Forget Mad Men or Game of Thrones or The Celebrity Apprentice, the most tortured souls on television may just be from 30 Rock. Case in point: Last night's episode, titled "Nothing Left to Lose" which took three of the most damaged characters, Jenna, Tracy, and Pete ("HORNBERGER!") and paired them off with three of the only marginally less damaged characters Kenneth, Liz, and Jack.
The narcissistic, self-loathing Jenna tried to master the art of revenge on Lutz, Frank, and Toofer after they duped her into thinking she landed a role in Christopher Nolan's live-action Smurfs movies. But even with the "help" of Kenneth's janitorial connections, the Pranksmen could not be bested and Jenna realized revenge wouldn't ease her pain, but the knowledge that she really wasn't the worst person she knew. (Ah, there's the Jenna we love to self-loathe.)
Elsewhere, Tracy, the poster child for abandonment issues, regressed (well, more so) when he regained his sense of smell (because of something lodged up his nose, a la Homer Simpson) Which wouldn't be an issue necessarily if Liz didn't smell exactly like Tracy's father because of using a hair product called Midnight Symphony. Finally getting an obedient Tracy, Liz Dad played with fire for a while until she had to turn Child Tracy back into, well, Man Child Tracy.
But there may have been nothing more pathetic than watching the stoic, successful Jack try in vain to get the contently average Pete man up after reading his distressing work evaluation. Pete, a man who has been so defeated by life (and last night by a dummy at a racquet club) is simply trying to run out the clock unscathed. Honestly, these people all could have wound up on the Lost island.
Still, as much as these characters are tortured on-screen, the show likes to torture its actors a little bit, too. (And not just making Jane Krakowski dress like a Smurf.) Alec Baldwin has picked up countless awards, and deservedly so, for playing the conservative Jack Donaghy, but Tina Fey and the 30 Rock writers still like to throw lines his way that are clearly meant to playfully mess with the liberal star. In last night's episode Baldwin both had to refer to George W. Bush as the "greatest President ever" and imply that Barack Obama isn't American. Of course, Baldwin may be having the last laugh when it comes to politics on the show. The actor dropped a not-so-subtle reference to his possible future mayoral run in New York City. Twist!
Moments and lines that rocked from last night's 30 Rock:
- The revelation that Frank attended a Taylor Swift concert.
- Jenna's 'Free Lyle Menendez' tattoo…that she got in 2007.
- Tracy's celebrity fragrance Desirz smells like "the Knicks, a carefree hobo, a crate with a new giraffe in it, and broccoli." (This could give Tommy Fresh a run for its money.)
- The return of "cam-ah-rah"!
- The return of Dr. Spaceman! ("Being a doctor is exactly like the game Operation.")
- The return of Mickey Rourke references! (He HAS to make a cameo at this point, doesn't he?)
- Liz doodles "Mrs. Liz Lemon-Trebek" on things.
- Kenneth on revenge: "The bible says its wrong but it's the surprise hit of the season on ABC, so I don't know"
- Lutz's grand-nephew is Twilight star Kellan Lutz and they are very close.
- Tracy's on-point Jimmy Fallon impression
- Liz coining the term "Sorkin-esque repartee."
What did you think of last night's 30 Rock? A winner, or in the words of Kenneth, "total ass"? Would you agree these are the most hilariously tragic folks on television? Sound off in the comments section!
[Photo credit: NBC]
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In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.
The Ghost star split from first husband Alvin Martin in 1979 after six years of marriage and went on to wed David Claessen in 1986.
That union lasted two years and she later exchanged vows with Lyle Trachtenberg in 1994, before the pair divorced just a year later.
Goldberg opened up about her romance issues on talk show Piers Morgan Tonight on Wednesday night (13Apr11) and revealed to the British host that she has only ever loved one man in her life - and she never married him.
She says, "I suppose you have to actually be in love with the person you marry. You have to be committed to them. I don't have that commitment. I'm committed to my family. No (I wasn't in love with my husbands). It's the truth. I wanted to feel normal and it seemed to me if I was married I'd have a much more normal life.
"That's not a good reason to get married. You have to actually want a life with someone through ups and downs and I discovered that wasn't for me."
Goldberg refuses to reveal the identity of her mystery man, but insists it wasn't actor Ted Danson, who she briefly dated.
She adds, "(I was in love) once. A man. You're asking me if I was in love with Ted? Is that the man I'm talking about? No. No (you don't know him) and that's the beauty. I snuck a couple in on y'all! It was a long time ago. We talk all the time - he's got two great kids and a great wife."
And Goldberg insists she's not currently looking for love: "I never was much of a dater. I'm not a real go-out kind of person. I'm a singular person."
The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.
A billionaire TV producer (Robert Mammone) has a great idea for a reality show that he wants to put on the Internet and his goal is to beat the 40 million Super Bowl audience. He has compiled a crack team of young hip and immoral tech geeks directed by Goldman (Rick Hoffman) and puts cameras throughout a remote island where former prisoners are going to kill each other while audiences watch after shelling out the pay-per-view fee. The location is done on a remote secret island and the death row prisoners are bought from prisons around the world with the promise that the survivor gets to walk free. Among the contestants are a rogue Aussie named McStarley (Vinnie Jones) a martial arts expert (Masa Yamaguchi) a husband-and-wife team (Manu Bennett and Dasi Ruz) a monstrous killer who doesn't do much more than grunt (Nathan Jones) and others known only as The Italian The German and other monikers quickly forgotten. Enter the sole American Jack Conrad (Steve Austin) who's in a South American prison for some obscure reason and is recognized on TV by his wife (Madeleine West) who tries to save him. However it looks like Conrad is pretty good at helping himself. Don't expect the acting to be much more evolved than what could be seen among the World Wrestling Entertainment superstars especially since many of them were plucked from the ring to star in this morality tale. But Austin (who had in a strong cameo in Adam Sandler's Longest Yard) proves he has a sense of humor as well as strength. Vinnie Jones is ridiculously over-the-top as the Aussie who's the hand-picked winner of this game shown setting up alliances Survivor style only to turn on them later. The supporting cast are refreshingly entertaining but one-note caricatures both in the contest and running the contest. It's obvious that they aren't going to be around long but the actors do milk their tiny roles for every bit of attention they can get. Rick Hoffman as the brilliant camera mastermind of the project is both whiny sniveling and mean-spirited so when he joins some of the rest of the crew and suddenly develops a backbone and a conscience he ends up stealing the movie with his acerbic humor. But it's the understated American hero Conrad who holds a mirror up to the people who like to watch this stuff. Director Scott Wiper who co-wrote this story has also acted in similar movies like this (A Better Way to Die). It’s obvious he knows what he’s doing with The Condemned and develops a sense of voyeuristic angst like those of us who can't keep our eyes off a train wreck. Like the darkly subversive Belgian film Man Bites Dog the camera crew remains safely distant and remote until the reality directly involves them. Then the crew wonders "What the hell are we doing?" while the audience might be thinking "What the hell are we watching?" Much like Series 7: The Contenders Rollerball and other movies which show a dark and bloody near future this kind of reality doesn't seem too far away and maybe proves that movies which provide this type of gladiator spectacle target a certain segment of the human population who need to blow off steam.