Thursday, April 28, 2005

Black & White

One of the more unusual movie sites I came across in my research for my La-La Land web directory was Skinema: An examination of dermatology in film. At first glance, this may seem like a ridiculously narrow area that would yield little content. Yet there's some interesting stuff here, including it's latest focus: The upcoming film version of The Da Vinci Code.

For the half dozen of you out there who haven't read it, one of the main villains is an albino named Silas. There has been concern voiced by NOAH (The National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation) about yet another albino character cast as evil. The list that Skinema provides is certainly persuasive in its argument that this trend is the norm rather than the exception. Out of 85 characters, excluding Silas, 67 are portrayed as Evil.

NOAH put out a press release describing their efforts to persuade Imagine Entertainment and Ron Howard to make changes to the Silas character. An excerpt:

NOAH is concerned that fictional novels and movies depict people with albinism so inaccurately that the fiction overwhelms reality. "One huge problem with The Da Vinci Code is how Silas is described with red eyes," McGowan said. " That's a myth. Most often in people with albinism the eyes are light blue or even hazel." Though their eyes are a normal color, many with albinism have impaired vision. McGowan points out that it is ironic that movies dating back to The Firm, and Lethal Weapon, have made people with albinism into sharpshooters. NOAH argues that the evil albino is a hackneyed plot device used repeatedly by filmmakers depicting people with albinism as being only wicked. NOAH believes that the absence of positive albino characters in motion pictures contributes to misinformation about the condition and stereotyping and discrimination against people with albinism.
Mrs. Mosley and I discussed this on the way to work this morning (Spoilers Ahead). The fact of the matter is, the albinism is part of the Silas character. His experiences of being mistreated due to his albinism is part of what makes him who he is. By the end of the novel, he has turned into more of a tragic character as the role of main villain is transferred from him to someone else. This semi-redemption is cold comfort for NOAH, I'm sure, as the image of the albino Silas as relentless fiend will stay with readers of the book more than other elements.

When the movie is adapted for the screen, I'm going to take a wild guess and say that his back story, which is given in the book and provides the context for his character, will be one of the first things cut. I'm not saying this is right, but that's generally the way it goes. What will be left is the cinematic shorthand that has developed over the years of the albino as bad guy.

The story is an interesting one and can make a fine film. With all the other historical and religious themes that run through the novel, one would think that they could portray Silas as an interesting character sans the albinism. The latest rumor is that British actor Christopher Eccleston has been cast in the role and that's good to hear. Not only is he a very good actor, but he's also talented enough to play "creepy and menacing" without any help from his pigment, or lack thereof.

(This can also be viewed at Blogcritics)

Now you know my ABC's

Defective Yeti indulged in a little time-wasting internet experiment today. Go read about it, so that my list here makes some sense:

These are my URL ABCs:

Danger Signs

Nathan of Cold Fusion Video Reviews writes some of the best film reviews on the web, particularly when the movie is lacking. His review today of Signs is hilarious and brilliant. I can remember the disappointment I felt after seeing this in the theater. Leave it to Nathan to put it better into words than I ever could.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Star Wars III: Revenge of the Pope

There are two reasons not to link to this: (A) the man is already dead and (B) it could be construed as offensive. Aw, to hell with it. I'm a sucker for a well-done photoshop sight gag.

Purty Pictures

The best feature of The Digital Bits website is it's Upcoming DVD Art gallery. I'll admit it; all those glossy covers compiled together is like porn for DVD addicts (not that there's anything wrong with that). Their update yesterday announced that a total of 425 new scans (!) had been recently added. Here are the highlights:

First off, for John, there is the obligatory Hercules Double Feature. Also, on May 31st comes The Second Civil War accompanied by similarly-themed The Pentagon Wars and Weapons of Mass Distraction.

Following along the line of those previous titles is a favorite TV movie of mine from HBO called The Late Shift. It's a great look at the late night TV wars after Carson retired, and the two actors given the monumental task of portraying Leno and Letterman do a wonderful job.

A modern classic is getting the deluxe DVD treatment: Sling Blade. It's an incredibly touching film, and the best description I've ever heard of it came from Roger Ebert in his review: "If 'Forrest Gump' had been written by William Faulkner...".

