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Archive for the 'Tinsel Town Talk' Category

The Hollywood Report With MaryC

Posted by Maryc on July 24th, 2007


Dateline: Fairfax Avenue! Club: Largo! Why: Patton Oswalt and Friends! Who: John Hodgman!

How: First of all, unlike my close encounter with “Daily Show Funny Woman”, Samantha Bee, we didn’t actually meet “Daily Show Funny Guest John Hodgman”; we just happened to be standing behind him in line to get into the “Patton Oswalt and Friends” show last night. Just so you know.

Anyway, he looks exactly like he does on TV, although I don’t know if he sounds the same. As an added treat, who do you think walked into Largo after we were all seated and waiting for our various drinks and things to arrive, and sat at John Hodgman’s table? Justin Long! Yes, that’s right! It was PC and Mac, out together for a night of comedy and really long waits for dinner and drinks.

So. There you have it. If you come to Hollywood and want to see stars, don’t get a map, get yourself down to Largo on Fairfax Ave. on Mondays for Comedy Night!

And if you can’t go to Largo for possible John Hodgman spottings, you can always read his fabulously funny, , or you can go to John Hodgman’s blog: good evening. While there, be sure to follow his link to Jane Epenson’s (former writer on Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and producer of the Sci-Fi series Battlestar Galatica) blog. Her newest post is about “punchline abuse”–the overused laugh lines sitcom writers beat to death like “That went well” and “Awk-ward!”

With Special Guest Star, Michael Fumento

Posted by scott on July 9th, 2007

Well, that was quick.  After we discussed Michael Fumento’s indictment of Hollywood, as viewed through the prism of the Bruce Willis actioner Live Free Or Die Hard (Although You’d Die Much Harder If You Were Being Killed By An Arab), the author himself took note of our modest effort in a post entitled Anti-Terrorism Equals Racism.  As he was kind enough to also visit our comments, I thought I would post and then address his response here:

Because I say an actor is “Arabic-looking” I’m a racist?

1. The point is that this was part of bending over backwards not to implicate Muslim terrorists.

2. Arabs are Caucasian, like me.

3. The actor in question actually played an Arab in a previous movie, Three Kings.

This accusation represents the combined intelligence of the original blogger and his idiot acolytes. I’ll bet you all split a gut laughing when those Twin Towers fell. 

Hey Michael, it’s lucky you dropped by, because today is “All About Context Day.”  (Although yesterday was “Anything Can Happen Day,” which is fun too.)

Because I say an actor is “Arabic-looking” I’m a racist?

While it’s certainly an odd thing to complain about, it doesn’t necessarily make you a racist.  Until one considers it in context:

Meanwhile one of the few good guys in the movie, the head of the FBI team that aids our hero John McCain[sic], looks decidedly Arabic.

Since you’re disappointed that the terrorists aren’t Arabs, and irked that one of the heroes is “Arabic-looking,” that does seem to suggest that you prefer your Arabs on the business end of an RPG.

1. The point is that this was part of bending over backwards not to implicate Muslim terrorists.

Just as I wouldn’t necessarily care to read Roger Ebert’s comments on anti-terrorism policy, it appears that a person with your particular interests is equally out of his depth when attempting rudimentary film analysis.

Spoilers ahead.

The Die Hard franchise started off with one gimmick (big action picture confined to a single building) and one reveal (the bad guys are actually thieves pretending to be terrorists to confuse the authorities).  The second film (Die Hard 2:  Die Harder) involved a still-confined, but larger setting (an airport) and mercenaries who conspire to free a Noriega-like drug-running South American strongman (a relatively topical villain for 1990).  The third film (Die Hard With A Vengeance) throws out the limited location gimmick, dragging the hero all over the city of New York, but brings back the phony terrorists — in this case, a villain who unleashes a reign of terror, ostensibly in revenge for John McClane (not McCain, btw) killing his brother in the first film, all of which is designed to distract the police from a gold heist.  In only one of the films (Die Hard 2) do the bad guys have even the slightest political motivation for their crimes, and even there it’s made apparent that most of the soldiers are in it for the money.

