TV Review: Teenage Paparazzo

‘Teenage Paparazzo’ is a great documentary from actor Adrian Grenier about 14 year old Austin Visschedyk, a young paparazzo. Going into the film, I wasn’t sure what I was going to see, I’m familiar with Grenier as an actor, but as far as his directing skills, I was curious to see what he’d done with this very captivating premise. The documentary goes much further then just about Austin, it delves deep into the paparazzi culture, and even examines our obsession with celebrities.

The film opens with a quick background on Grenier, and how he is in the position that he is now, a celebrity that has to deal with the constant snapping of the paparazzi. One day, Grenier is leaving an event, and a young boy runs up to him with a camera. At first, he assumes its just another fan. Once he’s hit with the snapping of 75 shots, he realizes, this kid is a paparazzi.

Grenier tracks Austin down, and turns the cameras on him. Following him as he goes about his life, and interviewing the various people in and around him, including other paparazzos. The film is insightful and looks at many different aspects of the culture.

A great part of that is the journey of a photo, which is outlined for us in detail. For example, if one of these professionals snags a quick picture of Paris Hilton walking out of a coffee shop, how its downloaded, uploaded, and on a picture editors desk for a tabloid before she even gets home. It’s quite remarkable.

The films opening I’d say is its weakest part. It begins a bit on the self-indulgent side. I will admit, it is hard to not come off self-indulgent when you narrate the opening of a film telling us why you’re famous. But, I’m sure there are people who don’t know who Adrian Grenier is, and why he would be a “victim” of the paparazzi. Thankfully, we move right past this, and it only strengthens from there.

It is clearly evident that Grenier truly cared about this story. It apparent when he voices concerns that once Austin grows out of the cute, “I’m a 13 year old paparazzi,” he’s going to be wasting his talents as a photographer. The actor actively goes out of his way to encourage Austin to explore his talent in other ways, in hopes that he can make something even more out of his life.

Another great sequence in the film is when Grenier goes out of his way to test the lies many tabloid publications make up based on the photos they receive. He stages a shoot with himself and Paris Hilton, just to see how it comes out on the other end. And of course, the rumors fly that there is a burgeoning relationship between the too.

The most touching part of the film is the friendship and bond Grenier builds with Austin. Its amazing to see how this taste of fame effects Austin through out the filming process, as he is very different at the end of the film then from when we first meet him.

My favorite sequence in the film had to be the point where Grenier decides to get his own camera, and see what things were like on that side of the world. I have to admit, if this hadn’t happened, I would have left the theater extremely disappointed.

‘Teenage Paparazzo,’ features great appearances by a wealth of different personalities, Matt Damon, Eva Longoria, and Alec Baldwin show up giving their opinion on everything from paparazzi to literally how different your life is when you are in the public eye.

Baldwin makes an amazing statement, he discusses how media conglomerates profit both from his work as an actor, and his personal life. For example, while he was working on the Departed, he’s doing the talk show circuit, appearing on shows produced by Time Warner, whose WB arm produced the film. But then, one of the company’s other outlets, TMZ, is dragging his name through the mud for the scandal with the angry voicemail he left his daughter. So on one end their profiting off his work, and on the other, their profiting by exploiting a situation in his personal life. Showbiz…there is nothing like it.

I really enjoyed ‘Teenage Paparazzo,’ and I’m glad to see it premiere on HBO tonight. It is a great film that offers a lot of insight to the world of these photographers, and gives you a feel for what its like to be both behind and in front of the camera.

This Week in Television – Premiere Week

This Week in Television – Premiere Week

This is a new weekly column that will take a look at what is going on the ol’ boob tube! Wait. I don’t believe my TV has any tubes…

House M.D.

Everyone’s favorite Doctor is back in its 7th season, and it picks up literally where the last left off. (Quick Recap) Season 6 ended with House losing his patient, and running home to his last stash of Vicodin, and being stopped by Cuddy, who is most definitely not a hallucination this time around.

