Friday, December 31, 2010


Well, enjoy watching all the sports over the next few days. I will, because I've got three days off and plan to spend some quality time goofing off from writing this blog.  

For college football bowl games, be sure to check out all the scores here.

The outdoor NHL Winter Classic is on January 1st but the game between Pittsburgh and Washington has been pushed back to 8PM Eastern time because, well, the weather at Heinz Field is going to be wet and too hot. (!!!!)

The World Junior Hockey Championship also continues in Buffalo, New York, USA -- but you'll never know it's in the USA with all the Canadian fans in the stands.

Finally, the NFL regular season wraps up Sunday. Hopefully this weekend's games won't be the only regular-season NFL football we'll see in 2011, but the dark labor clouds are on the horizon.

Try not to get hung over; you don't want to miss all this good sports action. That's it for 2010, see you in 2011.


Last year around this same time Nancy O'Dell was leaving Access Hollywood two years before her contract was up, and was not sure what the future was going to hold. Well, earlier this year she found out she was going to replace the legendary Mary Hart over at Entertainment Tonight, with the changeover happening later in 2011.

Here is a Fox News story on the surprising turn of events that led to O'Dell getting the gig, which everyone had expected would go to that total girly-girl Lara Spencer from The Insider. O'Dell claims she didn't elbow anyone out and I happen to think that it was kind of a fluke that she got the gig -- I don't think she had been campaigning for it.

In fact, it's kind of surprising that she is taking over on ET because of how tabloidy that show has become. O'Dell even said in that article that she left Access Hollywood because she was uncomfortable with the tabloid direction of that show. But ET has really turned tabloid in a big way the last few years. Maybe ET is going to allow Nancy to be Nancy and not force her to be something she isn't. Or maybe they are looking to class things up at ET in the future and return the show to what it used to be before. That would be a change for the better.


I like reading Jeffrey Wells' blog Hollywood-Elsewhere. His tastes may be a bit more highbrow than mine are, but he calls it as he sees it and doesn't shy away from being cranky and irritable (just like myself). He was looking ahead to 2011 at the theaters and it looks like he is ready to throw up at all the populist popcorn fare that is due to be rolled out. Here's a sample of what he had to say:

Read down the popcorn list and it's like...please God, lemme outta here. Sinbad: The Fifth Voyage, The Green Hornet, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, Cedar Rapids, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, Rango, Take Me Home Tonight, Happythankyoumoreplease, Battle: Los Angeles, Mars Needs Moms!, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules, Your Highness, Ceremony, Scream 4, Thor, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, The Hangover 2, Kung Fu Panda 2, X-Men: First Class Beginners, Super 8, Green Lantern, Cars 2, Rise of the Apes, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II, Captain America: The First Avenger, Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World, Fright Night, Final Destination 5, The Thing, Footloose, The Three Musketeers, Paranormal Activity 3, Tower Heist, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Happy Feet 2 in 3-D, etc.

I'm looking at this lineup, too, and I can't say I'm impressed, either. Another Transformers movie?! Good lord. Well, at least Megan Fox isn't going to be in it this time.

Surely, though, they can't be all bad -- I'm at least intrigued by The Green Hornet. But that flick rolls out in January, and January movies tend to be nothing but crap. And I'm also worried about the Hangover sequel. The first movie was good, but I worry the sequel won't live up to the original. I worry they crammed all their good material into the first movie and that this sequel is just going to be a lame attempt by the studio to make some money.Actually, a lot of these movies look like they are going to be exactly that.

Oh, well. Happy New Year, anyway.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Well, I have to say my weekends remain a little emptier without a movie review show on TV to watch. Really, all I gotta say is weekends on TV are no good without a movie show and without reruns of Baywatch. Bring 'em back, I say.

I notice the plans are still in the works for Roger Ebert's production on PBS, but apparently they are changing things around and won't have Elvis Mitchell as one of the co-hosts after all. I understand they are looking at getting someone else. Hmmm.

For those desperate for something review-related to watch, Richard Roeper has unveiled his Best of 2010 and Worst of 2010 lists, and I'm surprised because in his "Worst" list he didn't mention Yogi Bear. Maybe Yogi wasn't that bad after all.

