Pop Forecast (Come Dance With Me, Ke$ha, Playing For Keeps)
âYou donât need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows,â but these days, a guide through the seemingly endless flurry of pop culture is just what you do need. With that in mind, here is whatâs on the radar screen in TV, music and film for the coming week.
Big event: Come Dance With Me (Dec. 8, CTV, 8 p.m. ET/PT)
Big picture: Tinseltown is preoccupied with checking its lists, checking them twice â and finding out which shows have been naughty enough in the ratings to be cancelled. In a week dominated largely by reruns, a new Hallmark TV movie could get you in the holiday spirit. Come Dance With Me has everything you could possibly dream of â as long as those dreams consist largely of rom-com schmaltz, cheese ball dialogue and wafer-thin plot lines. When Jack (Andrew McCarthy of Lipstick Jungle) decides to take dance lessons to impress his high-maintenance gal pal (Stephanie Mills) he finds himself falling for Christine (Michelle Nolden of Saving Hope), his âdance instructor with a heart of gold.â
Forecast: It is Christmas after all. If there was ever a time for feel-good romance and comedy â not to mention dancing â this is it. Save your zombie apocalypses and serial killers for after the holidays. This movie is simply asking you to âCome Dance With Me.â For skeptical men out there, at the very least this movie could make for a great drinking game: every time you wince or feel like throwing something at the television, just take another sip of egg nog.
Honourable Mention: Stars on Ice (Dec. 3, CBC, 8 p.m. ET/PT). Sorry to lead you on, folks. The NHL lockout isnât over yet. In a frustrated, hockey-deprived Canada, this special should really have re-thought its title. But TV audiences can warm up for the Hallmark dance with some stunning on-ice moves. Four-time world champion Kurt Browning choreographs top-tier Canadian figure skaters such as Joannie Rochette, Cynthia Phaneuf, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir in a special, one-hour performance. (Personally, Iâd like to see Scott Moir paired up with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, watch him toss Gary up in the air and then just let him drop.)
Big release: Ke$ha (Deconstructed) (Dec. 4).
Big picture: Yes, sheâs still scantily clad. Yes, she still loves to party ... and, yes, she still looks like she spent the last 48 hours sleepless, dancing and frolicking at an underground club â and then went home with Charlie Sheen. But Ke$ha is maturing. Seriously. In her debut album, she was an Animal + Cannibal. In her upcoming sophomore album, sheâs a âWarrior.â On this special EP, she is Deconstructed (ie. 60 per cent water, 20 per cent body glitter, 20 per cent vodka).
Forecast: It will be nice to see Ke$ha slow things down a bit; her EP features acoustic versions of two new songs from Warrior: Die Young and Supernatural, as well as a cover of Dolly Partonâs Old Flames Canât Hold a Candle to You, which was co-written by Ke$haâs mother, Pebe Sebert. Wait a minute, Ke$ha has a mother???
Honourable mentions: Bif Naked (Bif Naked Forever: Acoustic Hits & Other Delights). One of Canadaâs finest songwriters offers the best of her 20-year career, including Lucky, Spaceman and the newly recorded tracks Nobody Knows and So Happy I Could Die. Bifâs autobiography is also scheduled to come out in the next year. Given her colourful history and emotionally charged advocacy for womanâs empowerment and animal rights issues, itâs bound to be an intriguing read â unlike Ke$haâs future autobiography (Chapter 3: âWoke up under a highway overpass again today smelling like cigarettes, gin and KFC ...â).
Big release: Playing For Keeps (Dec. 7)
Big picture: Gerald Butler bends it like Beckham and grins it like Grant (Hugh). He plays a washed-up, ex-soccer star with a charming accent and perfect hair who is trying to make things right with his estranged son and former flame (Jessica Biel). Naturally, he ends up coaching his sonâs soccer team, which largely consists of teaching the wee tots cute British insults like âwanker.â Even more naturally, he also ends up attracting the attention of a parade of randy soccer moms. Will he score with the ladies or score with his loved ones?
Forecast: If only I had a dime for every time Hollywood tried to rehabilitate a brash, arrogant sports star and teach him the âreal meaning of life.â Butlerâs sports-car-loving footballer is perfectly summarized in the film: âHeâs just one of those guys: Women like him, men want to be him.â (Sigh. Why does no one ever utter lines like that about washed-up entertainment writers?). Beyond the starting lineup, the filmâs co-stars should certainly score a few points: Uma Thurman, Dennis Quaid and Catherine Zeta-Jones. In the end, this one wonât make Butlerâs career highlightsâ reel, but it will tug on the heartstrings.