Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I Just Love 30 Rock

The following isn't so much a viral video as a dark mirror reflecting my extraordinarily awkward future. Well, clearly I won't have that much hair but otherwise. Or maybe it's a strong case for keeping the elderly off the internet... or protecting them from nursing home abuse. I guess it could be NBC's new, terrifying, low-budget marketing campaign.

Lemon out!

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Pop Cultured PSA: Get your Swine Flu Shot.

Don't end up like Dottie.

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American Idol Top 5 - Rat Pack Standards

It's Rat Pack week on Idol and it's a bit of a mixed bag. On the upside: I enjoyed all the performances to some extent, Lil is still gone, and there are some great song choices. The not so good: the judges were on crack tonight. I've never disagreed with them more. Also, for the first time on Idol the Top 5 only performed one song a piece, leading to the most padded performance show ever. Seriously we got like 25 minutes of Jamie Foxx, because as Kris so succinctly put it, "all those rat pack people are... dead." The more cynical part of me thinks that the producers didn't want to count on this group of five learning two numbers in a week, which makes me curious as to what will happen at Top 4, when it should also be two apiece, and Top 3 & Top 2, when it should be three apiece each show.

With that said, here's my take. This..... is American Idol... after the jump!

Kris Allen - "The Way You Look Tonight": Jamie lets us know that Kris isn't trying to sing "the throat olympics." I have to say upfront I have a serious soft spot for this song. Lots of reviews I've read online say this performance bothered them because it was too slow, but I was swooning the whole way through. I love the uptempo switch in the middle. Kris is spot on with pitch. He looks insanely hot in his little suit. The only fault I can find in it is the final note, which he flubs, though he looks like he knows he flubs it. Overall, he shows surprising range and really makes the most of the song. Randy says it's his "best performance to date" and that he "told a story" with "mad, nice vocals." Kara calls him a "dark horse" and compliments his "diction." Heh. Oh horny, Kara.  Simon thinks it's "wet" and I think the audience certainly is. 

Prognosis: This is a hard one to call because if Simon hadn't panned it I'd say Kris is safe for sure, but he's the only judge people actually listen to. Though he does occasionally hate on a contestant to rally support for them. 

Allison Iraheta - "Someone to Watch Over Me": Allison low-lighted her hair! It looks so good. Thank you stylists for finally making her not look insane. Jamie tells her she's too young to be in love and asks her if she's "twelve or thirteen." She says she's "about five." She then laughs at herself all embarrassed. Heh. I love her. Her performance is stellar. She belts out this motherfucker. Lots of solid glory notes and raspiness. It's so funny to see the transition between Performance Allison and Normal Allison. She's so in control of the stage when she's singing and as soon as she's done she is awkward as hell. Randy & Kara pimp her out, though I don't know that saying they aren't "nervous for her anymore" helps at all. I mean... they want people to vote for her right?  Paula is proud of her "alluring and tender" performance. Simon asks if she thinks she can win and Allison give the diplomatic we-all-can answer. Which, no. Anyone but Matt Giraud could conceivably win. Simon thinks she's in danger tonight. Reverse pimpage? Allison hate? Insanity? Who knows.
Prognosis: Almost certainly in the Bottom 2. If she is after that performance I don't know that she has a chance in hell to make it to the finals. 

Matt Giraud - "My Funny Valentine": The growth is covered by a hat. That's a thing. Jamie advises him not to only sing the song in false and to stop doing runs all over the place, which THANK GOD someone told him that. So I'm trying something new which is closing my eyes when he sings to see if it's just his face that makes me hate him. Seriously, he is a level of fugly that makes me happy I don't get FOX in HD. I don't know how people looking at him in 1080i can take it.  This performance is all over the place.  Some of the notes sound astoundingly good and others are really flat. There's a depth missing from his lower register that's really noticeable. Randy calls it "pitchy" and says that some of the runs didn't come together. Kara "didn't feel he was emotionally connected." Paula "felt the connection" and heard "a different side of Matt." Those pills must be fantastic. Simon disagrees with Randy and at this point I can only assume he's trying to lull voters into a sense of complacency because I have never disagreed with him this much. 
Progonosis: Better than last week. Who knows what the Simon pimpage will do? 

