Sunday, October 31, 2004

I know this sounds odd...

Dammit, Josh beat me in posting a a review of Birth (and we feel almost exactly the same about it).
A few more thoughts: it's odd how much I love this movie considering it's a failure and I know it. For the frst half, I was deliriously in love with its craft and M.O.-- all static electricity and freeze-dried chills. And the funny thing is: as it crumbled under its own weight in the second half, tacking on a soggy and unsatisfying coda, I wasn't bothered at all; I was still humming from that first half. Isn't that strange? That as Director Jonathan Glazer--with his impeccably framed Diet Kubrickisms--ratchets the tension higher and higher and forces Nicole Kidman to keep intensifying her internal operatics, it ultimately just peters out... and it didn't bother me. I thought the audience reaction at the end of the screening was fitting. As the end credits came up, a couple people applauded while a yenta in another row shrieked "That's it?"

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Quote of the day.

"I can't get it even in Philadelphia. I've heard a little swatch of it on the local African-American station, and I found it totally soporific. What a bore! It lacks the propulsive energy of someone like Sean Hannity. Liberal pundits underestimate Hannity because they see him on his Fox TV show, and he's just not that good on TV. But he's a dynamo on the radio. Even though I don't agree with his politics, I find him riveting. He's funny, he's ebullient, he has endless energy, and when he gets going on a tirade, he has the rhythmic passion of generations of Irish-Catholic priests! If anyone is in doubt about Hannity's talents as a radio man, just listen to his commercial for Ruth's Chris Steak House. It's a classic of American advertising -- his mellow, succulent description makes you want to RUN to the nearest Ruth's Chris! It's like pop opera. But the limitations of Hannity's global worldview upset me deeply. Nevertheless, this is a guy who's not acting -- he's speaking from his profound core values."

--Camille Paglia, taking a question about what she thinks of Air America (the radio network, not the Mel Gibson film) and turning it into aria about how she craves Hannity's ween.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Nerd alert.

Are people really excited about this? It kinda looks like the cover to the teen-novelization of the Episode III. I'm giving up hope now. Time to move on and accept that Lucas is content to make doody on my childhood.

Is it the weekend yet?

  • Film crit of the day: "If only there were drugs strong enough to make it all bearable: This never ending Learning Annex K-hole provides damning proof that independent film distribution has grown far too accessible." --Ed Halter in The Village Voice on the "new-age documentary" Carlos Castaneda: Enigma of a Sorcerer.

  • The Boss gets all the glory, while the JBJ gets high schools in Iowa.

  • Has Bush "Gary Cheroned" the presidency? Eddie Spaghetti says yes. Who? Yeah, I don't know either.

  • This dude says he's in a new David Lynch film. A new feature or some interweb short for DL's website? Who knows. Fingers crossed. (Via Lynchnet.)

  • Bet you didn't know Pat Robertson was manning the phones for AOL. From BoingBoing: Jim Hanas sez: "Thought you and your readers might get a kick out of this post, in which an AOL cust service rep -- as I was trying to cancel my account -- asked me what I used the internet for, and when I said I didn't want to answer any questions, he asked if I was 'ashamed' of what I used the internet for."

  • I got shout outs from the Sploan and His Thighness in one day? Hot shit, time to celebrate with some meth 'n whores.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

The Life Arafat.

Did Arafat join Team Zissou?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Scooping the apocalypse.

Over in her Slate blog, Dana Stevens has created the Cable News Cretinisms, a weekly award for "the most absurd, stand-alone quotes from the round of cable talk shows: those that, even decontextualized from their yammerfest of origin, still manage to lower the level of discourse all by themselves and be funny into the bargain."

Check out the first winner. It's from Sean Hannity (duh) during his "interview" with the President:

Is it possible—is it a reality that we could turn on our television sets one day—Fox News Channel I hope—and find out that America is—that a nuclear weapon has gone off here—that a biological agent has been released or a chemical agent—is that a reality?

Here's the problem: there'd be something poetic about watching the apocalypse unfold on FOX, but I know I couldn't because I might miss Ted Turner's specially-designed-end-of-the-world tape that he's created for CNN. In case you missed the whole Teddy-doomsday-video deal here it is (as per the New York Daily News-- alas, the link is dead):
Turner, it seems, has been a doom-and-gloom kind of guy from the very day in June 1980 when he launched the cable network. He said then, as only he could, "We gonna go on air June 1, and we gonna stay on until the end of the world. When that time comes, we'll cover it, play 'Nearer, My God, to Thee,' and sign off." Ten years later, I'm told, Turner used CNN production facilities to create what he called his "end-of-the-world" video. Sources tell me it consists of a recording of "Nearer, My God," over footage of a waving American flag. Turner is said to have ordered the tape locked away until it was determined that the world was about to end. "It was like a sign-off tape that you often see in the middle of the night," says one source. "But to Ted, it was a sign-off forever."'

See? When the end times come, make it CNN.

This exists.

Yes, dear Interweb browser, we live in a world where Jar Jar porn exists. Just thought you should know.

(Link via the 'bot.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

2 + 2 = 5.

Super-short edition:
1) The World Series.
All-consuming--- so all-consuming that it's fucking up all my spare time. But that's OK. Go Sox.

2) iPod Photo.

Totally unnecessary, but irresistible nonetheless: 60 gig iPod Photo.

3) Robert Altman's Gosford Park.
I re-watched it the other night. Every viewing brings out something new and I am convinced that what I once thought was a pretty-good movie is one of the finest, most fully-realized films of the past decade.

4) Ashleegate.

Way too entertaining. "And on Monday... I am fading..."

5) Slate's Election Scorecard.
A daily must. Slate tracks all the various polls, digests them, and shows you where the electoral college stands today. One more week...

Raising the bar on political discourse.

The NY Daily News has the scoop on tomorrow's new South Park episode:

"Parker says that, in the first episode of the new 'South Park' season (airing Wednesday on Comedy Central), students will have to chose a mascot for South Park Elementary - voting for either a giant talking feminine hygiene product or a 't--d sandwich.'
Their character Stan 'doesn't want to vote,' says Parker. So Combs, whose slogan is 'Vote or Die,' comes to kill him."

So obnoxious. I can't wait.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Tastes good to me.

Believe the hype: Sideways is that good. It's funny, 'cause I wasn't expecting to love it as much as I did. I adore Alexander Payne's first two films (Citizen Ruth and Election) but found the much-acclaimed About Schmidt to be one brilliant performance swimming in a sea of flimsy satire and cheap secondary characters. Plus, I was a little underwhelmed with the self-consciously quirky trailer.
Wrong. Way off.
This time around Payne has ditched his beloved Nebraska-setting and much of the satiric-edge (but not his eye for piercing social detail) and delves into the lives and disappointments of two middle-aged men driving through California wine country. I think I responded so strongly to the film because Payne is so willing to a) take his sweet time to develope such lived-in characters and b) allow them to be really complex, kind-of unlikable people. That's Payne's greatest gift (and where I thought he totally missed the mark in Schmidt): his laser-like/objective eye for detail. It's why his first two satires cut to the bone and why this character(s)-study is so rich. The people who populate Payne's films have shitty haircuts, cramped apartments, botched relationships, really embarrassing but honest drunk dials, listen to Bonnie Raitt, spray anti-odor stuff on their feet, do the Times crossword in pen, drive cars that need a good carwash, and so on. In the end, I felt like had just spent a couple weeks reading a huge novel about these characters. That's the kind of intimacy and depth that Payne and his co-writer Jim Taylor and his super-talented cast created. And that's a wonderful and rare thing. Enjoy it while you can.
(Sidenote: The J posted a quote from Alexander Payne about his filmmaking MO. Dead on.)

