Saturday, July 30, 2005

Will blather incoherently for food.

Armond White may soon be out of a job. Gawker has been having a field day the last few weeks speculating that the New York Press might be going under. Anyone who reads this blog or indeed knows me (which makes like 4 of you guys) will know that I consider this to fall squarely in the realm of turnabout being fair play. That Armond continues to get paid to criticize film while a guy like Chuck Taylor gets canned over at Salon is a god damned miscarriage of justice.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Simpson Family Living Proof That Dreams Come True

Just saw Joe Simpson on Entertainment Tonight, lurking outside the screening of one daughter's film, while he clutches another daughter close to his side. What pearls of Pop-Southern Baptist pastor wisdom does Joe bestow upon us tonight? "We are living proof that dreams come true." I feel it's not being presumptuous for UN Spacy to say that we speak for the entire human race when we extend to Joe our most sincere "fuck you"s. And although it's far from news, there's no such thing as a bad time to revisit Superdad Joe's 2004 GQ interview: "Jessica never tries to be sexy, she just is sexy. You put her in a T-shirt or you put her in a bustier, she's sexy in both. She's got double D's! You can't cover those suckers up." No you can't, Joe. Sounds like a father's dream come true.

"Simple Life" Fourth Season Promises To Gloriously Kick Ass

Way back in the spring of '05, Paris Hilton announced that she and Nichole Richie were officially "no longer friends." As adorably second-grade as that was, it left UN Spacy's most beloved brazenly-stagey and perpetually just-short-of-brilliant reality program, The Simple Life, trembling somewhere in limbo.

There was never doubt that Paris, clearly the show's star and biggest draw, would continue for a fourth season. Paris suggested this season might be set in Maui and incorporate more bikinis ("No more pants," she vowed). But who would be the giggling sidekick to her well-honed glazed-over performances? By the end of the third season, Nicole had proven herself to be a vital component to the show, and an imposing celebrity force in her own right (see, for example, this).

The co-star speculation that followed was as incredible as it was, well, incredible. Tara Reid's name was kicked around. Lindsay Lohan was breathlessly fingered (as it were). There was even talk of a revolving cast of companions - one episode with an Olsen twin, another with sister Nicky, maybe one with panties.

These days of dreamy fantasy were shortlived, as Paris began campaigning for Kimberly Stewart as Nicole's replacement. At time of posting, UN Spacy is deeply unimpressed with Ms. Stewart. Aside from a backhanded attagirl to Jennifer Aniston (Stewart admiringly called her "homely"), Stewart's cloying Paris-aping has done little to recommend her. Sorry Kimbo, but unless you can show us coke on the table, we just can't make this case.

Then came word mid-July, like a burning bush, that maybe, just maybe, Nicole would come back for another bleach-slinging season. With no end in sight for the girls' rivalry, sources close to the show intimated that the fourth season might follow Paris and Nicole separately as they prepare for their respective weddings to Paris Latsis and DJ AM. Equal parts bridezilla bedlam and celebutante face-off, this was exciting news indeed. At the time I proclaimed that this promised to be the best season of any program Fox has ever aired. I've not once had cause to regret that statement.

Now, after UN Spacy's repeated assemblies of 8,000 chanting blind orphans, I am deliriously thrilled to announce that our hopes and dreams have, in fact, become reality television (doubly relieving, as our Plan B involved ritual self-mutilation). The Seattle Times reports that both Paris and Nicole have been renewed for the fourth season of The Simple Life. MSNBC quotes Fox President Pete Liguori saying, "Both have been picked up, both will be ready for work, and we’ll work with it." And the cherry on top? No Kimberly Stewart.

Us Weekly Delay Shocker!

The saddest news of the day here at UN Spacy is this: the mailman did not delivery a glossy trove of celebrity-obsessed fluff. This happens from time to time, much to my dismay. Check back on Monday for the Death Match stats, plus to find out if I've been totally demoralized by the dieting secrets of Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Aniston, "and other sexy stars" (a weekly hazard). In the meantime, console yourselves with this trailer for an incredible film that may be coming to your local theater soon.

Tara fall down go boom.

No story here, really. I just think this shit is truly, terribly funny. And like all of us, I just can't resist taking another cheap shot at Tara Reid.

A Socialite's Life has more of these here and here.
I'd also like to point out that my Lady Paris certainly seems to have straightened herself out nicely. Perhaps she's even matured. Okay, so she's headbanging a little in one of these shots, but who among us...?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Lohan Twofer Tuesday!

I said it wasn't over.... The Twin Cities' Star Tribune brings us the goods this time:

While in the Twin Cities shooting "A Prairie Home Companion" movie in St. Paul, Lohan dropped by downtown Minneapolis' Planet Beach to touch up her tan. During the wait Lohan displayed exasperation with the July issue of GQ with Jessica Simpson on the cover.

"She was flipping through it [really annoyed] and [said] under her breath, Oh, she's so ugly," according Planet Beach manager Mary Edam.

There's also a more or less amusing anecdote about LiLo's panicked encounter with cutting-edge spray tan technology.

They say that when you point a finger at somebody else, you point four back at yourself. Usually they're wrong, because the thumb generally goes up in the air (I've hear Bible Belt variations that take account of this). But in this case they're quite correct, as I rock a mean hitchhiker's thumb. Much as we here at UN Spacy would love to dance the Starlets-Slighting-Starlets dance, we're reminded of that old adage about mooring your ship to the testimonies of tanning bed employees. You know the one. Anyway, my point is that it doesn't take Jack McCoy (preferrably with Jamie Ross second-chairing) to establish that, even assuming Edam's story is credible, Lohan could've been looking at just about anything in the GQ. I mention this only because Hilary Duff tried to shake me down for a dollar while I was out getting lunch, and I sorta promised I'd present the possibility that Lohan might've been shit-talking her instead.

Egyptian And Japanese Children Desperately In Need Of Lohan Aid

The New Zealand Herald seems to have all the dirt on LiLo right now. First, I'll let her air her number one talking point:
"All those stories," she says, "they're not the truth. It's not like I'm so interesting anyway. I mean, really, I'm just like any other teenager [...] it's not as if I'm married and I'm cheating on my husband. It's not like I'm robbing people or being a bitch. I get really hurt when I read those stories. Because I have to admit that I want people to like me. I want them to know that I'm not that horrible, selfish, out-of-control person they keep reading about.

"I work hard, then I chill with my friends. I lead a fairly normal life." Lohan takes a breath and then continues. "That's why I hate all the lies that are printed in the magazines, because then the people that I aspire to work with, the directors and actors, think that I'll bring that to the set, that that public persona is me. And it is so not."
Lohan normal teenager, not bitch, certainly not robber. Everyone got that? C'mon, if you thought for a second that she was going to talk about her decline in weight, you're a little naive about how these interview things work. Bank on Lohan's people laying down the no-eating-disorder law before the questions begin.

