Fruitvale Station

The shooting of Oscar Grant occurred during my senior year in college, seven BART stops away from where I was living at the time. I admit now that I didn’t pay close attention to what happened afterward, but I can say with complete certainty now that the BART line conjures up a certain hauntedness for me now that other people have probably been plagued with for four years now. This movie made it all real, again.

I don’t know how much of the story of Oscar Grant that’s portrayed in Fruitvale Station is true, but it makes for a compelling, quick, literally live-fast-die-young story. Michael B. Jordan, forever Wallace in our hearts, is an incredibly charismatic, down-to-earth guy. He alternates between his thug face and his daddy face so effortlessly and convincingly that it’s hard to get mad at him for being both, or maybe neither at all. It’s also easy to see why Sophina (Melonie Diaz) fell for him. He’s a 22-year-old with a lot of heart, and a good family behind him, lead by his mother, Wanda (Octavia Spencer).

I’m sure a lot of the plot was built up for dramatic effect. In fact, the first half of the movie was saccharine–the watchable kind, with quiet moments and beautiful lighting–but the second that day turned to night, and you were reminded of the impending doom, the sweet turned sour, and it became a countdown to the fateful moment. And yet it was compelling, exciting, horrifying all in one to watch the whole thing reenacted. I didn’t even recognize Chad Michael “Lucas Scott” Murray as Johannes Mehserle, the cop who fired the shot. It completely tears you down to see something happen and know that it’s representing an unfortunate truth. That he happened to take the BART that day, that he happened to run into a girl he met earlier, who caused his identity to be revealed, which caused a fight, which caused police officers to accuse the group of something they didn’t do, is a giant, awful misunderstanding that cost a man his life.

What an odd thing to experience someone else’s last 24 hours that Grant spent on Earth. Supposedly, Grant tried to get his job back, picked his daughter up from school, and had dinner with his family to celebrate his mother’s birthday. We’ll never know who he’d turn out to be, or what he’d choose to stand for, or how things could have been different. There is no “but” at the end of that sentence, either. This movie is not comforting. It’s a sad story with a sad ending, and if you live in a big city, you should take the time to see it. I’m sorry I didn’t see it — or truly know about it — sooner.


One Tree Hill, Season 2

As seasons of television go, this one was “hit or miss” in every sense of the phrase. It contained the good guest stars (Kieran Hutchison as Andy, Daniella Alonso as Anna, Maria Menounos as Jules, Bryan Greenberg as Jake, Tyler Hilton as Chris), the bad guest stars (Michael Copon as Felix), and the guest stars you just want to punch in the face (Emmanuelle Vaugier as Nicki). I’m probably forgetting a lot, like I think Huey Lewis was this season, too. And there were a bunch of bands. Basically all the chemistry that formed in the first season completely disappeared, because everyone ended up with someone else. Lucas had Anna, Brooke had Felix, Haley had Chris, Peyton had Jake, and poor Nathan had no one. Oh, wait, right, he had Haley’s sister. See, told you I’d forget someone. All this stunt casting got to be a little tedious after awhile.

And then there was the repeated, blatant Cingular product placement. Like, seriously, there was an episode that did not advance the plot at all. It was a scavenger hunt that provided what seemed like 50 screen shots of a cell phone screen. Waste of time.

Lucas and Nathan turned into whiny little bitches, what with Lucas keeping SO MANY DAMN SECRETS FROM EVERYONE ALL THE TIME. It got to the point where he stopped being helpful and started being this self-righteous martyr. And Nathan… I still don’t understand why he couldn’t just let Haley do her music thing! Sheesh. Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

But there were certain storylines that I did like. Peyton and Jake, for example, was weird, mostly because they were shacked up together and Peyton’s dad never came back or whatever, but their chemistry was fantastic. And Sophia Bush got a chance to actually act this season. I also really liked the Anna and Andy characters, even if the former was poorly acted. A lesbian in Tree Hill is a powerful thing, no matter who plays it.

So, there you go. I’m going to keep on with this show, mostly because I’m insanely attached to Peyton. It’s so damn dramatic and unrealistic (I think the characters were in a classroom maybe five times the whole season) but the acting “can” be good sometimes. Wish me luck.

One Tree Hill, Season 1

Well, this is one of those shows that I’m slightly embarrassed to admit I totally love. I watched because, hey, it was on On Demand and I was supposed to cover it for work and I remembered seeing it on before or after my weekly Gilmore Girls addiction in high school and college, so what the heck, type of thing. And then I totally got sucked in!

I interviewed James Lafferty the other day for and asked him why he thinks fans are so devoted to the show, because it’s got one of those more rabid fan bases, and he seemed to think it was something about the way Mark Schwahn tells the story. Perhaps that’s true. I can’t put my finger on it. The acting isn’t amazing, there’s no real humor, so what’s the appeal? Personally, I think it’s the story.

I’ve never heard of anything quite like it. Two brothers from different mothers, growing up in the same town. The father they share is an evil asshole. They all share a love and talent for basketball. It’s fascinating. And it doesn’t hurt that everyone is hot. And they all share pretty good chemistry even if they aren’t the best actors.

I just watched Dawson’s Creek and wasn’t that impressed, but I think I’m going to stick with OTH. I think it’s because I see potential in all these characters. I also know where it’s going, and I think it’s cool that they’re all struggling even though they’re all good looking and aware of it. They use their appearance as a crutch but they feel guilty about it. I only had one major qualm, and it was with the season finale. WTF. Haley and Nathan got married? It’s lame but it’s enough of a cliffhanger to keep me coming back. Oh, and any chance of seeing Chad Michael Murray with his shirt off is reason enough too.

Hot Men, Part 3

10. Lance Reddick.
Lance Reddick

9. Ed Westwick.
Ed Westwick

8. Chad Michael Murray.
Chad Michael Murray

7. James Denton.
James Denton

6. Penn Badgley.
Penn Badgley

5. Josh Radnor.
Josh Radnor

4. Nathan Fillion.
Nathan Fillion

3. David Boreanaz.
David Boreanaz

2. Chace Crawford.
Chace Crawford

1. Lee Pace.
Lee Pace