Tag Archives: MICHAEL J. FOX

My Favorite Scene: The American President (1995) “Ordering Flowers”

I’m so glad Aaron Sorkin wrote The American President and its intellectual sequel, The West Wing, at the time he did.  It’s hard to imagine either working today.  If you’re a fan of The West Wing and have never seen The American President, you absolutely should.  It’s a wonderful film, and you can clearly see Sorkin working out ideas that he would later expand on in much more detail in The West Wing.  A number of cast members, led by Martin Sheen who plays White House Chief of Staff in The American President and President Bartlet in The West Wing, star in both the film and the TV series.  Both Sorkin projects are unabashed love letters to the American system of democracy and the ideal of public service.  Those concepts have been so tarnished in the decade since The West Wing left the air that I can’t give any serious credence to the rumors of the show’s revival.

The Presidency and The White House are as much a part of the cast of The American President as Michael Douglas or Annette Bening (both of whom turn in some of the best performances of their careers).  There have been hundreds of film Presidents, but The American President takes a uniquely human look at the President.  Andrew Shepard (Douglas) is looked at as a father and a man in love as much as he is the President.  The film captures the last era before the Internet would change how everyone, including POTUS, would interact forever.  All in all (and I realize I’m publishing this on a blog, the irony does not escape me) it was a more civilized age.  It’s nice to be able to go back to media time capsules like this and unplug from the current political paradigm.  Sorkin is my favorite writer in any medium, and I can’t wait to see what does next.

Michael Douglas and Annette Bening in The American President

My Favorite Scene: Back to the Future (1985) “The Clocktower”

This week I was having a discussion with a friend about whether directors are really storytellers at all or if they are helpless without a good script.  I don’t think you can have a good movie without a good script.  It’s the foundation of all great films.  I remain perpetually baffled that movies spend $20 million on a special effect but won’t drop a quarter of that on a script.  Some directors are just not great storytellers, but there are some who, when given something solid to work with (like Bob Gale’s great script for Back to the Future) can take those words and bring it to life in a way that exceeds anything printed on a page.  Robert Zemeckis is absolutely at the top of the list of these “storytelling directors”.

Back to the Future, over 30 years after its release, still holds up as one of the great action comedies of recent memory.  The film is full of iconic moments from the hoverboard chase, to Johnny B. Goode, to every time Christopher Lloyd bellows “GREAT SCOTT!”, but my favorite scene is the climactic clocktower set piece.  CineFix in an Art of the Scene piece from a few years ago does a wonderful job of breaking down the nuts and bolts of how one of the most iconic scenes of the 1980s came to life.  What’s probably most stunning is how much of the clocktower scene are practical effects.  In an age when CGI has taken a lot of the ingenuity out of F/X work, you don’t see this kind of brilliance anymore.  Back to the Future worked so well because it blended a great script, a great director, Michael J. Fox in his breakout role, and old-fashioned movie wizardry to tell a time-traveling tale that has, over the decades, become timeless.

Killing Time – October 3, 2013

Killing Time

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.
~Albert Einstein

Thanks to Hulu, I’ve been able to screen most of the pilots so far (though I still have a few sitting in my queue like Betrayal and Michael J. Fox to check out) and out of the lot, I see two clear hits and nothing but “meh” so far.  Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (I am going to kill someone for making that title so hard to type) and Brooklyn Ninety-Nine are shows that go in the rotation, the latter being the first new comedy I’ve liked since New Girl.  I know I’m slacking on getting the second episode SHIELD review up, but in my defense you all completely sucked in getting to and fro going on the pilot so you harshed my motivation.

