Monday, July 31, 2006

D'you like Mel Gibson movies?

The Hollywood world was rocked over the weekend as actor/director Mel Gibson was caught for drinking and driving. His exchange with the arresting officer, caught on audiotape includes a swearing and anti semitic tirade that would make any of his fans blush.

The tirade included comments that his "life was fucked", that he "owns Malibu" and will spend all his money to even with the officer. He then launched into an anti semitic rant about "fucking Jews" and that they are "responsible for all the wars in the world".

What makes things more interesting is that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's department had the initial report doctored to keep the real story under wraps. Gibson has recently released a statement calling his actions despicable and basically blaming it all on the alcohol.

It is the website has been all over this story and have learned that he has been stopped on two other occasions for reckless driving in Malibu but has been allowed to walk without a ticket or arrest.

I once had my own personal encounter with Gibson. First off, the whole thing was quite a coincidence as we were already planning to see Mel Gibson's movie Signs that night. Anyway, I went to the Second Cup in Yorkville to pick up coffee. There is this short guy with a bald spot in front of me, so I am not thinking anything. All the sudden he turns around, and it's Mel Gibson and I say "holy fuck." He then gives me this self depricating look and says, "I am just picking out a muffin." He must have thought I was some crazy fan. The thing is, I'm not. I was just suprised to see him there.

I'm not a fan because I am really tired of the bulk of his movies because the usually involve him or his family getting hurt or killed and he has to seek vengeance against them.

Top 5 Mel Gibson movies that include his family getting hurt/killed and him having to seek vengeance.
1. Payback (okay, this film I actually love)
2. Lethal Weapon
3. Ransom
4. Mad Max
5. The Patriot


Friday, July 28, 2006

Fletch lives...again

As indicated in a previous posting, I am a fan of the first Fletch film starring Chevy Chase. If you are not aware of the film, it is from 1985 and is based on the first novel of the same name by Gregory McDonald.

The story from both the book and movie is about a newspaper reporter named Irwin Fletcher who is an investigative reporter who writes under the name Jane Doe. While writing stories on the drug trade he meets up with a man named Alan Stanwyck who asks Fletch to kill him in order to provide money for his family.

The rest of the story in the film varies slightly from the book but still centres on Fletch's ability to have fake ID and fake costumes in order to get information.

There was a sequel four years later called Fletch Lives which starred Chase and ex-Mrs. Springsteen Julianne Phillips. It wasn't directly related to any of McDonald's novels and did not have the same appeal as the original.

Top 5 Chevy Chase films
1. Fletch
2. Christmas Vacation
3. Caddyshack
4. Funny Farm
5. Memoirs Of An Invisible Man

Kevin Smith of Clerks fame had been rumoured for years to be re-starting the Fletch franchise starring Jason Lee. That has since fizzled, however, news this week is that Scrubs producer Bill Lawrence will be writing and directing an adaptation of the Fletch novel Fletch Won which deals with a younger Irwin Fletcher and how he began as a reporter. It is to star Scrubs star Zach Braff.

Braff himself lends credence to this on his own website where he talks about this news. As he says about the original Fletch movie, "For those of you who've never seen it, go check out Chevy Chase in "Fletch". It is a classic; you will laugh till your nipples chafe against your shirt."


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Now who is trying to kill Kenny?

I have to admit, when I was watching Ken Jennings run on Jeopardy, I was having a serious hate-on for the "borderline" genius. If you don't recognize the name, during 2004 and 2005, he went on a 72 game run of winning the popular game show. This streak made him somewhat of a celebrity, not seen on game shows since the opening days of tv with game shows such as Twenty One. Anyone who is a fan of the 1994 film Quiz Show knows what ended up happening with that show.

Getting back to Jennings, whether it was the overly bland exterior, the arrogant way in which he would write his name differently for each game or just his encyclopedic knowledge of everything from movies to religion. I just couldn't stand him.

If you remember, the question that got him was in the category Business and Industry. The answer was "most of this firm's 70 000 employees seasonal white collar employees work only four months a year." Ken answered "What is FedEx". The correct response was "What is H&R Block". Nancy Zerg did win that game but her streak only lasted one day as she lost the next day.

Since ending his run, he has been shopping a game show idea tentatively called Ken Jennings vs. the rest of the world. He had been working with Comedy Central on a game show idea previously but was told at the last minute that they were not interested after the show The Colbert Report started garnering big ratings in the post Daily Show slot.

