Sunday, August 27, 2006

Emmy Predictions, Part Five: Lead Actor/Actress

Well, the Emmys are just a few hours away, but I've made it to the end of my five-part series of blogs. Today we've reached the coveted awards for lead actor and actress. Here are my picks:

Outstanding Musical Performance in a Variety or Music Program
Barry Manilow, Barry Manilow: Music and Passion
Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report
Craig Ferguson, The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson
David Letterman, Late Show With David Letterman
Hugh Jackman, The 59th Annual Tony Awards

This is a weird category. It's as if they didn't have enough nominees for two separate categories, and decided to lump them all together. I have no idea how they are comparing the relative "talents" of each of these men (why no women, by the way?) so I will just make two guesses. If a non-talk show performance wins, the award will go to Hugh Jackman. I'm picking him if only for the eye candy factor. If a late-night host wins, Stephen Colbert will win. It's nice that he doesn't have to compete with Jon Stewart in this cateogory, and he may have a better shot.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Kevin James, The King of Queens
Tony Shalhoub, Monk
Steve Carell, The Office
Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men

There are some pretty glaring omissions in this list of nominees. Jason Lee and Jason Bateman both deserve a spot in this category. It just needs saying. That said, there is only one other nominee that merits recognition: Steve Carell. Ricky Gervais' version of the boss on the British version of The Office is a tough act to follow. The show could have easily flopped, but Carell made the role his own.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Christopher Meloni, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Denis Leary, Rescue Me
Peter Krause, Six Feet Under
Kiefer Sutherland, 24
Martin Sheen, The West Wing

This is a pretty exciting category, since none of the nominees have ever won an Emmy for their respective roles. Ian McShane and Hugh Laurie belonged in this category, but were, unfortunately, overlooked. I would look for Denis Leary to win this award. He would certainly give a memorable acceptance speech! It's possible that Martin Sheen will win for his last season as the President, but I think Leary's fresh turn as Tommy Gavin will earn him an Emmy. I hope he decides to smoke onstage during his speech.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Charles Dance, Bleak House
Donald Sutherland, Human Trafficking
Ben Kingsley, Mrs. Harris
Jon Voight, Pope John Paul II
Andre Braugher, Thief

This is more of a fantasy pick than a realistic one, but I think Andre Braugher will win the Emmy in this category. He doesn't have nearly as many awards as he deserves. Watch Homicide: Life on The Street and tell me I'm wrong. I think Charles Dance was a superb villain in Bleak House, but it's more likely that the film will win best miniseries.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback
Jane Kaczmarek, Malcolm in the Middle
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine
Stockard Channing, Out of Practice
Debra Messing, Will & Grace

Is this category some sort of brain teaser? None of these women can currently produce anything resembling laughter. This is worse than an all-Housewives group of nominees. I just closed my eyes and pointed to Debra Messing--next!!

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer
Geena Davis, Commander In Chief
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Frances Conroy, Six Feet Under
Allison Janney, The West Wing

Kyra Sedgwick is all over this thing. I may be biased by my desire to see Kevin Bacon in the audience (don't you love Kevin Bacon?), but I've heard that Sedgwick is pretty amazing as Brenda Johnson. Since three of the nominated roles are from shows that are now over, The Emmy may be one actress' parting gift. I'm still fairly sure that Sedgwick will win this evening, though.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Kathy Bates, Ambulance Girl
Gillian Anderson, Bleak House
Helen Mirren, Elizabeth I
Judy Davis, A Little Thing Called Murder
Annette Bening, Mrs. Harris

Having loved Gillian Anderson's solemn portrayal of Lady Dedlock, it's hard to imagine anyone else winning this award. In the event that she does not win, the award will most likely go to Annette Bening. HBO always gets a few throwaway awards.

Well, I'm definitely excited to watch the show tonight and see how accurate my guesses were. Hope you all enjoy the show, too.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Emmy Predictions, Part Four: Supporting Actor/Actress

We've arrived at Part Four of the five-part series of blogs on the upcoming Emmys. In Part Four, I will make my picks in the Supporting Actor/Actress categories. Here goes:

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Will Arnett, Arrested Development
Jeremy Piven, Entourage
Bryan Cranston, Malcolm in the Middle
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Sean Hayes, Will & Grace

