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ETHICS 666
An exclusive rush transcript of a White House ethics course
Allan Uthman

From Russia with Rage
Mark Ames promotes new book
Paul Jones

I DICK
It’s amazing what a person can accomplish with a few proper restraints, a wet cloth and steadily dripping water.
Ian Murphy

HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU, MONKEY
The BEAST's simian scribe gives us a heart to heart conversation about drugs

Pandemic Of Fear
Bird Flu is not a food-borne illness; so far the only people who have contracted it live or work (in Asia) with live chickens.  So why the uproar?
Kit Smith

INFOGRAPHIC
What are we thankful for?

WOP - COUNTERWOP
Today's topic: Samuel Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court

Reader Opinions
Our distinguished readers weigh in on current events

PBS, NPR KO CPB SOB
Kenneth Y. Tomlinson last week stepped down from his seat on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s board of directors.
Jeff Dean

Interview With A Charred Corpse
The BEAST chats with the seared remains of a 2004 napalm attack  on Fallujah

The 20 FUNNIEST THINGS about Pastor Joel Osteen Going To Heaven
by N. Sorrenti

Classic Hammer Rings Untrue For Today's Early Teens

Sheer Idiocy Scores Victory Over Evolution


KINO KORNER
THIS ISSUE: Derailed, Pride And Prejudice, Jarhead, Chicken Little, and more!

WIDE RIGHT
Losman to the rescue... and Yoda too!

BEAST-O-SCOPES
by Andrew Gullerstein

The BEAST PAGE 3
COOL MOM

[sic]
The BEAST answers your letters

COMIX:
Idiot Box

Perry Bible Fellowship

BEAST ARCHIVES

KINO CORNER #88
by Michael Gildea

Derailed

“Something is happening here/But you don’t know what it is/Do you, Mr. Jones?” –Bob Dylan

That quote has been like a splinter in my mind for some time now. It’s like one of your own personal heroes walks up to you and tells you everything about yourself, although the two of you have never met before. A situation too uncomfortable to enjoy and too disturbing to ignore.

That lyric’s shown up many times unexpectedly to me lately and ultimately led to a night where I listened to the song from which it comes (“Ballad of a Thin Man” from Highway 61 Revisited) for three straight hours one night in the middle of an OCD-fueled stupor. (Pelican’s The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw eventually broke me out of the spell; still, both great albums.) Hearing it so many times in so short a time, I was instilled with a level of paranoia that would send most conspiracy theory nuts crying to their mothers. Is there really something wrong? I mean so terribly wrong that your only solace comes from complete, utter and total despondence? Something had been tapping me on the shoulder for a while now, and instead of continuing to be ignored by me, it decided to bash me square in the jaw.

I received this near deathblow while watching Derailed, the new thriller starring the newly-single but still homely Jennifer Aniston and the sketchy Clive Owen as lovers cheating on their respective spouses that get pinched. But it’s not as simple as having their affair discovered by either one of their partners; they get busted by a bunch of creepy looking gaylords from a new metal video or straight to video indie flick. All Owen and Aniston really do is look at each other dumbly and that’s when I had my revelation—that was the catharsis that brought me back to life. And it wasn’t pretty.

My mind wandered onto another train of thought when I was reminded of a piece that the late, great Dr. Hunter S. Thompson did for ESPN.com, called “The New Dumb.” It actually started with the same Dylan quote as above and I was freaked out even more. This coincidence was beginning to churn my brains into cream when I saw what must be the future on the screen above. A pair of creepy people who just stare at each other as if they were constipated or severely retarded.

Dumb is the new sexy. The new hot, the new smart, the new... oh let’s say powerful if you catch my drift. People everywhere you go are getting or already are really dumb lately. They either drive like total pussies or complete assholes. We have a president who can’t seem to finish a crossword puzzle. Celebrities—models of what is considered attractive—look at people like dumb cows. This is it. This is the end. The Dumb are trying to take over the world.

If you’re not with The Dumb you’re against them. They’re supplied by a well-known retail chain so they could probably pull off an overseas invasion of another country. They drive cars they don’t know how to drive and now they’re telling you that they’re hot and you’re not. Some try to be hot and dumb at the same time and do pretty well for themselves. Take Jessica Simpson, for example.

I took it like a man when I watched Derailed. I watched these two allegedly hot people fart up what potentially could’ve been a decent flick. Instead we get a Double Indemnity wannabe with a hearty slapping of Hollywood bullshit and completely unrealistic plot turns right on top of it. Next thing you know, you’re challenging the theater manager to a duel in front of the concession stand because you had to sit through that.

