Buffalo BEAST - Buffalo's New Best Fiend
 

Oct 19 - Nov 2, 2005
Issue #86

  ..Buffalo's Best Fiend
   
Grand Perjury
A Miller's Tale
Allan Uthman

Disrobed
Are Female Genitals Enough to Qualify for the Supreme Court?
Paul jones

Getty Some
Hot Movement Action
A Monkey
Jurassic Dork
Michael Crichton's Science Fiction
Kit Smith
Harold Who?
Ode to Pinter in 1 Act

Alexander Zaitchik

Theatre of War
Inside the Psy-Ops Studio
Matt Bors

Drown Together
On Katrina & Disaster Fatigue
Jeff Dean
FAUX-TURES
After terror threats, New York begins efforts to clean shit out of pants
Clayton Byrd
An Open Letter to Jessica Alba
Irresponsible Mayoral Speculation:
What do Bflo's candidates have to do to win/lose?

Shop for Porn Like a Pro!
Hyman Bender

BOOKS
The Assassin’s Gate
America in Iraq
by George Packer
Review by John Freeman
The Big Wedding
9/11, the Whistle-Blowers and the Cover-Up
by Sander Hicks
Review by Russ Wellen
LOCAL
Buffalo Soldiers
Hutch Tech's New Program: Forcible Conscription
Allan Uthman
Another Corporate Psycopath
The Barnacle at Delphi
Chuck Richardson

The BEAST Blog
Irresponsible vitriol on a near-daily basis

[sic] - Letters
Wide Right
Bills Football & other sports
Ronnie Roscoe
Kino Korner: Movies
Michael Gildea
Page 3
Separated at Birth?
Beast-O-Scopes
 
 Cover Page

COMIX:
Idiot Box
Perry Bible Fellowship
Bob the Angry Flower

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Domino

There’s a scene in Domino, the new Tony Scott biopic about bounty hunter Domino Harvey, where one of the characters describes her boss as having “the attention span of a ferret on crystal meth.” This is the key to watching, deciphering, and maybe even enjoying Domino.

The style in which Scott tells the story is so fidgety it’s very much like a marmot on amphetamines. It looks just like Scott’s last film, Man on Fire. In case you’re too dense to figure out who certain characters are, Scott throws Cliffs Notes on the screen. He even has his characters repeat what they’ve just said – whether to inform or annoy his audience I don’t know. But what probably bothered me the most was that, despite decent acting and truly bizarre characters, I felt like I was staring right in the face of the aborted lovechild of Oliver Stone’s U-Turn and any artsy alternative music video from the mid-to-late ‘90s. I kept looking out for some band to start playing just after Domino’s star, the lovely and enchanting Keira Knightly, starts wailing riot grrl-style into the camera.

And let’s talk about Miss Knightly. She was the princess or something in Pirates of the Caribbean and she was in King Arthur. The girl is dope! She plays a devil pixie bounty hunter and I would drink her bathwater.

My point here is that in Domino, Keira Knightly is amazing to watch. You can’t take your eyes off her in any scene in the movie. It’s her job to be magnetic, to distract you from all the terribly annoying and awful things that go on in the background. Domino is not only jumpy to the point of inducing nausea and the bends, but the low-grade excremental storyline will probably cause brain cancer in anyone paying Cash American to see this movie. It gets ghetto at points with Macy Gray and that Mo’Nique chick. But the worst was the Springer episode with mention of “Chinegroes” (half Chinese-half black people). I take that back; it was pretty funny. Christopher Walken’s wooden, and Tom Waits has a cameo as the voice of reason or something. Mickey Rourke looks like a Botoxed vampire who fed off of Donatella Versace and assumed her characteristics. Tony Scott pretty much ends the movie with a Mexican standoff – just like he did with 1993’s far superior True Romance. It’s like he grabbed some of his earlier movies and edited them together.