Jennings also has a pretty funny blog that is one of my daily stops along the internet each day. It is this blog that has gotten him in the news lately. On July 19, he wrote an entry entitled "Dear Jeopardy". In very tongue and cheek fashion, he made some recommendations to change the long running game show. He made reference to host Alex Trebek indicating the following:

"Finally, Alex. I know, I know, the old folks love him. Nobody knows he died in that fiery truck crash a few years back and was immediately replaced with the Trebektron 4000 (I see your engineers still can’t get the mustache right, by the way.) "

On July 24, he wrote an entry where he apologized for the remark, writing the following:

"Also, from our July 19 column: we regret the insinuation that Mr. Alex Trebek is a robot, and has been since 2004. Mr. Trebek’s robotic frame does still contain some organic parts, many harvested from patriotic Canadian schoolchildren, so this technically makes him a “cyborg,” not a “robot.” regrets the error."

They New York Post, in an article by Michael Starr than ripped Jennings for criticizing the show that made him a household name. They clearly missed the fact that IT WAS A JOKE.

Jennings than wrote about this article in his July 25th blog entry first criticizing Starr for creating a non-story out of nothing and criticizing Jeopardy fans who were filling up the message board of his blog with nasty comments.

This story has since been picked up legs as both FOXNews and AP are reporting details of the Jennings-Jeopardy debate. The Huffington Post recently posted an article defending Jennings which is also a pretty good read.

This all makes me wonder whether Jennings really is a genius and all of this is a ploy just to keep his name in the news.

Unrelatedly, since yesterday was Mick Jagger's birthday:

Top 5 Rolling Stones Albums
1. Exile On Main Street
2. Sticky Fingers
3. Let It Bleed
4. Beggars Banquet
5. The Rolling Stones (England's Newest Hitmakers)


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

And the Oscar for best interviewee goes to...

...Paul Giamatti. I like every interview with him. He is just so honest and un-star like. I once read this interview with him and a bunch of other actors. It was a roundtable discussion with him, Hilary Swank, Annette Bening, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Fox and the lovely Kate Winslet.

It starts off with a bang as it is mentioned that Giamatti was the only one of the bunch who was actually early. He grumbled, "I've got to start building lateness into my schedule." Throughout the rest of the discussion, Giamatti comes off as the most honest, funny and real out of the bunch of them. Here is the transcript.

Top 5 Paul Giamatti films
1. Sideways
2. American Splendor
3. Cinderella Man
4. The Negotiator
5. Paycheck

It is rather shocking that Giamatti has only been nominated for one Academy Award, Best Supporting Actor for the film Cinderella Man. He should have also received nominations for Best Actor for Sideways as well as American Splendor.

As many of you may not know Giamatti's father was A. Bartlett Giamatti, former Commisioner of Major League Baseball. He is well known for banishing Pete Rose from baseball due to him betting on games. Eight days after making that announcement, Giamatti died from a heart attack. This still rather painful subject is something both acting sons Paul and brother Marcus (best known for being on the show Judging Amy) refuse to talk about in interviews. However, Paul WILL talk about anything else. Check this interview from The AV Club from earlier this week. He is surprisingly candid about his own acting career. And keep in mind, this is a career that has included roles in Big Momma's House (yikes!) , Big Fat Liar (double yikes!) and Thunderpants (wha?).

Speaking of bad comedies, the film You, Me and Dupree has drawn the ire of the members of Steely Dan. They are upset as the character Dupree from that film (played by Owen Wilson) seems to be ripped off the character from the Steely Dan song Cousin Dupree. On the band's official website, they have written a letter to Owen Wilson's brother Luke Wilson. It is a pretty funny read.


Monday, July 24, 2006

Clerks too?

A while ago someone asked me what I thought the best Kevin Smith film was. I responded, without hesitation, Clerks. I love the original Clerks. I worked at a video store at the time it was released and if there has ever been a truer film, I am not aware of it. After seeing it, I thought director Kevin Smith was going to be the next great independant film director following the likes of Quentin Tarintino.

Unfortunately, his career has not lived up to that promise. Mallrats was his follow up. It wasn't bad, still had that writing style that made Clerks such a funny movie. However, with this follow up, a trend emerged. Apparently Smith likened himself a comedic actor as well. The characters of Jay And Silent Bob (played by Jason Mewes and himself respectively) have since appeared in all but one of Smith's movies and have become a franchise on it's own.

With his third movie, Chasing Amy. The first half did feel like the beginning of a quality film. Even Ben Affleck wasn't too irritating. But it really goes downhill in the second half as one of the characters makes a suggestion to resolve the conflict that is so bizarre that I do not believe any straight man on this planet would ever suggest. AND, once again, we have Jay and Silent Bob. Though there is a nice payoff with Silent Bob as he actually offers Affleck's character some advice and it is actually the first time he has ever spoken in any of the films. It is quite funny.