The current film is based on a Wired magazine piece about the vulnerability of America to a massive cyber-attack.  The villains could have been Arabs I suppose, but again, terrorism was used as a red herring to conceal the grandest of grand thefts.  And given that you’re irritated by an “Arabic-looking” actor playing a high ranking FBI official, surely you wouldn’t be any happier to see one in charge of Homeland Security.  Besides — and correct me if I’m wrong — you’re looking for wild-eyed kaffiyeh-wearing terrorists setting off bombs and brandishing AK-47s, not tapping away on their laptops.

2. Arabs are Caucasian, like me.

I agree that’s a relevant point, or would be if you’d written, “Meanwhile one of the few good guys in the movie, the head of the FBI team that aids our hero John McCain, looks decidedly Caucasian.”

3. The actor in question actually played an Arab in a previous movie, Three Kings.

He’s also played a Maori, his actual ethnicity, as well as Hispanics, Italians, and a guy named “Mort Whitman.”  But like Rick and Ilsa will always have Paris, it’s clear that whenever you see Cliff Curtis, no matter what character he plays, you’ll always see an Arab.  And while we’re on the subject, Anthony Quinn, who was Mexican, played an Arab in Lawrence of Arabia, then tried passing himself off as a Greek islander in Zorba the Greek, and a Russian in Shoes of the Fisherman!  I don’t know where he got the nerve, but these terrorists are very cunning.

This accusation represents the combined intelligence of the original blogger and his idiot acolytes. I’ll bet you all split a gut laughing when those Twin Towers fell.

I don’t personally go in for acolytes, but if you’re referring to the people who are kind enough to read and comment on this site, they are not only smart, humane, and remarkably well-informed, they’re not afflicted with the same kind of blinkered, obsessive hatred that allows you to use the tragedy of 9/11 as punchline, in a petty disagreement over a movie.

Nice Actor, But Does He Come In White?

Posted by scott on July 9th, 2007

Roy points us to this piece by Michael Fumento, who feels that Hollywood has failed in its responsibility to defend and propound American values, despite getting off to a strong start with films like Birth of a Nation and Race Suicide.

In 1942, Hollywood went to war. It began pumping out countless movies designed to be both entertaining and instructive as to the nature of our enemies. A lot of them were done on the cheap and others were pretty hokey, but they kept drilling home the message that we must persevere no matter the costs or how long it would take. Fast forward that reel to the post-9/11 era. Just how many movies can you count in which Islamist terrorists are the bad guys and that do not specifically concern the Sept. 11 attacks?

In the Second World War, America was united in the belief that we faced an existential threat, and this unanimity was largely due to a motion picture industry that was unafraid to put this powerful medium to use supporting the internment of citizens who were suspected of unAmerican sympathies or epicanthial folds.  If I may quote from the 1943 Columbia Pictures serial, The Batman

“This was part of a foreign land, transplanted bodily to America and known as Little Tokyo.  Since a wise government rounded up the shifty-eyed Japs, it has become virtually a ghost street, where only one business survives.”

The business in question being the “Japanese Cave of Horror”, a carnival-like Tunnel of Love, except that it’s full of mannequins dressed as Imperial Japanese soldiers who are threatening Margaret Dumont with a bayonet.  The 12-episode serial went out of its way to highlight that America was under siege by an alien race, sprinkling the dialogue with references to “squint-eyes” and noting that one character’s craven actions made him as yellow “as the color of [his] skin.”

Most important of all is that this chapterplay was intended mostly for children, thus providing the kind of moral fiber in their formative years that these kids would later need to kill Asians in Korea and Vietnam.

Meanwhile – and this may be considered a spoiler, so if you haven’t seen the movie look out – the just-released fourth installment of the Die Hard series, Live Free or Die Hard, teaches us that just because there are some bad guys out to destroy America doesn’t mean they have to be bin Laden’s buddies.

