Incidental Acts of Spontaneous Cerebral Violence

Thursday, October 28, 2004

I guess it's kind of like getting into someone else's car at the valet

Baby Given to Wrong Mom for Breast-Feeding
WINCHESTER, Mass. - A newborn at Winchester Hospital was given to the wrong mother for breast-feeding and the employee who was responsible was fired, hospital officials said.

The sister-in-law of the woman who was given the wrong baby said the woman noticed something was wrong when the baby nursed with greater vigor than her child and seemed to have longer hair. A nurse took the baby from her arms and said, "Oops, this isn't the right baby," said the sister-in-law, who asked not to be identified.
Well, that's one infant who's going to be a tit man (or woman) when he/she grows up.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The curse of Sadie Frost

Take a look at Jude Law’s imdb entry. Go ahead. Right now. Guess what? There’s not a homerun to be found. Not a one.

On paper, Jude looks like he should be the most successful actor in the world. Think about it:
--Steven Spielberg directed him in a picture inspired and developed by Stanley Kubrick.

--He co-starred with Tom Hanks and Paul Newman in Sam Mendes’s follow-up to “American Beauty.”

--He played the glamour role opposite Matt Damon, Gwyneth and Cate Blanchett in Anthony Minghella’s follow-up to “The English Patient.”

--Minghella cast him as the lead (undeservingly Oscar-nominated) with Nicole (coming off her Oscar win) and Renée (Oscar winner) in an adaptation of Charles Frazier’s National Book Award-winning novel.

--Independent auteur and enfant terrible David O’Russell cast him as part of a great ensemble (Hoffman, Tomlin, Schwartzman, Huppert, Watts, Wahlberg, etc.) in an incredibly quirky, challenging and idiosyncratic motion picture.

--He plays the lead (and gets a producer credit) alongside Gwyneth and Angelina in Paramount’s visually groundbreaking attempt at a grand summer adventure.

--Clint Eastwood directs him in the adaptation of one of the best-selling nonfiction books of the 90’s along with Kevin Spacey and John Cusack.

--He takes on a paradigmatic title role in Charles Shyer’s remake of an all-time classic Oscar-nominated movie.
Not one of these moves is a classic. Arguably, at least half of them don’t even rise to the level of “good.” It’s as if Jude’s career has been genetically engineered for perfection, however, what works in theory does not succeed in practice (à la “Gattaca”).

Within its billing block, “Closer” looks like it can not miss: (i) Patrick Marber adapted the screenplay from his own award-winning play; (ii) Mike Nichols is directing and (iii) it co-stars with Julia Roberts, Clive Owen and that girl from “Garden State.” Despite this pedigree, I'm tempering my expectations. (Yeah, I’m going to see it multiple times, but there’s a whole different motivation there.)

And “The Aviator”? Talk about the perfect motion picture: Howard Hughes biopic, Scorsese, Leo, Blanchett, Beckinsale, Baldwin, etc. Hopefully Law’s cameo as Errol Flynn is not significant enough to make or break “The Aviator” and that it will either succeed or fail regardless of, or despite, his presence.

Jude’s presence alone foreshadows a motion picture’s devolution from extraordinary in conception to merely ordinary in execution. Cause & effect? I’m not certain. Is Jude Law the catalyst that turns otherwise outstanding films into throwaway movies of good intention and wasted potential? Could very well be. Ask me again after “All the King’s Men.”

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Aloha, Mr. Hand.

Tomorrow evening I will have the distinct pleasure of seeing "The Assassination of Richard Nixon" in the company of its star. I'm more than a little excited. And actually a little bit scared. Now, I've seen Sean Penn on many occasions, but never actually met him. Tomorrow will be a fairly intimate setting and I'm sure I will have the opportunity to chat him up.

The big conundrum is what I can possibly ask him that will be conversationally compelling yet innocuous enough so that he doesn't CRUSH™ me with his death rays (or just fucking deck me for mere sport):

Do I ask him if being the best American actor under 45 really gets him that much more pussy than 67 year-old Jack Nicholson?

Or do I ask him if he and Robin dress up as Buttercup and the Dread Pirate Roberts when they're being naughty?

Or perhaps I should ask him if it's really true that he based his "i am sam" role on his brother?

Actually, I've always wondered whether Nick Cage let Sean pet his Oscar after beating him in 1996.

Bottom line--

I think I'll just ask him what it's like to be the coolest motherfucker on the planet since Miles.

Unless someone has a better idea ...

