Separated at Birth: Sting

This isn’t so much a question of separated at birth (there is no discovery of a secret twinsie, at least not in today’s post) so much as it is a question of just what in the heck is going on here.

Sting, über-cool rock star, once a darling of the spiky and angular, aloof and yet angry set…

You could cut a roast with those cheekbones. Even his jacket is angular. Photo from

You could cut a roast with those cheekbones.
Even his jacket is angular.
Photo from

Has recently morphed into the love child of Mitch Miller (Sing Along with Mitch; ask your parents…or your grandparents…about it) and Clinton Kelly.



I have nothing left to say. Imma leave this here.

Oh! And enjoy a little sing-along, on your way out.

Separated at Birth: Andrew McCarthy and…

OK, so. George and I were channel surfing, and in a fit of kitsch-fueled crapgasm, we stopped on a Hallmark Channel movie (don’t judge). This particular one stars Andrew McCarthy, whose clout peaked in 1986 with his role as Blaine in Pretty in Pink.

I love this scene. I still love this movie, though really, people, you and I both know that Andie totally should have chosen Duckie. And I digress.

George looked at the TV screen and said, “Oh, man. That guy. I never could stand his sort of sad-sack, hangdog look.”

And you know, ten thousand years ago, waaaay back in 1986, I, like, totally thought Andrew McCarthy was, like, totally super-cute ‘n’ stuff. But you know, he does look sort of depressive. World-weary. A little glum.

For real, people. He totally looks like Droopy Dog.

Andrew McCarthy

Hello, all you happy people. You know what? I’m the hero.


He even kind of sounds like him.

So much for any nostalgia-fueled ’80s fest.

Separated at Birth: Antonio Banderas and Ricky Gervais

And so, I have reached that surreal moment in my life when I have come to realize that the blisteringly hot international sex symbol Antonio Banderas, and kind of adorable but I wouldn’t say blistering international comedian Ricky Gervais...

Look a lot alike.

Banderas on the left, Gervais on the right.

Banderas on the left, Gervais on the right.

Mind = blown.

I’m not sure what to make of this.

And how is your day?

Image of Antonio Banderas from

Image of Ricky Gervais from

So Long, Girly-Crushy Thoughts of Ethan Hawke

I confess, I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Ethan Hawke.  He’s a good actor, generally tries to be thoughtful in the roles he chooses (I will always stand behind A Midnight Clear), and for a while became the embodiment of the proto-emo, Gen-X existential angster, gloomily gazing into the void for all of us and finding it meh.  I suspect he is impossible to be around but since his potentially giant celebrity ego doesn’t impact my life even a little I kind of don’t care.  Other than in a perfunctory, “I’ve read a few things about Ethan Hawke over the course of my life and now I feel equipped to wildly speculate in public about him” sort of way.  Know what I mean?

Because really, I’ve kind of crushed on him a little, for a long time.  Who’s an adorable, tortured intellectual artist?  You are.  Yes you are.  Yes, yes, you are.

When Ethan Hawke first came on the scene in Dead Poets Society he was…actually, the word I’ve often thought of for him at that time was moist. Soft. Sensitive. Doe-eyed. Continually on the verge of tears, and he seemed to look vaguely like someone was always running up to him and rubbing lip gloss on him.

See?  Moist.

See? Moist.
Image from

He’s still round in the above picture, still baby-faced, but it didn’t take very long until he got all streamlined and square-jawed, though still a little glossy.

So maybe my taste can run toward the vanilla.

Proof: my taste occasionally runs toward the completely harmless.
Image from

Finally!  He got a some edge in Training Day.

Well, helloooo, Mr. Goatee man.

Well, helloooo, Mr. Goatee man.
Image from

And has spent the last ten years becoming increasingly square-jawed and craggy.

Rap name: Vanilla Crag.

Rap name: Vanilla Crag.
Image from

Craggy, and handsome.

