Can Reality Singing Competitions Go Away Now?

Tuesday, May 24, 2022
A new American Idol was crowned and I have no idea who they and I think that means the time is done for reality singing competitions. When American Idol launched in 2002, even though we had the internet and more cable channels, there was still a monoculture. Everyone watched most of the same television shows, but even if you didn't, chances are you knew what was going on on shows you didn't watch. Especially a show as big as American Idol

The 2000s was probably the last period of the monoculture. Someone can't be an American Idol with only 5 million people of the American public watching the show.  They also can't be The Voice with those kinds of viewing numbers. And you can tell because in the decade-plus run of the show, none of the winners or contestants have become, not even superstars, just regular pop star level stardom.

I know singing competitions make their networks a lot of money, otherwise they wouldn't be on. I would much rather have all those hours of air time freed up for more television shows to make it on air and find an audience and not shunted until 10pm after these competitions air. When people complain about networks having boring dramas, I think singing shows are the problem. Because of course they're gonna have procedurals, but they no longer have the airtime or prime timeslots to give to some of their more ambitious shows, and those shows get canceled after a season or two without opportunity to truly build an audience.

Broadway Shows I Wish I Saw in Their Original Run

Sunday, May 15, 2022

I recently watched Spring Awakening: Those You've Known. And it really made me sad that Spring Awakening debuted when I was ten. So in the course of a bad night of insomnia, as one does, I kept thinking about the shows I was never able to see the original production of, for reasons of geography, being able to get a ticket, too young, my parents would never, or I just wasn't born yet. 

I will preface that this is pretty much all musicals. Not because I'm against plays, but I think because we have some sort of performance recorded for posterity for musicals, plays don't usually have the same feeling that you missed out on something because you can see another amazing performer in that role and not have something to compare it to. 

Trying to See as Many Non-Blockbusters in Theaters as Possible

Monday, May 9, 2022
Over the last couple of years, the pandemic has accelerated the changed in the theater-going experience that were happening over the last decade or two. Mid-budget and smaller movies getting small theatrical windows or heading straight to streaming, and blockbusters dominating theaters. 

After 2020 when theaters were closed, and 2021 when for most of the year it wasn't fully safe to be in a packed theater, it was nice to be in a packed theater for a blockbuster again when I saw In the Heights. I did see Promising Young Woman in a theater in its December 2020 theatrical run in a practically empty theater while wearing my mask. I didn't get popcorn, just a drink so I could slip the straw underneath my mask, and it just wasn't the same. 

So, now that theaters are back in full-swing, I'm going to do my best to see as many movies that aren't the big blockbusters in theaters. The only movies I see in theaters can't be the blockbusters. I've talked before about my blockbuster fatigue here, and I think in order to combat that, I need to prioritize seeing smaller movies. 

No matter how great a blockbuster is, it can get repetitive when they're the only movies dominating theaters, especially when three of them are coming from the same studio. Sorry, Marvel, but I'm #TeamScorcese, now. This doesn't mean I'm discounting the work of the actors, writers, directors, and crew, which is not what the people who are criticizing Marvel movies are doing. But, most of the movies have felt the same. You can only watch a series of films without much deviation for so long. 

What I'm considering a blockbuster are superhero and big time action franchise sequels. While In the Heights is blockbuster in nature, movie musicals are not the draw that those films are. So, sorry Marvel and the Fast & Furious franchise, my dollars are not going to you in the first week of release anymore. I'm going to be looking at movies like Everything Everywhere All at Once and Men, other small movies I don't know about yet, because that's the joy of seeing what's coming out. You don't have the release schedule mapped out years in advance as part of some grand plan. You find out a month before or maybe a couple weeks into its run, and find gems. 

I want to find gems. 

Going to Try to Keep Up a Letterboxd

Monday, May 2, 2022

So my sister over the last couple weeks has wanted me to start up a Letterboxd account. She appreciates my taste in films and I think she's curious as to what I'd say about them. 

Signing up for it, I forgot I had started an account years ago. And when I signed in again and looking at my page, I really didn't do anything with it. There were like twenty movies that I marked as watched, and ten I added to my likes. So, I was essentially starting from scratch.

The first thing I did was remove all the movies I had liked, for a true fresh start. Then I started adding a whole bunch of movies. As many as I could think of. When I was going through it, I noticed I was adding only the good movies that I'd seen. Letterboxd is all about being representative of everything that you've seen, so I started adding the so-so movies, the bad movies. I also had to make sure I got every franchise film I'd seen, and between Marvel, DC, and all the YA franchises of the 2000s and 2010s, that's a lot of movies. And I made sure to add a whole bunch of classic film, because film history is important, especially after all the hours I've spent watching Turner Classic Movies.

I haven't started liking films or reviewing them yet. For the likes section, I think I'll start doing that once I'm done playing catch up and really taking a look at the movies I've watched over my lifetime and deciding what really are my favorites. For reviews, I'm trying to figure out the kind of Letterboxd presence I want to have. Do I be funny? Do I write long winded reviews like I would do on this blog? I guess it would depend on if I have a really good line or a lot to say about a movie. As long as it's interesting I guess, but the movies and time will tell on that one.

So here's to this experiment! Let's see how this goes.

Earworm: "My Own Worst Enemy" by Lit

Thursday, April 28, 2022
So, April 16th, my family went to the Mets game. It was a great game that we lost, but they played a bit of this song during the game. There was a mini sing-along going on with it, you could hear some of the crowd in like a chorus, and obviously they cut it short because of copyright. And it has been stuck in my head ever since. It has been almost two weeks, and I can't stop listening to it. Both the actual song and Kelly Clarkson's Kellyoke of it. So I have been listening to it a lot in hopes of it finally getting out of my head, to no avail. Now, I'm cursing those who read this to the same fate.

