Tag Archives: Claire Danes

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


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:
: “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:
: “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:
: 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:
: 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
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.

“Homeland” returns with a solid reset. A beautiful essay on tennis as a metaphor for marriage. And a way-cool photo montage of NYC at night

Episode 301

Too depressed about the ridiculous government shutdown to rant and rave about it tonight. I’m just so disgusted by the Tea Party and their desire to burn down the village, rather than try to save it. Probably will be ranting about it here tomorrow. For tonight, I’d rather spend a few minutes in a fictional Washington, D.C., with Carrie, Saul and Brody…

I was one of the many people who was down on “Homeland” toward the end of last season. It had gotten too ridiculous, too soap opera-ish, and tried to cram way too much into each episode.
Then, the Season 2 finale was breathtakingly awesome, and all seemed right with the show again.
Happily, Sunday night’s season 3 opener was very good as well (SPOILER ALERT: STOP HERE IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT YET).
Picking up where Season 2 left off, with the huge explosion at the CIA building, Brody on the run somewhere, and Carrie and Saul left to pick up the pieces, we got a normal (for this show, anyway), well-written episode.
Couple questions the first show set up: What will happen to the Carrie-Saul relationship, now that Saul basically outed her affair with Brody to Congress? (well, someone else on the inside (Quinn, maybe?) outed it to the Washington Post first, but still.)
Will Dana Brody try to kill herself again? (And nice job by her to get into a relationship while in counseling, that’s always a good move). Is Saul’s new right-hand man, Dar Adal, going to become his frenemy, or is he legitimately interested in doing evil without going too far around the law? And most excitingly, is Carrie really going to try to convince the whole world that Brody isn’t a terrorist who blew up the CIA building?

I think the show works best when Carrie is off her meds, so from that standpoint, this looks like a great season. I have no idea what Quinn’s role will be, nor if Carrie decides she needs to go “rogue” again and starts working against Saul and the remaining CIA peeps.

And we saw from the coming attractions that Brody will be seen again, but it doesn’t look good for him.

So happy to have “Homeland” back. Especially now, this dysfunctional government is a lot more fun to watch than our real one.


**I’m a huge fan of the writing and performing of Denis Leary; both in stand-up comedy and in his all-time fabulous drama “Rescue Me,” Leary is brilliant, hilarious, poignant and able to pull on any emotion in you that he wants to.

Turns out, his wife is a pretty fabulous writer, too. Ann Leary has written several novels that have become best-sellers, and on Sunday she wrote a beautiful essay in the New York Times about her marriage to Denis, the sport of tennis, and how two people brought their relationship back from the brink, thanks to a little help from the sport me and Roger Federer love so much.
This is definitely worth a few minutes of your time, whether you’re married or not. It’s eloquent and beautifully done.

**Finally, this is pretty awesome and hypnotic: A man took 41 photographs of New York City’s streets between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. one day using a Nokia Lumia 1020 camera, then strung them together to make this cool video.

Every once in a while I see something like this and think: Thirty years ago, most of us were using Polaroids and shaking our pictures to get them to develop.

Two stories on bullying, awful in different ways. A terrific “SNL” spoof. And “Homeland” brings Carrie to great highs and lows

Sadly, the issue of bullying doesn’t ever go away. It’s always out there, a nightmare for millions of kids in the world who suffer day after day.

Two stories from that world today, one much more tragic than the other, but both making me sad and angry.
First, you may have heard about the terrible tragedy of Canadian teenager Amanda Todd, who killed herself last week but not before leaving behind this heartbreaking video, explaining, in index cards, why she felt she had to take her own life. I know it’s painful to watch, but if you can take it, it’s incredibly moving stuff.

The other bullying story is just one of supreme ignorance. So here’s the deal: Every year, in schools across the U.S. on Oct. 30, there’s something called “Mix it Up at Lunch Day,” sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

On this day, kids are encouraged to sit next to someone they wouldn’t normally talk to, exposing themselves to different kids, breaking up cliques, and maybe making students think twice about bullying someone in the halls.

Only this year, the American Family Association has urged schools not to participate in this worthy program. Why? Well, it’s obvious: They believe the project is “a nationwide push to promote the homosexual lifestyle in public schools.”

Come again?

Here’s what the N.Y. Times article says: “Although the suggested activities for Mix It Up at Lunch Day do not expressly address gay and lesbian students, the law center itself promotes equal treatment for gays and lesbians and that philosophy then informs the school program, he said.

“Anti-bullying legislation is exactly the same,” Mr. Fischer said. “It’s just another thinly veiled attempt to promote the homosexual agenda. No one is in favor of anyone getting bullied for any reason, but these anti-bullying policies become a mechanism for punishing Christian students who believe that homosexual behavior is not something that should be normalized.”

I cannot say strongly enough how disgusting I think the American Family Association is. That they can come out against an activity like this shows their own bigotry and closed-mindedness in new, mind-boggling ways.

**This is one of the funnier SNL skits I’ve seen in a while, a “spoof” of the iPhone 5 and its problems.

**Finally, another fantastic episode of “Homeland” Sunday night. (SPOILER ALERT: STOP READING HERE IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT.)

While there were again a few fantastic, hard-to-believe details (why didn’t Brody just walk away from the dying terrorist in the woods when Jess was on the phone with him, why did he have to kill him there?), this was a sensational and tense show. I love that Saul went right to Carrie’s house at the end to show her Brody’s suicide tape, finally pulling Carrie back from the brink after her failed suicide attempt.

I thought Jessica’s speech to the veterans was excellent, I loved that she’s finally gotten to the breaking point with her husband, and I thought Claire Danes’ acting  was phenomenal throughout.

When Estes at the CIA told her “you didn’t really think you were coming back here to get reinstated,” it was heartbreaking because you knew that’s exactly what she was thinking (and why the heck did the other agent get her hopes up by inviting her to a briefing, anyway?)

I wonder where they’re going to take the show next; truly, it could go a lot of ways. Will Estes try to squelch the suicide tape news, knowing how much it will hurt the VP? Will Carrie and Saul be the only ones with the balls to confront Brody?
Every week this show gets better and better.

The Golden Globes entertain me once again. A crazy NFL weekend capped by Giants upset. And an update on MJ’s coach

The Golden Globes were Sunday night, and I love a good Hollywood awards show (go ahead and threaten to take away my “man card,” I don’t care.) The Globes this year weren’t all that terrific, but that didn’t stop me from having some thoughts; some nice, some not so nice.
— Ricky Gervais wasn’t anywhere near as mean as last year. But he also wasn’t that funny. He had one or two decent jokes in the monologue but nothing memorable.
— Is there a better Hollywood couple than William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman? Their intro was very cute.
— Great seeing Madonna, but her arms looked really scary.
— So happy that “Homeland” cleaned up, with Claire Danes winning best actress and the show winning best drama. I’ve said it several times before: Watch this show if at all possible.
— Harrison Ford, God bless him, looks like death warmed over.
— Reese Witherspoon (above) and Charlize Theron looked amazing.
— Seth Rogen got the biggest laugh by admitting, standing next to Kate Beckinsdale, that he was currently “hiding the biggest erection.”
— Wondering how a silent movie like “The Artist” can be nominated for best screenplay. There were no words!
— Very tough call: Which role will Morgan Freeman most be remembered for? “Driving Miss Daisy” or “Shawshank?” I say “Shawshank.”

**Wild, wild weekend in the NFL playoffs. Lots to digest, so some quick-hitting thoughts on the games from a man who was once again reminded to never, ever, ever wager money on the outcome of a football game:

— Shockingly dominant win by the Giants. Big Blue did whatever they wanted to Green Bay’s putrid defense, which isn’t as shocking. But the fact that they forced three Packers turnovers and held Aaron Rodgers basically in check was pretty stunning.
Amazing that the Giants were basically given up for dead at 7-7 in Week 15, and now are 60 minutes from the Super Bowl. It’s looking very much like 2007 all over again.
— Insanely exciting finish to 49ers-Saints Saturday night; I got home from dinner just in time to see the fourth quarter. Four TDs in a the last five minutes? And who knew Alex Smith had such clutch play in him? There should be NO hands up, since the football world had long since given up on him before this year.
— Very surprised that Baltimore struggled so much with Houston; thought that one would be a blowout. I’m not so sure the Ravens offense can keep up the the Pats’ juggernaut next week, but it should be a heck of a game.
— I don’t want to hear the name “Tim Tebow” for a while now. That’s agreed upon by all, right? He was a great story but even Tebow-lovers have to be sick of him by now.

–On a personal note, if the Giants win next week that’ll be 5 Super Bowl appearances by them in my lifetime as a Jets fan. Appearances by the Jets in my lifetime? Zero.
Yep, I definitely chose correctly back when I was 6.

**So a few days ago I linked to a great story by Sports Illustrated writer Thomas Lake on Clifton “Pop” Herring, who in the early 1980s coached Michael Jordan at Laney High School in Wilmington, N.C. It was a great story because it once and for all punctured the crazy myth that MJ was cut from his high school team. Herring, who has suffered from mental illness for years, finally was vindicated.

Yet, the same week Herring’s story was finally told to a national audience, he’s dealing with fame for a very different reason. This is bizarre, but Herring was arrested Friday after a dead body was found at a home where he was living. Herring isn’t being charged with murder, but with resisting arrest.
As of now the facts are still unclear, but it doesn’t look good for Pop.

Crazy to think that a week ago, this guy was still basically anonymous. Now he’s been in two major news stories in the span of a few days.