Monthly Archives: April 2014

Vale1

 

I suppose it’s an indicator that I have mental-health issues, but very few things make me laugh out loud and one of them is the fart-prank video.  I can spend hours watching this kind of tomfoolery on YouTube.

The undisputed King of the Fart Prank has to be Jack Vale.  Jack is the harmless-looking bozo in the white t-shirt in these pictures, in which he is seemingly passing gas — and eliciting angry glares from girls at the beach. 

 

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If you, like me, are afflicted with the sense of humor of a ten-year-old, Jack’s videos are highly recommended. 

 

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Phrases We Need to Dump:

 

She continues on her journey.”

He moves on to the next chapter of his life.”

This is trite, pretentious drivel.  Also, no one reads books these days; we watch videos.  Rather than, “After much contemplation, Jack continued on his journey and moved on to the next chapter of his life,” I would suggest:  “Jack set the stage for the next scene in his YouTube-driven existence.”

 

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Compared to other sports, baseball has a reputation for being soft.  But I don’t recall seeing pictures like this after mishaps in hockey or football.

 
 
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This story appeared on a German Web site.  I was curious, so I used an Internet language translator.

There is going to be a second Smallest Penis in Brooklyn pageant, although you could be forgiven for not grasping that fact from this translation.  Excerpts:

 

Miley Cyrus is to look as a jury member with an American “show” for the smallest Penis.

With naked skin Miley Cyrus has as well known no problem.  Whether the singer pulled however times again too deeply on her Joint, when she got the offer of the “Smallest Penis Contest” and now seriously considers, probably stands on another sheet.

Brooklyn searched for the smallest best male piece.  Men present themselves with the competition in evening clothes and trunk and show their mini small sausage.

As the organizers communicated now on Twitter … discussion with scandal noodle Miley Cyrus, in order to win her as Jurorin for the competition.  At present the poor Miley Cyrus has anyway different problems.  Completely sadly it twitter from the patient bed:  “I am, where I was the whole week.  In bed.  Crying.  NOT stoned.  Shit!”  Miley lies after a violent allergischen reaction to antibiotics still in the hospital.  Perhaps but the prospect directs it toward the Penis competition.

 

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by Jacqueline Susann

Valley


There is good soap opera, and there is bad soap opera.  Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls was a literary sensation in 1966 (it was the top-selling book that year), and it’s easy to see why:  It’s juicy and entertaining.  Part of the enjoyment comes from trying to decode former actress Susann’s roman a clef.  The penniless singer who becomes a major star, then succumbs to alcohol and pills – is she based on Judy Garland?  The boom-voiced Broadway battle-axe – is it Ethel Merman?

Susann’s prose is occasionally dreadful, and her story about three Cosmo Girls trying to make it in New York and Hollywood show business, circa 1945-65, is quaint by today’s standards, but her gossipy style is infectious and her themes about doing whatever it takes to achieve love, fame, and success in America are timeless.

 

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Sin

 

*****

 

Entertainment Weekly’s cover (below) features Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Lawrence in clownish superhero getups.  At first glance, I thought I was looking at Eddie Munster all grown up, and Ted Danson in blackface.  Or blueface, I guess.

 

 

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Also coming soon to a theater near you is a Sin City sequel with Mickey Rourke, which brings to mind Rourke’s buffoonish appearance in the original film (below, and photo at top).  It’s hard enough to take these endless comic-book movies seriously, but when the stars are forced to look this ridiculous, well ….

 

 

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Fox is premiering a new panel show called Outnumbered.  Nothing new about being outnumbered on Fox, which for years has followed the format of pitting one liberal guest against a small army of conservatives on shows like The O’Reilly Factor and Hannity.  Fair and balanced, my ass.

 

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               Bundy Bundy2

                                            Ted Bundy                                                                 Al Bundy

 

Nevada Rancher And Federal Gov't Face Off Over Land Use Battle

 Cliven Bundy

 

Is everyone named Bundy a certified fruit loop?

 

 
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Quote of the Week:

 

“It’s now been six weeks since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared, along with 239 people on board.  Six weeks of new leads that have led nowhere, really.” CNN’s Jake Tapper

Yes, and five weeks of hysterical coverage on CNN that has taught us nothing, really.

 

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This photo of Kate Middleton and some goofball in New Zealand did not make deadline for last week’s “Review,” but it amuses us, so here it is.

 

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I was curious about ratings for the new FX miniseries, Fargo, so I checked a couple of Web sites.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

 

Reporter

 

From Variety:

 

 

Variety

 

I am still curious about the ratings for Fargo.