Top 5 Ben Affleck films
1. Good Will Hunting
2. Reindeer Games
3. Shakespeare In Love
4. The Sum Of All Fears
5. Bounce

Dogma was Kevin Smith's next film and it courted controversy from Catholics around the world. It starred Linda Fiorentino as disillusioned Catholic woman chosen to prevent to renegade angels from returning to heaven and thereby resulting in the ending of civilazation as we know it. I realize this was Smith's attempt at a message film but the so-called comedic aspects of the film certainly weren't all that funny. And again with Jay and Silent Bob...enough already!

Then came Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back. This film was first referenced at the end of Dogma where ending credits for the film indicate that Jay and Silent Bob will be back in Clerks 2: Hardly Clerkin'. Ho-hoo, how funny is that? Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back may be one of the worst movies I have ever seen. However, if you like homophobic jokes with two guys played by limited actors on a road trip to Hollywood, this one's for you. Apparently, these jokes aren't meant to be homophobic cause Smith first gets his homosexual brother to read them first. This somehow makes it okay and less offensive.

Next came Jersey Girl. A movie that is not all that bad but got killed in the media due to it being the first film featuring both Affleck and Jennifer Lopez after the mess that was called Gigli.

Meanwhile, throught these years Smith attempted to come up with a worthwhile follow up to Clerks, he kept that franchise going with comic books an ill-fated animated series and now, the ultimate slap in the face. A sequel. Not a joke as mentioned in the end credits of Dogma, a real flesh and blood film, not in black and white like the original but an actual sequel. It made almost $10 million dollars in its opening weekend finishing behind films such as Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest and Little Man.

What is interesting is that this film has created controversy as ABC film critic Joel Siegel loudly walked out of a screening of Clerks II as he was offended by the content. That in itself created controversy among film critics in the way in which Seigel handled it. This situation incensed Smith who wrote a scathing entry in his own blog about the Seigel situation. If you read it, his impressions of Seigel are dead on, however, I am thinking Smith needs to stop worrying less about hack critics like Seigel are saying and start fulfilling that promise that he showed with Clerks.


Friday, July 21, 2006

I am not sure if this is because I was listening to Paul Simon's Graceland this week, but I have been giving a lot of thought to the term "global village". The idea that electronic mass media collapses space and time barriers and that we all have a responsiblity for all the children in the world.

Top 5 Paul Simon songs
1. Loves Me Like A Rock
2. Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard
3. Late In The Evening
4. Have A Good Time
5. The Obvious Child

The reason I have been thinking about this concept is more personal than worrying about children in Lithuania or something like that. Obviously, there really isn't much I can do about that but do I worry about the children of my own extended family. If you see problems with your nieces, nephews, distant cousins. Do you help out? Or do you leave it alone out of respect to their parents who are also relatives of yours?

This is my current dilemma that I realized at our family BBQ this past weekend. I have no kids myself, nor do I have any desire to have one. So what do I know about how hard is to raise children. It's like having kids gets you into a certain club and if you don't have kids, you are not allowed an even temporary membership into that club.

This woman, unrelated to me, asked why I didn't have any kids. At first glance, there is nothing wrong with this question. But if you think about it, really, who's business is it? What if we had been trying for years unsuccessfully and this was a painful subject. Maybe I am gay and this is a marriage of convenience. Really, what answer does one expect to that type of question? I told her that the reason was that I was impotent. I thought it was a funny answer and it certainly shut her up.

Anyway, getting back to my dilemma. How involved does one get in the lives of family members who have screwed up regarding their children? I won't bore you with details of one specific family member, but rest assured, you would not believe the story even if I did. But do I offer to help out? Do I just sit idly by and watch things go from bad to worse. How will these parents react to my offer of help? Do I even want to get involved in that drama? Part of me wants to say "screw you" and "you fix it your own damn self since you are the one who made a mess of things in the first place". But then the other part of me sees how it is effecting this next generation and I know that I could help make things better.

The thought that always gets stuck in my head is that if I don't step in. Who will? And who is going to be there when I am 80 years old, stuck in some sort of Alzheimers dementia? I better hope that these same young kids who will be the foundation of our family don't get stuck with the same dilemma that I am currently embroiled in.

