Saturday, July 30, 2005
The kids are also good, especially Angarno and Danielle Panabaker as Will's "good girl" love interest, who's clearly making her bid to be the next Lohan (and no, Dave Poland, not in that way), and various unknowns as kids both good and bad, most of whom don't get enough time to make a real impression. Allegedly, they're already planning for a sequel and/or a TV series, and I'd watch them. It's not perfect--the script could be sharper, especially for adults, but it's high-quality entertainment and suitable for not just kids, but adults as well.
Although one of our friends remarked that almost everybody in the audience tonight worked in television or film comedy, the wattage was surprisingly low. Paul McCrane, Nia Vardalos (Spacewoman's friend: "she's so C-list -- don't even look at her") There might have been more, but we had to duck out before Paul Provenza's Q&A -- two pregnant ladies with full bladders.
And then the movie. First, probably the less you know about it, the better. If you've read the Observer article about Gilbert Gottfried's act at the September 2001 roast of Hugh Hefner and you've seen the South Park version, you know two of the four best things about the movie (the others being Bob Saget and Sarah Silverman). Still, riotously funny, and best seen in a theater full of people who want to laugh. If you like incest and poo -- and who doesn't? -- this is the movie for you.
Friday, July 29, 2005
Some background here. The Games have not been held in a former Soviet Republic since 1980.
It could have been worse, though. Voters picked Jason Biggs humping a pie as the 10th best scene ever.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
The double agent looked up from his lunch of Mahi-Mahi and couscous and realized that he must escape from Walla Walla to Bora Bora to come face-to-face with his arch enemy by taking out his 30-30 and shooting off his nemesis' ear-to-ear grin so he could wave bye-bye to this duplicitous life, but the chances of him pulling this off were only so-so, much less than 50-50.
edited to add: link fixed.
I'll provide two; you do the rest:
- Somewhere within these boxes and boxes of documents are folders regarding these twenty individuals of interest. You've got eight hours. Find as many of them as you can. (Related: here's 1000 pages of documents. Some number of them are covered by the attorney-client privilege. Get to it.)
- Here is an unfinished brief. Format and print it in conformity with the rules of the United States Court of Appeal for the Seventh Circuit, including the special typography rules. Then, adapt it to conform with the rules of the Supreme Court of the United States. Your judge is this guy.
In other reviews to run tomorrow, Stephen Holden decides that he need not, in fact, love Dogs: "[A]ren't actors supposed to read the screenplays sent to them before they commit to a movie? . . . Ms. Lane and Mr. Cusack have such an acute lack of romantic chemistry that the sight of them pretending to make nice to each other leaves you squirming with discomfort."
Which begs the question: was she never that talented in the first place, or has she just made some really bad decisions?
This provides me with a nice segue into something I've been meaning to talk about for a while. Every summer tends to produce a few songs that are almost inevitably and irreversably linked to that summer--has there been one this year? I know Jessica Simpson's borderline unlistenable "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" and R. Kelly's popera about being "Trapped in the Closet" have been big, but there hasn't been a "Crazy in Love" level smash. My favorite of the summer hit parade so far has to be Anna Nalick's "Breathe (2 A.M.)," which somehow manages to work with its oddball combination of ethereal piano/bass and teengirl lyrics like "I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd/'cause these words are my diary screamin' out loud."
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Maybe I'm just stupid, but won't they know the effect of the debris when the Discovery returns to Earth on August 7? Like, um, when they see if the shuttle blows up or not?
Ah, but reading further, one sees that NASA has a contingency plan: should Discovery turn out to be irreparably damaged, the astronauts will take refuge in the space station until a rescue mission can be launched. Which presumably would involve launching another space shuttle to pick up the Discovery astronauts. But wait -- the program is grounded. So I guess someone at NASA will have to call someone fom the Russian Space Agency: "Guys? Can you send someone to go pick up our astronauts at the space station? Our shuttle has a flat tire."
Just to add to the Keystone Kops feel of the entire thing, the "grounding of the program" has a certain irony to it given that at the moment, there are no future launches scheduled.
The Tournament is already in the second round, but there have been some big first-round upsets including: No. 13 Beano Cook defeating No. 4 Brent Musberger in the Duke Regional, No. 15 Tim Legler taking down No. 2 Lee Corso in the Cowboys Regional, and No. 12 Jeff Brantley beating No. 5 Mike Lupica in the Yankees-Red Sox Regional.
Related: On Milwaukee columnist Steve Czaban has a list of 11 ESPN personalities who do not suck.
(Hat tip to Lindsay Robertson for the link.)
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
I don't know how to say this, so I'll just say it. You and I both know that it's just not going to work out between us.
I just can't put this off any more. It all started a few months ago when I got the wide-screen plasma TV. I was so excited to get the DirecTV HDTiVo and take our relationship to a new level. But my friends told me to take a hard look at where we were going, and I did. I found out that DirecTV is rolling out a new compression technology, MPEG-4, and that it will multiply the number of HDTV channels by a factor of three. I found out that the DirecTV HDTiVo will be obsolete by the end of the year, and that DirecTV will probably launch a buy-back plan. Worst of all, I found out that DirecTV just won't support you any more.
Don't think that this means I don't still love you. I still can't imagine a life without you. I cherish the way that your fast-forward sound has become part of my vocabulary and even something hardwired into my brain, so that if I miss something on a phone call or on the radio I hear your "badoop badoop badoop" and smile. I love the way you gently chide me with a "bomp" when I ask too much of you. I love the little gifts you leave me -- Temptation Island when I least expect it, for example. You even gave my friend Joanna an entire season of DeGrassi -- that's how close you have grown to my friends.
