You Belgians! You killed Ken Jennings! (Spoilers)

No, really, I mean it. SPOILERS. Not that you can possibly miss it on any of the newscasts…

KenJen in happier timesTonight, Ken Jennings lost in tragic fashion. Live by the sword, die by the sword. He missed two $4800 Daily Doubles in Double Jeopardy! I didn’t get either of them, so I can’t make too much fun of him. The problem is, he was betting too much given the competition. He placed himself TWICE in the slot of nearly tying the game with a missed answer. With the doubled answer values these days, he was asking for it.

Yes, I, the Belgian-American, missed the Belgian Patton question. I’m so ashamed.

Final Jeopardy! really surprised me. My first answer to it was UPS. Then I read it a second time: “White Collar” and “4 months.” That means it won’t be truck drivers. And four months is tax season — January through April. H&R Block sprung right to mind.

Sadly, Ken never made it further than that first step in his thought process. It’s a pity.

I have to think some of it was just a case of being tired. If I don’t miss my guess, the episode aired tonight would have been the fifth taped in the day. That was his fifth show in a row in the same day. It’s amazing he lasted this long without stumbling under that kind of pressure.

And let’s not be hard on him — he made 75 appearances on a game show and won 74 of them for a total of just over $2.5 million. It was a remarkable achievement.

And the Tournament of Champions stands to be a complete blood bath. ;-)

Here’s to you, KJ! You finally gave America someone to rally around for their brains, rather than their stupidity.

(Special thanks to Tom Galloway for pointing out that KJ will be on BIOGRAPHY Wednesday night, and possibly Regis and Kelly. Plus, Letterman and Nightline tonight. Whew.)

(That pic is from the first show after KenJen crossed the $2 million mark. He finished at over $2.5 million.)

Posted in TV

Drew Carey can’t catch a break

Cartoon Brew: November 2004 Archives

I’ve heard from a few folks close to DREW CAREY’S GREEN SCREEN SHOW and they both have similarly depressing news about the show’s future. Says one source: “Yes, we are contractually finishing up our last episode this week and then we’ll be disbanded like a Peruvian brothel after a police raid.”

Let’s hope they at least air the remaining 7 episodes. There were some great sketches in the first five.

Posted in TV

New releases, 30 November

As DVD producers prepare us for the much-vaunted December 7th release date, the release list scales back a bit today.

Still, there are a couple of nifty discs coming out this week to tide us over. This list comes to us from

And, for the first time ever, I plan on commenting on every last one of the releases, with special help from The IMDB.

The Club (2004)

Even the IMDB barely has a clue about what this movie is.

But this British show sounds like a train wreck. Let celebrities manage a bar and videotape the chaos.

Combat! Season Two: Mission #1 (1962) Combat! Season Two: Mission #2 (1962)

This show has its fans. It’s an hour long drama series set in WWII. Robert Altman is listed as one of the directors. Interesting.

Daredevil: Director’s Cut (2003)

The rumor goes that this movie is much more watchable with the added footage. I might put it on my Christmas list so I don’t pay for it a second time.

Elliot Smith: Olympia, Washington (2004)

IMDB has nothing on this.

The Fantastic Films of Ray Harryhausen: Legendary Science Fiction (5-disc set)

I didn’t watch these movies as a kid on the local superstation. Maybe that’s why I just don’t appreciate them.

The Happy Gilmore/Billy Madison Collection (1995/1996) (2-disc set)

HAPPY GILMORE is probably my favorite of Adam Sandler’s oeuvre. And isn’t it weird that the phrase “Adam Sandler’s ouevre” exists?

Hero (2004)

Great movie. Without exception, the most beautiful looking movie of the year.

It’s All True (1993)

Never heard of this one before today, but it sounds interesting. It’s an incomplete Orsen Welles film that they re-edited and added material into in 1993 to complete. The IMDB listing has a lot of the backstory.

Justine (1977)

Based on a Marquis De Sade work, I think. I’m definitely passing.

Lost in Space: Season Two Vol. 2 (4-disc set)

The big full season boxed sets had a price point that Best Buy, et. al. did not like. So they split it into two smaller boxes, split the price in half, and you get the full second season eventually. Whatever it takes…

Luther (2003)

Joseph Fiennes stars as a guy who pinned his polemic to a door. Alfred Molina also stars. Reviews were mixed.

Racing with the Moon (1984)

It’s a WW2 period piece starring Sean Penn. Nicolas Cage co-stars. They were much younger then.

Samantha: An American Girl Holiday (2004)

It’s getting VERY tiring to cover all of these releases.

This one, though, is a TV special based on a novel I’ve never heard of. Mia Farrow headlines.

Secrets of a Windmill Girl (1966)

Heh. Love this IMDB review:

Almost unwatchable – Pauline Collins at her most dreadful deciding whether or not to take her top off for a show. In the end she doesn`t but don`t let that put you off wasting precious time sitting through this rubbish

Spider-Man 2: Special Edition (widescreen) (2-disc set) (2004) Spider-Man 2: Special Edition (pan-and-scan) (2-disc set) (2004) Spider-Man 2: Superbit (widescreen) (2004) Spider-Man 2: Gift Set (widescreen) (2-disc set) (2004)

Take your pick. The Superbit edition will have the best sound and picture, theoretically. Pan And Scan will be lifeless garbage. The Gift Set has a lot of unnecessary doo-dads in it.

