January 23rd, 2007

Sidekicks

The Jack Bauer Power Hour In Review

I've never met anyone worth a damn who doesn't watch 24. That doesn't mean everyone who does, is.

Naked Stripper Three-Way Sex with Chloe and Nadia aside, in just about anything in life, you're gonna have your pros and your cons. The Jack Bauer Power Hour is no different.

The Pros:

24
Jack Bauer
Watching 24 the way 24 was meant to be watched: on a TV, at the time of its broadcast, WITH commercial interruptions
Ready supply of alcohol
No Foolin' Free Shots
Comfortable seats
In the presence of other 24 fans

The Joes:

Have to go all the way into Manhattan as opposed to sitting in the comfort of my own room
Have to get there early, thereby subjecting me to the last half hour of Prison Break (unless I somehow talk someone into going with me, giving me someone to talk to)
$7 for draft beer and they only have one tapped in the upstairs bar
Chloe & Nadia are not there making themselves available for Naked Stripper Three-Way Sex
In the presence of other 24 fans

Now, let's go over these on a line-by-line basis, starting with The Pros. The first two just go without saying. But, before I move on, can I just expound on the mind-blowingness of this show? I mean, you had to know that since they never properly explained Mr. Bluetooth Headset Man last year, they HAD to bring him back the next season and have him atone! But, if you tell me that you ever had the SLIGHTEST inkling that he could've been Jack's brother, I will rip out your heart and shit down your aorta right this second! And THAT is why I love this show; THAT is why this is my favorite hour-long drama of all time.

OK, moving on. We can't discount the fact that I'm a junkie for this show. As such, it's unabashedly difficult for me to wait even one extra day for a downloaded version to show up on my computer. The peace of mind for something so simple as not having to worry my ginormous head about whether my Internet will remain functional or not is reason enough for me to go back at least one more week.

As for the alcohol, yeah I guess having a couple beers while watching 24 enhances things somewhat. And, even though there were no fatalities in last night's episode, the bartender (a semi-hot, semi-pot-bellied, pretty-faced, long-haired, big-bootied white girl with a lisp) set up a round of Kamikaze shots at the episode's conclusion. She ran out of shot glasses (I was one of the fortunate ones to get a full-shot), so she had to resort to filling up these little mini half-shot plastic thimble-like thingies (I took down one of these too; some dude got all pissy and said, "Hey! Wait until everybody gets one!"). But, Jesus H. Christ, $7 for a pint of beer (I couldn't tell you what kind it was, as she DID have the lisp) is just too fucking much.

Since I was there so early, I took a stool at the end of the bar nearest the flat-screen TV on the wall on the left side of the room. Plush, captain's stools, verrry niiiiice. And, for a while there, it was me and like seven or eight other random dudes. And that felt right, you know? Even if it DID mean we'd have to octuple-team the semi-hot lispy bartender (I wonder what that lisp does for a blowjob ... hmm, I should ask). But, sigh, the room ended up filling to capacity; and yes, that did include the occasional group of cackling hens. I guess, really, the only highlight of having all these people there was when, near the end of the episode, and Jack knocks his brother out with one punch. Obviously, not a fatal blow, but everyone kept shouting out, "He's dead! He's dead!" Alas, semi-hot lisp wasn't biting ... hmm.

Now for The Joes. I guess I don't REALLY mind going into Manhattan, because it's just off the L-Train. But, regardless, this is a point against because it's still more work than sitting on my ass at home.

