Thursday, May 15, 2008

Anyway We Can Speed This Up?

Hello, and welcome to the Phile. So, how are you? So, mother's out there, did you have a good Mother's Day? I was going to get my wife something special for Mother’s Day, but then I realized she’s already going to get that economic stimulus check. Nelson Mandela has invited Amy Winehouse to perform at a concert celebrating his birthday. Winehouse says she admires Mandela and would love to be there, but it’s the same night she’s scheduled to punch out a fireman. The other day in Iowa, a 78-year-old blind man went bowling, and he bowled a perfect game. Of course, no one had the heart to tell him he was in a supermarket. A new economic study coming out today shows that women have an easier time getting a job than men. All except Hillary Clinton. Democrats are really trying to pressure Hillary to drop out. She hasn’t faced this much pressure from another Democrat since Bill tried to get her into a three-way. Hillary just won’t quit. You have to admire somebody against all odds who just won’t quit. She has absolutely no chance of being president. And she’s running out of money. Today she was wearing a certified pre-owned pantsuit. If you look at this historically, it’s not that hard to believe that Hillary is still campaigning. Once a year . . . in his basement . . . Al Gore gives a State of the Union address. Oliver Stone is making a movie about George Bush. It’s called W. He’s also making a movie about John McCain called, No Country for Old MenThe other day a man in London dressed as Darth Vader assaulted two men dressed as Jedi knights. He got drunk and assaulted two men dressed as Jedi knights. He was sentenced to two months in jail and 10 more years living in his parents’ basement. In Wisconsin, a driver took a wrong turn and crashed into the bathroom at a Taco Bell. The Taco Bell’s owner is calling it the second worst bathroom accident that day. A new survey says that of the 10 fastest growing cities in America, four of them are in Texas: Dallas, Houston, Austin . . . and Narnia.


From the home office in Groveland, Florida, here is this week's top ten list:
Top Ten Surprising Facts in Barbara Walters' New Autobiography
10. First career choice: journalism. Backup career choice: wrasslin' gators.
9. Her tawdry affair with William Taft almost cost him the 1908 presidential election
8. Spent three years as a roadie for the Grateful Dead
7. She helped coin the phrase "Mo' money, mo' problems"
6. Spent summer of '71 as a linebacker on Jets' practice squad
5. She made $200 by taking the "under" on Star Jones' wedding
4. Wore the title of 1985 New York State Fair Hot Dog Eating Champion
3. Katie Couric is the result of one night of passion with Walter Cronkite
2. She injected Rosie O'Donnell with steroids
And the number one surprising fact in Barbara Walters's new autobiography...
1. Spent more time on her back than Michelangelo


Syesha Mercado was voted off "American Idol" last night, leaving finalists David Cook and David Archuleta, two people who could essentially be replaced with cardboard cutouts on stage and we wouldn’t know the difference as long as they were singing off-stage. I don’t want to be one of those annoying "American Idol" fan conspiracy theorists who’s convinced everyone is out to get whoever their favorite contestant happens to be—especially because I really don’t care—but on Tuesday night, the judges seemed intent upon making sure Syesha didn’t make it to the finals. Paula Abdul, of all people, even told her, “I don’t know if it’s going to be good enough to get into the finals of "American Idol".” When Paula Abdul offers not just criticism but a prediction, something’s wrong. And last night, during the hometown visits segment, Syesha told an auditorium full of students, “dreams really do come true, and, like, anything is possible, so just make it happen.” The editors cut to a kid in the audience yawning. That was only audience reaction shot they had? While the final three are all fine singers, Syesha’s performances seemed alive, while David Archuleta did the same Joker-grin going-through-the-motions thing on Tuesday, and his nervous laugh now irritates me so much I basically have to put him on mute. He is increasingly insufferable, and the only thing mitigating my all-out reality show hate is his age and father. It’s particularly annoying that making it to the finals is going to do nothing but fuel his father and perhaps destroy his life. I hate to be such a pessimist, but let’s just see what his "Behind the Music" lookslike in 15 years. We did see some humanity from David during his hometown visit. All three contestants cried, but only David cried and turned into a drunken sailor with his potty mouth. “Gosh! I can’t believe how many people came out for this. I just can’t thank them enough. It makes it all worth it, knowing how many people appreciate this, and all the hard work I’ve been doing for this. Gosh darn it, I didn’t mean to cry or anything, sorry. Gosh!” he said.
All three cried during their visits, but perhaps the weirdest moment came in Bradenton, Fla., when a woman rushed up to Syesha and handed her a baby for some unknown reason. Syesha looked horrified and said, “I can’t, I can’t I can’t.” A cop had to make the woman take her kid back (“ma’am…”). Apparently, having witnessed Jeff Archuleta’s success, that woman couldn’t wait to get her kid on the show.