So far, all my discovery really got me was a heightened state of awareness, which makes getting out of bed in the morning all the more difficult and nearly pointless. In the not too distant future, the Retards are going to be running the planet. The Dumb are taking over like a virus and the Earth is starting to fight back. Hmm. If you know a good odds maker (preferably Vegas), please e-mail me at michael@buffalobeast.com 


Pride And Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice left me with an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach that was not entirely unfamiliar to me. It’s not that it was bad or excruciating to watch—on the contrary, watching Keira Knightley for over two hours was a joy paralleled only by being able to sleep in on a Sunday morning, knowing that I don’t have to work. I realized something while watching the film.

I... I don’t know if this is going to work out, Keira. You... you roped me in with Pirates of the Caribbean. I wasn’t that interested at first, but you changed my mind. You kept impressing me in King Arthur and The Jacket (you, not the movies...). Then with Domino you showed me that you were the one for me. You were a perfect creature flawlessly making grace, beauty, language, and fearlessness one as you showed your luminous glory from the waist up.

But I feel like now that you have me, you feel like you’ve won me and I’m just some kind of... some kind of prize. It’s almost like you’re not interested anymore and when you rarely are, it’s more out of convenience than anything else. I’m not going to put up with this forever. I’m not the guy I used to be. I was once the guy who would’ve seen your new movie Pride and Prejudice and loved every minute of it. Oh yes, I would’ve relished in that dry, British charm that you used to get me behind the dumpster on more than one occasion. The costumes and the lush countryside would’ve mesmerized me. But that was when I used to talk about my feelings. Now I just move on instinct and walk off the bullshit. I haven’t even kept a diary in years, baby.

I just didn’t care about Pride and Prejudice, honey. You’re young; I’m old. You know I can’t take that shit the way I used to. But that doesn’t mean I don’t care about you. I do, I really, really do. But I need to know that you care about me too. I want Keira, not KEIRA. And I don’t get to see Keira too much any more. I don’t have a good time with KEIRA. Please baby. Bring back Keira. You know I’m crazy over my little chipmunk, but enough’s enough.

Look. Just... give me a call when you... get through whatever you need to get through or do whatever it is you feel you need to do. Maybe I’ll answer. Don’t bother calling if I see you wearing fur coats again with Adrien Brody. That guy’s been a weasly skirt-chaser since he won that Oscar. If nothing else, please don’t let me see you with him. Please give me that much... 


 

Get Rich Or Die Tryin'

Why? Why is it every time you see a movie about a black guy trying to get out of his current line of work he always decides he wants to be a rapper? Wait. Never mind, I know why. It’s because either it’s a rapper playing the character or it’s the only option Whitey left him. Either way, it’s bullshit and unfair to anyone who could possibly be involved.

So—it’s been a few years since we’ve seen the last installment of the rapper-turns-actor series. Last installment was Eminem in 8 Mile, the rap version of Purple Rain (harrowing!). It had a few nuggets of street cred—directed by Curtis Hanson who’s beginning to not kick as much ass as he used to.

So now we’ve got 50 Cent playing himself and telling the story of how he came up, for anyone who never noticed the bullet scars in his back. He was a drug dealer and tried to get out of the life. His boss didn’t like it and shot him. He rises above and becomes a rapper who sells a shitload of albums. The movie kind of plays out like Scarface, which is not surprising seeing as how there’s not a rap album made after 1995 that doesn’t contain at least five Scarface references.

I don’t get the whole 50 Cent thing. Maybe it’s the name. I mean, 50 cents isn’t that much. Why 50 Cent? 50 Buck would be more understandable. 50 Grand maybe? Or maybe it’s his music I’m not getting. One of his songs made me very angry. It wasn’t a very angry song; it just sounded like an ice cream truck to me. The music from ice cream trucks really upsets me and makes me angry. I don’t know why—I mean it’s not because of some childhood thing where I never got to the ice cream truck in time or that I couldn’t afford it. The music just really pisses me off in ways I can’t fully articulate. Kind of like couples who’ve only been together a short time getting portraits done at Penny’s. Who does that shit? The music from the trucks—the whole dinglydinglydingdingding shit is like a swordfish up the ass. I heard it once outside of a bar in Eden and I actually started a bar fight out of spontaneous and unbridled rage.


