Buffalo BEAST - Buffalo's New Best Fiend

June 15-29, 2005

Issue #77

  .........................Buffalo's Best Fiend

Free to Agree
Sensenbrenner's Sensibilities

by Allan Uthman

Gettin' Rucky in Pyongyang
Kim Jong Il gets his fleak on
by Matt Taibbi
Dean Was Right
Hey Howard, Keep Up the Good Jerk
by William Pitt

Throat Job
Newsweek Still Gagging on Unnamed Sources

by Matt Taibbi


8-Step Summer Makeover
by Dan Devine


Goth Kid's Summer Survival Guide
It's not fun for everyone

Hallmarks of Summer
What makes Buffalo summers so darn special?


The Sports Blotter
The Week in Sports Crime

Sports Desk
Sporting News

Lake Erie Surfin'
People Really Do This

Cover Page
Buffalo in Briefs
Page 3
Blind Date Scenario
Kino Korner - Movies
[sic] - Your Letters
The BEAST Blog


ISSUE#77PDF FILE (right-click & "save target")


Last Issue: (76)

Kino Korner:
Movie Reviews by Michael Gildea

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Every so often, youíll hear through the supermarket tabloid grapevine about a celebrity couple. And youíll hear about it with the same rotation that youíll hear an Ashlee Simpson song on a hideous top 40 radio station. In other words, constantly. Oh sure, for about thirty seconds, the same part of you that would go to a public stoning or hanging is† vaguely intrigued, but for the rest of the six months that youíre hearing about them over and over, you come to hate said couple.

And the torrid romances that the new IT couples are involved in always begin on the set of the big summer movie that theyíre working on. Remember a couple of years ago when you couldnít so much as chug a bottle of cough syrup without hearing about Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez? It was repulsive!

Then came Gigli. All the hype. All the candid low-quality photos. All the buildup! Then what happened? If you didnít see the movie in one of its first two showings, you didnít get to see it. It got pulled because it was such an assault on the senses that the studio didnít want to get hit with millions of emotional damages lawsuits that they didnít stand a chance in hell of winning. And Iím sure the terrible reviews didnít help either.

So here we are. A couple of years later and we run into the same scenario. Brad Pitt shitcanned a generically dull† Jennifer Aniston a good five months ago and traded up for irresistible devil woman and Mr. and Mrs. Smith co-star Angelina Jolie. And weíve been hearing about it ever since.

So now the movieís out and so is the jury. And shockingly, it isnít that bad. Pitt and Jolie play a married pair of assassins stuck in a marriage as boring as the one Pitt was in with Aniston. So you can see how easy it must have been for Pitt to relate to the material. So they donít know that the other oneís a killer until theyíre sent to kill each other and well... you get the idea.

Pitt and Jolie have more chemistry than Affleck and Lopezís ass had, which is a plus. And the fact that Doug Liman, who directed such underground hits as Swingers and Go, not to mention The Bourne Identity definitely helps out here. Even though the main characters are two of the most attractive people on the planet, they have the whole show stolen from them by Vince Vaughn, who plays the fellow hitman/comic relief/buddy.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith isnít phenomenal and it isnít terrible. As far as its place in the summer movie lineup, itís the okay looking girl in a group of skanks. By comparison, sheís a goddess. But if you get her alone, youíre going to realize that you may have sold yourself short.

The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D

Before director and cinematic maverick Robert Rodriguez made the best movie of the year (Sin City) he did a trilogy of kidsí movies called Spy Kids. If you were a die-hard fan of Rodriguezís work, or a kid who could sit through just about anything, you appreciated those movies, but were ultimately glad when Rodriguez said he was hanging up the franchise.

Which brings us to Sin City. It was gritty, visceral, and downright fun in a truly sadistic way. And it made up for the fact that one of the best directors around was putting all of his energy into kidsí movies. It was like having one of your friends blow you off three times in a row, then making up for it with an all expenses paid trip to Vegas. You were disappointed, but you quickly got over it.

With The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D, our buddy Rodriguez is blowing us off again. It looks like Spy Kids, it sounds like Spy Kids, and it gives off the same energy as Spy Kids.

And just like the last Spy Kids movie, itís done in 3-D. I remember watching movies in 3-D when I was a kid. But I donít remember watching a movie because it was that specific movie. Hell, I would have watched The Ten Commandments if it was in 3-D. You could have Ishtar in 3-D or 2 Fast 2 Furious in 3-D and people would go to see it. You can hide the worst movie ever as long as you drop the words ďin 3-DĒ in the title. Miss Congeniality in 3-D.

But as I believe I mentioned in my review for Spy Kids 3-D, the one-blue-eye-and-one-red-eye kind of 3-D doesnít really work. Most of the film is in 3-D, which takes away from the story, turning the finished product into a special effects circle jerk. The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D wouldíve been much better off without the gimmicks. Even if it is a kidsí movie.

But the cool thing about The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D is that Rodriguez co-wrote it with his son, Racer. This goes to show that he doesnít give a ratís ass what anyone else but his family thinks about this film. Itís just like that friend who blew you off. You canít be mad at them if it was their kidís birthday, can you?


The Honeymooners

And what would a abhorrent summer at the movies be without a television show turned into a movie. If The Honeymooners is any indication of what to expect when Bewitched and The Dukes of Hazzard hit the screens later this summer, the goddamned heatís going to be the least of our problems this summer.