I've never seen an episode of Prison Break, but I've kind of followed the course of this show over its one and a half seasons. The name pretty much gives away the entire premise, so by not watching I'm saving myself the misery of seeing bad actors acting badly. Those two douchey brothers make Vin Diesel look like a multiple Oscar Winner. And, since I ended up getting to the bar insanely early - even before they were finished setting up the upstairs bar area - I had the opportunity to watch the last half hour or so. The show has the FEEL of 24, in that they're constantly building up suspense until you get to the high-tension action scenes, but the writing/storylines look like they're written from Lifetime's Movie Of The Week creators. And, I can tell, just from watching this one half of an episode, that they drag out EVERYTHING. They had loose-ends upon loose-ends when that episode ended! That's more All My Children than it is 24. One white guy kidnaps this family he's close with; this black guy got some broad in trouble with the law for harboring a fugitive; the douchey brothers kidnapped this rich prick who fucked over a bunch of people; and this ex-warden - who's now IN the very prison he used to warden for some reason (that would NEVER be allowed to happen in real life, by the way) - just fucked up this hulking, muscle-bound black thug with a sock full of rocks or something. Granted, it's not Erica Kane giving her daughter's boyfriend a rimjob down in Pine Valley, but it's the same kind of open-ended storywriting that makes for frustrating viewing.

But, here's my main problem with the whole experience, and the reason, ultimately, I'll eventually stop going: with the exception of my dad, Konstantin, and Jake, I don't like watching 24 around people. Now, I understand these people who are there participating in the Jack Bauer Power Hour are real hardcore fans of the show, probably have seen every episode, awesome. But, they're too talkative, they're around alcohol, and they have no concept of shutting the fuck up when the TV show comes back from a commercial break! You remember when you were in school, especially K-12? You remember whenever you had a new teacher or a substitute or an assembly to go to? You remember how long it would take for all the kids to shut the fuck up when the teacher/principal started holding their hands up in the air, shushing everyone silent? Probably not, because like me, you were most likely one of those participating in the din of conversation. But, trust me, it took a while. THAT'S what it was like last night.

First off, they talked through the "Last Week On 24" section in the beginning. Then, as the clock started beeping, everyone would cheer - which served in alerting the idiots who weren't paying attention that the show's starting. But, even though they could CLEARLY see that it was time to shut the fuck up, there was always the last 5 to 10 seconds of last-ditch conversation that just HAD to be spit out as we're getting into the story.

Listen, you can't just ease into 24; it knocks you on your ass from the first moment, so you better be fucking ready to pay attention. If I've got to contend with noise from behind interrupting my concentration, it's taking away from my 24 viewing experience. And, remember, I listed Jake up there in those exceptioned people, but that didn't happen overnight. I had to train him night and day to get to the point where he knew the proper times to interject a witty comment. Training he's now, I'm sure, passing down to Lee Ann as the weeks go by.

So, yeah, I'm thinkin' about going back next week. It may take a few days for me to get over the annoyance that is the 24 crowd. I'm thinking, too, since this just started happening last week, it's just gonna get bigger as more and more 24 fans start hearing about the Jack Bauer Power Hour. Fuck it, man, I'll buy a bottle of Jack Daniels and have my own fucking Jack Bauer Power Hour.
Sidekicks

Steven A. Taylor's Academy Awards Brouhaha (The Departed Little Miss Babel of Men Remix)

Rocky Balboa, shut out. FUCK! THAT! They give Peter Fat-Ass-Bloated-Piece-Of-Crap-And-His-Movies-Are-Fucking-Boring-Too King every award known to man at the culmination of the so-called Trilogy as a celebration of The Entire Series of bullshit Lord of the Rings movies; where's Sylvester Stallone's love? Fuck man, there were TWICE as many Rocky movies! You're telling me they couldn't throw him a fucking nomination as a man who has entertained the masses for going on four decades? These nominations boggle the mind every year.

And yes, that was joking.

So, I did a lot better this year. I think the only Best Picture nominee I'd seen before the actual Oscars were given out was "Brokeback Mountain." I still haven't seen "Crash", but I can see why Brokeback Mountain lost - it was HIGHLY overrated. I still contend that "Munich" should've won.