Monday, October 25, 2004

Remnick & Co. Speak

For the first time in its history, the New Yorker endorses a presidential candidate:
The damage visited upon America, and upon America’s standing in the world, by the Bush Administration’s reckless mishandling of the public trust will not easily be undone. And for many voters the desire to see the damage arrested is reason enough to vote for John Kerry. But the challenger has more to offer than the fact that he is not George W. Bush. In every crucial area of concern to Americans (the economy, health care, the environment, Social Security, the judiciary, national security, foreign policy, the war in Iraq, the fight against terrorism), Kerry offers a clear, corrective alternative to Bush’s curious blend of smugness, radicalism, and demagoguery. Pollsters like to ask voters which candidate they’d most like to have a beer with, and on that metric Bush always wins. We prefer to ask which candidate is better suited to the governance of our nation.

Throughout his long career in public service, John Kerry has demonstrated steadiness and sturdiness of character. The physical courage he showed in combat in Vietnam was matched by moral courage when he raised his voice against the war, a choice that has carried political costs from his first run for Congress, lost in 1972 to a campaign of character assassination from a local newspaper that could not forgive his antiwar stand, right through this year’s Swift Boat ads. As a senator, Kerry helped expose the mischief of the Bank of Commerce and Credit International, a money-laundering operation that favored terrorists and criminal cartels; when his investigation forced him to confront corruption among fellow-Democrats, he rejected the cronyism of colleagues and brought down power brokers of his own party with the same dedication that he showed in going after Oliver North in the Iran-Contra scandal. His leadership, with John McCain, of the bipartisan effort to put to rest the toxic debate over Vietnam-era P.O.W.s and M.I.A.s and to lay the diplomatic groundwork for Washington’s normalization of relations with Hanoi, in the mid-nineties, was the signal accomplishment of his twenty years on Capitol Hill, and it is emblematic of his fairness of mind and independence of spirit. Kerry has made mistakes (most notably, in hindsight at least, his initial opposition to the Gulf War in 1990), but—in contrast to the President, who touts his imperviousness to changing realities as a virtue—he has learned from them.

Kerry’s performance on the stump has been uneven, and his public groping for a firm explanation of his position on Iraq was discouraging to behold. He can be cautious to a fault, overeager to acknowledge every angle of an issue; and his reluctance to expose the Administration’s appalling record bluntly and relentlessly until very late in the race was a missed opportunity. But when his foes sought to destroy him rather than to debate him they found no scandals and no evidence of bad faith in his past. In the face of infuriating and scurrilous calumnies, he kept the sort of cool that the thin-skinned and painfully insecure incumbent cannot even feign during the unprogrammed give-and-take of an electoral debate. Kerry’s mettle has been tested under fire—the fire of real bullets and the political fire that will surely not abate but, rather, intensify if he is elected—and he has shown himself to be tough, resilient, and possessed of a properly Presidential dose of dignified authority. While Bush has pandered relentlessly to the narrowest urges of his base, Kerry has sought to appeal broadly to the American center. In a time of primitive partisanship, he has exhibited a fundamentally undogmatic temperament. In campaigning for America’s mainstream restoration, Kerry has insisted that this election ought to be decided on the urgent issues of our moment, the issues that will define American life for the coming half century. That insistence is a measure of his character. He is plainly the better choice. As observers, reporters, and commentators we will hold him to the highest standards of honesty and performance. For now, as citizens, we hope for his victory.
The above are the final three of the thirty-one paragraphs that constitute the New Yorker's essay. Read the entire piece and see the "failure, arrogance and . . . incompetence" of the Dubya Presidency dissected within the other twenty-eight cogent paragraphs.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


My dog Maggie (lived in Chicago with my folks) was put to sleep this morning. It is raining here in LA. I am sad. That is all.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

I know I've been negligent as of late but this is just too damn good not to post

Nick Nolte's Diary, Malibu, California
October 02, 2004

The good news is that the wadding pool is finished, the bad news is that we have to now cover it up, because the autumn winds make it impossible to enjoy. Spring is just around the corner... Humor me. Monolo is out of his funk. He has been cooking like a crazy man lately, and to everyone's benefit. Nothing goes better with my ginko-carrot juice than a warm bran shuckle. I have been reading in the raquetball court lately. I am upset that I didn't think of it earlier. It is tremendous way to relax. I read a marvelous script the other day and immediately called Gary to get me the part. Diary this was the role for me. I was upset to find however, that the movie was already made. Apparently I picked a script from the wrong pile. Well I am going to go to the store and pick up a copy of 'Turk 182' anyway. Salaam Alekiem.

And to Maccers as she travels to one of my favorite places in the world:

Jou ma se linke tet skiet rubber bullets.

