Monday, January 30, 2012

One For The Money Movie Review

AKA What movie was everyone else watching?

If you have read the book, you know what the movie is about. If you haven't, it is about Stephanie Plum, who blackmails her cousin into being a bounty hunter for him (which she is totally unqualified for).Her first big case is bringing in super-hottie cop Joe Morelli who Stephanie has a sometimes-sexual past with. And there is Ranger, the action figure-esque uber bounty hunter who helps her out.

Let's do a little questionaire:
Have you read One For the Money?
If yes, did you enjoy it?
If yes, than you will like the movie.
If no, do you enjoy chick lit novels by authors such as Meg Cabot, Hester Browne, Sophie Kinsella, etc?
If yes, than you will like this movie.
If no, do you enjoy chick flicks like Sweet Home Alabama, 27 Dresses, The Proposal, etc?
If yes, than you will like this movie.

One For The Money is not an Oscar Winning Movie. However, it is a thoroughly enjoyable movie that has eye candy, explosions, sexual tension, shooting, and Debbie Reynolds. I've read numerous reviews about how the movie is supposed to be a comedy, but isn't funny. I think the packed theater I was in on Friday night would disagree. I've also heard that it has fun parts, but overall was boring. I'm not sure what part of apprehending skips, stealing cars, learning to shoot a gun, flirting with multiple hot guys, and beating the shit out of people is boring.

I walked out of the movie happy with the experience of watching the exactly movie that I planned on seeing. It didn't touch me, move me, or make me learn anything. It was fun, funny, cute, fluffy, flirty, etc. It was a chick lit novel in movie form. It is everything I hoped it would be. I was entertained the entire time and I'm already planning on seeing it again (I know I missed some lines because of the laughter in the theater) and hoping it has some wicked fun special features because I will be buying it on DVD.

So, did you see One For The Movie? Did you like it? If you didn't see it, why not? Is it because of Katherine Heigl? Apparently lots of people really don't like her, but I like her. An actress who does fun movies, speaks her mind, and is cute. What is not to like?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Project Runway All Stars: Hot Gelato Mess

This week's "Project Runway All Stars" was all about taste.

Well, taste, and sewing really, really, ridiculously fast.

The result was a crazy, gelato-inspired hot mess.

Diane von Furstenberg showed up to give them their assignment - make a dress in 6 hours inspired by a gelato flavor. It's the fastest challenge in "Project Runway" history.

The flavors they chose are:

  • Michael - Grapefruit
  • Mondo - Cantalope
  • Mila - Milk with Sour Cherries
  • April - Blueberry
  • Jerell - Fruits of the Forest
  • Kenley - Passionfruit
  • Austin - Vanilla Madagascar
  • Anthony - Green tea
  • Rami - Kiwi
  • Kara - Chocolate with Cayanne Pepper

Sadly, the judges must have gotten ahold of some of Heidi, Michael and Nina's patented judging crack, because they did not choose the right top three or the right winner, but we'll get to that in a moment.

They have 30 minutes to sketch, and then they're off to mini-Mood, in their designer lounge. This causes a few problems for the designers - they don't have black jersey for April, and Mondo doesn't get enough fabric. "Shucks," he deadpans.

Michael does a drapy piece, which is extremely not surprising. He works fast, but it's also a little simplistic. "So easy a chimpanzee could do it," Jerell says.

Everybody goes crazy on this challenge, and their rushed work causes a lot of problems. Michael cuts his fabric wrong. Austin keeps freaking out, everybody runs back and forth going crazy. It was really almost a little stressful to watch.

Joanna Coles brings them a snack of gelato and some advice.

She calls out April when she tells her that she is staying in her comfort zone. "How can you have a fashion moment if you stay with what you're comfortable with?" she asks. She tells Austin, "Don't channel the wedding thing, channel the fabulous thing." She asks Rami if he's sucking up to Diane von Furstenberg by making a wrap dress. She wonders if Mila is going too literal.

My favorite workroom moment came when Austin walked into the sewing room and saw Kara sewing at his machine. He admits he thought about getting in an altercation, but decided against it. (Thank you, Austin!) However, he "gave her the look of death," which was actually pretty scary.

In the end, everyone got their garments done, barely - Austin had to sew his model into her dress - and they were off to the runway to be judged by Angela Lindvall, Georgina Chapman, Isaac Mizrahi, Diane von Furstenberg and supermodel Miranda Kerr. They announce that Miranda will wear the winning designer's look to an industry event.

You can see the designs here.

  • Mondo - Cantalope - An orange caftan with green pattern sleeves. It is super chic, with a great color scheme. I like that Mondo really went for the color! He also did a great job with construction, and it looks like it took more than 6 hours to make.
  • Anthony - Green Tea - He made a structured top in a light green and a tulle skirt in almost a greenish beige. I don't love the colors necessarily - they're a little muted and ugly - but they work with the green tea theme and I like the structure, even though it might be a little overworked.
  • Kenley- Passionfruit - She made a cutsie little pink dress with yellow bubbles and a yellow collar. It's definitely well made and cute, but it might be a little too little girl/Barbie/Easter for me. I would probably wear it, but it's definitely not really high fashion.
  • Rami- Kiwi - He didn't end up making a wrap dress per se, but the top is sort of wrap dress-looking with a little skirt. He used several different colors and patterns of green, not all of which are nice colors, but I definitely like the concept. It definitely looks like a kiwi - in a good way. 
  • Mila - Milk with Sour Cherries - Color-blocked red and white little dress. The colors are too literal and it just looks ugly and messy to me. Definitely one of my least favorite dresses. The accessories are too heavy, too. Blech.
  • Jerell - Fruits of the Forest - What. The. Eff? It's a weird, hippy-dippy dress that just has too many elements. It wouldn't be that bad if it was styled very clean, but with the styling it's just so over-the-top. I actually like the shape of the dress and the way it moves, and I don't even mind all the little beady things on the bodice, but it's just a little tacky overall. Love the reds and oranges in the fabrics, though.
  • Kara - Chocolate with Cayenne Pepper - A ruffled, layered nightmare. It starts out bright white on top, goes through some dirty handkerchief colors, then brown and, finally, red at the bottom. It's ugly, and when Jerell said in the workroom that her skinny little model looked like a "pregnant cupcake," I just nodded. It's a perfect way to put it.
  • Michael - Grapefruit - He made a big drapy dress in a nude, shiny fabric. To me, it just screamed, "Crazy old heiress in a nightgown." It was just too much all over, though I did like how well it was made overall.
  • April - Blueberry - She made a short little purple dress with dark purple tulle over it. It is really badly cut and constructed, and the judges were thatclose to seeing her model's asscheeks. It's tortured, badly cut and ugly. Oh, and the colors don't scream blueberry. They're just sort of blah. It's a sad dress.
  • Austin - Vanilla Madagascar - He made a light, flowy little white dress with a lovely little woven detail climbing up one shoulder. It was styled very beach-vacation-y, with brown and gold, and it moves really well. He did a good job keeping it from looking bridal, too.

Safe designers were Austin, Rami, Jerell and Kenley. I was confused, because I would have put Michael, Mila, April and Kara in the bottom, with Mondo and Anthony in the top. BUT NO.

The top was:

Mila (REALLY!?) - Isaac and Angela liked the colors and the way it reminded them of cherry ice cream, but Diane thought it looked like it was done in little time. Georgina was distracted by the weight of the accessories. Miranda liked that she would be able to just throw on the dress.

Mondo - It seemed that all of the female judges really liked the look and the color, but Isaac thought it was too covered up and not sexy enough. Umm, hello, Isaac, a women doesn't always want to show off all her goodies! Diane thought it looked like cantalope, and Angela liked the color.

Micheal (REALLY!?!?) - Isaac didn't love the color, but Diane loved the draping and fluidity. "Michael, you gotta call me after the show," she said. Miranda liked the flow, but Isaac thought it was too familiar. Georgina didn't really like the fabric. HOWEVER .... they gave Michael the win. REALLY JUDGES!? REALLY!?

The bottom was:

Anthony - The judges thought that the colors weren't good and it looked amateur. However, Diane did like the skirt, and they all liked the concept.

Kara - The judges didn't see her passion, and they all thought her model looked pregnant in the dress. Also, Miranda doesn't like ruffles. (I am betting she especially doesn't like ruffles that make her look like she's hiding a baby bump.) Angela also, correctly, said it was too literal.

April - Georgina said she was too ambitious and the dress was all over the place. Diane thought it was too "Halloween, spider thing." Georgina did like the colors, though.

In the end, April was eliminated, and I was OK with that even though Kara's dress was super heinous. April, a favorite of mine on her season, just hasn't delivered in All-Stars. Ta-ta, April, dear! At least the judges got SOMETHING right this week.

Judges, you are on notice. I have been singing your praises. Don't let me down like that again.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Midweek Mancandy: Ranger & Morelli

We've decided to continue on the Midweek Mancandy blogging that I restarted last week, but hopefully with tie in to movies/tv/music that is currently opening/starting/doing something exciting. So, to start on that, Mancandy this week is Daniel Sunjata and Jason O'Mara, both staring with Katherine Heigl in "One For the Money."

