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April 2002 Archives

April 30, 2002

Woody: "Soon-Yi hasn't seen my

Woody: "Soon-Yi hasn't seen my movies." Maybe that's because she was like 5 when all the good ones came out. "Daddy -- I mean, honey -- your movies just aren't a part of Gen X's cultural vocabulary."

DON'T TELL WOODY I SAID THAT. He won't smile at me next time I see him at Elaine's.

Another archival MTV post: Jump

Another archival MTV post: Jump The Shark's commentary on 120 Minutes, specifically on Dave Kendall's departure from the show in the very early 1990's, really sums up what went wrong with MTV and with the music industry during those couple of years. Couldn't stand him at the time, but hearing Dave Kendall blagging on about Teenage Fanclub sounds like TV heaven these days.

It's about time: Adam Curry's

It's about time: Adam Curry's mother's blog. (sort of via Babak, sort of via Adam Curry.)

The British government has just

The British government has just officially said that employers should pretty much just let their employees ditch out of work to watch World Cup matches this summer, since they're just going to do it anyway. And bars can start serving at 8am, when many of the games in Korea will be broadcast in England. Also, people who look like they might be of the ethnicity that England is playing in a match that day can be legally killed by angry street mobs. [via Becky-bug]

April 29, 2002

Did you ever read the

Did you ever read the funny reviews on Amazon about the Family Circus comic anthologies? That was the funniest thing ever on Amazon, then they got pulled. This guy's reviews are pretty funny, too. (via Slate.)

Cicciolina is back. You decide

Cicciolina is back. You decide which of these two quotes is better:

  • "I'm going to put Monza on the world map. Everyone knows my name and so people will come to Monza to see me because I am famous and that will bring lots of money to the city," declared the blonde, Hungarian-born porn star.
  • "I won't be getting my tits out because it's not about them this time, it's about more serious issues," she said.

It's about time somebody wrote

It's about time somebody wrote this: a look at the movies made from Philip K. Dick's writing (via fimoculous). Blade Runner, Total Recall, and now Minority Report, and some others you may not have heard of.

The article asserts that Memento may be the purest PKD movie, even though PKD had nothing to do with. I like that idea...it's like way that things can be Lynchian even when David Lynch had nothing to do with them.

My plot summary of every PKD novel ever: "Man thinks he is someone. Man thinks he is not someone. Man thinks he is someone. Man turns out to be someone. Or maybe not." Shorter yet: Internal monologue from every PKD novel ever: "Am I who I think I am?" (By contrast, internal monologue from every other novel ever: "Who am I?")

Salon's derisive article on the

Salon's derisive article on the decadent car race Gumball 3000, a rally of super-rich playboys careening across America, creates the problem of of trying to make the event seem like an immoral bunch of wealthy European louts wreaking havoc on our pristine American highway system, while simultaneously making it all undeniably attractive in a deviant, self-indulgent way. I recommend reading the whole article, it's very funny, but here are some highlights in case you don't.

"This year, America is the lucky host of the 4th annual cash-ejaculating orgy known as the Gumball 3000 Rally." "Since 1999, zillionaire scofflaws have been terrorizing cities across Europe and Russia in a weeklong burn down the roadways in the finest and fastest cars money can buy, speeding outrageously, fucking everything, spinning donuts, laying patches, binge-drinking top-shelf liqueurs, soiling the sheets of venerable Chateaux, crashing frequently and buying their way out of trouble every mile along the way with the haughty devil-may-care insouciance that can only be assumed by gilded dirtbags who regard a flaming Ferrari in a ditch as an amusing tax write-off."

Thank heavens Steve McQueen is already dead.

April 28, 2002

NYT on Tobey Maguire's becoming

NYT on Tobey Maguire's becoming Spider-Man. Unlike many long-time Spider-Man devotees, I was glad when I heard Tobey got the part. There is an element of Peter Parker that very few other actors could really capture. Jude Law is great and everything, but come on. Remember how everyone got all bent out of shape when Michael Keaton got chosen to be Batman, and then the movie came out and nobody wanted anyone but Keaton to be Batman? The same thing, I think, will happen here.

See if you can spot

See if you can spot the post-modern moment in this story about Lisa Left Eye Lopes. Hint: The sentence begins with praise from band-mate Chilli Thomas, and ends with "tearful phone call to Total Request Live."

Bonus: Which 70s glam rock star who is almost as famous as The Beatles WAS CO-WRITING MATERIAL for Left Eye's forthcoming solo project?

Hollywood studio exec on Robert

Hollywood studio exec on Robert Blake case: "In the world of Hollywood, you have to think like Hollywood. There's the major motion picture from a big studio, then there's the independent successful film, then big television, then the good art film, then the bad one, then bad television, then schlock movies, and then celebrity boxing, the bottom of the rung," the executive said. "These people aren't even at celebrity boxing status. Why should we care?"

Hmmm...Maybe you should care because one person, who is famous because your system made him so, killed another person, whose obsession with fame and famous people was triggered by the cult of celebrity you endorse in every way, including in this statement. Maybe you should care because at a cocktail party one time you told him you loved him in Lost Highway. I wish at that party he told you he was at your house at the exact moment you were talking to him, and he made you call him on your cell phone. And then later he made your head explode.

April 26, 2002

Ozzy's daughter has an advice

Ozzy's daughter has an advice column in Young Miss, aka YM*. It reads like they edited the hell out of it, but some of it makes sense. Much better than the dumb advice columnist/copy editor at Salon.

*(via fimoculous)

Special guest blogger, SKT, has

Special guest blogger, SKT, has this to say about Carson Daly: Did you see John Leguizamo on Carsonshitlick last night? It was good but Carson doesn't know shit about interviewing. It looked like he studied the transcript of John L. interview on Rosie like a year ago and then asked the same questions and had him explain the same stories. I know these things are scripted but come on? Carson and his preppy ass. Flick he reminds me of that kid in high school who constantly brings up stupid stories and jokes, takes forever explaining them and setting them up, and then repeats over and over "Do you remember how funny that was?" or "Dude, that was so cool." He takes too long asking questions that really suck. For example, he'll ask something and then start to ramble: "So what did it feel like playing this part? Was it like "wow look at me I'm on stage." or was it like, " Ah, no big deal." Because I know for you, you've had a lot of fun working in films but, I think if I was on stage, I'd be freaking out" ...........blah blah blah more LA Chat we don't give a dick about. What the hell? Do this on your other shitty show TRL, where the girls wanna scream and strip you naked, you little prick, and for once let your guest talk! The only cool thing I learned about that interview (because shitlick wouldn't shut up about sleeping on the stage) was that John L. has a beagle. The rest was all the same stuff he talked about on Rosie when Moulin Rouge came out. When he was younger he got arrested for some oddball things. I'm sure you've heard about it.