Killing Time milestones this week: passed 29k hits and 30,000 amazingly enough looks like it’ll happen this weekend.  I will definitely come up with something to mark 50k, but I just did the 1000th post jubilee and the staff (yeah, it’s just me, but I enjoy envisioning a bullpen of writers in my living room) is still strung out from the after party.  We’ve had a slew of new followers this week to whom I say welcome, thank you for stopping by, comment on everything and anything and as a true time killer, you now are mad at French Guiana.  French Guiana, quick recap, is the only nation in South America that has refused to stop by and stab some minutes and I have made a vow to call them out in every one of these columns until they do.  My vicious and needy French Guiananian…ist screeds are clearly having an effect as the nation remains notably and deafeningly silent.  You don’t hear that kind of silence unless someone really means it.  It’s getting personal and I have no mental equipment for grudge dropping so this is ON now, French Guiana.  147 nations and protectorates and commonwealths and sentient time capsules stop by and you can’t?  Syria’s stopped by two weeks in a row and the entire world is holding a cocked pistol to its head!  Someone broke the Internet firewall in China and stopped by.  I’d send that dude champagne for the effort!  It was just like the lone protestor in Tiananmen Square.  Only meaningless, completely in my head and probably just a really aggressive bot, but IT MEANT SOMETHING!  Boo, French Guiana.  Just boo!  (I honestly hold grudges like this.  I can provide ex-girlfriends as references.)

Books:
Divergent by Veronica Roth

Blu Ray:
Arrow Season One

TV/HULU:
Breaking Bad Finale
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD Season One
Grey’s Anatomy Season Nine
Brooklyn Ninety-Nine Season One
Arrow Season One
New Girl Seasons Two and Three

Song of the Week: “Heaven Knows” by Five for Fighting

Video Game:
DmC: Devil May Cry (chapter 4)
Dead or Alive 5: Ultimate Edition
* XBOX Live, gamertag: sleeplessdave; feel free to friend me!

Comics:
All-New X-Men Vol. 3 by Brian Michael Bendis
Swamp Thing “New 52” Vol. 2 by Scott Snyder
Arrow Vol. 1 by Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg, Mike Grell

65th Primetime Emmy Nominations and KT Picks

Emmy

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced the nominations for the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards this morning (because it’s not a busy time entertainment-wise).  Peruse the nominees below along with the KT pick in each category, then tune in to watch the show, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, on Sunday, September 22 on CBS.  Overall, I have to say, the nominations are pretty dead on this year.

Outstanding Drama Series
Breaking Bad • AMC • Sony Pictures Television
Downton Abbey • PBS • A Carnival / Masterpiece Co-Production
Game Of Thrones • HBO
Homeland • Showtime
House Of Cards • Netflix
Mad Men • AMC • Lionsgate Television
KT Pick: As strong a group as you’ll ever find.  Tough call, but Breaking Bad.

Outstanding Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory • CBS
Girls • HBO
Louie • FX Networks
Modern Family • ABC
30 Rock • NBC
Veep • HBO
KT Pick: 30 Rock as a farewell to an amazing series, plus Modern Family was a bit off its standard this season.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
Damian Lewis, Homeland
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Jeff Daniels, Newsroom
KT Pick: Again, impossible to go wrong in this group.  It’s criminal that Jon Hamm hasn’t won for Mad Men, but it also seems wrong not to give it to Bryan Cranston every year.  However, Kevin Spacey ate the screen alive in House of Cards and carried that show in a way none of the others did and should take home the Emmy.  Netflix is getting Emmy nominations.  We live in Bizzarroland.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series
Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Claire Danes, Homeland
Robin Wright, House of Cards
Elizabeth Moss, Mad Men
Kerry Washington, Scandal
KT Pick: Claire Danes won last year and should this year; awesome that Scandal got some recognition.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series
Jason Bateman, Arrested Development
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Louie C.K., Louie
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
KT Pick: Baldwin one last time for creating one of my favorite TV characters of all-time: Jack Donaghy.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series
Laura Dern, Enlightened
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
KT Pick: Give Amy Poehler a freaking Emmy!  I don’t know why Parks and Rec gets no Emmy love.  To not even nominate it when the state of TV comedy is at the lowest point in my lifetime, is ludicrous.  I’ll be ok if Tina Fey gets it for not only starring, but creating, writing, producing and casting 30 Rock for seven years, but otherwise POEHLER!

