Saturday, June 30, 2012

July Movies to See and Movies to Skip!

This past June was filled with a lot of highly anticipated yet disappointing films.  The month opened with Snow White and the Huntsman, which I was excited to see, but the film fell flat mainly because of a poor script and K Stew.  A week later Prometheus engaged more of the Alien world, and while it was a step up from Snow White the film used too much exposition.  I enjoyed it though.   The third week of June fell even flatter with Adam Sandler having his lowest opening in years, and a rock musical that fell sharp.  Brave gave a shot of excitement adding a strong female lead to the Pixar repertoire, while most people decided not to find out about Abraham Lincoln's life as a Vampire Hunter.  June's most exciting weekend was the last weekend with two R rated films topping the the box office.  I have seen Magic Mike, and I do not care what the critics say, this was a bad movie, they must have went in with incredibly low expectations.  Ted and Moonrise Kingdom are on my list for this hot summer week.

Now in July the two main films to see involved spiders and bats, both are part of reboots of popular series, while one is beginning the reboot the other closes out the final chapter in a series.  There is also a crappy comedy with Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller to dread, and another Oliver Stone flick that looks poorly acted (my how the mighty have fallen.)  This month has far fewer releases than June mainly because of Spiderman and Batman fighting crime.

July 6th 
The Amazing Spiderman (July 3rd)

I have heard a lot of debate about this Spiderman reboot.  I think it looks like a winner, the director did 500 Days of Summer, Peter Parker is played by the more capable Andrew Garfield, and they are starting with Peter's romance with his first girlfriend Gwen Stacey, played by the amazing Emma Stone.  I am there.  Then there is the film Savages.  I have seen previews for this film for months, and they can't pay me to see this ill contrived film.

July 13th 
Ice Age: Continental Drift

This is the fourth film in the series, and unlike Madagascar 3 they do not have the great advertising.  I have not see one preview for this film, which means it could be a giant flop.  Once these animated films get so far in the series isn't it time to call it quits, and come up with something new?

July 20th 
The Dark Knight Rises

I do not even know if I have to sell this film, but I am beyond excited, and with them changing Bane's voice so I can understand him that makes it even better.  Sad to see this series end, but excited to watch the final chapter.

July 27th
The Watch 
Step Up Revolution

I will say it until I am blue in the face, Ben Stiller is not funny.  The Watch looks contrived, and looks like upstart Jonah Hill is a scene stealer again.  Did there need to be a fourth Step Up film?  I guess as long as So You Think You Can Exists they will have cheap actors for these films.

In a month with a limited amount of releases....

See: The Amazing Spiderman, and The Dark Knight Rises (and catch up on Beasts of the Southern Wild and Ted)
Skip: Savages, Ice Age, The Watch, and Step Up Revolution

A Tribute to Great Films: Clue (1985)

Great is a subjective term, but Clue is one of my favorite films of all time, has been ever since I was young child.  I was obsessed with the board game, and loved murder mysteries, I wonder if that says anything about me, moving on.  As I grew up the film became funnier with each viewing because I was finally able to grasp most of the jokes.  This morning I avoided the sweltering heat, and laid down in watch.

The film centers around six people who were invited to a big mansion because each of them is being blackmailed during the 50s.  Communism, adultery, murder, and comedy make for one of the most entertaining films of all time.  The cast is one of my favorite ensembles ever assembled.  Each of our favorite game pieces has a great counterpart: Miss Scarlett is Leslie Ann Warren, Professor Plum is Christopher Lloyd, Mrs. White (my favorite) played by Madeline Kahn, Colonel Mustard is Marth Mull, Mrs. Peacock is Eileen Brennan, and of course Mr. Green played by Michael McKeon, and then there is Wadsworth/Mr. Body played Tim Curry.  There was a rumor going around that they were going to remake this film like other recent board game films Battleship, and potentially a Candyland, and Ouiji board game film.  All of these films sound like terrible ideas, but nothing would be worse than a terrible remake of this classic comedy.  There would be "flames on the side of my face."

There is not much more to say about this film beyond the fact that if you have not seen it, and like funny movies then this movie was made for you.  The pacing is brilliant, and I remember as a child thinking this movie is going to be scary, but as the film progresses the scary quickly disappears, and the great physical comedy starts up.  Even as dead bodies pop up, they still manage to keep things pretty damn funny.  I love how they make up pretend make out scenes for when the cop arrives, hearing Mrs. Peacock's moan always makes me chuckle.  Watching Tim Curry run around showing all of the murders, and him annoying everyone, shoving them, hitting them sends me into hysterics.  Without rambling this film is great and cut a long story short ("too late") this is one classic funny film that should be enjoyed by everyone!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Magic Mike has abs on the Outside and a Hallow Personality on the Inside

Magic Mike (2 out 5 Stars)
Directed by Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, Erin Brockovich, Ocean's Eleven)
Written by Reid Carolin
Starring: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, and Matthew McConaughey
It's opening night and there is a theatre full of mostly straight women, a good amount of gay men, and a handful of straight men that were dragged by their girlfriends sitting in the theatre waiting for this highly anticipated movie.  As the movie started the women in the audience were giggly and awkward as the men started stripping or were taking their clothes off.  This made it seem as though they had never seen a film that exploited male sexuality at such a level, the thing is that they probably have not (but more on that later).  The giggling and chatter died down after a few minutes, and the "plot" started.

The film centers around two men Mike or as he is called on the stage "Magic Mike" (Channing Tatum) and Adam or "The Kid" when he gets on stage.  Mike is an entrepreneur; he wants to do whatever he can to make money so that he create his own business and make furniture.  Mike has has a construction business where he tiles roofs, a few other things, and of course he strips.  Mike meets Adam when he answers an ad on craigslist, don't get too excited it's not not from the men seeking men section, but in the section where people are looking for work.  Adam's naivete leads him into Mike's world of stripping, and Dallas (Matthew McConaughey) gives him a chance at the stage as "The Kid."

Before analyze this film too deeply, there are moments that make this film fun, and Channing Tatum is the most charming leading man of the year; he will have three films that make over 100 million this year.  Tatum has had a meteoric rise this year, and all of his prove that he has charisma, hell the sequel to G.I. Joe film had to be reshot because they initially killed him off, but realized that was a huge mistake. The man can dance too!  I loved watching him twirl, gave me goosebumps. The other men were hot too, but was it worth the hype? No.

