Monthly Archives

January 2011

SAG Awards Roundup

The show was so boring that when I looked down at my notebook after it was over, I saw I hadn’t written anything. The winners were predictable—Colin, Natalie, Melissa, Christian—and the speeches routine so I won’t be doing a best & worst rundown. I’ll just share a few quick impressions and skip to the fashion.

I’m happy The King’s Speech won for best ensemble over the The Social Network. Coupled with Speech director Tom Hooper’s upset win over David Fincher at this weekend’s DGA Awards, chances are good the movie will take the best picture Oscar. After Network‘s sweeps of major awards earlier this season, Speech‘s sudden surge makes the competition a bit more interesting.

When Geoffrey Rush gave the acceptance speech on behalf of the cast, he indicated Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter and said since we already know who they are, he would thank the other actors in the cast who are less well-known, including Jennifer Ehle, who played his wife; Dominic Applewhite, Ben Wimsett, and Calum Gittins, who played his sons; Freya Wilson and Ramona Marquez, who played princesses Elizabeth (the current queen) and Margaret; and Jake Hathaway, who played a young stammering protegé of Lionel Logue’s. It was classy of Rush to spread the wealth and recognize them, especially the child actors.

Firth delivered the only speech that amused me when he won for best actor, saying how he used to flash his SAG card in England because he thought it would get him “female attention, entry into night clubs and top-level government departments. It didn’t.” He then thanked security for letting him into the building.

On the TV side, as much as I love Betty White, I’m suspicious of her win for Hot in Cleveland. She is always charming but the show itself is not that funny. Sofia Vergara and Jane Lynch are hilarious on Modern Family and Glee, respectively, and more deserving of the award for best female actor in a TV comedy series. White’s win seemed more like a life achievement award, something SAG already gave her last year.

Vergara did end up with an Actor as part of the Family cast when it won best ensemble in a TV comedy. After being beaten by Lynch at the Globes and Emmys, I’m glad Vergara finally won something.

For the full list of winners, click here. Read on for the fashion breakdown.

Best dress: Mila Kunis. I love everything about this Alexander McQueen. The fiery color, the print, belt, flowy and comfy-looking fit. She looks dreamy.

Most unique color: Sarah Hyland. She stood out for being the only one wearing this pretty hue.

Best use of color: Tina Fey. I adore this woman but she’s always in boring black, navy or neutral tones. Once, she even wore brown. This time, she wore fire-engine red (first time at an awards show?) and looked hotter than ever.

Too many colors? Hailee Steinfeld. Her hair and makeup were pretty, but in this dress, she resembled a walking stick of Lifesavers candy.

Most in need of color: The Glee cast. Dull, meh, yawn, bleh.

Best beige look: Hilary Swank. I’ll make an exception for her nude look because oh my gosh, look at those arms. They’re a nice contrast to the soft drape of the dress, making her look strong and feminine at the same time.

Most Madonna/Whore: Jennifer Lawrence. The dress and hair looked classy, but the heavy makeup and stripper shoes cheapened her look.

Most confused dress: Jayma Mays. Her gown couldn’t decide if it was long or short, and whether it should have epaulets on its shoulders or not.

Most improved: The actresses who played Micky Ward’s trashy sisters in The Fighter (with Melissa Leo in the center). They look much prettier without their hair weaves.

Best earrings: Rosario Dawson. How striking does the jade look against her skin?

Best rebel: Julie Bowen. She was the only female winner last night who wore pants but there’s nothing manly about her jumpsuit.

Most age appropriate: Modern Family‘s Ariel Winter. She looks adorable, braces and everything.

Least age appropriate: Jane Lynch (with Lara Embry). The color is pretty but that poufy prom dress is all wrong for her.

Most resembling a hotel bed coverlet: January Jones. I think I saw something like that in a Holiday Inn once. I didn’t even want to sit on it, much less wear it.

Most resembling a cheese grater: Kate Mara. Actually, she’s a grater on top and cookie cutters at the bottom.

Best-dressed male: Jon Hamm. What’s wrong with this picture? Nothing.

