The air conditioned room at the top of the stairs.
Monday, May 31, 2004
Sunday, May 30, 2004
Josh just about nails it, even if I don't find this demolition derby as "fun" as he does, but I thought I'd add a few points and/or queries to the conversation. If the temperature is dropping ten degrees per second, what happens in one minute, and if it does in fact drop 600 degrees, why is everyone hatless and ski mask-less when they're picked up in the chopper in the film's ending? Now, sure, this may sound snooty and silly for a movie like this, but, well, Al Gore made the bed, and I'm lying in it. (Now, I know they all say they know it's overblown science fiction, but you'd think they could come up with something a bit more solid to discuss the topic of global warming than this giant turd...but, then again, it's Gore. However, how retarded are Bush's people for trying to stop people from discussing this film...yeesh, guys...simmer down now...put the enemies list away and chill the fuck out.) Why is no one all that cold? Why is no one all that panicked (life as they know it is over, and not in any REM-like metaphorical sense), save for wistful lines from Emmy Rossum about how all her studies have been for naught? Did Michael Jackson request a copy of this film for his personal collection so that he can wax it to scenes of a cancer stricken young boy reading Peter Pan? Is Roland Emmerich (a German) the biggest dumbass in the world for having his characters burn books as opposed to the ample supply of wooden furniture in the NY Public Library? Why must the dog always live? And, is the last line in the movie about the sky being so clear supposed to be a happy ending now that the majority of those living in the Northern Hemisphere (save for a few people surviving on rooftops) have died? No matter the politics of this movie (which are, at best, preposterous and insulting to anyone's intelligence, or for that matter, the cause they claim to represent), it's a botched enterprise, from start to finish, on every front a movie is supposed to succeed upon, because, at the end of the day, Roland, I've watched you destroy New York twice now, and, well, yeah, I don't have the same boner for that act as you seem to.
One other thing...Armaggedon did something I find quite enjoyable...the foreign country being hit by asteroids/tsunamis/what-have-yous tableaux...usually, they're dressed up in colorful garb praying to some large statue of some "God" or another (these scenes are cross-cut with Normal Rockwell paintings as everyday American life tableauxs with little girls running over grassy hills with sparklers in their hand)...Emmerich missed the boat. Add this scene, and your movie could've reached new heights...from crap to shit.
I also saw Saved! this weekend. Yeah, ummmm, Ben has promised to tackle that one. Let me just say this...Boo-urns.
10 Degrees Per Second!
Josh assesses The Day After Tomorrow. He's nicer than I'll be.
Friday, May 28, 2004
"The Sports Nut" rightfully critiques the NBA's obsession with sound effects for every breath its players take in a game. But what I want to know is why TNT has gone insane with their sound. The rims make much more noise then they ever have, the crowd noise almost suffocates the announcers, and, you know what the means, more crowd noise and a softer Marv Albert exclaiming "YES," and we all know what that is, my friends...fucking bullshit. And, of course, this is done by a Turner network...fond of five minutes after the hour and half hour scheduling, crayola coloring of films, and, outside of the confines of entertainment...beefalo, Nazi relic collecting, and sport fucking Jane Fonda.
I intended for there to be no confusion with this headline. This is not a revisionist take on Kelly Osbourne's once upon a time single. It is not a good song. It never was good. And if anyone should shut up, well...yeah.
West Texas Girl
Bushism of the Day (from Slate)
"I want to thank my friend, Sen. Bill Frist, for joining us today. … He married a Texas girl, I want you to know. (Laughter.) Karyn is with us. A West Texas girl, just like me."—Nashville, Tenn., May 27, 2004
Edelstein on The Day After Tomorrow
"The sad part is that Emmerich really thinks he's making a political statement, and he and his producers and actors are making the rounds blabbing about the movie's message to the world. As a German, he's no doubt eager to teach the United States some humility: The most amusing scene features North Americans racing illegally across the Rio Grande as Mexican troops attempt to turn them back. But the mainstream American audience won't want to know from humility, even in a fantasy alternate universe. It's too Jimmy Carter. Meanwhile, global-warming experts I know are already girding themselves for a major PR setback, as everyone involved in this catastrophe becomes a laughingstock. Is it possible that The Day After Tomorrow is a plot to make environmental activists look as wacko as antienvironmentalists always claim they are? Al Gore stepped right into this one, didn't he?"
