Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Trailers Galore: Vampires, Aliens, Snow White, Batman, Titans, and Hobbits...oh my...

Underworld: Awakening
I'm a pretty big fan of this franchise, if for one reason only: the vampires don't sparkle.  Add to the mix 1) Kate Beckinsale, 2) guns/explosions, 3) leather catsuit on said foxy actress, and 4) 3D and you've got a great recipie for a guy movie.  It's true, the franchise really lost some steam after the first film (that really came out of nowhere), but it's still generally quite entertaining - and sticks thankfully close to the correct mythology.  By the way, I love how the tag is "Kate 3D".  Yes, please.

Snow White and the Huntsman
This teaser trailer was well staged.  Selling viewers on the idea of Charlize Theron as the evil queen from the fairy tale of the title gives the them a distinct advantage before it's revealed that the titular character is played by the awful Kristen Stewart.  Notice how she doesn't have a single line in the whole trailer, as the talking/voiceovers are left to the more capable Theron and Chris Hemsworth.  This one will really be intriguing to see what comes in later trailers, but for now I'm in - if for nothing more than to see Theron.

Mirror Mirror
This one will be duking it out with Snow White and The Huntsman for new take on old fairy tale of the year - it just happens that they're both from the same old fairy tale.  Disadvantage of this film over SWATH: Julia Roberts as the evil queen (Charlize Theron is smoldering in the above trailer). Advantage over SWATH: no Kristen StewartThat's some major plus points, as she has yet to show any acting skill.  See above for more on that subject.  Still, after seeing Immortals, I'm a bit apprehensive about getting on board with this one from Tarsem Singh, much less having Arnie Hammer in the role of the prince, after his less than awing turn in J. Edgar.  However, it does look rather fun and lighthearted.  So I remain hopeful.

This trailer is pretty straight-forward.  It's basically Transformers at sea.  Cue the groans from those who didn't marvel at Michael Bay's trilogy.  But for the rest of us who actually enjoyed seeing the Autobots doing battle with the Decepticons, this one doesn't look so bad.  It's another Taylor Kitsch flick (see below), but it's also got Liam Neeson, so that's somewhat promising.  We shall see.

John Carter
When I saw the teaser for this last summer, I thought, "Ulgh, it's just Prince of Persia on Mars." Fortunately, this trailer abates my fears somewhat.  It actually looks pretty entertaining, so hopefully it will deliver on its more successful marketing of late.  I'm not really sure of Taylor Kitsch though, but he's still better than that awful lead from the aforementioned lackluster film.  So maybe the casting of a non-A-list star will pay off?  Here's hoping.

Rock of Ages
As much as I hate to admit it, this trailer makes the movie look really good.  I generally loathe "classic" rock n' roll, much less 80s music.  However, this makes it look quite entertaining and fun.  I liked Hairspray a lot more than I probably should have, so this one has potential.  I'll probably take my folks to see this, since they'll probably be able to appreciate it more than I could.

Act of Valor
I'm very intrigued by this film.  I really hope it lives up to the high expectations this latest trailer has set.  It looks like all American, guns blazing, pro-military awesomeness.  Let's hope the final product is as stirring as this trailer (as well as the ones before it).

The Dark Knight Rises
The teaser for this one showed up online a few days after it played in theaters with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II, but I wasn't really blown away by it, since it didn't offer a whole lot of new footage.  However, After seeing what's below in theaters with Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, I was blown away - only to have what is best described as a nerdgasm upon seeing it in IMAX in front of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.  Take special note of Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, spouting what seems to be Occupy Wall Street talking points.  Several theories have arisen over what exactly this means, seeings as Christopher Nolan isn't exactly known for political alegories (even though The Dark Knight is relished as a psuedo-pro-Bush doctrine film).  Seeing it online, doesn't do it justice, but it's still one of my most anticipated movies next year.

