The Threeway: Best Post-Buffy/Angel Roles (Adam’s Take)

Ok, ok, ok; I know, I know, I know. I’m late. Like 3 days late. 3 days, threeway…coincidence? Yes. I’ve been busy. Thankfully Anthony and Janie held down the fort.

The bigger problem is that I had this all queued up. I knew exactly my Three. Then, I read Anthony’s column. And…apparently he and I do share the same brain. It was the exact same. Exactly (except his was better written than mine would have been). Thus, I went back to the drawing board. I couldn’t post the same stuff. No way! Back to the fight (“every single night, the same arrangement, I go out and fight the fight”):

3) Anthony Head – Giles got lost in the scenery toward the end of his time on “Buffy.” So much so they just wrote him off the series. Goodbye. He was “standing in the way.” But there was promise. He was going to be on “Ripper!” A BBC-show centered around the Giles character. It was going to be gritty. It was going to be a short-series with a self-contained plot. It was…the first of Joss’ pipe dream projects that weren’t meant to be.

2) James Marsters – Speaking of Joss pipe dreams…where’s that “Spike” show/movie/mini-series that was often discussed? Oddly, this was one that even Joss rarely mentioned. Marsters mentions it every time he can. Which makes sense, the guy just wants a job. This project never coming together is actually great. There was no character who was neutered, changed, altered and lost than Spike. Go back and watch the first few seasons of “Buffy” and then go watch the end. Then the “Angel” season. That character went all over the map in a bad, bad way. It’s better to let this “rest in peace.”

Ya gotta have Faith.

1) Eliza Dushku – The last of the rumor mill of death knell projects was Dushku in some Joss-helmed project where she’d be a high price escort whose memory/personality could be wiped clean and re-done every episode. There was going to be some series long plot line about the fall of humanity stemming from the technology used to wipe people. It’s an interesting premise, but combine that with Fox wanting it…it’s probably best that it never got made. Odds are it would have been completely dumbed down to a bad “Alias” rip-off and die with a whimper after two seasons.


Sunday Showdown: AFI vs. IMDb (#91)

#91 – Sophie’s Choice (1982) vs. The Apartment (1960)

Note to self: Do not watch Sophie’s Choice the same week as losing a close family member. Or any other week.

The movie is sad. Like, rip your heart out of your chest so you never have to feel this much pain again, sad. Piercing to watch from beginning to end.  What is Sophie’s “choice”? (spoiler alert) The biggest is having to choose, as she arrives at a concentration camp, which of her two young children will be executed immediately and which will be sent to the children’s camp.

But the movie is also about Sophie’s other choices: staying with her abusive lover, not telling of her family’s anti-Semitic views, her refusal to grasp the new beginning offered to her, and finally, her decision to kill herself. A fun romp.

But despite the fact I NEVER EVER EVER want to see this movie again, Meryl Streep deserved the Best Actress Oscar she won for this film. Plus every other actress award in the known universe. Seriously, she was that good.

The Apartment I had also never seen before. Billy Wilder’s follow up to Some Like it Hot, it is a comedy that forgets it is a comedy part way through, but then remembers again by the end.  It won Best Picture in 1960, surprising given the themes of the film: adultery, attempted suicide and more adultery.

Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacClaine were nominated for Best Actor/Actress although neither won (a fact Kevin Spacey found so upsetting he dedicated his 2000 win for American Beauty to Lemmon’s performance). And they both were really good, although neither Streep’s caliber.

But on to Janie’s Choice: On the surface the decision is between Sophie and The Apartment. But really my choice is: do I pick the movie I enjoyed more or the movie I think is better? I definitely enjoyed The Apartment more, but Sophie’s Choice kept me on edge. So I’m going to go with Sophie.

So after 10 movies into the showdown, AFI is ahead 8 films to IMDb’s 2. So far I’m pretty steadily agreeing with “da scholars” rather than “da masses”:

AFI’s Top 100 IMDb’s Top 100 (as of 1/1/12)
#91 Sophie’s Choice (1982) The Apartment (1960)
#92 Up (2009) Goodfellas (1990)
#93 The French Connection (1971) Downfall (2004)
#94 Pulp Fiction (1994) Gran Torino (2008)
#95 The Last Picture Show (1971) Metropolis (1927)
#96 Do The Right Thing (1989) The Sting (1973)
#97 Blade Runner (1982) Gladiator (2000)
#98 Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) The Maltese Falcon (1941)
#99 Toy Story (1995) Unforgiven (1992)
#100 Ben Hur (1959) The Elephant Man (1980)

Next week is Astaire and Rogers’ Swing Time vs. The Bicycle Thief (Adam’s all-time favorite movie, if I’m not mistaken). I might be persuaded to vote for Swing just to see Adam’s head explode.