Sometimes I talk to people who have read a review I’ve written, but are still unclear as to whether I actually liked the movie. Let me clarify: I hated this movie! Donnie Darko writer-director Richard Kelly’s toasted-dogshit script and Scott’s epileptic storytelling style took what could have been a pretty good movie and British-nannied it as it fell limp. If you couldn’t care less and just want to wait for that nude scene with Miss Knightly you’re not even sure exists (but would be well worth the wait), then have a seat. She’s a very foxy lady.

One thing to watch for is a scene where Lucy Liu is really oddly lit and you can’t see the whites of her eyes. She looks like a soulless, demented alien-demon posing as a Fed. Two guys seated a few rows up from me turned to stone – honest to God! Get some of those wraparound senior citizen shades and you should be okay.


Elizabethtown

There are certain expectations when you’re watching a Cameron Crowe movie. What you’re stepping into is a somehow highly personal story. And because Crowe wrote for Rolling Stone when he was sixteen, it’s also going to turn into a mix tape, both visually and musically. The big question that either gropes you until the end of the movie or is answered almost immediately is: how bad will it be? You’ve got to consider the hellish implications of this thing. You get sucked into one of these beauties and you’re staring at Tom Cruise’s head for the next 2 ½ hours. It’ll be a remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers but with a Scientologist slant. It’ll be like Battlefield Earth, only worse!

With his new movie, Elizabethtown, Crowe tells his story through Orlando Bloom, who has the shittiest day of his life, which ends with him picking up his recently deceased father’s ashes. Prior to that, Bloom spends his time with Kirsten Dunst hanging all over him and acting like a total dipshit who’s “not afraid to live life.”

Sound familiar? If you’ve watched cable recently or rented a DVD in the last nine months, you’ve probably seen the movie Garden State. Zach Braff, Natalie Portman. Depressed guy comes home to his mother’s funeral and learns to live life again, while falling in love with a zany dame? Sound familiar? How about Feeling Minnesota? Hip soundtrack and an almost touching story? The kind of movie your girlfriend describes as “cute.” I initially thought Garden State was a knock-off of the The Graduate that had taken a lot of drugs and spent all day passed out on the couch. But after a second viewing it grows on you and makes you wonder how it will age.

Then we’ve got Elizabethtown. Oh, let’s say depressed guy comes home to grab his old man’s ashes and winds up hooking up with a goofy chick with OCD, and isn’t life so much better when it’s accompanied by an eclectic soundtrack featuring artists such as Ryan Adams, Elton John and The Hollies? And you can do no wrong with a dumb haircut, even if you’ve just made a nearly billion-dollar mistake.

This is not to say that Elizabethtown couldn’t have been worse. I read somewhere that Crowe wanted Ashton Kutcher originally. Sweet Jesus, can you imagine this sort of trip with that brand of turpentine pissing on it? If you can catch this someday on cable, you’ll be able to relish in the fact that all you’ve invested in this movie was about two hours of your life. You’ll thank yourself later. But if you just can’t get enough of this saccharine crap, watch the aforementioned Garden State instead. If you’re still torn, just ask yourself which would you’d rather watch–Garden State or Bluegrass State?


The Fog

“This is why I never got to the fuckin’ movies – they all suck!”   

-Disgruntled moviegoer after an evening showing of Elizabethtown

There are two kinds of movies that nauseate me more than any other type of movie. There are horror movies – a genre that’s seen its day and could live on through some kind of miraculous recovery, but is more like that wheezy, balding dog your friend’s grandmother has and should’ve put down years ago. Then we’ve got the good old Hollywood remake. Put these types of movies together and you’re fixing for the biggest tragedy since Frankenstein met the Wolf Man. Naturally, Japan won’t make any more horror movies for Hollywood to remake, so we’ve got to go and exhume one from our own history.

“We’ve already remade one John Carpenter movie this year, so let’s shit in the mailbox again and redo The Fog while we’re at it.”