Moving on, her thoughts on acting classes (which she admits she hasn't ever taken):
"I'd consider it if there was something about a character I needed to research. It's not really been suggested to me. I like to do things organically, just read the script and think of what that character would do in any situation. I think that classes might not be good for me."
Let's not rush to dismiss this. After all, Herbie: Fully Loaded director Angela Robinson has gone so far as to call Lohan "a genius." Robinson knows what she's talking about; her last film was D.E.B.S., described by IMDb user crowbot as something like what would happen "If the Wizard of Oz had given Charlie's Angels 2 a heart, some brains and some courage."

But this is no fun, let's get to the Lindsay that spouts random implausible crap, overturning science, logic, and common sense. The Lindsay Lohan that gives Jessica Alba a run for her money:
Lohan says she wants to be known for being more than just sweet and cute. She has a secret ambition: "I want to go to Egypt and Japan and open orphanages in different countries," she says. "I want to have a chain of them ... " I start laughing. I picture people lining up to buy a Lindsay Lohan Orphanage franchise. But Lohan is dead serious. "There are kids around the world who have nothing. And I have so much. I want to be able to give back."
I'm guessing she rattled off Egypt and Japan because they're the only non-Western nations she could recall by name on a Red Bull lunch. But very possibly there's much that we don't understand about these countries' dire need for Teen Star Founded Orphanages. Especially franchised Teen Star Founded Orphanages.

Just to warn you, it's not over between LiLo and I for the day....

Monday, July 25, 2005

It just popped in there.


Anna Nicole Smith is suing Britney Spears, pictured, for defamation of character stemming from a recent incident in which Spears appeared at a private costume party dressed as the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Yes, this is a fake story. But that picture is real. What the hell do you feed something like that?

Soderbergh's 'Kafka' Undergoing Metamorphosis

In a short interview in Film Review magazine, Ocean's 12 director Steven Soderbergh reveals that he's taken on the task of re-cutting Kafka, his much-maligned 1991 sophomore film, starring Jeremy Irons.
"While we were doing Ocean's, I went back in to re-organize it. It's a completely different film. There's new material - stuff that I shot that never made the movie is now in there. I'm doing it for my own interest - to see if I can make something out of it that I'm happier with. I think the goal, ultimately, is to put out a double DVD with the original and the new version."
Regrettably, Soderbergh fails to seize the opportunity to propose that "films are now like The White Album, permitting for two discs."

Mondo Armond

Here's an oldie but a goodie. Armond White's Worst of 2004. Yeah, I know, but this blog only got started last week. Once again Armond displays a shocking ability to infuriate me. This list is more a collection of comparisons...some of the most asinine comparisons I can come up with. Not only are his picks both bizarre and arbitrary, but his reasoning once again defies all common sense. I reiterate for the record that I am not taking issue with Armond's praise or lack thereof, merely his rationale. Which I might add is patently, obviously, and deliberately contrarian, for no good reason. With that in mind:

De-Lovely < You Got Served -- It didn't seem likely that movie musicals could get worse than Moulin Rouge or Chicago, but Irwin Winkler's moribund biography of Cole Porter sunk even lower.

Okay, I agree with the first part of that sentence. Now, I haven't seen "De-Lovely". My folks liked it, I guess. But I did watch "You Got Served", which is described by Armond as:

...proudly pop, a hiphop musical with muscular dancing that expressed the sexual and political energy of a not-yet calcified culture. It put life in the face of showbiz snobs.

Apparently that statement is based on dialogue like "DJ, drop it like it's hot!"(spoken by soon-to-be-jailbird Li'l Kim), or "Go home and stop acting like a ho!" What about "You did with Dawn, you did it with Shondrella, and you did it with the triplets LaTeesha, LaTasha, LaToya...", or my personal favorite, "Y'all just mad. Because today, you suckers got served. Served. Served. Served! Served!" I realize that Armond is trying to connect with the same audience (both guys, I mean) that read his Tupac biography, but really this is just a case of an old dude trying to be hip.

The Aviator < The Dreamers -- What profiteth a movie brat to win an Oscar and lose his legacy? It's hard to see Scorsese's entry-point for this whitewash bio-pic of millionaire Howard Hughes who produced mostly lousy films and finished his life on the lunatic fringe. This unwieldy behind-the-scenes epic makes a mockery of Hollywood while glamorizing capitalist excess. Compare it to Bertolucci's The Dreamers, which stays the course of enlightened cinephilia. Bertolucci recalls the excitement of political commitment (May '68) and equates it to romantic/sexual liberation—and confusion. Against Scorsese's crude impersonations of Hollywood legends, Bertolucci memorably juxtaposes student activists spiritually channeling their movie idols. Rich stuff, and genuine.

So let me get this straight. Scorsese won an Oscar for this one. It's whitewashed, because Hughes was actually a murderer or something, and it didn't display any of the traits that eventually destroyed the man. His movies sucked, which is relevant because the movie is about a man who loves to build and fly airplanes. And it glamorizes capitalist excess because Hughes ultimately cures himself so that he can live happily with his money, which is what gave him the ability to overcome his illness in the first place.

Oh, wait. NONE OF THAT IS FUCKING TRUE AT ALL. But the movie with the hot naked chick who likes Godard, watching her brother jerk off and eating menstrual blood? That one was seriously relevant and not even slightly exploitive. Here's a good question: What do these two films have in common that warrants their comparison?

Cowards Bend the Knee < Torque -- Guy Maddin continues to bowdlerize silent cinema for a sham cognoscenti.

Wow, deflating a recognized art form simply to impress bourgeois intellectuals? Who would do that?

["Torque" director Joseph Kahn] respects the expressive potential of the vroom-vroom genre. The only rival to Torque's images would be a collaboration between Godard and James Rosenquist. After Hero, it's the most exultant pop art of the year.

WHAT!? GODARD!? And again I ask why these two film are pitted against eachother.

Motorcycle Diaries < Hotel Rwanda -- A travelogue disguised as a reverie of prelapsarian politics versus the hard issue of a nation's civil war. Che Guevara's stardom seems especially trivial next to a Rwandan citizen's moral struggle. One movie makes history picturesque, the other makes it anguished and immediate.

First of all, the way Armond describes "The Motorcycle Diaries" could just as easily be applied to "The Dreamers", which he loved. Second, there is no "moral" struggle in "Hotel Rwanda". Don Cheadle's character wants to save as many people as he can, going so far as to risk his own family and safety, and there's never any question about that. Third, there is nothing anguished and immediate about either of these two films, as "Diaries" could have starred J-Lo if Che just wanted to be a dancer instead of a revolutionary, and "Rwanda" was shot like it was fucking "Rudy", which was just as safe.

