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Tag: Middle-Aged Butt-Kicking (61-70 of 72)

Battle of the 'Merlin's!

Merlin_l No, I’m not talking about some sort of epic Gandalf-Saruman-esque showdown (as awesome as it would be to watch Merlin fight himself). I’m talking about the epic fight for supremacy that’s currently going on in my imagination between Colin Morgan — the actor portraying the wizard in the new Merlin miniseries, airing tonight at 8 p.m. on NBC — and Sam Neil, the actor who expertly stepped into Merlin’s magical shoes more than a decade ago.

Sure, 1998’s Merlin already has the advantage, being that it’s my favorite miniseries of all time, and I have yet to see tonight’s Merlin. But my colleague Adam Markovitz has made a strong case for Morgan in his B+ review of the miniseries, which began last Sunday: “There’s enough sword-clanging action — not to mention homoerotic tension — to keep viewers happily entertained for a spell.”

So let’s weigh their pros and cons. Morgan’s pros: 1) He’s a looker, 2) Re-imagined as a youngster, Merlin is likely more productive in night-time battle, considering his ability to go to bed after 8 pm. Cons: 1) Battling at dawn proves more difficult, without chalices full of Red Bull, and 2) I can’t seem to get behind a character that has strayed so much from its original form (blasphemy!). Now, let’s look at Neil’s Merlin. Pros: 1) He’s awesome, 2) He’s guides Arthur, defeats Mab, and gets the girl all on his own, and 3) He’s awesome. Cons: Well, I’ll let you guys fill in the cons on this one, because I really can’t think of any!

Who wins the battle for supremacy, folks? And will you be watching Merlin tonight?

'Cliffhanger' reboot: What the what?

Producer Neal Moritz (Fast & Furious) is planning to reboot the 1993 Sylvester Stallone film Cliffhanger. "Just as they rebooted Star Trek, we’re going to do the same with Cliffhanger," Moritz told Variety . This statement seems ridiculous for multiple reasons:

1) In the words of Mike Bruno, does he mean "broaden its appeal beyond the geeky Cliffhanger die-hards who hold Cliffhanger conventions and such?"

2) Even though I believe that the opening sequence of that Renny Harlin-directed action movie is one of the best ever, I’ve never found myself wondering what a young Gabe (Stallone) and Hal (Michael Rooker) were like. I haven’t spent the last 16 years wishing I knew how Gabe (Stallone) and Jessie (Janine Turner) met. I had to look up Jessie’s name just now.

3) I get that Cliffhanger is a pretty great title for an action-thriller about rock climbing, but why couldn’t they just come up with an original concept. I find it interesting that Moritz’s production company is called Original Films and yet it’s also attached to a remake of Kurt Russell’s Escape From New York.

P.S. If you’re going to revisit the Stallone and Russell canons, wouldn’t a Tango & Cash redux be more economical? I would actually enjoy seeing what LA’s top cops were like in their prime…

Norm MacDonald on 'Letterman': Shock me, shock me, shock me with that deviant behavior

(Sorry, just thought it was high time for an Empire Records reference on a Friday morning.) Sometimes it takes a random Norm MacDonald appearance on late-night TV to make us realize that we’ve kind of missed Norm MacDonald. On last night’s Late Show, the comedian regaled a giggle-fittier-than-usual Dave Letterman with such lighthearted topics as euthanasia and crystal meth. In the second part of his interview, embedded below, he drops the F-bomb during a story about Bob Uecker and John Fogerty, seemingly just for the f—ing hell of it. Press play below.

Are out-of-the-blue small doses of Norm enough for you, or would you want to watch him do something more regular on TV?

Sylvester Stallone likens filming of action sequence to sex

I’ve never been on the set of an action movie (sadly), but this behind-the-scenes video from the set of Sylvester Stallone’s latest, The Expendables, proves accurate what I have always imagined: Grown men stand around going "pow-pow-pow-pow," appear to write the script on the spot, and get their rocks off watching an airplane fly over an explosion. I can’t wait for this movie. (Not sarcasm!)

