May 3, 2008 - April 26, 2008
Monday, February 26, 2007
Oscars 1: Missing the
evening's BIGGEST star -- Marlon
Brando William Howard Gore.
Even the MSM reviewers were uncharitable about the Oscar telecast. The
pronounced it "a bore and a horror." Variety's Tom
said, "this year's Academy Awards ultimately proved a stately
unspectacular-bordering-on-dull affair, with host Ellen DeGeneres'
traditional shtick feeling a trifle small for the industry's biggest
stage." The NYT's Alessandra
began her review this way:
“Aim lower,” Ellen DeGeneres joked
about her unexalted childhood ambitions, and last night the Oscars did.
And Hollywood gossip blogger Nikki
I've had a better time watching my
clothes in the laundromat dryer.
This show was officially painful. I lost the will to live watching
it... I say enough is enough. Who isn't sick of getting stuck sitting
through an ass-killing show that runs on and on beyond reason with no
entertainment within it to speak of? As a comedian friend told me: "If
this goes on any longer, they're going to be reporting next weekend's
Friday night box office, the obituary package is going to be out of
date, and the ballots will be going out for next years' awards."
Somehow, they just didn't get it, despite the fact that collectively
their reviews surfaced most of the relevant evidence about what was
going on. Finke came close to unravelling the mystery when she
As a friend emailed me, "this was like
a Reagan era show." That was
the low-tech level of this year's broadcast. Which makes me wonder in
disbelief why the very rich Oscar telecast seriously stinted on
tonight's production values. Did Bernie The Accountant abscond with the
show's hefty budget? It was lacking in razzle-dazzle.
Shales was getting warm when he observed that:
Ellen DeGeneres, doing a crisp and
unpretentious job in her first gig as an Oscar host, said at the outset
that this would be "the most international Oscars ever," and that
prediction seemed to come true. But it meant that many of the films
cited were largely obscure to the national audience. Weren't the Oscars
invented to honor American films? Apparently not anymore.
Stanley actually reported two key points but failed to put them
together, beginning with the "aim lower" quote. The second was this:
Al Gore, whose star turn in the
documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” won the film an Oscar, took the
stage early in the evening to announce that, for the first time, the
Oscars were “green”...
There's the nub, ladies and gents. Last night's Oscars were the first
step in preparing us for the brave new world of a global community
turning back the clock on technological civilization. Viewed from this
perspective, the production was a brilliant artistic triumph, a long,
subtle intimatiion of what we have to look forward to in the
inconvenient future Gore and his allies are seeking to bring about.
It's a world that's going to be slower -- much slower -- as we wean
ourselves away from gas-guzzling high-performance automobiles and 600
mph jet planes. We're going to have to learn how to be patient as we
wait for our dull little electric cars to recharge themselves in the
garage. What we used to expect to transpire in two hours will expand to
four and then six hours, just like the Oscar telecast.
Low-tech will become exciting again. That's precisely why in an age of
computer graphics miracles, the Oscars offered us in their place
multiple mime performances -- low-contrast silhouettes behind a white
screen that beckoned us back to the days of magic lanterns and shadow
boxes. We'll rediscover, in increments, the pleasure of appreciating
one sense at a time, hence the retro master stroke of a "sound effects"
choir recalling an era of radio entertainment remembered these days by
no one but the Garrison Keillor fans of NPR's Prairy Home Companion
We'll even learn to read again. In manageable steps. First, we'll
acquire the skill of reading rather than watching movies, which is one
of the reasons why so many of the Oscar nominated films were
imponderable subtitled affairs from third world nations like Mexico.
Furthermore, Shales's comment about honoring American films --
"Apparently not anymore" -- is also apt. Hollywood is going to lead the
way in helping us all realize that the bigger, bolder, better mindset
of America has to be jettisoned in favor of the smaller, weaker,
inferior mindset of the peoples outside our borders who hate us with
every fiber of their beings. That's what we'll learn to aspire to,
thanks to vehicles like the Oscar telecast's many collages of dull old
foreign films, despairing foreign documentaries, and even depressing
short foreign animations.
