Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Hot Club

Mr. D. came over to me and said that the Regulars wanted to know the name of the BCS Bowl for the national title. I had to admit I didn't know. I think they are rotating who gets the Big Bowl now. Mr. D. said I should have known. I'm supposed to be the guru of sports. The Regulars didn't know either. Any help from my readers?

Contraire didn't believe me when I told him that Detroit had always played in the NFL's Thanksgiving Day game. The Warden said it was true. Contraire didn't believe him either. Then 5 Angels jumped in to back us up. You guessed it - Contraire still wouldn't believe it. That's why he's Contraire.

We were talking about major events that you remember where you were when it happened, like JFK and 9/11. Contraire offered "Pearl Harbor". Jesse said, "None of us were alive!"
5 Angels and Jesse thought the OJ Simpson chase. 5 Angels added the Beatles on Ed Sullivan but we weren't buying that one. Jesse remembered Bob Marley in 1980 and John Lennon in 1981.

Contraire has "No Call" but still gets charity pitches to give money. Five Angels said he was collecting for the Frankie Lee Foundation. I said that I was collecting for the Jimmy Fund. Contraire told us he was there for Gamblers' Anonymous and "I'll take it to Foxwoods and double your money."

Grant told us about a band that combines jazz, blues and country - Cake. Grant said, "Regular country solidifies my spinal fluid." Mr. D. and I told him about the all-girl band The Cake.

Turns out that Mike Module knows the Wizard of the Web from caddying at Pawtucket Country Club. The Mod and Wiz said 18 holes were called a loop. I said I had never heard the term. Wiz replied that everyone knows what a loop is. No one else had heard the term 'loop' used that way.

So I mentioned my brief caddying stint at the same CC. After showing up and not going out several times, I finally got to go out caddying. But I didn't know you were supposed to track the guy's ball (Where'd my ball go? I don't know. Weren't you looking?"), and I got fired after 9 holes. I said, "I went half a loop."

Adam said he went to ComicCon in San Diego and James Gunn, the director of Slither, was there with the cast. Adam said the slugs in Slither reminded him of those in Night of the Creeps. He said to catch Nathan Fillion (the Sheriff) in Firefly and the movie Serenity.

I was relating Phil Kaufman's stealing of Gram Parsons' body and setting it on fire at Joshua Tree. I said that the remaining Parsons family members are still incensed at Kaufman.

Last week in writing about Robert Altman's style of shooting, I should have mentioned his use of overlapping dialogue. While it can be confusing, it is richer and closer to normal conversations.

Victoria and I watched M*A*S*H in Altman's honor. I told her to listen to the loudspeaker announcements. Hilarious. The theme song Suicide is Painless. The revival of 'Painless' the dentist and the satisfied smile of Lt. Dish as she leaves in a helicopter. Donald Sutherland's Hawkeye and his whistle. It reminded me of Harpo Marx. Still a very funny anti-war movie. And anti-establishment. Based on a book by Richard Hooker. With a Ring Lardner, Jr. script.

R.I.P. Philippe Noiret and Jeremy Slate. Noiret was an excellent actor and appeared in many movies directed by Bertrand Blier and Bertrand Tavernier. Noiret starred in one of my favorite films, Cinema Paradiso.

Jeremy Slate teamed with Ron Ely for the TV show The Aquanauts, an Ivan Tors (Sea Hunt) production about 2 divers. The Aquanauts series then became Malibu Run, as Slate and Ely solved crimes on land.

Slate was a good villain and was in the biker movies The Born Losers, a Billy Jack movie (Tom Laughlin, Dir.) and Hell's Angels '69, a movie he co-wrote. He was also in Girls!Girls!Girls!, an Elvis film.

Slate was in the soap One Life to Live (as Chuck Wilson). References used: Alex McNeil's Total Television and VideoHound's Cult Flicks & Trash Pics.

Fallen Angel is a 139-minute documentary (Rhino) by Gandulf Hennig, a German director and fan of Gram Parsons. Cecil Ingram Connor III (son of 'Coon Dog' Connor) was born in Winter Haven, Florida on 11/5/46 (my birth year). He became Gram Parsons after his widowed mom married Robert Parsons. Gram's dad committed suicide when he was 12.

The movie is an unvarnished look at Parsons who replaced David Crosby in the Byrds and also stole away Crosby's girlfriend Nancy Lee Ross with whom Gram had daughter Polly. Crosby must be a very forgiving man since he's on the Return of the Grievous Angel tribute CD singing a duet with Lucinda Williams on the title track.