People have been talking up this film mainly because of the looks of the men involved and hoping to see a little more of them.  No one talked about the story, and what the film would be about, nor did many people care.  The problem with focusing on the exterior is that this was yes the showed a lot of ass, and there was a lot of gyrating on stage, but nothing that could not be seen in a skinemax film.  In fact they show more but because these men are "famous" people cared more.  I think the interesting thing with this is that rarely do films focus on men's sexuality from this lens.  We often watch films objectify women, but we never get to see this happen.  I enjoyed that there was a role reversal, and I hope this film makes a lot of money, mainly because I want Hollywood to realize even more that there is power in marketing films to a female audience.  The film capitalizes on women, and gay men hoping to see more than they would on the internet.

The problem with Magic Mike is that it has abs on the outside and a hallow personality on the inside.  The film is all style and no substance.  If I wanted to see a movie about beautiful men who get naked I would watch porn, the men are beautiful, I do not have to pay to see them, and they do not last as long. I will admit I know I did not go to see this movie for substance, and I know most of the people I saw the film with went with little to expectations regarding the story.  We go what we asked for.  While the film focuses on the main two strippers, and Dallas (to some extent) the other men Joe Manganiello, Matthew Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, and Kevin Nash are left to play insignificant background players, who are only there as window dressing.

The big question on the table is does the story or substance matter?  Steven Soderbergh tried to make this film more than a joke, and while he made it a fun ride on the stripper pole I do not know what he wanted the audience to take away.  The main message of the film seemed to be do not let success get to your head, but there was no pay off to the message.  Even the ending seemed to prove leave things in a state of limbo.  The film tries to be more than just naked men stripping, and with some great editing that adds to the film there is an attempt to be more than just a quick shiny object to distract from the summer heat, but the film fizzled.

I expected more, I wanted to something from the film.  The movie did not have to be about the substance, but even the dancing left me feeling like one of the films purposes, sexual desire/fantasy or even arrousal for some never happened.  If the film was going to be about the sex make it about that, or if the film was going to try and weave in a strong story then try that, but the film tried to be too much and never found the footing it needed to be something more than an empty thong.

Dream Emmy Ballot: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

These funny women have added a lot of great moments to the landscape of television this year.  This year Modern Family and Happy Endings had the most talented funny ladies.  Here is my dream list in this category.

Julie Bowen as Calire Dunphy in Modern Family-Vote for Claire Dunphy! What started out as a simple problem with speeding and a missing stop sign turned into a hilarious city council election and great story for Claire.  Julie Bowen is the perfect "straight woman" to the outlandish others.  Bowen is great while she worked through her fight to win the election while dealing with a family that thinks she is uptight, which she is.  Although my favorite moment may be when she thinks she is hanging out with a gay guy, but he is trying to pick her up.

Claire Dunphy Picture

Alison Brie as Annie Edison in Community-Annie's move in with Abed and Troy was hilarious and done well; she has great chemistry with these two and it helped to explore her character even further.  One of my favorite scenes was when they spoofed Law & Order, and did her hilarious cross examination.  Then there was the great U.N. debate between Annie and Asian Annie, classic.  This girl has great comedic timing, and even with her sweet naive ways is one bad ass comedian.

Eliza Coupe as Jane Kerkovich-Williams in Happy Endings-I know I have not been tricked by the Kerkovich way to add Coupe to this list.  Like Monica Gellar, she is the uptight clean one of the group, but she adds her own flair to the role because "That's how she Janes."  Coupe and Wayans Jr. are the perfect couple, and their dynamic within the show helps bring on the funny.  Jane's competitive streak along with her pretending her friend is coming to visit so she can have her own alone time makes her one of the funniest ladies of the year.

Melissa Rauch as Berndatte Rostenkowski in The Big Bang Theory- Bernadette is so sweet and kind, but she is also one of the funniest parts of The Big Bang Theory this season.  Berndatte's wedding and engagement to Howard was one of the central stories of the show this season, and while her male counterpart was just as funny Melissa Rauch often steals the spotlight, and makes her character one of the most like able characters on a show full of know it all's.
Sofia Vergara as Gloria Pritchett in Modern Family-Vergara is cited more for her looks than her acting chops, but this woman nails it week after week.  We often see Jay get jealous when men hit on Gloria, but this season we got to see the love she has for Jay when they go to the restaurant where Jay has his own sandwich.  Yet I also loved watching her jump into the swimming pool for Stella, and translating for Mitch and Cam as they were trying to adopt a baby; she has great comedic timing, and proved that Gloria has so much more to offer.

Casey Wilson as Penny Hartz in Happy Endings-This character is just so unlucky in love, but watching her try to find her soul mate is both hilarious and entertaining.  Penny was not only the perfect cheerleader for Max when he was getting over breaking up with Grant, but she was also exploring her own feelings for her best friend Dave through her dreams inspired by his alcohol from his food truck, and at the wedding at the end of the season.  One of the best things that could have happened to Casey Wilson was walking away from Saturday Night Live; she has one of the best characters and her work with her TV mom Megan Mullaly is A-MAH-ZING.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Unlikable Television Characters Part 2: The Annoying

Yesterday I was watching two television shows that made me think to expand this post: Grey's Anatomy, and Community. The focus of unlike ability here that one character who just annoys the piss out of you, they grate on your nerves, you scream at your television "Why did that character not die?" or you ponder how someone even thinks to call them their favorite characters.

While watching Grey's Anatomy last night in one of their most painful moments, the episode where they all sing, which was one of the worst episodes of television ever I still found myself most annoyed with the April character.  I left Grey's Anatomy behind a few seasons ago, but watch sporadic episodes here and there, like the hospital shooting, and this seasons most recent finale with the plane crash.  After the plane crash I decided to go back and re watch the entire series.  I must say re watching this show has given new meaning to many different characters, and there have been many annoying characters on this show.  Izzie played by Katherine Heigel is the first to come to mind, the story with Denny, the deer, and mainly most of her poor me routine bugged me.  I was glad she was written off.  While Izzie was almost my pick, I could not walk away from think Dr. April Keppner is by far the worst character Shonda created for this series.

