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Entries in dick cheney (154)

Tuesday
Feb212017

In Which Katherine Heigl Falls In Love With A Murderer

Knocked Down

by DICK CHENEY

Doubt
creators Joan Rater & Tony Phelan
CBS

"He's the first guy I feel like I could really talk to," Katherine Heigl explains to her mother, who is serving a life sentence since she was two years old. Her mother is very proud of Katherine Heigl, who has become a noted defense attorney. Why isn't anyone else proud of Katherine Heigl?

Actually, her boyfriend is. "You fight like most people breathe," Billy (Steven Pasquale) explains to her over dinner. He has just been released from prison on bail, but Katherine Heigl still finds something attractive about this pediatric surgeon, who is going to be convicted of a murder he committed twenty-four years earlier in Gramercy Park. He is really proud of Katherine Heigl: her education, after all, is considerable. She made it through four years of NYU without killing herself, and then headed uptown to Columbia for her law degree. It taught her, somewhere along the line, that it was OK to make love to her client. "We are the lucky ones," she muses in a private moment.

Katherine Heigl has everything she could ever want, yet people still don't want to watch her. At times she looks like a skeleton riding a bike through New York City in Doubt, the new show from the married Grey's Anatomy producers Joan Rater and Tony Phelan; she resembles a muppet when she is in the courtroom and her lips come together just so. Dulé Hill just looks at her like, "Why am I on this show?"

I guess it all comes back to when Katherine Heigl started saying bad things about Judd Apatow and how much Knocked Up sucked. It did suck, but maybe it was supposed to? 2007 was a very confusing year for a lot of people. Perhaps it was not the best idea to cast Ms. Heigl in a show that is exactly like Grey's Anatomy. "Travel's not my thing," she explains to her boyfriend at dinner, in an attempt to become even more unlikable to her target audience.

Men gave up on Katherine Heigl when she savagely turned on Seth Rogen, causing him to retreat into his office where he smoked so much pot that he drove other people out of the building. Women could still have a chance of liking Katherine Heigl, but Doubt gives them so many reasons not to do so. Personally, I love Katherine Heigl. Did you know that Katherine Heigl has two adopted children in real life, and is dating a murderer in not real life? "It's not going to be easy to explain the coincidence of the cat scratch to the jury!" someone bleats in the background.

In order to discover the reasons why Katherine Heigl's unpopularity has led to such low ratings, it behooved me to research the cause of Katherine Heigl's unpopularity with her key audience. This resulted in a somewhat combative conversation with my wife Lynne, which I have reproduced below to the best of my memory.

ME (DC): Do you think Katherine Heigl uses a loofah?

LYNNE: I don't believe she can actually ride a bike. That's probably a stunt double.

DC: Did you feel betrayed when she left Grey's Anatomy?

LYNNE: Not really, I mean, she was an actress on a TV show.

DC: Do you think Katherine Heigl smells like gasoline and Head & Shoulders?

LYNNE: They were still rolling out the credits on this show fifteen minutes in. Is that Omar Epps?

DC: No. Do you think people who travel don't like people who don't travel?

LYNNE: I don't understand the question.

To be fair, Doubt's questionable command of civil procedure renders the show essentially an extended fantasy sequence. In one of the show's key subplots, another attorney (Laverne Cox) wins the trial of a deranged man who pushed a woman in front of a subway. Afterwards, she commiserates with her associate (Dreama Walker), who exclaims, "Our client is on his way to a mental institution and we're supposed to be celebrating?" Where did she want a murderer to go, vacation?

Are you maybe starting to get the same sense that I am, that at one point Shonda Rimes killed a dude and the point of all these hour-long shows is to slowly legitimize murder in the eyes of the public until she confesses to Oprah and everyone is like, well, Viola Davis killed several people and continued a fruitful teaching career in a top tier law school, so you're fine Shonda?