Tarnation < The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou -- Jonathan Caouette's therapeutic collage movie is also a jumbled, insensitive family portrait. Its inordinate praise mistook the director's autistic, hysterical scrapbook method for a sensible, artistic ordering of his tastes, fantasies and experience. Wes Anderson's latest feature is as personal and revealing, but because it is constantly surprising and creative, it is never impertinent. Anderson's response to pop experience is healthy and progressive; Caouette's smacks of pitiful and shameless self-exploitation.

I'm throwing this one in to show I'm no mere nitpicker. Armond's dead on the money with this one. I'm not being so hard on him because I think he's automatically wrong. I don't. He's just saying shit that makes sense to nobody 95% of the time. This counts as part of the lucid remaining 5%. Don't say I never gave you anything, pal. I still don't know why you put these two movies together though.

Maria Full of Grace < Spanglish -- This pseudo-Third World indie is actually full of crap. An anti-Homeland Security tearjerker, the story of a Colombian supermodel type puts a twist on illegal immigration. New motto: Give me your bored and materialistic—especially if they have no gag reflex.

Yeah, I'm so sick of movies where we're meant to give a shit about a girl who desperately needs to find a way out of her soul-sucking life in a third world country, so she takes a job as a drug mule, swallows 60 condoms full of smack, flies to the States, watches her friend get horribly sick and then has to tell the girl's family she's totally dead and chopped up somewhere. Oh, and now she's an illegal in New York, with just as few options as she had in Columbia. Bitch.

James L. Brooks' Spanglish exposes all that nonsense "humanism" with an immigration and integration story that honestly questions the values of L.A.'s soft-headed and wrongheaded liberals. His complex view of family love and social commitment shows the difference between compassion and condescension. Funny and remarkable.

Right on! "Humanism" is totally fucking lame. I hate humans. I love how this movie's all about how liberal guilt isn't really just another form of racism, and how social commitment means that a good Mexican should learn her place and not try to "better herself" by going to a great school or accepting any opportunities from people who offer them. The difference between compassion and condescension is absolutely nowhere to be found in this film. It is ruthlessly condescending to each and every character who is not white. Oh, and to the audience. It's really great that Armond compares these two movies because they're both about Latin chicks. It's like comparing "Speed" with "Get on the Bus" because they both have buses.

Police Recover $12,000 In Swag Intended For Jessica Simpson

From the New York Daily News:
A Jessica Simpson fanatic knew enough about the star to convince companies that she was her rep - scoring freebies that the "Dukes of Hazzard" actress supposedly wanted. But the fraud suspect didn't know enough to use a fake address - leading cops right to her door in East Rutherford, N.J.

Courtney Handel had set up an E-mail account in the name of Simpson's actual assistant, Cacee Cobb, and began trolling for goods, claiming, "Jessica just loves your products," East Rutherford police said. Vendors were happy to send their wares to the 23-year-old public relations intern, including gushing notes in the goodie bags.

"You'd think," said a source close to the investigation, "she would've at least used a Mailboxes USA or something."

Acting off a tip from security personnel at Sony, Simpson's record label, detectives visited Handel's home yesterday. They found her apartment filled with shoes, purses, clothing, lingerie, cosmetics and other goods.

The Frye company had sent seven pairs of boots, Reform jewelry company sent two necklaces and Sweet Soul Designs sent thongs, Frilly Bum Bloomers, Lacy Bosom Cupcake bras and Daisy Duke hot pants - all at Handel's specific requests.

"The list we've compiled so far includes Ted Rossi, Pagliei [Cosmetics and Jewelry], Boscia, Peter Thomas Roth, Cynthia O'Connor & Co., Fake Bake Tanning Products, Phyto Cosmetics and more," Detective Sgt. Jeff Yannaconi told the Daily News. "As we were standing outside, UPS pulled up with 12 more packages. We turned to each other and said, 'If only all our cases could be this easy.'"

Identity fraud is obviously nothing to shrug at, but the write-ups of this story I’ve found have all but glossed over that part. The real crime, it seems, is that she received free swag without being affiliated with any rich or famous people.

I knew a guy who told women in clubs that he was a minor league baseball player to get laid. Nobody was particularly proud of him for this, but neither did I ever hear anyone shedding tears for the poor souls fooled by his ruse. Similarly, I’m not sure how high I can rate Handel’s actions on the criminal scale, duplicitous and unethical as they may be.

Also, does no one verify addresses anymore? So anyway, Jessica Alba loves Puma sneakers, and wants an assortment of free samples in Men's Size 9 1/2 sent to her c/o SDF-1, 555 Thistle Ct, Apt C-413....

Duff So Totally Over Lohan Feud

Ah, how Hilary pines for the hours of girltalk with Lindsay Lohan.... IMDb carries the following story, featuring a couple quotes that have been circulating for about a week:
Teen pop sensation Hilary Duff fears she'll never understand why she and former "phone pal" Lindsay Lohan became enemies over their romances with Aaron Carter. The pair's ongoing fights have made media headlines in the past year, but Duff is now keen to move on - even though her one-time pal stole her boyfriend. She says, "The thing I don't understand is that for a while we used to talk on the phone way back when I was shooting Lizzie McGuire and she was shooting a Disney Channel movie. We were phone pals. Then, all of a sudden, all this bad stuff happened. I was just like, 'Why would anyone ever do this to me?' I didn't really understand it. It's hard being so young and having people lie about you, with millions of people reading or watching. It was all about a boyfriend that I had, and it was weird because he caused all this trouble that I didn't really care about and that she couldn't have cared about. You're kids, what does it matter?" Duff has also moved on from Carter and is now dating Good Charlotte star Joel Madden. She adds, "Even though we dated when I was only 14, we did fall in love, and it was serious for us. He did cheat on me, but whatever. We were 14. Who cares?"
“What does it matter?” “Whatever.” “Who cares?” I’m certainly convinced.

Once I got past the confounding fact that not one but two actresses on the Disney payroll let this skeazy-looking runt touch them, I began to detect the faint stench of headline-forcing. How many times can Duff, who no one cares about, bring up the fact that her ex-boyfriend was stepping out on her with LiLo? We get it! We know! It’s the only reason we remember who you are, Hil!

It’s really only a matter of time before the Duffster’s seen hustling commuters for change on the pretense of calling Carter “to talk about his cheating on me with LINDSAY LOHAN. You’ve heard of her, right? You know who I am, don’t you? [Panting.] We used to be friends. We talked! On the phone! LindsaygoddamnedLohan! And me! I just need like 23 cents more....”

