Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Quote of the Day

While discussing the Bush administration's apparent abandonment of plans for tax reform, Reihan Salam (one of Sully's guest bloggers), says this, after attributing much of the blame for this abandonment on The National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru:
Rather than spend countless millions on the Democrats, George Soros would be wise to endow the “Ponnuru Chair in Socialistic Studies” at an elite university, all in the hopes of wooing Ponnuru to the dark side. This would give conservative reformers the opening we need to soak the idle rich and shower largesse on families with children, in the process giving the GOP a permanent majority, until we're annexed by Canada, at which point we'll be forced to watch endless repeats of "Degrassi: The Next Generation"—a fate that, though I'm loathe to admit it, I'd heartily embrace.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

One More Than Four

1) Shrinking Violets in the Rain
Driving in L.A. is an adventure when the weather is not the norm. A rain drop, even a foreboding cloud, can bring out the worst in one of the worst sets of drivers in our fair nation. Over the last two days, it has rained here (seveal yentas in my office believe this to be the prelude to the imminent tsunami that will surely "strike us next"). Upon driving home from work, it has been slight (as was the case yesterday) and moderate plus two flashes of lightning (as was the case today). The limit on both freeways is 65 mph. The drizzle yesterday prompted drivers, on average, to slow down by about 20-25 mph. Today, add about 5 or 10 mph to that descent. What I think is most interesting about this condition among L.A. drivers is the number of them who drive SUVs. Haven't ya'll seen the commercial? You can traverse over mountains, savage terrain, in any kind of weather, be it whilst on safari, pulling out tree trunks, or picking up takeout for yourself at Baja Fresh. The worst offender was one in particular, which also added insult to injury with the ever insightful bumper sticker, "War is not the answer." So true. So true. And neither is fuel efficiency, I suppose.

2) and 3) "What I'm Looking For," Brendan Benson and "Portions for Foxes," Rilo Kiley
Summery pop with angst and melancholy to spare. Benson's songcraft here reminds me a lot of Aimee Mann and Jon Brion's collaborations and it might just be the best song I've ever heard from him. And I'm a fan. For some reason, I resisted Rilo Kiley or maybe I just didn't seek them out with any great conviction. This is the best single off their latest (More Adventurous) and it's been cuddling with my iPod quite a bit. Also entrenched in iPod rotation: "My Heartbeat," Annie, "Chocolate," Snow Patrol, and "God Moving Over the Face of the Waters," Moby (largely because I re-watched Heat just a few nights ago).

4) ...and Twins
As previously posted, this game is a great way to waste your time. Habit forming.

5) Michelle Monaghan
Upon re-watching The Bourne Supremacy the other day, while waiting for the Saturn (still running!) to be fixed, I noticed something. Amidst a big group of background actors, all playing CIA assistants to Joan Allen's stern boss/queen of the frozen tundra, I noticed that Paul Greengrass had cast a pretty stunning actress in what was basically a non-speaking role. Who is that? Lazily, I didn't check. Then, today, I'm flipping through Newsweek's "Who's Next" year-end issue, and, there she is. She's set to appear in Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, Constantine, and, most notably, Syriana in the coming year. Hotness.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Cow. Slob. Pig.

Just read Neil Labute's Fat Pig. A play as much about societal mores and perceptions of beauty as it is about all kinds of personal weakness. I don't know how I feel about Jeremy Piven or Andrew McCarthy in the two male leads, but I love the wicked notion of casting Keri Russell and having McCarthy's character insinuate that she's "chunky." There's a real sadness at the core of this play, of people wishing they could be better, namely Tom (the lead), but resigned to the notion that they are weak, and the work to improve is just too much to take. It ain't easy being zaftig. Also, for those, like me, who buy the published version of the play, Labute's introduction, where in he recounts his own struggles with weight loss, is pretty great. "When in doubt, eat some Pringles."

Off to watch Welcome to Mooseport. Yeah, I said it. **UPDATE** Yeah, not so much. Thirty minutes was enough for me. Boo-urns.

Procrastination Nation

Come waste your time with me. Check out this game. Not as easy as it looks. You gotsta be quick. (via the cheese stands alone)

Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful

  • Prom date du jour.

  • He's been a Shomer Shabbas Roller, led Wake Up Wakefield, starred for the D & D Mattress Men, and, this year, been the franchise player for The Darkos. Now, Peyton Manning's broken Dan Marino's single season record for touchdown passes. Questions remain whether or not Kovachy, Loo or Beeks would give Peyton the same "man sex" they'd give to Marino "out of respect." Let's go insurance adjusters, let's go!!

  • Lonely Jew no more. Props to Morgan and The J for a quality Christmas dinner. Grandma says, delicioso! The Shop Around the Corner quickly becoming Christmas tradition. Alone on Christmas Eve in Budapest. Best.

  • 1, 2, 3, 4...: Lou Lumenick provides a top ten in alphabetical order, hates on Before Sunset, and piles on Affleck. V.A Musetto, who also apparently writes for the Post (shrug), provides another alphabetically ordered list and proceeds to make me want to throw my own feces in his/her (?) direction by including Open Water in said list. Are you for scuba? Over at the Gray Lady, Manohla compares Eastwood to Coltrane, while A.O. yearns for a sequel to Fahrenheit 9/11, and Stephen Holden hearts Almodovar. The lists are all starting to blend together, which means it's about time for my list, so that things can get even more blurry.

  • I'm not done with lists. The Morning News submits their top ten albums of the year. And while you're there, methinks you'd be wise to download Ratatat's "Seventeen Years" and "Glass Corridor" by Lansing-Dreiden. Or not. It's your loss.

  • Martha Stewart gets it:
    I beseech you all to think about these women -- to encourage the American people to ask for reforms, both in sentencing guidelines, in length of incarceration for nonviolent first-time offenders, and for those involved in drug-taking. They would be much better served in a true rehabilitation center than in prison where there is no real help, no real programs to rehabilitate, no programs to educate, no way to be prepared for life "out there" where each person will ultimately find herself, many with no skills and no preparation for living.
    (via Hit and Run)

  • Stills from Rob Reiner's Rumor Has It (formerly known as the Untitled Ted Griffin Project), Tim Burton's The Corpse Bride, Aronofsky's The Fountain, and Cronenberg's A History of Violence.

  • The trailer to The Pink Panther, which leaves me with nothing but questions and a slight case of indigestion. Who wants to see this movie? Who is this for? I mean, for the older set, I'd think the Peter Sellers originals would be enough and for younger viewers, besides insulation commercials, who knows or cares about the Pink Panther enough to require the expenditure? What is wrong with Steve Martin? And is anyone else entirely sick of Beyonce's existence? If you're not, the new Tommy HIlfiger spot that plays before every movie in every theater in L.A., along with the Fanta girls and the surfer with the Amex card, might just push you over the edge, that is if you needed the slightest nudge.

  • Saturday, December 25, 2004

    Merry Christmas Quotes of the Day

    "To The People Of Islam: Just think: If we'd invaded your countries, killed your leaders and converted you to Christianity YOU'D ALL BE OPENING CHRISTMAS PRESENTS RIGHT ABOUT NOW! Merry Christmas." - Ann Coulter

    "If Jesus came back and saw what's going on in His name, He'd never stop throwing up." - Frederick (Max Von Sydow), Hannah and Her Sisters

    Friday, December 24, 2004

    Quote of the Day

    "If America's mainstream media would give the global War on Christianity just a fraction of the attention it pays to the War on Christmas, lives might be saved. And light would be shed on the true heroes of the original religion of peace. Doing so, however, would require the nation's secularized pundits and pontificators to take religious persecution seriously. In that, alas, I have no faith." - "Madame Internment Camp" Michelle Malkin

    Thursday, December 23, 2004

    Binge and Purge

    Am I a lonely Jew on Christmas? Maybe it's the rum in my coke or Chasing LIberty on HBO or the stove and oven being dead because of some electrical problem (I think) that now replaces the car trouble that, for now, has gone away (fingers and toes crossed) or the incessant car alarm from the red Volvo parked across the street or how quiet this apartment can get in the middle of the night, especially now that the nuclear Holocaust known as Christmas break hits Los Angeles and for a few seconds there isn't non-stop traffic covering every inch of asphalt, the lights turned on and all the rats scuttling in every direction, from Vail to Buffalo. Maybe it's because I have work on Monday, but I just feel off. This concludes my diary entry for the week. Wouldn't it be neat if Vinny climbed in my window to ask me where I was taking Wanda Friday night? No? Yeah, didn't think so.
  • Big Chief Triangle hints, AGAIN, he would consider a return to coaching if the job happened to be with the Knicks. He doesn't want to "muddy the waters," which he does with or without saying he doesn't want to. I still have my doubts that he'll get hired and that Isiah won't go for one of his guys (most likely Mark Agguire) or, well, himself. But Isiah seems obsessed with the showcase item (see also: his near desperate pursuit of Vince Carter) and Big Chief Triangle is the most expensive thing in the store.

