Thursday, September 03, 2009

TV tidbits and a glorious glimpse of "The Damned United"

Does anyone else remember the fairly great little documentary "Hands on a Hard Body"? It was a contest doco about a bunch of folks who compete to see who can stand the longest with one hand on a pickup truck, with the winner getting the truck.

For a strange little flick I don't even think you can get on DVD, it's had a surprisingly high number of attempts to re-create it. Robert Altman (and no, I'm not making that up) even had his sights on making a fictionalized version of it when he died, but that wouldn't have been nearly as crazy as this latest reinvisioning (is that even a word)?

It seems that Doug Wright, a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, and lyricist Amanda Green have scripted a musical based on the story, which will be staged at the La Jolla Playhouse in California. And no, even if I concentrated really hard, I don't think I could make up anything quite that crazy.

Except for that, it's mostly about TV here today. I suppose I should change the blog's name on days like this, but since it's my space, I write about just about anything that catches my eye.

It starts today with what could only be called excellent news for fans of "Freaks and Geeks" (and if you're not one, I just have to assume you've never seen it.) It seems that Mike White, who served as a "Freaks and Geeks" producer and also wrote probably my favorite episode, "The Little Things," before going on to pen "School of Rock" and other movies, is now returning to TV for HBO with Laura Dern in tow.

The HBO project will star Dern as a woman who troubles those around her when she undergoes a spiritual awakening. And, I apologize for this in advance, but I keep trying to get rid of HBO, but "every time I think I'm out, they pull me back in" with intriguing TV.

OK, so much for the good news. This next bit just makes me vomit in my own mouth, and not just a little bit either (and I must say, orange juice and kashi just taste a whole lot better going down.)

It seems that, unable to come up with any more ideas for its shows that aren't about fat people, NBC is now going to piss all over the great "Prime Suspect" with what might just be the most unnecessary and downright insulting remake of all time.

Without, of course, Dame Helen Mirren or even series creator Lynda La Plante in tow, it seems that "Without a Trace" creator Hank Steinberg has the hubris to take this on. Thankfully, so far at least, it's just a planned two-hour presentation rather than a series, so maybe this just will go away extremely quickly and will be forgotten even faster.

But enough of that bile. In much better cop TV news, it seems that Fox has picked up 13 episodes of a new show from "Burn/Notice" creator Matt Nix.

Though the premise - an ambitious, by-the-book cop is saddled with a drunken, wild-card partner - sounds awfully familiar, from Nix I know it will at least be a fun mix of action and humor, and that's probably enough to get me to tune in when this hits the airwaves.

OK, for the finish, I suppose I should at least make this a bit about movies, especially when it's a glimpse of what is - next to only Spike Jonze's "Where the Wild Things Are" - the movie I'm almost most looking forward to for the rest of this year.

Based on easily one of my favorite books by David Peace, "The Damned United" tells the rather disastrous tale of Brian Clough's 42-or-so days as coach of Leeds United, a team he despised even as he took the job. With a script from Peter Morgan and starring Michael Sheen, I really don't see how this can be bad, and you can see from the trailer below that Sheen has at least captured the manic nature of Clough that drives the book. Enjoy, and have a perfectly passable Thursday. Peace out.


Nell Minow said...

I saw "Damned United" and loved it! Sheen is sensational.

Reel Fanatic said...

Thanks for the good word, Nell .. I can't understand why, with the pedigree behind this one, there's been such a gap between its UK and US releases