If I Could Nominate the 2019 Emmys

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Nominations for the 2019 Emmys are due soon, and you’ll see a lot of articles about who should be nominated and why. Here’s one man’s (correct) opinions. Note: If I don’t think five (or more) things should be nominated for a category, I’ll just list the ones I think *definitely* should merit attention. Also note that I’m only doing drama and comedy – no miniseries or sketch/variety, though I’ve listed some I really liked below.

Best Drama Series:

  • Big Little Lies
  • The Deuce
  • This is Us
  • You

Best Comedy Series:

  • Barry
  • GLOW
  • The Good Place
  • Russian Doll
  • Superstore
  • Veep

Best Actor, Drama:

  • Milo Ventimiglia, This is Us
  • Sterling K. Brown, This is Us
  • Penn Badgley, You
  • James Franco, The Deuce
  • Sean Penn, The First

Best Actress, Drama:

  • Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
  • Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies
  • Susan Kelechi Watson, This is Us
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Deuce

Best Supporting Actress, Drama

  • Meryl Streep, Big Little Lies
  • Zoe Kravitz, Big Little Lies
  • Shailene Woodley, Big Little Lies
  • Carrie Coon, The Sinner

Best Supporting Actor, Drama

  • Adam Scott, Big Little Lies
  • Justin Hartley, This is Us
  • Bobby Canavale, Homecoming

Best Actor, Comedy:

  • Bill Hader, Barry
  • Ben Feldman, Superstore
  • Andy Samberg, Brooklyn 99
  • Tony Hale, Veep
  • Marc Maron, GLOW
  • Ted Danson, The Good Place

Best Actress, Comedy:

  • Julia-Louis Dreyfus, Veep
  • Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
  • America Ferrera, Superstore
  • Kristen Bell, The Good Place
  • Alison Brie, GLOW

Best Supporting Actor, Comedy:

  • James Marsden, Dead to Me
  • Henry Winkler, Barry
  • Charlie Barnett, Russian Doll
  • Nico Santos, Superstore
  • Manny Jacinto, The Good Place
  • Timothy Simons, Veep
  • Reid Scott, Veep

Best Supporting Actress, Comedy:

  • Cecily Strong, SNL
  • D’Arcy Carden, The Good Place
  • Lauren Ash, Superstore
  • Sarah Goldberg, Barry
  • Clea DuVall, Veep

Other shows/noms I hope make it: Fosse/Verdon (and Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams); Escape at Dannemora (and Patricia Arquette and Eric Lange especially); Sharp Objects (and Amy Adams especially); Chernobyl; and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Now check back when, say, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Game of Thrones are the top-nominated shows. Sigh.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the 10-Year Anniversary

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I’ve seen a lot of movies. While this may not seem revelatory for those reading a pop culture and entertainment blog, suffice it to say I’ve seen thousands. Comedies. Dramas. Good movies. Bad movies. “Gone with the Wind.” All three “Harold and Kumar” films. Ten different “Star Wars” movies. Westerns. Crime films. Film noirs. I’ve seen movies that have nearly frozen me in my seat after watching them due to their power and message (“Sophie’s Choice,” “Spotlight,” “Schindler’s List”); there were movies that I’ve walked out of (“Antz,” “You, Me, and Dupree,” “Epic Movie,” “Fred Claus”). I’ve seen a lot of funny movies (“The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up,” “Old School,” “Zoolander,” “There’s Something About Mary”) and movies that tried to be funny but missed the mark (“Eurotrip,” “Funny People,” “Drillbit Taylor”). I’ve seen movies opening night in a crowded theater, opening night in an empty theater (“Scooby-Doo 2”), and movies by myself at 11 am on a weekday. I’ve seen Marvel movies, DC movies, indie movies, Tarantino movies, movies that tried to emulate Tarantino movies, and basically every Natalie Portman film under the sun. Some of these movies stick with me. Some are forgettable. Some were perfectly fine to watch on an airplane, or on Starz on some random Sunday. But ten years ago? Ten years ago I saw a movie that has stuck with me, that feels fresh every time I rewatch it. Because ten years ago, on its opening day in the theater, I saw “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” Continue reading

Things that still bother me…Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead edition

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I love almost everything about Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead. “The dishes are done, man!” “I’m right on top of that, Rose!” Everything that happens at General Apparel West. The movie is so much better than it has any right to be. Hilarious, poignant, and a great star turn for Christina Applegate. Just a solid, entertaining flick all around. But is it perfect? No. Here are some lingering questions I have after having recently watched it for the umpteenth time. The lack of answers to these questions still bother me. Continue reading

20 Funniest Shows….Ever

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A few weeks ago, my friend Kim and I went to see a live performance of Tituss Burgess (“Titus” from “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”). While waiting in line, Kim mentioned that one of her friends had asked why she and I would go to something like that, considering that “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” isn’t one of the 20 funniest shows ever. I don’t disagree with the unnamed critic, at least as far as rankings go (though, as long as it’s a show that I enjoy, why wouldn’t I pay to see Tituss (and Jane Krakowski) live?). But of course, it got me thinking about what shows actually are the 20 funniest ever.