I am claiming this award for Will Arnett, hands-down. He deserves it more than all of the nominees combined, especially since he's never been singled out for his hilarious portrayal of G.O.B. Bluth. He also does the funniest chicken impression ever. The other four jokers are all equally unremarkable by comparison, but I would look for Jeremy Piven to ooze onstage to accept the award if Arnett does not win.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
William Shatner, Boston Legal
Oliver Platt, Huff
Michael Imperioli, The Sopranos
Gregory Itzin, 24
Alan Alda, The West Wing

This is a tough category. With the exception of Oliver Platt, I think it's anyone's game. Shatner may use the full force of his personality to take the award, but Alan Alda may finally get his due (did you catch his staged speech-tearing bit at last year's Emmys?). Gregory Itzin was a pretty popular 24 villain, from what I heard, so he could upset all those guys. I'm picking Michael "Christofuh" Imperioli to win, because he deserves it, and because it is The Sopranos' last season. Imperioli's won very few major awards, and he gets some of the most memorable lines on that show.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Denis Lawson, Bleak House
Hugh Dancy, Elizabeth I
Jeremy Irons, Elizabeth I
Robert Carlyle, Human Trafficking
Clifton Collins, Jr., Thief

Hook Wedge Antilles up! I'd like to see Denis Lawson win for his portrayal of Mr. Jarndyce--he made a middle-aged man in love with a woman half his age not seem like a dirty perv! He might not win the battle of stuffy British movies, however, and one of the Elizabeth I actors may win. After Lawson, I'd put Clifton Collins in at a close second. He was pretty amazing in Capote.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Cheryl Hines, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Alfre Woodard, Desperate Housewives
Jaime Pressly, My Name is Earl
Elizabeth Perkins, Weeds
Megan Mullally, Will & Grace

Without a doubt, Jaime Pressly should be going home with an Emmy this weekend. Misbehaving middle- and upper-class women are no match for good ol' white trash, and Joy has trashiness in spades. Pressly also deserves to win because she's the actress I would have least expected to be funny. She looks like your typical vapid model/actress type, but she's got some comedic chops, I tell you what.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Candice Bergen, Boston Legal
Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy
Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy
Blythe Danner, Huff
Jean Smart, 24

Just so I don't seem completely biased, I'm going to pick Sandra Oh from Grey's Anatomy. The show is up for a lot of awards this year, so it's unrealistic to think that good taste will prevail over sheer numbers. My head picks Sandra Oh, but my heart picks Jean Smart, aka Charlene from Designing Women. She's just charming in every role she plays, even if she's playing an insane First Lady.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Kelly Macdonald, The Girl in the Cafe
Shirley Jones, Hidden Places
Ellen Burstyn, Mrs. Harris
Cloris Leachman, Mrs. Harris
Alfre Woodard, The Water Is Wide

After all the uproar over her nomination, there's no way that Ellen Burstyn will win. I love Kelly Mac--she rules in Gosford Park and State of Play--but this isn't the movie for which she should win an award. Alfre Woodard may win, since she definitely won't (and shouldn't) win for Supporting Actress. I think the whole throwing-awards-at-distinguished-veterans element may come into play, though, so I will randomly pick Shirley Jones to win.

I have no idea when I'll get to it, but Part Five (Lead Actor/Actress) will be coming soon.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Emmy Predictions, Part Three: Series

This is Part Three of a whopping five-part set of blogs about the upcoming Emmys. For now, I will be making my predictions about the awards for Best Series in various categories.

Outstanding Comedy Series
Arrested Development
Curb Your Enthusiasm
The Office
Scrubs
Two And A Half Men

Let's not kid ourselves; Two And A Half Men has no business in this category. Charlie Sheen is only funny in mug shots and tabloids, and the other 1.5 men are not worth mentioning. Curb has gone a little stale, and I doubt that it would hold up against its younger competition. As for the other three nominees, you might as well ask me to choose between my (fictional) children. Scrubs is hilarious, but has never won a major (read: neither technical nor creative) Emmy. In my heart of hearts, though, I know that Arrested Development deserves this boost after being so cruelly cancelled earlier this year. Unfortunately, my experiences as a short brunette in a tall blonde's world have taught me that life isn't fair. The Office is clearly the show to beat.

Outstanding Drama Series
Grey's Anatomy
House
The Sopranos
24
The West Wing

Again, with the Grey's Anatomy! I'll be so ashamed if it actually wins, but I doubt that it will. You can't throw around terms like "McDreamy" and expect to be taken seriously. As much as I love House, this show deserves awards for writing and acting (Hugh Laurie), but not for the series itself. The same things happen on every episode--patient gets misdiagnosed two or three times, somebody yells, and random events lead to the proper diagnosis. That said, the show is still better than your average medical drama. Any of the remaining three could reasonably take the prize, but I'm going to bet on 24. VH1's Best Week Ever made the show look pretty exciting, and that show has never steered me wrong. The Sopranos got progressively blah this season, and The West Wing seemed a bit too impressed with itself (Wow! A live episode! My, what groundbreaking television!).