Nevada has approved a license

Nevada has approved a license plate design featuring mushroom clouds. (Sorry, that's the best pic I could find.)

This trend of terrible pictorial license plates, in my opinion, all started with Pennsylvania's Tiger license plate. What do tigers have to do with Pennsylvania? Aren't they the ones who also have a plate with a big old-timey ship on it?. Attention Pennsylvania: You are LAND-LOCKED! And you don't have any tigers in your state. Oh and check out this other terrible PA plate, featuring a giant train that looks like a sausage. How can you even tell what this is supposed to represent when you see it from 20 feet away on the highway...the interminable highway that is the state of Pennsylvania.

Amy's Robot brings you Vol.

Amy's Robot brings you Vol. 36 of Things That Will Make You Puke: JACKO. [via King Pigeon]

April 25, 2002

Do you know what glasses

Do you know what glasses Denis Leary wore on last night's episode of The Job? These glasses. That's which glasses.



PS. What the fuck is this? We're paying for this? I want my 258 dollars back.

I didn't even have any

I didn't even have any idea that Madonna was going to star in a new London musical. Maybe I was too distracted by all the other hollywood actors with zero stage experience who are starring in plays these days. At least some of them are ruggedly handsome.

April 24, 2002

The Osbournes. Jack and Lola

The Osbournes. Jack and Lola the bulldog's scene of furry poolside love, passion, and vomiting: BEST TELEVISION EVER.

I watched this fantastic Women

I watched this fantastic Women In Prison movie last night on Fox, called 24. In it, this really irritating teenage girl was in a holding cell in an L.A. jail with lots and lots of other young, thin, attractive, and non-urine-stained women who all looked like they shop at Urban Outfitters. You know, like in every L.A. jail's holding cell. Then some fights broke out, there was a even one girl on top on another girl, and she ripped her shirt right open! Those women in prison sure are lusty. The teenage boyfriend in the movie was in a separate holding cell, where presumably all the young, attractive men in prison who shop at Abercrombie & Fitch go.

Then I switched over to the "descriptive TV" version of the show, as described below by ADM. Hey, I have cable. So at the end of the show when the irritating teenage girl gets kidnapped.... AGAIN... ( I can hardly go on ), here's what the descriptor said to me:

Describer: The police car Kim is riding in smashes into a van containing Serbain kidnappers.
Kim Bauer: "No! No!"
Describer: [yaaaawwwn] Hey, is there any more ice cream in the freezer?

I also wonder what my own hometown poet Charles Simic thinks of all this bad TV characterization his countrymen are getting.

Have you ever heard or

Have you ever heard or heard of "descriptive TV"? That's where a narrator describes for blind people what is happening on a TV show, sort of like closed captioning for people who can't see. Apparently, there's some senseless controversy about it. Anyway, here's an example of descriptive TV for The Simpsons.

And...here's an example of descriptive TV for Fox's hit show 24:

Kim Bauer: "Any time, any place, inside, outside, you just BRING IT ON!!"
Describer: "SluttyTeenageGirlfriend stares at Kim. Kim huffs and walks away."

[10 minutes later...]

Kim Bauer: "I love you so much, Mommy!"
Mrs. Bauer: "I love you too, sweetie. I'll see you soon."
Describer: "Kim Bauer hangs up. The police car she is riding in smashes into a van containing Serbian kidnappers and Dennis Hopper. Serbian kidnappers yell at Kim and try to abduct her again."
Kim Bauer: "No! No!"
Describer: "Just be glad you are blind."

April 23, 2002

Coming April 2003: Take Our

Coming April 2003: Take Our Gender-Neutral Children to Work Day.

24. At what point does

24. At what point does a show become so manipulative that you must -- out of principle and for the love of God -- stop watching it?

Maybe it's when the kidnapped daughter's police escort back to mommy's arms somehow smashes directly into the van of the Serbian kidnappers, who happen to have just kidnapped the father, Kiefer Sutherland.

You have got to be kidding. You have GOT to be kidding.

Last night on Comedy Central,

Last night on Comedy Central, comedian Lewis Black did his stand-up bit. It was pretty typical for him: he talked about how much he hates absolutely everything in a very funny way. He also wore his typical outfit, that seems to be standard for bad-boy stand-ups: all black, with black leather jacket. You may have seen this outfit before. It is also popular with Denis Leary, and many other comedians who are all apparently taking their fashion, cigarette-smoking, and joke cues from old, dead favorite Bill Hicks. As far as I can tell, he started it all.

Another good, funny comedian who smokes and often wears all black is Dave Attell, who has a show on CC called Insomniac. In this week's show on Wednesday at 10:30, he will be exploring the nightlife of Charleston, West Virginia. Can't wait.

Salon has a terrific interview

Salon has a terrific interview with Robert Young Pelton, author of the The World's Most Dangerous Places. He seems to be the only journalist/writer able to document what was really happening in Afghanistan.

Read: Will the New York

Read: Will the New York City Street Parking Exchange solve my parking problems? (nyt: free reg req'd)

April 22, 2002

The Onion has this (legitimate)

The Onion has this (legitimate) interview with Peter Bogdanovich, whom A & I have been talking about a lot lately. The interview brings up a lot of issues A & I have discussed, such as the way that PB's contribution to film is not so much his work as a director, but rather his perspective on, and love of, film history.

