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Issue #65

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Features:

Christmas in Hell: No, Virginia, There is no Santa Claus- Matt Taibbi

Disinformation Age: America Loves a Good Liar- Allan Uthman

Power 1, Truth 0: RIP Gary Webb, Journalism - Michael Manville

Insane in the Ukraine - Matt Taibbi


Faux-tures:

Celebrity Holiday Greetings

Ridiculous Gift Guide

Tips on Buying Thoughtless Gifts

Giambra Admits Drinking Live Sea Monkeys

Area Child Expects Lame Christmas Gifts

Paris Hilton's What Hot & What's Not in 2005

Advice From John Ritter's Ghost



Departments:

Buffalo in Briefs

BEAST-O-Scopes

Page 3

Separated at Birth?

[sic] - Letters

I HATE YOU: The Senate, Slaves to the South

DJ's Notes from the Big House

The Straight Dope w/ Dr Rotten




Movie Reviews:

Kino Korner



Comix:

I Witless News - I. Gonzalez

Deep Fried - Jason Yungbluth

Bob the Angry Flower - Stephen Notley


BEASTIVITIES


Issue #64

Download Entire issue (31mb PDF)

 

Features:

Happy Bhopal to You: The Disaster is 20 Years Young! - Matt Taibbi

Sleeping With the Fishes: Fear Not, Buffalo--Corporate Welfare Will Save You! - Chris Abbey

No Moore Dissent: DLC Targets Populism, Man-Boobs- Matt Taibbi

Drowning the Scorpion: Debating a Neocon- Stan Goff

Condoleezza Rice is Going to Lick Your Beaver- Matt Taibbi


Faux-tures:

Bush Refuses to Pardon Turkey, Execution Proceeds as Scheduled

Kmart, Sears Merge to Create One Big Failure - Josh Righter



Departments:

Buffalo in Briefs

BEAST-O-Scopes

Page 3

Separated at Birth?

[sic] - Letters

The Straight Dope w/ Dr Rotten




Entertainment:

Movie Reviews:

Kino Korner

Music Reviews :

Arcade Fire

MF Doom - Ketchup Samurai

BEASTIVITIES

Sports:

Wide Right: Bills Still Have a Shot at 5th Super Bowl Loss - Ronnie Roscoe



Comix:

I Witless News - I. Gonzalez

Deep Fried - Jason Yungbluth

Bob the Angry Flower - Stephen Notley





Issue #63

Download Entire issue (18mb PDF)

Features:

Top Ten Hacks of 2004 Election - Matt Taibbi

MEMRI Problems: Was Kerry's Election Bid Lost in Translation?- Chris Riordan

Pick of the Litter: Bottom-Feeding all the Way to the Top

Redwoods Evil, Must Be Destroyed: Bush Wants Some Wood- Kit Smith

Too Cool for School: City Honors Censorship - Al Uthman

Tortures - R - Us - Christopher Lord


Faux-tures:

New Hotel on Baltic Ave: Boon or Burden? - Ian Murphy

10 Tips For Coping with your Dysfunctional Family this Thanksgiving

A Word From Our Sponsors



Departments:

Buffalo in Briefs

BEAST-O-Scopes

Page 3

Separated at Birth?

[sic] - Letters

The Straight Dope w/ Dr Rotten




Entertainment:

Movie Reviews:

Kino Korner

Music Reviews :

Matchbook Romance/Midtown Show - Chris Meister

Goo Goo Dolls DVD - Seamus Gallivan

Elliot Smith CD- Michael Gildea

Odd Couple CD - Ketchup Samurai

BEASTIVITIES

Sports:

Wide Right: Bills could Make Playoffs--in the NFC - Ronnie Roscoe



Comix:

Beast Comix - Ian Murphy

I Witless News - I. Gonzalez

Deep Fried - Jason Yungbluth

Bob the Angry Flower - Stephen Notley







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© 2004 The Beast

 

Lemony Snicketís A Series of Unfortunate Events

Lemony Snicketís A Series of Unfortunate Events throws you in a few different directions at once. Itís kind of like those days when itís sunny, but the ground is still wet from a recent rainfall. Youíre seeing something that is possible, but the contradiction is yet another reminder that we live in a flawed world. Sorry, the holidays always do this to me.

