Guilty Pleasure No. 46: Bar Rescue


As I write this, I’m watching Bar Rescue on the Paramount Network and I’m trying to figure out why it is that I like this annoying show.

Bar Rescue, of course, is one of those shows where a jackass goes into a failing business — in this case, a bar — and basically screams at everyone for an hour until the bar starts making money.  It stars Jon Taffer, who has all of the charm of a low-level gangster who desperately needs to make his quota for the week or else the capo is going to break his thumbs.  The main them of each episode is that Taffer takes “bar science” very seriously and apparently cannot fathom a world where anyone tries to do anything different or quirky with their business.

If you search the internet, you’ll find all sorts of stories about the bars that Taffer “saved.”  A good deal of them went out of business after Taffer gave them their makeover.  Several of them immediately went back to the way they were running things pre-Bar Rescue.  Some of those bars have survived and some of them have not.  Taffer always makes a big deal about renaming almost every bar that he saves.  It’s rare that anyone sticks with Taffer’s new name.

I have to admit that I rarely drink so I’ve never really cared that much about bars.  In fact, it’s kind of hard for me to imagine anyone caring about the decor of the place where they’re getting drunk.  That may be one reason why I always find it oddly compelling to listen to Taffer rant and rave, as if designing the perfect bar is somehow the same thing as restoring the Sistine Chapel.  Whenever Taffer brings in his bar experts, I find myself smirking a little bit because Taffer’s experts are usually just people who are obviously angling for a show of their own.  The “experts” tend to be so condescending that I actually look forward to people talking back to them.

Speaking of people talking back, another reason that I watch Bar Rescue is because there’s always a chance that someone might throw a punch at Jon Taffer.  Seriously, he’s just obnoxious!  It’s interesting to compare him to someone like Gordon Ramsay, who is just as loud and overbearing but who also somehow remains likable through the whole ordeal.  Taffer just comes across as being a bully.

(What’s funny is that, while I was researching the bars that the show previous rescued, I came across several comments from people who worked at those bars.  Most of them said that Taffer was actually very polite and rather affable off-camera.  He plays a bully for the ratings and …. well, Hell, I’m watching so I guess it’s working.)

Watching the show in the age of Coronavirus, Bar Rescue almost feels like an artifact from a different age.  Today, I watch it and I notice the huge crowds of people, all pressed up against each other in the bar.  I notice all of the hand-shaking.  (Taffer almost always shakes the bar owner’s hand at the end of each episode.)  Just the fact that the show features a different bar every week makes Bar Rescue feel like something you might find in a time capsule.

Like I said, I don’t usually drink.  But, as soon as all this is over, I’m going out and getting so drunk.  (Well, buzzed.  Actually, I’ll probably just go out and have a glass of water while everyone else gets drunk.  But still, I’m going out, dammit!)  Until then, I guess I can just watch Bar Rescue….

Previous Guilty Pleasures

  1. Half-Baked
  2. Save The Last Dance
  3. Every Rose Has Its Thorns
  4. The Jeremy Kyle Show
  5. Invasion USA
  6. The Golden Child
  7. Final Destination 2
  8. Paparazzi
  9. The Principal
  10. The Substitute
  11. Terror In The Family
  12. Pandorum
  13. Lambada
  14. Fear
  15. Cocktail
  16. Keep Off The Grass
  17. Girls, Girls, Girls
  18. Class
  19. Tart
  20. King Kong vs. Godzilla
  21. Hawk the Slayer
  22. Battle Beyond the Stars
  23. Meridian
  24. Walk of Shame
  25. From Justin To Kelly
  26. Project Greenlight
  27. Sex Decoy: Love Stings
  28. Swimfan
  29. On the Line
  30. Wolfen
  31. Hail Caesar!
  32. It’s So Cold In The D
  33. In the Mix
  34. Healed By Grace
  35. Valley of the Dolls
  36. The Legend of Billie Jean
  37. Death Wish
  38. Shipping Wars
  39. Ghost Whisperer
  40. Parking Wars
  41. The Dead Are After Me
  42. Harper’s Island
  43. The Resurrection of Gavin Stone
  44. Paranormal State
  45. Utopia

4 Shots From 4 Films: Happy Twin Peaks Day!

Happy Twin Peaks Day!

