Archive for February, 2009

    Pacific Coast Highway, somewhere in Malibu. I wake up, hydraulic pistons inside my head doing a number on my skull– like Keith Moon on an angry expresso bender. My eyes are crusted. Two vultures in a tree look down on me with beady hungry eyes. Seeing me move, they slowly flap their wings and take flight, disgusted.

    It’s a couple days after the Academy Awards after-parties, and this intrepid reporter will do his best to hunt and peck the stories I have seen. The ones I remember, at least. 

After the after-parties, all you have are the memories you can remember.

After the after-parties, all you have are the memories you can remember.

    After the Awards Ceremony, I get a ride with Hugh Jackman and Beyonce and we hit Elton John’s party and I’m doing the Mashed Potato with Jennifer Aniston when who walks in but Angelina with Brad, and I’m like, Jen– ohmygod, I cannot even believe they came here” and she was like “I don’t care, I am so totally over him” and I’m like “well, yeah, but I mean can you even believe she brought him here– maybe he’s still into you after all” and Jen flips her hair and says whatever” and then Angelina comes by and drops a B-bomb under her breath and Jen just goes ballistic and she’s all over Angie gouging her face and yanking her hair and I see Brad and he’s up at the bar checking out Reese Witherspoon and making moose-shaped hand shadows on the wall for Uma Thurman’s amusement and so I try and break-up the fight and I get clocked by Mickey Rourke who climbs up on the stair railing like’s he’s going to rain a ‘Ram’ down on me and I quickly get to my feet, grab Ron Howard and shove him into Mickey who topples down the stairs and knocks Halle Berry off her feet and then I see Kate Winslet and she’s using her Oscar as a martini stir stick so I grab it and begin brandishing it at Rourke saying “You want some of this, come ‘n get it, loser!” and then out of nowhere Sean Penn steps up with his Oscar in hand and says “Hey, man, Mickey’s my bro, you can’t dis him like that!” and Meryl Streep take a champagne bottle, smashes it on a table, turns the newfound weapon with sharp shards of green glass to Sean and says “Leave Scooter alone, or I will cut you but good!” and Daniel Craig confidently steps in to calm her down and he gets a face full of Meryl’s glassy rage and he’s gushing blood and yelling that she “can’t do that to James Bond!” and she’s dancing around like Ali in his prime, ready to attack any other takers when John Mayer comes by innocently with his guitar and Meryl jabs him hard in the shoulder and down he goes and Danny Boyle decides he’s seen enough of Meryl’s rampage and he begins tossing Oscar after Oscar at the great actress as she dodges them expertly (Rourke’s picking up the Oscars like a greedy fool, giggling) and finally some bouncers come in and break it up and Hugh Jackman picks up Meryl’s broken champagne bottle and duct tapes it to the back of his hand and says “Lookit, everyone, I’m Wolverine, baby!” and he starts doing some crazy soft shoe dance and I’ve had enough and as I’m leaving the party I see Marty Scorsese talking with Steve Spielberg and I tell them, I say,”You know, if there’s one thing I hate it’s a name dropper,” and I leave and the next thing I know I wake up with some vultures are eyeing me for breakfast and up on the hill there’s the ashes of a luxurious estate.

     This here Hollywood’s one rough place.

 

Anne Hathaway wore eau de mothballs...

Penelope Cruz wore eau de mothballs...

    Hollywood was stunned, shocked and bedazzled with the many surprises that strolled along the red carpet prior to the 2009 Academy Awards Ceremonies.

     Penelope Cruz couldn’t afford a new dress so she wore some old number that had the faint scent of mothballs and pipe tobacco. She won an Oscar for her acting in Vicky Cristina Barcelona and to goose her future salary so she can afford a new garment some day soon.

    Angelina Jolie looked simply ravishing in some sort of stitched fabric device she called a gown, while hubby Brad Pitt sported a backless yellow chiffon number that rode high on the thigh. He also sported some Jimmy Choo pumps that were like totally not sensible.

