The previous post reminded me of a political theory that I can not for the life of me figure out where I read about it—it can’t be original to myself. It is the idea that, in any college movie involving fraternities—the “bad guy frat” is obviously the Republicans. It seems to be true. Take Animal House, in part the brain child of the late and lamented Harold Ramis, as an example—Neidermeyer could not possibly be a Kennedy supporter. And the same holds true with Revenge of the Nerds: in one installment, Morton Downey Jr. was even allied with the Alpha Betas against the Tri-Lams at Adams College. And in the somewhat less impactful Jeremy Piven vehicle, PCU which allegedly sends-up “political correctness” and “anti-frat” culture, come on. The David Spade (Rand McPherson?) frat is pretty seriously a bunch of up-tighty whitey righties.
I’m sure there are other examples that drive this home. But in any event, the theory might explain why I’d rather have a coffee with Pajama Boy than get ironically duck-fupped on PBR with Scott. YMMV.
No doubt about it: falling off a horse is as easy as falling off a horse. And no amount of fake Amerindian Juju can save you. In yesterday’s scene from the new Lone Ranger film, Johnny Depp played iron-jawed sidekick Tonto wearing pancake make-up, black leather chaps and a stuffed crow on top of his head…but none of that was enough to coax love and mercy from the skittish pinto he was navigating through the Western Plains.
This was the first news story I heard today. I didn’t find out until 5 PM that the Deppster not only survived the fall and the hoof-dance, but courageously appeared on Letterman later in the day (wearing a tasteful wardrobe selectton from the 80s’ TV series “Maude”) to review the miraculous circumstances of his surprisingly non-tragic undemise.
God bless and vaya con Dios, Johnny D. You were the best Hunter S. Thompson since the real one. I’m hoping against hope that the new Silver Bullet Express completely erases my memory of the last Lone Ranger movie from 1981…except for the part where Christopher Lloyd was his arch-foe Butch Cavendish.
You craved it. You begged for it. Parts of your brain stayed awake at night to call the Warner Brothers 1-800-FILMS-WE-NEED hotline.
Now, at last, it’s here: a Kryptonian strongman with no pants battles a Kryptnian villain with practically no history in the comic book world. PS: Russell Crowe appears as the first ever Jor-el with the dramatic star magnitude to bore us more intensely than Marlon Brando. This, truly, is the Superman epic we’ve all been waiting for. So, naturally, it’s no surprise that Superman’s not only from Krypton, he’s a Brit. Way to go, U.K.!
A Congressional delegation that included wingnuts Dana Rohrabacher, Steve King and Michele Bachmann visited Russian security officials and lawmakers last week to discuss dealing with terrorist threats and investigate the Boston bombings. Straight-to-video action movie actor Steven Seagal was credited with setting up the meetings:
[Rohrabacher] repeatedly thanked Seagal, who took credit for arranging the congressmen’s meeting at the FSB, and said it helped avoid the experience of past foreign trips when all of the meetings had been arranged by the U.S. Embassy.
“You know what we got? We got the State Department controlling all the information that we heard,” Rohrabacher said. “You think that’s good for democracy? No way!”
Seagal has special expertise in Russian foreign policy in general and relevance to the Boston bombings investigation in particular, having once played a former Russian mobster named “Ruslan” in the 2009 thriller “Driven to Kill.” Alert readers will recall that the Tsarnaev brothers’ outspoken uncle is also named “Ruslan,” making Seagal’s involvement a no-brainer for the US congressional delegation.
Sans the nanny squad from State, Rohrabacher found he likes the cut of Putin’s jib (perhaps peering into his soul as George W. Bush once did) and feels that Putin-backed Chechnyan strongman Ramzan Kadyrov has been unfairly criticized for torture, kidnapping and murder by namby-pamby human rights groups who don’t understand the nature of the enemy:
“Radical Islam is at our throat in the United States, and is at the throat of the Russian people…
“If you are in the middle of an insurrection with Chechnya, and hundreds of people are being killed and there are terrorist actions taking place and kids are being blown up in schools, yeah, guess what, there are people who overstep the bounds of legality.
“We shouldn’t be describing people who are under this type of threat, we shouldn’t be describing them as if they are Adolf Hitler or they’re back to the old Communism days.”
Seagal, who received “a lavish welcome in Kadyrov’s palace,” noted that the strongman has not been indicted.