You Again | Richard Roeper | ReelzChannel Spotlight | Hollywood Dailies | Richard Roeper's Movie Reviews | Movie Trailer

Inception | Richard Roeper | ReelzChannel Spotlight | Hollywood Dailies | Richard Roeper's Movie Reviews | Movie Trailer


Well, there are only a couple of days left in 2010 and I notice in the blog "stats" here that the number of blog posts for the year is at an all-time low and probably I'm going to end the year with an all-time low number of blog posts. Well, that's what happens when you are busy at your job all week. I am finding I get so tired from banging out copy all week, and am on the road so much, that I feel the need to rest up during what little down time I have, and as a result I don't write as much here at the blog. I also have all these other writing ventures going on: a monthly newspaper column, an online cinema column, a group blog that I am a weekly contributor for. It all adds up. As a result, I've had to cut back on the blog posts here and I got rid of my Film School Rejects column entirely this year due to my other commitments. I hope to turn it around in 2011, but I doubt it. It looks like I will be busy well into February.

Anyway, I will try to pack in as much self-indulgent material as I can in the next couple of days before the ball drops and the clock strikes 12 Midnight on 2010.

Speaking of self-indulgent, I plan to let you in on my endorsement in the race for Playmate of the Year, next.

Monday, December 27, 2010


My Cairns on Cinema column on why Hollywood just can’t make a good TV cartoon movie is now up.

Yes, I am unfortunately back at work.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


So I'm watching NBA games on Christmas day, another one of these great holiday traditions.

Each league seems to have its own holiday it claims for its own -- the NFL has Thanksgiving, the CFL has Labour Day, college football has New Year's Day, auto racing has Memorial Day weekend, and the NBA claims Christmas Day. And that's good, because it livens up an otherwise boring day with nothing to do.

I noticed that LA Lakers coach Phil Jackson was moaning earlier in the week about having to play games on Christmas day. Says it should be a time for them to be home with their families.

Well, all I have to say is that playing on Christmas day is a PRIVILEGE in the NBA. It's the one day of the year that the NBA can showcase its sport to the world free of any competition! Besides, Phil, you should want the Lakers to be playing on Christmas day in a marquee matchup. If they aren't, it means one thing -- that they are a team not worthy of television time. There's a reason why it's the Lakers and not the Clippers that are on TV on Christmas Day, it's because the Lakers are GOOD. If they were stinking up the joint every night for years on end, believe me, the players would definitely be stuck at home on Christmas day with their families. And they'd be spending that home time having to answer questions from their loved ones about how bad their team is and worrying about whether or not they'll be traded to another city.

So if I were Phil Jackson, I'd quit whining about playing Christmas basketball games, because the alternative is no good, either.

That's it. Merry Christmas, Phil, and everyone else!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


It just occured to me -- in my job I cover plenty of hot and heavy issues and interview lots of important political leaders, these big names that people have heard about. I think it must take a special talent to be able to write about heavy political issues and then turn around and write about Yogi Bear. I dunno if anyone pays for that sort of thing, though.

News items I have been following over the last while:

New Edmonton Oilers cheerleaders introduced. Folks in Edmonton can cool off -- these girls don't look like "strippers" in the least.
Maple Leaf fans are so frustrated they are now tossing waffles onto the ice.
It's a debacle in Hamilton as the Tiger-Cats stadium proposal falls apart at city council.
Those senseless North Koreans want to have a war. Pleasant folks.
There have been storms in California, which are likely to end up turning into storms everywhere else.

That's enough for now, back to watching bowl games for me.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I will have a lot more to say about this weekend at the box office a little later on when I write my Cairns on Cinema column. Suffice it to say it is weekends like this one that make me feel glad I am out of the box-office prediction business, because I had no interest in seeing any of these movies that rolled out this weekend -- least of all this weekend's winner Tron: Legacy.

The biggest loser this weekend was Yogi Bear, which got slaughtered by every film critic with any semblance of credibility. Its Rotten Tomatoes rating was 13 percent! Its domestic box office was not good, either -- it opened on Friday to $4.6 million. Well, it's really too bad, I was hoping Yogi would make a big comeback, but that's what you get when you come up with a bastardized version of Yogi Bear like what we got here.

