Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lacuna Lamentation

My apologies.

I had a bad week (not a bad day, a bad week). I went AWOL. MIA. Under the covers. Into the cave. Below. Beneath. Behind. You name the hiding preposition, we were together.

And then I got the sweetest email... "Blog lacuna? Shines through the fog. This week, no sun?"

Back on track I was. That easy. Like getting a hug through the mail.

Isn't "lacuna" a lovely word? I looked it up - this is what wiki had to say:

Generally, a lacuna is a gap. The term may refer to:

All in one word. Now that's a word.

Upon reflection, it wasn't so much a blog lacuna as it was a life lacuna.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

RIP, Sydney P.

The list is long... I've seen a lot of them, but not all of them.

My favorite? Probably Three Days of the Condor (RT:89), which I can watch all the way through, over and over again. Unlike The Way We Were (RT: 61), which I also love, but I usually stop watching at the beach scene - though I will sometimes skip to the scene outside The Plaza, just to hear Babs say, "She's a lovely girl, Hubble."

But that list...I never stopped to count the number of movies he made with Redford. Yeesh.

This Property is Condemned (1966, RT: 64) - Robert Redford, Tennessee Williams, and Natalie Wood (did you know the screenplay was co-written by Francis Ford Coppola? Me neither.)
Jeremiah Johnson (1972, RT: 100) - RR and the great outdoors
The Way We Were (1973, RT: 61) - and Babs
Three Days of the Condor (1975, RT: 89) - and Faye
The Electric Horseman (1980, RT: 59) - and Jane
Out of Africa (1985, RT: 61) - and, what should have been lastly, Meryl
Havana (1990, RT: 17) - and Lena Olin (after Streep, they should've known there was only one direction to go, and up it wasn't)

And then there are the non-Redford movies...

They Shoot Horses, Don't They?; Absence of Malice; Tootsie; The Firm...

And then there are the movies he produced (most recently with his producing partner Anthony Minghella, who died two months ago, also from cancer):
Bright Lights, Big City; The Fabulous Baker Boys; Presumed Innocent; White Palace; Dead Again; Leaving Normal; Searching for Bobby Fisher; on and on... just this month he produced Recount, which is showing on HBO. And The Reader, based on the fantastic novel by Bernard Schlink, and directed by Stephen Daldry, is in production now.

Add to that, from all accounts, he was a genuinely nice guy. Peter Travers of The Rolling Stone had this to say: "[he was] one of true gents in a movie industry notable for the absence of what Sydney had—humor, warmth and a non-showy way of letting his talent out."

He will be missed.

Friday, May 23, 2008

For severe love problems

It takes all kinds, I know that. Sometimes, though, I have to wonder just how many kinds there are? So many, friends, there are so many.

On their site, the Angel Sisters of Love proclaim:

When I was a small child, I did not understand why people adored me so much.
It gets better from there...
I made people's lifes better by my touch or prayer, as I grew my energy grew with me and now I understand my place here on earth... Many hearths are broken and many people suffer, don't be one of them. Let me help you with your problems, don't be confused to reach out for help. I can help anyone no matter how difficult your problems is as long as you are true with me about your feelings.

Well, as long as your problem isn't poor grammar. Then, evidently, you're on your own.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fast, faster, fastest

Forbes Magazine is great for its lists:

Men's 10 Worst Fashion Sins - leisure suits, comb-overs, shirts un-buttoned down to there... only 10? How'd they do that?
Top-Earning Dead Celebrities - now that's cool
America's Most Sinful Cities - sin by sin, not city by city, because that would just be boring

Last year, my favorite list was The Forbes Fictional 15, a list of the richest fictional characters -- on which, by the way, Tony Stark was number 10.

But this year, I'm torn, since I'm kinda a car geek. What, you don't believe me? Walking in the dark, at midnight, on a dirt path behind the Empire Polo Fields, leaving Coachella, I stopped dead in my tracks. "What? What?" asked my girlfriends. "That's a Maybach," I said, pointing. "A what? How can you even see that?" "I have a gift." Not to mention, what is a $400,000 (minimum) car doing parked on a dirt road behind the stage at Coachella? Parked! I mean, don't those things come with a driver? Smythington-Smythe?

