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Issue #66

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Features:

The 50 Most Loathsome Americans of 2004

DLC Mooseshit: A Letter to Marshall Wittman - Matt Taibbi

2004: The Year in Regret Timeline

Time Lies: "Person of the Year" Issue Shits in Your Mouth & Calls it a Chocolate Sundae- Matt Taibbi


Faux-tures:

Tsunami Offers Heartfelt Apology

Life Value Calculator

Giambra's Pets raise Questions, Concerns



Departments:

Buffalo in Briefs: Looking Back

BEAST-O-Scopes

I HATE YOU: Channel 2 News "On Your Side"

Local Book Reviews

Page 3

Separated at Birth?

[sic] - Letters




Movie Reviews:

Kino Korner

Sports:

Wide Right: Bills, Bledsoe Just not Good Enough - Ronnie Roscoe



Comix:

I Witless News - I. Gonzalez

Deep Fried - Jason Yungbluth

Bob the Angry Flower - Stephen Notley

Perry Bible Fellowship - N!cholas Gurewitch



Issue #65

Download Entire issue (23mb PDF)

 

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





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

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







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© 2004 The Beast


The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Anybody who has even seven brain cells functioning and reads this column knows that film these days is in serious and dire trouble. Unnecessary sequels, redundant storylines, drab remakes, and otherwise undesirable ways to spend tens of millions of dollars are pushed upon us by repulsive stuffed shirts and seedy popcorn salesmen every year. At least those fucking Old Navy Christmas commercials stopped after December 25th, but these pricks never let up.

Our options are getting more and more narrow and even more limited by the week, at least if we want to see a genuinely great film. It seems like at least 90% of those who direct movies couldnít give a ratís ass about their craft anymore. They make movies for the sole purpose of buying a third house, supporting the granddaddy of all coke habits, or just being able to know what it would be like to own four cars for every day of the week

Which brings up to that other 10%. That rare breed that isnít afraid to give us something new, fresh, and every once in a while, beautiful. And one name that springs to mind in that department is Wes Anderson. Heís the man behind such underground latter-day classics as Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums.

His fourth film is The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. He brings back Bill Murray for a third time around, as Steve Zissou, a Jacques Cousteau-type oceanographer whoís ten years into a professional slump. He just lost his best friend and collaborator of nearly thirty years to a shark accident, his marriage is failing, and a man who may or not be his son has just popped into his life.†

In traditional quirky fashion, Anderson shows us this world through an outdated junior high filmstrip view, tainted with bizarreness and coated with plenty of eccentricity. The filmís music consists of a score by former Devo member Mark Mothersbaugh and a soundtrack comprised mostly of acoustic Brazilian jazz covers of early David Bowie songs by one of the shipís crew. Angelica Houston, Owen Wilson, Willem Dafoe, and Cate Blanchett round out the cast of peculiar characters, all impeccably played.

The Life Aquatic also features some really great stop-still animation courtesy of Henry Selick, who worked previously on Tim Burtonís a Nightmare Before Christmas.

I canít think of one thing wrong with Life Aquatic. It has everything a great movie should and in all the right amounts. Itís also going to have you listening to David Bowieís Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust albums nonstop for weeks on end.

I can never come up with a top ten list for movies of the year, at least not without the ďin no particular orderĒ label placed upon it. 2004 has been a pretty weak year for movies, but if nothing else, I can say that I have a favorite movie of the year for the first time in many years.


The Aviator

Well, here we are, dead center in the season of the biopic. Weíve had to get a fictitious gander into the lives of J.M. Barrie, Alfred Kinsey, Alexander the Great, and now, the legendary nut Howard Hughes.

The Aviator recounts Hughesí rise to success and fame up until the late Ď40s; before he became the reclusive, full blown obsessive-compulsive lunatic who tried to buy Las Vegas as his Mormon staff fed him shots of morphine while he watched Ice Station Zebra on television.

The Aviator is a cut above the rest of the biopics that have come out this year. The legendary Martin Scorsese helms the directorís chair. Scorsese does such a great job that you really forget that the story is for the most part meaningless; youíre engaged and dazzled by the world heís created.

Scorsese excels to the point that you donít mind Leonardo DiCaprio for nearly three hours as Hughes. Gwen Stefani has a brief role as Jean Harlow. Thankfully, she doesnít sing and serves her purpose as the platinum blonde eye/arm candy. Cate Blanchet is spectacular as the legendary Katherine Hepburn. Jude Law does a brief stint as the rakish Errol Flynn, and Kate Beckinsale begins to make up for every toilet-destined project sheís done in the last three years as Ava Gardner.

The Aviator is good, but not great. Much like Alexander, it overstays its welcome at certain points, but for the most part makes reparations within a scene or two. Unfortunately, we donít get to see the later, vampiric Hughes, who has been a character in so many of James Ellroyís hard-boiled novels. But I guess we all have to have something to hope for.


Fat Albert

Watching the ďFat AlbertĒ cartoon when youíre nine years old at an obscenely gross hour on a Saturday morning is one thing, but paying cash money to see a live action version of a just-okay cartoon from the Ď70s is quite another.

Digging through the basement for old TV shows to rip off for the sake of making a few bucks was okay for a while, but this movie just proves that the basementís been cleaned out and anything worth grabbing was already ganked by your older brother, who would have beaten the shit out of you and taken it from you anyway.

Keenan Thompson is way too jolly and comprehensible as Fat Albert. In the cartoon, he always looked like he just smoked three blunts and was about to go into a carb coma because he ate twelve subs. And the rest of the gang doesnít look like they were shooting up in an abandoned house. The gang from the cartoon looked like they could beat the shit out of you at any given second if you looked at them the wrong way, especially Rudy.

