Friday, October 30, 2009

Abigail Breslin vs. The Blind and Deaf Advocates

Oscar Nominee Abigail Breslin has been hired to play Helen Keller in the Broadway revival of “The Miracle Worker.” The Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts has complained that Abigail Breslin was hired without any consideration for talented actresses from their community. Abigail Breslin is a very talented actress, but she is neither blind nor deaf.

I’m going to take a stand on this one. I am siding with the producers who hired Abigail Breslin. The first reason why I am siding with the producers is because Abigail Breslin is famous. She is not famous for being on some kids show. She is famous for being in popular and well respected films. Ever since she was in Little Miss Sunshine, she has become very recognizable. In addition, she has not done anything yet to upset the mainstream media. She has not done anything controversial like Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan.

The second reason why I am siding with the producers is because having a famous actress can help the show make more money. They are in the business of making money. If I was going to see a Broadway Play, I’d rather see one with a famous actor or actress that I recognize, so I get a chance to see that celebrity perform live. Just like a movie will make more money if you hire Tom Hanks, a Broadway Play will make more money if you have someone famous in the cast.

I feel for actors and actresses who have disabilities. In fact, I want to point out that some of them have done very well in movies. In World War II, a man named Harold Russell lost both of his arms. He was hired to star in a film called “The Best Years of Our Lives” as a soldier who lost his arms in the war. He won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and he received a special Oscar for “bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans.” He is the only person to receive two Oscars for the same role. I want to highly recommend this film. His performance was excellent. He deserved the Oscars.

In 1986, Marlee Matlin, who is deaf, was cast in the role of a deaf character in the film “Children of a Lesser God.” I have not seen the film yet, but she did win the Oscar for Best Actress. I will try to get around to seeing this film.

Performers with disabilities are talented and have been recognized by Hollywood. I cannot fault the producers of “The Miracle Worker” for hiring a celebrity who can help them sell tickets. If they hired an unknown actress, then I could say that they were wrong for not giving a deaf or blind actress a chance. But they landed a famous Oscar nominated actress, and she will help them sell tickets. There is not another 13-year-old actress who is as famous as Abigail Breslin. I do not feel that the choice of Abigail Breslin was about having a child actress without disabilities. I feel it was about having an A-List star in the play.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ashlee Simpson Fired From Melrose Place

I remember the original Melrose Place. It was about a bunch of fun-loving people in their 20s until Heather Locklear came on board. Then it turned into a show about people who were all sleeping with each other.

When I started to watch that show when I was young, I remember they booted one of the most attractive actresses, Amy Locane, because her character did not fit well on the show. She left the show after the first 12 episodes.

Sometimes a character does not fit into the mood of a television show. Sometimes you cannot just make the villain become the fun guy. When characters take certain directions, you cannot easily reverse them.

I have not seen one episode of the new Melrose Place, but I knew that the star would be Ashlee Simpson. She was the one famous person cast on the show. A lot of the first season revolved around the murder of a character. It appears that when the murder will be solved, Ashlee Simpson’s character and the character of a guy named Colin Egglesfield will be leaving the show.

One thought comes to mind is that one of those two characters was the murderer.

The other thought is that Ashlee Simpson was fired because her character did not fit well into the show.

She is trying to act like this was the plan all along. She’s as full of it as she was when she lip-synced on Saturday Night Live back in 2004.

The reason why I brought up Amy Locane was to compare her departure from the first Melrose Place to Ashlee Simpson’s departure from the second. Years later, how many of you know who Amy Locane is? I remember the actress was also in the film School Ties, but I did not remember her name. I had to use Wikipedia to figure that part out.

When Amy Locane was given the boot, it was no big deal because the entire show was a cast of unknowns. But Ashlee Simpson was the only famous person on the new Melrose Place. When a show hires a famous person, the producers tend to give more screen time to the famous person to draw in an audience. That is why the firing of Ashlee Simpson is not like the firing of Amy Locane. Ashlee Simpson was the star of the show. It was “Ashlee Simpson and several anonymous schmucks!” They built the show around her, and now they want her off of the show.

I cannot judge Ashlee Simpson’s acting because I have never seen an episode of the show. But if she is as good of an actress as she is a singer, then she won’t be getting an Emmy for this show.

