickle down? True Blood, which from the onset seemed like too niche of a concept to attract more than a cult following of subscribers, has shown a 66 percent upswing in viewers since its September debut, and the vampire soap-thriller has now become HBO’s most popular series since Sex and the City and The Sopranos, says the Associated Press. In fact, the cable network claims that True Blood is outperforming The Sopranos in terms of first season audience growth rate. Though the season one finale aired this Sunday – Alan Ball, Stephen Moyer, Anna Paquin and the rest of the cast are already grinding out production for a second season, tentatively scheduled for next summer. (via NYT)

Posted by Ted Zee on November 23rd 2008 | 0 Comments

Sesame Street Presents: 30 Rocks

“This is cute and all, but where’s my bumpkin savant NBC page? What’s a backstage scene without the Bad Boy of Comedy slash paranoid schizophrenic pornographic video game entrepreneur?” – My imaginary kid’s words, not mine (via TV Squad)

Posted by Ted Zee on November 23rd 2008 | 3 Comments

Wall-E Words


Original story by Andrew Stanton and Pete Docter, screenplay by Stanton and Jim Reardon – the complete Wall-E script (PDF). (via Kottke)

Posted by Ted Zee on November 23rd 2008 | 11 Comments

Trailer: Adventureland


Retro mid-eighties coming-of-working-age, written and directed by Greg Mottola (Superbad), staring Jesse Eisenberg (The Squid and the Whale) and Kristen Stewart (Twilight). Scheduled release: March 27, 2009.

Adventureland trailer

Posted by Ted Zee on November 23rd 2008 | 0 Comments

Recent Departures

ABC has opted to cancel orders for new episodes of Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money, and Eli Stone, but will air the remaining eps for each. (Nikki Finke)

Because everything around here is measured in terms of how it can be related to Six Feet Under and its Fischer family alums – we note that Peter Krause (Dirty Sexy Money) joins Lauren Ambrose in the now series-less category (her Return of Jezebel James was cancelled after three episodes), though we’re pulling for quick recoveries for the both of them. On the rosier side, Michael C. Hall’s Dexter keeps plugging away, and was just recently renewed for fourth and fifth seasons. (EW )

Posted by Ted Zee on November 21st 2008 | 1 Comment

Trailer: Mickey Rourke in Aronofsky's The Wrestler


Call it a comeback. Darren Aronofsky could use a free pass after The Fountain, as misunderstood as it was. Mickey Rourke’s need for one is a given, but both he and the The Wrestler just might shock the world. 109 minutes of that weathered mug of his is worth two stars alone. Features Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood. Scheduled release: December 17, 2008.

The Wrestler trailer

Posted by Ted Zee on November 21st 2008 | 4 Comments

Salon's Sexiest Men Living 2008


In the company of MC’s, novelists, indie rock poster boys, and President-elects – Robert Downey Jr. is Salon’s Sexiet Man Living. Michael Cera, Javier Bardem, Kal Penn, Gabriel Byrne, Tom Colicchio, Alexander Skarsgard, and Seth Myers also made the list.

Posted by Ted Zee on November 20th 2008 | 4 Comments

TV Briefing: Rashida, Poehler, Costanza, Runway


What we know about this 2009 Office spinoff: Rashida Jones has been confirmed by NBC as having joined the cast, along with Amy Poehler, and Human Giant’s Aziz Ansari, Rashida plays a nurse named Ann Logan, the series is considered a Poehler vehicle, and exec producers Greg Daniels and Mike Schur are Office alums but otherwise this is no real spinoff. First shooting is set for early next year, series launch would come around spring, posssibly fall. Knowing the foundation of the cast early on – on paper, this is looking something like a worldbeater. (Variety )

— Interview: Amy Poehler on her new web series geared towards teens and tweens, Smart Girls At The Party (via ProGrrl)

“It’s hard to imagine Jason Alexander killing 12 people, but that goes a little bit of distance of what we’re trying to show.” – a whole new George Costanza tonight on Criminal Minds

— The legal battle between Bravo, The Weinsteins, and Lifetime over Project Runway could last “well into the early spring before anything is decided,” though several episodes worth of competition footage for the new season are already in the can. Meanwhile, Bravo preps two new design competition shows, with or without Runway. (NYT)

Tough reality as recession hits unscripted shows (LAT)

Posted by Ted Zee on November 19th 2008 | 0 Comments

Who What When Where Why The Wild Things Are Late


If you’ve been keeping up with all the false starts and speculation regarding Spike Jonze and the Wild Things, but lamenting the lack of actual details from the source, AICN’s Moriarity sits with Jonze to talk (and talk and talk) over all the finer points of the drawn out production. The conversation covers more ground than you could have hoped for – from the Wild Thing costumes and effects angle, the Karen O score and James Gandolfini voice work, the IMDB message board war on unknown child star Max Records, and Spike’s mission impossible: meeting the expectations that go together with a multigenerational classic, and eschewing the commercially viable route in favor of a grown up, studio vexing picture. And it’s a year behind schedule.