You don't mess with Dolph Lundgren

Dolphlundgren_l_2London’s Daily Mail newspaper reported that ’80s action star — and our favorite comeback story waiting to happen — Dolph Ludgren foiled an armed robbery attempt without even being at the scene of the crime. His picture was enough to scare the perpetrators.

The paper says that a trio of armed and masked robbers busted into Lundgren’s villa near Marbella, Spain, and tied up his wife, terrorizing her into forking over cash and jewelry at knife-point. But after noticing a family photo of the brawny 6’5" karate black belt in one of the home’s bedrooms, they realized that they’d bitten off more than they wanted to chew and fled the scene. Lundgren’s wife, jewelry designer Anette Qviberg, called her husband in tears and he raced back home. The police are still looking for the attackers in the sunny, glitzy seaside area that is also home to such loaded luminaries as Simon Cowell and Antonio Banderas.

Lundgren, the blonde and chiseled Swedish muscleman who played Ivan Drago in 1985’s Rocky IV ("I must break you!"), costarred with Jean-Claude Van Damme in 1992’s Universal Soldier, and has cranked out scads of straight-to-DVD action flicks over the past decade. He’ll turn 52 in November. He also holds a master’s degree in chemical engineering, attended M.I.T. on a Fulbright,  and has a reported IQ of 160. He is currently starring in Sylvester Stallone’s action flick, The Expendables.

Wouldn’t you flee, too?

addCredit(“Michael Bezjian/WireImage.com”)

'Idol': How much do we love Anoop's parents?

It’s official! They’ve been the cutest things ever for weeks now, but Anoop Desai’s parents have replaced Kris and Adam as my new American Idols, at least for Disco Week. What? I’m not Slezak. I need not justify my love with 4000 words, a pie-sliver of which consists of delicious yet annoyingly hunger-inducing food metaphors. Press play below for the best hand gestures of last night’s disco dance party!

Even if Mr. Pink gets voted out tonight, there should be a Checking In With the Desais cam on these two winners for the remainder of the season. Who’s with me?

More American Idol:
Michael Slezak’s Top 7 TV Watch: Summer Lovin’
Would Simon Cowell’s exit be good for ‘American Idol’?
On the scene for Top 7.2 performance night
‘Idolatry': Scott MacIntyre on his post-‘Idol’ plan for radio domination
‘American Idol”s Kara DioGuardi: Once and for all — yea or nay on the new judge?
‘American Idol': Season 8 contestants enter the Steel Cage!
EW.com’s American Idol HQ

Susan Boyle on 'Larry King Live': Did you watch?

Larrykingsusanboyle_lOh, Susan Boyle, you little minx; why can’t I get enough of you? Unsatisfied with the avalanche of coverage this Scottish phenom has already received, I turned to the sultan of softball questions Friday to see if he could possibly unearth any new tidbits about the 47-year-old woman who brought down the roof last week on Britain’s Got Talent.

Sadly for we Boyle fans, Larry King made us sit through an excruciating 45 minutes of vapid chatter about Twitter and King’s competition with Ashton Kutcher (or "Oshton," as he called him) for one million followers. I thought we’d never get to Boyle — but then there she was, in all her un-tweezed glory. And wearing Wilma Flintstone beads, to boot!

Granted, I could barely understand some of the things she said (her "courage" sounded a lot like cottage) but it was positively delightful to hear her giggle over Simon Cowell wanting to make her a recording star. But then she spoke in all seriousness about not wanting to change her appearance because, after all, we’re talking about her identity here! And eat your heart out, Celine "I punch my chest for emphasis" Dion: Boyle ended her all-too-brief appearance with a breathtaking rendition of "My Heart Will Go On." Encore, I say! Encore!

So where will she do it, Boyle fans? How many days will pass before we see Diane Sawyer beat out Baba Wawa for the exclusive tell-all in primetime? Will you watch if she does? Or are you (gasp!) done with Boyle-mania? 

