Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Goddamned Spirit

Alexandra DuPont, who very probably is not Jane Espenson, has the most devastating movie review of 2008, about The Spirit:

There's this cute rookie cop (Stana Tatic) who goes on and on about Sand Serif's "Elektra complex." It's the sort of weirdly self-congratulatory joke -- a nod to Miller's past "Daredevil" glory that only comics insiders will get -- that turns up all over this movie.

In another scene, someone sees The Spirit hanging from a skyscraper and says, "You'll believe a man CAN'T fly!" Seriously? A pun based on the advertising tagline from a 1978 superhero movie? Who is that gag for, exactly? It's like you're watching a very expensive series of inside jokes, or reading a really bad webcomic with a vast continuity and its own tiny and deeply insular LiveJournal community.

This leads me to my larger rant: Watching the movie, I really started to wonder if Miller suffers from that artist's malady where he's been called a "genius" and a "maverick" so many times, he's settled into a nice comfy couch inside his own head and is now perfectly happy cycling through a tiny set of visual obsessions that only he finds funny or profound.

This isn't the Frank Miller who wrote and/or drew dense, scary, funny, moody, multilayered sci-fi satires -- classics like "Ronin" or "Give Me Liberty" or "The Dark Knight Returns" or his staggering takes on Elektra and Daredevil. That Frank Miller was like the James Cameron of comics, young and hungry and drunk on telling bad-ass popular stories full of strong women.

Maybe Hollywood thought it was hiring that Frank Miller to adapt "The Spirit." What Hollywood is about to learn -- in a very public and embarrassing way -- is that the "Frank Miller" comics fans once spoke of in hushed tones stopped making good stories about 10 years ago, if you count "300" as his last ambitious book. It's worth pointing out here that Rodriguez was skillfully remixing Miller's 10- and 15-year-old material for "Sin City" -- material that gets weaker and weaker as that series (and that movie) goes on.

That will leave a mark.

David Lereah Surfaces! Or, "They said he was some kind of scientist . . ."

Just in time for the New Year, the former NAR hack shows up to admit that he was "spinning" with his economic pronouncements in the run-up to the housing bubble.

No news there, of course, but what does seem newsworthy is Lereah's claim that, "I worked for an association promoting housing, and it was my job to represent their interests. . . . I would not have done anything different. But I was a public spokesman writing about housing having a good future. I was wrong."

Here's the important distinction: Lereah was never a "public spokesman"--at least that's not how I ever saw him ID'd. He was always and everywhere presented as the NAR's chief "economist".

If David Lereah had been just a "spokesman," there would have been nothing wrong with his misleading, stupifying, claims. But he wasn't being asked for comment all those years--he was being asked for actual economic analysis. He wasn't Baghdad Bob--he was the Big Tobacco "scientist" presenting data about how smoking isn't harmful for your health.

There's nothing wrong with prostituting yourself, however distasteful it may be. But when you prostitute your profession, there are supposed to be consequences.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Today officially marks the end of VHS.

It will not be missed.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Matt Labash on Detroit

Labash's opus on Detroit is the best magazine piece I've read this year, and maybe the best thing he's written.

Print it and read it now, before Christmas. You'll see what I mean.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The New, New, New, New, New Bailout

Hugh Hewitt isn't happy with the Obama bailout program. Instead, Hewitt wants to see a giant housing bailout that includes:

Fund 4%, 40 year mortgages for people making less than $100k.

Buy up foreclosed properties and turn them into quasi-public housing via transfer to not-for-profits like Habitat for Humanity that qualify tenants/owners on the basis of long experience with the working poor.

Aggressively purchase at fair market value property deemed crucial to species protection to both conserve the property and release the value of it into productive enterprise while honoring the 5th Amendment.

Oh yes, by all means. Let's punish good credit-risk buyers by pushing a ton of people into the marketplace who can bid on property they can't really afford because the government is giving them a 4 percent sweetheart mortgage.