Rohrabacher & Co. aren’t the first wingnuts to tap Seagal’s cinematic crime and terrorism-fighting expertise to address real-life issues: A couple of years ago, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio enlisted Seagal’s aid in an operation that successfully slew dozens of menacing chickens and a puppy at an alleged cockfighting ring.
Just like James Finlayson (the Laurel and Hardy foil who introduced British and American audiences to the catchword “D’OH!” as an indicator of exasperation, puzzlement or grief), Alfonso Araudid much much more than exclaim “I like these guys! Just kill one of them!” Among other things, he was the award-winning director of Like Water For Chocolate, as well as a yeomanly portrayer of onscreen Hispanic characters who were either less obnoxious or less finely turned than his wonderfully styled “El Guapo.” PS” Let’s never forget that he was also a mournful mime as well as a nutty comedic dancer.
This is my gift to my ‘Roaster pals tonight. Tis neither timely nor political, yet it’s the sort of rare find that always makes me smile, anyway.
I knew from the get-go that it wasn’t James Earl Jones lending gravity and heft to Darth Vader’s Jedi armor back in 1979. The only question—which I never asked—was what extremely large and sturdy stunt double would allow himself to be swanned around on-camera for ten years without so much as a single shot of the actor’s actual face. (Anonymity is generally a useless P.R. tool.)
As it turns out, Vader (or at least his clanking physical presence) was portrayed by British weightlifter David Prowse, a robust bodybuilder who helped train Christopher Reeve:
He helped train Christopher Reeve for the role of Superman in the 1978 film and its sequels after lobbying for the part himself. In a television interview, he related how his response to being told “We’ve found our Superman” was “Thank you very much.” Then he was told that Reeve had been chosen and he was only to be a trainer.
as well as training Cary Elwes for The Princess Bride.
Little to my beknownst, I first encountered Prowse a few years earlier, when he played the nearly naked pleasure-boy Julian in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.
It ain’t politics, and it ain’t funny, but here’s hoping I just cleared up the deepest mystery of your brain with Mr. Prowse’s own workaday website.
Via J-Two-O via Another David S., an Audi ad featuring the Two Spocks:
Nerd-Child and I already have our Star Trek Into Darkness tickets and are eagerly awaiting the premiere. We both love the franchise, but the kiddo is even more stoked than usual because the wonderfully named Benedict Cumberbatch has joined the cast as Khan. Nerd-Child informed me that Cumberbatch’s fans are referred to as “Cumberbitches.” Not in this house, they aren’t.
Anyhoo, has any classic TV series produced as many national treasures as the original Star Trek, which gave us Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, William Shatner, et al? Discuss! Or talk about whatever…
Granted, it wasn’t as much fun as Billy Zane, Leo DiCaprio, The Heart Of The Ocean and that slinky flapper who was Claude Rains’ girlfriend in The Invisible Man… but this tuneful memorial to the sinking Titanic remains a wonderful tribute to the April 15th birthday of America’s colossal maritime tragedy.
So, Claire McCaskill announced her support for marriage equality this weekend. Brave move from a Senator in a red state? Craven bandwagon-jumping?
McCaskill can be exasperatingly Blue Doggy, but I think she deserves credit for openly supporting marriage equality, even if she’s hardly the first Dem out of the gate. Consider that she would have almost surely lost in 2012 to dead-eyed loon Todd Akin if he hadn’t been stricken with that peculiar strain of Rape Commentary Tourette’s that plagued last year’s crop of GOP candidates.
Even if the announcement is less than a profile in courage, it’s still a victory. Good for McCaskill.
A short clip of this Stones song was featured in “Argo.” The lyrics are obviously the result of a prolonged heroin binge, but the song rocks nonetheless:
In a comment on an Oscars thread yesterday, Robin G praised “Moonrise Kingdom.” I’d been meaning to see it and finally did last night. Awesome movie—highly recommended—and thanks for reminding me of it, Robin G: It was exactly the thing I needed to see.
Why People Hate the Government
My teenage daughter will soon go on a class trip that involves a domestic flight. Among the many neuroses her father and I share is an aversion to flying, but we try not to allow our eccentricities to completely dominate our child’s life, which is some of the hardest work in parenting. However, our ignorance of the demands of modern air travel nearly put the kibosh on a trip for which we’d already paid $1,400 (non-refundable!).
