Friday, August 31, 2012

9021-Oh, just let it go

Apparently two former teen sensations are reuniting for a sitcom pilot.

Sadly, the former teen sensations haven’t been popular since the early 1990s.

Yes, it seems Jennie Garth and Luke Perry – Kelly and Dylan from ‘Beverly Hills 90210,’ respectively – have decided they’re going to put their considerable clout (that’s called sarcasm) together in a sitcom.

Yeah, that sound you just heard was the collective sigh of everyone in their 30s.

It’s a little sad when former teen heartthrobs struggle to regain the popularity they lost decades ago – but this rings particularly pathetic to me.

First of all, I was never a Kelly and Dylan fan. Sue me. I was a Brenda and Dylan and Kelly and Brandon fan. I found both of those pairings infinitely more interesting.

And, yes, I was very into ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ back in the day. The kids were meant to be exactly my age. I even graduated from high school (and college) at the same time they did.

Still, it’s not like any of the actors involved with ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ were exactly gifted – Hillary Swank notwithstanding.

In the years since ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ went off the air none of the cast has really had an easy time getting roles.

Ironically, this isn’t the first time Garth has reunited with her former co-stars. She had Perry and Jason Priestley guest star on her dismal ‘What I Like About You’ – and recently the trio reunited for an Old Navy ad that was uncomfortably cheesy.

It just seems a little desperate to me.
Garth is going through a divorce right now – and she probably feels she needs to strike while she is still relatively young. Still, you don’t distance yourself from an iconic role by constantly reuniting – in gimmick form no less – with your former co-stars.

This move seems likely to fail – and it reminds me of the brothers Corey (Feldman and Haim) constantly doing B-movies together to try and reclaim the fame they had when they were teenagers. At least Garth isn’t going around trying to sell her teeth for money – like Haim was towards the end of his life.

I understand that Garth wants to keep acting – but unless she breaks from the ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ brand (and stars) she’s never going to climb out of this career hole.

Does anyone honestly think this is going to be a hit?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

General Hospital gains a vet and loses a leading man

In the span of two days, ‘General Hospital’ stunned fans with one coming and one going.

First, the good news, of course. In the waning seconds of Monday’s episode viewers found out who the man behind Jerry Jax was.

I think everyone – myself included – was stunned to see Duke Lavery step out from the shadows. Kudos to GH for keeping a very big secret.

For those that don’t remember, Duke Lavery is the ex-husband of Anna Devane and the former stepfather of Robin Scorpio-Drake. That’s important to note – because Duke is apparently behind the beloved Robin’s abduction.

Fans probably also remember that after Ian Buchanan’s Duke “died” in an explosion more than 20 years ago, a man came back with a new face, claiming to be Duke and then died in Anna’s arms. According to published reports, the man who died in Anna’s arm was an imposter and this is the real Duke.

While I am glad to see Duke – and am thrilled we are reportedly getting a Duke, Anna and Luke triangle – I’m a little confused how he could be keeping Robin from Anna. That’s not the Duke I remember. I hope they don’t butcher his character in order to bring him back.

Still, I can’t believe GH managed to keep Buchanan’s return a secret in this day and age of spoilers galore.

The second bit of news isn’t surprising – but it is earth-shattering for one group of fans.

After 21 years on the soap, Steve Burton is leaving his role as Jason Morgan. Burton cited family, an urge to move to Tennessee full time and a new project with James Franco as reasons for leaving.

I know there are a lot of fans of Jason Morgan out there, but I’m actually looking at Burton’s departure as a good thing.

Say what you want about GH, but the ratings began to fall drastically when the mob stories took over completely in the late 1990s.

Now, I know there are a lot of reasons for the ratings fall – but the mob stories is one part of it as well.

While I would have rather had Burton’s Jason stay on the canvas and boot Maurice Benard’s big mob boss Sonny Corinthos, I’m not in charge. I’m just glad we’ll have a drop in the mob stories.