Wrath of the Titans
This is one of my more anticipated films of 2012, but the lack of publicity about it had me worried.  At the same time, it had me excited, because there's something gratifying about knowing nothing and then being dazzled by the first footage from the film, as I was with this.  I thought the first film recieved far too much criticism, given that the original had a weaker story, but nostalgic effects.  This one looks as good as the first, but there's not a whole lot of story to be had in this Marilyn Manson-heavy teaser trailer.  Still, I look forward to seeing Rosamund Pike and Edgar Ramirez in action, as well as having Liam Neeson and Ralph Finnes back. Here's hoping...

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
As some people have brilliantly pointed out, this next trailer will only make the wait longer.  Still, it's a joy to see it all coming together, a decade after I was dazzled by The Lord of the Rings trilogy. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New(ish) on Blu-Ray: 11.07

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted movies, but I’ve just felt uninspired to write.  Some of these have been out for a while (but I’m amassing quite a list that I have yet to write about that aren’t new), but here they are regardless.  Oh, and one caveat – Atlas Shrugged: Part I is not available on Blu-Ray (but you should totally check it out). 

 Conan The Barbarian 2011     

Monday, November 14, 2011

In Theaters 11.05 (Better Late Than Never, Part II)

So, basically, the deal was that October was an insane month at work.  Thereby, I haven’t gotten around to a substantive blog post in a while.  (Though, some would argue that I have difficulty writing anything substantive.)  Regardless, here’s the latest movies I’ve been to see, in chronological order, not alphabetical as usual.  What it sort of boiled down to was that I couldn’t a great way to write the review for Warrior – which happens to be the best movie of the year – and couldn’t write the others until I finished that one.  So yeah, still haven’t seen Immortals or J. Edgar, but expect those and other “holiday” movie reviews to follow in a less sporadic fashion. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

'The Avengers' Trailer

I can't believe I didn't post this immediately upon seeing it.  The word "nerdgasm" pretty much explains it all.

New(ish) on Blu-Ray 11.06

Well, I know it’s been two months since I did a “New On Blu-Ray” post, but work has been insanely busy.  Plus, did you see my review on Glee: Season 2?  Yeah, that took forever.  I've also got two movies that I saw in theaters that I need to review - one of which happens to be the best film I've seen this year...but you'll have to come back to find out which one it is.  So, without further adieu, here's the Blu-Ray rundown…granted, some of these titles have been out for months now, but you know you’re waiting with breathless anticipation…

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Glee: The Complete Second Season Review

