Friday, March 25, 2005

Sight Unseen: March 25, 2005

Continuing the Friday series of reviews of movies I haven't seen.

Guess Who
Bernie. Ashton. The Fox network's creaming itself at the pairing of their sitcom stars in a feature film. This reworking of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner turns the casting tables (white boy, black girl) to reflect the changes in race relations in our society. Reprising his role from just about everything he's ever starred in, Bernie Mac's the grumpy, no-nonsense, overbearing, hard-ass father figure with a sense of humor. Will he and Ashton have the same chemistry as Poitier and Hepburn, or is Bernie getting Punk'd?

Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous
Hooray for sequels! If it weren't for sequels, this portion of my blog might not exist. And wouldn't you, dear reader, feel a great emptiness? A blog is also a place for a writer's (and I use the term loosely) fantasies.
As anyone who's seen Big Momma's House can attest, being an undercover cop is tough work. All the make-up, costumes, deception, hilarity! "Dying is easy, comedy is hard" as Peter O'Toole says in My Favorite Year (referencing the hard-to-pin-down deathbed quote by either Edmund Keane or Edmund King), so Sandra Bullock goes undercover again in an attempt to bust some guts (and maybe some criminals).
MC2 is already a better movie than Speed 2: Cruise Control, so only one question remains: Is Armed and Fabulous a better subtitle than Sister Act 2's "Back in the Habit"?


Thursday, March 24, 2005


The United States Senate has become a threatening place lately. Under the threat of appointment of right-wing judges, the Democrats in the Senate are threatening to filibuster the nominations. In retaliation, the Senate Republicans are threatening to go all “nuclear” on the Democrats’ asses and eliminate the filibuster.

Filibustering gives a voice to the minority party in the Senate (at the moment, the Democrats, but for a long time the Republicans), and makes certain the dissenting opinion is heard (and heard exhaustively). Eliminating the filibuster is short-sighted, because as my high school history teachers taught, political power ebbs and flows. Today the Republicans run the United States, but when the pendulum swings back to the center (please God, let it swing back), they might find themselves back in the minority and in need of the filibuster.

Of course, the filibuster can be used for ill, as in 1962 when Southern conservatives filibustered against civil rights legislation. Give me the patriotic, standing-up-for-the-little-guy Hollywood version of the filibuster in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.


Monday, March 21, 2005

Where There's Smoke

Philadelphia officials are debating and voting on a city-wide smoking ban in restaurants and bars (a la New York City and California).

As a nonsmoker, who is constantly bothered by smoking, I disapprove of the smoking ban. If a bar wants to outlaw smoking, that’s its choice, but it shouldn't be forced into it. I have nothing but disdain for the cowardly bar owners who advocate a city-wide smoking ban in order to level the playing field because they fear if they go-it-alone with a smoking ban they will lose customers to bars that permit smoking. That’s the risk you take in a free market society.

If you put together quality shows/beer selection/menu/venue, smokers will still frequent a bar even with a smoking ban in place. Smokers will go outside for a few minutes, puff their cigarettes, and come back to their table/bar stool. An official smoking ban is the lazy proprietor’s crutch. It’s almost like communism…forcing smoking equality on all bars instead of championing the individual bar that goes the extra mile to win customers regardless of smoking preference.


Friday, March 18, 2005

Sight Unseen: March 18, 2005

Continuing the Friday series of reviews of movies I haven't seen.

Ice Princess
Another Disney-on-ice production.
In the course of 90-some minutes, Michelle Trachtenberg is transformed from a stumbling gosling (making use of her yip of surprise that served so well on Buffy) into a graceful swan on skates. The title is pure Disney (they love movies about princesses), and not since the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team (and the subsequent Disney movie, Miracle), has there been such a Cinderella story on ice. While there’s bound to be friction between characters that will require more smoothing over than a Zamboni can handle, don’t expect any Tonya Harding-style violence.
One sentence review: This movie stinks on ice.

The Ring Two
What is a blog if not a place to voice one’s inconsequential opinion to the world. I did not care for The Ring. I didn’t mind that it was a remake of a superior Japanese film (Ringu). I minded that the American version included a gratuitous scene of animal abuse that was disturbing and completely ridiculous. The scene in question takes place on a ferry. Naomi Watts sees a horse in a pen being transported aboard the boat, and she decides to harass the horse by sticking her hand in the crate. When the horse gets agitated, Watts continues the blatant mistreatment of the poor creature until it breaks free and jumps overboard—preferring suicide to being subjected to further abuse. I watched the scene in the theater and thought, “Is this character supposed to be mentally retarded or something?” If an animal is becoming distressed by your presence, most people would be smart enough to walk away—unless they enjoy torturing animals as this character obviously did.
What animals will be abused in this blandly-titled sequel?


