February 28, 2006
There's A Girl In My Soup, 1970
Girl starred the late, great comic genius Peter Sellers, and Goldie's name appeared above the title for the first time. This import was directed by Roy Boulting, a veteran of largely forgettable British movies. Coincidentally, he and Goldie had the same birthday.
On the surface, There's A Girl In My Soup shares essentially the same plot as Cactus Flower. Both are May-December romance / love-triangle comedies based on stage plays. Interestingly, Roy Boulting was involved in a real life May-December romance for eleven years with former child star Haley Mills (The Parent Trap, That Darn Cat!). She was 33 years younger than him.
In Girl, Goldie plays a 19 year old American hippie chick, living in London with a skeevy drummer. She gets tired of being passed around among the drummer's friends like a tray of tea cakes, so she decides to move out after a chance meeting with a 41 year old tv personality, played by Sellers. The tv personality is a self-absorbed and aging Alfie-like swinger, coming to grips with the handfuls of hair he's beginning to find in his brush every morning.
While the movie starts out prominsingly, Goldie's performance was ultimately inconsistent, a sign of weak directing. There is no chemistry between her and Sellers, who mails in the most colorless performance I've seen from him. None of the comic improvisation he was known for is on display here. I think the character was too constricting for him. Here's what Goldie told Larry King about working with Sellers:
HAWN: Peter Sellers was great to work with. A lovely man. A little bit crazy . . . It was sort of balancing a very delicate spirit on a needle. You know, because you never know where he was going.Costume-wise, Girl is nothing special either. The only stand-out is an avocado colored, wide-wale corduroy bikini that Goldie wears while lying on an inflatable raft. One wonders how they got her on that thing without wetting the fabric. Peter Sellers spent a fair amount of time shirtless, which was a major error by the filmmakers. His back was hideously hairy.
But I gave him a birthday party once, and he said to me, you know, Goldie, I'll never have a home like this. I'll never have a house like this, and I would like a piece of me in your home. And he sent me a French armoire, and I still have it. That was after he ate his birthday candle, which is a whole other problem.
KING: Was he a genius?
HAWN: Yes, he was. He definitely was. He was completely in his moment, in his truth, at all times there was never a break. He was able to witness how funny he was, and yet not have any control over his ability to -- inability to stop laughing at himself.
We would have to break for lunch sometimes, because we couldn't bring him back. But, you know, you couldn't get a knife in between who he was playing and his comedy and his truth. It was all there together, which is what made him a genius.
Predictably, after a whirlwind tour of the continent, the mis-matched lovers return to London, and reality. The movie ends the same way as Cactus Flower, but in a wholly unsatisfying way. For that reason, I give it two Netflix stars ("didn't like it").
February 27, 2006
An ode to short recoil
When cases wont split
because the pressure is low,
no delay is needed
and the slide rearward can go.
But for a little more power,
the breech must then lock.
Even for a moment
Or youll kB your Glock.
As they recoil together
slide and barrel do mate:
the big blocky lug
joined with ejection gate.
Down swings the lug
and the barrel stops short.
The slide continues back
and flings brass from the port
The spring is compressed
and the slide does rebound,
coming back forward
with a fresh shiny round.
Thats how it works,
at least you get the gist.
Now pull the trigger again
and double-tap that rapist.
February 26, 2006
Why Goldie Hawn? Because she's awesome. How many of you realize that Goldie Hawn won an Academy Award for her very first picture? That's a fact. Also, people always tell me I remind them of a young Goldie, which was probably more true when I was 20, but is still a nice compliment.
When you think that Goldie stumbled into acting (she started out wanting to be a dancer), her comic genius is even more impressive. I rank her talent as a comedienne on the same level as Marilyn's. In fact, I think Goldie took the next step in the evolution of the female comedienne. She played the ditzy character as well as Marylin, but embodied a new beauty ideal that was born in the sixties: the waif look.
But where Marylin played the dumb blonde so straight that people still think she was dumb in real life, Goldie always played it with a subtle wink. You get that same wink today from comediennes like Heather Graham and Cameron Diaz. They're too hip to be dumb. Thank Goldie for that.
Cactus Flower, 1969
I just got done seeing this one again. I love this movie. The opening credits promise a lot: directed by Gene Saks (The Odd Couple, Barefoot In The Park), starring Walter Matthau and Ingrid Bergman, screenplay by I.A.L. Diamond (Some Like It Hot, The Apartment), music by Quincy Jones, and Sarah Vaughan singing the theme song. Wow.