Okay, this is probably way more in depth than it has any right to be, but I just finished watching the season again, so it had to wait until then.  Granted, I started writing this in like June, so it’s been a long time coming.  Also, this is, by far, the longest blog I’ve ever posted, so just be warned. 
To put it bluntly, this season was kind of a letdown after last season.  The latter half of last season should have been a warning sign, as the writers were starting to run out of material.  Please be warned that there are some potential minor spoilers in my quasi-review, so don’t read this if you don’t want to be completely surprised/let down if you haven’t seen it yet.  In this season, they start resorting to much more heavy handed social engineering, a string of issue episodes (sex, bullying, alcohol, and physical appearance), and tributes (Britney Spears, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Fleetwood Mac) instead of just having fun with the characters.  The show goes from focusing on a group of misfits trying to find their place in the world and bonding over music to an attempt to elicit sympathetic feelings for gay rights, an appreciation for all things Lady Gaga, accepting of the impossible idea that lesbians can be smokin’ hot, and the notion that Gwyneth Paltrow would make a fun educator.   There’s still some fun to be had with the season and the music is still relatively good, but it’s headed in the wrong direction.  For instance, while I appreciate the idea of a glee club writing original songs for competition, the whole premise is undermined by making such a grueling process seem like something that can be thrown together on a whim (like in the dwindling hours before nationals).  Also, am I the only one bothered by the fact that practice never seems to enter the scene?  Yeah, I know, it would drag the show down, but you could at least throw a few lines in here and there like, “Man, I’m glad we took the extra effort to practice this until 2 a.m.” or something.  And then there are the snide jabs at Christians, the Tea Party, and Prop 8 – but that’s par for the course any more.  I would rant a bit more, but I’ll get right to the rundown of powerholders for the season (I’ve also included the minor players as well, in a separate list):
1.       Rachel Berry – Lea Michele
Nearly unquestionably the most talented member of the glee club (only Mercedes really gives Rachel a run for her money), it’s probably natural that she’s my favorite.  As with last season’s list, I have a penchant for girls with pipes – and pipes she has.  In addition to her vocal prowess, she is probably the most straightforward character on the show.  There’s no real question to her motives, no doubt to her devotion to music and her man, and no attempt to make her a social commentary (other than having her be the only Jew raised by a gay couple, which was explored briefly last season).  Her burgeoning friendship with Kurt is a bit annoying, especially given how he pales in comparison to her talent.  In addition, too many of her facial expressions make it seem like someone just told her that her dog was run over, thereby making her more theatrical than intended for television.  I also think that she shouldn’t get hung up on Finn, because Puck is much more of an alpha male (and hilarious).  However, of all the characters on the show, it doesn’t completely defy belief to have her write a show-stopping song for regionals. 
Best musical number: “Get It Right” (an original song) – Honorable mention: “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum (her duet with Puck)
Worst musical number: I wasn’t too fond of “Jar of Hearts” by Christina Perri, “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac, “Firework” by Katy Perry, or “What I Did For Love” from A Chorus Line, but, for the most part, Rachel’s versions are better than the originals – even if the songs are unworthy of her vocal dexterity. 
  1. Sue Sylvester – Jane Lynch
    Look, I love Sue.  She’s really the only thing that hooked me on the first season.  Sure, the music is great at times, but Sue is delightful.  Lynch is comedic gold, and her delivery is unmatched on television today (except for possibly Jim Parson’s Sheldon Cooper).  However, Sue didn’t reach the top this year, which was disappointing, but not entirely surprising.  Yes, she still has her moments of pure genius – especially when going head-to-head with the beta male known as William Shuester – but the writers must have either run out of ideas or been strong-armed into attempting to humanize her.  The empathy model that was built around her with the Down’s Syndrome characters was noble, but really detracts from the character.  And the on-off hatred of said beta male got a little tiring by the end of the season.  Still, she’s pretty much the main reason that I continued watching the show.  If it weren’t for her, the season would have been a complete disaster.  However, I’m not really sure what they’re trying to do with her character now that she’s supposedly thinking about running for Congress and all.  I guess we’ll see – that is, if the show can reclaim a bit of lost mojo between now and the season premiere in September.