You will perhaps remember that the recently-popped bubble was caused in part by lending which pushed lots of people who couldn't really afford mortgages into the market, thus driving up prices for everyone else. In 2000, if you could reasonably afford, say, a 2,000 square foot home, by 2005 you could only reasonably afford a much smaller home because bad-credit risks (along with speculators and other factors, of course) had entered the market and bid prices up to (obviously) unsustainable levels. So your choice was to buy a crappier house and live within your means, sit out of the market betting that there would be a readjustment, or say, "What the hell" and get in over your head like everyone else.

The only saving grace to responsible people was the prospect that the bubble's unsustainability would eventually punish the risky and create lower prices you could, someday, take advantage of. Hewitt's "plan" would simply push more underqualified buyers into the market by giving them an advantage that responsible, qualified buyers won't get because they're responsible and qualified. In other words, after being punished for being responsible once, they'd be punished for being responsible again.

To top it all off, Hewitt wants to buy up foreclosed properties and turn them into public housing. That's right. Keep punishing the responsible people who have been able to hold onto their properties by creating public housing in the middle of their neighborhoods where none existed before. And just what do you think turning the mass of foreclosures into public housing would do to the long-term property values of suburban and exurban neighborhoods? My guess: Cripple them for a generation. Or more.

Maybe Hewitt was just being ironic and I'm just missing the joke. If not, then with conservatism like this why worry about Obamanomics?


Aside from bringing about the destruction of the godless Soviet empire, the Cold War also gave us the amazing constellation of technology mastered by NORAD. Today that technology is put to good use every year tracking Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.

Don't forget to check your NORAD Santa Tracker frequently on Wednesday night.

And if you want to be really fancy, you can track Santa in 3-D using NORAD's specially adapted overlay for Google Earth.

"I'm leaving to tear Dallas a new party hole."

"But don't worry, that Tiger Woods guy will be taking over."

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Spoken Word Majesty of James Tiberius Kirk

Courtesy of Valeria D'Orazio.

Watchmen Watch

I'm not exactly anti-Watchman, only vaguely so. But this report has to be disturbing even to the faithful:

Despite getting 22 minutes in (of what I keep hearing will end up a 150-some odd minute theatrical release) we got exactly 13 pages into the first issue of the comic.


Slate Justifies Its Existence

By having Mick Foley write about The Wrestler.

Blockbuster Does It Again!

A couple weeks ago I wrote a piece elsewhere about how Blockbuster mismanaged itself into a death spiral. Today comes the not-astonishing news that, surveying the wreckage of its business model, Blockbuster has decided to raise the price of rentals instead of chasing digital downloads.

Remember, this is a company that was worth $8.4 billion dollars in 1994 (which is just about $12 billion in 2008 dollars) and now has a total market capitalization of $227 million.

Go ahead and read that again.

Is it any wonder this company is dying?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Newsweek and Fundamentalism

Without getting caught up in the substance of Newsweek's "religious case" for gay marriage, there's a side note which caught my eye. In an intro to the piece, editor Jon Meacham writes that, "This conservative resort to biblical authority [to oppose gay marriage] is the worst kind of fundamentalism."

Which is funny. I might have thought that the "worst sort of fundamentalism" would be the kind of fundamentalism that called for the execution of homosexuals.

Or, I don't know, maybe the kind of fundamentalism that routinely kills homosexuals as a matter of religious law.

This guy gets to run a giant national magazine? Seriously?

Drum Porn

Galley Friend L.B. and I were talking about Primus, Les Claypool, and other mad scientist-type musicians and he sent me this video of Joe Morello, from back in the day. If you're a drum-line junkie, this is absolute pornography. His solo begins around the 2:05 mark and then goes insane around the 3:30 mark.

Note also the points at which Morello switches to snare rolls with one hand so that he can use his free hand to (1) push up his glasses and then (2) pull the bass drum back toward him because it's started to walk away.

Morello is just sick.

The Top Grossing Films of 2009

Dustin has an inspired look-ahead.

Idle Political Speculation

If Hillary Clinton had been the Democratic nominee, would Colin Powell have endorsed her?

Just wondering.


Evidently, Box Office Mojo has been acquired by IMDB/Amazon. Let's hope Bezos & Co. don't muck up Mojo the way they have IMDB.

