Web Toolbar by Wibiya Bears and Bullets: 2008-05-18

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Hermès Men's Designer Véronique Nichanian 10 Rules of Style

The fashion designer gives her style guidelines (Number one, number one, number one) for Men in an interview in this month's issue of DETAIL'S.

Photograph by Thibault Montamat.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The America that Cannot Stand American Idol.

The writer's at Bears with Bullets all share a common disdain for, and misunderstanding of why American Idol truly is the most popular television show in America this decade. Within the scope of reality TV, the general life-span and continuity of shows in this manner are very slim, tending to last less than their premiere year. Yet, this show, more than any other like it in it's spectrum, has not only endeared through the doldrums and repetitive scenarios, but has become the echelon of prime-time television during the (entire) first half of every calendar year since 2000. The answer of indeed why the shows has so much popularity is a simple question to answer, ranging from a myriad of reasons like: the show showcases individuals with true talent, unlike most other reality shows; it's exciting and unpredictable because of the human intervention involved - like a screw up, or a cult-like fan base (Sanjaya); or, that people just like the music. But, these are simple answers that are easy to refute, and don't really answer the entire question. And one night after season seven was concluded with David Cook winning, there might not be a better time to look into the show.

So, to assume answering the question of why people like is impossible, we look to immense demographic that truly despise the show (all of us), and the reasons why:

One - The American Idol Audience.
Watching American Idol, one can help but notice that during the season's last few episodes, that the audience will never boo anyone, no matter how bad they may sound. Noticing that, you realize that these are the annoying "everybody be nice" people, who, if they could have it their way, would want everyone to win. They're the antithesis of sports fans, who root for their team and are against all the others - Idol fans love nearly everyone who sings. Imagine how boring sports would be if everyone liked most or all the teams - no rivalries, no trash talking - just everyone walking around and agreeing with each other.

Two - Almost no one who watches or sings on Idol truly love music.
This argument may seem loose, but if you research the cloud of contestants who sing on Idol, you notice a common pattern; the country girl, the rocker guy, the soul guy, etc,. That coincides with the general song selection - pop songs that the audience knows and are easily recognizable. Are those rocker guys like Daughtry really, really rocker guys? It's hard to yes when you realize that Daughtry's favorite influences are artists like Live. Rock and Roll isn't just Elvis, Chuck Berry, the Beatles, and Elton John, there's a lot more that the contestants never even attempt to touch on stage. Idol never covers all music genres, just comfort music - as in, only music the audience feels comfortable hearing, you know, top forty stuff, which is about three percent of all the music ever made.

Watching the contestants, it might be hard to believe that any of them have an outstanding record collection back home, or that any have been in a few bands before their trip to Hollywood. They're generally kids who sang in a church or school choir, and nothing much beyond. And to stress that Almost no one who watches or sing on Idol truly love music does not mean that they don't like music, it means that they don't like music as much as they should. Because if they truly did, they probably wouldn't watch it or be there.

Three - Lack of Originality
I understand that the judges on Idol stress to the contestants to not sound like the artists who originally sang the songs they sing, saying constantly to "make the song your own," but it's hard to make some one else's song your own, when it's not your song. And Hell, I know people are starting to realize that the contestants are singing the same songs over an over again. American Idol doesn't award originality in the music industry, it awards appeal and mimicking ability. Ever wonder why most of the winners fade away immediately after the seasons end? Because they have to go into an industry that wasn't just made of their fan base, it's everyone. And a lot of everyone, aren't Idol fans.

Four - Talent Doesn't Disappear
The music industry doesn't favor one solid artist and cuts out everyone else, but the show does. The Beatles might have been better than The Who to most people, but that doesn't mean The Who shouldn't exist, does it? You can't beat someone else on subjectivity, but that's what the shows based on.

Five - Music Isn't Just About Singing
The reason it's so hard for the music industry to do anything with the Idol contestants is because they fail to realize that good music isn't just something that sounds pretty, even though most of the contestants fail to do that after their days on American Idol. It's about writing, earnestness, and craftsmen ship. It's like building a house; you need a lot more than just wood.

Six - Kelly Clarkson Sucks
She's the shows most successful winner, but she's just plain awful. Nothing much to that belief, we here just do not like her music at all.

Seven - Whoops, we forgot about Carrie Underwood
Yeah, she's really bad too.

I imagine there's about 100 more excuses you could throw at the question, but sevens a solid number to stop at right now.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Movie Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Director: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Harrison Ford, Shia LeBeouf, and Cate Blanchett

As I sat watching a theater full of die-hard movie-goers I could not help but feel the resounding pressure the movie laid upon itself. Before the movie began I leaned over towards my friend and said, "You know, if the movie is bad, people are just going to blame George Lucas. But if it's good, they're going to praise Spielberg." And after witnessing my all-time favorite movie franchise, Star Wars, become almost an entire joke because of the misdirecting of Lucas, I could not help but worry that the same thing was going to happen.

The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, released nearly nineteen full years after the saga's previous installment The Last Crusade, is certainly not part of the original trilogy, but never the less, a sound installment into the franchise. The saga's memorable features - improbable action sequences, excellent dialogue, an amazing soundtrack - done once again by John Williams -and wholly original mysteries, can all be found in Kingdom. That being noted, it was a large relief to realize that the dialogue had not been warped into corny, trying-too-hard memorable one-liners, but realistic ones, and at times, honestly funny.

It seems, though, that the largest concern for Kingdom wasn't dialogue or story-line, but rather could Harrison Ford take on the role of Indiana and not let his obvious age show. Well, his age is obvious, and screenplay writer David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Spiderman) tweaks it so that the characters don't not realize it. LeBeouf himself, playing Jones' long-lost son, doesn't overtake Ford's role, but rather fills in a protagonist role the Indiana works well with (think Short Round, but tougher). Cate Blanchett, however, plays the film's best role as Irina Spalko - a KGB agent sent by the Soviets to find the film's fabled treasure, the Crystal Skull. Blanchett, playing an unusual role as an action-villain, takes the role as deep and convincing as the bulk of her work in other films to such a point that the viewer forgets that that's Galadriel (Lord of the Rings, in case you forgot).

Of course the movie has it's flaws however. The action scene's tend to get lost in the ridiculousness of themselves (monkey scene, most of all), and the movie gets very unrealistic, even for a fictional adventure. But, by the end, you feel a large sense of satisfaction. Because all the while you may wish for Kingdom to be as good as the originals, you don't actually expect it. You expect something good enough, and that's what you get.
8.1 out of 10