Billboard Hot 100 Top 10: Week of July 30, 2011

I have this kind of terrible commute to an internship I'm doing this summer (contributing to one of the lamest and grayest summers of my life). That means I have about 45 minutes to an hour each way to flip stations in my car a few days a week and listen to terrible pop music. Except I stop forgetting it's terrible and just embrace its catchy melodies and sing along loudly in my car. To celebrate my love/hate relationship with pop music, I'm going to write about it here--or rather the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. I somehow miss out on a lot of the more "rock" pop songs on the radio, so there is bound to be some surprise awfulness.

#10 - "Skyscraper" by Demi Lovato

Fact: Right now is the first time I've heard this song. It is truly awful. Anything this dependent on similes is ultimately saying nothing because I have no idea what she's comparing. Not to mention that the ~emotions~ so prevalent in her scratchy voice is the stuff overwrought lyrical/modern dances on So You Think You Can Dance are made of. I am never listening to this song again.

#9 - "Tonight Tonight" by Hot Chelle Rae

First of all, this is a band name that exists. Second of all, doesn't this song sound like it's been out for 5 years? I do have to admit that I find it charming they slid in the name "Zach Galifianakis" into a song. But then again, that would have been way cooler 5 years ago.

#8 - "Good Life" by OneRepublic

Sounds like every other OneRepublic song: bland with a good beat. But they will never be forgiven for "Apologize." Please don't make me make an intentional pun out of that last sentence. Let's leave it with irony.

#7 - "The Edge of Glory" by Lady Gaga

I can't tell the difference between this song and Katy Perry's own scream-out-of-her-range-song, "Firework," until the saxophone solo comes in (except even Ms. Perry has a song with a saxophone in it--see #3--my point being that Lady Gaga tries just as too hard as Katy Perry). Anyway, catchy.

#6 - "How to Love" by Lil Wayne

I keep wishing the tinny acoustic guitar in the background would start playing "Hole Hearted*," but it doesn't. Instead I'm stuck with a song fit for middle school, straight-arm slow dancing.

#5 - "Super Bass" by Nicki Minaj

I keep thinking the chorus of this song is that part in Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" where she sings about her skin tight jeans, which is too bad because I really want to like Nicki Minaj for some reason.

#4 - "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele

How 'bout I never hear this song again? It's a good song, great vocal performance, sassy, retro back up singers, etc. But literally every radio station plays this song. I'm done.

#3 - "Last Friday Night (TGIF)" by Katy Perry

Have you noticed I've become a connoisseur of Katy Perry's music? I'm kind of ashamed (almost as much as I'm ashamed of this music video that features a cast of 80s has-beens, Rebecca Black, and the cast of Glee, and then tries to play off a romper circa 1990 as nerdy when everyone knows that nerdy of yesteryear = hipster). But I have to give her props for beating Lady Gaga, Fleet Foxes, and Bon Iver on the Saxophone Renaissance of 2011 (her Teenage Dream album was released last year). Damn.

#2 - "Give Me Everything" by Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack, and Nayer

I love Ne-Yo so much he made me hate Pitbull less. Great chorus, pretty good bridge. Approved.

#1 - "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO feat. Lauren Bennett and GoonRock

I've been having dance parties to this song for months, and I don't hate it yet. Longevity, my friend. Also, I'm kind of charmed by the music video for this song.

*These two songs do not sound very much alike at all, except maybe at the bridge of "Hole Hearted" and the intro of "How to Love." Basically, any excuse to mention Extreme.



Um, pretty self-explanatory, but I'm at a place in my life where any and all appearances Stanley Tucci makes/made on TV or in movies is the most thrilling thing ever. I mean really, he made Burlesque almost winsome. So yes, he shows up in season 3 of thirtysomething. Exciting.


Walking and Talking (1996)

Clearly this picture was taken way after filming.

Walking and Talking is one of the gems I've discovered on Netflix because it was streaming and looked like a decent enough rom-com. And that's pretty much what this movie is: decent enough.

Anne Heche and Catherine Keener play best friends since childhood Laura and Amelia. Laura is engaged to Frank (Todd Field), but is freaking out in an awkward-to-watch-but-unfortunately-relatable-passive-aggressive way by snapping at Frank and developing crushes on random guys including the waiter that always flirts with her (Randall "hot clergyman" Batinkoff) and one of her therapy patients. This plot line is not so fun to watch. The tension is almost ridiculous enough to laugh at, but mostly just makes me feel sad.

I however loved Amelia's plot. She starts to kind of freak out because Laura is engaged. She quits therapy and then starts dating the video store clerk that always asks her out, Bill (Kevin "almost as weird as seeing Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Next Stop Wonderland" Corrigan). They go out a few times--long enough for Amelia to stop calling him "ugly guy"and becomes attracted to him. Let's just say, we've all been there: desperate to go out with someone who is mildly attractive (maybe) and pretend it has real potential. And of course Amelia has a good friend Andrew (Liev "he has curly hair?" Schreiber) who is having phone sex with someone across the country and whom she used to date, but they're still friends and they do stuff together all the time. And her cat has cancer. Things that are endearing only in movie form.