The plot reminds me of a Three's Company episode. It's a bedroom farce, and like all great bedroom farce, begins with a lie. Walter Matthau plays a dentist enjoying the bachelor life. In order to "keep things honest" he lies to his girlfriend, played by Goldie. He tells her he is married so he won't have to commit. But then, in a moment of weakness Matthau promises Goldie he'll divorce his wife and marry her. Hijinx ensue when big-hearted Goldie insists on meeting his wife to make sure she won't be hurt by the divorce. Now Matthau needs a pretend wife, and he picks his dental assistant, played by Ingrid Bergman in the title role. Bergman is a frumpy old maid who, like a cactus, occasionally produces a pretty blossom.
Goldie Hawn's performance is a revelation, as they say. This is the one that got her the Best Actress in a Supporting Role Oscar. When she's onscreen, I'm afraid to look at anything else in case I miss one of her facial expressions or funny vocal inflections. There's a scene in which she teaches Ingrid Bergman's character to dance, which is hilarious and embarrassing at the same time.
Walter Matthau is an unlikely romantic lead, but if you remember The Odd Couple and even Charley Varrick, he always seems able to pull the chicks. And there is a sweet onscreen chemistry between him and Goldie. You just have to suspend your disbelief a little bit.
I love Goldie's outfits too. The burgundy velvet suit is very mod. She also wore a nice rust suede miniskirt and boots combo with a yellow turtleneck. And my favorite is pictured above: blue mock turtle, extra love beads, batik inspired capris, and mary janes. Extremely cute.
My rating (using the netflix 5-star system) is five stars. A very witty, sweet and enjoyable romantic comedy with that innocent sixties hipness that you can't find in Hollywood anymore.
* When I say her "cute years" I don't mean to imply that Goldie ever stopped being hot. Did you see her on Larry King recently? I hope I look that good at 60. She looks 40.
While a lot of people swear that The Incredible Mr. Limpet is the best Don Knotts movie, i think people who think that are all wet. Knotts excelled at the physical comedy of facial expressions. Limpet was a cartoon, so it by definition cannot be the best DK movie.There's a pretty good bio at ABC News.com. Did you know Don Knotts majored in speech in college?
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken is a strong contender. Knotts' character is named Luther Heggs, a perfect name for a DK character. i loved the whole scene where he spends the night in the haunted house. Remember the crazy organ music? Knotts was at his shaky best.
i liked The Reluctant Astronaut just a little bit better, partly because i like space movies. This one came out in 1967, at the height of the space race. The premise is typically DK: he gets a job at NASA, tells his family and his girlfriend that he is in astronaut training, when in fact he's just a janitor, hijinks ensue, his family finds out about the charade, they're terribly disappointed, then even though he's Acrophobic, he blunders onto a spaceflight, actually becoming a reluctant astronaut , more hijinks ensue. It's predictable, but still a must see.
i also liked The Apple Dumpling Gang, where DK teams up with Tim Conway as a pair of stereotypically incompetent but loveable bank robbers.
But the funniest Don Knotts movie, in my opinion, is the often overlooked How to Frame a Figg, from 1971. Here's a couple of comments from the IMDB page:'How to Frame a Figg is a vintage Don Knotts - frenetic, farcical comedy, and features him at the top of his form as the hysterical, cat-on-hot-tin-roof nervous, persecuted civil servant Hollis Figg.'The opening scene with the ambulance is pathetically absurd, but i won't ruin it for you, it's one of my favorite comic scenes ever.
'If folks were really this stupid I could be the SRW - Supreme Ruler of the World. In this one Knotts plays a dimwitted bean counter for some little jerk water town run by a group of crooked simpletons only slightly brighter than he is. When things appear a bit shaky for the crooks they go for a frame-up of the patsy Figg. Plenty of laughs as Knotts does his usual bumbling, stumbling act. I especially appreciated the extension cord scene; asininity at it's highest level.'
Best Don Knotts movie: How to Frame a Figg. Go rent it tonight and let me know if you agree or disagree.
Update: Don Knotts' career as metaphor for the decline of American culture?
February 25, 2006
...the microwave will be discarded."
Via commenter, Radical Redneck.
February 23, 2006
Dubai is believed to have been one of the most important conduits for Iran's nuclear technology acquisition program, according to U.S. court cases and interviews with experts in the field. The Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, a nongovernment advocacy group, last year published a list of 38 weapons-related smuggling cases since 1982 in which the goods moved through Dubai and the other islands that constitute the United Arab Emirates. Most of the illicit goods crossing Dubai go through its ports.So what. Trust the President. Don't worry. Be happy. Right?
More generally, according to sanctions experts and numerous U.S. court and regulatory cases, Iran uses Dubai to evade U.S. economic sanctions on Iran and other Middle Eastern countries. The UAE doesn't recognize those sanctions.
Iranian front companies in Dubai routinely obtain prohibited U.S. goods, federal court records show. In one undercover investigation by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency that resulted in a November 2005 guilty plea in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the representative of an Iranian front company was caught on tape assuring an undercover agent posing as a businessman not to worry about sanctions regulations.
'You are going to export to Dubai, which does not have any regulations. It's a free, uh, country for importing, exporting,' said Khalid Mahmood, according to his guilty plea. Asked if the equipment would then be shipped to Iran, Mr. Mahmood replied, 'Once it comes here, we'll ship it anywhere in the world, no problem.'
Similarly, in 2003, UAE officials refused a U.S. request to intercept a shipment of nuclear technology bound for South Africa by a smuggler named Asher Karni, according to University of Georgia sanctions expert Scott Jones, who works with U.S. agencies on proliferation issues. Mr. Karni was convicted of violating sanctions against weapons of mass destruction last year in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The UAE also was believed to be a nexus for Pakistan's nuclear program and hosted at least two front companies that forwarded material to Islamabad. [emphasis added]
February 22, 2006
Looks like Seacrest traded the gingham Maryann shirt for an Alexander Julian knock-off. I wonder if he shops at Marshall's. You know you can get some really cheap designer looking clothes at Marshall's. Not that I'd ever shop there.
David the crooner: Funny, the first guy sings Etheridge, the second guy sings Freddy Mercury. Is there a pattern forming? WTF? OMG! he sucks! It will be hard for anyone to drop a performance worse than that one. He's like the drunk guy on karaoke night. I agree with Randy totally. That was seriously horrible.
Bucky: He's a good looking kid. Let's see what he can do. He's been off key for most of the song. Crap. So far this night has been amateur hour. Did I just hear this guy stutter?
Simon is being nicer tonight than usual.
Will: Reminds me of Bobby Brady or Seth from the OC. When he was in the final two, I thought Sid should have made it instead of him. Ha ha. Nice moves, kid. His voice is not up to this Jackson 5 song, but I like his energy. I see some potential. The most memorable performance so far. Lol, Paula agrees, definitely Bobby Brady.
Sway: He's going to sing "Reasons." Another one of my favorite songs ever, so i'm nervous for him. The song is to high for him. That velvet jacket must have cost him a pretty penny. He's butchering the song. Too bad, because Sway had a good voice in the auditions.
Interesting side note (or not): Did you ever notice that the Cingular Wireless commercials always show five bars? Yet I've never seen an actual phone with more than four bars.
That guy who does the CareerBuilder.com commercials with all the chimps is one brave dude. Those fuckers will eat your face off. Chimps are not nice animals.
Chris the bald guy: He's one of my early favorites from the auditions. He's going to sing Bon Jovi. Cool performance. Excellent rocker voice. Best so far. Simon was wrong, he does have charisma.
Kevin from historic Levittown: What will his D&D buddies say if Kevin makes the big time? "*sniff* hnn hey Kevin. Can I run your character hnn while you're in Hollywood, *sniff* hnn?" When Simon said his performance was vocally excruciating, Kevin's mom looked upset, but dad's expression was like "You know, he has a point there."
You know what? I really like the fact that Becky is so supportive of every guy who gets up there. Did you see her gettin' totally into Kevin's performance? Good for her.
Gideon: This dude talks like a preacher, it's funny. He's singing "Shout?" lol. "Can we dance with your dates?" haha! There were no flashes of greatness in that performance. But he's got potential, given the right song. Don't let Simon get in your head, dude. You have a nice smile.
Eliot Yao Ming: He don't look Chinese. His performance was A'ight. One of the best tonight sure, but that's not saying much. He'll do okay until they get down to twelve. But he's got to bring it up a notch to make it all the way. Simon is whacked. This guy is not the best male vocalist they've ever had, that's just plain off.
Bobby: "Copacabana?" That was fun. He has a real Nathan Lane meets John Goodman appeal to him. I agree with Paula, it looks like he totally commits to whatever he does.
Did you notice they got two singers left and 25 minutes to fill? When I was doing plays, I always sang faster on opening night.