  • Peter Gammons breaks down what happened with the trade that wasn't: Randy Johnson to the Evil Empire.

  • Even though I don't like it all that much (ditto for Modest Mouse's "Float On," same concept, same director), I still love the song and feel it necessary to link to Broken Social Scene's video for "Stars & Sons". (courtesy of The Big Ticket) Also, if you haven't already, go on over to Stereogum and download "Through the Walls" by Rjd2 & Ric Ocasek. Better than best.

  • The Trailer Diet: If, perhaps, in the spirit of the holidays you find that you've eaten a bit too much, the OV is here with a solution. Purge. Purge. Purge. Watch how Martin Lawrence gussies up Juwanna Mann with middle school children who love the game of basketball. (Note: There are enough obnoxious moments dealing with the fake NCAA in this trailer to send me into an Any Given Sunday style rant about sports as represented in the movies, but I will hold back...for now.) If this doesn't get the food to come back on you, watch Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson define the term "auto pilot." And if you're still hunched over the toilet, almost wishing you'd just puke already, try on Vince Vaughn's shtick coma and the rest of the dreck that makes up the first look at Be Cool. The sugar plums don't stand a chance.

  • Pitchfork's Top 50 albums and Top 50 Singles of 2004 and Stylus' Top 40 Singles.

  • Patrick Bat(e)man

  • Stereogum's Top Catorce for the year in music. And The Fiddler gives top honors to Tyrannosaurus Hives.

  • In my opinionation...Blossom surely envies Six for her role on The Parkers But, then again, who doesn't?

  • The P.M. of Fagistan has hate in his cold, black heart, and a hankering for some weapons grade plutonium. And "Anonymous," if you think Josh hates you, let me introduce you to Ann Coulter. Unless you can be snorted, were or are the (corpse of the) 40th president, or reside betwixt the thighs of Sean Hannity, she hasn't an ounce of love for you.

  • Mean Girls: Lindsay Lohan in high school. Pre-"blossoming."

  • The city of Villahermosa, Mexico v. naked Tuesdays.

  • "Generation Debt." For boys and girls. (via Amy's Robot) Speaking of debt and/or self pity, the Saturn's problems have been solved (or so it seems). A clogged fuel filter. Should be back to me by today. Should break down again in another two months. Pity pity pity. Boo-fucking-hoo.

  • Another Conquest

    Barbara Walters? Alexander, BE REASONABLE! (via NYP) The above photo is from the Phantom of the Opera premiere. If you're wondering how that all worked out, what with the greatest stage musical EVER directed by the best costume designer turned hack director EVER starring the only reason you're not rooting for the weather in The Day After Tomorrow, let Ben give you the lowdown. It ain't pretty, kids.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2004

    Circle K

    Chuck Klosterman presents the Ten Most Accurately Rated Artists in Rock History. Best:
    New Radicals: There are only five facts publicly known about this entity. The first is that 1998’s “You Get What You Give” is an almost flawless Todd Rundgren–like masterwork that makes any right-thinking American want to run through a Wal-Mart semi-naked. The second is that nobody can remember the singer’s name. The third is that the singer often wore a profoundly idiotic hat. The fourth is that if this anonymous, poorly hatted singer had made a follow-up album, it would have somehow made his first record seem worse. The fifth is that his album didn’t quite deserve to go gold, and it didn’t.
    Check it.

    Quote of the Day III

    "This "fear of Christmas" is a phantom menace conjured every year so that certain crybaby Christians can adopt victim status and model a pained expression over the sad fact that not everyone around them isn't carrying on like the Cratchits. This thin-skinned grievance-collecting gives birth to all sorts of urban legends and rumors about big institutions being hostile to Christ's birthday, such as the one that swirled on WOR radio last week about how Macy's employees had been instructed not to say "Merry Christmas!" to shoppers. A fiction that was put to rest when the host hit Macy's website and saw its "Merry Christmas" greeting, and Macy's employees chimed in over the phones to say there was no such policy. To read conservative pundits, you'd think everybody was wishing each other Happy Kwanzaa! and averting their eyes from oh so gauche Nativity scenes. I've got news: Even here on the godless, liberal Upper West Side, people wish each other Merry Christmas without staggering three steps backward, thunderstruck and covered with chagrin." - James Wolcott

    Mode of Transport: Or How I Don't Get Around Much Anymore

    The car pictured above may look fairly decent to you. It's not a picture of my car, but merely a picture of another car that is the exact same model and color as mine. My car (not pictured above) has, drum roll please, died. AGAIN. That's twice in less than seven days. Huzzah!

    As the saga continues, it seems that every two months something will go to shit and I will fix said thing. Either right after or two months later, another part, be it the radiator, battery, alternator or engine, will go to shit. This vehicle is the bane of my existence. I have no money, so buying a new or reasonably priced used car is almost entirely out of the question, although the option is being explored but not with much seriousness. In a few hours, my car will be towed back to the mechanic and the verdict will come in at some point tomorrow. I've had this car for eight years. We've had a nice run. But I want to break up. I don't love it anymore. It's not me, it's you.

    No Spin

    Will Bill O'Reilly take News Corp. to the cleaners or will he just continue to soap up their boobies? I mean, for the sake of the baby Jesus, the heathens at FOX must be reprimanded for their hatred of Christmas. In related news, my bags are packed for Israel. I do as O'Reilly commands. (via Hit and Run)

    Quote of the Day II (Decorating Your Chanukah Bush)

    "Like the first film, the new one hinges on the well-traveled idea that there's something comic about being Jewish in America. Not the Philip Roth, take-no-prisoners funny, in which Jewish identity is good, bad, happy, sad, a historical chip on the shoulder, a sign of radical difference. Rather, the post-Borscht Belt funny of the genial sitcom Jew whose difference is amorphous enough to be thoroughly unthreatening; the Jew as an ethnic accessory that non-Jews on both sides of the camera can enjoy without anxiety, like the cute cabala string Madonna likes to wear." - Manohla Dargis, from her review of Meet the Fockers

    Quote of the Day

    "I'm telling you, he needs to pull a Hollywood Hogan. After all that's happened, Kobe will never be totally cheered again. So why not go the other way? Wouldn't you rather be a memorable villain than a phony hero? Kobe should admit that he screwed the Clips over last summer, that he orchestrated Shaq's trade and Phil's departure, that he threw Malone under the bus for sport. Before home games, he should stand on the scorer's table and flip off fans. Maybe he could even hire a no-good manager with a cane. Embrace the dark side, Kobe. You're already there. You just can't admit it yet." - The Sports Guy, sharing his ideas on what should be Kobe Bryant's new identity

    Tuesday, December 21, 2004

    Flood Pants

    The author of The Ring + the evils of indoor plumbing + Jennifer Connelly's heaving bosom + nursery rhymes made to sound scary + the director of The Motorcycle Diaries = Dark Water. Sorry. No.

    Comedy is tragedy plus time.

    After The Curse of the Jade Scorpion and, more importantly, Hollywood Ending, Woody Allen could have retired and saved us all the trouble of gathering our pitchforks and torches and storming his kiddie porn dungeon, eventually killing him in the town square for all to see. He happened to make Anything Else after that, and I've thus far only been able to stomach it in 3-5 minute doses, usually ending in me doing a bad Woody Allen impersonation, where in I express how disgusting I find it, like when Woody thinks it's the worst thing he's ever heard when Caroline Aaron admits to having received a hot lunch, in Crimes and Misdemeanors.

    I must admit, however, that when the trailer for Hollywood Ending came out, I thought it looked good. I was ready to see it, to give Woody another chance, to forgive and forget about the decline of one of the finer filmmakers of the past few decades. And here I am again, at another such occassion, upon my first viewing of the trailer for Melinda and Melinda. I like the concept, some of the scenes shown seem to snap and work, and the cast, as always, is stellar: Will Ferrell, Radha Mitchell, Chloe Sevigny, Amanda Peet (a personal fave), Chiwetel Ejiofor, Johnny Lee Miller, and Wallace Shawn. I'm especially jazzed about the presence of Ejiofor, whose performance in Dirty Pretty Things was among the best work done last year, and he has since been wasted in Richard Curtis' ridiculous Love Actually, where the notion of an audience suspending its disbelief is stretched wider than Paris Hilton's bored vagina.

    There's some decent buzz around the movie, as opposed to the utter lack of buzz or anti-buzz that's seemed to accompany Woody's last few films, with all the kid glove reviews and the-glory-days-have-passed platitudes. Here's hoping that Allen, like Robert Altman can have a new and bright chapter in his golden years. If not, the kiddie porn dungeon will be raided and its owner will not be spared.

    Alternative to Love

    I very much associate Brendan Benson with the summer of '99, of an apartment with no A/C, an ill advised summer fling, and a close but not close enough run by the Knicks for their first title since the 70s. I played One Mississippi a lot, maybe too much. Benson's getting hotter, thanks in no small part to the warm snugglies sent his way by Jack White. Thanks to Scott Stereogum and The Catbird Seat, you can check an advance single from his new album (drops March 22nd). Head on over and download "What I'm Looking For." Best.

    Tuesday Night

  • Whoops and Almost Whoops: Brit Brit and Xtina master the art of the near wardrobe malfunction. (Bonus: Amy Smart hotness.)

  • Frame by Frame: The trailer to Sin City. (via goldenfiddle)

  • As a kid, I would wake up early to watch Saturday morning cartoons. Sometimes, I would wake up too early and suffer the consequences. Inevitably, the only thing on then, prior to my family embracing that which was known as "cable," was Davey and Goliath. And now, in order to ruin the mornings of more children and shove sanctimonious hokum down their throats, the stop-motion do-gooder and his dog are back. Boo-motherfucking-urns.

  • Reason # 4, 322 that Paris Hilton has jumped the shark. I'm tired. So tired. I'm tired of havin' sex.

  • An early summer movie preview from Dave Poland. New knowledge: Robert Rodriguez has a second movie (The Adventures Of Lava Girl & Shark Boy), scheduled to be released around the same time as Sin City and it's in 3-D. Does he sleep?

  • Year end top ten lists never cease to entertain me. MSNBC's Jon Hartl has his ten best and Michael Ventre has his ten worst.

  • Omar Minaya reads the OV. According to the New York Times, the Mets have requested the medical report on Magglio Ordonez and will pursue him if his knee is all good. Mags could be this offseason's Vlad Guerrero, a player many shy away from because of a past injury, that then goes on to be fully healed and an all star/MVP caliber player. That's my theory and I'm stickin' to it. Go and get him, Omar. You know you want to.

  • Meow

    "It's a dumb decision. Tucker Carlson is a terrible hire not only because he's a conservative yakker in a medium where there's a superabundance of conservative yakkers, but because he's a truly inept TV performer--flighty, stammering, laughing at his own lame quips and then repeating them as if repetition makes them even swiftier, waving his hands around as if trying to throw them away, slamming the table in phony indignation ("That's outRAGEous!"), tucking his little smirk in at the end of each segment...he's unbearable. He's as amateurish now as when he started, just as Conan O'Brien hasn't improved as an interviewer after ten years on the late shift. Carlson can't carry that dinky show he's doing on PBS now each week, never mind an hour a night. He's another McEnroe waiting to happen." - James Wolcott, on MSNBC's hiring of Tucker Carlson. Later, he bemoans the loss of Deborah Norville, who's being replaced by "a bobble-head doll in a bowtie."

    Monday, December 20, 2004

    One More Than Four

    1) "Mysterious Circumstances: The Death of a Sherlock Holmes Scholar," by David Grann (The New Yorker, 12/13/04)

    A tremendous piece on the mysterious death of the foremost Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle scholar, Richard Lancelyn Green. Mystery upon mystery, with a tragic conclusion. Could be, in the right hands, a great film, something maybe like The Hours (but much much less maudlin), perhaps tying together three stories, Doyle, Holmes, and Green. All seeking, all searching for answers, and all prone to concealing the "inner man."

    2) Monday Night Football, New England v. Miami 12/20/04

    Whenever someone criticizes the Dolphins, the frequent refrain among my group of SoFla based peoples goes something like this: (in the voice of a now infamous radio caller) "If it wasn't for the Fins...MI-ami, wouldn't have...a football team." Best part of a great game: After Tom Brady's dumbass pass in the midst of being sacked by Jason Taylor, Patriots lineman Matt Light is caught loudly praying on the sidelines (or, perhaps, merely ranting to himself...but my guess is prayer), which was then followed by a Fins touchdown, to take the lead away from the Super Bowl champions. This was then followed by Brady throwing another INT to Arturo Freeman who then jumped up and chest bumped interim head coach Jim Bates. Miami still has a football team, no matter what anyone might tell you. 29-28, MI-ami.

    3) The Aviator

    Kaleidoscopic, teeming with the energy of its subject, and teetering on the edge of madness. The future was in the wild blue and then, just as suddenly, the door is shut, and the future is shrouded in darkness and by the things we cannot manage, we cannot possess, we cannot defeat. I don't know if you've heard, but Marty's got skills. Robert Richardson's got skills. Thelma, Sandy Powell, John Logan, Dante Ferretti...ace. If it's not by you, be patient and go when you can. If it is, and you haven't caught it yet, well, what the fuck? Go.

    4) Sabrina (1954, Billy Wilder)

    I'm consistently struck by how serious Billy Wilder's comedies tend to be, how high the emotional stakes are for his characters. While waiting for news on the Saturn (alive, well, and ready for pickup tomorrow afternoon), I caught Sabrina on one of the HBOs and found myself again completely caught up in it, despite already having seen it several times. Best.

    5) Go Fug Yourself
    Hilariously snarky and evil. A letter to Teri Polo. And Tom Brady returns on the list, because what the fuck has he done to Bridget Moynihan?

    Quote of the Day

    "No doubt, one of the big stories of 2004 is The Failed Auteur. Of course, there are a lot of movies that didn't work out there. And there are lots of people who will disagree that any one of the films by the following filmmakers failed. But by my count, Brooks and Nichols join a group of filmmakers that have distinct voices, were given room to rumble this year and tripped themselves up - a group including Wes Anderson, Bernardo Bertolucci, Jonathan Glazer, Barry Levinson, Mira Nair, Trey Parker, David O. Russell, M. Night Shyamalan, Stephen Sommers and Oliver Stone.

    If the studios set up a fantasy director's league and you ended up with these twelve filmmakers as your team for any given year, you would have to feel pretty good. Not every one is a box office home run hitter, but there is not one among these dozen filmmakers that you would expect to be anything less than exciting, whether they are from the commercial side or the art side. Only five of the filmmakers are older. Sadly, there is only one woman. But every one of them creates a lot of anticipation. And this year, every one of them came up short." - Dave Poland

    The one "auteur" that he cites as an exception to this "big story" is Alexander Payne. Sorry, Marty, you just aren't hot enough for "The Hot Button." And, maybe I hit my head on the way to my desk, but did you just cite Barry Levinson? The "trip up" of Envy? Yes, Liberty Heights is a fine film and Bandits, thanks almost entirely to Cate Blanchett, has its charms, but this is a man who also recently directed Sphere and the practically unreleased An Everlasting Piece. And Stephen Sommers? Sure, the Mummy movies may work better than Van Helsing, but are we bestowing the title of "auteur" on this guy? I mean, shouldn't we also then bemoan the misfire that was After the Sunset from the filmic artiste that is Brett Ratner? Sigh. I could go on and on and on...

    On Borrowed Time

  • Today marks my third rental car of the year. The Saturn missed the gentle caress of the tow truck. Today's rental, courtesy of a free upgrade, is a Chrysler Sebring convertible. Perhaps, in the spirit of efficiency, I can have something like a midlife crisis this week, splurging on a pair of pleather pants, and getting a "happy ending" over on Sepulveda or by the airport one afternoon.