Most inadvertent Goth: Christina Hendricks. I couldn’t tell if the overdone raccoon eyes and smoking-jacket dress made her look punk, cheap or scary. Maybe all the above.

Did you watch the show? What did you enjoy or didn’t? Who did you think was best dressed?

Photos: Getty Images

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PCNews Roundup

You know something’s off when I don’t have time to read and react to Oscar nominations. The Academy Awards are my Super Bowl, my Olympics, my…oh, you get the idea. But I was buried under a couple of deadlines so am playing catch-up. There’s no point going over the nominations now but I did a create a slide show below of some other pop culture happenings this week.

First, I want to mention a couple things. Check out the new PCN header at the top of the page! In case you can’t make it out, that’s a nerdy ninja girl carrying a sack of her favorite tools—books, TV and movie clapboard. Katie at KD Designs created it, giving me exactly what I wanted. If you’re looking for someone to do graphics for your blog, bookmarks, business cards, etc., definitely check her out. You can’t beat her prices or fast turnaround. And no, I’m not saying this because she’s a friend, family member, or someone who paid me. I just found her on the web and am grateful for her work.

I also started a PCN Facebook page so if you’re interested in hanging out with me there, click here or on the button in the sidebar. Even though I didn’t have time to really blog this week, I was still tweeting pop culture tidbits and connecting with my cyber pals because tweets only take seconds to send. It occurred to me that many of you aren’t on Twitter so I created the FB page in case you’re interested in keeping up with my pop culture updates. But this is NOT a hard sell; I’m not suggesting you “Like” my page because I hate when people send me those suggestions. I’m simply making you aware of the page. I’d be as happy with two “Like”s as I would be with 100 because I love intimate parties.

But enough of the yada yada. Enjoy the slide show. I’ll be rehashing the SAG Awards on Sunday and should be back to normal next week with reviews, a video, and a giveaway.

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And in case you missed it, here’s the video of Lauren Alaina’s audition on American Idol, after which Steven Tyler thought she might be “the one.” Do you agree?

What are you watching/reading this weekend? Hope you’re having a good one!

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Return of Seventies TV Heroines

Over the weekend, Deadline.com reported that David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman script got a pilot pickup from NBC after the network passed on it a few weeks ago. The show is set in L.A., with Diana Prince as “a successful corporate executive and a modern woman trying to balance all of the elements of her extraordinary life.” WW remains my favorite Justice Leaguer and it’s about time she gets a reboot. I would’ve preferred a movie franchise but I’ll take her on the small screen as long as it’s good.

Sarah Shahi

Perhaps because I just watched USA’s new show, Fairly Legal, last week, I think Sarah Shahi (formerly Damian Lewis’s partner in Life) would be great in the role. Shahi is not only gorgeous, she’s charismatic (not always a given with beautiful people) and has solid acting chops. Who would you like to see wield the golden lasso of truth?

My friend Lauren also alerted me to the news that the recently announced ABC remake of Charlie’s Angels cast its first angel, Annie Ilonzeh from General Hospital (see Daily Mail article here). I like that she’s a relative unknown and that Robert Wagner will be voicing Charlie.

I know neither of these shows will be high-brow TV but I can’t help feeling a little giddy and rooting for them to be good. These announcements take me right back to 1976, when I was a kid rushing to finish my homework and chores so Mom would let me watch the Angels or Wonder Woman kick ass, something my little-girl self aspired to do. I don’t have homework anymore but if the pilots make it to series, I’d probably still hurry through the dishes so I can watch the ladies do their thing.

Would you watch these shows? Who should play the other Angels?

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Book Review: Wallace Stroby’s COLD SHOT TO THE HEART

This review is by contributing writer Eric Edwards, who loves Richard Stark novels.

**********

Cold Shot to the Heart‘s protagonist Crissa Stone is a thief and a damn good one. She has a go-between named Hector who helps find jobs worth her talent and abilities, ones that come with a hefty paycheck of which Hector gets a piece. She usually works with a crew and rarely with someone she doesn’t know because she can’t trust anyone in her profession. When a job doesn’t feel right, she turns it down, no matter how rich the payoff.