Anyway, I've seen three of the five movies up for the top prize this year (you have no idea how glad I am that "Dreamgirls" won't have an opportunity ... the greatest letdown of all time was when "Chicago" was dubbed the "best movie of 2003"). Of the three, "The Departed" was far and away my favorite, though I do hold a warm spot for "Little Miss Sunshine." What can I say, the indie movies move me. Prognosticators are probably already making this a two-man race between "Babel" (which I saw) and "Letters From Iwo Jima" (which I need to see). This is what you're going to hear, in less coarse words, "The Academy won't have the testicular fortitude to give a foreign film the Oscar for Best Picture, so look for Babel to take the cake." Bullshit. I think this is the year; the Academy loves nothing better than to fuck with us. If "The Queen" wins, I'll eat my hat.

I'm disappointed Leonardo DiCaprio wasn't nominated for "The Departed", but he was plenty good in "Blood Diamond." Nevertheless, there's no way he's winning. I haven't seen the other films in the Best Actor catagory, but I heard amazing things about Ryan Gosling; and Forest Whitaker DID nab the Golden Globe. If Will Smith wins, I'll eat my foot.

Bypassing the Best Actress catagory, I'll move right along to Supporting Actor. This is generally the first award of the night given - last year, George Sexiest Man Alive Clooney won right off the bat - so look forward to seeing Djimon Hounsou's dark African mug up on stage within the first 30 minutes (27 minutes being crappy monologue/opening sequence, the best time to make popcorn or e-file your taxes). He was far and away the most impactful performer I've seen this year. Plus, you know, being in "Blood Diamond" and being able to pass on the message of whatever, that's always good for warming hearts. I'd be shocked if Alan Arkin won for his portrayal as the heroin-addicted grandfather in "Little Miss Sunshine", but I'll definitely be rooting. He was definitely the highlight in that film. I hear Eddie Murphy's getting tons of buzz for "Dreamgirls" and that may turn out to be the chic pick (and the reason to give a black man a trophy once Forest Whitaker is robbed from his more-deserving Best Actor nod). If Mark Wahlberg wins, I'll eat my own ass (seriously, I don't know why he was even nominated! Alec Baldwin was TONS better than him in "The Departed." I mean, don't get me wrong, Marky Mark is one of my favorite actors - note I didn't say he's one of the BEST, he just happens to be one of my favorites - but I don't think this role deserves this kind of attention).

Supporting Actress sees two women from the movie Babel, and neither's last name is Blanchett. Good. Cate Blanchett just laid there like a lump of crap, she sucks. Apparently, far more than she does in "Notes on a Scandal" - which I still too need to see - which she WAS nominated for. However, we've got the old Mexican maid from Babel and the Japanese poonanny-flashing teenager from Babel duking it out. I'd say the Japanese Bushlady probably gave the better of the performances and is more deserving, but it's in a role that isn't all that pertinent to the MOVIE. I'd have to disqualify her for that fact alone. Jennifer Hudson won the Globe, so figure her to be a favorite. If the little girl from "Little Miss Sunshine" wins, I will walk out that door right now (every so often, they like to nominate a child; it never ends pretty, see The Sixth Sense).

Now, we go to Best Director. Every fucking time he makes a movie, Martin Scorsese is nominated for Best Director and every fucking time he sits in that Oscar audience he fucking loses. This isn't the best movie he's ever made, but it's in the top three. I see the Babel man is in there, as is Clint Eastwood who seems to win every fucking time he farts out a movie. Then, I see that guy who directed "United 93" is in the list. This movie wasn't nominated for anything else remotely major, it's about that fucking 9/11 airplane, and he's probably the least deserving guy to take that gold fucking statue. So, of course he'll win. If the guy who directed "The Queen" wins, I'll get down on my knees and offer him oral satisfaction right there in front of everyone.

So, that's about it for awards that matter. There's no Hustle & Flow this year, so the music catagory blows. Borat is going to LOSE to "Children of Men," for Adapted Screenplay, even though it was vastly funnier. Original Screenplay, again I'll be rooting for the indie; but look for the film that got jobbed out of the Best Picture nod (either Babel or Letters from Iwo Jima) to get this consolation prize. By the by, how funny is it that Apocalypto didn't even get nominated for Best Foreign Language Film? I didn't even know there were 5 movies they could string together for this catagory (Apocalypto did, however, get two nominations for sound-related issues).