Latest Blog Posts

Register at HitFix and you could win a Hodor t-shirt!

Register at HitFix and you could win a Hodor t-shirt!

Four out of five Hodors say registering for HitFix is hodor

A few weeks ago, the prize for registering at HitFix (or updating your current registered account) was a copy of my book. (Signed paperbacks to the winners should be going out this week.) This week's prize is another one with What's Alan Watching? appeal: our very special Hodor-themed t-shirt (with a WAW logo on the back), which expresses a philosophy of life as only Hodor can.

Again, all you have to do is follow this link to either register for a new account or update your old one and you'll be entered for a drawing to win said t-shirt. It's fast, it's easy, it's Hodor.

Read Full Post
<p>Mia Wasikowska in &quot;Tracks.&quot;</p>

Mia Wasikowska in "Tracks."

Credit: See-Saw Films

Venice preview, part four: 'The Zero Theorem,' 'Joe,' 'Tracks,' 'Via Castellana Bandiera,' 'Sacro GRA'

Casting an eye another five Golden Lion contenders

Concluding our preview of the 20 titles in the running for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, which kicks off on Wednesday. Today's selection includes new films from Terry Gilliam, David Gordon Green, John Curran, Emma Dante and Gianfranco Rosi.

"The Zero Theorem," directed by Terry Gilliam: It's been nearly 20 years since the last Terry Gilliam film that was widely embraced by either critics or audiences, but when it comes to festival programmers and industry peers, goodwill from the honorary Brit's "Monty Python"-to-"12 Monkeys" glory days is a seemingly limitless resource. The Venice Film Festival has backed Gilliam in times both thick and thin. "The Fisher King" premiered there in 1991, winning him the Silver Lion; 14 years later, he received a frostier welcome on the Lido with the roundly (and rightly) panned "The Brothers Grimm." Which way will "The Zero Theorem" go? We can hope that the presence of "Grimm" star Matt Damon in the cast isn't a sign pointing to the latter route.

Read Full Post
"Big Brother"

"Big Brother"

Credit: CBS

'Big Brother' recap: Which jury member returns to the house?

Thanks to a tough double competition, the game dynamic shifts

This week I decided to check the Interwebs find out what was happening in the Big Brother house, and though that spoiled any element of surprise for tonight's show, it was worth it. Given this week's double competition -- half of it dedicated to bringing a jury member back to the show, the other half set to determine who would be HoH -- I felt it was better to be prepared.

Read Full Post
Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry

 Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry

Credit: AP Photo

Red Carpet Winners and Losers at the 2013 MTV VMAs

Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and more celebs rock the carpet

Ah, the MTV VMAs are here again, and with them comes the hope for crazy-ass fashion statements. If there was ever a place to rock what appears to be a wardrobe malfunction (Lil Kim), it's during this event. While some rules of fashion still apply (try not to look fatter, older or outdated), other than those vague guidelines it's anything goes -- and yes, there are plenty of nutso outfits that would be major fashion don'ts almost anywhere else that are strangely perfect here.

Read Full Post
<p>Jane Fonda, Sam Waterston and Jeff Daniels in &quot;The Newsroom.&quot;</p>

Jane Fonda, Sam Waterston and Jeff Daniels in "The Newsroom."

Credit: HBO

Review: 'The Newsroom' - 'Red Team III'

The Genoa story is a big hit, and then a bigger fiasco

A review of tonight's "The Newsroom" coming up just as soon as I spend $1000 to meet Daniel Craig...

Read Full Post
<p>Lady Gaga opens the 2013 MTV&nbsp;Video Music Awards.</p>

Lady Gaga opens the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/CharlesSykes

Watch: Lady Gaga opens MTV VMAs with 'Applause'

How many wigs does she wear?

Lady Gaga took a stroll down memory lane with her performance of “Applause” to open the MTV Video Music Awards. Starting as a nun (with her face through a block of white poster board), she segued from wig to wig, recreating various videos of yore, to “ARTPOP’s” face paint until she ended the frantic performance in the clam shell bikini she features in the "Applause" video.

Read Full Post
<p>Scarlett Johansson in &quot;Under the Skin.&quot;</p>

Scarlett Johansson in "Under the Skin."

