Book Reviews: Movies, Bolivia, Alternate Universes, and Alcohol

Tookey’s Talkies
The first thing to know is that Tookey is the last name of the British film critic who wrote the reviews, and thus this collection of reviews. With that out of the way, if you’ve read Ebert’s or Kael’s or Maltin’s books there isn’t that much new here, though they are fun to read with a British accent. Some of his choices for best of the last 25 years are expected, but more are surprising; there are quite a few I’d never heard about, mostly British and European stuff that most likely didn’t make their way to the States. If even one of these hits the spot I’ll find this book well worth it. My favorite parts are when he’s deeply surprised when sequels are as good if not better than their progenitors, but mostly he makes me smile when his reason for liking a movie is the same as mine. 4/5

Tookey’s Turkeys
“Here is a movie that makes Dumb and Dumberer look threateningly intellectual.”
Here’s the other half of the movie-reviewing coin, Mr. Tookey’s worst films of the last 25 years. As one might think, this is tougher to read than those he praises. Most of the selections are expected, though his takedowns of several great/famous actors are worth the read alone. The revelations come when he selects some movies that most people would have on their best-of list, including Oscar winners; he particularly has it in for Michael Moore, and doesn’t like Dan Brown much more. Or Mel Gibson. . . 4/5
{Beeteedubya: in the leader quote he’s talking about Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.}

Senate Proof
Various levels of conspiracy fill this story about a bootlegging still for the modern age near D.C., involving rich people, politicians, and FBI agents. Internal strife threatens the entire operation, with some characters changing sides midstream.
The one note I made about halfway through was “This story is very uneven,” and that opinion did not change at the end. There are two main steams running through, one about a woman looking for clues to her father’s murder, the other about the still’s history and possible futures. At times they seemed to be written by different authors. The revelation at the end annoyed me, as there was no hint to it coming. It’s certainly not horrible, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to read it. 2.5/5

It’s the End of the World as We Know It
First of all, it has nothing to do with the song. With that out of the way, I can tell you it has some cute moments, but nothing more. Too much weirdness introduced too quickly to really keep up; I would like to see an outline of the author’s original intent, because it was hard to see a structure to all this, going all over the place as much as the characters.
The speech where they switched the first letters of every other word was cute for a while, but rapidly grew tiresome. And cats are terrifying enough without giving them this much power. . . 2/5

The Travel Writer
A woman goes missing in Bolivia, and a travel writer goes looking for her.
Not much happens. Nor is it a travelogue. It’s mostly the first person ramblings of a young travel writer who’s way too far inside his head to be of use to anyone. It’s okay when a character is amusingly annoying, but this one went way past that, almost making me give up on this. I would say I couldn’t stand the protagonist’s selfishness, but fact is every character is like that.
And I so hate it when a major character is killed off undeservedly. . . 2/5

;o)

Netflix report, part 2

Another round of stuff to watch–or not watch–albeit probably too late for the holiday break.

Shuttle Discovery’s Last Mission
While there’s a sense of propaganda–not for the country, but for Smithsonian, which received Discovery, and this was made for their TV channel–there are still moments that make you genuinely choke up. Had some stories I hadn’t heard, and it’s always a pleasure to hear from the techies and ground crew as well as the astronauts; even the conservation crew gets in the act here. To my shock, I was a little amused at myself for feeling slighted toward my hometown Endeavour. 4/5

MythBusters
Those who know it of course love it. Those who don’t and like science and/or special effects at all, or even comedy, you’d do well to watch this often wacky series that does exactly what it purports to do: takes famous myths and examines them for truth, usually to hilarious proportions. Tempered by the fact the Three Amigos were just kicked off the show, leaving only the two mains. 4.5/5

TED Talks
These are arranged by categories, from humor to space to psychology and everything in between, which makes it easier than randomly searching on the TED website. As you would expect the offerings are uneven; the worst problem is when the speaker thinks they’re lecturing in class and sound like it, but happily that’s not often. It’s worth looking through for the few gems, like “How to Use a Paper Towel.” It works! 4/5