-Movie industry meeting transcript excerpt

This reminds me of a remark my cousin made the other day. He told me the US hasn’t found a new oil reserve in two years and that we’re going to run out within the next 15 years or something. Then I thought about a comment another person I see regularly made about nukes that were unaccounted for, or missing plutonium, or something like that. Mild nausea overcame me briefly and I began to wonder if I was actually in hell, or some demented version of Groundhog Day. I began to wonder if anything I did mattered because of the state of the country, or the world for that matter. Could I just actually act like a lunatic and have it not matter one bit? Did I actually write that all down?

So we’ve got The Fog. It takes a simple original premise and tries to make it complex or interesting and fails big time at both. I swear to God, whoever directed this movie must give really great head, because there was nothing about The Fog that was warranted. Nothing that anybody in the history of the world (Hitler included) ever did justifies a world where crap like this is in circulation. It’s right down there with discovering that the planet Earth is actually the left testicle of a parasite that lives off fecal matter. It’s completely disgusting and disturbing.

But I suppose that The Fog did serve one purpose, and that is to perpetuate the dreaded Superman curse. You see, the movie’s star, Tom Welling, plays a young Clark Kent on the WB’s “Smallville.” He’s not quite Superman, but he still might count. George Reeves played Superman in the ‘50s and eventually killed himself. I don’t think I need to go into too much detail about Christopher Reeve, do I? Anyway, Welling has to become tragic in some way, so he may as well get started with a crappy remake of a movie that wasn’t so hot to begin with. I say Welling’s going to get busted doing coke off a urinal in a down-low truckstop before being found dead with a stomach full of semen next to an OD’d whore. But that’s just one prediction.


Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

A few weeks back, I reviewed a film called Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride. I said the style was the main thing carrying it and this aside, it wasn’t too incredible. Oh sure, it’s something you can really get into if the proper mood strikes you, but that particular mood doesn’t strike too often. The thing that made me go see Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (and Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride) was the fact that computer animation had nothing to do with the development of either film and I knew this kind of refreshment’s days were numbered.

To be honest, I wasn’t especially looking forward to either one of these movies. Part of me was, but in retrospect I knew I’d be going only to see a public hanging – a swan song of sorts for hand-made animation, in which talent and articulation create something that looks like it could be a living thing and not a video game. Not to knock computer animators – their work is appealing to the eye and definitely requires a certain amount of talent, but it’s not organic. The thought saddened me.

My other possible plan for that day was to tag along with BEAST contributor and general lunatic Tom Maccio. The ultimate and inevitable breakdown after the Obi-Wan Kenobi thing with his kid in London put him on a downward trajectory; culminating in abject madness via a spot scribing a funny-because-it’s-true traveler’s guide for this humble rag. He was doing a piece and I told him he’d need to do this kind of thing properly. This meant getting our mitts on some luminol and a few blacklight bulbs before Spencer’s closed. He was covering an Allentown haunt and we’d been drinking Mad Dog since noon. Maybe it was the cheap sulfides or some unnoticeable forensic chemical fumes (perhaps a combination of the two) but we’d been twisted into a condition suitable for viewing Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

We were all right once we got to our seats and we actually found the movie enjoyable. But getting there was a minefield on many levels. We had to bolt about six blocks to the theater in roughly ten minutes. The prospect of watching claymation on a head full of noxious chemicals was too tempting a trip to miss. None of this had been planned. The vicious son of a bitch who sold us the luminol told us that we wouldn’t need ventilation for any task that we could possibly handle with that chemical bomb he provided us. We were thwarted. But little did that monster know that our task was all in the name of journalism, and not cheap kicks!

The dash was not a problem once the tidal wave of Buffalo-fresh air hit the lungs. We sidestepped a few Yo! My man!s and were cackled at by the duff friend of the chick who lived in one of the second-story apartments above. Maccio looked directly at the creature and he swore that he could see into the future for a few seconds. Walking past the police station straightened us out quickly enough, but these cackling harpies visually crippled Maccio to the brink of insanity. They say you never leave a man behind, and I wasn’t about to break precedent – at least not this day. I dragged the poor bastard into the theater lobby and what followed was a scene that would justify a cliffhanger episode on a not-too-interesting cable TV series.

