Thursday, December 20, 2007

Food Critics Want Love, Too

The post-March Madness/pre-NFL season period is the worst time for me as a sports fan. I don't really care about pro hoops or major league baseball, so the April through September drought is a time for catching up on movies and other media after an eyeball-searing several months spent glued to the tv.

Currently, we're in a bit of a similar situation with television shows. The end of sweeps coupled with the writer's strike and the upcoming holidays has created a vast wasteland of programming that can only be described as almost unwatchable.

For instance, a few nights ago we found ourselves watching ROUSTABOUT, one of Elvis's interchangeable post-Army films in which he plays a renegade FILL IN THE BLANK who finds himself working as FILL IN THE BLANK while wooing a shy FILL IN THE BLANK as he sings songs about FILL IN THE BLANK. They're the MadLibs of movies and you just can't help but feel sorry for The King as he sings fun (but forgettable) songs like "Wheels on My Heels" as he tries to avoid being run off the road by a hungover Leif Erickson.

Ironically, today is the anniversary that Elvis was drafted into the Army, thus destroying what was shaping up to be a perfectly respectable film career. He received one deferment which allowed him to finish filming KING CREOLE, arguably his best film. While he was stationed in Germany he would meet his future wife Priscilla but when he was discharged in March 1960 found himself stuck in a cycle of cookie cutter, mostly forgettable movies that turned him into a punchline while bands like the Beatles and Rolling Stones re-wrote rock & roll history.

Last night, though, I felt sorry for all the other viewers of RECIPE FOR A PERFECT CHRISTMAS, which we stumbled across on Lifetime and watched until the bitter, lazy, completely forgettable end. (Don't believe me? Check out its lone IMDB review titled 'Wow, What a Forgettable Movie This Was'.)

The plot centers around the completely unlikable JJ Jenner, a wanna-be food writer for a slick magazine. The daughter of a history teacher dad (who is, quite luckily for him, dead) and an entertainer mom played by Christine Baranski (who I typically loathe), Jenner has finally gotten her "big break" but is struggling to find her "voice." Mom rolls into town to stay with her and JJ sets her up with Alex (Bobby Cannavale), the chef at a struggling new restaurant. Add in me struggling to stay awake and you sorta get the idea.

Naturally, JJ finds herself falling in love with Alex (as he's dating her mom) all the while trying to break through her writer's block, deal with her Mommy Issues (apparently ma didn't cry enough when poor dad died of an aneurysm at age 42), and fend off an ambitious assistant with dreams of having her own food column.

To be honest, RECIPE could have been fun were it not so incredibly lazy (even the title is terrible), not to mention Carly Pope as the thoroughly unappealing, completely unsympathetic lead. It's no wonder that her post-RECIPE filmography is peppered with third rate FX shows like 'Dirt' and flicks like YETI: CURSE OF THE SNOW DEMON which also stars her brother, Kris Pope and I'm assuming will go straight to the SciFi Channel!

I checked the listings and part of me is sad to report that this one is not on again anytime soon. I'd love/hate to see it from the beginning and figure out if what I missed while I was watching 'Smallville' would make any impact on my enjoyment/hatred level.


John said...

I don't get the SciFi Channel. Why do they have to make such high-quality television shows (well, that and find them from other places) while making and airing such suckalicious movies? It still baffles my mind how the network that put out the current "Battlestar Galactica", "Ghost Hunters" and the "Stargate" series also made such swill as "Alien Apocalypse", "Disaster Zone: Volcano in New York" and "Supergator".

Dan said...

They'll always have a special place in my heart because they used to show the great FRIDAY THE 13TH tv series and it's also where MANSQUITO premiered!

Aj said...

What, did you lose the remote control and were too lazy to get up from the couch to switch channels manually that you suffered through a Lifetime movie? Hell, my testicles shrivel up when I land on that channel, and I don't even have a set of 'em!

(Though I hear you about the television drought coming up... I re-upped Netflix to 3-at-a-time.)

Dan said...

Luckily it was only the last hour or so but it was riveting in such an awful way that we actually stopped watching it in the family room and finished watching it in the bedroom. It's the most lazy writing in the world... the ending is such a ludicrous "wow, everything worked out for everybody" wrapup that even I was stunned. And I've watched some bad shit through the years...