    Best line: Tie: 1) To Will: “I suggest selling yourself on Craigslist under the heading of 'Men seeking Men with butt chins.” 2) To Will [when he’s sick and she’s been named acting principal in Figgins’ absence]: “Why don't you go home, rest, die? It doesn't matter. Because as my first official act as principal, you are fired.”
    Worst line: To Terri [paranoid and in disguise]: “I'm pretty sure that barista is onto me. Now I'm Ann Coulter. As you may have noticed, I'm coming slightly unhinged.”
3.       Noah ‘Puck’ Puckerman – Mark Salling
Puck is hilarious.  I was worried that they had written him off the show when he made an abrupt departure from the show early on, but he returned triumphant a few episodes later [adder bass] than ever.  He’s really the only alpha male on the show, and his unabashed masculinity is much needed to offset the mood-killing presence of one William Shuester and the social agenda surrounding Kurt.  He’s straight-forward, witty, and quite talented.  He objects to singing chick songs that aren’t suited for men, but melts when it comes to Lauren – the one girl who actually turns him down, making him pursue her instead of her falling head-over-heels at the mere thought of dating him.  He doesn’t really have chemistry with her per se, but watching their banter is fantastic.  Yes, I do still think that he and Rachel would make a much better pairing that anyone else in the glee club, but I could settle for Lauren, since they make for some good humor.  Additionally, he’s probably the best male singer of the group, and (assumedly) a good guitar player. 
Best musical number: “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum and “Bella Notte” from Lady and the Tramp
Worst musical number: “One Love/People Get Ready” by Bob Marley & The Wailers
4.       Mercedes Jones – Amber Riley
Besides the fact that she’s a total diva, Mercedes definitely has what it takes to take it to Rachel.  While she’s not as polished as last season, she still has the soul that the group really lacks.  While I do think the writers kind of got lazy with her character, Mercedes still has the pipes.  There’s not really an episode in which she’s the standout, which is a real shame, because there’s some major potential with her.  However, if she keeps up the diva end of her bargain, and actually makes for an almost respectable quasi-Christian (as was partially referenced in the lackluster religion episode).  What annoys me most about her, however, is the lack of real direction and motivation for her character.  She is the only person in the club who rivals Rachel vocally, but she never really gets a chance to shine unless it’s at Rachel’s behest.  Also – this will sound really gay, I realize – she’s got no sense of style (or at least her writers and clothiers don’t).  Yes, she’s a bigger gal, but that doesn’t mean she has to go for the non-conformist slightly grunge look.  When she’s dressed up, she’s classy, sassy, and kind of hot.  The club desperately needs her, so fortunately they haven’t built an agenda around her…yet.
Best musical number: “I Look to You”, “Ain’t No Way”, and “Hell to the No” by Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, and an original song, respectively.  And seeing her do “Sweet Transvestite” from Rocky Horror was a treat (and much better than I imagined what the writers were going come up with).
Worst musical number: I wasn’t a big fan of “Dancing Queen” from Mamma Mia! or “Try a Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding, but, like Rachel, there’s not really a number that she does poorly, just poor choices or ones that don’t match he vocal prowess. 
5.       Quinn Fabray – Dianna Agron
Look, Quinn is gorgeous.  She’s also got a pretty good voice.  Why is it then that she has such man trouble?  That’s really what this season boils down to with Quinn.  There’s little bouts about her appearance, her lack of filter when it comes to inebriation, and her wholesomeness when others are in need, but the primary driving factor is her need of a man – if for nothing else than to win junior prom queen.  Still, she’s older and wiser though, learning from her mistakes that brought her an unplanned pregnancy last season (which was handled surprisingly well by the show planners).  It feels a little like she was pushed to the back burner after last season, which is understandable, but I’d still rather have Quinn-focused episodes in lieu of Kurt-focused ones.  It’ll be interesting to see how her character develops for next season, since she sort of had a kerfuffle at the end of this season. 
Best musical number: “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes…”Lucky” by Jason Marz and Colbie Caillat wasn’t too shabby either.  Sam and Quinn’s voices got together well. 
Worst musical number: “I Feel Pretty/Unpretty” from Westside Story and by TLC – not because she’s bad vocally, I just don’t like the episode.  Also, Quinn never really has a bad song, there’s just so few that feature her. 
6.       Santana Lopez – Naya Rivera
