Saturday, April 21, 2007

Guess who the next celeb rehab candidate is?

That's right, it's everyone's favorite SNL host, 30 Rock star, Emmy winner and all-around HORRENDOUS DAD, Alec Baldwin!

I'm sure you've heard the infamous rant-filled phone call to his 12-year-old (or is it 11, he's not quite sure) daughter the other day, but just in case you haven't, here's a link to the original post from the leakee of the tape, (the leaker would be Baldwin's ex, Kim Basinger-allegedly.)

The only question now is, what kind of rehab do you think he'll enter?

A.) Anger Management

B.) Alcohol (he sounded ripped)

C.) Substance Abuse (or amped on something)

D.) Deadbeat Dads

E.) All of the above

Jack Donaghy, you're so much funnier when you're demoralizing Liz Lemon instead of your kid.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Quickie Movie Reviews

Just because I haven't posted any movie reviews recently doesn't mean I haven't watched any.

It just means that either A.) the movies I've seen weren't worth writing about or B.) I got lazy, errr busy, didn't do a review in a timely manner, then forgot about it.

So now I am going to present to you my quickie movie recaps, or QuickCaps if you will.

-The Good Shepherd Drama starring Matt Damon/Rated R/On video now
I just got finished viewing my copy of this (thanks Unc Tony) and I have to say I am torn by the complex, multi-layered film.

On the one hand the story, the cast, cinematography and overall appearance & presentation of the film are impeccable. Director Robert DeNiro has crafted a mesmerizing account of the early days of the CIA, and I was immediately drawn into the secretive life of intelligence officers and the isolated, paranoid lives they lead.

But on the other hand the film is hard to follow at times, either because of the low-talking agents or the highly complex storylines. Throw in the fact that it drags in parts (it has a runtime of nearly three hours) and flashes back & forth between decades, has few likable characters, and that I was unconvinced by fresh-faced Matt Damon playing the part of a grizzled agent and I came up with more than enough reasons not to recommend it.

Don't get me wrong, the film is excellent; but with a little bit of editing and an actor that could bring a bit more gravitas to the role, like Liam Neeson or Damon's buddy George Clooney, in the leading role, this historical spy flick
could have been a classic.

-Borat Comedy starring Sasha Baron Cohen/Rated R/On video now
I was in no hurry to see this raunchy comic adventure in the theaters, mainly because I had seen all of SBC's hilarious HBO episodes of Da Ali G Show, so I knew what to expect.

And when I finally got around to renting it, I was not disappointed. The movie, like the Borat segments of the series, is a stand-up act gone amok, where the comedian is actually taking his character to the next level and launching himself on unsuspecting Americans, usually with outrageous results.

If you're not a fan of anti-gay, anti-Jew and anti-woman humor, don't bother. But if you're the kind of person who loves to see two naked men 69 each other for fun, this movie is for you.

-Happy Feet Animated comedy/Rated PG/On Demand now
The first thing I said after I viewed this Oscar winner for Best Animated Feature was "am I missing something?"

Seriously, this little trifle of a film, with a too-cutesy-to-be-cute premise of a little odd penguin who just can't help himself when it comes to tapping his little flippered feet, was one of the worst, most uninteresting, unamusing and utterly unimaginative pieces of animated garbage I have ever seen.

And I know I'm not alone, because my wife, son and stepdaughter all thought the same thing, namely how the f--k did this beat out Cars for the Oscar?! Every five minutes the animals broke out in a song & dance number, and just in case anyone missed the premise of the "plot", the cute little penguin would do his silly little happy feet gag about every 10 minutes or so.

It just goes to show you what a huge marketing campaign, decent word of mouth, and hitting the theaters at the right time (holiday season) can do for a film.

You want to see a great little flick about talking penguins? Check out Farce of the Penguins, a raunchy retake with filthy voice work from Bob Saget and Tracy Morgan.

-Meet the Robinsons Animated comedy/PG/In theaters now
Another attempt by the folks at Disney to bring back the glorious days of yesteryear, you know, before Pixar and DreamWorks came along and stole the legendary studio's animation thunder.

How desperate are the Disney-ites to get people to believe in their product again? How about in place of trailers showing an ages-old Mickey Mouse cartoon, which left most of the Gen-XYZers in the audience staring at the screen in silence, like they'd just seen a dinosaur. Which they had.