Hugh Jackman Needs a Good Old-Fashioned MGM-like Musical

Monday, April 25, 2022

I got to see Hugh Jackman in The Music Man with the fam recently. Bought the tickets in December and the only date that worked for all four of us was in April, you know how that goes. And it was an enjoyable experience, even though it was The Music Man. The production was great, the actual musical was, fine. This was my first time ever experiencing it, I don't think it's a strong enough show, especially for today's audiences. But I did like Hugh Jackman in it, and it got me thinking about his past musicals and movie musicals.

Les Miserables' issues have nothing to do with Jackman's and the majority of the other performers' work. (Sorry, Russell Crowe.) And I think The Greatest Showman is trying so hard to be earnest and uplifting it fails as a story. What would have been more interesting was to use the artifice of a movie musical as part of P.T. Barnum’s schemes, cons, and deceptions. (But that's a rant for another day.) Hugh Jackman is the kind of star that can do a Broadway residency and an arena tour because he can, and sing all the standards and incorporate the new show tunes into his act, I want to see that Hugh Jackman. 

The kind of movie musical I would like to see Hugh Jackman in is a good old-fashioned MGM-style movie musical. Particularly of the Gene Kelly type. Dashing leading man, that's cheeky and kind of shady meets girl who turns his life around, with a dream ballet at the end. 

Here's how I think this should go. It should be a love story, maybe while they're putting on a show, that classic trope in the classic movie musicals. And he falls in love with an age appropriate co star. No 40 or 50 year old being put together with a 19 year old here. And then you could add in the finding love for the first time, or again, later in life, so there's a bit more poignancy. Might I suggest his costar in The Music Man, Sutton Foster. There can be a tap number! And you gotta do the dream ballet. You can't have Hugh Jackman and not let him dance for six minutes. 

For the songs, maybe do one or two originals, gotta get the Oscar nominations where you can, but it would be interesting to look back at the Great American Songbook with a modern lens. Songs like "Puttin' on the Ritz", "Embraceable You", "I Got Rhythm", and pretty much anything Cole Porter and Irving Berlin wrote. There's a reason those songs are classic. Maybe do some new arrangements or put them into different contexts than they've been in in previous films. The possibilities are endless!

Moral of the story is that if you get Hugh Jackman to sing and dance in something quality and you'll have a winner!

Clips That Bring Me Joy, Vol. XII

Sunday, April 10, 2022

 These clips make me happy and I hope they do the same for you.

The Modern Phenomena of the Actress Turned Producer

Saturday, April 9, 2022
It's no secret that women's stories in Hollywood are not treated with the same importance as men's. It's why very rarely are movies that are nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars are movies about women. That's one of the many reasons why it hurts when films directed by women have been ignored in major categories at awards shows. There's a pattern of actresses nominated for Best Actress in movies that were not nominated for Best Picture, or Director, or Screenplay. 

I've Figured Out What I Like in a Baseball Player

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Opening Day is finally here and baseball is back! And now I can start following my first full season since I was a little kid. And since I'm starting to pay more attention, it's got me thinking about what makes me like certain players. I've finally figured it out. I like the players who do the crafty shit.

Yes, home runs are awesome, especially when it's a game on the line home run or a grand slam. Watching pitchers strike out batters is fun, too, and the tension that unfolds in games that matter, whether it's the postseason or a regular season games that becomes something else.

I love seeing amazing fielding plays. How did you make that catch, make that throw, kind of plays. Use all the speed, swim moves, and fancy slides on the base paths. So the players I gravitated towards watching highlights for have been Javy Báez, Trea Turner, Francisco Lindor, guys like that. So, I think I like elite shortstops. There's honestly nothing better than watching them make plays at short. They way they're aggressive getting balls, the incredible throws. Javy Báez made tagging an art form.

But the real fun is when they step up to the plate. Francisco Lindor's three homer game against the Yankees and Javy's bombs in tight situations. Trea Turner had two grand slams at the very end of the regular season, one a game tying one. He's also hit for the cycle three times, tying for the MLB record for most career cycles, with his most recent coming on his birthday last year.  The real fun though is when they get on the base paths and watching what they can do.

Francisco is fun to watch because you can see how much fun he's having. And honestly, no one has speed like Trea Turner. It is so much fun to watch him run. He's so fast, I want to know the time of his 100m dash. And Javy just does crafty shit. I mean, we all remember when he turned the Pirates infield into idiots, but he does stuff like that a lot. Takes wild chances, steals bases, does swim moves and avoids tags. I mean, he's called El Mago for a reason. 

So I'm so happy baseball is back, and I can follow the season from the beginning. Obviously I'm going to pay attention to my Mets, and I'm gonna follow the Dodgers because they were the first team I really watched when I dipped my toe back into baseball during the 2020 post season. I'll also be checking in on Javy on the Tigers because I'm still sad the Mets weren't able to keep him. Francisco Lindor and Javy Báez as your middle infield? Come on! But it's the past, and I am very much looking forward to this baseball season. 

Dearest Reader, It Has Delighted Me That Bridgerton is Actually Great This Season

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Bridgerton is back, and I gotta say it's better than before. It's a wonder what happens when you actually like both halves of the love story. 

And a heads up, this gets long as I cover my thoughts on the first and second seasons, and the future for the show.

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