Santana would have made #3 if the writers hadn’t decided to completely derail her character in the sex episode.  Look, it was only a matter of time before a lesbian character entered the scene, but clearly the writers have no idea what a normal lesbian looks like.  Clue – nothing like Santana.  She’s smokin’ hot, crass, and a total [tempestuous woman].  Thereby, the chances (in the real world) that she’s a full on lesbo is a about as much of a chance as Obama promoting a flat/fair tax.  But I won’t get political.  Seriously, any reality-based writer would have scoffed at the idea of actually making her a lesbian, rather than merely teasing viewers with the idea that she and Brittany might have had some trysts in the past.  It doesn’t make sense that she would be in love with Brittany, no matter how good of friends they are.  She’s a man-eater, and what goes down after the aforementioned episode totally negates her nigh perpetual promiscuity with the opposite sex up until that point.  I could drone on and on about how the creators/writers/producers took one of my favorite characters and wrecked her with needless, agenda-fitting, implausible material, but it would be in vain.  While the needless sexualization (or desexualization, depending on how you look at it) of her character wasn’t really her fault, it still kept her from climbing this list.  That sad issue aside, she’s hilarious, delightfully depraved, a pretty good jazz singer, and again, smokin’ hot.  I mean, she really brings it to Rachel.  But she doesn’t pull any punches with anyone else either.  She doesn’t have much of a brain to mouth filter, and it’s great.  Not to beat a dead horse, but seriously, bad decision on the part of the show to turn her into this.  Maybe she’ll have an epiphany next season and get set straight.  
Best musical number(s): “Valerie” by Mark Ronson (featuring Amy Winehouse) and “Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse
Best line: [Regarding Kurt’s proposed duet with himself a al Victor/Victoria]: “How can you do a duet by yourself? It’s like vocal masturbation or something.” [An honorable mention would be her line to Shuester: “You’re addicted to vests.”]
Worst musical number: “Me Against the Music” by Britney Spears and Madonna – because it takes the least advantage of her vocals and instead focuses on the titillation of her and Brittany together…and she’s a better singer than Madonna. 
7.       Brittany Pierce – Heather Morris
Brittany S. Pierce.  Say that real fast and you’ll get a sense for how this season goes down regarding her character – especially after the fateful second episode.  Brittany is hilarious – like, rivals Sue for scene-stealing.  She’s played off as incredibly stupid – which she is – but her delivery couldn’t be better.  I mean, how many people can deliver lines like “I’m pretty sure my cat’s been reading my diary.” and not be mocked ad nauseam?  She’s lovable and quite a dancer.  She’s not a terrific singer, but when she’s emulating her role model, she’s pretty spot-on.  
Best musical number: “I’m a Slave 4 U” by Britney Spears
Best line: [Responding to Quinn telling Shuester that “There’s a whole lot of pot calling the kettle black.”] “That’s so racist.”
Worst musical number: “Tik Tok” by Ke$ha
8.       Lauren Zizes – Ashley Fink
A bit character from last season, Lauren has risen through the ranks to be a respectable member of the glee club.  Granted, the only reason she landed the spot was due to Kurt’s victim status (more on that to follow), but her banter with Puck is what makes her so funny.  Yes, she’s of the larger variety, but her size is actually what makes her fit well with the band of misfits.  Plus, she’s got some whacky outfits.  She’s certainly not a great singer – in fact, she only has one featured song (see below), and it’s pretty bad.  However, what she lacks in vocal prowess, she makes up for in sheer wit.   
Best line: To Puck: “I used to think you were smoking, but a lot of that had to do with the fact that I thought you were mixed race, and that never fails to get me going.”
Worst musical number: “I Know What Boys Like” by The Waitresses
9.       Artie Abrams – Kevin McHale
I don’t know what it was about Artie, but he just didn’t do much for me this season.  He’s still got the vocal chops, but it could be the fact that his only real interaction in the club revolves around his pairing with Brittany.  Now, this wasn’t so bad, but the lying to her constantly so as not to hurt her feelings got a bit old.  He’s still nerdy and pretty funny, but his reduced role this season is probably to blame for him sliding down the list a bit.
Best musical number(s): “Thriller/Heads Will Roll” by Michael Jackson/Yeah Yeah Yeahs and “Bella Notte” from Lady and the Tramp
Worst musical number: “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” by Michael Jackson
10.   Tina Cohen-Chang – Jenna Ushkowitz