April is played by a talented actress named Sarah Drew.  Drew is not a bad actress but this character is just plain annoying.  April walked in with the Mercy West folks in season 6, forgot to check women's throat for smoke inhalation and the chief fired her.  When the chief resigned Derek brought her back for some reason, which was never been explained.  April is a virgin which is an admirable thing, but the way she stomps around pouting, or drooling over Derek, freaking then freaking out about losing her virginity to Avery or failing her test, why was she renewed?  Shonda writes her to be this shaky doctor who lacks confidence, and I'd be frightened to have her as my doctor.  This character never took off, and I look forward to the moments she is not on screen.

Senor Ben Chang photoAfter walking away from the drama on Grey's Anatomy I strolled on over to Greendale Community College where I watched the Greendale Seven chase down a criminal who destroyed their yam a la Law & Order.  During season two of this show Dan Harmon did something to Pierce Hawthrone played by Chevy Chase which changed the dynamic of the group too much.  Yet Pierce has slowed his role on the show, and became more of background fixture making him a lot more tolerable, plus Chevy is pretty funny.  Enter Ben Chang played by Ken Jeong.

Ken is hilarious, and has made me laugh a lot in many other projects; he was also hilarious in the shows first season, but he has become a novelty, and I feel many people use him to perpetuate bad stereotypes.  Ben Chang has worn out his welcome on this show; he started out as a terrible Spanish teach, who turned out to not be qualified to teach, then went to being student Chang, but as security guard Chang, and now felon Chang I have say that this man has worn out his welcome, and is more of a pest when I see him on screen than anything else.

What makes these characters part of this spectrum of unlike ability?  These characters drag down their shows sometimes.  Community is one of the funniest shows on television, and while I under the point for the character he takes away from the dynamic of the show.  Drew's character breaks up the flow as well, and never has seemed to fit into the group at all.  Both characters are at a cross road they both could have been removed from their perspective shows, but the show runners have decided to keep them.  I am intrigued to see how they try to change both of them for the better, but I doubt my opinion will change.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

In Memoriam: Nora Ephron

Sadly one of the active working female screenwriters and authors has passed away this evening from cancer.  Nora Ephron was 71 years old and she has written and directed a mixed bag of films.  Here is a snap shot of the films she has written/directed.  Nora Ephron has written and directed seven films.  Most of these seven films have had more of a cultural impact than could be realized.


This is My Life

Sleepless in Seattle

Mixed Nuts


You've Got Mail


Julie & Julia


Hanging Up

My Blue Heaven

When Harry Met Sally  



Looking at this full list of films thinking about her impact is tremendous; she single handedly put Meg Ryan on the map.  Ephron's work had this old school charm that many films lack, although how she could ruin Bewitched is beyond me.  With this sudden death I am sad to see this woman go, but her last film Julie & Julia left a great impression for her legacy.

Newsroom Pulses with Energy as Aaron Sorkin Creates Another Brilliant Television Series

The Newsroom is a new series on HBO from Emmy and Oscar winner Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, The Social Network).  The Newsroom centers on Will McAvoy who has a minor freak out while speaking in front of a group of college students.  McAvoy is surrounded by two other television journalists, one liberal and one conservative arguing while he is called "the Jay Leno of news" who sits in the middle and does not take a position.  A young college sophomore steps up to the microphone, and asks "in one sentence or less why do you think America is the greatest country in the world?"  The liberal pundit states diversity while the conservative pundit states freedom twice.  Will states "the Jets" but is goaded and goes off on a tirade against the young lady about the problems with the news and America.  Jeff Daniels who plays McAvoy gives one hell of a speech, and his performance throughout the episode proves this show has a fire that can't be put out like in the gulf.

As Will returns back to work he finds out or notices that most of his staff is missing, and the newsroom is empty.  Will is sent up Charlie Skinner's office (Sam Waterson), and he tells him that his executive producer is leaving his show and taking his crew.  Soon Bill finds out that his ex-girlfriend Mackenzie MacHale (Emily Mortimer) who was having visions of before he went on his tirade will be his new executive producer.  As Mackenzie and Will meet up for the first time a news story breaks about an explosion in the Gulf of Mexico and two things happen the show flashes a date stating that is back in 2010 and they are delving into the BP oil crisis, and the show takes off like a rocket.

The interesting diference is that many critics were harsh on this show saying Sorkin missed, and hit a sour note.  I fervently disagree.  Emily Nussbaum writes the following to close out her piece entitled "Broken News":

“The Newsroom” is the inverse of “Veep”: it’s so naïve it’s cynical. Sorkin’s fantasy is of a cabal of proud, disdainful brainiacs, a “media élite” who swallow accusations of arrogance and shoot them back as lava. But if the storytelling were more confident, it could take a breath and deliver drama, not just talking points. Instead, the deck stays stacked. Whenever McAvoy delivers a speech or slices up a right-winger, the ensemble beams at him, their eyes glowing as if they were cultists."

Quantifying this show naive bordering on cynical is way off track, and if you read the entire article you can that Nussbaum has an axe to grind, one which she will use on Sorkin's head.  One of Nussbaum's major complaints is the misuse of a quality ensemble.  Nussbaum states that ensemble is filled with three minority characters whom Sorkin like in his other show Studio 60 are underdeveloped.  I know most television critics get the first few episodes, but the focus of the show is the dynamic between Will and Mackenzie, and the message of telling the truth and honest journalism.

Sorkin may have his own axe to grind, but within that framework he's stating a message, and most of the reviewers are not listening to the message.  This show centers on a broken government with a population as divided as during the days of the Civil War and the people who have the responsibility of bringing the news to the masses.  Will is walking away from "being Jay Leno" and moving towards being more than just a run of the mill anchor.  The beginning of the episode is his own homage Peter Finch's "I'm mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore" from the film Network (1976).  The Newsroom's first episode proved to be an impeccably written and directed show, that will hopefully continue to challenge the political structure, and the way media outlets operate.  Bravo Mr. Sorkin.

Emmy Dream Ballot: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Now moving on to the Comedy categories, after being away for so long it's time to put out my dream ballot for the Comedy categories.  As the Emmy Awards nominations come closer and closer I am more and more excited about this year's nominations.  Although my dream ballot in the drama categories may find some similarity the comedy categories will remain more stagnant like they typically do.  Here are my dream supporting actor candidates.

Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy in Modern Family- Phil is still the funniest, and best part of this show.  Whether we were watching him try and walk a tight rope, or finding out that his daughter had lost her v-card, and trying to help his son navigate the women's periods.  Ty Burrell is great, and this role was made for him.  Even three seasons later the character continues to evolve and find ways to make that awkward dad humor just great.
Max Greenfield as Ted Schmidt in New Girl-What can I say about Schmidt that you may not already know?  Well if you do not watch the show Schmidt is is pretty damn hilarious; he primps and has OCD, he thinks he is a ladies man, and while he is hot, he often does not clean up the way you would think.  Schmidt's story about sneaking around and sleeping with CeCe not only moved audiences, but made for some hilarious moments.
Ed O'Neil as Jay Pritchett in Modern Family-Jay was my second favorite male on the series this season.  I love watching the evolution of this character, yes he is a little old fashioned still, but his straight forward brand of humor remains to keep the show on point.  Watching Jay dance with Lily at her dance recital, moved me and showed me that this character had evolved.  Watching him jump in the pool after his dog which made it seem he like her more than his wife made me belly laugh.
Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson in Parks and Recreation-He's Ron fucking Swanson, one of the best, most original characters to grace television comedies.  Nick Offerman's timing and dry character representation make him one of the funniest men working in television.  Whether Ron is having to navigate the different Tammy's in his life, try and keep his scout troop in tune with nature, or helping Leslie campaign this character is one of a kind.

Jim Rash as Dean Pelton in Community-This is the year of Jim Rash; he won an Oscar for his solid screenplay for the film The Descendants, and his character got a lot more story line, and brought his character to a whole new level.  Dean Pelton tricked Jeff Winger into a lunch date, which was hilarious, but the best episode was when he attempted to try and direct Greendale College's commercial, and hoped for Luis Guzman to show.  Rash may not be one of the Greendale 7, but his presence on the show was essential, and hilarious this season.
Damon Wayans Jr. as Brad Williams in Happy Endings-The entire sequence where Brad goes to the dentist in the episode "The St. Valentine's Day Maxacre" is the reason Damon Wayans deserves to be nominated this year.  Wayans like his father has great comedic timing and balances this with physical comedy.  As Wayans dances his way to the dentists chair, finding out his always perfect teeth are no longer perfect, he soon becomes drugged up, and laughingly calls all of his friends by their parallel Friends characters.  Great performance, in an under rated show.

Travels with Kevin Part 7: Meet Me in St. Louis….This City Needs More Judy Garland

I have been outside of the world of popular culture for the last few days because I was at work conference. My work conference was the Standing Committee for LGBT Awareness (SCLGBTA).  We have been working long days starting Thursday until Monday.  I am drained from long 8 hour days, and lots of processing.  I am ready to get back to Boston, the Northeast, and pop culture.

St. Louis was an interesting city.  While I was traveling west I was not sure where exactly the city fell in regard to accents.  As I arrived in the airport I slowly learned that St. Louis, was more part of the Midwest then the south.  St. Louis (for those who are not aware) is incredibly close to the border of Illinois, which plays a role in helping define this part of Missouri. While I was there mainly for work I pushed myself to go out at night to see the gay scene.  There were several different LGBT bars on one street, which seemed to provide a space for mostly everyone.  I only went to just Johns, which had no cover, but the other places looked and were fun according to some of the people I traveled with.  While the scene was fun, I did not find many people I felt attracted to which was interesting, although I have a feeling many people head north to Chicago pride (I hope).  I also got to watch their pride parade, which was surprisingly long, but fun.  One of the people I was there with that lived in St, Louis stated this is the kind of city you only want to maybe visit one time.  This was my one time.

The city felt different.  With a crumbling infrastructure, and poor city set up it reminded me why I never want to move back to the Midwest (except for Chicago).  While I know I did not get to see every of the city, the parts I did see were the perfect snap shot of a traditional Midwestern city that is neither my speed, no a place I would go back to visit.  Even the beauty of the arch could not save what is falling a part.  Cities like this deserve to thrive, and we need our economy to turn around so tourism can allow this city to prosper like it did within the 1944 film Meet Me in St. Louis. Now there is no specific song about being in St. Louis in Meet me in St. Louis, but Judy Garland sure put this place on the map.  

I have honestly never seen this musical, in fact I have been warned that I will not enjoy it at all.  Yet as a student of popular culture, and avid musical fan I know the two most famous songs from this film “The Trolley Song” and “Have Yourself a Marry Little Christmas.”  Judy’s version of the second song brings me to tears every time I hear it, mainly because of its use in the film The Family Stone.  The first Sex and the City film used this as a reference as well, with Louise (Jennifer Hudson) from St. Louis.  I feel as though I am in good company because Carrie Bradshaw had never seen the film either.

Going to this city made me never want to go back, but it did make me think about the cultural impact of this film, Meet me in St. Louis was the second highest grossing film in 1944, and has impacted numerous other films.  Time to watch the film, and get in a good cry when Judy sings “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

Monday, June 25, 2012

General Hospital Dominates the Daytime Emmy Awards within a Slightly Better, but Boring Ceremony

The show started with a song from one of my favorite Sesame Street characters Oscar the Grouch singing and bantering with Anderson Cooper was cute and straight to the point, but isn’t there more to Daytime than Luke and Laura?

The first award was presented by the four nominees for Outstanding Younger in a Drama Series announcing the winner for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.  Anthony Geary who plays Luke on General Hospital was the victor, and is now the most honored acting winner at the Daytime Emmy Awards with 7 trophies with 30 years of nominations, his first being 1982 when Luke married Laura.  This started the award show train for General Hospital on Saturday night.

I liked the concept between the way they present this award, but showing no scenes was in poor taste.  Yet Geary was a consument professional, and stated it was “a great way to start an evening” and proving that Daytime Dramas are still relevant, and that cancelling GH for “a boob job bonanza” would be a mistake.

Why Daytime?  A producer talking about Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune proves how important this genre is.  Then the women of The Talk poking fun at the confusion between of their show while presenting Outstanding Game Show was terrific.  The eventual winner was Todd Newton from Family Game Night.  I have never seen the show, but his genuine speech made me happy for former E! fame.   The ladies then presented Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show went to Jeopardy.

The show then went on to show people who weren’t just actors, but the costume designer from All My Children, and this theme throughout the night was great, and truly honored the brilliance of what Daytime means.  In a bit of a surprising twist Days of Our Lives won for Outstanding Writing in a drama series, the show has not won the prize since 1976.  Quickly followed Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama series where Jonathan Jackson won for the second year in a row. 

Days of Our Lives was nipping at General Hospital’s heals when Chandler Massey won the award for Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series.  Barbara Wlaters then presented Bill Geddie with the Lifetime Achievement Award, an honor he deserves with his producing.  I like that they took the time to honor him even with the show feeling rushed.  Dr. Drew took the stage soon after to announce the Outstanding Morning Show Award, which went to The Today Show.

In the same style as Outstanding Lead Actor, the four Younger Actress nominees presented the Outstanding Lead Actress Award to Heather Tom; she is the first person in Daytime to win in every single acting category..  This made two big record breaking moments in the lead categories.

Like the actual award show I am going to speed up the commentary and go right to the point.  The show should have skipped a few of the awards, and honored two of of the Daytime Dramas that left the air All My Children, and One Life to Live better.  Susan Lucci’s tribute was sweet, but was not enough.  Inviting Cameron Matheson along with Lucci is a slap to the history of All My Children, although I was glad they asked Erika Slezak to help honor leading the tribute.  These three just talking about recently cancelled shows was just not enough.  I am mad that the Emmys did these shows wrong like this.

The night ended with General Hospital helping sweep the evening with a win in the best Drama Series category.  The show was better than most recent years, but the quick pacing, and lack of attention to this past year's cancelled shows makes it worse. See the full list of winners below.

Complete List of Winners (Major Categories)

Outstanding Drama Series
General Hospital

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Anthony Geary as Luke Spencer on General Hospital

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Heather Tom as Katie Spencer in The Bold and the Beautiful

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Jonathan Jackson as Lucky Spencer on General Hospital

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Nancy Lee Grahn as Alexis Davis on General Hospital

Outstanding Young Actor in a Drama Series
Chandler Massey as Will Horton on Days of Our Lives

Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series
Cristal Khalil as Lily Winters on The Young and the Restless

Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series
General Hospital

Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series
Days of our Lives

Outstanding Talk Shoe (Entertainment)
Live with Regis and Kelly

Outstanding Talk Show (Informative)
The Dr. Oz Show

Outstanding Talk Show Host
Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa-Live with Regis and Kelly

Outstanding Game Show

Outstanding Game Show Host
Todd Newton-Family Game Night

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Women are Funny!

I hate to give this story any merit, but my own thoughts are inspired by the day to day events within the world of popular culture.  Today a story came out from the New York Post that Adam Carolla stated the following regarding working with women: 

"No. But they make you hire a certain number of chicks, and they're always the least funny on the writing staff. The reason why you know more funny dudes than funny chicks is that dudes are funnier than chicks. If my daughter has a mediocre sense of humor, I'm just gonna tell her, 'Be a staff writer for a sitcom. Because they'll have to hire you, they can't really fire you, and you don't have to produce that much. It'll be awesome."

He then compared working with a female comedy team, or hiring female comedy writers to picking a basketball team

"When you're picking a basketball team, you'll take the brother over the guy with the yarmulke. Why? Because you're playing the odds. When it comes to comedy, of course there's Sarah Silverman,Tina FeyKathy Griffin—super-funny chicks. But if you're playing the odds? No."

Man of you may or most likely may not remember this personality as one of the hosts of the Comedy Central television series The Man Show (1999-2004).  The series ran for five years and propelled host Jimmy Kimmel to a successful career as a late night host at ABC.  Carolla has landed on the D list along with the above mentioned Kathy Griffin, and has only starred in crappy reality television like Celebrity Apprentice.  The ironic thing is that I never found Carolla's show The Man Show funny; he is this crass person who uses fart and tits humor to get laughs, and while that may be funny to some people that brand of humor lacks the intellect many of female counterparts within the comedy world.

Carolla works within the realm of stereotypes, which can be funny when used wisely; he also equates them to truth working in the real world.  In his rationale Carolla uses an "affirmative action" type argument to state why female comedy writers exist.  I also have to disagree with his assertion that the "reason we know more funny dudes than chicks" is because comedy is still a boys club and fewer women are given the opportunity to prove their worth.  If you look at the history of funny women in television time after time they have proven their worth in front of the camera.

From Lucille Ball to Tina Fey women have proven to be some of the funniest and most memorable characters in the television landscape.  In the 1950s up until today people always cite Lucille Ball as one of the funniest comediennes of all time, and to be honest this distinction crosses the gender line.  Ball's distinct brand of humor was great; her physical humor stole the show.  As time went by especially in the 60s the boys club ruled, but the 70s and 80s stirred up a revolution.  Shows like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Maude, Rhoda, Alice, One Day at a Time, 227, The Golden Girls, Designing Women, and Murphy Brown (all centering on women) proved that the women could compete with the men on the comedy front. While a half of these shows were created by men a few had female creators, and women writers like The Golden Girls, Designing Women, and Murphy Brown, which were all products of the mid to late 80s.  While these shows may not be up Carolla's alley (mainly because they don't involve girls on trampolines) there is no denying that these shows are regarded as some of the best and funniest shows of all time.

Carolla does not use the past to defend his comments rather current funny women and a slight to fact that Jewish men can't play sports.  Carolla has cited three working female comediennes whom he would not pick for his team, one being his former partner's (Kimmel) girlfriend Sarah Silverman, another being Kathy Griffin, and then Tina Fey.  While  Silverman and Griffin are incredibly polarizing I would argue both are funny than Carolla, and are more recognizable personalities than he is today.  I am going to run with his citation of Tina Fey, and the impressive comedy work she has created within the last 12 years or so.

Tina Fey was offered a writing position for Saturday Night Live in 1997 by head writer and former Second City pal Adam McKay.  Although Fey struggled in the beginning, partly because she had to navigate the boys club; she soon carved her own niche and put together some of the best female driven sketches the show had seen, and made the show a more diverse playing ground.  In 1999 Fey was offered the job as head writer for the show; she was in fact the first female head writer for Saturday Night Live.  If you compare her to Seth Meyers you can see where her talent outshines his by leaps and bounds (something she would never point out).  Fey was the head writer of the show for seven years and left at the end of 2006.