I’ve heard a lot of fans say they want Jason to ride off into the sunset with one of his lady loves – Sam or Liz respectively – but I disagree with that. I don’t think Kelly Monaco or Rebecca Herbst should lose their jobs because Burton quit.

Monaco is currently heating things up with Michael Easton’s John – and I can’t wait for that duo to get horizontal.

I’m not sure where they are going with Liz right now, but I think she’s too important to the canvas to send out of town with Jason.

Instead, I would like to have Jason presumed dead (only viewers will know he is alive). I should note, I want him to find out Sam’s baby is alive – and he’s the father – before he “dies” but I am essentially done with the character (and have been for about a decade).

I would like the last shot of Jason that viewers see to be Jason waking up in a hospital setting – looking over – and seeing Robin in the bed next to him. If both Robin and Jason are off the canvas – fans can at least know they’re together.

On a side note, anyone know what the deal is with Kimberly McCullough? Sure, we saw her for a few days a few weeks ago, but to my knowledge she is not coming back to the soap so Duke won’t be reuniting Robin with her mother any time soon. How are fans supposed to root for Duke and Anna when they know he is keeping her daughter from her?

Anyway, back to the main topic.

I know not everyone feels the way I do about Jason (and I have nothing personal against Steve Burton – I thought he was awesome in ‘Taken’) but I think GH will be better without Jason.

I know that a lot of fans – myself included – got sick of Jason being the only hero in town.

Jason’s departure opens the door for other characters to shine.

While I wish Steve Burton all the best in his new endeavors, I can honestly say, I won’t miss Jason Morgan.

What do you think? Were you surprised by GH’s casting surprises this week?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Is someone big returning to General Hospital?

Supposedly ‘General Hospital’ has a big surprise coming Monday.

Executive Producer Frank Valentini took to Twitter Friday to tell fans that the show has managed to keep a “big surprise” under wraps.

I’m sure that all the self-purported “spoiler mavens” on all of the message boards that haven’t spoiled the surprise will say that they knew all along but didn’t want to ruin it for anyone else on Monday. The truth is, though, if it is a big return, GH has managed to keep it very well hidden.

So, what do we know?

We know that at the end of Friday’s episode, Anna managed to get into a locked room where she believes her daughter is being held against her will.

As viewers, all we saw was the curve of a hip and a shock of long (kind of reddish) hair before the soap faded to black.

So who is the mystery person?

There’s a lot of conjecture on the message boards – and that’s what makes soaps fun to me. For two whole days fans will get to play a magical game where they can hope their favorite character is returning to the fold. It will probably end in disappointment – but those two days are still magical.

Before Friday’s cliffhanger, a lot of spoiler mavens and general message board visitors were saying they knew who it was.

“It’s Duke Lavery. That’s why Anna is finding him.” Even though Duke returning to the fold doesn’t exactly make sense at this time.

“It’s Victor Lord Jr.” Even though Anna finding Victor would be one of those “who cares” moments everyone talks about. And, lest we forget, Trevor St. John has repeatedly stated he wants to be done with soaps.

“It’s Allison Perkins.” Why would GH bring Allison Perkins in to be a nutjob when they have plenty of their own to choose from?

“It’s Alan Quartermaine.” This one I was actually hoping for – and Anna would be able to recognize him.

Now that we know it’s a woman – we can at least narrow our guessing scope. We also know it’s not Robin (even though I would love Kimberly McCullough to return to the fold full-time).

So, let’s look at the suspects:

Brenda Barrett: Vanessa Marcil sent gossipers into a tizzy when she posted “Got Brenda” on Twitter the other day. As my all time favorite soap character, my vote will always be for a Brenda return (especially if she can end this Kate and Sonny debacle). Here’s why I don’t think it’s her, though: Marcil has been battling health problems, had a late term miscarriage and recently announced a split with her husband. I’m not sure she’s up to returning to GH right now. Plus, GH would promote the heck out of a Brenda return.