So with Lemony Snicketís, weíve got three too-attractive-for-children children that force you to say things like, ďthat oldest daughter is going to be beautiful when she grows up,Ē even though youíd probably jump her now. Ah, keeping up appearances. So these kids are orphaned and are let into the custody of a distant cousin, Count Olaf.† Heís a failed actor out to kill the children and get their inheritance. Jim Carrey is six notches above over-the-top as Olaf. He even gets some Peter Sellers action as he takes on other personae when it looks like the kids might escape his clutches.

But Carrey isnít the only one to go over the top (when heís playing a character named Count Olaf, I suppose heís got an excuse). Director Brad Siberling goes there too, raiding Tim Burtonís cutting room floor. Siberling spends so much time on the atmosphere of the movie he doesnít realize that, for as beautiful as the movie is, heís made it completely and utterly depressing. Another fairy tale for the goth kids.

The secondary characters are great, too. Meryl Streep plays a woman afraid of everything and Billy Connolly (The Duke from Boondock Saints) plays a snake-loving relative.

At the end of the day, itís a fun watch. It doesnít seem like a kidís movie for kids. More like a kidís movie for adults with a Peter Pan complex. Altogether, there are eleven of the Lemony Snicket books, which means that weíve got another potential Harry Potter series on our hands. The best thing to do is make friends now and accept the fact that youíre just going to have to get used to it.†


Spanglish

There are so many things wrong with this movie that I donít know where to begin. We could start with the fact that Adam Sandler is in it. Itís like heís playing one of his trademarked idiot man-child characters who grew up. Now heís got the family.

The neurotic wife, who you canít bear, even though you know sheís a fictitious character. Her alcoholic mother who serves as the comic relief and quits getting lit for long enough to offer some sage-like advice to her nut bag daughter. The maid and her daughter who can barely speak English and the fact that itís all supposed to be heartwarming. Iím surprised that my head didnít explode like the guy in Scanners.

Spanglish is the sort of movie that leaves people with permanent nervous twitches. It ruins lives, ends marriages, and kills libidos. No one with good sense and a penis should voluntarily see this movie. Of course this sort of thing just has to come out right before Christmas. Just when you thought you were going to finally be able to make it though the holidays without a visit to a mental facility. Now youíre going to have to drink twice as much just to serve as an emotional solvent for your soul.

If you do wind up seeing Spanglish, you can be saved. Just stay drunk from Christmas Eve through New Yearís and you should be all right. It may seem like amputating a limb that you have a mild case of ringworm on, but sometimes you just have to let those hard-to-reach-chips go.


Flight of the Phoenix

Flight of the Phoenix was an assignment that I wasnít particularly looking forward to. It features Dennis Quaid as the main character in a remake of a lesser-known Jimmy Stewart movie. The reason itís lesser known is because itís not particularly good.

So, an ominous assignment with overtones of extreme personal boredom. Itís like a trip to the DMV with previews. I can see the future of this movie: out on DVD by Valentineís Day, in the $5.47 bin at Wal-Mart by Memorial Day. An all around bad idea from the start.†

And it was. Oil riggers whose plane crashes. Multiple obstacles to overcome. Terrible special effects. Giovanni Ribisi trying to go mainstream. You know the drill (Get it?).

So itís for occasions like this that I keep the Jehovahís Witness literature in my bookbag. I went around to the six other people in the theater, telling them that Dennis Quaid was a Witness. It was good enough for him, so it was good enough for the theater patrons. I recruited four out of the six. The only reason I didnít nab the other two is because they were already members.

The two that were already enrolled in The Program took me out for a Chinese buffet lunch afterward. They also offered me a great rate on a refinance loan and told me I couldnít lose.

We got drunk on cheap wine and saw Flight of the Phoenix again. Somehow it was better on Mad Dog 20/20.


Oceanís Twelve

Iím not afraid to admit that the original Oceanís Eleven is one of my favorite movies. Not the Rat Pack piece of crap from the Ď60s. Whatís so exciting about watching a bunch of guys who are friends in real life get smashed and sing songs together? Then when the booze runs out, they knock off a casino.

Iím talking about the original remake. Or whatever you want to call it. It was clever, well-directed, had great dialogue, great characters, and it was a lot of fun. Any movie that makes me forget that Julia Roberts is in it has to be doing something right. If you missed it, itís about eleven guys who knock off the vault to three major Vegas casinos

Itís three years later. The guy they knocked off tracks them down and gives them three weeks to pay him back with interest or its curtains. So they head to Europe in hopes of puling off a few big jobs to save their lives, only to find a bored French millionaire hitting their marks before they do.