Outstanding Made for Television Movie
Flight 93
The Flight That Fought Back
The Girl in the Cafe
Mrs. Harris
Yesterday

YAWN! We're just blowing through naptime, aren't we? I'm willing to bet that the panelists can't tell the difference between the two 9/11 movies, and that either Yesterday or Mrs. Harris will win.

Outstanding Miniseries
Bleak House
Elizabeth I
Into The West
Sleeper Cell

I'll be very surprised and upset if Bleak House doesn't win in this category. They didn't even have enough nominees to fill the traditional five spots. Elizabeth I was an unnecessary movie (the Cate Blanchett version is awesome), and no one should give Spielberg any more awards until he takes it up a notch (Into The West). Did anyone watch Sleeper Cell? I didn't, and you know I wasn't busy.

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
The Amazing Race
American Idol
Dancing With The Stars
Project Runway
Survivor

I didn't realize that The Amazing Race was such a powerhouse! It's won every year for the last three years. Must be the Jerry Bruckheimer factor (he's one of the executive producers). Like Ricky Bobby, that man must piss excellence. I'd say this show is a shoo-in, unless the phenomenon Dancing With The Stars can pull an upset. There's something to be said for the kind of magic that that show generated in a very short amount of time.

Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Late Night With Conan O'Brien
Late Show With David Letterman
Real Time With Bill Maher

There's no arguing with history. The Daily Show is the most likely to win this award, based on its previous record. Then again, I suppose every streak has to end sometime. This may be Colbert's year.

Check back later for the Lead and Supporting Actor predictions!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Emmy Predictions, Part Two: Writers

This is Part Two of a five-part blog about the Emmys, which will air this Sunday. In Part Two, I will make my picks/guesses for the awards for Writing.

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
Arrested Development, "Development Arrested"
Entourage, "Exodus"
Extras, "Kate Winslet"
My Name Is Earl, "Pilot"
The Office, "Christmas Party"

In terms of straight-up quality of writing, Entourage and Extras are the underdogs. The "Kate Winslet" episode of Extras was funny, but not terribly memorable. I'm also pretty sure that most teenage boys could write an episode of Entourage--some profanity here, some immature male bravado there, and a healthy dose of stupid nicknames. Don't even get me started on the dialogue that they write for women (the ones that actually get to talk). Earl and The Office are both funny and popular (I love this line from "The Christmas Party": "Happy birthday, Jesus. Sorry your party was lame"), but Arrested Development is in its own league. Alas, AD tends to get overlooked, so expect the writing team from The Office to break out their boring lists of people to thank.

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
Grey's Anatomy, "It's The End of The World, As We Know It (Part 1 & 2)"
Grey's Anatomy, "Into You Like A Train"
Lost, "The 23rd Psalm"
Six Feet Under, "Everyone's Waiting"
The Sopranos, "Members Only"

I hope fans of the show will forgive me, but Grey's Anatomy seems like Desperate Housewives in a hospital. I'm sure it has its moments, but steamy medical dramas just aren't of the same caliber as even the lesser HBO dramas. Grey's also runs the risk of splitting its votes. The cheesy, expository dialogue often heard on Lost will likely take the island drama out of the running as well. I have a major soft spot for "Everyone's Waiting," Six Feet Under's tearjerking series finale, but the writing on The Sopranos is irresistible. The mob series may get some sympathy votes, since none of the lead actors received nominations this year.

Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie, or a Dramatic Special
Bleak House, Andrew Davies
Elizabeth I, Nigel Williams
Flight 93, Nevin Schreiner
The Girl in the Cafe, Richard Curtis
Mrs. Harris, Phyllis Nagy

With one exception, this list is identical to the nominees for Directing for a Miniseries. With High School Musical out of the mix, Bleak House has much better odds at winning in this category. Adapting a miniseries from a novel isn't easy, especially when it's a Dickens novel; try reading Our Mutual Friend sometime--huge!! The Masterpiece Theatre miniseries deserves to win, but look for Phyllis Nagy or Nigel Williams to possibly pick up the award.

Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music, or Comedy Program
The Colbert Report, Allison Silverman et al.
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, David Javerbaum et al.
Late Night With Conan O'Brien, Mike Sweeney et al.
Late Show With David Letterman, Eric & Justin Stangel et al.
Real Time With Bill Maher, Billy Martin et al.

David Letterman and Bill Maher's shows seem to be filler for this category, and Conan only stands a chance because he's hosting the freakin' show. I'd like to see the Colbert team win this award (who doesn't love "Better Know a District"?), but The Daily Show has won this award several times over the past few years. My money is on The Daily Show.

Check back later for predictions in the Series and Acting categories.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Emmy Predictions, Part One: Directors

The Emmys are this Sunday, and I'm really looking forward to watching them this year. Conan O'Brien will be hosting, and the Desperate Housewives are guaranteed not to win any awards. For the rest of the week, I will be (correctly?) predicting the winners in all of the major categories. I'll start with the awards for Directing:

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series:
The Comeback, Michael Patrick King
Curb Your Enthusiasm, Robert B. Weide
Entourage, Dan Attias
Entourage, Julian Farino
My Name Is Earl, Marc Buckland
Weeds, Craig Zisk

I'm eliminating The Comeback and Curb right away, since the former was cancelled, and the latter has not won since 2003. Entourage will likely split the votes for its two directors, giving neither enough panel votes to win. My Name Is Earl definitely deserves to win, but Weeds makes for interesting competition. Both are newer shows and first-time nominees, so it's anyone's award for the taking. Hopefully Earl's karma will beat Weeds' dark humor.

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
Big Love, Rodrigo Garcia
Lost, Jack Bender
Six Feet Under, Alan Ball
The Sopranos, Tim Van Patten
The Sopranos, David Nutter
24, Jon Cassar
The West Wing, Mimi Leder

Lost and The West Wing may have the edge as the only nominees returning from last year (Lost won), but Lost was a bit slow this season. Sentimentality may play a role as West Wing and Six Feet Under are both no longer among the living. I'd be shocked if Big Love beat out all of the heavyweights, but it has novelty on its side. 24 has some major nominations this year, but it hasn't had a directing nomination in three years, and has never won; a definite long shot. The award will probably go to one of the Sopranos directors, and I'd cast my vote for the "Members Only" episode directed by Tim Van Patten. As the premiere episode after a long hiatus, "Members Only" delivered violence, humor, and some pretty dramatic shocks.

Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie, or a Dramatic Special
Bleak House, Justin Chadwick
Elizabeth I, Tom Hooper
Flight 93, Peter Markle
The Girl in the Cafe, David Yates
High School Musical, Kenny Ortega
Mrs. Harris, Phyllis Nagy

As I stated in my blog about the Emmy nominations, Bleak House is a major favorite of mine. In a just world, it would win all of the awards for which it is eligible. The Girl in the Cafe was dry and preachy, so I'm skeptical of its ability to stand out. Award shows sometimes favor obscure cable period pieces that no ordinary viewer has seen, which means that Mrs. Harris and Elizabeth I may have a chance. Emmy may go patriotic and reward anyone "brave" enough to capitalize on the September 11th tragedy, though (Flight 93). But I can't deny that, while never having seen it, High School Musical has some serious game. I've heard a great deal about it, and the series' soundtrack is all over iTunes. Plus, who doesn't love a musical?

Outstanding Directing for Variety, Music, or Comedy Program
78th Annual Academy Awards, Louis J. Horvitz
American Idol, Bruce Gowers
The Colbert Report, Jim Hoskinson
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, Chuck O'Neil
Saturday Night Live, Beth McCarthy Miller

My sources at the Internet Movie Database inform me that Saturday Night Live has only won in this category once (in 1976), and it gets nominated about as often as it airs a decent episode. No dice. American Idol is a long shot as well, even with the adorable memory of Kellie Pickler still fresh in our minds. I'll be rooting for The Colbert Report, but it is still a fairly new show, and Jon Stewart's shadow is pretty big at the moment. Looking back on Emmys past, it seems more likely that The Daily Show will win the awards for Writing and Outstanding Program and lose in this category. The front runner is most definitely the Academy Awards broadcast, which wins every few years or so--Horvitz in particular has won many times over. You just know the Emmy folks will jump at the chance to bestow an award on their social betters in the entertainment industry.

Check back for my predictions in the Writing, Series, and Acting categories soon!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Farewell, Bruno Kirby.