(my apologies for the vagueness of this posting, I just can't bend my mind around this whole thing and just needed to type it out for my own sake)


Thursday, July 20, 2006

I love lists

As most of you know, I do love lists. The british magazine The Observer has posted a list of the 50 Albums that changed music. The list itself has all of the usual suspects including The Beatles' Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Stevie Wonder's Songs In The Key Of Life, Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon and Nirvana's Nevermind.

It also has some personal faves of mine such as David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars and Otis Redding's Otis Blue.

The most suprising part, other than the inclusion of album's by Kate Bush and The Spice Girls is that the #1 choice was The Velvet Underground & Nico.

Top 5 Velvet Underground songs
1. Stephanie Says
2. What Goes On
3. Heroine
4. Femme Fatale
5. Rock And Roll

I was never into the band that much earlier in my life as they were just too loud, too unfocused musically. But listening to them now, I realize they are the beginning of alternative music. Not that I am a fan of where alternative music is now, but I certainly like how it started.

Hopefully, in response to my scathing Robin Williams comments, apparently Heath Ledger has signed on to play the Joker in the new Batman movie. I know you are looking at the link I have added that goes to The Latino Review thinking what the heck do they know. Apparently, they scooped everyone last year by being the first publication to declare that unknown actor Brandon Routh was hired to play Superman.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Batman AND Robin????

As much as I enjoyed the restarting of the Batman franchise with Christian Bale in Batman Begins. Methinks, I will be avoiding the upcoming sequel. Robin Williams is currently in talks to step in to the role of the Joker, made famous in the earlier franchise by Jack Nicholson and even earlier in the TV series by Cesar Romero.

I guess, for some, Robin Williams as the Joker is an obvious fit however...I hate Robin Williams. I wish Robin Williams would just shut up. His interviews are just grating to watch and listen to. He is just always "on". I am guessing he is a smart guy, his stream-of-consciousness musings clearly indicate that. But all I ask is that he just shut the hell up.

Other then Ed Begley Jr. I don't believe any actor has been in more bad movies than Robin Williams. If you looked at the percentage of good movies divided by the amount of movies an actor has actually been in, his "batting average" would be below the Mendoza Line. I know people are going to say, what about Awakenings, or Good Will Hunting or Dead Poets Society. I subscribe the following list to you:

Top 5 Robin Williams movies that prove my point about his ability to choose bad films.
1. Mrs. Doubtfire
2. Fathers Day
3. Patch Adams
4. Bicentennial Man
5. What Dreams May Come

Just bubbling under...RV, Death To Smoochy, Jakob The Liar, Flubber, Jack, The Bird Cage, Toys, Cadillac Man, Popeye. I could go on and on.

To make me feel better, I found info on the upcoming season of 24. News is that Wayne Palmer (played by DB Woodside), brother of assissinated ex-President David Palmer will become President in the upcoming season. Regina King (you know her from Jerry Maguire) will play his sister, a powerful advocacy lawyer. Also joining the cast will be Peter MacNicol (you know him from Ally McBeal and Numbers).


Friday, July 14, 2006

Cool website alert!

I found a really cool website called that details what actors turned down or were fired from movie roles. You can browse by actor or by movie. Some of the the worthwhile nuggets are just jaw-dropping like the fact that Chevy Chase turned down the role of Lester Burnham in American Beauty. A role that Kevin Spacey ended up taking and won an Academy Award for. Or, even more jaw dropping, OJ Simpson was considered for the role of the Terminator that ended up going to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I also love examples that probably would have made movies better. Like Sarah Jessica Parker being considered for the role of Carrie in the movie Four Weddings And A Funeral. A role that ended up going to Andie McDowell who almost singlehandedly ruined that movie.

Top 5 Hugh Grant movies
1. The Remains Of The Day
2. Love Actually
3. Notting Hill
4. Four Weddings And A Funeral (despite Andie McDowell)
5. About A Boy

Here is the link. Trust me, it will give you hours of entertainment.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Sports-less Night

A little known Trivia question relates to the day after the Major League Baseball All Star Game. Believe it or not, it is the only day of the calender year where there is absolutely no North American sports on TV. Every team in baseball has the day off. The NHL, NBA and NFL are all in the midst of their off seasons. The CFL usually does not play so, literally, there are no sports on TV.

Top 5 things I did to get through that sports-less night.
1. Read the Kathy Griffin. If you don't know who she is, she was an irritating character on an equally irritating show called My Life On The D-List. The show is actually relatively funny as it follows her around as she struggles to continue to be a name in Hollywood while, all the while, trashing celebrities. No one is safe, she has even taken shots at little Dakota Fanning. However, the reason she is in the news now is that she recently seperated from her husband after finding out he was STEALING from her. Apparently over $70 000. Allegedly, he would simply take out her ATM card when she was sleeping and help himself to money out of her bank account.

