Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Hot Club

Foot Joy, Mike Module and I were talking about movies. Mike Module said that if he doesn’t like a film he just shuts it off. I told him Victoria prefers to do that, but I always want to watch a movie to the end because it might have some redeeming quality. I mentioned Ms. 45 where the woman gets raped twice in one day and then goes off on a killing spree of the scum of NY. After Ms. 45 kills the 2nd rapist, the landlady's poodle sniffs around the fridge holding the dismembered dead guy. So Ms. 45 asks the landlady to let her walk the dog. The next scene shows Ms. 45 walking in the middle of a NYC street trying to kick the dog under the wheels of passing vehicles. Foot Joy said, "I don't even want to know where you find these movies!"

We were talking about women and Hooks made a triangle with his fingers and told Wise and me, "This little thing has cost me a lot of money." Wise added, "Morris used to say it can move mountains."

Spider Woman and her three girlfriends all went to Prime steakhouse to celebrate one of the women's birthday. None of them had steak. Swordfish and salmon but no steak.

PhotoGenic said that when she turned 21, she celebrated with 21 shots in Newport. She said she flashed everyone on a busy Friday night on Thames Street. I said that mine was spent with my fraternity brothers and after drinking beer all night the supplies ran out and I had a small glass of Bali Hai. I worshipped at the porcelain altar that night.

Wise resurrected the discussion of how many dates with the same person before sex. I told him that the current Esquire (Feb '07) had a sex survey which said that on average guys expect sex after going out 3 times while gals figure it should be 5 dates.

Sean's dad, who trained racehorses, taught him that you could tell the speed of a horse by the dimpling in its rear flanks. The musculature will tell you if it's a fast horse.

I liked the song playing and went to the HC jukebox to get more details. It was by Gorillaz and was called "Kids with Guns".]

Wise was talking about Marvin Barnes and said that Marvin once had 5 Rolls Royces, one for every day of the workweek. Marvin also had a couch with telephones every 2 feet so he wouldn't have to get up. Bob Wolff was Marvin's agent and was paid $35,000 a year while keeping Marvin on a budget. Marvin listened to his 'posse' who told him they could take care of his money better than Wolff. So Marvin got rid of Wolff and his posse made off with his money.


This is one of my favorite black comedies. How much blacker can you get than trying to do in your elderly mom? That's what George Segal is intent on doing because his mom (Ruth Gordon) continually messes up any new relationship Segal has with a woman.

The movie is based on a book by Robert Klane (who wrote the screenplay for Weekend at Bernie's and also wrote a very funny book called The Horse Is Dead). Klane did the screenplay and Carl Reiner directed. Son Rob Reiner has a wonderful cameo as a Vietnam era hippie whom lawyer Segal tries to defend. Trish Van Devere (who was married to George C. Scott) is a love interest and Rob Liebman is hilarious as Segal's brother. The bit in Central Park is as over the top as it gets and yet Liebman is able to pull it off.

Ex-SNLer Garret Morris has a small role as a gang member. And there are cameos by Vincent Gardenia, Paul Sorvino, and Barnard Hughes. It's Rated R and is 84 minutes long.

This is not for every taste but Gordon is wonderful as a mom who continually searches for her late husband (Where's poppa?) not realizing he has passed on. Her scenes with Segal are some of the best.

There is even an alternate ending which is as outrageous as most of the movie. If you've never seen it, give it a look. There is something to offend everyone. And it's very funny.

IMDb gave it a 6.6 out of 10. And while one of the commentators didn't especially like it, The Time-Out Film Guide called it "An irresistible black comedy, it's probably Reiner's best film, not least because it shows such affection for all its crazies."


This is the best horror movie that Brian DePalma has ever directed. Victoria likes Dressed to Kill, but this is a better movie from start to finish. DePalma has the benefit of a Lawrence D. Cohen screenplay based on Stephen King's book. Cohen's screenplay was nominated for a Edgar Allan Poe Award (1977).

