Still Swamped, But …

… if you have time to kill, you could read this short story I am working on for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and give with the constructive criticism. You could totally do that. It would be swell.

At 6,500 words its of a print-out-and-read-on-the-bus length, but y’all provided such great feedback last time that I thought I’d return to the well.

Update: Ha! Yeah, okay: the New York Times Sunday paper doesn’t have a comics section. You got me there. See, this is why I run things past you guys first.

A big thanks to everyone who provided feedback. Those who missed it–well, with any luck it will be in print someday …

The Sopranos

After zealously shielding myself from spoilers for seven straight months, I finally watched the final episode of The Sopranos, knowing absolutely nothing about what would happen or how it would end.

Thoughts in the comments.

AFI 100: Yankee Doodle Dandy

So far in the AFI 100 project, the two films for which I had the lowest expectations–the silent movie and, now, the jingoistic musical–have been my favorites. Having never seen James Cagney in the role of a tough-guy, the skill with which he “played against character” was lost on me, but it hardly proved necessary to enjoy this biography of song-and-dance man George M. Cohan, who, along with the rest of his family, entertained legions around the turn of the (last) century. But the story of the showman’s life is really just bookends for the film’s second act, which is essentially an hour-long montage of Cohen’s greatest hit, including “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “Over There,” “Give My Regards to Broadway,” and “Grand Old Flag” (I had no idea one guy wrote all of those). Though there is some wincable acting and a couple of scenes that max out the corn-o-meter (the bit with the teens, 10 minutes from the end, is like a rejected Hee-Haw sketch), the bulk of the movie is so thoroughly delightful that you’re willing to forgive a lot. Even the blackface.

And holy smokes, that Cagney can dance.

My rating: 9/10, best so far!

Next up in the AFI 100 Project: The Bridge on the River Kwai and Nashville.

Three Things That Made Me Laugh This Morning

  • A comment in the thread concerning Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'”:

    That one line..."some will win, some will lose.." That line couldnt be more true. this one time i won, and then this other time, i lost. steve perry really tells it like it is.

  • David Wilhelm’s lol’able lack of critical thinking skills.


    Wilhelm: I’m a superdelegate and I’m going for Obama. Others who have come out for Clinton need to keep in mind the proper role of the superdelegate: to reflect the popular vote.

    Interviewer: So if Hillary has the popular vote after Ohio, you’ll switch to her?

    Wilhelm: No, why would I?

  • Review for Madonna’s new film Filth and Wisdom: “Madonna has been a terrible actor in many, many films and now – fiercely aspirational as ever – she has graduated to being a terrible director. She has made a movie so incredibly bad that Berlin festivalgoers were staggering around yesterday in a state of clinical shock, deathly pale and mewing like maltreated kittens. She is also the producer and co-author of the script. If she’d done the location catering as well, they’d have had a Jonestown situation on their hands.”

How To Be Hated

Mrs Clinton still has the edge among super-delegates, not least because Bill Clinton is calling in all the favours he has done them over the past 16 years ...

Dear Mr. Clinton: please consider the following:

  1. You call in favors, and use your influence as a former President, to convince superdelegates to vote for your wife instead of the man who wins the popular vote;
  2. Said wife loses in the general election;
  3. That roaring you hear is the sound of your legacy being flushed down the crapper.

You think Dems were pissed at Nader for “costing” them the 2000 elections? I cannot even conceive of the vitriol that will be headed your way if the above scenario comes to pass.

Just a thought!

AFI 100: The French Connection

The French Connection wasn’t next in the AFI queue, but, earlier today when I heard that Roy Scheider had died, I decided to watch it anyway to honor the man.

A thoroughly entertaining film, but I’m a bit mystified as to how it wound up with the 1971 “Motion Picture of the Year” Oscar, but less inclusion (albeit just barely) on the AFI 100 list. Apparently it is famous for its “renowned car chase scene” (as the back of the DVD calls it), but it was bound to have at least one given that 50% of this movie involves one person following another. Seriously: there are cops stealthily tailing suspects on foot, cops running full-bore after suspects, cops slowly trolling behind suspects by vehicle, cops barreling after suspects at breakneck speeds, etc. At one point in the film there are two chases going on simultaneously: a security guard saunters after a suspect inside an elevated train, and, at street level, Gene Hackman races after the train in his automobile. It’s, like, they had so many chases slated for the film that they had to start scheduling them concurrently.

Anyway, none of this detracted from my enjoyment of the movie. I’m a sucker for 70’s-era stories set in inner-city America (see also: Rocky), and The French Connection illustrates why: the combination of grainy film-stock, openness about racial tensions, and devotion to method acting make them seem more authentic–even when they are big-budget and largely preposterous thrillers such as this one. 8/10, and RIP Roy Scheider.

The Bad Review Revue: The Siege of Paris

Critics are raving over The Hottie and the Nottie!

“Preposterous, disingenuous, remarkably unfunny and genuinely distasteful.” — Maitland McDonagh, TV GUIDE

“Crass, shrill, disingenuous, tawdry, mean-spirited, vulgar, idiotic, boring, slapdash, half-assed, and very, very unfunny.” — Nathan Lee, VILLAGE VOICE

“It’s not like Paris Hilton to rise above her material, but The Hottie and the Nottie sinks so low that all she has to do is stand upright.” — Sam Adams, LOS ANGELES TIMES

“‘This movie hates women’ is written over and over in my notebook, but that’s not quite fair. This movie hates unattractive women.” — Suzanne Condie Lambert, ARIZONA REPUBLIC

“Great actors make the craft look easy. In this Paris Hilton comedy, acting looks very, very difficult.” — Kyle Smith, NEW YORK POST

“How bad is this feature from deservedly unknown director Tom Putnam? How’s this?: It’s a blot on Paris Hilton’s dignity.” — Andy Klein, LOS ANGELES CITYBEAT

“Heidi Ferrer’s screenplay…succeeds at just one thing: trumpeting one of the most anti-feminist messages in recent film history.” — Jessica Reaves, CHICAGO TRIBUNE

“This pea-brained vanity production…” — Nell Minow, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

“This gross-out-on-camera … ” — Rex Reed, NEW YORK OBSERVER

“This tasteless train wreck …” — Jeannette Catsoulis, THE NEW YORK TIMES

“This comedy abomination …” — Peter Travers, ROLLING STONE

“Imagine the worst movie you’ve ever seen. Got it? Now try to think of something worse. That something is this movie.” — Connie Ogle, MIAMI HERALD

Current Rotten Tomatoes composite score: 7%.