Wednesday, May 14, 2008

In which I discuss pop culture

Here's a bunch of completely useless comments about current pop culture things.

1) Frequently, I can honestly say that I don't watch any television regularly. And it remains true that we are one of the very odd households in the nation that has never had cable. However, I have been watching Dancing with the Stars this season and have seen about 2/3rds of the episodes. It seems to me that for the most part the better dancers have progressed, but

a) is it just me or is Christian de la Fuenté not really all that good as a dancer. The judges all praised him up and down about his salsa this week, but it didn't seem all that amazing to ignorant me. He keeps dancing with his shirt unbuttoned, but he's not all that amazing under the shirt. I get that he's hot in general, but scores of 28 and 29 lately? He's at least as stiff as Jason Taylor at times. What do you think?

b) Judges keep criticizing Kristi for not showing enough emotion. I've yet to see any lack of emotion from her on the dance floor. Sure, when you get her backstage and force her to talk off the cuff, she's not half as charming and bubbly as the now gone Marissa, but on stage, she's never lacked for any feeling that I can see. Sometimes, I wonder if people are subconsciously buying into the stereotype of Asian people as precise but lacking passion. Skilled but boring. Cause I never seen boring with her, but people keep saying it's there.

In short, while I like Jason Taylor personally (do you remember some episode of Seinfeld where George gets a man crush on some other guy he just thinks is so cool and wants to hang out with him all the time and do whatever he says?; I could imagine that being me), there's no question that Kristi's the better dancer. What do you think? Of course, it's pretty hysterical when Jason stands next to Kristi; he must be a foot and a half taller than her; so he's got a lot more to move around.

2) The next Narnia movie comes out this weekend: Prince Caspian. As I've said before here, I was a big fan of the books as a kid and we've been reading them all to B over the last few months. We've got a hard cover version of Prince Caspian; a soft cover version; a picture book version; and even read the movie storybook version that's already in bookstores virtually every time we drop by in the last month. (I'm actually beginning to get a little tired of Prince Caspian....) Anyway, I keep wondering how this movie series is going to go. Unlike Potter, there is neither a single plotline that the books develop nor a progression in age. The stories don't become edgier or more adult as they go. (Though the last book which literally is the end of the world is quite dark depending on your religious perspective.) They start as little fantasies/allegories pitched at 9-10 year-olds, and they end as fantasies/allegories pitched at 9-10 year olds.

But with Prince Caspian being a sequel to a movie that made $200 million and some, I can see they are already trying to ramp up the action and suspense with movie 2 in the standard movie sequel way, adding battle scenes and subplots foreign to the book. It will probably work for movie 2, but can they keep it up without destroying the books? We will see. Book 3, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, is already in production.

Just watch: I'm now going to get hammered now by someone who's got a Google Alert on Christian de la Fuenté who will take me to task for knocking the man. I did say at the beginning that pretty much all the best dancers got through, didn't I?


writtenwyrdd said...

I think the same things about American idol, paca!

As far as Prince Caspian goes, I think that the Narnia series in general will benefit by being stand alone movies. The problem with long series is that there are so many details to carry from one movie to the next. Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings both suffered from that. The movies were all good, but nothing as fantastic as the books, because movies have to strip the plotlines down. the Narnia books don't have to have a lot of backstory incorporated, nor do they need to strip a whole lot of plot to get the story told in less than 2.5 hours. So I think it'll work for the series.

If they are smart, they won't do the last book as a movie, though.

Mamaebeth said...

oh paca, did you write this post just for me? we don't have cable either, never have. but I heart DWTS. our non-tv viewing neighbors mocked me when i went out to talk to them at the commercial break but went back in when my 2 minutes was up.

My top 3, in order:
Kristi is by far the best dancer. in her first couple weeks i think she was so focused on the physical/sport aspect of dance that she wasn't learning the performance/show part. but now, i think she is a show stopper. unless she totally bombs the freestyle, i think she is going to win. or at least i am voting for her.

i think Christian has shown significant improvement since he hurt his arm. a lot of viewers like to see overall improvement vs. actuall skill level. americans like the idea that if you work hard you will get better. american dream and all that.

Jason, just, i don't know... i think he wants to win, but i am not sure he wants to be a better dancer. he is tall, dark and handome and he certainly has poise and grace, which gets him a lot of votes. but i don't feel like he is trying his hardest.

Ello said...

I don't watch that show you talk about. But you don't have cable? I cannot understand this. I live for Bravo and Food Network and HBO. Terrible time wastes but so satisfying. I can't wait to see Prince Caspian. Looks good to me!

pjd said...

I've only seen one episode of DWTS--last season's finale. We recorded it for my mother-in-law, who's an addict. (To the show, not to meth or coke or anything like that.) She actually attended a taping last month, along with a taping of American Idol. Oh, back to the point: I kinda liked the show and could see getting interested, but I just forget about it. If it doesn't have a ball and cheerleaders, or lots of explosions, then I generally miss it.

I am looking forward to Caspian. I read books 1 through 5 to my boys before they burned out and didn't want to read the last two. I hope they don't try to do the sequel thing except in the same way the books are generally about the same mythical world.