Buffalo BEAST - Buffalo's New Best Fiend

July 13 - 27, 2005

Issue #79

  .....Buffalo's Best Fiend

Tony Blair, Right Honourable Hypocrite
by Allan Uthman

Nailing the Interview
by Matt Taibbi
That's What I Said
by Stan Goff

100% Polled Asked Wrong Question

by Matt Taibbi


Summer Job Yields Unexpected Lessons
by Matt Higgins

TIMEly Features

For Scott McClellan


Numbers & Quotes


Mental Health Advice from the World's Foremost Expert


A Field Guide to Televangelists
by Nick Sorrenti







The Sports Blotter
The Week in Sports Crime

Cover Page
Buffalo in Briefs
Page 3
Separated at Birth?
Kino Korner: Movies
[sic] - Letters
The BEAST Blog


ISSUE#79 PDF FILE (right-click & "save target")


Last Issue: (78)

Kino Korner by Michael Gildea

Fantastic Four

If you are not a movie AND a slightly current or reformed comic book geek, you probably have no business seeing this movie, or even bothering to read the rest of this review.

You see, it takes a certain breed to go to this sort of movie. You need one part guy (we’ll get to the girls who go to these things on a WHOLE different platform) who on some small level needs to hang onto something in his past for some reason that no source on Earth will ever know. And the rest of the equation is the desire to drool over—or yank it right there in the theater to—Jessica Alba. Admittedly, I am guilty on both counts.

The first part of you has seen other films of this kind. X-Men. Spider-Man. Daredevil. X-Men 2. The Hulk. Spider-Man 2. You can stick Hellboy in there somewhere. And Sin City too.

The point is that there are more sequels and slightly obscure comic-based flicks coming out. Some have hit home runs, some have been okay, but a whole lot more new comics are finding ways onto the silver screen. And we’re starting to get to the bottom of the barrel. I’d like to thank Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner for starting this shit up when Daredevil came out.

The reason I mention Daredevil is because that particular movie was like a low-rent version of Spider-Man. Bruce Campbell once said that it was like they made Daredevil out of unused footage from Spider-Man. Now we’ve got Fantastic Four, which doesn’t come off as the next big thing, but more like an X-Men, Jr. with a dash of Hulk on the side. It’s marginally silly and mildly entertaining, but you’re okay as long as your expectations are low.

Then there’s the matter of Jessica Alba. Up until I saw her in Sin City, I just thought she was a mildly exotic chick who made bad movies and worse TV shows. The chick’s hot! I’m not the kind of guy to get stupid just because a girl looks good, but DAMN! The Hotness! I could grunt for a half hour thinking about her.

Or if you’re my friend Tom Paccio, you’re saying: “Damn! Look at that donkey! Look at that onion! That shit looks tasty! Mmmm!”

Of course, this is after seeing that picture of her in the blue tights online, and it led up to the first time I saw someone eat raw oysters in a movie theater. So anyway, the comic book movie thing is getting old. They’re crawling out of the woodwork and they’re not delivering like they used to. It’s still better than an episode of “Dharma & Greg,” but if you still don’t give a rat’s ass, then leave it alone.

Dark Water

I can’t tell you how sick I am of this type of horror movie. A single mom and her creepy kid move into an apartment building that could’ve been used in a Nine Inch Nails video. Things get crazier as spooky things happen once the freaky midget starts channeling some kid who’s been dead since before the Civil War or some bizarre scenario like that. It’s scary, all right. It’s just the part that I find scary is how this shit gets made and why people go to see it.

I visualize some broom closet that serves as an Island of Misfit Toys for screenplays. Except all of the scripts are the same. They’re all boring, they’ve all been done, and they’re all terrible. At least you’re 99.9% sure that they’re all bad, but then something happens. They tell you who’s playing the lead.

In this case we’ve got Jennifer Connelly. You know Jennifer Connelly. She’s the actress who was a little thick but had the most magnificent breasts known to man. (Incidentally, this isn’t how I’d describe Jennifer Connelly in conversation. This just happens to be the way that just about every man knows her. I always tell people she was in A Beautiful Mind and then people say, “Was she the one riding the horse bouncing up and down in Career Opportunities? Yeah, she was. Yeah. She was.) We’ve also got John C. Reilly, who’s one of the best character actors going today. The fact that he’s been in the last two Scorsese movies (The Aviator, Gangs of New York) and did three movies with Paul Thomas Anderson ought to tell you something, but here he sucks. Just because you’ve seen the guy’s previous work and he’s never sucked doesn’t mean that he’ll never do a horrible film.

But if you are indeed in the mood for a Ring knockoff and you’ve made up your mind that you are absolutely going to piss the better part of ten bucks away, then be my guest. I’m not going to be there to stop you. However, if you see me at the Market Arcade on some Monday evening for a seven-ish show and you ask me to talk you out of it, I’ll do my best. Come on! We’ll go see Episode III again instead. It’ll be fun..



I once read an interview with Roger Ebert in which he said something about how he loves his job because he gets to go see every movie. Then he turned around with something to the effect of how he has to see every movie, including the bad ones.

That thought ran through my head for every moment of Rebound. Well, the difference between Mr. Ebert and myself is that Mr. Ebert has a considerably more comfortable living as a result of his craft than I do. I don’t know if Mr. Ebert is bribed or not to say what he says about movies sometimes. I’d like to say he’s not, but every once in a while he’ll knock a good one down. It’s a tough call with the man. I’d like to say that I wouldn’t mind a bit more suffering with a raise in pay conditional, but I just couldn’t do it this time. This has never happened before.