The Threeway: Best Post-Buffy/Angel Roles (Janie’s Take)

This Threeway was an interesting choice given that roughly 90% of the Buffy/Angel cast have gone on to do relatively little. I loved ‘em all in B & A, but most never seemed to find their footing after the show (Bones’ David Boreanez and How I Met Your Mother’s Alyson Hannigan Denisof, the 10% exception). Even Seth Green, who I all but bowed and worshipped in Buffy, hasn’t done anything to excite me lately.

(Sorry A1, Robot Chicken? Not really exciting me)

So, as much as the initial thought of this Threeway (something to do with Joss? Okay, I’m in! I’m in!!) excited me, when I really thought about it, the pool was pretty small.

#3: Emma Caulfield in TiMER.  Like everyone else, I found Anya annoying as crap on Buffy. But I loved her in TiMER, a little Indy gem that came out in 2009. Or maybe it wasn’t her that I really liked, just the movie overall. Regardless – a great concept for a film. What would your life be like if a timer on your wrist counted down to the moment you would meet your true love?  It’s available on Neflix Instant. Check it out.

You don’t recognize Wes? Seriously?

#2 Alexis Denisof as The Other in The Avengers. Yeah, he’s that alien thing who’s behind Loki’s attack. And no, I wouldn’t have known if A1 hadn’t pointed it out earlier. And yeah, this is pretty much cheating. But, oh well.

“Humans… They are not the cowering wretches we were promised. They stand. They are unruly, and therefore cannot be ruled. To challenge them is to court death.”

#1 Amy Acker in… pretty much everything she’s ever in. I loved sweet little Fred in Angel. I loved that everyone was in love with her, because how could you not be? But

Sweet Fred.

towards the end of the series when she became Illyria –

Sweet Mother of God… Fred??

that’s when I truly began to appreciate Amy Acker, the actress. She can go from girl-next-door to ass-kicking powerhouse in 1.1 seconds and it’s a beautiful thing to behold. She hasn’t had any real breakout roles yet, but I believe she will and she’ll be around for a long, long time.

The Splash Page: Mark Millar Saves Fecund Fox Follies

News came down yesterday that Fox finally did something smart with their moribund Marvel properties. Y’see, the reason we’re not seeing Galactus, the Fantastic Four, or the X-Men in the current Marvel movie-verse is that Fox owns all of them. And currently they’re doing a craptastic job. Both Fantastic Four movies were nigh unwatchable (literally, I couldn’t bring myself to view any of the second). And the third X-Men movie (which was the last movie in that continuity…no one’s yet sure where “First Class” falls) – to say it was a mistreatment of the greatest X-Men story ever would be underselling it. It was a horror show. Now, the aforementioned “First Class” might redeem the X-Men property (and the fact that Patrick Stewart is going to reprise his role in the sequel, “Days of Future Past” has me giddy); but it’s far too late for the Fantastic Four. So then why did Fox turn down Marvel’s offer a few months back, they’d get to keep their licenses for Daredevil and FF, all they had to do was let Marvel have Galactus back. Seemed like a no-brainer; unless Fox had a plan after all.

Enter Millar.

If modern comics had a gonzo writer, Millar would be it. He’s enormously successful; mostly because he’s not afraid to let his characters get drunk with power. Hell, they don’t just get drunk on power, they get wasted on it, then puke it on to a little boy playing on the playground, then they laugh at him, then they pass out in their own sick. Edgy is what his superhero depictions pass on the way to the “Full Asshole” treatment where most of them end up. And despite the fact that sounds like the worse thing ever; it’s refreshing. In Millar’s hands, Captain America flips his middle finger at the apple-pie nostalgia over his generation; Reed Richards is the smartest nerd in the room and he’ll fuck your sister in the next room while the rest of him is over here solving the problem of nth-level dimensions just to prove it; Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver finally realize that their relationship is more than just special…it’s special. These are heroes abusing their power and behaving badly; because the stress of the changes they’ve undergone and the things they’ve had to do for the “greater good” push them to their breaking points on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. Millar does superheroic realism better than most and it’s something that Fox needs if it’s going to make a break from its script-by-committee superhero movies of the past 10 years.

