Monday, August 15, 2005


Been over a week now—my bad. It's been a fairly busy time, I guess. Went to visit my sister in Oklahoma last weekend, just for a couple days. Her husband's a music professor, and he'll be starting teaching at U of O this year. Not a bad little town, Norman, although I'd imagine that it gets nuts once school (and especially football) starts.

Actually, what I've managed to do lately is watch a bunch of movies I'd missed earlier, which helped me rediscover the notion that Hollywood should be wiped from the face of the earth. Ironically, this is exactly what happens in "The Day After Tomorrow," one of said movies. I believe Rasheed Wallace would refer to this movie as CTC—especially for an indie guy like Jake Gyllenhall clocking big-studio dollars. Like earlier crap such as "Independence Day," it's a horrifically bad story wrapped in bang-zoom special effects. I can imagine the meetings. "Hey, this dialogue is really bad." "Yeah, but who cares? We blow apart the Hollywood sign and float a freighter up Fifth Avenue? Isn't that cool?" "Yeah, but look. Dennis Quaid's character. Is he even still with his wife? Should we even care?" "Did I mention that we freeze the Statue Of Liberty and have a dickhead Vice President who looks totally like Dick Cheney?" "Oh, fine, who cares. It's just a summer movie anyway. The Statue of Liberty, huh?"

However, "The Day After Tomorrow" looks like an all-time classic next to the complete load of celluloid (do they even use that stuff anymore?) trash that was "I, Robot." Don't get me wrong—I like Will Smith. Thought he was great in "Six Degrees of Separation," and "Men In Black" (and the inevitable sequel) remain staples of my late-night In Demand diet. And I love Isaac Asimov. While I've only read a fraction of his monstrous output, among the books of his I HAVE read are "I, Robot" and the rest of the trilogy. Another website summed up the film with a doctored photo of Will Smith pissing on Sir Isaac's grave. That right there saves me a thousand words.

There was some other dreck mixed in there as well, that my mind seems to be blocking. (I watched "Bruce Almighty" this morning, and that was—pardon the phrase—godawful, too.) The one good movie I watched wasn't from Hollywood, of course. It was "Shaun Of The Dead," the British zombie semi-spoof (I say "semi" because a couple likeable characters get offed). Hollywood's insistence on product placement and happy endings and super-high-tech special effects almost assures bad movies. And the more they spend, the worse they are. (I didn't bother seeing "Batman Begins"—despite hearing it was good, "Star Wars" or "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy"—because I absolutely loved the books and I'm terrified to see what they did to it. I'll buy the DVD.)

The next couple I plan on watching are DVDs I picked up in Oklahoma—the Criterion Collection version of "A Life Aquatic," and the unrated version of "Team America: World Police." Meant to see both of 'em in the theater, but never got around to it. I always do that.


Today was the day that teams in the NBA could use the "amnesty clause," where they could waive one player to save their salary against the luxury tax. How it works is this: the original team cuts the player, but is still responsible for paying their salary. The player also still counts against that teams salary cap, but the team doesn't have to pay any additional luxury tax that kicks in when they exceed the cap. (It's a dollar-for-dollar tax, meaning if you're $10 million over the cap, you pay an additional $10 million in tax.) The player, freed from his former team, can then sign anywhere else—making a little extra on top of what they're already contractually owed. Not to mention a team can pick up a former All-Star like Michael Finley for a fraction of what his guaranteed contract is still paying him. And this is a League with labor issues?

Strangely enough, the so-called "Allan Houston Rule" didn't result in Allan Houston's being set free. Houston, still owed roughly $60 million by the Knicks, has been hurt for roughly three years straight and hasn't played a meaningful minute while under his max deal. Either the Knicks think he can get healthy enough to play for Larry Brown (ha ha, he couldn't get healthy enough to play for DON CHANEY), or that he'll take a medical retirement and come off the books soon enough anyway. There's only one team that would be dumb enough to trade for him, and unfortunately for him, he's already on it.


More later. My phone is out for the second time in a week, and Verizon has been spectacularly unhelpful. Might be time to switch up.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


Well, assuming you've followed the news today, you'll most likely have seen that adidas acquired Reebok for a heck of a lot of billion dollars. And assuming you had as much foreknowledge of the deal as I did, you probably had the same reaction. Mainly, what the F—??? It's crazy—like Ford buying GM, or the NBA buying the NFL.

I get it, I guess. By joining forces, they have a better shot of unseating Nike, what with adidas's dominance in Europe and Reebok's, um, hip-hop connections over here (which they've gotten by spending large amounts of money on what Nike's long gotten for free, but I digress). I expect it to work out much like Nike and Converse, with both brands maintaining separate identities, and it basically not mattering on a day-to-day basis. At least for now—because I can't imagine adidas spending that kind of loot just to let Reebok do what they've been doing. Consolidation will have to happen at some point—and whether that means Yao and AI switch to three stripes, I don't know.

That is, at least until Nike buys the whole mess tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

High Society

Saw "The Aristocrats" last night. Funny? Yes. Obscene? Most definitely. Worth seeing? By all means, yes. Gilbert Gottfried alone was worth the price of admission (despite the fact that said price is now $10.75). Yet it still raised some questions.

1) The fact that the movie was advertised and promoted as "the most obscene movie ever," or something like that, made sure that anyone seeing it would be disappointed by the actual level of obscenity. OK, sure, there were probably some little kids or nuns or something who were shocked and horrified by the liberal use of profanity and sexual imagery, but I wasn't. When it's said that a movie is going to break all boundaries of common decency (and it's still questionable whether it was more offensive than the "South Park" movie), you can't help but going into with outsized expectations. You're being set up for a fall—you're inevitably going to be, if not disappointed, at least underwhelmed. I mean, I love George Carlin as much as the next guy, but his whole act just isn't nearly as shocking as it was when he started it back 30 years ago. It takes a lot more than incest and bestiality to shock a 21st century audience. Although, to the movie's credit, they sure tried.

2) A couple of notes on the previews: I can't WAIT for Sarah Silverman's movie. Oughta make "The Aristocrats" look like "The Aristocats." And whoever greenlighted the upcoming movie with Samuel L. Jackson and Eugene Levy should be shot. Immediately.

3) The comedians in "The Aristocrats" were great. The aformentioned Gottfried, Carlin and Silverman, Bob Saget, Paul Reiser, Andy Richter, Andy Dick, Chris Rock, Steven Wright, Whoopi Goldberg. But you couldn't help but wonder about the guys who didn't appear. Did Penn Jillette not ask them? Or did they decline? I'm talking about guys like Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chapelle, Denis Leary, Larry David, David Letterman, Bobcat Goldthwait, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Bill Cosby (although somehow I think he would have passed), John Cleese. And it's a goddamn shame that Sam Kinison, Mitch Hedberg, Milton Berle and especially Rodney Dangerfield didn't live long enough to participate. (Then again, why didn't someone break out a Ouija board? Whoopi was in "Ghost," she should know the deal.)

4) The joke itself kind of sucks. Sure, you can stretch it out and make it absurdly disgusting, but when you already know the payoff, what's so damn funny? It's comedic masturbation. And it's the delivery more than the content that makes it occasionally great. (If you see it, note the difference between Gottfried and Saget.) Obscenity is so passé now anyway—thanks to things like "South Park."

5) Just see it. You could probably use a laugh.