Dan Aykroyd voiced a very scary-looking Yogi -- although I cut Justin Timberlake some slack as Boo-Boo. At least he gave it an "A" effort to sound like Yogi's sidekick.

A lot of the cartoon purists were really up at arms over this flick, anyway, with all these Daws Butler fans coming out of the woodwork to say he could never be replaced as the voice of Yogi Bear. As it turns out, they were right -- though I guess it could have been worse. As it also turns out, it's also clear that when it comes to movies, kids these days seem to have some semblance of taste. They stayed away from this one in droves. Chalk this one up in the "bad idea" category.  

Saturday, December 18, 2010


I am looking forward to what promises to be a reasonably easy week with a lot of down time -- just two-and-a-half full days of work and then a lot of time off until the following week. Last week at work was a little bit too crazy, so I need the time to relax. Tonight, I am watching football -- the New Orleans Bowl. Yes, another one of those bowl games.

One of the highlights of the past week was the hockey game I got to cover. Our resident sports guy was in Edmonton to see his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Oilers, so I got the press pass to be able to cover the SJHL game in his place between the Kindersley Klippers and Battlefords North Stars. It was a wild game with the Klippers winning 5-4, with the North Stars mad at the referee for his lousy officiating. The head coach went over and hurled a bunch of hockey sticks onto the ice, and he was ejected and later got a two-game suspension. You can read my account of the wild night here.

I also wrote up a piece on the blog about all the wild weather, not just here in North America but also in Europe. Today, Britain got a huge dumping of snow and that created a lot of chaos, and also wiped out a large number of English Premier League games both today and tomorrow. So soccer fans in Britain are not enjoying themselves.

That is all for now as I plan to get further rest and relaxation.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Well, tonight is a sad night because Larry King's TV show is finally ending after what seems to be forever and a day on the air on CNN. A lot of tributes are pouring in, although I also see quite a few of the usual pieces by these mean-spirited people who are pointing to the declining ratings and trashing Larry for his softball-interview style of questioning over the years. Look, that was his style, take it or leave it. And the truth is that you can get a lot out of a guest by just being relaxed and asking questions. Why people feel the need for every TV interview to be some sort of hatchet job, I don't know. Maybe I'm sympathetic because it isn't my style to do that, either. Anyhow, tonight is the end for Larry and the end of an era at CNN.    

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Uh, hi. It has been a hairy last several hours across North America with all the bad winter weather everywhere. The midwestern USA has been particularly hard-hit by blizzards and it is expected to move east and sock all those fine folks as well. The big news is how massive a snow dump fell on Minnesota, with the roof of the Metrodome field caving in because of all the snow. As a result the Vikings and Giants have been forced to move their game to Detroit. Read about the NFL's plans here.

Canada has also gotten socked -- earlier, there was a big dump of snow on London, Ontario. And we hear that other parts of the world have been getting some nasty cold weather as well. I notice there are plenty of  stories out there about the cold weather paralyzing Europe and making people there all miserable. I also understand the typically-warm places like Cancun are also getting record-lows.

Don't worry about the global-warming crowd and the sure-fire hit to their credibility this round of weather is sure to take -- apparently they are all busy blaming the cold snap on global warming. I sum up such statements with the usual "question mark" and "exclamation point". 

That's it for me -- excuse me now as I continue to try and warm up inside away from the cold.

Thursday, December 09, 2010


Well, tonight marks the season finale for this fall's edition of The Apprentice -- otherwise known as the "laid-off, second-chance" edition with a contestant pool consisting mainly of America's biggest losers in the economic recession. Actually, I think it's really depressing that it has come to this. Here are good, hard-working Americans, all ruined by this wretched economy and forced to rely on Donald Trump's reality show to make it back. You know the really sad part? After being fired for real once before, It's yet another chance to be humiliated all over again. On national television, no less. 