"Big Void" Aspires To Be Filled By Fetus

MSNBC reports that, when asked what she wanted for her 25th birthday, supermodel Gisele Bundchen said, "A baby. My life dream is to have a baby, but it’s not only up to me, it’s up to the father too." Savvy readers will surmise that "the father" referred to is probably some guy named Leonardo DiCaprio. Bundchen naysayer John Casablancas will happily point out that, taken out of context, the "exciting and interesting" model admits, "I don’t know anything."

Your son is jerking off to this.

There's been a lot of shouting lately about this "Hot Coffee" mod for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Turns out that there's a modifying code that can be inserted into the game (the methods differ depending on the console you're playing on) that can allow your character, C.J. to have actual in game sex with his many girlfriends. It even turns into a kind of mini-game.

Well, IFILM has a clip of this salacious behavior. It's truly shocking. But only because it's so benign, even silly. She invites C.J. in for "coffee", then all of a sudden she's naked (he stays fully clothed the entire time, even during intercourse). She gives him head, then they fuck, while he changes positions about every 5 seconds. The best part is the dialogue. "You should be a professional, baby", is a really nice thing to say to your lady while you two go at it. It's also great in a "funny because it's true" way when the girl says "We should get married" after C.J. comes.

Do people seriously think this is damaging their children? What average teenage kid doesn't understand what's going on here? There's nothing particularly pornographic about it. Just a lot of corny one-liners and SIMS humping. What's depicted is supposed to take place between two consenting adults, they both seem to have a nice time, and nobody gets hurt. It's not especially erotic. So pretty much like the first time you have sex with a new partner. Awkward, a little goofy, but all around a decent experience that you can only hope to repeat with better results. Kids need to learn about this stuff. The fact that teenagers don't understand that sex is sometimes a clunky, uncomfortable affair is probably the main reason we've bred a generation of idiots who hang out in bars and pick up anything that moves. At least C.J. and his girlfriend here are sober.

See the video. Absolutely NSFW.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Wong Kar Wai: Don't Mess Around With A Guy In Shades

Internet fan sources report that Wong Kar Wai, the sunglasses-clad director of UN Spacy favorite 2046, is making the scene in New York City. Apparantly his visit relates to his upcoming Lady From Shanghai, a source of curiosity, conjecture, and a touch of consternation amongst cinefiles, much of it stemming from the heavily-rumored casting of Nicole Kidman and the reputed disassociation with Orson Welles' film of same name.

Criterionforum.org poster Grimfarrow recounts:
I was stumbling around NYC last week when I bumped into, well, Wong Kar-Wai. He was having tea and talking with David Denby.

A few days later, I was once again with Wong, chatting with him about the HK Film Fest and idly conversing with his crew. Wong is on a location scouting expedition and has been meeting up with Nicole Kidman too.

Strangely, Maggie Cheung is also in town, as is Chris Doyle. No, Chris and him didn't meet, but I'm sure he met with Maggie (Jet Tone reps Maggie, btw.)

Let's just say that if you're in NYC, be on the lookout for a tallish Asian man in glasses - he may be Wong Kar-Wai (NOT necessarily in his shades - he takes them off to go incognito on the subway - haha).
Corroborating that story, z2046 of the wongkarwai.net bulletin board says:
i was walking home... in chinatown (NYC) and there he was, w/o his signature shades walking with a friend... i was too shock to go up and talk to him. wouldn't know what to say anyway...
...and...
not only a bad hair cut... he can't dress at all. if you didn't know who he was, you'd think he just came from china or something....
It's a little early in the morning for this kind of distasteful news. Wong may be a universally acclaimed auteur of unique vision, but that hardly gives him license to strut around the Land of the Free looking like a goddamn mainlander. Deplorable. I may not be able to hold down my breakfast.... Discussion on the board follows on sightings of WKW both in and out of shades, doubts that Lady will emerge before the end of the decade, claims that WKW prefers the Yankees over the Mets, questions on the merit of rumors that cinematographer Darius Khondji is attached, and speculation on where one can most advantageously "stalk" WKW, Kidman, or Cheung. Emoticons and "lol"s ensue.

Friday, July 22, 2005

I See Paris, I See France...

From the Daily Record:
Paris Hilton was turned away from a car valet because her car was too messy. The hotel heiress pulled her Land Rover into a drive-in car clean service in Beverly Hills, only to be embarrassingly knocked back. A worker said: 'Her car was jam-packed full of junk - personal stuff.

'There must have been 100 magazines but, more shocking than that, make-up, cellphones, handbags and clothes, including a lot of underwear.

'We had to turn her away because it's company policy not to touch that kind of stuff.'

So my girl's a slob and runs a flea market out of her Land Rover. Ain't no thing. And the panties? Hey, her car, her rules. You're more than welcome to thumb it to the Spider.

"These Boots" Genre Paradox?

This morning the New York Times' ran a piece by Kalefa Sanneh on Jessica Simpson and Willie Nelson's recent cover of "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'," the single released to promote The Dukes of Hazzard. Sanneh examines the song as a peculiar meeting of wildly different musical styles, aimed at "pleasing both the country and dance-pop constituencies." The article suffers woefully from being almost entirely beside the point, not to mention from the four identifications of the song's beat as "reggae."

Citing other recent collaborations - Nelly and Tim McGraw, Jay-Z and Linkin Park - Sanneh suggests the emergence of a new phenomenon. Hmm. "Walk This Way?" (Oh, snizzap!)
In mainstream music, unlike mainstream movies, genre still counts for a lot, which is part of the reason "These Boots" sounds so odd: you don't expect to hear those performers and those genres all colliding.
Where exactly are the signs of this collision? Nelson's accompaniment hardly recalls Red Headed Stranger here (Sanneh tellingly concedes that he's "so quiet you can barely hear him"). For you color wheel enthusiasts out there, this is kinda like mixing sage and chartreuse, then claiming to have invented green by combining blue and yellow.... That probably didn't make any sense. Skip it, it's also beside the point. In the modern crossover hit, the decisions have almost nothing to do with genre, basically boiling down to what to sample, who to help with the chorus, and maybe who to tap for a guest verse. The "mix-and-match hits" Sanneh talks about are less musical blenders than unexpected joint-publicity appearances. Teen music hasn't been about songs in a long, long time; it's about stars. Sanneh agrees:
it's odd that Ms. Simpson's career as a celebrity has had so little to do with music. By now she's much better known for her reality TV series, "Newlyweds," than for any of her albums; it's hard to think of another pop star who's so recognizable despite having so few recognizable hits.
Success is largely a matter of continued exposure. If done properly, perpetual presence works as a place-holder for the actual songs. Music still gets made and, in fairness, it's often terrific ("Toxic," "Yeah!," "Hot in Herre," "Lose My Breath"), but most of the time it's, again, beside the point. In teen music marketing, the music video is arguably more important than the music, and the TRL drop-in has basically replaced the concert.
You can't have genre-scrambling pop songs if you don't have genres, and that's the paradox of "These Boots," which gets its charge from the fact that there are genre lines to blur.
I need not patronize by calrifying where "These Boots" gets its charge. The cover doesn't need to challenge generic convention, nor to succeed in any single genre. It's not being cynical to admit that hits like this simply rely on the ability to transmit images of, in this case, Simpson (real or imagined) to the largest number of people possible. This means that dance radio, top 40 radio, new country radio, MTV, VH1, CMT, a few morning talk shows, and numerous advertisements. The shortcut to doing this on an emormous scale is to find a lowest common denominator, and Simpson has the the universal (if less-than-rabid) following to push past that problem like it was the bathroom line at the Nacional.

