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Short Takes – February 2006

by Clint Fletcher

January is turning into the new September for television premieres. FX’s The Shield opened its fifth season four months ahead of schedule, and after months of advertising the appearance of Forest Whitaker, fans of the show were terribly let down as Whitaker portrayed one of the creepiest cop characters in TV history. No, its not because of his lazy eye, but that doesn’t help either. Get that droopy shit fixed, Forest, its been long enough. I can’t tell if you’re looking at Michael Chiklis or the wall but either way you look like Helen Keller’s retarded butler. But the biggest event in January was the great return of 24. Premiering after the NFL play-offs two weeks ago, 24 pulled in its most watched episode ever with close to 30 million viewers for its two-hour time-slot. It’s been holding steady in the top ten ever since, something the show has struggled to do in the past. Kiefer Sutherland continues his streak of badassness bringing the great Jack Bauer out of hiding (he faked his death last season), but the biggest shocker was in the first ten minutes of the premiere. Three main characters since the first season were killed all within five minutes of each other, including Dennis Haysbert’s President Palmer. As Jack continues his torturing rampage to discover Palmer’s killer, I continue to suffer from an ulcer. You never know who’s going to die next… On the NBC front, My Name Is Earl gets a boost in ratings thanks to nominations from the Golden Globes and the Screen Actor’s Guild. And a tired ER (still NBC’s #1 show) gets a shot of adrenaline in the form of John Leguizamo, who lights a fire under everyone’s asses. Although Leguizamo will be leaving soon, February will mark the return of Noah Wyle’s Dr. Carter, with a four-episode stint playing through March. ABC continues its reign of hit shows as Lost and Desperate Housewives remain at the top of the heap. The cast of Lost won Best Dramatic Ensemble this weekend at the SAG Awards while the cast of Desperate Housewives continued to be stupid, talentless whores. Of course, I’m excluding Felicity Huffman (the only one who can act), who took home a Golden Globe award and a SAG award in the same month. And extra kudos for the Oscar nom, too, babe! American Idol returned last week to annoy the shit out of us with three episodes per week, and Simon Cowell still shops at the Baby Gap. Meanwhile, Fox finds another unlikely hit out of Skating with Celebrities featuring dozens of “celebrities” I’ve never heard of. Waitaminute… is that… Joey Gladstone?!

Aretha Franklin is reportedly pissed off that The Rolling Stones were picked to sing during next week’s Super Bowl half-time show. Why? Because this year, the Super Bowl is in Detroit—Franklin’s hometown. She released a statement saying something along the lines of “I can’t believe you picked The Rolling Stones when you could have picked hundreds of great musicians from Detroit.” This translates to “I can’t believe you picked The Rolling Stones instead of me, you racist, discriminating cock-knockers.” So to shut her up, they asked her to perform the National Anthem, a much less prestigious job. And to prevent this last-minute decision from appearing so obvious to please Franklin, they’ve also added a performance by Stevie Wonder (also a fellow Detroiter) before the game. The funny thing is, the NFL has invited Franklin to sing at the Super Bowl on more than one occasion, but she has refused every time because she hates flying anywhere. Well boo fucking hoo. Somehow I think millions of drunken football fans would adapt more to the Stones instead of Franklin. Just a hunch though. In other news, Eminem’s new album, Curtain Call, featuring all his greatest hits, goes #1 on the charts. There’s a shocker. The only rapper that white kids aren’t ashamed to like goes #1 again?

Meanwhile, people are trying to figure out if Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban are going to tie the knot, and also why Kenny Chesney and Renee Zellweger untied the knot. Being from Nashville, I can comment on both. Kidman and Urban have been spotted everywhere around town, including Urban’s favorite Thai restaurant, which is located right next to my place of employment. According to witnesses, Urban and Kidman were discussing their future ceremony with the restaurant’s owners, old friends of Urban. Expect some wedding bells soon. As for Kenny and Renee… as many of you know, Zellweger filed for an annulment, claiming fraud against Chesney. When dealing with annulment and divorce, when one claims fraud against another, this means that their significant other said one thing before the marriage that turned out to be untrue immediately after the marriage. I have a cousin who works for Chesney and according to him, Chesney promised Zellweger a baby soon, after they get married. This was upon Renee’s request, since she is indeed getting up there (she turns 40 in two years). But after the wedding Kenny apparently put a halt on the baby-making… at least for the time-being. Renee jumped ship. End of story. Ah well… at least Chesney’s album is still in the top ten. Roll around in some $1000 bills, dude. I always feel better about myself afterwards.

Not much to report on the movie front. After all, January is the shittiest month of the year when it comes to film. The biggest surprise at the box office came this weekend as the dreadful-looking Big Momma’s House 2 stomped its way into theaters with a $28 million opening. Why is this such a shock? First off, this makes it the biggest original film opening ever for the month of January (the top slot goes to the re-release of Star Wars in ‘97). And secondly, it stars Martin fucking Lawrence! Sure, the first film was entertaining, but that was six years ago, when Paul Giamatti had no pride and Lawrence was still a bankable star. Hmm… now that I think of it, Lawrence hasn’t had a hit since the last Big Momma. Who do I blame for this monstrosity? I blame society. Because of you and your unforgivable actions this weekend, we surely will be cursed with a Big Momma 3.

In other news, the Oscar Nominations were released today which were copied and pasted from the SAG and Golden Globe ballots. Brokeback Mountain leads the way (The Gay Cowboy Way), as expected, and Munich managed to gather quite a few nods, despite being shunned out so far with other award ceremonies. People who were horribly robbed of a nomination include Maria Bello (A History of Violence), Eric Bana (Munich) and Anne Hathaway’s tits (Brokeback Mountain). And come on, everyone knows damn well The 40 Year-Old Virgin deserved an original screenplay nom. Up yours, Academy! Kidding. I love you (please give me a job).

Most information is derived from IMDB's daily news, the Chicago dailies (Tribune and Sun Times), Entertainment Weekly,, various sources as listed, and by just paying attention.

Clint Fletcher is a writer and filmmaker living in the Midwest.

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