Apparently there was a Barbara Stanwyck film the theater was showing, drawing every independent female senior citizen in the county. Many of them apparently are big BEAST fans. I couldn’t even begin to formulate an idea as to how these women knew who I was – not even if given grant money and a chimpanzee assistant. Maccio started acting like Pacino in Scent of a Woman. The women began congregating around us. Some started waving past BEAST issues over their heads and demanding autographs. Others had that amorous look in their eyes. And still others had that squinting Hey, I got a question for you look on their faces from which no good can possibly come. Only tragedy could rival that kind of scenario – comparable to flashbacks of Anna Faris singing in Lost in Translation.

So let’s sum up: I’ve got a half-dead and blind Italian hanging off my shoulder like a cheap mink and a scientific chemical/cheap wine concoction is gnawing away at both our brains as nearly two dozen older women are crowding us. Oh, and I’ve got a gig to do. A total 180 happens and one of them calls me “honey” and asks us what we’re here to see. I tell her that it kills me to miss the movie they’re here to see. They offer to stake the movie for us if I can tell her the name of the picture they’re here see. I tell them as quickly as the question was asked. They even bought us coffee to straighten us out.


In Her Shoes

When I saw the preview for In Her Shoes, I thought I was having a very mild stroke. I did nothing to fight it and only hoped it would all be over soon. But I snapped out of it when I realized what I was dealing with here. So far, we’ve seen a fish-faced (or would you say she looks more like The Joker?) Cameron Diaz being all stupid and sloppy drunk and Toni Collette in her trademark role as the frump sister who undergoes some sort of dynamic transformation before the couldn’t-get-here-soon-enough credits roll. And I also thought about how there was actually a point in my life when I would’ve gone and willingly paid Cash American to see this movie.

This was a confusing time in the mid-to-late ‘90s for me when I actually paid attention to my feelings. (I’m sure the only thing straight about me was the fact I was, and am, still into women – and otherwise a complete and total mess.) I’m sure I overindulged my feelings a tad as I was able to justify anything. I nurtured my feminine side with clothes shopping, and did whatever the hell I wanted. But I was also, I’m told, a “generous lover.” (I know this has the abundant potential to head south really fast, but stay with me on this one...) I was also very gentlemanly and was the kind of guy who would spend $300 and three months trying to get laid. And it was also during this time that I loved to talk about my feelings.

Completely disgusting.

Men in general talking about their feelings set this country back three hundred years. It turned us into a nation of fairies and bums. Did you know there was a time in this country’s history when you could literally beat your wife and punish your children with a belt after you’d just drunk a fifth of rye? The only condition was that you provided for them, and all was forgiven. There was an episode of The Sopranos where Tony talked about the strong, silent type and how Gary Cooper never talked about his feelings. Another thing that you believed as a product of this generation was that women loved sensitive men. And now they’re bitching about how they got what they asked for, so now no one’s happy.

Now I barely pontificate in my own mind about what would happen if I went right instead of left that one day. If I even feel something resembling that kind of gibberish in my mind I push it down so far that it’s left with little recourse but to turn toxic somewhere down in my bowels and eventually kill me one day. That’s what a man’s supposed to do. He’s not meant to lie on a couch and pay somebody a hundred bucks an hour to listen to him wonder if his feelings are valid. But we just had to get sloppy with the dope and VD back in the sixties and it’s been downhill ever since.

And it’s this kind of mentality that In Her Shoes nurtures. Making this movie at this stage in the game is like showing up with a case of beer outside an AA meeting and asking a girl coming out of a women’s services building if she wants to bang, both at the same time. Still, it’s easy to see why Curtis Hanson, the man who directed LA Confidential and Wonder Boys, would make a demoralizing chick flick. Martin Scorsese made his chick flick with Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. Ridley Scott did Thelma and Louise. So these guys do this kind of film to show their versatility and we have to take it.


Waiting...

