Winners & Losers Of 2007 (Part Four)

 
Winner:  Foo Fighters
 
Thirteen years ago, after the sudden end of Nirvana, so little was expected of Dave Grohl and his future musical endeavours that when he reemerged with a new album in 1995, there was genuine, widespread surprise.  He was not supposed to be a talented singer/songwriter/guitarist in his own right.  How sweet it must be for him after all this time to remain the frontman and chief songwriter for one of the most respected bands in rock and roll today.
 
2007 ended up being another strong year for Grohl’s longtime post-Nirvana outfit, The Foo Fighters.  In the summer, the band reissued their Grammy-nominated second album, The Colour And The Shape, for its tenth anniversary.  The original 13-song release, which I didn’t fully appreciate until a couple of years ago, has been expanded to 19, with the addition of several covers and B-sides.  Also, they played a good set at Wembley Stadium during the globally televised Live Earth concert.
 
And, once again, they’re in contention for a number of Grammy awards.  Their sixth studio album, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace is up for Album Of The Year and Best Rock Album.  The latter nomination is particularly special because it keeps a remarkable streak alive.  Every Foo Fighters studio release from the self-titled debut to Echoes has been nominated in that category.  (They’ve won it twice for There Is Nothing Left To Lose and One By One.)
 
Furthermore, the big single from Echoes, The Pretender, is up for three Grammies:  Record Of The Year, Best Hard Rock Performance and Best Rock Song.  When the awards are handed out early next year, look for Grohl to make at least a couple of trips to the podium.
 
Losers:  Quentin Tarantino & Robert Rodriguez
 
There’s no question they’re talented filmmakers.  (Pulp Fiction, Frank Miller’s Sin City and the overlooked Jackie Brown provide the evidence.)  But maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to make a 70s-inspired double feature (with fake trailers and ads stuffed in between) and then package it all as one massive release.  In April.  Against Will Farrell’s Blades Of Glory, Disney’s Meet The Robinsons and the Ice Cube sequel, Are We Done Yet?.
 
The three-hour and eleven-minute presentation was a financial stiff in North America, despite positive reviews.  Made for 67 milion, Grindhouse only accumulated a little over a third of its budget.
 
And if that weren’t bad enough, there’s the annoying issue of the DVD release.  Death Proof (Tarantino’s effort) and Planet Terror (the Rodriguez movie) were released in separate packages with expanded running times in the fall minus the fake trailers and ads.  This is fine for European fans who could only see the films one at a time.  (Grindhouse was curiously split up for its international theatrical run.)  But for us North Americans who’ve yet to see Grindhouse, it shows a lack of respect and artistic integrity.  Squeezing as much money as possible out of consumers was obviously more important.  While this article reveals that the complete experience is coming sometime next year in a new DVD package (something alluded to by Rodriguez during a featurette on the Planet Terror DVD), the original home video release strategy remains deeply insulting.
 
Winner:  Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
 
The fifth season of Canadian Idol began in early June after thousands of would-be warblers auditioned for the chance to be instantly forgotten.   Four months later, a construction worker from The Hammer named Brian Melo and Jaydee Bixbee, a teenage country singer from Alberta, were the last two standing.  The phrase, “Vote for Brian Melo”, sung to the tune of Donovan’s Mellow Yellow, could be heard continually annoying shoppers at a Sears location in The Centre Mall.  For his part, Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger urged his constituents on Facebook, no less, to keep Melo in the competition.
 
The people listened.  Melo was named the winner on September 11th.  His first single, All I Ever Wanted, went on to become a Top 10 hit.  October 12th was declared Brian Melo Day in Hamilton.  The Kiwanis Boys And Girls Club established The Brian Melo Fund, a new scholarship for artistically-inclined kids, in his honour.  And to top it all off, he’s been secretly dating fellow Canadian Idol contestant, Tara Oram, for months.  Not bad for a guy who had previously auditioned for the show numerous times in earlier seasons with far less success.
 
But Steeltown had even more to celebrate this year.  The city’s American Hockey League franchise, The Hamilton Bulldogs, made their third trip to The Calder Cup Finals.  After losing in five games to The Hershey Bears in 1997 and in seven games to The Houston Aeros in 2003, The Bulldogs redeemed themselves by winning their first championship in their decade-long existence.  The decisive game was number five, held in at the fan-packed Copps Coliseum, which was televised live by the local, public access channel, Cable 14.  They defeated Hershey 2-1.
 
Loser:  Lindsay Lohan
 
An ongoing sad story.  In January, the star of Mean Girls made her first of three trips this year to rehab.  She first checked herself into the Wonderland Centre in California where she proceeded to grant a phone interview to a British journalist proclaiming all was well in her life.  She spent a month there but her problems did not disappear.  In April, she told Allure Magazine, “I don’t know that I’m necessarily an addict.”  She also noted, “It’s so weird that I went to rehab.  I always said I would die before I went to rehab.” 
 
The following month, she got into her latest car accident.  According to a Beverly Hills police officer, while “driving westbound on Sunset Blvd.” she “lost control of her vehicle” and later fled the scene with her two passengers.  When the cops tracked her down, they found cocaine in her car and arrested her for driving drunk.  On May 28th, two days after the accident that, thankfully, didn’t kill anybody, she entered the Promises facility in Malibu, California, a stint that lasted 45 days.
 
No matter.  Two months later, according to this report, she followed the car of her assistant’s mother and ended up having a fight with her.  (Her daughter had just quit working as Lohan’s assistant.  Smart girl.)  It turns out she had been drinking.  Police arrested her again for driving while intoxicated among four other charges.  Once again, she was caught possessing cocaine.  She went to her third rehab centre, Cirque Lodge in Utah, soon after.
 
Because of the earlier incident in May, Lohan was ordered to wear a special ankle bracelet that would detect any alcohol consumption.  It’s long since been removed.
 
Ultimately, thanks to her acceptance of a plea bargain regarding both cases, she was sentenced to a day in prison (she ended up serving only 84 minutes in November), ordered to perform 10 days of community service, attend a mandatory 18-month alcohol rehabilitation program, placed on three years probation, “pay hundreds of dollars in fines and…complete a three-day county coroner program in which she’ll visit a morgue and talk to victims of drunken drivers”, according to E! Online.  
 
Then, there’s the business of her sagging film career.  She co-starred with Jane Fonda in Georgia Rule which received terrible reviews and failed to find a large audience.  The horror film, I Know Who Killed Me, fared even worse.  When her Mark David Chapman movie, Chapter 27 (Jared Leto plays John Lennon’s assassin), and another film called Dare To Love Me come out next year, for her sake, they better be critically acclaimed, commercial juggernauts.
 
Hard to believe she was once on a show called “Healthy Kids”. 
 
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, December 15th, 2007
10:10 p.m.
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Published in: on December 15, 2007 at 10:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

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