Monthly Archives: July 2012

???????????????????????????????     Michael Phelps

 

Olympics coverage is less than a day old, and already I’m tired of Michael Phelps.  If they gave out gold medals for ugly ….

 

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Levy

 

Quotes of the Week:

 

“I think what we’re seeing here is the danger of people who don’t know what they’re talking about, talking about things.”

and …

“I should point out:  None of us are qualified to talk about anything.  Anything.” — Andy Levy (above) during his “halftime report” on Fox’s Red Eye.

 

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Fox courter jester Greg Gutfeld chose Wednesday to brown-nose his leggy co-host on The Five, air-headed lawyer Kimberly Guilfoyle:

“When you talk about this stuff, it’s important, because you are in the legal field and you know what you’re talking about.”

Strange.  Barack Obama is a law professor, but I never hear Gutfeld deferring to him.  Also, see Andy Levy comments, above.

 

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Erin Burnett’s phone conversation with Islamic military leader Omar Hamaha:

 

Hamaha:  Yes, this is Omar.  Hello?

Burnett:  Hello.  Hello.

Hamaha:  Yes, what do you want?

Burnett:  Good morning.  Good morning.  Do you speak English?

Hamaha:  No, no.  French is it.

Burnett:  No, no.  I have — I have some help.  Yes, can you ask him, are they, are they hurting people?

Hamaha:  Listen, speak in French.  No, no.  Listen, I do not speak to a woman.  If you would like to speak to me, give me a man.  It is necessary to respect our religion.  We are — we do not speak to women.  Do you hear me?

Burnett:  CNN, Erin.  Hello, Omar?  Omar?

 

Only in a Muslim country like Mali would a man hang up on a hottie like Erin Burnett.

 

Baldwin5

 

My apologies.  That is not a picture of Erin Burnett.  That is a picture of Erin’s co-worker at CNN, Brooke Baldwin.  I suppose I should remove that picture, but for some reason I don’t want to.  Here is a picture of Erin Burnett:

 

Burnett4

 

*****

 

Grump

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Ides1

 

My name is Grouchy, and I am a politics junkie.  My pusher is the media, and my enabler is cable news.  If you tell me that you’ve got a political movie starring Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei and Paul Giamatti … I am there.  I mean, I was a big fan of The West Wing — weren’t you?

Alas, watching The Ides of March is more like watching an energy debate on C-SPAN.  It feeds the junkie’s habit, but that’s about it.

Gosling stars as Stephen, a hotshot campaign manager who, during a crucial Democratic primary in Ohio, uncovers political dirt that threatens his ideals and career.  And therein lies the problem with The Ides of March.  Gosling, attractive and talented as he may be, is not very convincing as some babe in the political woods; he’s too old and too savvy to be shocked or disillusioned by the antics of men in power.

Then, too, the screenplay itself (co-written by Clooney) seems about 20 years behind the times.  In this age of Internet blogs and cable-news gossip, it takes a lot to shock an audience.  So why are so many of the characters in this movie knocked off their feet by the plot’s “scandals”?  And I’m not referring solely to an unsavory sex revelation.

 

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Clooney could have used West Wing’s Aaron Sorkin to punch up his dialogue.  Consider this line from Evan Rachel Wood to Gosling, which is supposed to represent flirtation:

Wood:  “You’re the big man on campus. I’m just a lowly intern.”

Or this exchange between Gosling and Tomei, the latter playing a print journalist:

Tomei:  “You met with Duffy.”

Gosling:  “Who told you that?”

Tomei:  “A little bird.”

And this bon mot tossed off by Hoffman, rising from his chair after a confab with colleagues: “And on that note, I’m gonna take a shit.”

Somewhere, Sorkin is rolling over in his HBO money.

