☰ Menu
The HeldenFiles Online

New TV season: what Monday offers

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 18, 2016


New Monday: Kevin Can Wait (CBS), The Good Place (NBC).
Returning: The Voice, Gotham, The Big Bang Theory, Lucifer.
Season finales: The Match Game, Major Crimes.

Notes: If you want a demonstration of how very different even broadcast network comedies can be, tonight provides it.

To read more or comment...

Back to the blog ...

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 16, 2016

As you may know, I have retired from fulltime at the Beacon Journal. I am still posting about pop culture on social media (@rheldenfelsabj on Twitter, for example) and with a new TV season upon us, I'll be posting more here. Beginning Monday I plan to post daily rundowns of what's starting on the networks, with notes about the new series premiering on those days. Keep an eye out. 

To read more or comment...

New "Dancing with the Stars" cast: Ryan Lochte (ewww), Amber Rose, Marcia Marcia Marcia and more

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 30, 2016


The latest cast of 'Dancing with the Stars' has been announced. Here's the official word:

The celebrity cast of “Dancing with the Stars” are slipping on their dancing shoes and getting ready for their first dance on the ballroom floor, as the 23rd season kicks off on MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. This season’s lineup of celebrity dancers includes two Gold medal-winning U.S. Olympians, a multi Grammy award-winning musician, a star of one of the most iconic television programs ever, one of the greatest wide receivers of all time, and the former governor of Texas, to name just a few.

To read more or comment...

RIP, Gene Wilder

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 29, 2016

The actor, writer and director has passed away after a battle with Alzheimer's. He was 83. One obit is here.

I first remember seeing Wilder in "The Producers," with Zero Mostel. My dad and I saw it together, and it was one of the most stunningly hilarious moments of my young life. Wilder was a major reason for that, playing adroitly opposite Zero Mostel, unhinged. 

"Young Frankenstein." "Blazing Saddles." "Willy Wonka." Collaborating with Richard Pryor in "Silver Streak" and "Stir Crazy." A lot to celebrate. But there were misfires, too, such as "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother" and a '90s sitcom, "Something Wilder," that did not remotely live up to its title. After all, Wilder was at his best when  he was at his wildest; "Silver Streak" is mostly a bland bore until Pryor arrives and forces Wilder to up his crazy game.

Below, from the vault, is a 1994 piece I wrote about "Something Wilder." As is clear, I prized the earlier Gene.

To read more or comment...

Two Guys Talkin': Lyin' Ryan Lochte, misleading movie trailers and more

By staff Published: August 19, 2016

In this edition of Two Guys Talkin' Rich Heldenfels and Malcolm Abram take on the Ryan Lochte scandal, more tricky trailers and other local news going on.  

Watch the guys sound off below: 

To read more or comment...

Two Guys Talkin': Reboots, sequels and franchises... oh my!

By staff Published: August 12, 2016

Rich Heldenfels and Malcolm Abram are talkin’ reboots and sequels in the latest Two Guys Talkin.’  What do you think will come first: Audiences will get sick of the same old thing in new packaging or Hollywood will focus on developing new ideas?

Rich and Malcolm hash out which movies worked, which ones didn't and which films they want to see moving forward. (Hint: They're going 'Rogue.') Take a look below.  

To read more or comment...

"Indignation": Not enough

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 11, 2016


If one thing has been evident in my reading of Philip Roth, it has been the constancy of rage. His writing style may have cooled, but the characters are so often in a fever, boiling with anger against the wrongs being committed against them, some real, some imagined. (In “The Great American Novel,” some of both.)

This was certainly true of "Indignation," Roth's 2008 novel about Marcus Messner, a young Jewish man from Newark who flees his suffocating father by going to the fictional Winesburg College in Ohio. That premise made me think of "Goodbye, Columbus," where Brenda's brother Ron has gone west to Ohio State and, after returning home, still plays a record recapping his college years and graduation, the tales of glory capped by the declaration, “Goodbye, Columbus.” No such record awaits Marcus; no long-lasting joy will come from his time at Winesburg. Instead, he will unleash his own furies, and others' – with horrible consequences, and not only for him.

To read more or comment...

"TV (The Book)": Inside two critics' thinking

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 5, 2016

Critics (and my friends) Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz have created "TV (The Book)" -- officially published on Sept. 6 and available for preorder now -- in which they present a ranked list of what they consider the 100 best TV comedies and dramas of all time.

As you would expect with any such book, there will be arguments about their ranking, and I have a few myself. Nor will those arguments be muted because the writers have been so transparent about their methodology.

Not only were there ground rules -- such as only American shows, and mostly series that have completed their run (with a separate section considering some ongoing programs). They also developed a mathematically based system in which each writer gave a show a score between 1 and 10 in six categories (innovation, influence, consistency, performance, storytelling and peak) in which each writer assigned a show 1 to 10 points. Points then determined rank. There's even a chart of their scoring in the back.