Quote of the day.

"These thoughts have never entered my thinking. [They are] dastardly untruths."

--Jermaine Jackson, denying that he ever said Michael Jackson would commit suicide if convicted. God I love the Jacksons talk.


Because my name and my company's address get arbitrarily published in large volumes that many people hoping to "break into the industry" read, I get a whole bunch of shitty, desperate mail. I despise this mail and rarely give it much time.
Friday was not one of those days. Friday, I received the single greatest piece of mail ever.
Sorting through the day's mail, I cam across a hand-written envelope with a stamped return address from THE NUTTER FAMILY. My heart quickened... could it be the Nutters? I tore open that envelope and sure enough-- I was confronted with a color copy of a Nutter Family portrait, a Nutter Family business card ("friendly people you'd like to know since 1961"), and a pitch to turn their life story into a sitcom.
It made my day.
That's all.
I have no clue if anyone else will be impressed with this story but goddammit I was.

Pic of the day.

The Coulter hearts Joey.

(Thanks to Rob for pointing it out.)

Friday, October 22, 2004


Seriously, people. Look at that picture. Why does John Travolta always do the Dietrich-cigarette-drama with the sucked-in-cheek routine? (The picture above is from the forthcoming A Love Song for Bobby Long.) Oh yeah, 'cause he wishes he was Barbra Streisand. I forgot.

See also:

Quote of the day.

"Well, I must say I have never listened to Bush before. I've only sort of watched him, as it were. And there's something even more excruciating in a way about just hearing him."

-- Christopher Hitchens, BC04 supporter, on watching the debates. I do heart much of Mr. Hitch's writing but when I read quotes like that my eyes roll harder than Iris Frost-Law.

Thursday, October 21, 2004


Ron Suskind wrote a piece for the New York Times Magazine on President Bush's faith and how it guides him in his job. Much of the President's resolve comes from the fact that he prays on all matters, allows God to give him clarity, and then doesn't stray from the path. Or something.
Here's an embarassing anecdote from the piece (clearly Bush hadn't been praying about world history or God was messing with his memory):
In the Oval Office in December 2002, the president met with a few ranking senators and members of the House, both Republicans and Democrats. In those days, there were high hopes that the United States-sponsored ''road map'' for the Israelis and Palestinians would be a pathway to peace, and the discussion that wintry day was, in part, about countries providing peacekeeping forces in the region. The problem, everyone agreed, was that a number of European countries, like France and Germany, had armies that were not trusted by either the Israelis or Palestinians. One congressman -- the Hungarian-born Tom Lantos, a Democrat from California and the only Holocaust survivor in Congress -- mentioned that the Scandinavian countries were viewed more positively. Lantos went on to describe for the president how the Swedish Army might be an ideal candidate to anchor a small peacekeeping force on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Sweden has a well-trained force of about 25,000. The president looked at him appraisingly, several people in the room recall.

''I don't know why you're talking about Sweden,'' Bush said. ''They're the neutral one. They don't have an army.''

Lantos paused, a little shocked, and offered a gentlemanly reply: ''Mr. President, you may have thought that I said Switzerland. They're the ones that are historically neutral, without an army.'' Then Lantos mentioned, in a gracious aside, that the Swiss do have a tough national guard to protect the country in the event of invasion.

Bush held to his view. ''No, no, it's Sweden that has no army.''

The room went silent, until someone changed the subject.

A few weeks later, members of Congress and their spouses gathered with administration officials and other dignitaries for the White House Christmas party. The president saw Lantos and grabbed him by the shoulder. ''You were right,'' he said, with bonhomie. ''Sweden does have an army.''


Creamed corn.

  • Hey! We might actually get to see Twin Peaks: Season Two on DVD. When? Here's an answer of sorts. (Lookin' good for 2005.)

  • Am I crazy for thinking this U2-branded-black-iPod-thingie is kind of cool? I mean, I'm not trading mine in for it (I'm waiting for the leopard-skin-Good Charlotte-branded-iPod) but it seems kind of nice for huge U2 fans.

  • More goodness from cinetrix:
    [J]ot down five of [your] most favorite films off the top of their head, quickly, without much contemplation. Then... determine what the bare bones story was to each of the films on the list. Chances are, those films will tell essentially the same story.... Because that is your story.

  • Why do I find it so funny that a) Neil Labute's new play is called Fat Pig and b) Felicity is the lead (With Piven and Andrew McCarthy rounding out the cast)? Oh yeah, 'cause it's probably going to be demonically evil.

  • "Just once, I'd like to hear about a sex scandal with honest-to-God penetration." (The Onion via La Wonk.)

  • Let me leave you with a link to a recent Kyle Williams' column. I know you've all missed Kyle and his expansive vision of America, so I'm dragging him back into fray. This column is about how he doesn't know what his column should be about. Hey dude: you write one 500-word-or-so piece a week. If that is too taxing, you might just want to quit. I know your run as the country's youngest conservative pundit has been cushy... but the wires are showing.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


1. Go to this website.
2. Scroll to the bottom and download the song posted on said Interweb site.
3. Play said song and pump your fist in the air 'cause the mutant love-child of Jesus Christ and Sling Blade's Karl came through. Fuck yeah.

Unresolved opening acts.

The cinetrix introduced me to the work of film essayist Jonathan Kiefer. Check out this opening from his Garden State piece:
The good news about Garden State is that if someone has told you it’s great and you’ll like it, it is and you will. That’s assuming you’re part of a certain demographic: adrift (to your bemused chagrin) and without enough to show for your twenties, infuriated by failing to use this fact as material for something artful, and unfulfilled by all the vocations you’ve had the freedom to try—collectively, the unresolved opening act of your adulthood. If you believed the premonition that your sensitivity—your oddity, really—would eventually become useful, and now wonder whether that was just a callow delusion, well, you have a trustworthy friend in Garden State, and in anyone who recommends it.

Good, right? In fact it goes down so smoothly, I almost bought it. For fear of starting something that will spiral wildly out of control, I am leaving my Garden State musings at that and encouraging you to check out Mr. Kiefer's work.

Classy move.

Just wanted to help spread the word that A-Rod is a class act.
Go Sox. Send them Yankee-fan-biatchz back to Jersey.
(Props to Krpata for preserving that excellent moment in sportsmanship.)

The Butter Lady is evil.

I think John Waters is testing material on Craigslist.
Read up on the "bastard child of Minnie Pearl and Corky from Life Goes On"/"passive-agressive fucktard" known as the Butter Lady.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Raunchy mashology.

Remember that dirrty-before-Xtina-was-dirrty booty-jam/ode-to-cunnilingus known as "My Neck, My Back"? You don't? C'mon people, it was by the popular r&b recording artist known as Khia and was a big hit in the summer of '02. If it's ringing a bell... huzzah for you. If not... that's a shame. Anyway, the point of this is: a couple months ago I found the most amazing mash-up wherein some wizard took the aforementioned Khia track and mixed it with Aphex Twin's "Windowlicker (Acid Edit)" and M83's "Run Into Flowers (Jackson's Midnight Fuck Remix)" and renamed the concoction "Pussylicker" (clever, I know). I ran across it again and thought I would spread the word. Get your fill of dirrty-glitched-out-electro-r&b, it's tasty.

2 + 2 = 5.

1) The autumnal weather.
Overcast, gray, rainy, chilly. It's never like this in LA, so I'm enjoying it while I can.

