Womanizer



To celebrate the release of Britney's debut single from her sixth studio album, Circus, I've gone ahead and put it up for all to enjoy.

Not as addictive as last year's "Gimme More," but it continues to prove that the hot mess can still pump out catchy dance pop. Damn.

GET IT HERE.

Return to the Prep: Part 1

"I think when you're 18, your personalities conflict, and then you meet up 10 or 15 years later and the playing ground is totally different and you're fine...of course there were nerves going in. But half of it was the buildup everyone else put in on it."

- Shannen Doherty on returning to 90210


iona reunion invite


The way I see it, there are two kinds of people who attend their 10-year high school reunion.

First, there are those who have stayed close to their hometown, their roots, and welcome with open arms the chance to see familiar faces from the past, regardless of what they've achieved over the past decade. The second group, on the other hand, accepts the invitation to return to their alma mater in hopes of subtly showing off what they've achieved since stripping off the cap and gown and bidding adieu to the lockers and lunchmeat.

And then there's me: a sucker for nostalgia, slightly masochistic in his curiosity and simply looking for a reason to escape the palm trees and paparazzi for a while and return to the East Coast for some autumn foliage and hometown glory.

Iona Prep

To prepare myself for Iona Prep's Class of '98 Reunion I visited the school's website to get a glance at any changes I could expect. New to Student Life was a No Cell Phone Policy which was strictly enforced for the classes of '09, '10, '11 and '12 (Just typing those years now seems really bizarre to me). Ten years ago I couldn't fathom the concept of texting and developing a "CrackBerry" addiction. Ten years ago, laptops were a grand luxury bestowed upon the select few who mastered standardized tests and were destined to be shipped off to the Ivy League school of their choice. Now, it appears that anyone can slip a Powerbook into a messenger bag and browse through iTunes during free periods (hooray for Wi-Fi!).

My first journey through the wonderland known as the Internet took place in the school library during my sophomore year. One of my earliest Web memories was visiting the site for Independence Day to watch the countdown to the movie's opening weekend. I had finished my lunch early enough to run down to the library and grab a computer terminal before the usual crowd rushed in (Dorkus Maximus, party of one).

Hacking into each other's e-mail accounts was also a practice we perfected in between classes. There were days during senior year when a friend and I would read another friend's e-mails from an unknown sender (Obviously, names are being withheld for the sake of those with whom I may still keep in touch). The messages referred to a sordid summer that we had never known about. There wasn't anything jawdroppingly scandalous about them, but it was usually an interesting read. We were 17-year-olds after some shits and giggles.

Sometimes the library would be disrupted by the shenanigans from the jocks, meatheads, and stoners of Iona Prep - or, as I like to call them, the IQ-Challenged Posse. Poor Nancy Forrest, the librarian who had to endure the torment of the footballers who pulled practical joke after practical joke every afternoon. The worst was when Senioritis kicked in during the spring. The catcalls and spitballs had evolved into monkey screeches and chair-banging. Shedding her quiet and timid senior-citizen persona, Mount Forrest finally erupted, and a dominating disciplinarian emerged, silencing everyone in the room. "Enough!" she bellowed, and right then the marrow in my bones would freeze. The woman could have been a dominatrix for Hitler under those cardigans and plaid slacks.

Our headmaster, a moustached mullet-wearer with a voice comparable to a used-car salesman on Vicodin, would usually be called into the library whenever it got out of hand. He'd call out some names from his list of usual suspects, and those unfortunate souls would then spend an hour with him after the final bell rang at the end of the day.

The 2:41 Club was the name for those students who never stayed after hours to participate in extracurricular activities. They were the ones who ran out of the building at 2:41, the final bell, and were never seen again until the the next morning. They were the loners, the nobodies, the invisible freaks...and I had been one of them up until the end of my sophomore year.