Sissy Spacek is mesmerizing as Carrie. Despite the fact that she and the rest of the cast are too old to be playing high schoolers, Spacek conveys the naivete of an impressionable youth. She makes us feel her pain, as her classmates show no class in reducing her to a scared, tortured soul, shrinking into a fetal position after their taunting.

Also excellent is Piper Laurie as Carrie's mom Margaret White. Laurie captures the wigged out wackiness of a bible toting, scripture quoting ex-sinner who bedevils her own daughter. Both Spacek and Laurie were nominated for Oscars for their performances.Among the high school hellions are John Travolta, PJ Soles, Amy Irving and bitch goddess Nancy Allen. Ms. Allen then married DePalma and appeared in his Dressed to Kill and Blow-Out. Allen has appeared nude in each of her DePalma movies.

The movie carries you inexorably to its fitting climax, as the abused victim becomes the avenging angel.

DePalma isn’t as much of a showoff in Carrie as in some of his other movies. He has always had the reputation of stealing from other directors, especially Hitchcock. Except for one dizzying dance scene that goes on way too long, DePalma is under much better control. The movie benefits by it.


This year I actually watched the Oscars and enjoyed them immensely. Yes they went on too long (until 12:15) but with an 8:30 start (for the left coast people), it's to be expected. If they want to shorten it they will have to drop some of the award presentations.

Ellen DeGeneres did a great job in her first shot as Oscar host. I especially liked her 'fan' photo with Clint Eastwood, her Oscar carryall to free the hands for speech notes, and her vacuuming the carpet (Whose papers are these? Oh they're the band's.). There was a nice comic song tribute by Jack Black, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. And Leonardo DiCaprio's baiting of Al Gore (Have you anything else you want to announce?) was perfect with Gore's response drowned out by the band after running overtime.

The night was made for me when Martin Scorsese finally won an Oscar on his 6th try. Already the apologists are suggesting that Scorsese got it for his other movies and that The Departed isn't as good a work as those for which he was denied. I don't agree. Vehemently. The Departed is a great movie and stands with Scorsese's all time best.

Scorsese and his Raging Bull were beaten out in 1981 by Robert Redford and his Ordinary People. In 1991, Scorsese and Goodfellas lost to Kevin Costner and Dances with Wolves. I'm not sure what picture beat out Taxi Driver. Scorsese was long overdue.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Hot Club


This is a savagely funny look at a grim subject - the tobacco industry and deaths from cigarette smoking. It is a twisted satire that will keep you amused as it burns a hole in your psyche.

Aaron Eckhart is terrific as Nick Naylor, the cool, confident and quick-witted apologist for "Big Tobacco". It's Naylor's job to be the smokes spokesman at a time when cancer concerns were still being shot down by studies from Big Tobacco.

Eckhart naturally has the better of the verbal jousting. He's aided and abetted by a strong cast including Robert Duvall ('the Captain'), Rob Lowe as a glib media mogul for EGO (Entertainment Global Organization), and Sam Elliott as Lorne Lutch, a conflicted ex- Marlboro Man. Also William Macy is a wonderful foil as Senator Ortolan Finistirre.

You'd think it would be difficult to wring humor out of the subjects of smoking, cancer and death, but damned if they don't. This is a very witty lesson in the art of the sell, the powers of persuasion and the slickest way to sidestep a negative and turn it into a positive. Eckhart is so good as Naylor that at times you're rooting for him, no mean task.

The movie is written and directed by Jason Reitman, Ivan's son. It's 92 minutes and rated R for language and some sexual content. From a book by Chris Buckley (William. F.'s son).

With the songs Greenback Dollar by the Kingston Trio, Smoke Rings by the Mills Brothers and Tex Williams' Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette.

IMDb trivia - Reitman spent 3 hours convincing Sam Elliot to follow the script regarding how his character handles the money. Also no one is seen smoking in the movie (except in a b/w movie shown). IMDb rated it 7.9 out of 10. For more from IMDb on it, go to: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0427944/
Comments welcome: jdawson@ids.net


Brittan told me that there's a sports challenge between Wise and the Wizard. Who's better? The sport(s) to be used to compete hasn't/haven't been chosen. Wise told me there is no challenge. He's an athlete and Wiz isn't. I told Brittan that I thought Wiz would be good at chess. Brittan said that wasn't a sport.

We had the Fun Family present Sunday night. According to one of Wise's supporters, Bags looks like Wise's dad and 5 Angels looks like Wise's son. So that makes Bags 5 Angels' grandpa. Of course the woman who said this was 90 (blind in one eye I heard).

Bags asked 5 Angels how all his hair could be jet black at his age. Wise said, "He dips it in paint."

We were talking about the holidays coming up. Beau told me that he heard that there is a new holiday, Steak and BJs Day. He wasn't sure about the day in March. But the bartender, she knew it was March 14th. Might have to Google it.

An older woman was coming on to Jesse and he was having none of her advances. Contraire told her "He's available. Wait 'til closing." Jesse told Contraire, "I'll drive her to your house."

Mr. D.'s band Almond Joy had a great gig Groundhog's Day (the next is Cinco de Mayo or 5/5 at Cher's). He said some people came up to him and had requests, some of which were obscure songs. Said Mr. D., "We're not a jukebox!"

A woman was talking about trying a dating site called tickle.com. She said, "Those guys will never find women!" Mr. D. said, "Might as well be molesters.com."

Her girlfriend, the 'Swiss Miss', said that she held a dinner party and had 3 wines. Then she thought she'd try that pear vodka her friend was imbibing. After that she returned to her wine. Swiss Miss said she went from zero to retarded in a heartbeat.

Five Angels told me that Mike Nesmith of the Monkees wrote Linda Ronstadt's Different Drum. I didn't know that. And Wiz said that Jimi Hendrix once opened for the Monkees.

Of a girlfriend, Mr. D. said in the past, "I have a saint but I want a sinner. Or a saint that gargles with holy water." Then he called the Holy Trinity "3 in 1 oil". Say 5 Our Fathers and 5 Hail Marys.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Hot Club

Grant, who has been out sick, returned to duty at the HC. He said he was so sick he was coughing up lung putty. Glad to see Grant back at the HC door.

The Herbster was describing a car phone transaction he made with a woman who wanted to know how much it was going to cost her. Herbster said "If you can get me a nympho with her tongue cut out whose father owns a brewery, it's free. Otherwise it's $600-$700."

Patriot Patricia was talking about an occasion when her bathrooms didn't work. She got upscale port-a-johns that had lights, sinks and were heated. She called them port-a-Patties.

The talk in the HC was of the astronaut who went bananas and drove 900 miles to kill a woman who was a threat to her. The astronaut wore a diaper so she wouldn't have to stop. Foot Joy said, "A NASA approved diaper. When she felt the flow, she hit the accelerator."

Victoria tells me that the running line in her circles about Astronut Lisa Nowak was: "How'd ya like to be the cop that patted her down?"

It occurred to me that Nowak will probably get off since she didn't actually damage the other woman. Nowak's lawyer's defense will be that outer space travel caused a chemical imbalance in her brain.

Overheard at the Hot Club: "Do you trust a guy who wears a thong?"

We were talking about when Buddy gets out of jail. He might need some work on his teeth and toupee. One wag said, "He can send his teeth and his hair out to be worked on."

Someone was talking about a person who had new breasts and an Adam's apple. The new breed was having trouble working because her 'electrolytes were low'.

Two Wednesdays ago a young lady named Mercy was marking her 30th birthday with Tampa friend Karas. Mercy celebrated so much she called in sick the next day. She was still hung over on Friday. And she no longer had a job - she got fired.

As I sidled up to the bar for a beer, I asked Alexander the Great "How we doing?" Alex replied "Collectively or individually?

Overheard at the Hot Club: "If a guy can't get laid on Valentine's Day…"

Contraire was saying of Five Angels "That's where he takes his dates - the first time and the last time." "And that would be where?" I asked. "Twin Oaks", said Contraire.


