Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Hot Club

The Cisco Kid was in from San Francisco, so there was a Sisto Fest. Cisco was holding court and said "Conduit" as a woman walked by. She stopped and repeated it "Conduit." Cisco then told her, "Conduit. Get me one in the Ladies' Room."

Cisco's friend and Yankees fan Richard (aka RA7 for Mickey Mantle) wouldn't go along with our hitting each other's glasses while toasting Cisco. Richard has a 'No clicking' rule.

Mr. D. and I met Brian who tends bar locally. Brian said that kids like shots and exotic drinks like an Irish Car Bomb (Guinness with a shot of Bailey's and Jameson's together) or a Mind Eraser (vodka, Kahlua and soda) drunk with a power straw.

So Mr. D. recalled high balls and 7 and 7's. I remembered boilermakers - a beer and a shot of whiskey. Brian said he has an elderly woman for a customer and she comes in and orders one drink a night - 'a 14'. That's a 7 and 7 once.

Turns out Brian is a Red Sox fan. He saw Matt Damon on Letterman. Letterman reminded Damon that the Yankees had beaten the BoSox that day. Damon responded, "Yes and 10 more and you'll be in 2nd place." Letterman persisted, "And we have Roger Clemens." Damon said, "We had him when he was 20 forty years ago."

According to Mr. D., Alice Cooper owns a bar/restaurant in Cleveland called Cooperstown.

We also thought of Narragansett beer (when it was good) and those great commercials. I always thought Elaine May and Mike Nichols had something to do with the ads. That was back before pop tops. You had to use a can opener to puncture a hole in the beer can top. My grandfather Jim Cullen opened a beer on the wing of my dad's '59 Chevy. My Dad was outraged. My grandfather said, "Oh George, it's only a car."

When I asked Adam if he had seen 28 Weeks Later or Hostel Part II, he told me that he doesn't like torture movies. Many people don't. It's horror for me though and I like horror.

Congratulations to Chuck D Computer who has lost a lot of weight. Chuck told me "Not everything gets smaller."

Alexander the Great is back. I understand he was away conquering the world.

An old guy was wearing a T-shirt that read 'Old Guys Rule'. Then a young thing bent over to pick up a quarter and I thought "Youth rules." Or the 'Utes' of the country rule.


Having seen all the other films based on Thomas Harris' Hannibal Lecter character, I figured I should check this out. It's OK. But only diehards and completists need bother.

It tells the tale of how Hannibal came to be Hannibal. We are shown young Hannibal in Lithuania ('44) during the 2nd World War. After that it becomes your basic revenge flick.

Gaspard Ulliel as Hannibal has the look but he speaks with an accent that is hard to understand at times. They've thrown in Gong Li (Miami Vice, Memoirs of a Geisha) as Lady Murasaki, but there's no chemistry between the two. Peter Webber directed.

Supposedly this is based on a screenplay by Thomas Harris. If so it's pretty weak,

IMDb says Hayden Christensen and Macauley Culkin screen tested for Hannibal. And trivia: latex gloves are used in the film. It's supposed to be the '50's. Such gloves weren't invented until much later.

Red Dragon, the Thomas Harris book from whence Hannibal sprang, has also generated Manhunter (1986), Silence of the Lambs (1991), Hannibal (2001) and Red Dragon (2002). Hannibal is based on Harris' book Hannibal.

According to Michael Weldon (The Psychotronic Video Guide), Harris' Hannibal Lector is based in part on real-life killer Gary Heidnik.

Manhunter by Miami Vice's Michael Mann has William Peterson, Brian Cox as Hannibal and Tom Noonan as the 'Tooth Fairy'. Noonan was Rodney Dangerfield's buddy in Easy Money. This is almost as good as Silence of the Lambs. In fact Victoria liked it better. I think Lambs is a more complete picture, but I was not happy with Jonathan Demme's ending. The killer is wearing night vision goggles in the cellar. Jodie Foster can't see him.

However Anthony Hopkins made the character of Hannibal Lector. A sneering, leering killer who is intelligent, cultured and a gourmand with a taste for the human ('fava beans and a fine Chianti').

Hannibal, directed by Ridley Scott (Alien), has its moments and I liked Julianne Moore in the Clarice Starling role. There is a savage comeuppance to wise guy Ray Liotta (one of the great horror moments in cinema). David Mamet co-wrote the script (per Leonard Maltin's 2004 Movie and Video Guide).

Red Dragon is basically a remake of Manhunter. This time Edward Norton is the FBI agent. Brett Ratner directed. He has Harvey Keitel, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Emily Watson, Bill Duke (Predator) and Ralph Fiennes. Yet I remember Hannibal more vividly than I do Red Dragon.

So the rankings are Manhunter and Silence of the Lambs in a tie, then Hannibal, Red Dragon and Hannibal Uprising.


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