2) Da Capo's Best Music Writing of 2004.
I've only read a few of the essays thus far, but Michaelangelo Matos' "69 (Years of) Love Songs" and Roy Kasten's appreciation of Nina Simone are ace.

3) Watching John Carpenter's Halloween while kind of sick, on a cold and rainy night.
This week's dearth of postings is directly related to my horrible case of the blahs-- you know the story: headache, sore throat, queased-out stomach, etc. My case of the blahs took hold over the weekend (just as LA was getting its first rain since April). For some reason, I thought that a proper home-remedy would be a viewing of Halloween. While it didn't make me better, it was nice to catch up with Laurie and Michael and company. John Carpenter gets mad props for his creepy score and his mastery of shooting scope on a shoestring budget. Plus, it's always entertaining to watch the movie and have Tim add extra narration (almost always involving hermaphroditism or "that stubby penis next to [her] vagina") every time Jamie Lee Curtis is onscreen.

4) "Pretty (Ugly Before)" by Elliott Smith (from from a basement on the hill).
Elliott's final album is out now. I'm still fully digesting it, but after that initial listen I think I'm still partial to the first song I heard off of it. "Pretty (Ugly Before)" is all heartfelt-bombast Elliott-style: layers of vocals, jangle guitar (with Beatled-out solos), tack piano, Ringo-drumming, and backward guitar loops. Perfect.

5) The Christian Jihadists (as chronicled over at Fagistan).
While they will never eclipse Delilah as the best recurring Fagistani character(s), the Christian Jihadists are making their way to the top of the Fagistan Hit Parade. If you missed the saga of the Christian Jihadists and their quest to rule Oregon, read up m'ya and m'ya.

Monday, October 18, 2004


If you've seen the film, you don't judge him:

CORDELE, Ga. -- A Georgia man facing arson charges for burning his own home is blaming nine or 10 beers, and a disaster movie.

Charles Adams told Crisp County authorities he had been drinking while watching the movie "Day After Tomorrow."

Adams allegedly told deputies that after watching the special-effects extravaganza depicting deadly natural disasters caused by global warming, he decided to set fire to pillows on his bed.

The flames destroyed his doublewide mobile home.

Film crit of the day / week / millennium.

"The song, 'Everyone has AIDS,' deserves to win an Oscar. And I say that as someone just a couple hundred T-cells away from AIDS. Fuck yeah."

--Andrew Sullivan. Josh beat me to it, but I had to post that shit. Here's hoping that Paramount pulls that blurb and starts putting it in ads. Or, at the very least, they use it in "For Your Consideration" ads. (C'mon I can dream can't I? Opening up Variety to "For Your Consideration: 'Everyone Has AIDS!' for Best Original Song from a Film"? You know that'd be the best ever.)

Friday, October 15, 2004

Is this it, y'all?

Stereogum has Brit Brit's LETTER OF TRUTH (maybe).

Sacred cow.

As he is seemingly loved by 99.9% of everyone I have ever known, I never bring up the fact that I despise Jon Stewart and The Daily Show (In a nutshell: he's not smart and/or funny enough to justify the amount of smugness radiating from him). And I probably would've remained silent and let everyone continue to give Jon the endless blow job that he's been enjoying for the past four-or-whatever years.
But then he went on CNN's Crossfire and gave them a lecture on journalism and how they're "hurting American" by being "partisan hacks." You know what? He's right: Begala and Carlson are shameless hacks in the worst way. No argument there.
What drives me insane is this new sanctimonious routine that Stewart's been pulling. He does the fake news, he's not a journalist. (Seriously, I really despise the argument "Oh, Jon Stweart is doing such good by getting the news to a group of people who wouldn't otherwise get it." Bullshit. Pick up a paper, read one online, TDS is not the news.) And on top of it, he's given access to a number of politicians and policy makers that he routinely treats with kid gloves. If he's so fucking concerned about the state of the press, he should quit The Daily Show and join 60 Minuites (they're owned by the same evil corporate entity, why not?) or, hey this is an idea, he could start asking the tough questions on his show.
Sorry. I had to get that off my chest. I probably just alienated all four of my regular readers... but I had to do that.

UPDATE: OK, so I was in a blind "it's the end of Friday and I need to leave work and get food and start the weekend" rage when I wrote that. I don't take back what I said, but I would like to articulate a little more. Yes, I am thrilled that someone called out Crossfire on being the urinal of political talk shows. I just hate that it was Jon Stewart because: 1) He's part of the problem (as in: softballing and pandering to his powerful guests) and 2) it was in such a pathetic way. Great, you called Tucker a dick. That's awesome and I'm sure it'll rally the fanbase. But how about calling Tuck and Begala out on specific issues. In addition, I'd like to point out that Stewart has been making the media rounds lately, why didn't he lash out at Fox News? Wouldn't it have been way more effective to scream at O'Reilly? True, he probably would have had his mic cut. So what about when O'Reilly showed up on Stewart's turf a week later? There, O'Reilly proclaimed himself an undecided voter and an independent. Does anyone believe that he's anything but a lapdog to the right? Stewart just nodded, acted slightly incredulous, and didn't challenge the statement. As a "social critic" and "satirist" doesn't Jon owe it to his audience to stick it to O'Reilly? (Especially when O'Reilly rarely leaves the controlled enviornment of his studio.)
OK, bleh, that's enough, I'm done... Off to revel in the weekend and whatnot.

So that explains it.

"When you take home a CD of Pavarotti or Marilyn Horne, you don't want to hear another voice blended in. I feel the same way about Hemingway. If I read it, I don't want to read a new edited version."

--Anne Rice, explaining why she refuses to have an editor.

Snap, crackle, pop.

  • After yesterday's buzz, KRS One wants to clear things up:
    “Like everyone I was shocked to read that I and other African-Americans actually ‘cheered when 911 happened’ and that I have ‘declared my solidarity with Al Qaeda. When I read my words taken out of context I was shocked and disappointed that the Daily News would go this far to assassinate my character and distort my views. I was making an objective point about how many Hiphoppas as well as the oppressed peoples of the world felt that day. I am a philosopher and a critical thinker, I speak truth and I urge people to think critically about themselves and their environment. Yes, my words are strong. Yes, my views are controversial. But to call me a terrorist is simply wrong! I was just as saddened as everyone else on 9/11. However, for many of us that were racially profiled and harassed by the World’s Trade Center’s security and the police patrolling that area as well as the thousands of American protesters that spoke out against the World Trade Organization months before in Seattle, Washington there was a sense of justice, a sense of change, a wake up call watching the twin towers fall.”

    Ooooh. Now I see. Rather than cheering, KRS One was overcome with a sense of justice when he witnessed a scene of mass murder. Well, that just cleared it all up.

  • Er, somebody missed the point: "There's no nice word for this. It's idiocy. I cringe at the thought of other countries seeing 'Team America' and thinking we're all this ridiculous." That's Mike LaSalle from the San Fransisco Chronicle whining. It drives me insane that certain critics (I'm lookin' your way Ebs) can't roll with the punches and just laugh. Yes, we live in crazy fucked up times. Sure do. It's OK to laugh once in a while. It's even OK to laugh about /mock the insanity that is our reality. What's that, Ebs? Oh it's not? In that case I'll go back to reading Worse than Watergate and planning my trip to see Sky Captain again.

  • MTV News jumps on the Jon Brion bandwagon. They report that his second album is going to drop in March, he's going to release an internet only e.p. of Huckabees outtakes, and he's compiled a Live at Largo set. I'll believe it when I see it.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Quote(s) of the day.