But back to the lists - this year, Forbes gives us not only the Fastest Cars, but the Fastest Fictional Cars. Nice!

The top three are animated... Blurr from Transformers, Mach 5 from Speed Racer and the Batmobile. Rounding out the fictitious speedsters are Dom's car from The Fast and the Furious (love that movie, RT: 53) and K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider.

Then we come to five fastest cars in the real world (though I'm not exactly sure whose definition of "real" we're working with - the world's fastest car costs over $600,000, and the second fastest costs a cool $1.5 million). Number one is the SSC Ultimate Aero (a Shelby - American made, thank you very much), then the Bugatti Veyron, followed by the Koenigsegg CCX, the Saleen S7 Twin Turbo (also American made), and lastly the Bristol Fighter T.

Not til the bottom half do you get to your more pedestrian Lamborghini, Pagani, and Mercedes. Ferrari and Porsche? Not even On. The. List. Hmpf.

Which makes the R8 (Audi) product placement in Iron Man that much more glaring. Seriously, you don't think the #10 richest fictional character in the universe isn't going to be driving one of the top 10 fastest cars in the world? Of course he is. And, hello?, only Tony Stark could afford one of those cars. Like I said, hmpf.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sit back, relax...

...and let them do all the heavy lifting. I just love it when all I have to do is press play.

It's a video. Yep, one of those. Click here if, you know, you can't see it.

Can I add anything to that? Nah.

Taylor to the third

The Taylors are a formidable bunch - especially now that they're all out in full force.

We're all familiar with James (if you're not, I don't want to know you. Seriously, stop reading my blog. Now. I mean it.)

And possibly familiar with his son Ben... whom I used to see at my gym in New York. Which is immaterial to his music, but kinda cool. He was ripped. And had a cool tattoo on his arm. Anyway, I've been hearing his music more and more - and liking it more and more. I just downloaded Another Run Around the Sun - nice, nice nice.

So, the other day, I was listening to the radio (satellite radio, which is all I ever listen to anymore) and I thought, is that James Taylor? It sounds like, but not like... Sort of the way, when I hear that voice that sounds almost-but-not-quite-like Ella Fitzgerald, I know it's Sarah Vaughn. Or when I hear a sort-of-young-not-quite Frank Sinatra, I know it's Matt Monro.

Now I know that almost-but-not-quite JT voice belongs to Livingston Taylor, James' younger brother. He sounds like James Taylor, but different. Hmmm, Ben sounds like James too. But differently than Livingston's different. (Follow that?)

I don't know if they'd think that's good or bad - but in this case, genes are genes, and the Taylor sound will out. These boys sound the same, and they sound different. Which is just fine by me - as far as I'm concerned, you can't have too much Taylor music in the universe, so keep it coming, boys, keep it coming.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

From Henson to... Coelho?

I'm not sure if this is better, worse or just... different?

The Weinstein Company (yep, them again) today announced that they are planning to adapt Paul Coelho's fable, The Alchemist, into a film. To be directed by and star Laurence Fishbourne.

And although the film has been languishing at Warner Bros. for 15 or so years, with screenwriters evidently seeing fit to include Ben Hur-worthy battle scenes (hey, I'm just recapping the press release, I don't make this stuff up), you'll note - because I'm telling you to note - that there is no screenwriter attached to the project now.

Harvey Weinstein has said that he will personally produce this film, something he hasn't done since Shakespeare in Love. And say what you will about him (and that can be a lot), that man can make a good movie when he puts his mind to it.

I'm not in the biz, but even with star, director and producer extraordinaire on-board, don't you still need a script? (Pssst. Is Richard LaGravenese busy?)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

You heard it here first

Not until Thursday, 15-May did Jon Stewart break the story on "The Daily Show:"

And yes, there's a video here.

