Thursday, November 10, 2011

What Was the Big Deal?

I'd heard about The First Time, Tuesday's 'controversial' Glee episode for days. It was on the news; I heard it discussed on talk radio. OMG! Two high school couples were going to have sex for the first time. It was a ratings ploy, one station said. Another hypothesized that it was a gimmick to raise Glee's low ratings.

I don't think so.

First of all, I saw the episode. It was the chastest episode about sex I'd ever seen. In fact, all we ever saw was a little kissing. Yes, several of the kisses were exchanged between two boys but honestly, is that even that big of a deal anymore.

There were no scenes where soft music played while our two couples of soon-to-be-lovers gazed longingly into each others eyes as they slowly removed their clothes. There were no shots of partially nude kids holding each other in the soft dim light. There was none of that.

In fact, what you had were two committed couples who made the decision to have sex. They talked about it and decided to do it after being together and exclusive for a while. If I had a kid, I'd want my kid to show that level of maturity about sex.

The truth is that teenagers do it. Many do it without nearly as much thoughtfulness or concern. It amazes me that in the era of Teen Mom, they'd be concerned about Glee.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Eddie's Out

He might be at the Oscars this year as a
guest but he won't be there as the host!
Director Brett Ratner stuck his foot in his mouth at the Tower Heist screening, which made good friend Eddie Murphy decide to walk away from his Oscar hosting gig. Too bad, I was looking forward to it.

Here's the story...

The offending comment occurred during a Q&A session after a screening of Tower Heist in LA. According to The Wrap, it went like this.

Moderator: So you get this entire group of actors together -- what was rehearsal like?

Ratner: Rehearsal? What’s that? Rehearsal’s for fags. Rehearsal. Not much. A lot of prep, preparation, complex action sequences, visual effects. Storyboards, animatics. The process was I made the actors stick to the script. And they wanted to, because the script was great.

Several audience members left after that and later Ratner issued an apology. He said, “I apologize for any offense my remarks caused. It was a dumb way of expressing myself. Everyone who knows me knows that I don’t have a prejudiced bone in my body. But as a storyteller I should have been much more thoughtful about the power of language and my choice of words.”

Nevertheless, the damage was done and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was not too happy about Ratner's 'choice of words.' Ratner resigned as Oscar's producer yesterday. People were speculating that his good friend Murphy might follow suit.

Today he did. In his statement, he said, "I completely understand and support each party's decision with regard to a change of producers for this year's Academy Awards ceremony. I was truly looking forward to being a part of the show that our production team and writers were just starting to develop, but I'm sure that the new production team and host will do an equally great job."

In that article, the author cited that 'early in his career', Murphy had gotten in hot water a while back with comments he'd made about AIDS and calling gays derogatory names. I don't remember that ... but I do remember him getting in trouble with a tranny back in the day.

This just in... Producer Brian Grazer (24, A Beautiful Mind, American Gangster) is in as the new producer.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I Got Nuthin' But Love for Ya

Rest In Peace to the former
Overweight Lover.
Okay, my posting has been a bit sparse as of late because I've been working long hours and I don't even make it on to the computer most days. I figure this will last about two more weeks before the brunt of it is over. So please bear with me.

So I dragged myself up the stairs to do a quick post and I find out that Heavy D is dead at 44 ... just a year older than me. Heav and I go way back ... not personally but his music colors many of my college and post-college memories. He's one of those artists who acts as a musical time machine, I hear We Got Our Own Thang and I'm immediately transported back in time!

What I think I respected most about Heavy D (Dwight Myers) is that he did more than just rap. He did the theme songs for In Living Color and MadTV. He even branched out into acting with recurring roles on Boston Public and the Tracy Morgan Show. He even guest starred on Law & Order: SVU, Bones and Living Single.

Of course, he also lost an impressive 135 pounds which is a huge accomplishment (I am finding it hard to lose even 10).

So it's with a heavy heart that I have to write about the passing of Heavy D. He will be missed!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Movie Review: Tower Heist

With Tower Heist, I saw glimpses of an old friend, the old Eddie Murphy. You know the Eddie Murphy who made a career out of playing the street-smart, wise-ass. The Eddie Murphy whom adults found funny in a host of movies from  Delirious and Raw to Trading Places, 48 Hours, Beverly Hills Cop and even to Boomerang. This was the pre-fatherhood Eddie before he devoted himself to family friendly fare like Shrek, Daddy Daycare, The Nutty Professor and The Haunted Mansion. Old Eddie … we missed you!

I say we saw glimpses of the old Eddie in Tower Heist because Tower Heist is an ensemble piece and not an exclusive Eddie Murphy vehicle. In Tower Heist, Ben Stiller plays Josh Kovacs, the manager of the swankiest address in New York City. He knows every tenant and he and his staff are there to meet their every need … even before they know they need it . Among the staff are: brother-in-law, concierge and soon-to-be first time dad Charlie (Casey Affleck), doorman extraordinaire and hopeful retiree Lester (Stephen Henderson), Jamaican maid in search of a green card husband, Odessa (Gabourey Sidibe), and new elevator operator Enrique (Michael Pena). Their richest resident is Arthur Cross (Alan Alda) an investment banker who has recently been given control of the staff’s pensions (with a promise that he can triple their returns).

Problems arise when the Feds (led by Tea Leoni) arrest Arthur for defrauding his investors. Josh learns that his entire staff has lost their pensions. Josh loses it too, taking a golf club to Shaw’s beloved car (once owned by Steve McQueen). That reckless, though understandable act, leads Josh, Charlie and new guy Enrique to get fired. It’s then that together with evicted former Wall St. Whiz Kid, Mr. Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick), that they decide to get their money back. Of course, they need a real robber. Enter, Slide (Murphy), a career criminal that lives in Josh’s neighborhood and who actually went to day care with Slide back in the day.

With the Occupy Wall Streeters in the news daily and the bitter taste of bank bail outs and Bernie Madoff still on our collective tongues, Tower Heist is as cathartic as it is funny. A bunch of regular Joes taking down the Wall Street honcho. Yet, Tower Heist isn’t preachy or political. It’s a funny film.

We get some sparks from Murphy but Broderick, Pena and Sidibe are bringing the funny too. Stiller here is more of a straight man who generously allows those around him to help themselves to the punch lines.

There were a few laugh-out loud, moments and lots of chuckles. In fact, many people in my audience cheered at the end.

Murphy’s children range in age from 22 to 9 (plus the one he had with former Spice Girl Mel B is five). I hope he’s ready to at least add some more adult fare to his film choices, even if he doesn’t leave the family films behind for good. He has been missed.  Now, I wonder if he’ll be any good as the hosts of the Oscars come February.