Winner of the award for the most mind-fuckingly offensive, vile, moronic statement of the week goes to KRS-One for this lovely speech (given at the New Yorker fesitval):

"[I] cheered [with other African-Americans] when 9/11 happened . . . I say that proudly... [Prior to the WTC attacks, security guards prevented black people from entering] because of the way we talk and dress. So when the planes hit the building, we were like, 'Mmmm -- justice.' [9/11] doesn't affect us. 9/11 happened to them, not us. The rich . . . those who are oppressing us. RCA or BMG, Universal, the radio stations... Voting in a corrupt society adds more corruption. America has to commit suicide if the world is to be a better place."

As reported by

In a sad and painfully earnest/inadequate response, co-panelist Krist Novoselic reportedly yelled, "That is wrong, man. Suicide is not the answer."

And to think that I considered those anti-Team America letters toxic and dumb.

I can't resist.

What do you want? I held out a day. Chances are you've probs read this shit by now anyway. If not, please catch what Bill O'Reilly would do with his former producer, a Carribean locale, a shower, a loofa mit, and a falafel.

This and that.

  • Chris Rock is going to host the Oscars. So super best ever.

  • Just FYI: there are 1 in 738,585 odds that you will die from the ignition or melting of nightwear.

  • Oh Michael Mann... why? I'd totally be down with you as an executive producer or consultant, raking in the money 'cause it's based on your idea... But this is no good. (And while we're on the topic of shitty Colin Farrell vehicles, can we all agree that Alexander looks like the worst piece of high-camp schlock ever? I promise you: in ten years, Josh is going to be blogging about how he used the commemorative chalice found in the four disc uber-edition of Alexander to do a shot every time Colin makes out with a eunuch or kills an elephant.)

  • Why did I not start this site? Some guy collects all the shitty query letters and script proposals that come across his desk and throws them up on a blog. Brilliant.

  • Seriously people, what is up with all this Mary Cheney hand-wringing? She out, she's running her dad's campaign, and (as the final question in the debates proved) talking about family is fair game. Sorry if Bush-supporters are uncomfortable with the fact that Mary handles more box than Postal Service (by which I mean Ben Gibbard) or that her Dad supports and works for an administration that is trying to change the Constitution so they can legally discriminate against her. Them's the facts.

  • Stephen Holden and Dennis Lim review The Final Cut.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


Did President Bush just say that he "professes tolerance" of gays? I wonder if he knows what he just said. And in related news: Nicky Hilton is upholding the sanctity of marriage by ending hers after two months.


It's no secret that the American Right has a brick firmly lodged up its collective ass. Judging by the letters written to Salon in response to Heather Havrilesky's interview with Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the left is just as dour, humorless, and hysterical.

Says Jeff Perry: "Actually, [Trey and Mike's] own imagery, which conjures up images of the world as a scene of ongoing prison rape, is probably the best summation of America's place in the world during the W years that we're likely to get."

I've seen the movie and don't remember seeing "ongoing prison rape." At all. But, of course, it never matters in these instances. Remember when Bob Dole was all worked up over Natural Born Killers and it was painfully apparent that the old douche hadn't seen a second of it? Yeah, exactly. Back then, I was convinced that that was the kind of reactionary bullshit that would only come from the right. sigh.

Of course, the really obnoxious stuff comes from our friends across the pond. Keira Holland writes: "Have these wankers ever actually traveled outside of the U.S.? And I don't mean one of those summer backpacking tours through Europe on the college gradution-present Euro-pass, where you stay at youth hostels with other young, spoiled Americans and 'do' each city in a day or two." Um, what does this have to do with anything? Does that mean anyone who hasn't extensively traveled in Europe isn't allowed to form political opinions and/or make films? And while we're at it, Keira have you traveled in the U.S.? And not just New York City and California. I'm talking New Hampshire, Utah, and Mississippi. No? Shut the fuck up.

And best of the best, Dublin's Michael Lunny weighs in with this enlightening bit: "Unfortunately the philosophical argument that Parker and Stone feel is advanced by TA:WP (dicks and assholes) is at radical variance with the current state of the world. Powerful and ignorant dicks (let's say the current U.S. administration and its foreign lapdogs) have done and may (shudder) continue to do more harm to the world than assholes (Osama and buddies, Saddam, Kim Il Sung) ever have done or could ever do." This is so sadly bankrupt and toxic that I'm not going there.

Now, I have my own issue with Trey and Matt. I hate this "don't vote" crap that they're pulling. I see where they're coming from (i.e. P. Diddy's retarded Vote or Die campaign, MTV asking us to listen to Xtina while she talks about the importance of voting based on the candidates' attitudes towards sex ed), but as far as I'm concerned there is shame in not voting. Of course it's retarded to base your politics on an MTV News brief with Sway or some shit you read in Rolling Stone. But that's not an excuse to encourage kids to be lazy and to wallow in their ignorance. So, Matt and Trey (on this issue): Shut the fuck up. But keep making your super-awesome movies that piss off both extremes.

(See also: this essay posted today at Fagistan.)

Best Headline Ever.

Yes, I am in seventh grade.
Yes, this made me laugh way harder than it should've.
Vote or die.
P Diddy gets diarrhoea on stage.

(Thanks, Spencer.)

The new Axis of Evil?

"Between Alicia [Keys], Lenny Kravitz and myself, there's no telling what we might do musically together."

--Stevie Wonder to MTV.
Will someone please shake Stevie and make him cool again? First he allows that hideous "Wild Wild West" song to exist and now this? C'mon, Stevie. You can do better.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Nobody listens to techno... Or Jacko.

Eminem spoofs Michael Jackson, Jacko gets pissed and starts screaming, BET yanks the video.

Jacko called into Steve Harvey's radio show to explain it. He says: "I've never had a problem with Eminem... I've admired Eminem as an artist, and was shocked by this. The video was inappropriate and disrespectful to me, my children, my family and the community at large."

Oh Jacko. I too long for the days when Eminem was a civil and decent fellow who made wholesome music that was free of vulgarity and had a positive social message. But, Jacko, those days are behind us now.

All sarcasm aside, don't you love Jacko's egomania? Mocking Jacko in a video suddenly makes Eminem "disrespectful to the community " and a danger to the kids, whereas making a video about killing a knocked-up Dido is a-OK.


There's something difficult in offering an honest evaluation of a friend's work. I find myself constantly trying to balance the critical with the encouraging, finding the right blend of honesty and consideration. Usually these situations arise in the early stage of a friend's work: a couple of paragraphs from a short story, the first few pages of a script, a rough concept for a painting, a short film for a class.

That's not the case with this one. For the first time, I'm wrestling with a friend's feature film. His name is Omar Naim and the film is The Final Cut. It's the real deal: ninety minutes, multi-million dollar budget, movie stars, amazing crew. I want to like it, becuase I love the backstory. I mean, how many twenty-five year olds get whisked from their shitty industry jobs and get a budget and backing and a place at the Berlin Film Festival? Yeah, not too many.

The blunt truth is: it's an average movie and I'd probably be a whole lot less forgiving if Omar wasn't involved. On the positive side, the film looks really great despite its modest budget. Tak Fujimoto is an ace cinematographer and James Chinlund's production design is a pleasant homage to David Cronenberg's organic/futuristic visions. On top of it all, Omar's visual sense doesn't fail him; he loads the film up with camera trickery that doesn't seem superfluous, just smart and confident.