2. Checked out Catwoman's podcast called Black Cat Baby Presents. Her show has all the newest hip hop tracks plus she has a really cool voice. Click this link to get an MP3 of her latest show. It is the second link on the banner at the top.

3. Got plans rolling for the Beer Fest this summer. For those uninitiated, Fort York is closed for one weekend each summer. And all the different breweries set up there and you can buy little glasses of all these different kinds of beers. Ricky B and I have been going for almost 10 years. Joining us this year is Jayman, Coglero and Seven as well as, possibly, some of the guys from by baseball team. The game plan, as always, is to get there as soon as it opens. Before the huge crowds and, in turn, huge bathroom lineups.

4. Now that I have finished the first season of Big Love, my television interests have moved to the Canadian series available on TMN on Demand called ReGenesis. Imagine the movie Outbreak but as a television series. It stars Peter Outerbridge as the director of NORBAC (North American Biotechnology Advisory Commission). This lab deals with ethical issues regarding bacteria, disease etc etc. Despite Ourerbridge's decent movie career (roles in Mission To Mars, Land Of The Dead and Men With Brooms) the real star is the lab's chief administrator Caroline Morrison (played by Maxim Roy). She always has the tough dramatic scenes while Outerbridge just gets to be the head of the lab and get to have sex with a lot of different women. Seriously, he is a virtual Captain Kirk from Star Trek in terms of the amount of action he gets. I am guessing real Molecular Biologists who watch the show must be laughing their asses off when they see that. One of the things this show is reknowned for is their outstanding use of the internet to help promote the show. Here is a link to their official website.

5. Revisited the most underrated band of the 80s, the Psychadelic Furs. They are like a mix of Roxy Music and Berlin-era David Bowie. Lots of good stuff not just the hits that everyone knows like Pretty In Pink and Heartbreak Beat. You can find out more about their lead singer Richard Butler who has one of the coolest voices in music on his official website.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Office vs. The Office

I may be a little late coming on board, but I have started watching the American version of The Office. Let me say this right off the bat, it is not as good as the British version. As a matter of fact. It's not even close.

Top 5 Reasons why the British version is better than the American

1. They get to swear and make jokes that would never be allowed to be air on US television. Look at this exchange between Dawn Tinsley (Lucy Davis) and Tim Canterbury (Martin Freeman) as they get a laugh pretending military obsessed Gareth Keenan (Mackenzie Crook) is gay. You know you would never hear this on NBC at 9:30 on a Thursday night.

Tim: We were wondering if a military man like you, a soldier, er, could you give a man a lethal blow?
Gareth: If I was forced to, I could. If it was absolutely necessary, if he was attacking me.
Tim: What if he was coming, really hard?
Gareth: Yeah, if my life was in danger, yeah.
Dawn: And do you always imagine doing it face to face with a bloke, or could you take a man from behind?
Gareth: Either ways easy.
Dawn: So you could take a man from behind?
Gareth: Yeah.
Dawn: Lovely.

2. Because the British series was a short series (12 episodes over 2 years plus a 2 part Christmas special), there was a beginning, middle and end to the storylines. As opposed to the US series which is clearly creating storylines that can be wrapped up in the alotted half hour traditional sitcom format.

3. In the US version, the second-in-command/chief suck-up Dwight Schrute (Rainnn Wilson) is just a weird, creepy loser (as this picture clearly indicates). In the British version, this person is Gareth Keenan (Mackenzie Crook). He is self absorbed, thinks he is more important than he really is and has obsessions that are easy to make fun of.

4. Though I believe Steve Carrell (who plays Office honcho Michael Scott) is doing a fine job stepping into the shoes of his British counterpart David Brent (played by Ricky Gervais) is just not the same. The character of David Brent is a clueless boss the likes that have never been seen before on film. Here's a great quote from Brent.

Well, there's good news and bad news. The bad news is that Neil will be taking over both branches, and some of you will lose your jobs. Those of you who are kept on will have to relocate to Swindon, if you wanna stay. I know, gutting. On a more positive note, the good news is, I've been promoted, so... every cloud. You're still thinking about the bad news aren't you?

The character of Michael Scott, I've had bosses like that. It never really suprises me. Plus, due to the issues mentioned in #1 on my list, he is really limited in his politicial incorrectness.

