Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Future of Action Films

DIE-CAST FILMS proves you don't need a big budget to make a kick ass "guys fighting killer robots" pic.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Movie Cooties and Marquee Names

Over at his blog, Jason Pinter, aka The Man in Black, asks people whether Mel Gibson's (and Tom Cruise's) recent forays into general fuckwittedness will cause people to avoid their movies.

As I stated in the comments, it really doesn't make any difference to me. The fact that Tom or Mel is in a movie doesn't, in itself, make that movie more or less interesting to me. If the movie interests me, I won't NOT see it because Mel Gibson's in it. If I see a trailer for a movie that, for some reason, grabs my attention, but I see Tom Cruise's name on the credits, I won't go, "Euuuuw! Tom Cruise! He has movie cooties!" On the other hand, their names on the marquees don't make me say "I MUST see this! NOW!"

Which begs the question: who ARE your marquee names? Which actors or actresses WILL draw you to a movie, even if you might be dubious at best about its plot, subject matter, etc.?

Who are the actors who, as the saying goes, you'd pay to see read a phone book?

My own: Robert Duvall. John Cusack. Nicolas Cage. Alan Rickman. Michael Caine. William H. Macy.

Will Ferell's getting there, although after the suck-fest that was Bewitched, I'm still wary. Steve Carell looks promising.

Oddly, there are very few actresses left in this category for me. Frances McDormand and Maria Bello are the only ones who come immediately to mind. Holly Hunter used to be one, but she seems to have dropped off the face of the earth.

The floor is open for your nominations....

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Songs You Will Never, Ever Hear the Same Way Again

"Total Eclipse of the Heart" .

This gives a whole new meaning to the term Heavy Metal.

Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ, Redux

John Podhoretz, according to his Fox News bio, is a "FOX News Channel contributor, a twice-weekly columnist for the New York Post, a weekly columnist for National Review Online, a contributing editor to the Weekly Standard magazine and a consulting editor at ReganBooks.

He was co-founder and deputy editor of the Weekly Standard from 1995-1997 before joining the New York Post as its editorial page editor. Later, he also served as the paper's arts and features editor before becoming a full-time columnist.

Podhoretz has worked at Time, The Washington Times, Insight and U.S. News & World Report."

This guy's Republican/conservative credentials are pretty solid.

He also thinks the problem with the Middle East is that we haven't killed enough civilians .

Ignore the disingenuous use of rhetorical "questions," which are artfully designed to make it seem as if this guy is just a rational seeker after truth, and feast your eyes on these gems:

Could World War II have been won by Britain and the United States if the two countries did not have it in them to firebomb Dresden and nuke Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Didn't the willingness of their leaders to inflict mass casualties on civilians indicate a cold-eyed singleness of purpose that helped break the will and the back of their enemies? Didn't that singleness of purpose extend down to the populations in those countries in those days, who would have and did support almost any action at any time that would lead to the deaths of Germans and Japanese?

What if the tactical mistake we made in Iraq was that we didn't kill enough Sunnis in the early going to intimidate them and make them so afraid of us they would go along with anything? Wasn't the survival of Sunni men between the ages of 15 and 35 the reason there was an insurgency and the basic cause of the sectarian violence now?

So much for our goal being to bring peace and democracy to Iraq. What this Republican pundit thinks we really should have done to secure victory is to exterminate an entire generation of Iraqis.

And, of course, by this logic, what the Israelis need to consider is eradicating all the Palestenians, and one supposes, the remaining Lebanese:

Where do these questions lead us?

What if Israel's caution about casualties among its own soldiers and Lebanese civilians has demonstrated to Hezbollah and Hamas that as long as they can duck and cover when the missiles fly and the bombs fall, they can survive and possibly even thrive?

Since we seem to be fond of the rhetorical question, well then allow me to retort in the same manner: If the only way for our civilization to survive is to become as psychotic as the terrorists, what's the point?

Are You Sure Rebus Done It This Way?

REUTERS: British Police Try Prayer To Help In Catching Crooks

Police in eastern England are looking to God to help them catch vandals and burglars.

The Lincolnshire branch of the Christian Police Association is setting up a "Prayer Watch" scheme to alert Christians to local crimes.

As well as encouraging worshippers to keep an eye out on their churches and each other, the police said the scheme would allow Christians to use prayer to help catch criminals.

"It's largely geared to protecting congregations and church properties which are pretty vulnerable places, but with the added bolt-on aspect of prayer," a Lincolnshire police spokesman told Reuters Wednesday.

Retired London policeman Don Axcell, the national executive director of the Christian Police Association, said God did answer crime-busting prayers.