I think the film's stumbling point is a certain hesitance in the script and an unfortunate release date. That is, Omar's script--the futuristic story of a "cutter" who takes memory-storing microchips out of the deceased and edits the years and years of memories into hour-long films for funerals, keepsakes, etc.--doesn't allow itself to be pigeonholed (which is fine), but it doesn't really rise to the challenge of any of its various influences. It doesn't have enough depth to be a real character study, not enough edge to be a media satire, too few action scenes to a thriller, and on and on. As for its unfortunate release, I mean that it comes just a few months after Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind tackled a similar subject (the meaning and importance of memories, the ethical implications of deleting memories, how the past can play tricks on us, etc.) with much more scope.

So that's that. I wish I could say it's one of the best things I've seen in ages, but I can't. I can say that I'm happy for him and proud and excited to see where the kid goes next.

2 + 2 = 5.

1) iTunes new-music Tuesday (10/12/04).
Not to be a shameless hack for the Apple Corporation, but sometimes I really love the iTunes music store. Today's reason? They released Elliott Smith's from a basement on a hill a week before street date, put out an exclusive e.p. of material from Aimee Mann's upcoming live album, and posted a wicked, officially-sanctioned mash-up of Beck's "Debra" and Pharell's "Frontin'." Sometimes even evil corporations can be cool.

2) "I'm Ronery" as sung by Kim Jong Il in Team America: World Police.

You haven't really lived until you've seen a puppet-version of the North Korean dictator perform a heart-breaking lament about being misunderstood. Oh and you know all those white-liberal-guilt conversations that were raging after Lost in Translation? Yeah, get ready for another level of pissed-off-confused-discourse when this one finally drops.

3) The Interweb page for my Halloween costume.
Best. Costumer. Ever.

4) Indiana Jones and the Monkey King by Chris Columbus.
I posted a link to said script yesterday. At the time I hadn't read it. To be honest, I still haven't read it. But I have skimmed it and read two or three sequences. I can say that if this actually is the work of Chris Columbus (I have my doubts), he should be shot for attempting to destroy the Indiana Jones franchise. This script is awful--tone-deaf, offensive, completely off the mark (to say nothing of the hilarious Freudian typos... read on, you'll see).
Want proof? I present to you an excerpt from Indy's climactic confrontation with Sun Wu Kung, the titular African Monkey King:

Suddenly, there is a RUMBLING SOUND. Followed by a slight, TREMOR. The
trees begin to SWAY, as a HOWLING WIND rushes through them. The tomb
of Sun Wu Kung GLOWS with a BRIGHT LIGHT. The glass surrounding the
tomb suddenly SHATTERS. The skeleton's head TURNS. Its body RATTLES.
Beginning to MOVE. The skeleton STEPS OUT OF THE TOMB.

Everyone STARES in awe. TERRIFIED.

The skeleton takes a FEW STEPS forward, STOPS, and RAISES its arms.
HIGH in the air. The skeleton OPENS its mouth. Emitting a HIGH PITCHED
...UNEARTHLY...SCREECH! An ectoplasmic GREEN SMOKE seeps from the
skeleton's fingers, slowly TRAVELING over the heads of the humans. The
ectoplasm separates into several INDIVIDUAL LINES, that touch down
upon EACH OF THE GORILLAS. The ectoplasm ENCIRCLES each the Gorilla's
bodies. The Gorillas begin to RISE from the ground. HIGH in the air.
The ectoplasm appears to be CARRYING them toward Sun Wu Kung. As the
Gorillas TRAVEL through the air, their bodies begin to SHRINK. Growing

The humans stare into the SKY. Watching the AMAZING, MAGICAL

As the Gorillas get CLOSER to Sun Wu Kung, their bodies have shrunken
to TINY, HAIR-LIKE substances. When the Gorillas ARRIVE at the
skeleton, they ATTACH themselves to his body. We see that the shrunken
Gorillas are actually individual HAIRS on the skeleton's body. As the
countless hairs CONVERGE, the skeleton begins to take SHAPE...FORM...

SUN WU KUNG COMES TO LIFE! He is UNLIKE anyone or anything we have
ever seen. HALF-HUMAN. HALF-HONKEY [sic]. His face is covered with WRINKLES.
His wide eyes are COAL BLACK. PROBING. WARM. When he smiles, it is
DEVILISH, but incredibly CHARMING. His movements are PERKY. QUICK. An
extremely ADORABLE little fellow. Instantly LOVABLE. But there is a
STRONG, POWERFUL presense about him. He is indeed, a HEAVENLY FIGURE.

Seriously people. Could that have possibly sprung from the mind of the man responsible for Bicentennial Man AND the forthcoming film adaptation of Rent: The Musical? Half-honkey (er, I bet that's half-monkey, but is that really any better)? Devilish but adorable? An instantly lovable heavenly figure? It sounds like Jacko helped write this shit.

5) The soundtrack to I ♥ Huckabees by Jon Brion.
The CD drops today. Buy it, for it is right. And that's it, kids. No more, I promise you. I won't talk about Jon f-ing Brion and his f-ing Huckabees score anymore. Well, I'll try not to.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Next up in Wesworld.

In an interview with Paper, Wes Anderson confirms that he and Noah Baumbach are at work on an animated version of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox. This seems like a perfect fit (note Mr. Fox's fetching ascot and natty red jacket).
Bring it.

What's objectionable about that?

Until a drunken viewing last night, I hadn't seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in quite a while. Guess what? It's still really great-- a big ol' blast of Ritalin-free silliness.
The point of this story is: after doing a little post-viewing reading on the film, I found this factoid:

"Chris Columbus wrote a rejected draft in which Indy traveled to Africa and dueled a Monkey prince, but the script was also rejected because of too many negative African stereotypes."

Oh Chirs. First that whole unfortunate, roundabout involvement with the Groonies debacle and now this? Chris, you would sully Indy's pristine legacy of racial and cultural sensitivity? How dare you?

UPDATE: I found Mr. Columbus' script. Go here to download Indiana Jones and The Monkey King (aka Indiana Jones and the Garden of Life). Haven't even looked at it, so I can't vouch for its authenticity. But with a title like that, it sure sounds promising.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

A film that lives up to the hype.

There are very few things that could make me willingly walk into the Hell-zone that is Universal City Walk. A sneak-preview screening of Team America: World Police is one of them.
I don't want to give much away (part of the fun is being shocked), but it's an impressive piece of faux-Bruckheimer mayhem. I mean, c'mon, it's got Kim Jong Il as a lead character and puppet sex and totally inappropriate AIDS jokes and disdain for Michael Moore? Best.

I Bleh Huckabees, Round 2.

OK, fine: after writing about I ♥ Huckabees (and its score) constantly in the weeks leading up to its release, my initial dismissal is a tad on the vague side. After Josh mocked my "small-minded reading of the film" (and called me a "fuckwit with a Con-Air fetish"), I need to clear things up.

Let's get the whole Jon Brion/score thing addressed. Yes, I love the man's music. Yes, I am a fan-boy in the worst way. So, yes, when I hear that Jon is doing the score to a movie, I get my hopes up. A Jon Brion score is a fairly elusive event and have accompanied only great films.

David O. Russell is a similar case. While I'm not a fan of Mr. Russell's debut, Spanking the Monkey, I love his screwball-romp Flirting With Disaster (whatevs dot org to you, Morgan) and am in awe of his transgressive political treatise/action-film hybrid Three Kings. Russell has a stellar track record but he takes his sweet time in between movies.