Credit: Film4

Venice preview, part three: 'Under the Skin,' 'Night Moves,' 'Tom at the Farm,' 'Ana Arabia,' 'The Police Officer's Wife'

Casting an eye over another five Golden Lion contenders

Continuing our preview of the 20 titles in the running for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, which kicks off next week. Today's selection includes new films from Jonathan Glazer, Kelly Reichardt, Xavier Dolan, Amos Gitai and Philip Gröning. 

"Under the Skin," directed by Jonathan Glazer: Regular readers may well have worked out that this is my most anticipated title of the Venice Film Festival -- if not the entire remainder of 2013. Impatiently, I held out a sliver of hope that Glazer's long-awaited third feature would show up in Cannes, but it was always likeliest to premiere on the Lido -- where the British director's last feature, "Birth," was unveiled a full nine years ago. The eerie reincarnation drama was an immediately polarizing title. Some denounced it as overreaching twaddle; I'm in the camp that deems it one of the films of the new century. Nothing about "Under the Skin" suggests that Glazer, in his long absence, has grown any more inclined to play it safe.

Read Full Post
Joe and Melissa Gorga, Jenni Farley, and Roger Mathews

Joe Gorga, left, and Melissa Gorga, of "Real Housewives of New Jersey," and Jenni Farley, second right and Roger Mathews

Credit: AP Photo

Reality overload as 'RHoNJ and 'Jersey Shore' stars pose at VMAs

Stars from both shows pose together on the red carpet

It could probably be argued that seeing the stars of both "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" and "Jersey Shore" in one place might cause blindness, or be a harbinger of the apocalypse, or simply have absolutely no impact on the many, many people who have no idea who they are, but in any case, it happened at the 2013 MTV VMAs. Just FYI, in case the apocalypse thing is happening. If it's a zombie apocalypse, there might be time to squeeze in a few episodes of "Walking Dead" before zombies come to eat you.

Anyway, Joe and Melissa Gorga of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" struck a pose with Jenni Farley ("Jersey Shore" and "Snooki & Jwoww") and her fiance Roger Mathews. As no one could hear them swearing, it's unlikely they were recognized by most of the paparazzi. 

Read Full Post
<p>Aaron Paul as Jesse in &quot;Breaking Bad.&quot;</p>

Aaron Paul as Jesse in "Breaking Bad."

Credit: AMC

Review: 'Breaking Bad' - 'Confessions'

Walt makes a video, Jesse checks his pockets and Hank and Marie have an awkward family dinner

A review of tonight's "Breaking Bad" coming up just as soon as I tell you about the table-side guacamole...

Read Full Post
<p>Eminem returns this Nov.&nbsp; And we're gonna guess it's not a kinder, gentler&nbsp;Eminem.</p>

Eminem returns this Nov.  And we're gonna guess it's not a kinder, gentler Eminem.

Credit: Interscope

Eminem announces release date for 'MMLP2'

New single, "Berzerk, will drop on Tuesday

Eminem’s new album, “MMLP2,” will come out Nov. 5.  The word of the release date came during the MTV Video Music Awards. “MMLP2” stands for “Marshall Mathers LP 2.” “Marshall Mathers LP” was Eminem’s third studio album. “MMLP2” will be his eighth.

[More after the jump...]

 

Read Full Post
<p>Miley Cyrus gets bearly legal</p>

Miley Cyrus gets bearly legal

Credit: AP

MTV Video Music Awards 2013 Live-Blog

Expect Katy Perry, Drake, Miley Cyrus, 'N Sync and lots of twerking

Welcome, Boys & Girls, to my live-blog for the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, or the "VMAs" as the kids used to call them back when I last watched them.

1946.

I remember it well. The Andrews Sisters twerked their way into America's hearts and a young Glenn Miller stirred up controversy with a remix of "Little Brown Jug."

Follow along as I express confusion at how music has changed and what awful taste "the kids" have.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Dads&quot;</p>

"Dads"

Credit: FOX

Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Dads'

It's possible to deal with race in a funny way. This is not how.