    Marisa Tormei wore pumps. Just pumps. And a pole.

    Kate Winslet wore a blue bathrobe with cute duckie slippers. She apologized for having overslept saying her alarm clock is on the fritz and she’s hitting Target soon for a new one. She has her heart set on one with a built-in radio!

    Meryl Streep wore a gray dress that was a bit more fashionable than the black habit she sported in Doubt, but frankly she commanded much more respect in the nun get-up.

    Anne Hathaway showed up in jeans and a sweatshirt, said she forgot the shindig was formal and ran home to quickly change.

    Amy Adams wore red. A very pretty red, not too light or too dark, just lots of really red red.

    Melissa Leo wore a stunning dress but was turned away by security guards. She explained she was nominated for Actress in a Leading Role, but it was no use. She was bounced.

    Christian Bale showed up with fists balled and began shouting a string of profanities. He was looking for Shane Hurlbut, a director of photography, who he said was ruining “every shot in my whole f****** life!” A police SWAT force tagged him with tranquilizers and hauled him away.

   One final note. You think these Hollywood types are so glamorous and refined, but that red carpet was filthy after this herd of wild animals tracked their dirty hoofs across it. And I swear, someone spilled cheap red wine on the red carpet and that stain will never come out! I’ve tried club soda, salt, commercial cleaners– nothing works!

    Thanks, celebrities, thanks a lot!

    Before the stars begin traipsing down the red carpet, The Lint Screen proudly predicts who will clutch statues of golden glory and who will grasp fistfuls of disappointment and heartache.

Hollywood's catnip, yummiliciousness!

Hollywood's catnip, yummiliciousness!

    Let’s get straight to the biggie–best picture: and the winner will be Slumdog Millionaire. A tough, tough call. I saw all the nominees except Frost/Nixon, but I don’t think it’s going to win since Dick Nixon was never much of a box office draw (he was more of a behind the scenes guy).

    Stiff competition with the other pictures though. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was a spectacular film, but will be remembered more for seamless special effects than anything else.

    Milk was an amazing character study and acting tour de force for Sean Penn and Josh Brolin. But, we knew the story before sitting down. Not enough mystery to satisfy our insatiable curiosity.

    Then there was The Reader. Fresh, interesting story, great acting, directing, everything. But a little too too for an Oscar handshake. Too much of a downer.

    Which leaves us with Slumdog. This film had it all: exotic and mysterious locale (India), incredible storytelling in a non-linear and ever-poke-the-ol’-curiosity-way, terrific performances, romance, game show, good versus evil (Chuck Dickens would be proud), visually stunning, poo humor, Bollywood dance number, captivating music, etc. It’s the entire package. A fresh film from a fresh place Hollywood hasn’t yet exploited. Oh, and it was done by Brits. Hollywood is totally Anglophile, I say… it finds all things English to be quite brilliant. Yep, Slumdog is an Oscar lock.

    For leading actress, it’s a fight between Meryl Streep in Doubt and Kate Winslet in The Reader. My money’s on Meryl and her rosary beads. She sent shivers up the spines of any child who ever had a nun as a teacher (a performance so authentic, I had red imprints on my sweaty palms from phantom slaps of the ruler). Then again, Kate is British, so I could be wrong. I just hope it isn’t Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married, an over-hyped soap opera of self-indulgent shaky cam. It was a movie that made every minute seem like five. 

    For leading actor, it’s Sean Penn versus Mickey Rourke as heavyweight contenders. I have to say Mickey was pretty incredible as a washed-up wrestler, but I didn’t feel his playing a has-been on the ropes was much of a stretch for him as an actor. As for Sean Penn, his was an incredible performance of becoming Harvey Milk. Penn continues to amaze as he transforms himself into varied roles. I think this will be his second handshake with Mr. O. Then again, Hollywood loves the Rocky-style actor comeback plotline, too. If Mickey were British, it’d be an easier pick. But I’m betting Penn, the dark horse.