The Fall
They really love to juxtapose ordinary actions–washing a kid’s hair, even having sex–with murders and the kinds of creepy things serial killers do with their victims after death. The first epi featured a long sequence shot from above, flying over an apartment–bedrooms, bathroom, etc.–which I found sinister but brilliant. Gillian Anderson is the lead, and forget everything about Scully; her character is so cold here, even during sex. 4/5

The Big Wedding
Not as bad as most people say, but not great either. There are two hilarious moments for us Katherine Heigl fans: one where she’s sitting on a diving board and just jumps into the pool fully dressed (don’t ruin it for me by saying it’s a stunt double), and most importantly when she’s walking out of the hospital with her brother and turns with her hands spread far apart to inform the astounded nurses about his size. . . 2.5/5

Ancient X-Files: The Holy Grail & The Labyrinth
Ugh. . . had they been the least bit humorous about this, it might have worked, but the deadly earnestness, the full-in conspiracy mode. . . ugh. 1/5

Discovery Atlas: Uncovering Earth
There are two separate parts to this small series, the best being the scenery porn; Hawaii and the Great Rift Valley of Africa are particularly at their stunning best. That part would get a 5/5 for being exactly what it says.
Unfortunately the last two episodes involved an obnoxious guy–he’s actually worse than Steve Irwin–claiming to “solve history,” though the offerings are incredibly different. One is a search for Atlantis, and his hysterical peppy manner does not help in making me take him seriously, even though I’ve done a lot of research on this very subject. The other is on Devil’s Island, which is a small land mass off Cayenne, French Guiana, in the northeast region of South America (learned that by reading Hardy Boys!). I couldn’t finish either one. This part was 1/5, so using what little math I remember from college I’m pretty sure this averages out to 3/5.

Wish Upon a Star
Probably the best work Katherine Heigl did as a teen. Even though it’s typical Disney nonsense about sisters changing bodies, there’s a lot of genuinely sweet moments, and the chemistry between Katie and Danielle Harris–whom I’m pretty sure was much older than her costar, despite being a foot shorter–is fantastic. There’s a scene where Katie’s making faces while being photographed for the school paper that’s nothing short of hilarious, but for me the best part is when she’s playing volleyball and hurts her hand; her reaction when asked if she’s okay reminds me that the best compliment you can give an actor is to say they don’t look like they’re acting at all. 3.5/5

The Tick: The Complete Series
Watched for Liz Vassey, never got that far. Hated it too much in the first 5 minutes. Warburton has always annoyed me but this time he aimed for the moon and hit it. I’ll be generous and give it an incomplete.

Hinterland
This show doesn’t know if it wants to be serious or Twin Peaks; the murders and motives are very dark, but there are some eerie/funny moments in every episode. And even though the detective is nothing like Coop or Truman, the scenery and especially the waterfall in the first epi can’t help but remind one of that epic show. The intro is much like Sherlock‘s, and I don’t ever need to see that collection of teeth–or any other–again. As I said, not quirky like Twin Peaks, but seriously, the people here are even more fucked up, and that’s saying a lot. And the sad-faced detective is as taciturn as Cooper was cheery. 4/5

;o)

Netflix reviews, part 1

Rather than doing reviews of current movies–which would be useless, since Guardians of the Galaxy is the only one I’ve seen this year (4.5/5 stars), I’m gonna tell ya what I think of stuff I’ve seen on Netflix recently. You’re welcome.

Space: Unraveling the Cosmos

Did not know the moon affects the earth THAT much, to a point where life might not be possible without it. Also did not know the famous Dr. Hubble made his discovery of another galaxy at the Mt. Wilson Observatory, which I can see from my window. . . the antennas, anyway. But that’s about all I learned. Thing had tons of CGI, beautiful visuals but mostly entry-level astronomy; if you’ve seen Nova or most specials on space you know all this stuff already. Ultimately fell asleep. . . 3/5

The Croods

Excellent voicework, particularly Emma Stone. Fantastic animation; loved the colors. The plot? Not so much, but what can you really expect? It did what it was supposed to do excellently. 4/5

The Bachelorette

Note: this is not about the not-so-reality show on TV; this is a rom-com movie, at least supposedly.