It's all good. In coming years, more ambitious progress (?) will be
achieved. The greening of the globe will no doubt eventually reach even
the wardrobes of our actresses as they start to add up the miles of
carbon waste associated with flying European designers in and out of
Los Angeles for dress fittings, and they'll preen on the red carpet in
shirtdresses purchased by catalogue from Penney's. And it won't
represent any kind of serious loss to us, either, because by then the
inexorable backward-ticking of the clock will have returned the Oscar
telecast to black-and-white, perhaps even on a small, fuzzy screen
powered by a low-voltage picture tube. Nirvana.
The Oscars of the Future.
Don't worry, though. It'll probably take a while to get there. You know
how those evil conservative reactionaries are, always holding up progressregress.
Oscars 2: A Star is
Jennifer Hudson is on her way.
DO COME TRUE
. Yes, there were a lot of foreign ladies in beautiful
glamorous dresses on display (Cate Blanchette, Kate Winslet, and Helen
Mirren come to mind), but the brightest star of the evening was the
newest, ingenue Jennifer Hudson. Asked by an ABC correspondent if her
Best Supporting Actress Oscar had "sunk in" yet, she replied charmingly
that she'd only just gotten used to being cast in the movie Dream Girls
, so the answer was "No."
We'd like to help out, because you can never start planning too early
for a glorious future on top of the Hollywood "A" list. Especially if
you're a woman. When men win an Oscar, their mailboxes are immediately
inundated with a tsunami of the best scripts penned by the most
talented screenwriters in the world, and they're forced to start making
important pictures that can alter the course of history -- or at least
a few weird voting blocs in the next national election. All that
sitting on the couch reading brilliantly significant scripts can be
hazardous to one's health. That's why Jack Nicholson is almost as
humungous as Marlon Brando now and why Tom Hanks got so portly there
for a while. It's what we call a log in the water, and it's something
much to be avoided.
Fortunately, though, actresses who win the Oscar have an alternate
route that's a lot more satisfying for everybody involved. It's a route
so well established that it's becoming a kind of tradition. They can
forego all the dreary important scripts and star in big-budget
blockbusters as comic book super-heroines instead. Which pleases all
the men no end, and makes all the women jealous, spiteful, and secretly
adoring. Take a look at recent precedents:
Angelina Jolie, from
Tomb Raider I and
Halle Berry, from
X-Men I, II, and
Charlize Theron, from
Where did it all start? Some say one
thing, and some say another. There are those who give credit to:
Michelle Pfeiffer, who went from her Oscar-nominated roles in The Fabulous Baker Boys
to the Catwoman
role in Batman 2 or 3
; Uma Thurman, who
transitioned from an Oscar nomination for Pulp Fiction
to Poison Ivy in Batman 3 or 4
and thence to My Super Ex-Girlfriend
; or to bona
fide Oscar winner Jessica Lange, who did a highly costumed and
sometimes bare-breasted turn in Titus
which though not technically a comic book role was as close as you can
get to one in a movie version of Shakespeare's worst play. There are
even a few diehard film historians (you know how backwards they get
in their pontificating) who credit 9-time Oscar winner Jane Fonda with
pioneering the trend by playing Barbarella
when she was just the wastrel daughter of an Oscar winning
But it doesn't really matter how it started. What does
matter is that it's a way to
get great big paychecks without tearing your soul apart with a lot of
painful method-acting. If you can sit back contentedly in that makeup
chair for a few hours, you can still make a big bang on the
silver screen, which means big bucks in the bank. What's more, it's a
hell of a lot easier on movie audiences, too, because they don't have
to suffer through agonizing acting ordeals like, say, Leaving Las Vegas
Speaking of which -- and just to show you how acceptable the comic book
route has become -- guess who else is picking up on the advantages of
playing characters who talk in speech balloons:
Nicholas Cage, from
Las Vegas to
Obviously Cage, who's the nephew of film great Francis Ford Coppola,
was smart enough to realize that he doesn't want a case of Brando
lardbutt contracted by reading scripts written in words of more than
one syllable, either.
The sad thing is that this career option has only been open so far to
women (mostly) who can fit into a Size 4 super-heroine costume. That's
why it's time for another breakthrough performer to make her mark. We
believe Jennifer Hudson has the beauty and charisma to be the first
full-figured woman super-hero.
Hudson. Ready to be a SUPERstar.
We're not as up on comic books as we probably should be, but we're sure
the geniuses in Hollywood can come up with a fitting premise, maybe SuperWoman
) or The Calico-Catwoman
. Think of the
doors you could open for other talented practitioners of your craft.