Jarhead

Let’s paint a picture: You’re in the middle of a war as popular as the AV squad in any given Midwestern junior high school; and as a result military enrollment is at an all-time low. What do you do to turn it around? The answer is simple. You have a means of communication cleverly disguised as entertainment that can also be used as propaganda while testing the malleability on its audience—the movies. Shit! They did it with John Wayne in the forties, so why the hell can’t it work here?

The studio fatcat crumbum who greenlit Jarhead, the new film recounting a marine’s experiences from the Gulf War, must have thought he was going to get a relieving scratch on the back from some kind kickback/commission for every new enlistee who saw this film has got another think coming. Reason being is that Jarhead doesn’t paint a glamorous picture of war and because it’s not your grandfather’s war picture.

In previous war movies, there was a known and tangible enemy. Whether it was a yellow-skinned sneaky son of a bitch or a goose-stepping fanatic, you always had the luxury of knowing who the bad guys were. But with Jarhead, the enemy is the waiting to fight the war. It’s the despondency, the lack of working equipment, the wondering and/or finding out if their old lady’s fucking around back home, and worst of all, the lack of live targets. I think you could put any random person through enough bullshit and they can justify going through it all again tomorrow—provided they be promised they’ll be able to kill before the day is out.

Jarhead at times tries really hard to be Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, Full Metal Jacket—namely in the opening scene with the drill sergeant barking Hartman-style in the faces of the worthless maggots he will eventually turn into soldiers. The interview scenes are also reminiscent of Full Metal Jacket, while the numerous references to Apocalypse Now and The Deer Hunter also make you realize a new kind of war movie has been spawned—and start to make you miss the good old days.

Until we hit the final act. Desert Storm finally starts. As opposed to a barrage of battle scenes, the audience gets an onslaught of unsettling imagery. When going to “dehydrate,” the film’s protagonist Swafford comes across a collection of charred corpses. He sits thoughtfully for a few moments and upon his return, his staff sergeant asks what was over there. “Nothing,” Swafford replies.

While the ending kind of fizzled out like a dud grenade, the film’s director, Sam Mendes, who’s given us such gems as American Beauty and Road to Perdition has laid out some really wild sights while simultaneously pulling great performances out of Jake Gyllenhall, Peter Sarsgaard and Jamie Foxx. Again, Mendes has created a new kind of war movie. Or maybe he just made a movie about a war that didn’t last as long as the average sneeze. Either way, it’s worth checking out...


Chicken Little

Computer animated cartoons, celebrity voices, aliens. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Mildly amusing and good for a few hearty chuckles, but ultimately nothing to really write home about. I will, however, tell you about something that you damn well better include in your next letter home to your dear old silver-haired mother and your crossword puzzle-loving dad who’s got his chair.

And what is this modern marvel you ask? Goblin Cock.

Goblin Cock? I knew this cat was a nut, but the lunatic’s finally lost it. Hear me out. Goblin Cock is a band that just put out one pretty cool album. You may enjoy the album if you’re into the sludgy guitar sounds of bands such as Cathedral or Paradise Lost—stuff reminiscent or early Black Sabbath. Sludgy doom metal stoner rock. Think of Queens of the Stone Age with a Gwar sensibility. The album is called Bagged and Boarded and its cover features an angry, evil-looking goblin king who sits upon a throne with his junk sticking out of the bottom of his robe.

Now the reason that I’m professing the word of Goblin Cock is not for a good album, but the video that features these lunatics in all their ‘80s metal glory is an achievement that will inspire even the most cynical of hearts. This video can be seen with a simple visit to absolutelykosher.com.

Okay dipshit. What are you getting me into? Well, I could tell you but that would be spoiling the surprise. But I will leave you with this—ringwraith costumes, lesbian softball and evil robots.


 

Shopgirl

There’s an old principle out there called the crap vs. compensation factor that helps you decide if going through with something is ultimately worth it. I first heard it applied toward corporate culture and a karmic punishment of a job I worked a few years back.

The people there didn’t blink. If something went wrong throughout one of their days, it wasn’t seen as a problem but an opportunity. Anyone who was salaried usually wound up sticking around a few hours later than they were told they’d have to in the interview. But none of this mattered because they all loved their jobs very, very much. Now I’m not 100% sure here, but I think I saw lobotomy scars on more than one occasion. As for the rest, they probably drank excessively while emotionally and/or physically abusing their families. For as much as I slag the place, they had great benefits, there was a café on the premises that made a mean pulled pork sandwich, and some of my female co-workers had some very liberal views on sex, which they shared.