We foolishly assumed minors accompanied by fellow students, teachers and chaperones on a school-sponsored class trip would be allowed to board a winged bus to a destination within the United States with only common forms of identification like a student ID card and birth certificate. Not so; now, even a child must have an official state ID card from the DMV to board a plane. (Because of 9/11? If so, that’s reason enough to take a scuba trip to the North Arabian Sea, find Osama bin Laden’s skull and fashion it into a poop-scoop.)
Anyhoo, we learned that to obtain an official state ID card, a kid must have a Social Security card or a specific printout from the Social Security Administration verifying her application for a Social Security card. The form containing the same information that is issued to new parents to enable them to deduct children from their taxes doesn’t count, or so I was told by the DMV.
To obtain the magical correct form, one must have many additional forms of ID, which may or may not be acceptable to the person at SSA who ultimately reviews it. County school district vaccination records are considered a kind of gold standard, though. I learned this after finally reaching a human being following multiple excursions into the SSA’s hellish, circular automated call menu, which is designed to automatically dump callers if too many other luckless supplicants are in queue, a situation that is apparently the case 90% of the time.
Thus it came to pass that the kid and I took a day off of school and work last week and visited the Three Circles of Bureaucratic Hell in a nearby city. First we sat in the overflow holding area at the county health department to secure the vaccination records, occupying a zone teeming with screaming toddlers, anxious children and nervous families applying for citizenship or refugee status.
Then we languished in the waiting room at the local branch of the Social Security Administration with many crabby elderly folks, some of whom seemed to be practicing outraged speeches to unleash on the indifferent heads of bureaucrats seated behind numbered, Plexiglass-barred window openings in a vast, echoing hall that would make a great set for a MiniTruth scene from “1984.”
After emerging from that ordeal limp and exhausted by ennui, we made our way to the DMV for another crushing round of paper-shuffling and waiting. All told, it took around seven hours (not counting transportation), which was actually less than I thought it would. But it occurred to me that perhaps the experience of being gnashed in the gears of bureaucratic machinery is a more potent driver of people’s reflexive hatred of government than I’d realized.
I’m a confirmed fan of Big Government. I don’t enjoy paying taxes any more than I look forward to dental work, but I understand the necessity of both. The only thing that pisses me off about my tax rate is that Mitt Romney pays a lower percentage, and I’d gladly exchange a larger chunk of my income for a Scandinavian-style social safety net.
But I flatter myself and the Balloon Juice / Rumproast communities by believing that we’ve thought this through more than Honey Boo Boo’s core audience has. To them, the silly hoop-jumping requirements, appalling run-arounds and astoundingly inefficient service on display at the customer-facing outlets of local, state and federal agencies are The Government. Which makes it easier to understand why assholes like Rand Paul get elected.
Maybe better customer service would help consign Reaganism to the political dung heap it so richly deserves? It’s a thought.
Please feel free to discuss movies, music, parenting, soulless bureaucracy or anything else. In other words, open thread.
If this Treasury Secretary thing doesn’t work out for Jack Lew, he can always play Grandpa Harry Potter in an unauthorized sequel to the series. Or maybe Lew really IS a wizard and can take care of the debt ceiling nonsense with a clever spell. “Republicanus Embrainiamo” or something…
I’m taking the teen to see a matinee showing of “Zero Dark Thirty” today. We’ll see for ourselves how the torture issue is handled and discuss the truth (as we know it) and politics of it afterward. What are y’all up to this fine Sunday morning?
Two things that never appeared previously in the Superman Comics Universe:
• Fashionably color-dampened Superman without his bulging red underpants.
• Stylishly-bearded Cluck Bent answers Bruce Campbell’s immortal book title, If Chins Could Kill.
Sad to say, that’s all I know about The Man Of Steel franchise that debuts its first $1.95 burger platter later this year. For all intents and purposes, it looks like The Man Of Steel will more nearly resemble That Guy From Last Night or audition-losing talent who weren’t selected for the Brawny paper towel wrapper. If Jor-El sucks as badly in this film as he did during ten years of hyperventilating fatherhood in the TV series Smallville, the next Superman film will be the last one ever…starring Michael Richards.
No, it’s actually just a stinger scene from Trey Stone and Matt Parker’s X-rated comedy classic Orgazmo. In it, Parker’s character Elder Young is mistaken by porn film producer Maxxx Orbison for that famous hunka-hunka burning love memorialized by Elvis Presley (or was that William F. Burroughs?). In the same dangerous moment of misinterpretation Young’s junior missionary partner Ben Chepleski (Dian Bachar) is errantly ascribed the cheerful disposition and dual-purpose plumbing gear you’d expect from a fishnet-stockinged Robin.