In his short 26 years, Parsons wrote a lot of great songs: Ooh Las Vegas, Sin City, She, Hot Burrito #1, Hickory Wind and In My Hour of Darkness.

He was briefly with the Byrds (he wouldn't go on tour to apartheid South Africa), started the Flying Burrito Brothers with ex-Byrd Chris Hillman and went solo with Emmylou Harris singing on his songs. Keith Richards became a friend and gave Parsons the song Wild Horses to record. Parsons also spent time at Richards' villa in the South of France during the making of Exile On Main Street. There is mention of that in a recent Rolling Stones issue but I guess I'll have to get Robert Greenfield's book for more.

Director Hennig was allowed access to Parsons' family and so this is the first in-depth look at the life of the Cosmic Cowboy whose star burnt out too soon.

The interviews with family members and band mates like Chris Hillman and Bernie Leadon, once with the Eagles, are illuminating. There is an interview with Parsons' road manager Phil Kaufman, who rented a hearse, went to LAX and convinced airport authorities to let him take Parsons' coffin. When they attended the funeral of ex-Byrd Clarence White, Parsons said 'never let that happen to me' which Kaufman interpreted as him wanting to be burned at Joshua Tree National Park. Kaufman lit the body on fire with 5 gals. of Hi-Test (didn't want Gram to ping)

As Emmylou Harris says, Gram's legacy should be the songs he wrote. He died 9/19/73 at 26.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Hot Club

Mr. D. told me about meeting a woman once through a dating service. He met the woman at a restaurant. She had described herself as "in good shape". When she arrived, she filled up the doorway. Mr. D. said, "She was in shape for a water buffalo." Marcus Aurelius had the same experience. Met the woman at a restaurant where she tore into her food, wolfing it down. She said her personal trainer told her she was eating the wrong combination of foods. Marcus said, "Yeah, aisle 3 and.4"

We were toasting and I used my grandfather Jim Cullen's favorite: "Here's to the health of your blood. Without good blood, you can't have good health. So here's to your bloody good health." Mike McHugh then quoted William Butler Yeats to me: "Being Irish he had an abiding sense of tragedy - which sustained him through temporary bouts of joy." Great quote!

Overheard at the Hot Club (one straight guy to another); "Looks like you'll be my bitch again New Year's Eve."

Told FootJoy about seeing George Scott at the Red Sox Hall of Fame induction ceremony on NESN. FJ said he remembers manager Dick William's telling of Boomer going on a road trip and asking Williams if he could borrow $20 to go sightseeing. When Scott returned he had put on 20 lbs. Williams said, "I didn't know you could go sightseeing in a supermarket."

Frequent Flyer just got back from a trip to Kansas. FF said he saw a T-shirt that read: Dear Dorothy: Hate Oz. Took your shoes. Find your own way home. Signed Toto.

The Warden said that if stem cell research passes, the Red Sox should bring back Carlton Fisk as a catcher. The Warden thinks the Sox should trade Coco Crisp for Cap't. Crunch.

Marcus Aurelius quoted some preacher (I think): "Sin is forgiven by God. Stupidity is forever."
Mr. D.'s 2 rules of etiquette: (1) Look at a person when you shake their hand and (2) Listen to what the other person is saying at least 20% of the time.


My introduction to Robert Altman (as far as I can remember) was his M*A*S*H (1970). It is one of the greatest cinematic comedies ever conceived. I just read that Altman said it was his satirical attack on the Vietnam War. And he was pissed that the TV show was done solely for money.

Altman passed away on Monday from undisclosed causes (but he had heart problems) at age 81. He was unswerving in his iconoclasm and the way he made movies.

Some other Altman favorites are McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971), Thieves Like Us (1974), Nashville (1975), The Player (1992), and Gosford Park (2001). I even liked Brewster McCloud (1970).

Altman was nominated 5 times for Best Director but never won an Oscar until getting a Lifetime Achievement Award this year (just in time). According to Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia, Altman's first film was The Delinquents (1957). And his next effort was the documentary The James Dean Story (also '57), something I did not know even though I'm a James Dean fan.

Maltin notes that after that Altman spent a decade directing episodes of such series as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Combat and Bonanza.

While Altman could be hit or miss, his work was always interesting. His memory and genius will live on in, if nothing else, M*A*S*H. R.I.P. Robert Altman.


This movie, written and directed by James Gunn, harkens back to the creature features of our past. It starts with an alien meteor landing in the small town of Wheelsy. George Romero parodied that intro in his Creep Show when he used horror writer Stephen King as the farmer who flirts with danger by inspecting the object that just crashed near his house. The next step is of course the mutation of humans into monsters.