In the middle of her tenure as head writer she wrote one of the funniest films about young teenage girls in high entitled Mean Girls (2004).  Mean Girls starred Lindsay Lohan when she had talent, and created one of the funniest/meanest characters of all time, Regina George.  While the film was not a massive success at the box office there was a lot of traction with word of mouth when it was released on DVD and it gained a bit of a cult following, and can heard quoted by many women and gay men today.

Soon after Fey ended her run as head writer on SNL she jumped into another project, a television comedy entitled 30 Rock.  30 Rock is a show that takes place in an SNL like environment where Fey plays Liz Lemon the head writer of TGS.  Fey is great in the show, but of course Alec Baldwin steals the spotlight on screen.  Many people cite his performance as their favorite on the show, but in reality his character exists because of Fey.  Fey is a creator on the show, and writes many of the episodes; she has won Emmy awards for acting, writing and producing the show.  The show has won 3 Best Comedy Series Emmy Awards.  I think Fey is someone I would pick on my comedy legend team without a doubt.

Carolla's comments probably fall of deaf ears for many, but still perpetuate the stereotypes within the entertainment industry.  Throughout the last couple of years magazines, journalists, an bloggers keep declaring the years women.  I remember many declaring 2011 "the year of women" because of films like The Help, and Bridesmaids, more strong dramatic roles women and great comedic television roles for women like Amy Poehler in Parks and Recreation.  I remember a famous female winning an award (I forget which one) and being offended by this statement saying something to affect of women star in movies all the time this isn't an anomaly.  Whoever said this is correct, and it's not as though women have never been funny, nor have they never created anything funny, but at this point in history people are finally taking notice more (rightfully so) and people like Adam Carolla with no real career are just jealous.  Stop being a baby, and be the professed man you are, women have always been funny.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Television's Critics Choice Announce their Winners and Sherlock, Homeland, and Community score big

I wish the list of winners below would be the actual winners this year.  Some of these winners area realistic, especially within the drama category.  These could actually be the four acting winners this year.  Homeland has a shot, but I think Breaking Bad will break the Mad Men streak.  On the comedy front Community would be lucky to get a nomination, but I am glad this show finally won something.  Burrell and Bowen are already Emmy winners, and I love that duo.  I am glad to see the well made Sherlock take the award here as well, BBC is taking things by storm.  Listed below is the full list of winners.

Best Drama Series-Homeland
Best Actor in a Drama Series-Bryan Cranston-Breaking Bad
Best Actress in a Drama Series-Claire Danes-Homeland
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series-Giancarlo Esposito-Breaking Bad
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series-Christina Hendricks-Mad Men
Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series-Lucy Lui-Southland
Best Comedy Series-Community
Best Actor in a Comedy Series-Louis CK-Louie
Best Actress in a Comedy Series-(tie) Amy Poehler-Parks and Recreation and Zooey Deschanel-New Girl
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series-Ty Burrell-Modern Family
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series-Julie Bowen-Modern Family

Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series-Paul Rudd-Parks and Recreation
Best Animated Series-Archer
Best Mini-Series/Movie-Sherlock

Best Actor in a Mini-Series/Movie-Benedict Cumberbatch-Sherlock
Best Actress in a Mini-Series/Movie-Julianne Moore-Game Change
Best Reality Series-Anthony Bourdain-No Reservations
Best Reality Series (Competition)-The Voice
Best Reality Show Host- (tie) Tom Bergeron-Dancing with the Stars and Cat Deely-So You Think you Can Dance
Best Talk Show-Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dream Ballot: Outstanding Drama Series

Finally the main even is here!  All of the other drama series categories have built up to this, the dream nominees for Outstanding Drama Series.  This year most of the shows are in their second season, there were few first year shows that lived up to the hype.  Most of the shows in their first year fell flat, which is unusual.  This just proves that shows are maintaining strong quality throughout the years as opposed to failing to deliver quality television. (Next up is the comedy categories).

Breaking Bad (AMC)-Like a good wine this show gets better with age.  Like throughout most of the other seasons there is an incredible buildup, and show runner and series creator Vince Gilligan continues to push things to a constant build up.  In season four Gus's story line was working towards its peak and the showdown between and Walt and Gus came to a head.  Gus was a brilliant creation; he started out as this simple restaurant manager/drug dealer, in the same way Walt was school teacher/drug deal and manufacturer.  The tension between Walt and Gus was at a high and this drove the drama.  The shows rich intense feeling mixed with the gripping "war on drugs" vs. battle over drug territory and family struggles makes this easily one of the best drama series of all time.
Downton Abbe(PBS/BBC) Season two shows a war torn Europe during World War I, and the way the family, and the servants lives changes a result of having to deal with everything.  The show has this mystical quality that moves time forward quicker than most shows, and doesn't mice words only creates a show with a terrific family dynamic, and also talks about issues of their time.  Julian Fellows who created the show which was originally considered a mini-series has grown into a phenomena.  Losing Mr. Bates for a time was heartbreaking.  Watching Mary actually fall in love was beautiful (even if it is her relative), and watching Maggie Smith in anything brightens my day. 

Game of Thrones (HBO)-The episode entitled "Blackwater" is enough to make this show a nominee this year.  While the second season was just under the level of quality for the first season the show still continues to deliver week after week making the battle for the iron throne a must watch event.  The series does not use major star power, but rather the story of these different families battling for power, and uses this compelling narrative to hook you in week after week.  Characters like Tyrion Lannister played by Emmy winner Peter Dinklage command the screen with great acting and indelible wit.  The show has also created some of the best female characters I have ever seen from young Arya Stark who fights onward as a young girl to no longer be deemed a lady but wants to be a warrior to Cersei Lannister the Lady Macbeth type female.  This show is brilliantly run/written by creators David Bennioff and D.B. Weiss, on a side note HBO get over the GW head on a stick thing it was a joke.

The Good Wife (CBS)- The only network television series that comes close to making this list is The Good Wife.  The show has one of the best casts on television and utilizes their guest stars better than any show I have seen in recent history.  This season our heroine Alicia Florick stepped out from her husbands shadow, and worked on her for a change; she bucked her normal careful behavior and finally owned up to her feelings  for her boss and partner at her law firm Will Gardner.  The relationship eventually faded but Will had his own things to deal with, and was under grand jury investigation and almost lost his license to bar license.  The show is consistently the one of the best I watch, and they never become heavy handed while incorporating their procedural aspect into the story lines of their characters.  Creators Michelle and Robert King should be proud they have the best network television drama.