One For The Money focuses on Stephanie Plum, Bounty Hunter. However, she is not your average bounty hunter. She used to sell lingerie but lost her job and blackmailed her cousin into hiring her as a bounty hunter at his Bail Bond Agency. Her first case is finding Joe Morelli, a vice cop who is accused on killing an unarmed man, who has skipped his bail. Stephanie has some questionable history with Morelli, some of the sexy variety and some of a violent variety. To help learn how to be a bounty hunter, Stephanie gets Uber Bounty Hunter Ranger to be the Professor Henry Higgins to her Eliza Doolittle.

Now for the Mancandy part, Ranger & Morelli!

Sunjata plays Ranger. Some may recognize him from "Rescue Me," and he's also a World Theater Award-winning (and Tony nominated) actor for his role in "Take Me Out" on Broadway. Also, he looks good shirtless.

O'Mara plays Morelli. He's a strapping Irish lad, but he's been on several American shows, including "In Justice," "Life on Mars" and "Terra Nova." He also planned to be a professional rugby player before an injury forced him to quit. Also? Looks good shirtless!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Trashelor Recap: Hashtag Whore Strikes Again

Tonight, on "The Bachelor," they're in Park City, Utah. Or, at least, that's what Kel tells me. I didn't watch tonight, but Kel took notes that I am going to make into a semi-coherent blog entry. Also, for everything she didn't take notes about, I am going to make up some bullshit because, as Kel put it, "it probably wouldn't be more ridiculous than what happened."

Also, Kel made up a drinking game, but she didn't follow it and neither should you, due to an extremely high likelihood of dying of alcohol poisoning.

And here we go!

Apparently, Wino wants the ladies women skanktestants to experience the outdoors because it makes him feel closer to his father (drink!). He uses the term open and honest (drink!). Kacie, the clingy stalker, wants a date, but she doesn't get one. Rachel gets one, prompting this exchange:

Kel: These bitches are crazy. Also...did you know that there is a Rachel?
Jen: No. No, I did not.

Seriously, we're pretty sure that they keep switching girls out just to mess with our heads.

Kacie cries (drink!) about it, of course, because she is unstable. She even says that she wants to throw up. That seems extreme to me.

Anyway, Rachel is nervous about her date. Apparently, according to Kel's notes, they go on a helicopter (drink!) and then they're in a canoe. I am going to assume they parachuted out of the helicopter and landed perfectly in the canoe, "just the two of us" ... and the camera crew, as Kel points out. They make out, because Ben is a makeout slut.

A blond who Kel thinks may be Monica and Kacie Stalker think Rachel is going to go home because of a lack of connection ... which leads into an awkward shot of Rachel and Ben having nothing to talk about. According to Kel, "Ben is confused how he feels. Something is off about their relationship. Rachel doesn't like opening up. Also, Ben is super funny."

Meanwhile, back at the ranch ... in Kel's word, "the bitches get a date card." The skanktestants going on the date are Jamie, Casey S, Blakely, Lindzi, Samantha, Nicki, Kacie B and Courtney.

Awkward date is awkward, but there are no specific notes because Kel was eating popcorn. However, she does say that he mentioned Ashley (drink!). Apparently Ben must have been drinking too, because Rachel gets a rose, then they eat s'mores and make out. Must have been sticky.

The group date starts out with Ben on horseback. Lindzi (Horse Girl) is overly excited, but some other girl is really freaked out. They go fly fishing, with Ben instructing on the ways of properly holding the rod. (That is definitely not a metaphor for anything.) Clingy Kacie clings. Crazy Courtney is crazy. And we learn that the rod work is all in the wrist. (Tee hee!)

Apparently Ben lurves Courtney, which drives the other girls to drinking. This show is going to drive me and Kel to drinking. Lindzi is offended by Ben and Courtney, and the fact that Courtney caught a fish. I am offended by the fact that this show exists.

Part two of the group date, Ben hands out with non-crazy Courtney (note from Kel: I'm not sure who this is supposed to be, but it wasn't Courtney) and Nicki, whoever that is, interrupts. Then Ben kisses a girl, because he is a whore, and gets interrupted by Samantha, whoever that is. She is insecure because she has only done group dates. Ben says that he's noticed her drama in group dates and is not impressed by how poorly she's handled herself. So, he sends her home. Oh snap!

Kel: "I will say this about Ben, he is very straight forward and honest. He doesn't tolerate crazy drama and bullshit."

Then he spends time alone with The Stalker, and he takes her to his room so they can, guess what? Kiss! OMG, Kissing Bandit! Courtney and Ben spend time together, with Courtney in a tiny swimsuit top and Ben shirtless, which Kel assures me is not a bad thing. Courtney whines and whines, but Ben likes her. Kel says, "She is manipulating the hell out of him."

Ben gives the rose to Courtney, even though he wasn't going to, to "reassure her." Kel says "she is a manipulative whore. And she's crazy."

The final date is with Jennifer.

In Kel's words: "Apparently this date is all about fighting fear again. Ben is torturing dates again. But shirtless, so whatever."

I am so not sure what the date is about, because Kel takes very few notes. She does say that "Ben is taking the whole 'diving into the unknown' too literally. It is a saying, sweetie, not a challenge." So, I'm assuming that he's making Jennifer dive into a kiddy-pool filled with pudding, because she's deathly afraid of pudding after her Cat, Snickers McGee, was killed in an unfortunate pudding-related accident. That makes sense, right?

They kiss, causing Kel to start calling Ben Hashtag Whore because he kisses everyone, then Jennifer gets the rose and someone called Clay Walker gives a concert. The Google says he's a country singer, which is why Kel and I don't know who the heck he is. Kel: "Though I like the dorky fun dancing. You work that awkward dancing shit, Hashtag Whore."

Drama Party time! Emily calls out Courtney to Ben, although Ben has solid advice of not worrying about everyone else. I'll just let Kel explain it: "Ben definitely doesn't like drama, so he may not like Emily calling him out. But really, if Ben is looking for Courtney, he is an idiot ... So, Emily tells some other girl that she doesn't like Courtney, but that girl is friends with Courtney. So random blond chick than goes and tells Courtney. Oh, high school." Also, more bullshit drama happened, but since there was no hair-pulling, Jello wrestling or throwing girls in the pool, it is not noteworthy.

Finally, it is time for the Rose Ceremony. Kel explains: "The girls with roses already are Courtney, Rachel, and Jennifer. Also with roses: Lindzi, Jamie, Nicki, Kacie B, Elyse, Blakely, Casey S, Emily. Which means that Monica is going home. I really couldn't care less. It is nice that there will still be Emily/Courtney drama week. And Monica is taking it well. Crying, but not hysterical."

Next week: Puerto Rico, land of drama and nudity! I may have to actually watch next week. Maybe.

Why I Liked Haywire, But Think Most People Won't

aka Kel Becomes A Pretentious Movie Hipster

I don't tend to write much about movies on here, mostly because I tend to watch tv or read more than watch movies and I have a problem where I tend to like pretty much any movie I watch. It doesn't make for the most exciting reading. However, after seeing Haywire, I felt compelled to write about it.

Before I start, I want to say that I really really liked Haywire. I thought it had a really interesting narrative and a unique style to the filming and tons of super awesome ass kicking. With all of that said, I'm not sure everyone will get it. For example, I went to see it with my friend Sarah. Sarah and I tend to like the same movies. When the credits hit, I was all "Oh man! That was so great! I really loved that." And Sarah was like " was ok."

I think part of the problem is that "interesting narrative" to me means "interesting" and to other people means "weird and didn't really make sense". The plot definitely doesn't follow a coherent time line. And doesn't really introduce any of the character. It literally just jumps into the middle of the narrative. For most of the movie, they keep referencing things like Dublin, Barcelona, and Kenneth before introducing any of those things. I happen to dig that. As you are watching the movie, you have no idea why Mallory, the main character played by MMA fighter Gina Carano, is on the run and beating the crap out of Adam, Channing Tatum. And as Sarah pointed out, they never really explain it. The viewer really has to put together all the pieces from the flashbacks. I like that in a movie, but not everyone does. (Example of Kelly liking movies that make no sense: Chumscrubber. I've seen that movie probably a dozen times and still don't know what it is about, but I still dig it.)

I'm concerned that not many people are going to go see Haywire. I know that going into it the only thing I knew was that Gina Carano can kick ass in real life and there are tons of actors that I liked in it (Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor, Michael Angarano, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas). Really, it needed more and better marketing. Especially since Stephen Soderbergh is a really good director, see: Oceans 11. However, I saw pretty much no previews for it and only saw a clip on

So, to conclude: I really loved Haywire. It was epically kick ass. Gina Carano was so fantastically bad ass and I definitely believe that she could kill people with her bare hands if she so chose. Also, can we just take a moment to reveal in a hot, strong, normal woman being the epic lead of a bad ass movie. Wicked! I recommend going to see it, but also recommend not really worrying about trying to figure out what is going on until the end. Trust me, it all comes together.

Friday, January 20, 2012

'Project Runway' Recap: The Muppet Show Tonight

It's time to play the music. It's time to light the lights. It's time to meet Miss Piggy on "Project Runway" tonight!

Yes, Thursday's episode had a very special client/guest judge: None other than the uber-fabulous Miss Piggy! The All-Stars were charged with creating her a "flamboyant cocktail dress" with $150 and with one day to sew.

"Project Runway: All Stars" continues to be heads-and-tails better than the last couple of seasons. I know I've said it before, but I've got to say it again: This is the way "Project Runway" should always be! The designers, overwhelmingly, thought very hard about what Miss Piggy would want to wear. They were very serious in the workroom, working very hard.