A few caveats: 1) I purposefully did not count talk shows, so you won’t see shows like Late Night with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, or the Daily Show with Jon Stewart on here. 2) Shows get dinged for going on past their natural expiration date. For instance, I have “How I Met Your Mother” off of the top 20 – had it ended after, say, season 4, it easily would have sailed into my top 20. 3) This is a list about funny shows. I know there are good shows, especially on cable, that are categorized as comedies (“Transparent,” “Shameless,” etc.). These are not funny shows. They are purposefully not included. No show has ever been more liberally described as a comedy than “Girls.” Yet there’s not one laugh in any of the episodes I watched. 4) My (long) list of Honorable Mentions is beneath the Top 20, presented in alphabetical order.  5) This endeavor is wholly personal. Please feel free to disagree with me in the comments below. Without further ado, my top 20:

Continue reading

Best of 2015

In many ways, 2015 was pre-ordained to be a massive year. After a down year at the box office in 2014, pundits predicted 2015 would be huge, given the releases of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the final “Hunger Games” movie, and “Jurassic World.” And (for those that have been released), those movies delivered well at the box office (including “World” setting an opening weekend record, and then, you know, “Star Wars” demolishing it.). But there were a number of pleasant surprises that pundits didn’t see coming, and that’s what made 2015 quite an impressive year for entertainment. These are my favorite pieces of entertainment from 2015, presented in no particular order, but, for sake of readability, I’ve broken my list down by categories. Let me know what I missed, or what you enjoyed, in the comments. And, as always, thank you for reading this blog – and I hope you’ll stay with me in 2016. Continue reading

Here it is, my moment of Zen (aka so long, Jon Stewart)

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In honor of Jon Stewart’s last “Daily Show” episode tonight, I just wanted to write a quick piece. Jon was an amazing host, and the inspiration for my college thesis, about whether entertainment, infotainment and celebrity could help inform (and potentially sway) voters. While Stewart was a gifted host, the show seemed to hinge on its incredible cast of correspondents. I wrote on my cousin’s facebook page earlier today that these were my favorite correspondents, though I am sure I have forgotten one or two others. So thank you, Jon Stewart, for helping young voters learn about important issues facing the country, and for doing so in both a humorous and topical way. But mostly, thank you for bringing notoriety to the following comedians:

Stephen Colbert. Steve Carrell. Ed Helms. Vance DeGeneres (hugely underrated, in my opinion). Samantha Bee. Jason Jones. Rob Corrdry. Aasif Mandvi. Jessica Williams. Rob Riggle. Mo Rocca. John Hodgman. Lewis Black. Larry Wilmore. Demetri Martin. Olivia Munn. Wyatt Cenac. Kristen Schaal. Josh Gad.

Now, tell me who I overlooked in the comments, or feel free to share your favorite “Daily Show” memory. For me, it will be difficult to top when they made Governor Bush debate President Bush, through the magic of video tape:

The Best Rusty Griswold Ever

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In honor of the new “Vacation” movie coming out this summer, I thought I’d do a quick ranking of the best Rusty Griswolds ever. This doesn’t take into account success they’ve had after their respective movies came out; just who was the most entertaining Rusty in a “Vacation” movie.

1) Anthony Michael Hall, “National Lampoon’s Vacation”

The original. Who could top his stammering Rusty?

2) Ethan Embry, “Vegas Vacation”

Nick Papagorgio from Uma, Arizona. A Rusty without much interaction with Clark and Ellen Griswold, Nick was the luckiest guy in Vegas:

3) Jason Lively, “National Lampoon’s European Vacation”

A mix of Anthony Michael Hall’s uncomfortable speech patterns and Embry’s quiet confidence. Loses points because I had to google “European Vacation Rusty” to find out his name.

4) Johnny Galecki, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”

Before he was cashing “Roseanne” and “Big Bang Theory” paychecks. Galecki had all of, what, three lines in this Christmas classic.

Not Ranked – Ed Helms

Too soon to tell, but hopefully he makes this into a sequel a lot closer to “European Vacation” than “The Hangover III.”

Bonus clip: My favorite scene from “European Vacation,” just because: