December 2011 Archives

torturing the harry potter cast

If you enjoy watching Brits squirm while humoring cloddish Americans, and you know you do, you'll enjoy watching the Harry Potter cast try on an American accent.

your "most annoying accent" nominees

I had to throw out vague suggestions like "American Southern," since there scads of such accents. I, myself, find a genteel Georgia accent to be music. And a rural Georgia boiled-peanut-suckin' accent makes my eyeballs pop.

The Canadian east coast took a beating from other Canadians. For your consideration, I give you the worst of the lot: the Newfie. Or as I've come to think of him, a stoned Irishman with a yawning cleft palate.

I'll roll up a bunch of votes into one general nomination for Appalachian U.S., the accent of choice for Cooter P. McNugget.

Here's a sentimental nomination from me to my fellow Steelers fans. I watched a lot of clips to find one that was authentic. And when she said "I don't know if I still have my accent," I wet myself.

Ah, the Scots. Yep, the Scots. You gotta love them. You've just got to. My comprehension is about 40% My comprehension in Spanish is 42%.

Aussies piled on Kiwis, which explains why this kid is so defensive.

In terms of sheer quantity of incidents, Indians annoy me more than all other accents combined (and yes, many of them are native speakers). I always wonder how many times a day an annoyed American calls them "Apu" and hangs up. Worse, though, is their apparently cultural insistence on calling instead of emailing. Throw me a fucking bone, Apu.

Brits politely stayed away from the accents of their scattered progeny, instead focusing on 1) the Cockney dialect

and 2) the posh accent. They got some support from abroad, here, as class pretenses are anathema to Americans. But no one hates the posh accent more than this guy, who deems it a faux French accent and Satanic.

Let me know what you think.

wrap it up

Hullo. 'Sup?

I'll tally the "most annoying accent" survey tomorrow.

G'day, all y'all, eh?

things to do when I'm dead

My cousin died this year. His family and mine were not close. I hadn't seen him in 30 years. Except for a Facebook Friend request that I ignored, I never would have thought about him. The Friend request survived him, and this weekend I clicked it.

And there was the wall of a dead man.

Fully two-thirds of the posthumous scribblings were from my drama co-opting sister Nadine. If pressed, I would have guessed that they didn't know one another. It is clear that I was mistaken. Indeed, she is the grieving widow, throwing her body in protest across the casket as it lowers into the ground, wailing, bargaining with the heavens "Take me, O Lord! Take me instead!"

I fired off an email to Allie. "Among your duties when I'm dead." I said, attaching a snippet from Nadine, "Is telling Facebook to take down my bloody wall."

nadine.png

Now imagine a dozen of those.

damaged goods

Kiki was telling me all about her cool friend who's recently become available. The friend is that rarity of rarity in these parts: a single, educated, professional woman who isn't the prosecuting attorney at my arraignment. Nevertheless, I couldn't muster any interest.

Sensing this, Kiki added "And John, she's really beautiful."

I blanched. "All that means is that she'll fuck someone else even faster."

Everyone stared at me—some actually standing under a mistletoe—both appalled and wondering how they could possibly rebut what seems an irrevocable law of nature.

stirring it up

Kiwis! Aussies don't drive you insane when they order feesh and cheeps instead of fush and chups?

pure awesome

So a Minnesota politician who had supported "defending" marriage from gays has been caught straying from her own marriage. Gays have subsequently apologized to her for destroying the institution.

early returns

I'm amazed to so far be the only vote for Scots. You people do realize that's mangled English they're speaking, right?

For the most part, people are voting for their countrymen. Stop it. Let's stir up an international incident, people.

survey: the most annoying accent

In the coming weeks, we're going collectively to determine the most annoying accent in the English-speaking world. In the interests of thoroughness, I'm taking nominations. International readership, I especially need your help. If there's a difference between Vancouver and Toronto accents, I can't detect it.