As someone who watched the first few seasons of the original Melrose Place and would not watch a single episode of the new one, I can say that I felt the casting of Ashlee Simpson was a bad idea from the start. Ashlee Simpson is a very conversial person because many people feel that she became famous just because she had a famous older sister. Her older sister, Jessica Simpson, has beauty and an amazing voice. Ashlee Simpson was not an attractive girl when she entered the music business, but plastic surgery was used to hack off her nose. She had a horrible voice which has not improved over the years. Basically, Ashlee Simpson has rode on the coattails of her talented sister for too long and many people think that she is what is wrong with the music industry today. She is not a well-respected person in the entertainment industry and some of her controversial actions over the years have made her even less respected.

There are people who either love Ashlee Simpson or hate her guts. I am on the side that hopes she will retire from anything involving music, film, or television for good. Placing Ashlee Simpson on Melrose Place was a bad move from the start because of her polarizing nature. Now that she is fired, maybe people will be willing to tune in so they can see a cast of unknowns (also un-hated) and the return of Heather Locklear. Or maybe those who did not tune in before will say, “Well I already missed the first season and I don’t want to see Ashlee Simpson act.”

In addition to firing Ashlee Simpson, the producers should consider firing themselves for casting her in the first place.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Kanye West Is Not Dead

I just logged into Twitter and I saw that one of the trending topics was “RIP Kanye West.” Immediately I thought that he had died and this was the first news that I had heard about it. So I went to Yahoo and searched his name. He is not dead. It was a hoax.

One of the problems with Twitter is that if enough people post comments with certain words, those words may be one of the few words chosen as a trending topic. The problem is that the trending topics are not checked for accuracy.

Twitter is a source of news. During the Iranian election, Twitter was used for people to communicate with those outside of Iran as to what was happening.

Twitter is getting very big and when companies get big, they need to start policing themselves for user fraud. Maybe have one employee, just one person, check to see if a trending topic is a hoax. If it is a hoax, pull it from the trending topic section.

Twitter, is that too much to ask?

Like or hate Kanye West, I think that any news outlet has an obligation to squash any false rumor as quickly as possible, especially if the rumor involves someone’s death.

The sooner Twitter takes “RIP Kanye West” off of their trending topic, the sooner this rumor can die down. Those who run Twitter are being irresponsible for keeping “RIP Kanye West” as a trending topic and are only adding fuel to the fire of this hoax.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Phil Collins Can No Longer Play The Drums

Some people reading this may be younger and not care about Phil Collins, but I want you to know what he means to me.

When I was young, I practically hated music because the only music I would hear would be on the radio when my mom was driving the car. I mainly remember hating The Four Seasons and the high voice of Frankie Valle. Yes I hate Frankie Valle’s voice and hearing the Four Seasons was torture to me. The only music I liked was the songs of Michael Jackson, but the Thriller album was a few years old.

Then one day in the car I heard the song “Invisible Touch” by Genesis. I instantly loved the song. My parents could tell that I was becoming a fan of the group. One morning, they gave me my first cassette, the album “Invisible Touch” by Genesis. This was in 1986.

Phil Collins was the lead singer of Genesis at the time. I loved his voice. I wanted to know how I could try to sing like him. I thought that his voice was beautiful. But I could not sing.

To me, Phil Collins and Genesis are my introduction to music. I started to watch MTV and then was introduced to other groups that I began to enjoy. I loved getting new cassettes of different music groups. One of my next albums was “Slippery When Wet” by Bon Jovi. In 1987, I became a big fan of “The Final Countdown” by Europe and “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne. Being introduced to these groups and these songs was like a child being introduced to candy for the first time. The period of time from 1986-1987 had so many songs that still have the same effect on me today.

I cannot name the first film that I ever saw, but the song “Invisible Touch” was the clear start of my appreciation of music.

Today I found out that Phil Collins can no longer play the drums or the piano. This greatly saddens me. He not only had a success with Genesis, but was a very successful solo artist, winning the Grammy for Album of the Year (1985) for “No Jacket Required.” Phil Collins has lost feeling in his hands.

It saddens me when a musician is very gifted, but a disability comes in the way of him or her making music. Beethoven is the classic example, being a composer who was deaf. Stevie Wonder has been blind since birth, but still able to write beautiful music. While Stevie Wonder can compose music, without sight, he cannot just write down the music on paper as it comes to his mind. He has had to work with others to write down the music that he composes.

I fear that Phil Collins’ days of composing may be over. It must be hard to have a fully functioning mind and not have the hands to work on a piano to discover new music.

The story is not completely sad. Phil Collins is working on a CD of him singing 30 Motown songs. He still has his beautiful voice.
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