Thursday, July 28, 2005

How to Make DC safer

As any good Washingtonian knows, the District is a giant potential terrorist target, and we all need to be vigilant for anything anywhere at anytime.

No pressure or anything.

So, I have developed a quick list of how to make my new town a little bit safer.

1) Move the Pentagon to Nebraska. Use current building for some freakin' SWEET condos.
2) US Capitol Dome armed with that big laser thingie the Rebellion used on Hoth in "The Empire Strikes Back"
3) Replace Washington Monument with Minuteman missle. See if anybody notices.
4) Blame Canada, and let Ottawa deal with this crap.
5) Beatdown these pseudo-street kids who skateboard all throughout Northwest DC and then get pissed at random pedestrians because they can't do a front-side fakey Ollie off a staircase. Maybe if you wore form-fitting jeans you wouldn't fall on your ass, dumb brat.
6) Hire big homeless dudes to run up and yell at suburban drivers who get stuck on Connecticut Avenue around DuPont Circle because "they don't have circles like this in Reston."
7) Tell the local TV news operations to STOP FREAKIN' PANICKING BECAUSE IT MIGHT SNOW 200 FRICKIN' MILES FROM HERE!!!! We don't need Live Team Eyewitness News crews in every part of town because little Madison and Hunter got flurried on while riding in the back of mom's Suburban heading to school. Any station that violates this rule immediately gets transferred to their affiliate in Buffalo in December.
8) Send all Metrobus, taxi, tourbus and delivery truck drivers to the Midwest and teach them some damned manners.
9) Turn the Beltway into a moat. Place dragons in moat. Anybody wishing to enter the region has to go through Squire training and earn their Knighthood by completing a quest.
10) You know how people who commute on the Metro everyday have begun using carry-on luggage to tote around their laptops and stuff? Ban that. Those goddamned suitcases on wheels have tripped more people, and bruised more unsuspecting ankles than what is allowed by law. Gee, sorry you're 80 pounds overweight and you've got a slipped disk, Ms. Getting Off the Metro in Rosslyn, but stop swinging your baggage around behind you like you're 5 years old and that's your little red wagon. Are you going to the airport for travel? No? Then don't bring luggage, ass! The damned trains are crowded enough - the last thing we need is you swishing around your American Tourister. I swear, the next time I get hit with one of those because you're bad at spacial relations, I will beat that bag down like I'm LAPD on a black dude at a traffic stop. Let's see how well your laptop fares when I practice my Jackie Chan on it. Use a backpack or shoulder bag like everybody else - or, here's a concept - get a smaller, lighter one! What the hell are you people packing in those damned things? A frickin' IBM server and UPS system? It's a bloody laptop, not an HDTV. And, to top it off - you're an analyst, not a Senator. You're not that damned important to carry the latest in computing technology with you 24/7. The only reason I keep my mp3 player on John Mayer tunes is so the acoustic stylings of "Why, Georgia" will hopefully mellow me out so that I'll forget the throbbing in my shin as you've clipped me with your Samsonite yet again. I feel like Nancy Kerrigan after meeting Jeff Gillooly just stepping on the Blue Line anymore.

I swear, I'll become friends with Freddy Adu, and we'll kick the shit out of any tow-along that comes near me.

- me

--- ### ---

Monday, July 25, 2005

Wedding Crashers - Reviewed by the Five Paragraph Bitter Film Critic

I am so not bitter about this movie. Set in Maryland and DC, full of local landmarks but not dependent on them, I laughed, and I giggled, and, indeed, I even snorted. Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson (I can tell Les Freres Wilson apart because Owen's got the busted schnozz) are brilliant as two mid-30s guys who infiltrate weddings and hook-up with comely and lonely bridesmaids. Why I never thought of this strategy beforehand is beyond me. The gratuitous nudity in the beginning is shocking in that it appears casting agents found the last set of 8 real breasts in Hollywood.