Alright, enough pedantic prattle! If my rant seems like a waste of time and keyboard-wear, it's probably because it is. But please do me the favor of taking a glance at Sanneh's article. Somebody actually got paid for that one.

Us Weekly Photo Death Match - Issue 546 - Aug. 1, 2005 (Miller Wins By 3)

Quite frankly, the latest issue of Us is the only thing that gets me into work on Fridays. This is the first of UN Spacy's Us Weekly Photo Count Death Match Challenges. The winner is the star (and believe me, they're always female) whose image appears most frequently. Covers, advertisements, insets - these all count. If I can see a face (or hell, a closeup of a navel with an identifying caption), it's a qualifying appearance.

(1) Sienna Miller. 12 images.
This week's winner is far from surprising, considering the scandal surrounding her ex-boyfriend and his nanny. If my numbers are to be trusted (...they are), this is Miller's first time in the top five.

(2) Nicole Richie. 9 images.
Quite a coup for the Ironing Board Princess, a dark horse who creeps in to dramatically outperform both rival Paris Hilton and buddy Lindsay Lohan (weighing in with a pitiable 3 apiece). Although Miller's win this week cannot be disputed, Richie's less scandal-fortified performance is a more impressive feat, and positively a sweeter victory. Also more likely to continue in coming issues.

(3) Katie Holmes. 8 images.
The trick with this one is that no page is satisfied with just one image. Although she only shows up on four pages, she makes them count. Good show!

(4) Jessica Simpson. 5 images.
(tie) Britney Spears. 5 images.
The pop singers are little more than also-rans this week. Consider that Hilary Duff, who no one cares about, scored four shots, and she's neither pregnant nor remarkably chesty.

Other poor showings include the Desperate Housewives (who should've been able to cash in on their excessive Emmy nominations), Jessica Alba (who can benchpress an SUV and is impervious to snakebite), and Angelina Jolie (orphans, homewrecking, yadda yadda yadda.)

Bring your raincoats next week! I figure LiLo and Paris will aim to have Richie's bobblehead on a pike in the following issue. And I'll be damned if darling Paris doesn't take the gold by a ruthless landslide in one of the next three issues - this week's calm is merely the eye of the storm.

USA Today Readers Clearly Ridiculous

On June 30th, USA Today's Whitney Matheson asked readers to take part in a poll to crown the greatest American rock band of all time. On July 6th, Matheson announced Pearl Jam as the winner. The band's supporters cite the band's high record sales and the fact that "the music rocks" as qualifications. In positions 2 through 5 were, respectively, Aerosmith, Van Halen, The Eagles, and, uh, Journey. Understand me, there's nothing wrong with these bands (except Journey, that one actually is literally awful - their fans really should be identified, tagged, and ostracized). But there is something nearly genocidal about the notion that any of them could reasonably be submitted as one of the twenty best American rock bands ever, much less the top five. Seems safe to say that few born outside the 1967 to 1975 date range took part in this poll. Or for that matter anyone who's ever entered a record store (Costco does not count).

Thursday, July 21, 2005

I heart train wrecks.

I have just borne witness to the best thing ever. It's this show on ABC called "Hooking Up". Bunch of girls in New York City try to land a husband via online dating. Ohhh, man. Now, I missed the first episode, so it took a little time to get settled, but here's the gist.

First, there's Amy. I first encountered her dumping a guy because "things are too fast". Actually, though, it's cause her sister doesn't like him. Can't blame her, though; suspect is neckless. Repeat, neckless. Still, Amy wonders (aloud. To the camera. In public.) "Maybe I can just have sex with him a few more times?" Oh, well. Next she moves on to Dave, who apparently teaches ESL or something. Anyway, this guy is a total douchebag. Harmless, but a douchebag. He tries to sound like a sweet, caring guy, but that's crap, because sweet, caring guys don't have game plan talk. Like "the plan all night was to kiss her. I think the ball's totally in my court now." Also: "I think cooking with a woman is very sensuous. You create something together, and then you consume your creation together." Jesus. Next we see Amy all excited because she somehow thwarted what she saw as Dave's plan to get her into bed on the third date. Apparently because she didn't fall for his bullshit tonight, but will next time, this means the relationship is on a steady course.

Ok, next up is Kelly. Teaches 2nd grade. Looks like she is made out of beef jerky. Skin like a saddle, no shit. She's all up on some dude named Steve, who is really rich and (it turns out) lies about being 40. When he admits lying to Kelly, she doesn't care. Next he makes some inspid fratboy bet with her involving a timed wine cork extraction, which she wins. Apparently this victory means that she has to wash Steve's Hummer. In a bikini. Which she does. WHILE HIS FRIEND WATCHES. AND STEVE VIDEOTAPES IT. He's supposed to wash her car too, but instead hires a powerwash service to do it for him. Later Kelly and Steve go to Coney Island, where they ride the "Tower of Fear" (probably what Steve calls his cock) and he makes her get a temporary tattoo of his name above her ass. This is one classy broad. Did I mention that she is totally falling for this joker?

Third, and most assuredly my favorite, is Maryam. She's half-Iranian, half-Iraqi. Photographer. Actually kind of cute. Interesting. Wouldn't you know it, she's a total fucking basket case. First she goes out with a guy whose picture, well, let's say it was an old photo. Immediately she starts in on him. OK, that's a little mean, but not out of the realm. Then she starts drinking a little. At least I think she was drinking. She acted drunk. Starts going on about how her first boyfriend's parents ran the funeral home that buried her own folks. The guy gets kind of concerned and asks for some clarification. "Oh, they were sick." End of discussion. What kind of person just randomly drops this sort of information? She's clearly attention-seeking at this point. Ultimately it turns out the guy didn't much like her to begin with. He tackes a cab home while she walks home alone in the rain. Next she meets Sam, who she claims looks like Colin Farrell (he doesn't). She spends their entire date talking about how gay he acts. No, really. "You have a gay voice." "Do you like girls?" "Do people think you're gay?" AWESOME. He then tells us later that he doesn't mind, because it makes people let their guard down. Sam is pretending to be gay to get laid. It almost works, except that Maryam is no slouch when it comes to crazy. She takes Sam back to her place, still yammering about the gay thing, only now she's peppering it with "We're not gonna have sex." They sleep in her bed together after she passes out. Her last words of the evening? "I feel like I'm in high school."

