Daily Archives: June 9, 2012



Big (Red-Faced) Apple


I used to like New York City.  But lately, thanks to blowhard Donald Trump and midget Mike Bloomberg, the Big Apple’s image is taking a whipping.  Apparently, New Yorkers can banish super-sized soft drinks but not super-sized egos.






Rachel Maddow, still smarting over election results in Wisconsin, launched into an attack on big money in politics.  Fine by me.  But Maddow chose the wrong target for her wrath:  Big Tobacco and the millions of dollars it spent in California to defeat an anti-smoker tax known as Proposition 29.  “Everyone” was in favor of this tax, whined Maddow, because its merits were “incontestable.”

Contest this, Rachel.  Before you leap into your next harangue against smokers, please explain the merits of your weekly glorification of alcohol, specifically your Friday-night “happy hours” in which you extol the virtues of mixed drinks.

Meanwhile, in a world gone mad, I found myself rooting for Ann Coulter, who on Fox’s Red Eye went to bat for nicotine addicts everywhere.  “Smokers get a lot of work done,” Coulter asserted.  Yes.  Unlike, say, people who drink too much.




I was watching cable news the other day and someone said, “You know what they say about Oklahoma?  If you don’t like the weather, just wait a day!”

Thirty years ago, shortly after I moved to Texas, a city councilman named Harris Hill welcomed me to the Lone Star State with this information:  “You know what they say about Texas?  If you don’t like the weather, just wait a day!”

Since I moved back to Minnesota, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard, either on TV or in real life, “You know what they say about Minnesota?  If you don’t like the weather, just wait a day!”

Do they say this even in California?




Crystal Harris, Hugh Hefner’s 26-year-old “runaway bride,” has reunited with the old fart.  In case you’ve forgotten what Crystal looks like, here is a picture:




Former Hefner squeeze Kendra Wilkinson did not take the news lightly.  “I’m kind of ashamed.  I’m like, ‘Hef, what are you doing?’” Kendra sniffed, adding, “I don’t want him to be, like, caught up in this woman.”  In case you don’t recall what Kendra looks like, here is a picture:




And finally, in case you’ve forgotten what 86-year-old Hugh Hefner looks like …




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Well, at least he gave it the old college try.  Ridley Scott, the man who gifted us with the sci-fi classics Alien and Blade Runner, is back at age 74 to see if he can’t make it a triple treat.

Prometheus has most of the requisite ingredients:  top-notch actors, state-of-the-art special effects and, from Scott himself, energetic pacing and some memorable set pieces.  But his movie suffers from that old bugaboo, a lackluster script.

The film contains a surprising amount of recycled, stale material, both from the Alien franchise and from myriad other science-fiction films.  Scott, rather than capitalize on what made his own Alien so good — creepiness, claustrophobia, and characters — instead borrows from its sequel, James Cameron’s Aliens, with its emphasis on action and special effects.  Instead of great Scott, we get so-so Cameron.




When I think back to the original Alien, I think of Sigourney Weaver’s “Ripley” battling both male chauvinism and interstellar horrors.  When I think back to Blade Runner, I think of Rutger Hauer’s replicant, feeling the rain stream down his cheek, smiling wistfully, and saying, “Time … to die.”  There are no such memorable characters or moments in Prometheus.

There are, however, dazzling sets and kick-ass effects.  The $120 million budget and spectacular European scenery are put to good use.

As in the original Alien, this film begins with a small crew on a mission to deep space.  Ancient rock drawings, discovered in a cave on Earth, appear to depict a star map, and so a hybrid crew of scientists and at least one evil corporate-type is dispatched to discover the map’s message.  Or, at least some of them are.  If that sounds familiar, that’s because it is.


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The movie does raise intriguing questions.  Did life originate on Earth, or was it brought here?  Do we share DNA with life elsewhere in the universe?  Is “God” benevolent, hostile, or even godlike?

Films like Contact dealt with these issues intelligently.  Expecting Ridley Scott, or anyone, to come up with answers to those questions is, of course, expecting too much.  But I don’t think it’s asking too much to expect a bit more originality from this movie.  Or some characters worth remembering.        Grade:  B




Director:  Ridley Scott   Cast:  Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender,  Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Logan Marshall-Green, Sean Harris, Rafe Spall, Emun Elliott, Benedict Wong, Kate Dickie  Release:  2012


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