Cameron Diaz and the Ladies Shine on SNL

Black Annie
Cameron Diaz showed up last night and, with an energized cast, brought us another strong episode of SNL! Not only was she game to try whatever, as per usual – the show also came with some pretty good/new sketch comedy ideas this week, one or two that make you wonder why they hadn’t been tried before. (I think Kenan’s ‘bill’ is still falling down the stairs.)

Here’s your fun, pre-Thanksgiving SNL Recap!

COLD OPEN: SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK (Mooney, Thompson, Pharaoh, Moynihan)
Kenan playing the “I’m just a bill” guy was just so much fun – I chuckled every time Obama pushed him down the stairs. And also I laughed out loud at Bobby Moynihan’s contrasting line “I’m an Executive Order, and I pretty much just happen.” This was a more refreshing format to deal with the immigration bill than ‘here’s Jay Pharoah’s Obama talking at the camera’ – which SNL has now done better two weeks in a row now.
Blackometer: 7.5/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl-current-season-skits/capital-hill-cold-open-074234364.html

CAMERON DIAZ MONOLOGUE (Diaz, Mooney, Bayer, Moynihan, Jones, Bennett, Bryant)
It’s been revealed in the past that when the writers don’t know what to do with their host in the monologue, they take fake questions from the “audience”. Most of these aren’t great and feel pretty short & lazy. Our host monologues have been pretty good so far this season, so I was surprised when this went as short and as lazy as it did. I mean, Cameron Diaz is a great personality and has been game for a lot of things in the past as an actress…and they couldn’t come up with anything else for her to do? So yeah…this was as phoned in as a fake-questions monologue can get. However, I did strangely like how Vanessa Bayer delivered her “I knew that.”
Blackometer: 3/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl-current-season-skits/diaz-monologue-074651916.html

BACK HOME BALLERS (Bryant, Zamata, McKinnon, Strong, Diaz, Jones, Bayer)
The return of “Do it in my twin bed” – Thanksgiving edition! Having not had a large fill of the SNL ladies yet this season, this was so much fun. And it had some pretty good lines as well. I’m not sure yet if this as good or better than last year’s rendition…but in any case, it was good to see Lil Baby Aidy again. Also, I liked Leslie Jones’ bowls, Aidy’s neighbor, and Kate’s wifi password.
Blackometer: 7.8/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl-current-season-skits/back-home-ballers-074651628.html

NEW ANNIE (Bayer, Bryant, McKinnon, Strong, Diaz, Pharaoh, Jones, Thompson)
Well, with Diaz hosting, an Annie sketch was predictable. But good grief – as per usual; this kicked into high gear when Leslie Jones hit the stage. Vanessa Bayer’s Black Annie was funny. Pharaoh’s subtle Jamie Foxx-isms were great. But it’s Jones’ energy that take it into the next level. I have no idea what happened at the end, but man, I couldn’t keep it together when Kenan showed up. This sketch had good material & such, but gets points mostly on the energy it had.
Blackometer: 8/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl-current-season-skits/annie-074651808.html

NEST-SPRESSO (McKinnon, Killam, Bayer)
Someone on twitter compared this to Mike O’Brien’s Bird Bible last season, and this felt like perhaps a “version” of that. Man, it was weird.It is the kind of weirdness that hides in the cloak of subtlety that we can identify with Mike O’Brien’s work having known him from last year, so maybe it’s his sketch? Not sure. Anyway, Vanessa Bayer was pretty committed to the weirdness, and that makes this work more than anything. (I’d seen her more in 15 minutes by this point than I had in the entire season thus far.)
Blackometer: 6.5/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl-current-season-skits/nest-spresso-074651915.html

HIGH SCHOOL THEATER SHOW (Diaz, Bryant, McKinnon, Mooney, Killam, Bennett, Thompson, Bayer)
This sketch was pretty brilliant. I’ve been to these kinds of “experimental theater” performances, and yes…this is rather accurate. Right down to moving box-type props and trying to ‘teach’ you something about society…even “stay in the your seats, because we will be walking around in character.” I didn’t know what to make of this until Kenan Thompson and Vanessa Bayer started asking the same questions I would find myself asking while watching this (especially if I paid to go see it). I was almost going to tie this with Black Annie, but I think this deserves the slight nod, because it’s true.
Blackometer: 8.5/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl-current-season-skits/high-school-theater-show-074944587.html