The film itself is a forgettable bit of fluff, with ideas stolen from James Bond, Blade Runner, Wild Wild West, The Jetsons, Robots, Star Wars and Back to the Future and full of lame attempts at being another Shrek. Young Lewis is an orphan with a penchant for making incredible inventions that somehow always thwart his potential adoptions. One day he gets a visit from a villainous man named, originally enough, the Bowler Hat Guy, who wants to steal one of his inventions and use it for his own dastardly deeds.

If you've seen any of the aforementioned films, then you can see how this one is going to turn out. I won't spoil it, but the ending involves a special message from Walt Disney himself: Keep Moving Forward

If only the bottom-line loving suits running Walt's company now would follow that sage advice themselves.

-Saw III Horror/Rated R/ On demand now
After watching the latest installment in this shock-filled gore-fest, I wasn't sure if I had just seen Saw III or Hostel II.

Old friend Jigsaw is back for more bloody mayhem, but this time he's got help: former victim-turned-accomplice Amanda. Since Jiggy is laid up in a makeshift hospital room, slowly passing away from cancer, he's not able to construct his elaborate schemes of torture and death. So he has his new protege do the deeds for him. Trouble is, Amanda may be more ruthless than Jigsaw, and that could lead to both of their downfalls.

The problem I have here is that the makers of the series wanted to blend jump-from-your-seat scares with puke-your-guts-out gore. The result? A decent story about a guy who must work his way through a maze of tortuous puzzles in order to get to the ultimate finale is ruined by a non-stop stream of rib cages being ripped open, men drowning in shredded pig carcasses and power drills performing brain surgery.

Because since the original came out in 2004 we have been subjected to vile, bile-filled frightfests like Hostel and The Hills Have Eyes and now simply placing a man on a floor for 2 hours and then having him come to life is no longer good enough.

How I long for the days when a simple hacksaw to the ankle was sufficient.
(side note: this was one of those rare times I wished I didn't watch something in HD)


Thursday, April 19, 2007

The new face of evil incarnate

As if to prove slaughtering 33 innocent college students and professors isn't the most despicable, evil, hateful and disturbing thing a citizen of the planet can do, twisted fuck/Va Tech killer Seung-Hui Cho actually filmed segments of himself addressing the world and attempting to explain the method to his madness in between his bloody rampages.

This bastard sent film, stills and a 1800-page manifesto to NBC news after he killed his first 2 victims and just before the maniac went into a classroom building and murdered 31 more people. In it he says that the rich and spoiled deserve to die, that "they made him do this", and that he felt Columbine killers Dylan Kliebold and Eric Harris were "martyrs"

As one expert on CNN put it last night, this case has become like the Columbine and the Unibomber all rolled into one.

And the world has a new poster child for pure evil.
My only question is "why did this fucking coward have to shoot himself in his hideously ugly face?" That was too good an ending for him.

May you eternally burn in Hell, Cho- 33 times over.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Death & Taxes

Life's two most depressing certainties converge on a dark day in American history


Monday, April 16, 2007

HBO Sunday Night Review: Entourage

Episode 36: "Dog Day Afternoon"

Following the high drama & inside Hollywood catfighting of last week's premiere, this week's episode qualified as pure, unadulterated filler, although there were some incidents that could lead to further drama down the road. More on that in a bit.

The show opens with Vince & E. hard at work dodging Amanda regarding the Wharton film and planning a romantic getaway with their significant others. One problem: Vince doesn't have an "other", significant or otherwise, right now, so he is desperately trying to find a suitable weekend companion while E. tries to dissuade him from making a hasty choice. That's because Sloan thinks E. is a big baby for not telling Vince straight out that he doesn't want to go away with him, instead looking for any excuse to use as an "out."

"The guy freaks out if I'm more than 100 miles away from him" E. explains.

"I think it's mutual" she responds...."you're a little Vince's boy!" Oh, burn!

Drama and Turtle are at first hurt by the guys going away without them, until they reveal their big plan for the weekend: hitting the local dog park and trying to score some "bitches." Now call me crazy, but I thought last season Drama & Turtle had grown out of these two-dimensional pussy-hunting caricatures and stated to make some headway to becoming actual productive citizens. Seeing them make fools out of themselves over a couple of hot chicks at a pooch park made me wince and long for the days of Drama getting a woody over co-star Brooke Shields and Turtle organizing record playing parties for Saigon.

Anyway that leads into the Ari portion of the show, which kicks off to the classic "Microphone Fiend" by Eric B. & Rakim and Ari informing Lloyd that he will be able to assist in signing the agency's next big client, television writer Jay Lester (MadTV's Will Sasso.) Why will Ari's put-upon gay Asian assistant be involved in the signing of a valuable client? "Because he's a big queen" Ari informs him. When Lloyd expresses his reservations about whoring himself out for the company, Ari reasons with him "Lloyd, this is the big one. So just go and grab your best dress and know that today your love of cock is a huge asset to the company." Fucking priceless Ari!

The show meanders here for a bit, showing Drama & Turtle running into a snag with their dog park conquests when Turtle's Rottie injures the girls' dog in a tiff over a steak. Meanwhile Ari & Lloyd meet Jay, who is a big queen, and with Lloyd's help they convince Jay to sign with Miller-Gold. But there's a catch: Jay wants Lloyd to deliver the contract personally, as Jay always has a little "signing party" with his prospective agent's assistants.

More scenes follow of Sloan basically calling E. a wimp for no being straight up with Vince over the weekend in Napa, the boys blowing off Amanda's phone calls, and Turtle and Drama attempting to get laid. The best part of the episode takes place when Lloyd goes to meet Jay for the signing at a thumping gay disco. As Jay wines & dines his victim, Ari & Mrs. Ari (1st appearance this season) are driving home from dinner with Ari displaying feelings of regret over what he is making Lloyd do.

"I sold my soul today" he tells his wife.

"Tomorrow's another day; you always have a chance to get it back," she responds.

"We're Jews, baby, no we don't."

As the thought of what Lloyd might be doing right then all for the good of his ruthless agency, Ari shows a human side no one knew he had and decides to go rescue his dedicated little gay soldier. When he quickly spins the car around the misses asks him where he's going. "To Boystown baby, buckle up!"

Ari entering the club had to be one of the funniest moments in the show's brief history. As he wades through the sea of half-naked men writhing to the techno beat, he raises his arms high in the air shouting "coming touching...OWWWW!" He reaches Jay and Lloyd just as they are about to retreat to Jay's love palace, but informs the burly writer that he can't allow him to leave with his assistant. When Jay tells Ari that if he isn't allowed to consummate the deal in his favored style, then there will be no deal, Ari gets off the line of the show:

"That's fine with me. Because we may be whores at my agency, but we ain't pimps."
Once again, classic fucking Ari!

The episode ends with yet another terrific outro scene. After Vince's date spills the beans that Sloan is particular about who she goes away with, a miffed Sloan makes E. come clean to Vince the truth about the weekend retreat.

"You're not upset?" E. asks Vince. No he tells him, and then he plans a weekend getatway of his own with Turtle and Drama in Cabo San Lucas.

The ep ends with another great tune, the Stones' "Tumbling Dice", and the three buddies boarding a private jet bound for Mexico, smoking weed, doing shots of Patron, and lamenting the fact that E. won't be able to help them judge the wet T-shirt contests.

Cut to E. and Sloan making the 7-hour drive to Napa in E.'s Aston Martin and Sloan pretending to be mad at E. for blaming her about the trip fiasco with Vince. "What, you're not going to talk to me the whole trip?"

" Oh I'll talk, but I wouldn't expect much else" she icily replies, then turns away and gives a devilish smile to the camera.

Who knew? Sexy, innocent Sloan may end up being Yoko Ono to the boy's band? Like I said, the episode was pure fun, but did lay the foundation for future problems. For now the questions remain: will Vince get back with Amanda, or is Carla Gugino doomed to join the long list of underused cast members? If he does blow off Amanda, how long before he gets back with Ari? And now that Ari showed that he does have a heart somewhere in there, will he turn out to be a softie when it comes to his clients?

I don't know about all that, but I do know one thing: E. was a dam fool/major pussy for not being straight with Vince about wanting to go away alone with Sloan. I mean who could blame him? She's hotter than Clearwater Beach in mid-August, and a romantic getaway with another couple isn't exactly romantic. As she said to E. when he detailed his plan to avoid telling Vince his true feelings,

"All this not to upset Vince? How sad?"

Well put, Sloan, well put.


HBO Sunday Night Review: The Sopranos

Season 6, PT II, Episode #79: "Stage 5"

Summary: I call this episode Fall Out Boy. Christopher's movie is ready to drop, but the similarities between life & art could have a devastating effect on his relationship with Tony.

I decided to split up my HBO Sunday Night Review into two separate parts, one for each show. The reasons behind this include the diversity between the programs-one is a cold, hard drama while the other is a fluffy, frat boy partyfest; the fact that some people do not watch both shows, so separating the reviews makes it easier to pick which show they want to read about; and last but not least it will cut down my post from "War & Peace"-esque to more palatable portions.

Last night's Sopranos episode, which can be classified as the 79th in series history, the 2nd of the second half of the last season, or the 8th-to-last episode ever, wove a complex tale similar to last week's episode, and taking them both together it appears that creator David Chase is weaving many threads into a large, all-encompassing blanket of finality.

The intersection of real life & celebrity was an underlying theme in this episode

While last week the Tony/Janice/Bobby dynamic was examined, this week was all about Tony's relationship with prodigal (almost) son Christopher. The ep begins with a scene from Chrissy's recently completed mob-slasher flick, "Cleaver." Highly-respected thespian Daniel Baldwin is playing the role of Sally Boy, a hotheaded mob boss who has betrayed and been betrayed by his right-hand man, whose actual right hand has been replaced by a meat cleaver. The bloody scene ends with Cleaver splitting Sally Boy's head open with his appendage, and the bitter seeds of betrayal are planted in everyone's minds.

From there we are put in a doctors office with a frighteningly gaunt & balding Johnny Sack. It appears that on top of his 15-year prison sentence he has also been sentenced to death by lung cancer, although "ironically" he quit smoking after 38 years upon his incarceration (like it wasn't gonna catch up to him!) The specialist he has been allowed to fly and consult with gives him the grim news that the chemo & meds have not been able to stop the cancer form spreading to his brain, and the prognosis he gives the former dapper don is grim: he's only got 3 months to live.

(side note: it is a tribute to the acting skills of Vincent Curatola that I did not give a shit that the guy had been given a death sentence. Usually witnessing a scene like that will evoke painful memories or feelings, but for Johnny Sack, I felt no remorse; kudos, Mr. Curatola!)

Back home Johnny encounters a hospital volunteer named Manny (a great cameo by famed director Sidney Pollack), a former oncologist serving time for murdering his wife, who disagrees with the expert's diagnosis and says he believes he might have a year or more. Either way it's now obvious that the New York family will need a new leader.

But where will that leadership come from? The underwhelming choices come from cranky & reluctant Phil Leotardo, young & inexperienced front runner Gerry Torciano, old-school asshole Doc Santoro, and passive lughead Carmine Lupertazzi, who is more interested in making movies with Chrissy than taking over the business.

Meanwhile Tony is dealing with his son's bitchy girlfriend and a troubling early morning visit from his FBI agent buddy; the Feds are looking for any information on terrorist activities Tony can give them, which Tony shrugs off by saying "I think there's a word for that." But Agent Harris drops an interesting clue before departing; upon asking for Tony's help, he says "it's the same pitch we gave Christopher Moltisanti, maybe he never mentioned it." Ah, cue that foreshadowing music please!

At the Cleaver screening everyone and their brothers are there, and this is where the episode took off. The scene on the screen features Sally Boy in a robe in the basement of his house, conducting a heated meeting which ends with him throwing a jar of nails against the wall. "That's you" Carm whispers to Tony, who grins an 'aw shucks, no way' smile then basks in the thought of being immortalized on the big screen. But when the boss beds the fiancee of his trusted protege, the parallels between the two men becomes less flattering.

And therein lies the crux of the problem; when Carm later tells Tony that everyone (well, Ro at least) thought that the similarity between the film and his alleged affair with Adriana was not coincidental, a light starts to dawn in Tony's head. As Tony protests that "it's just a movie", Carm shoots back with "it's a revenge fantasy, Tony, which ends with the boss' head being split open with a meat cleaver." Hmmmm.

Cut to Dr. Melfi's first appearance of the season, and Tony spilling his guts to her about his feelings for Christopher. "All I did for this fucking kid and he hates me so much; it's pretty obvious he wants to see me dead."