Next week promises to be even better. The promo featured Amy yelling at Dave about all the other girls he's sleeping with, as well as somebody making a date sleep on the couch and Kelly the Tramp comparing Steve to Prince Charming. To his face.

You're all encouraged to visit ABC's website for the show. Tons of background data and other related bullshit.

Seriously folks. Watch this show. The weeping is cathartic.

Break yo'self, White.

Twice in one day! The vendetta must roll: It's come to my attention that Armond is crazier than I previously believed possible. Submitted for your approval:

1) He wrote a book about Tupac. Frealz. Why is it that pop journalists feel the need to legitimize themselves by writing about hip-hop? I've seen pictures of Armond White. He will never be cool. No amount of endless rambling about how he likes to "get krunk" will make Lisa Schwarzbaum blow him.

2) Speaking of Lisa, she gets name-dropped in an article about Armond in Filmmaker. Apparenty he doesn't like her. Although when the boys used to pick on the girls when I was in grade school, it meant something obscenely biological might be on their minds. Other fascinating tidbits include Armond's distaste for David Gordon Green's "All the Real Girls" (about which I have no opinion) and his willingness to contrast said distaste with his satisfaction with Justin Timberlake's video for "Cry Me a River". Yeah, the one where he's the creepy stalker guy.

3) Finally, an interview with the man over at a Brian DePalma fansite. Now, I am only recently converted to the Church of DePalma. Love the guy. But even I'm not crazy enough to make blanket statements like: "any reviewer who pans [MISSION TO MARS] does not understand movies, let alone like them." Does this dude ever like, look in a mirror, or maybe even hear what he says? Because I would like to think he maybe has blackouts and when he comes to, someone tells him what he's been doing, and he just marvels, slack-jawed, totally agog at how truly batshit bugfucking crazy he really is.

End of line.

Aiken Charity Now Less Impressive

I'm loath to allow the visage of an American Idol success story to smell up our fresh-out-the-box pages, but what the shizzy.... MSNBC reports that the Clay Aiken co-founded Bubel/Aiken Foundation - committed to breaking stereotypes about and financially assisting people with disabilities - blew two thirds of the $1 million raised last year on, well, not financial assistance. A document filed with the IRS reveals, among other things, $150,000 spent on travel, $173,000 used for “professional services,” and nearly $150,000 for salaries.

Co-founder Diane Bubel's impertinent response? “We’re volunteering and doing something good, and all we hear is complaining.” At posting, I couldn't spot any mention of the scandal on TBAF's website, although Aiken's own site today pledged Clay's support of ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History. Since virtually every other human and trained animal in the entertainment industry did that a couple weeks ago, I gotta believe this is damage control.

As disappointing as all this is, it's hard to imagine that anyone who contributed to Aiken's Foundation truly believed that much of their money would be used for the betterment of persons in need. Otherwise they would've donated to a legitimate organization like the United Way or Oxfam or the Red Cross or just something less inextricably tied to the sinking ship of a reality television star rapidly fading from public consciousness. I'd love to see Aiken investigated, indicted, and brought before a UN tribunal, but only because I once heard a snippet of "This Is the Night" while I fumbled for the remote. I seriously doubt he was knowingly involved in mismanagement of funds in this situation. I'd go into some pop-Marxist spiel about a dancing monkey here, but there's a literal connotation that kinda takes the humor out of it.

Stop Armond before he kills again.

So this is the second post here about the inscrutable film critic at the New York Press, Armond White. You'd have begun sensing a pattern eventually, but I figured clueing you in early wouldn't hurt. It's my plan to discuss every review the man writes from here on out. First there was the truly mystifying display in his mid-year roundup (wherein he compared Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" to Godard's "Weekend" and claimed that "Unleashed", that shitty Jet Li movie, was "a Sam Fuller film from beyond"), That particular offense came hot on the heels of David Edelstein's 2004 Movie Club over at Slate (wherein Armond trashed each and every one of his colleagues, then proceeded to lavish praise on the remake of "Flight of the Phoenix"). I'm here to tell you that I have had enough to know that I have had enough.

White thinks he's some kind of cinematic badass. The Hemingway of the critical intelligentsia. He desperately wants to be Pauline Kael, who, if you recall, was also prone to jarring outbursts and deliberate contrarianism. But this is different. At least Pauline was funny, and, let's face it, she knew her shit. Armond is the critical equivalent of a guy who soaks himself in gasoline and starts smoking cigarettes. He's the guy who hangs out in his basement all night, biting the heads off lightbulbs and shoving thumb-tacs into his kneecaps. I've said before that it's not at all about the movies he chooses to praise or ignore, but the logic he applies to them.

Okay, I've ranted enough. With the previous statements in mind, I present Armond's latest work, a review of Craig Brewer's hometown-pimp-makes-good movie, "Hustle and Flow", which I'll be excerpting. A quick note: I have not seen the film, and do not care to. I have no issue with Armond recommending the film. Let's roll.

Playing a small-time Memphis con man in Hustle and Flow, Terrence Howard steps into a contemporary stereotype of an African-American male: a vaguely criminal sexual athlete...

A small time con man? A vaguely criminal sexual athlete? THE MOTHERFUCKER PLAYS A PIMP!! How is that "vaguely criminal"? Last I heard, prostitution was illegal in Memphis.

Most reviewers respond to Djay's spiel and interracial impudence by clinging to their middle-class paranoia (Newsweek called him "dangerous"). They flinch at Djay's audacity while also being fascinated by it, as if any black man talking to a woman were Snoop Dogg.

"Most reviewers"? Who gives a fuck what David Ansen said over at Newsweek? Again Armond takes a shot at his colleagues, as if he were the only one qualified to write about film. And since when is it a symptom of so-called "middle-class paranoia" to find a pimp unsympathetic? Is there some kind of criminal heirarchy that makes a pimp less evil than a child-molester or spouse-abuser? It seriously sounds like he's saying David Ansen doesn't have the balls the slap a ho.

But the way our corrupt media celebrates Hustle and Flow is by underestimating Howard's charming complexity. He makes this the most flamboyant and riveting opening scene any movie actor has had since George C. Scott in Patton.

Corrupt media? Is that relevant? I'll say it again. This movie is about a pimp who cuts a record and makes his bitches pay for it. And the "Patton" thing. That's the worst fuckin' hyperbole I ever heard.

