Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Top Ten deleted scenes on the new Superman Returns DVD

-Superman battles a supervillain.

-Superman has some very witty banter with Lois Lane.

-Perry White actually says something funny when he gets angry.

-Jimmy Olsen gets laid.

-The kid who takes the picture of Superman holding the car over his head (just like on the cover of Action Comics #1) also manages to take a picture of Superman picking his nose.

-Krypto shows up and pees on Lex Luthor's leg.

-When asked about crystals, the image of Jor-El turns to Lex Luthor and says, "You're not my son! Who the #$%@ are you!?"

-Batman chews Superman out for accidentally leaving his cell phone off during the 5 years he was away.

-Lois's son pushes a conference table through a wall when he mistakenly gets a hamburger with his kids meal instead of chicken nuggets.

-Superman admits to Ma Kent that going to the last fragment of the planet Krypton was "...a bone-headed idea. What the #$%@ was I thinking? Next year, I'm taking my vacation on Apokolips."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


In my continuing attempts to become smart, a while back I read Michio Kaku's new book on, among other things, string theory. Then today I just read that string theory is currently getting the Gotti treatment from enraged aluminium bat-weilding physicists across the globe. This week officially SUCKS.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


A few weekends ago I visited Boston's Public Library for a look at the private book collection of the United States' first vice president, Mr. John Adams. It's amazing what a collection of books can reveal about its owner; in Adams' case, his interests ranged across almost every topic in existence, with the exception of contemporary lit. He was transfixed by the French revolution, largely because he didn't care for it and accurately predicted that it would end in tyrranical rule--an opinion which may have cost him the reelection, since when it started most Americans supported the uprising in France. Late in life, he threw himself into the study of religion, but remained a practical-minded skeptic, especially dismissive of the pomp of pagan worship (in the margins of a book on ancient Egyptian ceremony, he scribbled "This is a religion? Good God!"). Best of all, in the margins of many books he wrote his reactions to and opinions of the text he was reading, creating a dialogue between him and hundreds of authors that fulfills the grand purpose of literacy, which is a preservation of man's inquiries into life and nature. Adams' character comes through crystal clear; he was inquisitive, critical of others, demanded recognition when his predictions turned out to be right, fearful of how history might warp his legacy (or relegate him to a minor role in U.S. history), appreciative of discussion and debate, conversant in several languages, unbearable at times, enlightened at others, and altogether a remarkable and unique person, fit company for Jefferson and Franklin, and probably unmatched since.
One of the more unique items is a copy of the constitutions of all thirteen states, transcribed into French and bound in gorgeous editions; these were the first books ever printed with the Great Seal of the U.S. on the front page, and 100 of them were created as gifts for the soon-to-be-decapitated French court. Adams also had a rare unfinished volume by Newton, a similarly rare book by Adam Smith, and many books on the woeful (to Adams) rise of Napoleon. What happened to statesmen like this? Can anyone imagine Bush conversant with political philosophers besides Jesus, or Clinton (either one) editing volumes of religious and legislative history, or Reagan speaking Latin?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Top Ten Reasons Happy Feet ($42.3 million) outgrossed Casino Royale ($40.6 million) at the box office this weekend:

-The motion-capture for the new James Bond simply wasn’t as breathtakingly gritty and brutal as the motion-capture for the penguin Mumble.

-The love scenes between Daniel Craig and Judi Dench leave much less to the imagination than the love scenes between the penguins Mumble and Gloria.

-Daniel Craig has blond hair. Mumbles has dark hair, much like Sean Connery’s.

-Daniel Craig is furrier than a penguin when he removes his shirt.

-Daniel Craig is a better tap-dancer than Mumbles, but Mumbles proves far more adroit at lambada.

-In “Casino Royale”, as in the book, all of the gambling is done over the Internet, which is far less exciting than it sounds.

-Director George Miller wisely borrowed a few key elements of his Mad Max movies for “Happy Feet”, including Tina Turner as the villain amid a post-apocalyptic world.

-Many Americans have been dismayed to discover that the U.S. Government does not issue a “license to kill”, and so look with disdain upon “Casino Royale” as science fiction. But talking and dancing penguins? With some genetic modifications, that could really happen!

-“Happy Feet” wisely focuses on regal Emperor penguins. In the first draft of the script, the main characters were ordinary Manager penguins.

-When Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld filled in for Roger Ebert on “Ebert & Roeper at the Movies” on November 6, he gave “Happy Feet” a thumbs down. The very next day, he lost his job. Coincidence? Some say not.

Thursday, November 09, 2006



I wrapped up MAN OF LA MANCHA. It was a helluva tough play to produce, but the results were well worth it. It was genuinely heartening to see a group of cynical teenagers buy into the idea of our heroic potential.

I took a lot of pride in the show. Anyone who knows me will know how important I find its ideas. I even designed the set. The show took about every ounce of my energy, but to see kids crying about having to say goodbye to Don Quixote and Sancho... well, no one wants to see a kid cry, but if they're gonna cry, let it be over this.

I enclose the following picture of me on the set I designed. I think it says it all.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


So I saw Borat--extremely funny, almost unbelievably funny, but I got a problem with a lot of the reviews (aside from all their spoilers); I don't know if the movie works as satire. I don't even know if satire works at all--anyway, in this film there aren't exactly revelations, and I don't remember seeing the mighty brought low (Is anyone surprised by rodeo enthusiasts making cracks about shooting gays, or drunken frat boys talking trash about 'bitches?' Pretty easy and predictable targets, if you ask me). I'm glad so many critics enjoyed it, but spare the "isms," please.
After you've seen it, take a look at what I mean; The New York Times review mentioned "social satire," The L.A. Times also credited the film with a big agenda though wisely pointed out that the people duped in the film may not be as gullible as they look, and an interesting review at Spiked brought up the limits of Cohen's comedy, while still praising the movie. Indeed, how did some of the people punked in the film regard the experience? The BBC did a follow-up piece on that score--RECOMMENDED READING. What struck me in this movie isn't the gullibility of Americans; many of them are more polite and hospitable to this oaf than they need to be. And they can comfort themselves knowing that they were conned by a master. Cohen is an extremely talented actor, and few could withstand his skilled ruses.
If you want to get a taste of how quickly Cohen's shtick gets stale, check out his appearance on The Daily Show. Fortunately, the film sustains the joke for much longer, with greater success.


Does anyone else find it odd that a retail chain known the world over for selling high-quality elegant menswear has, as its corporate logo, a sheep in a bondage harness?

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