Monday, December 20, 2004

May You Find The Holiday Spirit Within

May You Find The Holiday Spirit Within

Happy Holidays to all of you out there!

I'm sorry I haven't blogged as of late, but I have been deep in a 21 JUMP STREET marathon. Yes, 21 JUMP STREET.

As some of you may know I was asked to write the liner notes for the Season One DVD set. Now I have been asked by Anchor Bay Entertainment to come up with some Jump Street trivia questions for the Season Two DVD.

Do you want to know H.T. Ioki's real name? Can you tell me why Hanson hates Valentine's Day? If you can't you should by this DVD when it comes out (or praise the lord that you had better things to do in the '80s than watch Fox). Season One is on sale now. It makes a great Xmas gift. **wink, wink**

I will write more of my holiday adventures in the New Year. Until then...well, look at the card.

Friday, December 10, 2004

A puppet for the puppet...but who's pulling the strings?

As if we didn't know. This news tidbit from Reuters speaks for itself, but let's make a game of it. I'll post a few excerpts about our new Energy Secretary, Sam..whathisname and you see if you can find the puppet master. Ready, kiddies? Here we go....

" "We'll pursue more energy close to home in our own country
and in our own hemisphere so that we're less dependent on
energy from unstable parts of the world," Bush said in a brief
appearance to announce the nomination.

The new energy secretary will have to deal with high oil and
natural gas prices and help the Bush administration win
congressional approval to allow oil drilling in the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge. Moderate Republicans and
Democrats in the U.S. Senate oppose the drilling plan.

Energy industry lobbyists and analysts expressed surprise
at the choice of (Sam) Bodman.

"Sam who? I've never heard of this guy," said one energy
industry lobbyist, who added Bodman was virtually
unknown to Washington energy policy insiders.

Although Bodman lacks much energy experience, it is
widely believed among Washington energy experts that
Vice President Dick Cheney directs major oil and gas
policy issues. The White House has denied such

Bodman was recommended for the energy job by a
former boss -- outgoing Commerce Secretary Don Evans,
a Texas oilman and one of Bush's closest friends. That
"speaks volumes about Mr. Bodman's qualifications,"
Republican Sen. Pete Domenici said. "

Can you spot the puppet master? Hint: It's not the President

I think it's unnerving when energy lobbyists and Republican senators are scratching their heads at our administration. I mean, they work for these guys!!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Tree Worm

Tree Worm

I came across this worm trying to free itself from the tree. Very Arthurian if you think about it. You know...Merlin...the dragon....EXCALIBUR? Is my geek showing?

CLOSER but no cigar

When PULP FICTION hit the scene it was inevitable that we would be treated to a string of pulp crime sprees and rat-a-tat-tat pop diatribes. When THE MATRIX overpowered THE PHANTOM MENACE, we saw a surge in wire work in every major action film. What I didn’t expect to see was a Neill LaBute ripple.

Now I like LaBute’s work (especially his early funny stuff). It’s raw in an age of over - political correctness. CLOSER, it seems, was the London theater circuit’s answer to LaBute’s sensibility. The film tries to follow suit.

Two couples (Jude Law & Natalie Portman versus Clive Owen & Julia Roberts) either through lust, insecurity, perversion or vengeance end up literally and figuratively screwing each other over. A lot of frank venom and words that rhyme with “punt” and “watt” are tossed at each other. All this cursing is there to show us how hip the script is. How unafraid writer Patrick Marber is of taboos sexual and social (we already know director Mike Nichols has no qualms here...see CARNAL KNOWLEDGE. You’d be better off.) Could this be the new punk?


I’m no prude when it comes to language (or anything else for that matter). To paraphrase INHERIT THE WIND, “I think language is a poor enough means of communication. We should use every word we damn well need.” The problem is that normal people don’t throw these words around as easily as the characters of CLOSER. It’s equally inconceivable that they would sleep with / cheat on each other in such a flip flop manner. Sure Dan (Law) is empty and insecure and craves the power sexual conquest gives him. What’s Anna’s (Roberts) excuse for being attracted to such a desperate loser? Maybe it’s because Julia, no matter how much you try to sully her up, always comes off as Miss Perfect. We never find out what Anna’s actual flaw is, oustide of needing sex with wankers. One wonders what the film would be like if Cate Blanchett was able to play Anna, as was intended. Alas, even Miss Cate could not save this movie.

These characters are more medium rare than raw. They are sexy (at least the actors themselves are). None of them are believable. The only one that comes close is Clive Owen’s Larry (God damn, I want him to be the next James Bond!). The depravity of his jealousy is exactly how base a man can get when faced with a cheating wife. His vindictiveness. His clasping at any sexual confidence he can nab. Even if it comes from a stripper...who just happens to be the ex-girl of the guy who screwed his wife. Natch!

With CLOSER, you get all this emptiness plus a twist ending which is is so shallow in its profundity that I skinned my knees on the bottom. Some defenders of this film will say, “This is the whole point of the film, Frank. That these people are so unappealing it’s impossible for them to get “closer” to anyone.”

Yawn, again.

Monday, December 06, 2004


“Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.”

We all can see the irony in The Who’s lyrics when we look at how the country has remained a twisted version of The 700 Club. It seems our moralists haven’t evolved with the times either (probably because they would be kicked out of the Creationists Club).

In 1997, Oklahoma banned the film THE TIN DRUM based on the allegations that it was child pornography. Any cinephile familiar with this German Oscar winner knows they were full of beans when they made this charge. Thankfully, the courts of the time agreed.

What’s interesting to me was how the puritanicals of OCAF (Oklahomans For Children and Family) and the moralists of Bush’s America sing the same, bizarre view of the world. Here are some "bon mots" from the documentary BANNED IN OKLAHOMA which can be found on the very fine Criterion DVD of THE TIN DRUM. These people fighting for our souls today still believe the delusions of yesterday.

“...mental and psychological abuse, I think, comes in the forms
of many of the things that our library thrusts in the faces of our
families today.” - Carol Hefner - OCAF Member

Beware of the library pushers! They have an agenda. They want you to think. Libraries wish they had this kind of influence. Alas, most people in this country wouldn’t piddle on a library if it were on fire. Maybe it’s because they resent all those library pushers shoving books down our windpipes. Bastards!

“I think we all would agree that Hollywood and the people in
the awards thing are very, very liberal and, of course, back in
1979 when this film came out, they would certainly give a film
like that an award just to legitamize it. To make it seem like
“Look what’s happening in Europe. We ought to...we’re behind
the scenes here in the United States. We need to have more sex
and more kids having sex here in our films.”
- Col. Bob Anderson - OCAF President

That’s right, folks. At long last I can reveal the dark truth of Hollywood. We want kids to have sex. Protected sex. Often. Why? Because we want to be just like those perverted Europeans. The ones who gave birth to Western culture. The culture that brought us all those bare breasted statues like the ones in the Vatican and the one Ashcroft had clothed in the Justice Department. (As a sidenote, I wonder how much it will cost to undo Ashcroft’s defacement of Justice.)

These are the people we're dealing with! God, help us, indeed.