On a side note, I'm astounded at how many unknown westerns Tom Selleck has made. Also, I'm astounded at how many films period that star Frank Sinatra.

Forget The Fast and the Furious, XXX and the destined-to-be-hideous Spy Hunter starring (who else) The Rock. Folks, I give you The Driver. Best. Car Chase. Film. Ever.

Three words: Over The Top (which appropriately describes the cover art).

Finally, TV Series aplenty, which have seen a boon on DVD. There is The Job, which I have previously discussed here on Acrentropy. The Cosby Show finally sees its way to DVD in August. For all you Lost enthusiasts out there, the first season arrives in September. Finally there's Quincy, which I mention for no other reason except to quote Zorak off Space Ghost Coast to Coast: "Let the Klugman revolution begin!"

(Update: I had no idea when I wrote the post above that today is Jack Klugman's 83rd birthday. Happy Birthday, Jack!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Amish Electricians

Do you ever get the feeling that if Dubya was the manager of a Radio Shack, he would go look for neo-luddites to hire? (Sigh)

The Elusive Gene Tierney


Back in August of 2003, I was given a Barnes & Noble Gift Card. I used it in an order of two books and a DVD through their website. The books shipped right away, but the copy of Laura would wait and be shipped later in the year when the DVD was released.

Shortly before the release date, it was announced by Fox Home Video that Laura had been postponed indefinitely. I had already ditched the gift card and had no way through B&N to change the order, so I chalked it up to gift money lost and moved on.

Last month, Laura was finally released on DVD as part of a Fox Film Noir series (the development of which is probably the reason for the initial postponement). Lo and behold, this morning I received an email from B&N that my copy of the DVD had shipped what is now over 20 months since the initial order, which I had assumed was lost and gone.

You won't see me complaining, but it just goes to show that nothing is necessarily lost forever on the Internet.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Movie Quotes: The Big Lebowski

What is going on lately with body parts and fast food restaurants?!?! First there was the woman who found a fingertip in her bowl of chili at Wendy's. Now there's a man who claims to have found a piece of human skin in his sandwich at Arby's!

All together now: EEEEWWWWWW!!!!!

The woman who found the fingertip is apparently now suspected of planting it in the chili in order to sue Wendy's. This particular revelation prompted a question from Mrs. Mosley this morning: "Where did she even get a fingertip?"

A fair question, but I couldn't help but recall the hilarious exchange between the Dude (Jeff Bridges) and Walter (John Goodman) in The Big Lebowski when the kidnappers of a rich man's wife sends out a box with her toe inside it:

Walter: That wasn't her toe, Dude.

Dude: Whose toe was it, Walter?

Walter: How the f*ck should I know? I do know that nothing about it indicates...

Dude: The nail polish, Walter.

Walter: Fine, Dude. As if it's impossible to get some nail polish, apply it to someone else's toe...

Dude: Someone else's...where the f*ck are they going to get a...

Walter: You want a toe? I can get you a toe, believe me. There are ways, Dude. You don't wanna know about it, believe me.

Dude: Yeah, but Walter...

Walter: Hell, I can get you a toe by 3 o'clock this afternoon...with nail polish.


And now, the moment you've been waiting for: We have the winner of "The Most Entertaining Television Show Scene of a Six Foot Four Inch Actor Named John Running Around Yelling at People While Waving a Large Dangerous Object" award, and it's a tie!

Actor: John Larroquette
Series: The West Wing
Episode: "And It's Surely to Their Credit"
Implement of Destruction: Cricket bat

Actor: John Cleese
Series: Monty Python's Flying Circus
Episode: "How to recognize different types of tree from quite a long way away"
Implement of Destruction: Meat cleaver

I hereby proclaim it to be "Progressives Monday"!

In keeping with the positive Dubya quote in my previous post, I'd like to link to a recent quote by the new Pope:

" a wave gathering force, my thoughts go out to all men and women of today, to believers and nonbelievers alike."
Congrats, Benedict. You've already proven yourself a religious leader and human being leaps and bounds above Jerry Vines.

One Man's Opinion: The Follow-up

I had heard this quote long ago and thought it would be a good one to use in the post. Once I decided to use it, I did a Google search in order to find a website that contained the whole quote with a reference to the source material and history, which the link I used did. After all, as I said in my post about Tom Delay, only a fool assumes that any information on the Internet must be true.

At John's suggestion, I did some follow-up searching today. First off, there is no entry for the quote in the urban legend site Snopes, though I'd imagine it's only a matter of time before it is added. I did find a further history of the quote and the mini-controversy it stirred afterwards here. As did the previous post's link, it does make note that the exchange was between Bush and a "...fully accredited reporter...present by invitation as a member of the press corps". I also found this link, which reports that there was a comment by White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray months later that addressed the controversy, and this comment in turn was reported on in The Minnesota Daily newspaper.

Gray's statement was neither an affirmation nor a denial of what the President said, so this particular situation comes down to a case of a he-said/he-said. However, I'd like to end this post on an upbeat note by including a quote from the 43rd President that I found during my searching:

"Americans practice different faiths in churches, synagogues, mosques and temples. And many good people practice no faith at all."
If Bush Sr. did indeed say what he is accused of saying, then this quote would signify a marked improvement in his son in at least one area. There. Never let it be said I never said anything nice about the guy.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

One Man's Opinion

With all due respect to John and his post on anti-religious Democrats, I'll see his some-guy-on-a-liberal-website and raise him the 41st President of the United States of America:
Interviewer: Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are Atheists?

George Bush: No, I don't know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots.
So, on one hand we have a guy just expressing his opinion (and not chosen as a representative of a group as a whole), and on the other we have the leader of the free world who was, for four years, the most vocal and powerful Republican around. Granted, Bush didn't put this opinion to any direct use via Stalinist-like purges of Atheists and Agnostics, but to think that this man thought that there were a significant proportion of law abiding, nonviolent Americans that did not deserve their citizenship is pretty pathetic.

Gimme that old time Republicanism

Do we have any Republican these days that would or could express these thoughts? Do we have any Republican that could even speak this well?

However, on religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' and 'D.' Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of 'conservatism.'
To put it more succinctly:

When you say 'radical right' today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party away from the Republican Party, and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye.
I'm not saying Barry Goldwater was a saint, but his kind of conservative is in stark contrast to Delay, Frist, Bush and the whole lot of them today. Mores the pity.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Periodical Humor

Since I work in Periodicals, this was particularly funny to me:
To those who want profound change, consider an outsider's perspective: the Catholic Church is the National Review of religion. You may live long enough to see it become the Weekly Standard. In your dreams it might become the New Republic. But it's never going to be the Nation. And if ever it does, it will have roughly the same subscriber base.

Local boy makes good (and funny)

I had briefly read about this story yesterday, but it was only this morning while watching the Today Show that I found out the man in question, Rogers Cadenhead, lives in my neck of the woods.

He's described in articles as a writer of technical manuals, and it was pretty clear after listening to him that he was a bit of a geek. Thankfully, he was that rare geek that knew a thing about public speaking and was interacting quite easily (and painlessly) with Katie Couric. He had all the stagehands laughing on Today with his list of "requests" from the Papacy in exchange for the domain name, including an all expense paid trip to the Vatican and, of course, his own Pope hat.

So here's to you, "Rogers" (If that is your real name). You made Jacksonville proud.

Whap Whap Whap Whap

Whap Whap

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

"...every aspect and institution of human society"

Thank you, Rolling Stone, for letting us know about people like this.

Make no mistake that this dangerous level of fundamentalism is on par with Al Qaeda. Just because it's Christian fundamentalism does not mean that we don't need to worry about them. The fact that Bush sought the blessings of these people before he ran for president is beyond disturbing.

LEGO links of the day: 04/20/05

I've decided to make a regular feature of this for my own personal reference and to showcase to you folks some of the cool stuff being created. So here is today's list:

Kogeru by Mark Neumann

AT-AP by Fox Primus

Titan Mobile Comman Unit by Lee Meyer

and Scout Team Alpha by Kellen Sansone

Skippy of the Day: Tom Delay

I took an unintentional hiatus from "Skippy" posts, but it's appropriate that the man who brings me back is the one who seems physically unable to keep his trap shut.