"I'm a great believer in the power of prayer and all I'd say to the skeptics is that I've seen it work too many times for it to be a coincidence," he told the Lincolnshire Echo newspaper.

Can I get a A-men, children?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Our Long National Nightmare Is Over

Hill fries free to be French again:

The fries on Capitol Hill are French again.
So is the breakfast toast in the congressional cafeterias, with both fries and toast having been liberated from the appellation 'freedom.'
Three years after House Republicans trumpeted the new names to get back at the French for snubbing the coalition of the willing in Iraq, congressmen don't even want to talk about french fries, which are actually native to Belgium, and toast.
Neither Reps. Bob Ney of Ohio nor Walter B. Jones of North Carolina, the authors of the culinary rebuke, were willing this week to say who led the retreat, as it were, from the frying pan. But retreat there has been, as a casual observer can see for himself in the House's basement cafeterias.
"We don't have a comment for your story," said a spokeswoman for Mr. Ney.


....other Democrats, who had called the switch in nomenclature "absurd," are free with the quips.
"Now that they've changed the name of the french fries back, maybe they will admit their other foreign policy mistakes were wrong, too," said Brendan Daly, a spokesman for Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, the House minority leader.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

White Punks On Dope

We’ve all seen them. Those anti-drug PSA’s that try to convince teens not to partake of controlled substances. They range from the merely lame to the downright surreal, like the one with the teenaged girl whose head seems to have been smashed down into her torso, as if she were the victim of some bizarre industrial accident.

Now, I’ll take the ads at face value. I’ll assume that the producers mean well, and that they really do think the ads are going to keep kids from getting high. But I have to tell you, sometimes the ads are so clearly ineffective that they may as well have been made by the drug cartels themselves. I can just hear what’s going through the head of the average American teen: “Man, if that’s the best you can come up with when you’re straight, I better get me some drugs right away.”

You want an ad to keep kids off drugs? Get a bunch of street cops. Ask them to tell the story of the biggest dumbass stoner they ever ran across. Then dramatize it:

FADE IN: a bunch of off duty cops sitting around the gas grill, shooting the breeze:

COP ONE: Yeah, I pulled this kid over. Routine traffic stop, y’know? I get out, approach the car…he opens the door and I see his foot come out. I step back, reach for my weapon…and he leans down and stuffs a plastic bag into the top of his sock. Right in front of me! It was like he didn’t even know I was there! I search him, and of course he's carrying rock...

COP TWO: I got a better one. I get a call from a mechanic. This girl brought her car for an oil change. The mechanic lifts the hood and the girl’s got three pounds of pot stuffed in the engine compartment. So we set there and wait till she comes back. We ask “this your car?” Of course she says yes. When we’re taking her off to jail, she tells us she never figured they’d have to lift the hood to change the oil.

COP THREE: Hey, I remember this guy we caught one time…we were riding down the road and we saw this motorcycle pulled off the road by the woods. We stopped and looked it over, ran the plates and all…as we got back in the car, we see this guy, coming out of the woods..and I swear, he’s got this five foot marijuana plant slung over his shoulder from where he’s pulled it up. He gets on the motorcycle, starts up, and gets about a hundred feet before I stopped him.

COP FOUR: Oh, hey, I got the best one...I was working undercover about three months. Got to know this guy pretty well. We got him on tape selling rocks...we bust him, I testify at his trial, he goes away for about six months. A few days after he gets out, I'm off duty, I see him hitching. I felt kind of sorry for the guy, so I pick him up. I'm in plain clothes, in my personal vehicle. We're riding down the road...and out of the blue, the guy asks me if I want to buy some weed!


COP THREE: Jesus. What a bunch of fucking morons.


Hey, it’s got to work better than the ads they’re doing now…

(Note: I've actually heard all of the above stories from members of law enforcement)

Monday, July 31, 2006

Here's What I Don't Get

When I first heard that Mel Gibson had started an anti-semitic tirade during his recent DWI arrest, I have to admit I was a little skeptical.

It seemed just a little too convenient that, after the whole "Is Passion of the Christ anti-semitic?" brouhaha from last year, Mel would start raging against Jews in public, including yelling about how "the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world."

But after it was confirmed by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, I guess it's true.

But here's what I don't get: how the hell does this subject even come up during a traffic stop?

I mean, it's just such a non sequitir. It's as if when a cop approached me after pulling me for speeding, I started talking about "you know, officer, religion is the opiate of the masses...."

"That's nice, sir, now I need your license and registration..."

I mean, after a few drinks, I ain't exactly linear in my thinking, but that's just bizarre.

Damn Liberals Are Ruining Everything

Yahoo! News: LONDON (Reuters) - An English fishing town has banned the sport of conger cuddling after an animal activist complained.