...Chris Columbus really wanted to make "the best musical ever," he'd cast Joey FAT-one.
Outsourcing is Sexy
Title: The Other End of the Line
Log line: A beautiful credit card phone operator lives in India but pretends to be American to her callers. She decides to travel to the United States to meet a New York man that she's met over the phone. Problems arise when they meet in San Francisco, and she decides not to reveal her true identity.
Writer: Tracey Jackson
Agent: Richard Arlook at The Gersh Agency
Genre: Romantic Comedy
More: Hyde Park Entertainment’s Ashok Amritraj and Jon Jashni will produce.
Following in Ben's Footsteps
Ben calls out Jay. I point out the awful blog linked on Jay's blog.
Just Die Already
The Pope, seer of seers, prognosticator of prognosticators, has decreed that American life is in danger of becoming soulless. (I always love how one side thinks the country is so insanely religious and the other thinks we're going straight to hell for being heathens.) Perhaps we should all get a young boy and rape him. Or help our neighbor get a boy whom he will rape, and then help said neighbor cover it up. Or not. Whateva.
Thursday, May 27, 2004
When I was a senior in college, a freshman wrote an editorial claiming that anyone who questioned Joe Liberman or Al Gore or anyone else's motives in trying to "clean up" the entertainment industry was just, well, crazy. (I wrote a response...but the format of our newspaper essentially barred him from a retort...the only exceptions would be hot button campus issues like "Was The Chancellor Really the One Armed Man Who Killed Dr. Richard Kimble's Wife?") The First Amendment was safe and the government would politely keep their grubby little hands off it. This idiot's name was Danny Baram. In the continuing parade known as "Fuck you Danny Baram and Anyone Else as Naive as You," here's Scott McClellan to make us feel all warm and fuzzy.
I Make Sense!
Josh makes me his biographer.
After "Waiting a Lifetime"
This headline is not meant to disparage the winner's first single, but, rather, the interminable finale, which went on for two hours (felt like four), contained the obligatory but extra long cruise ship musical number with all 12 finalists, and, again, lacked the first season's true mojo, Dunkleman! In the end, Fantasia wins it.
Gray Skies Are Gonna Clear Up
State agrees, Sarah Connor must be found.
Breaking News: Money Not as Plentiful as Water
Rumors of spending cuts if Bush is re-elected. Cuts? No. It can't be. Horrifying deficits are in, baby.
Kerry: Does He Have a Plan?
John Kerry's campaign may seem a bit aimless and his positions somewhat unclear, but Kerry would like you to know something: He has a plan.
"I think it's important to show them you have a plan," Mr. Kerry said last week on his plane during a campaign swing in the West. "If you don't have a plan, I don't think people are going to have much confidence in you. But I have a plan. I have a specific plan about manufacturing jobs, a specific plan about how we're going to fight for a fair playing field, a specific plan about science, technology investment. A specific plan about health care. I think you have to run an affirmative campaign, and I think you have to - I have to - show America that I have a plan for the country," Mr. Kerry said. And I do have a plan. And that's what I'm doing."
Well, that's a relief. There's no way that someone who didn't have a plan would say the word plan that many times. Unless that was the plan.
Title: Marlene Dietrich
Log line: Centers on the life of Marlene Dietrich.
Writer: Jess Money
Genre: Biopic Drama
More: To be adapted from Maria Riva's memoir "Marlene Dietrich." Jess Money, Gwyneth Paltrow and David Nicksay will produce. Paltrow and her producing partners pitched the project to a DreamWorks contingent that included Steven Spielberg. Gwyneth Paltrow will star.
Log line: In the 1960's, a model-singer-actress is part of the Andy Warhol scene. She is in films and is a singer in the Velvet Underground.
Writer: David Peoples, Janet Peoples and David Mackenzie
Agent: Shapiro-Lichtman (Peoples) and Endeavor Agency (Mackenzie)
Buyer: Vagabond Films
Genre: Biopic Drama
More: Based on James Young’s book "Nico: The End." David Peoples, Janet Peoples and Vagabond Films’ Jean-Pierre Marois will produce. David Mackenzie will direct.