Don’t get me wrong, Tina still has the voice, the look, and she’s really grown on me.  However, the lackluster (and quite unimaginative, in my opinion) pairing of her with Mike (i.e. “Other Asian”), was kind of a damper from the start.  Not that they don’t go together well, but that she dumped Artie for Mike because Mike has abs.  Granted, this is high school, and girls do stupid [crap] like that all the time, but it just felt off from what the show was all about.  Like Artie, they’ve reduced Tina to an almost secondary character in this season, which is too bad, because we got more less interesting character focused episodes than Tina-focused. 
Best musical number: “The Dog Days Are Over” by Florence and the Machine
Worst musical number: “Sing!” from A Chorus Line
11.   Sam Evans – Chord Overstreet
With the exception of Blaine, Sam is really the only new member to the show.  Now, that doesn’t really bode well for him in the sense that he should really blow us away if he wants to keep up with the rest of the cast – and picking “Billionaire” for his first number didn’t gain him a fan with me.  However, he only does marginally well – which might explain why he won’t be back for Season 3.  Still, for his part, he does have decent singing chops, though they are best used when he’s not doing Justin Bieber impersonations or trying to put his spin on recent Top 40 hits.  He’s like Finn-lite with an obsession with his figure and a huge mouth – something that Santana plays tribute to in her original song, “Trouty Mouth”.  Still, he’s got a few good numbers, and he keeps up with the rest of the guys as far as humor is concerned.  But the story line that involves his Dad losing his job and his family being all but homeless felt too forced.  Though, I would have liked to see a little more of what became of his relationship status at the end of the season (which I won’t disclose, because it was kind of shocking/cute).  
Best musical number: “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes and “Bella Notte” from Lady and the Tramp
Worst musical number(s): “Baby” and “Somebody to Love” by Justin Bieber and “Billionaire” by Bruno Mars
12.   Emma Pillsbury – Jayma Mays
Emma, oh Emma.  You’re so cute, but you need to move on from Will.  He’s a tool, and you deserve better.  I mean, even though Dr. Carl is a decent match for you, you still deserve better than a dentist.  Did you know they have the highest suicide rate of any profession?  Still, he’s better for you than the previously mentioned beta male.  Seriouly, Emma is adorable – in a wide-eyed, OCD, naïve sort of way.  She didn’t get much singing time this season, which is kind of a tragedy, because she’s actually got a decent voice. 
Best musical number: “Touch-a Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Worst musical number: “Afternoon Delight” by the Starland Vocal Band
13.   Finn Hudson – Cory Monteith
Finn moved up a little this year, not really because he got a whole lot brighter, but he’s just not as daft as he was last year when he was being played as his girlfriend’s baby daddy even though they had never done the deed but she convinced him that an incident in the hot tub allowed for such a coincidence.  Yeah, he’s a little older and wiser, but not by a whole lot.  Most annoyingly, in the religion episode (which missed a huge opportunity and generally made it a Kurt whine fest instead) he prays to Grilled Cheezus.  Need I say more?  Still, he sort of takes on the mantle of leader of the glee club when he’s not getting pulled into shenanigans with Rachel or Quinn, but it doesn’t seem genuine.  Sure, the guy has some talent, but his voice is a little too whiny/nasaly to me.  Oh, and that whole business about him writing the song for nationals, well, see my thoughts on the songwriting above. 
Best musical number: “She’s Not There” by The Zombies
Worst musical number: “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars
14.   Mike Chang – Harry Shum Jr.
As is humorously mentioned several times on the show, Mike can’t sing.  But the guy can dance.  Even though he’s kind of the lead on most of the dance-heavy numbers, he never really gets more screen time than that.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since he’s a supporting character.  However, like Finn and kind of the rest of the guys in general, the writers make him somewhat dim-witted, which is especially interesting given the fact that he is routinely characterized as being smart, given his race.  I am intrigued at his pairing with Tina, however.  There’s not a whole lot of risk given to his character by such a coupling.  I’m interested to see how things develop in the next season.  For his part, conversely, he’s one of the least annoying characters on the show. 
Best musical/dance number: “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse
Worst musical/dance number: “Sing!” from A Chorus Line (which is supposed to be bad vocally on his part, but the whole thing felt very forced, and didn’t really take advantage of his dancing skills)
15.   Blaine Anderson – Darren Criss