Danny Gokey - "Come Rain or Come Shine": Jamie gets all up in Danny's grill and really freaks him out and somehow that makes him a better performer? *sigh* We couldn't have two numbers instead of this clip package? Danny's lost the stubble and looks a little more Stay-Pufty than usual. I can't tell if these glasses are new or not. Too many pairs to keep track of at this point. The vocal is solid but he really just stands there awkwardly for most of it until he takes the mic of the stand and gets his Taylor Hicks on and semi-struts for the last 30 seconds or so. The whole thing was... serviceable? Randy says he could "have an album of songs like that," which I guess is true but who would buy that. He tops it off by point out that "[he] can sing!" Setting the bar a bit low there no? Kara says she's been missing that "rat pack swagger" and jizzes in her pants. He was less douche-y during the judges comments this week. So yay? 
Prognosis: Perfectly safe, in spite of the performance. Getting rid of this douche is going to be a job of work and likely won't happen until Top 2. I'm praying for an upset but there's a large segment of Jesus-freak haus-fraus that will continue to vote for him because of his shameless sob story and the blatant judge pimping. At this point I can only assume the judges want him in the finals because he's going to lose to whoever they push him up against. The Danny vote is strong but the Anti-Danny vote is going to be way stronger. 

Adam Lambert - "Feelin' Good": So Adam is coming out with a "rock edge." Adam also comments on Jaime Foxx being "three feet" from his face, so we know he's a close talker for sure. God. This performance... I don't know how to put it into words. He descends on that staircase in that white suit with the crazy spotlights. It's insanely theatrical. It's like it's ripped from a Madonna tour or something... but with singing. So much swagger. So much tranny fierceness. Seriously. It's like his whole performance is a giant "Yes. I'm really, really gay." to America. The arrangement itself isn't so much a song as a framework for super-gay vocal acrobatics. There's an insane glory note with a 360 crane pan around his head. Afterwards the judges look DEEPLY confused and I love it! Randy calls it "a little too Broadway for him." Kara's "mouth drops open" and is anyone surprised by that? Certainly not Giraud. Paula calls him Michael Phelps and I momentarily miss his abs. Simon says that complaining about Adam being theatrical "is like complaining that a cow moos." 
Prognosis: He's fine for tonight but at some point he's going to have to start singing songs again because I think the super-theatrical, vocal acrobatics might just cost him in the finals.

Who should go?: Matt or Danny, I really couldn't care less
Who will go?: Probably Matt, maybe Allison. Though I voted like hell for that girl. 

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Quick Warning to America

Okay kids. This is how it's gonna go down. Tonight is the American Idol Top 5 and it's down to Glambert, Kris, Allison, Wife Killer, and Fat JT. Sadly vote for the worst is living up to it's name and supporting Matt Giraud tonight.

So here's the deal. No matter what the performances are like tonight, no matter what the judges babble on about, this is what matters tonight: Allison's in danger. Adam and Kris are very likely fine. Seriously. Trust me on this one. Vote for Allison so that Matt or, by some miracle, Danny go home. Please. I'll love you forever.

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Drop Dead Fred remake? Really?

Why? Why? Why would Universal studios feel it was necessary to spend perfectly good money in order to remake a really crappy movie from the 90s? I mean, my God, if they really wanted to make a sequel to Drop Dead Fred, that would be one thing, but to just try it again because it didn’t work the first time? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I dragged my parents to see that POS movie in the theater back in ’91, but I recall them hating it, and frankly I don’t remember liking it THAT much. Sure, I watched it on HBO or Showtime a few hundred times, and since it came out around the same time as “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead,” my dad decided to name the film “Drop Dead Fred the Babysitter’s Dead.” Both films are still known by that one title in our house. We’re a strange family.

I don’t really understand the theory behind the film remake, sure I go and see them occasionally, but only if it’s a remake of something that has a concept worth revamping—Ocean’s Eleven seemed to work, and I personally enjoyed the Coen Brothers’ version of the Ladykillers, but apparently I’m the only one.

Anyway, I know that there are plenty of screenwriters working on screenplays out in LA, because they are always at the Starbucks and the Coffee Bean typin’ away… I really think we should give a few of them a shot instead of wasting the movie going world’s time with crap like this.

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This guy went to my High School!

Also, it's a pretty funny little advertisement.

Hellz yeah, GHS!

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Serial Killers & Barry Manilow

So after referencing the "pussy willows" scene from Serial Mom, whilst talking to Laura about Kathleen Turner online, I decided to see what clips I could find online... and oh what I found. The Serial Mom - Daybreak murder montage, combining three great loves of mine, serial killers, Kathleen Turner and Barry Manilow.

This movie, and I would imagine this goes for Laura as well, is one of the several dozen that seemed to come on HBO endlessly when I was a kid. Other examples of this phenomenon include Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Groundhog Day, Troll 2, Batman & Robin, and that one zombie movie where the girl sticks safety pins in her skin. An aside on top of an aside: Laura just called me, even though we were previously chatting online, to inform me that the Family Matters/Full House crossover episode was on ABC Family. Wow. So, the point of all this yammering is that I know Serial Mom and a bunch of other trash movies by heart. Thanks cable and social anxiety disorder!