Three days earlier you read it here on GR2BR (I read it on Huffington Post, who found it on Bluestem). And you thought I was such a slacker.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I, um, paid for that - already

I'm not really all that tech savvy - not, say, compared to your average 14 year old.

I hate Facebook. I'm only on MySpace so I can read Diablo Cody's blog. I discovered Twitter today - and I don't get it

Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?

This is interesting, why?

Seriously - some sample twits (they got the name right, at any rate):

    I have eaten my weight in Goldfish crackers this month
    At kelsie's baseball game

Call me what you will - lame, old, out of it, Data Ditz (told you I liked that one) - I'm sorry, I just don't get it.

But I do have my moments. I mean, let's talk ringtones. I'm all over the ringtone thing. I'm kinda music oriented (I have over 40gb of music hanging around) and I like not only matching a song to a person, but the convenience of knowing who's calling by the ring.

So, when I hear "My Heaven" by Mary Chapin Carpenter - I know my sister's on the line. "Queen of the Night" from The Magic Flute? That would be Mom. And now that I have a phone that actually plays the song, not just that awful tinny, can't even call it a facsimile of the song- song, well, it's all good.

Except for one thing: they want to charge you for that 30 second ringtone. On iTunes, even if you buy the whole song, they're going to charge you another $1 for the ringtone. Let's walk through that again. You buy the song - the whole song - for $1, but if you want a specific 30 second portion of it to ring on your phone, you need to pay another $1. The awesome and amazing David Pogue wrote about this, and noted that Sprint ringtones cost $2.50/ea (and expire after 90 days), while Verizon's are $3/ea (though they last a whole year).

Well, ya know, call me crazy, but I think if you own a song, you should be allowed to listen to it whenever you want, even on your phone. And guess what? I'm not alone - the good folks over at feel the same way.

They have this very nifty site; you upload any song from your computer (if it's a 'protected' aac file, that is an iTunes file, you'll have to do a little fancy mp3 burning first) and then you can create your own ringtone - what slice of the song you want, how long you want it to be - and then just send it to your phone. It's that simple.

And so easy, even a 30 year old can do it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

This can't be good

Anybody remember the last puppet/muppet movie? I'm thinking it was The Muppet Movie (1, 2, 3 - or, heaven forfend, did they make a 4 too?).

Granted, there is that puppet/muppet musical (Avenue Q) currently holding 28th place as the longest running musical on Broadway (according to Wikipedia). But still.

The Weinstein Company - which, by the way, is evidently in some weird, haven't paid big-time DGA residuals on 20-30 movies debacle according to DeadlineHollywood - has announced that it is making Fraggle Rock into a movie, to be produced by Ahmet Zappa, along with two of Jim Henson's kids (that gives us some hope, at least). I don't know why Ahmet Zappa, but there you go.

The movie is going to be written and directed by Cory Edwards, who directed the animated movie "Hoodwinked!" for TWC. See? That explains everything, right? "Hoodwinked!"? Edwards? Huh?

A little research reveals that Hoodwinked! scored a 48 on RT. And further research (I have to be good for something) reveals that other than that stellar debut effort, all Edwards has done is - wow! - work on the sequel to Hoodwinked! (filming now). Okay, my last bit of research (damn, there's just always more, isn't there?) shows that the budget on the original was under $20 million, and US box office was over $50 million. So I guess I can see why TWC is calling for a sequel - even with that lousy 48 score. But couldn't they have done better by Gobo, Wembley, Mokey, Boober and Red? By Jim Henson? That man had vision, imagination, talent, guts.

Watch the classic intro to Fraggle Rock. (It's a video. Do you see the video?)

I'm not alone, by the by, in thinking this Fraggle Rock film idea can't be good -- check out /Film's take on it. But you know - I'd love to be wrong.

Burning Can Cannes?

Check out 23/6's FAQ: Cannes Film Festival. It includes gems like this:

Why is it in the news now?

The Cannes Film Festival is underway there. It kicked off Wednesday, May 14.

