Posts from July 2004.

The Bad Review Revue

Sleepover: “The only thing that could redeem this sour patch of candy-coated crud would be a final shot of Earth exploding.” — Scott Brown, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Around the World in 80 Days: “An exceedingly lame vehicle for an increasingly tired-looking Jackie Chan – might as well be called Around the World in 80 Yawns.” — Lou Lumenick, NEW YORK POST.

Anchorman: “It’s unfair that Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, who wrote the Anchorman, didn’t have to come up with any jokes, yet I’m expected to muster up the energy to invent something fresh, informative and entertaining to say about their so-called comedy.” — Karen Karbo, THE OREGONIAN

King Authur: “Bleak, remarkably turgid, tediously violent, devoid of drama, deprived of magic, stripped of romance and, except for one of the oddest boy-meets-girl scenes in movie history, a befuddled and befuddling excuse for entertainment.” — David Sterrit, WALL STREET JOURNAL

The Notebook: “There’s no way to endure this movie without earplugs and a blindfold.” — Peter Travers, ROLLING STONE

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Regrets, I’ve Had A Few

I get spam.

Date: Thu, 08 Jul 2004 19:04:31 +0400
From: alfernandezov@alderwild.com
Subject: These XXX pics are so hot you will regret not looking at them!!

Wow. I can only imagine.

Dr. Wallace: I believe we’re ready, Dr. Yorn. Would you like to make the first incision?

Dr. Yorn: Hmm?

Doctor Wallace: The first incision, doctor?

Dr. Yorn: The — oh, yes. Yes yes, right. Uh, let’s see … where’s my scalpel? Oh, I’m holding it, hah hah.

Dr. Wallace: If you don’t mind me saying so, your head doesn’t really seem to be in the game today, Dr. Yorn. Are you okay?

Dr. Yorn: Oh, I’m fine, I guess. It’s just … I got an email this morning with some XXX pics, and, well, I deleted it unread. And now I kind of regret not looking at them, you know?

Dr. Wallace: The ones from alfernandezov at alderwild dot com?

Dr. Yorn: Yes, exactly!

Dr. Wallace: I got that email too. Oh man — you missed out, bro. Those XXX pics were so hot.

Dr. Yorn: Damn it!

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Books: Choke

Say you arrived at work one morning to find a dead critter in the parking lot of the office building. A possum, let’s stipulate — one that had perished recently, but not too recently. Morbid curiosity might get the better of you, and you might stop for a moment to look at the corpse, maybe even going so far as to turn the thing over with your foot so as to see it from all vantages. But would you then go into the office and urge your friends and coworkers to go outside and check it out? Probably not.

Likewise, I find it difficult to recommend Choke by Chuck Palahniuk, one of the most aggressively unpleasant books I’ve read in a while. Seriously, portions of the book caused me to physically wince as I read them. It was one of those novels where, when I read it on the bus, I would turn the book so the spine pointed at the person sitting next to me for fear that they might glance over, inadvertently see the wrong passage, and quickly transfer to another seat, as far as way as possible. But despite (or, reluctant though I am to admit it, perhaps because of) this — I plowed though the novel in record time, reading it at every available opportunity.

The story revolves around Victor Mancini, an unlikable loser who depends on the kindness of strangers; specifically, he pretends to choke to death in restaurants and allows people to “save his life.” Afterwards his would-be rescuers feel personally responsible for Victor’s life (such as it is) and often start sending him checks to make sure he’s doing okay. Much of the money he makes from this scam he uses to keep his debacle of a mother in hospice care — though, when someone at the hospital proposes a treatment that might extend his mother’s life, he adamantly rules it out. In his spare time he frequence sex-addiction recovery groups in search of one-night stands, and hangs out with his pal Denny who has an unhealthy predilection for rocks.

All of this would be practically unreadable were it not for the author’s ability to turn a phrase — occasionally, while rooting around in the muck of Choke, you unexpectedly discover a jewel. While I’m not convinced that Palahniuk is a stellar writer, several portions of the book — such as his description of prayer chains as “a spiritual pyramid scheme. As if you can gang up on God. Bully him around,” and a revolting yet curiously inspiring bit about a man, a monkey, and some chestnuts — made the whole thing worthwhile.

It even got me wanting to read some other stuff my the guy, though a friend of mine, who has read many of Palahniuk’s works, told me not to bother. “They’re all pretty much the same book,” he said. Indeed, just having viewed the Fight Club movie, I could see how much Choke had in common with this earlier work, with self-help groups, railing against conformity, and the good vs. bad duality of the pro/an tagonist. But I may read Fight Club all the same, because it ooks like it shares a virtue with Choke — they’re both relatively short. And those snappy little soundbites Palahniuk employs are as addicting as potato chips.

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Johns Across America

Hah hah! You’ve probably seen this already, but the New York Post completely blew the VP call this morning:

Boy, I bet they feel stupid!

Here are the actual candidates being asked to rate their charisma on a scale of 1 to 5:

Jeeze, I can’t imagine why the DNC thought the campaign needed more energy. I mean, look at that thumbs up. That’s nearly a full knuckle’s worth of enthusaism, right there.

Overall I’m pleased that Edwards got the nod, although, truth be told, these guys would be my first choice if I could put any two Johns in the White House.

Kerry at a recent rally:

“Dude, I only asked for a flag this big.”

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Story Problems Are Hard

Woman on her cell phone:

“I picked up some tiki torches at the dollar store.”

“A dollar. They were a dollar a piece, so I bought six.”

“Six dollars.”

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