Gifted actor Bruno Kirby died this week of leukemia, and unfortunately his death was out-headlined by the arrest of the creepiest-looking murder suspect this side of the Unabomber. This is a shame, because Kirby, in addition to having an extremely cool name (which he wasn't born with), did some impressive work during his career, and he deserves a proper send-off. Not being capable of such an undertaking, I will still attempt to list a few my favorites among his contributions to the world of film and television.

This Is Spinal Tap: Kirby is not in the movie for long, but he gets a pretty funny scene with the Spinal Tap gang as their limo driver. Cutting people off mid-sentence is a hobby of mine, and I enjoy watching it done to comedic perfection. The part where Kirby is talking about Sammy Davis, Jr., and the bandmembers raise the partition is superbly timed and delivered. Kirby goes on to claim that middle-aged hair bands and their sleazy sexual innuendo are a fading trend; truer words have never been spoken, if you ask me.

The Godfather Part II: That's right, he was in Godfather II, the most ripped-off mafia movie in the entire canon. Before he got stuck playing second fiddle to the god-awful Billy Crystal, Kirby was taking direction from Francis Ford Coppola and doing scenes with no less than Robert De Niro. Give the man some respect.

When Harry Met Sally: I'd like to ask the two people who kindly opted not to stop reading my blog forever after the mention of that craptacular "film" (thanks, Justin and Kelley; love ya!) to hear me out. Yes, Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal are obnoxious and generally stank up the joint in this movie, but Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher managed to create a few decent moments. I like the part where Kirby and Fisher are on blind dates with Ryan and Crystal, respectively, and decide they like each other better. After dinner, they unceremoniously ditched the gruesome twosome in the middle of the street. About ten years later, the rest of America wised up and did the same.

Homicide: Life on the Street: It doesn't get any better than HLotS, people, believe me. Bruno Kirby had a memorable guest starring role in "The Gas Man," in which he held his own opposite the sublime Andre Braugher. As a man driven solely by denial and revenge, Kirby's desperate loser of a character sets out to kill the police detective who arrested him for murder. The actor alternates effortlessly between pathetic regret and terrifying anger, revealing his considerable dramatic range. He also directed an episode of the show, titled "Heartbeat."

All in all, I think Bruno Kirby had a career that he could look back on with pride, and I hope people will honor his memory by watching one of his non-Billy Crystal movies. If there's a God, this man will win the applause-o-meter competition in next year's "In Memoriam" segment at the Oscars.

Monday, August 14, 2006

If You See One Movie About Child Beauty Queens...

I got to see Little Miss Sunshine over the weekend, and it was way better than I could have expected. I had heard that it was funny, but nothing special. Without hesitation, I can say that Roger Ebert would have given this movie 4 Stars and an enthusiastic Thumbs Up if he was on active duty.

While it has primarily been marketed as "the new Steve Carell movie," Sunshine is a brilliant ensemble piece, with a little something for every actor (and every viewer). The film opens with a montage featuring every member of the Hoover family at a particular moment of their day: daughter Olive (Abigail Breslin) is mimicking the melodramatic gushing of a pageant winner on TV; son Dwayne (Paul Dano) is brooding over a Nietschze paperback; Grandpa (Alan Arkin) is enjoying some illegal substances; father Richard (Greg Kinnear) is speaking at a poorly attended motivational seminar; and, mother Sheryl (Toni Collette) is on her way to the hospital, where her brother, Frank (Carell), is recovering from a failed suicide attempt. After a few brief expository scenes, the family is off in a less than reliable VW bus to a children's beauty pageant in California in which Olive is a contestant.

As with any family comedy, a lot of the humor is produced from personality clashes. Kinnear's character is obsessed with winning, despite the fact that it is a concept entirely foreign to him. He criticizes his daughter for eating ice cream when she is preparing to compete in a pageant, and, in one memorable scene, shames Frank for using sarcasm, "the refuge of losers." Vulgar Grandpa rubs everyone the wrong way, and Dwayne refuses to speak until he can go to flight school. Dwayne is an underused character in the film. He spends the majority of the movie in silence, but, as with any non-speaking character, the moment when he does speak must contain some sort of payoff for the viewer (The Silent Bob Corollary). Dano has a poignant breakdown scene, but a subtle and believable one. His later spoken scenes left me wishing that Dwayne had dropped the vow of silence earlier. Fortunately, the film's conflicts (even the ridiculous ones) are treated respectfully, and are not over-the-top. This movie could have easily been a Meet The Fockers-caliber production, but its sweetness saves it.