My daughter Cara bought this DVD for me and I really liked it. Victoria didn't like it as much finding it only sporadically funny. Some of the humor is of the shock value type, especially with the foul-mouthed, drug sniffin' grandfather played by Alan Arkin. The character bothered me and while I laughed at times, it was in reaction to Grandpa's outré behavior.

The movie is about a dysfunctional family that sets out to make sure their daughter gets to the Little Miss Sunshine Pageant. The real and figurative journey that the family takes is the heart of the story. And they are driving a VW bus.

Greg Kinnear is excellent as the misguided dad. And I liked the Steve Carell character (Frank) as well as the son with no sound, Dwayne (Paul Dano). The mother (Toni Collette) adds the proper balance and daughter Olive is well played by Abigail Breslin.

The film has co-directors: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. That is usually a recipe for disaster but the movie doesn’t seem schizophrenic.

Part of the movie reminded me of Weekend at Bernie's, one of my favorite comedies. There are enough laughs to make this movie worthwhile, even though comedy is in the eyes and ears of the beholder.

According to IMDb, Bill Murray was the studios' first choice to play Frank, the role filled by Carell. And the second choice was Robin Williams. The film benefits by having Carell instead. They are lucky the other two didn't play the character.

The movie is up for 4 Oscars - Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Arkin), Best Supporting Actress (Breslin) and Best Original Screenplay (Michael Arndt). As for Best Picture that should go to The Departed and hopefully Martin Scorsese also wins as Best Director.

IMDb notes that Fox Searchlight Pictures paid $10.5 Mill for distribution rights at the 2006 Sundance Festival (Robert Redford's film fest). As for trivia, Dwayne wears a T-shirt with a picture of Big Brother from George Orwell's 1984 (the 1956 version).

The movie is rated R for language, some sex and drug content. It's 101 minutes long.


This movie is a pedestrian effort that tries to cash in on the horror wave going on. It is poorly scripted, full of incredulous behavior, and has a truck that can recreate itself. There is a lot of violence that reminds me of the torture scenes in Wolf Creek, another movie that seemed to be gratuitously gruesome for its own sake.

All you have to know is that on IMDb the User Comment was "A Big Disappointment".
The writer/director John Shiban used to be a staff writer and producer for The X Files. The unrated version is 85 stunning minutes. The R rated version is 80 minutes long (5 minutes less suffering) and has strong violence and gore, language and some sexuality. Joey Lawrence of TV fame (Blossom) plays the motorcycle cop. I didn't recognize him.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Hot Club

Thanks to the Wednesday Wevelers, things at the Hot Club have been picking up lately. My thanks to Buff Steve, Frequent Flyer, Mike Module and the Herbster for appearances. Ex-Blue Cross Bill might make an appearance and I've heard from Caren and Erica. CC Rider is always welcome and we may yet get to see the Runaway Trains (Lionel and Diesel) and The Victor. I'll be at the HC this Wed. (2/7) but Thurs (2/15) next week not Wed. Valentine's with Victoria.

Oh and congratulations to the Lovely Lisa and her beau Bill who just got engaged. No date as yet but Lovely Lisa is now sporting a splendid-looking rock. Good luck to them both.

Foot Joy said he once almost got engaged. FJ said, "It worked out for the best." Wise said, "The best for whom?" "We'll never know", I observed.

A male-female duo that are just friends were reminiscing about a dinner date they once shared. She had tuna tartar. He said, "I spent more money on you than I do on my girlfriend."

A woman named Sherry, who knows Lovely Lisa, found out that I knew Sexual Chocolate. LL said, "Ask him if it's with cherries on top."

We were talking about the Building 19 in Pawtucket moving. The present site is the former clubhouse of Narragansett RaceTrack. Sean said that his father had horses at Narragansett. As a 10-11 year old kid, Sean would walk the horses. He got his hot walker license. Sean said one horse didn't like the automatic walker and would step on your foot. 1400 lbs. on your foot.

Two women were celebrating one's 30th birthday. Mercy and Karis went to high school in Tampa. The School of the Holy Name. "School of the Horny Dame", said Mercy.