Mostly, there's just so much 90s frumpiness mixed with an unexpected group of actors and accompanied by mellow jams--the most fabulous of which are by Billy Bragg, my new British electric-folk singer. So sit back, enjoy some Billy Bragg and soak in this frumpiness.

Also enjoy the way he sings "paint" like "pint."

Randall Batinkoff!

Kevin Corrigan!

Allison Janney!

Catherine Keener and Anne Heche: not brushing hair and wearing baggy pants.

Liev Schreiber and his sideburns.
Sexual tension rating: mild, but satisfying.

What I want to be doing right now.


Middlemarch (1994)

Let's talk about George Eliot for a minute. She was an incredibly cheesy, muckraking author who created decent characters, but moralized to the point of beating a dead horse. I'm drawing these conclusions on a reading of Silas Marner from high school. This novel is all about orphans and misers who learn lessons and opium addicted mothers. I pretty much threw up all over this novel when I read it. This is why I know I will never read Middlemarch. The miniseries version was saccharine enough, even with screenwriter Andrew "kind of makes 19th Century novels sexy" Davies throwing in some extra bits to chew on.

So, as far as I can tell from the miniseries (I was doing useful things like doing laundry and baking cookies during the proceedings), the story is all about a small town, Middlemarch, on the cusp of industrialization. There's lots of small town drama and of course young people hooking up all over the place--and by hooking up I mean making hasty marriages.

First you have Dorothea Brooke who is a nerdy girl who wears glasses and thinks for herself. For reasons I can only attribute to repressed Victorian sexuality, she marries a nerdy middle-aged confirmed bachelor (wink wink) who is dedicated a book about mythology. But instead of being cool and letting Dorothea help him write his book, he belittles her and ignores her in the bedroom, confirming my suspicion that this guy is totally gay.

So anyway, being married to her closeted husband is really boring and she slowly wastes away, but his cousin Will Ladislaw takes an interest in her. He's a passionate and accomplished young man, though indecisive to his career. Ladislaw and Dorothea have fun conversations in which they talk about ideas and get sassy with each other. Blah blah blah, Secret Homosexual hates his cousin and has screwed him over in regards to wealth just as the rest of his family has done in the past, blah blah blah, he dies and gives all his money to Dorothea with the condition that she not marry Ladislaw. But it turns out Ladislaw is in love with her! WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT? Not much. Their scenes together are rare.

And that right there is the most interesting story line.

Another involves some doctor who marries a kind of silly girl and then spends too much money on a house and other things while trying to start up a hospital where doctors actually do doctorly things and not sell ineffective tonics. Drama, gambling, and marital fighting happen.

And then there's the brother of the silly girl who just sucks at everything and has some since-childhood-girlfriend who is awesome and sassy and tells him to get a job he likes to earn a living.

And then there's random other stuff that was moralizing that had to do with pious people not really being that pious in their actions. And the common man getting the vote. And way too many characters and uncles to care about.

But I think the real take-away message here is that Rufus Sewell as Will Ladislaw in the 1994 production is dreamy. Why haven't I seen him as a romantic lead more often? I mean, I guess I've seen him in those roles on occasion, but this one is a more straight forward ROMANTIC LEAD. He gets to represent idealism and handsomeness instead of quirkiness, all while still darting his eyes around. If nothing else, Mr. Sewell is a welcome breath of fresh air to a miniseries that gets bogged down in...I don't even know, I was too busy eating cookie dough by the end.

In a smiliar spirit to my celebration of Terence Stamp in Far From the Madding Crowd, here's a gallery of poor quality images of Rufus Sewell I captured for your enjoyment. And, Spoiler alert:

Checking out Dorothea for the first time.

Sitting on a stoop, plotting to visit Dorothea while chewing on a pencil.

He tosses around his gloves as the discussion gets more heated.

In which he becomes a speech writer for Dorothea's uncle's Parliament run.

Flirtatious face.

Angrily crumpling up a letter his cousin sent him, banning him from seeing Dorothea.

Being all, "Your husband told me never to see you again. I'm so mad!"

Answer me this: why are guys scratching to back of their necks so hot?

Singing with the doctor's silly wife. At least he has a couple friends.

Ladislaw giving an impassioned audience-warm-up speech. Yay, bloodless revolution!

Emo-ly confessing his love without actually confessing his love because this is a 19th century novel, and they could never actually say anything in a straightforward manner. Also, Dorothea is wearing a hideous mourning bonnet/cap.

This is his "are kidding me?" face. I know, bro. She totally doesn't get that you are MEANT TO BE.

This is his "it says WHAT in my cousin's will?" face.

Angrily packing.

Intense look of love.

Uh-oh, Dorothea caught him with his arm around the doctor's silly wife. She's totally jelly.

Reading a letter that everything has been straightened out with Dorothea.

19th Century Male Lead Walking Determinedly Through Garden (TM).

Making out with Dorothea whose eyes are still open for some reason.