"We've got Justice Kennedy writing decisions based upon international law, not the Constitution of the United States? That's just outrageous," DeLay told Fox News Radio. "And not only that, but he said in session that he does his own research on the Internet? That is just incredibly outrageous."
Librarians such as myself are fully aware of the peril of blindly searching the Internet for information. We're trained to know ourselves and let others know that there is no quality control out there, and each user is responsible for checking on the veracity of each information source. That is not to say that good research cannot be done on the Internet. It certainly can. But, of course, DeLay doesn't go into any details. C'mon, Tom, there's a big difference between him doing research on Lexus Nexus and visiting some goofball's blog in Albuquerque. As for the International Law part, I would again ask to see specifics. Is he talking about international laws that directly oppose articles of our constitution, or is he talking about treaties that the United States willingly signed on with and are therefore bound to follow?

Any acupuncturist will tell you it's all about pressure points, and that's a principle that Republicans know all too well. DeLay is reaffirming his base supporters by touching on two things that they instinctively resist: Anything not American and anything modern. Above all, it's interesting to note the two other qualities about this statement. Primarily, it's Delay once again trying to deflect criticism by changing the subject (and what better place to do it that Fox News Radio). More specifically, I believe it's the action of a drowning man looking to pull anyone down with him he can. If he thinks he's toast, then he's a man with nothing to lose.

Certainly not his integrity.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Monday, April 18, 2005

Comparing Apples and Studebakers

Over the weekend, I hit my "Eureka" moment and created the perfect design for the La-La Land Library after two previous designs that simply didn't look good. The floating table and the silvery color scheme, I think, were the linchpins that make the new design work so well. This morning, I discovered that the site doesn't work so well on smaller resolution screens. So much for perfection. The basic design is sound, though, and I'll try and fix the resolution problem tonight.

I've been looking for over a month for links to put on my site, and I have a hefty share of them in place, but there's always more to find. This morning, I was browsing through the Library of Congress National Film Preservation Board site to see if there were any interesting sub-sections I should highlight. I came across a page entitled "Film Publications and Resource Guides" which had a list of links to some resources I hadn't found yet, so it's been quite a boon to my research.

I couldn't help but notice, though, that over half of the page was devoted to a second list called "Non-Film" and had nothing at all to do with the general content of the website. Most are library reference-type links, but a few of them seem to be completely from left field. It's as if the webmaster had a what-the-hell attitude and just threw some extras in. In the spirit of such a hodge-podge approach, let me present some of these links that have nothing to do with the Library of Congress, Film, Preservation or anything else pertinent to the site:

BugMeNot - Bypass Compulsory Web Registration. Kind of a subversive site for a US Government link directory, but what do I know. Stick it to the Man!

Dead or Alive - Track down celebrity deaths with the help of their unusual searching techniques. Hey look! Pope John Paul II died five years to the day after the death of Mafia turncoat Tommaso Buscetta. Wow!

Homestar Runner - Uh....Odd animated adventures of...some creatures. But the main guy is painted red, white and blue with a star on his shirt, so I guess it all makes sense.

Ridiculous Informercial Review - Just what it sounds like, folks.

Sniglets - One man's attempt to extend SNL vet Rich Hall's legacy. It's cute and all, but what's with the naked chick painted like a cow?

Think Geek - Your one-stop shopping source for T-shirts with 4,000 digits of Pi on them.

The Time Travel Fund - Quite silly, but if it teaches just one kid about compound interest, it would be worth it.

The perils of popularity

No, I'm not speaking about myself. I know full well my audience can be counted on one hand. Instead, I refer to certain website that I discovered years ago that I had grown quite fond of and revisited now and again. It's called "Just Pooh", and is one man's dedication to the stories of A.A. Milne in all their various forms. The design of the site was a delight to behold, looking as it did like an open book in shades of brown. It was easy on the eyes, thematically fit the subject matter, and was easy to navigate through simple icons located on the left hand side. Such simplicity and elegance is rarely seen on the web these days.

You probably have noticed two things about my entry so far: (A) I am speaking in the past tense and (B) I have yet to hyperlink the site. The reason for this is that recently, due to I assume an increase in traffic and/or a decrease in funds, the webmaster decided to host ads on his site. And not just any ads, but big, honking, flashing obnoxious ads that feature pictures of Angelina Jolie and Paris Hilton. I am not exaggerating when I say that I was heartbroken upon seeing this change for the first time. The original design elements are still there, but the ads make the site as a whole a shadow of its former self.