Although, I do have to say, there was a little bit of drama in the workroom over some pieces on the Neiman Marcus accessories wall. Kara and Mondo both wanted the same pink gloves, and later Austin and Kara were fighting over a bracelet and a pair of shoes. Everybody was pretty professional about it, though, telling each other that the other one could take it to avoid more drama. Still, if looks could kill, Mondo would have killed Kara, or at least maimed her.

Mila was also annoyed by an increasing codependency between Kara and Kenley who, I have to admit, did ask each other a lot of questions and talked about their designs a lot. "This isn't a team competition," Mila sniffed. "Only one person can win."

When Joanna Cole walked into the runway for her mentoring session, she exclaimed, "What a fabulous challenge!" And, you know what? It really was. Joanna really got into the whole idea of what Miss Piggy would wear, and she gave some very pointed, good critiques. When Gordana said she wanted her flowing pink dress to be comfortable, Joanna told her that big stars worry more about their looks. "I don't think comfort when you're dressing a mega-celebrity like Miss Piggy should matter," she said. Mila was talking about doing a headband, but Joanna reminded her to think about how that would work with Miss Piggy's ears. She even asked Kenley how a pig would feel about wearing giraffe print. (Kenley, correctly, said that Miss Piggy likes leopard print.)

There was a quick little shot of the designers goofing off in the hotel room, which is always fun to see, but the next day in the workroom, things were crazy. Everybody was nervous and scrambling, but there were a lot of very confident designers. "Her bacon's gonna sizzle when she sees my look," Jerell said.

Our judges were host Angela Lindvall, designer Georgina Chapman, stylist Eric Daman and, of course, Miss Piggy.

Runway Looks
  • Michael: He used a sparkly crazy fabric with black, gold and pink in it to make a cute little structured dress. I'm not sold on the loopy hair, but I do like how the hair and the dress have the same shape. It's very well made and eye-catching, and I like the idea of the shoes although I don't think they're quite the right color of pink.
  • April: She did a short, black, babydoll-looking dress with a gray-and-black polka dot V on the front and feathers on the shoulder. It's better than the disaster she did last week, but it's not really very Miss Piggy. She says it has a "Tim Burton" feel, but Tim Burton would go much more over the top. It's cute but not super fabulous.
  • Jerell: He made a pink flouncy dress with black lace on the bodice and shoulders and lots of little sparkly details. I really sort of love it, the more I look at it. I'm not in love with the 20s hair, because that is not Miss Piggy at all, but the dress really could work for her. It's definitely kind of over-the-top, but still tasteful.
  • Kara: She made a dress out of black houndstooth, with pink piping on the skirt. I liked everything but the cutout on her stomach, which works on a model but probably wouldn't work on a more full-figured woman like Miss Piggy. I'm not a huge fan of the weird, overdone hair, but the shoes, earrings and gloves are perfect and it works pretty well in the challenge. It's sort of a fun little pinup look.
  • Kenley: Her dress is an adorable strapless poufy skirt in the pink giraffe-print with a huge poofy netting hat thing. It's way over-the-top, and I think the hairpiece is a little too big and detracts from the dress, but it's super fun and cute! Not a huge fan of the beige shoes, though.
  • Anthony: He did a black striped dress with dark-colored feathers on the front. I really like the way that it has interesting features, like the feathers and trim, that don't hit you in the face immediately but still give it a lot of va-va-voom. It's probably not exactly Miss Piggy because it doesn't have enough color, and I don't like the over-one-shoulder hair, the asymmetrical hem or the precious little bows on the shoes, but those are all on-trend. Overall, a pretty nice look.
  • Rami: He made a flamenco-looking dress out of fabric with pink and orange polka dots and lots of pink tulle accents. It's so over-the-top it almost goes Barbie, but I suppose he's designing for an over-the-top Muppet, so it really works here. In any other challenge the judges would have hated it, but here it really works. I know I would wear it in a heartbeat.
  • Mila: She made a black-and-white mod look that is very nice, but it's a little too loosey-goosey for my taste, and it's not colorful and fun enough. Also, I know the hair is mod like the dress, but it's kind of ugly. I like the fabric she used, with the shiny polka-dots, but it needs more color. Also, I loathe the boots.
  • Gordana: It's basically a pink nightie, which is what Joanna warmed her about. She went for flirty and feminine but it's just kind of blah. Well-made, and might look good on some tiny, young little starlet, but, sorry, Gordana, adding white gloves does not make it worthy of Miss Piggy.
  • Austin: A bit of a misstep for him, with a structured gray and pink number. Great construction, of course, and I like the detailing on the front, but it's a strange garment. The biggest problem he had were the colors - the pink is too drab to pair with gray - and the bows at her hips. Bows on hips look good on skinny models, but not on a "real woman" like Miss Piggy.
  • Mondo: Another mod dress, but this one is made out of a super shiny pink-and-orange fabric. It's the first Mondo dress I don't absolutely love - I'm not a fan of the triangles on the bottom or the horrid hair - but I love the color and texture of the fabric and I love the giant buttons.
Top Designers
  • Rami: Angela said that the dress would be difficult for the average woman. "But I'm not average," Miss Piggy said. Georgina didn't like the seams down the front, but Eric thought it was a lot of fun. Georgina also said that it was a job well done in this context, though in other challenges it wouldn't have worked. Miss Piggy summed it up the best: "This is the most garish, outlandish ridiculous thing I've seen. I love it! It looks like a candy store exploded!" 
  • Kenley: Georgina is worried about the construction of the garment and that the model is going to have a "wardrobe malfunction" on the runway. Piggy is not sure what giraffe print says (though she understands leopard print), but Eric loves the modern twist on leopard print and the hat. Piggy also loves the hat, because after a night on the town, "I can just go home and use the hat to wash my pots and pans."
  • Michael: Georgina said it is more sophisticated than most, but it still works, but she doesnt like the styling. Eric worried about whether it would work with Piggy's ears, earning him a "hi-yah!" Piggy likes it and thinks she will look like a "present for Kermie" in it.
Michael ends up winning, causing him to jump up and down excitedly. I would have given the win to Rami myself, but Michael was a good choice too. It's probably more red-carpet than Rami's look anyway, and that's what they were going for.

Bottom Designers
  • Austin: Georgina thinks it's beautifully constructed but thinks the colors are "not happy." Eric doesn't like the way the dress accentuates her hips. Piggy doesn't like the bows at the hips either, and isn't sure if it's a functional dress because she isn't sure if she could, say, hula-hoop in it. (Austin, to his credit, plays right along and says that the bows would help keep the hula-hoop up.) Eric said it might work for "Pigs in Space," but not as a cocktail dress.
  • Mila: Angela doesn't think it's flamboyant enough, and Georgina said the color photographs better on the red carpet. Miss Piggy likes the mod look, but thinks "it doesn't scream Miss Piggy. It whispers it." She says it's too goth. In the end, the judges agreed it was a nice dress, but it didn't keep the client in mind.
  • Gordana: Angela thinks it's too understated, and Georgina worried about it being flattering for Miss Piggy. "It just kind of sat there. Where's the rest of it," Miss Piggy said. "It's a fine, fine dress. I don't know if it's moi." In the end, Gordana didn't push the envelope enough, and she was eliminated for it.
I totally agreed, because I really didn't like Gordana's nightgown-inspired dress at all. 

Next week: Diane von Furstenberg! And sewing a dress in 6 hours! Heck yes!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kel's Birthday Mancandy

Today is my 25th birthday. And to celebrate, I am going to treat all of you loyal readers to a very special Midweek Mancandy, featuring all of my favorite hot men of celebrifame.

First up is my current number one tv crush, Scott Caan. A slightly controversial choice, I know. I have been watching Hawaii Five-0 (Thanks mom & dad and Aunt Mary & Uncle Bob) and I have a crush on all four main stars. I mean, how can you go wrong with Grace Park, Alex O'Loughlin, and Daniel Dae Kim (Especially Daniel Dae Kim...he is who I should like the most.)? However, the one who just soars above the rest is Scott Caan. I think it is his tough guy swagger. Or his mix of nice and sarcastic. Whatever it is, I like it!

My next Mancandy choice has been highlighted here before, but I have to go with Matt Bomer. USA conveniently started the second half of season three of White Collar last night so that I can watch the episode today and have what my friend Kat calls my Birthday Bomer. It sounds so wrong and yet so right.

Next up is a guy who oozes sex, especially when he sings. And he is going to be in the movie I am most anticipating. That is right. I am referring to Lenny Kravitz. He is one hot piece of man. Instead of writing more, I'll just give an example.

Anyway, moving on.

Going along the line of "Kelly has unique taste in men", my next two pieces of hot mancandy are James McAvoy and Jamie Bell, who I really think need to do a movie together. Both are not traditionally hot, but are still super talented actors and fun in interviews. And I think they are both uber tasty.

So, there you have it. My five favorite hot men (at the moment). If you want to give me a nice birthday present, feel free to suggest other celebrity men who I may find hot.

Glee-cap: Was this a cheesy episode? Yes/No

The answer is ... yes. Yes, Tuesday night's "Glee" was cheesy. It was all about love and marriage, and it was full of overwrought songs and overwrought speeches. But it also had some decent little moments.