In fact, it was the Department of Homeland Security that turns out to have been more or less responsible for the attack in the first place. Meanwhile one of the few good guys in the movie, the head of the FBI team that aids our hero John McCain[sic], looks decidedly Arabic.

This non-traditional casting fad is ruining the delicate suspension of disbelief so necessary to enjoying a summer action movie.  And the sad thing is, there was a time when Hollywood was scrupulous about depicting America’s racial minorities as certain easily-offended regions of the country perceived them to be, without distorting it through some colorblind lens.  Why, just imagine Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarves if they’d succumbed to PC pressure and drawn the characters as white!  It wouldn’t have made any sense at all!

I’m glad there are still a few brave souls who will hold Hollywood to account for implying that an FBI agent is Arabic by casting a New Zealander named Cliff Curtis and calling the character “Bowman.” 

One of last year’s most critically-acclaimed films was the severely disjointed Babel in which what is treated as a terrorist shooting of an American woman in Morocco turns out to have been an accident. Heck, it wasn’t even an AK-47 involved but rather a Japanese hunter’s rifle.

While Fumento was clearly let down by the lack of a Kalashnikov-wielding terrorist in an esoteric art film, he should take heart from the fact that Hollywood is still warning Americans (or at least, American tourists in Morocco) about the insidious Japanese.  I mean, it’s been 67 years; that’s some serious drilling home.

Anyway, the writer and director were both Spanish, and you know how those Iberian nancyboys rolled bum-up for the Moors.

If I’m mistaken and there have been movies in which Islamists where the bad guys, please let me know.

Because boners don’t just happen.  A fella needs a little help. 

In any event, where once Hollywood shored up a resolute but war-weary public (Everyone knew somebody who had been killed or maimed and they thought the war would last well into 1946 or beyond), Hollywood now feels its job is to assure us that with terrorism we have nothing to fear but fear itself. Even while traveling in countries with strong Islamist movements. Never mind that the week the new Die Hard came out there were two aborted terrorist attacks in Great Britain perpetrated by middle class Islamist physicians living as normal Britons – a truly scary scenario that’s right out of a movie like The Manchurian Candidate.

Which prompted these remarks from commenter Marlowe over at Matt Yglesias’ place: 

The utter fatuous cluelesness of Fumento and his ilk is amusingly illustrated by his comment that the doctors suspected in the recent British terrorist plot was “a truly scary scenario that’s right out of a movie like The Manchurian Candidate.” As anyone with a functioning brain that has seen that classic film knows, the ultimate goal of the Chinese plot was to install James Gregory (playing a barely disguised version of Joe McCarthy controlled by his wife–Angela Lansbury as an icy Chicom mole) in the White House. In other words, the plotters were (correctly) aware that the best way to destroy the US was make sure it was led by a fear mongering arch-conservative. Of course, such people are incapable of detecting irony.

However, unaware that the batteries are dead in his irony detector, Fumento continues to wander over the beach, resolutely sweeping it back and forth: 

One of the ironies is that you don’t even need to create fictitious Islamist villains; the real ones are so classically evil.

So classicially evil…so…so deliciously eeeevil!  (I’ve discovered that this column goes down a lot easier if you imagine it being read aloud by Caesar Romero playing the Joker.)

Look, you can’t live on the edge of your seat all the time in a war that could last a generation or far longer.

The Carthaginians tried it during the Second Punic War, and their legs went to sleep. 

If we think we see a bomb in every backpack, the terrorists are winning.

Or at least the Bush Administration is. 

But there’s got to be a happy medium. Hollywood doesn’t see it that way. A lot of people have suggested that, pathetically, it’s going to take another terrorist attack to wake us from our slumber.

Oh come on, nobody would be heartless, cynical, or just plain stupid enough to make a statement like that

In his first interview as the chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party, Dennis Milligan told a reporter that America needs to be attacked by terrorists so that people will appreciate the work that President Bush has done to protect the country.

“At the end of the day, I believe fully the president is doing the right thing, and I think all we need is some attacks on American soil like we had on [Sept. 11, 2001],” Milligan said to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, “and the naysayers will come around very quickly to appreciate not only the commitment for President Bush, but the sacrifice that has been made by men and women to protect this country.”