Until now.

I just watched The Purge .

As far as the movie goes, it wasn’t what I expected.  On one hand it was better than I had anticipated, and the pacing of the film was nice and tight so it kept you moving through it like it was a roller coaster.  On the other hand, Ethan Hawke’s protagonist family was entirely unlikable (though Lena Headey is always interesting) and the premise was kind of preposterous.  One night, for twelve hours, all violence is legal (with a slender few exceptions) so society can “unleash the beast” and get all their pent-up violence out of their systems.  Then they’re…nice to each other?…for the next 364.  Theoretically.  From a practical standpoint this seems implausible; the strategy alone behind a post-Purge Night cleanup seems nightmarish, never mind…everything else about it.  And they give no backstory as to who the “New Founding Fathers” are or how they came to power, or the origins of Purge Night (what was up with those blue flowers?).  Nothing.  It was dissatisfying; I wanted info.  In terms of social commentary the film had some interesting stuff to say, particularly regarding the one person targeted by a group of people out on the hunt.  But that’s another blog for another day.  My verdict about the movie is: It won’t change your life, but it wasn’t a waste of an hour and twenty five minutes. If you’re so inclined, check it out.

More importantly (for the purposes of this blog, of course), is…oh, Ethan Hawke.

Even if he’s not your favorite actor, on some level you’ve got to acknowledge he’s kind of handsome.  Only…

(…it’s so disturbing…)

Now?  He kind of looks like Bill Lumbergh, the dreadful, selfish, micromanaging, cartoonish boss from Office Space.  Don’t believe me?


Hawke on the left, Lumbergh on the right.

Yeahhh, if you could not kill my family on the one night of the year when violence is legal, that’d be great.

Hawke is on the left, Lumbergh is on the right.*

It’s a game-changing mashup for me.

Shhh…shhhh…did you hear that?  That sound you heard is the ferocious crack of my girly crush shattering into a million pieces.  Yes, I know he’s acting and yes, I know he’s not really Bill Lumbergh Jr., let me make that clear.  But what’s been seen cannot be unseen and for me, the juxtaposition is just too much to handle. Ethan Hawke has managed to regress from semi-crushable likely-poseur-quasi-edgy actor-guy to caricatured troll.  Though I still stand behind A Midnight Clear.  If you haven’t done so already, put that on your must-see list.

And because I’ve gone and talked about Office Space, here is hands-down my favorite scene in that film, which has nothing to do with Bill Lumbergh and everything to do with hating stifling office jobs.  Language!  DO NOT PLAY THIS AROUND SMALL CHILDREN, or adults who easily offend.  Enjoy.

*Image of Ethan Hawke from; Image of Bill Lumbergh from  Frightening separated at birth comparison by me.

Separated at Birth: Not What I Was Expecting

Today is Roger Waters’s 70th birthday.  You know, the Rog.  The creative genius behind Pink Floyd.  The guy who wrote the soundtrack to much of my life, and the lives of anyone born before…oh…1995.

That’s right.  That guy.  That trippy, Wall-making guy.

So first, you know.  Happy birthday, Roger.  Keep doing that crazy thing you do.

Imagine my surprise, though, when I realized that Roger Waters looks almost exactly like Charles Shaughnessy.  That’s right.  The guy from the show The Nanny.  Don’t believe me?  Don’t want to believe me?


Waters on the left, Shaughnessy on the right.  Oh. Holy. Crap.

Waters on the left, Shaughnessy on the right. Oh. Holy. Crap.


This was not what I was expecting to stumble across on a Friday morning, without nearly enough coffee in me to handle it yet.

You’re welcome.

Please enjoy a little Great Gig in the Sky for the remainder of this blog.  And happy 40th to Dark Side of the Moon, while we’re celebrating all things Floydish.

