While it may not have been the best movie of last year (my vote goes to the far trimmer and tauter Master and Commander) The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King certainly has to qualify as the most anticipated. On Tuesday, the first of two DVD releases of the film hits the shelves. A fitting wrap-up for what has to be one of the greatest achievements in extended cinematic storytelling, the final Rings installment might meander a bit, but remains a fine, effective and affecting piece of cinema. It's this week's somewhat obvious Best Bet. Here's what else is going on.
VERMONT GETS THE MUNCHIES
Today, Vermont is expected to be added to a small list of states that have embraced the idea of medical marijuana. Gov. James Douglas paved the way Friday by allowing the bill legalizing marijuana for "symptom alleviation" to pass without his intentionally withheld signature. Expect a spike in Northeastern Twinkie consumption to quickly follow.
READY FOR ACTION
After seven years out of the spotlight, former Smiths singer and idol to the sensitive and disenfranchised Morrissey today releases You are the Quarry, a new album of original material. The singer, who now lives in sunny California, obviously feels tanned, rested and ready for the rigors of the music business, because he is following the release up with a series of live dates.
AMERICA'S IDOLS TAKE A BOW
The painful truth of the matter is that, despite what ratings numbers might tell us, the only episodes of American Idol worth watching are the ones with the really bad auditions and the final 10 minutes of tonight's, when the new Idol is crowned. The final episode airs at 8 p.m. on Fox.
GET READY TO RUMBLE
There will be action on the ice when the second game of the Stanley Cup Finals is broadcast on ABC at 8 p.m. Of course, I'm not sure who's playing, and I was a little surprised that hockey was, in fact, televised. But for the fans of this fast, furious and intensely physical game, tonight is a rare opportunity to see their sport of choice aired on network television.
MOVIE FORECAST LOOKS GOOD
This week's big movie release is a disaster, but in a good way. The Day After Tomorrow, a movie that speculates what might happen if the world's weather got really wacky, opens today. The movie is directed by Roland Emmerich, the man behind the camera for the like-minded disaster films Independence Day and Godzilla. If there is anyone in Hollywood capable of turning New York into a frozen wasteland, it's Mr. Emmerich.
ATHENS BAND TO ROCK AUGUSTA
Tonight, the Athens-based rockers Drive-By Truckers play at the Imperial Theatre. The band's most recent album, Decoration Day, was a Skynyrd-style slice of Southern Rock boogie that captured the heart of many a jaded critic. Expect big riffs, loud guitars and unexpectedly sensitive storytelling.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition tugs at heartstrings in ways that a very special episode of Blossom never could. A rare bright spot in the world of reality television, the show rebuilds the homes of deserving families, all but ensuring a tear-soaked finale every week. The season finale airs tonight at 8 on ABC.
Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or firstname.lastname@example.org.