But back to Katherine Heigl, the only subject really worth writing about. I have devised some suggestions for Katherine Heigl, so that she can resume her rightful career as a serious television and film star. My first thought was that she should do a role with an accent. Katherine Heigl with a southern accent would be just darling. If she can't do an accent, than she should stop dieting down to fit preconceived stereotypes about how leading ladies should look and play the role of a woman who is almost permanently pregnant. Gentile pregnant women are very sympathetic.

Anyway, it is kind of sad that Doubt is such a mess. I think part of the problem is that the show is photographed and scored like every other Shonda Rimes show. It just comes across feeling so generic at this point. Plus Katherine Heigl's outfits are not so exciting in this. She wears a lot of sweaters and the ensuing sexual milieu is extremely dated. I understand she is a powerful attorney in this diegesis, but she's already making love to her client, so keeping up appearances otherwise is maybe a misguided use of resources.

Dulé Hill and Katherine Heigl have a lot of chemistry. It would have been great fun to see them taking off their clothes, and I think that is where Doubt was eventually going down the road, but we'll never know now because the show is doing such garbage ratings. That's a shame, because I would have really enjoyed seeing their bodies press together. It would have sounded like a car wash.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

Tuesday
Feb142017

In Which We Always Desired A Normal Relationship

Mr. Grey's Beads

by DICK CHENEY

Fifty Shades Darker
dir. James Foley
118 minutes

In a Seattle cafe, Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) explains in the most half-hearted manner imaginable that he wants Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) back in his life. He is willing to change, he admonishes her, why would you ever believe otherwise? A moment before, the waiter struggles with a bottle of wine. Both diners appear flummoxed. You see, when two people are together, one of them always feels the slightest bit awkward.

Later, during the first sex scene in Fifty Shades Darker, Jamie Dornan pants like maybe he is going to be out of breath. Regular sex is much more taxing than torture, and it is part of the reason he used to have a contractual agreement that allowed him to take powders for water and gumballs. Next to his stash of various whips, chains and chokers is a glorious room of gumball machines that he only shows to Matthew Fox, and on more serious outings, former child stars. It reminds them all of what they lost.

Grey tells much of his backstory while trying on this normal relationship for size. His mother suffered from drug addiction and died. It is quite disturbing and boring to realize someone's past explains their present, and even more so when it does not fully take into account the considerable weight Jamie Dornan has put on his slender frame for this important sequel. Comparing him to the original Christian Grey, it might be said that there are now two of them. If you did not know any better, you might conclude that Dornan does not give a fuck.

Ms. Johnson on the other hand, really puts all of her considerable charm into this thankless role. She clearly does not want to seem ungrateful: the money from being "fucked" by this man will keep her on easy street for the rest of her life, and she does not actually even need to wintercourse with the blubbery mess like Chloe Sevigny. When Grey gives her an iPhone and a Macbook as a gesture after they reconcile, he texts her to dream of him. She responds, "Maybe. Laters Baby," and Dornan gets this little smile on his face, like how is this woman wanting to work in publishing when she sounds like Demi Lovato after four drinks?

Ana is not really liking her new job, because why would she be an assistant for some guy who looks remarkably similar to her boyfriend, when she could just serve her boyfriend? Eventually, Grey purchases the publishing company. She is not only unsurprised by the fact that she is suddenly working for him, she does not complain. Later, she accepts the position her boss had filled at the top of the editorial chain. Her first memo naturally ends with Laters Baby.

No it does not. She never sends out a memo, or knows what one is, since she has only been an assistant whose main job is to book hotel rooms and relay messages. Despite having nearly unlimited economic resources, Grey keeps having strange women approach him with vague accusations. Normally this would be a red flag for his girlfriend, but it's not like he did anything else weird recently. Bored with their sex life after a single week, he introduces anal beads and a new haircut into their lovemaking. She raises her right eyebrow like The Rock.

Involving Kim Basinger in these proceedings, at an Eyes Wide Shut style masquerade charity event no less, is a bit of a low blow. Director James Foley makes her look like Chelsea Handler a decade-hence. Basinger still gets my blood moving, and it is hard to realize why she is wearing a headscarf like a cancer patient. It turns out that she introduced Christian to this whole psychosexual lifestyle. "Without me, he would be in jail or dead," she tells Ana. "If you really want to make him happy, you'll let him go. Nothing lasts."