Separated at Birth: Al Pacino/Bea Arthur

I was somewhat enthusiastic about the upcoming HBO movie, Phil Spector, about the trial of–of course–Phil Spector.  If you’ve lived in a cave for the last forty years, then let me fill you in.  Phil Spector was the king of record production in the 1960s.  He engineered what came to be known as the “Wall of Sound” and produced albums for practically everybody, from The Ronettes (of course) to The Righteous Brothers to The Beatles to The Ramones.  He was also, certifiably, a batshit crazy alcoholic with a gun fetish.  Who, eventually, murdered Lana Clarkson in his home as she was trying to leave, since she didn’t realize until it was too late that he was completely batshit crazy and marinated in a lifetime of self-loathing and booze.

To sum up.

So yeah, I was interested in the trial.  Pacino has the crazy-eye thing, which seems right for this role.  And it’s a lurid, telenovela-esque interpretation of something that happened to a famous person whose work I’ve been interested in for (literally) as long as I can remember.  Down with that, yes?  But when the costume department, in their deranged attempt to make Pacino become Phil Spector turned him into Maude instead?  They lost me.

And then came Phi-i-il!

And then there’s Phi-i-il!

Let me put it this way:


What I’m Watching: Awake: The Series Finale

Dear person who tried to start a flame war with me on Facebook because I disliked the finale of a TV show that you, apparently, love, on the one hand I thank you.  If it weren’t for your completely overblown reaction, I probably wouldn’t have written this post.  On the other hand, sit down and STFU.  See, what happened was this:

Warning: There.  Will.  Be.  Spoilers.

Did you hear about the TV show, Awake?  Yeah, not a lot of people did, which is really too bad.  It was a good show.  Jason Isaacs, who was the horrible Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter film series, lost his blond creepster wig and starred as Detective Michael Britten, a police officer who along with his wife and son was in an awful car crash.  Either the wife or the son died, but Britten doesn’t know which because he fluctuates between dream state and reality so completely that he’s never sure when he’s awake or asleep.  He’s basically splitting his time between two realities, both of which feel legitimate to him.  As I am completely enamored of anything that resembles liminality, I couldn’t help myself, I had to watch a show that played with the liminal as a driving force behind the plot.  Much as it pains me, though, I could also see how it was maybe a little too cerebral for network TV and I wasn’t surprised when I heard NBC yanked it.  And, they decided not to renew it fairly early in the show’s season.  That’s fine, that’s cool, the producers were given enough time to create a wrap for the series, and they’d done so well at manipulating the two timelines.  I had faith in them.  I was a little bit bummed when I tuned in to the finale, but hey, what’cha gonna do, right?  *clink*  Here’s to a good run.


And not good-woah.  Cop-out-finale-woah.

I’ll spare you all the details, but suffice to say, I still don’t know what happened to Detective Britten.  It’s totally unclear.  Did he, as was briefly mentioned during a session with one of his alternate (or was it real?) reality shrinks (since he goes to therapy in both universes), simply create a new, third reality for himself where his wife and child are both alive?  If so, then Brazil engineered that sort of ending better, because A) you knew the protagonist had gone mad and B) the question then became, does this movie, in a convoluted way, have a happy ending or not?

If Awake‘s ending is indeed meant to show he’s completely broken with reality, then it’s dissatisfying on a few levels.  First, it simply doesn’t successfully portray that break (hence my questions).  AND if his complete break with reality is final, then the conspiracy he’s been uncovering and the bad guys the viewers have grown to hate, win.  Unlike Brazil, this TV show doesn’t take place within a dystopian totalitarian setting, so Britten conceivably could have gone up against the power structure in place and made a difference.  If he willfully broke from reality and created a space for himself where his entire family is alive together, then he went in an instant from a crusading, tragic hero who’s maybe a little dotty, to someone who’s codependent and kind of selfish.

