Friday, December 27, 2013

GENERAL HOSPITAL: New Year's resolutions from the residents of Port Charles

Just for fun, I thought it might be entertaining to do New Year’s resolutions for our favorite Port Charles denizens.

Just a reminder: This is supposed to be fun, so let’s not freak out.

Patrick: I will learn how to use condoms. I’m a world-renowned brain surgeon, and I still managed
to have unprotected sex and (possibly) knock up two different women in a little more than a year. You’d think, especially since my wife is HIV positive, that I would have mastered a little sheath of rubber at some point.

Liz: I will figure out how to get a storyline of my own so I can stop propping other characters that don’t deserve it (cough*Sabrina*cough).

Carly: I will adjust my taste in men so it doesn’t allow me to sleep with (and make excuses for) the guy who kidnapped my daughter and arranged to have my son raped in prison.

Morgan: I will stop screeching “Mikey!” like a banshee and try (really hard) to stop reminding viewers of the Ford brothers on One Life to Live.

Ava: I will get enough self-esteem to stop sleeping with the virtual child that keeps envisioning my daughter when he’s doing me.

Kiki: I will pick a better name.

Julian: I will stop hiding behind an infant and grow a pair. I will also get it on with Alexis – because
she needs some loving and we have smoking chemistry.

Sonny: I will stop disowning children, lying for them and periodically shattering barware by tossing it into a wall. The next time I say "You're dead to me," I will actually die.

AJ: I will stop drinking every time things get rough – and I will hope beyond hope that the writers will give me more to do than drown myself in whiskey and then disappear for three months.

Carlos: I will stop trying to find dates in the shallow end of the pool because I realize I look like a dirty old man with Sabrina.

Michael: I will stop being attracted to people that may (or may not) be my cousin – and I will most definitely stop going after my brother’s wife/girlfriend.

Duke: I will realize that I’m being manipulated by a greasy little tyrant and find a way not to lose the family I fought to reclaim.

Robert: I will laugh at Ron Carlivati because he wasn’t smart enough to sign me to a contract and now Port Charles will be poorer for my absence.

Sam: I will continue to smile – something I didn’t do during the Jason years – and realize that I might have a thing for a certain type of man (especially since the last three men I’ve been in close proximity with – even though one was crazy and thought he was a vampire have all looked exactly alike).

Danny: I will just sit here and glower.

Molly: I will stop being such a Pollyanna.

TJ: I will realize that going into mob warehouses is a bad idea.

Rafe: I will realize that I have no ties to the canvas – other than an uncle that pays me zero attention – and I will volunteer for boarding school.

Taylor: I will just disappear under a rock where I belong.

Anna: I will (finally) take down the mob in Port Charles – even the ones that claim they’re coffee importers while making men dig their own graves.

Heather: I’ll realize the reason I’m crazy is because I’m actually allergic to bacon, so all those BLTs I’ve been eating have been a self-fulfilling prophecy of lunacy for me.

Franco: I will leave town and come back as a Cassidine.

Olivia: I will have a vision of total blackness – and then I’ll get shot and dumped into the watery grave that Jason currently inhabits.

Sabrina: I will get some self-worth and realize that I’m an adult and not a Disney princess. I will realize that when a man kisses someone else at his wedding to me, that means I should probably try to find love elsewhere.

Monica: I will stop enabling my children – and kick Tracy out of the house.

Tracy: I will stop enabling my ex-husband, and find a way to stay in the house.

Luke: I will continue to be a shell of my former self – spewing lies about my marriage to Laura – and pretending that I’m somehow a whole person even though I’m the worst father in history.

Lulu: I will stop being so shrill (so very, very shrill).

Dante: I will stop lying for my thug father and brother and actually do the job I signed up to do: Be a cop.

Maxie: I will come back to town thinner and with a certain glow, and reclaim the feisty heroine I used to be.

Silas: I will stop hiding my mobster past from a woman that was married to a hitman. She’s not going to care. She’s fine dating thugs. Heck, she used to marry men to steal from them. She’ll be fine with it and I look like a douche hiding phone calls like this.

