This week, the American Film Institute announced its choices for the 10 greatest movies in each of 10 genres, ranging from fantasy to epic to mystery. To create the list, AFI chose 50 films in each of the categories, then handed out ballots to 1,500 greats from the film community, who narrowed the choices down to the final winners. Lists like this are simply meant to be debated, of course, so I'm curious to hear your take on which films are deserving and which were left out. To check out which films topped AFI's list, just hit "Start."
After this strike-afflicted TV season, it would be excusable to think that Summer TV would be even worse than normal. And, to be fair, there are a bazillion vaguely awful reality series — from Wipeout to Brooke Hogan Knows Best — on the docket. But you can safely ignore all of those and still stock your TiVo well this Summer: Cable networks are shaping up to have some of their best months ever, and a few network shows look like they'll be must-sees, too. So, without further ado, I present my second-annual Top 10 Reasons to Keep Your TV On This Summer. Just hit "Start" to see them.
Nielsen, the company that measures TV ratings, among other things, just released its annual top-ten lists ranking everything from the most-watched TV shows to the most-purchased supermarket goods (bread's a big one). I'm a sucker for entertainment-related factoids, so here are a few nuggets from this year's lists:
- Where in the United States has the most-avid moviegoers? Salt Lake City! The Salt Lake area ranked first in the percentage of adults who had been to the movies four or more times in the three months before the survey was conducted. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, El Paso, and the San Francisco Bay Area were next.
- By those standards, only 8 percent of US adults qualify as avid moviegoers.
- After the Super Bowl and Oscars, the top 10 TV programs of the year were all various installments of American Idol.
- Lost and Heroes tied for the TV series that's most commonly timeshifted, or watched on a DVR. Each gained almost 18 percent more viewers than the number who watched the shows live.
- Only four TV shows can regularly get more than 10 percent of US residents to tune in at any given time: Idol, Dancing With the Stars, Sunday Night Football, and CSI.
- As of Dec. 2, the High School Musical soundtrack was on pace to become the top-selling album of the year, followed by Daughtry, and Linkin Park's Minutes to Midnight.
- Through Nov. 25, Khaled Hosseini had books ranked at number one and two on the list of best-selling fiction: A Thousand Splendid Suns was first, followed by The Kite Runner.
You can check out all the lists, and then let me know: Does anything surprise you about 2007 by the numbers?
The nominations for this year's Emmy Awards will be announced next Thursday, July 19. That means it's high time we started to speculate about which shows will be selected and which will be snubbed. Here are 10 of the things I hope happen when the names are read next week:
No. 10: A drama series nomination for "The Wire."
Alright, yes, I'm starting out with one that I'm sure is not going to happen; "The Wire" has fervent devotees, but it's not accessible enough for an Emmy nod. I understand why: Series creator David Simon has created such a busy, bustling world that it's tricky to jump in and see what it's about. When I finally started watching the show, I had to watch the pilot twice; even after that, I only knew one character's name. A show with that kind of niche appeal tends to get acting nominations only (see: Michael Chiklis on "The Shield"), and "The Wire" is too much of an ensemble show for even that to be likely. But hey, a girl can dream.
No. 9: "24" left out of the series nominations. Don't get me wrong: I still like this show. But I want the producers to know that "24" can't coast by on the strength of its previous seasons when this one was not up to par. Yes, having it rank second-worst in the critics' survey should be a wake-up call, and the production problems the show's been having lately seems to suggest that the powers-that-be know they need to change things up, though they might not know how best to do it. Leave it out of the nominations this time around, and wait to see if it reclaims its old magic.
Eight more, including my No. 1 hope, so read more
I know there are tons of notable movie dads out there, but there are only ten that can make my Top 10 Movie Dads list.
So tell me: Which of my Top 10 is your favorite movie dad?
Father's Day is fast approaching, so what better time to honor some of the most memorable television fathers? I've compiled a list of my top 10 dads (and a few father figures) to go along with my great movie dads list from the other day. There were so many stern, sweet and just plain goofy men to choose from, ranging from Sandy Cohen on "The OC" to George's dad on "Seinfeld" to Al Bundy on "Married with Children," so be sure to let me know your favorites. Here's who made my final cut:
No. 10: Philip Drummond, "Diff'rent Strokes"
Philip Drummond often went around with an expression of good-natured surprise. He was utterly patient with his one natural child Kimberly and his two adopted boys Arnold and Willis. The three kids somehow found their way into crazy stressful situations (riding in cars with strangers, bank holdups, learning how to "just say no" to drugs, etc.), and then there were the hand-wringing moments, like when Philip was in the hospital after a car crash and had amnesia! But the sweet, even-tempered Philip Drummond always bounced back, and provided a supremely healthy living environment for all his kids — both adopted and natural.