The tradition, once described as the most fun a person could have with a dead fish, involves one team trying to hit another with a conger eel tied to a rope.

It was popular in Lyme Regis on England's south coast and used as a fund-raising event for the local lifeboat.

But the sport has now been banned after an animal rights activist complained that it was 'disrespectful' to dead fish and threatened to campaign against the event. Animal activists have a reputation for radical action in Britain.

I'm not sure I want to live in a world where they've banned hitting people with an eel tied to a rope.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Wishing Well

Latest Newspaper Column:

It's no secret to my readers here that I've never had much use for Fox News host Bill "Falafel" O'Reilly. But MSNBC's Keith Olbermann has made his feud with O'Reilly a regular feature of his show "Countdown." He's repeatedly listed O'Reilly as one of the top contenders in his "Worst Person in the World" segment, never letting up on O'Reilly's reputation for bullying and sexual predation.

Fox News, for its part, has responded by -- wishing Keith well.

What's this, you say? Is Fox News -- that hotbed of hysterical bashers of anything-not-Bush and one of the last places to take Ann Coulter seriously as a pundit -- actually acting with some class?

Well, no. Not exactly. See, Fox News has turned "we wish him well" into its signature kiss-off, according to recent stories on NPR and The Associated Press. In Olbermann's case, Fox News' PR flack said, among other tidbits, "We hope [Olbermann] enjoys his paranoid view from the bottom of the ratings ladder and wish him well on his inevitable trip to oblivion."

Oooh, snap! And as with any good talking point, Fox likes to use this one over and over. When NBC's Tim Russert had the audacity to suggest that Fox was getting preferential treatment from the White House, Fox's PR flack shot back, "Tim's sour grapes are obvious here, but at least he's not using his father as a prop to sell books this time around. That said, we wish him well on his latest self-promotion tour." (Ever notice how Fox seems to think having written a book is cause for scorn?)

Or take this shot at actor and Oscar-nominated director George Clooney: "It's obvious he needs publicity considering his recent string of failures. We wish him well in his struggle to regain relevancy." (Ever notice how much time Fox spends responding to people it claims are irrelevant?)

Of course, as a Southerner born and raised, I'm familiar with our own homegrown version of Fox's "wishing someone well." Except here it's called "blessing his heart." Like "we wish him well," "bless his heart" can have a meaning that actually is complimentary. Example: "I went over to granny's house and mowed the lawn for her." "Well, bless your heart!" "Bobbi Sue won the spelling bee." "Well, bless her heart!"

But it's also the tag line you can add to the worst insult to make it look like you're not being catty or mean. "Bless her heart, that girl's ugly as a mud fence." Or "That boy's dumber'n a box of rocks, bless his heart."

Maybe it's my own Dixiecentric outlook talking, but it seems to me that "bless his (or her) heart" needs to be used more widely, especially among feuding members of the media.

Take for instance, the recent O'Reilly radio show in which a caller, "Mike from Orlando," mentioned Olbermann's name. ("Mike from Orlando" is actually Mike Stark, whose Web site "Calling All Wingnuts" gleefully recounts his on-air run-ins with right-wing radio hosts.) Now, some radio hosts would have been happy just to hit the cutoff button and move on. Not our Bill. "We have your phone numbers, by the way," O'Reilly warned. "So, if you're listening, Mike, we have your phone number, and we're going to turn it over to Fox security, and you'll be getting a little visit."

Now, the way that was phrased, it sounds -- well, a little freakin' nuts, is how it sounds. I mean, does O'Reilly think Fox Security's coming to knock down the doors of those who irritate him? Think of how much better it would sound like this: "Mike, we have your phone number, and we're going to turn it over to Fox security, and you'll be getting a little visit, bless your heart." Doesn't that sound less insane?

And because fair's fair: Keith Olbermann, you should feel free to toss in a couple of "bless your hearts." Like for instance, on a recent show where you noted that O'Reilly's ratings were trending down while MSNBC's were trending up, it wouldn't have killed you to put it this way: "Bill, seriously, it's slipping away from you. You don't know what to do. You can't even lie well anymore bless your heart."

I'll even take my own advice. Republican icon Ann Coulter recently criticized the "Jersey Girls," the widows of 9/11 victims who've pushed for a fuller investigation of pre-9/11 intelligence failures, saying they're "enjoying their husband's deaths." So I can say, "That Coulter girl is meaner and crazier than a frying pan full of coked-up rattlesnakes on a hot stove. Bless her heart."

Thank you for listening, and I wish you well.

We're Back!

Not sure why people were getting a black screen...Blogger being Blogger, I guess. We seem to be back up and running now, after republishing everything. Miss me?