So the dirty cops get to sell all that heroin?  Is the short man alive or dead?  Which family member really died?  Which of his partner cops was a real detective?  Did the one partner really get killed?  What about the son’s pregnant girlfriend?  And to the cynics in the room who think, “Ha!  Well, that’s real life, sweetheart.  The bad guys win, the good guy checks out one way or another and nobody’s happy at the end,” I say with nary a trace of malice that I DON’T WATCH NBC FOR ITS TIES TO REALITY.  I mean, even reality TV doesn’t pretend to be reality, unless you think the contestants on America’s Got Talent (can’t bring myself to link to it, and I don’t apologize) actually have talent.  If you want to get real about reality TV, then NBC should have renamed The Biggest Loser, and called it The Hunger Games because there’s for sure got to be a lot of hungry people walking around on that ranch.  Tough break that Suzanne Collins has a lock on that title now.  (NBC people, call me, we’ll talk.)

Anyway, back to Awake.  Too many loose ends.  I know it’s a show about liminality, but that doesn’t mean I want the finale–which is by definition a non-liminal event–to leave unanswered questions.

If, on the other hand, it was all a dream and he simply wakes up…I feel CHEATED!!!

Remember when they killed Bobby Ewing at the end of season seven of Dallas, and then brought him back for the end of season eight?  And then it was revealed that all of season eight was a dream Pam had?

What kind of lazy plot turn is that?  Don’t they pay writers to come up with stuff?  Isn’t that, as a creative industry, what the world of TV is supposed to do?  Instead, if this was their idea and I’m supposed to believe that all we went through with Detective Britten through the series is a dream?  Then…OK, well then he’d better split his reality a third time because he’s not getting nearly enough therapy, and hey, TV execs, thanks for nothing.

There were some good points to the episode.  I thought the scene where he confronts himself in jail was well-done, and I loved the scene where he said goodbye to his wife, which was poignant and beautifully written (so I suppose that IS one question answered, since he wouldn’t need to say goodbye to her if she were still alive…unless it was all a dream, in which case him saying goodbye to anyone in the demented world below his forehead doesn’t mean squat).  And it was so worth it to see Wilmer Valderrama in a penguin suit, posing as some kind of dreamworld mentor.  He’s decidedly more benign than Frank from Donnie Darko, but I would imagine they exist in these furry incarnations for similar purposes.

Wilmer Valderrama, and Frank the Bunny.
Separated at hellspawning.

Sadly, Wilmer Valderrama in a penguin suit can’t make up for a thousand and nine plot holes or a totally lazy way out.  And so I voiced my displeasure on the Facebook fan board, because what else is that thing for.  What I think I said was, “What the crap with the most dissatisfying ending ever?”

And then someone–whose reply was immediately deleted off thanks to a vigilant staffer at the NBC nerdery, but not before I saw the notification flash up–said, “Clearly you have terrible taste.”  I did want to respond, but as I said, vigilant staffer, speedy deletion.  If I replied at that time it would have gotten even weirder.  But here’s what I would have liked to have said:

Look, I get that you like the show.  I get that this show has impact for you, is clearly emotionally relevant and that you’re going to miss it when the next fall lineup starts.  But really.  A personal attack?  On me?  I’m not the one who effed up your show on you.  I’m not the one who wrote a lazy ending or decided to pull the plug.  And if you did really, truly, deeply love the finale and thought it was the best thing you’d ever seen, and I didn’t…so what?  That’s like me thinking everyone who doesn’t like to eat chicken are assholes.  But even more so, it’s like me defending factory chicken farming against people who like to eat chicken but say that sort of farming method might be unethical, because I feel threatened by your lack of total and unquestioning agreement with me on chicken.  I didn’t like the stupid episode, OK?  I’m allowed not to like it.  Further, I’m entirely allowed to cherry-pick things I did like about it, and evaluate the series episode by episode, if I want.  Know what?  It won’t reflect one iota on what sort of person you really are, unless you take my opinion personally and start slinging mud.  I thought the show embodied faux intellectualism and created more questions than it answered.  You’re free to love it all you want, and that doesn’t affect me as a person.  But before you go spouting off about my lack of taste, take a minute to think about your lack of class or inability to think about pop culture with an ounce of nuance.  I don’t have to love things just because you do.  Get over yourself.  (I’ll pop-analyze this person’s victim complex somewhere else.)