No. 9: Joey Harris and Michael Taylor, "My Two Dads"
Nicole's hot city apartment with its spiral staircase and giant high-heeled chair more than made up for her strange and awkward situation: With her mother deceased, joint custody was awarded to both Joey and Michael, both of whom had had a thing with Nicole's mom. The way I saw it, Nicole had the best life, living with two dads who were remarkably opposite. There was the hot, free-wheeling dad (Greg Evigan) who could totally show her how to lighten up and party, and the uptight nervous dad (Paul Reiser) who could help her with school and who was great for anxious comedic relief. Plus, if Nicole ever needed womanly advice, "Night Court"'s Judge Margaret W. Wilbur was there to lend a hand. Besides having lost her mother, she had an awesome arrangement!
Eight more if you read more
Father's Day is only a few days away, and as I search around for some way to properly honor my dad this year, let's take a look at some of the coolest, funniest, bravest or just plain "dadliest" dads in movie history. Honorable mentions include Daniel Hillard, Mrs. Doubtfire; Ted Kramer, Kramer vs. Kramer; Don Vito Corleone, The Godfather; Jack Byrnes, Meet the Parents; and Sonny Koufax, Big Daddy. As for the ones that made the final cut, read on...
10. Mr. Levenstein, American Pie
Mr. Levenstein's (Eugene Levy) earnest bumbling when it comes to discussing matters of sexuality with his son Jim (Jason Biggs) is so misguided and yet so endearing. The filmmakers take your average awkward exchange between father and teenage son and multiply it by about a thousand, creating moments of excruciating embarrassment many of us have only had nightmares about.
9. Peter, Michael and Jack, Three Men and a Baby
What's more endearing than three grown male friends teaming together to collectively parent a baby girl left on one of their stoops? Nuthin'. It's fun to watch three bachelors adjust their lives to include little Mary, from taking her to work with them to shielding her from the drug dealers that are chasing them down. Ah, those early formative years.
Eight more if you read more
Summer used to be a time of reruns, but no more. Now summer TV is its own event, with cable and broadcast networks pulling up a whole new crop of shows. And here's the bad news for those of you who planned to get off the couch this summer: A lot of the summer series look great. Here are 10 great reasons to keep the remote control close at hand:
No. 10: "Saving Grace" (starts July 18, TNT)
I could watch Holly Hunter in practically anything, so it's really just a bonus that her new TNT series looks good. Hunter plays a hard-charging detective who drinks too much, sleeps with too many guys and generally plays by her own rules. But then a tragedy drives her to break down and ask for help — which comes in the form of an unconventional angel named Earl.
No. 9: "State of Mind" (starts July 15, Lifetime)
I know what you're thinking: "Lifetime? As in the Original Pictures about victimized women?" But now that I've been pleasantly surprised by the compelling "Army Wives," Lifetime has earned a little more credibility in my eyes. And now this series about a psychotherapist with personal problems of her own has at least three good things going for it: 1) Lili Taylor (right), who always delivers the right combo of charm and angst; 2) the producing team that brought us "Nip/Tuck" and "The Closer"; and 3) Devon Gummersall, aka Brian Krackow from "My So-Called Life." Yeah, I'm so there.
To see the other 8, read more
I recently brought you my list of the Top Ten Gentlemen I am most excited to check out on the big screen this summer, and now I'm turning my attention to my favorite ladies. And no, John Travolta simply doesn't cut it for either of the top ten lists. Honorable mentions, however, include the entire cast of Evening (Claire Danes, Toni Collette, Meryl Streep, etc.) and Leslie Mann whose pixie-voiced crassness in Knocked Up just about killed me. But I digress. On with the list of ladies...
No. 10: Jessica Biel
Jessica's summer flick, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, may not end up being my cup of tea, but there is no denying that the hyper-fit starlet is everywhere these days. Her relationship with Justin Timberlake is certainly catapulting her to A-List gossip status, but she has been getting these coveted roles without the help of anyone bringing SexyBack. Plus, it's hard not to root for a girl who could definitely beat most of our Boys of Summer in a fight.
To see the rest of our top 10, read more
On Mother's Day this Sunday, it's important to honor our moms. It's also important to celebrate all the stepmothers, grandmothers, aunts, neighbors and other women who nurture and raise children that are not biologically their own. Thus, I present my homage to these women with a list of TV and movie mother figures, those characters whose hearts are generous enough to take in children who are not technically theirs. Don't worry that you don't see Henry from "Punky Brewster" or other male caretakers since dad figures will be featured next month for Father's Day! And stay tuned for tomorrow's list of memorable moms-and-daughters from TV.
Mrs. Garrett, "The Facts of Life"
As the housemother of a girls' school dormitory, Mrs. Garrett functions as a stand-in mom for several teenage girls. And with all the morality lessons those girls had to learn each episode, Mrs. Garrett certainly has her work cut out for her, yet she always comes through with her sense of humor intact. She even taught me to "take the good, take the bad, take 'em both and there you have... The Facts of Life... The Facts of Life."
Many more great ladies if you read more