Cuddy and House spend the entire day at House’s apartment, basically building a foundation of their relationship. It is clear that much of this season will involve the “Huddy” relationship, and how it affects them and the rest of House’s staff and friends.

I love House because despite its repeating formula, the side stories of the characters are what keep the audience engaged. And occasionally, they do an episode unlike any of the others (I’m looking at you last years special season premiere that was essentially a mental hospital drama).

I think the season is definitely off to a good start and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

The Event

ABC’s last Lost replacement failed (Flashforward, which I got into and was sad to see it canceled), so now NBC is stepping up to the plate with a new event drama, called…The Event.

The first episode was thrilling, edge of your seat action, but honestly, I have no clue what direction the show is headed in. Am I interested? Yes. But the pilot focused so much on the “crazy” event that we didn’t get to learn more about the characters. Stay tuned for episode 2 next week.

Modern Family

Fresh off their Emmy wins, the ABC sitcom returns with a strong episode featuring an amusing situation with Cam and Mitchell trying to put together a castle for Lily, and Jay lending a hand. I enjoyed this show right away last year, and I’m glad to see it return.

The Office

Everyone is waiting to see how this season goes, we all know its Steve Carrell’s last, who will take over, what new story arcs will this season bring? The premiere introduced the new office assistant, who just so happens to be Michael Scott’s nephew. I enjoyed the episode, especially the lip-sync open. Off to a good start, I hope they can sustain it.

Outsourced

NBC’s new culture shock comedy telling the story of Todd Dempsy (Ben Rappaport) as an American office manager sent to India to manage a Mumbai call center staffed with a bunch of misfits. The pilot wasn’t anything that blew me away, but it has potential to grow. I’ll give it a few more chances, as long as it stays away from the heavy Indian stereotyping.

Hawaii 5-0

Didn’t make it through past the first commercial break. (Sorry CBS) I may give it another chance…

Shows I missed before writing this article: Lone Star, Boardwalk Empire, Bleep My Dad Says, and Fringe. I’ll follow up before the end of theweekend with an update of those shows!

Lost & 24 Season Finale Wrap Up/Review

Lost & 24 Season Finale Wrap Up/Review

Two of my most favorite shows have gone off the air, and I thought despite Lonelyreviewer.com only covering Film recently, I’d like to do a review/write down my thoughts for a significant week in television. There will be spoilers herein, so please take care, if you plan on watching them in the future, or aren’t caught up, I will be discussing the shows in detail. So. One more time SPOILER ALERT.

24

Despite a lackluster past few seasons, the creative team behind 24 pulled out all the stops in what became the shows final season. Moving the locale to New York City
(something as a fan I’d wanted since season 5), we joined Jack Bauer as he’s brought in to provide his usual assistance on the eve of the signing of a historic peace treaty.

The producers admitted recently that they didn’t make too many changes the way the season was going to play out despite it being Jack’s last outing on television. However, it certainly did feel like at least in the last 6-7 episodes, they pulled out all the stops. Jack became even more vengeful then he’d ever been, out for blood, to hurt everyone responsible for the death of his friend and now lover, Renee Walker.

In the series finale, we watched Jack, despite wanting nothing but to kill everyone responsible, be talked down by his long time friend Chloe O’Brien. The most touching moment of the finale came in its last moments, when Jack, having been saved once again by Chloe’s intervention, Jack thanks Chloe for all her dedication, and friendship over the years. It was a great moment in television, and we watch Jack run via a drone feed.

The finale is a total set up for the film, but, I’m ok with that, I think it was a classy way to end the show.

Lost

The debate behind this has been raging, people either love it, or are frustrated by it. I’m 100% completely satisfied with how everything played out, and I’ll tell you why.