Wayne, the person who taught her everything she knows, is currently doing time in prison. Along comes a greedy Texan with a powerful sway over the parole board overseeing Wayne’s upcoming appeal. He’ll help get Wayne out of jail, but for a price. Crissa doesn’t have the money so she goes to Hector and he gives her what may be the perfect job. Small crew, big payout, too big to turn down. The job looks good on paper but Crissa breaks a rule by working with someone she doesn’t really know. Suddenly she’s running for her life from a psycho who not only wants her share of the heist but wants her dead as well.

I read this book in one sitting, which is a rare thing. There are only a few authors who compel me to do so; Richard Stark aka Donald Westlake is on this short list with his Parker books. Anyone who has ever read Westlake’s lean, hard prose in a Parker novel knows what I am talking about. Comparisons will be made between Parker and Crissa Stone, and anyone who misses the literary equivalent of heroin the Stark novels provided can find some solace in Stroby’s heroine. Yes, Crissa is a woman instead of the brick wall of a man Parker was, but there’s a reason her last name is Stone. I embraced her and will be surprised as hell if a strong actress doesn’t grab the movie rights to what I hope will be a long-running series based on this character.

Buy Cold Shot to the Heart from Amazon| B&N| Powell’s|IndieBound

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Thursday Night TV: AMERICAN IDOL S10 in New Orleans & PERFECT COUPLES

American Idol Season 10 New Orleans Auditions

New Orleans is a vibrant city with a big personality but the auditions there yielded a pretty standard batch of hopefuls, a mix of talented singers, delusional ones and crazies in outrageous outfits thinking that would actually help their chances.

Standouts for me:

  • Jacee Badeaux—Jennifer Lopez said she got goosebumps from the 15-year-old’s singing but my reaction went deeper. Something shifted inside my chest when I heard him sing “ (Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay”; it’s what happens when I encounter something unexpectedly beautiful. Can’t wait to see what else he can do in Hollywood.
  • Jacquelyn Dupree—she brought in her uncle Jerry, who was Randy’s high school football coach and they had a little reunion. I was skeptical, thinking she was currying favor with Randy, but she didn’t need any gimmicks. She had amazing control in her rendition of “I’ll Stand by You,” switching from big powerful notes to whispered ones on a dime.
  • Paris Tassin—the single mom of a special needs child brought tears to Lopez’s eyes with Carrie Underwood’s “Temporary Home.” Tassin seemed to really connect to the lyrics, her voice infused with a desperate ache. It didn’t hurt that she’s also gorgeous.
  • Jovany Barreto—he did a nice job with Luis Miguel’s “Contigo en la Distancia” and got three yeses. But then he took off his shirt to show off his abs, which was tacky and absolutely unnecessary.
  • Brett Loewenstern—this red-haired boy moved me. He said kids at school call him dork and geek but he finally figured out that as long as you like yourself, it doesn’t matter what others say. I had sudden flashbacks to my school days because I knew exactly what he was talking about. He said he wanted to spread his message to other kids who are bullied so I crossed my fingers hard, hoping he would do well in the room. And he did! By singing “Bohemian Rhapsody,” no less. Have you ever tried singing that song in karaoke? It’s hard! With crazy-ass notes all up and down the scale! So I’m rooting for this kid because I want him to keep doing his thing.

Perfect Couples

After AI was over, I watched the Perfect Couples pilot, a new addition to NBC’s Comedy Night Done Right on Thursdays. The sitcom revolves around three different types of couples: perfect Dave (Kyle Bornheimer) and Julia (Christine Woods), tempestuous Vance (David Walton) and Amy (Mary Elizabeth Ellis), and self-help psycho-babbling Rex (Hayes MacArthur) and Leigh (Olivia Munn).

Bornheimer & Woods, with Walton & Ellis

This show is awful in so many ways but let’s start with the central problem: no one behaves in ways that are recognizable in real humans. Vance and Amy start making out like mad, attacking each other on Dave and Julia’s couch in the middle of game night. With Dave and Amy sitting right next to them! In case you’re not laughing yet, Rex and Leigh don’t want to be one-upped so they start making out, too! Who does this? How do these boorish people have any friends at all?

