American Dreamz is in theatres today

A new film opening today tries to satire both the American Idol phenomenon and our current political climate. American Dreamz stars Hugh Grant (as the Simon Cowell character), Dennis Quaid (as the George W. Bush character), Marcia Gay Harden (as the Laura Bush character), Willem Dafoe (as the Dick Cheney character), and Mandy Moore (as the Kelly Clarkson character).

I saw the movie Monday, and tragically, this is no Series 7: The Contenders. That is, it’s barely satire, and is actually kind of boring. As The New Yorker’s Anthony Lane says, “this picture ain’t funny.”

The nation’s critics seem to agree; so far, the film has an average MetaCritic score of 40 out of 100. Worse, users rate the film 2.6 out of 10. Yahoo’s users are a bit more kind, rating the film a B.

American Dreamz [Universal]
How could ‘Dreamz’ miss such an easy target? [MSNBC]
American Dreamz (2006): Reviews [MetaCritic]

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.