The discussion of blow jobs on the plane was surreal. . . and though I knew it was coming, it was still bitchy of her to play the poor guy like that, especially with that last lie that confirmed it was all a setup. . . (that got ya thinkin’, didn’t it?)

Let’s face it, the only reason I clicked on this was because of a certain redhead named Isla Fisher. Her best moment was when she blurted, “I took French?” in high school, but I’m tired of watching her play airheads. Finally gave up less than half an hour in. . . 1.5/5

Victim of Beauty

An incredibly typical suburban mystery, with one particularly great thing at the beginning: the credit “introducing Jeri Lynn Ryan!” Yep, 7 of 9’s first work. She’s competing in a beauty pageant and singing opera! Nice. Her sister is her manager, makeup person, hair, everything; they even snark about the hula hoop girl. Everything changes when the sister is kidnapped, and that’s where the movie goes for the rest of the time.

By far the best part is watching Jeri be the opposite of 7 of 9; she even has some crying scenes, which she did well. Call it a sign of things to come. She even sings Amazing Grace at the end. But that’s it. The movie itself, it bears repeating, is incredibly typical and quite a bit dated, not really worth watching except for the novelty of a young Jeri Ryan. 2/5

Hit and Run

After the slight disappointment of the Veronica Mars movie and the huge disappointment that was The Lifeguard, here’s a Kristen Bell movie I can wholeheartedly recommend. Written, co-directed, and co-starring her partner Dax Shepherd, you also get Tom Arnold (actually pretty good here), a cameo by Jason Bateman, and for all the Marshmallows an appearance by Ryan Hansen, who does his signature backflip right before getting whaled on by the one and only Beau Bridges. Some parts are tough to deal with–Dax’s character is not the best guy ever, even if he wrote it himself–but it’s surprisingly sweet. . . and there’s a lot of fast cars. 4.5/5

The Science of Sex Appeal

I can’t trust anyone who makes sex BORING! 1/5

Ceremony

Very uneven story about a young guy having an affair with an older woman who’s about to get married. Not nearly as good as it thinks it is, but. . . Uma Thurman is in it, so that’s that, watch it. And once again I didn’t recognize Lee Pace, after he was the baddie in Guardians of the Galaxy. Definitely not making pies. . . 2.5/5

When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions

Space exploration at its best, only helped by Gary Sinise’s wonderful narration. Told chronologically, each episode covers a specific time and/or program, leading to the best part, the moon missions, including the infamous Apollo 13. The interviews are fantastic; on the mission before Armstrong and Aldrin finally landed on the moon, the previous flight’s assignment was to orbit the moon, and NASA had to make sure not to include a way to lift off in case those astronauts got the urge to land against orders. Hilarious. The also didn’t whitewash the three disasters, especially Challenger. 5/5

Prophets of Science Fiction

A series about some of the grand masters of science-fiction writing; as you might expect, this aired on the Sci-Fi channel, or whatever it’s calling itself this week. Gets a little silly at times, with reenactments of their younger years; having to find actors that matched some of these nerdy guys couldn’t have been easy. There’s the ones you might expect like Asimov, Heinlein, and Clarke, but you also get Mary Shelly and George Lucas among others. Most of the time is taken up by interviewing various people about today’s state of the technology those authors proposed; my favorite was Clarke’s Space Elevator, since I’d just finished rereading The Fountains of Paradise. 4/5

A Bit of Fry and Laurie

Most people probably haven’t heard of this show, but if you’re at all a Monty Python or Benny Hill fan, you’ve got to see this. Stephen Fry isn’t that well known in the States, but I’ve never seen him be anything less than hilarious, and Hugh Laurie certainly wasn’t famous here before House. The “last name: lighter dropped on counter” sketch is right up there with Dead Parrot.  5/5

;o)

I am not a number. . .