It would be so easy to get the obsoleting box -- it's only $700 now -- and try to savor our last few months together but that would only make it harder when the end finally comes. And I know that I could wait, should wait, until you have your stand-alone box to pair with the DirecTV receiver, but for how long? I'm weak, TiVo. I can't wait forever, and I hear the whispers from those who say that without DirecTV you might not make it. I don't think I could take it if I committed to making this work and you gave up on me. Don't hate me for leaving you before you leave me.
I won't pretend that I'll ever find someone as good for me as you. My friend Richard is with a Comcast DVR, and he's despondent. I won't tell you which parts he says she sucks, but I'm sure that he doesn't mean it in the consenting-adults kind of way.
Maybe someday it will all be better between us, but we can't pretend we're in the same place right now. If we can't have HDTV together, what's left for us? Please remember that you showed me what TV-watching could be, and in that way you changed my life. I will always remember you.
Up next, no lie? Ibsen.
For what it's worth, my favorite Lesser Cusack movies are One Crazy Summer, which is a total 80s lark, and True Colors, in which Cusack and James Spader play roles that seem to have been written for each other.
But that's another story. Here's a cute article about the reactions received by an SF Chronicle book reviewer after he gave a tepid review to Harry Potter VI.
So let's see: when last we saw our heroes, they were driving along the California coast in Vaughn's way-too-expensive-for-a-CIA-guy car, cooingly cooing about how they should just elope rather than have to deal with Jack Bristow's effort to impersonate a happy father of the bride. Vaughn chose that moment to reveal to his bride-to-be that he wasn't actually the guy she thought she was marrying, and before said bride-to-be had a moment to react, a big SUV slams into the car in a rather serious fashion. Cut to big ALIAS across a black screen signifying that everyone has to wait many many months to find out what's going on.
My guess for the beginning of the pregnant-Jennifer Garner season premiere: Faux Vaughn lies comatose in a hospital bed. He awakens. Sydney is summoned. She walks into Faux Vaughn's hospital room, and both Faux Vaughn and the audience simultaneously come to the realization that Syd is pretty darned pregnant. "Vaughn," Syd says, with that super-intense-spy-girl-with-a-heart look we have come to know and love, "you've been in a coma for six months." And the BOMP (aka the Alias theme song) ensues.
It's a little obvious, but the parallel between this and the "Syd, you've been dead for two years" knock-out finale from Season 2 amuses me. Anyone got anything better?
The artificially-accented Gordon will play the genuinely-accented Drescher's Cousin Brianna, and will sing at a bar mitzvah in the season's inaugural episode. Also appearing in the premiere are Rachel Hunter (who now apparently gets pegged as Dancing with the Stars' Rachel Hunter instead of Rod Stewart's ex-wife Rachel Hunter or Playboy's Rachel Hunter or the Rachel Hunter Lowland Gorilla Fund's Rachel Hunter) as well as Drescher's own parents, Sylvia and Morty Drescher.
In other news, Drescher's Pomeranian, Esther, is joining the show as a series regular.
Monday, July 25, 2005
In fact, I know so little about painting that I could happily join the masses in pretending to sort the merits of Monet vs. Manet vs. the various Hang In There! posters adorning their co-workers' cubicles. Oink!
(1) In this week's episode, they introduced three new characters -- two cheerleaders and the new hot guy, all with major speaking roles. At this point, there are more characters on DeGrassi than there are teens in Canada.
(2) The aforementioned "new hot guy" is a hideously ugly gay half-Asian mop-top with ADD (who, of course, can't act). For good measure, they threw in his two (real) hideously ugly gay half-Asian brothers. Watching these three throw the football around is to regular football as watching the Sharks take on the Jets is to gang warfare. At this point, there are more hideously ugly gay males on DeGrassi than there are teens in Canada.
(3) They're setting up the new hideously ugly gay half-Asian mop-top as Emma's new love interest. Let's review earnest good-girl Emma's love life. First she dated the troubled boy who fled his home town after deafening a kid in a fight. Chemistry: Zero. Then she dated the deejay with the debilitating speech impediment. Chemistry: Zero. Then she blew the stoner in an abandoned van to get a homemade bracelet. Chemistry: Zero. Gonorrhea: One. Up next: a half-Asian Crispin Glover with a Carol Brady haircut. At this point, there are more implausible love interests for Emma than there are teens in Canada.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
But Walken's more than just the old guy playing the father; he stands for the whole idea of order and rank in society, the sense of an iron structure of probity and mature responsibility against whose rock-hard foundation the anarchistic stylings of Wilson and Vaughn lash and crash. Though Walken's not particularly funny, Wilson and Vaughn (who are particularly funny) wouldn't be funny without him. He contains them. He contextualizes them. He is rock and hard place. In fact, for them to be funny, he cannot be funny. In not being funny he is . . . really funny.
There are just two problems with this conceit: He has almost no lines and no character, only a wardrobe.
So it all comes down to actor's tricks, of which he has a hatful. The best in this movie is his glare. His usual mode of being is the pompous pontification where, completely absorbed in his own power and magnificence, he is unaware of the world around him, or at least convinced that it exists only to further honor him.
Hunter concludes, "Mr. Walken, you are hereby declared an honorary earthling and requested to stay around another couple of millennia. Thank you."