That is why I ♥ Huckabees is such a massive let-down. It's not a bad film-- I like too many things about it to consider it a total failure. But after working on the script for five years, he's come up with a film that's amusing in places and, for stretches, is shrill and tedious and in love with its own empty cleverness. Josh takes a dig at Wes Anderson in his Huckabees essay ("Jason Schwartzman shows what a truly charming and endearing actor he can be when he's freed from Wes Anderson's cleverness"), while it's a hollow and transparent bit of criticism intended to spark a debate (Mr. Schwartzman has been "free of Wes" for six years-- I didn't find him charming or endearing in Slackers, Spun or "Cracking Up."), I think it touches on something. Wes and his films are often accused of the very charges that I'm lobbing at Huckabees. There's no doubt that he often toes that line of being too precocious and clever. But what saves Wes every time is his ability to create characters of real depth and situations that cut to the bone. For every hermetically-sealed-Magnificent Ambersons-inspired-montage that Wes chucks at us, he gives us Chas telling Royal "that it's been a really tough year" or Margot telling Richie "we're just gonna to have to be secretly in love with each other and leave it at that."

I'm not asking Russell to bog his "existential comedy" down with profound life moments, but a couple recognizable humans (or human moments) would be nice. I know Russell is capable of doing it as Flirting is filled with really honest exchanges between various characters (when they're not Indian wrestling, knocking over Post Offices, and eating LSD-spiked quail).

I think Mark Wahlberg comes closest to creating some depth, but it's not enough to carry the movie. Lily Tomlin is great. Unfortunately, her role is largely: walk into frame and start yelling non-sequiters. Funny? You bet. Engaging? Not so much. That's the problem, there are hysterical moments where I laughed really hard ("What happens in a field at twilight?" "NOTHING!" "EVERYTHING!" "NOTHING! "EVERYTHING!"), but there are also long passages where Russell fills the screen with dozens of shouting characters and they're not connecting on a comedic or philosophical or human level.

POSTSCRIPT: Josh responds to my response. His basic thesis is: I'm missing the larger point as this is a purely existential exercise in filmmaking, therefore wishing for things like "human moments" is silly. I'm not interested in a passive-aggressive game of who's read more Sartre, especially when it's apparent that the the film is just as interested in exploring Zen Buddhism, nihilism, and Freud and this is more about Josh playing devil's advocate (a la the Wes Anderson/Schwartzman). I'd also point out that at the movie's heart is a rejection of rigid philosophical standards and the encouragement of dogma dabbling. I stand by my assertion that I'd heart Huckabees a whole lot more if there was any soul in all that empty rhetoric.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Quote of the day.

"We can never be so certain of any Prophecy, or the fulfillment of any Prophecy; or of any miracle, or the design of any miracle as We are, from the revelation of nature i.e. natures God that two and two are equal to four. Miracles or Prophecies might frighten Us out of our Witts; might scare us to death; might induce Us to lie, to say that We believe that 2 and 2 makes 5. But We should not believe it. We should know the contrary."

--John Adams, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 1813.

Big Nothing.

I just spent two hours reading Benjamin Nugent's Elliott Smith and The Big Nothing cover to cover. I hate to say it: not so hot. There's some interesting backstory about Elliott's painfully earnest PC college days at Hampshire, a great bit from Doughty, formely of Soul Coughing, regarding an Elliott/Magnetic Fields show he witnessed (plus his assertion that much of XO was written at the LA Skybar[!]), and some amusing anecdotes regarding Elliott's defense of Celine Dion in the days after the '98 Oscars. And that's about it. The rest of the book is mostly a rehash of previously available biographical material and maddeningly bland attempts at analyzing his music. (Not to mention the fact that few of Elliott's friends, family, and peers would agree to be interviewed for the project, leaving Nugent to rely on old radio interviews, magazine profiles and Elliott's Under the Radar interview ad nauseam.)
I didn't go into this book looking for lurid drug stories and speculation, I wanted detailed accounts of Elliott's recording process and the creation of his music. That never happens. (Elliott's trip to Abbey Road Studios for the recording/overdubbing of Figure 8 is given one throwaway paragraph.) Of course any bio of Elliott has the obligation to delve into his drug problems. It's just frustrating to read page after page of crack/alcohol/heroin stories that are written to include every scrap of minutia, and to get so little information about what's really important in the story of Elliott's life.

I'm amazed...

...that in all the post-debate coverage and analysis, no one has mentioned the fact that Bush absolutely blew his last question. The woman with the final question asked the President, out of all the thousands of decisions he's made during the last four years, name three clear examples that were mistakes.
Please realize this is a variation on a similar question put to him during a press conference some months ago. During that press conference, Bush famously went into "deer in headlights" mode and lamely answered "I'm sure something will come to me."
He's had nearly half a year to think about what he could have said. He clearly didn't take the question seriously then, clearly didn't reflect whatsoever and when it came up again tonight, he shuffled and hemmed and hawed and his answer was something about how he shouldn't have appointed certain people, but he wasn't going to get into it on national television.
Way to go champ. Oh and learn what the word facile means before you use it.

One more thing: I know that bogus facts and figures get thrown about freely in these things. For instance, Kerry distorted the unemployment numbers wildly (dude, they're bad enough, why fudge it?), but there's one stat that Bush insists on using that drives me up a wall. In the last debate he said: "The best way for Iraq to be safe and secure is for Iraqi citizens to be trained to do the job. We've got 100,000 trained now, 125,000 by the end of this year, 200,000 by the end of next year." He echoed this last night. Best case scenario: Bush has no clue what he's talking about. More likely: he's lying through his fucking teeth to paint a rosey portrait. As noted in The New Republic (and by Sully):
According to internal Pentagon documents recently obtained by Reuters, only 22,700 Iraqi forces have received enough training to be considered even "minimally effective." Barely 8,000 of the 90,000-strong police force have completed a full eight weeks of training--after a year and a half of occupation. While Lieutenant General David Petraeus wrote in a Washington Post op-ed on Sunday that the Iraqi civil-intervention force is "now conducting operations," the leaked Pentagon documents show that training hasn't even begun for its 4,800 members. And perhaps most significantly, while Bush promised 200,000 Iraqis would be trained by the end of the next year, the documents state that it will take until July 2006 to train 135,000 Iraqi police officers.

OK. Enough drunken, post-debate ranting from me.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Classic of all classics.

Do yourself a favor. Watch this. I nearly pissed myself.

(Via UltraGrrrl by way of the Thigh Master.)

Film crit of the day.

It's been a while, but the old Ebert of yore returned and nailed it:

"Individual moments and lines and events in 'I Heart Huckabees' are funny in and of themselves. Viewers may be mystified but will occasionally be amused. It took boundless optimism and energy for Russell to make the film, but it reminds me of the Buster Keaton short where he builds a boat but doesn't know how to get it out of the basement. The actors soldier away like the professionals they are, saying the words as if they mean something. Only Wahlberg is canny enough to play his role completely straight, as if he has no idea the movie might be funny. The others all seem trying to get in on the joke, which is a neat trick. I will award a shiny new dime to anyone who can figure out what the joke is. "

Foxxxy Ladiez.

Gimme some of that yum yum chocolate chip, honey dip, can I get a scoop, Baby, take a ride in my coupe, you make me wanna...

Pop shit.

  • Where to begin.