To avoid the mistakes that other TV movies have made in the past, the writers of The Honeymooners have turned a fat white guy and a skinny white guy into a fat black guy and a skinny black guy. Some people are so creative.

Part of the charm of the original Honeymooners show was that you knew it was going to be over within a half hour. You donít get that luxury here. This is like getting a marathon when you can get through at best two episodes without losing your shit. And at least in that sort of situation you can say that at least you didnít pay to go through that ordeal.

But here you canít. Youíre paying actual cash to see a pair of idiots flounder around as a bad situation quickly becomes a terrible one. To make matters worse, Alice is still a nagging bitch just like she was on the television show.

The only good thing about The Honeymooners is that the otherwise boring Cedric the Entertainer doesnít act like a waddling Jackie Gleason impersonator. And Mike Epps doesnít act like a black Art Carney.

Other than that, The Honeymooners sucked. I can see a copy of this movie on DVD being carried around in a case along with other implements of torture by some sadistic bastard. Either that or a photo album of all the bad tattoos I saw at the Allentown Art Festival. Maybe both.


Cinderella Man

You know, Iíve said it before and Iíll say it again. I hate Russell Crowe, but I respect the man. You hear stories about him getting arrested for throwing phones at people (okay, maybe heís not so bad) and you see interviews with him as he sits back and lets his enormous ego do the driving.

But then he puts out great performances in everything he does and I kind of let it slide.

Crowe is reunited with his A Beautiful Mind director Ron Howard for Cinderella Man. If youíre not familiar with obscure boxers from the depression era, Cinderella Man is about an obscure boxer from the depression era who inspired the country to tough it out just a little bit longer. Riches to rags to riches sort of thing.

If you saw Seabiscuit a couple of summers ago, youíre basically watching the same thing and if you didnít like that, youíre probably not going to be into Cinderella Man that much. But if you did get choked up watching that big dumb animal overcome all obstacles, youíll probably weep like a baby watching another big dumb (yet likable) animal as he rises above.

Cinderella Man also features Renee Zellweger, who despite marrying a hick musician still has that look on her face. You know the one Iím talking about. That squint she constantly has like she just got punched square in the nose, but thereís no blood coming out of her nostrils. Youíre seeing one thing and another thing should be happening as a result. And the fact that itís not happening is just screwing with your reality in a big, big way.

So would I recommend Cinderella Man? Sure. But take into account that this is coming from a guy whoís a sucker for period pieces from the early 1900's and boxing movies. So yeah, Iím a little biased. Iíd also recommend it because itíll be a welcome break from the crap at the local multiplex.


Lords of Dogtown

Every time skateboarding makes a comeback, a terrible movie comes out to let it know that itís worn out its welcome. Back in the late Ď80s when the Tony Hawk shirts were all the rage, the final nail in the coffin was the Christian Slater movie Gleaming the Cube. It was a terrible movie and painted a picture of how skaters were viewed. Of course, anyone who genuinely loved skating kept doing it and didnít make a big deal out of it.

Cut to a few years ago: The powers that be decided that skateboarding and extreme sports in general were cool again. Not to mention MTV fueling Bam Margeraís dipshit impulses. Between Bam and seeing skaters in juice box commercials, weíve all been waiting for the end.

Iím happy to say that I think itís finally here. Donít get me wrong, I think itís really cool to watch the occasional skate video, maybe because I lack the grace and physical ability to even pull off a one-inch ollie, let alone travel six feet on a skateboard.

But a few years back, there was a documentary made by skating legend Stacy Peralta called Dogtown and Z-Boys. This documentary featured actual footage of the guys who started pro skating. It was wild. But with Lords of Dogtown, youíre just watching a movie version of it and I think itís safe to say that itís way more interesting to watch the originals do it.

Peralta wrote the script for Lords of Dogtown, and even though the movie looks like California in the Ď70s, it just doesnít get any ďmad air.Ē Youíre better off with the documentary or hitting the local skate park. And for Godís sake, knock it off with the stupid-ass baggy pants. Buy a pair that fits, dammit!


The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

I thought a lot about The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants as I checked my e-mail and ditched the spam. I thought about using a spam filter that works by ditching mail according to certain words in the subject lines.

Then I thought about how there should be a shitty movie filter that works on the same premise. Vanquish movies with certain words in the title. Maybe words like ďtwoĒ or ďthree.Ē Definitely ďfour.Ē But one word that should guarantee a death sentence for any movie is ďsisterhoodĒ If you disagree, go and check out Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.†

And The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants kind of works on the same horrible concept. One pair of jeans. Four friends with different shapes. A clever concept of wearing them for one week and shipping the traveling pants to the next one. Terrible, terrible, terrible. And to make things worse, the girl from ďJoan of ArcadiaĒ and the alien from ďGilmour GirlsĒ both star in it.

If nothing Iíve said yet is deterring you from the trainwreck of the traveling pants, just go. Good fucking luck. If you canít see the horror that this movie contains in the trailer with the Kelly Clarkson song playing, you deserve anything and everything that happens to you. You deserve Jehovahís witnesses hosting a kegger at your house when you get home. You deserve ingrown toenails and the abusive co-dependent relationship youíve been in for the last six years without even the slightest mention of engagement. You deserve chronic diarrhea. Athleteís foot, thrush, rickets, gout, angina, anemia, black lung, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, jaundice, and yellow toenails.

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