The episode started out well, with a nearly shot-for-shot remake of "Summer Lovin'" from Grease, with Sam as Danny and Mercedes as Sandy.

Sam & Mercedes were just one of the many couples explored in this episode. Let's take them one-by-one, shall we?

Sam & Mercedes didn't move terribly far this episode, though after singing "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," Mercedes realizes that she thought of Sam. Rachel tells her to take it slow and "listen to your heart." Cliche, high school advice if I ever heard it but, then again, they are cliche high schoolers.

Sam, meanwhile, tries to compete with Mercedes' new man, Shane, by getting a letter jacket, so he joins the synchronized swimming team, where we get to meet Roz Washington (played by NeNe Leakes), who won a medal in the Olympics for individual synchronized swimming.

Becky has a crush on Artie and asks him out. They go out for dinner, but Becky wants to take the relationship further and Artie just wants to be friends. Becky knows that it's because of her Down's Syndrome, but Sue helps her through it with ice cream and "Lifetime Television for Ovaries." The best thing about this whole slightly awkward plotline is that we find out that Becky has a proper British accent in her head. Don't we all, Becky?

Finn is thinking about the future, and is considering going into the Army like his father, who he thought died in Iraq. He tells Schue, who tells his parents, and Finn's mom tells him that his dad actually died of a drug overdose after being dishonorably discharged from the Army. Finn has a bit of a breakdown and tries to decide what to do ...

We find out that Coach Beiste and Cooter eloped at the Fort Wayne 24-Hour Wedding Chapel (which, sad to say, doesn't actually exist), which leads into one of the main plots ...

which is Emma and Schue potentially getting married. See, when Emma hears about Beiste getting married, it gets her thinking about marriage. Sue and Beiste urge her to just ask Will herself (yay!) but she freaks out (boo!). But Schue figures out that she wants to get married, so he asks the Glee Club to come up with a great big way to propose to Emma. Schue is only the worst teacher ever, since he uses the Glee club as his own personal plot device more often than not. But since I'm convinced the whole show is happening in Rachel Berry's fever dream anyway, I'll let it slide.

Anyway, Schue also has the bright idea to ask Emma's parents for their blessing on their marriage, and they say "No" because they're worried about Emma being a good wife since she is majorly OCD. That, Will, is why, instead of talking to her parents about marriage, you just talk to the woman you are thinking about marrying about all this stuff. Seriously, asking for permission? What year is it?

Anyway, Will and Emma talk and don't really resolve any of their problems, but Schue proposes anyway, with a big production number that includes synchronized swimmers performing to "We Found Love." It's actually a pretty bitchin' number, I gotta say. Emma, of course, says yes.

Which brings us to the tail end of the episode, where Finn has realizes that he really loves Rachel. He brings her to the stage, where they had their first date, and Finn asks her to marry him.

And ... black. We'll apparently fine out in 2 weeks, during the Michael Jackson-themed episode, what she said.

Musical Numbers:

Summer Lovin': Great! Practically a shot-for-shot remake from "Grease," which had a great nostalgia factor as well as featuring one of my favorite couples on the show, Sam & Mercedes. We need a LOT more songs like this!

Wedding Bell Blues: Emma sings this when she decides she'll maybe propose to Schue herself. It's very cute, and these cute little '60s songs are perfect for Emma. I especially liked Sue and Beiste in the background as the backup singers, especially when they were wearing bridesmaids dresses and hats that looked like the ones Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice wore to the royal wedding.

Moves Like Jagger/Jumpin' Jack Flash: The boys' offering for Schue to propose to Emma, because they think Schue should "lead with your hips." It's a great song with good dancing, and I like the little "Jumpin' Jack Flash" additions. Very catchy and fun.

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face:
Very pretty song featuring some great harmonies by Rachel, Tina, Santana and Mercedes. It also advanced the plot by showing that Mercedes still likes Sam!

Without You: A Rachel Berry "Park & Blow," which went on a bit too long and was quite dramatic. As usual. It was saved when, after the song, Santana sarcastically said, "What, the assignment wasn't 'Make it all about Rachel Berry and force everyone to watch,' was it?" Oh snap!

We Found Love: Really nice production number. We don't see much in the way of synchronized swimming anymore, but I loved the mixing of the classic old '30s Busby Berkeley-style production number with a modern song. Oh, and Artie in a floaty chair was pretty adorable. It was probably my second favorite number tonight after "Summer Lovin'."

Great Quotes/Funny Stuff:

"Is that a mohawk, Puckerman, or did somebody glue a squirrel to your head." - Becky, in her mind (in a proper British accent, amping up the comedy)

"I've never seen lips like that on a white child, and one of your nipples is higher than the other. I bet you had to overcome a lot with those crooked nipples." - Roz to Sam

"If you pee in my pool, I will kill you." - Roz to Sam

"You're in synchronized swimming and glee club. It's like some weird death wish." - Finn to Sam.

"Hey, Terry, do you want to make a fake baby with me?" - Santana, imagining how Schue proposed to first wife Terry.

"Just be glad Comrade Obama still allows Christmas." - Emma's dad, when seeing Will & Emma's Christmas tree still up.

"If I let your brother (take over the shop when he's in D.C.), he's going to have all the grease monkeys wearing white dinner jackets." - Bert

Emma's pamphlets in her office include, "So You're a Spinster."

Sue: "Maybe she can move on and date someone who doesn't sound like one of those weird puppets that they bring around to the grade schools to teach kids about sexual predators, and for God's sake, you could go one day without the driving gloves. It's a wheelchair, Artie, not a Porsche."
Artie: "Are you finished?"
Sue: "Stop buttoning your shirts up all the way like a demented 90-year-old. You look like you're auditioning for the lead in your nursing home's stage production of 'Awakenings.'"

Overall Assessment

It was a decent first episode back, but I'm hoping for less Emma/Schue and Finn/Rachel. Let's face it, they've been done to death. We also need more goofiness from Sugar and more sarcastic asides from Santana. The writers can actually cover a multitude of sins by making Santana make sarcastic comments about stuff. Also, let's give someone other than Rachel a ballad once in a while, OK? And if Rachel says yes to marrying Finn, I might scream. Bad plan.

The songs were good, if a little slow in the middle. I'm really looking forward to some Michael Jackson action in two weeks, even though in general I want more showtunes!

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Trashelor: Welcome to Crazyville. Population: Ben.

Well, after a rather boring second episode, episode three of "The Bachelor" definitely wasn't boring. Apparently they were hoarding all the crazy to be unleashed this week.

This week, Wino brings the girls to San Francisco, where he lives. He meet up with Julia, his sister, who he really loves, and tells her about a few of the girls, including Horse Girl (Lindzi), whose first impression he liked; Casey or Kacie, who his mom would like; Jessie XX (Courtney), who he thinks his sister would like (but she wouldn't because she has the crazy eyes!), Smartypants (Emily), who is funny and a science nerd; and Jennifer, who he says is the best kisser.

OK, so once again there are two one-on-one dates, during which the girls must get roses or go home immediately, and a group date. Chris Harrison warns the girls that they won't all get a date, so they should try to talk to Ben as often as possible no matter what. (They take this to heart throughout the episode, to frightening effect.)

Smartypants gets the first date card, which says, "Love lifts us up." She tells the other girls that she's nervous because she doesn't like heights, but she's also "shocked" and "super excited." When she meets Wino, he tells her that he knows the city so well that he wants to see it from a view ... specifically, from the top of the Bay Bridge, which they are going to climb. "I feel like I want to die," a horrified Emily says, but Ben says it's about trust. Umm, yes, trust, and scaring the everloving shit out of your date!

Smartypants does have a panic attack partway up, because she's "petrified beyond any description," but they make it, with the other girls watching with the conveniently placed telescope in the conveniently located hotel. Convenient.

When they get to the top of the bridge, Smartypants waxes poetic about how the bridge takes two things that are separate and bring them together ... just like the relationship between her and Wino! D'aww! "If we can accomplish something like this, there's nothing we can't do!" Ben says.

After they're back on the ground ... which we don't see ... they have dinner overlooking the bridge. Smartypants tells a charming anecdote about getting matched up with her brother on a dating site, and they discuss relationships and all that crap. *yawn*

Meanwhile, there's a date card for 11 girls. I didn't catch all their names, but, really, who gives a shit? They're pretty much interchangeable. I do know that Fakely (Blakely), Clingy Stalker (Kacie) and Generic Blond No. 7 (Rachel) are on the date, but Horse Girl (Lindzi) is not. Whatevs. Ben's note says that they're going to "throw something off our leap list," which one of the girls explains is a list of things to do before your next milestone. Is that even a thing? I'm pretty sure they made it up for "The Bachelor."

Surprising nobody, Smartypants gets the rose, and they kiss under their private fireworks display that the other girls can see from their hotel rooms. Again, convenient.

OK, so, the group date. The 11 girls and Ben have an extreme date, where they pay someone to blow snow onto a hilly San Francisco street and ski down it. The girls are all in their bikinis, and to my amusement, they all fall down and run into things a lot. *snerk*

The girls who are left behind, though, are sad. They get a knock on the door, and it's a date card for Brittany! It says, "Let's unlock our love with a key to the city" and includes a key necklace. Brittany, instead of shrieking like a teakettle, is surprised and kind of confused. "Something just doesn't feel right to me," she says. Dun-dun-DUN!