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Swine Flu, Everybody Panic!

Since there's literally nothing on the internet this week that doesn't have to do with Susan Boyle or the coming swine flu apocalypse I thought we should all take a moment to reflect on these words from the only expert on pigs I know.

Miss Piggy Sings "I Will Survive" 

In the event that this whole thing wipes out the human race... well there will be no one left to judge that this is in poor taste.

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Look Around You!

Oh how I love "Look Around You."

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Thank you for being a friend!!

David informed me this afternoon that one of my favorite actresses passed away. Bea Arthur was a "Golden" Goddess of comedy, and she will be missed. Since I couldn't decide on only one video to post, I chose several that showcase some highlights of her extensive career.

Videos after the jump.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009


This isn’t really pop culturey, but very important nonetheless. I don’t know if any of you have been keeping up with the Roxana Saberi story, but I’ll fill you in on the jist of it, and you can read more about it here.

Roxana, a former Miss North Dakota and journalist, is of Iranian and Japanese descent, and has been living in Iran for the past few years with her companion Bahman Ghobadi. Ghobadi is a famous and somewhat contraverisal Kurdish Iranian filmmaker. Roxana was arrested in January, and has been incarcerated ever since. On April 18, 2009 she was convicted of espionage and sentenced to 8 years in prison.

I had the pleasure of screening some of Ghobadi’s films this summer while working at the Flaherty Film Seminar (where I took the posted photos), and I also had the pleasure of communicating with Roxana briefly over Skype. Ghobadi was supposed to be a featured filmmaker at the seminar, but due to issues with his work visa, he was unable to attend. The program would not have been complete without Ghobadi’s films, so even though he not attend, we viewed his films and he and Roxana discussed them with the seminar participants via Skype. Also, I was lucky enough to be working in the office when we first started working out the logistics of the seminar-wide Skype, so I was able to say a quick hello.

I’ve been following this story closely since I first heard about it, and yesterday Bahman Ghobadi wrote an open letter about the situation, so I thought I’d share it and the website on the blog.

Anyway, I’m really hoping Barack and Hillary can fix this situation, because things like this really shouldn’t happen to good people.

The text of Ghobadi’s letter is after the jump.

"To Roxana Saberi, Iranian with an American passport"

If I kept quiet until now, it was for her sake. If today I speak, it is for her sake.

She is my friend, my fiancée, an
d my companion. An intelligent and talented young woman, whom I have always admired.

It was the 31st of January. The day of my birthday. That morning, she called to say she would pick me up so we would go out together. She never came. I called on her mobile, but it was off, and for two-three days I had no idea what had happened to her. I went to her apartment, and since we had each other's keys, I went in, but she wasn't there. Two days later, she called and said: "Forgive me my dear; I had to go to Zahedan." I got angry: why hadn't she said anything to me? I told her I didn't believe her, and again she said: "Forgive me my dear, I had to go." And the line was cut. I waited for her to call back. But she didn't call back. She didn't call back.
I left for Zahedan. I looked for her in every hotel, but nobody had ever heard her name. For ten days, thousands of wild thoughts came to my mind. Until I learned, through her father, she had been arrested. I thought it was a joke.

I thought it was a misunderstanding and that she would be released after two or three days. But days went by and I had no news from her. I started to worry and knocked on every door for help, until I understood what had happened.

It is with tears in my eyes that I say she is innocent and guiltless. It is me, who has known her for years, and shared every moment with her, who declares it. She was always busy reading and doing her research. Nothing else. During all these years I've known her, she wouldn't go anywhere without letting me know, nor would do anything without asking my advice. To her friends, her family, everyone that surrounded her, she had given no signs of unreasonable behavior. How come someone who would spend days without going out of her apartment, except to see me; someone who, like a Japanese lady, would carefully spend her money, and had sometimes trouble making a living; someone who was looking for a sponsor to get in contact with a local publisher so her book would be printed here (in Iran); could now be charged with a spying accusation?! We all know – no, we have all seen in movies – that spies are malicious and sneaky, that they peep around for information, and that they are very well paid.
And now my heart is full of sorrow. Because it is me who incited her to stay here. And now I can't do anything for her. Roxana wanted to leave Iran. I kept her from it.
At the beginning of our relationship, she wanted to go back to the United States. She would have liked us to go together. But I insisted for her to stay until my new film was over. She really wanted to leave Iran. And I kept her from it. And now I am devastated, for it is because of me she has been subject to these events. These past years, I have been subject to a serious depression. Why? Because my movie had been banned, and released on the black market. My next movie was not given an authorization, and I was forced to stay at home. If I've been able to stand it until today, it is thanks to the presence and help that she provided me with.
Since I had no authorization for my last movie, I was nervous and ill-tempered. And she was always there to calm me down.
Roxana wanted to leave Iran. I kept her from it. She is the one who took care of me while I was depressed. Then I convinced her to stay, I wanted her to write the book she had started in her head. I accompanied her, and thanks to my friends and contacts, I knocked on every door and was able to set up meetings with film makers, artists, sociologists, politics, and others. I would go with her myself.
She was absorbed by her book, to the point that she could stay and bear it all, until my film would be finished, and we would leave together.
Roxana's book was a praise to Iran. The manuscripts exist, and it will certainly be published one day, and all will see it. But why have they said nothing? All those who have talked, worked and sat with her, and who know how guiltless she is.