5. Keith Bishop (played by Ewen Macintosh), the unsung hero of the British version doesn't really have an equivalant in the US version. If you've seen the British version and do not know who I mean, he is the fat guy that seems to have no social skills but dresses up as Ali G. and DJ's all the company parties. In his quite voice, usually while eating, he often gives Tim advice in his quest for a romantic relationship with Dawn.

I suppose for me, the unsung hero in the US version is Kelly (played by Mindy Kaling). She isn't in the show very much. Has a really high pitched irritating voice, talks endlessly and is trying so hard to have a relationship with work colleague Ryan (played by BJ Novak).

Overall there is still no comparison from the British series to the US. However, considering what other crap is on US tv, it still isn't too bad. The reason I bring this up is that some of the cast members from the British show are making cameo appearances on the US version this season. That should be interesting.

On an unrelated note, Syd Barrett, ex member of Pink Floyd died this week. Hands up everyone who thought he was already dead? I know I thought he died in the mid-70s.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

No order to Law And Order

One of my favourite events of the TV off season is the goings on with the cast of Law And Order. No other show in the history of television have had such a revolving door cast. It has been around for 16 years and is sill going strong.

Admittedly, I really only started watching the show during the third season. I even remember what episode grabbed me, it was titled Conduct Unbecoming from March 1993. It concerned a female army officer who was killed during a hotel party. Around this time, the network A&E started airing repeats of Law And Order and I have been hooked ever since. To this day, working in my office where all desks have televisions, I watch the show at 1 pm on Bravo.

Top 5 seasons of Law And Order
1. Season 3. The most eventful of all seasons. Sgt. Phil Cereta (Paul Sorvino) gets shot a couple of episodes into the season. Det. Lennie Briscoe (Jerry Orbach) takes over. This becomes the only season with Briscoe, Det. Mike Logan (Chris Noth) and Capt. Donald Cragen (Dann Florek). Their interplay is brilliant.

2. Season 1. The year that started the format of the first half hour being the Law part where they focus on the cops investigating the crime and the second half hour focuses on Order where the District Attorneys try the case. What is interesting is that the characters debate the merits of the case a lot more in this season then they ever did in future season. The standout cast member is EADA Benjamin Stone (Micheal Moriarty). No other actor can call some criminal scum "Sir" and still make it sound like he is completely disgusted with that person.

3. Season 5. Shockingly, this is Logan's last season as he punches a politician in the season's final episode which gets him kicked out of the Homicide squad and transferred to the Domestic Dispute Department for Staten Island. This season is also known for being the first with EADA Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston).

4. Season 15. Law And Order continued to be quality television every year but season 15 was a bit of a comeback as Det. Joe Fontana (Dennis Farina) took over for Briscoe. Lots of other cast happenings included the bizarre departure of ADA Serena Southerlyn (Elizabeth Rohm) in the middle of the season. When DA Arthur Branch (Fred Dalton Thompson) fired her character, her response was "Is it because I am a lesbian?". He of course denied such a charge but this was a character development that came out of nowhere and really seemed to have no relevance. As well, Det. Edward Green (Jesse L, Martin) was shot during an investigation and was off the show for the final 4 episodes. The real reason was that the actor had to film his role in the movie version of Rent. His spot was taken over temporarily by Det. Nick Falco (Michael Imperioli). I found it just hilarious that two actors more famous for playing mobsters were playing the police officers on the show.

5. Season 8. The last season with ADA Jamie Ross (Carey Lowell). The fireworks caused by the ethical debates between her character and McCoy provided the season's most entertainment.

Getting back to the issue of revolving door casts for the show. Dennis Farina has announced he has left the show for the upcoming 17th season. Other casting news include a new ADA named Connie Rubirosa (played by Alana De La Garza). If you watch CSI: Miami, you know her from that lame storyline near the end of last season where she was the sister of Det. Eric Delko and wife of Lt. Horatio Caine. She will replace ADA Alexandra Borgia (Anne Parisse). As well, the new police officer to replace Farina is going to be played by Milena Govich. No character name has been announced. She will be the first full time female cast member to play an officer in the history of the show. It will be interesting to see how her character gets along with long time police captain Lt. Anita Van Buren (S. Epetha Merkerson).


Monday, July 10, 2006

Thoughts on 9/11 on 7/10

During that half hour prior to watching the Da Vinci Code last week, one of the trailers was the new film World Trade Centre by Director Oliver Stone. It stars Nicolas Cage and is about two police officers who end up being trapped in the rubble below the destroyed towers of the World Trade Centre.