I had been in the library during lunch period trying to get a headstart on my homework (Melrose Place was a two-hour that night) when I was recruited by the persistent Ricky to join the school's successful Forensics team. This was in the fall of 1996, a time when the words "college," "future" and "involvement" were thrown around to scare us into joining extracurriculars and building an impressive record for those selective universities that would further shape us into outstanding members of society (they don't call it a prep school for nothing).

iona prep forensics 03

Involving neither cadavers nor fingerprint dusting (which is the usual impression), Forensics dealt more with playwrights and extemporaneous speaking - a.k.a speech and debate. I leaned more on the speech side, Oral Interpretation to be exact. I was given some prose and poetry to recite for judges at small local tournaments, coached by Mr. "I Love Denim Jackets" Sloat and Brother "I Love Theatrics" Cavet. My prose selection was "Here There Be Tygers," a short story by Stephen King, and for my poetry portion I recited several works from the late and great Shel Silverstein. I learned how to master diction, how to perfect subtle arm movements and how to alternate the pitches of my voice when playing several characters at once.

Those of us in OI would make patients with multiple-personality disorders look like amateur Muppet actors.

By the end of my junior year my prose and poetry readings had taken me as far as Albany (The State Tournament, in which I won 2nd Place) and Baltimore (the Catholic National Tournament, in which I placed in the top 24). Looking back, the Baltimore experience was a lot like the Hollywood rounds of American Idol - except there wasn't any melodramatic weeping...and most contestants were obsessed with Tennessee Williams and Newt Gingrich. And just like Idol, everyone got along, especially with those on rival teams from other schools. Of course, once we got back to our hotel rooms, we talked about them behind their backs and ripped on how cheesy their deliveries were, how awful their tones sounded, how horrid their hair looked with that secondhand wardrobe.

We were a bitchy lot.



I look forward to reliving some of these memories come October 4. I'm keeping the expectations low, realizing that there can never exist a reunion quite as superfabulous as Romy and Michelle's. I will not search for redemption in a three-way dance to the strings of "Un-Break My Heart". Likewise, I will not be whisked away in a helicopter while my former enemies are blown away into the bushes, tupees flying over the parking lot (I didn't have enemies - everyone freakin' loved me).

I'll go with an open mind, knowing that I may learn a little more about myself in addition to the fellas I haven't seen since that momentous summer of '98. I'm sure there will be promised efforts to keep in touch, exchanges of business cards, photos taken for the alumni newsletters (and Facebook albums). But I also can't help feeling that it may just be a fleeting experience, one that may quickly be forgotten, or one that may deliver closure for some and new opportunities for others.

We shall see...

Ooh, will you look at that. It's almost 2:41.

Gotta run.


H.P.M.

"I invented Post-Its."

My Hero (Right Now)

diablo

Diablo Cody makes me smile.

Yeah, she's the former stripper chick who won an Oscar for writing Juno and is now working with Spielberg on her own Showtime series starring Toni freakin' Collette.

She makes me look forward to the day when I'll work alongside my own childhood idol, have an assistant who can watchdog my Facebook account while managing my iPhone address book and attend random movie premieres simply because my mere presence can up the pedigree quotient of the red carpet.

Little did I know Ms. Cody has a significant number of haters, and yesterday she posted a blog on her MySpace addressing said hate. It is something I couldn't have written better myself and reminds me why I j'adore her so:

1. She's proof that a writer in the twilight years of his/her 20s can cause a seismic shift in Tinseltown.
2. She's one of the few writers whose words jump off the page, slap my chubby cheek and make me bust a gut in the middle of the workday (her acute observations are the stuff pop-culture fanatics' dreams are made of).
3. She's a contributing scribe for my Bible, Entertainment Weekly; I absorb her columns with relish.
4. She's not ashamed of her past; instead, she uses it as a source of inspiration from which she can propel herself further into her challenging and often schizophrenic career. Likewise, she's not afraid to point out the hypocrisy from her critics (as you'll see below); she dishes back without coming off as having been consumed by an ego.
5. Um, hello...an Oscar and Spielberg.