  • Dave Poland shows off his Oscar season haul. Includes a Team Zissou hat, scripts for Sideways and Collateral, and a Kinsey home circumcision kit.

  • Safire Unbound: Retirement can't come soon enough. The Gray Lady's Old Man pitches ideas for a new novel to Philip Roth. Roth rolls eyes and continues jerking off into piece of raw liver.

  • The "Eva Braun of Morning Television" may replace Dan Rather. Ann Coulter just did an extra line of blow and started writing a new column. Thus far, there are only two references to Max Cleland's war record, Madeline Albright's dog face, and the presence of hair under the armpits of every woman who votes Democrat.

  • Counting: The 12 days of Christmas. More top tens, this time from Gary Dretzka, Ken Turan, and Kevin Thomas. (via MCN). And DJs at Boston College take time out from puking on the T, loving the JC, and sucker punching team rivals' mascots while they're taking a piss, to compile a mess of best of lists for the year in music. (via LHB)

  • 'tis the season! Please, go over to Fluxblog and download "The Depressed Office Worker and The Christmas Party" (from the Tom Scharpling and Andy Earles Show). It's just too good (most likely fake, but no less funny). Don't fuck with the Croz!

  • Midgets and Massholes Unite! Nelson de la Rosa grumbles about Pedro's departure. And in other Hot Stove related news, William Rhoden (of the NY Times) agrees with the OV. Go get Delgado!

  • Sunday, December 19, 2004

    Sunday Papers

  • Ebert unveils his top ten list for 2004. Million Dollar Baby joins the illustrious company of Dark City and Monster's Ball. And, look, I don't much care for Troy either, but the worst movie of the year? Simma down now.

  • Diminishing returns: The death of the musical theater star.

  • "I am not I; thou art not he or she; they are not they." Most of the people in Almodovar's Bad Education are playing one game or another, as most of us to do, to project the identity we desire to be identified with, as opposed to what society or others might put on us. The drag queens and priests are one in the same, men dressed up in an effort to hide from a secret, a truth about themselves, but, at the same time, they all acquire a sense of power from this costume, a sense of control over events that they might be overwhelmed by if stripped bare. Father Manolo's advances towards Ignacio are as much about some twisted roleplaying game, as they are about a man's uncontrolled compulsion to enact his sexual desires on a child. His collar and robes give him a commanding presence, a sense of control, that he would lack if just a man, dressed in normal clothing, talking to the same child, beside the same lake. He may get something close to what he wants later on, once he's left the church, but his sense of power is gone. He's a desperate, hungry beggar for love, completely open to devastation and destruction. He no longer has a costume to guard him against such an act of opposition.

    While someone like David Mamet is interested in the con, what a malleable identity might bring those avaricious souls who choose to lie and cheat their way to wealth, Almodovar explores the desire by one character, in the confines of noir conventions (the femme fatale, blackmail, the protagonist dragged further and further down into the abyss, etc.), to devour all those identities he can use to further his own goals. If one hates actors, this may be just the film for you. Blackmail and murder are less means of moving on up, but acts of agression in an attempt to acquire that which one man believes he lacks. He will become other people, acquire their stories, their pasts, their loves, in an attempt to make himself richer, monetary gains aside. This isn't the noir about the schemer trying to fleece a lover of their riches or blackmail those who've wronged him to get back what he lost. This is a much darker film. This is about a man looking to gain the life force of those who desire the above. He is the blank slate, seeking all he can of others, not to learn or appreciate or share something emotional or physical. He will take your identity if he believes he can use it. It's all about the part. It's method acting gone mad.

    This was only my second Almodovar film. Talk to Her being the first. This one kicked me in the ass. I loved it. One of the best of the year.

  • "I give it my highest rating: 7 out of 10!" Ben has said his piece on Million Dollar Baby. For those curious, he seems to hate it more and more each day, now resorting to a Hillary Swank impersonation, where in, in an accent from the Ozarks, he calls you "boss." I don't so much agree that the film deserves this sort of derision (despite the amusing impersonation), nor do I go along with all the wild praise it's received. There's much too much narration, an atrocious "look at me!" performance from Jay Baruchel (Undeclared, Almost Famous), and the final act can lean towards the manipulative, with a tendency by Eastwood to go for the obvious, which, perhaps, may be the overarching problem with the film altogether. Despite this, it's still strong, anchored by finely tuned performances from Eastwood, Swank, and Freeman. They're all doing familiar work here. Eastwood is gruff but likeable. Swank puts on the accent, and puts it on thick, but comes through it and gives a stirring performance as a focused, slightly desperate dreamer bent on an achievement few if any believe is either possible or even appropriate. And Freeman may be treading familar territory and we may all long for him to play another violent pimp (perhaps, now, he can be the wise sage style pimp who encourages the whores to go to Devry or save their money or something), but the performance is solid and he actually elevates the part beyond either just a narrator or simply a sounding board to Eastwood's grumpy old man. It's not the best of the year (sorry, Eb), but it has some worth.

  • "Have a good time, all the time. That's my philosophy, Marty." I haven't had enough time to gather all my thoughts yet on The Aviator, but it's great, huge canvas filmmaking, brimming with bravura direction/editing/cinematography/costumes/production design and a tight script from John Logan. It also has some of the best performances of the year. If I will say just one thing, briefly, it's nice to see someone finally use Cate Blanchett to the best of her abilities, instead of, y'know, calling her "bull dyke," and sticking her, with nothing to do, in the middle of a production even Max Fischer might think was a lil off.

  • Hitch and the 60s.

  • The Mets zero in on Carlos Delgado. Delgado was part of a big non-story last year, when he refused to stand for "God Bless America," when played during the seventh inning stretch in all American parks. I'm still a little surprised this wasn't one of Bill O'Reilly's pet causes/talking points, but, alas, perhaps that is the fate of a protest made by a player for a Canadien baseball team out of the pennant race. Later, Delgado reportedly refused a trade to a contender before last year's trade deadline. Why he did this is confusing, especially considering that he has no plans to now re-sign with Toronto, but all this aside, the Mets first baseman right now is Jason Phillips, who wears goggles that have yet to make him hit like Chris Sabo. They need a bat like this, and pursuing him makes tons of sense. It should also be pointed out that the playing of "God Bless America" during the seventh inning is lame and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" needs to be brought back, and fast. It still exists at certain parks (namely, Wrigley), but too many parks have gotten into this maudlin need to "remember," as if singing along to some 16 year old diva from a local high school while the Cardinals take a brief break from kicking the shit out of the Reds, will do a damn thing. Whatevs. After Delgado, trading Matsui and Floyd, and going after Orlando Cabrera and maybe Magglio Ordonez makes a ton of sense if it can be done and if the returns from those two trades are something other than spare parts or prospects.

  • Once upon a time, Mets officials claimed that they didn't pursue A-Rod as a free agent because of the exorbinant demands he made outside of the basics of his contract. The perks were the problem. Well, here are the perks required to sign Pedro Martinez. Good luck midget not included.

  • The War on Drugs Clock. Tick-tick-tick-tick...

  • Friday, December 17, 2004

    Paging Dawson's Dad...Dawson's Dad...

    Title:        The Flash
    Log Line:  An aspiring athlete is exposed to heavy water fumes which gives him the ability to move at incredible speeds.
    Writer:      David Goyer
    Agent:      William Morris Agency
    Buyer:      Warner Bros. Pictures
    To be based on the DC Comics character created by Gardner Fox and Harry Lampert.  David Goyer will produce.  David Goyer will direct.

    Thursday, December 16, 2004

    It's Like a Badge of Honor, To Be a Baby Mama

  • Memo to the Coz: Fantasia Barrino don't give a fuck.

