Tuesday, March 31, 2009

SUNNYDALE GIVETH, TAKETH AWAY



The Buffyverse is swirling with bittersweet emotion over the past 24 hours, and attention must be paid.

Yesterday the story broke that Andy Hallett (aka 'The Host' aka 'Lorne' aka 'Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan') of Angel had passed away after a five year battle with cancer. He was only 33 years old. The character of Lorne was always the endearing comic relief...when "bitchy, tactless comment from Cordelia" just wouldn't cut it. Sexually ambiguous but a flashy dresser, the character evolved greatly over the course of 4 seasons. To be completely honest, I don't really know very much about the man behind the green makeup, save for the fact that he hailed from Cape Cod, MA - where I used to spend a couple weeks out of my Summer growing up. I hope he's in a better place now...and I hope it looks like Caritas and serves bottomless Sea Breezes. He will be greatly missed in the Buffy/Angel community.



Thankfully, we didn't have much time to be exclusively depressed, as good news came down the pike this morning. It's almost like Joss Whedon demanded something wonderful to happen, to cheer us all up. Willow & Wesley had their baby! By that I of course mean Alyson Hannigan and Alexis Denisof, who met on the set of Buffy all those years ago. And because Joss willed it so, the happy news gets even happier with the announcement that the couple's baby girl (named Satyana) was born on March 24th...Alyson's birthday!

As I just learned while watching Season 3 of Lost, the universe has a way of 'course-correcting'. While no one will ever be able to replace Mr. Hallett - I'm glad that the world has now been made a more adorable place, thanks to the offspring of the cutest borne-from-TV couple ever. I shall have a drink for both Andy and baby Satyana tonight. RIP/Congrats!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A CHATEAU TO CALL YOUR OWN



For all my love of old Hollywood history, there are very few locales that have seen more of it than the Chateau Marmont. We had after-dinner drinks there last night for Dustin's birthday, and I was elated to finally take a peek inside. My new life aim is to live there.



Built in 1927, it was LA's first earthquake-proof structure, and has survived the last 5 major shakers without so much as a crack. I would even go so far as to say that any minor scratches here and there were probably a result of this grand establishment's ongoing affair with celebrities (stable and...otherwise).
Not only a hotel, there are also 9 cottages and 4 bungalows for all the comforts of home over an extended period.

Truly an icon of Los Angeles that few ever get to experience, the Chateau Marmont has been catering to the famous and elite for almost 80 years. Privacy is the name of the game, with lush landscaping and classic 1920's-era Hollywood architecture tastefully obstructing views of the prying eyes of the paparazzi.



Greta Garbo, Montgomery Clift, Judy Garland and Howard Hughes are a few of my favorite past residents, and - on the darker side - this is where John Belushi sadly died of a drug overdose. But also consider this: Having drinks in the courtyard last night, we were surrounded by tables seating Eva Longoria-Parker, Emily Blunt, Andy Samberg, Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler. With their entourages and not all together of course, but it was definitely the most celebs per capita I think I've ever seen. And this was a Monday night!



I'm no celebri-stalker though, as fun as it was. For me, it's all about the history, the grandeur, and the mystery. So yes - I want to live here someday. Garden Cottage, Hillside Bungalow, Poolside Bungalow, one of the Penthouses? It doesn't matter which - I just need to get incredibly wealthy. To be able to surround myself with so much legend and so many ghosts from one of my favorite eras...it would be a dream come true. And that's that!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

ON THE LOOSE IN WEHO



Usually when I hear about celebrities running around West Hollywood, it makes me smile. Kiefer Sutherland getting a DUI outside of Area? Aww, fun! David Beckham flying solo at Villa? YES PLEASE. Lindsay Lohan and her boyfriend Sam Ronson at Apple? I hope they didn't make a mess. But this is one sighting that gave me a momentary fright pause...Pig-In-Search-of-a-Luau Perez Hilton reports that today Faye Dunaway was seen wandering around the city I call home. Mommie effing Dearest! DEFCON 4, people!



It's true. The centuries-old actress whose recent credits include an episode of Grey's Anatomy and My Feud with Hillary Duff: Some Bitch 46 Years My Junior was presumably shopping around all the fantastic...umm...furniture showrooms? FroYo establishments? Perhaps she was returning library books? Oh wait...she must have been drinking somewhere. I mean, it was the middle of the afternoon. Maybe she decided to pick up Elizabeth Taylor (and her regal wheelchair!) to hang out at The Abbey? Actually, strike that. Whenever Liz is in town the papps swarm her like she was made of gold. This had to have been a solo trip for Fearsome Faye.



