Monthly Archives: April 2012

Best

 

Maybe you have to be from a small town, or maybe you have to have fond memories of high school football, but for whatever reason this Robin Williams and Kurt Russell comedy failed to attract many fans.  Never mind that.  I love this movie – in particular the Monday Night Football scene with the boys and their wives.  Check it out free of charge by clicking here, or here.

 

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Grouch

 

We are trying to decide if The Grouchy Editor needs a new banner picture.  Problem is, there are just way too many pictures of that handsome devil, Grouchy, from which to choose.

 

*****

 

Quote of the Week 1:

 

“You can’t even believe what comes out of this guy’s mouth sometimes.” — MSNBC’s Krystal Ball, ranting about Mitt Romney.  I’m not sure that Krystal is the best person to be talking about things coming out of people’s mouths.  Remember these pictures, Krystal?

 

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*****

 

 

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Quote of the Week 2:

 

“I think his picture may appear next to the word ‘narcissism’ in the dictionary.” — HLN’s A.J. Hammer, chiding Simon Cowell.  Yup, I’d guess it appears right next to this picture of A.J. Hammer.

 

*****

 

We interrupt these pictures of pretty people to bring you a picture of the blobfish:

 

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*****

 

CNN ON AIR TALENT

 

In Stephen King’s Duma Key, the hero likes to watch Robin Meade on HLN.  In real life, Stephen King says he likes to watch Robin Meade on HLN.  Can’t say that I blame him.

Seems like every time I turn on the TV, cable news channels are introducing some new, pretty-but-fluffy anchor.  Meade is certainly pretty, and she doesn’t strike me as the brightest bulb on the tree, but geez … she’s so darned likable.  Wouldn’t you want her on your bowling team?

 

*****

 

Rockers

 

NBC finally has a show I kinda like:  Off Their Rockers.  I could do with a bit less Betty White, because her segments are scripted and Betty’s “naughty grandma” act has worn a bit thin.  But the actual pranks, most of the time,  are a hoot.

 

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Cave1

 

In 1994, three explorers stumbled on a cave in southern France that, having been shielded from the elements for thousands of years, harbored an amazing treasure:  prehistoric paintings of horses, panthers, lions, and at least one human, all of them etched on calcium-lined rock and dating back some 32,000 years.  Two years ago, the French government granted limited access to the Chauvet Cave for filmmaker Werner Herzog so that the world might share in this archaeological wonderland.  In 3-D, no less.

Sounds like the makings of a spellbinding documentary, doesn’t it?  Alas, too often during Cave of Forgotten Dreams I felt like I was back in 7th-grade science class, grateful when the lights went off so that I could catch a few winks during the screening of some plodding educational movie.

The images in Cave are impressive.  I did not see the film in 3-D, but I was still drawn to Herzog’s lingering, panoramic views of what most inspired our ancestors:  animals.  Not only are the paintings well-preserved, many of them are artistically striking.

 

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Unfortunately, Herzog’s film is 90 minutes, and that’s a long time to fill the screen with slow pans of stalactites, stalagmites, and hand prints on shadowy walls.  Also, Herzog is determined to speculate on What It All Means, and that means introducing the “experts.”

Among the scholars who provide archaeological insight, we meet one geezer, “Master Perfumer” Maurice Maurin, who — I kid you not — sniffs at holes in the ground to ferret out caves. “Primal techniques,” Herzog explains in narration. 

We also watch as a cave researcher wobbles a spear through the air in a clumsy attempt to demonstrate how primitive man hunted game during the Ice Age.  “His efforts may not look very convincing,” says Herzog, stating the obvious.

In a strange postscript, Herzog photographs some mutant albino crocodiles and wonders aloud what the crocs might make of the nearby cave paintings.  Is it possible, he asks, that future historians might look back at humans who explored the Chauvet Cave in much the same way that we now look at these crocodiles?

