Entertainment News On The March

Posted: June 3, 2009 in Jeff Holland, Threat Quality
Tags: , , ,

Sure there are real things happening in the world, things that actually kinda matter. Economic meltdowns, assorted crises, whatever fat white Republicans Susan Boyleare calling “racist” without a trace of irony. But nevermind that now.

Because we’ve got the only news that really matters: Entertainment Weekly.

Chris and I try our best to keep posts somewhat outside of time, so you can read archives and not ask things like, “What the hell is a Sanjaya?” But sometimes, you just have to deal with it.

ITEM 1! Like all people in this righteous and free-thinking world of ours, I care deeply about the results of European talent shows I don’t actually watch or care about. So I am here to report that I am shocked – SHOCKED, I tells ya! – that Susan Boyle lost the “Britain’s Got Talent” competition. Why, a woman of her limitless, god-given vocal tal-

Wait – she lost to a dance troupe? Hang on. I…am okay with this.

“[Insert Country Here]’s Got Talent” is pointless for exactly this reason. How does one compare a singer to a dance troupe? It’s baffling.

If I were to say, “I’m a better ukulelist than Tad is a banjo player,” then maybe – MAYBE – you can apply some real critical analysis.

But “I’m a better counter of jelly-beans in a jar than Tad is a pogo-sticker”? You find me the metrics to judge that competition.

That said…it makes sense that a singer would lose to a dance troupe. If the choice is between a woman who does good karaoke, versus a group of people who heard a song and then conceptualized, choreographed, and ably performed a dance routine based on it…well, for sheer effort, the dance troupe would have to win, right?

Anyway, what’s really intriguing people is that Susan Boyle has since had to take a bit of a vacation. This is good. I firmly believe that the reward for all runners-up to reality-show competitions is a detoxifying spa treatment to gradually ease them out of the life-altering weirdness that is Being a Reality Show Contestant. Because if they don’t, well…they all become fixtures on VH1. And nobody wants that.

ITEM 2! Conan’s on “The Tonight Show” now! The various entertainmentconan sites have debated his first couple days under the banner of “Is it still lovably weird?” vs. “It’s not weird enough!” vs. “Well, Middle America’s too stupid to get weird humor!”

Ignoring how insulting that is to Middle America – Chicago needs more credit for having birthed so many early “SNL” players, at least – I have to admit this: I never found Conan O’Brien’s humor all that weird.

(Not finding anything weird about oddities like “Masturbating Bear” or “Max Weinberg” probably says more about me than the show, I suppose.)

But for all the talk about how “weird” Conan’s humor is, I don’t think enough attention goes to Craig Ferguson, who once opened a show with Steven Wright pushing Brittany Murphy on a swing for NO REAL REASON.

Kinda puts those “In the Year 2000” sketches into perspective, don’t it?

ITEM 3! The director of “Twilight” and Emile Hirsch are developing a “Hamlet” adaptation. Well…fuck me with a fish-monger, this one actually surprised me.

hamletIf only because I figured the Ethan Hawke “Hamlet” more or less epitomized the idea of “modernizing” Hamlet – he delivered “To be or not to be” in a FUCKING BLOCKBUSTER, DAMMIT! And what’s more bizarre? It was actually pretty good. (Bill Murray as Polonius…mmm, that’s good casting!)

So I am a little perturbed by this, if only because Hirsch owes me two hours for having to sit through Speed Racer.

ITEM 4! Spencer Pratt’s a total douche! Well, I got nothing here.

ITEM 5! Jon and Kate might be breaking up! My life was honestly a measurable amount better before a friend of mine explained who the hell these people are and why E! is so infatuated with them.

ITEM 6! Well, now I’m just cheating, because I’m wrapping it up with something that actually makes me happy: promo pics of the “Jonah Hex” movie. jonah hex

Some quick background: Jonah Hex is a western character from DC Comics, and his story is this – he’s a Confederate Civil War vet turned bounty-hunter with a big-ass scar on his face, who’s just an ornery sumbitch. There, that’s it. You’re now schooled on the character.

I’m jazzed for three reasons:
1) Comics aren’t just superheroes, it’s a medium, and I like seeing non-superhero properties get some (scarred, ugly) face-time;
2) I’m a huge fan of Westerns, and the Jonah Hex property is a great way to reintroduce the genre to new viewers; and
3) Anyone who saw “No Country For Old Men” will agree – Josh Brolin can do “mean-ass cowboy” with little effort.

So, because I like to think of this as a teaching website: your Jonah hex 1recommended comic today is ANY Jonah Hex story published in the last 20 years. Joe Lansdale (author of “Bubba Ho-Tep,” among many stories) wrote two books back in the 90’s that deftly blended dark Texan humor with weird EC horror, and more recently, Jimmy Palmiotti and a bunch of great artists have put together a bunch of great single-issue western tales that are well worth reading.

ITEM LAST! I’m sitting out on the balcony writing this, enjoying wheat beer from the local microbrewery down the street. It’s raining like hell, but I gotta admit…I love writing out here when the weather’s damp.

Okay, all of you go read NPR or Daily Kos or something, in a (vain) attempt to revive some brian cells I’ve just killed with this post. You’ve all earned it.

