Monday, January 31, 2005

Things I've Been Watching...

I promised to continue both my Screening Log and my Oscar Diary herein (as I haven't had a lot of time at home to update the site... always away and blogs are convenient like that) so here are a few notes on things I've seen recently.

IN GOOD COMPANY
I continue to really groove on Topher Grace. He seems to exude some sort of "I'm loving acting" vibe. It reminds me somewhat of the magical Kirsten Dunst breakthrough years of 2000-2002. The movie is surprisingly watchable given it's odd plot and extremely naive finale.

PROJECT RUNWAY
I watch more television this time of year since I get burned out on movies and this is definitely the best reality show going --it's actually about something, imagine that!?. The contestants have talent to spare... they're not chosen for their obnoxious personalities or willingness to spill all to the camera in "confessional" sequences. The show does have the basic reality show format (someone is ousted each week, there are confessional direct to camera moments, etc...) but it manages to be unpredictable all the same. Part of the thrill I guess is watching creativity at work. One could argue that shows like American Idol are also superior to the average reality show because they're also talent contests rather than contests for who can be the most obnoxious and therefore get the most screentime. But they're not created anything on that popular show, they're just aping other performers and performance styles. They have to choose well known songs. They get dinged if they're true originals. They must choose a 'type' to play and stay with it. It's like a glorified cover band competition. Very watchable yes. But not half as interesting as Project Runway.

HUFF
If Huff were an HBO series, it'd be an instant hit and would have gotten several Golden Globe nominations and SAG nominations (only one nomination at each show this year the lead Hank Azaris got a SAG nod, Oliver Platt, supporting player, got an GG nomination). But because it's on Showtime, it will take more work to get people to notice how good it is. This is the reputation problem working against it. Showtime isn't known for having quality TV. It's not like Queer as Folk and The L Word and the others are actually "good" --they're just fighting for an underserved audience. Like a lot of first seasons of any series, Huff seems to be still finding it's footing (i.e. it's kind of uneven)... but when it hits it's highs it's really something. I hope it catches on because there's nothing really like it on television. And the acting is superb. Swoosie Kurtz and Blythe Danner are both miraculous actors given juicy characters to play and everyone else is doing nifty work too.

7 comments:

Raul! said...

I have to agree with you on "Project Greenlight." What could be a potentially bitchy show is actually quite substantial. Yes, there is bitchiness thanks mostly to the models, but every week I'm quite impressed by the designs of the contestants, especially Jay who I was ready to hate but turns out to have talent. Austin started off well, but his recent designs were atrocious.

By the way, great job as always on the website.

Jake said...

i really like grace also. i thought he was killer in "in good company", oscar nominatable for his inordinate idiosyncrasies and realness brought to screen romantically opposite johansson and comedically/dramatically off quaid. a real talent who should be up for the statue in my mind along with carradine (i hate you forever ampas!), owen, wahlberg and church. anyways, he is a great time to watch and is really talented. more: i was really conflicted on the ending to "in good company", in some ways it was cheesy and forced but i truly enjoyed the young lovers' final scene and the ending took a risk, one that i really enjoyed. i vacillated on this one, but i really liked the conclusion when it was all said in done, life goes on and this finale captures that.

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