Spent last night at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood–trying not to wonder what they hieroglyphs could possibly say–having a large tub of popcorn for dinner while watching clips from Dr. No, Mission Impossible, the Avengers, the Saint, Wild Wild West, and then most importantly two episodes of The Prisoner on a huge screen. It really does make a difference; for instance, I’d never noticed #6 had a tiger-skin rug in the entrance hall.

On the other hand, there’s yet another disturbance shutting down the subway. You’d think they’d figure out how to keep people from going into the tunnels, so that they don’t instantly think BOMB! and shut down the whole thing, even if you’re far away from that station. . .

;o)

Top 15 Hottest Nathan Fillion co-stars

So yeah, this is the kind of shit that comes out when I’m completely bored and not at all disciplined in my internet viewing. {Where’s all this porn people talk about. . .?}

So I watched Jane Espesen’s internet series Husbands all in one go, and playing the newscaster is none other than The Fillion. {kinda like we say “The Shatner,” which I think Nathan would like} Luckily his long list of credits includes a bunch of voiceover work, which simply does not count here and makes it tons easier for me to wade through. However, let’s not be disingenuous: this is a list of beauties who’ve been in the same movies as the guy, though not necessarily had any scenes with him; some I just don’t know, not having seen them. Others, as you’ll see below, I know they weren’t in the same scene, but I’m too damned tired to actually go hunting for the movie, or some info that would say one way or another.

15. Emmanuelle Vaugier {Water’s Edge}
Never heard of it, never saw it. . . doesn’t matter. Her ethereal beauty makes it worth watching.

14. Dana Delany {Castle, Desperate Housewives, Pasadena}
C’mon, it’s Dana Delany–what else is there to say?

13. Gina Torres {Firefly}
Zoeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!

12. Stana Katic {Castle}
Uh-huh. . .

11. Charisma Carpenter {Miss Match}
If you can say no to {viewing} her, you’re a stronger man than I. . .

10. Paula Marshall {Miss Match}
Still the cutest who ever lived. . .

9. Eliza Dushku {Buffy}
And yes, she’s known as The Dushku around these here parts. . .

8. Christina Hendricks {Firefly}
Ah, Saffron. . . {The rest of this entry has been redacted to keep the author from embarrassing himself. . . again.}

7. Keri Russell {Waitress}
That WTF look in the middle of the movie, followed by a three-day perma-grin. . . visual bliss.

6. Mircea Monroe {Drive}
Back when she was even hotter as a redhead; no one has ever worn jeans better.

5. Jeri Ryan {Dracula 2000}
I finally saw this hilarious clunker, in which Nathan appears in exactly one scene. . . as a priest in a confessional! Make of that what you will. Immediately following this we go to a bayou where Dracula’s modern-day Demeter–this time a plane–has crashed, and we get a very sexy blonde reporter in front of the wreckage, asking the cameraman, “You getting the tits?” Oh yes, Jeri Ryan, everyone is. Quickly she’s turned into one of Dracula’s brides, where she gets to taunt our heroine and then play with the hero. . . until he sticks a wooden stake through her heart. Her look of surprise–and, I think, hurt that he would do such a mean thing to her–is priceless. . .

4. Malinda Clarke {Firefly}
Quite possibly the only prostitute character I would ever indeed pay for. . . (dammit, where’s that redactor when you need him?}

3. Darby Stanchfield {Castle, Waitress}
I don’t know how many ladies have had to play Nathan wife/ex-wife, but she’s got to be the only one who’s had to suffer through that twice. That second taste of deep-friend twinkie, when she’s coming down the stairs in her undies and lifts her shurt to rub her tummy. . .

2. Dina Meyer {Castle, Miss Match}
Excuse me, that should be Dina freakin’ Meyer!

1. Morena Baccarin
When asked what character I would like to be on Firefly, there was only one possible answer: one of Inara’s customers. . .

Also-rans
Ellen Page {Super}
Never thought I’d see her like that. . .