You may think I am over-reacting at such a thing as a website, but beauty in all of it's forms is to be admired and enjoyed (Note to married men: this does not give you permission to blatantly ogle other women). I am posting a link here for the simple fact that content alone makes the site a valuable resource, but the joy I once experienced from my occasional visit is now gone.

And just as a side note: I can certainly understand ads for such things as Netflix and video game systems, but are there really people out there that are foaming at the bit for screensavers and animated emoticons? If so, then I wish to revise my statement in my previous post about not having a life. Comparatively, I'm Ernest Friggin Hemingway.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Movie Minutiae

Let me introduce you to the term Automatic Dialogue Replacement, or ADR. This is the process where some films re-record dialogue differently because the original take is deemed unusable. The reasons for this can be background noise or the desire for a different inflection to a line. All of this is competently done by most films, but sometimes even the biggest budget blockbuster gets caught with it's pants down.

Recently, Mrs. Mosley and I watched Men in Black again on our DVD copy. There is a scene where Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) describes the alien bad guy to new recruit Jay (Will Smith). The website Sci Fi Scripts has archived the "final draft" of the script. Here is the scene as it appears in that draft:

Jay: I'm gonna jump way past you and just guess that this is bad. Right?

Kay: Bugs thrive on carnage, Tiger. They consume, infest and destroy. They live off the death and decay of other species.

Jay: So basically you have a racial problem with all insect-based life forms?

Kay: Listen, kid -- imagine a giant cockroach five times smarter than Albert Einstein, four times stronger than an ox, nine times meaner than hell, strutting his stuff around Manhattan Island in his brand new Edgar suit. Does that sound like fun?

Jay: What do we do?

Kay: With a bug in town? Watch the morgues.
Now, here's the scene as it actually appears in the film:

Jay: I'm gonna jump way past you and just guess that this is bad. Right?

Kay: Bugs thrive on carnage, Tiger. They consume, infest and destroy. They live off the death and decay of other species. Imagine a giant cockroach, with unlimited strength, a massive inferiority complex, and a real short temper, is tear-assing around Manhattan Island in a brand-new Edgar suit. That sound like fun?

Jay: What do we do?

Kay: With a bug in town? Watch the morgues.
This change never would have occurred to me if it weren't for how obvious the ADR is on repeat viewings. The camera cuts away from Kay to a prolonged shot of Jay during the sentence beginning with "Imagine". First off, the audio of Kay's voice is slightly, but noticeably, different from his speech before and after the cut. The other telling sign is Jay who (a) most of the time isn't looking back in Kay's direction and (b) doesn't seem to be reacting to what Kay is saying. In fact, he looks bored, and not even in a comical way.

My initial reaction after comparing the two was that the ADR was done to improve the dialogue, and it is an improvement. The original line is incredibly clunky with the word "times" used so many...uh...times. But could there also have been some thin-skinned production person who made an argument that Jay's "racial" line could be offensive. Yeah, I know, I don't understand the logic either, but it's just a hunch I have.

I've come away with two conclusions after all of this. First, after all the fun poked by the guys at MST3K at low budget wonders with awful audio synchronization, it's humbling to see the same type of goof in a 90 million dollar film. And second, I really need to get a damn life.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Can you hear me now? I'm guessing not.

Back in August, I wrote a post concerning the dueling versions of the Exorcist prequel and their tangled history. Well, according to, the Paul Schrader version is finally going to get released in theaters to give some audiences a chance to see if it is indeed an improvement on Renny Harlin's version.

That's the good news.

The bad news is that the release date is a day after this.

Kind of like being allowed to make a speech from the upper stands of the Super Bowl in the middle of the second quarter. Without a microphone. While sealed in an telephone booth.

(This can also be viewed at Blogcritics)

"Hi, I'm ah...hello?"

I like commercials that are low key, and I love the two they have up on Dnext. The man looks so ridiculous in this brief footage that I would swear it was Will Ferrell if I didn't know any better.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Movie Quotes: Sneakers

Heaven knows that the genre of hacker movies is a bumpy one. Even the good ones, like WarGames, seem so laughably outdated by today's standards of technological sophistication. But the quality of the equipment is only part of the equation, and savvy are the filmmakers that realize this. They are the ones who invest as much in character and story as they do in the latest technological gadgetry, knowing that the former can and will far outlast the later.

