Sunday, May 28, 2006

Nasty, Gnarly End Pieces

I was going to talk about the Cubs, but, seriously, who gives a shit anymore? (Except this: They suck, but they don't even suck in a historically bad way. This is just the same suck-ass, lame-offense team Jim Hendry has bought every year since 1999. They'll be 7-15 games under for the rest of the year. And then Jim Hendry should be fired. Then Dusty Baker should be given one year to prove himself under the new GM.)

Anyway: R.I.P. Desmond Dekker.

I saw Mission: Impossible Ay-yi-yi and didn't hate it as much as I thought I would. Tom Cruise is fucking clown shoes, and in one full shot on a footbridge I could see his platform shoes straining to make him as tall as his loverly co-star. What bothered me more is that director J.J. Abrams made a movie that looks like a TV show. On purpose.

Abrams has created three radically different TV series, "Felicity," "Alias," and "Lost." (Perhaps you've heard of?) If you boil them down to the essence, "Felicity" was the romcom, "Alias" the spy movie, and I don't know what the fuck "Lost" is trying to be. (Neither, apparently, does Abrams, who has stated he wants to be more hands-on with the show in Season 3.) My point is that TV shows, at least the ones trying to be good or that think they're good, are becoming more cinematic in a lot of ways. Even The Office and My Name Is Earl, arguably the only two sitcoms worth a God damn on network TV anymore, aspire to cinematic sensibilities, "The Office" as a Guest-like mockumentary, "Earl" a cheerful gross-out comedy, complete with fill-in-the-blanks narration.

M:I III flips the script, looking to my eyes for all the world like an episode of "24" or "Alias." (With what I think has to be a gag: In the rescue scene, we see a medium shot of a warehouse with steam and sparks clearly coming out of the windows. This has to be a shout-out to Ebert, who repeatedly describes these ubiquitous factories as "steam-and -sparks" factories.) Whether that's their fault for thinking we want it that way or ours for telling them with our $$ that we want bite-size plot and mindless action I don't know. We all suck.