Angeline Ball {Outer Limits}
The best part of one of my favorite movies, The Commitments.

In an episode of something called Total Security, he had these three gorgeous ladies as co-stars: Tracey Needham, Kristin Bauer, and Lisa Boyle; hope he had fun. Similarly, in something called Hollywood Division, three beautiful actresses shared the camera: Moon Bloodgood, Tsianina Joelson, and Leighton Meester.

And then of course, the best for last: Felicia Day. . .

;o)

Concert Bookends

Haven’t gone to the movies in two years, now twice in one week. . . and possibly Much Ado About Nothing on Friday. My head hurts. . .
So, right before I left for Slovenia, Croatia, and Montenegro, I went to Natalie Gelman’s concert at Hotel Café–can’t believe it’s been a couple of years since I’ve been there–and last night found myself at Molly Malone’s for Riddle the Sphinx.
Here’s how it happened. . . (dramatic music sting)

A few Thursdays ago. . .
Most people probably couldn’t tell, but I remember enough of that training to know there’s heightened security going on around Union Station. Some overt signs, with cop SUVs on the outer circle, and a couple of K9 units, but to my delight I picked out a few undercover guys trying to meld into the crowd; nice to know my brain hasn’t atrophied that much. . . yet.
No big deal getting to Westwood, but after a cool cloudy morning it got sunny and humid in a hurry! Farmers’ Market is going on, but as usual I don’t find anything of interest. . . except the roasted corn! Mmmmm, so goooood! Ate it on the way to platelet donation, but because of the heat in my mouth and the day–sweating in my UCLA hoodie–I almost didn’t pass the thermometer test. Even worse, the music selection as I waited to be called in was. . . well past eclectic: there was one of the countless covers of Buckley’s Hallelujah, followed by heavy metal. . . and then mariachi! Couldn’t take it anymore, had to ask at the desk what kind of weird radio station this was. . . and the answer is. . . Pandora on shuffle! Ha!
Rather than watch a movie this time, I had my Kindle, but even then I ended up falling asleep. Still, this was the second time in a row where all went well, no cramps or bathroom issues, and I even caught a quick glimpse of the perpetually sunny Kirsten while in recovery, talking to an older lady about world travels. . .
The corn was so good I went back for another, almost getting run over by a tall blonde babe on a skateboard. That looked quite. . . funny.
Had no choice but to take the Sunset bus this time, but I was way early, so I ended up riding all the way to Freestyle Photo, just to shoot the breeze, though I told the guy I was compiling a wish list for my birthday so it wouldn’t be suspicious when I didn’t buy anything. But then fun petered out pretty early, so I crossed the street to go back, and found myself on the first bus I’ve ever ridden that had a new car smell. . .
Took the side alley, having to dodge some movers on the way, and quickly found myself inside Hotel Café for the 74th time–nothing much has changed, other than the waitress of course. No one will ever live up to the cuteness of Meiko, but this one had a very sweet smile; if history is any indication, I love waitresses. . .
