Jennifer Anniston says: "I take a three-minute shower.” And she's so green, she even finds time to brush her teeth in that quickie shower, as well.
Either she's lying to one-up her Hollywood green-weenie friends, she's joking, or she has super-human speed going from shampoo to soap to toothbrush. Me? I spend at least 5 minutes just enjoying the hot spray of water on my skin. But since I don't travel on private jets, I can do that every day if I live to be 328 years old and have a smaller carbon footprint than the private-jetting Jen. Continuing ...
"Entourage” star Adrian Grenier has lived in an apartment insulated with old pants.
Not only is that weird in the extreme, it's lame. I insulate my house with live homeless guys standing shoulder to shoulder between my drywall and the stucco. Once they are too thin to be effective, I let them out for a couple of weeks to fatten them up ... then the pattern continues. Beat that, Adrian! I practice the ultimate in recycling!
Vegetarian and planetary crusader Tobey Maguire reportedly has banned all leather products from his house. He also “makes everyone take off their leather belts and shoes and leave them by the door!”
Got him beat, too. Inspired by one of Hollywood's greatest productions, why not make human skin into leather ... which I can then make into clothing and put on animals to raise their self esteem? Hey Toby: "Now it places the lotion in the basket. ... PUT THE F*&^ING LOTION IN THE BASKET!!!!
Leonardo DiCaprio “stays green at home, too—with his $3,200 eco-friendly toilet!”
And how much carbon did it take to make that stinky-ass toilet of yours, Leo? Oh, never mind ...
To read the whole green-weenie Hollywood story, go here.
This is where I ought to make a few jokes about McGwire offering young prospects advice on the best way to cram themselves and a buddy into a bathroom stall with hypodermic needles ... but feh. I think what this really proves -- as if we didn't already know it -- is that baseball has never really considered itself to have a "steroids problem." It's had a public relations problem, which is different. If Major League Baseball really considered the use of steroids to undermine the integrity of the game (which it assures us it does!) then Mark McGwire and his unconvincing "I don't want to talk about the past" act would face a lifetime of palling around with Pete Rose at independent league ballparks and autograph sessions at seedy casinos, instead of regaining employment at the sport's highest levels.
Simple as that.
No angst-ridden meditation on childhood or twee indie soundtrack here, I can tell you...
(Hat tip: Kathy Shaidle on Twitter)
I'm a fan of 30 Rock, but this "Ask Tina" segment on NBC.com (sorry I can't embed it) isn't so much "funny" as ... mildly distressing. Just under half of it is Fey imploring her audience to turn away from that nasty Internet and go watch her on TV, instead.
There's an underlying sense -- same as many newspaper executives seem to have in their own medium -- that the online audience is somehow less "real" for Fey's purposes than the television audience, the reality is actually the opposite. "Just turn on your television to NBC and leave the room immediately," Fey suggests. That doesn't happen so easily online. As Ta-Nehisi Coates writes about his family's decision to get rid of its TV, television viewing can be a pretty passive experience -- flick it on and zone out. Online, though, you have to seek out the specific videos you want to watch. There's no way putting "Veronica's Closet" on right after "Friends" -- like what happened in the 1990s at NBC -- will get people to watch "Veronica's Closet" if they don't like it. They'll just watch "Friends," then go do something else.
It surprises me, actually, that Fey might be distressed about this. After all, original runs of "30 Rock" do pretty well on Hulu. The online revolution might be helping her show more than it hurts.
With Halloween a couple of weeks away, we decided to take a break from horrifying politics and terrifying public policies to talk about merely scary movies. In this edition of the podcast, Christian Toto (WhatWouldTotoWatch), Matt Prigge (Philadelphia Weekly), and Jason Snell (Macworld) join Ben and Joel to talk about what's awfully good entertainment and compile a list of 15 fine and frightening flicks for October 31.
Among the Burning Questions we discuss:
• Can a non-horror fan enjoy horror movies?
• What makes a real horror fan?
• Are the best horror movies the least explicit?
• Who is the target audience for scary movies nowadays? (Hint: It isn't young men ages 18-35 anymore.)
• Why do we like George Romero so much?
Music heard in this podcast:
• The Horror - RJD2
• Roar! (from Cloverfield) - Michael Giacchino
• The Crawlers Attack (from The Descent) - David Julyan
• I Walked with a Zombie - Roky Erickson and the Aliens
• Partytime (from Return of the Living Dead) - 45 Grave
• The Shining (Main Theme) - City of Prague Philharmonic
• Psycho Suite - Bernard Herrmann/Elmer Bernstein
• The Gonk (from Dawn of the Dead) - Herbert Chappell
• Monster - Peter Thomas Sound Orchester
So much for my get out of debt plan.