Christopher Walken is Christopher Walken - a commanding screen presence in any role. He plays the tough, conservative Cabinet member with a good mix of political savvy and parental responsibility. America's Future Sweetheart Rachel McAdams, as the daughter of the Secretary of Treasury Christopher Walken, plays the love interest for Busted Schnozz Wilson, and does the role with a good mixture of sweetness, sarcasm, girl-next-door sexiness and a heaping dollop of adorable moles and beauty marks. Isla Fisher damned near steals the show as the psycho, but cute, other daughter of SecTreas. Keir O'Donnell is a hoot as semi-closeted gay artist son Todd. Will Ferrell appears for a few minutes - the guy is funny, even in a small role. The still-smokin' Jane Seymour plays the sexually unfufilled wife of the Secretary, Kathleen, and, sadly, was given too small a part. It looks like Dr. Quinn could give Mrs. Robinson an update, should Hollywood decide to remake "The Graduate. "

Crap. Shouldn't have opened my mouth. Access Hollywood is reporting that casting has just now begun, with Topher Grace being considered for the Benjamin Braddock role, and Scarlett Johansson as young, naive Elaine. The White Stripes are being pegged as Simon and Garfunkle replacements, though John Mayer and Nelly are said to have interest in the project.

However, there is one person to hate - Bradley Cooper plays Mizz McAdams' jackass fiance' with a smug prep school boy attitude that would be so fake if it didn't remind me of half the guys I went to prep school with! He's so over the top that the audience seriously hates this guy before the halfway mark of the movie. If I was his agent, I'd get him a role where he's saving cute puppies from AIDS-infected zombies from Syria, or he's doomed to playing smug rich white bad guys in made-for-Showtime specials.

The key to this movie, though, is Vince Vaughn. He is an absolute riot in the movie, and he has maybe 4 lines of unfunny dialogue the entire time, and everything else is damned near brilliant. His motormouth delivery, so vital to "Swingers," is back in fine form here, and while he may be playing "himself", nobody plays Vince Vaughn better than Vince Vaughn.

---- 4 1/2 out of 5 Whammies! A 1/2 Whammy was subtracted due to having Christopher Walken and Will Ferrell together, and no cowbell to be found anywhere. One measly cowbell, dammit! That's all I ask. ----

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Day After Tomorrow - Reviewed by the Five Paragraph Bitter Film Critic

This movie is so bad, I don't think it needs five paragraphs to describe. But, you can't be the Five Paragraph Bitter Film Critic and not hit the number 5. It's like my trademark, man.

I could devote an entire book to the scientific problems with the movie, but that smacks of overkill, and would warrant more work than the screenwriters obviously put into it. Watching a tidal wave coming from the Atlantic, to the East, hit New York City from the Jersey City side (a.k.a. the West), combined with the killer L.A. tornados. One hit LAX from the south-going north along the 405, the other tornado hitting the Hollywood sign going east to west, then doubling back, and hitting the Columbia Records building south to north, and then the other tornados forming Mecha-Tornado and punking downtown LA from approximately northeast to southwest. As a former storm chaser throughout the Midwest (and, lately, 495 in Silver Spring on Friday night), tornados simply don't do that. Storms move in a cohesive direction - they can change course, but multiple tornados won't simply converge into one spot if spawned by the same storm.

Though watching the reporter get punked by the billboard travelling at 80 miles an hour was pretty cool.

One other thing - who the HELL walks from Philadelphia to New York City in Arctic-like conditions? Dennis Quaid, that's who. Man's been stuck on a bike, shrunk down to microscopic size, crash landed on an Enemy Mine, been attacked by a shark, dumped by Meg Ryan AND been stranded at the Alamo. Brother needs a new agent. At least he wasn't in "Davis Rules."

However awful the movie is, and I'm so completely pissed at myself for watching it on my landlord's HBO, I do appreciate that Dennis Quaid is still getting work. I'd have paid hard currency to watch the young Emmy Rossum continue to blossom into a nearly-perfect-looking woman. I just would have done it during "Phanton of the Opera."

--- 1 out of 7 Whammies, because some SFX were cool and Emmy Rossum is a total babe ---

Monday, July 18, 2005

Charlie and The Chocolate Factory - Reviewed by the Five Paragraph Bitter Film Critic

A hot, sticky summer evening to be spent in an air conditioned, luxury movie theater, watching a fine director and a fine actor remaking a beloved children's film. What could be better?

Plenty. But I'm the Five Paragraph Bitter Film Critic.