So, Ben and the girls, after skiing, go to a cocktail lounge, where they all get leied (ha ha ha get it, leied?). Generic Blond No. 7 really wants the rose, so she kisses Ben. What a surprise, because, as Kel pointed out, Ben is a kissing slut. Before you know it, he's also kissing Clingy Stalker.

But before he can kiss any more girls, Brittany marches downstairs. She decides, "This isn't the right decision for Ben or myself," and she tells Ben she's leaving. Girl, your granny is going to be so disappointed in you! I bet she's going to cut off her inheritance!

Anyway, Ben says it's a "bit of a curveball," but he recovers enough to give Generic Blond No. 7 the rose.

So, yeah, now Horse Girl Lindzi gets to be the consolation prize for Wino, but she doesn't see it that way, because she starts squeaking like a demented chipmunk. They go to City Hall, where Matt Nathanson plays a private concert for them. (Kel got so excited she threw her water bottom lid. She's jealous.) Then they go to a speakeasy-themed bar and talk about their relationships, including the guy who broke up with Horse Girl over a text message. She gets the rose, and they go play the piano together. Romance!

Ah, but wait ... there's more drama to be had! As Wino and Horse Girl are dancing the night away, Bachelor Brad's ex Shawntel is wending her way to San Francisco so that Chris Harrison, that wonderful evil man, can let her burst in while Wino is talking to the Elyse at the cocktail party and declare her undying love for him. "These girls are going to hate me, but I'm willing to take that risk because he's someone I want to be with for the rest of my life." Umm, creepy, since you BARELY KNOW HIM!

If you don't remember Shawntel, she's a funeral director who, according to Elyse, "came in on her high hearse, no pun intended." Umm, Elyse, dear? I'm pretty sure you intended that pun.

Predictably, the girls explode into uber-drama, with Jessie XX claiming that "this isn't what I signed up for ... If Shawntel gets a rose, I'm out!"

Kel's favorite is when one of the girls says of Shawntel, "How can you like him? You don't know him!" As Kel said, "Welcome to 'The Bachelor.'" Seriously, ladies, that's the whole schtick of the show!

After Shawntel appears, Ben decides to end the cocktail party and go straight to the rose ceremony ... the most dramatic rose ceremony we've seen in ages!

Smartypants, Generic Blond No. 7 and Horse Girl already have roses.

Also getting roses ...

Jessie XX, although she tells Wino she has reservations due to Shawntel coming; Clingy Stalker; Elyse; Jennifer; Kacey S.; Fakely; Monica; Nicki and Samantha.

It's down to Erica, Jaclyn and Shawntel without roses, with one rose left. But before Wino can announce his decision, Erica passes out! She can't stand ... and she can't stand the pressure! My favorite is that one of the girls blames Shawntel for Erica passing out/falling down/whatever. Crazy. Bitches.

Anyway, once Erica can stand again, Ben explains that he appreciates that Shawntel came out and put it on the line, but ...

At that point, Kel said, "I give none of you the rose. Oh, wait, no."

But that's exactly what Wino did! He didn't give anyone the last rose, sending three crushed, bawling girls home. In the words of Kel: "OH SNAP!"

There's really not much more you can say about that.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Project Runway All-Stars: A Little Night Music

Three cheers for "Project Runway All Stars." I was worried that last week was a fluke, making it about the designs instead of the designers' drama. But once again, "Project Runway: All Stars" delivered with great dresses, great designers and just a little bit of cattiness in the sewing room.

This week's challenge was to capture the high-end glamor of a night at the opera. The guest judges? Mark Badgley and James Mischka, of Badgley Mischka. They told the designers to "indulge your fantasies" to create a couture gown. They are given $350 and one day to turn it around.

Everybody's sights were on Austin Scarlett, of course, because his talent for couture ballgowns is well-documented. He knew this, of course, and was extra nervous.

After the 30 minutes of sketching, the designers headed off to Mood, where there was a little bit of drama between Michael and April again. Both designers had decided to do a red dress, and Michael immediately freaked out a little bit. April thought he was being ridiculous, which, let's face it, he kind of was. "Who the (bleep) cares? If you want to do red, do (bleeping) red!" she said. But Michael didn't want to have a similar dress to April again this week - they both had mop-head dresses last week - so he switched to a black matte jersey.

When they get back to the workroom, "everybody is swallowing their keys," Kara says, meaning they all shut up and designed their gowns. As much as I love a little reality show drama, it was a refreshing change from the constant, open bitchiness last season.

Joanna walks in for her consultation, and I'm once again struck by her great critiques. She knows exactly what to say - she gives a boost to Austin, who is feeling the pressure of being the one to beat on the challenge; she questions April's hand-dyed ombre; she warns Anthony that his dress could go too bridal, and warns Kara against letting her dress go too bridesmaid. She even asks Michael if he's going to put cups in his dress so that the bodice doesn't slide around. "Nobody wants a nip-slip at the opera. That's tacky," Jerell noted.

Most of the designers are happily working, although Kara is starting to melt a bit under the pressure. Mondo says he sees her as the weakest designer because she spends too much time doubting herself.

After a quick sleep and a couple of frantic hours of fittings, hair and makeup, it's time for the runway!

You can see all the runway looks here, but here are my notes.

    •    Kenley - Big pink fluffy skirt with a layered pink-with-polka-dots top. Screams "Barbie."
    •    Gordana - Purple gown with net on the top half. It's a flapper-style gown, with 20s styling. It's on trend, but I think it goes a little too literal.
    •    Rami - Red gown with complicated bodice and drop-waist. It is the start of a great idea, but it doesn't lay right and looks sort of messy.
    •    Mila - One-shoulder slinky black gown with sequins across it. I like it, but it doesn't really scream opera. It's well-made and nice, though, even though I don't like the asymmetrical hem.
    •    Sweet P - Bright sherbet orange bodice with wild print skirt. If it were made better, I would love it for a day event because I actually like the colors, but not so much for the opera. Also, the bodice doesn't fit right and is rather ugly.
    •    Mondo - Silver knee-length dress with a little cape and a mod neckline. I think it's very Mondo and very mod, and I think it looks gorgeous.
    •    Jerell - Floofy top going straight down to the floor. It's like '60s maternity wear. The blah color of the dress doesn't help either.
    •    Kara - Springy curtain fabric in a super basic silhouette. It might work for a garden party, but it's definitely NOT an opera dress. There's not enough drama and it's actually not constructed terribly well, either.
    •    Anthony - Drapy white dress with a plunging neckline. It's very soft and feminine, but styling, with leather gloves, weird little jeweled belt and black clutch, give it an edge. It's different, but I really dig it.
    •    Austin - Gold, with little black tulle. It has a sort of art deco feel, but it's very modern and absolutely stunning. Love it!
    •    April - Red gown with black ombre at the bottom. Definitely not the best, with quite a few fit problems. The dyed ombre also doesn't really work with the red. It's just kind of a depressing dress.
    •    Michael - High necked black gown with feathers and jewels, but with a super low back. I love all the detailing, and I can definitely see a star wearing it.

The top three are Anthony, Austin and Michael.

Anthony: Isaac Mizrahi loves the plunging V and they way he used white, while the host, Angela Lindvall, likes the toughness the gloves bring. However, Mark Badgley thinks he was a bit too heavy-handed on the accessories.

Michael: Isaac thought the dress was "shockingly perfect," and would be perfect for Kim Kardashian at the opera. Angela though it was "super sexy," and Georgina Chapman loved that he used matte jersey.

Austin: Everybody agreed it was classic, well-made and refined. Austin was the winner (although Michael was a close second).

The bottom three were April, Sweet P and Kara.

April: Mark Badgley and James Mischka both hated red and black together. Angela complimented the cut, but everybody agreed that the ombre dyeing was a bad choice. James Mischka thought it looked like she had been standing in an oil slick.

Kara: Isaac said that, since the dress was so simple, it needed to be utterly perfect and it wasn't. Mischka didn't like the bow on the back, and Georgina didn't think it was Kara's dress. However, Badgley loved the dress.

Sweet P: Isaac thought it was a bad prom dress, and Badgley thought it looked like the skirt was from a dirndl. They also all agreed that the bodice screamed old granny swimsuit top. Even though they liked Sweet P and her bold use of color, in the end, Sweet P was out.

I think they made the right decisions all around, or at least mostly right decision. I probably would have put Mondo in the top over Anthony, but just barely, and I really didn't like Jerell's dress, but these are quibbles. The right person won, and though I would have been happy with either Sweet P or April going home, Sweet P was probably the right choice because April obviously took a bigger risk.

Next week ... cocktail dresses for Miss Piggy!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Why I'm Loving "Phineas & Ferb"

As I mentioned in my "Bachelor" recap, Kel is on vacation this week, and she's been periodically updating her Facebook. I especially got a smile when I saw this photo:

(From left, our mom, Kel, and our aunt)

Not only does it amuse me that Kel is wearing a matching shirt with our mom and aunt (which they've been doing all week), but I also love the shirt they're wearing.

If you don't recognize the wonderful figure on their shirt, well, you're missing out on one of the funniest shows on TV: "Phineas & Ferb." 

"Phineas & Ferb" is a Disney show for children, but don't let that fool you. My husband and I don't have children, yet we've been known to sit down on a Saturday afternoon and watch a couple of hours of the show. It's just that hilarious.