Thursday, March 17, 2005

Sham Rock

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Today's the day when everyone is Irish, or so they claim.
What the hell is that all about?
Like that shitty pub Fado, the typical St. Patty's Day celebration offends me as a person of Irish descent (and not a slow descent into alcoholism). Is everyone Jewish on Yom Kippur? Is everyone African-American for Kwanzaa? No. But for one day of the year, everyone is Irish. And for many this becomes an excuse to get drunk and act like an asshole. Whether it's riding the (short) bus, a.k.a. the Erin Express, around the city to various drinking establishments, or just puking off the balcony at Fat Tuesday's on South Street, the March 17th Irish are giving the 365-days-a-year Irish a bad name. We have Michael Flatley and the movie Leprechaun* (and its 5! sequels) to do that.

Fuck it. I'm not going to be the party pooper. Enjoy the Irish potatoes (coconuts in Ireland? Did a migrating swallow grip it by its husk, oh forget it), throw on your House of Pain CDs, down your green-tinted Lite, and start a fight. It's St. Patrick's Day.

*Man, I wish I could figure out how to upload pictures to my blog. I have a picture of the Leprechaun that would scare the green piss out of you.


Monopoly Money

The New York Times reports today that three companies are pooling their dough to buy Toys 'R Us for 6 billion dollars.
A few weeks ago, an offer (rejected) was made to buy all 30 NHL teams for 3.5 billion dollars.

I guess some games are more valuable than others, like Risk: The Game of Global Domination. That game is priceless.

This marks the first time I've had two blog entries in one day. Damn.


Friday, March 11, 2005

Sight Unseen: March 11, 2005

Continuing the Friday series of reviews of movies I haven't seen.

The Passion Recut
Greedo shoots first!
Taking a cue from George Lucas, Mel Gibson is toning down Jesus’ bad-ass attitude and rereleasing The Passion of the Christ with less gore (and more Jabba the Hutt?). Mad Mel says, "By softening some of its more wrenching aspects, I hope to make my film and its message of love available to a wider audience." Surprise, surpise. A Jesus movie rises again at Easter time.
Mo' Money! Mo' Money! Mo' Money!
The television networks balked at showing the original cut, but now Gibson's edited ego indulgence can become an Easter television tradition the way Fudgie the Whale makes Father’s Day special. My tradition goes like this: I didn’t see The Passion of the Christ the first time it was in theaters, and I’m not going to see this watered-down version, either.

The Hostage
You would have to take someone hostage to get me to pay upwards of $10 to see this flick in the theaters. Shit goes down, Bruce Willis kicks ass, lots of property damage and some death ensue. Soon to be a TNT Saturday afternoon double feature with Point Break.

Didn’t filmmakers learn anything from Bicentennial Man? Who the fuck wants an automaton with Robin Williams’s personality? If robots are the wave of the future, I don’t want mine to be some annoying hyperactive jerk who does lousy impersonations. Although, if my robot did act like Robin Williams, I might feel less cyber guilt when I command it to wipe my ass.

For this blog entry, I’m following Rule 1 in Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style for possessives. The new SAT starts Saturday.


Friday, March 04, 2005

Sight Unseen: March 4, 2005

Continuing the Friday series of reviews of movies I haven't seen.

The Pacifier
America loves to laugh at muscular men in domestic roles. Or at least that's the rationale behind such cinematic crapfests as Kindergarten Cop, Mr. Nanny, and now, The Pacifier. How many times will the stereotype that a man can save the world with a gun but can't do housework be played for laughs? Even the high-brow, highly-original concept of Vin Diesel getting hosed by baby piss while changing a diaper is more demeaning than hilarious. Further derailing The Pacifier as a comedy is Vin Diesel's lack of a sense of humor (about himself or anything else). I saw A Man Apart last weekend when it was on Starz. That movie sucked ass, and I'm predicting similar sucking from The Pacifier.*

Be Cool
Is there a better jackass in Hollywood than Vince Vaughn? The man has made a career out of being annoyingly loveable (Swingers, Made, Dodgeball, Starsky and Hutch, Old School). In Be Cool, he's the foil or nemesis of John Travolta's Chili Palmer (or so I gleaned from the trailer). As a fan of Get Shorty, I'm hoping Be Cool as a sequel is more akin to Godfather II than Speed 2 in terms of quality.

The Jacket
Adrien Brody and Keira Knightley get more than they bargain for after shopping at the Burlington Coat Factory.

*Note added 3/7/2005: America likes to suck. The Pacifier was number 1 at the box office. It just goes to prove my theory that kids will watch anything and parents will pay a lot of money to pacify their kids. No doubt The Pacifier's box office muscle was boosted by theater-bound birthday parties, and it was the only PG movie opening this week. Robots will kick its ass next week.


Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Winter Blunderland

I'll admit that Philadelphia didn't get a significant amount of snow yesterday to warrant a snow day from work, but damn I wanted one.

Burger King at 8th and Market was closed this morning because of the snow. Burger King!!!

My office was open normal business hours.

I miss my school days when snow meant the possibility of a day off. Even if that day had to be made up in June, it was still a thrill not to go to school, and have the day to enjoy the snowy weather. How can I enjoy the snowy weather from my cubicle? Shit.

Enjoy snow days while they last, kids. You won't get one once you're drafted into the work world. You won't even get a 2-hour delay.