If you can make it through the first ten minutes of, or the trailer for, Waiting…, you’ll realize that your first impression is the right one. It’s a movie about people who, as part of their dead-end lives, work at a dead-end job. Much in the tradition of Office Space and Clerks (Waiting… even uses the Greek tragedy device by having the story take place over 24 hours), this movie is sure to become a classic among the early-20s crowd who have more in common with the movie’s characters than they know.

So with Waiting…, we get out of the office—or the mini-mart—and head to a chain restaurant called Shenanigan’s that’s every bit as bad as it sounds. The horrible uniforms and the shitty customers. Mmm, mmm! Makes you want to head to Chili’s right now, doesn’t it? With any dead-end job, there are naturally those who hate it more than life itself and rebel in their own small way. We’ve got the cook who spits in the food and a game in which the employees flash their dicks at each other.

It’s all in the spirit of the scenes in Fight Club where Brad Pitt’s character pissed in the food and generally didn’t take his job very seriously– except without the use of irony or scathing wit. Waiting…is basically a 90-minute fart joke that lets you know that you’re not the only one with a shitty life.

The star of Waiting…is Ryan Reynolds. If the name sounds more like a Polish superhero’s alter-ego than a movie star, you might remember him as the one vampire hunter in the last Blade movie who did nothing but look buff and shit out crappy one-liners as he got the melon-farming piss beat out of him. Spiky hair? Tiny eyes about an eighth of an inch apart? He was in that Amityville Horror remake? He was Van Wilder? Anyway, in Waiting…he keeps up the fine tradition of making the sides split. But that’s not to say this movie has no finer points. Dane Cook shows up for like an eighth of a second and Anna Faris doesn’t look too bad in some scenes. If you’re in the mood for dumb comedy you won’t be Waiting…!

I feel like I should write a suicide note after that one.

Author’s Note: I thought long and hard for several minutes after I finished that review. I debated turning the review for Two for the Money, the title of my last review for this issue into a suicide note to Al Pacino and e-mailing it to my editor. Would it get printed? Would it never see the light of day? Wouldn’t that be the weirdest? Who really cares?


Two for the Money

Dear Santa Claus,

I somehow knew you never existed. Even if you had special effects on your side – which no one does – the idea of you delivering presents to every human being in one night was just plain preposterous. Of course my mother confirmed your fictitiousness just before my tenth birthday and I haven’t given you a thought since.

But Santa, I’ve had a reasonably enlightening week that I won’t really go into, but I will say that I believe in things I haven’t believed in for a while. It feels good to know that you have something you weren’t sure you had and I think there’s more there than I can see.

That’s where you come in. I haven’t believed in you for a while, so I figure that you’re out there elsewhere like other made up legends: Jesus, The Six Million Dollar Man and Jack Burton. You can help me. I have a very special request that I think only you can grant me. I want Al Pacino to stop making movies.

You see, Santa, he’s turned into a concept. I imagine he feels it’s one more step toward self-actualization or some pretentious dogshit like that, but he doesn’t act anymore. He’s turned into a Nicholson – a self-professing gargantuan that lives off its own pheromones and the misery of others while collecting an obscene paycheck.

He just shouts, Santa! He yells and eats kitty litter before he gives long speeches in his movies. He’s a snaky old lurker who should drop off the radar until they decide to give him a lifetime achievement award. Then he can get wrapped up in some publicity stunt after he kills a spouse or someone else.

It was his new movie, Two for the Money, that made me feel this way. Well, I guess I always felt that way to some extent, but this was the movie that made me speak my mind. He’s just silly and leathery and it’s like watching a wooden Indian outside of an old cigar shop try to poop. He played pretty much the same character he did in The Recruit with Colin Farrell. The slick old mentor who turned out to be a piece of crap in the end.

But if you actually are listening, there’s another favor I’d like to ask. One of Mr. Pacino’s older movies is coming out on DVD and I’d really like a copy for Christmas. It’s called Panic in Needle Park and God bless everyone!

-Michael

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