Gunn is well aware of the history of horror films. His Slither is a sampler of many of my favorites growing up. Enemy from Space (1957) uses the alien egg/meteor (as does a host of movies from The Blob to Aliens).

The slugs that result from 'harvesting' are passed on to humans much like in Cronenberg's They Came From Within (1975). In fact there's a tub scene which is almost a direct steal of that movie in which Cronenberg used Barbara Steele to good effect.

Other movies will ring your alarm bell - Peter Jackson's DeadAlive, for instance, not only for the globs of gore, but the exploding 'casing'.

Michael Rooker of Henry fame gets to tear up the scenery with his twisted theatrics. Gregg Henry, who usually plays wisecracking bad guys, here plays a wise-ass mayor. His lines are as funny as they are profane. Henry serves as comic relief amidst the bloody body borrowings.

The rest of the cast is unknown to me but competent. Gunn, who did the script for the recent remake of Romero's Dawn of the Dead, dishes up dialogue that provides a steady stream of smart-alec remarks along with the blood. Gunn keeps the fun and gore flowing. There are a bunch of insider jokes and homages to horror staples of the past.

One caveat - this movie isn't for everyone. The gore is extreme. There is considerable profanity and bad things happen to children and animals. The latter is one of the unwritten conventions of horror (don't do harm to kids and pets) that Romero himself 'violated' in Night of the Living Dead. For me the movie was great fun and a trip back to the monster movies of my youth.

For another take, check out this review: http://www.bloody-disgusting.com/review/561

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Hot Club

Mr. D wants me to remind everyone that his rock band Almond Joy is playing this Thursday at 7 PM at Cher's in North Providence. Cher's is at 86 Waterman Ave. As you head into Centredale, take the right just before you get to Rte 44. Cher's is on the left.

Sarah, Eben's wife, was in the HC with 2 girlfriends. She said it was only her 2nd night out since having baby girl Emerson. Sarah said Eben tends to call any time the baby cries. As the father of a daughter, I told her that I understood. Crying gets us guys rattled.

We were explaining to a friend of Sarah's that I write Sportzine and a section about the Hot Club. She said, "Oh, I read this." I said, "You do? How do you know about it?" She said, "Obasie gets it." And there was Obasie sitting at the bar. The woman's name is Shiona and she's Obasie's friend.

Obasie said that if he doesn't feel a lot of love soon from his present employer, he might go elsewhere. I told Obasie it was like the Clash song, Should I Stay or Should I Go?

In talking with Contraire, he mentioned a current QB and called him Bono. I told him he meant Romo, and that Bono is an Irish singer. He knew that but insisted that there used to be a QB named Bono. I told him that was Sonny Bono and he died on the ski slopes. Contraire thought the Bono he was talking about was a QB for San Francisco.

Grant was thrilled that Republican Rick Santorum lost to the Democrat in Pennsylvania. Grant said that the discharge after anal sex is now called Santorum.

The regulars were talking about Hilary Clinton's boyfriend Vince Foster. They said he committed suicide. FootJoy said, "Yeah, he shot himself in the back of the head. Twice!"

Photogenic told me that she and the regulars were talking to the Warden about a woman he knew from the prison who liked to go out 'collecting for MS'. No sooner were the words out then into the HC walked the same woman. She was collecting for HIV babies.

Bags told his buddy to call his wife because it was their 25th wedding anniversary. So his buddy called and asked his wife if she knew what day it was and she said, "Tuesday." He said, "No, it's our 25th anniversary." She said "Our anniversary was last week, and it was our 24th." Bagged by Bags. Again.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Hot Club

Wise was talking to Josh Miller, co-owner of the Hot Club. Josh, who is running for state senator from Cranston, told Wise that the Hot Club is getting 2 new flat screen TVs. Wise told Josh that he's not supposed to use campaign funds for TVs. Josh said he didn't even have enough campaign money to feed his workers.

So I saw Tom Bates, the other HC co-owner, and we were talking about the new TVs. Tom said, "The TVs should be on sports or off."

Mr. D. remembers when there were no TVs in the Hot Club. There was a World Series and Contraire brought in a small TV so the regulars could watch the Series.

Beer keg had told me that a trip to Atlanta had led to zipless luck with a willing woman. He went back to Atlanta this week with his hand stamped for a return with her. Except she made several excuses and then finally admitted that she just got engaged.

So Beer keg said he feels like the Ed McMahon of Romance. He warms up the crowd.

When I told Adam that he was in the 'Zine, he asked if he had a nickname. I told him, "No, you haven't done anything wrong yet." He suggested a nickname for himself like 'asshole cook'. I told him I wouldn't call him such. CJ offered a nickname - Mr. Moody.

