There is a slightly insane way to do modern Dickensian conventions and its called Gossip Girl, and there is a pretty awesome way and its called Slumdog Millionaire. It's a lot easier to transfer turn of the century London to modern day Mumbai than New York, not the least of which reason is because of the class of street children - Dan Humphrey isn't exactly the Artful Dodger [Chuck Bass, maybe] and Rufus isn't exactly Fagan so I have a little trouble believing the long lost Lincoln Hawk Love Baby is really slumming it [if you will].* Real [fictional] slum orphans like Jamal Malik on the other hand, make this "bizarrely plausible" tale - Irfan Khan's words not mine - much more endearing. If you don't root for Jamal to win 20 million ruppees and find his long lost love all in one fell swoop, I am pretty sure you don't have a heart. The best part of this movie are the actors who play Jamal, his brother Salim, and lost love Latika as young children - they are adorable, their facial expressions are priceless, and finally I can kinda understand why Angelia Jolie runs around the world adopting children. Pineapple Express may have made Paper Planes famous - but that song was made for this movie, and especially for these young actors who made the most adorable young scam artists you never want to meet [If you don't think eight year olds could really be in, MIA's words, 'bona-fide hustlas' you need to see this movie]. A significant portion of the movie is in Hindi and I was extremely proud of my language skillz for knowing one word without the help of subtitles - I cannot spell it, but it means "I understand." Thanks for that to my friends Jugan and Vikram from the summer I was a hostess at an Indian restaurant, as you would be surprised at how much that word came in handy while running around a busy kitchen and trying to avoid getting your hand stuck in the tandoor or your hair caught on fire by the samosa oil.
I also learned that summer during my lunch breaks that Bollywood is flashy, crazy and well, awesome. So I was delighted to see that the ending credits looked like this:
*Oliver & Company was Dickens set in New York, and it was awesome - because it was animated, and about cats and dogs and Billy Joel songs.
Neil Patrick Harris on Saturday Night Live.
Holy shit, I love Neil Patrick Harris - he's legen...wait for it...dary! NPH's appearance on SNL only proves that who hosts actually makes a difference, as half the skits would not have been funny at all - especially the pretty weak one about a talk show that only hosts celebs with two first names [seriously, lame as it sounds] - but NPH even managed to squeeze a few giggles out of that one. On the other hand, the How I Met Your Mother jokes in the monologue were mildly amusing, the Broadway skit with NPH as Mark from Rent was pretty awesome and NPH conducting an orchestra of people in lab coats and ties playing the Doogie theme song was just flat-out genius [the single tear!]. Skits like that and his appearance in the Harold and Kumar movies make me love NPH even more, as he understands that sometimes poking fun at yourself is the best way to have people not make fun of you. And with the Broadway skit, Liza Minelli's random appearance and NPH himself, this episode of SNL was even gayer than that one with Justin Timberlake in tights dancing to a Beyonce song. And apparently, that's a good thing.
NPH is basically perfect as Anthony Rapp/Mark Cohen so its a shame Broadway is dead:
And as an added bonus, as if you needed any more convincing that NPH is destined for a Tony here is this little gem I found on YouTube awhile ago [Jason Segel is pretty awesome too btw]:
Arab Money by Busta Rhymes.
It was only a matter of time until someone made this song, and I am pretty sure we could have done without it permanently. It starts out offensive enough, as even though I don't know a word of Arabic I am like 99% certain the hook is just gobbledygook. And if that's not enough there is the dancing in the video. Yes the dancing. Oh, and if that's not enough there's the line about wearing "Dolce shorts, dashiki with a Louis Scarf." And the obligatory 'camel toe' pun. But things don't really go off the rails until Busta starts rapping about "Sittin' in casinos while I'm gamblin' with Arafat" and his ghost makes a cameo in the video. Most gangsta rap songs are about the trifecta of bitches, bros and benjamins - not necessarily Yassir Arafat's ghost.
I'm not exactly sure what else to say about this song/video, so you should probably just watch the nonsense for yourself: