Oh where, oh where has my Scully gone? I was one of those geeks who taped and watched every episode of The X-Files religiously.
My Gillian Anderson crush was no secret; I even own one of those special edition Scully Barbies. Seriously.
My cats are named Mulder and Scully. I wish I were kidding.

I was sure that Anderson was going to have a successful film career after the series ended, but when she failed to garner a nomination for The House of Mirth, I knew her window had closed. She was practically unrecognizable in that role and it was the exact opposite of her TV persona; perhaps that is why audiences did not flock to the film. Anderson, who has since appeared in smaller roles (Playing by Heart), apparently moved abroad and is performing in theatre nowadays. I know you will sleep better at night with this significant update.

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Some of my favorite films fall under the ‘Movies that were Underrated and/or Underperformed at the Box Office’ category. A short list includes Gods & Monsters (Brendan Fraser at his best), To Die For (Nicole Kidman should have won an Oscar for this – she was incredible), A Walk on the Moon (Diane Lane + Viggo Mortensen = H O T), Wonder Boys (perhaps the only movie in history where you might like Michael Douglas), Bowfinger (Eddie Murphy’s first great performance since 1985), and Primal Fear (Edward Norton is mesmerizing in his first starring role).

Clint Eastwood has directed two of the most intense movies of the last few years, Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby, and both have left me with a new appreciation for the man. People seem to either love or hate his directing style. What I love about it is that every scene serves a purpose; there are no wasted shots or moments. Eastwood has the ability to put his actors (some of whom are infamously difficult) at ease, usually resulting in brilliant performances. The characters in his movies are always deeply conflicted, and Eastwood is very efficient about illustrating those struggles to the audience. As for Eastwood as an actor, I prefer his later work. I was very impressed by him in Million Dollar Baby, and I’ve always liked Absolute Power (which he also directed) and In the Line of Fire

I never gave it much thought before today, but there are a good number of movies that are either about or are somehow related to baseball. As a fan of film and of the game, I made a list of those I’d recommend and those I’d avoid. For every two Kevin Costner gems, Bull Durham and Field of Dreams, there is the inevitable For the Love of the Game. I don’t think Kev will ever recover from not becoming a Major League baseball player after his success at Cal State Fullerton. He even played an ex-MLB player in the surprisingly decent independent film The Upside of Anger. I watch The Natural and Eight Men Out every time they’re on cable. Guilty pleasure baseball themed films include A League of Their Own, The Fan (De Niro plays a stalker better than anyone on earth – see Cape Fear), the original Bad News Bears, Major League, and Stealing Home (two words: Jodie Foster). And although it was made for HBO, 61* is a fantastic one as well. I still haven’t seen (it is about the Red Sox after all) Fever Pitch or Mr. 3000.  Here are a few that I wouldn’t even watch if I were home sick on the couch: Angels in the Outfield, The Scout and Summer Catch (is Freddie Prinze Jr. good in anything??). Yikes

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Without question, the last decade has provided us with two of the greatest inventions ever – TiVo and iPods. TiVo owners are forever spoiled; watching television like we used to now challenges our patience. Hotels and households without TiVo do not hold the same allure. Admit it. You know what I’m talking about. And if you are a music aficionado of any degree, the sheer portability and capacity of an iPod has probably also changed your life. Or at the very least put a little soul in your step.

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As I child, I thought it was odd that my parents referred to our TV as the Boob Tube.  I can tell you with great certainty that I’ve still never seen a television remotely shaped like one.

I mourned the end of
Six Feet Under like it was my own family heading down that road with Claire. The last time I responded this way to a TV show was when Jimmy Smits died on NYPD Blue. I imagine that the good folks at Kleenex report higher sales during series’ and season finales. Alan Ball is a genius, and SFU ranks as one of my top three television shows. Ever. I can’t recall any other shows, or movies for that matter, that have affected me to the point where I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night  pondering the characters’ lives like they were personal friends of mine.

I pre-ordered the first season of
Lost on DVD, and I am just nutty enough to watch all of the episodes in a row (without commercial interruption, thank you very much) before the new season starts in September. Here are the reasons I love this show: it is a tremendously fresh premise, it unfolds very creatively, and there are layers upon layers of literary and cultural references and mysteries, all open to many interpretations. Needless to say, I await the second season premiere with a tad too much anticipation.

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My CD collection and musical taste ranges (alphabetically of course) from ABBA to ZZ Top, but I am currently obsessed with Green Day. American Idiot is probably the best album of the decade, at least thus far. It is a beautiful rock opera, and you must listen to the entire CD in order.

On the other end of the spectrum, I am also really enjoying Kelly Clarkson’s latest, Breakaway. I only quietly admitted to owning and liking her debut album, but I have discovered other openly proud listeners since, and now feel more comfortable declaring myself an official Kelly Clarkson fan.

Most people prefer early Madonna, but Ray of Light and Music are my favorites. For that reason, her last effort, American Life, was disappointing. I am looking forward to the return of electronica Madonna, as her new CD is scheduled to be released later this year.

Shameless Plug Alert: If you haven’t heard of him, you will. Go to iTunes and give a listen to Matt Nathanson. He is a good friend of mine, and even if he wasn’t, I would own his music. His last album, Beneath These Fireworks, is out on Universal Records and he is recording new material as we speak. He will be releasing a live CD in 2006, but if you get the chance, I highly recommend that you see him perform live. You won’t be disappointed.Peruse his website, www.mattnathanson.com, for tour dates and read his online journal for a good laugh.

One last music note – for something different, funky and cool, listen to the two CDs by Nortec Collective. They refer to their genre as Tijuana Techno, and I would describe it as brass & drum electric funk rock.


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