Thursday, November 30, 2006

Polishing Up The Resume

Although I recently took on a new job, I'm open to new possibilities. New options, and new challenges. And I'm always open to opportunities that are more exciting than the gig I've been doing for 22 years.

Maybe you know the feeling of wanting a bit more. Getting yourself into a position to grab that brass ring. Maybe even--and I'm reluctant to say this, considering my level of shyness--once in a while, have the chance to be the center of attention. That opportunity revealed itself to me yesterday, and I've considered it obsessively since.

I'm going to apply to replace Greg, the Yellow-Shirt-ed-Wiggle who is leaving the group.

Now, I know you're thinking it's a long shot for me to get an interview, much less become a member of the group. But, I've made a list of the reasons I know I can do it.

Here it is: My Top 10 Reasons I Should Be The Yellow-Shirt-ed Wiggle

10: It's obvious to me that The Wiggles have lost a bit of their edge as they've gained popularity and success. To remain relevant, they have to get back some of what they've lost as they've become mainstream. As the Yellow-Shirt-ed Guy, I'll bringsexyback to The Wiggles.

9. Red Shirt, Blue Shirt and Purple Shirt are players. You can see it when they work a concert, scanning the crowd for Moms eager to hook up after the show. As the happily married Yellow Shirt-ed Wiggle, I could serve as their Wing Man, helping funnel all the thirty-something Soccer Mom's to the groupie lounge.

8. I ain't scared of no dingos.

7. As a spelling-challenged person with few ingrained spelling rules, I'd have less trouble than the average American changing my writing to include words like: "humour," "colour" and "behaviour."

6. I don't particularly like kids other than my own, so I wouldn't get emotionally attached to the audience. Entertainers have to keep that professional distance to stay creative. Greg, the former Yellow-Shirt-ed Wiggle forgot that, and look where it got him.

5. I like dressing up as a pirate. [Note to self: Get Mrs. Film Geek to write a reference for me on this point.]

4. My dancing style has already been described by many as "the wiggle."

3. Because I have two kids under the age of 6, I already know most lyrics of The Wiggles' songs. I get stuck on the chorus of "Hot Potato, Hot Potato" sometimes, but with practice I can overcome that.

2. I already understand and appreciate Australian-rules football.

1. I'm committed to bringing back the 5th Wiggle, Phillip Wilcher, and healing the wounds that resulted from that initial break-up.

There you have it, my main reasons for believing I can do this. Wonder how much it cost to FedEx to Australia...?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Hot Potato, Hot Potato

" Extra. Extra. Yellow Wiggle to Quit! Read all about it!"

No hint of Yoko in this break-up, but it probably carries the same importance in my household.

You don't give The Wiggles any love? How about this tidbit, from today's story in USA Today: "The Wiggles were Australia's top-earning entertainers last year, ahead of No. 2 AC/DC and No. 3 Nicole Kidman."



C'mon...Really?!? I mean, I've never heard of this "Nicole Kidman" before, but they get paid better than AC/DC?

I'm thunderstruck.

You, Me and Dupree

I threw You, Me and Dupree into the DVD player expecting The Wedding Crashers. You know, a lot of hijinks, slapstick humor and sex jokes.

I didn't have high expectations, actually. Owen Wilson is funny most times, but he typically plays the same guy in every flick. Matt Dillon is a terrific dramatic actor, but I'm always surprised when I like him in a comedy. (Although I shouldn't be. He was kick-ass funny in There's Something About Mary.) And Kate Hudson is still just Goldie's daughter to me. She's adorable, but I'm waiting for that signature role to be delivered.

I was not expecting Dupree to be an existential examination of the maturation process of the American male.

And it was just that.

Wilson plays Dupree, a free-loading free spirit in his mid-thirties who refuses to conform, waiting instead for that moment of inspiration to arrive that will lead him down his life's path. His best friend Carl, played by Dillon, is a buttoned-down architect who got into the business to be creative, but is realizing his business is more about the cash than the artistic merit. Hudson plays Carl's wife, Molly, who fell in love with her husband because of his "Carl-ness," but is growing apart from him as he evolves a more distant, business-focused personality.

The plot moves quickly to get Dupree into the house, where his presence at first is terribly destructive and more than annoying. As Carl evolves to meet the demands of his job, however, Molly is drawn closer to the in-the-moment Dupree, who writes poetry and pines over his long-lost love. She digs his sensitivity, and notices Carl is losing his.

Dupree and Carl are the same person, really, representing two halves of the American male. Dupree represents us as we grow into adulthood, prior to taking on the responsibilities of a family, a job that can suck the life out of a guy and the day-to-day responsibilities of being a husband and a father. Carl represents the stereotypical adult male personality, the one that gave up comic books and skateboarding to assume adult responsibility. Neither Dupree nor Carl have the balance needed to maintain an emotionally healthy lifestyle.


The film, of course, sets in motion the events to change that, so that both Dupree and Carl realize that it doesn't have to be all-or-nothing in life: one can have fun and live in the moment while making a living and caring for a family.

It simply takes balance.

You, Me and Dupree isn't that funny, really, although it was funny enough to keep me interested. The film was relevant, though, to a guy who loves reading some comic books and blogging about movies in between professional meetings and time with the family. Because I identified with it, I liked the movie.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Do I Hear $120?

Oncee has linked to a interesting Dave Peyton column about the bizarro way Marshall University, Warner Brothers and Huntington's theater groups are promoting the premier of We Are Marshall.

Pullman Square's Marquee Cinema location failed Public Relations 101 today, however, by refusing to set a maximum number of $25 tickets that could be purchased per person for it's version of the premier. Those tickets, which include access to a bleacher area on 4th Avenue where one can gawk at the movie's stars waltzing up the green carpet, were purchased by the dozens (and sometimes by the hundreds) by people now selling them on eBay. Most locals who stood in line for the tickets this morning were sent home empty-handed.

The current eBay price for a single ticket? $117.


UPDATE: As of this morning, the ticket I'm tracking is bidding at $177.50.

Adding It To My List

I'm not so good at giving gifts, but I know how to make my own List-Of-Needful- Things.

USA Today reports a 14-disc collection titled "The Superman Ultimate Collector's Edition" is set for holiday release. The collection will include all four Christopher Reeve flicks, and the mega-hit Superman Returns.

It retails for $100.

The box set also includes the documentary: Look, Up In The Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman, a miniature comic book remake of Superman #7, and the 1951 George Reeves flick: Superman and the Mole-Men.

It may not say "I love you" like colorfully wrapped office supplies, but it seems like a pretty cool gift!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Omen

I skipped the 2006 version of The Omen in the theater and avoided it on DVD for a long while for a couple of reasons.

First, classic films like
The Omen should never be re-made. Ever!

You can debate me all you want about how some stories can be better told today with modern movie-making technology, and how a new generation of movie-goers will be exposed to a classic movie with the remake.

Go ahead, debate me. You'll be wrong! I see your lips movin', baby, but I don't hear no noise.

(That line never works when I argue with my wife, either. I gotta get a new line.)

The most significant reason I avoided The Omen, though, is a little more complicated, and a whole lot more personal. I was eleven years old when the Gregory Peck original was released, and although I didn't see the movie at that early age, I saw enough from trailers, movie reviews and the like to know what it was about.

And is scared me.


Not the movie itself; nope, what scared me was the pervasive fear I developed that The Anti-Christ may be, ...Well, me.

I see your lips movin', baby, but I don't hear no noise.



It's true. Between the ages of twelve and fifteen I worried I was The Anti-Christ. My family was devoutly religious, and the church we attended was excessively fundamental. I heard lots of sermons on The Beast, most of which centered on (1) he was probably a young child at that time, simply awaiting adulthood to take over the world, and (2) he would be grow into an adult who would be a false prophet, the kind who typically spread false teachings, and create skepticism.

Well, I was a kid transitioning into adulthood, and I was highly skeptical. Of everything, but particularly religion. At that age I was beginning to question every belief I held regarding Christianity, while feeling tremendous guilt and anxiety over doubting something that was so much a part of my culture, and my life. I didn't know anyone who doubted the existence of God. I presumed I was the only one who struggled with disbelief.

And if I was the only one... I'm not so good at math, but the numbers were starting to add up.

Although the sermons were hot and furious, I didn't get the outrage. I recall thinking the "One World Order" idea and a cashless society I heard preached so loudly against in church actually sounded like a good idea. Efficient. A good social construct. I'd be first in line to sign up, I thought.

Unless, of course, I grow up to be the demon-spawn who invents them.

I didn't want to be The Anti-Christ. The idea of spending an eternity in Hell was disturbing--even when I was doubting it's existence--but mostly my concern was because The Anti-Christ can't win.


I mean, if he knows how Armageddon will turn out from biblical prophesy, he has to know he loses. Why go through the hassle, then? Put your efforts into something more productive, my dear beast-boy.

Like politics.

As it turns out I didn't have any of the supernatural powers that I thought The Anti-Christ should have as part of his other-worldly heritage. I tried, but couldn't levitate objects, change destiny simply by willing it or harm my elementary school enemies with my demonic mojo. (I can, I believe, change the pattern of traffic lights via telepathy, but my wife suggests it's not a good idea to talk publicly about that.)

Most importantly, I don't have a 666 birthmark, anywhere. I looked, all over. A lot. Around the age of fifteen I came to the conclusion that if there is an Anti-Christ, it can't be me. I graduated through my I-may-be-The-Beast phase with minimal emotional or psychological trauma.

Oh yeah, The Omen?

Classic movies should never me re-made. Ever!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Casino Royale

My friend Jedi Jawa gets out to see many more new movie releases than do I. Apparently, Jedi has (a) a whole lot less responsibility than I; thus (b) more idle time; and (c) more disposable cash, with which he can afford that popcorn with extra fake butter.

Me? I gotta go the combo route when I finally make it to the theater. Dialogue I overhear in the kid's line while I'm ordering the #2--which comes with the candy of your choice, along with unbuttered popcorn and a medium soda, by the way--is pretty interesting, and keeps me feelin' young.

Anyway, Jedi made it out to see the newest Bond movie this past weekend, and sent me some comments on it. In typical Jedi style, the comments were full of big words I didn't understand, and it was a paragraph or two too long. But, I owe him one. So, he's the guest reviewer for Casino Royale.

It's a good review. Here is: "How I Spent My Weekend" by Jedi Jawa.



I went to see the new James Bond movie "Casino Royale" this weekend, the 21st official James Bond film (yes, there have been a few unofficial ones).

First, I have to say that this movie really surprised me by just how good that it was. Every time that a new James Bond is rolled out there is that adjustment as you get the last Bond out of your mind and you try to size the new one up to the likes of Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and even George Lazenby (if you just said "George who?" then you are not a hard core Bond fan). The new Bond is Daniel Craig and (for the ladies) he is far more physical and muscular than the previous Bonds. For the guys he is by far the most ruthless of the other Bonds and many times I thought of him as a "blue eyed assassin" as the film progressed. He is deadly serious in a way similar to Timothy Dalton; he doesn't womanize like Roger Moore but uses women to achieve his goals more like Sean Connery without the same leve l of callous indifference; yet there is still something about the way that he looks at women that invokes George Lazenby who was the only Bond to ever marry (though it was short lived).

"Casino Royale" is based off of the first Bond book written by Ian Fleming, Bond's creator, in 1953. In turn, the first Bond movie, "Dr. No", was actually based off of the 6th Bond book by Fleming. This is the final of Fleming's books to be adapted to film with the last one being "The Living Daylights". What makes this movie instantly different from the earlier ones is that it is like a prequel except that it is not set before the events of "Dr. No". That means that Bond gets to show up as a newly commissioned "double 0" spy without having to use the clunky technology of the 1960s or having to go back and use someone other than Judi Dench who replaced the original "M" starting with "Goldeneye". Actually, gadgets are not a focus of this film and "Q" does not make an appearance which should not be surprising because "Q" did not appear until several books into Fleming's development of the would-be franchise. What does appear is a lot of action and we see Bond at his grittiest in this chapter of the Bond franchise. I grew up watching Roger Moore who was quick with a joke and tended to shoot from a distance and barely ruffle his feathers in dispensing with his foes. This Bond gets bloodied and physical in his fights in a way that makes the violence more graphic but also more realistic. This film was the first time that I can recall seeing Bond use significant martial arts training in his combat as well.

There is plenty of intrigue and action to be had as we see Bond's early days in MI6 unfold. From a high stakes game of Texas Hold Em (originally Baccarat in the book) to Bond's first meeting with his CIA friend Felix Leiter, the film keeps delivering on the standard Bond elements of interesting bad guys and beautiful vistas while throwing in some new twists as well. For instance, this is the first Bond film that does not open with the dancing Bond girls in the credits. It also does not have the usual teaser opening as all of the previous films have had. Most people will probably not notice this and it is not a distracting break from tradition. This film certainly sets up the expectation of good things coming to the Bond franchise and I think that they have found a Bond that will have a wide appeal after the lukewarm fan feelings of the last two Bond actors (who I personally liked ... particularly Dalton who many seemed to hate).

All in all, it was a very good addition t o the Bond franchise and, as it says at the end of all Bond films, "James Bond will return." They mean it as Craig has been signed to do at least one more film tentatively named "Bond 22" to be released in November 2008.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Robert Altman

According to the AP, Robert Altman, the legendary film director, has died at age 81.

ZUMA Press
My favorite Altman film is M*A*S*H. Most message movies tend to lose poignancy after a few years, but I though M*A*S*H stayed relevant.

What was your favorite Altman flick?

Taking A Stand

From AOL News: ORLANDO, Fla. (Nov. 21) - "Relatives of a missing boy's mother who killed herself after aggressive questioning by CNN's Nancy Grace sued the network and the talk-show host Tuesday, claiming Grace caused emotional distress that led to the suicide.

Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images
Melinda Duckett committed suicide Sept. 8, a day after CNN Headline News aired a segment in which Grace grilled Duckett about her whereabouts Aug. 27 - the day 2-year-old Trenton Duckett was reported missing. Authorities, who said last week they believe the boy is alive, have named Duckett as the prime suspect in his disappearance."


No matter the result of this lawsuit, I hope it serves to reshape how the 24 hour "news channels" carry out their work.

Slightly Exaggerated Thanksgiving Memories

At my parent's home each Thanksgiving-- after a big turkey dinner and before the Detroit Lions played some other team that afternoon--my brother and I would, each year, move furniture out of the middle of the living room, get the tall, plastic trash-can-that-was-never-used-as-a-trash-can from the closet and announce:




"It's Thanksgiving Game time!"





Our four and five-year-old nieces and nephews would come a-runnin'. We would remind them of the rules: (1) You will have the plastic trash can placed over your head and shoulders so that you can't see; (2) You will be spun around fast, until you get dizzy; (3) We will throw soft pillows at you while you try and keep your balance; and(4) If you can stay upright, you win the game.


The Thanksgiving Game was simply a ruse that allowed my brother and me to pelt small, dizzy kids with pillows. There was no winner, as the game was always extended for as long as it took to finally drop the kid to the floor. Even if a kid had stayed upright, there was no prize to be awarded.


It was a con. A fun con, but a con nonetheless.

Later in the evening--and without being plied by alcohol, I should add--we would typically stage a Round-Robin Tournament of something we called
Indian Wrestling. It was similar to arm wrestling and thumb wrestling, except this competition used the legs. I never won, but my Mom usually did. She was a real competitor, and had great technique. Even at our physical peak, we kids never stood a chance against her.

Central, rural West Virginia in the early 80s. What else you gonna do for entertainment?

Life seems a bit more complicated these days, what with the hustle and bustle of the season, and family members living farther apart than they did twenty-five years ago. And kids certainly have more entertainment options than I had back in the day. Indian wrestling? Yeah, right...maybe if the electricity in the house goes out and the battery in the Gameboy eventually dies.


More options may not necessarily mean more fun, though.