As long as Herzog was dragging me into la-la land, I began to speculate about one particular drawing on the cave’s wall, which is shown near the end of the movie.  I could swear that the image is of Bart Simpson.       Grade:  B-

 

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Director:  Werner Herzog  Featuring:  Werner Herzog, Jean Clottes, Julien Monney, Jean-Michel Geneste, Michel Philippe, Gilles Tosello, Carole Fritz, Maurice Maurin  Release:  2010

 

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       Watch Trailers and Clips  (click here)



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Above, can you spot Bart Simpson?

 

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Reservoir

 

I’ll preface this by admitting that I am not a Quentin Tarantino fan.  To me, this guy’s films are adored by some people because of his “wink wink” attitude toward pretty much everything.  In a Tarantino movie, violence is fun if it’s done tongue-in-cheek, and a smart-ass philosophy of life is the best way to go.  I dunno.  Tarantino annoys me, but I seem to be in the minority, because the “auteur” has many fans.  Check out his 1992 breakout movie free of charge by clicking here.

 

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Burger

 

Brazil Nuts

 

It was a busy week in South America.  We learned that a trio of Brazilians had indulged in cannibalism, cooking their victims and turning them into pastries.  Meanwhile, in nearby Colombia, President Obama’s Secret Service agents were also enjoying a piece of ass.

 

*****

 

Pity the poor Republicans.  They must sit back and watch in envy as Dems rake in all the love from movie stars, rock stars — most of the celebrity “cool kids.”  But when the GOP finally does land a celebrity fan, it’s this guy:

 

Nugent

 

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Quote

 

— That’s Scarlett Johansson whining to Vogue about the hacked nudes of the actress that went viral last year.  Gee, Scarlett, those people had probably already seen your “…” on the cover of Vanity Fair, or in the scene below from your 2004 movie,  A Love Song for Bobby Long.  Terrible, isn’t it?

 

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*****

 

Miami

 

Yes, yes, Mr. Meteorologist, we heard you the first time when you told us that it’s a myth that twisters never strike urban areas.  But what I’d like to know is this:  Why don’t tornadoes ever hit skyscrapers, and what would happen if they did?

 

*****

 

Clark

 

The most depressing aspect of this Dick Clark Is Dead hoopla?  My nagging hunch that someday we will have to go through the entire process again when Ryan Seacrest kicks the bucket.

 

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by Rachel Maddow

Drift


Reading a book like this one can fill you with hope or despair.  Hope, in that there are still good Americans (the one percent of our population comprising the volunteer military) and vital journalists like Maddow; but also despair, because as the proverb says, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The cycle goes like this:  Presidents and institutions gain power and then proceed to abuse or misuse it.  There is public outcry, restraints are instituted – and those presidents and institutions resist mightily.  Good intentions lead to unforeseen disaster.  These patterns are repeated throughout history.  Your choice, as an average citizen, is to be outraged, depressed, or desensitized.  Maddow’s book makes the case that, since the Reagan administration, Americans have become desensitized to war, and this attitude is encouraged by politicians (right and left) who prefer that most voters be removed from the actual cost of endless military adventures.

I suppose its a product of  my age, but I believe that a lot of the material in Drift would have outraged me when I was younger.  Now, mostly, it just depresses me.

 

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Penny

 

“If you are prone to easy weeping, you might even take along a washtub.” – New York Times.  “This is a weeper from the start.” – TV Guide.   “A wonderful tearjerker.” – Leonard Maltin’s Movie & Video Guide.  “One of the greatest weepies ever made.” – Hot Button.  Yes, you guessed it:  my type of movie.  Click here or here to watch Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in 1941’s Penny Serenade.

 

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Pretty Boys, Pansies, and Penises

 

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Hollywood scuttlebutt says Johnny Depp has been tapped to play Nick Charles in a remake of the classic screwball mystery, The Thin Man.  This seems wrong on so many levels.

I like Johnny Depp.  I think he’s a fine actor.  But casting him as ladies man Nick Charles is like casting Arnold Schwarzenegger to play Danny DeVito’s twin brother.  Hold on.  That’s a bad example.