Oceanís Twelve has some of the pizzazz that the last one had, but for the most part it falls short. It was well directed and well made, but it gave me that aching balls feeling that I got when watching Frank and Dean. You feel like youíre watching a bunch of friends sitting around.

And somehow youíre supposed to be excited by all of this. Oceanís Twelve spends so much time trying to be more clever than its predecessor that it almost comes off as pretentious. I was fully aware of the presence of the fish-faced Julia Roberts this time around. But she was only in it about twenty minutes, so I didnít mind too much. And the whole Brad Pitt/Catherine Zeta-Jones thing seemed even more contrived than her marriage to Michael Douglas.

And to make matters worse, it took longer to end than Return of the King.

If youíre going to see Oceanís Twelve for the sole purpose of drooling at Clooney and Pitt, you shouldnít be too disappointed. But if youíre in that other ten percent, expect to listen to the fairer sex pound away at their parts and dehydrate themselves away in the throes of ecstasy as youíre pummeled with clever cameos.


Blade: Trinity

Having a somewhat pleasant time at and not being too grossly disappointed by the first two Blade movies, I figured thereíd be no problem with Blade: Trinity. Sometimes it really hurts being wrong.

Blade was like a cross between Shaft, James Bond, and Dracula. How could you drop the ball with that formula? Like so many television shows have done in the past, they added other characters. ďThe Brady BunchĒ had cousin Oliver, and ďThe X-FilesĒ had Robert Patrick.

And so did Blade. Jessica Biel and Ryan Reynolds play a couple of fellow vampire hunters who help Blade take on the granddaddy of all vampires, Dracula himself. Now, you think this is going to be pretty sweet, but it really isnít. Even though the first two Blade movies werenít exactly cinematic masterpieces, they had a certain graceful lyricism to them. The violence was poetic, even if the special effects took a little time to evolve.

But Blade: Trinity just has moments that are the pinnacle of cheese.

For instance: Whenever Abigail (Biel) has one of the patented fight scenes characterized by breakneck editing and a Hong Kong wire team, we now get a plug for the ipod. I remember when people used to crack their knuckles or roll their necks before a fight. Now the hip thing is to put in your earbuds, blare whatever passes for rap these days as you smite your opponents with style, but without mercy.

I have a friend who likes to ask your opinion, but he doesnít really want it. He merely wants a confirmation of his plan of action. I could never rationally endorse that behavior until now. Blade: Trinity is the kind of movie that if I had not seen it already, I would ask anyone whoís seen it his or her opinion on it (and everyone whoís seen it says itís booty). A hundred and fifty people could tell me it sucks and Iíd still go see it.

And very much like my friend who I just mentioned, Iíd walk in the door or run into someone whoís opinion I had asked for and say, ďyou were right, that sucked.Ē



 

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Disinformation Age

Allan Uthman

....The problem with the left is that our whole model of changing opinions—that contrary facts will alter people’s views—is inherently flawed. Mundane, oafish Americans, in a national competition to see how many $3.99 “support our troops” ribbon magnets they can fit onto the backs of their Suburbans, simply aren’t interested in reality...Let’s face it; there is a sizable chunk of the population who deny the validity of evolution—evolution. Who are we kidding, thinking we can make them see the errors in Social Security privatization?


Christmas in Hell!

Matt Taibbi

NO ONE NOTICED, of course, but last year, I did not file a column on Christmas week. This was not because I was too busy with a long schedule of holiday merry-making.

On the contrary: As editor Jeff Koyen can attest, I actually tried to write a column on Christmas last year. I spent three long days reading and rereading the old New York Sun's hideous "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" column, and tried to come up with a satisfying counter-argument. The opening was easy enough:


Celebrity Holiday Greetings

Hey everyone! Aren't my tits great? Truly they are a gift unto us from the Holy Father. I'm so hot for Jesus!

Please buy Nick's album. He could really use the help.

 


Power 1, Truth 0

Michael Manville

On December 12th I opened my Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times and saw in the obituaries that Gary Webb was dead. More specifically, I saw that Gary Webb had killed himself. He had, it seems, shot himself in the head. When movers arrived at his house on Saturday they found a note on the door that said "Please do not enter. Call 911 and ask for an ambulance."