Hustle and Flow isn't really about a pimp.

See above. Trying to divorce this movie from that issue is pointless. A lot of people liked "Ray" for the same reasons they seem to like "Hustle and Flow". A strong male performance centered around a challenging piece of characterization. But what Armond's forgetting is that if Ray Charles weren't blind, that movie would be about a really talented musician who's also a dick. How is this any different?

Its concern is with the emotional turmoil a man faces while dealing with women on top of the social difficulties that beset impoverished black men.

The poor bastard. If only his bitches would stay in line, he could become a rap star. I know how hard it is the get my grip together when the ATM's on the blink. I bet David Ansen's glad he's not a chick right about now.

All right, I'm exhausted. I simply cannot understand where this man is coming from. He praises the film for deglamorizing urban stereotypes and boldly characterizing male angst, yet ignores the simple fact that the film centers around a complete male fantasy that's salacious and creepy at best, and downright fucking abusive and illegal at worst. I don't doubt that "Hustle and Flow" is able to skirt these issues effectively. But Armond here seems to be giving the movie a pass because, hey, pimpin' ain't easy. And that's just goddamn irresponsible.

By the way, everybody should read that Slate Movie Club I linked to earlier. Despite Armond's ranting, it's downright fun to read. And my boy Wesley Morris over at The Boston Globe gets his licks in.


Duff, Madden Officially Dating

Since everyone already knew and almost no one cared, Hilary Duff and Good Charlotte singer Joel Madden figured it was time they stop being polite, and start getting real - about their relationship anyway. No, I'm being cynical - it slipped out accidentally when Madden heedlessly called Duff "Baby." In front of cameras. MTV cameras.

Duff says she's grown as a person and an artist with help from the Madden twins, who she's collaborating with musically as well. "I learned so much more about music," she gushed. Well, I highly doubt that, but this is all harmless, pleasant, and fine by me. "Joel has totally changed my taste in music, friendships and loyalty. He's changed me and my friendships." Wow. Holmes-ing it up a bit don't you think? I scoured the rest of the article, and there's nothing more of interest (or coherence) to discuss, except maybe that her teeth do seem newly humongous.

Gisele "An Empty Shell, One Big Void"

The New York Post reports that Elite Models founder (not to mention father of Strokes frontman Julian) John Casablancas told Complex Magazine that supermodel Gisele Bundchen is a few somethings short of a something. "She has nothing to say from an intellectual point of view," Casablancas says. "No contribution to make to the human cause. She is an empty shell, one big void as a person."

I somehow doubt that the suprise of this news is going to cause any readers heart failure. Still, I gotta call Casablancas' comments a little on the nefariously uncomplimentary side. Since when did "none too bright" stop getting the message across? And while we're on the topic, I'd sure hate to be the one put to the task of weighing the Elite Models founder's positive contributions to the human race. Ah, but I'm being awful hard on the guy. After all, he does sweeten the poison with the endorsement that, "
as a model she is exciting and interesting."

Lohan To Star In Pay-Per-View Lingerie Halftime Show, Get Sliced By A Simpson

The New York Post reports:
L.A. party monster Mitch Mortaza's success with the ladies is proof that simply identifying yourself as a "producer" in Tinseltown works wonders. Mortaza, 31, whose only credits are as executive producer of the Lingerie Bowl — a pay-per-view tackle football game featuring models, shoulder pads and lingerie for viewers bored by the official Super Bowl halftime show — has been burning up the Left Coast club scene with red-hot Lindsay Lohan. The unlikely duo were thisclose last week at Cabana Club, where our source says they had a little tiff about Mortaza getting cozy with Lohan's love rival, Ashlee Simpson, at the club a week before.
In recent weeks, Lohan's actively worked to diminish her reputation as
"some crazy, Tara Reid-esque party girl," and improve her profile as a reputable actress - starting by working with the likes of Meryl Streep and Robert Altman. Back in May Lohan vented that she isn't taken as seriously as peers Scarlett Johansson or Keira Knightley. "I work just as hard as those people," she says, "and sometimes [the media] make it seem that they're more mature because their fan base is more mature and my fan base is younger." LiLo, it's so totally the age of your fans that's to blame for your rep. Good thing you've got someone like Mortaza in your corner while you slug your way through the predatorial press on your way to Heavyweight Dignity Champion of the Starlet World. But I do worry that it's maybe not so hot an idea to keep sharing boys with the Simpson family - one of these days somebody's boots are gonna walk all over you....

R. Kelly's "Black Music" Doesn't Appeal To Suburban White Kids

MSNBC reports that R. Kelly's latest album, TP.3 Reloaded, has pleased his diehard fans with "lots of songs about sex." This, coupled with the unrelenting fire of the multi-part "Trapped in the Closet," has secured him a No. 1 position on the Billboard Charts.

Though an interview with Mr. Kelly is not included, Vibe's Erik Parker offers plenty of insight into the musical enigma.
“R. Kelly isn’t like someone like 50 Cent, who crosses over heavily to the white audience,” Parker said. “He doesn’t have a lot of white kids in the suburbs listening to his music. He represents black music in a way that almost no one else does.”
Folks, Mr. Parker has probably provided us with the least plausible claim we're going to hear all day. If you happen to see me in a bar this evening, turn away and discretely relocate - I'll be talking about this well into the twilight. Oh, and MSNBC also reports that Kelly has already filmed video accompaniments for Parts 6-10 of "Trapped in the Closet." Seattle's X104 will surely be airing these the second they get their hands on them.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Lynch For Meditation In Schools

The New York Post reports that director David Lynch, whose Inland Empire is hotly awaited by fans, is dedicating himself to raising funds for transcendental meditation classes and research on the benifits of yoga :
Tomorrow, the Oscar-nominated director of such graphically violent movies as Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive is announcing the formation of the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace.
Lynch has been a devotee of transcendental meditation and its founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, for 32 years. The foundation he'll launch with his own money will fund schools to set up transcendental meditation (or "TM") classes and pay for research on the effects of the yoga technique on the "brain and body." Lynch hopes to raise $7 billion within a year.....
Lynch, 59, says he decided "to stop being quiet" about his passion for the 47-year-old Hindu chanting technique after observing the sad state of education in U.S. schools. Today's students "are even more stressed out. Their schools are hellholes," he goes on. "They're getting pathetic educations. They're not going forward with full decks of cards."
Students who meditate, he says, "will start shining like a bright, shiny penny, and their anxieties will go away. By diving within, they will attain a field of pure consciousness, pure bliss, creativity, intelligence, dynamic peace. You enliven the field, and every day it gets better. Negativity recedes."
Lynch eventually hopes to organize "peace-creating super groups of 8,000 meditators" around the globe, all chanting simultaneously. Why 8,000? "It's the size of the square root of one percent of the world's population."
First of all, this is a terrific idea, and the logic behind it sound. Lynch's deck of cards would appear to be bounteously stuffed.