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Ben Plays Defense
Dude, it's like Lauryn Hills says, "Everyone is everyone," errrr something. Or, maybe it was "I'd rather my children starve than have honkeys buy my music." This urban legend, however, pales in comparison to that of Tommy "Father of Ally" Hilfiger saying to Oprah "Negro Woman of the South" Winfrey that he doesn't like that blacks (I like to tell this fake story with him saying colored folks) buy his clothing.
A Gentle Slap to the Wrist
Colorado shits the bed .
Where's the anal?
Head Fake No More
Boston remains the place to be . Rumors continue to abound that one-time "gay messiah" Chuck "Walker Texas Ranger" Norris is willing to die outside the Democratic Nat'l Convention if that's what it takes.
Al Gore Dies While Impersonating Angry Liberal
Well, no, not really...but, at least this speech isn't about how the director of Godzilla is trying to help save the world from doom (that scary kind of doom that Garofalo always talks about...where just when you're in the mood for it, Borders is all out of this month's issue of Ms.). Anyway, here's the king of all douche bags ranting and raving .
Sunday, May 23, 2004
Sweet, sweet mediocrity
My Mets reach .500 .
My previous posting on Fritz Hollings should have been more geared towards urging the Senator to stay in office, since he's, according to Josh , one of the last good ones we have. How does one determine the good ones in such a case as Congress? Perhaps, one can determine the quality of bowel movements by the pain it may or may not cause you when excreting such waste. But this smarmy retort may indicate that I care a lot about Senator Hollings and, perhaps, my first posting about him might do the same. That posting also led to Josh claiming that I'm some sort of blind supporter of the state of Israel and its policies. "Lazy" assessment? Anyway, it is fun to list neocons and only list the Jewish ones in this "evangelical" war, isn't it? And, gosh, let's forget about all those public servants who voted for this war, shall we? That gets oh so cumbersome when doling out blame for failures or missteps.
Saturday, May 22, 2004
On the subject of the California recall, I believe I was called "crazy," "an idiot," "gullible," and "insane," for supporting it and, thus, the candidacy of our now governor. Here's some good news on that front.
Moore, Moore, Moore
Cannes starts the avalanche .
...gets snarky on Kerry's new campaign slogan .
Bush Remembers Voters
Someone other than Karl Rove might like to hear the plan, jackass. It's about time.
More, More, More
It's good that he's addressing the issue this early on. Don't forget about it, please. Kerry needs to push this point intelligently, harder, and with more detail.
I think Fritz Hollings (D, South Carolina) is soon retiring from the Senate. One can dare to dream. Granted, we will lose another unbalanced geriatric fond of mispronouncing the ever difficult names of Beavis and Butthead. Of course, the importance of this pronunciation would be nil, if the Senator had not blamed them for arson and whatever else his two functioning brain cells told him these fictional characters were responsible for. Hollings (not unlike Adbusters, which denoted Jewish supporters of the war in Iraq with an asterisk) has now pulled back the curtain to expose that swarthy rabbi we all knew was behind this devious war. (insert columnist Charles Krauthammer for the part of The Rabbi)
Friday, May 21, 2004
This is the latest news from filmmaker/photographer/defender of America/lover of teenage pubic regions, Larry Clark:
Title: Wassup Rockers
Log line: A group of South Central Los Angeles Hispanic teenagers do not conform to the hip-hop culture of their neighborhood, but instead ride skateboards and listen to punk rock. These kids take busses to Beverly Hills to skate and meet rich girls which leads to trouble with parents, police and boyfriends.
Writer: Larry Clark
Agent: Shaun Redick at ICM and mngr. Brian Young at Untitled Entertainment
Buyer: Palm Pictures
More: Palm Pictures Chris Blackwell and Richard Brown will produce. Palm Pictures' David Koh and Steven Lehrhoff will executive produce. Larry Clark will also direct.
But...will they also listen to and cry over Morrissey?
Isaiah Thomas (the potential savior of my beloved Knicks) has a certain reputation for having limited if not any love for the white man (see: Keith Van Horn, Austin Croshere, et al), but the New York Post has this rumor .
