Tuesday, April 27, 2004

TV Commercial: Overstock.com

The latest advertisement for an online store to feature a vast white space filling with durable goods available for purchase. Screw bullet time and wire work, this is the real legacy of the MATRIX movies: they’ve provided a visual metaphor for the Internet as engine of commerce.

Magazine: Entertainment Weekly #762/763

Lindsey West offers a quiz on potential titles for remixes of Jay-Z’s ‘The Black Album.’ The answer to the question ‘Jay-Z + The Three Stooges = ?’ is ‘The Nyack Nyack Nyack Album.’ It’s my understanding that the accepted spelling of Curly’s immortal chuckle is ‘Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk.’ Nyack is the New York town where Rosie O’Donnell used to live. It’s a subtle but key distinction.

TV Movie: Stealing Sinatra (2004)

On more than one occasion, I’ve watched a movie and thought, “That should have been a documentary.” My reaction to this Showtime film about the kidnapping of Frank Sinatra, Jr. was, “That would’ve made a great VANITY FAIR article.” For all I know, it already has. There’s a solid foundation to build on: the parallels between Barry Keenan (again, no relation), whose sense of self has been warped by attending high school in Los Angeles with the children of celebrities, and Frank Jr., trying to establish his own identity while trading on his name. But the movie’s tone is too erratic. It doesn’t settle into a consistent rhythm until the very end.

There’s a surprisingly affectionate portrait of Frank Jr., whose career derailed amidst allegations that he’d staged the kidnapping to generate publicity. And William H. Macy continues to wring endless variations from his sad sack persona. Here he plays a man who has grudgingly accepted the fact that he has made so many wrong turns in his life that no one will take his advice even when he’s right. He has a great moment when he hangs up the phone after Sinatra has cursed at him during one of the ransom calls. “Lotta bad language today,” he says sadly.

Character actor Sam McMurray (RAISING ARIZONA, THE TRACEY ULLMAN SHOW) has a small role as the FBI agent leading the investigation. If John Kerry is elected president come November, Sam has at least four years of solid work ahead of him. He’s a dead ringer for the Senator. I can’t find a current picture of him on the Web, so you’ll have to trust me on this.

TV: Larry King Live, 4/26

The caption during the show read, “Ann-Margret and Andy Williams: Together Again After 42 Years!” Good news, to be sure, but I’m not certain that exclamation point is warranted.

Larry’s been doing a lot of these shows lately (“Miss Kim Novak for the hour”), which is better than yet another panel of screaming lawyers rehashing the Kobe Bryant or Laci Peterson cases. But CNN shouldn’t be surprised that Fox News is kicking its ass in the ratings when the heart of its prime-time line-up is a big-name version of ‘The Joe Franklin Show.’