This is ranks as the lamest piece of journalism I've read in six, maybe seven hours.
Yahoo's Brett Michael Dykes goes about "fact checking" Saturday Night Live's opening sketch from October 5. In case you missed it, the sketch featured Fred Armison as Obama recounting the administration's accomplishments so far. The most cutting part of the bit was Armison/Obama saying the left should be more displeased with him than the right because, after all, "I could make it mandatory for all gays to marry and require all cars to run on marijuana. But do I? No!" Hey, Dykes: Just because the administration is "hopeful" it will somehow make its January 2010 deadline to shut down Gitmo, that doesn't make it a "fact."
Let the word go forth that Brett Michael Dykes is the biggest stick in the mud this side of David Brock, Christopher Hitchens and Charles Angoff. Off to clown college with him!
Update: My apologies to Brett Michael Dykes. He has nothing on the stiffs in the comments at Salon.
Update 2 (10/6/09): Good grief, CNN did a fact check segment on the bit, too?! Is this going to be a regular thing now? Why didn't they show this kind of interest in parsing comedy shows, say, 12 months ago? (Why, yes, that is a rhetorical question!) You know what's funny? This is coming from the same network whose president a couple of months ago told his producers to avoid booking radio talk-show hosts because "Complex issues require world-class reporting." Watch the video below and tell me: Does that look like "world-class reporting" to you?
(Via Townhall and a bunch of other people.)
Over at Mediaite, Tommy Christopher plays his analysis straight:
By framing the segment as a fact check, CNN is providing conservatives with confirmation that the mainstream media is “in the tank” for Obama, despite evidence to the contrary. They could have accomplished the same thing by deconstructing the clip as part of a broader examination of the way comedy fiction becomes popular fact.
Perhaps CNN isn’t being inconsistent, but rather instituting a new policy. If that’s the case, I can’t wait to see their first fact-check of “Family Guy.”
Update: Go to Twitter. Search "#CNNFactCheck". Funny stuff.
"Despite what Fernando says, you do NOT look marvelous."
"CNN has obtained a statement from the CDC advising that "more cowbell" is nvr the appropriate cure for a fever."
"General Francisco Franco is still dead."
Unlike fellow comedian Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Rock has no hesitation to call what Roman Polanski did evil and wrong. No distinction between "rape" and "rape-rape" for him.
Oh, and it's hilarious. (You might have to hit the "play" button twice, but it will play).
Awhile back, Christopher Hitchens stirred up a hornet's nest -- as he is wont to do -- by writing a long Vanity Fair piece baldly stating that women aren't funny. (I think Ben and I tackled it, actually, as a RedBlueAmerica piece.) Many people thought the piece proof of Hitchens' sexism (and maybe it was) but I think it's a hint of something else: Christopher Hitchens doesn't really have a sense of humor.
The man can be witty, sure. But go ahead and read his piece in the Atlantic that attempts a deconstruction of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and then try to tell me that Hitchens has a sense of humor. It's airless, humorless and stultifying. The man wouldn't know funny if it hit him in the face with a big cream pie.
That top 10 list isn't as funny (or maybe it is!) in the context of today's surprising news about David Letterman's run-in with an alleged extortionist. (The funniest part of the story is the part where the extortionist accepted a check for $2 million to keep quiet about Letterman's affairs with his staffers.)
I'm not as fond of Letterman as I once was. I think his act is tired and predictable. These days, I gravitate to Conan O'Brien at 11:30 p.m. I've read over the years that Letterman is a fairly self-loathing character. Clearly he has every reason to be, but I feel awful for Letterman's wife and his young son, Harry. Don't they deserve better than this man?
...I think we can all agree that it's delicious to watch Andy Richter utterly humiliate Wolf Blitzer on Celebrity Jeopardy!
Hey, I liked Rosemary's Baby as much as anybody else. But he raped a 13-year-old girl and has spent three decades evading punishment for it. I'm somewhat bewildered that the man has defenders.
Like the L.A. Times' Patrick Goldstein, for instance:
I think Polanski has already paid a horrible, soul-wrenching price for the infamy surrounding his actions. The real tragedy is that he will always, till his death, be snubbed and stalked and confronted by people who think the price he has already paid isn't enough.