Send me your nominees at the below address. Please identify your region of origin and anything I need to know about the offending accent. There's only one rule: yes, non-native speakers can be annoying. Please leave them out of it. Besides, who needs the Japanese when we have Scots?

accents.png

hollywood intervention: glee

Dear Ryan Murphy,

Thank you for assembling some truly fine artists. You get full credit for culling together such talented vocalists, choreographers and musicians and getting them on network TV every week.

Great job. They couldn't have done it without you. Thanks so much. Bye bye.

Big ups! Bye Bye!

I said bye bye.

Ryan?

How can we miss you if you won't go away?

hollywoodint.jpgStop Writing
On the Glee Project, you often dismiss an auditioner by saying "I don't know how to write that character." This is a good instinct. It needs to be more inclusive. You do not know how to write any human being. Even teenagers do not change, nay, abandon personalities from week to week to better serve whatever Lifetime movie-of-the-week plot you use to stitch together song numbers. Characters can evolve, of course, but there must be some continuity, some core that makes them still them. Your characters change cores like they change clothes.

Quinn is a fundamentalist Christian bitch. Then she's a humbled sweetheart. Then she's a bitter goth. Then she's completely psychotic. Now she's sweet again. I've long given up wondering if I should hate her, having settled on hating you instead. Are you a crack baby? Or do you just write them?

Stop Airing Your Therapy
There is, of course, plenty of room for gay stories on TV. That's not my issue. My issue is that your fantasies—gay kids flipping the script and running high school, their being supreme arbiters of who is a good and decent person, their being able to excuse their own boorish and hurtful behaviors under the flag of "everyone else must be tolerant"—is not only offensive, it's boring as hell. Stop jerking off on my TV, please.

Stop Writing
That's how important this is to me.

All the hate in my heart,
john

no time for verbs, subjects

Two days ago I started to write a post about what's wrong with Ryan Murphy. Since then, one canister of nitro after another has gone off, a veritable cascade of exploding work shit. More later.

hollywood intervention: studios

Dear Suits,

A parable:

Once there was a man who wanted to watch a certain movie. He first tried to stream the movie, but NetFlix didn't have it available. Nor did Amazon. Nor Hulu.

Then the man tried to rent the movie, but Dish did not offer that service. Nor did Xbox Live. Nor the Playstation Network.

Determined, the man tried to buy the movie, but it was absent from iTunes.

hollywoodint.jpgAt this point, the man could have gotten into his car and driven to Redbox, but he was so pissed off that he fired up BitTorrent and stole the movie, which he was happily watching for free within 20 minutes.

Moral: he who makes doing the right thing a 37-step exercise in futility deserves the wrong thing.

Meh,
john

hollywood intervention: sports programming

Dear Networks,

How are ya.

Announcers
Know what I love best about seeing games in person? You can't guess from that headline, there? Right. In a stadium, I am not captive to the wit and wisdom of whatever mush-mouthed former General Studies major you just hired. (Which isn't to say he ever got his degree in General Studies, mind you.) There are but a few play-by-play guys who add value to the broadcast. There are fewer color guys. I humbly submit that rather than hire people who are below bar, you simply let us listen to the stadium announcer. Save yourself a few shekels. Save us from hearing Phil Simms say "What this team needs now is to drive down the field."

hollywoodint.jpgWeird angles
You love the ground-level view. I love it, too. But I decidedly do not love it during live action. On a goal line stand, I do not want the right tackle's back blocking my view of the ball. On a ground ball, I do not want the first baseman's back blocking my view of the ball. Ground-level view is for replays. Likewise with the end-zone/baseline view. The standard viewing angles were settled upon for a reason; the other angles suck bilgewater.

Cutaways
There's one thing worse than you using weird angles, and that's you cutting to one in the middle of a live play. Seriously, what are you on? Why not just suddenly obstruct my view with a lens cap? It couldn't be any worse.