WEEKEND UPDATE (Jost, Che, McKinnon, Killam, Strong)
Well, I was curious as to how SNL would tackle the Bill Cosby story this week…and perhaps letting Michael Che handle this one may have been for the best. It’s such a delicate story/subject to deal with, and even Seth Meyer’s Late Night show struggled to joke about it in a ‘comfortable’ way (if there is even such a thing for shows that parody topical events). So appealing to Dr. Huxtable was…was okay, all things considered. It felt like a personal piece coming from Che rather than just a flat-out lampooning of either side of the story. (Also: why does the KKK have a twitter account???)
Kate McKinnon was great – maybe her best Angela Merkel segment yet, right down to getting Jost to do a German kiss face. GOOD LORD, Taran Killam’s Charles Manson was a sight to see. The hair/make-up department deserve a Thanksgiving bonus just for that. Especially whoever made those eyebrows.
Blackometer: 7.6/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl-current-season-skits/weekend-part-1-074019762.html
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl-current-season-skits/weekend-part-2-090415303.html

OFFICE BOSS (Bennett, Diaz, Thompson, Zamata)
This was the perfect kind of premise to do with this character – take him out of the office and try something new. Between the new atmosphere/premise, the perfect kind of host to play opposite him as wife, and the news that threw this sketch into a new gear, this was very well done and funny. I laughed out loud at Kenan/Sasheer’s faces when they hear the news. Being the 3rd time we’ve seen this, it was cool that the host was the partner this time, rather than the straight man type of character trying to get through this respectfully, like Kenan & Sasheer. “I actually have a lot of questions about your relationship…”
Blackometer: 7.8/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl-current-season-skits/office-boss-074651226.html

DR. DAVE & BUGGLES (Thompson, Diaz, Pharaoh)
One joke. One dumb joke. I get it – the monkey ripped his genitals off. You know, I saw the pre-set stage/monkey and wondered why we were about to get a Brian Fellows sketch. I would rather watch one of those. (I really wonder if someone brought up the passing away of Zaboomafoo, and the discussion led to…this sketch.)
Blackometer: 3.5/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl-current-season-skits/dr-dave-buggles-074944400.html

THE FIGHT (Mooney, Bennett, Davidson, Diaz)
This gets a spot in the ‘good’ based solely on the pointless/epic car crashing transitions. People say they knew people like this in high school…and I finally remembered my recollection from yesteryear.
Blackometer: 6.5/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl-current-season-skits/fight-074944862.html

POETRY CLASS (Bayer, Diaz, Davidson, Zamata, Thompson, Bryant)
I think I said it already – Vanessa Bayer was having a great night. And I feel like she really enjoys playing this character. The poems before Diaz were fine, but the reactions that Diaz’s poem was worth the price of admission. Kenan’s reaction faces are two-for-two in this show.
Blackometer: 7/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl-current-season-skits/poetry-class-074651027.html

NIGHT MURMURS (Strong, Diaz, McKinnon)
Great lines, great prop work, good execution – I think this should just speak for itself. A perfect 10-to-1 sketch, and perfect weird way to end the night.
Blackometer: 7.7/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl-current-season-skits/night-murmurs-074944541.html

Best Sketch of the Night: High School Theater Show
Worst Sketch of the Night: Cameron Diaz Monologue
Joke of the Night: “Stay in the your seats, because we will be walking around in character.” – Aidy Bryant
Observations: Another solid show! We got to see some great work from our host and cast, especially the ladies! Outside of Back Home Baller, Vanessa Bayer and Kate McKinnon especially had great nights. It’s interesting how the monologue, which sets the stage for the potential energy of the night, felt so mundane and tepid; yet the rest of the show had good material and great execution from the cast. Cameron Diaz was as game always, and she was able to not only rise to the hosting occasion (as she has in the past), but she also really let the cast shine to put on a solid series of sketches. The show was so good, we even got to see the full goodnights afterwards – a rare, but grand treat.