MacArthur & Munn

Vance and Amy are the most obnoxious, with no discernible redeeming qualities. Rex and Leigh are simply not funny. I was surprised to find out Leigh is supposed to be Vietnamese since Munn doesn’t even look Asian to me, much less Vietnamese (she’s half Chinese). And Rex, in pronouncing the names of several Vietnamese dishes, was so far off, it was the equivalent of someone pronouncing “bread” as “monkey.” Or if I saw “casa” and said “pollo.” This annoyed me because if MacArthur didn’t know how to pronounce those words, he should’ve asked the script supervisor on set, who could have Googled from her smart phone and found the answers for him. So much for self-help. Nerd verdict: Far from Perfect.

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AMERICAN IDOL SEASON 10 Premiere Review: New Jersey Auditions

Season 10 of American Idol started off on a kinder note but I’m not sure if it’s better. Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson seem to have a more cohesive energy than last year’s panel of judges but I definitely missed Simon Cowell’s presence and biting remarks. Every time he opened his mouth, it was a delicious soundbite waiting to happen. Tyler and Lopez didn’t necessarily give poor feedback, but I can’t remember anything specific they said.

Quick impressions of the new judges: Tyler got the hang of judging and letting people down gently faster than Lopez but was borderline inappropriate in ogling the pretty girls. It’s okay when they’re of age but at one point, he was admiring the skirt on 16-year-old Victoria Huggins and said, “You have just the right amount [of legs] showing.” Um, wrongness much? He has a thousand years on her!

Lopez seemed sweet but after a while, I got annoyed at her inability to say no to bad “singers.” I know it’s hard to crush someone’s dreams but she’s getting paid a busload of money so she should just do her job. All the “Oh, I’m so uncomfortable with this” protestations got a little old and I wondered if she wasn’t putting it on thick to let us know what a nice person she really is.

I was most irritated when she put through Ashley Sullivan, who sang “Gimme Gimme” from Thoroughly Modern Millie only moderately well and then declared, “I want to be the first show-tune pop star!” (Oh, dear, no—that’s a hybrid I never want to see). Lopez didn’t seem impressed but Sullivan sobbed hard and begged even harder. Lopez finally threw her hands in the air, said yes and added, “I don’t care!” Really? If you don’t, why should we? I tune in to see the amazing talent you’re supposed to help discover, not put up with mediocre wannabes you foist on us to avoid feeling guilty.

OK, on to the singers. Some memorable ones from the New Jersey auditions:

  • Caleb Hawley—his voice came out much higher than I expected it to be but he was passionate about what he was singing and got into a nice groove with Tyler singing along (aren’t judges only supposed to listen?). He was a little scruffy but I could see a cute guy under there so if he gets cleaned up for Hollywood, tweens will eat him up.
  • Kenzie Palmer—the first 15-year-old to try out (the show lowered its minimum age requirement this season) is cute as a button with a voice much more sophisticated than her age.
  • Robbie Rosen—the kid with the wide smile and beautiful vocals who wowed with “Yesterday.” His voice was sweet and longing when it went soft, and powerful when he needed to hit certain high notes. I liked him even more for not using the story about his overcoming paralyzing synovitis at age 5 to make the judges feel sorry for him. When you’ve got the goods, you don’t need any tricks.
  • Tiffany Rios—her first strike for me was giving tutorials on how to tease your hair for that Jersey ‘do. (Funny, her hair didn’t look any better afterward.) Second strike was wearing big silver stars on her boobs, which were encased in a bikini top. Third? Announcing she’d sing an original song she made up for the show. Does that ever go well? Surprise! She has a decent voice! Color me shocked! I still thought she was doomed because the song was awful and cheesy but the judges let her sing another tune and she confirmed her skills with “I’m Your Lady.” She has got to leave the tackiness at home, though, if she wants to be taken seriously in Hollywood.
  • Michael Perotto—the dude who belches whenever he gets nervous. At first I thought, “Oh man, I wouldn’t want to be sitting next to him in the waiting area.” And then I thought, “Well, at least the nervous gas isn’t coming out his other end.” He was terrible and yes, gave us one final belch before leaving.
  • Yoji “Pop” Asana—all this guy did was confuse me. He said he’d been imitating Michael Jackson from before he was born (??) but didn’t want to do that. Then he said he didn’t like Miley Cyrus’s song “Party in the USA” but he would do that. And then he busted out MJ’s moves, including the moonwalk, while singing Cyrus’s song and looked angry the whole time!
  • Melinda Ademi—she and her parents are refugees from Kosovo, looking for a better life here. Melinda’s golden ticket to Hollywood might help. She’s beautiful and sang “If I Ain’t Got You” in a big if not-yet-memorable voice.
  • Brielle Von Hugel—everything about the girl with a flower in her hair and a father who overcame throat cancer is sweet, including her voice. But at 16, I don’t know how much she knows about “Endless Love.”
  • Travis Orlando—the last kid seen in NJ who lived in a shelter with his family but refused to let go of his dream of singing. The long extended video about the family’s struggles after his father got sick was so depressing, I kept saying, “Oh, please be good, please be good” as he walked into the audition room. His “Eleanor Rigby” was a little wonky but then he sang “I’m Yours” and was much better. His voice was a little constricted as if his throat was tight due to nerves but he had a unique tone. I exhaled when the judges put him through and his family cried.