I could still take most people best two-out-of three.



Monday, November 20, 2006

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is the kind of film that frustrates me. A bunch. The sort of movie that has all the necessary pieces to be a classic--an inventive way to tell the story, solid acting, some of the best written dialogue in recent years--but somehow, finds a way to fall a bit short.

And this film does. Falls a bit short, that is. It's still a fine movie, but it could have been great.

Robert Downey, Jr. stars as Harry Lockhart, a low-rent thief who happens into a new lifestyle and potential gig as an actor in Hollywood. He takes up with Gay Perry (played cooly by Val Kilmer), a Private Dick hired to show Lockhart the ropes. Michele Monoghan's character, Holly, hooks up with the duo and drags them into a case that is complicated, surreal and deadly.

Downey is terrific as Lockhart, who tries to be a tough guy despite his penchant for tenderness. He carries the film, and does double duty as it's star and narrator. Kilmer is solid in his supporting role. Michele Monghan--who I don't recall seeing before this--was quite good as the stereotypical chick who's probably smarter than she is pretending to be.

Together, the three make a formidable team. There is chemistry, and there is suspense. The problem is, I think, there is no real substance.


Kiss, Kiss plays up the idea that this story is a few days in the real life of the central character, and tries to look-and-feel real life. Unfortunately, in movies--even good ones, like this--that can come across as rather bland.

Festivas

Damn...

Talk about an Airing Of Grievances. Perhaps feeling insecure about no longer being the Master of His Domain, Michael Richards comes off like the Soup Nazi while performing stand-up in LA.

Enough with the puns, already. And with intolerant, boorish behavior...

The Butterfly Effect 2

The small decisions.

Those little choices we make without a great deal of thought sometimes become the first link in a chain of life events that can spiral horribly out of control, or change positively the direction of one's life. Those brief moments where --when some years later, during a moment of reflection--we think: "If only I had..."

If only.

I had a serious crush on Mary during my freshman and sophomore years in high school. But she was out of my league, I thought, so I didn't ask her out. I was too scared, and too insecure. I eventually began a serious relationship with another girl who, during my senior year, inspired me to go to college.

Mary sat immediately beside me during graduation. About mid-way through the ceremony, she leaned in and whispered: "You probably don't know this, but I've always had a crush on you." I wanted then and there to ask her out. By that time I'd developed the confidence to, and she suggested she would be willing to go on a date. All I had to do was ask her out.

I passed.

Instead, I smiled and told her I hoped we kept in touch after graduation.

We haven't.

Not asking her out at that moment kept me on a course to college, during which time I: fell into a niche career path that would not have been possible elsewhere at the time; met and fell in love with my wife; and raised a bunch of wonderful and interesting kids along the way.

"If only I had..." may well have eliminated those possibilities.

Such is the Butterfly Effect: the term used in Chaos Theory to demonstrate how physical systems -no matter how complex they may be - rely upon an underlying order, and that very simple or small systems and events can cause very complex behaviors or events. In other words, a butterfly flapping it's wings in the United States may cause a monsoon months later in Asia.

(I looked that up, just to be sure.)

It's this theory that served as the inspiration for The Butterfly Effect (2004) staring Ashton Kutcher. The Butterfly Effect 2 is pretty much the same movie as the original (which was a movie I liked), with a less talented cast and not-as-impressive special effects.


Here's the skinny: One tragic event in 2004--that occurs on the birthday of a central character-- changes the lives of four friends. Nick, played by Jason Lively, soon realizes he has the ability to go back to that day and change it so that the outcome isn't as tragic. His plan backfires, of course, when he realizes that his changing history effected other aspects of the lives he and his friends have lived. Sometimes dramatically so. He goes back and forth through time during the course of that year to change events, and remedy problems his actions have created.

The Butterfly Effect 2 isn't a great movie, but it's not the worst I've seen this year. It lasts only 90 minutes or so, if you have nothing else to do...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Pink: It's The Color Of Passion

It started as some guy's idea to raise awareness of breast cancer. Quickly, it turned into an ordeal that divided and embarrassed the town. (Photo by: Louis Brems/The Herald-Dispatch.)




From start (The Painter simply started painting city property without asking permission) to finish (people continue to harass and insult the guy, and vandalize his efforts) this story is an example of how petty and self-involved we humans tend to be.

Oh yeah, ...October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But, I suppose, because of the bridge painting controversy and extended paint-time necessary to complete the job, Huntington gets two months of awareness for the price of one.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Nature vs. Nurture

Or, "Why I Still, Sometimes, Count On My Fingers."

When I was in fifth grade (or fourth, or sixth...it's all a bit blurry at this age), my Math teacher had an epiphany. She would divide the students into two sections: Section 1 would be students who did well in Math, and who could get through new concepts pretty easily. Section 2 was for the kids who struggled with Math, the kids who needed extra attention.


The section that was probably called Remedial in the teacher's handbook, and something less polite in the break room during lunch hour.


We had a pretty large classroom, so the teacher decided she would separate the two sections by placing us at opposite ends of the same room. We students stood in a long line at the back of the room until our names were called out; then, after she announced which section we were in, we were instructed to go to that particular part of the room.

Teacher: "Susan...Section 1."
Teacher: "Flavia...Section 2."
Teacher: "Marc...

That second seemed to last for hours. When I think of it today, I still experience it in slow-motion. My heart was thumping, I felt like I was spinning and I silently begged:
"Please say one. Please say one. Please say one. Please say one..."

Teacher: ...Section 2"

To this day, I'm insecure about my ability to do Math. So insecure that I feel like I'm going to panic if I'm forced, for some reason, to perform it in public. Damn that teacher and her great idea.




Why do we do that to kids? Kids should be encouraged, and inspired. Taught to be resilient. Made to feel hopeful.



I'm venting, I suppose, because of a small event that occurred at lunch today. As I was walking back to my office from Comic World (go ahead and smirk...Whatever, hater) I passed a group of eight kids, each around the age of 3. The group was obviously on an outing from a pre-school, because the kids were all holding that knotted rope designed to (1) keep the kids safe, and (2) teach the kids they have to conform.

While still a block away, a teacher's voice caught my ear. She was loud, and her voice was grating. (I remember thinking I was glad she was not teaching my kids.) When I was just a few feet away I heard crying, and looked down to see one of the smallest little boys, very upset. He seemed scared of the traffic, and was really crying. Hard. Our eyes met as I continued to walk, and I smiled. I felt bad for him.

Suddenly, the teacher said:

"People are looking at you because you're crying! You have to stop. People are going to stare at you."

Jeez...I hope that kid will be good at Math
.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Whatever Happened To...Jeff MacKay

Tales of the Gold Monkey kicked some serious TV butt back in the early 80s...That is, until ABC figured out that not a lot of people were watching the show, and gave it the boot.


With a one-eyed dog named Jack as his sidekick, cargo pilot Jake Cutter flew his "Cutter's Goose" through the sky above some islands in the tropics (mainly the fictitious island, Boragora), transporting goods here and there, all the while trying to dodge spies and villains in the war-consumed 1930s.





Actor Jeff MacKay played Cutter's bipedal buddy, Corky. Corky chased a lot of his demons with the bottle, and was more than a bit simple. But, he had a child-like quality about him that made the airplane mechanic sympathetic and lovable.



Tales of the Gold Monkey lasted only 21 episodes, from September 1982 to July 1983. It gathered quite a cult following in the years after it's short run, however. MacKay has worked pretty steadily in TV since Gold Monkey, most recently as Big Bud Roberts in several episodes of JAG.

Gold Monkey Trivia: Did you know the original title of this show was to be Tales of the Brass Monkey?

Not quite the same, huh?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Please, Make It Stop: Part 9

I've been sitting at my computer for a short while, trying to come up with a phrase for just how stupid and self serving The Juice seems to be. And I can't. After reading about his latest venture in this report, I may be stuck in permanent writer's-block-mode.

It seems O.J. is gonna write a book that will include a chapter, at least, describing how (hypothetically) he would have killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman back in the day. I mean, if he had actually done it, of course...