Cool, a festival. Like the Burning Man Festival.

If Burning Man were held in France and wasn't attended solely by dreadlocked hipsters, and it showed films instead of garbage pretending to be art installations, and it had a history as one of the world's most renown [sic] film festivals, then yes, it's exactly like Burning Man.

Like, if Hillary Clinton were a black man named Barack Obama, she'd be the next democratic nominee for president. Exactly like that.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Read more (later)

By the way, if you liked Read Later (if you didn't... you clearly didn't give it a chance, and don't think I don't know who you are), get this... you can subscribe to your own reading list.

Pretty geeky, right?

Yeah, well, without us geeks - where would you be? Create a live bookmark of your reading list, so it's just nicely sitting up there at the top of your browser, or put it on your personalized Google homepage, so it's sitting there nicely next to your GR2BR feed. Which is right there, right? Right?

Strike that. Reverse it.

So, not only is Target (that Target), previewing one of its new lines at Barney's (yep, that Barney's) - but every article I read about it reads the same way:

Julie Gilhart, [Barney's] fashion director, has worked her magic by persuading Target to launch the Rogan for Target collection at her Manhattan and Beverly Hills flagships in advance of their launch at the superstore. full article

Did you catch that? Barney's worked their magic to persuade Target to preview their clothes in their stores. Bet she had to really beg and plead to make that happen.

Don't tell me, tomorrow, Domino's will be premiering its new All Cookie Crust-All Creme Center dessert pizza at Mario Batali's restaurants. When did I leave earth as I know it?

Monday, May 12, 2008

When it's so wrong, it's right

This is the kind of thing you can't make up.

The House Republicans' new slogan to promote their party agenda is "the change you deserve."

Sound familiar? Maybe you've seen it in a magazine or heard it on TV? Because it's trademarked. By a pharmaceutical company. For an antidepressant.

Don't believe me? Read all about it on the Wyeth sponsored website about depression and their patented anti-depressant, Effexor (by the way - I read about this on HuffPost, who found it on Bluestem - gotta love the net!):

The Change You Deserve

Are these symptoms of depression interfering with your life?

  • Not involved with family and friends the way you used to be?
  • Low energy, fatigue?
  • Not motivated to do the things you once looked forward to doing?
  • Not feeling as good as you used to?

There you have it, straight from the pharma's mouth.

So, if eight years of the Bush administration has left you feeling... Oh, I can't, it's just too easy.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Crash and burn

I sat through it. Speed Racer, that is.

You have to give me credit. Or maybe not. Because, yikes, what a mess (RT: 35). If it breaks $25 million this weekend, well, it will be a miracle. Supposedly, this monster cost somewhere between $140 and $185 million (a big spread, but what's $45 mil between friends?).

It's pretty. I'll give it that much. And it has a cast. I'll give it that too - Susan Sarandon, John Goodman, Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, Matthew Fox, Scott Porter.

Unfortunately, it doesn't have pace, story, direction or logic. Or even good lines.

"Racing will never change. What matters is whether we allow racing to change us."

"You don't climb into a T-180 to be a driver. You do it because you're driven."

"Cool beans." And in case we missed it, we get this one several times. Thanks for that.

I think I'll go see Iron Man again.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Read this (later)

I've been called names. "Encyclopedia Brown," "Velcro Brains," "Know-it-all," "Data ditz," (that one's my favorite, actually).

I confess - I'm a trivia junkie. I come by it honestly; my mom was on Jeopardy, for crying out loud.

So, you can imagine my delight upon discovering Instapaper, the see-it-now, read-it-later tool.

As in read it later on your computer, or read it later on your phone (assuming you have a web friendly phone). Why is this better than bookmarks,, Google reader, etc.? Because it creates a simple reading list that you can skim through, skip through, check off and delete as you go. It doesn't ask for your email. You can password protect it. Or not. One list - one place. On-line. Available anywhere. Simple. Easy. Elegant.