It was on this date in 1989 that Dale Cooper first arrived in the small town of Twin Peaks, Washington to help the authorities with their investigation into the death of Laura Palmer.  Here at the Shattered Lens, we’re all big fans of Twin Peaks.  Back in 2017, this site was literally a Twin Peaks fan site for a good couple of months.  As such, today is a big holiday around these parts and what better way to celebrate than with a special edition of 4 Shots From 4 Films?

So, in honor of Twin Peaks, here are….

4 Shots From 4 Films

Twin Peaks: The Pilot (1990, dir by David Lynch)

Twin Peaks 2.22 “Beyond Life and Death” (1991, dir by David Lynch)

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992, dir by David Lynch)

Twin Peaks: The Return Part 18 (2017, dir by David Lynch)

Happy Twin Peaks Day!

Scenes That I Love: Cooper Says Goodbye In Twin Peaks: The Return (Happy Birthday, Kyle MacLachlan!)

Happy birthday, Kyle MacLachlan!

Kyle MacLachlan is 61 years old today.  While MacLachlan has appeared in a lot of different movies and tv shows and he’s also played a lot of different characters, he will probably always be best known for playing FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper on Twin Peaks.  MacLachlan, with his combination of earnestness and darkness, was the prefect choice to play Cooper and it’s impossible to imagine Twin Peaks without him.

Of course, MacLachlan didn’t just play Dale Cooper during the third season of Twin Peaks.  He also played Cooper’s evil Doppelganger and, for the majority of Twin Peaks: The Return, he played Dougie.  Dougie could barely speak and usually had no idea what was happening around him but he still thrived in Las Vegas.  MacLachlan’s performance as Dougie was both funny and poignant.  At the same time, I do think that every fan of Twin Peaks breathed a sigh of relief when Cooper finally woke up from that coma, stopped acting like Dougie, and started acting like himself.

Today’s scene that I love comes from Part 16 of Twin Peaks: The Return.  In this David Lynch-directed scene, Cooper — who has only recently reclaimed his identity — says goodbye to Dougie’s wife and son.  Like so much of Twin Peaks; The Return, this is a scene that could be unbelievably mawkish in the hands of another actor.  However, Kyle MacLachlan plays the scene with such sincerity that it’s actually very touching.

In honor of Kyle MacLachlan’s birthday, enjoy today’s scene that I love:


A Few Final Thoughts On The Oscar Ceremony

Parasite made history and Bong Joon-ho proved himself to be one of the most charming people alive.  That was the best thing about Sunday night’s Oscar ceremony.

Yes, Joaquin Phoenix and Renee Zellweger did ramble on a bit in their acceptance speeches but ….. I can’t complain.  They’re both so sincere in their spaciness that you can’t help but be a little bit charmed by them.  Plus, Renee’s a Texas Girl so I’ve got her back.

The show itself was incredibly dull. It was nice to see so many deserving winners but, beyond Parasite making history at the very end, there really weren’t any huge moments.  There were no major fashion disasters.  The speeches were all pretty much gracious.  It was the way an awards ceremony should be but let’s be honest.  One reason we watch award shows is so to see rich and famous people screw up.  When that doesn’t happen, it just turns into a bunch of people patting themselves on the back.

Best Documentary Feature went to American Factory.  The best documentary of the year was Apollo 11, which wasn’t even nominated.  The documentary’s director called on the workers of the world to unite and it felt as vacuous as 70s-era Godard.

Brad Pitt finally won an Oscar for acting.  (He already has one for producing.)  My hope was that he would drop to one knee, produce a ring, and ask Jennifer Aniston to marry him again.  Instead, he gave kind of a boring speech.  Those of us who were hoping that stoner Brad Pitt would show up tonight were a bit disappointed.  Brad shaved and washed his hair before the ceremony and was basically on his best behavior.

This was the 2nd year in a row that show didn’t have a host and …. eh.  I enjoyed it when they went hostless last year but this year, the show felt like a formless mess.  There was no one to steer the ship or to set the mood and, as a result, the ceremony felt somewhat directionless.

I get that we’re supposed to get excited whenever any former SNL cast member shows up to present an award but I always instinctively cringe whenever Will Ferrell or Maya Rudolph step out on stage.  Both of them are such attention hogs that their arrival usually means that the show is going to come to a dead halt while they run a joke into the ground.  This year, Ferrell wasn’t quite as bad as usual but Rudolph had me totally cringing.  Speaking of stage hogs, I was actually surprised at how quickly Rebel Wilson and James Corden got through their bit.  I assume they wanted to hurry up and get backstage so they could get out of their cat costumes.  (Just imagine — Rebel Wilson actually had an important supporting role in one of the best picture nominees but, instead of celebrating that, the Academy made her put on her cat costume.)

