Monthly Archives: September 2013





Seems to me that it’s much too easy to terrorize a town these days.  Man up, towns.






Buttocks Number One:

“[Criticism of corporate bonuses] was intended to stir public anger, to get everybody out there with their pitchforks and their hangman nooses, and all that — sort of like what we did in the Deep South.  And I think it was just as bad and just as wrong.” — AIG’s Robert Benmosche, above, whining to The Wall Street Journal

If you didn’t want to grab a pitchfork before, you probably do now.


Buttocks Number Two:




Nothing newsworthy about these buttocks.  But they are just about perfect buttocks, so here you go.




“It is incredibly fluid.” — CNN’s Dana Bash, employing the latest word of the moment that every media outlet must hammer to death.  Next week there will be a new word, because these things tend to be fluid.






“The [America’s] Cup returns home to where it belongs:  in the hands of American sailors who defied the odds, who are so courageous, who are so disciplined, who are so focused, and who had such strategic plans to give our country — USA, USA, USA — a victory we will never forget.”

That was Nancy Pelosi, who apparently digs rich-guy sports, and whose panties might have gotten into a bunch if anyone had bothered to inform her that Team USA had exactly one (1) American on its 11-man crew.


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Thirty years ago, Warner Bros. released a low-budget comedy called Night Shift and, if you’d asked me at the time, I would have predicted big things for the movie’s youthful director and stars.  Ron Howard, better known as “Richie Cunningham” back then, displayed a light directorial touch with his second theatrical film.  Howard cast his Happy Days co-star, Henry Winkler, against type as Night Shift’s milquetoast hero.  Rounding out the cast were Shelley Long, who seemed ready to assume Goldie Hawn’s crown as cinema’s queen of quirk – and a new kid named Michael Keaton.

My prediction would have been spot-on for Howard, now one of Hollywood’s power directors.  But Keaton’s star has faded, Winkler is now making commercials for reverse mortgages, and Long appears in obscure TV movies.  Fickle place, Hollywood.



But Night Shift was first and foremost a coming out party for Keaton, who shines as Billy “Blaze,” a gangly, energetic hustler with a cockamamie, irresistibly infectious act.

Howard and his actors took what could have been unsavory material (prostitution) and whipped up a warmhearted romp.  The story, in which Winkler, Keaton, and Long team up to run an escort service out of a city morgue, captures early ‘80s New York City in all its sleaze (a Plato’s Retreat-inspired sequence) and glory (a series of hilarious running gags featuring eccentric Gothamites).  It also boasts catchy ‘80s music courtesy of Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, and Rod Stewart.

I still think this is Howard’s best movie – but Keaton steals the show.  Is this a great country, or what?      Grade:  A-


Shift3 Shift4

Shift5 Shift6


Director:  Ron Howard   Cast:  Henry Winkler, Michael Keaton, Shelley Long, Gina Hecht, Pat Corley, Nita Talbot, Bobby Di Cicco, K.C. Winkler, Monique Gabrielle  Release: 1982


                                                Shift7   Shift8                                


      Watch the Trailer  (click here)




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Balloon Week!


Fox Balloons!




“Look how happy those girls are in their balloons!” — some idiot on Fox & Friends, watching Elisabeth Hasselbeck, above right, race in a giant ball.


British Balloons!






Miley Balloons!


Miley1 Miley2


Hey … it was a slow news week.


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                           The Collection

 Collect1 Collect2


I’m tempted to slap The Collection with an “F” for its bare-bones plot and ridiculously excessive gore.  However … if you are into splatter flicks — I generally am not — this sequel to The Collector is better than most of its gore-horror brethren thanks to a decent budget and some slick, fast-paced direction.  Release:  2012  Grade:  B-




               All the Boys Love Mandy Lane

Mandy1 Mandy2


The camera certainly loves Amber Heard, who plays one of six teens who (yawn) encounter trouble at an isolated ranch.  Director Jonathan Levine also seems to love stilted dialogue, “scares” that don’t scare, and a twist that any horror-film fan can see coming from a mile away.  This mediocrity was filmed in 2006 but sat on a shelf for seven years, awaiting distribution.  Too bad it’s not still sitting there.  Release:  2013  Grade:  D+




                             World War Z

WarZ1 WarZ2


Here’s proof that you can have an astronomical budget and Brad Pitt for a leading man … and still produce just another silly zombie movie.  Brad plays a perfect family man (of course) who saves the world (naturally) while fighting off hordes of the undead.  The zombies are not particularly original, but they do look cool in some overhead CGI shots.  Release:  2013  Grade:  C-




                              End of Watch

Watch1 Watch2


If you’re not a big fan of police, End of Watch could change your mind — at least for a couple of hours, thanks to the chemistry between Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena as two patrolmen in South Central L.A.  There isn’t a great deal of story, but it’s refreshing to watch a crime drama in which the cops are neither bad to the bone nor avenging super studs.  Release:  2012  Grade:  B+


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“In space … apparently you can hear all kinds of weird shit.”




War Drums Update


Irritating phrase of the week:  “trust, but verify”

Irritating word of the week: “degrading”

If you trust in something (or someone), there is no need to verify.  If you bomb somebody (or something), it is not “degrading.”  Degrading is what happens to the nerd in high school who gets his pants pulled down in the cafeteria.




Newt Gingrich Holds Primary Night Gathering In Birmingham, Alabama


CNN’s Crossfire:  I can’t bring myself to watch it, because it features Newt Gingrich with his fat, smarmy persona and castrato voice.  Did I mention that I don’t care for Newt Gingrich?











Whatever your feelings about the show itself, is there another program that does cooler trailers than American Horror Story?




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Just when you think it’s a waste of time to seek your soul mate on Internet dating sites, this sexy, highly desirable couple breaks up, adding more goodness to the dating pool.






I don’t know a thing about these striking Mexican teachers and their issues, but I do know that, of all professions, there is no group that I associate more with the word “whining” than teachers.






“No one had done that in 44 years.” — CBS’ Scott Pelley, praising Peyton Manning’s record-tying seven touchdown passes in the NFL opener.

Pelley did not mention the name of the quarterback who last accomplished the feat — poor Joe Kapp.  The last time we heard from old Joe was in 2011 when the 73-year-old former Viking was videotaped brawling onstage with 74-year-old Angelo Mosca.  Jostling Joe is at left in the pictures.

I dunno, I think the old-fart fisticuffs might be more impressive than seven touchdowns.


Kapp2    Kapp3

Kapp4    Kapp5







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by Charles Todd



A test of patience for whodunit fans, as a Scotland Yard inspector conducts a monotonous series of interrogations with small-town murder suspects.  “Charles Todd” (the nom de plume for a mother and son writing team) has also invested the inspector’s conscience with an annoying presence the voice of “Hamish,” a Scottish soldier whom our hero sentenced to death during World War I.  I will say this for the authors:  Their “big reveal” at novel’s end is not a bore; rushed, overwrought, and utterly ridiculous, certainly, but not a bore.


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