Did you watch? What did you think of the new judges? Which singers stood out for you?

Photo: FOX

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Winners of Michael Koryta’s THE CYPRESS HOUSE

My randomly selected winners for Michael Koryta’s The Cypress House (Little, Brown, Jan. 24) are:

  • Ybnrml
  • Lauren
  • Aldo

Congrats! As usual, hit the “contact” button or red envelope icon in my sidebar and let me know your address. I’ll forward your info to the publisher and they’ll ship the books to you directly. If I don’t hear from you by 9 a.m. PST Saturday, Jan. 22, alternate name(s) will be chosen.

Thank you to all who shared your spooky stories with me!

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Behind the Scenes at the Golden Globes 2011

Late last night, long after the broadcast ended, a friend of mine who attended the awards ceremony and after-parties called to share some backstage details. The following is in her words.

[For my thoughts on best & worst of the show, click here. For my fashion roundup, go here.]

This was my favorite Globes ever. It’s so festive and happy and everything the Globes should be. It also had the strictest security in Globes history. The ticketing and party access was very strict.

Catherine Zeta-Jones and I talked for a while because she was outside smoking.  She was very sweet and has plans to return to the stage with a secret project. And then Jane Fonda came out and said, “Can I have a drag of that, please?” Catherine said, “Of course, darling” and gave Fonda a puff on her cigarette. Fonda then complimented Catherine on how well she’s been holding up during Michael Douglas’s cancer ordeal.

Alec Baldwin came up to Jennifer Lopez at one point and said, “Seacrest told me to tell you your shoes are f*cking ugly.” Her response was “Seacrest is a jerk!” And then they laughed.

There were a bunch of Glee cast members who weren’t allowed to eat or sit in the ballroom. They were set up at a viewing party across the parking lot. Right before the best comedy TV series was announced, they were escorted to the ballroom so they could all go on stage in case the show won. [Ed. note: It did.]

I asked Jesse Tyler Ferguson [of Modern Family] when he’s going back to Broadway because he’s awesome and he said, “I need the money so I’m going to stay here.”

I thought Sandra Bullock looked the best in person. I liked her bangs. Everyone thought Emma Stone was Jaime Pressly. Scarlett Johansson looked washed out.

For the guys, Chris Hemsworth and Armie Hammer looked good. Armie was very sweet. He gave me the biggest hug because I’d seen him at the Hollywood Movie Awards [a few months ago].

Peter Facinelli and Robert Pattinson hung out with each other all night long. I told Andrew Lincoln [from Walking Dead] I loved him in Love Actually and he gave me this look that said, “Where is this going?” so I asked him for a photo. But then a security guy said, “No photos here” so we went into a corner where they couldn’t see us and took a photo.

That’s about it. I’m going to celebrate by eating some fries now!