Brooke Annabelle was the opening act, whom I liked but didn’t love; she’s great in concert, and while I liked the songs, I couldn’t tell them apart. She had drums and bass backing her, leading to a hard-rocking enjoying half-hour or so. Also noticed the waitress kneels to not be in the way; I like good girls. Plus the fact she called me honey and patted me on the shoulder. . . the world is such a better place with me not being born with the psychology of a stalker, huh? It was even cute when she said empanadas w/ a tilde on the N; I didn’t bother to correct her.
Okay, it’s one minute to eight and there’s no sign of Natalie, though her stuff is already on sale at the entrance. To my shock, the chicken actually smells pretty good. . . THERE she is! In a dress. . . no, a miniskirt and high heels, nothing at all like I’ve seen from her. Up on stage in the spotlight, she actually reminded me a bit of Jeri Ryan. . .
1 Streetlamp Musician
“I don’t want to die with a melody inside.” The previous act had ended with streetlight song, so of course I had to make note of it while trying not to giggle. I would have thought this would be her closer, as emotional as she gets with it.
2 Laugh so Hard You Cry
See, the hard-rockin’ one shoulda been first. She even invited everyone to boogie, then proceeds to hit all the high notes, spectacular considering her normal deeper voice. Her hair is flying all over her face, like in the photos I took that windy day in Century City. . .
3 The Lion
She talks a little too much between songs; bet she could have fit another song in there if she’d kept it brief. As expected, this got the crowd, especially the ladies, into it.
4 Most the While
She complains about there being no gag reel for the video she shot for this–too much cussing. That’s exactly the kind of thing I love to find out about, considering her sweet innocent face. . .
5 Long Stemmed Roses
Does a long story about how she wrote the song, ending with the almost-clueless ex wondering if the song was. . . “Yes, the song is about you, fuck you!”
6 Sundance in your eyes
She invites everyone to sing along. . . “and if you’ve had too much to drink, air sing.” classic line.
7 One more thing
First song tonight I was unfamiliar with; hope she doesn’t scream so much and make it so big on the studio version. It occurs to me that, between her innocent face and the way she was dressed, she could be anywhere between 17 and 35. . .
8 Crazy
Since I am so untragically unhip, I have no idea if this is actually a cover of the Gnarls Barkley tune. . . and I got nothing else here.
Somehow she–or more likely the howls from the audience—convinced the sound guy to let her do an encore, although for all I know this was supposed to be her closer and she ran out of time. Probably not, as she had to figure out which to do. She was just about to launch into Love Let Me Go when someone in the crowd changed her mind to the “Devil song.”
“Yes, the song is about me.” I think of it as a softer Lion.
She ends it with “I fuckin’ love you guys.”
Waited a long time for her, and even when she finally made it other people tried to cut in line or draw her away; guess my menacing snarl isn’t much good in the gloom at which they keep the lighting in this place. Finally got to playfully joust with her, forgot an air hug–virtual hug–this time and rushed to catch the subway, which came six minutes late anyway. At least the bus showed up in time, and I was entertained for far longer than I shoulda been while watching a young lady reading Sudoku for Dummies. . .