William Powell (above, with Myrna Loy) was the definitive Charles in the 1930s-’40s detective series.  Powell was a fast-talking smoothie who looked just right with a Scotch in one hand and wife Nora in the other.  He was a suave “man’s man” who mixed well with both high society and his ex-con buddies.

Depp is … soft.  He is many things, including attractive to women, but macho he ain’t.  Look at the pictures below.  Does Depp look more likely to steal your wife — or your boyfriend?  Uh-huh.

 

Depp1    Depp2

 

*****

 

Whitfield

 

CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield (above) lost it last weekend when a woman named Laura Saunders introduced Fredricka to a chicken.

Saunders:  “And that’s my rooster — little pecker.”

Whitfield:  “Funny, foul language always welcome!”

The rooster reminded me of Johnny Depp.

 

*****

 

Trump3   ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

 

Speaking of little peckers, we were treated this week to the following exchange between two adults in the room, Gloria Allred and Donald Trump:

Gloria:  “[A transgendered beauty contestant] didn’t ask Mr. Trump to prove he’s a naturally born man, or see photos of his birth, or to view his anatomy.”

Donald:  “I think Gloria would be very, very impressed with me.”

Gloria:   “I don’t have a magnifying glass strong enough to see something that small.  The world does not revolve around his penis.”

Allred is one of America’s pre-eminent lawyers, and Trump would like to be president.  Feel better about the future of our country?

 

*****

 

Dawson

 

James Van Der Beek is back, starring on some ABC sitcom.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I was a fan of his old show, Dawson’s Creek.  Or maybe I am, since this clip from Dawson has popped up everywhere on the Internet.

 

*****

 

We are told that Ann Romney can relate to middle-class women because she raised five boys.  With professional house-cleaning help.  And with millions of dollars for things like health-care emergencies.  Or any other emergencies.

Hang tough, Hilary Rosen, because you were right.

 

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Cabin1

 

If I told you that this review was written by Zargon, a 10,000-year-old wooly mammoth that was recently discovered in Antarctica, unfrozen by scientists, and then taught typing skills by an English teacher, you’d have to admit that the possibility is fairly imaginative.  Hopefully, we could also agree that it’s a profoundly stupid claim.  But that’s what you get with The Cabin in the Woods — an imaginative but profoundly stupid horror movie.

Esteemed film critic Roger Ebert has written of Cabin’s plot, “You’re not going to see this one coming.”  With any luck, that’s because you’re a somewhat rational human being who expects at least a modicum of realism in your movies, even silly movies like this one.

 

Cabin2

 

Everything in Cabin is culled from countless kids-in-peril flicks of the past.  You already know the story:  Five kids party at an isolated cabin, where bad things happen to them.  The kids are all archetypes from other slasher movies, which isn’t entirely bad because it does mean we get an obligatory topless scene from one of the girls, this time courtesy of actress Anna Hutchison.

Much has been made of Cabin’s supposedly novel take on a tired genre, but imagination with no discipline is also what you get when a three-year-old draws pictures on the wall.  With his own poo.       Grade:  C

 

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Director:  Drew Goddard   Cast:  Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Brian White, Amy Acker  Release:  2012

 

Cabin7

 

Watch Trailers and Clips  (click here)

 

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by Jon Ronson

  Psycho

 

Ronson is a peculiar fellow.  At times, while reading his descriptions of the charm and deception utilized by psychopaths to get their way, I wondered if perhaps Ronson himself was a psychopath, using his considerable writing skills to mislead us and cajole us into buying his book.  For one thing, the title of The Psychopath Test is inaccurate:  Yes, Ronson unearths a psychopath or two, but mostly he presents a series of encounters with people who are merely odd – or possibly crazy, but not psychopaths.

Test is no scholarly analysis of mental illness, but it is a fascinating read, letters from a Caspar Milquetoast with balls (Ronson) who passes on the unwelcome news that all of us harbor some of the traits found on the Hare checklist of psychopathic symptoms.  There is also the unsettling possibility that – with all of our recent talk about the wealthy “one percent” – we should perhaps be focused on a different “one percent”: the estimated number of psychopaths in our midst.

 

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