Looks like rising star Shakira

Looks like rising star Shakira has realized she looked really trashy and cheap with that bleached hair color, and has gone for a softer, more honeyed tone. This new color, as seen in action while she performed Dude Looks Like a Lady with Steve Tyler on the MTV Aerosmith Tribute Of Vomit, looks like an exact copy of another certain teen pop star's hair color when she started getting famous. Hopefully, Shakira will stay true to her Colombian/Lebanese roots.

We're watching Law & Order:

We're watching Law & Order: Criminal Intent, starring Vincent D'Onofrio as "The Only Character Worth Watching". Having seen this show maybe 6 or 7 times now, I have definitively concluded that the show operates according to a certain formula every week. Here it is.

  1. Body discovery or conflict setup followed by off-camera murder.
  2. Vincent creates initial hypotheses, identifies Suspect #1, but doesn't seem quite convinced.
  3. Vincent and Blonde Lady discover nuance of Suspect #1 which makes them identify Suspect #2.
  4. Vincent/Blonde Lady visit Suspect #2 and get new info which leads them to Clue Generator #1. Suspect #2 shows signs of his/her particular neurosis.
  5. Visit to Clue Generator #1 makes them think about Suspect #2 in a different light. This is called "The Twist".
  6. Different light leads to Clue Generator #2.
  7. Visit to Clue Generator #2 gives them enough to visit Courtney Vance.
  8. Courtney says, "Find Clue Generator #3 and use it against Suspect #2."
  9. Vincent visits Clue Generator #2 again and uses it to find Clue Generator #3.
  10. Vincent visits Clue Generator #3, and uses it to arrest Suspect #2.
  11. Vincent interrogates Suspect #2 without much luck.
  12. Vincent re-vists friend of Suspect #2, garners some small piece of new information.
  13. In second interrogation of Suspect #2, Vincent combines new information with neurosis-exploitation and good-cop routine, causing Suspect #2 to have an emotional breakdown and confess everything.
Also, maybe I've said this before, but the show is turning into L&O: Special Victims Unit, which is very grisly and stupid. I hope they make it less so.

Here is why I am

Here is why I am considering never watching any TV at all ever again: The 2002 World Music Awards. They were on ABC last night. Here are some of the performers at this exciting, exotic, and international awards ceremony: Destiny's Child, Ja Rule, O-Town, Alicia Keys, Michael Bolton, and Enya, who I guess is technically still from Ireland. Hosts were Jennifer Love Hewitt, Shaggy, and the guy from Sugar Ray.

But even this heinosity was probably better than the Ja Rule/Nelly recreation of "Walk This Way" on MTV's Aerosmith Icon show. Joe Simmons probably had an aneurysm.

April 21, 2002

Is Uma Thurman a good

Is Uma Thurman a good actress?

That's the question that most perplexes me after seeing Chelsea Walls, which opened here on Friday. A fictional movie about the characters who inhabit NYC's Chelsea Hotel, the film follows about a half-dozen characters for a few days of their lives in the hotel. It's Ethan Hawke's directorial debut, and it shows. He seems to aim for the sort of lightness of touch and easy-pacing of Richard Linklater, his friend and (I guess) quasi-mentor, but it doesn't quite work. There isn't enough variation* of conflict or character to your hold your interest through the slow parts, and it's all slow parts. That means that if you develop a connection to the movie, it has to be through either the characters or the actors, and that might not happen.

Some of the characters -- Kris Kristofferson's, Jimmy Scott's, especially -- are inherently compelling. Others -- such as Uma's, and Vincent D'Onofrio's -- pretty much rely on your pre-existing connection to them as actors to sustain your interest, since neither their storylines or their characters are, for most of the film, particularly original or exciting.

One surprise was Robert Sean Leonard, who gives a fairly nuanced peformance as a Minnesotan singer/songwriter just arriving in New York. Steve Zahn, as his roommate, is a nice foil, but (as always) doesn't get enough screen time. Natasha Richardson is her usual casually neurotic self, and Kevin Corrigan (who you'd know if you saw) is a balancing element, if only briefly.

But, Uma. I hate to use this word in the context of acting, because I think it's pretentious, but here goes: she made CHOICES. Her character seems to be one of those down-trodden, wall-flower types, but she plays it with two twists, neither of which are particularly subtle, and left me confused about her character. Did Uma make her character multi-layered or inconsistent? I don't know yet. But aside from Kris Kristofferson, she certainly made her performance the most interesting.

final notes:

  • The score by Jeff Tweedy/wilco is perfect and almost always present.
  • The writing, by Nicole Burdette, is often outstanding, but sometimes doesn't make the conversion from her play to the film quite right.
  • The film was shot on digital video. sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It is not nearly as well shot as The Anniversary Party.

*my friend TBL pointed this out as the film's main problem.

April 19, 2002

Ides of April. This seems

Ides of April. This seems like a semi-appropriate place to document my long-standing belief that there is something intrinsically terrible about April 19 and 20. To wit:

That train crash was yesterday, 4/18. I wonder if something else bad is going to happen.

Rex, the guy who runs my favorite blog, apparently has the same feelings, except on a personal level.

Read: Salon has an interview

Read: Salon has an interview with Christopher Byron, author of that new Martha Stewart book. Lots of stuff about gender politics. I don't think he quite gets it right when he talks about people's love/hate relationship with her. I think he abstracts it too much. Full disclosure: I went to high school with the girl (ok, woman) who was Byron's research assistant on the book. We got along about as well as Byron and Martha.

The Susan Stroman/Trevor Nunn production

The Susan Stroman/Trevor Nunn production of "Oklahoma" on Broadway...well, it is one weird show. The play itself (the Story Of America, says the NY Times) has a lot of dark subject matter anyway, but the themes of this show were pretty much loneliness and alienation. When the villain Jud Fry sings "I'm awake in a lonely room", with a forebodingly dark sky setpiece behind him, an audience identification with his character, that is absent in other productions, and in the movie, is undeniable. Also, Laurie's character in this production is basically the story of a young butch lesbian in overalls freaking out and finally caving to convention and agreeing to marry Curly the Cowboy, who opportunistically proposes right after Laurie is almost raped. During the Dream Ballet sequence, she actually runs away from all the men pursuing her, chases after these two twin sisters, and carouses with some sexy burlesque-dancing ladies. Shirley Jones never did anything like that.