Thursday, May 20, 2004
From The Onion
Catholic Church Condemns Metrosexuality
VATICAN CITY—Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said Monday that metrosexuality, the trend of heterosexual men co-opting the aesthetics of homosexual men, is strictly prohibited under Catholic doctrine. "The truly faithful will avoid the temptation to adopt this hip urban lifestyle," Navarro-Valls said. "The devout Catholic must remain on the path toward salvation, no matter how good he'd look in an Armani pullover, and no matter how much he might covet his neighbor's set of Williams-Sonoma lobster forks." Karl Weis, director of the New York-based activist group Freedom From Religion, responded to the ban by stating that "metrosexuality is so 2003."
Josh is charmed by Ms. Coulter (both real and doll form) and takes a bath with Hitch. Not too shabby.
Seriously, most people might not know this, but it's totally Ben's ...
On Van Helsing:
"The film was directed by Stephen Sommers, or, as the final credits amusingly suggest, 'written and directed by Stephen Sommers.'"
"There will be bloodsuckers, there will be werewolves, and, most impenetrable of all, there will be bad Romanian accents."
"Indeed, you wonder what youthful viewers will get from this movie. Any reference to Boris Karloff or Bela Lugosi will sail over their heads, and they will never know the loaded, entrancing silence in which those superior monsters advanced upon their prey. I suspect that they will regard “Van Helsing” as a low-budget trailer for the real business of the moment, which is “Van Helsing” the Xbox game, available now for $49.99. I have not yet had the pleasure of its company, but the promises made by the manufacturer are stirring to behold: “Unlock hidden content when you play through three different difficulty modes.” This has to be an improvement on the movie, which has virtually no content at all, hidden or otherwise..."
"The horror flick, at its height, was a lyrical caressing of our fears; by the end of this nonsense, you fear for the well-being of the genre. 'It’s dead!'"
...Like The Godfather
The Sears holiday catalogue, thick like a phone book, would arrive at my house some time around Thanksgiving (or thereabouts). A pen (preferably red) would be procured and I would circle every item I desired, no matter how unnecessary or odd, from G.I. Joe action figures to sub-zero refrigerators. (As the years went on, the catalogue became less and less intriguing and the red pen ritual fell by the wayside. And the early pages of women posed in underwear for sale became even less exciting when the women of Victoria Secret found their way into our mailbox several times a year.) But when the catalogue still held sway over part of my imagination, I was always intrigued by the mechanical table games (soccer, hockey, and football). I wanted the football version of the game, which I imagined would be thrilling and with which I could play out any and all imagined games that the Giants, no matter how dire it might seem, would always in. 'A sack by LT," I'd yell as I worked the table game to do just that. I eventually received this game for a birthday. I quickly unwrapped it, put the players in their assigned slots (quickly sensing something was amiss) and then turned it on. It let out a low, grating hum, spurring on the toy players to spin around in perpetual circles. I never played with this toy again. It found its way to the back of a closet and then onto a table in a garage sale years later. What the game lacked, in a sense, was imagination, or, rather, the ability to allow for imagination to bloom. It was a game meant for simple enjoyment, that was incapable of providing it, even going so far as to be capable of eliciting the exact opposite.
This is my long winded way of assessing Van Helsing, the dead-behind-the-eyes "kick off" to the summer movie season, an enterprise just as joyless as watching plastic toy football players spinning around in endless circles. Hugh Jackman plays Wolverine with new clothes, but the same troublesome case of CRS. He's pitted against Dracula (played by Richard Roxburgh, who apparently gets parts like this when Bronson Pinchot says "No"), several werewolves, a cartoonish CGI rendering of Mr. Hyde (who resembles Babe Ruth by way of Balco), Dracula's wives who sport accents even Mel Brooks might call overdone, and a horde of airborn demons who've emerged from goo filled cocoons pulled out of Alien storage. Jackman's paired with Kate Beckinsale who also, like Dracula's bloodsucking companions, sounds like that girl you got a lap dance from the last time you were in Vegas (or more like a mediocre actress trying to sound like her). A lot "happens" but it's all rather bland and cold and your memory of it is gone by the time the credits have ended. Save for the film's black and white opening (which may be best described as Tim Burton B-Roll, which in the light of day, as opposed to hindsight, isn't all that great) the film's just about worthless, bound to find its way to the dark corner of a closet and generally forgotten, save for a few moments of recollection, only bringing out scorn and disappointment. Unless, of course, there's a sequel. If there is one, I think it should resemble another Jackman sequel, X2. Re-shoot the original from new angles, add one stage actor and provide him with a poorly rendered, semi-ridiculous accent (Stephen Sommers loves accents!) and Brian Cox, and, well, they'll be set.