Everyone knew it was inevitable, given the direction that the season was taking, but Kurt had to end up with a love interest.  For his part, Blaine isn’t entirely in your face about it, but he’s very vapid and cliché.  He plays the role of Kurt’s motivator before he eventually goes gaga (no pun intended) for the victim.  They’re both beta males, so I guess that makes sense (if any sense can be made of a man wanting to be with another man).  However, him supposedly motivating Kurt’s dad to talk to him about sex was, well, lame.  It was a pathetic attempt to inject more social issues into the show instead of focusing on what makes the show entertaining – Sue and the music.  For his part, though, Blaine is talented, but overrated.  He’s the lead in his (all boys) school’s glee club and doesn’t allow anyone else to shine thorough – until he starts liking Kurt and he plays favorites.  But more on Kurt later.  For his part though, Criss does have an energetic presence when performing that has a level of fun attributed to it.  Unfortunately, his character is saddled with gay clichés, an unbelievable song selection (most of which are female-oriented, sung by an all-boys choir), and pathetic attempts to create tension in his love life through Rachel and a crush who works at the Gap – which should have said enough in the first place.  Oh, and one last thing: he rivals Shuester for the award for most margarine in his hair.    
Best musical number:  “Misery” by Maroon 5
Worst musical number(s): “Teenage Dream” and “Baby It’s Cold Outside” by Katy Perry and Frank Loesser, respectively.
16.   Will Shuester – Matthew Morrison
So, it was really a toss up, but Shuester didn’t hit the bottom of my list this year.  He’s still as annoying as ever, with his constant, pathetic pining over Emma, his incessant lack of teaching skills, his pandering to lame music, and his hair.  I mean, have you seen his hair?  This is where Sue and I are in complete agreement.  However, he’s not a victim.  For more on that, see Kurt’s section.  This season they scaled Shuester back a little, you know since he finally woke up and smelled the deceit after his wife’s fake pregnancy last season.  The writers try to make him more forceful and in control, but he’s a pathetic educator.  He’d rather be a friend to his students than teach them something worthwhile.  I bet he’s friends with all of his students on Facebook.  He tries really hard to go head to head with Sue again, but fails miserably every time.  It’s always some clever plot device that ends up tilting the scale in his favor – certainly not any action that can be attributed to him.  He seems to be somewhat imbalanced, due to Emma’s abrupt marriage, so attempts to woo Holly, which doesn’t turn out well.  The writers make it seem like it was her, not him, but any real woman would run away fast.  And then comes the inevitable revisit of the Emma situation, where he is cast as her motivator to help her get over her OCD.  Pathetic.  I was hopeful that he was being written off the show when April showed back up to take him to Broadway, but I knew I was hoping for too much.  Oh, and in what dimension would it be even remotely appropriate to stage The Rocky Horror Picture Show as a high school musical?  And people wonder why I have no faith in public education.
Best musical number: “Singin’ in the Rain/Umberella” from the musical and by Rihanna
Worst musical number(s): “Kiss” by Prince or “One Burbon, One Scotch, One Beer” by George Thorogood
17.   Kurt Hummel – Chris Colfer
This will likely be construed by most as me being homophobic, or merely hating on the gay kid, but quite honestly, why he lands at the bottom of the list isn’t because he’s gay, but because he’s a victim.  Yes, the fact that he’s gay is, well, gross, but what’s worse is that he tends to wallow in self-pity, thinks he’s the only one that’s ostracized, and almost insists on redefining gender roles.  The whole season seemed to be revolving around his struggles with living out of the closet in a school that wasn’t ready to accept his openness, and then made it lame by having homophobic bullies threaten him.   In the first season, his presence was almost acceptable, even though he was still annoying.  Glee club was the one place where he was accepted, something that the other members felt that they had in common, because they were all outcasts of sorts.  However, in this season, it was almost as if the writers had a “Kurt is gay and you have to love him” mentality, while completely ignoring the idea that his actions bring so much criticism on himself by acting out in hopes of stirring up controversy (i.e. the outfit he wore to prom).  I don’t like to immediately jump to the conclusion that the show has a “gay agenda”, but with Kurt at the forefront of many episodes, his dad’s supposed “coolness” due to his acceptance of his gay son, and the idea that someone as hot as Santana could possibly actually be a lesbian (instead of just being bi-curious for attention) really derails the idea that the show is merely about the outcasts being comfortable with themselves and not worrying what others think of them while they make great music together.  Also, he transfers out of McKinley to Dalton because he’s being harassed, then after Regionals, he transfers back to McKinley because he misses the New Directions.  Am I the only one who thinks there’s a slight conflict of interest here?  And then there’s Blaine, but I’ve already covered him.  I get it.  I really do.  The show was created by a gay man who probably had struggles like Kurt.  However, foisting the show in a direction that seems more like it’s trying to be relevant to social issues than be entertaining was the wrong decision, and probably the reason that this season wasn’t nearly as good as the first.  I could keep ranting, but it would be for naught. 