The movie is watchable because Clooney gets some real juice out of the other actors, especially Giamatti.  And, speaking as a politics junkie, it’s amusing to see the liberal Clooney make a film about Democrats who project the exact opposite of “hope and change.”  And on that note, I’m gonna–           Grade:  B

 

Ides3Ides4

 

Director:  George Clooney  Cast:  Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright, Max Minghella, Jennifer Ehle  Release:  2011

 

Ides5????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

 

                                                Watch Trailers and Clips  (click here)

 

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Memento

 


I’m not a huge fan of Batman chronicler Christopher Nolan; I think his films tend to be too clever for their own good.  But lord knows the man has his fans.  If you’re one of them, click here to see the movie that put Nolan on the map.  You’ll have to register with Hulu, but it’s free and, seriously now, have you got anything better to do?

 

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Journalism

 

Asswipes of the Week:

 

All major media that practice “quote approval,” in which politicians are allowed to doctor and sanitize news stories before publication.

This should be a huge story but, unsurprisingly, the media are downplaying it.  The Huffington Post calls it a “kerfuffle.”  You know, no more serious than two neighbors squabbling over the height of some shrubs.  But man … when “reputable” news organizations including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, and The Washington Post all admit to deliberately misleading the public, that’s not a “kerfuffle,” that’s a genuine scandal.

 

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Reid

 

The hullaballoo over Olympic uniforms, on the other hand, is a kerfuffle. It’s a minor scandal that generated more emotion from Harry Reid (above) than I’ve ever seen from the man.  What a ridiculous thing to get upset about.

 

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Batman

 

Approximately 90 people die every day in U. S. traffic accidents. Twelve people died Friday at a Batman movie in Colorado and, as usual, cable-news talking heads sunk to the occasion.  Some lowlights:

Bill O’Reilly used the tragedy to rail against … the high cost of babysitters!  This economic outrage, propagated by the lowest of the lowly 99 percent, is the reason that some couples took their infants to the PG-13, violence-laden movie, O’Reilly surmised.  Gotta hand it to Bill:  He’s the go-to-guy when you want to grasp the big picture.

Meanwhile, over at HLN, Dr. Drew anointed “heroes” of the movie-house massacre — even though most of the theatergoers were nothing more than “victims.”  Or “survivors.”

And then there was Rush Limbaugh (below), who earlier in the week had dubbed fans of the superhero movie “brain-dead people.”  In retrospect, an unfortunate word choice.

 

Limbaugh

 

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Is this a great country, or what? (Part One)

 

Willard

 

Is this a great country, or what? (Part Two)

 

Jagger

 

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Bachmann3

 

Michele Bachmann, apparently upset over her recent lack of media exposure, is on a crusade to rid our country of evil Muslim extremists, a threat that Bachmann says has achieved “deep penetration” of the halls of government.  Some jerk seized on her quote:

 

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Paterno

 

Penn State, debating whether or not to remove a statue of pedophile-enabler Joe Paterno, is obviously not serious about atoning for its role in the child-molestation scandal.  This should be a no-brainer:  Tear down the stupid statue and abolish your football program, pronto.  Anything short of that, and your “apology” is bogus.

 

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Christine

 

Stephen King got mixed results when he chose to infuse life into inanimate objects.  In Insomnia, King created a pair of singing tennis shoes.  That was … interesting.  King had better luck with a 1958 Plymouth Fury, otherwise known as “Christine.”  Watch it – or her – for free by clicking here.

 

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Blake1            Janelle

“Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?”

 

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Perino

 

The Five celebrated its one-year anniversary.  At the end of Wednesday’s edition, discussion turned to Howard Stern’s admiration for the women who occupy the show’s “legs” chair.  I notice that Dana Perino (above) never sits in that chair.  I imagine that’s because she wants to be taken seriously.  But she was Bush’s press secretary, so how could anyone do that?

 

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Blake2

 

I try to avoid Piers Morgan and his brown-nosing celebrity interviews, but on Wednesday I was afraid actor Robert Blake (top and above) might pull a snub-nosed revolver on poor Piers.  I am of two minds about this kind of interview.  On the one hand, it can be riveting stuff.  On the other hand, I can picture Morgan’s staff sitting around and thinking, “If we can just book more people with mental illness, like Robert Blake, our ratings will skyrocket.”

 

Cage3

 

Perhaps Piers should book actor Nicolas Cage.  Once again, Cage is in the news for a bizarre episode, this time because a woman accidentally printed this picture of the harried thespian on her job application.