Bottom line is this: I will always love Faye Dunaway because of Mommie Dearest. I will also always fear Faye Dunaway because of Mommie Dearest. So no - I'm not entirely comfortable with her galavanting around so close to my home. And a little side message to Shonda Rhimes? I would never, EVER let Dr. Dunaway perform an examination - let alone a surgery! - on me. By the time she finished Ajax-ing the operating room clean, I'd be dead. Get on back to the BevNiner, Faye!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

BLOODY GOOD REALITY TV



There are so many good pairings in this world. Chocolate and Peanut Butter springs immediately to mind, as do one of my favorite musical duos 'The Bird and the Bee'. So it's always really exciting to see two great things come together, making the whole greater than the sum of its parts. This was such the case in my recent viewing of the UK miniseries Dead Set. If you haven't seen or heard of it, you're definitely not alone - the craze hasn't quite crossed the pond yet. So what the hell is it? It's a magical fusion of Big Brother and ZOMBIES. I'm totally serious.

Just to get this out of the way - yes, I am a fan of Big Brother. I've never seen the UK version, but I watched the US incarnation during Big Brother 8. During those 10 weeks I saw some of the most demented, socially retarded fame-whores ever...in one of the most bizarre social experiments/competitions I could even imagine. It's a trainwreck, and I'm not denying it. But I liked it. And zombies? Who doesn't like zombies?



Here's the premise: Britain (and possibly the rest of the globe) is ravaged by a mystery outbreak that turns everyone who dies at its hands into the undead. This is all happening unbeknownst to the most recent group of "House Guests" who are preparing for a live "Eviction" telecast in the lockdown of the Big Brother house. Outside, the fans and most of the crew are quickly zombified and on the prowl for flesh. Our heroine is a production assistant named Kelly, who looks like Kelly Clarkson - except thinner, smarter and British. She attempts to take refuge inside with the House Guests, who initially think this is all part of the show.

That's the setup. I'm not going to go much more into plot, because a) the devil truly is in the details, and b) I just told you everything you need to know. Even the character names are more or less inconsequential. So what's the big deal? Well, there are a 3 things that stood out for me.


#1 - It's Actually Big Brother

They could have easily portrayed Dead Set in a TV show that's only "like" Big Brother, to cut costs. They could have given the show-within-a-show a ludicrous title like We're Watching You or something else nauseating. But they didn't! They actually made it Big Brother, which is amazing. Apparently towards the beginning there are real former UK BB contestants who are there for a "reunion". But best of all, the host of the actual series (Davina) plays a pretty big role in Dead Set. Kudos for realism, Channel 4!


#2 - Brits Just Don't Give a Fuck

Still interested? Now a warning. ("Now a warning?") This is one of the goriest, bloodiest, gutsiest, most horrific programs I have maybe ever seen. And in case you've forgotten - THIS WAS AIRED ON TELEVISION. The zombies don't just wander around yelling, they want to eat brains and intestines...and they want to eat them now. When they fail, it's usually because someone is bludgeoning them to re-death IN THE HEAD - REPEATEDLY - until they die again. And you'll see it happen right before your very eyes. I'm talking skull bits and all, people.



#3 - America Loves Zombies, Too

8 minutes into Dead Set, all I could think about was how much I wanted this concept to be re-made for US audiences. Obviously it could never be aired on network TV here, but it would find a perfect, nurturing home at Showtime. After all, they own the rights to Big Brother stateside already. Personally I would cut the length from 3 hours to 2 - and remove some of the "B" plots that drag a tad - but by doing so, this could be an excellent miniseries. Plus, I would do almost anything to see Undead Julie Chen. "But first...I must devour your small intestine!"



In the end, Dead Set definitely gets my seal of approval. One of my favorite parts was watching the House Guests react to Kelly bursting into the "house", bloody, yelling about zombies. Naturally they don't believe her. Why would they? Why should they? It would take a lot for the brain to process that kind of situation...and that's for regular folks. Of course it would take a bit longer for the soft-headed reality TV set to come to grips.


Come on, Showtime/CBS! Big Brother hasn't exactly been killing in the ratings the last few go-rounds, and you need something to breathe new life (pardon the pun) into the reality series. When in doubt...zombies!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

WHO GOES DOWN ON THE WATCHMEN?



Confession time: I'm one of those horrible, horrible nerds that hasn't read the original Watchmen graphic novel. That's right..."the most celebrated graphic novel of all time" has managed to escape my eyes, despite the fact that it currently resides in my apartment (Rob bought and read it, because he's better than me). At first I wasn't sure how I felt about all the mania surrounding the film - and then I saw the first trailer. Whoa. From that moment on, I was on board.

Much closer to the opening of the film, there are opinions seemingly everywhere. The Hollywood Reporter basically eviscerated it. Not having seen it or even read the source material, I still thought their review was way harsh. Then the nerdy voices descended and for the most part they really liked it.

And since there's no shortage of candor in the entertainment industry, even one of the film's stars is getting in on the action. And I assure you, "action" is a word perfectly chosen in this case. Behold, blunt honesty from one Matthew "Ozymandias" Goode:



"If fanboys still hate the film after going and seeing it, they can all line up and suck my dick. I don't give a fuck. I'm having a child and that's more important to me - so I don't give a fuck. Grow a dick."

Wow. Just...wow. I guess that means he really believes in the project? I'm going to see it at the Cinerama Dome on Sunday, so I'll judge for myself. But if it's horrid (though I'm expecting quite the opposite), the first thing I'll be doing is looking for Matthew Goode's queue. So to speak.