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

Show:"Dads" (FOX)
Airs:Tuesdays at 8 p.m.
The Pitch: "Hi, I'm Seth Mac..." "Sold!"
Quick Response: Sigh. OK. I guess I have to do this. A lot has been made of Brenda Song in a schoolgirl outfit as if that's inherently evil. It's not. The problem is that you have two white guys in a position of power forcing a character (who already joked about her strict father beating her with math books) played by a Vietnamese-Thai (by way of Sacramento) actress to fulfill a fetishistic stereotype that is primarily seen as being representative of Japanese culture as a way of wooing Chinese investors (or "Orientals" as one of the eponymous dads calls them), but despite this across-the-board "one size fits all" ignorance, nobody at any point has an iota of self-awareness that they're getting everything wrong or is made aware of their ignorance and, in fact, the plan is validated amidst schoolgirl giggling and additional jokes about diminutive Asian penises. The result is that the punchlines aren't at the expense of ANY of the show's on-screen characters and are, instead, at the general expense of all Asians, that Asians from one country can be manipulated through stereotypes that don't even apply to their culture and must bear the weight of all pan-Asian stereotypes, because nobody writing the darned show can be bothered with specificity. And, for the most part, that's how "Dads" rolls. It just happens that there's an astounding preponderance of Asian jokes in the pilot, so that's the advocacy group that's getting ticked off NOW. A joke about how one character's doddering father once thought "Shiite" sounds like "S***" isn't at that character's expense, but rather at how a religious group's name sounds like feces. The joke "Whatcha playing? Punch the Puerto Rican?" isn't directed at the character who says it, but rather you're supposed to roar at the audacity that anybody would say such a thing at all. I laugh at "Family Guy" and when "Family Guy" is at its sharpest, I usually think that its jokes about race flow either from character or from a commentary on racial assumptions, rather from merely a place of, "Aren't we being edgy!" And yes, as Seth Green told us at press tour, there are also jokes about white guys in the pilot, but I think that even Seth would have to admit that the number of jokes relating specifically to whiteness -- not just jokes directed at characters who happen to be white -- is far smaller than the number of jokes relating specifically to NON-whiteness. And why on earth is a show in which only one main character isn't white -- Sorry, Seth MacFarlane, but your thick-accented Latina maids don't count as "characters" -- building so many of its punchlines around race in the first place? Why not build your main characters first? And if you want us to like them, why not make something *other* than "slightly racist" the first characteristic I'd used to describe every male character on the show? Simply put: "Dads" isn't a bad comedy *because* it's racist. It's racist because it's bad comedy that over-relies on lazy jokes involving race. [Actually, it may be both, but whatever...]  FOX Chief Kevin Reilly is right when he says "Dads" just isn't properly calibrated. That extends to the performances. The two main characters should be roughly equals, but Seth Green is working so big that Giovanni Ribisi has no room to breathe and is basically an afterthought. Martin Mull and Peter Riegert shout every punchline and the audience hoots correspondingly and bafflingly. That it's a grating, unfunny mess is the biggest "Dads" crime, with racism somewhere in the distance.

Desire To Watch Again: Kevin Reilly says to give "Dads" more time and I'm not opposed to that. I've never regretting sticking with "Parks and Recreation." I've only sometimes regretted sticking with "The Big Bang Theory." Of course, I've never stopped regretting sticking with "2 Broke Girls," but it should never be said that I don't give comedies time. In this case, though, if network executives know that the "Dads" pilot is poorly calibrated, but believe in the long-term integrity of the show, why air a pilot that is guaranteed to piss viewers off? Is the cost of ditching the pilot so much higher than the cost of alienating your audience Week 1? Or is FOX assuming that this controversy will be more effective than the show's lame marketing strategy? For what it's worth, I could do a rewrite of the Brenda Song scenes and fix *that* mess, but it wouldn't make the rest of the pilot funny. But I'll give "Dads" a few more episodes out of respect for Mike Scully, whose addition to the production team is the lone thing giving me hope. 

Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Super Fun Night'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Welcome to the Family' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'The Millers' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'The Goldbergs' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Ironside'
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'We Are Men' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Almost Human' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Back in the Game' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Sean Saves the World' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'Reign' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'The Crazy Ones' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Enlisted' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Betrayal' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'The Blacklist' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'The Tomorrow People' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'Hostages' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Sleepy Hollow' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Trophy Wife' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'The Michael J. Fox Show' 
All of my 2012 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2011 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2010 Take Me To The Pilots Entries

 

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME