Tag Archives: Neil Patrick Harris

Among the worst Oscar shows ever, but the speeches were great. And a brilliant commercial starring Jesus and his marketing guys


Wow. Well, that Academy Awards show Sunday night … existed.

Man. I really thought Neil Patrick Harris would be great, fresh, new and different, the quality of movies this year was great, and, well, shouldn’t the Oscars be entertaining every year?

But sheesh, that was not a good show. At all. Thank God for a bunch of fabulous acceptance speeches. Graham Moore, urging kids to “stay weird” and admitting he tried to kill himself at 16. Laura Poitras, winner for the Snowden movie “Citizenfour,” preaching about the incredible importance of truth and transparency in government.

Common and John Legend (sorry, Lonnie Lynn and John Stevens, and how weird was that hearing their real names called?) with a blow-the-doors-off muscial performance, and then a powerful speech about racial inequality.
Julianne Moore on Alzheimers, Eddie Redmayne being so humble and grateful… the speeches were about the only thing memorable about this show. And that so many of them were about issues of the day (I almost forgot Patricia Arquette’s great shout-out for women’s equality) made them even better.

Otherwise … meh. Not a great show. Some more thoughts on what’s usually one of my favorite TV shows of the year:

— When Neil Patrick Harris was announced as host, you just knew the opening would be a lavish musical number, and it was. I thought it was great, and I’m thrilled that one of my biggest Hollywood crushes, Anna Kendrick (it’s OK, the wife loves her too) got to be a part of it. Really creative use of old movies. The rest of NPH’s grade? I’d give him a C. Some of his jokes scored (loved the Jason Bateman joke about child stars, and his appearing onstage practically naked at one point was very funny), other jokes fell really flat (the seat-filler interviews, and the running gag about his Oscar predictions being locked up got old really fast).

–“Boyhood” got screwed. I knew it would going in, and I’m still pissed. I haven’t seen “Birdman” yet, I’m sure it’s very good and all, but come on, “Boyhood” was a revolutionary, ground-breaking type of movie. You have to reward that, don’t you?

–Fashion thoughts, from the wife (mostly): Reese Witherspoon’s dress and hair were great, Jessica Chastain made a very poor choice with her un-form fitting dress, and Nicole Kidman looked too washed-out. Also, on the men’s side, visible swooning was heard from her when Idris Elba and Chris Pratt appeared on stage.

— The LEGO movie musical number, with Tegan and Sara and Questlove and handing out LEGO Oscar statues? Loved it. Very clever and funny.

–Actual conversation between the wife and I during the Steve Carell “Foxcatcher” clip:
Me: “I can’t believe the guy who played Produce Pete on “The Daily Show” is nominated for an Oscar.”
Wife: “I can’t believe Channing Tatum is in a scene with a person nominated for an Oscar.”
Me: “Well-played.”

–The John Travolta/Idina Menzel thing was laugh-out-loud funny. One of the few truly comedic highlights.

— So happy that “Citizenfour” won. Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald did outstanding work on the Edward Snowden revelations, truly important work that exposed the lies and deceit of our government (I wrote about Greenwald’s book on Snowden and his involvement after reading it last  year.)

— JK Simmons was the first big winner and his speech was overshadowed by the later great ones, but it was still sweet. Instead of thanking his agent and a million other people, the career background character actor thanked his wife, and his kids, and told everyone to call their parents. Simple and sweet, perfect.

— Finally, the Dead People Montage: Always a highlights. Was really surprised Robin Williams didn’t get “the hammer” and be the last person remembered, but Mike Nichols was a directing legend and he definitely deserved it.
And great to hear Jennifer Hudson’s pipes again, but whatever happened to her acting career?

**Finally today, I saw this last week and thought it was exceptionally clever. A Canadian company called 1One Productions filmed this spot starring Jesus Christ at his regular marketing meeting, where his “team” created a stunt that would guarantee his immortality.

I loved this. I’m sure some will consider it blasphemy, but I think it’s great.


As usual, media completely overreacts on election results. And “Glee” and “Modern Family” rule again

Not sure why this set me off today, but it did.

Tuesday night was a reasonably big political primary night in America. We had some close races, and for a liberal like me, things went very well. The awful Blanche Lincoln, who’s as much a Democrat as Rush Limbaugh, has been forced into a runoff and could very well lose in Arkansas. Arlen Specter, ancient and also not really a Democrat, has been beaten by a real Democrat.

Anyway, the other big story was Rand Paul, a Tea Party favorite, winning in Kentucky.

So of course Wednesday I go online and read some reaction and all I see is media overreaction. We love nothing more than a good theme, us reporter types, and if the theme isn’t quite there, well, damn the torpedoes and we push the theme anyway.

So because Rand Paul won, the headlines are about the Tea Party totally changing the 2010 elections, and everything is different now.

And since Specter lost, I read headlines like “Specter defeat signals a wave against incumbents” in the New York Times.

But you know what? Maybe Specter lost because Democrats in Pennsylvania were sick of him and they knew he wasn’t a real Dem. And maybe Rand Paul won because he tapped into some voter anger in Kentucky and was just a better candidate.

I’m not saying that incumbents aren’t in danger, they might be. But it just ticks me off how the media takes what could be 1 or 2 isolated events, and automatically applies them everywhere else.

I think it’s lazy and way too easy to do. And I wish my fellow journalists wouldn’t do it so darn much. Sometimes one race is just one race.

**So the last “Modern Family” of the season aired Wednesday night. And I am sad. What an amazing first season it was. The biggest surprise in TV, to me, in many years, “Modern Family” just hit so many perfect notes, in almost every episode.

The one Wednesday night wasn’t the best of the year (though Cameron singing “Ave Maria” while Mitchell chased the pigeon was pure genius); I think my favorites are still the pilot, and the one with Phil trying to teach Hailey how to work the TV remote control.

It’s rare that TV networks actually keep shows on the air that are smart AND funny, but “Modern Family” is coming back next year, since, happily, so many people appreciate and get its smart humor.

**As for “Glee,” another fabulous episode this week. Ever since Idina Menzel, a Lea Michele (Rachel) lookalike, guest-starred, I wondered what they would do with her. Well, we got our answer. I always knew that Jesse was up to no good.

The music kicked butt again this week; you can’t go wrong with “Piano Man,” songs from Les Miz, and the best of all, Artie the wheelchair kid leading a flash mob at the mall in “The Safety Dance.”

Not enough Sue and not enough Puck this week, but hey, it’s a freaking huge cast.

Finally, can we stop for a minute and appreciate how Neil Patrick Harris’ second career has totally dwarfed his first? Admit it, 10 years ago, we all figured he’d always be “the kid who played Doogie Howser, M.D.”

But look at him now: he’s a bona fide TV star, hosts the Emmys and the Tonys, and is pretty much as popular a guy as you will find.

Of course, some of us will always remember him for this … God, that was a great show. (By the way, someone once told me I reminded them of Vinnie Delpino. Not sure it was a compliment).

Finally, Jets kick the Patriots’ butt. And a word on the Emmys (and cockroaches)


Nine years I’ve been waiting to see this sight.

Nine goddamn years I’ve been waiting to see Tom Brady leaving the Meadowlands with his head down. Nine years I’ve been waiting to see Bill Belichick, who I will never, ever forget should’ve been the New York Jets coach before he wussied out and quit after one day, running off the field in shame.

Yes, it’s been a long time since my beloved Green and White defeated the evil New England Patriots at home. Man what a great Sunday it was, as the Jets won, 16-9. A punishing, aggressive, harassing defense tortured the heck out of Giselle Bundchen’s husband, holding him to three measly field goals.