Don't get me wrong, the movie's great. Director Tim Burton's imagry of the Wonderful World of Wonka is great. Freddie Highmore is a good little actor, and he stood up quite well as the earnest Charlie. Johnny Depp plays the role of Willy Wonka with a certain foppish, yet bitter, family-hating delight. The casting of Count Dooku as Willy's estranged dad is a lovely touch. And the Oopma-Loompa is played by a dude named Deep Roy, the best porn name for a non-porn star since Britney Spears.

Some of the scenes look like they were clearly inspired by the original 1970s film, and others look like their straight from the book. Some of the special effects are quite dazzling, especially the art deco-meets-Le Courbousier chocolate factory. The kids look a lot like the kids from the original, yet they have a more modern twist, like the violent video game lovin' Mike Teevee and uber-competitive Violet Beauregard.

What could be better is Muvico 24 at Arundel Mills. State of the art projection and sound system that is apparently run on Windows 98, first edition. Have you ever seen a movie reboot before? I have now - six times in this fim alone - and I now can safely say I'll take good old-fashioned film projector over a movie being shown over the same PC that some 17 year-old kid is doing a search for pictures of "Deep Roy."

--------- 3 1/2 out of 5 Whammies for the movie ---------
------ ZIPPY out 100 Whammies for the projector --------

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Now it's getting ridiculous...

From the DC Post's chat today about the Worldcom fraud case and Bernie Ebbers...

Peoria: Because all of these high profile corporate executives contributed heavily to the Bush Presidency, and in more ways than one are responsible for Bush to be appointed president, don't you think that Bush is indebted to these corporations and he will pardon the whole bunch before leaving office? Our present administration seems to be above the law and everyone is afraid to question anything they do, good or bad, fearing their wrath.

Carrie Johnson: It would astonish me if any of these white collar defendants were pardoned by President Bush. The public outcry would be enormous. Average investors still haven't forgotten the hit to their retirement savings three years ago--as many of the comments in this chat underscore.

Come on, Peoria - you can blame the current Administration for some things, but trying to blame this White House or even attempting to draw a correlation is a stretch! When the MCI/Worldcoms, Adelphias, Enrons and McLeods of this whole sorry mess "reststated earnings" and admitted to "accounting errors," most of them started the fraud in the mid-90s - anywhere from 1996 through 2000. Which, according to my math, is shortly after the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and fairly solidly within the Clinton Administration.

You know, Bill Clinton? The President before Bush? Remember him? The guy who pardoned Marc Rich? Yeah, that Marc Rich guy, alleged of evading 48 million dollars in taxes, and 51 counts of tax fraud AND dealing with Iran on oil deals during the hostage ordeal. Yeah, that dude's a prince.

These 20th Century Robber Barons contributed to Republicans and Democrats both, and in large numbers. Some were more Republican, others were more Democratic, but most of them had both hands in pockets on both sides of the aisle.

Place blame where blame is due - lax corporate oversight by government regulators, an incredibly-speculative stock market, and corporate hierarchies out of control. Accusing Bush of something wrong in situations like Ebbers' is flat-out revisionist history to the point of straight-out lying. Or Peoria, do you blame Jimmy Carter for the Vietnam War?

To Carrie Johnson's credit, she didn't even consider this a possibility. Although, if I were her, I'd have given Peoria a bit more of a printed smackdown.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Sad day in DC broadcasting

The Don and Mike Show has been an institution here in DC for years, and they've gone from being a local morning show to a nationally-syndicated afternoon show. Last night, Don's wife Freda was killed in a car accident on MD Route 90 outside of Ocean City. She was a fixture on the show for a number of years, and this is a heck of a shock to those of us who worked in the industry here.

Also, longtime Don and Mike news guy David Haines, recently of WPGC's morning show, passed away as well, his demise due to a number of illnesses, mostly cancer, he's been dealing with the past few years.

Man...what a sad day. I can only imagine how the whole Sorce family is doing. Losing David was a shock enough, but expected; I can't imagine the pain of losing a wife and mother so quickly like that. I know I'll be saying some prayers for them all, and hope the rest of us who enjoy their show will do so as well.

What I've learned this weekend...

Friday - Just because a place advertises "All You Can Drink" for a happy hour special, that doesn't mean I should view it like a personal affront to my dignity. I was chugging martinis like that lil' Japanese dude at the Nathan's Hot Dog contest. Taking the Metro ride-of-shame back to my car...not my smartest manuever ever.