Some people seriously need to relax.

Gallery: Separated at Birth

I get a kick out of “separated at birth” pictures…there, I’ve said it, and I don’t apologize.  I think they can make you think about relationships more than you might, or see parallels (more than just appearance) that you might not of before.  And, they can be really goddamned funny.  So I started putting together my own “separated at birth”s.  I’ve already posted a Ryan Reynolds/Nick Nolte picture (which I will include again at the end of this post, so I can be anal-retentively complete in my posting), but here are a few others.  This will be a continually evolving page, and suggestions will be happily accepted (though I do reserve editorial right; if I put it up is my decision).

And so, without further ado…the humble beginnings to the “Separated at Birth” gallery.

I’m going to keep this statement short and simple: I like Lindsay Lohan.  I think she’s way more talented than she ought to be, and I’m not surprised she’s got issues with substance abuse because her innate vulnerability shows up in pretty much every single one of her performances.  Yes, even in The Parent Trap.  Every time I see her I want to say, “Lindsay, honey, knock it off.  You’re going down a dangerous road, one that will be impossible to come back from.  If you don’t stop what you’re doing, before you realize it things will be way out of control and you will look exactly…

…like Carol Channing.”

Now I don’t want to imply that there is anything wrong with Carol Channing. She’s had a tremendous career and is an outspoken and beloved member of the celebrity firmament.  But she is also 91.  LiLo, you’re way too young to ought to merit any comparison to a 91-year-old lady no matter what the reason, and yet here we are.  Put down the Botox, pull out the cheek implants, and knock it off with the Restylane in your lips.  If you need daily affirmations call me, not your plastic surgeon.  Good luck.

In a twisted moment of separated-at-birthery, paparazzi recently rushed 66-year-old Blondie singer Debbie Harry outside the Mercer Hotel in New York City.  They thought Ms. Harry was 25-year-old Lindsay Lohan, who was also recently seen at that hotel.  <sigh>  Oh, LiLo.

I was watching the VMAs (what?  It’s not a crime) and thought, who’s the weird creepy guy sitting next to Jay-Z?  Kind of looked like Sal Mineo, only not nearly as adorably vulnerable, or one of the Jets from West Side Story…only kind of freakish and hostile, with what looked like few to no redeeming qualities.  And then I found out that it was Lady Gaga as alternate personality “Joe Calderone”.  Goooood.  But sad.  Garth Brooks came up with the Chris Gaines alter-ego and at least he tried to be attractive, in an emo, chin-pube-sporting, complete-failure-of-what-attractive-means sort of way.  Beyonce comes up with Sasha Fierce, which is, you know.  Fierce.  But Lady Gaga?  Comes up with her version of Ralph Macchio as Johnny from The Outsiders, just before Ponyboy gets beat to hell by the Socs and Johnny has to shank Leif Garrett.

Celebrity alter-egos: When one ego just isn’t enough.

When I watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1) (and if you haven’t watched this yet then hello, welcome to Earth, I’m sure you’ve had a long journey…would you like some tea?) I kept thinking Bellatrix LeStrange (Helena Bonham-Carter) was derangedly over the top, but in a cartoonish and caricature-y way, not in a freaky/demented way.  And she’s supposed to be an insane, deadly zealot that you know will stab you as soon as look at you, not insane but you kind of laugh at her even though you’re sure she’s got a knife in her skirt.  Sort of like her fellow Brit, comedian Russell Brand:

The matching hair?  The waist-cinching belts?  *Killing me*

I was working on the final project for one of my classes, comparing the movies The Hurt Locker and Avatarthe 2009 Academy Award winner for Best Picture, and the largest grossing film of 2009, or ever.  I watched a LOT of Avatar, and Neytiri’s character reminded me of someone.  And then I realized, those big eyes!  The little freckly patch over her nose!  The skin color!  It’s another one of my favorite movie heroines:

Don’t get me started on how many things I found wrong with Avatar; that’s another post for another day.  Suffice to say, when you think about it, Neytiri’s character development makes her, by the end, as unthreatening and ultimately servile to Jake, as Dory is to Marlin. And I don’t even want to think about the sexual dynamics of Finding Nemo, lest I go insane.  So.  Moving on.

OK, OK, I should be nicer to Donna Shalala.  She’s had a distinguished career–she’s the former Secretary of Health and Human Services during the Clinton Administration,  has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and has been the President of the University of Miami for the last decade.  She probably does more before she finishes her morning coffee than I manage to get done in a day.  But that doesn’t change the fact that she looks…almost exactly…like the Heat Miser.

And from what I understand, she is indeed…too much.

So.  Back to pop culture.

I admit it, I can’t stand Justin Bieber, and I don’t have pre-teen girls, so I don’t even have to pretend to not despise his music.  But one day, while confronted with his visage, I realized he looked decidedly like another figure in the music world (I was originally going to type “another music icon”, but it’s about the Biebs…I couldn’t do it…and I’m not linking to anything about him, because if you can’t find a frigging link involving Justin Bieber, then you need to learn how to work the interwebs).  Anyway.  Justin Bieber, meet Helen Reddy.

For more Bieber look-alikes (“Biebians”), please direct your attention to Lesbians Who Look Like Justin Bieber, though this does lend a rather curious twist to the song “I am Woman“, especially if the Biebs covers it.  (I smell a Grammy…!)

And, for now, the final comparison.  I absolutely think Ryan Reynolds is dreamy, and I’ve thought so since Van Wilder…though not even I could find a reason to want to sit through Green Lantern, because if you couldn’t tell that was a stink bomb from fifty feet away…well, they have medical professionals to help with this, but I digress.  Anyway.  Ryan Reynolds.  So.  I was trying to think of who it was that Ryan Reynolds reminded me of, and it bugged me for months.  Finally, eventually, I realized why the connection was so slow in coming…

He and the young, Rich Man, Poor Man-era, handsome buck Nick Nolte have striking similarities (though Nolte’s porn-stache in the clip I linked to is unfortunate).  Same nose, same jawline.  But Nick Nolte, of late, has become–to put it mildly–a train wreck.  Please, Ryan Reynolds, do what you can to avoid this.  Eat right, smear yourself in lamb fat, engage in voodoo, start an exercise regimen that involves being chased by bees…I really don’t care what you do, so long as you avoid…this.

Nick Nolte-Ryan Reynolds

A little before, a little after.

I do admit, I am a sucker for “separated at birth” posts, and this isn’t the last you’ll see of this sort of thing on this blog, but with the release of “Green Lantern” and Ryan Reynolds’s leading-man looks all over the interwebs/TV, and being struck by how much Ryan Reynolds resembles Nick Nolte from Nolte’s breakthrough “Rich Man, Poor Man” days, I thought this was an appropriate “before and after” starting point.

I can only hope this isn’t the fate of all alliteratively-named celebrities (I’m looking at YOU, Matthew McConaugheyJaromir JagrAmy Adams…).  And I’m leaving Ozzy out of this, because he inhabits a space all his very own.

And so, I give you Nick Nolte-Ryan Reynolds…Separated at Birth?

I call attention to this as a public service.

Though you’ve got to admit, McConaughey’s looking a little bit like Uncle Creepy in the picture I’ve linked to.  A little too much time with a bronzer, a little too much work around the eyes.  Heed me!  Put down the self-tanner and just.  Walk.  Away.

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