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie
Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra
Matt Damon, Behind the Candelabra
Toby Jones, The Girl
Benedict Cumberbatch, Parade’s End
Al Pacino, Phil Spector
KT Pick: That’s a lot of star power for an Emmy category, proving that TV is eclipsing movies (in drama at least).  I’ll be honest, I’ve seen none of these, but a founding principle in the Killing Time Charter of Behavior (not available, don’t ask) is that we root for Benedict Cumberbatch in all things.  The year of Cumberbatchian dominance continues (though he’s facing 3 Oscar winners and an Oscar nominee so those aren’t betting odds)!

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Asylum
Laura Linney, The Big C
Helen Mirren, Phil Spector
Sigourney Weaver, Political Animals
Elizabeth Moss, Top of the Lake
KT Pick: How is AHS not an ongoing series?  Again, haven’t seen any of them and I have no fundamental guiding doctrine on these actresses, so I’ll say Elizabeth Moss because she’s never going to win for Mad Men.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series
Bobby Cannavale, Boardwalk Empire
Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
KT Pick: Mandy Patinkin is the best thing about Homeland, but if Aaron Paul or Peter Dinklage win, that’s perfectly fine with me.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Morena Baccarin, Homeland
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
KT Pick: I always want Maggie Smith to win everything she’s nominated for, but Christina Hendricks is fricking due.  I usually have a problem with the Emmys and the comedy nominations are dismal, but they’ve nailed drama this year.  Everyone here is stellar.

Outstanding Guest Actor In A Drama Series
Nathan Lane, The Good Wife
Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife
Rupert Friend, Homeland
Robert Morse, Mad Men
Harry Hamlin, Mad Men
Dan Bucatinsky, Scandal
KT Pick: Michael J. Fox’s recurring character on The Good Wife is always the season highlight.

Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series
Margo Martindale, The Americans
Diana Rigg, Game of Thrones
Carrie Preston, The Good Wife
Linda Cardellini, Mad Men
Jan Fonda, Newsroom
Joan Cusack, Shameless
KT Pick: I think Linda Cardellini has this one pretty much sewn up.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series
Adam Sackler, Girls
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live
Tony Hale, Veep
KT Pick: No Eric Stonestreet for Modern Family too?  Really the whole cast deserves to be nominated every year, but it’s Ed O’Neill’s turn to win one.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Jane Lynch, Glee
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Merritt Weaver, Nurse Jackie
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
KT Pick: Same as the men, but it’s Sofia Vergara’s turn.  Nice to see Jane Krakowski get a nod.  Are there people not exhausted by Jane Lynch still?

Outstanding Guest Actor In A Comedy Series
Bob Newhart, The Big Bang Theory
Nathan Lane, Modern Family
Bobby Cannavale, Nurse Jackie
Louis C.K., Saturday Night Live
Justin Timberlake, Saturday Night Live
Will Forte, 30 Rock
KT Pick: Justin Timberlake has somehow turned into the best SNL host of the last decade….it’s an odd world we live in, this.

Outstanding Guest Actress In A Comedy Series
Molly Shannon, Enlightened
Dot-Marie Jones, Glee
Melissa Leo, Louie
Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Elaine Stritch, 30 Rock
KT Pick: Elaine Stritch’s turn as Alec Baldwin’s mother has been one of the best things about 30 Rock over the entire show.  Can’t deny her.  I’d be afraid to.  The woman is terrifying.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie
James Cromwell, American Horror Story: Asylum
Zachary Quinto, American Horror Story: Asylum
Scott Bakula, Behind the Candelabra
John Benjamin Hickey, The Big C
Peter Mullan, Top of the Lake
KT Picks: Emmy for Spock, please!

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Asylum
Imelda Staunton, The Girl
Ellen Burstyn, Political Animals
Charlotte Rampling, Restless
Alfre Woodard, Steel Magnolias
KT Picks: I have not seen the nominees other than AHS so Sarah Paulson it is.

Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Reality-Competition Program
American Idol
Betty White’s Off Their Rockers
Dancing With The Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
The Taste
KT Picks: Give Betty White anything she wants.  The woman’s had the best back 20 years of a century of anyone in television history.  She’s the Christopher Lee of TV.

