30 March 2008

Paul Scofield...Rebel?

Apparently the legendary actor Paul Scofield turned down a knighthood (so eagerly gobbled up lesser artists) not just once, but thrice.

In explanation, he had the great quote: "If you want a title, what's wrong with Mr.?"

Yup, the just don't make 'em like they used to.


NY Post Obit
The Prototype for the Joker?

This is a still of the late, great Richard Widmark from his sensational film debut Kiss of Death. Can't you just see the beginnings of the Joker in there somewhere?

Here is a list of essential Widmark DVDs courtesy of The New York Times' David Kehr:

Kiss of Death [1947]
Night and Day [1950]
Panic in the Streets [1950]
Don't Bother to Knock [1952]
Pickup on South Street [1953]
Cheyenne Autumn [1964]
Madigan [1969]


David Kehr Appraisal
David Kehr DVD List

27 March 2008

The Modern Corporate American Worker...Remixed Gangsta Style

That's right, you'd better not be messing with Bon "Big Daddy" Mercado.

The State of Mind of a Modern Day Corporate American Worker

They say a desk reflects its occupant's state of mind.

Wonder what mine says about me?

Big Daddy and the Ex-Virgin

That's my colleague Bon "Big Daddy" Mercado and the once-celibate AC Green.

How to Stalk a Sleeping Cat

Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 3:

26 March 2008

India indahouse

That's right Orange County, the next time you ask me to go through the back because that's where the deliveries go through, or ask me to park your car because I'm standing next to the valet stand, or ask me where the oranges are because I am standing next to the produce section in the grocery store, or ask me to take you to your seats because I'm waiting in the aisles, or ask me...

...well, you get the picture.

Anyways, Orange County, the next time you ask me to do any of these things, just remember that the fancy Land Rover (it has to be a Land Rover, right, a Range Rover is just a tad too cheap right?) slash Jaguar (either/both de rigueur for every Orange County denizen yearning to belong) you're driving is now an Indian car!

That's right baby, Indian...as in brown-skinned, funny-accented, third world, Indian.

Suck on that Orange County!


NYT Story: Tata Motors Buys Jag/Land Rover
Finally, Some Rational Analysis...

...of that whole Pastor Wright - Barack Obama (fake) controversey.

Courtesy of my favorite movie blog, Jeff Wells's Hollywood Elsewhere.

The cartoon is by Steve Sack of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.


Hollywood Elsewhere
Richard Widmark Dies

Richard Widmark (R) and the late Victor Mature (R) in Kiss of Death

The great actor Richard Widmark died today.

Widmark's most memorable role, that of the giggling psychopath Tommy Udo in the original Kiss of Death (not the 1995 David Caruso star-making remake that wasn't so star-making...it's hard to remember a time when David Caruso's name on the marquee was higher than both Nicolas Cage and Samuel L. Jackson) was in his first movie.

I don't think he ever came closing to matching the notoriety from that role, but he worked steadily over the next 50-odd years, churning out one good performance after another in movies like Pickup on South Street, Judgment at Nuremberg, and Cheyenne Autumn (among many, many others).

Amazingly enough, Autumn was based on research Widmark performed himself at Yale and he was the one who got the great John Ford involved.

A long and varied career. He will be missed.


NYT Obituary

IMDB Entry
Paul Scofield Dies

The greater British actor Paul Scofield died a few days ago.

I remember him from his roles in Quiz Show and The Crucible, but he will probably be best remembered for his Oscar-winning role in A Man for All Seasons (a movie even my father is well aware of).

His King Lear was voted the best, ever!

All in all a great career, he will be missed.


NYT Obituary
IMDB Entry
David Cook...Whatever!

All right, so I don't like David Cook at all.

He's a smug, arrogant ba*tard, whose "hard" rock shtick has begun to take on a little too much of a self-congratulatory air on American Idol.

But I was very impressed by "his" re-imagining of "Billie Jean" (yes, the Michael Jackson "Billie Jean"), even though, you know, I didn't want to be.

And then Ryan Seacrest tells us all that it was, in fact, Chris Cornell's version.

Now I hate David Cook even more.

Enjoy the real re-imagining of this great song.

25 March 2008


Here it is, that airline safety video (that's right, I said airline safety video) by Delta, featuring one Ms. Katherine "Deltalina" Lee that's creating all the ruckus on the web.

And fellas, she's still single.

Awww...Cute Dog!

Sent to me by my colleague Bon "Big Daddy" Mercado.

Cute Dog Plays Fetch With Himself - Watch more free videos

24 March 2008

Ken Leee

Sent to me by the nicest guy, ever, Mark "The Natural" Contreras.

Ah, Ken Leee...

22 March 2008

How the Beijing Olympics Got its Logo

This is courtesy of my favorite movie blog Hollywood Elsewhere.