Saturday - I can totally function on three hours of sleep. Hangover? What hangover? Let's go apartment shopping.

Also, mini-golf can be extreme.

Sunday - I've finally encountered one of those killer bees I've heard so much about. Lil' bastard attacked my ankle. I smooshed the lil' bastard, though. I am the big winner in the battle of the bee.

Also, I learned that bars around Capitol Hill should have warning labels. Too...much...alcohol. My liver is quickly achieving "Tully" status.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Why it's good women plan weddings...

If more guys would insist on the details of a wedding:

1) Invitations sent out in a tasteful camoflague
2) `80s themed weddings. Bridesmaids wearing Madonna outfits, groomsmen looking like Don Johnson.
3) Using phrases like "If our wedding table doesn't have one of those inflatable NFL chairs depicting my favorite team, this wedding is OFF!"
4) 3-tiered wedding cake by Krispy Kreme
5) No way the bride's wearing white, so he can show his crew he tapped that WAY before the honeymoon, boy!
6)The Wedding March as performed by Aerosmith
7) Matching cumberbunds on the guys? Bah - clean underwear is a good first step.
8) Stand-up comedy show before the service, bridesmaids tripping on X, and a 300 pound performance artist named Extreme Elvis performing after the vows. EE then drops trou and teabags a midget...oh, wait, that happened at a wedding I went to planned by a guy. Good times and merriment abound.
9) wedding gowns purchased at Hooters and
10) No Electric Slide - just lots and lots of lapdances.

Men! Demand your equal share! If she gets to pick out the flowers, you should pick out the strippers.

But, then again, I am a dreamer.

War of the Worlds - Reviewed By The Five Paragraph Bitter Film Critic

What a waste of $8.50! For the same price of two frappuchinos, I would have quenched my thirst, my sweet tooth, kept money from reaching the grubby little girly hands of Tom Cruise AND, by virtue of a satisfying urination, gotten a better ending.

It's a summer movie, chock full of loud sound effects and visual treats. The plot - aliens attack, eat humans, and Tom Cruise and his clan want to make it from New York to Boston where Tom's ex-wife (no, not Nicole Kidman) is staying with her family. The movie's special effects range from below average to amazing. Tom Cruise isn't terribly annoying in this role, though Dakota Fanning's going to soon have the market cornered on creepy blonde girl roles. Tim Robbins plays a creepy resistance fighter who takes more than a passing interest on young Mizz Fanning. Tom's angry teenage son should have been vaporized when the division of M1A Abrams Battle Tanks next to him gets vaporized, but he miraculously survives when trained Soldiers next to him die.

The worst part of the movie, though, is Morgan Freeman, and that is a phrase I never thought I'd write. He plays the part of narrator, reading the first paragraph of the book and the last paragraph, and nothing in the middle. His voice helps set the tone for the movie - emotionally gripping, giving a sense of the impending doom - and then truncates a horribly short ending with a mere voice over. The ending is the worst thing about this movie - after two hours of gut-wrenching ass-clenching action, within three minutes, the aliens suddenly get sick and die, and Tom's former in-laws appear from their Back Bay brownstone looking marvelous and rich. Roll credits.

Apparently, according to Hollywood, aliens don't read up on the planets they're about to destroy. In this movie, they have the technology to blast anything and everything, and eat us humanfolk up real good. But they didn't count on bacteria, fungi and molds and other primative life forms that exist in our bodies and air. These aliens have the ability to break through dimensions and go from one end of the galaxy to another, but they can't swing by CVS and pick up some Glade Antibacterial Wipes. Those dumb aliens in Signs - they're allergic to water, so they invade a planet that's 75% covered in water, and eat humans who are over 85% water. Stupid damned creatures - wear some Gore-Tex, slap some Rain-X on the mothership, and try that invasion again, Zoltar! And those bastards in Independence Day didn't anticipate Jeff Goldblum and the power of a Mac laptop. These aliens need to go to a Suze Orman seminar, learn how to plan.

So, in summary, Tom's weird in real life, the aliens are dumb, and the ending sucks more than a porn star trying to pay for a heroin habit. Otherwise, a great movie! Two out of a possible Six Whammies.