  1. cschack says:

    I look forward to Jnah Hex, but I still can’t help it; in my mind, Josh Brolin will always be on a skateboard, going mano-a-mano with Tommy Hook in a storm drain.

  2. Tad says:

    Now if I can just master playing the banjo while pogo-sticking you are toast, Holland!

  3. Jeff Holland says:

    I dream of a day when Tad and I can go head-to-head in “America’s Got Banjo-Playing, Pogo-Sticking Talent.”

    Because I BELIEVE WE DO.

  4. V.I.P. Referee says:

    Pogo-sticking hands free is risky business. Pogo-balling is the tamer option. But then, where’s the prowess in that? Either way, I’m already very impressed…

    Comics: You have to hand it to Japanese manga creators—they’ll form a comic out of anything. You might have to endure vampiric schoolgirls snuck into every storyline imaginable, but other than that, the comics cover pretty broad territory…

    …and rolling thoughts around in the rain? How very Hamlet-esque of you. I’ve heard they’ve already cast Ophelia for the new version.

  5. Mary Jones says:

    Reminds me of how much I loved/hated Master of Champions; how do you decide between a guy riding his bike on furniture, or a Chinese contortionist?

  6. threatqualitypress says:

    Also, I’m glad someone’s doing a modern retelling of Hamlet. Every time I see that play, I think to myself, “Man! This story would be so much better without all that fucking verse shit everywhere.”

    Finally, someone has the balls to make what the rest of us only dreamed.

  7. Jeff Holland says:

    RE: Hamlet – now, to be fair, I’ve heard nothing that implies they’d drop the actual language. In fact, Hamlet is as far as I know (someone PLEASE correct me if I’m wrong) one of the few Shakespeare plays that has never been “reinterpreted” to drop the language. And no, “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” does not count.

    MacBeth (“Scotland, PA”), Taming of the Shrew (“Ten Things I Hate About You”), Othello (the BBC movie with Christopher Eccleston)*, all these have been modernized language and all. But somehow, nobody so far has looked at Hamlet and thought, “This would be really great, if it were set in a high school.”

    Even though it’s pretty easy to see how that might happen.

    I’d also like to share right here: I once wrote a twelve-page term paper on Hamlet. It was finished 20 minutes before it was due. At one point I believe I compared Hamlet to an antibody fighting off a virus infecting the body of Denmark. No, I haven’t read it since turning it in. This is why I still believe it’s awesome.

    Also I wanted everybody to know that I once wrote twelve full pages about something that wasn’t a Batman comic.

    *Please note that I actually quite enjoy “10 Things I Hate About You,” and that BBC “Othello” is very interesting, particularly Eccleston’s bombastic take on Iago. Go watch:

  8. threatqualitypress says:

    It says it right in that article:

    “And even though Hardwicke hopes to use some of the play’s original dialogue, fans who prefer Stephenie Meyer to Shakespeare, need not worry. “You will understand everything without having a copy of Shakespeare for Dummies with you.””

    Look, here’s the thing: Ten Things I Hate About You is a good movie, but primarily because it’s an adaptation of comedy. Comedies are about their plots; you can transpose a plot out of Shakespeare and into whatever the hell you want without any trouble.

    Hamlet isn’t a comedy, and it isn’t about it’s plot, either. You boil down the plot of Hamlet and you get: “A man has to decide whether or not to kill his uncle to avenge his father. He can’t.”

    The play has been around for four hundred years NOT because it’s plot was interesting, but because of the innumerable layers built into the text–Hamlet and its relationship to revenge tragedies, Hamlet and the theater, Hamlet and the nature of kingship and sacrifice, Hamlet as a man coping with severe depression. Hamlet and language. Christ, 80% of that play doubles as a pun.

    Then we say, “Hey, you know what? If we took this plot and gave it to the guy that almost won an Oscar for Philadelphia fifteen years ago, and the woman that directed that sparkly vampire movie, I’ll bet they could do something awesome with it!”

    I know, let’s put Emile Hirsch in it! He’s only 10 years too young, because WE DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT THE PLAY IS ABOUT! Let’s play up the supernatural aspect, and forget that the ghost is really just a premise and an allusion to the Elizabethan revenge tragedy tradition, because WE DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT THE PLAY IS ABOUT!

    I’m not opposed to modernizations or retelling. Like I said, I really enjoyed 10 Things I Hate About You. But modernization is a process that works better in some cases, worse in others–you have to know what it is and what it’s good for, and what it’s NOT good for is trying to update Hamlet for a “modern audience”.

    I put that in quotes because I’m an audience in the modern age, and I don’t have any trouble with Hamlet. When they say “we’re trying to make this accessible to a modern audience,” they really just mean, “we’re trying to make this accessible to a retarded audience.”

  9. Jeff Holland says:

    Well, I stand corrected.

    And now I’m going to drag Chris to see it on opening night. Just to see what happens.

  10. threatqualitypress says:

    Hey now. There’s no call to be aggravating my apoplexy. I’m very sensitive to this kind of thing.

  11. Jeff Holland says:

    No, we are going! It’s up to you if we’re in the newspaper the following morning, but this is happening!

  12. V.I.P. Referee says:

    Don’t forget your 3-D glasses.

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