Robin: I will go back in time and – when my husband says he needs time to choose – I will start him on fire and then head out to Spoon Island to get some Nikolas loving. Needs time to choose? Why did I marry this moron anyway? I mean, who asks a woman he's been reconciled with for two days to have a baby? He hasn't even asked who had me yet.

Nikolas: I will learn to see what’s right in front of me, like the fact that my current girlfriend is
carting around my nephew and pretending he’s her kid and my former girlfriend is kind of stalking me – even though she doesn’t want me and belongs with my brother.

Britt: I will find a better mix of evil and good without being a walking doormat and losing my edge. I will stop looking so guilty whenever someone looks at Ben, too. The kid is blond, how did I think I was going to get away with this?

Mac: I will realize I’m a bartender that used to be the chief of police and maybe find a different line of work.

Felicia: I will try to say more than three lines a month.

Lucy: I will not show any personal growth and stay exactly how I am – because I’m perfect.

Kevin: I will tell Lucy where I keep sneaking off to – especially since everyone else in the free world seems to know.

Scotty: I will continue being snarky to Luke and flirting with Lucy. If I happened to hop into bed with Bobbie, I’d probably be okay with that, too.

Felix: I will stop being a stereotype and try being an actual adult.

Brad: I will stop letting ever person in Port Charles bully me into doing things I know are wrong and then crying foul when someone calls me on being an idiot.

What do you think? What New Year’s resolutions do you think the denizens of Port Charles should embrace?

When does your favorite television show return?

Now that the new year is (almost) upon us and the holidays have passed, people are turning their attention to important things -- like when their favorite television show is returning from hiatus.

In addition to shows that are currently on their mid-winter break, we've also got a bevy of shows that are about to kick off new seasons (with Justified, Hannibal and Bates Motel being on the top of my watch list).

So, when is your favorite show returning?

Jan. 2
8 p.m., Community, NBC
8 p.m., The Big Bang Theory, CBS
8 p.m., The Taste, ABC
8:30 p.m., The Millers, CBS
9 p.m., The Crazy Ones, CBS
9:30 p.m., Two and  Half Men, CBS
10 p.m., The Assets, ABC
10 p.m., Elementary, CBS

Jan. 3
10 p.m., Dracula, NBC

Jan. 5
9 p.m., Downton Abbey, PBS
9 p.m., The Good Wife, CBS
10 p.m., The Mentalist, CBS
10 p.m., Betrayal, ABC

Jan. 6
8 p.m., The Bachelor, ABC
8 p.m., Almost Human, FOX
10 p.m., Teen Wolf, MTV
10 p.m., Castle, ABC

Jan. 7
8 p.m., Pretty Little Liars, ABC Family
8 p.m., NCIS, CBS
8 p.m., Agents of SHIELD, ABC
8 p.m., Dads, FOX
8:30 p.m., Brooklyn Nine-Nine, FOX
9 p.m., Intelligence, CBS
9 p.m., Ravenswood, ABC Family
9 p.m., New Girl, FOX
10 p.m., Cougar Town, TBS
10 p.m., Justified, FX
10 p.m., Killer  Women, ABC
10 p.m., Person of Interest, CBS
10 p.m., Chicago Fire, NBC

Jan. 8
8 p.m., Revolution, NBC
9 p.m., Psych, USA
9 p.m., Law & Order SVU, NBC
10 p.m., Chicago PD, NBC
10 p.m., American Horror Story, FX

Jan. 9
8:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation, NBC
9 p.m., White Collar, USA

Jan. 10
8 p.m., Bones, FOX
9 p.m., Hawaii Five-O, CBS
9:30 p.m., Enlisted, FOX
10 p.m., Banshee, CINEMAX
10 p.m., Blue Bloods, CBS

Jan. 12
9 p.m., Shameless, Showtime
9 p.m., True Detective, HBO
10 p.m., Girls, HBO
10 p.m., House of Lies, Showtime
10:30 p.m., Episodes, Showtime