I walked out of a movie. Oh sure, I once reviewed a film I didn’t see (There was a film called Exorcist: The Beginning that I refused to see because the film studio took an idea that would’ve been interesting and wiped their asses with it. It’s a long story that isn’t interesting enough to retell let alone go back to), but I’ve never actually walked out of a movie. I almost walked out of a $1.50 theater showing of the 1993's Bad Girls—you know, the all-girl western with Andie MacDowell, Madeline Stowe, and Drew Barrymore? I forced myself to stay through that one.

Oh! Rebound! The movie where Martin Lawrence plays a once-great three-time loser basketball coach who’s reduced to turning borderline special ed kids into a fantastic team that goes all the way to the top? Yeah, that one. What kind of mental deficient do you have to be in order go balls out crazy for these movies? To quote Napoleon Dynamite: “gosh!”

I couldn’t do it, man. I just couldn’t do it. This was just all kinds of bad. It’s like a bad remake of School of Rock—instead of having it in a private school, move it to the city. Same thing, just different wardrobes.

So if you’ve got a budding youngster who doesn’t know any better, I’d say go for it. What they get, they get. What they don’t blows over their heads anyway, right? And you’re a tough cookie, right? Take your kid who you’re not even sure is yours to go see some shitty movie. And then there’s you, who hasn’t been able to see what you want because that Whore Island escapee who washed up behind your buddy’s beach house that one night and eleven months later she’s got really bad postpartum depression and needs to get away from that other kid you’re not sure is yours for a while.

Depressing, isn’t it? No. The truth is that bottle of Wild Turkey that I downed before the movie started got right on top of me and I passed out maybe fifteen minutes in. I woke up in an alley behind the theater and I was really sunburnt. I was covered in puke and I had a black eye. My ass was kind of sore, too come to think of it. And of course my wallet was gone. No, there are some movies that some people are simply not meant to see. How many people do you know that have never seen Pulp Fiction, Memento, or another classic like that? This person knows that it’s supposed to be a good movie and wants to see it, but doesn’t ever quite get around to seeing for a long while. You know who I mean? Sometimes, only bad can come from a trip to the movies. I fought the law and the law won on this one.

But now that I think about it, I technically didn’t walk out. More like thrown out. Yeah, thrown out. A sorry Martin Lawrence movie has not bested me! Hah!

War of the Worlds

I knew exactly I was going to write the second I left the theater after seeing War of the Worlds. I knew exactly what I was going to talk about and precisely what to mention when I give my questionably valued opinion about this movie. Then I remembered something. I remembered that Steven Spielberg directed this movie, I should’ve known that there was going to be some horseshit sugar and molasses-covered bomb of a happy ending stuck in its ass. I should’ve known right away.

But what Spielberg did with this movie was kind of outstanding in a Steven Spielberg sort of way. Or for at least as outstanding as he can be. He set the story in New Jersey (a town that Thomas Paccio will undoubtedly tell you that is a place where everything is broke. Not broken, broke), which is an ideal setting when an EMP has killed every piece of machinery in the area. Everything’s broke in Jersey, so you don’t really have to spend much on a location.

Spielberg had me right up to the point when I realized a 100% happy ending was going to show up. That bastard had me good, as he told a story of and alien invasion wherein people are eviscerated and people are trying to escape, and the whole concept told from a ground level perspective was indeed frightening.

I’m probably going to blow something here, so I’m going to ruin the ending here for anyone who might kind of care. Anyway, we’ve got the point in the film where none other than Mr. Tom Cruise himself plays a Johnny Punchclock dock worker/shitty father. His resentful and angry son runs off during an alien invasion to try and help. The fucking kid ran into a cloud of fire! He’s dead for crissakes! I was fine with everything, up until the last five minutes or so.

There’s a scene where Tom Cruise and ‘child actor of the ages’ Dakota Fanning walk up to the ex-wife’s house up a street of brownstones in Boston. There’s a trashed city behind them, but looking at this street, unraked leaves substitute for actual destruction. The old money family walks to the front door, without so much as a smudge on the white Polo sweaters tied around their shoulders (at least have somebody’s arm in a sling! Jesus!). Suddenly, out of nowhere comes the hipster son who was not only believed dead, but earlier in the movie was calling his father an asshole. Father and son hug.

No, I didn’t mind the way in which the aliens were vanquished. I knew that microbes would be the downfall of the invaders and I thought that was done very well. But this was trying to be E.T. And what would a big-time sci-fi thriller be without Morgan Freeman?

I now know that the cheesedick element of the movie was inevitable. I know that, but the majority of the movie was spellbinding, almost debilitating, from a visual standpoint. It looked a lot like Minority Report, and the crazy hillbilly characters were at points too much, but the final product is great.

And now there’s the subject of Tom Cruise. This guy is like the Michael Jackson of Hollywood, as far as demented shit and bizarre situations are concerned. Doesn’t he want to wrestle Brooke Shields or something to settle a dispute over postpartum depression or something like that? I thought I heard he tried to shank Matt Lauer after an onscreen argument. Getting water thrown on him in London? That’s rich! But the guy made me forget what a nutjob he can be, so hey. Whatever floats his boat. If people do a good enough job at work and can separate their deranged private lives from leaking into a big movie, let them.

So personal politics of our former (and future?) foe aside, War of the Worlds is worth the price of admission. I’d say to check it out.


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