It occurs to me that the best $25 I ever spent was to see Daniela Ruah’s play. . . okay, it was $26.50, but that’s pretty cheap for a processing fee, dontcha think, Ticketmaster? Sad that it feels like the play was years ago. . .

Back in the Yoo Ess Ay. . . Yesterday
Why am I suddenly dreaming of Kate Beckensale as I wake up. . .?
As usual the shower ran long–no, not because of that–and I had to do a quick march to catch the bus, which I only made because of a timely red light. I really don’t like living this close to the edge. . . maybe a condo two blocks from the edge. . .
Hopped on the purple line, with all intention of getting off at Vermont as usual, especially when I saw an incredibly tall blonde there, but again, my stalker instincts at pretty nascent–or rather not born at all–so I stayed on to Western, thinking it was okay if I didn’t get a seat on the express because my destination was only two stops away. That was a mistake; the stop for the 20 has changed, so I didn’t have to cross street. . . which I only found out when the 20 zoomed by me. Had to cross back, and that cost me another 20–since when do they run so close together?–and another express. In all, I missed four buses and it made me late, and it was not helped by all the construction going on around Wilshire/La Brea.
On a brighter note, as always happens when I’ve got my player on alphabetical or shuffle, a song from tonight’s diva comes on–this time Riddle the Sphinx’s Shepherd’s Hill. I take that as a good luck sign, even though I’m not superstitious; I’m so complicated. . .
Finally there, I see plenty of people waiting for the La Brea bus. . . But by now I have to go to the restroom, and the only available place is Jack in the Box. Well, I have to admit the Oreo shake was divine, but I still missed the bus and ended up walking to 2nd Street–the cute blonde in the Trader Joe’s parking lot looking for signatures ignoring me, her loss–to finally get to Pix Cameras. So of course with all the crap that put me so late, the repair guy is out to lunch! He did come soon enough, so I left my digital camera with him and, since there was nowhere to sit and pass the time in the surprisingly small shop, I set my tired feet off to see what mischief I could find. Not much–La Brea and then Beverly were surprisingly high-toned for the neighborhood, no surprise there’s such a high turnover of these stores when they set such ridiculous prices. Found Blick’s Art Supplies, but looking through all the aisles only confirmed how overpriced everything is. . . plus Hall & Oates and Devo played on the overhead–thanks, I don’t feel old enough.
So of course by the time I went back for my camera it was far too late to catch the movie as I had programmed for the day. Luckily the La Brea bus turns east after heading north, right onto Hollywood Blvd, where I got off in front of the remodeled McDonald’s and as usual ignored Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. Having crossed one street, I wait to cross the other while also ignoring the guy with the sign that read “Go Fuck Yourself!” Don’t know if he was going for humor or social satire, but considering how everyone ignored him, I don’t think he achieved his objective.
Now as I take the escalator into the Hollywood/Highland complex, the worst of all possible scenarios happens: the overhead plays “Call Me Maybe!” Arrrrrrgh! Immediately I had to go to the restroom again, but once I came out something far less annoying was on, so I retrace my steps to the Oakley store, where I instantly grab for a new pair of their Special Forces boots. Can’t believe I had my first pair for six years! No longer cost-efficient to keep repairing them, and I had a bonus from my last assignment, so yeah, plop down 200 bucks for hopefully another good six years. They didn’t have wide in the store, nor half sizes, and the laces feel horrible on the fingers, but it was still a good thirty dollars less than the previous pair, and they feel really good. The store, however, could do with some seating to try the shoes on; the pilot chairs from the ancient bomber just didn’t work. . .
Just as bad on the fingers was the straps of their bag, so I was muttering to myself a bit as I took the subway one stop to Vine station, then walked down that street to that McDonald’s–there are a lot more beggars than I remember. Tried to waste as much time as possible in the air conditioning, but soon enough I was back in the sun as I take the long way around–shoulda cut through the underground parking lot, dammit–to Arclight Hollywood, or maybe they still call it the Cinerama Dome. Just like Monday–last blog–I get there just in time for a long list of previews, though none of these were sci-fi like those others. Just as I’m realizing “Holy crap this is a giant screen!” on comes a preview for Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing! Oh lordy, it’s not enough seeing Nathan Fillion as that buffoon Dogberry, but Amy Acker is playing Beatrice! Couldn’t tell who’s playing Hero, but this might subconsciously explain why I was dreaming of Kate Beckinsale earlier. . .
And just as yummy was the licorice. . .
This time I’m watching Before Midnight, the third part of the “Before” series that will hopefully be more than trilogy. I had absolutely no idea this was being made or had been made until I saw a commercial a couple of days ago, but if they targeted me, good job advertisers! For those who don’t know, almost 20 years ago there was a movie called “Before Sunrise,” with Ethan Hawke and the always luminous Julie Delpy wandering around Vienna for one magical night. Nine years after that was “Before Sunset,” where they basically did the same thing through Paris. This time they’re in Greece, on vacation with his son from the previous marriage–mentioned often in the previous movie–as well as the most adorable little curly blonde bilingual twins you’ve ever seen.