    I want to like the new R.E.M. album. sigh. I've been saying that since, oh, 1998.
    There was a time (that would be 1992-1996) when I would count down the days till the release of a new R.E.M. album, buy the thing, and be madly in love with what I was hearing. With this new one, Around the Sun, I am finally being forced to accept that that R.E.M. is over. We're now three albums into the post-'98 meltdown (wherein drummer Bill Berry departed, manager Jefferson Holt was ousted, and longtime producer Scott Litt stopped collaborating with the band) and it's not getting any better. I'm not saying that R.E.M. hasn't made any worthwhile music since then, they have. But it's been minor and nowhere near the quality of their best work.
    Around the Sun isn't a particularly bad album, it's just an indifferent album. It's as if the band couldn't be bothered to come up with anything remotely melodic after they crafted the solid lead single/album-opener "Leaving New York." The first few songs after the opener, while not thrilling, are at least... kind of interesting. "Electron Blue" is a noble stab at electro-pop and Q-Tip's guest rap on "The Outsiders" is... er, nice. But after that: track after track after track of ho-hum Stipe lyrics over bland, freeze-dried arrangements. "It's easier to leave than to be left behind," Mr. Stipe sings on "Leaving New York." R.E.M. is clearly taking the hard route.

  • R.E.M. take note: the U2 single is really pretty good. I kind of hate to admit it, as Bono has been grating on my last damn nerve since... well, since whenever he decided he was a policy-maker and started showing up on The O'Reilly Factor. But I gotta say: "Vertigo" is some pretty excellent arena-rawk from the boys, all Bono yelps and trade-mark Edge monster-chords. It's nice to have a great U2 song on the radio (even if I don't really listen to the radio).

  • Michael Moore, from his iTunes celebrity playlist, on "Where Is the Love" by The Black Eyed Peas featuring Justin Timberlake: "It is one of the first truly great songs of this new century." Yeah, Michael stick to doing what you do best: making shitty, artless docs.

  • Oh Gwennie: the first single sucks, the name of the album (one more time: Love Angel Music Baby) is really embarassing, and now this:

    In case you couldn't tell, it's an album cover.

  • From the trusty MTV News files: "Jessica Simpson's upcoming Christmas album will be sold exclusively at 7-Eleven convenience stores starting this month." 1: Holla for artistc integrity. 2: There's no better way to celebrate the brith of Christ than with the music of Jessica Simpson, a tasty Jalapeno and Cream Cheese 7-Eleven Go-Go Taquito™, and an ice cold 40 oz. Starburst® Fruit and Crème Orange Flavored Slurpee® Drink.

The laughs keep a-comin'.

You might remember Julia Gorin from yesterday's entry on her fun-filled essay about Natalie Portman and that damned colored fella she's shacking up with. Turns out Julia's a stand-up comic too! And wouldn't you know, she blessed us by including one of her latest bits in a recent column:
"At the time of Ronald Reagan's funeral, I had a joke in my stand-up act that went: Seeing that dead ex-presidents get more attention than living ones, Bill Clinton confided to a staff member that he wished he were dead. I even warned audiences that he may try to stage his own death just so he too could have a week-long state funeral for himself. But then, I speculated, he'd let the cat out of the bag, because he wouldn't be able to resist writing a sequel to 'My Life,' called 'My Death.' "

Enter Molly Shannon: "...Don't get me started."
I guaren-f-ing-tee you that her routine includes jokes about her cats.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

The Magnetic Fields and Lemony Snicket present space love.

From today's LA Times:
"For now, the San Francisco-based [Daniel] Handler is looking ahead. He's working with art rock musician Stephin Merritt on a musical about extraterrestrially spread love, prepping for next year's release of a novel for adults, 'Adverbs,' and working on two final Snicket books."

Senate movie night.

pullquote (a great blog about movies-- check it out if you don't already) has the scoop on TCM's plan to air a night of politically-programmed movies. It goes like this: TCM invited senators (John Edwards, Joe Biden, John McCain, and Orrin Hatch) to pick a movie to screen and tape an intro. Here are their picks:

John Edwards: Dr. Strangelove
John McCain: Paths of Glory
Joe Biden: Dead Poets Society
Orrin Hatch: To Kill a Mockingbird

The moral of the story? Kubrick rules and Joe Biden is a pussy.

Fun with stereotypes.

Sully posted a redonkulous quote on his blog today. It was an excerpt from some wacko about Latin men and their nature/downs syndrome, etc. I wondered if Sully was taking it out of context to make this person seem even crazier than the statement.
Nope. Sure wasn't. Allow me to reprint it a larger excerpt-- Surprise! It's about Natalie Portman. And realize this is on a website that promotes "Gen-X Jewry" to think outside the box (read: it's OK to be a conservative Jew!) and to refuse to be "characters in a Seinfeld script or some angst-ridden Woody Allen movie." So the mission statement of this website is to reject group-think and stereotypes.
Now dig on the way-enlightening views of Julia Gorin:

Blame it on Bush: An epic
So a nice young actress making a few million dollars a movie lets her Mexican boyfriend live off of her in the Long Island house she bought near her parents. They spend their time frolicking and going to anti-Bush rallies. The girl's name is Natalie Portman, and her live-off boyfriend is hot new acting sensation Gael Garcia Bernal who, appropriately enough, plays Che Guevara in "The Motorcycle Diaries." In interviews with Bernal--who is the current subject of much adulation among females of all ages — the 26 year-old readily admits that he is very comfortable living off women.

Soon enough, Portman "finds out" that the beautiful Mexican is cheating on her (the Latin thing hadn't tipped her off: a Latino cheating is one who cheats his nature by having only one woman at a time, and if such a Latin man exists, it's probably because he has Downs Syndrome). Needless to say, the princess kicks her Mexican playboy out and is now angrier than ever at George W. Bush. She goes on The Late Show and mocks the president and those who plan to vote for him, while offering praise for Teresa Heinz Kerry: "She's a sexpot!" (Of course the girl takes a shine to the lady: Teresa also happily supplies a mooching man with a lifestyle he otherwise couldn't afford.)

It goes on, but you get the point. Apparently it's totally cool to promote some stereotypes in the act of rejecting others. Or something. All I know is those damn Latins are really hot-blooded.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The Team gets its R.

They had to delete the golden shower scene, but the MPAA finally buckled and gave Team America an R for "graphic, crude and sexual humor, violent images and strong language all involving puppets."

XXX goodness.

If you want to read about some seriously hott girl-in-front-of-girl action, click here.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Late Tuesday night whatevers.

  • Jesus Christ that Veep debate was as dry as... er, your mom. Or something. I'll leave it to El Presidente de Fagistan to make the dry vagina and/or painful anal sex political commentary, but I found the whole thing super lame. Except when Cheney was all "Yeah, Johnny, I ain't met you till now."


  • Hey you know that Hillary Duff movie coming out? The one where she goes to music camp? So at one point in the commercial, Hillary busts out with the olde a capella scale to show off her voice. Will someone please tell me: are we supposed to be amazed with it? 'Cause I kinda think we are... we're supposed to be all "Whooooa. This girl has some talent." But she sounds like a deaf porpoise to me.

  • Do you people read goldenfiddle? No? Bookmark that shit.

  • 2 + 2 = 5.

    1 and 2) Films about doomed relationships.

    Any initial problems I had with Eternal Sunshine have been, uh, erased. I watched the newly-released DVD over the weekend and couldn't believe how perfect it is. Charlie Kaufman's honest-to-the-marrow writing mixed with the one-two punch of the Jim Carrey /Kate Winslet performances and Michel Gondrey's organic camera-trickery floored me (again) and cemented it as the best movie I've seen all year.