Sneakers is a favorite of a lot of people for this very reason. The characters are all distinctively quirky and likeable, and the technology and special effects never get in the way of the people. The film also has a quote which, some thirteen years later after it was released, seems a wonderful encapsulation of the Internet and the modern world. Little wonder that so many hackers, and librarians like myself, are so fond of it.

Cosmo: You could have shared this with me.

Bishop: I know.

Cosmo: You could have had the power.

Bishop: I don't want it.

Cosmo: Don't you know the places we can go with this?

Bishop: Yeah, I do. There's nobody there.

Cosmo: Exactly! The world isn't run by weapons anymore, or energy, or money, it's run by little ones and zeroes, little bits of data. It's all just electrons.

Bishop: I don't care.

Cosmo: I don't expect other people to understand this, but I do expect YOU to understand this! We started this journey together!

Bishop: It wasn't a "journey", Cos. It was a prank.

Cosmo: There's a war out there, old friend, a world war. And it's not about who's got the most bullets, it's about who controls the information. What we see and hear, how we work, what we think, it's all about the information!

Bishop: If I were you, I'd destroy that thing.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Review: So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)

One of the more interesting trivia tidbits for the movie Shrek was how, after the principal animation was finished, Mike Myers requested to redo all of his lines in a Scottish accent. This change required months of additional work and over a million dollars in expenses, but the result was the creation of one of the most memorable animated characters in recent memory. Myers' decision, though it must have had the Dreamworks honchos breaking out in hives at the time, was a shrewd one. He knew where his strengths were from experience.

So I Married an Axe Murderer is the story of Charlie Mackenzie (Mike Myers), who works as a...well, we actually never find out his job, so nevermind. Our only real focus is on his love life, which is constantly starting and stopping due to his fear of commitment. Along comes Harriet Michaels (Nancy Travis), a beautiful butcher who enters his life and his heart. He begins to think she is the one until he sees some similarity between her and a serial husband murderer he's read about. His best friend Tony (Anthony LaPaglia) thinks he's making excuses like he always does, but he may just be deadly right this time.

Charlie's parents May (Brenda Fricker) and Stuart (Myers, again) also appear in the movie. Though only May has any bearing on the plot, it's Stuart that audiences center on. For any fan of Saturday Night Live, Stuart is immediately recognizable as another version of sketch character Angus, the cranky owner of a store called "All Things Scottish". For a lot of us, this is where we first got to know Myers' "Cranky Scot" character, which he would use variances of as the title character in the Shrek films and Fat Bastard in the Austin Powers films.

It's in this film, though, that he possibly has the most fun with it. Stuart festoons his house with pictures of Scottish celebrities and plays the Bay City Rollers to the annoyance of his neighbors. He then sits in his chair and proceeds to speak in astounded terms of how large the head of his other son, Willie, is. "That boy's head is like Sputnik," he says to Tony at one point. "Spherical but quite pointy at parts." He's a classic cranky old man with a Scottish twist, and he's hilarious.

Why have I spent two paragraphs talking about a minor supporting character before discussing the main character? Because, quite frankly, Charlie is boring. Myers' constant mugging for the camera and laughing at his own jokes tends to get old real quick, whereas Stuart is completely oblivious to anything funny that he says or does, making him funnier for it. I suppose you could call the phenomenon the "Austin Powers/Dr. Evil Ratio", as I had the same reaction to those two characters as well. A true indicator of what works is LaPaglia himself. In the first scene at the local coffehouse, he laughs amiably at Charlie's overreaction to his coffee mug size. Later on, when Stuart goes on about the size of his son's head, LaPaglia looks genuinely in hysterics.

In terms of the romance, I can't say I was totally enraptured with Travis and Myers. There really isn't much chemistry between them, which is a shame since I've been hoping to see some quality romantic comedy with the very talented Travis. Oddly enough, Stuart and May's relationship actually affected me more. As absurd as Stuart acts at times, he does share a touching moment with May during their 50th anniversary party. As long as you don't think about how Fricker is old enough to be Myers' mother when they share a kiss, It's a nice scene.