What price has he had to pay? That he had to spend 30 years living in France? He was arrested in Switzerland -- apparently feeling safe to go there because he had a chalet that he regularly visited. What price is that, exactly?
Then there's Anne Appelbaum:
I am certain there are many who will harrumph that, following this arrest, justice was done at last. But Polanski is 76. To put him on trial or keep him in jail does not serve society in general or his victim in particular. Nor does it prove the doggedness and earnestness of the American legal system. If he weren't famous, I bet no one would bother with him at all.
Ah, yes, the wages of fame: Being held accountable for child rape. Regular working-class child rapists don't know how good they've got it!
I understand Polanski's victim wants the charges dropped and the case to go away. I won't pretend to know her mindset on why she's made that decision. But the final decision doesn't really belong to her. A sexual assault on a 13-year-old girl is an assault on society and its good order; evading punishment for that crime is a further assault. Polanski was able to evade justice for three decades because he was rich and famous and could flee to France; I have no problem making an example of him.
I'd planned to spend a good chunk of this weekend's free time digging into Lorrie Moore's new novel, A Gate At The Stairs. So on Saturday, I sat myself into a comfy reading chair ... and found myself so distracted by a minor detail on Page 6 that I can't bring myself to finish the rest of the book.
The narrator is 20-year-old Tassie Keltjin. Like me, she grew up in the rural Midwest. Like me, she had her horizons expanded when moving to a university town -- home, in her case, to Troy University -- that proclaims itself the "Athens of the Midwest." Because I share, broadly, a little bit of background with her, I found one bit of her experience jarringly unreal.
Here is the single sentence that ruined the novel for me:
"Before I'd come to Troy, I had never had Chinese food."
I call bullshit.
Hey: I grew up in Hillsboro, Kansas, population roughly 2,500 people or so. It was not a sophisticated, cosmpolitan place by any means. And there wasn't a Chinese restaurant in town when I was growing up. But there was a Chinese restaurant in a town 20 minutes away. I grew up loving Chinese food. I'd dare say that anybody in the rural Midwest who has ever wanted to try Chinese food has had the opportunity to do so. Chopsticks aren't as ubiquitous as McDonald's in the region, but they're far from unheard of.
This wouldn't be so distracting, I suppose, except Moore uses this tidbit as a jumping-off point to demonstrate the narrowness of Tassie's world before coming to university. The newly discovered love of Chinese food is the lens through which Tassie is discovering the wider world outside the farm where she grew up.
In combination with other details -- Tassie's parents had honeymooned in London, the family made regular trips to Milwaukee to sell potatoes at a farmer's market -- the idea that Tassie had never eaten Chinese food while growing up, with its implication that she'd never had the opportunity, is outrageously unlikely. If Moore had said Indian food or Ethiopian food or even Thai food, I wouldn't have balked. Chinese food? Bullshit.
And it's even more irritating, actually, because Moore in real life is a professor at a Midwestern university. I'm sure students come to her with narrow backgrounds and that she does a fine job of exposing them to a wider intellectual world than they previously knew existed. But she might be giving herself a little too much credit if she thinks her university is exposing young minds to Chinese food for the first time. Sorry, Lorrie Moore: I plowed on for 20 more pages, but I couldn't shake your error. I'm moving on.
And so am I. Otherwise, we'd probably be hearing more about this lame tempest in a teapot:
The MTV Awards once again earned its reputation for tawdry entertainment by broadcasting Jack Black praying to the devil. The comedian, who was hawking a heavy metal video game called Brütal Legend, asked the "Dear Dark Lord Satan" to bless the rock star nominees with "continued success in the music industry."
I guess the Newsbusters people aren't Tenacious D fans. (Not really safe for work, and spoiler warning.)
Politico reports: "Obama calls Kanye 'jackass'"
ABC News's Terry Moran tweeted the comment. "Pres. Obama just called Kanye West a 'jackass' for his outburst at VMAs when Taylor Swift won. Now THAT'S presidential."
Apparently it was an off-the-record comment and Moran deleted the tweet not long after.
Jules Crittenden remarks:
Obama finally says something we can all agree with … Then does a grab back. Figures.
Too bad. Could have been a great bi-partisan civility reach-across uniter-not-adivider kind of move in these uncivil times.
And Allah at HotAir observes: "I knew he had his good points. What I don’t know is why he’d insist on keeping this off the record."
You can't have nice things.
