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American Dreamz, The Sentinel, Silent Hill, The Wild.
Your cosmic fortune...
in insult form.
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High Office
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News Abuse
Buffalo News readers must break the cycle.


American Dreamz

I enjoy satirical movies—big shock, I know. Some are witty, some are subtle and some even bite like a puppy that just wants to play. Maybe I’m a bit sheltered here, but I can’t recall seeing a satire that was a Kong-sized, rabid Tasmanian devil who pissed lighting and had sharpened railroad spikes for teeth until now. And much like watching an “Animals Gone Wild” show that Spike TV is known to air, I enjoyed every minute of watching the rotten creature destroy everything in its path.

American Dreamz tells the story of an incompetent president who’s a puppet to his staff, the prick host of a reality show/singing contest, and the show’s white trash hopeful. If none of this sounds familiar or even the slightest bit amusing, there’s a bible somewhere that needs to be picked up. You should go find it.

As a comedy, American Dreamz was funny. To paraphrase what Robert DeNiro said when playing Al Capone in The Untouchables, “you’re not laughing because it’s funny, you’re laughing because it’s true.” And why would we laugh, as anyone who’s got either a great sense of humor or the ability to giggle at their problems undoubtedly will while watching this movie? Would they laugh because our president has no control over his backyard and doesn’t read a newspaper because he can get someone else to do it for him or because there aren’t enough pictures? How about the fact that about 30 million people vote for “American Idol” each week—a show so filthy with appeal to the extra-chromosomal and those who need help defining their tastes? They clutch onto the lesser of an X number of evils and are happy about it?

The whole joke of American Dreamz was that it wasn’t a commentary on pop culture or politics or even pretentious British men for that matter. It’s making fun of you, America. It’s laughing in your face because you will without hesitation jack up your cell phone bill and nearly demolish the redial button on a regular basis to keep some candy-ass pretty boy from getting voted off the island for one more week, but you won’t get off your fart-smelling couch once every four years to take part in a decision that I don’t know…ACTUALLY MATTERS. That’s what had me cracking up.

As for the cast and crew, writer/director Paul Weitz of American Pie and About a Boy fame turned out a great satire by casting Hugh Grant as the likable son of a bitch/Simon Cowell clone. Dennis Quaid plays the witless president so enjoyably and Willem Dafoe does a great Cheney impression. Come to think of it, Dafoe has the only face I can think of that actually beats Cheney’s for evil. Mandy Moore kind of rehashes her role from Saved! as the trailer trash superstar wannabe, getting by on her looks yet again.

If you can’t laugh at your problems, what good are they? Sometimes it helps to deal with the things you can’t stand by confronting them, and maybe American Dreamz is just the thing we need before we’re engulfed by a tidal wave of cheesiness and incredibly bad decisions made by our leaders. You know, kind of like getting blindingly drunk the night before your ass gets carted off to a five-year sentence in a maximum security prison.

The Sentinel

This week on “24,” Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) tracks down a veteran secret service agent (special guest star Michael Douglas) who may or may not be trying to kill the president. To make things more difficult for Jack, he’s breaking in a new goldbricking trainee (Eva Longoria) who’s sure to steam things up with her fitted suits and cold, calculating ways. Will Jack save the president in time? Will he get a prenup?

Wait a minute. This isn’t an episode of “24.” It looks like one. It sure as hell sounds like one.

Apparently, they let Michael Douglas out of the morgue long enough to make another movie. He’s not playing a rich prick or a guy riding the hobbyhorse with a psycho, so I was pretty confused while watching The Sentinel. He is, however, nailing the president’s wife.And I’m so pleased to see that Kiefer Sutherland is displaying his versatility, breaking away from his role on The Sentinel, I mean “24.” The Sentinel was dull—a veritable yawnfest if you will. The cord to my Playstation controller has more interesting twists in it, and straightening that out is more fun than watching this movie.

After all, what can I tell you about The Sentinel that you can’t figure out for yourself? What, that the mole/traitor is some secondary character, hiding in the background but in plain sight the whole time? What else can’t you put our finger on? Eva Longoria has cleavage that you’d like to eat vanilla ice cream out of as she sings Julie London songs to you? How about “crime doesn’t pay?”

Instead of giving you the lowdown on yet another rote political thriller, I’d like to take this opportunity to answer some reader e-mail. This week’s e-mail comes from Jim, who writes:

Really how many times do I need to repeat myself,

If ur depressed w/ur weight, check out how to change this at

as born in and is very similar to the culture I come from. Also, it was the

nthal. This led to a renewed interest in his Jewish roots, and he became an
active supporter of Zionism.



Don’t take your insecurities out on me. You’ve never told me of the contempt you have for your own haggard carcass, so please don’t preach to me and carry on like a raving lunatic. If you need to talk about your personal problems, feel free to write anytime and I’ll reply with glib remarks as soon as I feel like it.