The family's individual failures to function in the world do not transfer to their ability to exist as a unit. Grandpa might be a drug-addicted porno consumer, but he treats granddaughter Olive like a princess. In fact, many of the characters reveal their humanity through interaction with Olive. The proof of this is found in an incredibly funny dance scene that rivals the "Vote for Pedro" dance in Napoleon Dynamite. Just imagine "Superfreak" instead of Jamiroquai.

The acting is near-perfect. I'm glad that Steve Carell chose to take a step back from the whole leading comedic star thing and pull a David Spade in Just Shoot Me. I think he may be one of those actors whose strengths are better showcased through group projects. Greg Kinnear is, as always, excellent and immensely likeable, even as a man laying the groundwork for his daughter's future eating disorder. More importantly, the entire main cast works very naturally together. With some family comedies, the actors' looks and behavior make it difficult to believe that they've ever seen each other before. These actors not only make the love work, but the resentment, frustration, and loyalty as well.

Little Miss Sunshine is a unique family comedy in that it doesn't go for cheap, immature laughs. The humor is smart, brutal, and honest. Try to see it, if you can.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Nobody Puts Mel Gibson In A Corner.

I have a strange feeling that Mel Gibson will get away with his bizarre drunken behavior and his equally insane anti-Semitic remarks. Both he and his PR posse are doing everything right, and he's clearly studied the Hugh Grant Campaign of Shame '95. Here are a few reasons why Gibson may soon be back in the good graces of Hollywood:

Celebrity Support: Several members of the entertainment industry have publicly declared themselves pro-Mel, including Jodie Foster and Patrick Swayze (taking time away from his busy schedule). The guy who recently appeared in Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights might not have much influence, but Jodie Foster does. With the exception of Ellen DeGeneres (and Oprah Winfrey, whenever she decides to come out), Jodie Foster is the most likeable power lesbian out there. Even I was impressed that he got the very private Foster to make a statement to the media on his behalf. That fact that he's staying out of the limelight and letting others speak up for him is incredibly wise.

Taking Advantage of the Media Circus: I don't know about you "reading" types, but I've seen the same photos of a drunk Mel Gibson so many times that they've pretty much lost their effect. Since the entertainment shows have very little footage/photos to work with, they keep showing the same stuff day after day, which weakens the image's power. Tom Cruise fell out of favor with the public because there were far too many photos of him in creepy embraces with Katie Holmes and too many sound bites that revealed his lunacy. The overall tone of the news stories has also gotten a bit melodramatic; see the following clip of Jon Stewart mocking the coverage.

The Second Apology: After releasing a vague statement apologizing for his drunkenness which failed to acknowledge his use of anti-Semitic comments, Mel Gibson issued a second statement that addressed both his alcoholism and the claims that he was an anti-Semite. This apology was nothing short of brilliant. In a few short paragraphs, he manages to profusely beg the forgiveness of the Jewish community, invite said community to help him reform, take responsibility as a public figure, and play the alcoholism-as-a-disease card (I agree that alcoholism is a disease, but he was still playing the card for his own devices). Gibson is making gains on Hitler for the distinction of greatest anti-Semitic rhetorical mastermind. His father would be proud.

The only wrong turn that Mel Gibson has taken concerns his method of recovery. He has chosen to undergo outpatient rehab instead of staying in a recovery facility. If Kate Moss has taught us nothing, it's that you need to dramatically withdraw from a media scandal and re-emerge, healed, in order to win the public over once again.

If Mel Gibson is going to salvage his career, he needs to get more backing from his famous friends. I would suggest that he get a screw-up mentor of sorts, along the lines of Robert Downey Jr., someone who has hit bottom and regained their fame. His "Campaign of Shame" should probably be less public than Hugh Grant's, however. A single taped interview with a Diane Sawyer type would do just fine; perhaps a "very special" Oprah. Nothing over the top, though. Hugh Grant worked the late night circuit because of the nature of his offense; he could joke about it. Mel Gibson should remain as solemn and apologetic as possible.

Keep in mind that I think Mel Gibson is Tom-Cruise-level messed up, and his comments are inexcusable. We've all said some dumb things while drunk, but nothing along those lines. For my money, I'm a little tired of over-40 Hollywood males acting insane. Where are the philandering 20-something partyboys when you need them? On a related note, Comedy Central will be reairing "The Passion of the Jew," a South Park episode that, in addition to portraying Gibson as a crazy masochist, proves just how sharp those writers are. Perhaps Jewish leaders should make Mel Gibson watch that episode as his penance.