One other aspect I liked about the film was a subplot involving LaPaglia's cop and his police chief, improbably played by Alan Arkin. Their scenes play with cop movie conventions as he years to be the classic rebel tough cop and pleads with Arkin to be tougher on him in turn. The sweet-natured Arkin later tries it, only to afterwards insecurely ask him if he was too harsh. Like Amelie did with Paris, this comedy portrays San Francisco as clean, virtually crime free and incredibly safe. I had no problem with this convention, but it's better we don't let Michael Douglas or Karl Malden know about it.

The film has built a cult following and its easy to see why. The movie is very sweethearted in its intentions and goals. This was also the first film that gave Myers a chance to break out of his SNL persona after the success of Wayne's World. Ironically, it is a certain SNL character throwback that ends up earning most of the audience's interest.

Seven out of Ten

(This can also be viewed at Blogcritics)

The Great Persuader

If only we had one. From the 2000 campaign trail:

Gov. George W. Bush of Texas said today that if he was president, he would bring down gasoline prices through sheer force of personality, by creating enough political good will with oil-producing nations that they would increase their supply of crude.

"I would work with our friends in OPEC to convince them to open up the spigot, to increase the supply," Mr. Bush, the presumptive Republican candidate for president, told reporters here today. "Use the capital that my administration will earn, with the Kuwaitis or the Saudis, and convince them to open up the spigot."

With all due respect to those Bush supporters who think their guy is (literally) God's gift to the U.S., I've never understood those who describe him as having so much charisma. I don't see it. If he does have it, then he sure as hell isn't using it right now. Of course, why should he risk offending his good friends in Saudi Arabia when he can slowly kill off Alaskan wildlife that doesn't vote?

In the meantime, it's probably good for the long term to have this site bookmarked.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Unveiling

Although I've had the link posted on the right side for a week now, I've only recently gotten to a design point where I feel comfortable mentioning it. La-La Land Library is now open!

There's still lots more work to be done and tons of links to add in the coming months, but it's current form is definitely serviceable. Go have a visit.

Note to John: You may want to visit the Actors & Directors section. The link to "Brian's Drive-in Theater" may be of particular interest to you.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Fine. I Lied.

But I swear this is my last post concerning the Pope. No commentary here; just read this excerpt from the Los Angeles Times and draw your own parallels with recent events.
He spent his final hours in his Vatican apartment, surrounded by nine members of his mainly Polish inner circle. Three doctors were present, but no elaborate hospital technology to help prolong his life.

Just before the end, the pope's longtime secretary celebrated Mass and began to anoint the pope's hands with oil, according to one account. John Paul gripped his secretary's hand, an apparent farewell gesture to a faithful aide who helped the pontiff fulfill his wish to die unencumbered by tubes and machines.

Fine. I lied again. I do have a comment: How is it that this decision of how to end one's own life is not a problem in the most religious country in the world yet creates a torrent of controversy in a country supposedly with a separation of church and state?

Chicken Caesar Review: Burrito Gallery

One of the nice side effects of all the Super Bowl hoopla was the opening of new businesses downtown in an effort to revitalize the area. One of these was the eclectic Burrito Gallery, conveniently located right across the street from my library. Their Chicken Caesar, which costs $6.95, includes romaine hearts, blackened chicken breast, regiano cheese and chipolte caesar dressing.

Two things struck me as I dug into this Caesar. First, this is a very basic, low carb salad, without any croutons or bread. Second, the quality that makes this salad distinctive is the chipolte, which is a jalapeno pepper that has been smoked. While the chicken breast is juicy and the lettuce fresh, it is the peppery taste that is the dominant flavor. In fact, it completely drowns out the tastes of the shredded cheese. This is not to berate the salad, mind you, but is a warning for those that might not want such a spicy dish.

Nobody is going to say that this salad is boring, but it is also not what most people would see as a traditional Chicken Caesar salad. Indulge in this one only if you're looking for something new.

Monday, April 04, 2005

All Pope, All the Time.

This is going to be my last post on the recently deceased John Paul. I found myself in a very interesting place at the time the Pope passed this mortal realm. A kind of place that I haven't been in since I last visited Scotland back in 2000.