Centering
This is directed at CBS' football coverage. Stop centering the camera on the ball. I need to see the defensive secondary. I decidedly don't need to see the rolling waves of empty grass behind the QB where the fullback used to be.

Graphics
If you want to have the stupid yellow and blue lines for those who can't do base-10 math, fine. But is it too much to ask that the down and distance be visible? When you superimpose it on the same field that the players run around on, guess what happens to its visibility? Please make the down and distance and play/shot clock at least as omnipresent as your goddamned network logo.

Tolerance,
John

hollywood intervention: reality shows

Dear Mark Burnett Wannabes & Mr. Burnett,

Here's your medicine.

hollywoodint.jpgStop Casting Hot to the Exclusion of Interesting
Is it that hard to find an attractive 20 year old girl who doesn't deplete my will to live every time she speaks?

Stop Casting "Aspiring" Anythings
Know what the most boring contestants all have in common? They're 1) hot 20 year old girls and/or 2) they're aspiring model-actors seeking exposure. Know who it's fun to watch play a game? People who enjoy playing a game. Watching people pad their demo reel? Not so fun.

Enough with the Jesusing
Similarly, how about not casting, or at least cutting around, people seeking to promote their agenda/religion/world view? Oddly enough, I'm bored enough with that without your show's help.

"Inspirational" Casting
What are you going for, exactly? "Ahhh, look, honey! The midget thinks she's people!" Crass. Crude. Faux empathetic.

Non-elimination Episodes
I'm sure the contestants who lost today's competition are simply thrilled to be saved by this "Surprise! It didn't count!" contrivance. Then there are those of us who just lost an hour of our lives to watching aspiring actors play a game with no result. Remember how viewers rebelled after Bobby Ewing stepped out of the shower and it was all a dream? Same thing.

Chop, Chop, Splice, Splice
Stop. Faking. Events. The excruciatingly obvious discontinuities between events and contestants' reactions only make me wish I were watching scripted fiction.

Stop Manipulating Results
I am one of thirteen people to watch Expedition Impossible last summer—the viewer who wasn't in prison or an ICU. This low-budget version of the Amazing Race revealed exactly why reality shows typically suck. There were delightfully few challenges designed to smite the gifted and even the playing field for the morons. There were no built-in queues where the laggards could catch up. There was no U-Turn specifically designed to punish the most accomplished team. Not surprisingly, the best team won, in a walk. And it was absolutely lovely. I watched through the end. I haven't watched through the end of TAR in years. Why? Because it's so manipulated that it's misdemeanor fraud.

XXXOOO,
John

hollywood interventions: movie trailers

Movie trailers used to often be my favorite part of going to the movies. No more.

Dear Hack Who Endlessly Clones Trailers,

Stop fucking fading to black every two seconds. What you think artfully fakes dramatic heft,

fade to black, Inception-inspired chord blasts the audience, fade back in

I think looks amazingly like the projector is hooked up to a Honda portable generator that's sputtering because it's running out of gas.

fade to black, Inception-inspired chord blasts the audience, fade back in

If Honda generators were hackneyed and trite.

fade to black, Nine Inch Nails-inspired chord blasts the audience, fade back in

This cliche is played out. Stop it. I beg you.

fade to black, silence, cat suddenly appears, shrieking loudly to startle the audience, end

hollywoodint.jpgStop spoiling
I know you think giving away the plot points of the movie will compel me to pay $11 to see the plot points again in long form. You are incorrect. I am mortal, and I will not waste the precious remaining hours of my life watching the filler you deemed too uninteresting for the trailer. Exception: if Megan Fox is naked, go ahead and put it in the trailer. We'll still pay the $11.

Spliced reactions
For the love of God, stop splicing together unrelated moments as if they're contiguous. Showing a character make a lame joke outdoors at noon and then cutting to another character laughing uproariously at night in his kitchen does not make the joke funny. It makes the trailer smack of desperation. Are you attracted to desperate people? Neither are we.