In other news: I really need to get my behind to a Bruno Mars show. This guy was electric last night:
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl-current-season-skits/mark-ronson-bruno-mars-quot-074042158.html

BLACKOMETER AVERAGE: 6.78

Next time: James Franco to start off the December Christmas shows!

-BB2

Bill Hader: 6.91
Woody Harrelson: 6.80
Jim Carrey
: 6.80
Cameron Diaz: 6.78
Sarah Silverman: 6.78
Chris Pratt: 6.54
Chris Rock: 5.75

cameron diaz snl

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Why This Whole Bill Cosby Thing Just Sucks


Like many others in America, I grew up in a world where Bill Cosby taught us that accomplishing something great with your life and meeting high expectations was completely possible. He mixed comedy with earnestness, sincerity and a father-like heartwarmingness that made many of us aspire to do things we may have never imagined possible. He had a knack for knowing how to reach people (especially kids) during the latter decades of the 1900s, but continued to the present day to pour out into the children, because he realized that they were the future of our world. In other words – Bill Cosby was a highly motivational and influential figure in our lives.

Having said that…this whole rape controversy mess is…well, just terrible. Period.

The thing is: of course you never want to believe things like these are true. Especially of highly respected heroes who have done so much good for people. Yes, everyone has their faults. Yes, he did have a sketchy past that included having a child out of wedlock during his marriage to Camille years and years ago. People seem to forget that “celebrities” are people too – people who make mistakes, whether not-that-great or flat out awful. Sexual assault, of course, is no joke among these, and Cosby’s fame + his glowing past makes this even more devastating. If Cosby had less good will surrounding the name he’s built for himself, it’d be easier to write off the so-and-so as a monster we could all despise (which some have already jumped the Cosby ship in full swing anyway). But with everything I listed at the beginning (and then some), this makes the realization of a potential monsterous chain of events all the more devastating.

Now, on one hand, it’s very hard to say that a woman is lying about sexual assault, no matter how long the time frame between the incident and confession. It’s a very serious matter, one that has a long-lasting impact on the victim and their emotions. So while I personally don’t want to believe the stories that are coming forth, and while you could make a case for the timeline of these events being a potential hoax, is it really our job to say that a woman is lying about something so serious? Sure, it could be a hoax for money or to shut Cosby’s reputation down for whatever the reason. But how much can we really speculate?

Also, Cosby is not saying anything about this. Likely, this is a legal move – as in, the less he says, the better. But this isn’t like when twitter proclaims a celebrity “dead” and the celebrity is there to defend themselves. It’s really a lose-lose situation, because since he won’t say anything about it either way, we only have one side of the story – that he’s guilty. And now he’s losing a new show over it, parts of his tour as I understand are being cancelled – I mean, things have really escalated in the worst ways possible – right down to a TMZ rumor involving innocent Raven-Symone, who was a baby on the Cosby Show with him when she started her acting career.

For right now, the whole thing is truly disheartening. Unfortunately, it is possible that these things could have happened, as people do have skeletons in their closet that will come to the light eventually, as all things do. Some of these things will be very surprising when coming from people we hold in such high regard, such as Bill Cosby. Remember Robin Williams? A man who brought the rest of the world so much joy, but he himself had many personal battles with suicide, which got the best of him in the end. While we’re waiting on the outcomes of this whole thing, it really does lead to a question: are you, sitting there reading this, doing things in private that can be glorified when brought to the light…or viewed as monsterous? We get so upset about these figures we hold on a pedalstool, but think about it. Do you have anything unhealthy in your private life that could ruin you, even among just a few good people you trust – and can you live without it? Maybe this isn’t the direction our thoughts should go in, I don’t know – but things like this always make me eventually turn the mirror on myself to make sure that if it was me in the situation, what could I have done to abstain from getting there?

I truly hope something positive can come out of all of this.

-BB2

Fat Albert: Good Nostalgia or a Crappy Movie?