  • Oh, no you di'nt. David Brock challenges Bill O'Reilly. A loofa duel at dawn? (via Sully)

  • I know it's in Red Sox fans nature, but can we all put a rest to this idea that ya'll are cool without Pedro. Sorry. Not so much. If he was, as so many have breathlessly stated, a ticking time bomb, finished, half the man he used to be, then why the hell were the Sawx offering three years guaranteed? Why is Boston "relieved" that he didn't sign with the Yankees? If he's done, shouldn't he just be shown the door, thanked for all his hard work, and advised to go somewhere like Toronto maybe, where he can win three Cy Youngs like some other Boston starter who had nothing left in the tank and was likely to continue to produce diminshing returns. I know, I know, it's the Mets. Haha. The team that can't ever get it right. Do you think this is fucking news to me? Do you think I don't sweat it every time Omar Minaya checks how much cash he has in his wallet and happens to be near a phone with speed dial? Somehow, the thinking has become that Minaya, the Mets, its fans, its ownership, has put everything on Pedro, that nothing else will be done, and for the sake of a few Daily News back pages, they've given up all other offseason endeavors for this suicidal signing. It's December 16th, guys. The majority of free agents haven't even signed. Many more trades are yet to be made. It's one move.

    Now, I know that the geniuses who really wanted Javier Vasquez and A-Rod (props to the Sports Guy for the truth telling in this dept.) have already signed a fat drunk pushing 40 with a bad back to replace the best pitcher in franchise history. And I know they've come to be relieved that they don't have to put up with his shenangians anymore and now they can go and cowboy up and find all the right pieces again and push to October while the stupid Mets try to stitch back together Pedro's soon to be torn labrum as Port St. Lucie lets out a collective, "Noooooooooooooo." Or not. I mean, the Sox were ready to take the chance. And then I'm sure it would've been a brilliant manuever in an effort to fortify for their efforts to repeat. Look, I know the Mets have issues. They always have. Even when they won in '86, they still had George Foster eating up payroll and hating everyone around him. Lest we forget Vince Coleman (maimed child with firecracker), Bret Saberhagen (sprayed bleach on members of media), Bobby Bonilla (my most hated athlete to have ever played for a team I love...EVER...and, yes, folks, that includes Chris Childs, Charles Smith, Dave Brown, Shandon Anderson, and everyone else on this list), Eddie Murray (hates you more than you could ever hate yourself), Ryan Thompson (part of the boondoggle that was the David Cone trade and forever labelled as having great potential despite no discernible evidence of it), Roger Cedeno (brought back for a heapload of money perhaps only for the reason that he played the outfield as if unaware that the sky was above him), Mo Vaughn (spent more time hitting the buffet at Scores than baseballs), etc. etc. etc. But if this is the worst signing in Mets history or the equivalent of trading for an oft injured, fat, semi-useless first baseman, then, well, you haven't been around this team for a while or you're just trying to make yourselves feel better. I thought winning a World Series would be enough to do that.

  • Mandy v. Mandy? People are trippin'. Junk in the trunk? Not the skinny teenager anymore? Are you fo real? Come to my job. I'll show you some fine ladies wearing mom jeans. That, my friends, is junk.

  • C-cups. D-cups. Whateva. It's a great day for lyrics on the OV.

  • Ladybugs now has the extra creep factor of watching two recently deceased actors talking to one another, with one of them dressed in drag. Will Ferrell and Bob Dylan's other son hope soccer still makes you laugh.

  • Wednesday, December 15, 2004

    Alexander, Be Reasonable

    "I'd do anything to work with Michael Mann. And the script is great. The worst thing about the project is the title, but as a piece in and of itself it's brilliant...[It] goes deep into the undercover world. It's Mann doing his heavy and tough stuff, with the kind of great dialogue you saw in Heat and Collateral." - Colin Farrell, on Miami Vice (via Hollywood Elsewhere)

    Tuesday, December 14, 2004

    Quote of the Day II

    "You wouldn't necessarily think a holiday that celebrates the victory of a small band of religious insurgents over an occupying foreign power would be one of Bush's favorites." - Wonkette on GWB's love of Chanukah

    Quote of the Day

    "The bigger the contract, the bigger the responsibility." - "The Amazing Spiderman" Pedro Martinez, now a member of the Amazin' Mets

    Tuesday Isn't Monday

  • Airbrushed Kidney Stones: The Real World: Chicago's Tonya graces the pages of Playboy. Points for doing something other than Real World/Road Rules Challenge. Demerits for being shy and covering up Rosebud.

  • Pending a physical, where in doctors will stare at the partial tear in his labrum, Pedro Martinez appears set to sign a 4 year, $50 million contract with the Metropolitans, defying all logic, including my own, which had him jumping at the first hint of a three year offer from the Sawx. Pedro now becomes the ace of the Mets shady staff (Glavine, Benson, Zambrano, Trachsel) and provides an amount of attitude long absent in Shea since they fired a manager who felt it appropriate to re-enter the clubhouse in disguise after being ejected from a game. So, on opening day, Pedro may be pitching to a catcher he hates and who also hates him. And who knows who will be behind him, except for maybe David Wright at third and Mike Cameron in center, everything else is up in the air. Omar Minaya has made his first big splash. A cannonball. And the back pages, probably for the next week, will belong to the Mets, unless George drives a truck onto Carlos Beltran's lawn and dumps $200 million out onto the sod he just had installed. The offseason has started. Here we go...

  • Over at MCN, David Germain and Christy Lemire share their top ten lists. I've nevin heard of them either, but top ten lists are like crack this time of year.

  • Pier is the Michael Jordan of blog retirement.

  • Auto-fellatio v. the audience: The Life Aquatic doesn't get better with repeat viewings.

  • The latest from Hitch. "War on Drugs" still stupid, pointless, and tragic. Just in case you hadn't heard.

  • Sunday, December 12, 2004

    Award Season

    It's time to hand out some hardware. There's David Ansen's Top 10, the L.A. Film Critic's Association spreads some love, and The Guardian gives you a list of 12 you should have seen by now. In the giving mood, let me drop "The Tin Man Award" in the lap of Wes Anderson for his latest, The Life Aquatic. (And in unrelated awards news, my boy, Peter Gammons, will receive the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for outstanding baseball writing. Props.)

    ...and AFI and the Boston film critics chime in.

    Friday, December 10, 2004

    Bozell v. Bjork

    Maybe it was Carly Patterson's camel toe. The FCC weighs indecency complaints lodged against the Athens Olympics. I bet you can't guess where the complaint comes from.

    Quote of the Day

    "I return to my standing point that liberals don't read." - Ann Coulter, "The New and Improved Racism" (12/8/04)

    Sadly, the piece contains not a single reference to waging war against the growing danger that is our neighbor to the north. Tonight, on Degrassi, the kid that gets picked on that once put his girlfriend in a coma after throwing her down, her head hitting a rock, jumps the shark and brings the family gun to school to get back at the kids who most recently tarred and feathered him. What Coulter doesn't know about Canada is that goes there.

    Lover's Lane

    "Portman is becoming hard to cast: her beauty is by now so extreme that its sole purpose is the feeding of obsession. (George Lucas loads her with silly costumes and puddles of makeup, as if to wish the beauty away, to stop it from throwing his sexless galaxy out of whack.)" - Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

    You can check his review of Closer here. Fact: In the stage version of Closer, Clive Owen originally played Dan, Jude Law's character.

    Thursday, December 09, 2004

    Give a Little Bit

  • The Netherlands = Nazi Germany. Cal Thomas may or may not have been wearing a fetching sweater while writing this. He's always wearing something the Coz and/or Peabs might have rejected for a scene in the episode where Rudy gets soap in her eyes and might be "blinded for life." Yeah, Cal, you're dumber than Theo.

  • Chanukah hotties. (via Fleshbot)

  • Peter Gammons is in Anaheim at the Winter Meetings. I have a half day tomorrow. I may just drive over, hunker down in the lobby, and hope to get a chance to yell at Omar Minaya. To be fair, Omar hasn't done anything wrong. Yet. They key word with all Mets general managers is yet. Steve Phillips was fine and dandy for a while and then he felt it necessary to bring back Roger Cedeno. Jim Duquette was okay until he felt the need to trade away the franchise's best pitching prospect for an oft injured starter who's not even the best pitcher with his last name. Like I said, the key word is yet. Richie Sexson wouldn't be a terrible move. Neither would Moises Alou. How's Magglio's knee? Is Eric Milton on his way to Shea? Shrug.

  • Ben like totally loved Finding Neverland. He wants to have a million of Marc Forster's babies. "Make me feel good," he'll say, all sweaty, bent over, and Oscar worthy. Or not. Fuckin' twee.