Here's her blog. For you sensitive readers out there, it's rated R. But it's a soft R:

A while back, there was a thoughtful article in the above-mentioned publication [Variety] about Ellen Page and myself. The article was mostly about how passionately some people hate me. As I explained to my therapist the following day (ha) it's kind of weird to read something like that about yourself. On one hand, you feel defensive. On the other hand, you feel puzzled. You feel compelled to identify what it is about you that might inspire such vitriol. (I personally suspect the hate isn't that widespread; it's just loud.)

I thought about it. For months. I even wrote a screenplay on the theme. And then, finally, I figured it out.

I have a response to those who are still boring enough to lob insults in my direction. (Those of you who are friends, fans, enablers, or dislike my writing for legitimate, rational, nonpersonal reasons can tune out now if you like. This isn't for you.)

Anyone else? Bend thine ear:

I am not Charlie Kaufman or Sofia Coppola (much as I supplicate at their Cannes-weary feet.) I'm not Paul Thomas Anderson. I'm not even Paul W.S. Anderson. I am middle-class trash from the Midwest. I'm a competent nonfiction writer, an admittedly green screenwriter, and a product of Hollywood, USA. I am "Diablo Cody" and if you're not a fan, go rent Prospero's Books again and leave me the fuck alone.

I may have won 19 awards that you don't feel I earned, but it's neither original nor relevant to slag on Juno. Really. And you're not some bold, singular voice of dissent, You are exactly like everyone else in your zeitgeisty-demo-lifestyle pod. You are even like me. (I, too, loved Arrested Development! Aren't we a pretty pair of cultural mavericks? Hey, let's go bitch about how Black Kids are overrated!)

I'm sorry that while you were shooting your failed opus at Tisch, I was jamming toxic silicon toys up my ass for money. I get why you're bitter. I took exactly one film class in college and-- with the curious exception of the Douglas Sirk unit—it bored the shit out of me. I also once got busted for loudly crinkling a bag of Jujubes during a classroom screening of Vivre Sa Vie. I don't deserve to be here. We've established that. But I'm here. Five million 12-year-olds think I'm Buck Henry. Accept it.

(Incidentally, if you were me for one day you'd crumble like fucking Stilton. I am better at this than you. You're not strong enough, Film_Fan78. Trust me.)

I'm sorry to all those violent, semi-literate fanboys who hate me for befriending their heroes. I can't help it if your favorite writer, actor, director, or talk show host likes me. Maybe you would too, if we actually met.

I know my name is fake and that it annoys you. What, do you hate Queen Latifah and Rip Torn, too? Writers and entertainers have been using pseudonyms for years. Chances are, you're spewing bile under an assumed screen name yourself. I'm sorry if you think I'm like some inked-up quasi-Suicide Girl derby cunt from 2002, but I like my fake name. It's engraved on an Oscar. Yours isn't.

Listen: I've been telling stories my whole life. Even when I was a phone sex operator, I was the Mark Twain of extemporaneous jerk-off fiction. I took every perspiring creep on a fucking journey. I don't know how to do anything else.

I'm going to make more movies and shows. I doubt they'll all be good, but that's the nature of this life. Even though the public only knows me from one book, one movie, and several aborted blogs, I've spent the last few years hustling like Iceberg Slim out here to prove myself professionally. The people I currently work for, and with, are more than pleased with my post-Juno output. My pilot was so good (thanks, Toni Colette!) that it got picked up for series. That is rare, children. That is blue-rare.

In summation: you try it.

This is the last I have to say on the subject, unless I'm provoked by a journalist in which case I'll gladly reload. With relish, as Betty Rizzo might say. That said, I'm a 30-year-old woman with a dwindling interest in blog culture, and I don't have time to address this bullshit every time one of my projects comes out. I'm in love, I just bought a house, and my boss made E.T. I kind of have to focus on reality.