How well does this film pay homage to the well-loved Cosby cartoon? The answer may disappoint you.

How well does this film pay homage to the well-loved Cosby cartoon? The answer may disappoint you.

FAT ALBERT (2003)

Hey-hey-hey…this movie’s not that great.

SUMMARY

Fat Albert was originally a 70s cartoon produced by well-loved comedian/actor Bill Cosby, based on the misadventures of his childhood friends. There were usually life lessons for kids, and Cosby himself would ‘host’ each episode to relay the messages. The movie deals with the 70s characters coming out of the TV from their show and into the home of Doris (Kyla Pratt), a girl who keeps to herself and seems to have no friends. While the gang tries to help her, they come across many things in the modern world that challenge them, what they know, and who they are.

WHAT WORKS

  1. Kyla Pratt – I enjoy her as an actress, and I think she did a decent job here. Nothing highly memorable, but she did a fine job as the lead.

    "We are here...because Doris has a problem!"

    “We are here…because Doris has a problem!”

  2. Keith Robinson – He did a nice job as the straight man Bill. I still felt like it wasn’t as true to Bill in the show, but it was the closest to the show as I was gonna get. So glad he started getting mostly better roles after this. Mostly. (He tried so hard in 35 & Ticking…blast you, BET.)

  3. Bucky – He’s also nothing like the character on the show…but this is the only change that I like, because on the show, Bucky didn’t really have a character. In the movie, the few shots he gets in are actually pretty funny! I don’t know why, but his change of character works for me. Not too over the top.

    "Never you mind...just no lookin."

    “Never you mind…just no lookin.”

  4. Bill Cosby – By far the best two scenes of the movie are at his house, and of course, the end of the movie that puts the origination of Fat Albert in perspective – where we see him & his friends at Albert Robertson’s grave. Such a touching moment, and it reminds us of how much more touching this movie could have been.

    "My boy, how did you end up in this predicament?"

    “My boy, how did you end up in this predicament?”

  5. Chemistry – I give the group of Fat Albert & friends credit for having a good chemistry on set. They were all having a good time with each other, which was how it should be in spirit of Fat Albert & the Cosby kids.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK

The worst problems are based on not being parallel to the show. That doesn’t sound fair for the concept of it being able to stand as a film on its’ own; but when you go out of your way to incorporate the ideas of the show so much and then don’t meet them, it’s not unfair at all for the comparisons to be made. Therefore…

  1. Fat Albert’s Motives – in the cartoon, Fat Albert never specifically sought out to solve people’s problems. Heck, sometimes he had his own problems in an episode. He just happened to be the good guy trying to help his friends because it was right & he was a friendly dude. But I feel like they really played up this one identifier of his character and made it all he was about, which would have made him entirely one-note if he hadn’t fallen for Doris’ sister.

  2. Going to the Real World – Nope, I never bought it. The way it’s handled + the reason it happens just doesn’t make sense, even with suspended belief. First of all…the Pikachu tear. Really?! I thought we left those in bad 90s animation films. Second, I subjectively don’t know how much I like the 4th-wall being broken in such a modern way for a 70s show. Third, this movie offers nothing that new for movies where older cartoons go into the real world (which Hollywood kept thinking was a good idea around this time for some reason) except for the whole fading away concept…which is pretty dumb.

    "I heard her crying!"

    “I heard her crying!”

  3. Mushmouth & Weird Harold – may as well talk about them together since the movie pairs them for NO reason. In the show, Mushmouth (voiced originally by Cosby) never needed to be translated. We just figured out what he was saying because of how Cosby said the lines in a low voice with ‘-be’ at the end of every word. Having Weird Harold translate everything got annoying quick. He doesn’t use the same don’t of voice either, he sounds like someone on Dexter’s Laboratory. They also make Weird Harold clumsy & awkward, just to parallel him as a possible basketball player. Okay. Pretty much changed another character from the show, but…you get the idea. This isn’t the show. Next.