  • The Fiddler has the exclusive. Britney Spears breaks new ground in human/animal relations. Buys domesticated K-9. Onlookers stare in amazement and consider imitation. Best.

  • Batman: International Man of Mystery and Dr. Nelson Guggenheim is the voice of Aslan. (via AICN)

  • The Truth About Charlie

    I seem to be presented with the oportunity to talk about how much I generally loathe remakes much, much too often. So, in an attempt to avoid being redundant, here's the teaser for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Chocolate, that's the color of shit.

    Trailer Park

    Terrence Malick's The New World. No word yet on whether or not the animals will talk or if Vanessa L. Williams will provide an original song to the soundtrack.

    Tuesday, December 07, 2004

    Latke, not Loofah

    As the kindly gentiles used to say in my elementary school, "Happy CHUH-NEW-KUH." Let us all celebrate this first night of Chanukah by remembering that if we disagree with Bill O'Reilly, we should just go to another country:
    FOX News Channel host Bill O'Reilly responded to a Jewish caller to his radio show who objected to "Christmas going into schools" and explained that he "grew up with a resentment because I felt that people were trying to convert me to Christianity." O'Reilly told the caller that America is "a predominantly Christian nation" and that "if you are really offended, you gotta go to Israel." O'Reilly labeled the caller's concerns "an affront to the majority" and insisted that "the majority can be insulted, too." During his exchange with the caller, O'Reilly also mistakenly referred to "the seven candles" of Hanukkah.


    David Thomson on Closer:
    Some critics in America have flinched from Closer and from the encounter with Julia Roberts talking in that kind of way. It was always suggested, from Pretty Woman onwards, that her sexiness was a coy act. Now it sounds like weary experience. Those doubters say Closer is so depressing it reminds you too much of life. And, of course, that is revealing of the wretched state in which film and film comment find themselves nowadays. Once upon a time, we used to hope for films that reminded us of life. Now we put up with attempts to make us forget life, or discredit it.
    And on Julia:
    Yet any actress knows that happy era is short-lived. The mirror does take its revenge; and actresses bewail the shortage of parts for women past 40. There's justice in that complaint. The movie audience does not much enjoy complaining women, those beset by loss and insecurity. The kids going to movies want the perfection of advertisements, and that's surely one reason why they divorce each other so often. But it's also true that many actresses resist 40, deny it, and try to stay young. And those cheating ways are as quickly palpable as youth itself and a body that still has few worries about staying taut.

    The most admirable thing about Julia Roberts in Closer is the willingness to play it without a safety net. She could have taken the trouble to look better and younger without anything that you'd call cheating. But she plays a photographer, a woman who believes in the naked moments of the human face, and who has given up on subterfuges for herself. It is an ensemble film, in which individual performances may not be picked out - and if they are, why Natalie Portman's success is the more spectacular, and the most tied to nude scenes and moments of sexual candour. But hearing Julia Roberts talk directly about sex is not just refreshing, it's startling enough to reveal how much of a tease her career has been so far.
    And if you don't own Thomson's New Biographical Dictionary of Film, well, you should.

    Monday, December 06, 2004


    It was big news last year when Rush Limbaugh (all the while forgetting about Michael Vick and Daunte Culpepper) stated that Donovan McNabb was "overrated...what we have here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback can do well—black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well." And that he never thought McNabb "was that good of a quarterback." In defense of these statements, Slate's Allen Barra ("The Sports Nut") in a piece entitled, "Rush LImbaugh Was Right -- Donovan McNabb isn't a great quarterback, and the media do overrate him because he is black (10/2/03) said:
    "If Limbaugh were a more astute analyst, he would have been even harsher and said, 'Donovan McNabb is barely a mediocre quarterback.' But other than that, Limbaugh pretty much spoke the truth. Limbaugh lost his job for saying in public what many football fans and analysts have been saying privately for the past couple of seasons."
    Barra went further:
    "So far, no black quarterback has been able to dominate a league in which the majority of the players are black. To pretend that many of us didn't want McNabb to be the best quarterback in the NFL because he's black is absurd. To say that we shouldn't root for a quarterback to win because he's black is every bit as nonsensical as to say that we shouldn't have rooted for Jackie Robinson to succeed because he was black."
    I never much cared whether or not Rush's thoughts were racist. They were just so fucking stupid, the possible racist implications didn't so much matter to me. And in the spirit of exposing just how little that fucktard knows about football, as opposed to say, hillbilly heroin, sport fucking CNN anchors or plotting to kill talkative maids for their indiscretions to the federal investigators, here are this season's stats of this "barely mediocre" quarterback:
    256 of 393 for 3356 yards (65.1 completion %), 28 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 110.4 QB rating, 3 rushing touchdowns (His Eagles are currently 11-1 in an admittedly weak NFC)
    Allan Barra felt just last year that Brad Johnson was a better quarterback, at least when compared to the first few years of McNabb's career. Brad's still in the league, right?

    That's All Over the Second We Ride Up Troy's Bucket

    Sean Astin still considers making doodoo-feces all over my childhood:
    Its funny when everybody walked on stage to accept the "Best Picture" Oscar last year, it was presented to Peter by Steven Spielberg. I found myself standing next to Mr. Spielberg and I just said, "Steven, do you realize how many people want to see a "Goonies" sequel? And he looked at me, as we were in front of the entire industry and millions of people watching on TV, and he goes, "Sean, you guys just made history, why we don't focus on that film first. OK."

    He and everyone else who was involved with it knows how much people want to see another, and everywhere I go throughout our country and around the world, people approach me about the "Goonies." The movie represents a very nostalgic period. I have always said that I would love to act in a sequel. I think it would be really fun to reconnect to those actors, but the idea of being the parent or having like a new generation of "Goonies" is sort of a buzz kill for me. I still think of myself as Mikey in a selfish way. If there's going to be an another adventure, I would want it to be about us!

    Imperfect, Like O'Neill

    In an interview regarding Beyond the Sea, Newsweek's David Ansen is reasonably tough on Kevin Spacey. Much to the collective shock of every reader, Spacey is incredibly defensive any time Ansen presents the simplest quibble with any of Spacey's choices as a filmmaker. And he doesn't so much defend his choices as question why Ansen would have such issues or why anyone might.
    The question that hangs over the movie for me is, why? Why make a movie about Bobby Darin? It was an interesting life, but you are stuck with a lot of the rags-to-riches conventions that we've seen many times. Your solution is clever—to turn it into a kind of fantasia musical. But I don't know that it entirely solves the problem.

    Well, the problem may never be solvable. I think people ought to stop searching for the biopic that solves all the problems. The truth is, you go see a Eugene O'Neill play and it still has problems.
    The age difference did get in the way for me. But my bigger problem is that I was never able to stop thinking that I was watching Kevin Spacey, not Bobby Darin.

    You'd have to break that down as to why that was true for you when it may not be true for somebody else. Do you have a certain expectation when you see a film I'm in? Did you have an expectation about what Darin should be like in this film?
    I'd have just puked on Spacey. You know, to return the favor.

    Get Yourself a Flashlight and a Can of Pesticide

    A monday morning gift. The Bill Lumbergh Soundboard. Greaaat.

    It's Monday? Already?

  • Head to sixeyes and download Nina Simone's funked up "Baltimore."

  • Karate Kid: The Musical. Bad idea, you might say. And you might be right. But, just for a moment, imagine "Wax On, Wax Off" sung to the tune of "Sunrise, Sunset" or a second to last number, "Put Him in a Body Bag (Johnny)" done with fight choreography, a la West Side Story. The ads for the show promise "fisting," which may mean a production quite different than the above ideas might imply or I just have a one track mind or maybe both. (via catchdubs)

  • Real World: Paris' Mallory thinks the Asian kid should stay in the back, stacking pre-stained, pre-torn, Fuhrer approved jeans. However, while doing so, she remains much too hot to be hated for too long.

  • The New York Times has the scoop on the latest from Ian McEwan:
    The result was "Saturday," set on a single day in February 2003, when London was seized by its biggest-ever peace demonstration. More than a million people took to the streets to protest the looming war in Iraq and British participation as America's main ally.

    In the book a British neurosurgeon, Henry Perowne, leaves his central London house to pick up his car - a sleek, silver Mercedes 500 - to drive to his regular game of squash.