The show, for the uninitiated, follows stepbrothers Phineas and Ferb as they try to figure out things to do on summer vacation, normally by inventing something huge and amazing in their backyard. Their older sister, Candace, is always trying to bust them to their parents. 

There's also always a plotline about their pet platypus, Perry, who they don't know is a secret agent. Perry is always trying to defeat his nemesis, Dr. Doofenshmirtz. If you can't tell, Perry is on the matching shirts above. Doofenshmirtz' crazy schemes, and the way Perry foils them, are one of the best things about each episode.

There are a lot of reasons to love "Phineas & Ferb," but the main reason is that it's absolutely hilarious. The show features a lot of extremely witty jokes that are genuinely funny for adults. Sure, there's some childish humor, but most of the jokes are very clever.

I also love the great morals in "Phineas & Ferb." The most obvious lesson has to do with being creative and having fun doing it. You rarely see Phineas and Ferb watching TV or playing video games. They might get an idea of something to do from TV or a video game or a movie, but then they go out, get together with their friends and play. I'm obviously not opposed to TV or movies or video games - I enjoy them a lot - but it's also important to go out and do things.

The other great moral of "Phineas & Ferb" is the importance of family. Phineas and Ferb are stepbrothers, part of a blended family. That is a reality for a lot of kids, and it's not something that kids get to see on TV shows a lot. But more than that, I like the feel that family is what you make it. There are lots of kids who are part of a family that isn't completely "normal" - maybe they have stepsiblings, or they're adopted, or they have a single parent, or something else that makes them feel different. "Phineas & Ferb" is a show that celebrates family without saying that one family makeup is right. They definitely have their disagreements and family drama - especially involving Candace, who is always trying to bust the boys for their crazy antics. But, Phineas and Ferb still do a lot of nice things for Candace, and occasionally, Candace even does nice things for her brothers. In the end, they're a great, happy family.

So, if you've never had the pleasure of watching "Phineas & Ferb," you should definitely do it. If you have kids, watch it with them, but even if you don't, sit down and check out and episode or two. You'll end up loving it!

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Trashelor: A Less Exciting Second Episode

Kel is on vacation - that bitch! - so I am doing "The Bachelor" recap on my own tonight. - Jen

After a pretty dynamite first episode of "The Bachelor," featuring crying and lots of crazypants antics from FakeTan CrazyPants Jenna, the second episode of "The Bachelor" seemed downright boring.

OK, there were a few highlights, like Ben dressing up like a sheep - more on that later - but in general, it was a bit "meh." I think it's because Ben is just so darn sweet and earnest about it. He's way too well-adjusted to be on this crappy reality show.

Anyway, the girls all went to meet Ben in his hometown of Sonoma for this week's round of prostitution dates. He wanted them to be there "so they understand a big part of my life," Ben said.

Kacie B. gets the first date card, and the girls immediately get super catty. Courtney, especially, seems to have her bitch pants on this evening, but, really, all the of the girls are pretty pissed that Kacie gets the date.

Ben takes Kacie out to show her something "extremely personal" - his town, described as "quaint" only about 10 billion times by Kacie. He says he picked Kacie because she's a southerner and being close with family is "part of their culture." For some reason, that struck me as hilarious ... not that the South, doesn't have a culture, but the earnest way he said it made me think that he was talking about some strange new culture he's never experienced, not a different region of the same country where he lives.

They went to a candy shop, where she COINCIDENTALLY finds a baton so that she can show him her mad baton-twirling skillz and teach him some of her moves. "I don't think a lot of guys would walk down the street and twirl a baton," he said. "We're having a blast." They go to dinner and talk about Ben's father, who died and we already heard all about when Ben was on "The Bachelorette" so we won't go into that here. Anyway, they talk, and talk, and talk, and then she gets the rose! After that, they go into a darkened theater, and I'm thinking, "Oooh, what product-placement movie will they be watching!? I hope it's 'The Devil Inside!' Or maybe, 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo!' Nothing like a movie featuring murder, rape and torture to get a couple in the mood!" But, alas, it's just home movies of the two of them when they were children. Is it just me, or is that creepy?

Another date card comes while Ben and Kacie are on their date for 11 of the girls. I didn't write all their names down, but would it really matter? The only girl whose name I even remember is FakeTan CrazyPants Jenna. She is on that date.

But Jenna just may get her CrazyPants title taken away by Blakely, who peevishly tells the camera, "I'm not here to go on a date with 11 girls. I'm here to go on a date with Ben." Meow! Has she never seen this show?

Anyway, the next day, the mass of ladies women show up and find out that they're going to be in a play a bunch of children put together. They audition for parts, which is kind of funny considering the extreme slutwear they were wearing. There were boobs jiggling EVERYWHERE in front of these middle school-aged children. SO delightfully inappropriate.

The kids cast the play, and almost immediately it was opening night. Ben played the Prince of Bachelorsville, and he was looking for love among all the animals? Or something? It was written by children and I didn't pay enough attention to know exactly what was going on. But when Ben turned into a sheep it was adorable.

After the play, it was a cocktail hour-type thing, and Blakely decided to go for the kill and "be herself" to try to get the rose Ben was giving out on this date. Many of the girls, especially Samantha, were freaking out about Blakely's brazen overtures, (again, have they not seen this show!?) and eventually ended up in the bathroom pouting and crying. Ben also makes out with Jennifer that night, but in the end, it's Blakely that gets the coveted rose. "Blakely is a slut!" Samantha declares. (Takes one to know one!)

Then it's time for another one-on-one date. He picks Courtney, and they go walking in a redwood forest with Ben's ADORABLE little dog, Scotch. They have a picnic and coo over the dog and take a tour of the vineyard, and then have dinner outdoors. Ben is initially worried, because Courtney tells him that she hasn't dated much, but it's just because she has trouble trusting people. This melts Ben's sweet heart, and he gives her a rose.

Courtney proceeds to tell the camera in the confessional, "All the girls better watch out, because I got a rose!" ARE BEN'S EMOTIONS JUST A GAME TO YOU, COURTNEY!? (Answer: Probably.)

Soon, it's time for the dreaded highly anticipated cocktail hour, which makes Jenna CrazyPants dissolve into a giant breakdown YET AGAIN. She babbles to Ben about how she isn't a normal girl or something (I couldn't figure out what the heck she was trying to say) and then goes and weeps in a bedroom. Meanwhile, Blakely is weeping too, over God only knows what.

Thank goodness we finally get to the rose ceremony. I didn't write down everyone's names - it went too fast - but two girls are going home, and those two girls are ...

Shawn (Random Blond No. 87) and Jenna.

Fare thee well, CrazyPants. We hardly knew the depths of your craziness.

Next week ... San Francisco! Somebody shows up at Ben's door! And sobbing! Lots of sobbing! Don't miss it, because we won't!

Friday, January 6, 2012

What "Project Runway: All Stars" Did Right

(Spoiler alert: I will talk about what went down on Thursday's "Project Runway: All Stars." If you haven't watched, *cough*Kel*cough*, read at your own risk!)

Thursday night was the premiere of the long-awaited "Project Runway: All Stars," and it was, hands-down, the best episode "Project Runway" we've had in ages. The right person won. A right person went home ... though it's not who I would have sent home. It was fun and funny.

First of all, it was great to see some of my favorite designers back. I am hardcore rooting for Mondo, since he got mega-robbed when Wretched Gretchen won his season. But I forgot how much I love people like Kara Janx, Austin Scarlett, Michael Costello and, especially, Anthony Williams. Their personalities are wonderful, but what's great is that they also have the talent to back it up. That was something that was largely missing last season.

Secondly, I really dug the new judging panel of Isaac Mizrahi and Georgina Chapman. It's not that I don't love the dream team of Michael Kors and Nina Garcia, but it's really nice to have a change. Dare I say that the Kors/Garcia pairing has gotten a bit stale? Maybe Mizrahi/Chapman should judge for a couple of seasons before Kors/Garcia comes back.

I also loved Joanna Coles as the mentor. Yes, I miss Tim Gunn and his signature demand to "make it work," but Coles had some really sharp criticisms and questions. Maybe she and Gunn could tag-team or something. I hope she keeps it up this season.

Host Angela Lindvall, I can take or leave. Too many times I felt like she was trying to imitate Heidi Klum rather than make this hosting gig her own. She even did Heidi's little chirpy "Hello!" complete with a little wave like Heidi does. It comes across as a bit inauthentic, whereas I'm pretty sure Heidi is just doin' her thang.

OK, so Thursday's episode. After a little mini-fashion show showcasing a recent design by each designer, it was time for the main event! And it was a personal favorite of mine, the unconventional materials challenge, otherwise known as the "make random shit into a dress" challenge. This time, they went to the 99 cent store, and they had to make a dress inspired by their recent creation they showed off.