Jan. 13
8 p.m., Switched at Birth, ABC Family
8 p.m., Lost Girl, SyFy
8 p.m., Hart of Dixie, CW
8 p.m., How I Met Your Mother, CBS
 9 p.m., The Fosters, ABC Family
9 p.m., Being Human, SyFy
9 p.m., Beauty and the Beast, CW
10 p.m., The Black List, NBC
10:30 p.m., Chozen, FX

Jan. 14
8 p.m., The Originals, CW
9 p.m., Supernatural, CW
9 p.m., NCIS LA, CBS

Jan. 15
8 p.m., American Idol, FOX
8 p.m., Melissa & Joey, ABC Family
8 p.m., Arrow, CW
8:30 p.m., Suburgatory, ABC
8:30 p.m., Baby Daddy, ABC Family
9 p.m., The Tomorrow People, CW
9 p.m., Criminal Minds, CBS
10 p.m., CSI, CBS
10 p.m., Men at Work, TBS

Jan. 16
9 p.m., Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, TLC
10 p.m., Ground Floor, TBS

Jan. 18
8 p.m., Flowers in the Attic, Lifetime

Jan. 19
10 p.m., Sherlock, PBS
10 p.m., The Following, FOX
10:30 p.m., Looking, HBO

Jan. 20
8 p.m., Sleepy Hollow, FOX

Jan. 23
8 p.m., The Vampire Diaries, CW
9 p.m., Rake, FOX
9 p.m., Reign, CW

Jan. 25
8 p.m., Lizzie Borden Took an Ax, Lifetime

Feb. 9
9 p.m., The Walking Dead, AMC

Feb. 11
9 p.m., Twisted, ABC Family

Feb. 14
House of Cards, Netflix

Feb. 17
8 p.m., Star-Crossed, CW

Feb. 24
8 p.m., The Voice, NBC
9 p.m., Dallas, TNT

Feb. 25
8 p.m., Glee, FOX

Feb. 26
9:30 p.m., Mixology, ABC
10 p.m., The Americans, FX
10 p.m., Nashville, ABC

Feb. 27
9 p.m., Grey’s Anatomy, ABC
10 p.m., Scandal, ABC
10 p.m., Vikings, History

Feb. 28
10 p.m., Hannibal, NBC

March 6
9 p.m., Suits, USA
10 p.m., Sirens, USA

March 9
8 p.m., Once Upon a Time, ABC
9 p.m., Resurrection, ABC
10 p.m.,  Revenge, ABC

March 11
10 p.m., Mind Games, ABC

March 19
9 p.m., The 100, CW

March 31
9 p.m., Friends With Better Lives, CBS

April 1
9 p.m., The Mindy Project, FOX

April 19
9 p.m., Orphan Black, BBC America

 What do you think? What show are you most looking forward to?

Friday, December 20, 2013

2013 YEAR IN REVIEW: The most entertaining movies of the year

There wasn’t a lot for me to love in movies this year.

It’s sad, but it’s true.

When I sat down to do my end of the year lists – this was the hardest one.

To be fair, I have high hopes for Anchormen 2, The Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle – but I just haven’t gotten a chance to see them yet.

I should mention that when I do a movie list, I do the most entertaining vs. “the best.”

First off, I’m never going to see all the little Oscar bait movies and second, sometimes a movie just needs to be entertaining – not Oscar-worthy.

So, what were this year’s most entertaining movies?

10. This is the End: This is the end of the world flick with Jonah Hill, James Franco and Seth Rogan
(not to be confused with the end of the world flick below) that features a bevy of delightful cameos, including one by Emma Watson that is laugh-out-loud funny. This takes a humorous look at The Rapture – kind of – and what happens when people realize they’re facing the end of the world. This is a tongue-in-cheek version, though, so it’s hilariously funny and yet sweet in some places. It’s just sheer enjoyment -- but there's a lot of low-brow humor in it, so I know it's not everyone's cup of tea. It's just low-brow enough for me to find it delightful, though.