    Mr. McEwan was not inclined on this Saturday night to divulge too much about the plot beyond that point. (Mr. McEwan's publishers in Britain said advance copies of the book were not yet available. It is to be published by Jonathan Cape in Britain in February 2005, and by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday in the United States in March 2005.)

    But he did read a passage describing the way Mr. Perowne overcomes his embarrassment at owning such an extravagant car. And it was that passage he referred to when he was asked about the darkness of stories, saying his description of man and Mercedes had not been too dark, after all. He even teased his audience, saying that some of them were likely Mercedes 500 owners themselves.

  • Sunday, December 05, 2004

    Quote of the Day

    Harry Knowles on Blade: Trinity:
    Now it comes to BLADE: TRINITY – If I have to use a sexual metaphor to compare BLADE: TRINITY to, it would be this. It is as if you decided to live out a fantasy and you hired a dominatrix to tie you up. She comes in covered head to toe in latex. You’re bound firmly. Once helpless and anticipating great pleasure… You see her remove her hood and in place of what you had hoped you see the most hideous creature known to mankind. It smiles at you with a maw filled with chipped broken cavity ridden teeth and pus-y gums. It goes down on you dragging these sharp jagged teeth across the sensitive skin of your horrified organ. Cutting your flesh, infecting you with it’s terribleness… from time to time the tongue gives a second or two of pleasure, but the ill-formed briar patch mouth causes mostly winces and agony, as you’re constantly reminded of the fact… you paid for this shit. FUCK!


  • Ebs! Fanny and Alexander is this week's Great Movie and he sits down with Robert Altman to talk about directing:
    "When I'm not making a film, I don't know how to live. I don't know what to do with the time. I don't have an assistant director taking me to this little restaurant around the corner, and a production manager telling me about my hotel, and a driver to take me where I have to go."

  • The Guardian's Anne Thompson puts together a top ten list of Oscar contenders. Also there, an interview with John C. (for Christopher) Reilly. Among other things, a discussion of his taste in music:
    "I listen to a lot of Chicago blues, I suppose. It reminds me of growing up, I guess. But I'm also obsessed by close-harmony groups. Actually, I'm fascinated particularly by brother duos, how they blend together. The Everly Brothers, the Stanley Brothers, The McQuarrys. There's something inherently magical about harmony."

  • From the NYT Op-ed page: Steve Martin on King Tut.

  • FOX will actually appeal the FCC's $1.8 million fine against it for Married By America ("sexually suggestive"). From the filing:
    "First and foremost, the commission's indecency regulations no longer can withstand constitutional scrutiny. Given the tremendous technological changes that have transformed the modern media environment, the commission simply cannot justify an intrusive, content-specific regulation of broadcasters."
    Via Buzz Machine and WaPo.

  • Joaquin and Reese as Johnny and June Carter Cash. (via goldenfiddle)

  • Speakeasy:
    Bilious Brit writer Christopher Hitchens has been asked to lecture U.S. military officers-in-training at West Point. The Vanity Fair columnist, a reformed leftist who backed George Bush's re-election and who now sup ports the war on terror, will be speaking at the famed military academy on the subject of "Iraq, Afghanistan and democracy in both places," he tells PAGE SIX. Hitchens, who attacks the likes of Bill Clinton, Martha Stewart, Michael Moore, Mel Gibson and Mayor Bloomberg in his new book, "Love, Poverty and War," says he was very surprised by the invitation. "I thought, 'Surely the U.S. military can't be in that much trouble,' " he quips. "Is it a great country, or what? Actually, I think it's an honor, especially now. This is the next generation of American officers." Hitchens says the academy offered him a "nominal" fee for the lec ture, which he has asked to be donated to a fund for soldiers' widows and orphans.

  • Happy Broke Your Foot Day!

  • Saturday, December 04, 2004

    Miles and Miles

    The distance between you and I, cannot be measured.

    There's a moment in Closer that may seem obvious or cliched. Clive Owens' wicked dermatologist falls asleep in bed beside his wife, the "depressive" photographer, played by Julia Roberts. She does all the tender things one might expect in a circumstance such as this, involving a handsome couple like these two. She gently pulls the book out from under his arm, the one he was reading before dozing off, and places it on the bedside table. She turns off his light. Kisses him goodnight, even though he doesn't know and can't kiss back, and then turns off her own light, and positions herself for slumber. Only, her eyes are wide open, and her mind is elsewhere. In a lot of films, this means she's plotting something. Where to hide the body. What to do with the stolen money. How to explain the affair. And as much as that last bit is true in this case (sort of...the affair is in the past and out in the open), the scene has much more impact than a simple twist. In that moment, one that if played differently could illustrate their closeness, their intimacy, their love for one another, Roberts sums up everything about her, this couple, and the film. In that moment, only she knows what we can only guess she's thinking. Regret? Longing? Weariness? Resignment? Sure, there are guesses, but what the hell do we know. What do we know about any of the people in this film and what do any of them know about each other? We know she's in bed with her husband and she seems to be alright with that. But, then, there's always tomorrow.

    Jude Law's character is asked, "Why do you want to know?" His answer may be more honest than anything uttered by anyone else in the film. "Because I'm a lunatic."

    Jesus Hates You

    I admit that I watch too much FOX News. This morning, Tony Snow interviewed the head of The Committee to Save Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas is a death row inmate, accused of killing his wife and three children by way of chainsaw. The crime captivated the region and when Merry was finally captured, Americans, collectively, exhaled a great sigh of relief. However, many believe that Mr. Christmas was wrongly accused and that DNA evidence could exonerate this grieving husband and father of a crime he did not commit. Or not. The committee is currently boycotting Macy's and other Federated department stores (Bloomingdale's, Burdine's, etc.) because they wish customers "happy holidays" during the four or five month barrage that is the "Christmas season" as opposed to wishing them "Merry Christmas." Snow, in solid fair and balanced mode, opined that perhaps it was more offensive to not wish people "merry christmas" because, after all, "85%" of the country is Christian and by appealing more to the concerns of that other 15%, we are being overly PC? Bigoted? Shrug. This is David LImbaugh/Pat Robertson/Ann Coulter territory, where in Christians are the most oppressed people in the world. Not wanting to write much more about this, I will relate my favorite story relating to such Christmas shenanigans. I was in the ninth grade and it was early December. A girl in the class, in some kind of open discussion led by my teacher (who happened to play Jesus in public access Christian programs), asked, "What's this Chanukah?" (pronouncing the "ch" as one would when saying chocolate and the entire word as if she was vomiting up something that she hoped to look at afterwards to solve the mystery of what had caused her to throw up) She followed up this thoughtful question with the comment, "I mean, I just don't understand why everyone can't just be the same." This quote came from the only black girl in the class and one of maybe fifty black people in the entire school. Thank you and goodnight.
  • Links: Reclaim America, Concerned Women for America, Michael J. Gaynor, and FOX News.

  • Friday, December 03, 2004

    The Bat

    (via MCN)

    Shabbat Shalom

    I have been evacuated twice in the last two days from my place of employment. On Thursday, an inmate, either in transit to lock-up or from inside lock-up, escaped into the crawl space in the ceiling that runs from lock-up to the rest of the courthouse. We were held outside for about a half an hour, allowing us to watch cop after cop, each holding a gun bigger than the next, circle the building, and then watch a helicopter circle from above. Five hours later, the inmate fell through a ceiling tile into a room locked from the outside. His surrender, much like the crime he committed (armed robbery of his mother's home), was pitiful. Today, we were evacuated (two hours earlier than yesterday) because of fear that the gas used to "smoke out" the inmate might have lingered in the air and could be harmful to our health if we were to be exposed to it for any length of time. Let me say this to the inmate who is responsible for all this: You, sir, are a rock star. Many thanks.

  • Kirsten Dunst hates wearing bras. And we love her for it.

  • This guy swallowed Tom Cruise's fake package from Magnolia.

  • Jesus in dental x-rays. Four out of five dentists agree that the JC helps combat plaque and gingivitis. (via planetdan)

  • Tommy Thompson sure knows how to make you feel all warm and fuzzy. Potential replacements at HHS: Scott McClellan's brother or Newt Gingrich. It has always been my belief that we need more cabinet members who divorce their wives while they are in the midst of cancer treatment. It brings an air of class that's sorely lacking in the halls of the Bush White House. And class, as you well know, is my new thing.

