Tag Archives: Bryan Cranston

Google thanks the 86-year-old woman who always says please and thank you. A few more thoughts on the incredible LeBron James story. And Stephen Colbert eviscerates Trump

Google.grandma

Couple of quick “one-off” thoughts before we get to the three stories on today’s post:

Finally got a chance to watch “All The Way,” the Bryan Cranston as LBJ HBO movie from last month. Man oh man, Cranston is one hell of an actor. I thought the movie was wildly entertaining, with fantastic performances by Bradley Whitford as Hubert Humphrey, Stephen Root as J. Edgar Hoover, and Frank Langella as legendary Senator Richard Russell of Georgia. But Cranston right now is like Federer from 2003-07: Just on another level. His LBJ’s mixture of rage, sarcasm, amusement and paranoia was pitch-perfect. Incredible portrayal of a deeply complicated man. I hope he gets an Emmy.

— Lionel Messi is the best soccer player in the world. Tuesday night he played in America, and his Argentine team kicked the crap out of the U.S. This goal was kinda awesome.

So this is the kind of small story that makes me think not all huge companies are evil. And that even on the Internet, there are people with manners.

An 86-year-old English woman named May Ashworth uses Google like the rest of us. Unlike the rest of us, though, when she typed in queries she thought she was talking to an actual person at Google HQ, who would help her with her questions.

So every time she performed a search, May would say “please” and “thank you” before and after. For example, one time May asked “please translate these Roman Numerals MCMXVCIII thank you.”

Her grandson discovered that she did this, and Tweeted out a photo of one of her requests. Google UK got wind of it and Tweeted the following:

“Dearest Ben’s Nan.
Hope you’re well.
In a world of billions of Searches, yours made us smile.
Oh, and it’s 1998.
Thank YOU@Push10Ben

Such a small thing, a little courtesy like that. But in a world of rude and impolite people, this story made me smile. Good job, Google.

**Next up today, you know, if he wasn’t such a sexist, racist, xenophobic, arrogant pig, I might almost be starting to feel sorry for Donald Trump.

The “vulgar, talking yam” as Charlie Pierce calls him, is having one hell of a bad month. His campaign is apparently broke, with less than $2 million cash on hand, he just fired his campaign manager, none of the rich Republican billionaires want to give him money nor have anything to do with him, and he’s alienating people at a faster rate than I thought possible.

But again, whereas 99 percent of people might engender some sympathy here, this a-hole gets none.

Stephen Colbert, whose late-night show, I must admit, has been kinda underwhelming so far, did a magnificent, blistering piece on Trump a few nights back. It was, I might say, rather “Daily Show-esque” when Jon Stewart was running things.

Stay till the end, the best part is in the final minute. Bravo, Stephen.

LeBronCover.SI

**Finally today, a few more thoughts about LeBron James and the incredible comeback he and the Cleveland Cavaliers made to win the NBA title Sunday. I thought about this briefly Sunday night but my thoughts were so jumbled after that fabulous game I didn’t get a chance to write about it then.

This story, this “LeBron wins one for Cleveland” story, is really unlike anything we’ve ever seen in sports. Consider: Phenom is born and raised in Northeast Ohio, with huge expectations placed on him at age 16. His hometown team, which was down in the dumps, gets the No.1 pick in the NBA Draft Lottery the year LeBron graduates high school (2003).

He represents the hopes and dreams of an entire region’s fan base. He leads them close but not quite to the elusive title. Then after seven years, he goes on national TV and humiliates those fans and that team. Snubs them so publicly, and announces he’s going to play somewhere else, so he can win a championship.

The fans burn his jersey; they curse his name, they hate him with every fiber of their being. The phenom wins two titles in Miami, and he’s still hated in Cleveland. Those were supposed to be OUR championships, is the cry.

Then, after four years away, the prodigal son comes home. This NEVER happens in sports; you never see a star go back to where he’s from after such a brutal and hostile breakup.

But LeBron came home. And he promised he’d win a championship for a city that hadn’t seen one in 52 years. And then, with his team down 3-1 in the Finals this year, he orchestrates the biggest NBA Finals comeback ever. And wins. And is a much bigger hero than he’s ever been to the people of his hometown.

I mean, could you sell that script to Hollywood? Could you imagine that actually happening? They’d laugh you out of the room.

Just a sensational sports story. One we’ve never seen, and probably never will again. Lee Jenkins’ cover story on LeBron in this week’s SI is a must-read.

The Emmys are here! I make fearless predictions. And a 9-month pregnancy video in 6 seconds

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So it’s a great and happy Monday for two reasons: The U.S. Open starts today (yay!, always my favorite event of the year, and I’ve got tickets for Tuesday and Wednesday, provided my wife doesn’t go into labor on either of those days), an d at night, for those of us who love TV, it’s the Super Bowl of TV: The Emmys, seemingly forever held on Sunday nights but for some reason this year being held on a Monday.

The major categories seem even more impossible to predict than usual this year, partly because there was so much fantastic TV in the past 12 months, and also because there’ve been lots of new winners in recent years who are nominated again.

Herewith, my totally amateur handicapping of the Emmys, with who will win and who I hope will win:

Best Drama Series:
WHO WILL WIN
: “Breaking Bad”
WHO I WANT TO WIN: “Breaking Bad.”
A brutally tough category. As someone who just finished the entire run of “Breaking Bad” (probably going to be a blog post on this epic series sometime this week), and considering how much amazing press the show got from critics and fans when it ended, I can’t see how anyone beats it. “Mad Men” was terrific this year, and I know lots of people loved “True Detective,” but it’s Heisenberg’s world and we’re just meth customers looking for the blue stuff.

Best Comedy Series:
WHO WILL WIN
: “Orange is the New Black”
WHO I WANT TO WIN: “Silicon Valley.”
This really wasn’t that great a year for “Modern Family,” and “Big Bang Theory” is on a major decline, so I expect the hot Netflix show to win (I didn’t love OITNB as much as I thought I would). “Silicon Valley” has zero chance, but I loved it.

 

Best Actor in A Drama:
WHO WILL WIN
: Bryan Cranston
WHO I WANT TO WIN: Bryan Cranston
Incredible performances by all the nominees; Kevin Spacey will get some love, as will Jon Hamm, but there is no way on freaking Earth that Cranston doesn’t win this. Walter White was one of the best TV characters of all time. I know everyone is giving this to Matthew McConaughey, and I’m sure he is fantastic on “True Detective.” But it’s got to be Cranston.

Best Actress in A Drama:
WHO WILL WIN
: Kerry Washington
WHO I WANT TO WIN: Lizzy Caplan
If Claire Danes from “Homeland” wins again I may hurl objects at my TV. Caplan is sensational in “Masters of Sex,” but I don’t think enough people watched it for her to win.

Best Actor in a Comedy:
WHO WILL WIN: Jim Parsons
WHO I WANT TO WIN: Louis C.K.
Parsons is practically an Emmy institution by this point, though his Sheldon character is long past his expiration date.

Best Actress in a Comedy:
WHO WILL WIN: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
WHO I WANT TO WIN: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
I could see Lena Dunham or Amy Poehler winning here, too.

As for the other categories, Aaron Paul will definitely win for supporting actor in a drama, while Anna Gunn or Christine Baranski should win supporting actress.
Comedy supporting nods will probably go to Ty Burrell (though Tony Hale is awesome on “Veep”) and the incredibly awesome Allison Janney for “Mom.”

**Finally today, I rarely post Vines on here because most of them are pretty entertaining but not usually worth sharing.
This one, though, I love love love, and not just because I’m living with a person who has just gone through nine months of being pregnant.
It was posted on Vine by a man named Ian Padgham and a woman named Claire Vasquier, and it’s just fantastic. Enjoy.

Good News Friday: Celebrities pay tribute to a dying 17-year-old. Jimmy Kimmel has fun with the Collins twins. And a homeless man’s dog gets saved.

A young man named Zach Sobiech, 17, was recently diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called osteosarcoma, and doctors have told him he has only weeks to live.

Not exactly sounding like a Good News Friday story, I know. But stay with me. Zach’s a musician, and as he faced the end of his life way too quickly, he wrote a song called “Clouds” that became a bit of a hit on the Internet.
Now, a whole bunch of celebrities have decided to honor Zach in a meaningful, beautiful way: They’ve recorded his song in a YouTube video that has gotten even more play.

Please watch Brian Cranston, Sarah Silverman, Jason Mraz, Ed Helms and others maybe put a smile on the face of a dying teenager.
I watched it three times and smiled each time. Live your life as if each day is going to be the last.

**Next, as  you probably remember, NBA player Jason Collins made big news a few weeks ago when he became the first male professional athlete in a major team sport to admit he’s gay.

Collins has gotten a lot of attention since, and deservedly so, and he and his twin brother Jarron went on Jimmy Kimmel the other night and did a very funny interview (Click here for Part 2)

jarron-collins-shirt

Kimmel got Jarron the above shirt so people can tell them apart from now on…

Again, it’s such a big step that Jason Collins has come out, and that people for the most part are not flipping out about it. We’ve come so far as a society in this area in just the last 20 years…

homelessman.dog

**Finally, we have some good news about a man and his dog. An L.A. area homeless man named Charles Gilliam was distraught over the serious illness suffered by his companion Big, an 11-year-old mixed retriever/terrier.
He had taken Big to a vet who told Gilliam that the dog had an inoperable brain tumor and should be put down.

Gilliam then went back to the streets and asked people for a donation to help save Big, and an animal rights activist got involved, and the story has a very, very happy ending.

Click here to read the details. Again, just a small bit of human kindness goes such a long way.

A “Rock of Ages” casting tragedy I can’t ignore. Sayonara, NBA season. And a terrific “SNL” skit you shouldn’t miss.

OK I know I may be like, months behind upon learning this news, but since I just found out about it I feel the need to vent immediately.

I saw the terrific Broadway show “Rock of Ages” a couple of years ago. It was 100 percent up my alley, with awesome 80s music, really funny dialogue in the script, and excellent performances.
And yes, I’d heard they were making a movie out of the show, some big Hollywood blockbuster.

But now I discover that Tom FREAKING Cruise is playing one of the leads?  Tom Cruise is playing Stacee Jaxx, the dreamer of a rock star who believes Def Leppard and Poison are on the road to eternal happiness? Tom Cruise???

Look, I loved Tom Cruise when he was sane. Big fan of almost all of his movies. “All the Right Moves,” “Born on the Fourth of July,” “Rain Man,” you name it.
But he is SO terribly wrong for this part. And the rest of the cast looks fantastic, too; Bryan Cranston, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alec Baldwin, etc.
I just hope Cruise doesn’t wreck this movie for me.  If he ruins “Pour Some Sugar On Me” for the rest of my life, I’ll never forgive him.

**Well, it looks like there won’t be an NBA season. The players rejected the owners’ latest proposal, David Stern threw a hissy fit and blamed agents and threw around terms like “nuclear winter,” and it’s all getting really nasty.

My reaction? Yawn. The NBA Finals were exciting last year, but mostly because it was fun seeing LeBron fail. The pro basketball product has interested me in years; I much prefer the college scene. (For example, a certain Coach whose last name starts with K is going for the all-time wins record tonight. There’s a slight chance I may watch).

As always in these fights between billionaires and millionaires, I feel sorry for neither side. I do feel bad for the vendors, concession stand workers, and local businesses near NBA arenas in NBA cities, who will suffer greatly because of this idiotic stalemate.
Those are the true victims here.

**Finally, I never watch “SNL” anymore but one of the people I follow on Twitter pointed me to this gem from last week’s show. Really, really funny. It involves Adele, a good cry, parakeets, and window washers who get emotional. What more could you want in a four-minute video clip?