The book's gonna be titled: If I Did It.

Sam Mircovich, AP
How can someone do this in a courtroom, then years later publish a wink and a nod to folks who will rush out to buy his book simply because they have to know. Desperately.

'Cause we're suckers. And O.J. knows it.

I hope people don't buy the book. I'm pretty sure, though, it will be a best seller...

We Are Marshall Movie Promotion

The We Are Marshall homepage has some terrific pictures of the upcoming Warner Bros. movie. Plus, the studio is running a cool promotion--create the best We Are Marshall fan site, and win 50-large.

December 22, 2006 can't get here fast enough!

UPDATE: Oncee has many of the site's individual pictures on his blog, ready and waitin' for all you Herd fans hoping to cash in. Have at it!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Edmond

I'm a huge fan of David Mamet and William H. Macey. Together--in small films like State And Main, or more ambitious flicks like Spartan--the chemistry is usually magical.

Usually.

Their chemistry in
Edmond? Not so magical.

Macey is Edmond Burke, a middle-aged man who one day, rather suddenly, realizes he has endured enough of his average, hum-drum existence. His epiphany is one we've all had: He waltzes in to work one day, and is informed that his boss has rescheduled their meeting from that morning to later in the afternoon-- with no forethought given to whether or not Burke's schedule will accommodate the change.

The change doesn't matter to the boss, and Burke realizes that neither does he.

In a meltdown similar to Falling Down, Burke begins to realize he's bored with it all. His wife, his job, everything. So, he simply walks out, and hits the gritty New York City nightlife looking for action that will make him feel.

Something. Anything.

After losing out on some action with a couple ladies of the evening, Burke strikes up relationships with some ne'er-do-wells that change his perspective--and his life--forever. His one night on the town goes horribly wrong. For Burke, it's a classic case of "be careful what you wish for."

Edmond is based on a 20 year old play written by Mamet. And the film feels like a play. The scenes are simple, the dialogue complicated and quick. Unlike Glengarry Glen Ross--another Mamet play turned into a film--Edmond never reaches it's potential. It's dark and dismal, and it's supposed to be. And Macy's acting is superb. But, I couldn't help feeling it underachieved. It's too predictable, and too stiff.

And that's too bad.
I wanted so much to like this film.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Strange Days, Indeed

I ran across this story over the weekend, and can't stop thinking how unusual it is...

Story and photos from FoxNews: New York:

Courtney Love says Mel Gibson helped her on the road to recovery. Love, the former leader of the band Hole and widow of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, said Gibson showed up at a Beverly Hills, Calif., hotel room while she was doing drugs with several men.







"Mel kept coming to the door with this cheesy grin going, `Hi!"' Love said in an interview with Diane Sawyer that aired Tuesday on ABC's Good Morning America.




"I just kept looking at him going — I can't cuss — um, `Blank off!' ... I know him and he's a nice guy. It didn't matter who it was. It could have been Jesus. I didn't care.

Love said Gibson, accompanied by addiction counselor Warren Boyd, left with the men "to have a cheeseburger" while Boyd talked to her about seeking treatment.

The real question, to me at least, was: Where was Mel on April 8, 1994, when it really mattered?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Notes To Self

I try hard to not throw stones.

Mostly, that's because I've made a helluva lot of mistakes myownself. I mean, a lot. You chuck enough rocks at folks, some are gonna get thrown back.

And rocks hurt. Bad.

Instead, I try to learn from the mistakes of others, in order to limit my own. For example:


Note To Self: Should I ever be a high-wire-walkin' rock and roller shown the door while in my prime, yet be invited back to the party years later by nostalgic fans willing to forgive, it's not a great idea to cancel gigs 'cause some city has an ordinance against drinking alcohol on stage. Drink before and after, but play the gig.







Note To Self: If the car isn't mine, don't take it. If the car isn't mine, don't take it. If the car isn't mine, don't take it. If the car isn't mine, don't take it.



(No matter how good an idea it seems at the time.)





Note To Self: No matter how cute any girlfriend-of-the-future may be: if, during our first date, she tells me she was once married for 55 hours before divorcing, pay for the drinks and walk away.