We've seen plenty of humiliation this season already. We saw one woman, Mahsa, fired for essentially being an obnoxious, big-mouthed New Yorker. Another one, David, was a complete loose cannon whom the rest of his team wanted fired one week, only to make what Trump described as the "biggest comeback in the show's history" the next. Then he went back to being a fool and he led his team to defeat, and was fired. The most interesting case was of this one guy Anand who decided to text his buddies and try and get them to help him win on the show -- which turned out to be a violation of the show's rules and regulations! "This sort of thinking  is why Wall Street got in so much trouble," the Donald said, and he fired the guy on the spot. (Oddly enough, for the finale he was invited to come back and redeem himself for his earlier messup!)

You'd think all this humiliation would ruin peoples' career futures for all time, but they've been showing clips all season at the end of the show, showing the progress of all the people that were fired. And they'd all be bragging about how they got new jobs and are basically better off because they appeared on The Apprentice. This, my friends, is why America is in the sorry state it is in today -- if you want to get ahead, you have to appear on reality TV. Working hard and being intelligent is not enough. Anyway, all these folks who were big losers in the economy before appearing on Trump's show are now, for the most part, better off -- thanks to the Donald. What a great guy, eh?

Anyway, it's down to two people in the finale and I really don't care anymore who wins. Neither does America, apparently -- the ratings were in the sink and this appears to be the definite end of the line for the non-celebrity original version of the show.

It's kind of too bad, I used to like the show at one point in time -- but I am not surprised, as this season has reverted to the usual predictable firings we have come to expect. You could see Clint and Brandy ending up as finalists for miles away. Actually, it's a little discouraging for someone interested in business to see the usual boring people who follow orders all the time getting ahead on Trump's show. It's keep your head down and tow the line, or be fired. That's the way it has been the entire run of this series. It's frustrating for people who might fit outside the mould or who think outside the box.

UPDATE: In the wake of Thursday night's surprisingly low-key Apprentice finale, TV Squad socks it to the Donald and gives five reasons why this show needs to retire.  

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


So another link to my existence in Toronto is gone. Mark Dailey of Citytv passed away the other day after his long fight with cancer. He was of course well known as the Citytv late-night anchorman, but his real talent was for doing practically all the voiceover work with his deep baritone voice introducing "Citytv, Everywhere." One of my favorite memories from my early days in Ontario in the Nineties was tuning in to Citytv and hearing Dailey doing all the voiceovers on all the promos and the late night "Late Great" movies.

Now Dailey himself can be referred to as Late and Great, and way too soon. As I say, way too many of my happy memories of Toronto are now just that, memories. Here's the Citytv tribute here. And that is all for now.

Sunday, December 05, 2010


So, I have a few items to tell you about right now and I have links to a couple of things I wrote up in the past week.

Just after the Roughriders lost that lousy Grey Cup game to the Alouettes came word that another Regina product, Leslie Nielsen, of movie and TV fame, passed away at age 84. I wrote up a tribute piece to Nielsen as part of my Cairns on Cinema column this week, where I describe Nielsen as a "seriously funny guy". Be sure to check it out.

Next up, I also wrote up a blog post here about a movie I stumbled upon on the Internet last week called Sonicsgate. It's the whole story about how the NBA's Seattle SuperSonics got lifted out of Seattle and ended up taken over by Oklahoma City interests who moved the team there. Actually, this sort of activity is nothing new for the NBA, the same kind of nonsense happened in Vancouver to the Grizzlies.

About as soon as that post went up, all the nonsense went down in San Diego with all the rumors about AEG trying to buy the San Diego Chargers and move them to Los Angeles. There are denials all over the place,. but there's no question the Chargers are one of the main teams in trouble in the NFL (Minnesota and Jacksonville being the others). Apparently this LA group was also talking to the Vikings this week. Anyway, it never ends in the NFL.

By the way, I hope you enjoy the current NFL season because the players association has told their players to save up as much money as they can, because there's likely to be a lockout next fall. Well, great -- the NFL wants to kill itself. Hasn't the NFL learned the lessons from what happened in baseball and hockey? Those sports have had a really hard time recovering from their shutdowns. I can't believe that with the American economy in the horrible state it is in that the NFL is about to be embroiled in a civil war over MONEY.

Finally, some GOOD news out of Edmonton, for a change -- they saved the Indy.

That's it for the time being. I know, I know, North Korea and WikiLeaks is more important than all this trivial nonsense, but this is the kind of stuff I care about.