  4. Russell – I can NOT get over the fact that they didn’t even try to make Russell act or sound like the original character from the cartoon in any way. The voice acting (Jordan from Bernie Mac Show & the Brother Bear movies??? Okay…) He acts like a normal, annoying little brother (all this actor is remembered for) instead of wisecracking Russell from the show. And they don’t even let him come on the adventure! They just leave him in the junkyard because they couldn’t find a young actor good enough or who’d be willing to wear all those winter clothes the entire movie. Russell was more than just a throwaway sibling character – he was Cosby’s beloved younger brother who meant a lot to him. He was also one of the funniest in the group on the show. I wish more would have been done with him than just the meaningless backplot in the junkyard.

  5. Reggie – As a character, and if you think about how obsessed he gets with Doris & Fat Albert, the concept it existing funnier than the original intent of its’ humor. In other words, I’m laughing at him for the wrong reasons. Who acts like this? The short answer = black people in bad mid-2000s movies. But it’s Omarion, what did you expect?

    "Nobody makes a fool out of Reggie...except for Reggie!"

    “Nobody makes a fool out of Reggie…except for Reggie!”

  6. Effects – Yeah, that race between Fat Albert & Reggie looks totally real. That green screen isn’t obvious at ALL. Good job suspending my belief, movie.

  7. A few small pointless things:

    1. The Mall – they act like malls didn’t exists in N. Philly in the 70s. THEY DID. They weren’t quite like they are now, but they did exist.

    2. I don’t know any store clerks like the one Fat Albert meets at the mall who just up and try to get your clothes off to try something on.

    3. Fat Albert skateboard scene – it’s pretty silly. I guess the movie was anxious to get itself back to the cartoon as fast as possible.

  8. Junkyard Backplot – Do I even need talk about how dumb this is? Why is this a big deal? Is this a little kid movie now?

  9. Laurie – basically a cardboard cutout. Nothing interesting about her. Didn’t need to be here, except to have me play the ‘what actresses weren’t available’ game. Next.

  10. The Fat Albert Remix – ………………….I really want to know who pitched this idea, thinking it would be coherent. Not just fun…coherent. All I’m going to say.

    "Hey yo!"

    “Hey yo!”

  11. The School – Are they in HS or college? Everyone’s certainly acting like they’re in high school, but they can come and go to these classes during the day as if they’re in college classes. It’s never made clear. Oh well, at least if it’s a HS, the two adults we see are better than the ones in Love Don’t Cost a Thing. (Still mad at this piece of junk movie.)

WHAT’S ‘EH’

  1. Kenan as Fat Albert – As everyone could gather from watching enough Nickelodeon, Kenan is playing this role because he was often imitating Bill Cosby in his child star days. There are plenty of moments when you’re taken out of the moment, not watching Fat Albert but Kenan Thompson. He wasn’t amazing at it, but it was funny enough and had some touching moments, and the way he plays it in that regard leads you to wonder who else really would have signed on to do this. This was in between his life as a 90s child actor with Nickelodeon and around the start of his adult movie/SNL career. So I don’t think this is by any means the highlight of his career.

CONCLUSION

I wanted to like this movie, but it really could have been better. I didn’t talk about every character’s change from the cartoon, but literally every character from the gang was different in almost an upsetting way. If you’re going to make a movie based on any TV show, book, video game, someone’s life,  or anything like this, it’s important to utilize the source material. This movie seems as though it was written by two different people – Cosby came up with a heartwarming concept culminating in the final scene, and someone else threw in the ridiculousness that took up much of the 80% of the film. The morals are good when we finally get to them, and the actors seem like they’re having fun, but the story is just plain clumsy and silly, even for a Fat Albert story. It just suffers from the same lackluster quality that most black-casted films suffered from in the mid-2000s. It’s too bad this wasn’t made in a time period that wouldn’t have dated it so much, because most would want it to be good based on nostalgia.

BLACKOMETER: 4/10

Let me know what you think! If you need me, I’ll be playing buck-buck.

-BB2

"And then...we playin' buck-buck. All my guys against YOU. And then the junkyard will be ours! Ours! Ours... *pointless echo*"

“And then…we playin’ buck-buck. All my guys against YOU. And then the junkyard will be ours! Ours! Ours… *pointless echo*”