In Part 2, The Hero Must Reveal His Identity to Someone
Look, Hollywood, the whole "secret identity" thing is there for a reason. In the comic, a hero's secret identity is the only way they prevent their enemies from sending wave after wave of henchmen after them and their families and friends. Yet, in the transition to film, secret identities are often the first casualty. Secret identities are usually revealed in the second film in the franchise, to a girlfriend, family member or even the villain. For instance in Superman II, a Superman who is desperate to get into Margot Kidder's pants reveals his secret identity, undergoes possibly permanent genetic damage by using radiation to get rid of his powers, walks from the North Pole to Alaska, and gets a good beating along the way. Hope she was worth it, dude. Michael Keaton, also in an effort to get into somebody's pants, reveals his secret identity in Batman Returns to his girlfriend and the Penguin, also revealing a previously unknown fact about Batman: his mask is made out of Fruit Roll-Ups. Though neither of them can even come close to touching Peter Parker in Spider-Man 2, who reveals his identity to: a) Harry Osbourne b) Mary Jane Watson c) Dr. Octopus d) A subway train full of passengers. It was almost like that last season of "Ellen" where every episode was about her telling some new group of strangers that she's a lesbian. But remember: THAT WAS THE LAST SEASON OF "ELLEN". Also ... There is with this rule the Doomed Franchise Corollary: If the film is not likely to have a sequel (Daredevil) and/or incredibly stupid (Daredevil) then what the hell, go ahead and reveal the secret identity to someone in the first film.


A kindergarten class was given a homework assignment to find out about something exciting and relate it to the class the next day. The first little boy called upon walked up to the front of the class, and, with a piece of chalk, made a small white dot on the blackboard, then sat back down. Puzzled, the teacher asked him just what it was. “It’s a period,” said the little boy. “Well, I can see that,” she said, “but what is so exciting about a period?” “Damned if I know,” said the little boy, “but this morning my sister was missing one, Dad had a heart attack, Mom fainted, and the man next door shot himself.”


The Ood return. The race was seen two years ago in the two-parter "The Impossible Planet" and "The Satan Pit" as a servant race. In this episode, we learn exactly why they're so good at being servile. Here's a hint: it's not by choice. Arriving on the planet known as the Ood-Sphere in the year 4126, the Doctor and Donna find the planet's Ood-production factory which prepares them for shipping throughout the three human-occupied galaxies. Russell T. Davies had this episode made to go further into the characterization of the Ood. The central theme of the episode was slavery, and we soon learn that, unlike the Dish of the Day, the Ood have no interest in being slaves. It's only after they get their secondary, external brain removed that they become subservient. Making a guest appearance as CEO Klineman Halpen (the shippers of the Ood) is a familiar face to Britcom lovers, Tim "Captain Darling" McInnerny. He plays exactly the sort of self-justifying evil bastard that you'd think would run such a company. "Doctor Who", under Davies' rule, has been quite anti-corporate. The callbacks to the original series continue. The Ood are reminiscent of The Sensorites, an alien race from William Hartnell's time as the Doctor in the 60's. They even lived on the "Sense-Sphere", which is similar in name of the "Ood-Sphere" and is located in the same solar system. The Ood and the Sensorites even have a similar look and similar telepathic abilities. The Doctor even mentions in the beginning that he's been to that solar system before. The use of the grant Ood-brain at the end seemed a callback to the abysmal Sylvester McCoy episode "Time and the Rani", but I think that was unintentional. It's interesting how the Ood's red-eye phase was used here. Last year, it was influenced by the beast in the pit (Satan, Sutekh, or whatever he was called). This year it's an effect from getting half-lobotomized. I liked how the Doctor felt he owed the Ood because of his failure to save a bunch of them last season. Overall, the show has been acknowledging its history more this season than it ever has before. It would really be impressive if they acknowledged the 1996 television movie, but that could be too much to ask. Donna remained her usual vocal self and remains my favorite companion ever. "You've got a box and he's got a Ferrari." It was also touching how she shed a tear when the Doctor allowed her to hear the telepathic Ood-song. David Tennant abandoned the tie of his outfit this week, making him look even more hipster than usual. It's an amazing evolution of the character from the hippie Tom Baker. The Ood also give an ominous warning to the Doctor about his song ending. Considering that early reports indicate that David Tennant will be on through the specials that are being broadcast next year, it is uncertain how that would translate. My guess is that David Tennant will still die/regenerate at the end of the season and the four specials (including the Christmas special) will be "filler" from the times he travelled alone between seasons. But that's just me. The missing planets arc continues in this episode. The missing bees also got mentioned (they were mentioned by Donna in the first episode this season and therefore it must be presumed as part of the season's arc). There also seems to be a subtle arc about people telling stories about the Doctor ( The reporter in the first episode, The Doctor's warning to Caecilius' wife, The Ood Song about Doctor-Donna). This is just hypothesis, but maybe someone is trying to change history and create a universe without the Doctor? This is just an observation, but why did the Doctor and Donna get an Ood-song and the guy who spent 10 years of his life infiltrating the company to free the Ood-brain got merely to be brain-food? Truly the universe is unfair. Next week: another evil alien race from the classic series returns. Awesome.