Best musical number(s): “As If We Never Said Goodbye” or “For Good” or possibly “Time Warp” (because it’s the “manliest” song he sang all season) from Sunset Boulevard, Wicked, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show respectively.
Worst musical number(s): “Baby It’s Cold Outside” or “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by Frank Loesser and the Beatles, respectively.
Since I’ve already run on and on and on, definitely longer than any blog post of mine ever, I’ll try to be brief with the secondary characters.
1.       Sunshine Corazon – Charice
I love this little powerhouse.  She’s got the chops to take it to Rachel, and she knocks “Listen” by Beyonce (as well as everything she sings) out of the park.  I hope there’s more with her this season, and a duet with Rachel (like their pairing on Lady Gaga and Beyonce’s “Telephone”). 
2.       Becky Jackson – Lauren Potter
She was in the show last season, it’s nice to see Becky back again.  Even though she’s used as a way to help humanize Sue – a ploy that I’m not okay with – she’s still quite amiable. 
3.       Jesse St. James – Jonathan Groff
In general, I loathe the idea of Jesse and Rachel, but they do make great music together (like in this season with Adele’s “Rolling In the Deep”).  He’s got a minimal role, but he’s still got some game.  But, as with last season, you still kind of want to slap him when he walks into the room. 
4.       Dustin Goolsby – Cheyenne Jackson
Goolsby is no Shelby Corcoran, but he’s still got some Vocal Adrenaline tricks up his sleeve – most notably, stealing Sunshine from the New Directions before she even joined them.  He never sang a number, which is disappointing – especially since Jackson sings quite well on his other gig, “30 Rock”.  And I totally relate to his wanting to whip his show choir kids. 
5.       Jacob Ben Israel – Josh Sussman
His role as gossip monger was minimized this season, but he’s still pretty funny.  He’s very scaled back this season, but his brief appearances are still pretty funny.
6.       Dr. Carl Howell – John Stamos
It was pretty much inevitable that there be a love triangle involving Will and Emma, and Dr. Carl kind of fit the bill.  Granted, he’s a douchey dentist, but it still makes for some comedy (especially involving Santana).  Also, who knew that the guy from “Full House” actually had a decent, non-80s-song-belting voice?
7.       Principal Figgins – Iqbal Theba
While he’s not as daft as he was last season (the whole bit with thinking Tina was a vampire, anyone?), he’s certainly not principal material.  Quite frankly, I think his character is affirmative action at work – much like the Warblers council at Dalton.  He panders to the knee-jerk reactionaries and is usually the sole purpose that Shuester wins over Sue – even though Sue is much more of a man (because they’re both lesbians?). 
8.       Shannon Beiste – Dot Jones
As the season went on she got more bearable, but her introduction left a lot to be desired.  And I can’t be the only one that thought her random lip-locks with the beta male were a little much, can I? 
9.       Dave Karofsky – Max Adler
Again, with the social agenda.  How do you include a hypocrite in the season without resorting to politics?  Make one of the resident homophobes a closeted homosexual, of course.  This was so cliché, and got really old by the end of the season – especially since Santana could do so much better than him with either sex. 
10.   Burt Hummel – Mike O’Malley
Once again, Burt takes the cake for worst parent award.  Sure, his devotion to his son is admirable, but his part in the aforementioned social agenda of the show was too much this season.  Honestly, I think he’s the dad the writers wish they had had – which possibly explains the nigh common trait that homosexuals exhibit when they weren’t taken advantage of at an early age: daddy issues.    
11.   Holly Holliday – Gwyneth Paltrow
I’m sorry – well, actually, I’m not, but I think there’s some kind of social mores about saying so – but Holly is a terrible educator.  I mean, she gives Shuester a run for his money.  Plus, she’s annoying.  As if “F*** You” by Cee Lo wasn’t bad enough, her rendition of his sanitized version, “Forget You”, was awful.  Her other songs weren’t terrible necessarily, but her presence is just irritating and on par with the lackluster educational standards set by one Will Shuester.  I’ve never been a Gwyneth Paltrow fan, but this wasn’t a great move on her part.  She should stick to playing Pepper Potts in the Iron Man flicks and do nothing else. 
 So that was Season 2 in epic, overblown review style.  I haven't started watching Season 3 yet as I have other things occupying my time.  Eventually...