You can check out all the designs on Lifetime's website, but here are the highlights:
  • Anthony uses a purple plastic material and gold safety pins to make a halter-dress. The plastic material looks sort of nasty, but the use of safety pins was pretty clever, especially since it doesn't look like safety pins from the runway. Anthony is safe.
  • April makes a fringy gown out of black & white mop heads. It has a neat look when her model walks down the runway, but I would have loved to have seen her do something a little bit more exciting with it, whether adding some color to the gown or styling it with some colorful shoes. April is safe.
  • Austin uses plastic and steel wool to make a little cocktail dress. It looks kind of messy, which is probably partially because he melted part of his plastic dress, but I like the idea of it. The steel wool is a great accent, but the flowery things on the hips aren't terribly flattering. Austin is safe.
  • Elisa makes some crazy hot pants, a painted little top and a cape thing. It is seriously crazypants, but that's Elisa's aesthetic. Still, it is not terribly well-made, and it's sort of weirdly complicated in its simplicity. Elisa is in the bottom three.
  • Gordana makes a little layered dress out of streamers and adds a bunch of sparkly, tacky crap to the neckline and the streamers. Without the tacky crap it would have been a great dress, and it moves very well, but the sparkly stuff is a bit too much for the look. Gordana is in the bottom three.
  • Jerell makes a flowy blueish-gray dress with an asymmetrical hem out of handkerchiefs. It is a gorgeous dress that moves nicely and fits well, but I don't like that he didn't really embrace the spirit of the challenge, which is to make shit into a dress. Still, it's very nice, and Jerell is in the top three.
  • Kara makes a little sleeveless top out of salmon-colored mop heads and a skirt out of some kind of tablecloth, maybe. It's a cute outfit, and I like the little silver belt, but it doesn't have a great "wow" factor to me. Kara is safe.
  • Kenley makes a dress out of bath mats with a little loofa hairpiece. I don't like the styling, but I love the texture that the bath mats give to the dress. It's pretty dang simple, but I'm good with simple. Also, hair loofa is cute!  I probably would have put her in the top three, but she is just safe.
  • Michael makes a drapey-looking dress from the same mop heads as April used, and I actually think I like his dress just a teeny bit better. Still, I would have liked a little pop of color somewhere. Michael is safe.
  • Mila makes a sort of mod little plastic dress with a sort of legging thing made of material and netting patched together. I was initially a little turned off because it looked a little ragged, but as her model walked the runway I started to really dig the neat leg things, and I love the graphic print on the dress. Mila is safe.
  • Mondo makes a gorgeous little black dress and a fascinator out of garbage bags, canvas strips and cheap little cowboy hats. It is an absolutely gorgeous dress, and it is perfectly constructed. The fascinator just pulls the whole outfit together. Mondo is in the top three. (Mondo, by the way, wears THE MOST ADORABLE outfit on the runway, complete with little shorts and a straw porkpie hat. Mondo, I love you.)
  • Rami makes a flawlessly constructed architectural skirt and jacket-looking thing. It was made out of some kind of plaid-looking plastic thing and Christmas garland. It was an impressive piece of design and construction. Rami is in the top three.
  • Sweet P makes a horrific color-blocked layered skirt out of washclothes, with a halter made out of belts. I like the belts, but the dress itself hurts my eyes and kind of makes me nauseated. Sweet P is in the bottom three.
The race for winner comes down to Rami and Mondo, and although Mondo is my favorite contestant, Rami deserved the win.

From the bottom three, Gordana gets through with a stern talking-to about not overdesigning and editing herself, and it's down to Crazypants Hotpants Ensemble by Elisa and Uglyass Washcloth Dress by Sweet P. Although I probably would have sent Sweet P home, Elisa also was a fine choice for elimination. She wasn't going to last long anyway, but I did love her crazypants personality, especially when she talked about how people pay to have her spit on their clothes and "bless them." Elisa, you will be missed.

What did you think of "Project Runway: All Stars?" Are we back to awesomeness, or was this just a bright spot in a sea of "blah" episodes?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"Star Trek" Sequel Just Keeps Getting Better & Better

So, I'm a huge "Star Trek" fan.

In particular, I'm a huge fan of original "Star Trek." The old TV episodes and shows starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, DeForest Kelley, Jimmy Doohan, Walter Koenig and all the other wonderful supporting actors are amazeballs, and it will always be the best series of "Star Trek."

But, hey, I may be a purist but I know a good thing when I see it, and when I saw the 2009 reboot of "Star Trek," I loved it. If William Shatner couldn't come forward in a time machine from the 60s to play young Kirk again, I'm glad they got Chris Pine. Other than Nimoy himself, I can imagine no better person to play Spock than Zachary Quinto. And we Trek fans got pretty dang lucky with Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho and Anton Yelchin, too.

So, anyway, I'm a total geek about "Star Trek," right? Well, guess what else I geek pretty hard. British pop culture. Seriously, BBC America is always on my TV screen, and I'm always Netflixing new series and movies from the U.K.

But there's not much crossover, right? I mean, there is Simon Pegg, who is a brilliant British guy, but there aren't any other awesome British actors in the new "Star Trek" franchise.


Yesterday, I nearly peed myself in excitement when I found out that Benedict Cumberbatch, epically amazing star of BBC's "Sherlock" has been tapped to play the villain in the "Star Trek" sequel! How perfect is that!? Cumberbatch is a great actor, and he also has a lovely otherworldly quality to him. (It's the cheekbones. Oh, those cheekbones.) He belongs in science fiction.

Then, today, my sci-fi geekery and my U.K. geekery hit fever pitch when I read that Noel Clarke, who played Mickey Smith on "Doctor Who," is ALSO going to be in the "Star Trek" sequel, apparently playing a family man with a wife and daughter.

Cue me doing an incredibly dorky dance! I'm the happiest little Trek/Doctor Who/U.K. TV nerd ever! The only way that this could be any more thrilling would be if someone like David Tennant joined the cast. (Note to J.J. Abrams: Don't do this. I would probably have an epic nerdgasm and die.)

The only problem now ... we have to wait aaaaaaaaaaaaall the way until May 17, 2013, to see the movie!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bloggy Brilliance: Lizzie Stark's "If Famous Writers Had Written 'Twilight'"

The best thing I've read on the Internet today is "If Famous Writers Had Written Twilight," posted by Lizzie Stark. (Thanks, Kel, for the link!)

For example, if Jane Austen had written "Twilight:"
Basically the same as the original, except that Bella is socially apt and incredibly witty. Her distrust of Edward is initially bourne out of a tragic misunderstanding of his character, but after a fling with Jacob during which he sexually assaults her (amusing to no one in this version) she and Edward live happily ever after.
Not only are her blurbs amusing, but the commenters on her blog and over on io9 have done a great job coming up with even more. The Dr. Seuss one at io9 is especially inspired.

Reading all these today started making me think about "Twilight." There is a LOT of "Twilight" hate out there on the Internet ... some very clever and some just sour grapes. I enjoyed George Takei's call for "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" fans to unite against the book, and I've enjoyed a lot of the biting commentary I've seen ... including another thing I read on Lizzie Stark's blog, How To Read Twilight. (Hint, it has to do with word substitution, which leads to this hella-amusing sentence: “Her brilliant obsidian doodlewickets were unreadable, but her fingerbang was friendly.”)

The thing is, "Twilight" is not a well-written novel. It really reads like a first draft. Trust me ... I just finished a first draft of a novel and some of my prose is as awful and repetitive as some of Stephanie Meyer's prose. It happens. When you're getting your ideas down on paper, sometimes you keep harping on the same stuff over and over (for Meyer, it's eyes). But then, you and an editor or two need to go over it and make it more readable. It's too bad Meyer didn't have someone to bounce ideas off like I have - Kel is perfectly willing to read what I write and be brutally honest.

Even if the prose were better, I don't think "Twilight" would become a classic. I still have problems with the way that the vampires are neutered and sparkly and not at all dangerous (I like my vampires more like Eric Northman, thank you very much). I also have some real problems with the way women are portrayed, and how Edward is a creepy stalking abuser who Bella should run from without looking back. But, you know what? There's a reason that these books have become so popular ... because there's a lot of entertainment value there, too. Besides, it's not like Meyer is the first writer to get insanely popular writing clunky prose and derivative plots in their books. I read clunky, predictable fiction a lot. Maybe not as clunky as "Twilight," but, hey, it's easy and fun.

So, I guess what I'm really trying to say here is: I hate saurkraut! Oh no, wait, that's not it. I'm trying to say that it's fun to make fun of "Twilight," but let's not judge people who read it and enjoy it anyway. Although, if your teenage girl is reading it, you might want to talk to her about NOT dating someone who is an abuser. Just saying.

Monday, January 2, 2012

"The Bachelor" Recap: Wino's Back!

Our boy Wino, Ben Flajnik, is back on TV, trying to find love again by meeting random women chosen by casting producers. Seems like a great plan, no? Thankfully, the Pop Tarts are here to blog the whole delightful train wreck, and we love it!

The big thing about Wino is that he was dumped by Ashley on "The Bachelorette" last season. But he was not just dumped ... he was decimated in what Chris Harrison rightly called "one of the most raw, emotional moments we had on 'The Bachelor.'" He was down on one knee when Ashley told him that she wasn't in love with him after all. Seriously, one of the most awkward things I've seen on TV. So, of course, the first 20 minutes of tonight's premiere talked about Wino's failed relationship and how he's become a better person because of "The Bachelorette." He went back to San Francisco and worked on his winemaking, but now he's "ready to find love" again.

We here at Pop Tarts Central just wish that "The Bachelor" were on Friday or Saturday night, because we could have gotten pretty blitzed on Kel's new drinking game, where you drink every time they mention Ashley rejecting Ben or every time someone cries.

