Daily Archives: December 4, 2008

“Frost/Nixon”

Saw this bad-ass movie over the long weekend and all I can say is…wow, Ron Howard rocks, baby! As a director I have loathed (“The Da Vinci Code”) just as many of his movies as I have loved (“Cinderella Man”) over the years, but with “Frost/Nixon” it’s like Opie has finally found his voice as a serious director. And man, what a thrill!

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I have to admit, as much as I was looking forward to seeing this movie, I was also a little skeptical that a film based on a Tony-winning play about a legendary television interview between David Frost and Richard Nixon would be, I dunno, kind of stagy and plodding. But, man alive, was I wrong!

In opening up his play for the movie, writer Peter Morgan, as he did so beautifully with “The Queen” and “The Last King of Scotland” has made politics absolutely riveting. And when you couple his crackerjack script with Howard’s whiz-bang directing and the towering performances of Frank Langella as Nixon and Michael Sheen as Frost, well…how can you lose?

Seriously, in lesser hands, “Frost/Nixon” could have been a tedious series of close-ups and cramped interiors, but this movie could not be more cinematic. Big, open, sweeping, the camera is everywhere all at once and with Hans Zimmer’s incredible, slow-build score leading the way, the film has a sense of drama that is just breathtaking.

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And the fact that the production filmed in many of the real-life locales only ads to the gravitas. I can only imagine how much that helped the actors bury themselves in their roles, because bury they do, amigos!

Reprising his Tony-winning performance, Langella doesn’t exactly look like Nixon, but man, he has the strange tics and sad sack mannerisms down pat. And Tony-nominee Sheen — who, if you ask me, was robbed of a Supporting Oscar nod for his stellar turn as Tony Blaire in “The Queen” — more than holds his own as a man finding his voice as a journalist during the course of the interviews.

But perhaps even more exciting than the leads are the amazing supporting performances by Kevin Bacon as Nixon loyalist Jack Brennan, and Sam Rockwell and Oliver Platt as Frost’s hard-working researchers, James Reston Jr. and Bob Zelnick, respectively.

All working at the top of their game, the three workhorse actors lend “Frost/Nixon” a boxing movie element that is entirely unexpected. And watching them quickly move in to clean up the figuriative blood when Frost and Nixon have finished a “round” before the camera is beyond awesome.

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In fact, Howard structures the entire movie like one big showdown, and though it might sound a bit heavy-handed, it works like gangbusters. Yes, I said gangbusters…sorry, but it really is that good.

“Frost/Nixon” opens nationwide this weekend, so, check it out! And if you’re interested in seeing the real life “Frost/Nixon: Watergate Interviews” for yourself, they have just been re-released on DVD as well. Cool, huh? I can’t wait to see how they compare to the movie!

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Radiohead rocks the Grammy nods!

OK, I know what you’re thinking, the Grammy’s haven’t been cool or relevant since, well…never. But that said, I was still very excited to hear that Radiohead scored a whopping five Grammy nominations for their lush, rocking “In Rainbows” album yesterday.

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Also glad to see Coldplay in the running for so many awards and Eddie Vedder scoring a surprise Best Solo Rock Vocal nomination for his soaring song “Rise” from the “Into The Wild” soundtrack. Right on, Eddie!

But still, my boys from Radiohead cracking the Album of Year category is still the highlight of my day. There’s no way in hell that they’ll actually win that award, but just the fact that they got in there with a “pay what you want” album initially released solely on the internet is pretty damn cool. And who knows, maybe they’ll even get to play at the actual award show, which would kick ass!!

Wow…seriously, I’m so freaking happy right now that even the total Grammy-tastic nomination of the Jonas Brothers for Best New Artist can’t dampen my joy today. Go, Radiohead!

To see a full list of this year’s nominees, click here.

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Graceland pic on “Ribs Paradise”

A couple months back we got a Flickr e-mail from a producer at the Travel Channel asking if he could use one of our Graceland pics on an upcoming special on the best ribs in America. Thinking nothing would come of it, I said yes and signed the release he forwarded me a few days later.

Well, guess what? Last week the picture I took of the bright blue sign in the Graceland parking lot (below) was featured front and center on the Travel Channel special “Ribs Paradise”! Cool, huh?

Graceland pic used on "Ribs Paradise"

My picture appears about 19 minutes into the show, just before the segment on Memphis’ rocking Rendezvous dry-rub ribs. If you’re a huge nerd, like me, and wanna see the pic onscreen for yourself, check your local listings and set your Tivo’s accordingly.

The Travel Channel has been playing “Ribs Paradise” pretty much non-stop since last week’s original airing, so it shouldn’t be hard to find, but make sure you eat something before you watch, because that crazy-ass show will definitely leave you jonesing for some sweet, spicy ribs!

Que viva la Travel Channel!

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“Rosie Live!”

Judging from the ratings, I think Christine and I were the only losers who actually watched this train wreck of a TV special last week. And considering that Christine stopped watching after the opening number with Liza Minnelli, I guess that means I’m the only loser who watched it all the way through. And, let me tell ya, it was God-awful…

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No offense to mis hermanos at Telemundo, but “Rosie Live!” was like a Mexican variety show minus the subtlety. Not only was Rosie herself spectacularly unfunny, but the line-up of guest stars was beyond unholy.

Of course, I expected NBC stars like Alec Baldwin, Jane Krakowski, and even Conan O’Brien — who appeared just long enough to have a pie thrown in his face by Baldwin! — to show up to shamelessly promote their own shows. But who in their right mind thought of inviting Rachel Ray to wordlessly trot across the stage with a giant fake turkey?

And trust me, Ray was on the normal end of the spectrum. The rest of the show reads like a laundry list of bad ideas: Clay Aiken chatting Rosie up in his full-on “Spamalot” togs, Harry Connick Jr. playing Santa, Ne-Yo cheesing out with the “Solid Gold” dancers, Alanis Morisette going totally goth, a troupe of acrobats spinning to a crazy techo remix of Dead or Alive’s “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)”, Gloria Estefan singing with dancing Thanksgiving food, and last, but not least, Kathy Griffin inexplicably dressed as (and lamely spoofing) that old CNN harpie, Nancy Grace.

Seriously, NBC, who thought any of these things were gonna pull in the big numbers? I think the funniest thing about this whole debacle is now that the show has reportedly been canceled after one airing, NBC is retroactively referring to “Rosie Live!” as a “special”. Ha!

How a show widely-touted as a new series one week is downgraded to a one-off special the next is beyond me, but no matter what they call it, “Rosie Live!” was jaw-droppingly bad television. And I watched every lame minute of it. Yikes…

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