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
The Amazing Race
Dancing With The Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
Top Chef
The Voice
KT Picks: It’s won this category every year but once since it was invented and it’s won it for a reason.  Amazing Race!!!

Outstanding Variety Series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
Real Time with Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live
KT Picks: SNL had a rough year and I’d rather see Letterman here, but The Daily Show and Colbert Report both operate at a level of outstanding writing and comedy far beyond the rest.

Outstanding Miniseries Or Movie
American Horror Story: Asylum • FX Networks
Behind The Candelabra • HBO
The Bible • HISTORY
Phil Spector • HBO
Political Animals • USA
Top Of The Lake • Sundance Channel
KT Picks: AHS.  I find the possibility of The Bible getting an Emmy kind of hilarious.  Perhaps it’s because I’ve grown up with it, but it’s like the Oxford Dictionary winning an Oscar to me.

Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series
Breaking Bad • Dead Freight
Breaking Bad • Say My Name
Downton Abbey • Episode 4 • PBS • A Carnival
Game Of Thrones • The Rains Of Castamere
Homeland • Q&A • Showtime
KT Picks: Either Breaking Bad is deserving, but Game of Thrones second season finale kicked the series into a whole new gear.

Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire • Margate Sands • HBO
Breaking Bad • Gliding Over All • AMC
Downton Abbey • Episode 4 • PBS
Homeland • Q&A • Showtime
House Of Cards • Chapter 1 • Netflix
KT Picks: House of Cards smacks you between the eyes with its pilot and doesn’t let go of you until you’ve binge-watched the entire thing wondering where 10 hours went.

Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series
Episodes • Episode 209 • Showtime
Louie • Daddy’s Girlfriend (Part 1) • FX Networks
The Office • Finale • NBC
30 Rock • Hogcock! • NBC
30 Rock • Last Lunch • NBC
KT Picks: The Office left us three years ago and its corpse has been on TV, so recognize a proper goodbye from 30 Rock (yeah, I’m trying super hard not to make Hogcock jokes….I’ll save them for my wife; she’ll be so thrilled).

Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series
Girls • On All Fours • HBO
Glee • Diva • FOX
Louie • New Year’s Eve • FX Networks
Modern Family • Arrested
30 Rock • Hogcock! / Last Lunch
KT Picks: You had me at “hogcock”.  You had me at “hogcock”.  I’ll miss you, 30 Rock.

Outstanding Writing For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Dramatic Special
Behind The Candelabra • HBO
The Hour • BBC America
Parade’s End • HBO
Phil Spector • HBO
Top Of The Lake • Sundance Channel
KT Picks: I must plead out on these as I’ve not seen any yet.  Is Hogcock not going to be nominated for more things that I can pick it for?  I’m confused.

Outstanding Directing For A Miniseries/Movie/Dramatic Special
Behind The Candelabra • HBO
The Girl • HBO
Phil Spector • HBO
Ring Of Fire • Lifetime
Top Of The Lake • Part 5 • Sundance Channel
KT Picks: Hogcock wins in a write-in landslide…perpetrated by me.

Outstanding Variety Special
The Kennedy Center Honors • CBS
Louis C.K.: Oh My God • HBO
Mel Brooks Strikes Back! With Mel Brooks And Alan Yentob • HBO •
Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update Thursday (Part One) • NBC
12-12-12: The Concert For Sandy Relief
KT Picks: Seth Meyers has been the most consistently good thing about SNL this year.

Outstanding Writing For A Variety Series
The Colbert Report • Comedy Central
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart • Comedy Central
Jimmy Kimmel Live • ABC
Portlandia • IFC • Broadway Video
Real Time With Bill Maher • HBO
Saturday Night Live • NBC
KT Picks: Colbert or Stewart in a tie that must be broken by best use of Hogcock in a joke beaten to death buried in the middle of a 2000 word piece.

Outstanding Writing For A Variety Special
The 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards • NBC
Louis C.K.: Oh My God • HBO
Night Of Too Many Stars: America Comes Together • Comedy Central
Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update Thursday (Part One) • NBC
66th Annual Tony Awards • CBS
KT Picks: Golden Globes if Tina and Amy get Emmys for best tag team hosts ever.