  • Oh, Aaron Carter. Growing old brings with it so many problems. Comparisons to your brother, the loss of innocence, the retarded and desperate need to lure Jacko back into your loving arms by dressing like a Euro trash doberman pincher. I relate. Aging's a bitch. (via The Superficial)

  • As previously linked on Sully, Peter Beinart's call to arms for liberals, as featured in The New Republic:
    Today, three years after September 11 brought the United States face-to-face with a new totalitarian threat, liberalism has still not "been fundamentally reshaped" by the experience. On the right, a "historical re-education" has indeed occurred--replacing the isolationism of the Gingrich Congress with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney's near-theological faith in the transformative capacity of U.S. military might. But American liberalism, as defined by its activist organizations, remains largely what it was in the 1990s--a collection of domestic interests and concerns. On health care, gay rights, and the environment, there is a positive vision, articulated with passion. But there is little liberal passion to win the struggle against Al Qaeda--even though totalitarian Islam has killed thousands of Americans and aims to kill millions; and even though, if it gained power, its efforts to force every aspect of life into conformity with a barbaric interpretation of Islam would reign terror upon women, religious minorities, and anyone in the Muslim world with a thirst for modernity or freedom.

    When liberals talk about America's new era, the discussion is largely negative--against the Iraq war, against restrictions on civil liberties, against America's worsening reputation in the world. In sharp contrast to the first years of the cold war, post-September 11 liberalism has produced leaders and institutions--most notably Michael Moore and MoveOn--that do not put the struggle against America's new totalitarian foe at the center of their hopes for a better world. As a result, the Democratic Party boasts a fairly hawkish foreign policy establishment and a cadre of politicians and strategists eager to look tough. But, below this small elite sits a Wallacite grassroots that views America's new struggle as a distraction, if not a mirage. Two elections, and two defeats, into the September 11 era, American liberalism still has not had its meeting at the Willard Hotel. And the hour is getting late.
  • A grab bag of ten best lists.

  • Hit & Run talks of the prophecy of Demolition Man. The proof is here.

  • Take a deep breath, move all sharp objects away from your reach, and read FCC chairman Michael Powell's op-ed in today's NY Times:
    We take all these limitations seriously and believe we have acted in a balanced manner. If one slices through the rhetoric, you'll find that most opponents of the agency's strong enforcement efforts believe that the government simply should not impose any decency standard at all. Berating citizens who believe in values and reasonable limits is insulting and polarizing and distracts from the legitimate issues of this policy debate. Critics of the law should instead focus their efforts on changing the law, if that's what they want. Until then, the American people have a right to expect that the F.C.C. will continue to fulfill its duty of upholding the law, while being fully cognizant of the delicate First Amendment balance that must be struck.
    Well, I know that makes me feel better. How about you? No? Well, then, go over and shake your fist in the air with Jeff Jarvis.

  • Nas and Kobe sittin' in a tree...“You can’t do better than that?/ The hotel clerk who adjusts the bathroom mat?/You beat the rap, jiggaboo, fake n---a you, you turn around then you sh—on Shaq.” Oh no you d'int!

  • Chicago film geeks crush on Wes Anderson. (link via The Cinetrix)

  • It's Awards Season over at Night for Day. On De-Lovely:
    As soon as Kevin Kline appears in a skull cap parading around as Elderly Cole Porter, his life being played out before him as a stage musical narrated by Jonathan Pryce (straight from a 1997 Infiniti commercial), I knew we were in trouble. In the interests of full disclosure: I fast-forwarded through the entire movie in fifteen minutes. What I saw was enough to include this among the year’s worst.
    I sense that De-Lovely is the appetizer to the hearty meal of Beyond the Sea.

  • The Knicks have a winning record and Ben Roethlisberger isn't Jewish. I'm at a loss.

  • Thursday, December 02, 2004


    My future wife has, as Al Pacino might say, a GREAAAAAAT ASS. (via Uncle Grams)

    Butt Rape Never Sounded So Good

    Check out actor/singer Bill McKinney (Deliverance) at This is easily the classiest and most understated web address I've ever come across.

    Well, Fine

    Defamer debunks a previously posted list of performers for the 2005 Coachella Music Festival. Whatevs. I'll still end up going and finding myself in an eight hour long traffic jam.

    Wednesday, December 01, 2004

    Do the Humpty Hump

  • The future Mrs. Aaron.

  • Do yourself a favor and gawk at the fiddler. More of the usual genius, courtesy of Spencer.

  • Oh, Olly. Is someone gwumpy? Oliver Stone passes along this bit of wisdom:
    "It's the end of movie-movies the way we know them. ... If you walk into a room with 5,000 DVDs, how are you going to respect movies? How do you know the good ones? It's going to the LCD -- the lowest common denominator. It's making movies into supermarket-shelf items, which is probably the best you can get at Wal-Mart. ... It's hopeless."
    Causing even more confusion for us bottom dwellers is what happens when amongst the 5,000 DVDs are titles like Any Given Sunday and U-Turn.

  • Speaking of myopic, egomaniacal dickheads (look, fucker, I like the doc, and I enjoy the book on tape, but please stop)...Robert Evans: Live

  • Paul Berman talks of the release of Cuban dissident/poet Raul Rivero. Best bit:
    Rivero's friends in other places around the world may live in free societies where people don't get thrown in jail for writing poetry and journalism. These faraway friends have nonetheless managed to understand that, in some places, life is a little more wintry. Havel has written that every meeting, every conference, every protest on behalf of the Cuban dissidents is a step toward freedom in Cuba. Apparently there have been enough of these steps to get Rivero and five other people out of jail. That leaves merely 62 other imprisoned dissidents to go, not to mention the cause of the independent librarians in Cuba (who have just now opened 14 new independent libraries—a bold thing to do), not to mention the cause of Cuban society as a whole.
    On a related note, here's Berman's vicious takedown of the cult of Che.

  • ESPN's Buster Olney analyzes Omar Minaya's approach to rebuilding the Mets:
    But maybe you don't think they are a rebuilding team. Maybe you think they still have a couple of turns on the downward spiral. The Mets still haven't figured out what to do with Mike Piazza, a Hall of Fame catcher who stopped playing like a Hall of Famer a couple of years ago. Their left fielder is Cliff Floyd, a lumbering left fielder who ranks among the players most poorly suited for their home park. Their ace pitcher is Tom Glavine, who may reach 300 victories but may not be around by the time the Mets are a good team again.

    But maybe you are Omar Minaya, the new caretaker of the Mets' baseball operations. Maybe you think the Mets are ready to contend. Now.
    Will Pedro be offered a fourth year and will it matter if the Sawx come back with an offer of a third and will trading Piazza be a requirement of acquiring Pedro? Waiting to see...

  • Breaking over at the futururistic Drudge Report '05 (where closeted gay guys post glamour shots of themselves and boast of their superiority on Google to the likes of Johnny Depp):
    American youngsters participating in federally funded, abstinence-only programs have been taught over past 3 years that abortion can lead to sterility and suicide, that half gay male teen-agers in the U.S. have tested poz for AIDS virus, and touching a person's genitals 'can result in pregnancy,' a congressional staff analysis has found.... WASH POST planning to splash on Thursday, newsroom sources tell DRUDGE... Reporter Ceci Connolly has byline... MORE...
    If you touch your own genitals, can you get preggers? Because, if you can, I think we've found a sound little argument to throw at all that orthodoxy that says masturbation is bad. Because if sex is only good when born of love and with the intention to produce a child, self love may now have its ultimate purpose. Touch your wang, make a baby. Pet your hooha, make a baby. Babies babies and more babies. Jerking off hasn't been this hot since yesterday.

  • From the Washington Post's Reliable Sources:
    The occasion was a book party for British editor and knighthood recipient Harold Evans, author of "They Made America: Two Centuries of Innovators From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine." Guests included irrepressible Republican campaign adviser Mary Matalin, who cornered hawkish scribe Christopher Hitchens and praised him effusively for supporting President Bush's reelection. "My hero," she called Hitchens. "I'm going to get your name tattooed on my chest!"
    Bitch, please. My balls were tattooed last year and Carville's already licked them.