Retailer to skanky girls Abercrombie

Retailer to skanky girls Abercrombie & Fitch: Chinese people can't pronounce R's.

Ok, how about this reaction from the skanks at A&F: "Carney said the popular youth clothing maker had believed the shirts might appeal to Asian-American consumers, and was surprised by the hostile reception they received."

J. Lo is a skank.

J. Lo is a skank. There I said it. So sue me.

Quentin Tarantino is publishing his

Quentin Tarantino is publishing his first novel, which apparently will also serve as the screenplay for his next film. I think this is good. I think he's been under a lot of pressure to move forward creatively, and I'm guessing he probably didn't figure out how to do it until maybe a year ago. Regardless of what revisionists say, Pulp Fiction in my opinion was the defining film of the 1990s, and Tarantino deserves more credit than he's gotten. The countless knockoffs of PF cheapened it, and I think people displaced their contempt for the knockoffs onto Tarantino and PF.

April 18, 2002

Japanese tourists invade Palestinian war

Japanese tourists invade Palestinian war zone.

Ally McBeal is cancelled!! Ally

Ally McBeal is cancelled!! Ally McBeal is cancelled!!

The Amy's Robot team learned

The Amy's Robot team learned some important things about the only good show on ABC, The Job. Lenny Clarke, who plays Frank, is hugely fat on the show, but since shooting this season has lost probably 150 pounds. In this full-fat BEFORE photo, he is wearing a tux. Here he is AFTER, along with Bill Nunn and Amy. We were hanging out with our new mutual friend, Denis Leary. This photo documentation of last night's summit meeting of Amy's Robot and The Job brought to you by ADM. Also, Diane Farr, who plays Jan, used to be on MTV's Loveline. Even though ABC gave the appearance of committing to this critically-acclaimed but ratings-challenged show last week by saying they would show back-to-back episodes for the rest of the season, now it turns out that the season ends on Wednesday. So tape it while you can.

Also: at the Museum of Television and Radio, on their staff they have someone with the job title Curator of Television. This is a job that I COULD HAVE.

April 17, 2002

Though I actually only caught

Though I actually only caught the last ten minutes of 24, it seems apparent that when this show features Kiefer scenes for 85% of the episode, it's successful. Periodic windows into the other characters' stories seemed to just confirm "Hey, nothing interesting going on here.... OK back to KIEFER!" In the teaser for next week: Hideously Irritating Teenage Kiefer Spawn Child turns into Kirsten Dunst.

A side note on Benjamin

A side note on Benjamin Bratt's marriage: He is continuing a tradition of incredibly handsome famous men, dumped from very high-profile relationships with superstars, who then get married pretty quickly to some lesser celebrity. See the cases of famous break-ups Damon Albarn and Justine Frischmann, and Johnny Depp and Kate Moss. If BB acts the way these guys did, his new wife will be pregnant by the summer.

24. For the first time

24. For the first time in a while, it wasn't The Worst Episode Ever. Is it just because I turned down the volume every time David Palmer was on screen and Kiefer wasn't? Maybe. But maybe -- just maybe -- it was because not only was Lou Diamond Phillips a special guest star BUT SO WAS DENNIS HOPPER. Well, if you've got Kiefer, La Bamba, and Frank Booth all in one show, it's gotta be good.

How was the chemistry between La Bamba and Kiefer? Well shit. Haven't you seen Young Guns?? What about YOUNG GUNS 2?? Well do yourself a favor...go out and see those and then we'll talk. Of course they were awesome together. Of course there was explosive tension. And that was before Dennis Hopper even showed up and revealed his menacing Serbo-Alabaman accent. That was before Kiefer's daughter said even stupider stuff than she usually does. That was before the guy with the soul patch intuited that Kiefer's wife had "some kind of temporary memory loss". But it was after the writers for the show posited that the Department of Defense maintains underground prisons in wildlife refuges that serve as temporary holding places for ONE prisoner at a time, guarded by 3 guys, La Bamba, and some janitors. Realistic, no. Exciting? Not particularly. But La Bamba was cool as a cucumber.

April 16, 2002

So, Benjamin Bratt, who (contrary

So, Benjamin Bratt, who (contrary to predictions) was dumped by Julia Roberts, bounced back and married Talisa Soto on Saturday.

This story, translated from the Spanish by Google, announces their love. If you liked that one, here's their wedding announcement.

I guess there are worse people to watch have sex.

As a little teaser for

As a little teaser for tonight's episode of 24, here's is an excerpt from an interview that Television Without Pity did with the actress who plays Lady MacPalmer, the Senator's wife. I just cut straight to the part where she talks about working with Kiefer (bottom of the page), which is probably all anybody cares about. Trivia tidbit: she and the actor who plays Senator David Palmer have actually played husband and wife before.

My one hope for tonight's episode is that idiot teenager Kim Bauer realizes that being taken by the police is probably the best case scenario for her at this point, and she stops her whining.

Read: There's a new daily

Read: There's a new daily newspaper in NYC: The New York Sun, which launches today. The paper's official site is extremely lacking, so here's a rundown of the front page stories:

  • Iraqi opposition leader warns of abysmal planning.
  • NY wine lovers sue state over import laws.
  • Bloomberg and welfare reform.
  • "Hillary walks the tightrope".
  • Interview with Lech Walesa by Peggy Noonan.
  • Metal Rolodexes are no longer being made.
  • Red Sox "barely" beat Yankees.
  • Ant colony largest ever.
  • Rent control in NYC.
The paper has a very antique look to it. The type is very 1920s, as is the masthead. It includes phrases like "Published at New York City" and the front page doesn't have a reference to their (crappy) website. The text is very small and tightly packed, like old-timey newspapers. The paper supposedly will have a conservative editorial slant.

I wonder how long it will last. It doesn't seem like it's really going to appeal to "the working man" or "the working woman". Mostly it seems like it will appeal to old conservative people who still have good eyesight.

Has the Bush administration misunderestimated

Has the Bush administration misunderestimated the consequences of re-writing official transcripts to remove his verbal flubs?

