— Happy birthday to Mariska Hartigay — yeah, light day on birthdays — who turns 44 today. Here’s hoping 200 episodes of covering rape cases on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” hasn’t left her cynical; because it has her viewers. Homework: find the Seinfeld pilot on-line and try and pick out Hartigay.
— Sundance movies are starting to sell, and one rumor has “Hamlet 2” going for an astonishing $10 million. The movie is about a high school teacher that stages a class performance of a sequel to Shakespeare’s play. Expect movies to start going. Scott Foundas at Village Voice recommends “Frozen River” and “Ballast”, and has not bit on Sundance’s more acclaimed movies.
— Tonight after “American Idol” begins the worst conceived game show I have ever seen: “Moment of Truth”. The sad thing is, in a voyeuristic culture that likes shows like “Intervention”, this might actually work. I won’t watch until the show starts to get desperate and grabs celebrities.
— We can only hope American Idol improves tonight, as last night was brutal. I’m not sure a single member we saw last night will make the top ten, unless Carly Smithson really brings it up a notch. However, Smithson has no chance to win, what with her flop at MCA Records back as Carly Hennessey. That would have made a more interesting subplot than her Visa problems.
— Lil Wayne, rapper and producer, was arrested on drug charges today in Yuma, Arizona. No word yet on who was in charge of getting him to the 3:10 train. Does that make Birdman his Ben Foster?
— Buster Rhymes accepted a plea deal today, avoiding a recommended yearlong prison sentence, instead accepting three years probation. No word yet on if he actually pled, or if the judge couldn’t understand what Rhymes was saying, and gave him the probation to just end the case.
— For sports fans, yesterday had some hilarious intersections between pop culture and sports as TMZ captured pictures of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in a cast for his ankle. The initial report was a high ankle sprain, but it appears it’s a bit more mild, and the NFL MVP will play on Super Bowl Sunday. Women everywhere retained their reason to watch.
— Britney Spears is in the news today, both for continuations in her custody battle and because her new hub, Adnan Ghalib, is actually talking to people now. I tried so hard to find enough news items where I could leave Britney off, but alas, not today.
— Recommendation of the day: Jerry O’Connell’s spoof of Tom Cruise at Will Ferrell’s FunnyOrDie.com. O’Connell has the look, so really, what does his career have to lose by continuing to do this and only this? 30 small parts in bad movies? A much better remake than John Mayer’s odd tribute to “2 Girls, 1 Cup”.
— For those curious if “The Dark Knight” will be Heath Ledger‘s last role, this is a good summary piece of where shooting was at in “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”. Also at the bottom, it says Ledger was working on his directorial debut, and the team had offered Ellen Page the starring role, with Ledger set to play a supporting part in addition to directing. Just one of many more I would have loved to see.