Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Jay Leno Show, Rest in Peace

For the record, I'm a lover not a hater. Also, I don't like taking sides in a fight/battle that doesn't literally involve me. I love Conan O'Brien as I love Jay Leno, I don't like that NBC has created (accidentally) this fued as though one has to be better than the other. I wish we could go back to a world, one year ago, where the two could live together in harmony.

Today my mom, Natasha, and I went out to Burbank to be audience members of the final Jay Leno Show taping. We got there really early (8:30am) because: 1) none of us has been before so we don't know what to expect, 2) since it is the final show we don't know what to expect. A little after 9am we take an NBC Universal Studio Tour. It was just the three of us plus our tour guide, so it was a really small and intimate tour. Our tour guide, Katie (aka Brian Williams girlfriend ;) ), was super friendly. We visited the Access Hollywood stage which was formally the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson stage, the Telemundo stage, one of two Days Of Our Lives stage, and we passed wardrobe, make up, and like every Days of Our Lives piece of prop ever used since the 1960s. It was fun, when I was in middle school I started watching Passions and Days of Our Lives, so I could kind of get excited about walking through Salem. I walked through Harmony (another, RIP) at the CBS Radford studio when I was in high school...man, I REALLY miss being around studios/on stages.

When the tour was over we headed over to Studio 11 to get in line for the Jay Leno Show. I was first in line.

After hours of waiting outside in the cold, we finally made it into Stage 11 where the final episode of the Jay Leno Show was filmed, and where the Tonight Show with Jay Leno will resume in March.
The scheduled guests were Ashton Kutcher and Gabourey Sidibe, with Bob Costas on 10@10. Special appearances included Kurt Warner who threw four football passes to Ashton for "earn your plug" and Donald Trump who proclaimed via satellite "Jay, you're fired!"

This is the first late night show I've attended, and it was quite fun. Jay came out and greeted the audience, answered a few questions ("do you have any job openings for me?") and took pictures with a few audience members.

I was one of only three audience members he called on and took a picture with before he had to go backstage to get dressed for the show. And, after some fun banter about possible auditions being held under the bleachers after the taping, and possible jobs involving poles and/or partial nudity, I felt like Jay and I really hit it off. My mom was slightly embarassed, but also very impressed with my boldness.

The comedian that warned up the audience is great. The Kevin Eubanks and the Primetime band are great. The guests are great (I actually liked Ashton Kutcher more than I expected). Overall, I'm pretty sold on doing this again and again and again. And, with no job, late night TV shows I'm all yours!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Lovely Bones

About a month and a half ago I started reading The Lovely Bones in anticipation of the movie. I have never been much of a reader, I go through spurts where I find something I love and read non-stop until I'm finished, but for the most part I'm a book collector and not a reader. I started The Lovely Bones in December but finals and the holidays kept me from really getting into it. This week our DVR broke and school has been especially boring so I've fallen into reading again.

The Lovely Bones is quite an interesting book. The story of a girl, Susie Salmon (like the fish) who is murdered at 14, and the struggle she faces of letting go of earth, and the struggle her family and friends face of letting her go.
In general, I'd say the story is about loss and how different people choose to deal with it, including those who are lost. The story is told by Susie as she sits up in her Heaven, or the inbetween--between heaven and earth, looking down on those whom she loved. The book suggests that those who are gone are not really gone. Even though Susie is no longer on earth, she is still connected to her family and friends.

After her death, her killer remains a mystery. Her dad becomes obsessed with finding her killer. He focuses all his attention on his own investigation that he drives away his wife who would like nothing more than to put it all to rest. Susie watches from heaven as her family seems to fall apart, all the while she can't let go of them and tries to lead them to her killer who lives among them.

I loved the book. When I picked it up today I was half way through and the second half took no time to finish.

I proceeded to dive into the movie with the book still fresh in my mind and I actually like the movie. Rottentomato hates the movie, but I enjoyed it quite a lot. The acting was superb which is evidenced in the multiple awards the cast of the movie have been nominated for.
There are differences between the book and the movie, that is a given. I have yet to experience a movie that fully does justice to the book (even Harry Potter books are a million times better than the movies which I love so much). I have recently come to accept that in my book reading/movie watching experience, creative differences and plot adjustments are expected to be made on account of a movie only being 120 minutes. The adjustments made in this scenario I can accept. Certain characters aren't well developed (like Ruth and Ray, Susie's classmates who are especially affected by her death), the timeline of the movie is a bit skewed but I blame that on the movie not having the run time to include the near decade that passed from when Susie dies, to when she can finally let go of earth, and the family drama is really mild in the movie (in the book the mom has an affair with Len, the lead investigator on Susie's case, and is absent for over 5 years time-Lindsay the younger daughter graduates high school and college while she is gone), but I believe the movie stands well on its own.
I'm torn over whether movies should be held to the same scale as the books by which they are influenced. I'm on the search to find the movie that is capable of capturing everything the book has, when that movie has been discovered I will reconsider how I judge movies to books.