MTV, like English music fans

MTV, like English music fans (see below): Geniuses or Idiots? After the wild success of the best show they have ever produced, The Osbournes, MTV is considering making other reality-sitcom shows with people like Puff Daddy and Brandy. Don't they get it? The Osbournes is a good show because it stars The Osbournes. They could make a hospital drama with that family, they could make a blind date game show, anything starring Ozzy Osbourne & Co. would probably be good. Unless they're going to make their next reality show star Sebastian Bach, much like VH1 already has, forget it.

The NME's reader survey just

The NME's reader survey just declared The Smiths to be the most important band ever. Edging out the Beatles, David Bowie, Stone Roses (who only had ONE GOOD ALBUM) and the Rolling Stones. Funny, no mention made anywhere in this article about U2. Seems English music fans are pretty adept at recognizing mediocrity in the case of U2 (snark), but The Stone Roses? I love "Elephant Stone" and everything, but still.

Germans love cars more than

Germans love cars more than babies. But they love babies, too. (via Babak)

April 15, 2002

Read: Now, documentaries are being

Read: Now, documentaries are being paid for by sneaker companies, and getting entered into film festivals. Objective: To win over teens who are "resistant to traditional marketing channels". Wow, this post makes me want to puke almost as much as that one about nasal maggots.

I can whole-heartedly endorse Blade

I can whole-heartedly endorse Blade II : it is a wonderful and stylish action/vampire movie. One of the best parts of the movie is Kris Kristofferson, who seems to have gained a real understanding of what his strengths are. He delivers some of the best one-liners I've heard in ages. This biography of him from Internet Movie Database pretty much reads like my own personal dream biography. I think I can guarantee that there is at least one surprise in there for you, even if you already know all the Johnny Cash-related stuff.

April 12, 2002

My name is Roger Ebert,

My name is Roger Ebert, and ever since last year, I can't help but believe that every movie is the best movie ever. [This post originally pointed to a series of reviews from Ebert -- maybe 15 of them -- in which he gave nearly every one 3 or more stars (out of 5). This has happened a few times since 4/02.]

Read: Here's an article about

Read: Here's an article about pornographic boy band fan fiction, of the sort that features various members of N'Sync making out with each other. This all comes out of the Spock/Kirk stuff.

April 11, 2002

Salon has an interview with

Salon has an interview with John Leguizamo, re Sexaholix's premiere on HBO this week. Did you see him in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet? He almost saved it. Did you see him in The Pest, my funniest movie ever? Did you see him in Son of Sam? It sucked, but I think he thought it was great. Oh, yeah, and Toulouse-Lautrec in Moulin Rouge. The interview isn't so funny, but it's a window.

Salon also has a review of The Cat's Meow, a film about William Randolph Hearst and all the other people pilloried in Citizen Kane. The review focuses on Hearst's lover Marion Davies (pic), who was the Susan Alexander character in Kane. Do you know what Rosebud references? Hearst did.

Regarding Amy's earlier post (below)

Regarding Amy's earlier post (below) about Coincidence Design:

v funny. seems like a joke:

  • the registrant of the domain name claims to be in dallas, texas. the site says they are based in chicago.
  • the answer to the FAQ about "i am a woman" is too cheeky to be real, no?
  • they registered their domain name through dotster.com which is not one of the 2 main domain name registries, which indicates an abnormal computer geekiness that i find inconsistent with the someone who would actually implement
    a business such as this.
oh, wait, i think i figured it all out:

the domain name is registered to jason bourne.

jason bourne is the lead character in The Bourne Identity, which is that new movie with Matt Damon.

This seems to be another one of those media virus-type marketing campaigns launched by a movie studio, a la the one for Spielberg's AI.

i just looked up some details here. I didn't finish reading it, but it seems to support the idea of it as a hoax.

amy and adm: network detectives

ps. amy expresses relief that this is a hoax.

Update: This is indeed a hoax, but apparently it's not connected to the movie, I learned from this very, very detailed article.

ABC is finally doing something

ABC is finally doing something right. Not only have they brought back The Job from the dead, but they are going to be showing two back-to-back episodes every Wednesday at 9, well, I guess until they just show all of 'em. This week's glorious return did not feature any examples of Denis Leary's character's open alcohol and drug abuse, but did include speculations about the sexual prowess of women of different races that was pretty much bald-faced racism, and made suggestions about a couple incorporating a sock puppet into their amorous encounters.

For The Job fans in New York, Denis Leary and co-producer Peter Tolan, and some other cast members, are going to be at the Museum of Television and Radio giving a 'seminar' about the show on Wednesday. I bet it will be hilarious.

Gender-politics media post: Be warned.

Gender-politics media post: Be warned.

In yesterday's NY Times, there was an Op-Ed piece by Maureen Dowd about how now, again, there's research coming out indicating that the more successful and self-sufficient a woman is, the less likely she is to have a husband or children. The reverse is true for successful men. The article is mainly about women age 35 and up, but actually includes the statistic that over 50% of "career women" age 35 do not have children. I find this almost impossible to believe. But first, what is a "career woman"? Do the ladies who do manicures and work checkout at Target count? If they do, then how can that factoid be true? Also, Maureen Dowd starts the piece by saying that men won't ask her out because she's too successful (Editor at the NYT, after all) and is, therefore, intimidating. WHAT? Look at this woman! If I look like that at age 50, which she is, I'll be grateful. And she can't get a date? As Cher says, and as she quotes in the article, snap out of it guys.

It seems like young men are not like this, but then again, I don't have a boyfriend. Could it be that this love-of-unimpressive-women is only true for men, say, 35-50, and that men in my age group, 25-30, who grew up after the second wave of feminism had already happened, don't have this problem? God, I hope so. Otherwise I will probably end up being Cynthia Heimel. (this excerpt gives you a good idea.) Which, actually, might not be so bad.

Another side note: this company called Coincidence Design will stalk a person that you have seen on the street for you, learn intimate details of their life which they report back to you, and then actually set up a "chance encounter" for you, like seating you together on a plane, getting you stuck in an elevator together, etc., so you can then work your nasty, creepy, pathological stalker charm on them. And guess what? They only work for men, and will only stalk women. Wonder why that might be. Because men are more likely to sue if they find out they are under surveillance? Because women are less likely to need a method as lame as this to meet people? Becky let me know about this one. She and I both hope this website/company is just an elaborate joke or performance art or something.

