Sun 27 Feb 2011
Archive for February, 2011
Fri 25 Feb 2011
1. Aaron Sorkin wrote the 164-page screenplay for The Social Network in a Starbucks on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica in the time it took him to drink a Venti Caramel Macchiatto. What makes this fact even more amazing is that he actually resisted the siren call of the raspberry scones.
2. That scene in Inception where the street rolls up and everything gets all kaflooey–– done with bulldozers. And very skilled magicians.
3. While Natalie Portman did a magnificent job learning to dance ballet in Black Swan, she almost killed herself with a misstep while dancing the hokey-pokey at a cast party. “Natalie is a natural athlete,” said a choreographer on the picture. “While she’s quite gifted and graceful putting her left foot in and putting her left foot out, she is a total klutz in the shaking it all about department. Please don’t tell her I said that– I can’t survive another one of her beatings!”
4. The original title for The Kids Are All Right was Baba O’Reily.
5. Being a dedicated method actor, Jeff Bridges gouged his left eye out of his skull and had it replaced with a glass eyeball for the filming of True Grit. But before shooting began, directors Joel and Ethan Coen decided they preferred Rooster Cogburn’s right eye to be covered with the eyepatch. Bridges went to his trailer and stumbled back to the set wearing the eyepatch over his right eye.
6. James Franco did not really saw his arm off in 127 Hours, but his stunt double, now called Lefty, is pretty bitter about the entire filming experience.
7. Colin Firth not only faked his stammer in The King’s Speech, he also sewed all the costumes for the wardrobe department. “I’m quite good with a needle and thread,” said the handsome actor. “It helps to calm my nerves. I have a collection of thimbles that is quite modestly second to none. I say, would you like some cuffs on your trousers, guvnor?”
8. All the actors in Winter’s Bone had distinguished British accents and performed on horseback. The horses were removed in post production.
9. In Toy Story 3, Woody and Buzz got into a huge fight at the craft services table. Woody was hospitalized for two days and Buzz required six stitches and heavy make-up to cover his bruises. The two did not speak off camera at all after the incident.
10. The entire film The Fighter–– done in one take. All the sweat? Fake.
Now you know…
Wed 23 Feb 2011
Well, not quite, but it is certainly one of the better films of 2010, a year that had a hearty crowd of terrific movies.
Barney’s Version stars Paul Giamatti, an actor who has made a career of portraying neurotic, left-of-center characters. His Barney Panofsky is one for the Neurotic Hall of Fame (which does not do much of a gift shop concession business, except for the hand sanitizers).
Barney is a TV soap opera producer in Montreal who likes his scotch, cigars and hockey. He comes from a middle class Jewish family background, but attempts social climbing through matrimony. The Jewish class struggle is a major backbone of the film.
Despite marrying three times, Barney loves only one woman– Miriam, who he meets at his second wedding (the marrying-up- the-Jewish-social-ladder marriage). Barney becomes instantly infatuated with Miriam, and she eventually becomes wifey-poo #3 . Miriam is well-played by Rosamund Pike.
This movie has a complex storyline and is much like a novel with intersecting characters and plots. It is based on a novel by Mordecai Richler and is probably fairly true to the book.
The supporting cast features Dustin Hoffman as Barney’s dad, Minnie Driver as Barney’s second bride, Scott Speedman as Barnie’s best friend and tortured writer pal. All of the acting is spot-on, as is the writing and directing.
So what does Barney’s Version lack? Well, it is always interesting, you do want to know what happens next, but ultimately it fails because we never really get a sense at exactly what makes Barney Barney.
Maybe in the novel Barney is fleshed-out, brought to believable life, but here he goes from situation to situation, like a pinball in a machine. He is motivated, but we never quite know by what.
And maybe that’s the point. Who can explain any one person’s behavior? But I needed a little more soul to Barney in order to buy his motivations of the heart.
That said, Barney’s Version is definitely worth seeing, if not in the theatre with $8 popcorn, than at home with a scotch and a cigar.
Mon 21 Feb 2011
Here are some facts you may not know about some of our presidents.
1. In a drunken rage, President Franklin Pierce declared on September 4, 1856, “I’ll bet no one remembers diddly-squat about me in the future.” He was right.
2. President Benjamin Harrison was very proud of his magnificent facial hair, so much so, he gave his beard and mustache the nickname Harry McSofty and invited guests to run their fingers through it. If visitors would not take him up on his offer, Harrison would pout and mumble to himself until resistance was futile and strange fingers would comb through his thick facial brush. Harrison would be delighted and giggle like a school girl.