Baldwin’s more of a classical-music guy, and proud of it. It’s been fundamental to how he defines himself since the day in the early eighties when he flipped on his car radio and, as he has described it, “Mahler came and got me on the San Diego Freeway.”
I can hear a conservative heart melting right this very second...
Via FilmDrunk (whence I stole yet another headline) comes news of the Norwegian formerly known as Andreas Jankov:
"I wanted to show that it is possible to be serious and at the same time take the name you like," said Julius Andreas Gimli Arn MacGyver Chewbacka Highlander Elessar-Jankov. The movie enthusiast decided to change his name three years ago after radio host and comedian Espen Thoresen changed his name to Espen Thoresen-Hværsaagod-Takkskalduha.
I guess that's cooler than Julius Andreas Gimli Donknotts MacGyver Chewbacka Highlander Elessar-Jankov. But not by much.
By the way, you should really click through to the FilmDrunk link for a picture of Jankov. The new name is somehow fitting.
Not really, of course, but they summarize some of the conservative argument against Obamaism quite well. This is well worth 90 seconds of your time.
I haven't Googled it, but when were people arrested for wearing anti-war T-shirts in the Bush Tyranny?
• Hollywood’s marketing machine doesn’t always know what to do with movies that don’t fit precisely into its templates. This ain’t news, I realize, but it’s proved afresh by the trailers for Inglourious Basterds. You might get the impression that the movie is a rollicking roller coaster thrill ride, wall-to-wall violence. There is some very graphic violence in this movie — it is a Tarantino movie, after all — but it’s a very, very small part of the movie. Brad Pitt, in fact, is on screen for a relatively miniscule portion of the film. There’s a lot of talking in this movie — it is a Tarantino movie, after all — and at least two scenes where the conversations create unbearable tensions. Hollywood isn’t very good at selling dialogue, apparently.
• You may have heard that Christoph Walz deserves an Oscar for his portrayal of Col. Hans Landa, and he does. But I also enjoyed Daniel Bruhl’s turn as a seemingly sweet-but-entitled Nazi sniper. And Melanie Laurent’s role as a French theater owner had me smitten, frankly.
• Once again, we learn a lesson we’ve known since Twelve Monkeys. Brad Pitt is way more fun when he’s playing eccentric, weird or over-the-top. Stop putting him in pretty boy parts like Benjamin Button, because those movies never end up being interesting, and he’s not interesting in them. Give him a Tennessee accent to mangle the Italian language with — and let us see the wrinkles around his eyes, like Tarantino does here — and you’ve got entertainment.
Some monkeys seem to like Metallica, but not because of James Hetfield's adolescent lyrics, you can be certain of that!
From the crime blotter of Dayton, Ohio comes word of an important arrest:
A murder suspect at the center of an intense U.S. Marshal’s manhunt was arrested.
Dayton police and task force arrested 21-year-old D’Alcapone Alpacino Morris. He was found hiding in the attic insulation of a home on Nicholas Road in Dayton.
I spotted the story via Filmdrunk (whence I stole the headline for this post), where Vince Mancini is relieved that Morris is behind bars but laments that Alpa Chino from "Tropic Thunder" is still free to sell his Booty Sweat.
Update: A friend e-mails: "That's more threatening, I suppose, than D'Alcapone Donknotts Morris."
I've loved this song, "Sing," ever since I first heard it in the late '90s while living in the charming and beautiful town of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Great memories there.
Anyway, I post it here because there's a monkey in the video!!!! — and because tonight was the first time I saw the video. Travis is one of the great British bands that never made it big (meaning REALLY big) in the United States. I'll never understand why a band as talented as this, that made such great Brit Pop songs, never made it as big here as Coldplay.
Anyway, as you'll see in the video below, the boys in Travis are having quite a bit of fun — and the monkey acts more civilized than the humans he observes. This video is reminiscent of the classic INXS video for "The One Thing." Gotta be an homage.
His orders are to weed out all non-hackers:
Troops challenging the legitimacy of President Barack Obama as commander-in-chief -- including at least one who is fighting deployment -- should take heed: Gunnery Sgt. Hartman wants to know your "major malfunction."
R. Lee Ermey, the Marine-turned-actor whose role as drill instructor Gunny Hartman in the late Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket" has all but placed the Vietnam veteran in the pantheon of Marine heroes alongside "Chesty" Puller, Smedley Butler and Dan Daly, isn't buying anyone's political objector status.
"I haven't heard about those guys," Ermey told Military.com during an Aug. 21 interview. "If I do run across them though, trust me, I'll square them away."