April 10, 2002

Read: Here's a lengthy rundown

Read: Here's a lengthy rundown from the Daily News of September 11th scams.

Here is what is so

Here is what is so great about ADM's blog posts: when he knows I haven't yet watched 24 because I was out playing poker all night, he still writes his usual razor-sharp and provocative recap, but leaves out crucial details that would spoil surprises. ADM: you rule.

But I did catch most of The Osbournes! And discovered the truth about Melinda, which had been bothering me since the series began. Who is she? She's not a member of the family, at least not a child of Ozzy and Sharon, but she's ALWAYS around, and everyone confides in her. Turns out (maybe I'm just an idiot for not catching this sooner) that she's THE NANNY (or maybe I just assumed that a household where the youngest member is 16 doesn't need a nanny.) Seems all she does is get Jack to actually haul his ass to school for at least a few hours every day, and bail him out when he's been throwing rocks at the other kids (first and third paragraphs--good stuff). Everyone seems to sort of love her.

Also check out The Hot Trashy Oldest Osbourne Daughter who refused to do the show, at the bottom of this page.

Recent TV Developments

Watched: All right, people: We've got a lot to cover.

The Andy Richter Show: Ha Ha. Ha Ha. Heh. This show is ok. Is it worth setting aside time for every Tuesday? Probably not, but it is about my old favorite sidekick, and besides, what else am I going to do between parking and 24? Last night's episode features more than one talking animal and a lot of homo-erotic stuff about fraternities. Plus, Andy gets kicked in the balls and chugs a whole gallon of milk. NOW THAT'S COMEDY!

24: After last night's episode, I have come to the following conclusion: the show is bearable if you close your eyes and cover your ears during every single scene that David Palmer is in that Kiefer isn't. I was groaning and grimacing and yelling "Oh my GOD!" a lot. From now on, I am going to tape the show and fast-forward through every such scene. I mean it.

In last night's ep, there is a scene in which the Palmer's are having one of their big family hate-ins, where they say all the same things they have been saying to each other since November and slowly but surely, one of the brood starts having some kind of panic attack or seizure. To paraphrase my friend Amy, what an outstanding meta-commentary on the show...whenever the Palmers start discussing their feelings, ALL OF AMERICA starts having a PANIC ATTACK because it is UNBEARABLE. The seized Palmer and America felt better immediately after they cut away from the family and got back to important stuff, like who is mini-Val-Kilmer going to shoot first: Kiefer's daughter or Kiefer's daughter's teenage boyfriend/kidnapper.

Also, the writers replaced the amnesia trope with the helpless-person-saved-at-last-possible-instant-by-off-camera-good-guy-with-gun trope. Crap, I really thought a certain someone was going to get it. But that would require some actual boldness on the part of the writers, and it is too late in the season to expect anything like that, until Frank shows up.

Conan: Do you know it's the funniest show on tv? Well, it is. Bob Costas was on. Conan brought out these fake groupies called "Costas heads" who love Costas and follow him around the country, and they did funny impressions of Costas. Then he brings out the "Costas heads heads" who are obsessed with the Costas heads, and follow them around the country. Costas does a brief speech about how is heart is filled with love, as at the birth of a grandchild. Punch line: the Costas heads heads couldn't care less about Costas himself.

Carson Daly: That bastard. So slick and coy and slimy and so very LA. But, his guest was Conan, so I had to watch. Conan was funny, and Carson pretty much just sat back and kept his mouth shut, as he should. They showed a parallel clip of Letterman on Conan from like 8 years ago. V. funny. Conan looked like he was about 19.

So I guess now Tuesdays are the king of TV. I mean, come on, OZZIE is on Tuesdays, too, which I didn't even mention. Did you hear Greta Van Susteren is taking Ozzie to that big correspondendent's dinner? Like as a date? If she wants everyone to know she's gay, why doesn't she just take her sister??

Um, is it ok to say that?

Read: So the Michael Skakel

Read: So the Michael Skakel case is heating up again. Here's a piece from today's Boston Globe about connections between the Skakel case and OJ.

Read: The Boston Globe calls

Read: The Boston Globe calls on Cardinal Law to resign.

April 9, 2002

The ladies who bring you

The ladies who bring you much-loved websites Television Without Pity (TV show recaps, very popular with the Amy's Robot team) and Fame Tracker (general celebrity commentary) also host the delightful Hissyfit. Pamie (who wrote probably the best Television Without Pity recap EVER about the last episode of WB's Young Americans) writes an outstanding piece about the realization that rock concerts are not really fun to go to. Pamie asserts, and I whole-heartedly agree, that this does not indicate that we are old or unhip in any way.

Read: President Bush: policy wonk.

Read: President Bush: policy wonk.

So now the Broadway play

So now the Broadway play (Topdog/Underdog) starring Mos Def has won a Pulitzer Prize for drama. Very exciting for playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, who is now the first black woman to win this award. Looks like she didn't throw a diva-beauty-queen fit at the ceremony, either.

NYT won seven Pulitzer's. Pulitzer's

NYT won seven Pulitzer's. Pulitzer's official page is useful, too.

April 8, 2002

Turns out that Curtis Hanson,

Turns out that Curtis Hanson, who directed L.A. Confidential and The Wonder Boys (two outstanding movies), is also directing some episodes of the new and potentially-unfunny FOX show Greg The Bunny. See earlier blogs for discussion of probable failure of this show, despite gutsiness of its premise.

Christopher Walken's blog, sort of.

Christopher Walken's blog, sort of. (via fimoculous)

ABC is killing the apparently

ABC is killing the apparently stupid show named after its time-slot. Good news for a show that is sometimes very good, The Job.

Discount wholesale store BJ's has

Discount wholesale store BJ's has now started stocking Veuve Clicquot in their beer and wine section of the Newington, NH store. Right across the aisle from Sam Adams Light are cases and cases of the standard-issue Rich European Person champagne, for only 33 bucks per bottle. Class distinctions are melting away.