And drinking. I have to focus on drinking.

Currently listening to:
Jonas Brothers: Bonus Jonas Edition
By Jonas Brothers
Release date: 2007-10-30

Twitter Me This



In an attempt to keep up with today's text-obsessed generation, I have joined Twitter. In other words, I am somewhat pathetically clinging to a youth that is quickly eluding me with every Breakfast Club reference I make.

If you need to know how I'm feeling, what I'm doing, where I'm going, who I'm seeing...you have this (consider it my own personal and voluntary virtual tracking device):

twitter.com/TheFirstEcho

Oy,

H.P.M.

Hateration

hate

I hate celery (as most of you already know).

I hate that I am rejoicing over the price of gas falling below four dollars per gallon.

I hate that the writers strike has prompted Warner Bros to rip the heart out of the 2008 holiday movie season by shuffling Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to July 17, 2009.

I hate all of those ridiculous and useless applications on Facebook (F**k off, I do not want to be invited to your little Vampire party, and I do not need a little flirty face telling me I'm hot - I have the drunk tranny at the corner of Santa Monica and La Cienega to tell me that, thankyouveddymuch).

I hate the Robertson Boulevard exit off the 10 Freeway because of its one-laned ramp that can easily be transformed into two lanes allowing traffic to flow more smoothly into Culver City.

I'm starting to hate how this town can make 28 feel so old so quickly (but no hate on the town itself).

I hate how vain some housewives of a particular ethnicity can be when they come to the gym having done their hair and make-up - only to barely sweat it off with a ten-minute stationary bike ride while reading Us Weekly.

I hate how, as you get older, work and other commitments prevent you from seeing the friends you used to see at least once a week (you're now lucky to see them for at least an hour out of the month).

I hate how I was never taught how to properly manage finances in college. Coincidentally, I hate how most of my peers still have to suffer from severe debt because they were never educated on the manipulative machinations of student loans and credit card institutions.

I hate the rampant hypocrisy and religious overtones that have saturated politics throughout our country (ahem, Sarah Palin*, cough).

I hate how Trick 'R Treat, a movie I've been waiting to see for over a year, is now going straight to DVD.

I hate that the second season DVD of Knots Landing hasn't been scheduled for a release yet.

I hate that it took me over a week to finish this.

H.P.M.

*Someone needs to cut the brakes on that condescending c**t's car.


Who Killed Hiko?



It's a given that I am a TV junkie.

I grew up watching characters named Bobby, Roseanne, Michael and Mulder, knowing full well that there could never be a Hiko written into a script, that there could never be character created with my unique moniker. Even in movies I cherished (Forrest, Freddy, Bender - hell, even Keyser) my name was never uttered. I could always rely on my name being unique, forever one-of-a-kind (untouched by Hollywood at least).

Then along comes Samurai Girl, ABC Family's miniseries about a girl who is forced into an arranged marriage by her rich and powerful father and later gets thrust into a dangerous Alias-like web of secrets and swords after witnessing the murder of her older brother, HIKO.

I'm sure one can understand how giddily distracted I was today when two of my coworkers (and my dad - via a phone call from his vacation in Atlantic City) had told me that they had watched me get stabbed in the chest and become the focal point in a murder mystery during the Samurai marathon which aired this past weekend. I finally made it, and it was truly bizarre at first, hearing someone call out my name, referring to someone else for the first time, especially a fictional character.

All of you Johns and Jennifers out there - you just don't understand.

Below is a guide to the opening ten minutes of the first installment. It's typical PG-13 action fare (who knew death and deception reigned supreme on a network aimed at...well, families), and I have gone ahead and broken down where I (or rather, my name) prominently pops up in the premiere.



0:46 - My debut.

2:11 - "Hiko, thank you." (Basically, my name is dropped three times in the first two minutes, thank you very much)

5:15 - My crimelord dad expresses his disappointment in me.

