Thursday, April 27, 2006

So, I'm Back

Finished the Summer Movie Preview. It was a long road, but there is a sense of satisfaction one gets having the final product in your hands...or, in my case, on my desk, with Tom Hanks' face glaring at me.

But the strangest thing about it all — and this almost slipped by me — is that this issue marks my 10-year anniversary at the weekly entertainment magazine.

Aside from breathing, I've never done anything for 10 straight years. School was always broken up in chunks, never dated anyone for that long (though I've been with my wife for almost 12, but that shifted from dating, to being engaged, to being married: all different dynamics)....

An old friend of mine, let's call him Brad (because that's his name), was a drummer. Since he was, like, six years old. By the time he and I were in a band together, in high-school, he'd been playing the drums for longer than he had not been playing the drums. And he was really good. Astonishingly good. The kind of percussionist who warmed up with Buddy Rich solos. The kind of musician that, frankly, could've done far better than our shitty band. And I was always a little jealous that he had this thing that he did, and knew how to do well, and would always be doing because he loved it.

Not that being a magazine editor is my end-all- be-all (though, let me be clear, I do enjoy it and think that I'm half-way decent at it), but I'm starting to understand what it's like to have invested time in an endeavor and be able to take pride in that investment. Not bad at all.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Home Stretch

The light at the end of the tunnel is beckoning to me, like a $12 Atlantic City whore. Almost done with my white whale of an issue. But I came across this, while giving my eyes a rest from editing copy that features the phrase "Garfield's A Tale of Two Kitties":

This pensive post on Javier Grillo-Marxuach's journal (which you should read, because he's a good writer—they don't let just anyone be a supervising producer on Lost, you know), all about the varied and sundry Supermen, Batmen, and James Bonds, ends with one of the more provocative pop-culture statements I've ever heard:

"Ponder this...within our lifetime, someone other than William Shatner will play the role of captain James T. Kirk."

Hot damn. And he's right. Captain Kirk is a one of the few genuinely American characters—that didn't come from a comic book—that can lay claim to a mythic, almost Shakespearean heft. There will, undoubtedly, come a time when someone will want to tell new adventures of the original Starship Enterprise, and realize that they were never as good as when Kirk, Bones, and Spock were at the helm.

And we will all hate the 22-year-old chump they cast, but it won't matter...because the 13-year-old kids who tune in (or download) will think he's the shit, and they will buy all the DVDs and the videogames and the cell phones that look exactly like the communicators. (Seriously, why hasn't anyone ever done that? It wouldn't be hard, and I'd buy one.) From that point on, Jake Bronson (or whatever the hell his name is gonna be) will be James T. Kirk.

As much as it'll pain those of us who hold the image of the young, almost Elvis-pretty Shatner close to our hearts, it will be necessary. Because the only way a character achieves immortality is if he or she can be reinterpreted for each subsequent generation. That is how new life gets breathed into old heroes, and that is why Bond and Othello and Falstaff and Willy Loman and Mr. Darcy live on, instead of becoming relics, like John Rambo or Steve Austin or, yes, Atticus Finch.

Hell, if we can tolerate three different Indiana Joneses, we can handle another Cap'n Kirk.

EDIT: In case you hadn't heard, Lost-boy J.J. Abrams will follow Mission: Impossible 3 with the next Star Trek film...featuring a young Kirk and Spock at Starfleet Academy. My powers are beyond even my understanding.

I Must Break Him

Something occured to me the other day:

If I was single, and still living in the New York metropolitan area, and if he was single, and still the anchor of The Daily Show...I would have to kill Jon Stewart.

Or, at the very least, choke him into a coma. Because he would be taking all the women. All of them.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

You, in the Corner...Want an Award?

The Connies.

Because, I suppose, everyone wants to feel good about themselves at least once a year, even people who run comic book conventions.