Lucy Coe: Everyone has paused, zoomed, stretched and stared at the promos from next week to see if they can guess who the mystery woman is. Some swear it looks like Lucy – and Lucy Coe was brought up this week. Soaps tend to bring up long forgotten characters right before they bring them back again. However, Lynn Herring has been out of the soap world for a long time and Lucy Coe really doesn’t have any ties left in Port Charles. Still, Anna would recognize Lucy – where I’m not sure she’d recognize Brenda and it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me for Anna to discover someone she wouldn’t recognize.

Claudia Zacchara: Sarah Brown is a tremendous actress. She always has been. What I find funny is that people want Claudia back after they spent a year complaining about her, though. Claudia was a  compelling character – but I don’t see where she fits on the canvas. Plus, Anna would have no ties to her or any reason to care about discovering her. She wouldn't even have the fun of mistaking her for Carly -- since Carly came to the canvas after Anna "died."

Emily Quartermaine: The Quartermaines desperately need some bolstering and Jerry Jax does have a specific past with Emily. Also, Jerry and Helena both have ties to Emily – and since Jerry is using Windemere you have to figure the Cassidines have something to do with his plot. Jason did mention his sister while talking to McBain the other day as well. However, I honestly don’t want Emily back without Nikolas. That being said, if they could cajole Amber Tamblyn back as Emily I would be over the moon.

Georgie Jones: Lindze Letherman was a beloved actress and Georgie was a beloved character – but I don’t think Georgie qualifies as a “big surprise.” While I was sad to see Georgie go, where exactly does she fit in on the canvas? And why would Jerry care about her? As far as I can tell she wouldn’t have a lot to do and that kind of signifies a waste of a return to me.

Laura Spencer: This is the return that everybody wants – and Port Charles desperately needs. Lulu needs a mother. She could usher Nikolas and Lucky back to town. She could put a boot in Luke’s . . . well,  you know. Still, if Genie Francis had agreed to return they’d be promoting this thing all over the place. They wouldn’t let it be low-key. Still, what could be more powerful than Anna and Luke discovering Laura?

Bobbie Spencer: This one is mostly a joke because Bobbie just disappeared off the canvas a couple years ago. She didn’t even show up when her granddaughter almost died the other day. Bobbie and Jerry do have a history, though. Still, it would be weird for Carly not to realize her mother was missing.

Some random woman: I wouldn’t rule this one out. We have no idea who is in that bed and Valentini could be messing with us. This could just be some random woman that looks like Robin from behind.

What do you think? Who is the mystery woman? Who do you want it to be?

Friday, August 24, 2012

The problem with today’s horror offerings

As a horror movie enthusiast – I like to think I take the genre pretty seriously.

That’s not exactly true, though.

Like anybody else, I break up horror into several different categories.

There’s the rank and file – you know, the tedious and slick horror movies that people slap a scary soundtrack on but wouldn’t scare a 14-year-old left alone for the weekend.

There’s the satirically hip – which is usually pretty rare and, unfortunately, doesn’t stay current for more than a couple of years.

And then, there’s the truly rare, absolutely scary movie.

A lot of people say that the 1970s was the greatest decade for horror movies. Others say that’s a snobby attitude – and that today’s horror is truly terrifying.

The thing is, today’s horror is not truly terrifying. It’s truly ridiculous.

Take ‘The Apparition’ – opening today in theaters.

Essentially, the movie is about a couple that are haunted by a presence that is unleashed during a college experiment. Doesn’t sound all that scary to me.

Actually, the only thing I find remotely interesting about the movie is that Tom Felton (Harry Potter’s Draco, for the great unwashed) stars. He’s not enough to get me to see the movie, though. At least not until it comes out On Demand.

On Aug. 31 a movie called ‘The Possession’ comes out. That’s about a young girl that finds something terrifying in a box and it takes her over. Somehow, I doubt it’s going to have the staying power that ‘The Exorcist’ did.