Billie Eilish won the night with her reactions to …. well, everything.

As I said, this year’s ceremony was dull.  Beyond Parasite winning and making history, this was probably the most boring ceremony since 2010.  Interestingly enough, history was made there as well, when Kathryn Bigelow won Best Director.  Why do good things always happen during boring broadcasts?

So, for next year, I hope we’ll see a return of a host, a return of tone deaf fashion choices, and hopefully a few undeserving winners, at least enough to liven up the ceremony a little.

For now, though, congratulations to the cast and crew of Parasite on winning Best Picture and making history, all in the same night!  Woo hoo!

A Blast From The Past: Robert Opel Crashes The 1974 Oscars

On April 2nd, 1974, just as David Niven was about to introduce Elizabeth Taylor so that she could announce that The Sting had won Best Picture of the year, the Oscar telecast was interrupted by a naked man running across the stage.

The streaker was a man named Robert Opel.  A former student activist who had reportedly briefly worked as a speechwriter for future President Ronald Reagan, Opel was employed as a teacher when he made his Oscar debut.  He lost his job as a result but he found a new fame as a professional streaker.  He also went on to open his own photography business and ran for President in 1976.  His slogan was reportedly, “Not Just Another Crooked Dick.”  Five years after making his television debut, the 39 year-old Opel was murdered in his apartment.

There’s some debate as to whether or not this was actually a spontaneous moment.  It’s been reported that Niven wrote down his famous quip about short comings during a rehearsal.  It’s also interesting to note that the camera seemed to be perfectly positioned to not catch anything that could actually get the broadcast fined by the FCC.  If this had been truly a spontaneous event, I’m not sure that would have been the case.

Anyway, that was 1974 for you.  Who knows what might happen tonight?

(Of course, there’s no host so, if something does happen, there won’t be any quips.  Oh well.)


Scenes That I Love: The Opening Of The Very First Televised Oscar Ceremony

Today, we take it for granted that the Oscars will always be on television in February or March of every year.  We know that they will be broadcast on ABC on Sunday night.  We also know that there’s a good chance that, every year, some clueless TV exec will try to do something to ruin our annual tradition.  Whether it’s the idea of introducing an award for Best Popular Film or maybe suggesting that some awards should be given off camera, we know better than to trust ABC.

However, for the first 25 years of the Academy’s existence, the Oscars were not televised.  In fact, for a while, they weren’t even broadcast on the radio because it was assumed that no one outside of Hollywood cared about them.  It really wasn’t until the mid-30s that the Oscars became an annual ritual for so many Americans.  At first, people listened to the ceremony on the radio and then eventually, the ceremony came to television.

The first Oscar telecast was on March 19th, 1953.  The ceremony was split between two locations, Hollywood and New York.  Bob Hope hosted in Hollywood while Conrad Nagel and Fredric March hosted in New York.  The ceremony didn’t start until 10:30 pm and it ran for two hours and 20 minutes.  Why the late start?  Several of the nominees were also appearing in Broadway shows and they had to finish their nightly performances before they could attend the ceremony.

As for why this ceremony was telecast — well, as always, it all comes down to money.  The Academy needed the money that came from selling the broadcast rights to NBC.  (NBC, to their credit, did not demand an award for Best Popular Film.)  The show was such a ratings success that it led to the annual tradition that we all know and love today.

What won at the first televised ceremony?  The Greatest Show On Earth won Best Picture while John Ford took home Best Director (for The Quiet Man) and Gary Cooper was named Best Actor for High Noon.  Shirley Booth was named Best Actress for Come Back, Little Sheba.  The supporting awards went to Anthony Quinn for Viva Zapata! and Gloria Grahame for The Bad and the Beautiful.

Here is the opening of the very first televised Oscar ceremony.  As you can tell, it was quite a bit different from what we’re used to today!


The Universe Is Expanding: Here’s The Super Bowl Disney+ MCU Trailer!

The universe is expanding!

Out of the three shows that are featured in the teaser below, it’s the one with Wanda and Vision that most interests me.  I can’t wait to see what happens with those two characters.  And, of course, there’s no way I couldn’t smile a little when Loki popped up.  His death in Infinity War depressed me almost as much as Black Widow’s death in Endgame.