(Afrikaans-to-English: Your mother's left tit shoots rubber bullets.)
Have a great trip.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Claustrophobia (a/k/a It's getting quite crowded in here)

The incomparable turbulent priest has finally started a blog.

Sunday, October 10, 2004


Move along. There's nothing to see here.

Thursday, October 07, 2004


I’m still recovering from yesterday’s inevitable development and my glorious encounter with the “Friday Night Lights” premiere after-party open bar. As a result, today is all about work and resuscitation. I’ll save the Billy Bob and Faith Hill anecdotes for tomorrow.

If you like football, see the movie. Hell, if you tolerate football, see the movie. Any film that prominently features “Bring The Noise” in its soundtrack is well worth $10.

Here are some pics. Unfortunately I didn't get to hang with Lauren Graham.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

This is the sexiest picture ever. Ever.

[infinite gratitude to Daily Kos & Defamer]

Ramen? That's so not fair. When I was at Michigan the Clinton campaign only gave us dime bags.

Republicans Accuse Moore of Vote Bribery [AP]
LANSING, Mich. -- Republicans say filmmaker Michael Moore should be prosecuted for offering underwear, potato chips and Ramen noodles to college students in exchange for their promise to vote.

The Michigan Republican Party has asked four county prosecutors to file charges against Moore, charging that his get-out-the-vote stunt amounts to bribery. "We want everyone to participate in this year's election, but not because they were bribed or coerced by the likes of Michael Moore," said Greg McNeilly, executive director of the state Republican Party. Moore, a Michigan native, is touring the country and imploring "slackers" who usually don't vote to head to the polls this year, saying they could make the difference in the presidential race. Moore has made stops at three Michigan universities as part of a 60-city pre-election tour.

During each program, habitual nonvoters are invited on stage to pledge to vote. First-time student voters are offered gag prizes such as clean underwear. The GOP said Moore also offered students a clean dorm room, a year's supply of Tostitos and a package of Ramen noodles.

The GOP said it asked the prosecutors to charge Moore, a John Kerry (news - web sites) supporter, with violating Michigan's election law, which prohibits a person from contracting with another for something of value in exchange for agreeing to vote.
To make it fair and balanced, I'd be happy to sell my vote to the Republicans, but I can only think of one thing (w/one particular person) that would get me to vote for Dubya. And she's an avowed Kerry girl, so that ain't happening.

Anybody who gave FOUR STARS to "About Last Night...", Less Than Zero and Almost Famous is my kind of critic

Roger Ebert, my former teacher, the first film critic to win a Pulitzer and the man who gave me my first 9 DVDs, has launched his new website:

It contains all of his movie reviews (including his "great movies"), essays, interviews, articles, Answer Man Q & A's and little movie glossary entries.

Whatever you may think of Roger Ebert as a critic--he definitely is not the same critic or writer he once was--do yourself a favor and check out the site and, in particular, this brilliant review.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The Comedy Store lights are dim tonight

Rodney Dangerfield, Comic Seeking Respect, Dies at 82
Rodney Dangerfield, the paunchy, goggle-eyed comedian whose fidgety delivery and sad-sack catch phrase "I don't get no respect" brought him cult status and eventually wider fame, died yesterday in a Los Angeles hospital. He was 82.

With a rumpled suit and one hand perpetually loosening his trademark red necktie, Mr. Dangerfield took the stage as a hapless, self-deprecating Everyman slapped around by life and searching in vain for acceptance. It was a role that he had had some experience with offstage. But for his audiences, it was one laugh after another, from gag lines like these:

"I was an ugly child. I got lost on the beach. I asked a cop if he could find my parents. He said, 'I don't know. There's lots of places for them to hide.' "

Or: "My fan club broke up. The guy died."

Or: "Last week my house was on fire. My wife told the kids, 'Be quiet, you'll wake up Daddy.' "

Or: "I was ugly, very ugly. When I was born, the doctor smacked my mother."
Check out Rodney's official site. And give him a listen.

Insomniac Insanity

This is Christian Bale and Jennifer Jason Leigh at last night’s West Coast premiere of “The Machinist”.

And this is Trevor Reznik, as played by Bale. Reznik hasn’t slept in a year and weighs 120 lbs. Bale lost 63 lbs. in four months for the role. And, regardless of the quality of the film (it’s watchable; good, not great; strong performances; script loses momentum), Bale’s Auschwitz-survivor appearance overwhelms every frame. My discomfort came not from the story, the photography or the performances, but from looking at Bale in that state for 102 minutes. While Bale may claim the weight loss was not a “gimmick,” any impact or value of the film is overshadowed by its emaciated star.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Forget the VP debate. Tomorrow’s all about Jack Tanner.