The Threeway: Best Post-Buffy/Angel Roles

This might, might, come as a surprise, but we here at Sweep The Leg enjoy the works of Joss Whedon. Now while you cinch your jaw back up and pick yourself up off the floor, I would like to point out that we understand that carrying a torch for a pair of shows that have been off the air for nearly a decade is unhealthy, maybe even foolhardy. So we are not going to obsess about “Buffy” and “Angel,” no.

We’re going to obsess about what the alum of those shows have been up to since!

3. Can we talk for a second how unrepentant of a nerd Seth Green is? That wall of action figures in Weird Al’s “White and Nerdy” video?  His. The Twitter feed that’s littered with gushing send ups of NASA and various video games? Also his. That stop-action animation show where you’re just as likely to see Voltron break dancing as you are Clifford being castrated by a bucket crane? You bet your ass that’s his. Green’s greatest hat trick was getting cast as the “cool” kid on Buffy; because he could then use his spotlight to illuminate hardcore geekdom and somehow convince everyone else that it was just as “cool” as playing in a band and occasionally wolfing out and trying to eat your friends. “Robot Chicken” was his first big production credit after “Buffy” ended and it seemed incredibly niche: 80s nostalgia-bait, as depicted by their action figures, acting out the horribly inappropriate scenarios that all nerds have entertained themselves with since time immemorial. But it worked, because he knew what all nerds know, pop-culture characters acting in ways that go deeply off-script is damn funny. Just queue up the…OK, you know what, I just spent a good 15 minutes lost in “Robot Chicken” clips and can’t even remember which one I went looking for. It’s funny, it’s nerdy, and it’s the best thing Green’s done since “Buffy.” M’kay?

2. Ah, Wes. Alexis Denisof as Wesley Wyndham Price was by far my favorite character in “Angel.” So much so, that I wrote up a long treatise wherein I proposed that the underlying story of that series was more of a character development arc for him than for the main character. So maybe I’m biased. Scratch that, I’m biased. Still, his character on “How I Met Your Mother,” Sandy Rivers, is goofy fun personified. It’s not quite an “Anchorman” quality send-up of network news anchors; but the barely-believable American accent and over-exaggerated mannerisms come together in a way that’s wonderfully watchable and makes me wish that they’d get rid of Ted and replace him with Sandy.

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Dexter Season 7 DVD – An Open Letter to Showtime

Dear Showtime

WTF were you thinking? This might not be the most elegant opening, but seriously…WTF? (Spoilers to “Dexter: Season 7” below. If you haven’t seen it, stop reading.)

I’m a big fan of Dexter. I don’t have cable (if I did – I would also have Showtime) so I watch the seasons once released on DVD. I avoid spoilers as best I can and graciously pay NetFlix to send me the discs to enjoy.

I sat down to enjoy Season 7. Before I could get to the show you made me sit through an incredibly long promo of your shows. You can’t bypass this promo (no fast forwarding, no skipping, no jumping to the menu). That’s ok – I understand. You want to sell me, the DVD watcher, on your shows. You want me to subscribe to Showtime. Thus a promo in front of Dexter. No problem.

HOWEVER! During the promo you showed scenes of Dexter. Not any scenes but you showed THE MONEY SHOT AND BIG TWIST ENDING TO THE ENTIRE SEASON! WTF ARE YOU THINKING???

Then, I have to watch the promo EVERY TIME I PUT IN THE DISCS. So, if I watch one episode a night – I have to see the promo 13 times. And, 13 times I have to see Dexter killing DDK while Deb walks in (and they make eye contact).

Why on Earth would you show the BIG TWIST ENDING in the promo for the show I’M ABOUT TO WATCH??? What is the logic there? How does that make me want to subscribe to Showtime? Subscribe to our channel or we’ll spoil our own shows to you! Nice marketing.

So, customer service, can you answer this? Can you tell me why you spoil your own shows?

Thank you.


NOTE: I sent this to Showtime customer service as well. I’ll publish any response.


Sunday Showdown: AFI vs. IMDb (#92)

I’m not a big mob movie fan. They are generally too violent with accents too Northern for my taste.  But I enjoyed watching Goodfellas again, since I haven’t seen it in probably 20 years.  It’s a different take on the mob, trying to include a bigger glimpse into the lives of the wives/children.  It was nominated for Best Picture (ironically, with The Godfather, Part III) but lost to Dances With Wolves (speaking of someone needing to hire a hit man…).

I am also not a big animated film fan. As a matter of fact I am delighted my kids have moved out of the Happy Feet phase and are now interested in going to see films I don’t need to take a Xanax before watching.