Eddie Murphy Is the Riddler!

This obviously can't be true.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Redskins Hate

The Czabe sends us to this amazing item about Redskins head of football operations, Vinny Cerrato.

First, some background: In addition to being Redskins head of football operations, Vinny Cerrato was given a radio show on WTEM 980 when Redskins owner Dan Snyder bought the station. Actually, Cerrato was only given the show when the Redskins started winning earlier this season. As a radio host, Cerrato accomplished something like Pravda Radio. He managed to be uninteresting, cliched, insipid, and high-handed--all at once.

But a funny thing happened once the Redskins saw their season start to implode--Cerrato stopped showing up to do his show. The station kept advertising it. Cerrato just stopped going. Remember, it's not like he had to face tough questions or anything. He wasn't a guest--he was the host of the fucking show.

Anyway, after Sunday's loss to the 1-11-1 Bengals, Cerrato skipped his show, again, prompting Dan Steinberg to go through Cerrato's TV archives. Here's what he found:

With Inside the Red Zone off today, leaving fans without a crack at Vinny Cerrato, I thought I'd go back to the executive VP's appearance last week on Redskins Nation with Larry Michael. In addition to discussing the Portis-Zorn incident, Cerrato spoke at length on the draft, and why the Redskins went in the unusual direction they did with their second-round picks.

Here's the key point: Cerrato said drafting according to need can be a way to sink your team. "You can't just go take a need," was the exact quote. "The way that you can screw up your team is if you go draft a need, you're gonna get a bunch of guys at those positions but you're not gonna be happy with the results."

And as an example, he pointed to the poor rookie seasons of two defensive ends who some Skins fans wanted: Miami's Phillip Merling, and Arizona's Calais Campbell.

"I mean, it came down to Phillip Merling, people say that we maybe should have taken," Cerrato said. "He has seven tackles right now for Miami."

Damning. Except it's not even close to accurate.

When Cerrato said this, Merling actually had 23 tackles (17 solo) and a sack, according to For a defensive end who has started just two games, that's actually not too shabby.

By way of comparison, Jason Taylor, who's banking $8 million and cost the team two draft picks, had 22 tackles (15 solo) and 1 sack at the time Cerrato offered this explanation, although Taylor did get three tackles and another half-sack yesterday. Andre Carter, the team's most productive end, had 30 tackles (18 solo) and 3 sacks at the time Cerrato was knocking Merling's production.

"I think Calais has like 11 tackles," Cerrato said last week about another DE possibility. Not so. At the time, Calais Campbell had 19 tackles and a forced fumble. He added four more tackles yesterday, giving him 23 for the season, two fewer than Taylor. His one forced fumble is more than the entire Skins defensive line has contributed.

I'm not saying whom Cerrato should have drafted, and I'm not saying Merling or Campbell are, or will be, stars. But if you're speaking directly to your fans, providing them with "inside information" while justifying your past decisions, and you falsify facts to this incredible a degree....well, even if you don't like drafting according to need, you might want to pick up a fact-checker next season.

That's right, the guy running the Redskins organization knows about as much about football stats at a mid-level fantasy player.

Steinberg has the whole transcript if you want it.

Brief Political Aside

It seems a lot of Republicans are griping about Caroline Kennedy's desire to be named Senator from the State of New York.

Has it occurred to anyone that Senator C. Kennedy would be the GOP's best chance to pick up Senate seat in New York for a very long time?

Plus, if the Republicans are going to eventually make the case that Democrats are a bunch of entitled and/or corrupt elites, Princess Caroline makes a nice entry on the list of supporting evidence.

Plus, plus, does anyone think she'd be a particularly effective senator?

In other words, from the Republican standpoint, isn't Caroline Kennedy an unmitigated blessing?

PS: Sure, maybe Republicans want to complain just enough to get noticed, but not so much as to derail Caroline's coronation. But they should be careful, no?

Hating Will Smith

Is this the meanest thing Todd McCarthy has ever written?

