Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour: Top 10 Quotes from Day 1

The death march with cocktails begins anew!

The Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour kicked off on January 5th with the MTV family of networks offering up panels from TV Land (“Retired at 35” and “Hot in Cleveland”), CMT (“Working Class”), Spike (“Coal”), and Comedy Central (“Onion SportsDome” and “Tosh.0”). From there, it was on to a working lunch, where we learned of the TV Guide Channel’s new reality series, “The Nail Files,” while indulging in a grilled chicken salad and, to ruin any possible health benefits, followed it with a cupcake. With our bellies full, we moved on to the National Geographic sessions: “Beast Hunter,” “Explorer,” “Alien Invasion” and “Area 51 Declassified,” and “WILD on Snakes.” Next, we got a look at two new TV One shows, “Love That Girl!” and “Way Black When,” took a gander of Peter Lik’s new series for The Weather Channel, and the whole thing wrapped up with ESPN’s presentations for “Year of the Quarterback” and the BCS title game.

No, wait, I forgot: after all of the panels had concluded, the Comcast networks threw us a cocktail party which was attended by folks from E!, G4, and Style series. By then, though, I was running on fumes, so all I really did was enjoy the food (petite filets, buttermilk mashed potatoes, turkey sliders, and deep-fried mac & cheese balls…mmmmmmm), throw back a few bourbons, listen to Chris Gore rant about how awful “Tron: Legacy” was, and talk to Bruce Jenner for 15 minutes about his acting work, including “Can’t Stop the Music.” Indeed, the only time “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” came up was when one of his daughters called to tell him that they’d won Favorite TV Guilty Pleasure at the People’s Choice Awards. (He applauded me for “going retro” with my questions.)

Also, somewhere in between all of those panels, I had a chance to ask Betty White a couple of questions, share an interview with Jane Leeves, and do one-on-ones with Wendie Malick, Henry Rollins, Phil Morris, and the anchors and executive producer of “Onion SportsDome.” Arguably my most impressive accomplishment, however, was talking to Jerry Rice, asking a question provided to me by David Medsker (and tightened up slightly by Anthony Stalter), and having him seemingly believe that I know something about sports when I absolutely do not.

I’ll be revisiting some of the individual panels on a case-by-case basis as time allows, but in the meantime, here are the top 10 quotes from Day 1 of the tour. Hope you enjoy them, and see you after Day 2!

1. “What is this Betty White business? This is silly. Really, it is very silly. You’ve had such an overdose of me lately. Trust me. I think I’m going to go away for a while. It’s hard for me to say no to a job because you spend your career thinking if you say no, they’ll never ask you again, and if you don’t take the job, you know, that may be the end of it, but my mother taught me to say no when I was a girl, but that wasn’t about show business. So the result is I’m trying to cut down. I really am.” – Betty White, “Hot in Cleveland” (TV Land)

2. “Betty White is in the building. Did you hear that? I hope I get to touch her. I just had cataracts, and I’m still adjusting, but what I see is looking pretty good.” – Ed Asner, “Working Class” (CMT)

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10 “New” Films for a New Year

It’s the end of a decade, but it’s also the beginning of a new year, which means that it’s as good an excuse as any to kick off 2010 with a list of ten enjoyable (in their own way) “new” films you might want to watch this weekend…starting with this classic:

10. New Year’s Evil (1980): Any holiday worth its salt has inspired a slasher film, and the celebration of a new year is certainly no exception to that rule. The tag line for this Cannon Films classic is just as cheesy as it ought to be – “This New Year’s, you’re invited to a killer party” – and so is the cast, which is led by Roz Kelly, best known for playing Pinky Tuscadero on “Happy Days.” Roger Ebert deigned to review it upon its original release, describing the film as “an endangered species: a plain, old-fashioned, gory thriller. It is not very good. It is sometimes unpleasantly bloody. The plot is dumb and the twist at the end has been borrowed from hundreds if not thousands of other movies. But as thrillers go these days, ‘New Year’s Evil’ is a throwback to an older and simpler tradition, one that flourished way back in the dimly remembered past, before 1978.” For a slasher flick, that’s about as much of a rave as you could hope to get, really.

9. A New Leaf (1971): This was in my original draft of this list, but I yanked it because I couldn’t find a clip to use with it. When our man Bob Westal snuck a peek at the piece and cited it as an unforgivable omission, however, I dug a little deeper and found something that I could use. This was Elaine May’s directorial debut, and she also served as the female lead of this Walter Matthau comedy. Any film that’s loved by both Roger Ebert and Vincent Canby clearly has something going for it, so I’d say it’s more than worthy of making an appearance on this list, but, my, I had no idea that carbon on the valves was such a common mechanical problem…

8. The Emperor’s New Groove (2000): David Medsker swears by this Disney animated flick, and who am I to argue with him? Plus, this gives me an excuse to drop in an anecdote from Patrick Warburton about the flick. He assured me, “I love Disney as much as any straight man in the world can love Disney,” but then he told me about meeting up with Eartha Kitt, his “co-star” in the film, at the premiere and reminding her that they’d worked together before. “When I was in my very early 20’s – I was 21 or 22 – I had done a movie with her in South Africa that was absolutely horrible,” he said. “I got the impression that she probably didn’t want to hear that anything she had ever done was not good. You didn’t even have the right to say it if you were a part of it. She just looked at me and said, ‘I’m sure we had a good time, darling.’ I looked back at her and said, ‘Well, we didn’t have that good of time, Eartha.’”

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