Homeland (Showtime)- The only series in its first year to rise above the rest and fit into this category. Every episode of Homeland had me on the edge of my seat, and built the tension masterfully.  Claire Danes and Damien Lewis are one of the most dynamic/tragic duos to grace the small screen.  Their game of cat and mouse in the shadow of the world of intelligence investigation, terrorism, and and the general fear in today's society is hard to hate. The show fires on all cyllinders, there was a not an episode where you can sit on your laurels, something is always happening, and writing and direction help to make this one of the best shows of the year.  The supporting cast including Many Patinkin, and Morena Baccarin also shine as they are part of the worlds of the lead characters and have to struggle with dark and twisted destinies.

Mad Men (AMC)-The advertising agency was missing from television for about 18 months, and faithful viewers were excited to see everyone back in action.  After five seasons the shows quality has dipped, but even with the quality dipping ever so slightly it's still must see television, and one of the best shows.  Don was married to Meghan (one of the shows most hated characters, ever), Peggy was fighting back more, Roger was taking revelatory  LSD trips, Pete got punched in the face and slept with Rory Gilmore, Lane played with the companies money to a dangerous level, and the star of the season Joan Harris fought back with her husband who returned home from war, and sold her body to become a partner at the firm.  Doesn't sound boring, it wasn't, but this year the show took an evolutionary path, and made new steps in many directions.  The show stands on solid ground, and I am ready for it to be back already.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Somebody Stop Adam Sandler!

Today when I went to the movies to see Prometheus I walked by the theatre for Adam Sandler's new film That's My Boy.  Boy is the latest in his anthology of craptastic films.  I would like to try sound more intelligent, but based on the type of films Mr. Sandler produces/ stars in that is the best characterization of his films.  Boy is about Todd (Andy Samburg) who was raised by his single father Donny (Sandler) for his entire life.  Todd leaves home at 18 and has not seen his father in four years, and as Todd is about to get married Donny resurfaces because Todd is marrying a wealthy girl and Donny comes back.  Not only is it problematic that 34 year old Andy Samburg is play a 23 year old, and 46 year old Sandler is his father.  That would mean Sandler's character would have been 12 when he fathered him, that may sound plausible for a Sandler film, but this is not even the biggest problem.  This film resembles the same terrible "bro" humor, the only problem is that as he makes more films they become less and less funny.

How did it get this far?  Where did Sandler go wrong?  Adam Sandler started out as a stand up comedienne, and then eventually landed a gig on Saturday Night Live in 1990, and lasted on the show for five years.  Sandler's most memorable moments on the show were the opera guy and his Chanukah song on Weekend Update; he was part of a few memorable skits like the gap girls, but was never seen as a massive scene stealer (in my opinion).

While on Saturday Night Live, Sandler landed supporting roles in films like Coneheads (1993), and Mixed Nuts (1993); he also made three of his biggest career roles Billy Madison (1995) , Airheads (1994), and Happy Gilmore (1996.  Billy Madison gained more of a following in a post theatrical release world, the film only grossed 25 million.   Happy Gilmore made only 38 million dollars, but together these films were magic for young Sandler.  These two films combined were like making Captain Planet.  Alone each film was like a separate ring, sure Billy Madison could control earth like Kwami, but together these two films were potent, and made something even better.  I think the best part about these two films was that even though both of them were stupid they were fresh, and funny.  Sandler does not always appear to try to hard; he doesn't need to, but there was heart, and it seemed as though he cared.

After 1996 Sandler's career took off.  In 1998 he made my personal favorite film The Wedding Singer, the film is funny, there is a lot of heart, and he has great chemistry with Drew Barrymore.  The film also made 80 million dollars.  Sandler's box office take doubled, and the quality of his films improved. 1998 proved to Sandler's most successful year of his early career in the 90s.  Sandler released The Waterboy his largest grossing film at the time which made 161 million dollars proving his entire box office intake that year to be 240 million domestically.  What a great year.  Although The Waterboy is terrible.

After 1998 year after year Sandler released a new film; he has become a machine churning out different things Big Daddy (1999), Little Nicky (2000), Punch-Drunk Love (2002), Mr. Deeds (2002), Eight Crazy Nights (2002), Anger Management (2003), Spanglish (2004), 50 First Dates (2004), The Longest Yard (2005), Click (2006),  Reign Over Me (2007), I Know Pronounce you Chuck and Larry (2007), You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008), Bedtime Stories (2008), Funny People (2009), Grown Ups (2010), Just Go with it (2011), Jack and Jill (2011).  18 films in 14 years, what an impressive feat, the problem is that most of these films are pretty terrible.  So in reality Sandler has continued to push shlock on the masses for years.  Even when you think people are walking away his films; he makes something that pulls them back.

So why now?  Why do I think enough is enough?  I like Adam Sandler; he is funny, and has talent.  As he films get even closer to the bottom rung I can't help but think he is ruining his own brand.  Sandler has his own production company,Happy Madison, and the films he makes are usually pretty cheap to make.  I like that he changed things up with Punch-Drunk Love, and Funny People; he was also great in both films.  I would like to see him at least balance out his Jack and Jill type movies with more films that showcase his talent better like Funny People (even though I hated the film).  I write this to implore, Adam, please do better, try and think outside of the box, upcoming films like Grown Ups 2, and The Valet just sound like laziness.  You have the talent, use it please.

Prometheus is an Interesting Chapter to Alien Story, but Fails to Capture the True Spirit and Loses Itself in Exposition

Prometheus (3 out 5 Stars)
Directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down)
Written by Joseph Spaihts (The Darkest Hour), Damon Lindelof (Lost)
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green, Idris Elba, Michael Fassbender, and Charlize Theron

When I looked at the June film releases I was giddy with excitement.  Snow White and the Huntsman looked fun and like it would be the most entertaining of the legends adaptations.  Rock of Ages looked fun, but with its release today it feels as though the fun has been sucked out of 80s music (which is hard to do).  Next week is Pixar's first film with a female lead entitled Brave, another giddy moment.  As reviews have trickled out the film looks less like Wall-E and Up and more like Cars or a decent Dreamworks film.  I was excited for Magic Mike (and the gay man in me still is) but the trailers make this film look awful.  Prometheus was a part of this group for me.  

