Welcome to my asylum for ideas and thoughts on movies, politics, culture, and all things Bruce Springsteen.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Soul Patrol!

Wednesday's finale of A.I. was a bit lackluster and self-serving, with the entire naming of the season's champ practically forgotten until the very end. Some of the musical big names were true jokes - Mary J. Blige making a fool of herself and stealing the spotlight away from Elliot comes to mind, but there were some cool aspects of the show. Katharine with MEATLOAF!!!! perfect choice, though Paradise By the Dashboard Light would have been my choice. Prince? Dude, that guy just flat kicked. I must say that this show has become quite a guilty pleasure but a real pleasure nonetheless. Is this show the biggest "middle America" symbol on t.v.? That depends, especially if network television itself isn't the biggest "middle America" symbol there is. However, I was happy to see the finalists and their abilities (or lack thereof). Several of them will land on their feet. Most of them have changed their lives and for the better. Maybe this contest allows some into careers they only dreamed of but now have the chance to realistically pursue. Isn't that the best part of it all, anyway? Now that Taylor Hicks has been crowned, now that television season is over, now that school's just about wrapped, let's hope that everyone enjoys the last of their fifteen minutes and I read more since the entertainment center's doors will be shut.

My wife and I do open those doors for an occasional movie and last night we finished Elizabethtown, Cameron Crowe's attempt to make amends with his late father, as Almost Famous was a love letter to his mother and his own childhood. E-town was not only a letdown but a cinematic disaster, with Crowe clearly unsure of what he wanted to say. Was this film's main character really contemplating death? If so, I couldn't tell as the opening scenes were unbelievable. Was his mother (written horribly for Susan Sarandon) grieving or just a self-centered West Coast diva? Hard to tell. Was the Kirsten Dunst character a stalker, a sociopath or, after the obligatory all-night phone conversation that shows my true character scene, just the girl next door who wants to be loved? Hard to tell again as the character was, again, poorly written and terribly acted. Not necessarily Dunst's fault as she was following her director. Much of the dialogue was horribly contrived, Orlando Bloom showed that he really belongs dancing with orcs and Dunst showed how just hit and miss she is as a leading actress. There were some high points, and of course, in a Crowe movie, the music. The soundtrack's the most redeemable quality of the film, with My Morning Jacket getting quite a bit of attention, which is great. Check out that band if you're looking for some great rock and roll rootsers. Also, the ten-minute final road scene where the Bloom character makes peace with his father's death while trying to make sense of his latest career change and whether he should find his girl is excellent. It's another Tiny Dancer, yes, but isn't the best part of ANY Cameron Crowe film the "Tiny Dancer" part? Rent this one knowing you've wasted your money but hoping to find some redeemable qualities.

With things at work being both busy and incredibly tense, I've laid off the political rants. I'm ready to come back guns a blazing. God bless you, ol' Kenny Boy Lay. Wrong about saying "bring 'em on", George? Dennis Hastert defending Democrats? Give me a couple of hours and a really hectic work day and I'll be back...