When Heath Ledger passed away earlier this year, he left the planet as one of this generation's great actors; a guy who battled many personal demons off the screen, for sure, but one who gave everything to the role. And while we won't get to see his latest creation on the big screen until July 18th, early footage shows Ledger's version of Batman's arch-nemesis could go down as the darkest, baddest and craziest we've ever seen. My question to you, then, is: Will it be enough to land Ledger another Oscar nod come next year? Sure, the Academy isn't all too keen on recognizing superhero movies unless we're talking about special effects or sound editing, but with bigger actors taking on riskier comic-related roles, isn't only a matter of time before one of these guys (or girls) turns out a performance worthy of a gold statue? Are these characters not meaty enough; are they not conflicted, troubled and crying out for a hug? If an Oscar can go to Javier Bardem for playing a sadistic, calculated murderer in No Country for Old Men, and Johnny Depp can be nominated for playing a sadistic, calculated murderer -- both in the same year -- I see no reason why Ledger's Joker can't be taken into consideration. It's early still, I realize that -- but should this guy turn in the kind of performance we're all expecting, shouldn't he be recognized with an Oscar nomination? What are the chances here, folks?


Grand Theft Auto
Uwe Boll has thrown his hat in the ring to direct the film version, promising that he'll make it extremely violent. You know, like having a bunch of moviegoers brutally attacking a CGI version of Boll outside the Liberty City Cineplex.
In bizarre superhero casting, it's rumored that Brad Pitt is the top choice to star as the Norse god of thunder. Although with how quickly he keeps putting babies in Angelina, he'd be more suited to play the god Prometheus.
The Spirit
A comic-book magazine sports a picture of Samuel L. Jackson as supervillain the Octopus on its latest cover. In it, he's seen wielding a gun and sporting a thick fur coat. Maybe it's just me, but I was expecting him to be wearing a rubber suit and covered in suction cups.
The X-Files: I Want to Believe
The first spooky trailer has Mulder and Scully investigating a young girl found frozen to death under an ice-covered lake. Although we don't get to see any aliens or monsters who may have killed the victim, I have my suspicions it's gonna turn out to be an evil Frosty the Snowman.
Quantum of Solace
A bunch of new promo photos have popped up that show Daniel Craig hanging out with babes Gemma Arterton and Olga Kurylenko, plus a shot of him dashing through an underground sewer. That's where he has to escape to once he figures out he's made a date with both girls at the same time.
After he directs the animated Tintin, Steven Spielberg is gonna finally make his long-in-development biopic of the 16th prez. Hmmm. How's Steve gonna put one of his dumb happy endings on this one?
S. Darko
Fox is producing a sequel to Richard Kelly's cult hit Donnie Darko, but he says he wants no part of it. I think his exact words were: "I'd sooner have an airplane crash into my bedroom."

There you are, phans, another entry of the Phile. It's May Movie Month still, and this weekend Logan and I are going to go see Prince Caspian. So, Saturday I will post a Peverett Phile Extra entry on that movie. Then the Phile will be back next Thursday as usual. Until then, spread the word, not the turd. Oh, oner more thing ... I'm looking for a complication, Looking cause I'm tired of trying, Make my way back home when I learn to fly high, Make my way back home when I learn to fly...

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