Nor can it be said that Smith, whose most recent box office barn-burners, "I Am Legend" and "Hancock," seemed consciously designed to set the star apart from the rest of humanity, shies away from the saintlike status conferred upon his character. Indeed, he embraces it in a way so convincing that it proves disturbing as an indication of how highly this or any momentarily anointed superstar may regard himself.


Obama as Starbucks?

I've been going back and forth with several friends over whether or not the left will (or could) ever become disenchanted with President Obama. The general consensus from my conservative friends is that the left almost certainly will turn on Obama because he's a closet centrist and blah-blah-blah.

Leaving aside Obama's political leanings, or even his eventual political practices, I continue to believe that there is nothing President Obama could do to cause the left (as a whole) to abandon him. If, on January 23rd, he decided to unilaterally invade Iran, install a nascent democracy, and personally torture Muqtada al Sadr while cutting taxes for ExxonMobil and advocating school voucher programs, I suspect the left would stick with him, whole-heartedly.

I may be wrong--we'll see soon enough--but all of that is just wind up to say that if the left did turn on Obama, it might look a lot like this open letter to Starbucks from a former barista and the comment thread which follows it. You can't believe that mushy-headedness on display.

* "You are indeed correct, and echoing a sad sentiment from all of us who ever dared to believe, believe that passion, and knowledge, and hard work, and talent, could in some way make a difference. I joined Starbucks 4 years ago, cynical from a lifetime spent in an industry where respect, integrity, creativity, and dignity were often foreign concepts. . . . Gone is the passion which lead to the talent, and the connection, and the credibility. Leaving those of us who loved our community, our partners, our guests, and our company, manipulated, lied to, disrespected, and most of all devalued. Thus, valued, respected, talented, enthusiastic partners are now crushed, faithless in our leadership, and dejected."

* "Well, it's nice to see that people are finally waking up and realizing this isn't the company they signed on for 2, 4 or more years ago. And if you think for a moment that your DM or even SM feel the slightest bit of remorse for what they are putting you through, I have a bridge to sell you. Don't even think for a second that anyone above the DM level cares one whit what your life is like."

* "I have been here for 3 years (granted, not 10) and i used to LOVE everything we stood for. Making the WHOLE experience. . . . I'm all about thoughtful feedback, but i would like my company to be honest with me for once."

* "A-fricking-men! I used to love it here, but not so much right now.
There's still time to turn around, Howard! Please do it!"

So if you were thinking of naming your son "Adolf Hitler" . . .

it turns out that the name's taken already.

NJ represent!

Tron 2, in 3-D!

If that sort of thing excites you, then good news.

I was kind of underwhelmed by Tron, probably through no fault of the movie itself. I was just a kid when I saw it on VHS after about two years of wasted quarters on the really cool looking, but ultimately insipid, arcade Tron.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Spirit

It may be even worse than it looks. From a very funny AICN review:

(Costumer Designer: Hi Mr. Jackson, it’s Susie over at Lionsgate. Listen, we’re wondering if you have anything you’d be willing to bring in for the shoot tomorrow. Do you have any old costumes from movies you’ve done in the past? Mr. Miller wants to blow the whole budget on “the look,” as he calls it.

Sam Jackson: Well...let. Me. See, little lady. I do still have my mutton chops from when I played Vincent in Pulp Fiction. Will that work?

C.D: Perfect. What else you got?

S.J.: I’ve got some old mothafuckin’ samurai robes from a chewing gum commercial I did in mothafuckin’ Japan. Don’t MAKE me smell yo’ bad breath! That was the tag line.

C.D.: Fantastic. Anything else?

S.J.: Well, I really wanted to be in Valkyrie, so I bought an authentic Nazi uniform. A hat and everything. But that SONOFABITCH Toooom Cruuuuise said there WERE no Black Nazis. I said, “There weren’t no mothafuckin’ black Jedis either, bitch, but that didn’t stop George Lucas from putting me in there.” Oh, that reminds me, I have my purple light saber. Will that help?

C.D.: Yes to the Nazi uniform, hold off on the light saber. Aww, hell, bring it all! I don’t know how, but we’ll shoehorn all this stuff into something. Thanks!

A Remake of Robocop?