    In supporting actress, it’s a tough call. Could be Amy Adams in Doubt. Could be Viola Davis in Doubt (a relatively short time on film. but a legendary performance). Could be Marisa Tormei for baring darn near everything including her soul in The Wrestler. But wait, Marisa’s got an Oscar and we need a surprise pick. My money’s on Viola Davis. A long shot, I know, but I’m tossing the dice. 

It's tough to beat death.

It's tough to beat death.

For supporting actor, go with Heath Ledger. Nothing aids fame quite like death. Ledger was terrific, he did some of the best tongue acting of all time, and he certainly caused many people to fear pencils. It’s too bad he’ll be the walkaway winner because there were great competitors with John Brolin in Milk, Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt, and Robert Downey, Jr. in Tropic Thunder. But, it’s all Heath, babes. Too bad he won’t be there to get the gold man.

    For directing, Slumdog will win. Danny Boyle has a fresh eye, and it’s a brave film with wonderful performances. My quibble with it: too many Dutch angle shots, Danny-boy-o. They drive me nuts, like strong perfume in an elevator. Dutch angles try too hard. I think David Fincher deserves the award because Benjamin Button was a phenomenal story that required tons of special effects and pitch perfect performances, yet he pulled it all off in a perfectly natural way. A real magician’s trick and artistic touch. But, it’s the year of Slumdog. Hey, man, it is written.

    In best adapted screenplay, the winner is (oh, these envelopes are so hard to get open),  Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog Millionaire. No argument here, it’s a terrific tale well told. Well written. Can I milk this gag any more? Doubtful.

    For best original screenplay, give a little fellow to Martin McDonagh for In Bruges. No, I didn’t see all the nominees, but I did love this screenplay and movie.

    As for the other categories, well, I’ve got to go with Tony Smidlagg for Best Best Boy. I’ve always said “he’s the best.”

    Enjoy the show. Make your picks. Ciao, babe, I’ll be poolside at The Beverly Hills Hotel…

Were it not for Abraham Lincoln, our sweet 16 president, these United States would not be quite so united. The other day was Lincoln’s 200th birthday, and were he alive today, he would be the oldest man ever–– paying some of the highest health insurance premiums ever.

He'd have been 200 if he weren't dead. Happy birthday, anyway!

Lincoln would have been 200 years old if he weren't dead. Happy birthday, anyway!

Only two people have had more books written about them than Mr. Lincoln. Guess who? (Hint:  it’s not Vic Tayback and Pat Sajak.)

Still, with all the volumes written on this great man, there are some lesser known facts you might like to know and pepper into your conversations. Here are my favorite obscure Lincoln facts:
1. Lincoln was the first president to wear silk undergarments.

2. Abe like him some flapjacks with molasses for breakfast, but he didn’t eat with utensils as “they have ill humors about them. It’s spooky, man, freaks me out.”

3.  Contrary to the legend, he did not write the Gettysburg Address on the back of an envelope. Fact is, he wrote it hastily on a Mac Powerbook 23o, which was pretty ancient even back then.

4.  Lincoln suffered bouts of melancholia brought on by binges of listening to Barry Manilow music and the knowledge he would be assassinated at Ford’s Theatre and never get to see the end of the play, which really sucks when you’ve paid retail for tickets.

5.  Many people alleged that Mary Lincoln was a bit bonkers. Actually, she was just a carefree, madcap kind of zany cut-up who enjoyed a little attention. Besides, her imaginary friend, the rainbow unicorn, told her to act-up.

6.  Lincoln used to use a shiny penny as a form of identification. “Look, it’s me, see?!”

7.  Honest Abe told George Washington’s dad it was he (Lincoln) who chopped down the cherry tree. Ol’ man Washington whupped Abe good while George giggled into a throw pillow.

8.  Lincoln was known for his razor sharp wit. He wanted to open his second inaugural address with, “A Rabbi, Priest and Minister walk into a saloon…”  He was talked out of it by aides.