Anyway, tonight's big point was to start getting to know the girls. It's easier said than done, since they all look like the same two people: generic blond and generic brunette. But we already have some standouts, and even a few girls with some nicknames starting.

After an incredibly long introduction where Ben kept talking about finding love and all that crap, we were ready to meet ... well, we can't really call them ladies. Ben looked terrified, and rightly so ... some of them are absolutely, bat-shit insane.

In getting-out-of-the-limo order (with extra information from segments about some of the girls from the beginning of the show) ...
  • Rachel Rose, the fashion rep. Not terribly exciting, other than the fact that she's pretty. We find out later she quit her job to be on the show. Poor life choices.
  • Erika, the law student. She was wearing an incredibly sparkly, skanky dress, and told Ben, "The verdict is in, and you're guilty ... of being sexy." She is guilty of being a whore.
  • Amber Bacon, who we will call Sizzler because her last name is Bacon! Her dress is ugly.
  • Elyse tells Ben she's going to "make you sweat a little bit." 
  • Jenna, who we will call either Fake Tan or Crazypants, or possibly FakeTan CrazyPants, is wearing an ugly, boxy, sparkly white dress and stands in awkward small-talk silence for most of her time with Ben. We learn in an earlier segment that she is a blogger who writes about love and panics about relationships. This will be shown later in the episode in dramatic fashion.
  • Courtney, a model, is wearing super sparkly shoes when she steps out. Her nickname is Jessi XX because she looks like Jessi XX from the show "Kyle XY," according to Kel. Obscure reference? Yes. 
  • Emily is working on her Ph.D. in epidemiology. She's cute, but she gives Ben hand sanitizer and breath spray before they kiss. Paranoid much? 
  • Samantha is a pageant girl. Her hair looks nasty and matted, and she's scary.
  • Casey is wearing an ugly dress and is totally forgettable. *yawn* In her segmen, we find out that she fell in love with Ben on TV, which is weird. She seems just a bit crazy.
  • Amber T. appears to be boring, but then she comes back and tells him that, just in case he doesn't believe in love, he's getting a second look. Cute.
  • Jamie is a maternity nurse. Jamie sounds like a pageant girl. But she seems like a good person. In a recorded segment, we find out that she's had a hard life. She shouldn't make it worse by being on TV.
  • Shira, an actress, pretends that she knows about wine, but actually all she knows is that she likes to drink it. Fair enough.
  • Blakeley, a VIP cocktail waitress, claims she's the only southerner, even though she's not. Also, Blakeley is a weird name.
  • Sheryl is the old lady on crutches we were so worried about, but she's actually sort of awesome. Turns out, she's there because she fell madly in love with Ben the season before, and she wanted to introduce her granddaughter, Brittany. Awww! Ben says, "I love grandmas."
  • Nicki, the dental hygienist, talks to Ben like he's a puppy. In a segment, we find out she got married at 21, but then when the exciting passion went away, they got divorced. Somehow, it's possible she might run into the same problem on this show, no?
  • Dianna, a nonprofit director, seems like a normal, nervous girl and basically giggles like a ninny the entire time. She gets points for being a total dorkface.
  • Jennifer, an accountant, is a redhead, which makes her stand out from the sea of brunettes and blondes. 
  • Lyndsie J. is a British girl who reads Ben a dorky poem she wrote. We kind of like her, but we're going to call her Olivare because her accent reminds us of Olivare's accent on "Project Runway" last season. 
  • Anna is a very quiet student. She just walks past him without talking. "That's a bold move," Ben calls after her. "Oh, that's awesome."
  • Monica admits to Ben, "I miss my dog more than anything."
  • Jaclyn tells Ben, "You look very dapper."
  • Shawn, who works in finance, is wearing a green dress that is so not her dress. Girl, set it free. We find out in a segment that she has a son, Gavin, who is the most important thing in her life. She seems very normal. She slugs Ben on the arm on the way out. 
  • Kacie doesn't want him to sugarcoat things. In a recorded segment, she says she's a tomboy and likes to shoot stuff and eat beef nuts, which she helpfully explains is "cow balls." 
  • And, finally, we have Lindzi, a horsewoman who actually rides a horse in to meet Ben. We approve. "I'm tired of horsing around," she says in her segment. Ba-dum-ching! Ben says they "saved the best for last."
Finally, we get to the drama as the girls mix in the house and have one-on-one conversations with Ben. The women are all freakishly obsessed with Ben, which is weird, right? When he walks in, they all scream. 

The conversations are mostly boring. Ben tells Nicki that she's "nicely bubbly." She says she's "here for a reason." Yeah, the reason? Because she's a fame whore!

It is cute that Ben has a nice conversation with Grandma Sheryl and walks her to his car. Sheryl warns Brittany that all the girls are pretty and big competition. The other girls get totally bitchy about Sheryl being there, but is that allowed? You can't be mean to a grandma!

Emily raps to Ben. Word. We loved all the medical terms she worked in.

Anyway, like we said, boring. That is, until FakeTan CrazyPants goes crazy. She is really intense about her love for Ben. Monica tells her that she's not completely in love with Ben, and she goes off on her like crazy. Monica, who we may have to call Evil Queen or Cold Hearted Bitch just sort of shrugs it off and starts hitting on Blakely instead, even telling her "You're in my life forever." Why? Not sure, but how can you argue with some light lesbianism on "The Bachelor?" Either that, or maybe Monica's just doing it to mess with FakeTan CrazyPants. If so, it's working, because she actually starts hyperventilating about being on the show. Monica was right when she crowed, "Jenna, you're crazy!" and cackled.

FakeTan CrazyPants and Cold Hearted Bitch have a talk that culminates in FakeTan CrazyPants suggesting that the two of them share a tampon. Then she starts bawling, stopping just long enough to talk to Ben. She starts telling him about how weird it is to be on the show, and how nervous the girls are. As if he doesn't know. He tells her "I get it," and she asks, "Do you really?" Ummm, yes. He was on "The Bachelorette" just last season!

After her talk with Ben, Jenna bawls some more as Ben grabs the rose and gives it to Lindzi. Good plan!

Then Jenna bawls some more, only barely pulling herself together enough to attend the rose ceremony.

Roses go to Jamie, Rachel, Blakely, Emily, Casey B, Casey S, Brittney, Erica, Shawn, Nicki, Jennifer, Elyse, Samantha, Courtney, Jackelyn, Monica, Jenna. We wish a fond farewell to, among others, Bacon and Olivare. Also some other people who didn't make an impression. Let's face it, we're just glad to see that FakeTan CrazyPants and Cold Hearted Bitch are still there to cause massive amounts of drama!

What did you think of tonight's episode of "The Bachelor?" Do you like Ben as the new Bachelor? Who are your early favorites?

Book Review: "One for the Money" by Janet Evanovich

I've been reading serious books lately (George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice & Fire" series, if you MUST know), but over my post-Christmas mini-break, I decided I needed to turn my brain off and read something silly.

Luckily, I had the perfect book on my long list of books to read ... "One for the Money" by Janet Evanovich, the first novel featuring Evanovich's incredibly popular character Stephanie Plum.

(Photo from Wikipedia)

Plum is well-loved by fans - Evanovich just released "Explosive Eighteen." I decided to read "One for the Money" not only because I'd never read a Janet Evanovich book before and felt like I should, but also because later this month, they're releasing a movie based on the book and I wanted to be able to compare them. After all, Mom always said that you should read the book before you see the movie!

"One for the Money" follows Stephanie, a divorced, down-on-her-luck New Jersey woman. When the novel opens, she's lost her job, pawned most of her stuff and gotten her car repossessed. So, to make some money, she gets a job from her cousin, Vinnie, a bail bondsman. She's supposed to bring in Joe Morelli, a tough cop suspected of shooting somebody. Stephanie is totally lost as to how to do this, and to add to her problems, she has a bit of a history with Morelli. She does get help from fellow bounty hunter Ranger, but she gets into some pretty crazy situations.

I enjoyed "One for the Money" for its breezy quality. It was an incredibly easy read, especially compared to the brick-like novels I've been reading lately. I did have to roll my eyes at Stephanie several times, because she does get herself into some pretty stupid situations, but she's also tough and resourceful. I liked her commitment to her new job and her desire to do things without just calling Ranger or the police to help her. I few times I did feel like Stephanie was almost too stupid, and I didn't really always understand why she wasn't harder on Morelli. She definitely did several things throughout the novel that I wouldn't have done. But, I also felt like she grew as a character as the book went along, and by the end her decisions seemed more natural.

"One for the Money" was never quite laugh-out-loud hilarious, although I think that's what Evanovich was going for, but there were a lot of funny situations that really did make me smile and giggle a little bit. Like I said, it was a breezy, easy read, and when you're in the mood for that, this is a good book to pick up. I will probably read "Two for the Dough" at some point, and I will be interested to see how I feel about Stephanie as she continues her quest. I know a lot of people (including my grandmother) who absolutely love these novels, and I can see why, even if I'm not quite as gaga over them yet.

As for making it into a movie, I can definitely see why they're doing it. They don't have a terribly complicated plot and there's a lot of action and a likable heroine. Rewatching the trailer, I can see how this could be a great little winter distraction. I'm actually the most surprised that it took this long to make a movie - the novel came out in 1994 and was optioned pretty quickly after that. While it probably won't become a classic for the ages or anything, I do think that "One for the Money" has a good chance of being a pretty popular, fun little movie.