Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.

2006-01-05

Sophie's Golden Globes Round-Up, Part The First

In which your blogger realizes she has seen exactly one of the nominated Best Films this year, and that thanks to TiVo, she watches way more television than she previously suspected. This is not a bad thing.

Kung Fu Hustle is nominated in the Best Foreign Film category. It's a humorous martial arts fantasy from China, starring and directed by Steven Chow, who also did Shaolin Soccer. It's got elements of a musical, slapstick comedy (lots of pratfalls), a knock-down, drag-out martial arts fightathon, and a romance. Somehow, though, it all manages to hang together, thanks in large part to Chow's screen presence, and excellent fight choreography.

Grey's Anatomy, on ABC, is my main source of televised junk food. Make no mistake: Although this show is nominated in the Best Drama category, it's not actually one of the best f=dramas on TV, unlike, oh, say, Veronica Mars. Not that we're bitter. Grey's Anatomy is soapy, unrealistic, and suffers from a severe case of poor pitiful me voiceover-itis (unlike, again, VM, which uses voiceovers to witty effect) from its lead character, Meredith Grey, who is way too annoying to be sympathetic. Still, I have a season pass to this show on my TiVo because I just can't get enough of this show's deliciously soapy lack of realism. Five surgical interns, their lives, loves, career highs and lows -- who could resist? The show does have two saving graces:

  • Chief Resident Miranda Bailey, played with spirit, attitude and moments of surprising warmth by Chandra Wilson;
  • and a thorough nonchalance about interracial romance, the credit for which can be laid squarely at the doors of Sandra Oh (nominated for her supporting role as prickly, brilliant, and compulsively quippy surgeon Cristina Yang) and Isaiah Washington, who have more chemistry than Dow and who consistently rise above the often cliched material of this compulsively watchable show.

Prison Break, on Fox, is also nominated in the Best Drama category, and happily, it really is a good show. I'm thinking about what sets this show apart from its fellow contender Grey's Anatomy, because it's just as absurdly unrealistic -- a brilliant structural engineer gets himself thrown in the same state penitentiary as his death row inmate brother, for the express purpose of busting said brother out of jail, because he is innocent of the crime for which he's been sentenced to death. Oh, and the entire plan for the daring, impossible escape is encoded in an elaborate, upper body-encasing tattoo on the engineer's body - and believe you me, this is about one quadrillionth of the story -- and I think it all boils down to the high concept. There's the brotherly love, the prison setting (it's shot at a defunct prison in Joliet, IL), the good bad guys, the bad bad guys, the bad guys so bad they make you whimper every time you see them on screen, the conspiracy leading to the highest echelons of government, all tied to the most insane plot twists and turns this side of 24. The show hangs on the very attractive shoulders of Wentworth Miller, who has been nominated in the Best Actor category for his portrayal of engineering genius and extremely loyal younger brother Michael Scofield. I don't really care whether Prison Break wins as Best Drama, but I would love to see Miller win Best Actor, because he manages to bring sincerity, conniving, regret, and horror to his role as a gentle straight arrow plunged into a savage and crooked environment.

I have watched exactly one episode of Commander In Chief, and I think I can safely say that if the world is divided into fans of this show and fans of The West Wing, I am squarely in the latter camp. Honestly, I know this show is popular, but I thought itwas dumbed-down, unwatchable dreck. Bor. Ing. The one bright light in the show was Donald Sutherland, who was masterful as a House of Representatives power broker grasping for more Beltway control. Unsurprisingly, Sutherland is nominated as Best Supporting Actor.

Up next: The Closer, Entourage, and My Name Is Earl.

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