We’ve had a season full of answers, what the deal is with the smoke monster, what the island is, who is jacob, what the “numbers” represented. From day one, showrunners and exec producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have said that ‘Lost’ has always been a story of the characters. Flawed, but at the same time, special, the passengers of Oceanic Flight 815 were brought together by fate, to a mysterious island. They’ve traveled through time, they’ve been shot at, attacked by polar bears, drowned, kidnapped. You name it, these guys went through a lot.

This last season started with what we eventually called a “sideflash,” where the plane never crashed. What we learn in the finale is, this “alternate reality,” is a purgatory of sorts. A world created by them, which gives them a chance to relive their lives the way they wanted, the ideal way. Of course, there is no happiness either, and realizing that they were in a false world, helped them “pass on” or “move on.”

It was beautifully put together, sure people are upset at the pile of things they didn’t explain, but to be anymore detailed would have been dumbing down the show. I applaud them for sticking to their vision, and like I said, I’m completely satisfied with this finale (albeit, sad, but I know I’ll be rewatching from season 1 soon). I think the episode was the best of the season, cinematically epic, and the best 2 hours and 30 minutes of TV (with commercials) I’ve seen. Ever.

So, now what am I watching? The Summer is here, so I’m going to have to play some catch up, maybe I’ll finally pop in ‘The Wire’ box set thats been sitting next to my TV for weeks. Here’s hoping for some great new shows this fall, anyone watching V?

Video Pick of the Week: Wolfman, DDS

Rob Kutner, one of our favorite contributors has just released a video parodying the ‘Wolfman’ remake called “Wolfman, DDS,” starring Kutner, Sheryl Zohn, and Will Forte. The video is a promo for his upcoming NYC Purim Sketch show “The Shushan Channel” February 27th, 2010 at 92Y Tribeca.

If you live in the NYC area you should definitely check it out, there are two shows (8p and 10p) and you can buy tickets here!

Muppets Cover ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

When is Jason Segal’s Muppet movie going to come out? I have no idea, but the more of these fun viral muppet videos that come out, the more I want to know about his project. I’m not sure if this is related at all to that movie. But, it is very very sweet.

Enjoy!

Oprah to End ‘Show”

Oprah to End ‘Show”

OprahOprah Winfrey has announced that she will be ending the Oprah Winfrey Show at the end of her current contract, September 2011.

The Oprah Winfrey Show has been on for 25 years, and launched Oprah into super-stardom, she’s used her platform to educate, promote, and help others through philanthropy.

People predict that Oprah will focus her attention on her magazines, radio show, and her new television network that will be launching next year.

24 Season 8 Trailer Hits

Words can’t describe my excitement for the final season of 24. After a lackluster Season 6, the writing team turned it around with the TV movie and 7th season. This season, they’ve moved the story to NY. Jack Bauer, New York City, Final Season.

It’s going to rock.

Video: “Don’t Ruin American Healthcare”

Our friend Rob Kutner has sent us his latest web short, his “critical contribution to the healthcare debate.” We’ve featured Kutner’s stuff in the past, his Juno parody “Jewno,” and his book “Apocolypse How.” Kutner is currently a writer for the ‘The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien’

Check out his latest video below!

Curb to Feature ‘Seinfeld’ Reunion

So, they aren’t calling it quite a reunion, but as close to one as we’ll ever get. For the upcoming long anticipated season of Curb, Larry and the gang are approached to come together for a Seinfeld reunion!

Punchline Magazine has a great behind the scenes look at the new season that premieres September 20th.

anyone else as excited as me after watching that?

Netflix for iPhone?

Rumors of a Hulu app on my iPhone got me very excited, but it has been a while since those rumors hit, and still nothing. But, this new rumor, is definitely even more exciting. Netflix could be releasing an official iPhone app that lets you stream the companies “Watch it Now” video streaming selections.

Though, this would be awesome if you could stream via 3G, but it is likely, much like the SlingPlayer app, you’ll only be able to stream while connected to Wifi.

Oh well, either way, it’d be awesome to watch Lost, Mad Men, Dexter, and some movies during my lunch break.

I take long lunch breaks.