Monday, April 10, 2006

I Beg Your Pardon

Hey, gang. Sorry I've been scarce these last few days. The weekly entertainment magazine has got me editing the behemoth called the Summer Movie Preview, and it's currently attempting to swallow me whole, leaving the smaller chunks for the remora to snack on.

Having to close 65 pages worth of magazine can take the punch out of a fella, and it'll continue to do so until next Wednesday, at which point I will barricade myself inside my house, armed with scotch, Taco Bell, a ping-pong ball gun filled with sulfuric acid, and a seemingly endless supply of dirty diapers, and I will stay there for a week.

So you may not be hearing from me very much. Unless I run out of clean diapers.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Hell Called

It wants its fucking snow back.

(Sorry. Just a little ticked at having to haul my frakking gloves out of the winter box. Where they had been. Because. It. Is. April. Dammit.)

Monday, April 03, 2006

Are We Short on Chefs?

I like food. Very much so. Anyone who sees me can, probably, readily assume that. (In my youth, I could lay claim to a physique that approached Carl Weathers' in Predator. Today, it's more Carl Weathers on Arrested Development.)

I even like watching the Food Network, especially on Sunday mornings, if for no other reason that to see if that saucy southern belle Paula Deen can manage to put a stick of butter into everything she cooks, including salad. Emeril I can tolerate, but the freaky cult of celebrity that surrounds him is very Children of the Damned. Watching someone cook is, when you get down to it, is like watching someone putting together a model kit. Cheering him on when he adds a spice, or says "Bam!" is patently ridiculous. But he seems to know how to cook, so, whatever. And let's not talk about Giada Di Laurentiis. Not only is she apparently the granddaughter of the producer who gave us both Dune AND Silence of the Lambs, but she is the hottest chef on TV. She turns the act of milling fresh black pepper into something dirty.

But suddenly there are cooking reality shows. Top Chef on Bravo, America's Next Food Star on Food Network, and now NBC is doing a show called Celebrity Chef Challenge (or something). Now I will sit through a proven professional plying his or her trade, but do I really need to sit and watch some nobody butcher a bisque? Are we suddenly in the midst of a chef-draught, and we need to recruit from the polloi to repopulate the ranks? I didn't think so.

I don't need to see people compete at something for which there are already established pros. It's the equivalent of flag football on ESPN. (And we're not far off: apparently, they're talking about airing domino games. Really.) And I should watch this because I'm so hard up for the sheer spectacle of competition? What, are there no other shows on TV that feature people battling for the same gilded carrot? Did all that other reality shit disappear?

Damnit, now I'm hungry again.

How the 'West' Was Won

Can I just tell you, now that Galactica is off the air, my can't-miss-it TV show is The West Wing. It, and The Sopranos, are the two shows that I must, MUST watch the night they're on. Now, I've been a faithful Winger since the pilot, through the years when Aaron Sorkin was crafting heady, drug-fueled talkathons, through the whole Qumar nonsense, through John Wells' insistence that no one talk that fast or funny anymore and, finally, through the reinvigoration that's been the Campaign.

What excites me most is the inevitability of it—the fact that, when The West Wing started, with President Bartlett in his second year in office, you had to know that, in one fashion or another, his term would eventually end. He couldn't last forever. As nut-quaking as the Galactica season finale was, it came as an out-of-left-field surprise. But The West Wing had a similar sort of series slate-clearing built into its DNA. At some point, we had to get a new president and, with him, a decent number of new faces, new dynamics, new wrinkles.

The fact that this is the final Wing season actually means that they can do whatever they want to with the election, without having to live with the ramifications. If they were gonna get another year, you had to know that Jimmy Smits' Matt Santos was going to win if for no other reason so that we didn't have to endure the craggy Alan Alda (plus, a Santos win would've kept Bradley Whitford's Josh Lyman and Janel Maloney's Donna Moss in the fold). But now, all bets are off. And that's kind of exhilirating.

Network TV is all to predictable too much of the time. I like that, apparently, a death sentence has breathed new life into a show could've just limped to a close.