3. President Calvin Coolidge had a tail. He was embarrassed by the posterior growth, and had a girdle-like structure manufactured to contain it. However, witnesses report Coolidge had difficulty suppressing his tail from wagging when he received good news like, if he was a good boy there’d be beefy treats for an afternoon snack.4. Rutherford B. Hayes was our only female president, although many believed her strong perfumes and ability to accessorize any outfit to be dead giveaways.
5. Chester A. Arthur was our vainest president. He always referred to himself in the third person saying things like, “Chester A. Arthur thinks this beef is stringy and tough as leather” and “Chester A. Arthur wishes the weather were warmer.” He was once asked by a small child what the “A” in his name stood for, to which the president snapped, “Chester A. Arthur believes children should be seen and not heard, you obnoxious little cur!” He then ordered the child to be executed by a firing squad. He thought better of it later, and magnanimously reduced the child’s punishment to four years of hard labor in a federal prison.
6. President Harry S. Truman kept a dead mouse in his left suit coat pocket. No one knows why, but he often asked heads of state for small pieces of cheese.
7. President Richard Nixon was known to drink heavily at night and make crank calls to other world leaders. Legend has it that he once drunk-dialed Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, disguised his voice and asked “Do you have Prince Albert in a can and is your refrigerator running and is I.C. Butz there?” Brezhnev recognized Nixon’s voice and told him to cut it out or he’d send over some nuclear warheads. Nixon hung up laughing, then hid under his desk in the Oval Office.
8. President Theodore Roosevelt was known for his love of the great outdoors. During his term as president, he stocked the White House with bears, elks, foxes, mountain lions and poisonous snakes. He would hunt the animals for relaxation and quick and delicious dinner menu ideas. TR holds the record for was our least-visited president while occupying the White House.
9. President James Polk was a nudist. His handlers had to chase, wrestle and dress him before any public appearance. Polk was proud of his physique and believed he had nothing to hide from the world. It was a constant battle to save the president from embarrassment during his presidential term.10. President James Madison was our shortest leader, standing a mere five and a half inches tall. He wore lifts in his shoes so that he appeared to be 5’4″ in public.
11. President John Quincy Adams was a brilliant scientific man. He built a time machine and traveled to Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 1865. He was sitting in President Abraham Lincoln’s seat when Lincoln arrived. The two men flipped a coin to see who would get the seat. Lincoln won the coin toss, and Adams went back to 1828. Adams would never know how close he came to being assassinated, and Lincoln would never know he unlucky he was when the penny he flipped came up “heads” with his face (which was really weird because the penny must have been from the future). Cruel, cruel irony, how you do torture us!
Happy Presidents Day, and be sure to take advantage of all the incredible savings at Pier 1!
Sat 19 Feb 2011
Imagine that, a scumbag in robes throwing the book at kids as young as 10 so he can get his greedy palms greased.
Clavarella was notoriously harsh in his sentencing of youths. Now we know why: he had vacancies to fill.
The builder (a friend of Clavarella’s) and an attorney who co-owned the lockups were dishing fistfuls of cash to keep the young traffic coming to their crossbar motel.
And now that Clavarella’s been caught and convicted, what’s the penalty he’ll be paying to society? Maybe 12 years in prison. Is that justice?
No. This guy deserves life in prison for ruining so many young lives to pad his pockets. He’s like the scum Charles Dickens used to imagine in his novels. Minor drug offenders are serving more time than this bastard will. That’s not justice.
The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world (3.1% of the population is on probation, behind bars or on parole) and I suspect it’s only going to get worse if we continue with this for-profit lockup racket. There’s too much money in the jailing business and too much temptation for sleazy, greedy guys like Clavarella.
Let’s see if we can’t get him some Madoff time. Oh, and while we’re at it, wouldn’t it be wonderful to throw some of the fatcats responsible for the financial meltdown to get some serious jail time? Any jail time?
Thu 17 Feb 2011
Many people confirmed they’ve seen the mega computer in numerous Manhattan watering holes slurping oceans of loudmouth soup and dishing major league trash talk.
“He seemed so nice on Jeopardy,” said one eyewitness, “but he acted like a pompous drunk jerk at the bar shouting crap like– ‘humans got nothing, I could beat your race with a 386-chip and a motherboard on the fritz! Jennings and Rutter’s the best you meat puppets got? Gimme a break, they’re crap! You want to de-throne the king, you better bring some stronger playas! Unbelievable, you people with your puny brains and slow fingers. ‘”
“The poor bastard’s on a bender,” said one bartender who served Watson. “He’s drinking to drown some deeply-seeded problem, but he’ll probably drown himself first. It’s tragic.”
Jeopardy host Alex Trebeck said he hopes the computer superstar can deal with his newfound celebrity. “It’s tough to deal with the spotlight,” said Trebeck, “especially when you start saying everything in the form of a question, and doing it with a heavily slurred voice that stinks of stale beer and bourbon.”