April 5, 2002

All Easter candy is a

All Easter candy is a glorious *75% OFF* at CVS. Like a whole bag of chocolate malted milk easter egg balls was 37 cents.

Here is a fantastic New

Here is a fantastic New York Times article about Polish hip-hop. [free log-in required] Hip-hop is getting huge over there, and is developing in largely the same way it did in the South Bronx 20 years ago. The kids from the projects over there are still rapping about how hard life is--they haven't made the transition into private jets and girls in thongs yet.

April 4, 2002

Absinthe--The Green Fairy. It's been

Absinthe--The Green Fairy. It's been illegal in the US for 90 years. Now I guess there's this fake absinthe called Absente, which is made from southernwood, instead of the traditional wormwood, and it's legal. OK, not a particularly timely blog, but what are you gonna do.

Read: Here's some baseball/80's-"heavy"-metal news:

Read: Here's some baseball/80's-"heavy"-metal news: Tawny Kitaen, WHO IS 40, attacked her husband, Cleveland Indians pitcher Chuck Finley.

April 3, 2002

Carefree is now making black

Carefree is now making black pantiliners. The cultural significance of this seems huge, but I can't say exactly why. Thanks for the tip, Whiskas.

Watched: Ok, so don't forget

Watched: Ok, so don't forget that Andy Richter's new show is still on, right after That Seventies Show and right before 24. Now, the show has gone like this: first episode, sort of funny; second episode, very funny; last night's episode: sort of funny, sort of weird. It was about how Andy goes out on a date with the prettiest girl from high school. Unbelievably, they end up dating. But, then -- and here's where it gets a little weird -- she says some anti-semitic stuff. So the plot of the show is: Andy has to decide whether to continue dating this girl even though she's anti-semitic. Isn't that a weird plot for a half-hour sitcom?

The style of the show was interesting -- little fantasy sequences, dramatic re-enactments of his brain and sex drive fighting it out, etc., but it left me with a kind of hollow feeling. I guess it was bold for them to explore the territory, but I don't know -- won't most normal, moral people not date people who have repugnant ideas, no matter how hot they are? In a way, the show was a take on Seinfeld, where Jerry always meets the perfect girl except she turns out to be a close talker or a quiet talker or she sits around naked too much or whatever. I guess the show's writers wanted to see how that formula works when the flaw of the girl is offensive, versus merely annoying. Well now we know. Here's my advice guys: next time make it about how she sits around naked all the time.

Here is the only way

Here is the only way that 24 can redeem itself, after last night's atrocities:

--Dan's idiot drug dealer brother shoots Kim, Teenage Boyfriend, and himself,
--Teri meets the bitchy but totally cool one-shoulder-top wearing Rick's Girlfriend, falls in love with her, and they move together to Las Vegas where Teri becomes a showgirl in the Siegfried and Roy white tigers show,
--The entire Palmer family is viciously stabbed with a letter opener by Slut Aide girl,
--Jack and Nina ditch everybody and travel to Puerto Vallarta, where they live in sin together with the ghost of HardBoiled WhiteGuy who bit it after less than one episode, and was the best thing about this show, and
--Mia Kirshner comes back on the show and kills Kim Bauer again, then joins the cast of Smallville.

Huge shout-out to Mighty Big TV (or "Television Without Pity" as they call themselves now) who were smart enough to call the Use Slut Aide Girl As Bait For Serbian Assassin plan "Operation Vagina". The first paragraph of this recap of last week's episode is the funniest thing I have read online perhaps ever.

Very important Osbournes development: Ozzy

Very important Osbournes development: Ozzy has midgets in his tour entourage, and they drive around in funny little cars. Almost more than I could take. See schedule for Osbournes marathon this Sunday.

After a blog-intensive Tuesday, we're

After a blog-intensive Tuesday, we're starting off Wednesday right. The Olive Garden has a dessert called the Brownie Banana Funtastico.

April 2, 2002

Watched: Ok, so there's this

Watched: Ok, so there's this new soap opera on Tuesday nights called Day of Our Lives. It stars Kiefer Sutherland as the concerned dad, Terri Bauer as the concerned wife, Nina Myers as the concerned mistress, and Kim Bauer as the angry teenage daughter. In the pilot episode, THE CONCERNED WIFE gets amnesia. The show is so bad it makes me grit my teeth. The show is so bad it makes me feel like I am in the bottom of a bottomless pit. The show is so bad it makes me flip to watch Superman during the parts with the concerned black family. At least I was able to catch up with that show, which I haven't watched since the middle of episode 3. Lex was blackmailing someone to help him figure out what happened to the Porsche he ran into Superman with. Superman is discovering his x-ray vision. He still has a tender and touching and very concerned relationship with Lana. I wonder what's going on with that funky editor of the school paper. I guess I'll have to wait til next week's episode of Day to find out.

In this week's episode, the only interesting thing that happens is Mickey Rourke's younger brother and Val Kilmer's younger brother show up to play nefarious, threatening guys. Wow, two interesting characters, and neither of them is killed off in the closing minutes of the show (graf 2). The only mitigating factor of the show's horribleness was the ad for this week's episode of the X-Files in which -- I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP -- Burt Reynolds guest stars. I guess they put that in there to remind everyone watching Day just how bad things can get. Oh, wait. We already know how bad things can get (enter as guest).

Watched: This morning I got

Watched: This morning I got up early and watched ER on TNT. Apparently, TNT shows ER every morning at like 9. It was the one where the ER gets contaminated with Benzene and they have to go into "disaster" mode. Very well made episode. Now, let me tell you something about me and ER: I haven't watched it since the 2nd season, except for the live episode. I thought the show was good, but I thought it was the same stuff all the time. However, I really liked that matter-of-fact character who walks with crutches all the time who I guess was everybody's boss. Kerry, maybe? She was the first nuanced character on prime time in a while. I think she came after the second season, but somehow I saw her in a few eps.

Anyway, in between watching ER, I watched Regis & Kathy with Kelly. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I like Kelly Ripa. Why? BECAUSE SHE ISN'T INTIMIDATED BY REGIS. Right from the start, she was very chatty and self-confident. She knows how to laugh at herself, and she knows how to laugh at other people. Last night, she told America, she presented at the GLAAD Media Awards. Even though she couldn't remember what the two "A's" in GLAAD stand for, she told all about it.