Guys like Bart Scott and Darrelle Revis and David Harris and Lito Sheppard and Shaun Ellis (really, the whole Jets defense played great) got after Brady and the Pats’ receivers all day long. Did the Jets greatly benefit from Wes Welker not playing? Of course. Welker is awesome. But the Jets’ defense was superb in all areas. Revis, in particular, totally shut down Randy Moss, and unlike in some games in his past, it looked like Moss was trying.

And the offense? It was good enough. I was a little worried about Mark Sanchez in the first half, but the kid turned it up. You don’t understand how nice it is for a Jets fan to see a quarterback zip the ball into receivers; after the last seven post-Vinny Testaverde years, we just haven’t seen that.

I was, of course convinced that after Jets coach Rex Ryan stupidly tried to throw the ball on 3rd and 3 with 2:30 left in the game and the Jets holding a 16-9 lead (come on Rexie, it’s 3rd and 3, a toss to Leon and we get the first down and the game’s over!), that Brady was going to march down the field and tie it.

What’s funny is that after the game, Bart Scott said he knew that’s what Jets fans were thinking (hey, just because he’s new doesn’t mean he doesn’t know the pathetic history of our franchise!). But dammit the Jets D stepped up and stopped the Pats.

I know, I know, the Jets are 2-0, and they’re in first place in the AFC East, but I’ve been down this road too many times before to get too excited. But you have to love how this team is playing: Aggressive, smart, tackling well (best Jets tackling team since the Parcells years) and making enough plays to win.

Good stuff.

Couple more NFL-related thoughts from a pretty awesome Week 3:

**Something’s just not right yet with Tom Brady. Maybe rust from all the time off, or his receivers aren’t good enough, but something isn’t clicking. As you can imagine, my heart’s bleeding for the guy.

** Chad Johnson (I refuse to call him by his stupid other name), you’re a wimp for only doing the Lambeau Leap into the arms of a Bengals fan in Green Bay. But damn impressive win for the Cincy boys.

**OK, you go gamble on the NFL: Houston scores seven points, all on defense, against the Jets last week. Then, against Tennessee, one of the best defenses in the league, the Texans score 34.

**Couple of real good late games, Pittsburgh-Chicago and San Diego-Baltimore. The Bears, well, they downright stole that win, thanks to Jeff Reed missing a couple of field goals he normally makes. And the Chargers, well, they absolutely, positively should’ve won that game. Except their coach is Norv Turner, and once again that’s why they lost. I can’t believe he actually has one of the 32 head coaching jobs in the NFL. It defies logic. I really thought my mother could do better.

At the very least, she’d make sure they had nutritious, low sodium pregame meals.

**Hell of a Sunday night game. Eli Manning will never be as good as his brother. But damn, he’s getting closer. Fantastic final drive for the Giants. Clutch, clutch win over Dallas in Jerry Jones’ new castle. And can I just say how absolutely freakin’ stupid the rule is that you can call timeout a split second before the guy makes the kick? So stupid.


OK, so I won’t reveal any of the Emmy Award winners Sunday night in case you haven’t watched them yet, but can I just ask: Is Neil Patrick Harris becoming the next Billy Crystal?

He’s smart, he’s funny, he’s talented and can sing and dance, and he used to be Doogie Howser. He was an awesome host Sunday and I think we should just give him the job permanently. I thought it was hilarious that he introduced the presenters with their most obscure roles ever.

Also, during my favorite segment of these award shows, the “In Memoriam” part (I’m weird, I know), I was shocked to hear that Mr. Bentley died. From “The Jeffersons,” remember? I loved that character.


Finally, a personal horror. Woke up earlier than usual Sunday; started to do laundry. Pulled out a bunch of towels from the laundry basket and I’ll be damned if I didn’t see the largest freakin’ dead cockroach I’ve ever seen.

This thing was like the Mark McGwire of insects. I screamed for the wife. She screamed. She kills cockroaches at our house, while I’m on body removal (it’s the opposite for spiders. Don’t ask, we all have our phobias).

I disposed of it. Kept doing the laundry.

The horrors of everyday life.