Despite the fact that there have been a number of movies about 9/11 released such as 11'09"01-September 11, The Guys, United 93 and Flight 93 as well as dozens of documentaries, World Trade Centre is the first one I am looking forward to seeing. And the reason is, I really like Nicolas Cage.

Well, maybe that's too strong. What kills me about him as an actor is that when he is in movies I am really looking forward to, I'm disappointed (Face/Off, Windtalkers, American Treasure). If I have no expectations, it ends up being something I really like.

Top 5 Nicolas Cage films
1. The Family Man
2. Guarding Tess
3. Leaving Las Vegas
4. The Weather Man
5. Red Rock West

I know a lot of people are concerned that Oliver Stone will do to 9/11 what he did with JFK assassination in the film JFK. His film JFK is one of my favourite films, but my concern is that Stone really changed as a director after that. He played his role as a conspiracy nut for comedic effect in the film Dave and that just made him look silly. Apparently, World Trade Centre is not about the supposed conspiracies behind the tragic events of that day but more about the officers involved and their families.

If you want a conspiracy film about 9/11, may I suggest Loose Change. It is available for free on Google Video. It is an hour and 20 mins long so it is a time investment but trust me when I tell you, it is fascinating.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Lost In Translation

Okay, it's our last day in Montreal and I think I finally have this french thing understood. You see when I was younger, I fancied myself as pretty close to bilingual. I even went to France for a week when I was 16 and seemed to get along fine. But know that I am older, whenever I come to Montreal, I feel like I am in a Quebecois version of Lost In Translation.

Top 5 Bill Murray Movies
1. Tootsie
2. Quick Change
3. Stripes
4. Lost In Translation
5. The Royal Tenenbaums

The first time I came to Montreal, the amount of french I heard would make me panic. Too fast, I will sound stupid if I respond etc etc. I once bought a book there, and the guy asked me in french if I wanted a bag. He merely said "un sac?". I looked at him like he was speaking latin. I was so lost. J-Mac answered him in french and i then said to him in English, "I swear to God I used to speak french in high school." People around who spoke english thought this was funny but he had no idea what I said.

To be honest, Montreal is a very biligual city. Most people in the service industry will great you both in French and English. "Bonjour, hello". At first, out of respect, I would respond in kind. "Bonjour". But, as I have recently found out, my accent is horrible. Which would explain that when people hear me speak french, they still respond in English, "yeah buddy how you doin?"

J-Mac and Coglero and I were in a cab headed to Gibby's on Thursday night. I said something in french, i can't remember what. Something basic. You gotta understand, between the cab driver and the other two in there, I was the least french person in the vehicle. Anyway, my attempt at french was so pathetic, that it elicited guffaws first from the cab driver and then from my other two amis (you see, that is french). Well, that was the last time I tried to speak french for the rest of the trip.

On our final night in Montreal, we saw Dave Brubeck at the Place Des Arts. For an 86 year old he put on quite a show. When he closed with his big hit "Take Five" (trust me, you know it), there was such a roar from the crowd like I have never heard at a jazz concert in my life. Our plan afterwards was to head to the Whiskey Cafe. However, getting to that part of Montreal proved to be impossible. You see the Place Des Arts was in the middle of where the Montreal Jazz Festival was. There were concert stages, closed off streets and people milling around everywhere. This created such traffic chaos, we would have had to walk most of the way to this place in order to get a cab. So instead, we went to this brew pub called Les Three Brassuers. The crowd was pretty young there but it was still pretty good.

So overall, from my time in Montreal, the highlight was seeing Katie Melua. She put on a great show. If I may make some song recommendations to listen to, she does a great cover of Canned Heat's On The Road Again. Other good songs include Nine Billion Bicycles and Closest Thing To Crazy. All these clips are only a minute long.


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Nobody goes to the movies anymore, they're just too crowded

So J-Mac and I continue our adventure in Montreal. Friday meant breakfast at Beauty's (thanks to Maverick and Manimal for the recommendation), golf at Metropolitan and dinner at Ben's Deli.

Not really in the mood for a free jazz show tonight, we still have our Dave Brubeck show on Saturday night. Since there is a movie theatre near by us, we decide to go to a late showing of The Da Vinci Code.

Top 5 reasons I hate going to the movies
1. Too many ads, promos and trailers before the movie. We went to a 10:30 showing of Da Vinci Code that actually did not start till 11 and only included three trailers.
2. People talking behind you in the theatres
3. People taking cell phone calls in the theatre
4. People showing up late and standing around blocking your view of the film as they check to see (in suprise) that the seats three quarters of the way up and in the very middle are actually taken by someone else who showed up early!!!!
5. The price of food and drinks and the fact that all drinks are in tub size which means if you drink it all you will have to go the bathroom midway through the movie.