At that job, I had to ask myself if feigning Stepfordom and playin’ the game were worth the pittance I received, the tumors growing in my balls and the pure, unadulterated frustration that would eventually kill me. Crap vs. Compensation.

With my former employer, I had a choice, whether I admitted it or not. But when I saw Shopgirl, the new movie starring Steve Martin, Claire Danes and Jason Schwartzman I could at least take comfort in the fact that I didn’t really have a choice. Community service sucks.

What some fail to realize is when you see a movie there’s a lot more to it than sitting in a darkened theater for the better part of two hours. There’s so much more to it than acting, direction, set design, cinematography and so on. There’s the matter of the obnoxious prick who has to throw his two bits in with either a running commentary or shrieking laughter. The waste of sperm and egg who can’t sit still and keeps kicking the back of your seat while gnawing away loudly on their overpriced popcorn. The malignancies behind the wheel of their SUVs who drive either like total assholes or the way that old people fuck. And by the way, to anyone who was driving on McKinley Parkway in Saturday, November 5th between 3:15 and about 3:40 PM—I’VE GOT YOUR LICENSE PLATE NUMBERS YOU SUBURBANITE PRICKS. YOU THINK YOU’VE GOT IT BAD NOW? YOU’VE GOT ME ON YOUR HANDS NOW YOU SUBURBANITE SHIT WEASELS! AS YOU BREATHE YOUR LAST, ASK YOURSELF IF THAT FOURTH TRIP TO THE OLIVE GARDEN THIS WEEK WAS REALLY WORTH IT. WERE THE UNLIMITED BREADSTICKS WORTH IT?

That rant should give you some kind of insight into what I had to deal with before seeing Shopgirl. As I finally took the keys out of the ignition in the theater parking lot, I thought to myself that this better be an amazing movie. Naturally, it wasn’t. Even though it’s based on a novella written by Steve Martin, he turned in only a marginally enjoyable performance as a rich prick who woos a retail slave played by the oddly physically misproportioned Danes. Whoever did the costume designs for her would’ve done a better job flattering her by just telling her she has a nice head. I shouldn’t slam the wardrobe people—they didn’t have much to work with. And as for Schwartzman, he just played Schwartzman.

In the end, the compensation wasn’t remotely worth the crap I dealt with getting to see Shopgirl.


 

Good Night, and Good Luck

A few years back, George Clooney proved that he’s capable of more than acting like George Clooney when he made his directorial debut with Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. It was a stylish look back at the ‘60s and ‘70s through the eyes of a... well, a nut. It was the tale of  “Gong Show” host Chuck Barris, and the acting was great, the direction was fantastic, and the fact that it was written by Charlie Kaufman didn’t hurt either. As a follow-up, Clooney brings us Good Night, and Good Luck, the tale of how television journalist Edward R. Murrow and his producer Fred Friendly brought down political juggernaut/asshole/Hannity-ancestor Joseph McCarthy during his communist witch-hunt in the mid-‘50s.

Clooney tells a lot of the story through preexisting news footage of the time, and the film is in black and white. To his credit, Clooney fails to make the mistake of actually getting an actor to play McCarthy, which goes to show that he’s actually paid attention and learned something from his production company partner, Steven Soderberg.

Good Night, and Good Luck is actually a great film and a nice parable for the political climate today. It knows when to back off at a 93-minute running time and takes its leave like a houseguest that knows to split just when you begin to get bored of their ass. It’s dry as a desert; there’s very little action as far as high drama is concerned (but there is a lot of smoking, smoking, and more smoking…viewers should be allowed to light up for this flick just to add ambience). I wasn’t expecting contrived shootouts or a bullshit car chase, but for the events that led to the end of one of the darker chapters of American history, you’d expect a little more than the reading of some telegrams and meetings in the boss’s office. Otherwise, it was very well done.

Probably the high point of the whole Good Night, and Good Luck experience for me was overhearing a group of senior citizens comment that they thought Joseph McCarthy was the ventriloquist. Now I don’t know if it was the senility talking, but even I know the difference between Charlie McCarthy and Joseph McCarthy. And I grew up on MTV, horror movies and non-practicing Catholic guilt. If I couldn’t tell the difference, I’d have an excuse. But this cat was probably keeping his wife barefoot and pregnant for a five-year span while stroking it to The Lawrence Welk show every Sunday night for 18 years while this shit was going down! Jesus Harold Christ!

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
 

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