I was in a Catholic Church.

This was completely by coincidence. One of Mrs. Mosley's oldest and dearest friends was getting married on Saturday, and we were there for the ceremony. It started at 2pm and ended at about 2:30. So, you could say that they exchanged their vows within minutes of the Pope's passing. There really isn't anything to this. It's not like this means their marriage is cursed or anything. Just a bit of really weird timing.

The church itself was very tastefully appointed with none of the ostentation that the sect is historically known for. However, I couldn't help but stare at the altar, which was made out of marble or polished stone and was about eight to ten feet long. I couldn't help thinking of a sacrificial slab every time I looked at it. I'm not well versed in the specific trappings of Catholicism, so I'm wondering if anyone out there knows the history behind this kind of altar design?

And that's it for Pope John Paul II, may he Rest in Peace. Tomorrow, I'll have something far more mundane like a Chicken Caesar review. Until then.

Because it's easier than remembering the URL

May I present The Man in Blue. It's a great little utility, and one that I will be using to color coordinate "La-La Land" later on. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

A Sunday Afternoon Quickie

No, not that kind of a quickie, you pervs. Google News presented me with this "top headline" as I logged in today:
President, first lady attend church near White House
I believe Arthur's bath was more newsworthy.

All kidding aside, I know this is specifically in reference to the death of the Pope, but two points I want to make about this: First, doesn't Bush go to church every Sunday? And second, since this is specifically about what happened yesterday, you'd think they would mention the Pope in the headline to give it the correct context.

Ah, screw it. It's Sunday. I'm not supposed to be thinking this much. I'm getting some lunch. See you folks tomorrow.

Friday, April 01, 2005

"This is the Today show on NBC...aaaannnnndddd cue the drunken monks."

So Matt Lauer is reporting live from the Vatican this morning as updates on what could be the Pope's final days here on earth come in. As he goes to commercial, the camera shows us some random Italian architecture visible from where Matt sits and plays some Latin opera that sounds all liturgical and stuff. More on this in a moment.

Now, although I enjoy a good opera, I am far from an expert on the subject. However, there was one opera that I really got into and listened to over and over about a dozen years ago. It's called Carmina Burana by Carl Orff and is probably one of the more recognized operas here in the states. This is no doubt due to its usage in such varied places as the movie Excalibur and in some NFL commercials a few years back.

The story of the opera is an interesting one. Orff based his opera on a series of songs and poems that were penned by a group of young clergy students in the 1200's. The content of the material is best summed up by Wikipedia:

"The lyrics of the poems cover a wide range of secular topics, as familiar in the 13th century as they are today: the fickleness of fortune, the ephemeral nature of life, the joy of the return of spring, and the pleasures of drinking, gluttony, gambling and lust."

Can you see where I'm going with this?

Yes, the music that the Today show used when they went to commercial, and in turn to set the mood for a dying pontiff, was from Carmina Burana. As I said, I listened to it a lot when I was younger, and I could detect the exact passage they used. It is the penultimate section called "Ave formosissima" (or "Hail, most beautiful one"). The Latin lyrics and English translation follow:

Ave formosissima, (Hail, most beautiful one,)
gemma pretiosa, (precious jewel,)
ave decus virginum, (Hail, pride among virgins,)
virgo gloriosa, (glorious virgin,)
ave mundi luminar, (Hail. light of the world,)
ave mundi rosa, (Hail, rose of the world,)
Blanziflor et Helena, (Blanchefleur and Helen,)
Venus generosa! (noble Venus!)
Well, it's not as bad as the sections of the opera concerning Decius, the God of Dice Throwing, but still. Those Today show technicians who imagined one piece of Latin opera sounds the same as another may get in trouble for this, but I doubt it. After all, April 1st is the day where everyone gets the chance to be the fool and be fooled.

Keith David Quote of the Month: April 2005

Enraged Dad or no, you have to wonder at the intelligence of Bruce Willis's character in Armageddon when goes around firing a shotgun at Ben Affleck on an offshore oil platform! This is one of the reasons I like Keith David's memorable quote about Willis and his band of oil riggers.

General Kimsey: The fate of the planet is in the hands of a bunch of retards I wouldn't trust with a potato gun.