When you're in the habit of opening 20+ tabs at a time (like some who, ahem, shall remain nameless), the ability to add an article or page to a reading list with one click ranks up there pretty close to the invention of the wheel. Or tabbed browsing. Really. Try it. You'll like it.

And by the way, we still have the encyclopedia set my mom won on Jeopardy in 1964 (or thereabouts - if that's not the right year, there will be 4 emails PDQ in my in-box telling me so - you know, from the other know-it-alls in the family).

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

An oldie - but what a goody

If you haven't seen Inherit the Wind, do. That's all, just do.

For one, it's a great story based on a true story - back when screenplays based on true stories were pretty close to the real thing. They didn't seem to have that "inspired by true events" thing back then...

For two, it was directed by Stanley Kramer, who also directed Judgment at Nuremberg - which, if you were paying attention, I have previously discussed in these pages - as well as Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, not to mention the movies he produced... oh, go look him up already, do I have to do everything??

For three, you get to see Col. Potter (M*A*S*H?) and Darren Stevens in a real, honest-to-goodness movie. And they're good. And Gene Kelly acting totally against type. Wait, you get to see Gene Kelly acting. Bet you didn't know he could do that.

But see it most of all, see it to watch Spencer Tracy and Frederic March go at it - Tracy as Clarence Darrow and March as William Jennings Bryan (fictionalized, of course). Those scenes are a joy. Spencer Tracy... how we miss you.

By the way, even though Inherit the Wind was released in 1960, it still scores on RT - an 87. And Guess Who's Coming to Dinner scores a 64. Judgment at Nuremberg? 89. In case you were wondering.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Ever have one of those days?

You know, one of those days. When you you look around and wonder, what is going through their head? Anything? Anything at all?

"Never listen to what a man says. Just go on what he does." -- Randy Pausch

That goes for girls too, by the way - people are what they do, not what they say. I forget that sometimes, and then, man, do I get sucker punched.

Having said that, I have a few words to say about apologies - because sometimes you have no choice but to say something right when you've done something wrong. That's life. Trust me, I'm not saying I'm the perfect sorry-sayer (or sooth-sayer for that matter), but that's not going to stop me from saying my few words. If you're going to say you're sorry, say it for the thing you did - don't say it for the other person's reaction. That's beyond lame.

Be sorry you were late, don't be sorry the other person was angry you were late. Be sorry you over-reacted and had a completely uncalled-for conniption fit. Don't be sorry the other person was hurt you yelled at them. Or whatever. Seriously.

"I'm sorry you were angry I was late." Are you for real? Man up. (regardless of your gender... man up.)

"I'm sorry you were bummed." You're sorry I was bummed? How about you're sorry you behaved like an inconsiderate ass?

If you can't force the words "I'm sorry I didn't call" or "I'm sorry I anything," out of your mouth, then just -- well, take a long walk off a short pier springs to mind. Failing that, just say nothing at all. Honestly, that would be better. Don't even begin to go down the other road. Trust me on this.

Aaah. I feel better already. Thanks for listening.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Take two bones and call me in the morning

Higher education is so important, don't you think?

this post is all about the video - so if you can't see it - click here

An unlikely hero

And I don't mean Iron Man - I mean Robert Downey, Jr.

Look, I'd be happy to watch Robert Downey, Jr. read the phone book. So, when he's given the chance to do more than that, I'm pretty darn pleased about it. Because there aren't that many actors who let you in on the joke quite the way he does. And there just aren't that many guys who are that damn cool. I'm talking Sean Connery in Dr. No cool. Steve McQueen cool. Keith Richards only wishes cool. That cool.