Okay, my bad.  Hey, if any of you terrorists are currently working on Chairman Milligan’s Anti-Naysayer Plot, Fumento has a bit of operational advice:

Wouldn’t it be fitting if [the terrorist attack] were in a movie theater?

Ah, it looks like Michael finally replaced the batteries and found some irony over by the frozen banana stand.  It’s got some gum and sand stuck to it, but it’s still perfectly useable.

I Smell A Spin Off For The Simple Life!

Posted by Maryc on June 8th, 2007

Sorry for the echoing halls, but things have gone from bad to worse here in HolllyLiberalWood. We were besieged by the arrival of George Clooney and half of Brangelina on Wednesday and then came the worst news of all–Paris had to go back to jail.

When we heard the news, I was overcome with the vapors and Scott took to his fainting couch.

Until we are sufficiently recovered, please enjoy The GoFugYoursel Girls: Paris Hilton’s Prison Diary

Hollywood Blvd Disproves Theory of Evolution!

Posted by scott on May 29th, 2007

Sure, the “Hollywood Renaissance” is bringing on a flood of trendy clubs and upscale clothing emporia, chasing out the tchotchke shops for disappointed tourists, the tranny shoe-and-schmatta stores, and the tattoo-and-piercing parlors.  But so what?  From it’s earliest days, Hollywood was a magnet for filmmakers and filmgoers, and This


…used to look like this:


I always thought the Fox was the ugliest damn theater on Hollywood Boulevard, until I saw how it looked when it was built in the early 30′s (and well into the 50′s…check out the marquee on the right.)

Again.  This…

Evolved from this…

If Darwin was here right now, I’d give him such a pinch…! 

Meanwhile, At Our Neighborhood Theater…

Posted by scott on April 13th, 2007

An interesting double feature:


My own theory is that the manager is a lycanthrope, and he booked the current bill while in mid-transformation.

The Hollywood Report with Maryc

Posted by Maryc on March 20th, 2007

Dateline: Hollywood! Grocery Store: Rock and Roll Ralph’s on Sunset! Why: Because we are out of food! Who: Samantha Bee!

How: I was taking my groceries to Cody The cool PT Cruiser (Tom Servo in Commando Cody: “That’s a cool car. That’s a cool Cody car.”) when an SUV pulled into the spot next to mine! An attractive and petite woman hopped out of the SUV and we glanced at each other. I thought, “Gee. She looks like Samantha Bee.” She proceeded to take a stroller out of her car and we glanced at each other again, so I said: “You know, you look a lot like Samantha Bee”. To which she replied, “Well, I am Samantha Bee!”, and as soon as she spoke, I knew it was really Samantha Bee. I shook her hand and told her how much we loved her on the Daily Show and she thanked me very appreciatively.

I then continued to put the bags into the back of my car, while she took her daughter, Piper, out the car seat and did a baby talk thingy while jiggling Piper about. I drove off, and I’m guessing she went grocery shopping because they were out of food, too.

So. There you have it. If you come to Hollywood, CA., don’t buy a map to the stars home! If you want to see stars, go grocery shopping at Rock and Roll Ralph’s on Sunset!

PS-according to the Liberal Wikipedia, she could be in town to shoot a pilot, or to pick up some Bumble Bee Chunk White Tuna: 10 for $10.

Why Am I a Hairless Humunculus? Page 213

Posted by scott on May 15th, 2006

I’ve never been able to work up much interest in the whole question of Tom Cruise’s sexuality, since he’s probably too busy choking his own Body Thetan to deal with anyone else’s alien ghost ridden corpus (although I have to agree with Kathy Griffen’s observation, “Have you noticed that the gays don’t want Tom Cruise anymore, now that he’s crazy?”)

But earlier today I took my 90-year old grandfather to see Mission Impossible: III for Mother’s Day (don’t ask) and it had the unforseen side effect of pretty much settling the issue.

Tom Cruise shaves his armpits.

‘Nuff said.