It just doesnít translate into real life.

I learned a valuable lesson last summer. They put out the ďSpider-ManĒ animated series from the Ď60s on DVD. I was really excited, because I hadnít seen an episode in a good fifteen years, so I shelled out for it and popped the first disc in. It sucked, of course. It just showed me that your mind can play tricks on you and you should just leave the past in the past. Unless youíre talking about ďRen and Stimpy.Ē


The Darkness 0

Contrived. Staged. Forced. Deflated. Cliched.

These were some of the words that I heard when walking out of the theater after seeing The Darkness. I personally was thankful that it had nothing to do with that terrible novelty band that may or may not know that itís a novelty.

The fact of the matter is that The Darkness has a sensibility that comes directly from weekend afternoon programming seen only on the likes of channels such as UPN and PAX. Itís got so many irrelevant things going on that you can be narcoleptic, pass out for ten minutes at a time, and wake up having missed nothing pertinent to the storyline.

This is what any radio station that plays latter-day punk would translate into if it were made into a movie. Sorry and weak PG-13 material that thinks itís gritty and cutting edge. Itís like listening to a boy band doing death metal-style Radiohead covers. If it sounds interesting in theory, thatís only because youíre blinded by the weirdness of the prospect. And you know good and goddamned well that once you take that first bite, youíre going to spit it out into the face of your date and get a restraining order first thing in the morning.†


Meet the Fockers

I remember, after seeing Meet the Parents, how horrified I was. I remember thinking that DeNiro canít do comedy and how uncomfortable I was; relating to Ben Stillerís character only because Iíve been in situations similar, back when I honestly gave a shit about impressing a girlís parents. And I genuinely felt bad for him.

It was a terrible movie, and anyone that told me how great it was instantly lost street cred with me. So now, upon the eve of the sequel, thereís the whole issue of meeting Ben Stillerís parents, played by Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand.

Hoffman takes some of the sting out of bearing witness to this monster of a production, but itís not enough. DeNiro still canít do comedy, Stillerís still playing the neurotic guy, and the whole thingsí still about as interesting as watching paint dry in a Midwestern state. And I just love how youíre suddenly supposed to give a damn, because Streisandís doing her first movie since the Reagan administration.

Blow this off! Itís an even less interesting and funny sequel to a movie that wasnít even funny and interesting to begin with. Honestly, I donít know if everyone involved worked on this movie because they needed to get out of the house more, wanted a free lunch, had a big bar tab to pay off, or what.


Andrew Lloyd Webberís Phantom of the Opera

Thereís always been something about people spontaneously bursting into song thatís disturbed me. Maybe itís the sudden, unwanted outpouring of emotion. It could be the fact that these people canít or donít feel the need to communicate like any other rotten person on the planet. Or maybe the theater geeks in high school just rubbed me the wrong way.

But Phantom of the Opera is a musical that goes above and beyond on the disturbance meter. Taking a lesser horror classic and putting it to song is a travesty in itself, but when youíre forced to sit through it, hoping to get laid, that ups the ante. Getting Joel Schumacher, the man who killed the Batman franchise and has churned out movies the way that the average person churns out feces, behind the cameraóthatís a tragedy that can only be topped by a word with a silent T at the beginning.

This movie is as every bit as scary as the original horror sort-of classic with Claude Rains, but not in the same way. Picture going to Curtain Up on a combination of acid, methamphetamines, and the shittiest, paranoia-inducing commercial schwag weed and youíre still nowhere close to experiencing the horror that is The Phantom of the Opera.

My best friend told me that his son, who is a really cool kid in his own right, saw this on opening day and that he loves Andrew Lloyd Webber. My response was, ďDo you plan on visiting him in his bachelor-pad studio apartment with his six cats?Ē The split lipís almost healed and you canít even really notice the black eye anymore, but it was worth it.

 


 

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The 50 Most Loathsome People in America 2004

21. Alan Colmes
Crimes: An angry conservative’s wet dream: an effete liberal dive artist. As a professional doormat, Colmes’ only tasks are to serve as a comforting aggregate of Republican stereotypes about Democrats and a target for the seething derision of his psychotic guests. Stands idly by while voracious green-blooded co-host utilizes Gestapo tactics against centrist Democrats.


Time Lies

Matt Taibbi

...What was great about Sullivan's "Year of the Insurgents" column last week was how beautifully it threw the rest of the "Person of the Year" issue into contrast. Here's Sullivan bitching about bloggers needing to stay on the margins where they belong; meanwhile, his "respectable" media company is joyously prancing back and forth along 190 glossy pages with George Bush's cock wedged firmly in its mouth.


[sic] - letters

TONGUE LASHING

Dear Vile & Dangerous Misogynists,

As a member of the Buffalo chapter of the Feminine Liberation Organization (no connection whatsoever to FelLatiO), I must tell you that I take great offense at your sophomoronic attempts at mocking the divine act of beaver licking. So what if our future Secretary of State engages in a periodic tongue lashing? Does it frighten your xenophobic male staff that a woman can satisfy a woman?


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?


DLC Moose Shit

Matt Taibbi

...Marshall Wittmann, the former legislative director for the Christian Coalition and also a veteran talking head of such excellent organizations as the Heritage Foundation and the Hudson Institute (which hypes him as "one of the nation's most quoted analysts"), offers himself as a candidate for the chair of the Democratic Party. Wittmann, you see, is now an operative at the Democratic Leadership Council—he got the policy operative spot that opened up when Al From and Bruce Reed were tipped off that their initial choice, Mobutu Sese Seko, had been dead for years...


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."



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."


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."