I believe Jeff Wells got it from someone called Vincent Chow, but I can't be positive.


Hollywood Elsewhere Post
Vincent Chow Post

21 March 2008

Mark Contreras is the Nicest Guy, Ever!

My colleague Mark "The Natural" Contreras is the nicest guy in the world, ever!

We had an event at the Honda Center yesterday for the first round of the NCAA Big West Conference. And wouldn't you know it AC Green (Mr. Celibate himself) showed up to say hello. (PS. Apparently they don't sell alcohol at NCAA basketball events...you would not have known it looking at the rambunctious Marquette and Kentucky fans. Stanford/Cornell fans, on the other hands, were much more sedate.)

Even though it was a mad rush, and people were swarming all over AC, Mark was nice enough to get him to sign a basketball for me.

Nice, no?

Of course, I am sure that Mark didn't tell AC about the time that I was sitting down in the locker room of the Sports Club/LA in Irvine and looked up to see...AC Green.

And by see, I mean see...

And, yup, he was still in great shape.
Stay Classy Orange County

These are the brand new entrances they are putting up around our building in Orange County.

Ah, Orange County, always a bastion of understated good taste.

19 March 2008

Anthony Minghella Dies

Sad news, Anthony Minghella died suddenly at the very young age of 54.

Minghella was one of my favorite directors working today. I have to admit that I hadn't yet seen Breaking and Entering, and wasn't a huge fan of Cold Mountain (I admired it more than I liked it), but it was plain to see he was a clearly masterful director.

By all accounts Minghella was thoughtful, gentle, intelligent, funny, and (perhaps most surprisingly) kind. Even though he worked on large Hollywood movies, he was not given to exercising the kind of dictatorial hubris common to most directors. He worked in opera and theatre (apparently Samuel Beckett was his favorite) and his work as chairman of the British Film Institute will be felt for generations to come. He did not start directing until he was well into his 30s, but he had already built a solid foundation as a writer, musician, and TV director. It was perhaps this maturity that allowed him to have such a fine career right from the start.

I suppose he will always be best known for The English Patient. Unlike other pretenders (and yes, I am talking about you, Atonement), the epic worked on both a majestic, large-scale level, as well as at the intimate, human drama level. This is why his films were always heartfelt and sincere and never felt forced, or pretentious. Apparently the Michael Ondaatje novel was complex and layered that was supposedly unfilmable. Yet, Minghella brought it to vivid, cinematic life that despite the Seinfeld jokes, was an almost rapturous experience at the movie theatre.

I will always be partial to his first film, Truly, Madly, Deeply. On paper it sounds like a bad Hollywood movie (a woman's boyfriend dies suddenly, only to come back as a ghost), but in his hands it became a sweet, good-natured, funny little film that touched you without piling on the treacly sentimentality one would have expected from the usual Hollywood dreck.

The sing-along to The Walker Brothers' "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" remains one of the most uplifting moments I have ever seen on film. This is what movies are all about. For a few, all-too-brief moments you are transported away from your humdrum life and are allowed to completely give in to the raw emotions often kept in check by a mediocre, oppressive society; even though it is this emotionality which makes us distinctly human.


The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency [2008]
Breaking and Entering [2006]
Cold Mountain [2003]
The Talented Mr. Ripley [1999]
The English Patient [1996]
Mr. Wonderful [1993] Truly, Madly, Deeply [1990]


NYT Obituary
The Guardian Appreciation
Black is the New President...B*tch!

The funniest thing Tracy Morgan has ever done has been...Jay Mohr channeling Tracy Morgan (seriously, if you're ever lucky enough to see Jay Mohr do stand-up, have him tell you the about the time Tracy Morgan got them out of paying for their tab at a comedy club in New York).

That is, until now.

Tina Fey fell even further in my estimation after she started the cavalcade of pro-Hillary Clinton polemics on the hitherto irrelevant Saturday Night Live.

And now, finally, a fitting retort from the last person you'd ever expect to mix politics with his, um, "art."

Tracy Morgan.

Tina Fey made the remark on SNL that "B*tch is the new Black."

And now Tracy has the best come-back, ever: "Black is the new President, B*tch."


Wha?! A New Gnarls Barkley Album!

Dude, Gnarls Barkley released their new album, The Odd Couple...today!

Apparently they moved up the release of their album from 08 April 2008 to...right now! It's already available on iTunes, and the physical CDs will be ready for sale on 25 March.

I've heard a few snippets on iTunes, and I like what I hear. The first two singles are apparently "Who's Gonna Save My Soul" and "Run."

Look, nothing will every be as catchy as "Crazy," but give the new album a fair shot.

Here is the video for "Run," featuring the bordering-on-jumping-the-shark Justin Timberlake:

A More Perfect Union

So, Barack Obama took his political life into his own hands and made his now-famous speech on race: "A More Perfect Union."