Is it any wonder we’re friends?

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Golden Globes 2011 Fashion Roundup

When I first tuned in to the red carpet arrivals, I saw a lot of stars wearing black and thought it was going to be a boring night for fashion. I mean, I like and own lots of black but it’s just too safe for the red carpet. Celebs should dazzle viewers, not put us to sleep by wearing something we can buy at the mall.

But then a few actresses started showing up in different colored gowns, pink and green and red and even mustard, and I realized there would be beautiful gowns to ogle after all. Some highlights:

Best overall—Dianna Agron

I usually don’t like nude gowns but in this one, Agron looks like a dream. Her hair, makeup, jewelry—everything is perfection.

Favorite dress—Lea Michele

Michele bugs me but I really like her dress. It’s funny because I’ve been told I’m kinda boyish (that’s better than mannish, right?) but I can look at a girly pink dress with ruffles and swoon.

Best green—Catherine Zeta-Jones

I can’t wear green because it makes my skin turn a Hep-C shade of yellow, but CZ-J looks divine. Love how these two are looking at each other.


Best homage to the bride of Frankenstein—Scarlett Johansson

She’s so beautiful but what is going on with that hair? It wasn’t THAT windy out.

Disturbing comeback trend—1980s Dynasty-style shoulder pads

Oh, please, no. Just no. I really don’t want to look like Joan Collins.

Julianne Moore decided she didn’t need two big shoulders and just went for one GIANT one. Yikes. She also won the award for most wrinkled.

Even more disturbing trend—bordello-style dresses

They’re gorgeous and I’m a big fan of all, but don’t these actresses look like they work in a saloon or brothel? A very high-priced one, with Tina being the madam?

Wackiest getup I kinda liked—Helena Bonham Carter

This is goofy from head to toe but it says, “I’m having more gun than you are” and Bonham Carter’s confidence somehow makes it work.

Dress I’m most on the fence about—Natalie Portman

From some angles, I thought this looked sweet. From others, it looked cheap and polyester-y.


Best dressed male overall—

Three-way tie between (from L.) Matthew Bomer, Alex Pettyfer and Chris Colfer. Yes, the fashion is all about the ladies but these guys did a pretty good job pulling themselves together.

Who were the fashion winners and losers for you? Which outfit confused you the most? For my recap on best & worst moments in the show, click here.

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Highlights and Lowlights of Golden Globes 2011

Gervais having a laugh

I look forward to the Globes every year because they are decidedly nutty—weird nominations, random presenters (Alicia Keys?) and drunk acceptance speeches. This year was no exception, starting with Helena Bonham Carter’s wacky dress and mismatched shoes on the red carpet (more on that in the fashion recap here).

That’s not to say the show didn’t have its dull, awkward moments. There were no surprises in the movie categories, with Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Melissa Leo, Christian Bale, David Fincher, Aaron Sorkin and The Social Network winning Globes as predicted and pretty much guaranteed Oscars. Also, host Ricky Gervais’s material was surprisingly more low-brow than sharp.

For a complete list of winners, click here. Read on for my reactions to some of the other stuff that went down.

Biggest gasp in the room: When Gervais said in his opening remarks regarding I Love You, Phillip Morris, which stars Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor, “Two heterosexual actors pretending to be gay. So, the complete opposite of some famous Scientologists, then.” It’s not a new joke but perhaps the A-list audience had never had someone say it to their face.

Grossest Visuals: When Gervais advised Hugh Hefner’s 24-year-old fiancé to not “look at it when you touch it,” referring to Hefner’s, ah, plaything. He then mimed what she would have to do in the bedroom. I also didn’t need the bit about Gervais having to help the Hollywood Foreign Press’s president, Philip Berk, get off the toilet and pop in his teeth. I’m all for irreverent but it has to be funny, not just disgusting.

That's Ramirez in the back

Biggest who’s-that-guy?! moment: When Carlos won for best TV miniseries and star Édgar Ramírez went up on stage, I paused with a handful of Raisinets halfway to my mouth and said, “Hellooo there, más Ramírez, por favor.” The actor didn’t speak because producer Daniel Leconte accepted the award but Ramírez sure got me interested in checking out Carlos. Heh.