9.  Believe it or not, Lincoln never saw any of the “Star Wars” films. George Lucus sued.

10.  At one time Lincoln had a mustache and a beard, however, he fell behind in his payments on the lip hair and it was repo-ed. Throughout his life he struggled to keep up on his beard payments and was saving for a unibrow.

11.  Lincoln was a poor gift giver. No matter what the occasion, the recipient could be heard to say the familiar refrain, “Oh, look at that–– Lincoln Logs. Just what I wanted…”

12.  President Lincoln sported an impressive six pack of abs and worked the weights to add firepower to his substantial guns. He was quite proud of his “gloriously rockin’ bod” and liked to lube his torso during cabinet meetings. Some cabinet members found it terribly disturbing. Others, quite fetching.

13.  Lincoln always said, “If I live to be 200, I wonder if I’ll be remembered with little known facts about me on some website called The Lint Screen. What is a website, anyway?”

Silly tall bearded favorite president, yes, you’re remembered! Happy belated Lincoln’s 200th Birthday!  Now, let the guessing begin for the identity of the two people more popular than Lincoln as book subjects, or if you have some lesser known facts…

    Financial services executives are livid over legislation that would impose pay limits of a mere $500,000 annually for companies accepting federal bailout money.

Fed $500,000 Proposal Would Tighten The Alligator Belt...

Fed $500,000 Proposal Would Tighten The Alligator Belt...

    “This idea is an absolute outrage,” fumed Thurston Winslowe III, a New York banking executive. “Not to overstate the case, but this is definitely the most egregious, cruel and inhumane assault ever against any sector of humanity. I’m supposed to bust my butt for a lousy 500-K a year?! I may as well get myself a paper route!”

    When explained that compensation could also  include stock options once the federal bailout money was paid back, Winslowe was unimpressed. “Look, five years ago our stock was worth $56 a share. Last year we lost $98 billion. Now our share price is under $5. What do I look like, a chump? Only an idiot would place a bet on an organization with the horrible track record we’ve got. Taxpayers need to fork over the money, let us save the economy and keep their big noses out of how we run our businesses and reward our top performers. Hey, we’re professionals here, people–– we know what we’re doing!”

    Winslowe bemoaned the tough economic times. “Last year my total compensation was over $52 million, which is decent enough change, I guess. But still, I had to watch my spending and keep an eye out for coupons and stores offering BOGOs. Now I’m supposed to do the same job for $500,000?! I can’t live on that pittance. I’d need to get a loan just to get by, but no one’s making loans these days. No thank you. I’ll take my incredible financial management skills and work where I can get handsomely rewarded for the significant contributions I bring to a company. Check out my necktie’s double Windsor knot, that professional grade all the way, baby. You got to pay for this guy to play.”

    With that, Winslowe blew his nose into an old $100 bill, tossed it on the floor and called for his driver to pull the car around.

 

This is the cheese that built a better mousetrap...

This is the cheese that built a better mousetrap...

    During the Super Bowl, a rather important football game played on Sunday, the restaurant chain Denny’s aired a commercial inviting people to enjoy a free Grand Slam breakfast on Tuesday. And yesterday, Denny’s made good on its promise attracting over two million people to its 1,500 locations to shovel the 770 calorie Grand Slam breakfast into their pancake holes.

    “It was amazing,” said Bob Thrubottlin, manager of the Denny’s in Lilburn, Georgia, I’ve never seen this place so packed or our cooks so doggone busy. They were cracking eggs like nervous hens in an earthquake.”

     The promotion was such a success, the excited manager is hoping it becomes a regular menu item. “I’m telling you, I think we’ve captured lightning in a bottle with this baby,” said Thrubottlin. “This Free Grand Slam Breakfast is something that attracts folks like june bugs to warm honey. I’m talking to corporate and seeing if we can’t add a free lunch and a free dinner special, too. I need to build traffic in all dayparts! This free food seems to be the secret to success in this business!” Patrons of the restaurant readily agreed they would visit more often if the food were “more freer.”

    There was no comment from corporate on Manger Thrubottlin’s suggestion .