So my thoughts on the Da Vinci Code is that it was the book on film. Nothing less, nothing more. Tom Hanks was fine as Robert Langdon, exactly what you'd expect. I still don't think Audrey Toutou from Amalie was right as Sophie Neveu...but she is not hard to look at so I am able to let it go.

Since the movie is just the book on film, there is a middle half hour that is just deadly boring. Works in the book, but on film, it is just a bunch of smart people talking. That and the combination of the movie not starting until 11 pm, the late night the previous night and the physical exhaustion of golfing earlier meant that I slept through a lot of the second half of the film.

Da Vinci Code, like all other films, I am just going to wait to see on video. Going to the theatre just isn't worth it. And who do you complain to? The Manager of the theatre? Hollywood in general? Nothing is going to change. Theatres need people to go...specifically males they will put up with anything from inconsiderate patrons, take money from advertisers for endless commercials before the movie all in the name of being able to put big budget films like Mission Impossible 3, the new Pirates of the Carribean etc etc in 6 different screens meanwhile great independant films will become impossible to see in the theatre. So it is a conspiracy not quite at the level of the Da Vinci Code between advertisers, Hollywood, 18-34 year old male and movie theatres. So fine, screw you all, I will be at the video store.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Melua in montreal

So J-Mac and I are in Montreal for the rest of the week for the jazz festival. We drove all afternoon yesterday, got to the hotel by 6 just in time to hop in a cab to go to Club Soda (why does that name still inspire me to giggle).

We had tickets to see this singer/pianist named Denzale Sinclair. It first he sounded Stevie Wonder-ish, playing the wurlitzer electric piano backed by a drummer, bassist and saxaphone player.

Top 5 Stevie Wonder Albums
1. Songs In The Key Of Life
2. Innervisions
3. Talking Book
4. Fullfillingness' First Finale
5. Signed, Sealed and Delivered

But as his set went on, he moved to a regular piano and really sounded more Nat King Cole-ish as he moved to broadway standards from George and Ira Gershwin and other greats.

The highlight of the evening was the opening act Katie Melua. First off, she is really good looking. Second of all, like other female troubadours like Eve Cassidy and K.T. Tunstall, she has this nice blues, jazz interpretations of anything from classic rock to broadway standards. As when I was first writing this entry, I included a picture of Old Montreal. Reading more about Katie Melua, I decided to change the picture to something of her. I am sure most of you can understand why.

Today is Thursday and the plan is to head to old Montreal for some shopping and crepes. Back to the hotel around 3 pm to meet up with Coglero. Golfing tomorrow. Dave Brubeck concert on Friday. More updates later.


Sunday, July 02, 2006

I demand big love

So now that J-Mac and I have added Rogers Digital cable to our package, we have the option for TMN on Demand. What this means is that there are certain movies and shows that normally air on one of the TMN channels that we can watch whenever we want.

I have always found this useful as, with the exception of 24 and Prison Break, I can never remember when anything is on.

Big Love is the newest HBO produced series that is available on TMN. It stars Bill Paxton as the husband of a polygamist family that includes his wives Jeanne Tripplehorn (you know her from The Firm and Basic Instinct), Chloe Sevigny (you know her from Boys Don't Cry) and Gennifer Goodwin (you know her from Walk The Line).

J-Mac says I seem to like Bill Paxton as an actor a lot. I am not sure that is necessarily why I am now hooked on this show.

Top 5 Bill Paxton Movies

1. One False Move

2. Indian Summer

3. A Simple Plan

4. Tombstone

5. Aliens (Game over, man!)

Big Love is fascinating because, come on, don't we all wonder about polygamy? One man, a bunch of wives. What happens with sex, jealousy, competition, money...the list is endless. This show takes all these question and puts them into a modern day context. It is obviously a lot like The Sopranos. In that show, they try to humanize gangsters. In Big Love, they humanize polygamists.

There are the day-to-day events were he has to balance his three wives, Tripplehorn (the first wife-is the origanizer for the other two), Sevigny (a shopaholic) and Goodwin (the younger, least bright of the three wives). As well, he has to work on keeping his lifestyle secret amongst the real world all the while being shaked down by the head of the cult who is also the father of his second wife (brilliantly played by Harry Dean Stanton).

According to HBO, the show has been picked up for a second season. I can certainly see it running out of steam. But while it is still interesting, I highly recommend it.