I am writing this letter for I am worried about her. I am worried about her health. I heard she was depressed and cried all the time. She is very sensitive. To the point she refuses to touch her food.
My letter is a desperate call to all statesmen and politics, and to all those who can do something to help. From the other side of the ocean, the Americans have protested against her imprisonment, because she is an American citizen. But I say no, she is Iranian, and she loves Iran. I beg you, let her go! I beg you not to throw her in the midst of you political games! She is too weak and too pure to take part in your games. Let me be present at her trial, sit next to her wise father and gentle mother, and testify she is without guilt or reproach.

However, I am optimistic about her release, and I firmly hope the verdict will be cancelled in the next stage of the trial.

My Iranian girl with Japanese eyes and an American ID, is in jail. Shame on me! Shame on us!

Bahman Ghobadi

April 21st, 2009.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

American Idol Top 7 Part Deux - Disco Week

American Idol continues marching towards an inevitable Adam Lambert / Danny Gokey finale showdown that will surprise no one. (Spoiler alert!: Tranny Glambert's going to narrowly beat out the portly religious dude with the dead lady friend.) In the meantime this week brings all sorts of train-wrecky goodness to distract us from how stale and pitchy this season is as a whole: Double-Elimination Disco Week!

Yes Disco is terrifying and this would all be a lot more fun if it was Bee Gees week. Side rant! Frankly this entire season has had a dearth of overly restrictive themes which force contestants to rework music in interesting ways. I mean if Adam can get away with "Play that Funky Music White Boy" on "iTunes Top Downloads Week" then you've effectively made the theme "Songs that Exist." The same can be said for "Songs from the Year You Were Born" or "Songs from Movies." I'm sure no one was like "I can only pick songs from movies?!? what will I do?!?" End of Side Rant!

My Take on the Disco Week Performances and who is going home after the jump.

Lil Rounds: She screams out "I'm Every Woman." Well, she found a wig that works for her. But she still makes me wish this show had those red X's to stop a performance like America's Got Talent. Paula says she tapped into her "inner goddess" but didn't hit the "boiling point." Best part of the performance: Lil's seriously ghetto mother yelling at the judges during her critique. 

Prognosis: Goodbye, "Little" Rounds. 

Kris Allen: Outside of his INSANELY awkward banter moment with Ryan, his version of "She Works Hard for the Money" is pure sex and an example of the kind of retooling of songs this show is meant to be about. Also he gives us his weird jaw unhinging face again and I find myself thinking he looks kind of like a cartoon baby dinosaur. Having read that back I don't know what it means but it's totally my response. Kara uses the phrase "four on the floor" and sounds competent for a moment. Paula talks about Kris shopping in the women's department.
Prognosis: My favorite of the night.

Danny Gokey: He gets up and cheeses Earth, Wind, and Fire's "September." Really world? This guy would make a great wedding singer. Why do the judges like him? He's the fatter, less charismatic second coming of Taylor Hicks, a man who can't sell out a free concert despite winning American Idol only 3 years ago. Infinite HATE! 
Prognosis: You know he's safe but I'd watch another week of Lil just to see this smug fucker booted the week after the judges save is used. 

Allison Ihareta: So she comes out and does a dark, pop-rock version of "Hot Stuff," wearing a bonkers outfit that makes her look like a hooker while covering every inch of her body. There's white leather, there's giant bands of rhinestones, and I'm loving it. Her vocals are throaty and fun and while she still isn't living up to my hopes for her it's fun and entertaining.  If she makes it to the end with Adam it would be the most Frankentranny Fabulous Idol Finale ever. 
Prognosis: I'd say she's safe but I love her so I assume she's going thanks to Fat Justin Timberlake's save forcing a double elimination.