Casting Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark is up there with casting John Travolta as Vincent Vega. It's no surprise to me that Iron Man is the second biggest 3-day release for a non-sequel in the history of Hollywood - after only the first Spiderman (who is also, by the way, a Marvel comics hero, and a member of the Avengers - but more on that in a minute). Up to two weeks ago, industry buzz was that the studio would be lucky (lucky!) to break a $60 million opening with this flick:

Forget those $80 million or even marvel-par2.jpg$90 million and wild $100 million predictions for the 3-day opening weekend in around 4,000 theaters...
Even the execs say this is not exactly Marvel's best-known comic book character. And the star Robert Downey Jr has never been able to open a movie. And Jon Favreau soiled his rep as Elf's hitmaker with Zathura. Plus, right-wing and/or lefty types might consider the whole plot of the movie to be politically incorrect. And the Iron Man action figure toy sitting on my desk is cheezy [sic] beyond belief. And the beyond-hot video game Grand Theft Auto IV is released April 29th. I could go on and on. (Nikki Finke -

Sure, hind-sight is 20-20 and all that. And no one is 100% right all the time, and I think Nikki Finke is pretty amazingly right pretty amazingly most of the time. But here's my take on why they (and she) should've known better...

  1. Iron Man not being one of the better known comic book characters works in the movie's favor... you don't have to be as careful of mythology when you know you probably won't get caught. Go ahead - take some liberties.
  2. Robert Downey, Jr. hasn't "opened" a movie because no one's given him a movie worth opening - as I've said before, it's not the stars, folks, it's the movies. You think Tobey Maguire is more able to open a movie than RDJ? Get real.
  3. Jon Favreau - how the hell he talked his way into directing this movie (six times the budget of Elf), I have no earthly idea, but kudos to him for that and for the job he did.
  4. Possibly non-PC plot - like this movie's demographic target is really going to care? Hello? We can't even get them to vote.
  5. Cheesy marketing action figures - is it just me, or is that redundant?
  6. GTA IV - Buy the game, go see the movie. These are not mutually exclusive activities. Last I checked.

I have some pretty stringent ideas about the rules of super-hero movies - and with Iron Man, I rest my case. Rules are made to be broken, you say? Well, think about this - follow them (enough of them) and you get Iron Man (RT: 94). Break them and you get Ghost Rider (RT: 28). Need I say more? Didn't think so.

Oh, and the Avengers? Comic books 101, short version:

DC Comics has the Justice League -- Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter - didn't know about that last one didja? - and some other rotating characters. And we're still waiting for a good Wonder Woman movie, a Green Lantern movie. And, I suppose, a good Aquaman and Martian Manhunter movie too.

Marvel Comics has the Avengers , now known as the Ultimates, who originally included Ant-Man, Wasp, Thor, Iron Man, and the Hulk. Like the Justice League, the team was pretty fluid and people, ahem, heroes, came and went, including Nick Fury (if you don't stay for all of the credits in Iron Man, you'll be sorry), Captain America, and others. If you were wondering, Spiderman (and Wolverine, for that matter) wasn't a member of the Avengers, actually the "New Avengers," until quite recently (2005). Ah, marketing.

Let me just say - a movie battle between the Avengers and the Justice League is a-brewing. Stay tuned. Same bat-site. Same bat-blog.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

It's a big (very big) fan club

"In a cruel and imperfect world, she was living proof that God could still create perfection." - Rex Reed

"God has the most beautiful new angel." - Elizabeth Taylor

see the video?

"What is needed to become a real star is an extra element that God can give you or not. You are already born with it. You can't learn it. God kissed the face of Audrey Hepburn, and there she was." - Billy Wilder

and this one?

"She had authentic charm. Most people simply have nice manners." - Alfred Lunt

how about this one?

"All I want for Christmas is another movie with Audrey Hepburn." - Cary Grant

That would be a very, very good Christmas, indeed.

Time Tested Beauty Tips

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone…
People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed and redeemed and redeemed.

Never throw out anybody.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.

As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands. One for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

--Sam Levenson

This was one of Audrey Hepburn's favorite poems. And though it wasn't, it could have been written expressly about her.

Happy Birthday, Audrey

"Anyone who doesn't believe in miracles is not a realist."

Audrey Hepburn

Saturday, May 03, 2008

On how to be lovely...

No one was lovelier than Audrey, whose birthday is tomorrow.

Don't miss this video - if you don't see it, for sure, click here!

She was one of a kind, wasn't she?