9. The World’s End: There were two of these with similar titles (look above) and kind of similar themes. I liked them both. This is the one with Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead cohorts Nick Frost and Simon Pegg – and they’re worth the price of admission alone. Then you add in Martin Freeman and things become hilariously wonky. I like these actors, I like this type of humor and I love this movie. That being said, I understand it’s an acquired taste – I just happen to acquire it whenever this combination gets on the screen together.

8. Despicable Me 2: I want my own minions. That’s all I can say. As far as animated movies go, this little gem didn’t get the attention it deserved. It’s witty and touching at the same time – and it’s great for children and adults. You can’t get much better than that.

7. The Conjuring: There are very few horror movies that I can tolerate these days – and that’s coming from a huge fan of the genre. The Paranormal Activity movies are so bad they’re unintentionally hilarious. The first Insidious was laughably bad, so I didn’t bother seeing the second one.  This is a haunted house tale set in the 1970s, and it boasts a stellar cast that is anchored by Vera Farmiga and Lili Taylor impressively. It boasts some genuinely chilly moments – and a decided lack of gore. I’m not against gore, but when a movie can scare you without it – you know you’ve found a winner.

6. Fast & Furious 6: I don’t care what anyone says, I love these movies. They’re never going to win any awards. They’re never going to be on anyone’s “best of” list (except for mine, obviously). They’re never going to be remembered as anything other than high octane fun. I like the car scenes. I like the improbable escapades – including taking down a tank on a bridge and an airplane before it can take off. This most recent film saw the death of two core characters. And now, since Paul Walker’s death, it’s inevitable that the next movie is going to tug on a lot of heartstrings – whatever they decide to do. As it is, I love the music, I love the cast and I love the action. That’s entertainment to me.

5. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: I’m not going to lie and say that the movie isn’t padded,
but what Peter Jackson has done right here far overshadows what he’s done wrong. The elvish side story – which I was initially worried about – is both fun and intriguing. The actions scenes are crisp and awe-inducing, and the heart of the movie is as poignant as ever. My only true quibble is that Jackson seems to be trying too hard to convince the audience that Sauron is a constant threat. The truth is, The Hobbit was a simple story and Jackson should have embraced that – instead of trying to build on it.

4. 12 Years a Slave: There’s not a lot of fun in this movie. In fact, the whole thing is pretty much a downer. Sure, there’s the central theme of never giving up to consider, but whenever you’re dealing with slavery it’s not exactly entertaining. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays the central character, Solomon Northup. Actually, that’s a misnomer. Ejiofor embodies the tortured character, letting go of everything but the performance – and it is breathtaking. Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Michael Fassbender, Sarah Paulson, Alfre Woodard and Brad Pitt all give Ejiofor a lot of support – but the movie is his and the story is touching.

3. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: I know a lot of people didn’t like the first movie in this
franchise, but I wasn’t one of them. I happened to enjoy the first movie a great deal – and I couldn’t be a bigger fan of Jennifer Lawrence, so I was understandably excited for the second book. The Hunger Games is more than a young adult series of books. It’s a commentary on politics and power – and there are going to be losses. This second movie in the trilogy revs up the pomp and circumstance of the capital and expands on Katniss’ constant trouble fitting into a mold she didn’t pick. Lawrence steals the movie – as always – and her final scenes were Woody Harrelson at the end of the movie are both chilling and heartbreaking. I can’t wait for the finale.

2. Gravity: This is a little movie about space. I know, it’s a contradiction to think that, but it’s true. This is a simple story with a lot of depth, and Sandra Bullock again proves that she’s versatile as a performer. If you had told me that Bullock would be able to sell a gritty action adventure set in space a year ago, I probably would have agreed with. Ironically, Bullock can sell a gritty story about survival and hope that just happens to be set in space. Bullock should definitely get an Oscar nomination – and maybe even a win – for her role in this movie. A lot was made about George Clooney being in the film with Bullock, but he’s more of a supporting figure. This is Bullock’s movie and it’s a moving story.