Afterwards, Ms. Johnson washes Mr. Dornan with a loofa. During each subsequent sex scene, Mr. Dornan's body is more and more burnt and abused, whereas in some scenes they don't bother applying the makeup since it distracts from his penetration. Everyone who has ever loved anybody knows that Kim Basinger is right and this relationship is going nowhere fast, but she really enjoys the high points: his cabin in Aspen, his massive yacht. I think the subtle moral code here is that having a lot of money is more important than good sex, and maybe a lot more important.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. 

Monday
Dec192016

In Which Lee Daniels Bases All His Characters On Sean Penn

To Sing

by DICK CHENEY

Star
creators Lee Daniels & Tom Donaghy
Fox

From the moment Queen Latifah opened Lee Daniels' new show Star with her throaty voiceover I was in love. My wife Lynne won't let me watch Empire anymore because she says that it only feeds into the stereotypes the media creates about the lifestyles of African-Americans. Since Star has a white lead — its titular character portrayed by Jude Demorest — she allows me to view the show as long as I close my eyes whenever a person of color is committing a crime.

This happens fairly early on in the series. Star walks in on some older fellow sexually assaulting her half-sister Simone (the actress most likely to become an actual star out of this show, Brittany O'Grady). Star indicates Simone should be quiet while she goes downstairs to secure one of the largest knives I have seen since the late 1980s. Her first murder is easy.

Star explains that she plans to move her and Simone to Atlanta from Pittsburgh. They stop in New York and pick up an incredibly rich black woman named Alex (Ryan Destiny) on the way. Alex's dad is Lenny Kravitz, but a very annoying version of Lenny Kravitz. Things only get considerably more exciting from here, especially when Star screams, "I killed that man for us," while wearing the most distracting hoop earrings I can possibly think of.

If I was to explain the top five actors that enlarge my penis to approximately normal size, the list would be in no particular order Bryan Cranston, Benjamin Bratt, Queen Latifah, Khandi Alexander and Jimmy Smits. Star has two people on this list with the possibility of adding the full set down the road. When Latifah finally pops up on this show wearing a red wig and looking even more spectacular than I ever could have imagined, I immediately paused my viewing of Star and did a hot rewatch of Just Wright.

From the moment these three young starlets hit the stage, only one question comes to mind: Where is Benjamin Bratt? It turns out he is at a strip club in suburban Atlanta looking extremely tired. Star explains that his regular stripper has syphilis. He makes out with Star at his leisure and agrees to manage the band. 

Besides being a fantastic singer and despite being white, Star is also fantastic at hand-to-hand combat. When Queen Latifah finds out that Benjamin Bratt and Star made out, she shows up with a gun, informing him that her father maintained a woman only needed three things in life: your bible, your piece, and your word.

Despite this, Benjamin Bratt arranges for the ladies to perform at the birthday party of a white NFL linebacker. "Do you want to change our lives?" Star screams at her bandmates, I guess as a way of hyping up the whole experience. At the party, the NFL player wears a loose fitting white shirt and eyes Star like she holds a bevy of Hershey's kisses on her insides instead of organs. An hour later she lip-synchs a song about wanting to be a variety of different things.

Real talk, Empire was a little too soapy for me and I feel dirty whenever I am forced to view Terrence Howard in any context. Star is way better so far.

Now that Queen Latifah is back on series television for the first time in decades, I can finally debut my five part retrospective on her seminal situation comedy, Living Single. Included in my recollections will be screenshots from messageboard posts I made about various aspects of the show from 1995-1996. This was a very early time in the history of the internet, and I would troll Living Single fansites and try to get Kim Coles replaced because I didn't like looking at her face. On Living Single, Queen Latifah was the editor of a magazine called Flavor, and I have brought everything I know of it into my journalistic work.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.