Much loathe,
John

hollywood interventions: mythbusters

This week, I'm fixing popular entertainment. Because someone has to slap these people.

• • •

Dear Mythbusters,

First time, long time. I'm a big fan. I never miss a show. So believe me when I say that the following is said not to hurt, but out of love and genuine concern.

You continue to bless us with 22 hours per week of the very finest television. Unfortunately, your show is 44 minutes long. I would like to see these numbers converge. Toward that end, I have some suggestions:

hollywoodint.jpg
Stop Intertwining
You are not fooling anyone. Cross-cutting between myths three times is a cheap way to recap what we just fucking saw three times, so you can get to 44 minutes with less actual content. Do I waste your time my endlessly repeating myself? You are not fooling anyone. Intertwining myths is just a way of padding your running time with endless recaps. If I wasted your time by repeating everything three times, you would probably not like it. No one, you are fooling, that's whom. The recaps necessitated by cutting between myths are just padding, and they waste everyone's time. Recaps. Fool no one. They're padding. That waste our time.

How did that feel? Would you like me to "revisit" the point?

The Kari Problem
If you're not going to take my Win-Win suggestion of dropping her from 10,000 feet on to Ryan Murphy, can we at least send her to welding school or something so she can make an actual contribution to the show? Every time I hear this twinkie chirp "We're experts!" I want to load up on okra and jalapeno poppers, take a dump on canvas, and tell her I'm an artist.

Scripted Spontaneous Dialogue
Over time, the blueprint scenes have become excruciating. The hosts now read the "witty" banter your writers with fetal alcohol syndrome have prepared for them. These scenes, once fine if unexciting, have become as excruciating as Thanksgiving Day parade banter. It's unwatchable drivel. Let them speak for themselves. Watching non-actors read tripe is torture.

The Voices
Adam is awesome. His voices are not. I don't know whose idea the frequent lapses into English or pirate or Jamaican accents was, but that person needs to send me a detailed map to his or her house.

Corollary: Adam has a great, infectious laugh. Except when he fakes it during Scripted Spontaneous Dialogue. "Ha ha," Adam reads. "Ha ha...crap. Line?"

"...ha ha!"

"...ha ha!"

I hope you take these suggestions in the constructive spirit in which they were intended.

Love,
John

semper fi

Last week I was behind an SUV going slow on Metamuville Rd. I glared at his Semper Fi bumper sticker, wondering if an actual Marine would drive 41 in a 50 on a sunny day. When I got to a passing zone, I moved to pass him. He raced his engine, forcing me to abandon my pass. He then went batshit, passing the next four cars through tiny windows at an unbelievably high speed. He then pulled over so he could honk at me and give me the finger when I drove by.

I rolled my eyes as I passed. "Yeah, you 'win,' pal. All I know is I wasn't going 41 anymore."

A week later, last night, same road. The same guy passes me, immediately slamming on his brakes, then strobing them, then weaving wildly all over the road. So yeah. Apparently now we have a relationship. Who knew? This continued for several miles, and then at an intersection he went straight while I turned left. He slammed on his brakes, turned around, and followed me. He followed me 15 miles back to the town from which we'd originally started, right to the waiting police.

"He's a stupid kid," explained the officer later. "Really stupid."

Truer words. Road rage, we've all seen. But have you ever heard of anyone so fantastically dumb as to tail someone all the way to his own arrest?

Society officially has no problems left to fix.

I know this because of this morning's main headline on CNN.

cnnsiri.PNG

Yes, the guardians of our civil liberties have started a petition to compel a private company to no longer, um, not anticipate that someone would, um, use voice-control on their phone to find an abortion clinic. First they gave us iTunes, and now Apple is clearly restricting abortion access? Evil upon evil.

That smart phones are unregulated GPS trackers that allow third-party apps to mine our text messages and contacts' information, the ACLU doesn't care so much about. But a private company not thinking to validate their stance on abortion? Outrage! To the media!

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