Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Chandler Bing 's back... with a Bang

This season, after a lot of thought (since I wanted to cut down on my tv watching time), I decided to stick to only 5 shows on TV. Four I chose were from abc, including the 3 biggies - Lost, Grey's Anatomy and Desp. Housewives. Among the several new shows from abc, Six Degrees seemed more interesting to me (than Men in Trees, 9, Help Me Help You and Ugly Betty) although its premiere episode wasn't too flattering. However, it is the new show from NBC - Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - which has been the best of the lot till now (of course, Lost is yet to begin).

If the first two episodes of Studio 60 are any indicator, I am sure this show is only going to boost nbc's comeback. Till now, everything about the show has been great. The first two episodes were very racy, the cast has been amazing and the cold open at the end of the second episode was hilarious. Even the background score was very cool (slightly familiar though). But what I liked best about the show is that everything is so real-like. We have a SNL-ish "show-within-the-show" (Studio 60 inside the Studio 60) on the fictional tv channel NBS (!!), which is trying to get back on top. Its all so "Adaptation." over and over again.

And some good news: you can watch the episodes online @ Shows from abc are also available @ Do watch the episodes of Studio 60 and let me know if you enjoyed it as much.
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Thursday, September 21, 2006

How Opal Mehta lied, cheated and 'internalised' -- OR -- How I fell for hype, again.

Ever since the book "How Opal Mehta..." was under scrutiny for plagiarism, I wanted to find it out for myself. I couldn't get a copy of the book (which just shows how all people fall for hype) but I somehow managed to get the books that supposedly inspired Opal - "Sloppy Firsts" & "Second Helpings".

Before I read "Sloppy Firsts", I had zilch expectations. I reasoned that if it was good enough to have a sequel ("Second Helpings"), then it couldn't be too bad. And anyways, it was only some 300 odd pages. Surprise surprise, I really liked the book. I have seen quite few American teen movies and even those that are supposedly great (like Sixteen Candles) weren't really up to my taste. However, I found the book (which has the same plot as any of those movies) really witty and charming and in many places, laugh-out-loud funny (esp. sequences involving the clueless crew).

So much so that, I was looking forward to Jessica again in "Second Helpings". And that didn't disappoint either. It was equally charged as the first one and maintained the continuity for all the characters. When I found out that the 3rd book in the series ("Charmed Thirds") was out, I couldn't stop myself. Although, it wasn't as good as its predecessors, the 3rd book was still good. Jessica Darling and her journal had me entertained throughout. Opal Mehta was still in demand and I finished 3 other books ("Only", "The Concrete Blonde" (W-O-W) and "Starry Nights") before I could finally lay my hands on "How Opal...".

I finished it in about 4 hrs. And I can say without doubt that Kaavya has more than 'internalized' from the Jessica series. (Minor Spoilers Ahead) May be since Opal is also a high school senior, it is okay to be using the same slang in the book (I distinctly remember 'dregs', 'upper crust', 'Krispy Kreme' and esp 'puh-leez'). But lifting off the entire cast of characters, the situations and the narrative style cannot be justified. Just to list out some of the many: Opal Mehta is the desi version of Jessica Darling, the clueless crew have been changed to the HBz, Marcus becomes Sean, Opal's parents are a lot similar to Jessica's, Jeff is a straight version of Paul. And, this is supposed to be a totally different book. While reading, I constantly had a sense of deja vu. You will too, because there is a lot of paraphrasing going on (see here). And did I mention that both the stories are set in New Jersey?

I do agree that the plots are quite different. "How Opal..." has a funnier polt (which hasn't been well exploited) and even if nothing else, the acronyms - PISS, HOWGAL, HOWGIH and TIP are quite funny. But they are completely overshadowed by the 'internalized' happenings which occurs in just about every page of the book.

So, what did I find out? This Opal is fake. But, going by the hype was certainly worth it (how else would I have known about the Jessica Darling series?). Now, if you prefer watching 'Zeher' or 'Killer' to 'Out of Time' and 'Collateral', then, Opal Mehta is exclusively for you. Otherwise, go for the Jessica Darling series and have some clean harmless fun.
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Friday, September 01, 2006


Remember "Fanaa"? Yeah, the worst movie ever. Or so I thought until I was forced to sit through "Shikhar". It beats Fanaa big time in being the most illogical, horribly over-acted, plot-less movie I have ever seen. Hopefully, the worst I'll ever see. May be that's why I liked most of the movies I saw afterwards. Anyways, I thought these movies were good and worth recommending.

"Chocolat": A safe bet which was way more entertaining than I had expected. Johnny Depp doesn't have much of a role though.

"Millions": A very sweet movie that had me smiling and laughing throughout. I had trouble following the british accent but liked the movie very much.

"Adaptation.": The most intelligent and original movie I have seen in a long time. A certain must-see. (My tip: Watch the movie first and then if you feel lost, watch the trailer. Also, look at the credits.)

"Dirty Pretty Things": I saw it solely for Audrey Tautou ("Amelie", "He loves me... He loves me not" and "Happenstance" more than made up for the not so interesting "God is great, I'm not"). A real racy thriller which reminded me very much of "Gosford park" (you'll know why if you've seen both the movies).

"Little Women": A very entertaining movie, worth watching for the costumes, sets and the superb acting. You should like family dramas though.

"Gandhi": I thought it was good but not up to the hype (maybe because I have seen it many times in bits and pieces whenever it was telecast in DD). Worth watching simply because its Gandhi.

I am planning to stick with popular choices for the time being. Let's see.

PS: The post title doesn't mean much. You should be able to crack it easily.
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