Adam Lambert: Glambert slows down and tranny screeches out "If I Can't Have You" and it's just ridiculous. I love him but this did nothing for me, but it makes Paula cry and shake. Kara says he looks like "the guy from Saturday Night Live meets Clark Kent," which.... uh yeah. Paula "never questions her visceral response" when she sees him sing and "feels his pain."
Prognosis: Only person safe tonight. Also, what's going on here does America not see how ridiculously gay he is? 

Matt Giraud: Holy god. "Staying Alive," no really. It's worse than you think. I give him props for covering up the conjoined twin remnants on his forehead with a hat. Well played, Timberlike. Randy hates it but says Matt "can sing," which I guess is good. Paula says Matt "picks songs like [she] bowls."  
Prognosis: Bottom 3 for sure.

Anoop Desai: Poor Anoop. I'm just so done with you now. His "Dim All the Lights" comes across like a really pitchy slow dance at a gay club. Do. Not. Want. Randy points out that it's "a little bit of a rough last note" because it was death set to music.  Kara thinks it sounds like it could be on the radio and I'm suddenly wondering if she's paying attention at all.  Paula continues her obsession with men in lady clothes by saying "real men know how to wear pink" also she says he has.... "beautiful teeth." Clearly a stellar performance.
Prognosis: Epic FAIL! 

Who should go home? Anoop/Lil 
Who will go home? Probably Lil/Anoop, though Matt and Allison aren't looking so good
Best possible outcome to make the judges go crazy? Dial Idol says it's a 7-way tie right now and a Danny/Kris double boot would make Paula kill herself on live TV.

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Clearly I've raised the procrastination bar to a new level since I've posted more today than in the past 2, maybe 3 months, but this is absolutely brilliant and it has Muppets in it, so I felt obligated to share it on Popcultured.

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Yep, I'm buying this.

Trailer for Wii version of Ghostbusters Videogame:

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New Miss Moron USA, such as, the Miss California

So this is my reaction to the whole Miss USA/Perez Hilton controversy, and it’s pretty much in response to her MSNBC interview (video above), so if you don’t watch the video, you probably won’t understand this post. I digress.

An Open Letter to Miss California USA:

Dear Miss California USA,

It really takes a lot for me to be on the side of Perez Hilton (mostly because my blog isn’t nearly as popular as his—I kid, I kid), but you, Miss California managed to do just that. I’d really go so far as to say that you DID, in fact give the WORST pageant answer EVER-- taking that crown from Miss Teen USA South Carolina. Being a South Carolinian, I guess I should really thank you.

There are few words or names that offend me like the “c-word,” it’s a horrible term on so many levels. However, from the little I’ve learned about you (from this video and from your pageant answer), you totally embody every negative connotation that that word brings to mind.

You constantly say that you were just “standing up for what you believe in.” It comes off as holier than thou and frankly it’s total BS. Standing by your principles isn’t necessarily a good thing, Hitler stood up for what he believed in, too. And you know what Miss California, you should feel sorry for Perez Hilton, he doesn’t have the same basic rights as you, simply because of his sexual orientation. Also, I’m sure he appreciates you praying for him, though I suspect you are lying.

I love it that minute you say you haven’t really gotten any hate, and received tons of support for standing up for your principles, then next minute you refer to this controversy as “an attack.” Give me a break lady. You decided to “not be politically correct,” and alienate millions of Americans with your hateful answer, deal with it, and do it with a Vaseline toothed smile.

I’m writing this, because, as you say, we’re all entitled to our own opinion, and my opinion of you and your beliefs is about as low as it gets.

All the Best,
Laura Major

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Shot heard 'round the world.

Today, April 19th, marks a very special day in American History. The first shot of the American Revolution was fired at Lexington and Concord exactly 234 years ago today. I just thought I'd give you a little edumacation on this fine Sunday evening.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Fooled by Arctic Fowl yet again.

Though I am VERY cool, and did remain in school for 2, and going on 3 graduation days, I still don't have, nor have ever had the "good job" that the penguins promised me. Effing rapping penguins screwed me over again.

P.S. staying in school, and striving for mediocrity in the grades department is the reason for the slacking on the blog. I can't speak for David though, I think he just quit. Anyway, I'm GRADUATING with a MASTERS degree in like 2 weeks, so I'll be sure to use that education to entertain, with blog content, the 4 people that still read Pop Cultured.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Garfield minus Garfield, Librarian edition.


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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Music videos ain't what they used to be...

My friend Dave's musical debut. I'm really hoping this goes viral because of it's pure awesomeness.

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