Prometheus is a part of the Alien world.  The build up for this film was massive.  When the film was announced there was this immediate response from fans of the quadrilogy assuming this was a prequel to all of the four films.  This rumor was dispelled, but the creative team behind the film said that the film was a part of the "Alien world."  The trailers helped with the build up, they made this film seem irresistible, a can't miss.  This was actually one of the best trailers because it did not give away too much of the story, and made fans and non fans alike want to line up to see what the hype was all about.

The reason the trailer was good at not giving away the plot was because the plot is hard to giveaway.  The film centers on two scientists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall Green) who have found a pattern of cave drawings throughout the entire globe that fit the exact same pattern.  These patterns fuel their belief that their is a life form out in space that connects all the pattern of these cave drawings.  Two years after the discovery the two become part of a space expedition to explore the place that aligned with the cave drawings.

That's about as specific I can get about the plot without getting into spoilers or the material that makes the film too expositional. Joseph Spaihts and  Damon Lindelof scripted a film that has an brilliantly close feel at the start to the first film, Alien.  As the film progresses I can only assume that Lindelof, from Lost fame made the film more of an expositional.  What do I mean by expositional?  The film gets sidetracked by myth and lore rather than focusing on the simplicity that could exist within this Universe.  

Ridley Scott must take some credit for the direction of this film; he has a wonderful vision and created and inspired landscape.  Scott's is a masterful direction, and his connection with this world is apparent.  The problem is that even within interviews Scott gives in to the myth as well.  There are numerous connections to spirituality, like a cross Elizabeth wears, and this eternal belief she and Charlie have in something greater.  While the myth has its moments that make the film interesting it sometimes bogs down the material, and makes you feel like within religion that the belief that this should be good overpowers the actuality that things may not be what you expected.

While the film was not everything I expected there were some aspects that steadied the ship and kept things from sinking too far.  Michael Fassbender acted as the savior to this film; his role as the robot David was fantastic.  David was meant to appear human, and there were times you almost felt as though he was, but even David himself says that he was made to look human for this sole purpose.  Fassbender played manipulative and caring at the same time, but being that he was a robot he was not meant to have any emotions so conveying these concepts shows the skills this man possesses.

Along with Fassbender  the film's technical aspects are strong.  Dariusz Wolski's cinematography captures the starkness of the planet while also utilizing the lighting to capture some haunting images in the caves, and even in the ship Prometheus.  Combined with the art direction, sound, editing, and visual effects, these elements make this film more than a lost soul, but a visionary world.  Love it, hate it, or even if you do not get it this film will get you talking, and that is something that helps it rise above other films.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dream Emmy Ballot: Drama Guest Acting Categories, Directing, and Writing

The ugly step sister categories at the Emmy Awards are some of the most fun to dream about.  We often remember our favorite shows regular players, but sometimes the guest stars, or recurring players are the glue to the story line. The same can be said for the writers and directors.  I love when a television series goes through their opening credits and informs me who directed, and who wrote the episode I am about to watch.  As a fan of the series this is important information.  Writers and directors are behind the scenes players who put the words to page the actors read, while the directors set the stage for the actors action.  Together these three elements make up some of the most important elements of a regular series.

This year's guest nominees made the audience feel as though they were a part of the thread work of their series.  If you are a fan of The Good Wife think about Michael J. Fox and his character Louis Canning, Canning is not a series regular but people know him within connection with the show.  Lucy Lui and Fiona Shaw did something similar but different they created characters for short one season arcs, and even though we knew they might not last long they became an incredible part of the worlds of Southland and True Blood.  They carried a tremendous burden to make them memorable in a short span of time.  In years past these categories did allow people to submit in this category who were in more than five episodes.  The rules were changed, and now they can be recognized in the proper category.

None of these terrific guest acting performances could be possibly without the directors and writers.  Game of Thrones proved that direction in a television series could create an hour that rivals most film direction.  Can you imagine watching "Blackwater" on a giant screen?  This is some of the most impressive direction I have ever seen on television.  The simplicity is also welcome and televisions Mad Men knew exactly how to construct the beauty of the obscure in their episode, "The Phantom."  The direction in this episode created one of the most inedible images in the shows history with the camera focused on the backs of the five partners as they stare outside the window of their new office.

Just as the director's set the action in motion, with well, their direction, the writers put the words and actions to the page of the script.  Can you imagine the cat and mouse action of Homeland's episode "The Weekend" not being this interestingly complicated,sexy, and twisted without the words of Merdith Stiehm?  This was one of the best episodes of the season, and writing hits with a punch at every corner.  Vince Gilligan wrote (and directed) the season finale of Breaking Bad entitled "Box Cutter."  Throughout the season the writing had built to this ultimate nail biting conclusion, and Gilligan masterfully ends things with this dark and deadly action.  What a season finale, and what a well written piece of television.

Together these three elements contribute and make a drama series an incredibly strong viable piece of work. Shows often misuse guest actors, and waste talented directors/writers.  When a series uses all of these elements properly they make shows rise to a level of excellence that is unmatched.

Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Dylan Baker-Damages
Jere Burns-Justified
Mos Def-Dexter
Michael J. Fox-The Good Wife
Chris Messina-Damages
Matthew Perry-The Good Wife

Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Loretta Devine-Grey’s Anatomy
Lucy Lui-Southland
Carrie Preston-The Good Wife
Anika Noni Rose-The Good Wife
Fiona Shaw-True Blood
Chloe Webb-Shameless

Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series
Breaking Bad– Crawl Space- Scott Winant
Breaking Bad– Face Off- Vince Gilligan
Downton Abbey–Series 2: Episode 7-by Brian Percival
Game of Thrones –Blackwater- Neil Marshall
Homeland –Pilot- Michael Cuesta
Mad Men-The Phantom-Matthew Weiner

Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series
Breaking Bad-Box Cutter-Vince Gilligan
Downton Abbey-Series 2: Episode 7- Julian Fellowes
Game of Thrones-Blackwater-George R.R. Martin
Homeland-The Weekend-Meredith Stiehm
Justified-Harlan Roulette-Dave Andron
Mad Men-The Other Woman- Semi Chellas & Matthew Weiner