Ridiculous Gift Guide

Matt Taibbi

The Devito Code: A new and baffling sequel to the much-lauded Da Vinci Code, involving a murder mystery in Hollywood which leads to the pointlessly protracted revelation of a secret code interspersed throughout the body of work of actor/director Danny Devito.


Insane in the Ukraine

Matt Taibbi

I've been trying to avoid the subject of Ukraine, not only in this column, but in general. Like anyone with strong ties to Russia, I have a whole range of feelings about Ukraine and Ukrainians, not all of them generous.



Sleeping With the Fishes

Chris Abbey

What do dying urban centers need to keep them afloat when everything and everyone has long since moved out to the suburbs? A gimmick, of course, like the Arch in St. Louis or, even cooler, a Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of fame like Cleveland has! Too bad those ideas were already taken, and the only thing our leaders could think of is resurrecting the long dead Aud and turning it into a massive Bass Pro outdoor shop, along with a hotel and restaurant.


Happy Bhopal to You

Matt Taibbi

THE BHOPAL DISASTER had its 20th anniversary last week, and so was duly (and briefly) commemorated in the inside sections of a few American newspapers.

It is unlikely, however, that any public figures are going to pay tribute to what happened 20 years ago this week. Which is too bad, because as far as America is concerned, the week of Dec. 9 to 16 was the more important week of the Bhopal disaster. That's when we got over Bhopal.


Drowning the Scorpion

Stan Goff

When I was first invited by Dr. Stephen Smith to speak at Winthrop University in South Carolina, I was preparing a trip to Haiti and I didn't give much thought to how I would handle the engagement. I'd just finished being pole-axed by a bout of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and it was everything I could do to just pull the Haiti trip together. So I didn't pay much attention to the person who would appear with me - one Patrick Clawson - to represent "the other side" in a forum/debate billed as "What Next in Iraq? A Post-Election Perspective."


[sic]

Seeing your last rag/magazine complaining about the last Presidential elections made me laugh. You commies have nothing better to do but insult our President, our country and our troops. You all should go back and help your fellows brothers in the Ukraine, where there really was a corrupted and stolen election.


The Top 10 Hacks of the 2004 Election

Matt Taibbi

10 - GEORGE WILL, NEWSWEEK: Will uses big words and pompous literary references to dress up what are basically the brutish and vulgar thinking patterns of a non-union meat-packing plant owner. He is a pig in a lace hat.



Pick of the Litter

Pat Ragpicker

It's 4am on a winter night, and I'm parked on a dead end street near Kaisertown. It’s a secluded corner of the city I found by driving around aimlessly. I'm new to town, and penniless after buying my van with $700 I squirreled away the last time I got a paycheck. That was 7 months ago. Over those months, I managed to live off a few hundred bucks while sleeping in a warehouse closet and helping some friends make a TV show to try selling to a network.



Too Cool for School

Al Uthman

In the decomposing cesspool of Buffalo's public schools, City Honors has long been regarded as something of a gem. In fact, it is widely regarded as the best school the city has to offer, with the brightest kids around.


Tortures-R-Us

Christopher Lord

Iraqis wondering what the next phase of the Republicans' invasion of their country will bring should consider El Aguacate airstrip in Honduras. In 2001, 185 bodies were dug up there: the victims were the 'terrorists' and 'enemies of democracy' of the day.




O Buffalo

Al Uthman

It's time to face some unpleasant facts, Buffalo. This country may not be the best place for us anymore. On November 2nd, we all bore witness to a terrible turning point in our history; a bad lifestyle choice, if you will. We had the chance to reject the increasing madness of our nation's leadership, their blind march to pointless war and craven desire to take advantage of us in every manner conceivable, and we blew it. America has spoken, and it said "duh."



10 Ultra-cynical Ways to Beat the Republicans

Why did the Democrats lose? At least in part, it's because they thought that being right would actually work in their favor. Let's face it, logic doesn't mean squat in politics. People say there's too much cynicism in politics today, but we think there really isn't enough. Cynicism works. The Republican Party has embraced it, and it has worked wonders for them. The Democrats have made some progress in this area, but they are still lagging badly. If there's any hope for the blue states, they must learn the lessons of Machiavelli and Rove. To help them along, the BEAST offers these suggestions.