All right. We admit it. We're trying to find a candidate to crash
through the superhero plausibility barrier. Does anyone realize that
it's been almost 20 years
since Jack Nicholson played a comic book character in Batman I
? Except for all his
intervening roles, of course. But that's not the point. In all
those other roles, he hasn't worn any masks or tights or capes or
utility belts, and we want the superhero world to be open at last to
crumbling old white guys who would otherwise bore us to death with the
kinds of movies made by crumbling old white guys. You know the ones we
mean. Where the crumbling old white guys are such wry and witty old
bastards that women 25 or 40 years younger find them irresistibly
attractive. Which is far more ludicrous than a comic book movie
starring Jack Nicholson as Jabba-the-Hut-Man, Harrison Ford as
Liniment-Man, or Sean Connery as Super-Scot.
There's got to be something
to do with all these ancient leading men still being cast as romantic protagonists by
ancient producers who think the Baby Boom will last forever. Contrary to the nonsensical delusion perpetuated by Hollywood, most old guys really do know that beautiful young women prefer men who are only a bit older than they are and could dandle an infant on their knee without making a doctor's appointment immediately afterwards. The celluloid transmutation of the Dirty Old Man into mesmerizing heart-throb is more embarrassing than appealing. If you
could help help us with that, Jennifer, there are a lot of old white guys who'd
be eternally in your debt.
Besides, we're the only ones -- apart from every black guy we know --
who don't think women have to be starving sticks with
breasts to be beautiful. We really would come to see your new
we'd even buy the giant-sized popcorn Jerry Seinfeld doesn't think we
should pay $10 for.
Friday, February 23, 2007
Even cooler than the Euro.
Those who who have been following the presidential campaign thus far
might be pardoned for thinking that Hillary is some kind of Democrat
moderate. All the sniping she's getting from the left is pretty
convincing on that score. The truth is, though, that Hillary is a true
visionary, much like previous rescuers of troubled democracies like
Octavianus and Napoleon Bonaparte. She knows our needs and wants, and
that's why she's going to help us rejoin the community of nations who
have been so mad at us for so long. One of her first steps will be the
renovation of the fascist currency that has been a constant reminder to
the rest of the world that the United States is hopelessly committed to
militarism, achievement, individuality, and God worshippers. These
aren't things that a modern nation should admire. Thankfully, we have
the benefit of the example set by Europe, which somehow overcame its
thousand year legacy of murder and oppression a few years ago and is
now showing the rest of us how civilization ought to work -- with
enormous governments that give lots of money to everyone who needs it,
or wants it, or thinks it's owed to them somehow.
That's why we're so amazingly happy to announce the brand new money
that will be printed and minted when Hillary becomes President in 2009.
We can all expect to receive lots and lots of these of these new bills,
which for the first time in our history are going to reflect the real
values we all hold dear. Here's a quick review.
The new one-dollar bill will remind us
of the greatest hero of the American Revolution, the general who
realized that the war against the British just couldn't be won, and
therefore shouldn't be fought. Alone among all the New World colonists,
Benedict Arnold remembered that no one had ever won a war against the
Old World, and he did the civilized thing, switching sides when he saw
that the idiot in charge of the American effort was too stupid to
follow his advice.
Talk about an American hero -- here's
the greatest one of all. It's a fact of history that leaders should
always listen to their generals unless they're generals who demand more
troops and more offensives against the enemy. George McClellan was one
of the good generals, though. He always knew that the North wasn't
ready to fight the South, no matter how many troops and provisions he
had. He also knew there was no way the North would ever beat the South
in the Civil War, and he loved peace so damn much that he ran against
the president who had done more damage than anyone in history to the
civil liberties that make America great. So what if he lost the
campaign. He was right, goddamn it. No
war is worth more than a few thousand casualties.
In a way you could say that American
civilization didn't even begin until this guy showed up on the scene.
George McGovern was the first presidential candidate ever who had the
sheer balls to say, "This is a war we absolutely have to lose, no
matter how much it costs." He was talking about the quagmire called
Vietnam, and maybe it's true that old-time Democrats like FDR,
Truman, JFK, and LBJ would have cut his head off and pissed down
his windpipe for being such a traitor to his own country, but who's on
the 10-dollar bill now, Jack? And who gets a new documentary made about
him every six months for all the sexist, perverted things he did to
every single person with breasts and a vagina he ever met? We've grown
beyond the macho men who kept getting us into all those wars in the
past. Now we're advanced enough to admire the men who really matter,
the ones who pee sitting down, just like all those virtuous German men.
