Movies and Jeopardy

I had a fun filled weekend. On Saturday, the missus helped out with the Open House New York event they held at our apartment complex while I went to see two movies, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning and Jackass 2. Both movies were sequels (or, well, a prequel and a sequel, I guess). Texas was pretty well done – I didn’t have any specific complaints about it – it is what it is. It is a pretty decent example of the kind of movie that it is, but, Hostel and The Devil’s Rejects (the best, in my opinion, of the recent horror films) did it better. Jackass 2 was exactly what I expected. It was funny, but, the original was funnier and tighter. It felt like they were trying harder in 2, but, it was still a fun 90 minutes watching people be idiots and do stupid stuff.

On a somewhat more cerebral note, Deb and I went with two friends to see the filming of two episodes of Celebrity Jeopardy at Radio City Music Hall. They will be airing in mid-November (20th and 21st, maybe?). The two shows starred (a) James Denton, Bebe Neuwirth, and Neil Patrick Harris and (b) Michael McKean, Margaret Spellings, and Hill Harper. I won’t give anything away about the content of the shows, but, the general format for the afternoon was

  • Rehearsal show, no Alex Trebek but instead mock-hosted by Jimmy McGuire while the three celebrities played a partial game to make sure there were no technical issues, they knew how to use the buzzers, etc.
  • They film the actual show (with Alex, of course). During most commercial breaks Alex would take questions from the audience. During one break Alex takes pictures with the celebrities (for the celebrities, not for us). The limit the applause to just “Double Jeopardy” and at breaks (but not coming back from all breaks). They are very strict about no talking while the game is being played and threaten to stop the show if anyone is heard speaking answers out loud (even whispering) during game play – this didn’t happen.
  • After the first episode was shot, there was an hour or more while there was a press conference held. We couldn’t see this occurring because the curtain was drawn. There was absolutely nothing to do during this time but to just sit. They should have shown some Jeopardy episodes on the big screens, or SOMETHING. The hour plus between the tapings was downright boring. Oh well.
  • Rehearsal for the second show.
  • Second show, format exactly the same as the first. There was a brief period of technical problems, but, otherwise it ran just like the first show.

One interesting thing happened during one of the commercial breaks… Alex had flubbed two of the questions. They had the audience be quiet and he re-read them after a bit of coaching. It wasn’t on camera, just the audio to be edited in later. I had always kind of wondered how he always nailed the long words in some of the questions. I had guessed it might be helped with editing, now I have seen it. Not surprising, just interesting to see. The other thing I had always wondered was his opinion on the hilarious Saturday Night Jeopardy sketches – somebody in the audience asked the question and he responded that he wished they made more, he loved them.

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