Ace: He is stunning. And Ace Young is such a great rock and roll name. Average vocals, which seem stellar compared to tonight's competition. But I'll predict right now that he will be a finalist. Easy. My suggestion for Ace is to make sure the word "naked" appears in every song he sings this season.
Taylor: This guy is the biggest character in a cast full of characters. "Levon" is about family values?! I think he needs to pay more attention to the lyrics. I'm pulling for Taylor. I became a big fan when he took the long walk playing a harmonica. However, I fear his look is too old for the average AI voter.
If I was going to vote for anybody tonight, it would be Chris though.
Rush asks "why would they spend billions of dollars to do something they can do cheaply?" He means that the terrorists could always put a bomb inside a container and ship it. They don't need to buy a port operations company to achieve the same thing.
You see the sophistry? Opponents of this deal aren't saying that Al Qaeda is buying the British concern. Or that the UAE is run by terrorists. That's just silly. And it shows how little Rush thinks of his audience, that he thinks he can slip such an argument past us.
I find myself agreeing with Rush Limbaugh more often than not. But it's only due to the inherent strength of the conservative point of view, not because Rush is especially trustworthy or even likeable. And on this point he's dead wrong.
Rush also says that keeping port operations out of the hands of the UAE won't stop terrorists from infiltrating security. "They can do that now," he says. Well, Rush likes football, so how about this analogy. It's like saying no one should rush Donovan McNabb, because he can always get rid of the ball. In football, and in the War On Terror, you know your opponent is trying to score on you. It's not your job to make it easier for him. Quite the opposite. In war and in football you gotta play the percentages.
Ode for General Washingtons Birthday
No Spartan tube, no Attic shell,
No lyre Ãolian I awake;
Tis libertys bold note I swell,
Thy harp, Columbia, let me take!
See gathering thousands, while I sing,
A broken chain exulting bring,
And dash it in a tyrants face,
And dare him to his very beard,
And tell him he no more is feared
No more the despot of Columbias race!
A tyrants proudest insults bravd,
They shouta People freed! They hail an Empire saved.
Where is mans god-like form?
Where is that brow erect and bold
That eye that can unmovd behold
The wildest rage, the loudest storm
That eer created fury dared to raise?
Avaunt! thou caitiff, servile, base,
That tremblest at a despots nod,
Yet, crouching under the iron rod,
Canst laud the hand that struck th insulting blow!
Art thou of mans Imperial line?
Dost boast that countenance divine?
Each skulking feature answers, No!
But come, ye sons of Liberty,
Columbias offspring, brave as free,
In dangers hour still flaming in the van,
Ye know, and dare maintain, the Royalty of Man!
Alfred! on thy starry throne,
Surrounded by the tuneful choir,
The bards that erst have struck the patriot lyre,
And rousd the freeborn Britons soul of fire,
No more thy England own!
Dare injured nations form the great design,
To make detested tyrants bleed?
Thy England execrates the glorious deed!
Beneath her hostile banners waving,
Every pang of honour braving,
England in thunder calls, The tyrants cause is mine!
That hour accurst how did the fiends rejoice
And hell, thro all her confines, raise the exulting voice,
That hour which saw the generous English name
Linkt with such damned deeds of everlasting shame!
Thee, Caledonia! thy wild heaths among,
Famd for the martial deed, the heaven-taught song,
To thee I turn with swimming eyes;
Where is that soul of Freedom fled?
Immingled with the mighty dead,
Beneath that hallowd turf where Wallace lies
Hear it not, WALLACE! in thy bed of death.
Ye babbling winds! in silence sweep,
Disturb not ye the heros sleep,
Nor give the coward secret breath!
Is this the ancient Caledonian form,
Firm as the rock, resistless as the storm?
Show me that eye which shot immortal hate,
Blasting the despots proudest bearing;
Show me that arm which, nervd with thundering fate,
Crushd Usurpations boldest daring!
Dark-quenchd as yonder sinking star,
No more that glance lightens afar;
That palsied arm no more whirls on the waste of war.
By Robert Burns.
February 21, 2006
Kelly from, Abermarle North Carolina. Cute, small town girl, yada yada yada. I sense that she does not have the emotional toughness to dig down and fight when it comes to the later rounds. But then, did Carrie? Maybe not, but this girl does not have Carrie's voice.
Becky. Too glamour girlish. Guys will love her, girls will hate her. She's frickin annoying too. She relies on too many vocal gimmicks, and she's not that good a singer. Springseen is not for her, either. Bad choice of songs.