Is it possible that on some level you're reading too much into this?" she asks him.

"I've been coming here for years, I know too much about the subconscious now." Great. Line.

So the seeds are sewn for a revenge fantasy to play out within the family as well as the movie-within-the-show. As the episode concludes Johnny Sack passes away, his successor Gerry is gunned down in a Godfather tribute scene while dining with Sil, and with Christopher's new baby getting baptised; Tony, the apparent Godfather, hugs Chrissy in a forlorn embrace. I got chills realizing that might be the last time the two of them ever share a friendly moment together again, and for that I almost did shed a tear.

There's a line in the scene at the Cleaver after party when Tony tells Christopher how important it was that he made the movie, and it was almost as if David Chase were trying to speak to the audience directly:

"One hundred years from now when were dead & gone, people will be watching this fucking thing."

You're absolutely right, Mr. Chase.


Real life tragedy marginalizes sports again

A gunman at Virginia Tech University slaughters 22 people and wounds at least 28 others in a killing spree that dwarfs all other campus slayings

One day after celebrating the life of one of America's greatest heroes, Jackie Robinson, and on a day when the historic Boston Marathon is being run, the NHL playoffs are in full swing and MLB & the NBA have a full slate of games scheduled, a tragic mass-murder on one of the nation's most picturesque college campuses has made athletic endeavors meaningless.

At around 7:15 this morning a gunman entered a resident dorm on the 2,600 acre campus located in Blacksburg, Virginia, and opened fire on the students inside. According to, as police & investigators responded to that scene, the gunman evidently relocated to a class building and resumed his massacre.

He later reportedly killed himself.

It's still early & obviously chaotic on the site, so details are sketchy at this time. It is not known who the shooter was, if he was a student or not, how many people died in each building, and what the reason for the rampage may have been.

All we do know is that this tragedy now has the dreadful distinction of being the deadliest campus killing spree in American history, surpassing the University of Texas and Columbine High School massacres. If any others are found dead, this will become the deadliest mass-shooting ever in the United States.

And suddenly sports are revealed to be the unimportant bits of trifling entertainment that they truly are.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Take time to remember Jackie Robionson today

Today marks the 60th anniversary of the day that Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in major league baseball and became the first African American to play in the big leagues.

The day is historic in many respects, the least of which may be the baseball side of it. By overcoming numerous hurdles including verbal assaults, death threats, and strong opposition from every corner of the country, Jackie paved the way for blacks to become integrated in all walks of American society, not just on the baseball diamond.

Ten years ago today MLB retired the uniform number Jackie wore for all those years with Brooklyn, #42; the only active player to currently wear the hallowed number is Mariano Rivera, who was grandfathered in and allowed to retain possession of it. But thanks to an idea brought to the commissioner's attention by Ken Griffey Jr, any player will be able to wear the number today as a tribute to the legendary Robinson.

Those two along with many others, including the entire Dodger's team, will get to pull on what may have become the most famous uniform number in baseball history. If the number isn't the most famous (a certain #3 also comes to mind), it is certainly the most significant.

But since that announcement some players, most notably Torii Hunter of the Twins, have come out and said that by so many players wearing the number without really knowing what Jackie meant to the game, they are belittling it and him in the process.

I say bullshit, Torii. If the commissioner agrees and every friggin' player in MLB wants to wear it, so be it. If they don't know the significance of the number, so be it again. The purpose of allowing players (and coaches, such as Boston's DeMarlo Hale) to wear it is not only to honor Jackie, but to incite discussion about who he was and what he meant to this country. By having as many players as possible wear it, it can only enlighten more & more people to the importance of his story.

I did my part to try and pass the significance along to the next generation; as my son and I watched the opening introductions to tonight's ESPN telecast of the Padres/Dodgers game, with Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson belting out an emotional rendition of the national anthem, I explained to my son who Jackie was, what he did for Americans, and why so many players are wearing his #42.

As he listened intently to the story and took it all in he looked at me and said "so Jackie was like Rosa Parks?" Exactly, I told him. And Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman and all the other African Americans who fought so hard for the right to be treated as equals.

My son learned an important historical lesson tonight while watching a baseball game.

And you can't put a number on that.

Thanks, Jackie.