Often, growing up, I'd wake up on a Sunday morning to find my dad stationed in front of the TV, watching some old western or epic or war film. He'd instruct me to take a seat and watch it with him, eventually (most of the time) admitting that the movie was not all that great but what else are you going to watch on a Sunday morning, church?
Troy is one of these movies, fairly skilled at capturing grandeur and the energy of battle, but an abject failure in the departments of character, storytelling and emotion. We join Paris and Helen's love affair "already in progress" and their relationship seems less like immmeasurable passion and more like a late night rendezvous borne out of loneliness or horniness. (this potential darker angle, i.e. the war is for nothing at all, however, is not explored, leaving the actual love story rather limp) Neither actor infuses the part with much of anything, but Orlando Bloom does get to practice some more archery! (How Hugh Jackman of him.) Eric Bana plays the Bruce Banner of Troy without the ability to turn into an unconvincing special effect. There is hope in the forms of Brian Cox and Peter O'Toole who might've made a better movie out of this material a few decades ago. And then there's Brad Pitt who grasps the physicality of his role but in all other areas is as vacant as he can often be.
It should go without saying that this film is drawn from great source material and it may capture the size and scope of the story, but it lacks almost any of its many emotions, thus, disconnecting the audience from the characters, and making them fairly passive observers to its spectacle. Now, this is not to say that there must be buckets more intimacy or character development (I know it's a popcorn movie), but Peterson does not do enough visually to transcend these failings. He's been able to find the proper balance before (In The Line of Fire, The Perfect Storm) and the lack of emotion is surprising from David Benioff, whose last script, The 25th Hour, overflowed with emotion, eventually suffocating under its actory theatricality, but Troy comes off as litle more than a few aesthetically pleasing sequences and as a great story told by the wrong tellers.
But, thank God for Tina Fey and the crew behind the summer's first gem, Mean Girls, which contains enough acerbic wit and light-on-its-feet storytelling in its first thirty minutes to get you through its wobbly sections. The cast, script, and director do top notch genre work in a genre that's gotten so rank as to elevate John Hughes to Shakespeare. It helps to have a lead as charming (her key advantage over Amanda Bynes and Hillary Duff) and, well, hot, as Lindsay Lohan happens to be, without the material being forced into some kind of star based formula (see: LL's arch enemy, Hillary Duff).
It'd ruin any of its believability, but I still wish Lacey Chabert's part (Gretchen) had been played by Cheri Oteri.
ABC teases a major fuck up here, but my fingers are crossed that, at the very least, they'll let us have these 20 episodes, even if they're the last twenty we ever get. From TVGuide.com :
I SPY AN UPROAR: ABC won't debut a fourth season of Alias until January '05, allowing the serial thriller to enjoy an uninterrupted, rerun-free 20-episode run. The network's new fall lineup — presented to advertisers today in New York — will feature eight new shows. Among them: Lost, a drama from Alias creator J.J. Abrams, the Teri Hatcher-headlined soap Desperate Housewives and James Spader's Practice spinoff, Fleet Street. Meanwhile, 8 Simple Rules moves to Friday, where it will kick off ABC's TGIF lineup. "Alias" move will no doubt raise eyebrows, but it does have two major pluses: Allowing ABC to launch a new drama out of a reality hit and giving "Alias" fans a chance to watch the serialized drama without worrying about endless repeats or long stretches between original segs. (Downside: ABC will be without one of its few buzzworthy hours for a while, and it'll be a full seven months between seasons three and four of the show.)
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
His Slate piece just about nails it. But for pure joy, this takes the cake (from Sully ) -
Hitchens on Michael Moore:
"But speaking here in my capacity as a polished, sophisticated European as well, it seems to me the laugh here is on the polished, sophisticated Europeans. They think Americans are fat, vulgar, greedy, stupid, ambitious and ignorant and so on. And they've taken as their own, as their representative American, someone who actually embodies all of those qualities." - Christopher Hitchens on "Scarborough Country," last night.