    And then there's In the Mood For Love. Re-watching it this weekend convinced me it's one of my all-time favorites. The plot seems so simple and unadorned with acting that is so quiet and understated. Of course, beneath that surface is a fucking vortex of longing and sad irony and hypocrisy, all of it shot with WKW's trademarked controlled sensuality. So classic that I have no problem when people throw around comparisons to Casablanca and Brief Encounter.

    3) "Knock Yourself Out" by Jon Brion (from I ♥ Huckabees).
    Jon's song (essentially the main theme to Huckabees plus lyrics) manages to sum up the film's zen-yearning with precision and whimsey in a pop setting. If only David O. Russell could have done the same.

    4) The Voyager Golden Record.

    In fourth grade my mind was blown when I heard that aboard the Voyager space craft was a Carl Sagan-approved disc of images and sounds and information about Earth. The theory was that as the Voyager drifted out of our solar system and into far away galaxies, some aliens might find it and this disc would explain who we are. Fifteen years later I stumbled across the official NASA page that details everything on the disc. My mind was blown again.

    5) "The Aquarium (From Les Carnival des Animaux)" by Saint-Saens.
    ...aka the theme from Days of Heaven and Visions of Light. I've always loved this weird piece of music that gets used in every Academy Award montage and constantly on TCM. I mistakenly thought that it was part of Morricone's score to Days of Heaven and, as the soundtrack has been long out-of-print, figured I wouldn't be owning it any time soon. Then I did a little interweb research and realized I was 99 cents away from having it. The iTunes store saves the day again.

    Quote of the Day.

    "You know, at the Huckabees premiere I met a guy whose been one of the main conspirators on The Simpsons since its inception. And he was sort of saying to me 'Oh, it's so intimidating what you do just musically.' And he was talking about musicians in general and sort of saying 'I always wanted to be a musician, but you guys just have these crazy brains to be able to do that.' And I was just trying to explain to him 'No, music is easy. It's got 12 characters. That's about half of what we deal with in the English language. The English language is a hundred times harder than music. And there's so many absolutely genius musicians who are incredibly stupid people that will back my theory up.'
    We went our separate ways at the party and I realized that I was finally able to relate it for him. So I said 'Hey, you know how you turn on the TV and you see these 5-year old kids who can play violin like a virtuoso? You might complain that they could be a little more seasoned or emotional, but they're doing it, right? How many 5-year old comedians have you seen that can knock it out of the park? None.' And he looked at me and said 'Wow, that's really reassuring.' And I said 'Man, I'm not being self-deprecating. It's just the truth.'
    Music looks very formidable to people outside of it and it looks like it's this realm of spooky genius. And it's not. It's this very, very simple language that is capable of creating very complex human response and abstract thought and emotion and in terms of architectural thought, it does really cool things."
    --Jon Brion.

    Shock and awe.

    October 11 can't come soon enough.
    Roger Friedman has the first Team America review:

    "Still, in the first few minutes, we get Gary, our Broadway star, performing a song called 'Everyone Has AIDS' in a musical named 'Lease.' (That's a parody of 'Rent,' wink wink.)

    When you realize the refrain is 'Everyone has AIDS, white folks and also spades,' you see the direction we're headed in."

    Monday, October 04, 2004


    This whole He-Man remake idea is a shitty one, especially with the Woo at the helm (oooh, doves in Castle Greyskull). But I think Defamer has one
    great idea:
    "On the bright side, Woo will have the opportunity to correct one of Hollywood's most egregious casting mistakes, and finally give California First Lady Maria Shriver a long-deserved shot at playing Skeletor. She can Pay-Pal ten percent of her check to once the contract is signed."


    Quickly: I often click open my Blogger profile and browse blogs based on the bands and/or movies, etc. that I've listed. When I put Jon Brion on my favorites list, I was one of three or four. Now there are dozens. I'd always noticed this guy's profile 'cause of the freaky picture of his eye, but I never actually read his blog. Little did I realize it was all an elaborate PR stunt. Bravo crafty Hollywood exces. The movie's still not very good... And as far as movie-tie-in-blogs, this one's better.

    O'Reilly falls for it.

    Getting pranked is bad enough, but he doesn't even realize it. And then he uses the unfortunate expression "beef" when... whatevs, just watch it. So juvenile, yet so fun.

    Quote of the day.


    "I confused it with the chicken's neck. I cut it ... and the dog rushed and ate it."

    --Constantin Mocanu. If you can't figure out what he's talking about, realize this comes from a news story entitled "Man Mistakenly Cuts Off Penis, Dog Eats It." Thanks J, for kicking off the work week by IMing me said story without warning.

    Saturday, October 02, 2004

    I Bleh Huckabees.

    If only the film was as good as its trailer and score.
    More later (maybe).
    Time to get drunk.

    Fatigue and bad judgement, not malice.

    Well since Fox News apologized/cleared things up re: this, we can go back to calling the network fair and balanced. Carl Cameron: ace reporter.

    (Via Sully.)

    Friday, October 01, 2004

    Go Omar.

    How did I miss the fact that my friend Omar won the Best Screenplay Award at Deauville? Bitchin', yo.

    Thank you / Quote of the day.

    "You either like Michael Moore or you wanna fuckinin’ go overseas and shoot Iraqis. There can’t be a middle ground. Basically, if you think Michael Moore’s full of shit, then you are a super-Christian right-wing whatever. And we’re both just pretty middle-ground guys. We find just as many things to rip on on the left as we do on the right. People on the far left and the far right are the same exact person to us."

    --Matt and Trey on the M.O. of Team America, as quoted by
    Movie City News.

    Criterion's December releases.

    Lang's M and DeMille's King of Kings.


    I work in an office building at a busy intersection in Beverly Hills. I just looked out my window and saw something I'm not too accustomed to seeing: a deer, one of its legs hurt, hobbling down Wilshire Blvd. with two LAPD motorcyles, three LAPD cruisers, and a Parking Enforcement truck chasing it. Oh and there are a couple of helicopters hovering, so I assume that they are getting all this on tape.


    Music crit of the day.

    "Then again, these session players sound to have been paid $50 and an autographed copy of 'Praise You' while Fatboy drank the high-priced blood of Asian babies from a platinum chalice on the deck of his yacht made from vintage Les Pauls floating in his personal lake filled with the tears of supermodels. "

    --Pitchfork hating on the new Fatboy Slim record.


    Yeah, I would have either [a] died or [b] gone into a blind (fear-based) rage, found something sharp (or blunt) and executed that motherfletcher.
    Yahoo! News - Snake Shuts Theater Showing 'Anacondas'

    [Insert witty Presidential Debate title here.]

    "It's so cute that Bush refers to Putin as 'Vladimir.' That's adorable. They must be totally BFF. I heard that they exchanged little, woven, friendship bracelets at a pizza party that Kerry didn't even know about. Kerry's such a loser."

    --Jessi Klein, blogging the debate for CNN.

    Jessi also touched on one of my favorite bizzaro Bushisms of the night:

    "I love it when Bush refers to al Qaeda as a 'group of folks.' They're a 'group of folks' who hate America. A 'group of folks' usually refers to something more low key, like The Mamas and the Papas."

    Jessi's complete blog is here. As for my take... Briefly: I was really impressed with Kerry. Well, kind of. He remains maddeningly vague on exactly what he's going to do differently in Iraq (if anything) and I think he blew a couple of chances to really smack Bush down. That said, he was (mostly) clear and concise and presidential-- just as he needed to be. For a more ribald post-debate analysis check out Fagistan (duh).

    (Props to Stereogum for the link to Ms. Klein's blog.)