The Post should be reprimanded for unfairly pegging Lynch's films as "graphically violent." More reasonable would be "righteously inscrutable," "unsettlingly dreamlike," or "emporer's new clothes-y." On the other hand, I really hafta hand it to the Post for taking one for the journalistic team on this one - hearing Lynch speak the words "like a bright, shiny penny" is probably as close as you can get anymore to William Burroughs' hand on your knee.

Diddy To Change Name (Again)

Moments before a team of VH1 writers was put to the task of scripting his Behind the Music, hip-hop star (well, sorta) Sean Combs, a.k.a. P. Diddy, told Us Weekly that it's time for yet another nickname (readers not living under rocks will recall that he once also answered to "Puff Daddy"). "I'm about to change it again," he says. "Because I can." Far be it from UN Spacy to try and stop him. So any day now we'll hafta begin enduring the acute migraines that afflict us each time we're corrected with a, "Ah, that's 'Spiff Daddy' now," or whatever the hell babytalk crap he decides on. But before we fully devote ourselves to actively hatin' on the to-be-announced name, allow us to suggest "Sean 'Piffy Puffy Diddy Daddy Runs Da City Satty' Combs" (and feel free to add a "Mackalladdy" as needed - this is your thing, Sean). With this one, Combs could practically guarantee himself a chart-topping hit by sampling the old McDonald's "Double Double Cheese Cheese Burger Burger Please" jingle.

Jessica Alba Says "Oh Snap!" To Holmes, Cruise

The folks at The Superficial recently posted the following quote, in which reigning B-list queen Jessica Alba takes a jab at Katie Holmes and her relationship with Tom Cruise:

"I don't date actors and I don't date people to get ahead in my career. I don't want to comment on Tom's relationship with Katie, but I'm a very private person and I don't feel you should talk about your private life. I think it's best to keep this sort of thing to yourself."

Delightfully catty, to be sure. But for the love of God, what I wouldn’t give for She of the Aggressively Foul Fantastic Four to keep “that sort of thing” to herself. Let’s pause here and take stock of the 24-year-old’s headlines for 2005:

  1. Alba announces that she’s through sleeping around in Hollywood.
  2. Alba reports that she fought off a shark by punching it in the nose.
  3. Alba explains to Us Weekly that Angelina Jolie, being “different looking,” is good for American audiences, allowing them the epiphany that “not all America women look like Kate Bosworth.”
  4. Alba credits her newly-blonde tresses for roping boyfriend Cash Warren, saying, “I know I'm much more approachable as a blonde.”
  5. Alba tells Us Weekly that she relies on TaeBo and weightlifting to maintain her figure, saying, “Everyone in my family is heavily overweight.”
  6. Alba reports that Dark Angel shoots were periodically interrupted while her male costars had x-rays taken to determine if any damage had been caused by a collision with Alba’s fist.
...and that's be selective. I’m all but exhausted by this near-deluge of Alba allegations. (Dare we? We dare. Albagations!) I guess when your minor fame can be traced directly back to the fact that alotta people checked out your ass in Idle Hands, it’s just more fun to make something up anytime anyone thrusts a mic in your face.

E.T. is a giant asshole.

Rewatched "E.T." last night. The magic and childlike wonder I experienced in my youth is gone. It occurs to me that E.T. is nothing more than a loutish freeloader, mooching off Elliot's family like some creepy uncle who shows up once every three years or so with a couple of presents and then feels free to crash on the couch for a few weeks rent-free. Seriously. He hangs out in his bathrobe all day, speaks only in grunts and monosyllables, raids the fridge constantly, drinks all the beer and makes a lot of long-distance phone calls. Jerk.

'Alexander' Less Laughable, More Like Painting.

August 2nd should see the DVD release of Oliver Stone's overwhelmingly ridiculed Alexander, with a substantial re-edit. Discussing the matter with the Los Angeles Times, Stone concedes, "I'm not running away from the original, which I loved, but the derision was really devastating." Stone adds, "Fortunately, films are now like paintings, permitting for several drafts."

UN Spacy protocol requires that I restrain myself from hovering over the incontrevertible fact that Stone is hardly a modern day Velazquez. And in fairness, this Alexander business can't help but remind one of de Kooning's original version of the now canonized Woman I, which looked very much like a Lisa Frank image rendered in nervous impasto. Eighteen months later, pushed by poor critical reception, a reluctant de Kooning reworked the composition into the canvas that now hangs in the Museum of Modern Art.

Is this good news or bad?


Okay, I hate Robert Altman. Hate him. Guy hasn't made a good movie in 15 years or so. In fact, I can only point to one or two that are actually just "pretty good". But that's neither here nor there.

Apparently Bob's having a little difficulty staying alive lately. JoBlo.com ran a story this morning claiming that Altman's so sick that he needs help completing his next shitpile, "Prarie Home Companion". So who does the studio hit up for this meaningless task? None other than Paul Thomas Anderson, the man some say is Altman's heir (I call bullshit on that, seeing as how Anderson's actually, you know, good). Rumor goes that Anderson's on set at all times, and if Altman is too sick to work, he gives PTA the gist and lets fly. The studio is expected to announce Anderson as the film's executive producer sometime this week.

I find this whole situation a bit annoying, if only because I'd rather Anderson get to work on something original, rather than helping a horny, dying old man cap his career off with yet another misfire. And if you don't believe me about that horny crack, take a look at Bob with his new ingenue, Miss Lindsay Lohan.

Jessica Simpson is Such a Sweetie

Over at theSuperficial, there's a really heartwarming comment from Joe Simpson's #1 Son Jessica. Apparently she is so not fucking Johnny Knoxville, and she and Nick are so in love, that she's decided to have kids.

"That's what I wanted for my birthday but I couldn't legally get a baby across the Mexican border," she said. She also hinted that she might adopt, saying, "I'll end up doing something which will touch somebody in some way that's good... through orphanages."

What is it with these women and orphans? Is it that they can't physically have children, you know, because of all the coke and skinny pills and Red Bull? Do they maybe eat the orphans? To stay young or something? Grind them into powder to cut the blow?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Just wanted to take a moment to direct your attention to this mid-year State of Cinema address by the ever-vexing Armond White. White, for those who aren't familiar, is a naysayer's naysayer, his rants and raves so inexplicable that at times they verge on the implausible. I realize these things shouldn't upset me. However, no one here at UN Spacy has been able to detect any other reasonable justification for a comment like "it's a Sam Fuller film from beyond."