Why not.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Criterion and Blu-ray

Santino looks into the Criterion Collection's move into Blu-ray.

Which probably means he's on their comp list for forever. Damn him.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sack of the Huns

If you've ever hated Baltimore, this is pure gold.

Dark Knight, Blu-ray, and the Liberal Order

Finally fired up the Playstation machine last night to watch The Dark Knight in Blu-ray for the first time. Several observations on the tech and further thoughts on the movie:

* The PS3 menus are poorly designed. It's an OS which has to do relatively little, yet the long horizontal menu list with obscured pull-downs requires a lot of work to navigate. The entire user interface should be overhauled. So it probably won't be.

* The Blu-ray picture was stunningly good. In particular, the giant, Imaxed scenes blew me (away) and what drove me especially nuts was the use of the IMAX frame for all of the big, outdoor establishing shots. The slow glide in to the Hong Kong skyline, in particular, was just unreal. I'd buy a $25 BR disc of just those.

* I noticed only two aliasing problems with the picture: (1) In the underground Bat Lair, there was a moment when the grid of white lights in the ceiling produced almost imperceptible jaggies; (2) In a scene with a silver flat-panel TV in the background, the speaker on the bottom of the TV in the picture had some aliasing issues with the little holes in the grill.

I'm not enough of a tech-head to know whether these issues were the fault of the BD player or my TV. Since the PS3 seems to be the reference BD machine, I'd suspect that it's my TV's fault. But I have a pretty high-end Pioneer and never so any artifacting like that watching HD-DVDs. Just saying.

* The Dark Knight came with three discs in the package, even though the case only lists the contents for two of them. The third disc is labeled, I think, "digital copy" or some such. I have no idea what it's for.

But wasn't one of the selling points of Blu-ray that it's storage capacity was so gargantuan that you could put entire seasons of a TV series on one disc? Can't they pack all of the extras and the feature onto a single BR disc?

* I've seen fewer movies this year than at any point in my life since I was 5-years-old, so I really can't speak to matters of awards. But if The Dark Knight isn't one of the five best pictures of 2008, then this was one of the best years in modern cinema. It should get, at minimum, five nominations: picture, script, director, score, supporting actor.

* Just one example of the unexpected, really interesting directorial choices Nolan makes comes in the final exchange between the Joker and Batman. The Joker is hanging off the building, upside down. Nolan does not shoot the conversation in full-frame: he uses coverage between the two characters. What's really interesting is that he decides to show us an upside-down image of the Joker--that is, the Joker appears onscreen upright, but with his jacket and hair and arms all pointing to the top of the frame. It gives him an eerie, not quite right, affect. Everything about him in that scene feels wrong and I think it's in part because our eyes are perceiving him as being upright, but he's dangling and dancing like someone who's upside down.

* The writing choices are equally interesting. Upon third viewing, I'm totally convinced that Harvey Dent's transformation is earned. From the scene in the restaurant where he talks about Caesar to his attempted interrogation of the Joker's goon, Dent is much closer to the edge than either Batman or Gordon (or, for that matter Rachel) realize the whole time.

* But more than anything else, what makes The Dark Knight so interesting is that Nolan has something to say the nature of our liberal order. Despite what he says to Dent in the hospital, the Joker is not an agent of chaos. He's an enemy of the liberal order.

Start by understanding that everything the Joker tells people in The Dark Knight is a lie. He lies about his scars. He lies about the locations of Harvey and Rachel. He lies to the mobsters. He lies about wanting the Batman unmasked, and then masked. He lies about having mined the bridges and tunnels.

But most of all, he lies to Harvey about not being a schemer. The Joker manifestly does have plans--lots of them. This little speech is designed to corrupt Dent, pushing him over the edge to make him an agent of chaos. And the reason the Joker wants to do this is because he knows that publicly corrupting Dent will destroy the will of the people just as surely as his terrorism. That's why he remarks to Batman at the end, "You didn't think I'd risk the battle for Gotham's soul in a fistfight with you?"

(I think it's pretty safe to assume he has also lied about the ferry detonators. Nolan doesn't show us, but it seems probable that the detonators were actually linked to the ship they were on, not each other.)