1. Star Trek: Into Darkness: The first movie in the rebooted Star Trek universe was pretty well
received – so Into Darkness had to be just as good. JJ Abrams decided to go the gutsy route and revisit one of Star Trek’s greatest villains – Khan. With the new timeline setup (which is pure genius), Abrams was able to revisit Khan but not tell the same story. What he did instead was give subtle and fun nods to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, while still telling a separate story. Benedict Cumberbatch sizzles as Khan and Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto continue to embody their big screen counterparts with both gravitas and a sense of humor. The role reversal at the end of the movie – and I won’t ruin it for those that haven’t seen it – actually brought tears to my eyes (and that’s something that rarely happens). Here’s hoping the franchise continues to live long and prosper.

Honorable mentions go to:

World War Z: This is not the book. If I try to compare it to the book, it’s a big fail. When I look at it as a zombie movie, though, it’s a lot of fun. I choose to look at it as a zombie movie and nothing else.

The Place Beyond the Pines: You had me at Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling. Still, this movie was marketed wrong. It’s a lot quieter than it looks from all the advertisements.

Her: It’s just odd enough to be poignant. A lot of people won’t get this one, but it had a lot of heart. It’s a commentary on loneliness – and it’s just wacky enough to be funny about it.

What do you think? What were the most entertaining movies of the year?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Best and worst of 2013

The end of the year is about looking back at the past and looking forward to the future.

What better way to do that than with a list?

I think most fans can agree that General Hospital has been on fire in recent months, but not everything was perfect.

Here’s my best and worst list for 2013:

Best Actress: Finola Hughes While there are a lot of fine actresses on GH, Hughes stood head and
shoulders above the rest this year. She was riveting as a mother fighting hope as she looked for the daughter she thought she had lost. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house for that reunion.

Best Supporting Actress: Maura West West has a thankless role as Ava Jerome. Odds are, she’s a cold-blooded murderer that seduced a barely-legal boy that used to be married to her daughter. There’s not a lot to like there. Still, West manages to charm as a woman that has absolutely no rooting value – and that’s a tall order.

Best Actor: Jason Thompson I’m giving Jason Thompson this honor in spite of the last month. I can’t blame him for the terrible writing following Robin’s return. He didn’t write it. He just has to act it. That being said, Patrick’s desperation to move on after the love of his life was killed was palpable. Now, if only the writers hadn’t totally screwed up the aftermath of Robin’s return.

Best Supporting Actor: Bradford Anderson I’m not sad to see Bradford Anderson go. I would be lying if I said Spinelli didn’t get on my last nerve. That being said, Bradford knocked it out of the park as Spinelli found out that Maxie had been lying and that he was really the father of baby Connie/Georgie. He turned in some good work – and I’m still glad the character is gone. I will miss the actor, though.

Best Younger Actress: Brooklyn Rae Silzer Silzer brought the house down as Emma this year.
Between snarky fights with Britt and hilarious “learning” lessons with Felix, Emma was literally the belle of this year’s Nurse’s Ball. It was Silzer’s magical performance at finding out that her mother was alive, though, that really sealed the win.

Best Young Actor: Bryan Craig Craig reminds me of one of the lost Ford brothers from One Life to Live – except he can act. Sure, every time he says Mikey I want to cut his tongue out, but Craig has stood toe-to-toe with some of GH’s most powerful performers this year – and he actually stole the scenes.

Best Return: Robert and Robin Scorpio Ah, this category could be full of people. Ultimately, the most important returns were Robert and Robin. Robin is the heart of GH’s history, and her return to her mother, father and daughter was overwhelming -- and full of rich emotion. That her father, Robert, was revived to save his daughter was a testament to the Scorpio legacy -- and their reunion was the moment when the tears really got flowing for me.

Worst Return: Jerry Jacks Jerry is usually entertaining and charming. Unfortunately for him, his appearances were sporadic and forced this go around -- and he was overshadowed by bigger villains. Never fear, though, I have no doubt he’ll be back to terrorize the denizens of Port Charles again.

Best Villain: Faison Faison is Faison. You don’t look at the character with any sort of critical eye
because if you do, then logic suddenly fails. Faison is funny and terrifying, all in the same breath. This time, Faison’s cohort Dr. Obrecht was just as funny (and entertaining). The duo was magical enough to overshadow Jerry Jacks – and that’s saying something.