Fast.






Note To Self: Should I ever find myself on the run from the police (you never know, it could happen), keep moving forward, and stay in open places as much as possible. Do not--I repeat, do not!--barricade myself in a D-list motel chain room that has poor ventilation and no possibility for escape.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Palance Would Have Wanted It This Way

Sad News: He made me laugh hard when he co-starred in City Slickers, and scared me in a whole bunch of poorly made, low-budget thrillers that I saw on late-night TV when I was a kid. And his push-ups at the Oscars was classic TV.

Jack Palance died today of natural causes, at age 87.



My favorite Jack Palance quote: "Most of the stuff I do is garbage." If only we all could be so honest.


(By the way, my grandma-in-law may be right...)





Spidey news: The newest Spider-Man 3 trailer looks pretty cool. You can check it out here.






It's A Small World News: LONDON (AFP) - A man was rushed to hospital in Britain with severe internal injuries after trying to launch a powerful firework from his bottom, an ambulance service spokesman said.


A spokesman for the North East ambulance service said: "We received a call stating there was a male who had a firework in his bottom and it was bleeding."

He is now recovering in a Sunderland hospital after sustaining internal injuries including a scorched colon.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Ed Bradley

I'm saddened to learn of the death of Ed Bradley,65, from leukemia.


During his 26 years on 60 Minutes, Bradley carried out his work with passion and intelligence. I suspected Bradley could get tough if needed, but he was always professional on air. And passionate. That he loved learning about people and about life was obvious.


I had my ear pierced after Bradley did his, several years ago. At the time I recall thinking that if Ed Bradley could pull it off in the buttoned-down meeting rooms of CBS, no one should question my silly little anti-establishment statement.

TV journalism was better because of him. He will be missed.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Borat

Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

You know that feeling.

The one you get on rare occasions when you feel as though you've just witnessed something special. The couple of times you just knew you were in the presence of greatness. Remember?

(I've never really had that feeling, but I've had a couple of friends who've described it to me.)

But, I think I may have experienced it while watching
Borat. The Marquee Cinema where I saw the film was standing room only; the only time I can recall seeing a film where movie-goers happily stood in the aisle and munched popcorn while watching a flick. Many people left the theater talking about how special this comedy is, and how hard it made them laugh. And laugh we did...While walking to my car I realized my jaws ached from excessive laughing.

The film is plain brilliant.

Borat comes to America with a film crew to record American culture, hoping the information will help his native Kazakhstan progress past it's current primitive state. Shortly after Borat arrives, he sees an episode of Baywatch, and falls head-over-heels in love with Pamela Sue Anderson. He treks across country to California to meet and wed Anderson. During the trip Borat meets lots of interesting folk, and has several outlandish comedic adventures. Filmed in documentary style, most of the people and situations are real. And that's the beauty of the film.

Borat is politically incorrect, but not in a mean-spirited way. In fact, I think the film is more a satire of how we Americans (and folks immigrating to America) establish our goals, dreams and beliefs about others based on incorrect presumptions and over-generalized ideals. There has been a lot of press over whether Borat promotes anti-Semitism or racism. I don't think it does. Borat is racist and a bigot, but his beliefs are based in ignorance and inexperience. And the movie makes it clear that the joke is on him--we aren't laughing at his jokes about Jews, we are laughing at his ignorance.

This is a special movie that people will be talking about for a long time. Check it out soon.

Friday, November 03, 2006

New We Are Marshall Poster

The We Are Marshall poster was recently released. (Thanks for the heads-up goes to my mother-in-law, who monitors All-Things-McConaughey.)

I think it captures well the movie's premise: that the community and the university combined to build themselves back from the ashes of that devastating tragedy. In it, Coach Jack Lengyl stands on the mountain where the plane crashed, looking down over the city and the university.

It's emotional, and inspiring.
Click on it for a close-up view.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Jack Bauer Would Not Give Me A Ticket

The trailer for the sixth season (Day 6) of 24 looks remarkable. To me, this show gets better each year. Check out these highlights , and tell me it ain't the best show on television.