Monday, May 17, 2004
Simple, but decent advice from those douche bags at MoveOn (the language of the letter is mildly grating, but it could be worse). I got a letter from Sen. Kerry today. ("Do you like me?" "Yes or No?" "Circle One.") It reminded me of when cute girls in high school would come up to you and convince you to sponsor them in a walkathon for people with Down Syndrome. I'm not giving money. I don't just give out my money to strangers (i.e. seemingly obstuse senators, as opposed to say, people in need or worthwhile causes) and if I do, it's going to be like a friend of mine once did. After some brief banter with a homeless man, my friend gave him "all he could," which was a single penny. After the homeless man flashed him a look of shock (as did I), my friend turned to me and said, "What? He should be happy I gave him something.") John Kerry has enough ketchup money to go around. Until he has something to say (other than Bush is a meanie), I'm voting for him, but I'm not giving him my support.
Thanks to The Onion , my horrid Coachella porta-potty experience comes crashing back into my memory:
Bathroom Too Disgusting To Shit In
AUSTIN, TX—The men's bathroom at area rock club Emo's was declared too repulsive for the emptying of concertgoer Max Risdy's bowels Saturday night. "The floor was covered with water, there was toilet paper and garbage everywhere, and it smelled disgusting," Risdy said, wincing at the memory Monday. "It was really not the kind of place you want to leave a big pile of digested food matter after squeezing it through your rectum from the depths of your bowels." Risdy added that the area near the music venue's stage was too loud and crowded.
Isn't He Dead Yet?
Michael Moore received a twenty minute standing ovation after the Cannes premiere of Farenheit 911. For those of you with your calculators in hand, that's 17 minutes longer than the rousing standing ovation received by Trenyce in Season 2 of American Idol, after a transcendent rendition of "Ain't Too Proud To Beg." Michael Moore is at the top of my Death Wish List. This is not a DeathWish List, i.e. a list of my favorite Charles Bronson films other than Death Wish, but, rather, a list of dignitaries/celebrities/societal scourges that I would not mind seeing keel over and cease to be. As previous OV postings would indicate, the Rev. Billy Graham has a spot on the list, as well as future OV pariahs James Dobson, Pat Robertson, U-sama (Fox pronunciation!) Bin Laden, Henry Kissinger (shout out to my boy, Hitch), and Hillary Duff, whose reckless evil continues to spread across the globe.
Sunday, May 16, 2004
Billy Graham fell down this week, just four months after hip replacement surgery. He's in physically if not mentally stable condition. But if Graham's physical condition were to worsen, all's well, because heaven's so great, you almost want to die. At least that's what Mr. Graham felt was appropriate to say regarding victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11th: "But there's also hope for the future because of God's promises. As a Christian, I hope not for just this life, but for heaven and the life to come. And many of those people who died this past week are in heaven right now. And they wouldn't want to come back. It's so glorious and so wonderful. And that's the hope for all of us who put our faith in God. I pray that you will have this hope in your heart." If Graham is to move on to that great revival in the sky, I'm sure he'll continue to be the positive force he's always been.
Saturday, May 15, 2004
For a reasonable assessment (of course), go and read Christopher Hitchens or if you're of the belief that Quentin Tarantino might have caused all this, Rich Lowry will provide you with your Kool-Aid. But, if you're like me, and you're always wondering what slave owners have to say on issues of morality or justice, go and check out Linda Chavez .
Friday, May 14, 2004
Then there was Josh: FAGISTAN
Ben started it: The Whine Colored Sea
1) Make blog commentary as unfunny as current rash of Miller beer commercials featuring Bob Odenkirk.
2) Post any and all Amish buggy crash stories, so as to be linked on The Drudge Report.
3) Get a nationwide radio talk show and use blog as weekend arm of publicity machine to promote said radio program.
4) Craft writing style to read as soothing as NPR broadcast style.
5) As per point four, embrace the notion of "personal truth," and find ways to agree with those you disagree with, since everything is relative.
6) Try to not be overly smarmy.