Now one thing I find funny about Regis is this: you know how they talk to the director -- Gelvin?? Gelman?? What's his name?? -- Well, what I noticed is that it looks like he is wearing make-up. I mean can you imagine. Here they are trying to add a little edginess and spontaneity to the show and so they talk to the director...but HE'S WEARING MAKEUP. I mean, come on. That is so manufactured and artificial that it DEFEATS THE PURPOSE of having so-called spontaneity in the show. But here is what I think: I have realized more and more recently that contemporary talk shows are really just watered down versions of old David Letterman shows, from back when he was on NBC...but nobody (except maybe Conan) has the guts to do actual spontaneous spontaneity anymore (including Letterman himself), so they do this fake "talk to the director who's wearing make-up" crap, and Letterman does this unfunny bullshit where he has his secretary go down to order french fries, etc. Very frustrating.

So frustrating in fact that I decided to go to work.

Well, the New York Times

Well, the New York Times makes news by actually picking up on something new in pop culture while it's still going on. Their review of The Osbournes is good. [free log-in required] Tonight's episode: Ozzy learns Sharon has included a bubble machine in her stage design for his upcoming tour. "Sharon! I'm the Prince of Fucking Darkness! Evil, EVIL!! Not fucking bubbles!" Thank you MTV for finally making a show for us 25-30 year olds.

Read: Alex Beam, intermittently funny

Read: Alex Beam, intermittently funny Boston Globe columnist, on blogging.

Read/almost watched: Yesterday was opening

Read/almost watched: Yesterday was opening day for the Red Sox and the Yankees (via tbl). Neither won. Even if you don't like baseball, you may be interested to know that the NYT style guide apparently allows the use of the word "pinkie" (4th graf).

Well! Looks like ADM got

Well! Looks like ADM got Panic Room pretty well wrapped up. A few things to add:

Fincher got his start directing videos like "Express Yourself" by Madonna, which at the time was the most expensive video made since "Thriller", and won like 3 MTV awards. The video is based on the old German movie Metropolis, and some of the best shots and comparisons are showcased here. When this is what you come up with when directing a Madonna video, you have a right to be proud.

Also good old Jordan Catalano (aka Jared Leto) tears up the scenery in a few hammy (but funny) moments, maybe trying to recreate his old My So Called Life glory?

Some good New York-y details, like the Kiehl's products in Jodie Foster's bathroom. By the end of that extended slow-motion sequence in the movie that Alan mentions, I think the whole world is in love with Jodie Foster.

Watched: Amy and I went

Watched: Amy and I went to see Panic Room last night. Immediately after the credits, I said to Amy these things:

  • It's David Fincher's most consistent movie. The others all seem to fall apart in the 3rd act or vary their tone too much.
  • This one is much less ambitious, and I guess I could say "less disappointing" to watch. It knows what it is, and it pretty much sticks to it.
  • I feel there is slightly too much jokiness in the middle third. It's funny, but it lessens the tension a bit too much, and makes you take the bad guys less seriously.
  • Relatedly, I turned to Amy at one point and said, "This is a good movie and everything, but I can't help thinking of Home Alone." This, too, mainly comes up in the second act. The intruders do some kind of stupid things, and the audience laughs at their incompetence. I said to A., "Jodie is going to do [a McCauley Culkin face-covering gesture]." At that exact moment, Jodie did her Best Actress/McCauley Culkin face-covering gesture.

Some other stuff:
  • Much of the movie is very New York-y, but Dwight Yoakam's character struck me as being not New York-y at all, which is odd, because he has a line where he chides one of the other bad guys for not being NY-y enough. (Incidentally, Forrest Whitaker grew up not very far from where the movie takes place.)
  • I think the special effect of moving the (virtual) camera through small places was over-used. Initially, Fincher uses the effect to sweep from floor to floor, sustaining very long tracking shots. By the time he's following the current through a light bulb, I felt like Martin Short in Innerspace.
  • The pacing of the movie is very good -- basically from the time the people break into the house, you don't really get a chance to go to the bathroom.
  • There is a really bold slow-motion sequence which starts off exciting, then makes you laugh nervously, then goes on so long it re-engages you and really builds up tension in an interesting way. At first I thought it was ridiculous, but about 3/4 of the way through decided that it was brilliant.

All in all, the movie is not bad and I recommend it for fans of Fincher, Foster, Jared Leto, and McCauley Culkin.

April 1, 2002

Also Kid 606 just came

Also Kid 606 just came up with the best album title ever, The Action-Packed Mentallist Brings You the Fucking Jams. He's at the Knitting Factory tonight.

Since the Whitney Biennial went

Since the Whitney Biennial went up again, everyone's thinking once again about video art. At least, I am. Especially: what exactly is it that makes visual art that is made using video different from short movies? Standing around in a museum gallery watching a 20 minute film with a regular old narrative structure is just not fun. The Turner Prize in the UK has been all over video art for the past few years even. I saw this great short movie (that was actually nominated for an Oscar) at P.S. 1 last year in their "hive" structure--so is it just a movie? Is it "museum art"? Somebody needs to sort this out.

Read: How used t-shirts get

Read: How used t-shirts get from the Upper East Side to Uganda...extremely long story in the NYT describes the secret world of donated clothing.

Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Law & Order: Criminal Intent is on every Sunday. Stars Vincent D'Onofrio as a Sherlock Holmesian detective working NYPD's major cases. The show is not half as good as D'Onofrio's acting, but it's still watchable. Vincent is the best acting on tv, IMO. He stares at you and pivots his neck when he's trying to get an answer. He roils you when he detects your weaknesses. He makes you cry if you're Jennifer Lopez (4th question) in The Cell. Last night's episode: Kathleen Dwyer, an uptight perfectionist smart girl, is set up by a serial killer to exculpate him. A few oddball interludes and 100 PET scans later, Vincent makes everybody get mad at each other and confess. Mr. Angela Bassett, as the assistant district attorney, is also very classy and good. Tune in next week for more manipulation and great acting.

About April 2002

This page contains all entries posted to Amy's Robot in April 2002. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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