TV/Movie talk...

Just a random collection of TV/Movie ephemera today.
  • Not only is NBC's "Chuck" returning sooner than March, but it's gonna be six episodes longer, as well. If only they would switch it to Tuesday nights, when there's absolutely nothing on television.
  • Speaking of TV, it's been announced that the Olympics put the final season of "LOST" on hiatus for two weeks (Thanks to Al for the heads-up). Are they really worried that hardcore "LOST" fans aren't gonna be able to tear themselves away from Ice Skating or the like?
Finally, TW & I had mixed emotions last weekend after we saw Where the Wild Things Are. I'm sure if you knew us personally, you could decide who did & didn't like it; maybe I should add in a poll for the readers?

Looking around the interwebs I discovered/remembered that Spike Jonze, the director of Wild Things, is pretty much known for his talents as a music-video director. Check out the Fatboy Slim video, "Weapon of Choice", starring Christopher Walken, and compare it to the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are.


Red Rum

In the full swing of the holiday, I've been taping and watching some horror films lately. During lunch today, I caught the last 25 minutes of Psycho -- the updated version starring Anne Heche and Vince Vaughn and directed by Gus Van Sant. How incredible is Vince Vaughn at recreating the role of Anthony Perkins? I mean, it's just spot on, and creepy.

But I digress...

For the remainder of my lunch break, I began Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. That opening shot, high above the solitary car on the mountain road is incredible. For those who don't know, the scene is underscored by an eerie musical motive; it's a musical setting of a Latin hymn, famously found in a Requiem. Dies Irae is translated as "Day of Wrath", if you needed any help in setting the mood.

Even w/o knowing that musicological nugget, the ominous music perfectly foreshadows the ultimate conclusion of the movie.

[Mild spoiler ahead, if you've lived in a cave or somehow never learned how to read or participate in popular culture]

When I read The Shining for the first time, waaay back in middle school (yes, I had a creepy Stephen King phrase which earned me the title, "Person Least Wanted to Meet in a Dark Alley"), a helpful reader scribbled in the margins above the third statement of Red Rum, "It's murder, backwards, you idiot."

Well, gee, thanks for that...this is partially why I hate reading books from the library. Speaking of books, I'm still working on Peter Gay's bio of Freud and it's pretty interesting -- I've been thinking about my childhood alot lately; interesting stuff.


"Make that an extra-large popcorn"

I've never been one to leave a theater for food or restroom purposes; I don't know why, but I've paid the cash, I'll see the trash. But, check out this review of Lars Von Triers' The Antichrist. I didn't have interest in seeing it, but now I'm kind of interested in listening to the audience shriek...from the outside in the lobby, that is.

By the way, I haven't seen Where the Wild Things Are yet, but I'm dying to. Anybody out there in blogland seen it yet?


RBOC: "The Bright Side of Life" edition

Today's blog is brought to you directly from the living room couch where I've been camped out for the better part of a week. Sounds perfect for some RBOC, right?
  • I'll keep saying it till someone listens: Modern Family, Weds on ABC, is the funniest show on TV (Sorry Glee, I'll get to you in a minute). Watch this week's episode, via Hulu, below.
  • Glee, oh Glee...I do appreciate having music on Primetime TV, but what good is it if it's always super-produced, and lip-synched out of its mind. You have Broadway singers, Beyonce-backup dancers and the like. Show us some mistakes, please. William Hung wasn't a sensation because he was good...trust me, showchoirs across the country sound nothing like Glee -- we can handle it, give us something real. I've read numerous accounts of how stringent the producers/directors are about incorporating the musical numbers into the show so as not to have people spontaneously breaking out into song. Fine, I love it; but stop giving us over-produced numbers right when for the first time the students receive their sheet music.
  • I don't know anyone who watches Jimmy Fallon these days (anybody, Bueller?), but I was certainly intrigued by his house band, The Roots. For further evidence of their awesomeness, check out Eric Idle w/t Roots, below.


Well, duh...

From the Things-I-never-thought-of-but-make-perfect-sense files:

The vomitorium was not, as urban legend has it, a room for ancient Romans empty their stomachs, so to speak; it was a passage that allowed play or sporting-event spectators to exit an ampitheater quickly.

If you clink through, you'll discover that we now shorten vomitorium to "vom" for a theater exit, often in front of the proscenium.

Who'd a thunk it?

I used that term for years w/o having any sense of its history...


"Myriad myriads of lives teemed forth"

Earlier this morning, as I was cranking away at the dissertation (2 pages a day, this week!), I got tripped up on a word that I've had issues with in the past -- a myriad of issues, so to speak. Noun or adjective, the word myriad has come up recently in high-ranking editorial sessions back home.

So, I looked it up in my handy Oxford American Dictionary widget; the standard descriptions note the double status as an adjective and noun, but I was struck by the following passage, entitled "Word Note". As I read the note, posted below, I noticed its increasingly idiosyncratic writing style and I thought to myself, "This certainly reads like David Foster Wallace." Lo and behold, the signature -- DFW; voila!

If my little epiphany today wasn't enough proof, I've decided to take a little time off from DFW -- although, don't worry, my X-mas list has a truckload of DFW books on it. Anyway, what am I currently reading? Dracula, by Bram Stoker...fun stuff, particularly for October.

As an adjective, myriad means "an indefinitely large number [of something]" (The Local Group comprises myriad galaxies) or "made up of a great many diverse elements" (the myriad plant life of Amazonia). As a noun, it's used with an article and of to mean "a large number" (The new CFO faced a myriad of cash-flow problems). What's odd is that some authorities consider only the adjectival myriad correct—there's about a 50-50 chance that a given copyeditor will query a myriad of —even though the noun usage has a much longer and more distinguished history. It's really only in nineteenth-century poetry that myriad starts showing up as an adjective. So myriad' s situation right now is confusing. It's tempting simply to recommend avoiding the noun usage so that there's no chance a reader will be bugged. The truth, though, is that any reader who's bugged by a myriad of is both persnickety and wrong—and you can usually rebut sniffy teachers, copyeditors, et al. by directing them to Coleridge's "Myriad myriads of lives teemed forth…."

Conversational, opinionated, and idiomatic, these Word Notes are an opportunity to see a working writer's perspective on a particular word or usage.