The Joker thinks the mores of Western civilization are a luxury which people will abandon in dire times. And he hates these mores--hates the entire edifice of the modern liberal order--so much that his entire rise is directed toward pushing Gotham to abandon them.

But here's where Nolan gets interesting: Batman (and, I suspect, Nolan) essentially agrees with the Joker that the liberal order is a luxury. But he thinks it's a very, very important luxury. So important to preserve, in fact, that sometimes illiberal things must be done in the service of its maintenance.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

CNN has an interesting report on Spencer Elden, the baby on the cover of the Nirvana album Nevermind. Now 17, Spencer still gets a fair amount of attention for his famous swim: "'Stuff happens like random cool situations where I get paid $500 just to go hang out,' Elden said. 'People just call me up and they're like, "Hey you're the Nirvana baby, right? Well just come and swim in my pool and we'll give you some money."'" Which is all well and good. But I still want to know what happened to the woman on the Ohio Players' album Honey. (That is, other than the fact that she was burned horribly by the heated honey and scarred for life when the glass was ripped off her honeyed legs and besides the fact she stormed into the studio screaming during the opening of "Love Rollercoaster" and ultimately was stabbed to death.)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Do Newspapers Deserve to Die?

Maybe. I mean, look what the NYT is doing to market

Because self-important testimonials from Manhattan celebrities worked so well for the Gap.

Whatever was spent on this "Conversations" project might as well have been flushed down a drain. Just ridiculous.

Dept. of Huh?

Remember how NBC was shoving aside Jay Leno to make room for Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon? Leno was sore about it and all?

Well, now NBC is bringing Leno back into the fold (which he never actually left) and giving him essentially the same show he does now, but at 10:00 p.m., five nights a week.

I wonder if this is a recessionary move:

Though Mr. Leno will command an enormous salary, probably more than $30 million a year, the cost of his show will be a fraction of what a network pays for dramas at 10 p.m. Those average about $3 million an episode. That adds up to $15 million a week to fill the 10 p.m. hour. Mr. Leno’s show is expected to cost less than $2 million a week.

In addition, NBC will get more weeks of original programming. Network dramas typically make 22 to 24 episodes a year. Under this deal, the executives involved in the discussions said, Mr. Leno will perform 46 weeks a year.

So Leno will give them so much bang for their buck that NBC should be able to accept pretty meager ratings with his show and still be able to justify it on a cost-per-viewer basis.

But the biggest impact of putting Leno in prime-time is that it drastically reduces the available space for scripted prime-time shows. A network only has 15 hours of prime-time a week; this move devotes 33 percent of that space to one show leaving only 10 hours to run existing programs and try out new pick-ups. I don't know how much time reality programming takes up on NBC each week--I think it's four hours--and suddenly you have very little space to work in scripted programming.

If you look at the NBC program list, I can't see how you fit those shows (minus the coming cancellations, even) into the remaining six hours. I suspect that this may mean that NBC will look to run new programming year-round, instead of just during sweeps. It's the only way I can see them getting it all out with the addition of Leno's show.

'90s Music Potpouri

Whatever happened to Primus? If the grunge movement of the '90s was ultimately bad for pop-rock--and I think it was--there's something kind of glorious about Primus in their distillation of the the grunge ethos. (Even if, strictly speaking, they're less true grunge than bands like Pearl Jam.) If grunge was about a wholesale rejection of '80s pop-rock, I'd submit that a track such as "Tommy the Cat" is about as pure a rejection as you'll find.

Plus, it's kind of awesome and Les Claypool was a mad genius.

Anyway, I was just wondering what had become of Primus on the cultural landscape. The wikimachine says they were touring as recently as 2006, but I'm wondering more about whether or not they still register in the culture. You'd think that, at the very least, some enterprising rappers would have made hay by sampling some of their bass lines.

P.S.: Is there a defense to be mounted on behalf of Counting Crows? A few weeks ago I confessed my severe weakness for them to the Pig. He was horrified. Is it possible to count the Crows as anything more than a guilty pleasure?