Adam read what I wrote and said, "Now everyone will think I liked Invasion USA. I was being sarcastic." I told him that wasn't conveyed. Adam said "Drenched in sarcasm".

Mr. D.'s mom smoked all her life right up until her recent passing. She got her cigarettes from the Narragansett Indians. The State of RI just sent her a tax bill on the cigarettes for $1600. Mr. D. says they buried the bill with her.

Grant and I agreed that Stanley Kubrick's film of Clockwork Orange was one of the few times that a movie matched the book. I told him that I read Anthony Burgess' book without realizing there was a glossary in back for the Droog talk. Grant said that the Droog talk was slang Russian.
One other good job of book to movie was Polanski's Rosemary's Baby. Grant agreed.

Erica said her photography business has been in a lull since the summer ended. She only has one wedding coming up. Majordomo said, "Find someone for Bags and you'll have another."


This is one of Martin Scorsese's best efforts ever, and that's saying something. The director of Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and GoodFellas has wrought what may be his best film. It is 152 minutes in length.

The tale of Irish mobsters in Boston is propelled not only by Jack Nicholson as the boss, Frank Costello, but by Mark Damon (Colin Sullivan) and Leonardo DiCaprio (Billy Costigan) who heist the movie with their performances.

That is not to say that Nicholson isn't good. He is. Nicholson conveys the ruthlessness of a man who always gets his way, and may the Devil take the hindmost. But we have seen many of these mannerisms before in Nicholson's parts. I couldn't help but think of him axing in the door while grinning "Here's Johnny" in The Shining. Victoria especially felt that Nicholson was doing his usual shtick. I wasn't as critical but I know what she means. Nicholson's character Francis is supposedly based on Whitey Bulger.

In truth this movie is based on a Japanese film called Infernal Affairs. Scorsese's screenwriter is William Monahan who adapted a story by Siu Fai Mak and Felix Chong. Because I knew of the Whitey Bulger connection, I thought the film would move in a certain direction because of that connection. It didn't and boy was I surprised. You will be too.

Damon is very strong in his role. However it is DiCaprio who steals the show. The energy from both fills the screen. There are good performances also from Martin Sheen as Detective Queenan (related to Pawtucket's own Q, Tom?) and Mark Wahlberg as a nasty Sgt. (Dignam) who verbally castrates all comers. Wahlberg reminded me of Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast. You won't soon forget him. Victoria and I saw this at a Showcase Cinema and when Wahlberg appeared someone shouted out "Marky Mark". Not here.

The only thing in the movie that disappointed Victoria was the love interest Madolyn, played by Vera Farmiga. V felt she was miscast and didn't pull off her scenes. I had to agree that when Madolyn had to show 'double emotion' (see the movie and it'll make sense), she wasn't able to handle it.

However that quibble took nothing away from my appreciation of this movie. Scorsese has hit a homerun, maybe even a grand slam. See it and judge for yourself.

Scorsese once again uses existing rock n' roll to good effect in the film. He started doing that in Mean Streets (one of the first to do it) and he's been doing a great job ever since. Scorsese may just win his first ever Oscar for Best Director. It's way past due.

For more info on the movie, go to: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0407887/


The newest chapter in the Saw series is at once the best of the lot (the ending) and the weakest (the middle slows down to a crawl). There is also a little too much return to yesterday footage (the first two). The film is 107 minutes long.

The complaints I had heard were about the grisly deaths of failed contestants in Jigsaw's 'let's play a game'. The expiration dates of these doomed losers is up and you are witness to death by chains, wheels and corset. Gruesome is a good word to convey the gory demises of several players.

My daughter Cara saw this the day before I did and used the same word - 'gruesome'. However veteran voyeurs of cinematic shivers won't be put off by this.

Darren Lynn Bousman is back as director with writing credits to mainstays Leigh Whannell and James Wan who worked on Saw and Saw II. This movie unfolds in a different way and crosses back and forth between the present and the past. All the time shifting is noticeable and slows down the passage to the film's dénouement. If you stick with the movie, it will skewer you and surprise you at the end. Will there be a Saw IV?

IMDb (go to: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0489270/) has the following trivia: 1000 special posters were made and were sold for $20 each in support of Saw III and the American Red Cross. Tobin Bell donated 2 vials of his own blood to be dumped into the red ink vat. All 1000 posters were then printed with the red ink and later sold. However, the first print was put up for auction. It was also signed by the entire cast and crew. All proceeds from both sales went to the American Red Cross.