(Via Big Hollywood)
Police nationwide are on the lookout for attractive teen girls wandering by themselves, according to this report.
(Via Geek Tyrant.)
"The trouble with geeks," Poulos writes, "is that for them, a human love story isn’t cool enough — is simply boring."
That may be the trouble with geeks. I'm not so certain. But what's the trouble with the Avatar teaser trailer? I liked the comment I read somewhere -- I can't find it now -- that it looks like "Halo meets Ferngully." Of course, everybody wrote off "Titanic," too. (Rightly so. Terrible film...)
It looks like Ted Nugent has lost his position as an op-ed columnist for the Waco Tribune-Herald. The paper's new owners -- they put "In God We Trust" on the front page every day -- had asked him to tone things down a bit, make the column a little more thoughtful and respectful.
But as everybody knows: You can't tame the Nuge. He wrote a rejected column comparing his new bosses to Nazis and was fired. His editor wrote this column explaining the controversy:
The irony of this disagreement with Nugent is that I have been one of his biggest defenders.
Two years ago, I sustained a strong attack from the left that demanded that I pull his column after a concert he had in which he held up what appeared to be some semi-automatic weapons on stage and unleashed on candidate Barack Obama, “You might want to suck on these, you punk.”
Then he turned his wrath to candidate Hillary Clinton and said, “Hey Hillary, you might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless b——.”
I wrote a column criticizing his antics on stage but steadfastly refusing to pull his column from the Trib because I believe strongly that a diversity of voices is important.
Notwithstanding my love of "Free For All" -- a song I believe is the epitome of '70s-era classic rock -- and my belief that newspapers should have lively and diverse opinion pages, I'm not going to shed too many tears for the Nuge's departure. He can blog and Twitter like all the other celebrities do.
But the whole "diversity of voices" argument is most often made on the op-ed page in service of people who write, well, crap. (Surely you can think of some Philadelphia examples of this phenomenon.) Most people who suggest that a president -- or a presidential candidate -- should "suck" on the end of rifle get visits from the Secret Service. If you're a rock n' roll star, you get a newspaper column. "Diverse voices" are important, but so is credibility. The Nuge has none. But he made a couple of great songs, once upon a time.
The invaluable anti-climate-alarmist site Globalwarming.org alerts us to how far Val Kilmer's star has fallen. Not even "gratuitous nudity" can save his stinker of a global warming film, The Chaos Experiment. (And, no — Thank God! — the gratuitous nudity did not involve Kilmer.)
According to William Yeatman:
I saw Val Kilmer’s new feature the other day. It’s called “The Chaos Experiment,” and it’s about a deranged scientist (Kilmer) who traps “six sexy strangers” (according to the plot synopsis on the back of the DVD) in a room and slowly turns up the heat to demonstrate the deleterious effects of global warming on the human condition. In a nutshell, the “six sexy strangers” get naked before they go crazy and start killing one another.
And you want a bad review? Here's a bad review from Yeatman:
My girlfriend thought it was awful — she was put off by the nudity. That was the only part I enjoyed, in what was otherwise a real snoozer.
Ouch. The film, apparently once titled "The Steam Experiment," was (shockingly) released in two theaters before quickly heading for the discount bin at your local video store. And, according to IMBD, the plot is even worse than Yeatman describes. Kilmer plays, essentially, a slightly better looking Ted Kaczynski:
A former professor concocts a brutal experiment in order to get the word out on the effects of global warming. By trapping six people in an urban Turkish bathhouse, he vows to overheat his hostages unless his global-warming hypothesis is published on the front page of his local paper.
Sorry, Val. No room in the paper for your screed. But no worries. Life imitates art. A UN apparatchik is out there saying we have but four months to save the planet ... then we're all DOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMED! No matter that the global warming scare is a fraud, and the useless bill the House passed this summer will cost at least 2 million jobs. I'm sure taxpayers will soon be subsidizing your glorious sequel, The Jaccuzi Experiment, in which you put six comely underwear models in a hot tub and slowly turn up the heat until ... well ... things really start heating up (wink, wink ... nudge, nudge).
Instead of going straight to Skinemax, we'll be required to watch your
propaganda blockbuster to collect our carbon ration cards. Ticket-takers, organic popcorn vendors and movie ushers leading drones patrons to their seats by candlelight will be some of the "green jobs" our government will soon create.
I'm sure Henry Waxman already has the Leave No Hollywood Hack Behind Act printed up and ready to go.