I have been struck down by the flu this week and am writing this while snuggled up with my laptop. Given the practical advice to "consider myself poison," I've been spending copious amounts of quality time with my pals Nyquil, Robutussin, Amoxicillin and television.
Part two of the "Project Runway" finale show is on tonight at 10 p.m. on Lifetime, with Althea, Carol Hannah and Mean-a Irina showing off their final collections. Judging from last week's episode, I'm guessing that we'll see Carol Hannah overcome her bout of stomach flu to pull through and take it all with her whimsical, fairy princess gowns (with a pair of pants thrown in for good measure). Irina, always holding tight to the belief that she knows better than anyone else, unwisely dismissed Nina Garcia's critique despite the fact that Nina will be one of the few privileged folks determining which designer wins. My bet is that Irina's "casual funeral with fur" collection takes second place. As for Althea's space cadet collection, I think she'll be the first one cut. This first season on Lifetime had its ups and downs but was seriously lacking in Michael Kors. Move the operation back to New York!
The "Dancing with the Stars" finale will air Monday, Nov. 23, with the last results show on Tuesday. Remaining stars include Kelly Osbourne, Mya and Donny Osmond.
The low-rent Grammys, also known as the American Music Awards, will be on ABC on Sunday at 8 p.m. Obviously the only reason to tune in is to see what absolutely crazy ensemble Lady Gaga wears next. The woman is mesmerizing.
Nobody plays the cold, calculating femme fatale quite like Barbara Stanwyck. "The Strange Love of Martha Ivers" (1946) on Turner Classic Movies Tuesday at 4 p.m. features Stanwyck in the title role along with a very young Kirk Douglas in his first onscreen gig. The pair portrays a couple struggling to hide their darkest secret when the only other witness to the crime turns up unexpectedly.
Chicken Noodle Soup
For my fellow flu-sufferers, here's a couple of gems to rent and a couple films that, if nothing else, will help put you to sleep faster than a Tylenol PM:
"Adventureland" It's summer, when the livin' isn't so easy. Jesse Eisenberg ("Zombieland") stars as an awkward nerd forced to spend the summer of 1987 after college graduation living at home and peddling rigged games at a local run-down amusement park. Anyone who has worked a lousy, barely-paying job at a small, struggling seasonal operation will understand the microcosm within which the employees live the place runs on gossip, junk food and post-work parties, which fuel the ill-advised interoffice hook-ups. Of course, Eisenberg becomes enamored with the troubled, beautiful Em ("Twilight's" Kristen Stewart) and everything becomes complicated. It's a sweet little movie that's worth plucking off the Blockbuster shelves.
"La Vie en Rose" Marion Cotillard (Johnny Depp's moll in the summer's "Public Enemies") won a well-deserved Academy Award for her portrayal of iconic French singer Edith Piaf in this exquisite biopic. In a non-linear style, the film depicts scenes from Piaf's life, wherein she overcomes adversity every step of the way growing up in a brothel run by her grandmother after her father leaves her behind, regaining her sight after a childhood bout with keratitis, struggling as a street performer and to simply survive. It's a harrowing and inspiring life story that must be seen to be believed.
"Chaplin" In the mood for another biographical film, I spotted "Chaplin" on Hulu. Robert Downey Jr. does a fine job in his role as Charlie Chaplin but this overlong movie could have easily been cut from nearly two and a half hours to an hour and 45. It's a pretty good movie that will interest classic movie fans, and is full of star power Anthony Hopkins, James Woods, Dan Aykroyd, Kevin Kline, Diane Lane, Milla Jovovich, Marisa Tomei and Moira Kelly (Lucas's mom on "One Tree Hill"). A little fast-forwarding makes it more bearable.
"Dial M for Murder" As a Hitchcock fan, I have unreasonably high expectations for any of his films. "Dial M for Murder" turned out to be one that I didn't quite love. Based on a play, there's entirely too much talk and hardly any action.
WHAT REALLY GRINDS MY GEARS
When lying around and watching entirely too much television, there's always that one obnoxious commercial that airs during every break on all channels. The Gap holiday commercial is aggressively cheery: "Go Christmas! Go Hanukkah! Go Kwanzaa! Go solstice!" They don't care what you celebrate, they just want to dance and they want you to buy a sweater, and this commercial will be on over and over and over again until you do. I'm all for kicking the holiday cheer into high gear Christmas Cap'n Crunch is in my cereal bowl right now but I don't want Gap to yell at me every seven minutes.
What's even more irritating than the abrasive commercial itself is the fact that Christian groups are actually boycotting it because it's "offensive" and is mocking religion. Oh, please. The only thing that the commercial offends is my eardrums.
Programming note: After this week, I'm going to be changing the format of my column a little bit. This "What's Happening" section will no longer exist. To make a long story short, it's become more trouble than it's worth.
The annual Victorian Christmas in Westfield extravaganza is this weekend, with all the arts and crafts you can handle on Saturday and Sunday in Eason Hall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
41 West has karaoke tonight (and every Tuesday and Thursday), live music by Rinky Dink from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday, Blue Magoo on Saturday from 8 to 11 p.m., and the second annual Disco next Saturday, Nov. 28.
On Saturday at Walleye Willie's, Kool Toonz will DJ. The bar will stay open all winter, with Power Hour and 35-cent wings Thursday through Saturday, and Ladies Night every Thursday, with 99-cent vodka well drinks, $2 domestic beers and $1 off all top shelf drinks.
April Diodato is an OBSERVER Staff Writer and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org