Am I a bad person for digging into this one? Because it may be the nastiest reality show ever to hit the air. Yet there's something about culinary guru Gordon Ramsay raking 12 chef wannabes over the coals that's just delicious. As is Ramsay himself: He's like Bobby Flay, Simon Cowell and the planet's scariest Little League coach all rolled into one seriously unflattering apron that's cinched in the back by a string of bleeped-out expletives. God bless him. The bit where he sampled the assorted trainees' signature meals was both cruel and grueling, though I'm not sure who suffered most the cooks responsible for the recipes or Ramsay's taste buds. It's no wonder he was in such a sour mood when the actual eatery opened for business. Poor guy probably still tasted "executive chef" and master tool Jeff's undercooked salmon. Or Dewberry's horrifying baked pasta. What the hell was that mess? And who names their kid after a Body Shop fragrance, anyway? Whatever the case, this was a satisfying opening course. And now that Dewdrop is stewing over Elsie's having put him on the chopping block alongside the Red Team's first loss, Carolann, and the mouthy patrons are getting served new asses by the so-salty Ramsay, I am totally coming back for seconds. Let's just hope it stays this hot. And that I quit it with these overdone food puns. Oops. Sorry about that. Damian J. Holbrook
Faith of My Fathers
Just in time for Memorial Day, this solemn dramatization of John McCain's Vietnam memoir opens in October 1967 with the future Arizona senator bailing out of his Skyhawk after a missile strikes its tail. He's quickly captured and roughed up by Viet Cong. A VC woman tends to his injured leg, for which McCain (Shawn Hatosy) is grateful; she reacts by spitting in his face. Then he's hauled off to the infamous Hanoi Hilton prison camp for a grisly five-and-a-half year stay. Honor is the overriding theme of this stoic tale, as McCain bravely endures mental and physical torture, solitary confinement, and constant haranguing from the commandant ("You drop bombs on our children!"). Hatosy who resembles former Phillie Lenny Dykstra without the chewing tobacco plays the hobbling hero as a feisty underdog who draws on flashbacks of his Annapolis hazing to endure the daily hell of POW life. While his family awaits news of his fate, he's ordered to give up the names of his squadron mates: Instead, he recites the lineup of the Lombardi-era Green Bay Packers. In solitary, he uses a tin cup to speak through the wall with a fellow captive about Stan Musial's baseball career. The brutality finally catches up with him, however; after seeing Hatosy dangle from a rope with his arms tied behind his back, one can understand why McCain was coerced into a confession of alleged war crimes. Following his 1973 release, McCain is contrite, but his father an admiral (Scott Glenn) will have none of it: "You left nothing back there you should regret." That's a message all Vietnam vets should hear. G.J. Donnelly
First, what was up with the Miss Universe pageant being presented at 8 am Thai time? No one looks that good that early in the morning. Airing this live was really that important? And second, Miss Venezuela totally got robbed by Miss Canada. All right, the South American beauty queen did completely flub the interview portion, but she was the only one who got a political question, and besides, she rocked that ugly-as-sin bikini they were forced to wear and had the most stylish evening gown of all. When they decide to launch "The World's Next Top Model," she should totally try out. And not to sound all unpatriotic on Memorial Day weekend, but I was baffled by Miss USA's inclusion in the Top 15 and then the Top 10 the "celebrity" judges must have seen something that I didn't. Because she should have been disqualified after the parade of country costumes; her horrible dress made her look like she came straight from Dollywood. And Miss El Salvador should have been given a prize for the most painful piece of headgear. By the way, since this is The Donald's event I mean, he hyped it on The Apprentice where was he? I had to fast-forward through some parts, especially the tour of Thailand sorry, beautiful country but I'd rather watch Amazing Racers play in tuk tuk's than watch pretty pageant people play nice with the locals. But did I miss him? Instead of the King of Monotone, I had to suffer through Billy Bush embarrassing himself by trying unsuccessfully to sound cool dude, only Matthew McConaughey can pull off a line like, "I keep getting older but they stay the same age." Eww. That is so not beautiful. Angel Cohn
Who knew that the prequel to the dimwitted guilty pleasure Romy and Michele's High School Reunion would actually try to rip off The Wizard of Oz? But this blatantly obvious borrowing was actually more entertaining than the recent letdown version with the Muppets. Sure, this movie should never have been made, and has been kicking around waiting for Katherine Heigl to get a new series. (Hello, Grey's Anatomy!) But the Ozian elements were actually pretty clever, from the small-town girls landing in the big city and in the distinctly not-Tucson area of West Hollywood. Along the way they encounter a wicked witch who tries to banish them from LA's hottest club Ozone because they obtained her ruby-red footwear; a good drag-queen witch who rescues them from prison; a misguided maid who needs a dose of courage; a supermodel who needs some common sense; and a guitarist who needs some love, so they've got it all covered. While there aren't any flying monkeys just a bizarre obsession with cherubs the witch even gets doused with water in the end, and the girls discover that home is where their friends are. Aside from the bizarre prostitution moment in the beginning (wrongly inspired by Pretty Woman), the anachronistic clothing and music and a strange cameo by Paula Abdul, this lightheaded fluff was actually kinda fun.
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