Posted by Ted Zee on November 19th 2008 | 1 Comment

Seth Rogen Developing More Porno Themes for Showtime

Showtime has greenlit a project in development from Seth Rogen and his Superbad producing partner Evan Goldberg.  The two wil exec-produce the as-yet untitled series about “three twentysomethings who learn about life and love while running a pornography shop.” (Variety)

Posted by Ted Zee on November 18th 2008 | 1 Comment

15 Docs on Oscar Short List

Trailers for the 15 2008 documentaries on Oscar’s short list, to be cut down to the final five nominations (via Anne Thompson)

At the Death House Door
The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)
Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh
Encounters at the End of the World
The Garden
Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts
In a Dream
Made in America
Man on Wire
Pray the Devil Back to Hell
Standard Operating Procedure
They Killed Sister Dorothy
Trouble the Water

Posted by Ted Zee on November 18th 2008 | 0 Comments

Biggest Being the Operative Word

Not the best, not the smartest, not the most entertaining – the U.K.’s Times Online compiled 50 picks for next year’s blockbusters and highest grosses. Pink Panther 2 leans up against the final spot (only 50 pictures to be released in 09?), with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince up top.

The 50 Biggest Movies of 2009 – Times Online (via Screengrab)

Posted by Ted Zee on November 17th 2008 | 2 Comments

The World of Merchandising is Yours

Excerpts from Vulture’s interview with culture critic Ken Burns on his new book, and the indelible effect on pop culture and flea-market entrepreneurship of Scarface, in Scarface Nation: The Ultimate Gangster Movie and How It Changed America

Why was the Scarface cast and crew so reluctant to discuss its influence?
I think their interpretation of its acceptance in pop culture is that it somehow tarnishes the movie and they can’t understand that it’s what keeps it alive. I think they really ought to loosen up and embrace it. They should own their Scarface.

You wrote that De Palma has been repeatedly pitched by rappers looking to re-score Scarface with hip-hop. Sounds like a good idea, given Georgio Moroder’s awful disco-synth soundtrack.
He hates the idea and has refused to allow that to happen. He thinks [the old score] captures the period, and while he’s very glad that hip-hop musicians love this movie, he thinks it would ruin his great creation.

You’re also a music critic. It seems hip-hop has moved away a bit from the Scarface paradigm, what with 50 Cent selling water and all that.
I think that the business rules of Scarface provided a business model ten years ago for a lot of hip-hop artists, but now those kinds of showy exhibitionist displays of wealth are considered both bad form and bad business, and we’re entering the post-Scarface era of music economics.

Posted by Ted Zee on November 14th 2008 | 0 Comments

Pushing Daisies Teetering

Fall casualties: (NBC) My Own Worst Enemy, Lipstick Jungle, (Fox) Do Not Disturb, MADtv, (CBS) The Ex List, (FX) The Riches (ABC) …Pushing Daisies? The series survived the strike hiatus but prospects have dimmed after a rocky fall relaunch. Preempts for The CMA’s this week and Dancing With the Stars last week couldn’t possibly help. If it truly goes under, a consolation prize for fans of the underappreciated critical favorite could come in comic book form, says showrunner Bryan Fuller, so, there’s that. (Variety)

Posted by Ted Zee on November 14th 2008 | 2 Comments

Criterion S-S-S-Super Sale

criterion sale

Received an email this afternoon noting that The Criterion Collection is having a 40 percent off sale on all their currently in-stock items – DVD’s, clothing, posters, and knick knacks – until Monday, November 24th, at midnight. Free shipping on orders over 50 dollars.

Note: I received no compensation for passing this on, though I wouldn’t kick an early Ozu box set out of bed if it were to mysteriously appear either.

Posted by Ted Zee on November 13th 2008 | 1 Comment

SNL Adds Two More Newbies

Defamer reports that while the entirety of the MAD TV staff was placed on permanent leave yesterday, Saturday Night Live picked up two female castmates in Abby Elliot (offspring of alum Chris) and Michaela Watkins to make up for the recent losses of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Two more getting the trial by fire treatment while Casey Wilson and Bobby Moynihan have yet to show a breakthrough performance or earn a signature role. Godspeed, young ones. (via Mr. Weatherbee’s)

Posted by Ted Zee on November 13th 2008 | 0 Comments


Ingredients: 200 Toshiba Gigashot cameras (highest number of moving image cameras ever used in a film sequence), custom rig weighing half a metric ton, 20 terrabytes of data.  Add Crystal Castles.  Add Flashdance reference.  Add sporty spices.  Add target demo participants.  Shoot.  Edit.  Broadcast.

Details (via Engadget)

Posted by Ted Zee on November 12th 2008 | 0 Comments

Dancer in the Dark TV Repair

Bjork clears up any confusion you may have had (via Gizmodo)

Posted by Ted Zee on November 11th 2008 | 1 Comment