Erica told me her husband Ahngelo is in 'dynamite'. "Oh, construction", I noted. "No. destruction", said Foot Joy. FJ wondered whether there is truth to the rumor that Ella's first word was 'Boom'.

I was telling the regulars that I got a parking ticket - in front of my house. It was for 'wheels turned left to the corner'. I've been in Darlington since 1954 and never been ticketed for parking in front of my house. I said Pawtucket must be strapped for money. Foot Joy said the same thing happened to him last year. FJ said a cop told him that they only tag if a neighbor complains.

PhotoGenic said that she has been to Michael Jordan's restaurant in Santa Barbara. Sometimes Michael Jordan is there serving drinks. The night PhotoGenic was there, Michael Jordan was at the bar and served her. She said she was so in awe that she tipped him $5.


This movie is a nice marriage of magic and mortality. Of illusion and reality. Love and death. Love unrequited and love fulfilled. Victoria and I liked it very much.

Edward Norton carries the movie as Eisenheim the Illusionist. He is aided and abetted by Paul Giamatti who is intense as Inspector Uhl, a man torn between doing his duty and preserving his dignity. Rufus Sewell (Dark City) is good as Crown Prince Leopold and Jessica Biel (Sophie) warms the cockles of our hearts and the hero's.

The film is a period piece set in Vienna. It's about class society and class that money, power and property can't buy. The film is done in soft yellows and browns to evoke the sepia images of the past. It is 110 minutes and rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence.

Neil Burger (Interview with the Assassin - 2002) directed and wrote the screenplay based on the short story Eisenheim the Illusionist by Steven Milhauser. It was filmed in the Czech Republic. The tagline is "Nothing is what it seems."

According to IMDb, the film got a PG-13 instead of an R because the word 'fornicating' is used instead of f**king. Use of the latter word automatically gets you an 'R'.

IMDb also notes 2 historical connections with the fictional movie. Austrian Emperor Franz Josef's only son Rudolph was found slain with his mistress at his Mayerling hunting lodge. The Eisenheim character is based on a magician and 'clairvoyant' named Erik Jan Hanussen who was famous in early 20th century Vienna. Hanussen was killed by the Nazis in 1933.

Edward Norton, per IMDb, did many of his own magic tricks and was coached by James Freedman who also was Norton's hand double. Jessica Biel replaced the original actress who was to play Sophie just before the movie started shooting.


This is set in Paris in the year 2010 when good gets punished and evil goes on getting rewarded. It's directed by Pierre Morel and the screenplay is by Luc Besson and Bibi Naceri, who plays Taha. The script stretches the thin fabric of a story over the cityscape that is the personal jungle gym of Leito (David Belle) and later Damien (Cyril Rafaelli).

This movie is an actioneer of the first order with Leito scaling the walls of buildings, leaping cat-like from rooftop to rooftop and using the confines of District B-13 to his advantage. Nine minutes into this movie and I was in love with it.

District B-13 is clearly really Barrio B-13 but the producers must have shied away from using the less PC 'Barrio', staying with the safety of 'District'. That aside, this is one fun movie with baddies played to the hilt in the person of K2 (Tony D'Amario) and Taha (Bibi Naceri). The opening scene with K2 is especially memorable. If you have good heroes, you need very bad villains. This movie has both. When Taha asks K2 how he let Leito get away, K2 says, "He's like a bar of soap."

No strain on the brain here just action packed escapist fare that fits well as a stress reliever and laugh inducer. It's 85 minutes and Rated R for strong violence, some drug content and language.

With Yeti (Jeffrey Zade Rudom) and a rap song in French.

According to IMDb, Leito's style of leaping, jumping and wall scaling is called 'Parkour' and was invented by David Belle who plays Leito. Belle was influenced by his father Richard. No special effects were used in 90% of the 'Parkour' scenes.

In the trivia section, IMDb notes that several B-13 gang members wear NFL jerseys (Giants, Saints, Jets). Since the producers didn't get permission to use them from the NFL Players' Association, the names on the jerseys were digitally removed so they wouldn't get sued.