 

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Crusoe1

 

You see a movie when you’re a kid, and you think it’s the greatest.  Many years later, one night after you’ve paid bills, mowed the lawn, and put the kids to bed, you notice that your beloved old movie is playing on the late show.  Your first emotion is nostalgic; you remember adoring this film, no matter how silly it might have been.  Your second reaction is more practical:  Most of the movies you loved as a child and then re-watched as an adult turned out to be, well, pretty bad.

So it was with a healthy dose of skepticism that I recently watched Robinson Crusoe on Mars, which I fully expected to put the kibosh on my fond memories of the first time I saw it, lo those years ago.  It would probably suck – even the title of the film is goofy.  But I watched anyway.  And … what a pleasant surprise!

 

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The plot:  Two astronauts and a test monkey are orbiting Mars when a near-collision with an asteroid forces an emergency evacuation to the surface of the planet.  Just one astronaut successfully lands and, a la Daniel Defoe’s island castaway, he must use his training and wits to survive the harsh Martian environment.  Also per Defoe’s story, eventually there is a “Friday.”  Not so like Robinson Crusoe, we also meet evil space aliens.

The pros1)  When I see special effects in something recent like The Avengers, I usually have this thought:  “Wow, that looks really cool  and fake.”  When I see special effects in Robinson Crusoe on Mars, I have a similar response, yet there is something more impressive about a 1960s art department designing and photographing spectacular visuals, as opposed to a cadre of computer geeks moving a mouse to achieve similar effects.  Director Byron Haskin, a special-effects wiz who ten years earlier filmed the classic The War of the Worlds, combines studio FX with real Death Valley footage to make sci-fi magic.  2)  TV veteran Paul Mantee, as the hero, will never be mistaken for Daniel Day-Lewis, but he’s adequate and what his astronaut thinks, does, and says (he has that monkey to talk to) is always credible.  Mantee’s activities on Mars in the early stages of the film are just plausible enough, science-wise, to hook us so that we dont run for the exit when things later get wacky (the arrival of those space aliens). 

 

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The cons:  1)  This was filmed several years before Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey revolutionized special effects, and so the Martian vistas do look artificial.  They also look imaginative and incredibly cool.  2)  Some of the science presented is dubious at best, but hey, this was 1964.  Giant fireballs cruising the surface of the red planet?  Why not?  3)  I suppose you could argue that the (white) hero’s relationship with (dark-skinned) Friday is borderline racist – I wouldn’t.

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The verdict:  I still like this movie.  It’s fun.  Sometimes even little kids have good taste.          Grade:  B+

 

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DirectorByron Haskin   Cast:  Paul Mantee, Victor Lundin, Adam West  Release:  1964

 

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Watch the Trailer  (click here)

 

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Mantee, Lundin, and “Mona” the monkey on set.
 

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Somewhat Confused Edition*

 

Meyers


Seth Meyers, above right with guest Anderson Cooper, talks about sports a lot on his late-night show.  Seth Meyers mentions his wife a lot, too.  But … Seth Meyers is gay, right?  Right?

 

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 *****

 

Rooney

 

Rest in peace, Andy Rooney.  Rooney passed away Sunday at age 93.  Funny what you learn about people after they’re gone.  For example, I had no idea that 60 Minutes mainstay Rooney was a former Hollywood star and, on top of that, I actually thought he had died some years ago.

 

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The Huffington Post is still looking for a good proofreader.

 

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CNN is running out of experts to interview about the missing Malaysian plane.  On Wednesday, Don Lemon turned to George Stephanopoulos, pictured below.  Wait ….

 


JeffWise
 

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Two weeks ago we wrote about our waning interest in The Americans.  More skin might pique our interest, we said.  Someone at FX must have paid attention, because this week the show bombarded us with bare bums.  In the bottom picture, star Keri Russell moons the camera; in the top picture, guest star George Stephanopoulos prepares to slip between the sheets. 

 

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*  We apologize for any factual errors in this weeks edition of the Review.  It was a perplexing news week and, like The Huffington Post, we are looking for a good proofreader.

 

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Books

 

If Art Garfunkel feels the need to post a “books read” list on his Web site, then so does the Grouch.  Here is a list of Grouch’s literary conquests of the past 20 years – works of genius and works of dreck.  Click here.

 

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Ferguson6

 

Craig Ferguson might seem to be David Letterman’s heir apparent at CBS, but I wouldn’t bet on it.  I like Ferguson because he’s an unabashed dirty old man who conducts interesting interviews and actually books an occasional (gasp!) author as a guest.  (Author:  someone who writes books.)

But Ferguson tends to hammer some bits to death (“You’re a racist, man!”) and, listening to his monologues, I sometimes forget what country I’m living in.  If anything remotely newsworthy occurs in Europe, Scottish-born Ferguson is sure to jump on it.  Despite his “It’s a great day for America!” he seems homesick.