Embedded video from CNN Video

Enter the Fray: Susan Boyle, 'American Idol,' and other feel-good moments of the week

Susanboyle_l1After starting off the week with a couple of real downers — Simon Cowell’s possible departure from American Idol, Friday’s season finale of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles — the second half of this week provided a slew of uplifting stories. From Susan Boyle’s unlikely stardom (watch her Early Show appearance below) to Matt Giraud’s elimination save on Idol, there was a lot to feel good about, too.

10. Attention Twi-hards: Summit finally announced the rest of the New Moon cast. Did they get it right?

9. Have you seen the newest Harry Potter trailer? Three letters: O. M. G.

8. Simon Cowell is rumored to be leaving Idol at the end of this year, and Adam B. Vary isn’t surprised.

7. Michael Slezak suggested a slew of songs for the Idols to sing on this week’s Quentin Tarantino-mentored cinema night.

6. Adam B. Vary (and Smirkelstiltskin) reported on the scene from the American Idol performance and results shows.

5. Jeff Probst dedicated his weekly Survivor: Tocantins blog to the man everyone loves to hate, Coach, and the TV show he’d like to pitch about said man, The Dragon Slayer.

4. According to Benjamin Svetkey, Friday’s season finale of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles ”left more than a few plot points hanging tantalizingly over cliffs.” What did you think?

3. You reacted to American Idol‘s Songs of the Cinema week performances, and to the ”historical” results show where the judges finally used their power to save a contestant from elimination.

2. Another week, another number one ranking for Adam Lambert on the American Idol Power List.

1. Britain’s Got Talent contestant Susan Boyle became an unlikely star this week. The dowdy-looking Scot initially drew snickers when she appeared on the reality show, but her outstanding performance of a Les Miserables tune led Simon Cowell to his feet, Lisa Schwarzbaum to tears, and Adam Markovitz to wonder what the big deal was (and hoo boy — you told him).

Mel and Mike White made our Must List, how about yours?

Amazingrace_l_2What’s that you say? You don’t watch The Amazing Race, aka the best reality show ever (sorry, Biggest Loser)? Well, you should. And there are two very worthy reasons why: Mel and Mike White. The father-son team, comprised of Christian author/gay activist dad Mel and screenwriter Mike, land firmly at the top of my Must List this week. I was afraid the elder White’s days on the show would be numbered after he pulled pulled his groin in the very first episode, but the duo has managed to consistently beat their opponents while maintaining an upbeat attitude, polite demeanor, and constant stream of self-aware commentary. If you ever wanted an example of how to portray yourself on reality TV and not look like an asshole, use the Whites as your template.

Of course, I hope I haven’t jinxed them by mentioning them here. Help reverse my curse by checking out all our Amazing Race coverage (Josh Wolk’s recaps, Phil Keoghan’s blogs) and then sharing your Musts for this week. List up to three items from current TV/movies/music/books/games/online. Don’t forget your e-mail address, in case we decide to use your submission in the magazine. Deadline is Thursday, March 26 at noon ET.

addCredit(“Sonja Flemming/CBS”)

Hillary Clinton's 'Awesome' music picks

So you think there’s only one international pop superstar in the new Washington administration, eh? Not so! Just check out this clip of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appearing on an Indonesian TV variety show called Dahsyat ("Awesome") this week. (H/t my mom.) The way the young hosts swoon over Clinton, you’d think the Jonas Brothers, or whoever their Indonesian equivalents are, had just walked on set. After some serious talk, they even get the U.S.’ top diplomat to talk about her favorite music around the 4:30 mark. Clinton cites the Beatles and, naturally, the Stones — safe choices, sure, but undeniable ones. The whole thing is funny and surreal, and it’s a reminder that as far as I’m concerned, Hillary should do more TV here in our country, statecraft schedule permitting. Who’s with me?

More on pop culture and politics:
Cover Story: Barack Obama, President Rock Star
EW Gallery: The Great Presidential Pop-Culture Debate ’08
Barack Obama loves Beyonce and SNL
Obama’s iPod: Analyzing the presidential playlist

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