I’ll take the straight-up widescreen edition.

Tru Calling: Season One

This one’s pretty much dead already before the second season begins. For you Eliza Dushku fans, though, this is indispensible.

Next week: Lots of stuff, but especially the B5 spin-off series, CRUSADE.

Posted in DVD

The Polar Express

There is a theory floating around that POLAR EXPRESS has “failed” at the box office because it was released too early. Nobody wanted to go to a Christmas movie on November 10th.

The breakout at Box Office Mojo would seem to be bearing that out. This weekend’s box office for the movie (projected/estimated so far) puts it ahead of last weekend and even ahead of its opening Friday. As a bonus, it pulled down $3.7 million on Thanksgiving Day, almost three times what it pulled down last Thursday.

The weekend numbers show the nice bounce.

It’ll be interesting to see how it does in the coming weeks.

Movie Trailers of the Week

The Merchant of Venice leads the pack, if only to hear Al Pacino cry, “The pound of flesh tis.. MINE!” Classic Pacino.

I’ve never read the Shakespeare play, but the movie looks beautiful, and with Pacino and Jeremy Irons in it, you can’t help but be entertained, methinks.

“If you PRICK US, do we not bleed?” These are the kinds of quotes that make great .wav files for your desktop…

Pacino’s Brooklyn accent sounds strange in Italy, though.

Mackenzie Crook from THE OFFICE also has a bit part in the movie somewhere. It’s mentioned on the last DVD for that series.

Easy features LOST’s Saad as a tender lover. Clearly, though, it’s Marguerite Moreau’s breakout movie. She should be a huge star, just judging from the trailer. She’s done a lot of schlock up till now.

House of Flying Daggers is at the top of my “Movies I Need To See” list right now. Speaking of which, HERO is out on DVD this week.

The Phantom of the Opera trailer has some good things going for it. Still, it’s Andrew Lloyd Weber and Joel Schumacher working together. I half expect we’ll see a shot of the Phantom suiting up, complete with his PhantomNipples.

(Will we comics fans EVER let Schumacher’s Batman movies go? Nah, probably not.)

There are parts of the trailer that look like an Asian movie (see HERO or FLYING DAGGERS), parts that look like MOULIN ROUGE CGI, and some that are just pure Busby Berkeley spectacle. Interesting mix.

Scrubs: My Malpractice Decision

Almost caught up on SCRUBS now. TV Tome is an excellent source for quotes and guest star appearance information.

That musical number with Julianna Margulies is this season’s funniest moment so far. Never has “ball buster” been used so perfectly in a sit-com.

Posted in TV

Looking back at Homicide: Life On The Street

I’m finally catching up on my HOMICIDE DVDs. Currently, I’m on the second disc of the fourth season. Just finished watching the episode “Hate Crime,” about a young man killed by two skinheads for being gay. (Or is he?!?)

In any case, two things popped out at me. The first is that the closing song was from Barenaked Ladies, a group I didn’t know existed back then. “What a Good Boy” was, of course, fitting.

Even wilder, though, was the guest appearance by Mr. Locke from LOST. He played the father of the man who was killed. I’ll grab some screenshots for you on this one. It’s a different look.

Locke As DadLocke again

Posted in DVD

Survivor: Best Episode of the Season

(If you’re really testy about this, consider this a spoiler warning. No names will be mentioned, though.)

I grant you — calling this week’s episode the best of the season isn’t saying much. It’s been a pretty boring seaspon thus far. Still, this week’s SURVIVOR is the one that finally gives me hope that the people playing the game have half a brain between them. The looks on the faces of the defeated at the end of the show were priceless.

I can’t wait to see the claws come out NEXT week!

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Apprentice (Spoilers for this week’s episode)

Trump got it right in tossing Andy out, but I think he did it for the wrong reason.

The champion debate master is excellent in a forum where the rules are controlled and where everyone gets the chance to talk. I can’t blame him for keeping his mouth shut in this week’s episode. He had two women surrounding him and shrieking at each other. He had no chance to say anything, and anytime he did they’d shout him back down.

That said: for the bribes, the bottle, the conspiracy, and the hyperactivity, he deserved to go this week.

Posted in TV

More DVD sales

Thanks to Earl for pointing this out to me first: has 24 Season One and MILLENIUM Season One on sale for $15 each. Ditto for SIMPSONS and BUFFY. Seems like FOX is trying to get people to start buying these sets from the start. If you missed the sale last month, this might help you feel better. ;-)

While you’re there, you can’t go wrong with $8 for DARK CITY. I love that movie. And it’s more Kiefer Sutherland for you, too!

Posted in DVD

Alexander: The Movie

It’s only one paragraph, but it’s a great review that makes me want to see the movie.


Oliver Stone’s Alexander, which opens today, isn’t just bad. It’s Springtime for Hitler bad. I haven’t guffawed this hard since I saw Airplane for the first time 24 years ago. This is one of the colossal catastrophes of all time.

The rest of the review might contain spoilers, if you’re keen on that. But it’s worth it for the myrth with which Podheretz rips into the movie.