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Mayoral Survivor Contest: The BEAST Wants You to Run for Mayor!

Truth is Overrated: Why Does My TV Think Bush Won the Debate? - Al Uthman

Political Snickering: M&M/Mars' Campaign of Terror - Matt Taibbi

Big Brother Knows Best: Blockbuster Rents Bogus Fahrenheit 9/11 DVDs - Paco Alameda

Scary Little Man: Bush's Belligerence -William Rivers Pitt

Kneeling Before George: President Bush is a Serious Stud - Merry Dunce, the Beast's "Fresh Voice"

American Indian Museum Opens in DC, Promptly Stolen by American History Museum -Jake Novak

Reading the Blitz: Election Hacks Score Touchdown in Overtime Frenzy - Matt Taibbi

Freedumb: Zell Miller Echoes Militaristic Fallacy - Mark Golden


Buffalo in Briefs


Notes from the Big House

The Straight Dope w/ Dr Rotten

Brush with Greatness: I met Gretzky - Seamus Gallivan

Page 3

Separated at Birth?

[sic] - Letters



Kino Korner


Album Reviews: Tom Waits, De La Soul


Misfits Roadie's Haunted House -Ken Barnes



High Quality Losers: Numbers Game Pays little for Bills -Ronnie Roscoe


Deep Fried - Jason Yungbluth

Bob The Angry Flower - Stephen Notley

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Archives--Old BEASTs






© 2004 The Beast

Friday Night Lights

I never really got into sports. I sort of tried watching football when I was seven, but the people (who shall remain nameless) I watched it with got psychotic about it, to the point of fist holes in the walls and me being the only second-grader in my school whose tender ears knew the term “fucking faggot cocksucker.”

That whole attitude was what ultimately turned me off from sports. But until I saw Friday Night Lights, I never realized how easy I had it. Billy Bob Thornton plays coach Gary Gaines, who’s moved his family from town to town after failing to achieve victory for the high school football teams he’s coached. He’s got community members in the latest football-obsessed town spouting vague and veiled threats in the event of the team not winning.

These are citizens in an inconsequential Texas town that vicariously and pathetically live through the team. They stagger out onto the field and publicly humiliate them when one of them makes a bad play.

There is nothing whatsoever that makes Friday Night Lights stand out from any other sports movie. If anything, it comments that football is no longer a game, but an emasculating and emotional trip through the grinder disguised as a twisted rite of passage. It’s well made and Thornton is great as usual, but when you pile on the no guts, no glory/no pain, no gain propaganda, the movie becomes a bit much to take.

Or maybe I’m just a big fucking faggot cocksucker for not particularly liking sports or this movie. 

Raise Your Voice (0)


Remember that excruciating Britney Spears movie that came out a few years back, Crossroads? They made another one in the same vein, only this time it’s Hillary Duff jamming the carpenter’s knife in your ribs while she smiles for the better part of two hours.

The plot goes something to the effect of this: Hillary wants to go to music camp and her dad won’t let her (can’t you feel the tension building already?). Her mom and aunt cover for her so she can live out a three-week version of American Idol.

It’s scary there. There are snobby kids that Duff has to soften up by perpetually smiling through the movie and a dreamy English boy. I’m not sure, but I think warming up the snobby kids was the main part of the plot.

Raise Your Voice is the cinematic version of what you’d imagine someone dragging a band saw or perhaps circular saw up your ass crack. Hell of a way to go. I’ve never seen that done, and I couldn’t even imagine it being done to me. Then I saw this movie.

One thing struck me as funny about this movie: Duff’s dad in the movie doesn’t want her in LA out of fear of something bad happening to her. I think he was afraid she would make this movie.


When JimmyFallon announced he was leaving “Saturday Night Live” last May, I was shocked, disappointed, and devastated all at once. He was one half of the best weekend update team since a pre-breakdown Dennis Miller gave tidbits about George H.W. Bush with a smart-ass candor not equaled by many. And Fallon was funny whenever he was used for most of the other sometimes-mindless skits too.

I know that he’s trying to avoid becoming the next Tim Meadows by sticking around the cast for the next seven years (he’s been on about five or six already), but there’s a certain way you’ve got to do this. You do a couple of movies first. Make sure people know who you are. Test the waters. Wait a few dates before try to pork her for crissakes!

But a two-minute cameo in the HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers,” thirteen unrecognizable minutes of screen time in Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous, and a supporting part in the last Woody Allen movie do not a litmus test make!

I don’t know if Fallon owes somebody a big favor, money or what, but when you fuck around like this, you wind up as Queen Latifah’s bitch in a crappy comedy.

Oh. Latifah’s in this too, you say? Let me tell you something about Queen Latifah. She’s laughing her sassy black ass off all the way to the bank. She’s in movies like this for fun and she’s relishing in the fact that she gets paid obscene amounts of old white men’s money to act like herself. She’s fine with that. She could drop off the face of the earth in twenty minutes and she’ll be fine.

But it’s Mr. Fallon who’s got something to prove. When you come fresh off of SNL, you don’t want to be that guy who makes guest appearances every week like Chris Kataan. (“Oh, I was in the neighborhood.” Bullshit! You were in Lorne Michaels’ office tossing his salad and begging for your old job back!) You want to be like Will Farrell, who comes back to HOST the show, not do a “cameo.”

Plot? Latifah’s a cab driver who gets sucked into an idiot cop(Fallon)’s bank robbery investigation involving Brazilian supermodel bank robbers. She’s got a tricked-out cab and loves Nascar. I laughed three times, but I could see the puck hitting the back wall and flying in the opposite direction so many more times than that.

I could bitch about this movie for the next month, so I’m just going to end it here.