Most adorable acceptance speech opening: Chris Colfer saying, “I think I just dropped my heart between Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore so if anyone sees it, please give it back to me.” I think fans dropped their hearts right at his feet when he said that.

Colfer's triumphant moment

Most defiant acceptance speech closing: Addressing all the kids who are bullied or told “no” or aren’t allowed to be who they are or have what they want because of it, Colfer says, “Screw that, kids” while brandishing his brand-new shiny Globe.

Seat filler with most screen time: Whoever was sitting in Julia Stiles’s seat. When the actress’s name was called as a nominee for best TV supporting actress in Dexter, the camera showed a much older woman who was obviously not Julia Stiles. I kept thinking director Louis J. Horovitz would figure out the mistake and cut away but no, the shot stayed on this mysterious woman, who seemed to really enjoy her close-up.

Funniest self-assessment: Jane Lynch saying “I am nothing if not falsely humble” upon winning best supporting TV actress. Now that I think about it, she may have just described everyone in the room.

Pretty in pink Portman

Cutest TMI: Natalie Portman referring to fiancé Benjamin Millepied’s performance in Black Swan as a fellow dancer who said he had no desire to sleep with her character: “He’s the best actor. It’s not true. He TOTALLY wants to sleep with me!” This isn’t news since she’s pregnant with his child, but Portman always seems so reserved that the uninhibited moment was unexpected.

Most under-the-radar A-list winner: Mark Wahlberg, for being a producer of Boardwalk Empire, which won best TV drama series. Did you know he produced that? I didn’t, but then again, I don’t watch that show.

Best shout-out to people who truly deserve thanks: When Glee won best comedy TV series, one of the writers, Ian Brennan, said: “Thank you to public school teachers. You don’t get paid like it but you’re doing the most important work in America.” How about passing around a hat among the cast and creative team to start a collection for public schools, then?

Most likely to have skipped rehearsal: Andrew Garfield, who repeatedly stumbled while reading the intro for The Social Network. Maybe he should switch to Twitter since tweets are much shorter.

Firth, with his Harley substitute

Most timely win: Colin Firth’s. Referring to a possible mid-life crisis since he just turned 50, the actor said: “Right now, this [award] is all that stands between me and a Harley-Davidson.” I also liked how he called Speech director Tom Hooper and co-star Geoffrey Rush “my two other sides of a surprisingly robust triangle of man love.” Is it wrong to say I want to be part of any geometric shape that includes Firth giving away man love?

Best joke about an illness: After Michael Douglas got the audience on its feet when he made a surprise appearance to announce best motion picture drama, he quipped: “There’s got to be an easier way to get a standing ovation.” It’s good to see him survive his cancer treatment with his sense of humor intact.

Saddest coincidence: Laura Linney won for best TV comedy actress for The Big C, about a woman who has cancer. But she didn’t attend because her father, playwright Romulus Linney, died Saturday of…cancer.

Worst joke about a dead person: David Fincher calling himself JonBenét Rudin, which was just stupid. I guess he was saying producer Scott Rudin has been parading him around to the different award shows and he felt like a beauty pageant puppet but then Rudin would have to be Patsy Ramsey and she’s dead, too.

Dullest acceptance speech: Diane Warren’s, after she won for best original song. You know what’s more boring than reading a bunch of names from a sheet of paper? When you can’t even read your own handwriting and have to stop to figure out what it says.

What were some of your favorite moments? Were the winners deserving? Did you hear that Ryan Murphy confirmed backstage that Anne Hathaway is coming to Glee?

Photos: NBC/Getty

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My Pop Culture Consumption This Week

I consumed a lot of pop culture this week but unfortunately, there were a lot of empty calories. Here’s a quick rundown of a couple new TV series and a movie opening today.

