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The Pretty in Pink reunion you weren't expecting on The Blacklist

Posted on March 4, 2015 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

First, an introduction for younger readers. This is the group of actor/singers known as the Rat Pack. They were big in the 60s. You weren’t alive then. Neither was I.

The Rat Pack

I don’t quite know why I’m mentioning them since they’re irrelevant to this piece. However, this is the far more relevant Brat Pack. They were big in the 80s. You might have been alive then. I definitely was.

The Brat Pack

To be exact, that’s not quite the Brat Pack, so much as the cast of St Elmo’s Fire, most of whom were in the Brat Pack - look closely and you’ll spot Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Andrew McCarthy, Ally Sheedy and Demi Moore (as well as the lesser known Judd Nelson and even lesser known Mare Winningham).

However, the Brat Pack was made up of a group of young actors and actresses who dated each other and/or frequently appeared together in movies (eg The Breakfast Club, Oxford Blues, Sixteen Candles) and their numbers also included the likes of Kiefer Sutherland, Robert Downey Jr, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall and James Spader.

One of the most notable and iconic Brat Pack movies was Pretty In Pink, which starred Ringwald, McCarthy and Spader, as well as Jon Cryer who would go on to star in Two And A Half Men with the somewhat infamous Brat Pack member Charlie Sheen. Here's a trailer to explain the basic plot, which involves Ringwald picking the right boy - and the right dress - for her prom: should it be good guy Andrew McCarthy, bad guy James Spader or unnoticed best friend Cryer?

Here are Spader and McCarthy being interviewed about the movie at the time. My, how young they look, don't they?

But as we've seen, careers can go in odd directions. I really don't need to tell you what Robert Downey Jr has been up to since, while Rob Lowe - who was the baddest of the bad in the Brat Pack - has also gone on to numerous decent roles in things like The West Wing and Parks and Recreation, and Kiefer Sutherland became the TV star of the 2000s as Jack Bauer in 24 and Demi Moore became an action movie star. Others have branched off into different parts of the industry - Emilio Estevez won a standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival for his biopic of Robert Kennedy, Bobby, which he wrote and directed.

Spader, by contrast, has gone through a slow process of 'Shatnerisation', slowly going from the acclaimed movie performances of Sex, Lies and Videotape and Crash down into a hammy TV hell of his own making, perhaps in part caused by his proximity to the Shat himself in Boston Legal.

Meanwhile, Andrew McCarthy after sticking around in acting doing the serious likes of John Frankenheimer's Year of the Gun with Sharon Stone…

…ended up mainly behind the camera, the difference being that he's stuck to directing TV, on shows such as Gossip Girl, Alpha House, Orange is the New Black, The Carrie Diaries, and Lipstick Jungle.

Oh, and The Blacklist, which stars James Spader, and for which McCarthy has directed three episodes this season.

"They're both great artists who have had such a wonderful working relationship in the past, it just seemed like too good of an opportunity to pass up," series executive producers Jon Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath said [via].

Look, here they are together behind the scenes. My, don't they look not quite so young? But then, don't we all?

James Spadaer and Andrew McCarthy behind the scenes of The Blacklist

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What have you been watching? Including Backstrom, Young Drunk Punk, 19-2, Spiral and Galavant

Posted on January 26, 2015 | comments | Bookmark and Share

It's "What have you been watching?", my chance to tell you what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently that I haven't already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I've missed them.

The usual "TMINE recommends" page features links to reviews of all the shows I've ever recommended, and there's also the Reviews A-Z, for when you want to check more or less anything I've reviewed ever. And if you want to know when any of these shows are on in your area, there's Locate TV - they’ll even email you a weekly schedule.

Lots of new shows to deal with this past week, including 12 Monkeys. Unfortunately, it’s my busy time of the month, so I won’t be able to deal with them at length and there’s a few third-episode verdicts I’m going to have skip, too. Fortunately, though, all the new shows don’t really warrant full reviews…

Backstrom (US: Fox)
Despite having been canned by CBS straight after its pilot, this adaptation of Leif GW Persson’s Bäckström books has been resurrected over at Fox and once again demonstrates that the US really shouldn’t be adapting Nordic Noir. It stars Rainn Wilson from The Office as the eponymous Backstrom, a Portland police detective who’s best thought of as Gregory House MD but without the talent, the charm or the looks, bungling his way from crime scene to crime scene being lazy and offensive and being proved right because the script demands it, rather than because of any insight. So the producers think it very funny that Backstrom have the nearest - and indeed only - black person around arrested because he’s black so probably was involved in the crime. My, how comically racist! Except the black person is involved in the crime - how actually racist!

There’s some decent supporting characters, including an MMA-beat cop (Page Kennedy); a New Age medical examiner (Kristoffer Polaha from Ringer, Valentine, Life Unexpected), whom everyone reacts to like he’s English, even though he doesn’t even have an accent; an investigator whom everyone reacts to like she’s French, because she is (Beatrice Rosen); and Dennis Haysbert (The Unit, 24) as Backstrom’s boss. But this is as lazy as Backstrom himself, trying to fake being intelligent and gimmicky by having Backstrom ‘empathise’ (saying out loud, “I am character x, I feel y, therefore I would have done z”) and come up with insight such as “Anyone who says ‘Absolutely not’ is absolutely lying”, rather than actually being intelligent or having insight.

Weirdly, between moving from CBS to Fox, there’s been some recasting and a lot of the funnier and smarter stuff has been removed, making it worse not better than it was before.

Young Drunk Punk (Canada: City TV)
After last year’s slew of 80s nostalgia shows in the US, time for some 80s nostalgia from Canada, with Young Drunk Punk, in which two teenage nerd punk-wannabes search for their destinies after leaving high school. Despite being written by and starring Bruce McCulloch (Kids In The Hall) this is very much like the previous half dozen Canadian comedies that have come by in having a total laugh count of zero.

After the jump, 19-2, Arrow, Banshee, Constantine, Cougar Town, Elementary, The Flash, Galavant, Gotham, The Ground Floor, Hindsight, Man Seeking Woman, Marvel’s Agent Carter, State of Affairs, Spiral (Engrenages) and Togetherness. One of them’s on the verge of getting recommended, one of them’s going to be dropped, and one of them is on the borderline. But which ones? You’ll find out after the jump.

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News: A Limitless TV show, Bad Judge and A To Z cancelled, Sharon Stone on TNT, Magic City movie + more

Posted on November 3, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

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New US TV shows

New US TV show casting

  • Uma Thurman replaces Mary-Louise Parker on US adaptation of The Slap

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