This was a risky move and one necessitated by Hillary Clinton's abhorrent tactic of finally casting Obama as the black candidate.

The reactions have been almost all positive, but the final result will manifest itself in the upcoming Pennsylvania primary (where, unfortunately, Clinton has a healthy lead).

It's now become increasingly clear that Barack Obama is the shining light; the antidote to the divisive, rancorous, increasingly awful Hillary Clinton and her dirty tactics.

Of course, this will mean that he has no shot, no shot at all of winning.

But, in spite of my best cynicism, I do have a glimmer of hope that the best candidate will prevail, and that we will finally turn the page on a dark past and look forward to a better tomorrow.


NYT Analysis
Speech Transcript
Arthur C. Clarke Dies

Arthur C. Clarke passed away in Sri Lanka a couple of days ago.

While this is sad news, he did live a long, eventful life and will be remembered for generations to come.

Clarke, of course, is best known for The Sentinel, the short story that eventually became 2001: A Space Odyssey, the seminal science-fiction film by Stanley Kubrick.

I guess Clarke was known for being the "scientists' science-fiction writer" in that his work was based on a solid foundation of science. Astonishingly, he was (apparently) credited for coming up with the idea for broadcast satellites in geo-synchronous orbit around the Earth.

A tip of the hat to a brilliant writer who touched the lives of millions the world over.


NYT Obituary
Good Luck Oliver!

That's right Oliver "OD-B" Deighton, you're a father now, the very best of luck!

18 March 2008

AAA is AAA Cool

So, Mark "The Natural" Contreras, Matt "Matt-Matt-Matt-Matyas" Matyas, Sandy "So Sweet" Warshaw and I went over to AAA today and discovered the very cool cars on display in their lobby.

17 March 2008

There Will Be Bud

Man, those stupid USC undergrad film students...always so da*ned creative. This is miles better than anything SNL has done in a long time!

Sent to me by my old pal John Halbert.

The Cat Rests

Are those prison bars in the metaphorical sense?

Not sure, but the cat sure does look relaxed doesn't she?

Leg Lifts...in a Cubicle

So, you sit in a cubicle all day, staring at a computer screen.

How do you get your leg-strengthening exercises done?

Easy, just follow the lead of my esteemed colleague Mark "The Natural" Contreras.

12 March 2008

Sampras Still Got It!

Not that the mainstream sports media bothered to take notice (I mean you ESPN...seriously, no mention at all? Not even during PTI...and Michael Wilbon was once a promising tennis player?!), but Roger Federer and Pete Sampras put on quite the show at a sold-out Madison Square Garden Monday night.

In fact, the 36-year-old Sampras (a full 10 years older than Rog) had the World No. 1 on the brink at 2 - 5 in the third and deciding set and it took the Fed-Express deploying all his powers to climb back and finally win it 8-6 in the final tiebreak.

Pretty incredible that Sampras can play at this level (Rosanne and I watched him dismantle Jim Courier at the Home Depot Center a couple of years ago, effortlessly cracking 129 mph serves at will). Dude, forget about Roger Federer, at this point I am not even sure that the ESPN-beloved Tiger Woods (you can't go three minutes without the many sports anchors fawning over him online, on the radio, on television, or in print) is ahead of Pete in terms of historical sports figures (even if Hank Aaron anointed him the greatest sportsman, ever; the PTI boys were more circumspect putting him in the same group as Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan, with Tony Kornheiser daring to to put Woods ahead of Jordan).

One thing is for certain, just as Pete admitted that he would not have played in exhibitions like these at this point in his own career, I don't think Tiger would go out of his way and hamper his own preparations to become an "ambassador" for his sport the way Roger Federer has been. Roger is so much more accessible, friendlier, charming, willing to talk than Tiger (and English is his fourth language!) that it's not even a question about who the most gracious athlete in the world is.

The Aussies went down, Tom Brady went down, even Roger Federer went down...here's hoping Tiger Woods follows suit at the Masters.

Okay, enough of Tiger, back to the two men here.

Hats off to both Pete and Rog for going around the world and displaying the kind of exemplary athleticism and class that might finally put tennis back on the map here.


NYT Column

11 March 2008

Eliot Say It Ain't So!

That's the thing about being my age, eventually all your heroes let you down.

Eliot Spitzer was somebody I had let myself believe in (even if he had endorsed Hillary Clinton), and that right there was the first mistake.

So sad, so very, very sad.


NYT Editorial

09 March 2008

Christopher Nolan Profile

There is a great profile on Christopher Nolan on the New York Times's website right now.

Not only is it a must-read for any comic-book geek-boy, but it actually outlines his stubbornly aueteuristic process which is undaunted by the $180 million behemoth he's putting together.

There are also some insights into just how much Heath Ledger gave to his role as the Joker.

Great read!


Christopher Nolan NYT Profile