Daily Archives: December 20, 2007

Chicago Tribune Article

When the news broke last week that Jay and Conan would be returning to their talk shows on January 2nd without their writers, our usually sleepy picket line at NBC was kinda swarming with reporters.

Most of them wanted to speak to the striking Tonight Show folks (as well they should, since they no doubt had much to say on the subject) but one lucky gal, Maureen Ryan, from the Chicago Tribune’s TV blog “The Watcher” got me and Nina (aka The Slackmistress) instead.

Nina & I @ the Hollywood Solidaritary Rally (Nov. 20, 2007)

Hilariously enough, a few of our pearls of wisdom actually found their way into Ryan’s article. Nina talked about how some online haters accused her of “ruining Christmas” for all the below the line workers in town and then went on to talk about the fact that many of us in this business (even before the strike) have day jobs to help make ends meet. Good stuff, right?

So, then I read my quote, reprinted below as it appears on Ryan’s blog:

Writers are getting a lot of exercise on the picket line (they are required to picket for 12 hours per week, though there is a vacation break that starts Wednesday). But they’re also getting a lot of treats. “I thought I’d lose more weight,” film scribe Tomas Romero said. But with members of the public and strike supporters bringing by doughnuts, smoothies, sandwiches, cookies and other treats, it’s hard to slim down.

How nice. Lovely to know that in the midst of this unending turmoil and economic hardship, I’m worried about not losing more weight. Urgh…what a loser. Guess I should stick to chanting on Fox…

If you wanna check out the entire article, which, my lame quote aside, is very entertaining, please visit: TheWatcher/ChicagoTribune.com

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Tim Burton’s “Sweeney Todd”

Finally saw Tim Burton’s rocking version of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” over the weekend and let me tell ya, it’s bloody good…emphasis on the bloody. Seriously, I haven’t seen this much spraying, operatic bloodletting since the first volume of “Kill Bill”, and that time, the bloodiest scenes were in black and white.

Well, not so here, amigos. Tim Burton’s bright, comic-book-red blood flows freely and often…and it couldn’t be cooler!

Johnny Depp as “Sweeney Todd” (Dec. 19, 2007)

Save for the standards “Pretty Women” and “Not While I’m Around” — which are way darker in the context of the show than they are as stand-alone songs — I wasn’t that familiar with the original musical, but wow, it’s good. Christine found some of the numbers a bit stagey and claustrophobic, but I really dug the musty intimacy of it all.

Set in and around a gloomy, beautifully dank Victorian London, the movie and the songs are as dark as can be. And while the ads make it look like quirky, Tim Burton-lite, this movie is one of the darkest things he’s done in a while.

I found the songs and humor to be funny as hell, but I should warn the uninitiated that this “Sweeney Todd” is not for the feint of heart.

Johnny Depp singing in “Sweeney Todd” (Dec. 19, 2007)
Anchoring the movie and proving once again that he can do almost anything onscreen, the always-astonishing Johnny Depp rocks in his first full-blown musical. Ditto for “Borat’s” Sasha Baron Cohen (as Depp’s hysterically oily rival, Pirelli), Alan Rickman as the villainous Judge Turpin, and the incredible little boy who plays Toby (newcomer Ed Sanders).
Johnny Depp & Helena Bonham Carter in “Sweeney Todd” (Dec. 19, 2007)

But fans of the musical know that the dark heart of the show has always been that wily scene-stealer, Mrs. Lovett.

I read somewhere that Stephen Soundheim loved her character so much that he actually demanded (and got!) final approval for the casting of Mrs. Lovett. And though Helena Bonham Carter wasn’t the best singer he auditioned, she was by far the best actress. And lemme tell ya, Soundheim was right. Helena Bonham Carter is spectacular in the role.

I’ve been a huge fan since I first saw her in “A Room With A View” and Carter has continued to amaze me ever since. If you haven’t seen her in “Fight Club” you haven’t lived. Not only did she blow Brad Pitt and Ed Norton off the screen, but her twisted, manic performance as Marla Singer is one of the great screen characters of the 1990’s. Really amazing stuff!

Helena Bonham Carter in “Sweeney Todd” (Dec. 19, 2007)

Here again, Ms. Carter — who gave birth Saturday to her second child, a daughter, with Tim Burton — rips into a really juicy part with a vengeance. And like her co-stars, I’m happy to report that Carter’s singing here is top notch. More traditionally Broadway-ish than Johnny Depp’s rock-infused vocals, Carter’s scrappy, Cockney-accented singing really steals the show.

And though the content of her “meat pies” would turn even my hearty stomach, I gotta say if Carter’s saucy Mrs. Lovett was selling them…I’d be the first in line!

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