Best Couple: Silas and Sam GH has done a good job on the slow burn of Silas and Sam – so much so that I’m actually looking forward to their scenes. GH has had trouble launching successful couples in recent years, but Silas and Sam are aided by the palpable chemistry of Michael Easton and Kelly Monaco. Sam spent years being mopey with Jason. Here's hoping she finds a little fun with Silas.

Best Couple (runner-up): Britt and Nikolas  Who could have foreseen Britt and Nikolas becoming as popular as they are? I certainly didn't. I figured Britt wasn’t long for Port Charles because she was being written as the evil black to Sabrina's angelic white light. Somehow, though, the prince managed to bring out the princess in Britt. They’re going to have issues, I know, what with her kidnapping his nephew and all – but I’m looking forward to their road back to each other -- which, I'm sure, is going to be ridiculously long and winding.

Worst Couple: Sabrina and Patrick If ever there was a couple that had less chemistry than Patrick
and Sabrina, I can’t think of them off the top of my head. They’re bland. They’re boring. Patrick looks like creepy uncle with the Disney princess, as well. Even if viewers hadn’t known that Robin was alive, Patrick and Sabrina were never going to be a couple that fans loved. The fact that fans knew that Patrick's true love was still alive, though, was enough to sink Purina from the start -- no matter what the writers want to believe.

Worst Couple (runner-up): Sonny and Connie The Bensonhurt lovers were just . . . blech. Maurice Benard must have been mortified when he had to act with the different personalities of his lady love. He looked it, quite frankly. I was embarrassed for him. The best thing that ever happened to that couple was Connie’s murder.

Best Story: Robin's Return Robin’s return was an umbrella story that roped in more than half the cast (Anna, Duke, Robert, Maxie, Mac, Felicia, Nikolas, Britt, Patrick, Emma, Sabrina, Felix, Carlos, etc.) It was so important because Robin is important to GH’s history and legacy. We’re still feeling the reverberations of Robin’s return – and that’s the definition of a great story (even if some of the facets of the reunion between Robin and Patrick were totally flubbed).

Best Story (runner-up): Julian Returns Bringing Julian Jerome back was a masterful stroke of genius. He ties together Anna, Duke and Sonny right off the bat. Then, by making him Sam’s father, you also link him to Alexis and Sam. Then there’s that whole Lucas thing to deal with – and that’s before you look at the family he brought back to town with him.

Worst Story:  Sabrina's "growth" Sabrina turns from ugly duckling to Disney princess to instant
migraine inducer. Here’s a tip when creating a character: When you tell fans how to feel about someone – sometimes beating them over the head with it – most of the time, they’re going to turn on said character. That’s what happened with angel Sabrina as every character on the canvas propped her in just about every conceivable manner. At a certain point, fans just don’t care.

Worst Story (runner-up): It's a Tumor  I love Roger Howarth beyond all words, but I'm never going to accept Franco. I'm never going to root for him. I don't care how you retconn his past. The guy is still a murderer and (possible) rapist. Trying to make fans forgive him because of a brain tumor failed on All My Children -- and it's failing here.

Best Plot Twist: Brenda didn’t sleep with Michael I know some people didn’t like that storyline, but I thought it was soapy goodness. After all the years of Carly getting one over on Brenda, just the idea of Carly’s head imploding because of something she thought Brenda did was hilarious. That being said, Carly was a lot more upset about the possibility of Michael sleeping with Brenda than she was about Morgan actually sleeping with Ava. That doesn't seem very balanced in my book.

Worst Plot Twist: Ben being Dante and Lulu’s baby. The minute Britt showed up pregnant at the Nurse’s Ball, who didn’t see the outcome of that pregnancy? Personally, I don’t think anyone should have a baby on soaps (especially Britt, because she’s a fun heroine) but you would think that RC would come up with some sort of deviation. He's not known for thinking outside of the box, though, so it is what it is.

What do you think? What were your best and worst moments of the year?