Debating about the ranking may be fun for some. And, like some of the shows discussed, "TV (The Book)" is non-linear; try though I have to read the essays in order, I end up jumping around, one essay leading me to skip ahead to see what they thought of a comparable show.

To read more or comment...

Video: Matt Damon is back as Jason Bourne - Rich and the movies

By Published: July 29, 2016

Matt Damon is back as Jason Bourne in, well, Jason Bourne, which is out in movie theaters this week. Beacon Journal pop culture reporter Rich Heldenfels checks in with his thoughts on the movie and Damon's return as the titular character.


Read a full review of the movie from Jake Coyle of the Associated Press right here.

To read more or comment...

RNC in Cleveland: Some media notes

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 17, 2016

While the Sunday-morning news shows were full of political discussions and other news, those of us who are here even between conventions had to wonder how Northeast Ohio was being presented to the worldwide audience.
There had been reason to cringe when decided this was just the right occasion for a post about “notorious Cleveland crimes.” Among the criminals: Ariel Castro, Anthony Sowell and Jeffrey Dahmer (who did most of his killing outside Ohio but was included because “he killed his first victim at his childhood home in Bath Township.”
And, especially for anyone who has plans in Cleveland, there were the unsettling discussions across news media about whether the city’s security plans were good enough. A CNN report later in the day, following the murders in Baton Rouge, ominously noted that Cleveland was a potential target not only because of the convention but because of the enormous law-enforcement presence.
One passer-by in Cleveland Sunday afternoon was heard referring to “so many cops.” Not long after, I passed a large group including state highway patrolmen and others — but I’d hardly expect them to be solo in light of current events.
Earlier Sunday, This Week host (and former Clevelander) George Stephanopoulos grilled Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson about security. Jackson was so low-key in his responses, you’d have thought he was trying to put the audience (including protesters) to sleep.
But Ohio was also showcased for more than just the potential for violence. On Fox New Sunday, Bret Baier pointed out that the Ohio delegation is “jammed in the corner” because “these states are organized by how they voted for Donald Trump, not by their importance as being swing states or even the home state.” And Trump lost the Ohio primary to Gov. John Kasich.
Added Chris Wallace: “, In my experience, which goes back a lot of conventions, the home state always ... is, if not at the front, very close to the front.”
While some people still think you can’t talk about Cleveland without “mistake” and “lake,” there were valentines for the region, especially on CBS Sunday Morning.
­Mo Rocca ­— whom you may remember for his 2015 visit with the LeBron James Grandmothers Fan Club on his Cooking Channel series — offered an admiring look at Cleveland’s history and innovations.
All right, so he also had mistake and lake. Overall he was really nice.
A second Sunday Morning piece, by Scott Simon, showcased Cleveland Play House.
And even a piece on the 75th anniversary of Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak noted it ended “in CLEVELAND, as it happened.”

I spent part of Sunday wandering in downtown Cleveland, trying to navigate around blockades and closed roads; watching police patiently redirect drivers, some of whom seemed unfamiliar with officers’ hand signals, and eyeing a vendor’s display of freshly made Trump-Pence buttons ($5 for one or $10 for three, and with three you could mix buttons and bumper stickers).
I also checked out a couple of the major gathering places for news and information operations, the “media row” in a Quicken Loans Arena parking deck and the Huntington Bank Convention Center.
Media row was in fact a long, winding stretch of spots where radio in particular could set up for interviews — since they were conveniently near the Q, and inside the security zone — and broadcasts during the convention. With the big doings not starting until Monday, parts of it were still being assembled, or had no one working yet. Still, you could see everything from a single table with a couple of chairs for one radio station, to an elaborate setup for CNN, and large sections encompassing not only radio networks but a fistful of affiliates. And some commentary: a worker at one right-wing outlet wore a “Hillary for Prison” T-shirt.
The presence of newer media was also evident, whether it was a Buzzfeed News sign explaining how people could use the Facebook Messenger app to “tell us your convention story” to Facebook Live locations where news outlets could live-stream, elaborately near the Q and more casually in the convention center.
What a few months had been a huge, empty space in the convention center is now a massive media headquarters. You walk through aisles between high curtains, behind which news organizations’ staffs and equipment are gathered. Not that all are like that. In another area, you would find rows of individually numbered spots for reporters who had sought just a desk and a way to file. 

To read more or comment...
The HeldenFiles Online Archives




Heldenfels' mailbag

  • Main Blog Promo
  • Cavs Blog Promo
  • Browns Blog Promo
  • Indians Blog Promo
  • Beer Blog Promo
  • Fracking Blog Promo
  • High School Blog Promo
  • Zips Blog Promo
  • Akron Dish Food Blog
Prev Next