 

*****

 

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Scarlett Johansson on her nude scenes in the new movie, Under the Skin“You assume it’s [the nudity] going to be a screenshot for someone.”

Strange society we live in.  Scarlett gets naked on the big screen for our entertainment, yet there’s a dude in prison for pilfering and posting naked selfies Scarlett shot in her bathroom (above).

 

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Speaking of nudity, last week the Review featured a picture of naked Gwyneth Paltrow.  This week we’ve posted naked Scarlett Johansson selfies.  In the interest of fairness, this week we present a picture of naked George Bush, also a selfie.

 

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“If you told me a high school senior had painted them, I would believe it.  Also, it was so strange to see a man who had seen the entire world paint himself alone in a bathroom in the bathtub naked.”

That was New York art critic Jerry Saltz on George Bush’s paintings.  In a stunning development, it turns out that Saltz intended those comments as praise.

 

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CNN can’t find the damn plane.  CNN should hire this guy, who could always spot “da plane!”

 

Tattoo

 

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Klown

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This Danish road-trip comedy recalls old-fashioned American slapstick, the type of goofiness we used to get from Laurel and Hardy – but with one big difference:  The sight gags, often hilarious, are also rated X.  Danish TV comics Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen star as oil-and-water pals who embark on a male-bonding wilderness trip that goes awry thanks to their own ineptitude and a 12-year-old boy who tags along for the ride.  Release:  2010  Grade:  B

 

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Stained

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Canadian actress Tinsel Korey plays a troubled bookseller going through hell at work and at home – but who, or what, is responsible for that hell?  Stained tested my tolerance for the it was only a dream school of filmmaking, in which the viewer is never quite sure if what he sees happening is, in fact, really happening, and it doesn’t help that the first half of this psychological horror-show is slow.  On the plus side, Korey is good as a woman who doesnt handle stress particularly well.   Release: 2010  Grade:  B-

 

*****

 

The Woman

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Well, The Woman ain’t boring.   I’m not entirely sure what the movie is black comedy, feminist revenge flick, unpleasant gorefest – because it’s a tonal mess, but it ain’t boring.  Sean Bridgers plays Henry Higgins from Hell, a country lawyer named Cleek who keeps his family in check with a mix of condescension, threats, and old-fashioned whuppings.  One fateful day Cleek spots a primitive woman in the wilds of Massachusetts (yes, apparently there are wilds in Massachusetts), decides to take her home with him, and then … I can’t explain it.  But it ain’t boring.  Release:  2011  Grade:  B

 

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Passion

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Thirty years ago, Brian De Palma was king of the erotic thriller.  Today … not so much.  It’s a shame because Passion is certainly watchable and bears De Palma’s distinctive visuals and soundtrack.  But the story, in which a corporate cat-fight between executive Rachel McAdams and subordinate Noomi Rapace turns deadly, is confusing and illogical.  In De Palma movies of yore such narrative lapses were both minor and overshadowed by the man’s dazzling direction.  Not anymore.  Release:  2012  Grade:  C+

 

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Short Term 12

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Looking for something that all of the critics love?  Short Term 12 has a 99% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and for good reason.  This little film about a handful of young counselors at a home for at-risk teens worried me at first, because it initially carries a whiff of Afterschool SpecialUh-oh, I thought, it’s one of those earnest “good for you” movies.  But I was wrong. Unlike just about every other Hollywood release, Short Term 12 is neither cynical and snarky nor sappy and stupid.  It’s smart and moving.  And lead actress Brie Larson is a real standout.  Release:  2013  Grade: A-

 

*****

 

                         20 Feet from Stardom

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Stardom puts the spotlight on vocalists who came close to the music-industry brass ring but, either through hard luck or, in some cases, because they didn’t really want it, missed out on solo stardom.  There is a lot of great music in this Oscar-winning tribute to backup singers – but not, really, all that much drama.  Release:  2013  Grade:  B-

 

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Jailbait

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A quote in the ads for this film informs us that Jailbait is in the vein of Orange Is the New Black.  Uh, no, it isn’t.  Itin the vein of trashy 70s women-in-prison flicks like The Big Doll House.  Mostly its just writer-director Jared Cohn filming his girlfriend, actress Sara Malakul Lane, in one degrading nude scene after another. Lane, who was about 30 when this was shot, plays a juvenile sent to a detention center for young girls, which of course entails rape, shower scenes, more rape, and lesbian sex.  Lane does look good naked (she also looks 30),  but unlike those 70s B-movies, this jail drama is a bore.  Release:  2013  Grade:  D

 

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