Remember who used to be on the
twenty-dollar bill? Well, we don't either, but the odds are he was an
idiot chavinist pig who never appreciated just how wise and wonderful
women are when they're running the government. Thank God goodness we now have
a Speaker of the House who isn't the hostage of testosterone and knows
when it's time to march up to the nearest imam and surrender like a
good little girl. There really isn't anything else you can do when
you're confronted by that kind of man.
If we didn't put him on the 50-dollar bill, we'd have to just stop
everything and declare him a saint. Who else could be so pristinely
objective in the face of nationalistic madness that he has the
wherewithal to defend the democratically elected leader of a nation at
war with his own country? I mean, Saddam Hussein got almost 99 percent
of the vote in his last presidential race. No American politician ever
gets a mandate like that. No wonder all those Iraqi women wanted him to
rape them to death. Well, as I always say, if you want people who take
a principled stand, find yourself a Democrat, preferably one who's
served in a Democrat presidential adminsitration. Someone like Ramsey
Clark. Or Martin Sheen.
People are so cynical. Most of the
Republicans I know were awful when I told them I was writing about the
new currency. They thought Bill Clinton should be on the 100-dollar
bill. You know, Cocaine jokes. That's why I'm so pleased that the real
new face of the 100-dollar bill is someone who's never done anything
wrong or unsavory. He just loves peace. And poor, hopeless losers. To
All right. So he's a desperately stupid,
incompetent, and not so patriotic boob. Can you name me one organzation
that doesn't have a Patrick Leahy on the board submitting outrageous
expense accounts and annoying the hell out of the people who do the
real work? No. Of course you can't. There's always a Patrick Leahy.
It's our choice. We can nuke the state of Vermont, or we can find some
way to cope. Face it. You're never going to get rid of numbskull crooks
like Leahy. What you can do
is is give them their anniversary pins, plaques, and all the other crap
that says you care, even though you don't. Besides, have you ever seen a $500 bill? No one
else has either. Serves him right.
He didn't do it for the money. Julius (corrected 2/26 by commenter Scipio -- thanks!)
Rosenberg gave the Russians our nuclear secrets because he believed in
peace, the perfectability of man, and the wisdom of Josef Stalin. Who
doesn't believe in those things? And who wouldn't commit espionage just
to have the satisfaction of putting one over on Joe McCarthy and
Richard Nixon? Can you even imagine how effective he'd be as an
activist against Global Warming? We know he'd kick ass. Gore would be
sick with envy.
Hey. It's the top denomination. Who else
would you put on this bill? He's the Top Dog, the Alpha Male, the..
well, you take the point.
About time, don't you think? The three-dollar bill is important,
because it's somewhere between the one-dollar bill and the five-dollar
bill. We always needed it. Because life just wouldn't be the same
without a pompous, patronizing, pseudo-intellectual, obnoxious,
corrupt, er, unit of currency. You know.
We're going to have all new coins too. Hurray. Like the penny.
Isn't she just so gre-e-e-e-e-a-a-a-t? Of course she is. So humble. And
so classically beautiful.
This is the guy who defunded the South Vietnamese army. He'll be the
new nickel. And worth every penny. We need more politicians like
Speaker of the House Carl Albert. Are you listening, Nancy?
Jimmy Carter. So good to have him on the dime. He's worth so much more
than that. But if you're going to be on the quarter, you've got to be
really really special, not some trailer trash who accidentally got
Babs. It doesn't get much better
than this. Just don't keep your quarters in the same pocket with your
dimes. Barbra is Jewish, you know. But a good Democrat. Like all Jews.
Or Hillary wouldn't put one on the quarter. It's not as if they're
actually silver anymore.
We've been told that that Hillary is also thinking of putting an
African-American on the 50-cent piece, maybe Paul Robeson, because he
was so loyal to the proletariat
people. And there's also talk of a new dollar coin, which would be a
nonpartisan choice like Charles Lindbergh, because he believed in peace
so much. Way back when. The alternative candidate is John Wilkes Booth.
Who knew the best approach to take with a war-mongering Republican
president. Stay tuned.
Thanks to Wuzzadem
for the link
but we're pretty sure it's not illegal. We confidently expect a verdict of not
guilty by reason of inanity.