The first scene is his son saying goodbye to catch his flight back to the US, but the second, in which our two main characters are in a car with the twins sleeping in the back, brings us right back to the two previous movies, with its ten-minute takes; I always wonder how they can memorize so much dialogue at once, then I remember live theater goes on a lot longer. . . duh.
A few highlights for me. I didn’t hear any reaction from the crowd, and no one in the reviews has mentioned it, but the main musical theme–shows up right away–is the guitar piece from the previous movie that Julie Delpy herself composed, the waltz Celine wrote for him. She’s an amazing dramatic actress, but at the long dinner scene she does such an amazing comedic turn, doing a bimbo blonde act that’s simply hilarious. A similar scene is when they’re in a thousand-year-old church and she’s talking about blowjobs; she does the sign of the cross or whatever those hand gestures are, then puts her hands together and licks the edges like. . . well, you know. Damn, that woman is so sexy. . . and then she’s actually nude! The other movies got R ratings for a few F-bombs–stupid puritanical censors–but this one earned it, showing her off as a classic French MILF. . .
Wow, that was a fast two hours! It takes another of these movies to remind me how amazing and luminous Julie Delpy is . . .
Having been seated for most of the last three hours didn’t seem to help much, as I’m still tired as I struggle back to Hollywood Blvd, where I just miss the Fairfax bus. Two expresses pass by in the other direction as I wait in front of a strip club and tobacco shop, but if that was an omen it wasn’t a good one, having to stand there with my back quickly hurting for half an hour, having to listen to the oddly comical doormen–1 black, 1 Latino–hustling guys to go inside while trying to be charming to any ladies. At one point the Latino went right up to a tall blonde–fake, plus heels–and put on some amazingly corny moves, to which he later pontificated, “You can tell a lot about a woman by how she shakes hands.”
Finally the bus came, though as always there’s a ton of traffic at Hollywood/Highland. The guy with the “Go fuck yourself!” sign is still there, but it’s interesting taking in the human zoo from an elevated perspective. For instance, walking through the crowd I got glimpses of the people dressed up as characters, scrounging for money by posing for photos. From the bus I saw them all, and definitely remember a brunette Supergirl, or just about the opposite of what the character calls for. And then there’s the guy from Reno 911 with the short shorts. . . ugh, brain scrubber, please.
Got off a block before Wilshire–traffic getting by CBS TV City and Farmers’ Market/Grove, of course–and right into Molly Malone’s sight of tonight’s show. Right at the bar I see the mom and sister of tonight’s diva buying drinks, so no loneliness in the dark for me this time.
But even once we got inside we had to wait through the opener, a very attractive brunette named Christy Lynn Arvin who at first reminded me of Meiko, then Danica McKellar. . . lookswise, I mean, she certainly didn’t have the vocal personality of Meiko as she started with covers. Don’t know if any of them were original, but her “American Idol contestant” voice didn’t keep me interested for long. Guess I heard it all before, far too many times. The only fun part was when she mentioned, “Something smells good” and I instantly murmured, “It’s not me.” Luckily she didn’t hear me.
Sprite and leftover licorice do not go well together. . .
On to the Riddler of the half pharaoh half-lion!
1 Keep On Walkin’
I think the only people here to see her are at our table; not sure there’s anyone else in the joint. Never seen her sister rock out so much; it’s both funny and endearing.
2 Judgment Day
Her sister’s fave, which is even funnier. Christo the drummer is breaking off pieces of drumstick, he’s smacking the skins so hard! But mostly he’s back to using his hands, at one point missing a cymbal; you can see it in his face. Then he uses only his thumb when he wanted a soft cymbal. . .
3 Never Marry an Old Man
Totally hate this song, but it’s great when she forgets a line and cackles wildly. She’s reminding me of Delpy. . .
4 Hey You
Brings it all the way down. . . then all the way up again; never seen that from her. And I still call her scat as the closest she’ll ever come to rapping. . .
5 My Bonnie (something)
Her hair is flying in every direction, again as wild as I’ve ever seen her.
6 Funhouse
Mr. Kilt requested on stage, so of course Sean runs up there; luckily the kilt isn’t loose. He drops his rattle in the middle of the song just like the kid he is.
7 What’s Under the Scotsman’s Kilt?
Self-explan.
8 Lullaby
Usually the closer, but “we’re calling an audible.” Chris using football terminology is so weird. . . Christo hits a cymbal on the upswing!
9 (no idea)
Clap along–actually Christo starts this–don’t know it, no idea, not a fun way to end it, but end it did.
So, it looks like having a long day as soon as you’re back from another continent, then another two days later, totally works for curing jet lag. . . at least until I got to the bus stop and couldn’t stop yawning. Damn. . .

;o)