I'm Back!--Go on vacation for a week and see what happens? They clean out your desk and replace you with some pompous twit named Maxwell K. Lionidas. Rest assured, based on the groundswell of reader outrage and the ass-kicking I administered to him, Mr. Lionidas will no longer be gracing the pages of the Alibi. You're stuck with me for the long haul, folks. ... Now, if only I could get the stench of patchouli and corduroy jackets out of my office.
It's no secret that New Mexico has been reaping some impressive benefits from the Hollywood film industry. Currently, there are nine feature films shooting around the Santa Fe/Albuquerque area--from the low-budget horror flick Living Hell to the high-dollar comedy Used Guys with Ben Stiller and Jim Carrey.
Crime may not pay, but it almost always looks cool. At least in the movies. Back when James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson were turning the exploits of real-life gangsters into sanitized action tales, crime seemed like the business to be in for hot dames and bullet-riddled action. In the '70s, the Godfather films forever solidified the image of the well-suited Italian Mafioso. In the '80s, Scarface provided generations of rap stars a lifestyle to which they could aspire. It wasn't until the '90s, though, that crime achieved the ultimate in cinematic cool, thanks to the films of Quentin Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction). British director Guy Ritchie (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch) briefly added some over-the-top energy to the mixture, but today's crime films are all more or less permanently indebted to Tarantino's nerdy-cool style, blackly comic wit and sheer pop cultural obsession.
If FOX's groundbreaking action series “24” leaves television with one lasting legacy, it will be the viability of telling short story arcs. Until relatively recently, stories on TV were told in one of two ways: the sitcom method (in which each episode is perfectly encapsulated and bears little relevance to what comes before or after it) and the soap opera method (in which stories evolve ad infinitum with no discernible conclusion). TV has occasionally experimented with the idea of relating season-long narratives (notably in Stephen J. Cannell's '80s series “Wiseguy”), but it took a hit like “24” for networks to take notice. Now every channel is looking for their “24,” their “Prison Break” or their “Lost.”
“Ultimate Fighter 3” (Spike 8 p.m.) Say what you will about Spike's ass-kicking reality series, at least there's no quibbling over who the real winner is. With “American Idol,” you can argue endlessly over whether Katherine McPhee is a better singer than Kellie Pickler. (Answer: Who cares?) With “Ultimate Fighter,” you know the loser is the guy who's bleeding and unconscious.
“Tim McGraw: Reflected” (NOB-4 7 p.m.) Thanks for getting all introspective on us, Tim. ... Wuss.