Enjoy! If you get time and the opportunity, please treat yourself to three other South Park movies—Cannibal, The Musical; Team America: World Police; and South Park—Bigger, Longer, And Uncut.
I saw it with my teenage daughter this week, and we both thought it was excellent. Daniel Day Lewis was fantastic as the tortured, humorous and scheming Mr. Lincoln. Sally Field was twitchy, brittle, sad and marvelous as Mary Todd Lincoln.
If the set accurately portrayed the White House circa 1865, it was a drafty, chilly, besieged place with few creature comforts (though surely a damn sight more luxurious than the average citizen had at the time, even in non-war-torn sections of the country).
The most affecting image from the film for me was Mr. Lincoln padding through the White House in his slippers, bundled up in a throw. This image recurred a couple of times if I recall correctly: It seemed to be filmed from the vantage point of Lincoln’s son Tad watching his father walk away in the gloom after fondly tucking the boy in for the night. It’s actually a pretty good visual metaphor for what our greatest president meant to us as a nation.
The only presidents my 14-year-old personally remembers are George W. Bush and Barack Obama. So it was kind of a shock for her to see Republicans in the role of the good guys.
Please feel free to discuss the movie or whatever…
As we lurch inevitably toward the convention season, I’m sure that like me, you can hardly contain your excitement as the perpwalkers form an orderly queue in the aisles for the 2012 Elephants’ Graveyard Porn and Bathroom Stall Tapdancing Convention, the star-studded line-up of poledancers speakers so far featuring Rick Santorum, Jeb Bush, Mary Fallin, Nikki Haley, John Kasich, Rick Scott, Condoleezza Rice, Susana Martinez, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, and Rand Paul.
Let’s just pause a moment to fan ourselves and catch our breath. Ready? OK. Onward.
As pundits try to scan the runes for any signs of who may win the coveted slot of straightman and ultimate fallguy to hypothetically replace President Mitt if he meets an untimely demise or gets impeached and locked up in chains when his sordid past catches up with him, speculation has focused on current omissions from the list as an indicator of who may receive the kiss of death. Some have noted a large number of recent revisions of razzle-dazzle Rob Portman’s Wikipedia page as an augury, but this could be a false trail.
So far, Sarah Palin is very conspicuously absent from the menu, so make of that what you will. No worries. On the basis that none of her dozens of viewers would notice the difference, Greta Van Susteren got her staff to trick Birther King and international bankrupt Donald “Duckface” Trump out in Palinic hair extensions and a push-up bra for his dialed-in appearance on her show and grilled him mercilessly about his role at the convention:
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Right now, Donald Trump. He wants to know if President Obama’s hiding something. What is it this time? Plus, Donald Trump is planning to do something very, very major at the Republican national convention.
VAN SUSTEREN: So Donald, the Republican convention’s coming up. Are you going? That’s the first question. Secondly, if you are, do you intend to be speaking to the audience
TRUMP: Well, they want me to go. And I’m going to be in Sarasota the night before, where I’m being honored by the Republican Party in Florida as the statesman of the year. And that will be very interesting and I look forward to that. And I probably will be going, but they do want me to go, yes.
VAN SUSTEREN: How about speak? Have you been asked to speak?
TRUMP: I’d rather not say that yet, but they do want me to do something very major at the convention.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, something very major. Now you’ve have certainly teased us. What’s the very major? Can you give us a hint?
TRUMP: I can’t. I’m not allowed to say, but it’s something very, very major.
In case you missed that, Donald Trump is planning to DO SOMETHING VERY, VERY MAJOR AT THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION. Given that he once offered to flash Gloria Allred and insisted that she “would be ‘very, very impressed’ with his genitals,” that’s probably one to set the DVR for. I also believe under your new super-duper socialist ACA, you can now get group rates on PTSD counseling.
To stave off the suspense for those who can’t wait to witness this historic spectacle, here’s another little feature on Mr. Trump’s dick. Bill Moyers interviews Anthony Baxter, director of the documentary You’ve Been Trumped, about The Donald’s maltreatment of assorted peasants and abuse of the democratic process while constructing Scotland’s gazillionth golf course (which we’ve covered before, here and here).