First, The Criterion Collection releases Robert Altman and Gary Trudeau’s brilliant “Tanner ‘88” on DVD.

Second, “Tanner on Tanner” premieres on Sundance Channel at 9 pm.

Last week was not fun because ...

Reason #7: Helmer Out

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Emancipation through the back door lying at my front door

One of the great advantages of having resumed home delivery of the Sunday New York Times is the ability to find tidbits and stories that would generally escape my eye when simply perusing Whether it's Andrew Moore's MOMA photographs in the Magazine, a "Heaven's Gate" timeline in Arts & Leisure, or Choire's take on The Guide, discovery upon the tangible page far surpasses the experience which comes via the ethereal interweb.

While I do receive the NYT's "Books Update" e-mail every Friday, I have neither the patience nor time to digest all of its content in one sitting. As a result, I often skip or altogether overlook everything but the featured reviews. Flipping through the Book Review on a Sunday morning while awaiting the 10 am kick-offs gives me the opportunity to revisit and rectify any glaring omissions. Thankfully, this giant photo on page 36 under the title "The Beauty of Submission" stopped me in my tracks long enough to read Zoe Heller's review of "The Surrender: An Erotic Memoir" [click on the keyhole] by former NYCB dancer Toni Bentley, which is described as "a manifesto for anal sex":
By giving herself up to "this forbidden pathway," Bentley writes, she has not only found her self, she has discovered "Paradise," she has experienced "eternity in a moment of real time," and she has gotten to know God "experientially." That's not all. She is also pretty sure that anal sex is responsible for piercing her yang, forcing her yin to the surface and releasing decades of anger stored in her lower intestine.

Bentley's inclination to various kinds of self-abasement found early expression in her childhood fascination with the lives of the saints, and later on in her career as a ballet dancer. (All that pain and discipline, all that bowing and scraping before the God-like Balanchine.) But neither these interests nor a busy history of sexual experimentation ever fully satisfied her masochistic yearnings. Only, she claims, when she met a man prepared to focus his attention on her neglected orifice did she enter the realm of bliss. For the just under three years that she and her sodomizer -- a man referred to throughout the book by the regrettable moniker "A-Man" -- enjoyed regular bouts of earth-moving sex, Bentley maintained a detailed journal of her experiences. She also kept a tally of how many times she was anally penetrated and made mathematical calculations about the average number of anal episodes she was having per year, week and day. She fetishized the accouterments of her sexual obsession -- dedicating herself to finding the best and most economical lubricants, the most sex-friendly boudoir-wear. In a manner befitting a woman who was experiencing a spiritual as well as sexual awakening, she also preserved her lover's used condoms, much as an acolyte might hoard religious relics. . . .

While Bentley certainly has the requisite pluck for the job, her prose, alas, proves incommensurate with her ambition. For much of her narrative, she resorts to the demotic language of contemporary pornography. While unbeautiful, this has the virtue of appropriateness. It is when she strives for a high, poetic style that she runs into problems. "I was now being given a second chance,'' she writes of her anal deflowering, "not on the well-trodden vaginal trail, but in a place entirely new to my consciousness -- and it quickly became the site of my consciousness."

The results of her laboriously facetious punning jags are hardly more pleasing: "This is the back story of a love story. A back story that is the whole story. A second hole story, to be entirely accurate. Love from inside my backside. . . . No hindsight for me in this great love but rather behind-sight -- cited from the eye of my behind."
And here I thought that the only books I needed to order from Amazon this past week were "America (The Book)", "The Plot Against America", "In the Shadow of No Towers", "Seconds of Pleasure" and "Confessions of an Heiress". Thank god for Judith Regan and The New York Times Book Review, without which I never would have happened upon "The Surrender", a latter day "Iliad" for the brown eye.

Friday, October 01, 2004



One’s mood can be dramatically improved when an unexpected late night knock at your door reveals a semi-drunk 22 year-old blonde woman.


There is very little that can match the joy of a truly surprise midday phone call from a close friend of yore.


No matter how short, the time spent with an ugly rental car is too long.


It’s quite a downer to learn that good friends are to be divorced, especially when you were present the moment they met and still vividly recall their not-too-distant wedding.


Asshole-mode can be quite a rush, particularly when your boss says, “Fuck that prick; you let him off too easy.”


Remember this post? I’m 48 hours away from winning the whole damn thing. Never give up, never surrender!

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