Ayla, the athletic chick. She's so tall, I think she could hurt Ryan. I actually like her voice, despite her overuse of the vibrato. I also liked her black outfit. I just don't see her making it into the top two or three. Plus, she thinks she can divide her attention between basketball and AI. I wouldn't be surprised if she were forced to make a choice sometime in the next few weeks. Smiling more would definitely help her chances.
Paris. This girl can also bring it on. Oh and one of my favorite songs in the entire world too, "Midnight Train To Georgia." She has a little trouble with the lower register. But she's having a hell of a good time up there. The judges gush over her. I like her too.
Stevie, Sacramento representin' again. Opera training, multilingual. Where's her breath control? Nervous I guess. I'm such an armchair singer, like I wouldn't sound like shit up there. But as Randy might say, dude that was not good. Why would she pick such a crappy song?
Brenna. I predict this girl is going to bug the shit out of America. And she picks "You Are the Sunshine of My Life?!" Let's see how she does. Okay. Predictably, a bad song choice, and her attitude is all wrong. It's a ballad, what is she doing? I don't know what she's doing. That was shit, dude. Nice grille though. Her ortho did a great job.
Heather. If I didn't know her name, and I had to guess it after taking one look at her, I would guess Nicole. But my second guess would be Heather. I like her personality. But the girl is a shower singer. Her boobs are worth ten thousand votes, and her voice is not ready for prime time. Boring fucking song. And what's with all the altos this year? Lets hear some more sopranos.
Melissa. She's got a different look than the rest of the beauty queens. I'm glad she decided to go brunette. Another alto, but I like the throaty quality to her voice. She's more comfortable at the low end of the spectrum, and she can belt it too. If she picks the right songs, she can go far. At first, I would have said this was a safe song choice, but she nailed it. I agree with Paula, amazing.
Wow, Melissa said she has never been shown on AI until now? I find that hard to believe. Those shows were taped and pre-edited. I can't understand how they could fail to show one of the final twenty four at least once.
Lisa, the sixteen year old. Very pretty and sings good too. A little "pitchy." She's trying to work the crowd. I expected better from her tonight. She'll make it into the middle rounds at least, though. She's got heart.
What drugs is Paula on this year? They're totally different than the ones she was on last year. She's too mellow. I think I liked the hyper Paula better.
Kinnik. I miss Vonzell, and I think the judges did too. Holy crap. When I heard she picked Oleta, I said forget it. But I was way wrong. That was the performance of the night for me. I'm sorry the judges are all whacked. I didn't hear no sharps. Even still, better sharp than flat on that song.
Katharine. A little advice honey. You might want to re-think the whole emulating Barbra thing. As Walter Matthau once said of her: "Great talent... difficult person." She can sing, but it wasn't a standout for me. She does this strange dancing thing. It's weird, like she's having a seizure or something. Dude, she was up there but she was not the best of the best tonight. I'd say she was like number five, maybe six.
Hey, this is easier to do than a hot tub post.
If there's any justice, I think this should be a more accurate predictor of future life than the astrology charts.
That's because my song is "Rich Girl" by Daryl Hall & John Oates, lol. I love that song.
It is my hope that in the months and years ahead, life will return almost to normal. We'll go back to our lives and routines, and that is good. Even grief recedes with time and grace. But our resolve must not pass. Each of us will remember what happened that day, and to whom it happened. We'll remember the moment the news came -- where we were and what we were doing. Some will remember an image of a fire, or a story of rescue. Some will carry memories of a face and a voice gone forever.Today, President Bush asked the following rhetorical question:
And I will carry this: It is the police shield of a man named George Howard, who died at the World Trade Center trying to save others. It was given to me by his mom, Arlene, as a proud memorial to her son. This is my reminder of lives that ended, and a task that does not end.
I will not forget this wound to our country or those who inflicted it. I will not yield; I will not rest; I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people.
I don't understand why it's OK for a British company to operate our ports but not a company from the Middle East when we've already determined security is not an issue.And I ask this: What happened to that police shield that's supposed to be in your pocket, Mr. President? What will you tell the victims and their families if port security does turn out to be "an issue?"
This is a big mistake.
Update: Ken sees a parallel with the border situation.
Like the border with Mexico, the President seems to be tone deaf when it comes to guarding our borders. He seems to think it is more important to play nice with Mexico than it is to keep millions of illegal aliens from entering the country. I believe the same mind set the President uses towards Mexico is the same he is employing to rationalize the UAE takeover of our ports. Both situations are wrong and risk our national security.Update 2: the best argument I have read on the subject was written, not suprisingly, by Hugh Hewitt.
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