7:55 - I make an appearance to save little sis from getting sliced and diced on her wedding day (and frankly, I kick some serious ninja ass).

And sadly, at 9:22, I kick my last piece of ninja ass.

111600_896

Props to the long-haired Jack Yang for playing my televised alter-ego. Dude, you were that guy who got to make out with Lucy Liu on Cashmere Mafia! Rock on. Maybe they can create another Hiko for you, a new character on Gossip Girl perhaps, the older brother of that Asian chick no one pays attention to, a Japanese frat dude who seduces both Blair...and Chuck.

And lastly, writers of Samurai Girl, I salute you. Thank you for breaking down the doors and allowing my name to be broadcast around the country.

I look forward to negotiating my DVD residuals with you.


H.P.M.

LEGENDS OF THE FALL: Autumn 2008, Vol. 1

legends of the fall

Sometimes I think I would make a kickass music supervisor someday.

Selecting the right tracks to incorporate into a movie, placing the right hook at the right moment, milking an emotional scene for all its worth...I'd live for that shit.

Ladies and gents, here's your soundtrack to the fall, an eclectic collection of tunes you already know (Mr. Archuleta, I hesitate to put you on here, but you're just so damn irresistible)...and tunes you should know (hello, Black Kids and Alphabeat).

Ready...set...download:

1. "Right Here (Departed)" by Brandy

2. "Save the Lies (Good to Me)" by Gabriella Cilmi



3. "Keeps Gettin' Better" by Christina Aguilera

4. "Spiraling" by Keane

5. "Boyfriend" by Alphabeat - Take Madonna circa 1985, thrown in some male vocals and then shake until all excess sequins and fishnets fall off.



6. "If This is Love" by The Saturdays

7. "Crush" by David Archuleta

8. "Don't Stop" by Innerpartysystem

9. "Full Service" by New Kids on the Block feat. New Edition - You read that correctly.

10. "Hot N Cold" by Katy Perry

11. "Sick" by Sam Sparro

12. "Hit the Heartbreaks" by Black Kids

13. "In Praise of the Vulnerable Man" by Alanis Morissette

14. "So What" by Pink - Shocker - Pink's divorced and pissed, and she's ready to brawl with anyone who gets in the way of her having fun:



15. "I'm Letting Go" by Francesca Battistelli - Sara Bareilles called. She wants her hook back.

16. "Whatcha Think About That?" by Pussycat Dolls feat. Missy Elliot - And the Inevitable Collaboration of 2008 goes to...

17. "Spotlight" by Jennifer Hudson

18. "If You're Out There" by John Legend

19. "Sandcastle Disco" by Solange - Beyonce's kid sis surprises with a retro-funk soul single.

20. "Just Stand Up" by Various Artists - Every pop diva in the known universe takes a lyric in this single supporting the fight against breast cancer. Who da thunk Melissa Etheridge and Rihanna would ever share the same chorus?

21. "Last Goodbye" by Avenue - A less annoying Jonas Brothers B-side with a chorus that heralds the triumphant return of the Boyband.

22. "Pjanoo (Radio Edit)" by Eric Prydz

Returning to Melrose

Return to Melrose

Forget those rumors about the cast of Melrose Place reuniting for an appearance on stage at the 60th Annual Primetime Emmys on September 21 (btw, it's more than likely - I happen to have a good source).

If producers can revive 90210, why not bring back America's favorite courtyard complex? It doesn't necessarily have to be a spin-off of the new show. Why not a two-part reunion miniseries? They don't make those anymore, and there's an audience just ready to wax nostalgic over flannel, grunge and camptastic catfights by the pool.