But Up! is one of the few animated films I don’t mind watching.  When I first saw it, those beginning clips – you know, the story of Carl & Ellie – had me sobbing out loud in the movie theater.  My two youngest kids even started crying, I was crying so hard.  Ellie had an “Adventure Book” with a section entitled “Stuff I’m going to do” – the adventures she wanted to take in her life. Carl wanted to take those adventures with her, they always planned to, but then life passes and before they know it they’ve run out of time.

Other things happen in Up!: an annoying kid, some balloons, a female bird named Kevin…  All enjoyable stuff that cheered me up from my original sobbing jag. BUT THEN, Ellie’s Adventure Book comes back out, and we realize she did get to live her adventure: her long, happy life with Carl. Cue water works from Janie again.

So I give this week’s vote to Up! not only because Pixar was able to make me cry (twice) but because they made a more beautiful love story in five minutes, with no talking, than most romantic films can do in two hours.  And just for my geek friends, I found this, possibly my favorite mash-up of all time (it’s entitled “Someone Who Loves You”):

So AFI wins again this week… Score now stands: AFI – 7, IMDb – 2. Next week: Sophie’s Choice vs. The Apartment.  Believe it or not, I have never seen either of these, so I go into it completely neutrally.

Streaming Saturday: Star Trek – TOS

Because this is happening this weekend:

I find your joke about trading building materials for farm animals highly illogical, Captain.

And because everyone will be walking around with fancy new wireless communicators welded to the sides of their faces. There really was only choice for this weekend’s traipse through the streaming queue. That’s right, it’s time to put on your red shirt (or dye your skin green if you’re that kind), shave that evil goatee, and tell the spouse that they should prepare themselves for the Pon Farr; we’re streaming “Star Trek: The Original Series!”

This is classic sci-fi at its best – the set values are minuscule, the acting horrid, but the stories that they brought to the table engaged, nay, spawned, a generation of geeks like no other television series ever has. So pay some respect to Kirk, Bones, and their pointy-eared friend. And if you can’t muster that, just take a shot every time they have to lean back and forth like the bridge is tilting; you’ll be hammered by the third episode.

Friday Diversion: “Do it Anyway!”

I know I told my fellow Adam that I was going to step aside and let him take all the glory for this week’s diversion, but then I remembered that motto of this blog is “Nerds Without Mercy!” So Mr. DiMuzio I’m sweeping the leg, and yes it feels good.

Aside from pulling the carpet out from underneath a fellow Adam, what could make this merciless attack even sweeter? The answer to that is easy, Fraggles.

When Ben Folds Five was making a video for their song “Do It Anyway,” (which is off, “The Sound of the Life of the Mind,”  their first new album in 13 years) what did they do to ensure its success? I’m sure their first response was hire Anna Kendrick, but I’m sure their second or third response was Fraggles.

In short, Ben Folds Five reaffirms the scientific fact that all you need to make any situation better is muppets.

The Threeway: Top 3 Fictional Bands (Adam’s Take)

Interesting topic for this week. Fictional Bands. Are these made for TV bands that became great (The Monkees)? But, also the bands that released music, even though they are fake (yes, I think so). Or, is this an accounting of the greatest fictional bands, even if we never hear their music (maybe).

For instance, Stillwater was going to make the list for me (from the movie “Almost Famous”). We never hear them play (I can’t recall) and the narrative never tells us if they, as a band, go any farther. Off the list they go. Additionally, Wyld Stallyons will (according to “Bill and Ted”) save the world with their music. But, the world’s still going to Hell, so obviously they haven’t fulfilled their destiny. Who made it, well, on with the countdown:

3) The Commitments – The movie “The Commitments” follows the beginnings of the band of the same name. How they form, the troubles and tribulations they have, etc. The movie is very good (although you need an Irish to American English dictionary to get through all the slang). The music from the movie is incredible. The music was played by the actors (including the amazing vocals by then teenager Andrew Strong) and it’s a tape I wore out in high school (which is amazing since I was listening to pretty much 90% hair metal at the time).

2) Steel Dragon – The movie “Rockstar” is many things (most of which are AWESOME) but, for me, the best thing about it…the music of Steel Dragon. Steel Dragon is the prototypical 80s Hair Metal group – loud guitar, lyrics that make no sense and giant sets with pyro at the concerts. They are always in excess. The soundtrack to this movie contained a handful of Steel Dragon songs (all from the movie) that all found a permanent home on my iPod. Musically, I never evolved from the 80s, and Steel Dragon fits in perfectly.

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