Monday, December 08, 2008


Everyone has a friend who's a kind of soccer scold. They lecture us about how amazing the beautiful game is. How exciting nil-nil ties are. How soccer players are the greatest athletes in the world. How soccer is the most popular sport on the globe. And, when all else fails, how really, tough soccer players are. Hey, they don't wear pads like your wussy "football" guys do.

Yeah, so here's some video of Vinnie Jones, who I'm pretty sure was supposed to be the baddest dude in the history of soccer, getting dropped by some guy in a bar in South Dakota.


You don't like Family Guy much, do you?

No, I don't.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Do you really want to hurt me?

I'm sure someone already used the headline, but so it goes for Boy George, who, according to the London Times, "is facing jail after being convicted today of handcuffing a male escort to his bed and beating him with a metal chain as he tried to flee after a naked photo shoot." Which sort of reminds me of Culture Club's other hit, "Karma Chameleon":

I'm a man without conviction
I'm a man who doesn't know
How to sell a contradiction
You come and go
You come and go...

Did I just go too far?

War Child News

Santino reviews War Child.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Lamest Superheroes of All Time

The title says it all.

But where's T.C.?

I wanted to directly post this video here but my computer won't do it. So click on the link and enjoy. It is an ad for Monk and a homage to Magnum P.I., right down to the Higgins karate pose.

Brief Political Aside

My friend Mike Goldfarb dresses down Marc Ambinder and the Atlantic, which is kind of great. But in the course of it, Goldfarb says that Ambinder is "well respected by Republicans and Democrats."

Is that really true? Maybe it is. Heck, it probably is. I don't know Ambinder and am not overly familiar with his work, but I do have a distinct memory of being in Nevada the week before the Nevada caucus and reading this post from him:

Why, precisely, do we, the media, not believe that John Edwards could win Nevada?

Because I think he could win Nevada...

Incidentally: my guess, based on what I've seen, heard and read, is that the results will bebunchedtogether and that no one will be able to declare victory.

The final results in Nevada were Clinton +5 with Edwards at 3 percent.

3 percent.

Having been around the state all that week, it was pretty obvious that there was no enthusiasm for Edwards anywhere, from anyone.

BSG Theories

Is the fifth cylon? Clues here.

Craziest theory I've heard yet: The Galactica herself. So crazy it just might be true!

I have no idea who it is, but my suspicion is that the key to understanding the final five is figuring out what the cylon's plan was. I've always believed that the most important phrase in the BSG universe if "And they have a plan."

So why did the cylons return after 40 years? Was it to merge the species, sweep away the old pagan rituals, and establish the kingdom of the one God? Was it to simply exterminate humanity. (I've never thought this was plausible.) Was it to fulfill the prophesies and return to Earth?

Understanding the cylons' plan should help bring the final five into better focus.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Got Milk?

Sitting on my desk is the Nov. 24-30 edition of Variety with a giant, wrap-around ad for Milk. The ad pictures Sean Penn's smiling, slightly addled mug and a long, laudatory quote from Peter Travers, who calls Milk "a total triumph, brimming with humor and heart." "An American classic." And, "If there's a better movie around this year, with more bristling purpose, I sure haven't seen it."

Which has to be the most unsurprising review ever. Maybe Milk really is the best movie of 2008. I haven't seen it, so I don't know. What I do know is that Milk will be the best-reviewed movie of 2008, no matter what. It's from indie darling Gus Van Sant. It's a true story. It's about a gay-rights pioneer. A gay-rights pioneer who was assassianted! It deals prominently and happily with homosexuality. And it stars Sean Penn. The only way this picture could be more critic-friendly is if Harvey Milk had been an alcoholic and/or physically disabled.

Seriously, who in the world would have the stones to pan this movie? I was sort of amazed to see that it had only a 94 percent rating from Rotten Tomatoes.

Who are the 7 critics who dared to say Milk didn't do a body good?

Marvel Floats Throughout the Ages

Courtesy of Valerie D'Orazio:

That's right. Check out the Emma Frost. And the exceptionally gay Magneto. Also, around the 2:40 mark, you can see Doctor Doom rocking out.

The next one is more of a battle spectacular.