Network execs, here's my pitch (And please, my Labor Day weekend wasn't completely occupied with these fantasy scenarios...Well, maybe it was):

It's been ten years since Amanda Woodward and Dr. Peter Burns got married on a private tropical island after running from the law and faking their deaths in a fiery cabin explosion. Psycho Eve Clearly dies in jail after writing a confessional which explains everything that had happened with Kent Dumar. Amanda and Peter are basically cleared and are allowed to return to Los Angeles where the still-married Kyle and Jane (with ten-year-old daughter named Sydney) inform them that 4616 Melrose Place had been auctioned off to a British land developer (new character Simon Wellesley) who demolished the apartment complex and built spacious new lofts in its place. Amanda schemes to get her hands on this new property from the seductive Simon. Peter's like, Okay, while you do that, I'll scheme to gain back my residency at Wilshire Memorial from that hornball Michael Mancini.



Meanwhile, Amanda meets Simon's non-biological 15-year-old son, Austin, who, if you remember correctly, is Jo Reynolds's child she gave up for adoption after she shot drug-dealing daddy Reed in the middle of the Pacific! Amanda decides to contact Jo, who's no longer in Africa and schtupping Doctor Dominick, to offer her the chance to see how her son turned out. This, she hopes, will create drama which will distract Simon from maintaining control over the new Melrose Place Lofts. Jo comes to town, meets Austin and tells Simon, Get yo British ass away from my son and give me the chance to say how sorry I am for giving him up.

Back at Wilshire Memorial: Peter enlists Jane and Kyle to help him get Michael dethroned as Chief of Staff, especially after seeing how poorly things have gotten since Michael took over ten years ago (sure, he helped A&P fake their deaths, but karma's a bitch, and Mancini has it coming). Their scheme: Get Michael to think that Kimberly has come back from dead - AGAIN (Marcia Cross returning as a different character, Victoria Selby, an actress/lookalike who gets hired by Peter - c'mon, they did it on Knots Landing with Lisa Hartman and Models Inc. with Stephanie Romanov!). The plan works. Victoria effortlessly slips in to the role of Kimberly Shaw, haunting Michael once again, driving him to the brink of insanity.

Elsewhere, a dead body is found floating in the pool at the new Melrose Place - identified as Meredith Parker, Alison's sister. Alison learns about the murder and returns to Los Angeles to find out who did it - and along the way, she calls up an old friend to help, Billy Campbell (just returned from Italy after a nasty divorce from Jennifer Mancini). Alison has a pretty clear idea who Meredith's killer is - their abusive father whom they haven't seen in nearly 15 years. It appears that Meredith had come to L.A. searching for her younger sister, on the run from apparent danger. Feeling guilty for not being there for her sister, Alison is determined to bring long overdue justice to her father once and for all. Reunited after all these years, Billy and Alison hunt down the evil Mr. Parker and also rekindle the flame they once had for each other (a montage of flashbacks is inevitable).

Jo, while trying to find closure with her long-lost son, reunites with Jane and meets Kyle and little Sydney for the first time. It turns out that Jane, after hearing that Jo was back in town, called up an old friend to come back and see her - Jake Hanson (Grant Show, sans the Swingtown 'stache). Jake and Jo reunite and nearly rekindle the flame as well while Jake helps Jo get in touch with Austin, but Jake is happily married up in Northern California.

Everything ties up nicely in the end, way better than that lame final episode they called a series finale back in 1999: After exposing Simon's undercover drug trafficking operation (using the Lofts as a front), Amanda takes over the property, introducing herself to a new generation of singles (one of them refers to her as a "cougar") and flirting with one of the hunky residents. Peter enjoys his new reign at Wilshire Memorial. Michael, after learning about the conspiracy against him, falls in love with Kimberly lookalike Victoria and moves off to Hawaii with her. Jo develops a relationship with Austin and promises to be a part of his life now that Simon has been shipped off to federal prison. Alison and Billy give their relationship another try after Alison's murderous father dies in a fiery car crash.

And the whole thing ends with a game of Chicken Fight in the Melrose Place pool...just kidding. That's all he wrote, folks.



Finishing this up so fast, "it'll make your head spin,"

H.P.M.