Episodes—Showtime, Sundays, 9:30 p.m. ET/PT

This new Showtime sitcom is about a husband-and-wife team of English screenwriters (Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig) enticed by a producer to come to L.A. to do an American version of their hit British TV series. It’s spot-on in its depiction of the inane things network execs and casting people say during casting sessions, but I’m not sure yet if that’s funny or scary. I felt the writers’ pain as they’re made to jump through humiliating hoops to get their show produced, something they had been told was a sure thing. “It IS written in stone…,” one exec says, and another continues, “…but stone? There are things stronger than stone.”

Things get even more ridiculous when the lead actor in the British version (played by the Tony-winning Richard Griffiths), who had been promised the part in the adaptation, has to audition for producers only to be replaced by Matt LeBlanc, playing himself. Mangan and Greig are a little bland as the writers, but LeBlanc is completely in on the joke about him being inappropriate for the part so I’d give Episodes another chance to see how much of a train wreck the show within a show will become. Nerd verdict: Tune in for Episodes.

Off the Map—ABC, Wednesdays, 10 p.m.

It’s a problem when a show’s scenery is more interesting than its characters and storylines. Map, brought to you by producers of Grey’s Anatomy, takes place in an unnamed South American country (it’s shot in Hawaii and looks very Lost-like), where a bunch of young doctors go to start over after some kind of trauma in their past. The group is headed by Martin Henderson, who’s ruggedly handsome but so far doesn’t get to display much personality. Zach Gilford and Mamie Gummer are even less charismatic, with Gummer doing unconvincing line readings which made me cringe and realize she fell far from the awe-inspiring tree that is her mother, Meryl Streep. No, I didn’t have unfair expectations of her because of her lineage (I’ve seen her act before); she was just bad in the pilot.

The exception is Caroline Dhavernas as Lily, whose smart and steady blue eyes promise a steeliness that should come in handy in a primitive environment that uses coconut milk as blood transfusion because it contains similar qualities to blood plasma (I didn’t take notes). She also shows some spunk in cutting a man down from a zip line after his arm got caught in the wheel (ow!). Gummer’s character calls her a girl scout but Lily is more interesting to watch than the supposed hot shots. Nerd verdict: Map is off.

The Dilemma, opening today

While watching this latest Ron Howard movie, I kept thinking, “This can NOT be by the same man who directed A Beautiful Mind and Frost/Nixon.” The Dilemma is about Ronny (Vince Vaughn), who catches the wife (Winona Ryder) of his best friend (Kevin James) cheating and can’t decide if he should tell him because the two men are working on a big, stressful business project together. Ronny’s indecision is somewhat understandable but what’s not is why he doesn’t confide in anyone. He lies to his too-patient girlfriend (Jennifer Connelly) and starts behaving erratically, even getting into a drawn-out fight with the wife’s lover (Channing Tatum). I think this movie is supposed to be a comedy but none of it is very funny and people get really hurt, physically and emotionally. When Ronny sits on a park bench and starts asking God to give him guidance in the situation, it takes a bizarre turn into serious territory. Vaughn doesn’t have enough charm to save this movie, Connelly’s talents are wasted and Ryder looks terrific but strenously overacts in all her emotional scenes. Nerd verdict: Skipping Dilemma is an easy decision.

I also finished a couple books this week but they’re March releases so I’ll review them closer to their pub dates. I read Aaron Sorkin’s script for The Social Network, which you can download by going here. This weekend, I’m looking forward to the Golden Globes, which I’ll be blogging about and maybe sharing some behind-the-scenes scoop!

What are you looking forward to watching and/or reading this weekend?

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First Official Photos of Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander

W Magazine has revealed the first official photos of Rooney Mara as the titular character in David Fincher’s adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, due December 21. Mara’s transformation from the fresh-faced coed who broke up with Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network to the badass chain-smoking Lisbeth is quite startling. It’s interesting to see the differences between her incarnation and Noomi Rapace’s Lisbeth in the Swedish films. Whereas Rapace was straight-up tough, Mara looks more heroin-trashy and fragile, which is okay since Lisbeth is often underestimated by the bad guys, right up until the moment she kicks them in the testes. It’s a little disconcerting for me to see Mara baring her cleavage, though, because Lisbeth is so exploited by the men in her lives, she doesn’t need to play up her sexuality.

What do you think of these pictures?

via Cinematical

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