Jimmy, if for whatever obscure and bizarre reason you’re reading this, I want you to know I’m pulling for you. But use your head, man. You’ve made some great project choices before, and I don’t want to see you on some UPN game show in two years, thirty pounds heavier and talking about some Lifetime movie you’re doing with Mare Winningham.

 Ladder 49

If I had a nickel for every time its been mentioned how heroic and brave firefighters are since September 11th, I’d not only be able to make a house out of them, I’d have had the mortgage paid off as well. And it wouldn’t burn down. We all know this. We’re all perfectly aware of the abuse and next-to-impossible odds that firefighters face.

Ladder 49 is the story of a firefighter who’s trapped in a burning building and facing the end of his life after a calculated risk kicks him in the junk. So, like anybody about to get his timeclock punched, he decides to contemplate his life in a way conducive to cinematic storytelling. He thinks about the girl he married, the kids they spawned, and the homoerotic showers he took with his fellow first responders.

Ladder 49 plays more like a firefighter recruiting video with big production values. It doesn’t flinch in showing that it’s not all towel-snapping in the showers and practical jokes involving a firepole. It’s also getting your ass burned off and a nagging wife complaining that she’s afraid for your life while perpetually guilting you by using your kids as weapons to meet her own ends.

It’s actors trying to be as accurate as humanly possible (you know—with all that fancy fireman talk that the average schlep who’s thinking about getting around to buying that smoke detector won’t understand) while filmmakers trying to make Ladder 49 look as dangerous as possible. And this movie would be pretty good except for one problem.


The story is so boring, it’s like watching a documentary that wouldn’t be interesting to anyone who isn’t or doesn’t personally know a firefighter. Ladder 49 goes for low blows by tugging at the heartstrings where the story takes a break. From what I could tell, the story didn’t even know that it got hired for the job in the first place, So it just depresses you in a somewhat poignant way instead.

Joaquin Phoenix is his usual unengaging self in his usual uninteresting role, and as for John Travolta—I’m going to say what Johnny T doesn’t have the grapes to say—SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP THIS MAN! PLEASE! This guy’s used more “get out of jail free” cards in his career than a professional monopoly player. Travolta’s been crying for help since Battlefield Earth. For the last four years for crissakes! The man’s filing professional bankruptcy—again. Tarantino—he needs your help. Does he need Sally Struthers to do an infomercial for him to tell you? God! 

Shark Tale

I’ve been trying to figure out for the last few days if Shark Tale works. Sure, it’ll work in its function—to make kids nag their parents until they’re taken to see it, making the film’s producers and studio millions in the process, not to mention whoever’s handling the merchandising. That’ll happen no problem.

I’m just trying to decide if a computer-animated kids’ movie with celebrity voices that spoofs mafia movies like The Godfather and other mob classics works. Sure, it’s a long overdue relief for parents and others emotionally blackmailed into consistently seeing mind-numbing kids’ movies. (They stop the biological clock! The herd’s starting to thin out!) More than enough adult-oriented humor and references are never a bad thing, but will the kids get it? Will they understand why it’s appropriate that sharks are represented as gangster characters? Will kids understand a movie that plays off of movies they won’t get to see, let alone understand for at least another decade?

The fact of the matter is that it probably won’t matter. Children’s entertainment (with a few exceptions) has been mindless for years and even if they don’t get it there’s enough eye candy and shiny things on the screen that’ll leave them not caring. They’re like monkeys that way.

Then there’s the matter of distracting the audience with celebrity voices when you know you don’t have a leg to stand on with the story. Jack Black, Will Smith, Robert DeNiro, Martin Scorsese, Angelina Jolie, and Renee Zellwegger are real draws for kids lately. Why wasn’t Joseph Fiennes in there somewhere?

The only things I can say that aren’t tinged with venom about Shark Tale is that some of the mob references were funny. Mostly it affirmed that mob comedies by and large suck. It’s an even worse idea when it’s a kids’ mob comedy, but I guess that they’re trying to keep adults amused while a movie baby-sits their kids. And to keep the elders titillated as well! That Angelina Jolie fish was hot! Somewhere else Shark Tale may have hit the mark is that it may be the seed that spawns a whole new generation of mob movie fans. Ya prick ya!


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ATTENTION BEAST READERS! The BEAST needs you to be the next Mayor of our dear city. That's right! We want you, a lowly loyal BEAST reader, to be the next Mayor of the city of Buffalo. WE ARE TOTALLY SERIOUS! We are launching a search for 16 contestants willing to run for the position of Mayor in 2005...

Truth is Overrated Al Uthman

It's been almost a week since the second Presidential debate, and I'm still baffled at the post-debate coverage.

Well, no, that's not really true. I remember turning to a fellow viewer as we watched Bush go to pieces and saying, "watch; they're gonna come on and call it for Bush."

Political Snicker-ing Matt Taibbi

The good folks at M&M/Mars and BBDO New York have combined recently to give the world one of the more uplifting cinema experiences of the year: a series of commercials in which hapless, ambitionless zeroes with terrible haircuts make improbable journeys from their couches to the throne of mankind after eating Snickers bars.

Big Brother Knows Best Paco Alameda

True story: After eagerly awaiting the DVD release of Fahrenheit 9/11, I take a bus to The Hamburg, NY Blockbuster and ask the first friendly clerk I see to point me toward the new releases. He walks me over to the Fahrenheit 9/11 display and being a very helpful chap, takes a DVD, hands it to me and says "Is this what you were looking for?"

Scary Little Man William Rivers Pitt

George W. Bush, still smarting from his embarrassing performance in the Florida debate, decided on Friday night in St. Louis that volume was a good substitute for strength, that yelling would be mistaken for gravitas. The result was an ugly, disturbing, genuinely frightening show.

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