Open Thread for October 16, 2009

Another week of pop culture comes to a close. What have we learned? I can’t even come up with a pithy way to sum up the story of the boy who we thought was trapped in a balloon, but actually … Continued

Another week of pop culture comes to a close. What have we learned?

  • I can’t even come up with a pithy way to sum up the story of the boy who we thought was trapped in a balloon, but actually wasn’t, and it turns out the family has a history of grabbing the spotlight anyway.

    Question: wasn’t this, more than anything, a job for Superman? Seriously – what element of the U.S. emergency response infrastructure could deal with rescuing a young boy from a Mylar balloon other than “human with VTOL capability”?

  • Several anticipated movies opening this weekend: Where The Wild Things Are, New York I Love You, Black Dynamite (in NY / LA and some others). And several less-anticipated movies, like Law-Abiding Citizen.

    Question: has Gerard Butler ever made a good movie?

  • And finally, Happy Birthday to Angela Lansbury, a smokin’ 84 years young today. We can thank her for updating the genre of Nosy Civilians Conducting Police Business from the early 20th century (Agatha Christie) into the late 20th. Of course, she also voiced Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast, the witch Mrs. Price in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Anne of Austria in George Sidney’s The Three Musketeers and the conniving Mrs. Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate.

    Question: if a friend or family member got murdered and a mystery author helped apprehend the killer, how would you feel about her writing a novel which (just) fictionalized the circumstances?

Answer these and other questions in this week’s Open Thread!

13 Comments on “Open Thread for October 16, 2009”

  1. Lara #

    I miss the days when shows would end with the actors posing for that happy ending freeze frame moment… Angela Lansbury does a great “I just solved the murder, but it’s no big deal, isn’t life great?” laugh.

    It’s the reassuring freeze frame pose that lets her get away with writing about horrible tragedies… did they ever mention in the show that it’s very “convenient” how so many murders seem to happen when she’s around? Perhaps I’m thinking of another show…


  2. Gab #

    Don’t forget, Lansburry was also Mommy Fortuna in _The Last Unicorn_.

    I can’t answer any of your questions, so I pose another one. Well, two. Miley Cyrus left Twitter because she “didn’t have enough time” for it. And she made a rap video explaining this. First, wouldn’t the fact that she, well, took the time to make the video suggest she DOES have the time? And, further, if Twitter is consuming too much of your day, doesn’t that suggest it’s being used wrong?

    And I just want to say, at least six different people I have seen on the Facebook ad over ->there-> are people I sent one of those “share this page” or whatever thingies to. You’re almost at 700. Rock on, Overthinkers.


  3. RiderIon #

    I’ll take a shot at answering your questions.

    1) The jetpacks that the Jetsons promised us could have easily solved the problem of the balloon child. Fictious superheroes are unnecessary in a world with fictious technology is available.

    2) I enjoyed 300 which starred Butler as King Leonidas. While it’s story is obviously embelished from the true history, it is the classic story of the underdog. I also enjoy it from the technical aspect as it is one of the few movies shot almost entirely on green screen. It is definitely a testament to how far digital effects have come.

    3) I would be upset if the murder of my loved ones were fictionalized for profit. However, there isn’t a whole lot one can do about it legally. I imagine that as long as it was fictionalized enough away from reality much like the old Dragnet series, I would eventually get over it.

    However, I am pretty sure that Angela Lansbury’s character from Murder, She Wrote was the embodiment of Death. It didn’t matter where she went whether to the store or on vacation, people around her dropped like flies.


  4. callot #

    Gerard Butler played a small role in Mrs. Brown, about Queen Victoria’s relationship with her servant John Brown. Judi Dench is amazing as Queen Victoria, and she won several awards for the performance.


  5. Sylvia #

    @Lara You are correctly thinking of Murder, She Wrote. Also, Diagnosis Murder.


  6. Matthew Wrather #

    Hey, 30 Rock is Back. Can we set aside our differences over Glee and spend some time talking about how awesome that show is?

    (Though the page strike was totally unrealistic, right Belinkie and Mark? And the union JUST SO HAPPENED to represent bucket drummers? Come on.)

    Ladies and Gentlemen, Jay Leno.


  7. Dan #

    Angela Lansbury also originated the role of Mrs. Lovett in “Sweeny Todd.” Best thing she ever did, in my opinion.


  8. Varoh #

    Come on. Gerard Butler was great in RocknRolla which was alot of fun


  9. Trevor #

    I think the point has been made before about Mrs. Fletcher’s seeming inability to avoid being at the scene of the crime, much like how every defendent in “Matlock” was caught picking up the murder weapon left behind by the real killer (who, depending on whatever fashion style was relevant at the time, usually had a mullet of epic awfulness or shoulderpads on top of shoulderpads, and sometimes both). It’s a shame that they never did an episode in which someone realized he was talking to Jessica Fletcher, turned pale white, and ran in the opposite direction. Could’ve saved all of us a lot of time.

    I really don’t know what to make of Gerard Butler, he’s the latest in what I like to think of as a case study in the “Jude Law Theory”: a foreign-born movie star overseas who is consistantly in films made for American audiences almost to the point that you wonder if he’s really that good or if there just aren’t enough actors to take on said role. Perhaps to go back further, Butler/Law/Hugh Jackman et al., are all part of the Michael Caine tradition of acting (in which you hit it big in America because you’re “exotic” without being threatening, and thus find yourself in all sorts of movies over a given period of time). Caine’s proclivity to be in just about any movie made in the Seventies is a running joke in the Jeremy Piven vehicle “PCU”, and there’s some truth to the idea that Caine was in every film made during certain time periods, because he sure seemed to be in everything. A lot of times, it’s mostly because studios want to push a certain actor as “the next big thing,” or someone like Jackman gets lucky with an iconic role and the demands for work skyrocket until the audience is sick of that particular actor. Caine can be said to have had a resurrection of sorts with his supporting roles in the new Batmans, so I think it would be unwise to write off some of the actors I cited just yet. Still, Butler could turn into one of those actors you know just because you know of him, but not for any particular role.


  10. callot #

    As a former union organizer for the AFT, I can tell you that there are plenty of bizarre umbrella unions out there. For example, the UAW (United Auto Workers) represent graduate student teachers, paralegals and blackjack dealers.


  11. Gab #

    Don’t forget P.S. I Love You!

    Do American actors cross the pond and do better there than here ever? I can’t think of any examples off of the top of my head.


  12. JT #



  13. Kopakka el Incrópito #

    @Callot “Judi Dench is amazing as Queen Victoria”

    Judi Dench IS Amazing. probably “Helen Mirren amazing”, maybe even “Vanessa Redgrave amazing”.

    And, guys don’t be so harsh on Butler, he’s (relatively) young.

    All I can remember about 300 is Faramir telling a wonderful Underdog/Battle of Berlin tale to a bunch of guys who happen to be about to march into battle.
    Just like Butler’s Character in Dracula 2000 (No he probably hasn’t {hadn’t?} starred any classics yet) claims at the sight of a bible. “Propaganda”


Add a Comment