 

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Bulls

 

Running of the bulls, my ass.  It’s the “running of the idiots.”

 

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Kraut

 

How did Republicans manage to hijack the term “class warfare”?  Bill O’Reilly, with help from henchmen Charles “Strangelove” Krauthammer (above) and Dennis Miller, kicked and screamed about it all week.

Krauthammer:  “They [liberals] somehow imagine that the bounty of the past will continue.  They will be able to soak the rich and pay it [the deficit]  off.”

Miller:  “Why does he [Obama] always say ‘rich’ like it’s a four-letter word?  He’s gotta drop all this class warfare, for God’s sakes.”

O’Reilly:  “It must be class envy.”

Of course it’s class warfare.  The rich have been waging it on the middle class for decades.  And here’s a newsflash for “comic genius” Miller:  ‘Rich’ is a four-letter word.

 

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“I’m the real housewife of Minnesota.” — Janelle Pierzina (pictured at top), returning to the house on Big Brother.  Blond, beautiful, and Minnesotan … how can we not watch?

 

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Extra1

 

Half the battle of making a good romantic comedy comes with the casting.  If your main characters are personable, the audience will forgive a host of ancillary sins:  a silly story, clunky dialogue, dime-store special effects.  Too many American rom-coms ask us to empathize with young people who are very pretty — and self-absorbed, and snarky, and spoiled.  Self-awareness replaces charisma; insults pass for wit.

Extraterrestrial, a Spanish romantic comedy, features people behaving badly, absurd plot turns, and not much in the way of special effects, but none of that really matters because the protagonists are so darned appealing.

 

Extra2

 

Julio (Julian Villagran) wakes up in bed after a night of heavy partying.  But it’s not his own bed.  And it’s not his wife who is in the kitchen making coffee.  Those are the least of Julio’s morning surprises.  When he and new bedmate Julia (Michelle Jenner) detect an eerie calm in her neighborhood and take a gander out the window, they spot a flying saucer hovering in the sky.

That UFO is a plot device, so don’t go into Extraterrestrial expecting to see any, well, extraterrestrials.  Instead, expect to see Julia’s boyfriend (Raul Cimas), a good-natured oaf who is clueless about space invaders and girlfriend invaders alike, and expect to meet a comical endomorph named Angel (Carlos Areces), a bachelor who lives next door and who turns a budding love triangle into an even messier love quadrangle.

 

Extra3       Extra4

 

All four Madrilenians hole up in the apartment building.  Paranoia, slapstick, and secret trysts ensue.  The script, wobbly from the get-go, continues to fall apart as these dimwits do dimwitted things, but the whole thing is so good-hearted and unpredictable that it doesn’t really matter.  Well, maybe just a bit.       Grade:  B

 

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Director:  Nacho Vigalondo  Cast:  Michelle Jenner, Julian Villagran, Carlos Areces, Raul Cimas, Miguel Noguera  Release:  2012

 

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                                                  Watch Trailers  (click here)

 

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Cliff

 

If you’re afraid of heights, like I am, then the opening scene of this movie is the stuff of nightmares.  The rest of this 1993 action flick is about what we’ve come to expect from Sylvester Stallone:  silly, silly, and sillier.  Watch Cliffhanger (at least the first ten minutes) for free by clicking here.

 

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by Lisa Alther 

Hatfields

 

Can you dislike a book, yet hold its author blameless?  That’s the pickle when reviewing Blood Feud, writer Lisa Alther’s chronicle of the infamous Hatfield-McCoy feud.  Alther’s problem – and the source of much reader frustration – is that so few records survive from the period of time (late 19th century) and location (West Virginia-Kentucky) of the decades-long family feud.  As the author puts it, “Almost every incident in this feud has several conflicting versions that blame different participants, depending upon whether its source supported the Hatfields or the McCoys.  But which conveys what really happened?  No one can possibly know except the participants themselves, and they are all long dead, the truth buried with them.”  But Alther perseveres with insight and, appropriately enough, gallows humor.

 

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