Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Big, bad TV movies

Wow, this takes me back, but then again I suppose that's the whole point of the TV Land channel. They're unfortunately including lots of 80s movies like "The Day After" -- isn't it a given that the 70s were the "golden era" of made-for-TV movies? I'd almost rather that they devote a full week to each decade.

Growing up as I did during the 70s, I have vivid memories of quite a few of Movies of the Week, especially the creepy ones. In fact, it seems like most of the big 70s "MotWs" had creepy storylines -- why hasn't more been written about this? The subject seems ripe for some cultural analysis. Just for starters there was Savages, where friendly hunter Andy Griffith reveals that he gets his kicks from hunting human prey, A Little Game where an innocent looking kid keeps killing people at his military school and makes them all look like accidents, and of course Steven Spielberg's Duel where Dennis Weaver gets relentlessly stalked by a truck driver. See the theme here? And those were just the ones I remembered in five minutes -- there are tons more that warped my young brain back in the day.

Then there were the sentimental TV movies like "Brian's Song" and "The Boy In The Plastic Bubble". I like Slate's discussion of "Bubble", with Travolta on the brink of megastardom (not to mention schoolboys' dream Glynnis O'Connor as his costar). I think "Bubble" surprised a lot of people who didn't realize that idiot-boy Vinnie Barbarino could actually act. You have to figure that it paved the way for his casting in "Saturday Night Fever", so "Bubble" is significant for that fact alone. Speaking of "Fever", ESPN's Sports Guy (of all people) wrote up a nice discussion of Travolta's performance. It's way down the page, so do a find on "Travolta" if you're interested.

By the way, the Slate article neglects to mention that Diana Hyland, who played Travolta's mother in the movie, was in a real-life relationship with him at the time (despite being twice his age), and that she died of cancer about a year later.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Sorry haven't written -- you know, stuff

Ah, the blog, my neglected bastard child. I'll try my best to resume standard operations. Check out some clips of MTV2's Wonder Showzen, a grownup spoof of kids' TV. (Click "Videos" for list). It's got that South Park/Man Show combo of funny/offensive/annoying, but there are some good moments. My favorite is probably "Beat Kids at the Butcher Shop" -- "you ain't nothin' to me, Daddy", hehe.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Do these virtual pants make me look fat?

This might be old news to some, but I just discovered the "My Virtual Model" feature of the Lands' End site. (You can find the link in the left-hand column). You customize a "model" to match your body shape, measurements, height, weight, hair color/style, etc. You can approximate yourself quite closely. Then your virtual counterpart can try on clothes from the site so you can see how they will really look on you.

It's pretty slick but maybe a bit too much reality for me. I think I'd much rather look at clothes on an idealized, imaginary version of myself. Can I take my virtual model into a virtual workout room?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Watching New Love as It Sears the Brain

How timely. Neuroscientists have provided a explanation for Tom Cruise's psychotic behavior on "Oprah".

Speaking of which, here's how you can help.

Hop on Pop

Wow, he really did it. David, my hairstylist for most of the last decade, used to talk about the book that he was working on in his spare time -- an encyclopedia of pop culture icons from the 1950s thru the 80s. Lo and behold, he actually got it published. Cool for him.

In this nostalgia-filled era where VH1 regularly proclaims its love for the 70s, 80s and the previous 20 minutes, I have to wonder if the world really needs even more info about this stuff. Hopefully David's book, creatively titled From Abba To Zoom, provides some unique details/analysis on the subjects. I'll say this for it, it's certainly going to be thorough -- 3,001 entries!