There’s an argument that is often bandied about on horror message boards. It says that there aren’t any new ideas out there.

I don’t think that’s true.

That being said, in the past decade or so there have been very few horror movies that I’ve truly enjoyed. And truly loved? I would whittle the list down to ‘The Ring,’ ‘Dawn of the Dead,’ ’28 Days Later’ and ‘Cabin in the Woods.’

Now, I should note that I don’t think those movies are perfect. However, I think they all achieved what they were supposed to do. Plus, I can respect a decent attempt.

Take Eli Roth’s ‘Cabin Fever.’ There was some really bad acting in that flick (Pancakes!) – and yet, the script held together fairly well and it was just surreal enough to make a lasting impression. I know I flashed to the film the next time I shaved my legs.

The first ‘Saw’ movie is an example of another movie I loved (until the sequels ruined it for me). It was a nice, taught little thriller with a gruesome ending and a mindbending twist.

So, of course, they ground the ‘Saw’ franchise into the ground with a series of sequels that got more ridiculous each time. By the end, did anyone care? No. Did they stick to the mythology of the franchise? No. Did they ever tell me what happened to that little girl in -- what was it -- the third movie? No.

Back in the day, I was sucked back into the horror genre during my college years when the first ‘Scream’ came out. Not only was the movie slick, but it boasted a stellar cast of up-and-comers that were not only irreverent but frightening.

Like anything else, though, they beat the ‘Scream’ franchise to death – even trying to revitalize it this year with some murky results.

Listening to me blather on, people might guess that I’m against franchises. That’s not even remotely true.

My favorite horror franchise is the ‘Friday the 13th’ franchise. Now, I can admit that a lot of those movies are horrible (Jason’s Dead, Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning, and Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan being my least favorite of the bunch). However, there’s a lot to love about those films and they were true to the genre – a trait that’s hard to find today.

If you talk to random people, they think the future of horror rests on those laughably bad ‘Paranormal Activity’ movies. And, when I say laughably bad, I mean I laughed out loud when I saw the first one in the theater. I was promised terror and I got some of the worst acting – ever.

You want to know what’s worse than the ‘Paranormal Activity’ movies though? Remakes.
That’s right, I'm talking about the ‘Friday the 13th,’ ‘Nightmare on Elm Street,’ ‘Halloween’ monstrosities that today’s youth think are scary when they’re just mundane, ridiculous and insulting to the source material. That ‘Halloween’ remake could be one of the worst movies ever made – until you watch the sequel that is. Then you realize that’s the worst movie ever made.

I don’t expect a lot from horror movies.

I don’t think they always have to make sense. I don’t think they have to always be rooted in reality. I don’t even think they have to have great actors.

I don’t want to be insulted as a viewer, though, either.

Take both the ‘Resident Evil’ and ‘Silent Hill’ franchises – which both have entries coming out this year. You would think I would hate them – but I don’t. I don’t love them, but I do find them enjoyable – because they’re not remaking anything or ripping anything off.

You may not like how powerful Alice has gotten or the big, multi-tentacled monster in the fog – but they’re original ideas. Sure, they’re based on video games – but I appreciate the effort (even if the follow-through is sometimes lacking).

Crap like ‘The Apparition,’ ‘The Possession’ and Jessica Biehl’s upcoming ‘The Tall Man’ just leave me cold, though  – and not like I’ve been frightened.

The recent release 'Silent House' actually had me going for 2/3 of the movie. I thought I was finally seeing something interesting. Then they turned it into an after-school special on child molestation. That might have been O.K. if they hadn't done the exact same thing with 'An American Haunting' seven years ago.

My favorite movie season is coming up over the next few months -- and yet all of the previews I've read lead me to believe this is going to be a disappointing two months for me.

I can only hope next year will be better.

What do you think? Have you liked any of the recent horror movie offerings?