By the way, even if I did feel like getting off my couch and losing weight, I don’t think I’d turn to meth. Come on, man! Have a little discretion at least. Hardbitsandgetmeth.com? Score your dope in a trailer park like everyone else you friggin nincompoop.

And where does this talk of Jewish roots and Zionism come from? What, are all Zionists crystal meth addicts now? If only you could get a job perpetuating stereotypes you wouldn’t have to fill your days sending out nonsensical e-mails to unsuspecting film critics. The next time you get the urge to suck the glass dick and start clicking away with your e-mail provider randomly, I’d like to suggest you try this remedy out first.

I think your problem is that the evil spirits in your head are about to take over for all time. You need to get a power drill with a diamond-tipped bit and drill into both of your temples and let them out. And stop watching “American Idol” for crissakes, Jim. That shit is for kids. It’s the only way, Jim. It’s the only way…

Silent Hill

Watching and tolerating/enjoying movies most of the time can be a trial and error process. For example, when watching romantic comedies or movies with repugnantly cute children, I found that loading up on an obscene amount of candy (or just straight sugar) will combine with the movie itself to drive you into a diabetic near-coma with accompanying hallucinations that makes the movie, dare I say… acceptable. Stupid action flicks require an empty-stomached 8 drink minimum and pretentious arthouse flicks necessitate a cocktail of cough syrup (the sleepytime kind), stolen prescription painkillers and a straight up, cover to cover reading of Jane Eyre.

But when it comes to watching a movie based on a video game, my remedy of choice comes from the company of my partner in crime, Tom Maccio. He’s always good company for one, but he also happens to get so revved up for these things that his positive outlook cancels out my rotten perspective on the matter at hand.

Maccio also has a ritual which revolves around seeing the movie in question. First he plays the game upon which the movie is based for no less than 48 hours straight. No sleep, no breaks, just a harmful amount of caffeine and take out. He leaves his door open and tells the delivery guy to leave it inside the doorway. Take three bucks for the tip and leave the change. He trusts him. When showtime rolls around, Maccio gets on an orange biohazard waste handling suit and a welder’s mask on. Sometimes a gorilla suit, depending on his mood. He never drives either. If anyone gives us glib looks when we get tickets, we always ask if they have a problem. Maccio assumes an alpha stance and clenches his fists like he’s going to take care of some serious business. I go for the calm assertive approach myself. No one steps up because they’ve got no idea what the hell’s behind that mask. Once in a great while he’ll let out a death metal growl from behind the mask. Then finally once seated, he’ll pull out a game controller and pretend he’s controlling what happens in the movie. I know it sounds absolutely warped, but he’s got a really great system behind it and it’s a real treat to watch him work.

As for Silent Hill itself, it was pretty lame. When initially playing the game many moons ago, I thought it was a Resident Evil rehash that relied more on suspense than gore. Oddly enough, that’s how I feel about the movie too. For as much of the burnt out cinder of a plot really dragged Silent Hill down, the visuals and special effects really tried to pull it out of wreck. But the movie’s psychology also handicapped the movie, as it left you wondering what the hell was going on more than it helped out with clues or explanations. My advice is if you want to watch a two hour plus music video that admittedly is damn good looking you should indeed check it out.

Normally at the end of the whole thing, Maccio takes his mask off in the car and gives either a yay or nay. But because Sony studios didn’t have an advance screening of Silent Hill and we had to pay out of our own pockets, the stakes were pretty high. The credits rolled and he went batshit. He started swinging left and right, taking out kids on the end of their spring recess. He was a maniac! I just started yelling his name and tried getting close enough to foolishly put him in a bearhug or a full nelson. Someone tried putting a garbage can over him to contain him but he smashed right through it. Eventually some blonde and her friend asked us what we were doing the rest of the night and that seemed to calm him down. She kind of looked like Naomi Watts so I’m guessing that’s what did it. He went to take the welder’s mask off and she quickly stopped him. “No, leave it on,” she said. “You had me with the unbridled rage…”

The Wild

The only thing worse at this point than a computer-animated kids’ movie with celebrity voices is when you’re sold the same thing twice and are told its something different. The case here is that last summer we saw a movie called Madagascar about a bunch of zoo animals who escape from the zoo and are left in the wild with no survival skills. And boy howdy did the hilarity ensue once that happened. I don’t exactly remember the reason as to why the zoo animals wanted to escape the zoo exactly, but since I don’t remember why it must not have been a very good reason. Oh—and don’t forget the dismissed reason as to why the lion wouldn’t bother to eat one of the other animals once he got hungry.

So if Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett-Smith and whoever the hell else was in Madagascar’s voices didn’t do the trick for you or your spoiled spawn, you’ve got a do-over with The Wild. The Wild and Madagascar are essentially the same movie, except The Wild borrows from Finding Nemo when it throws the lost lion cub into the mix. There’s the rotten wildebeest voiced by William Shatner that wants to challenge Kiefer Sutherland’s lion for control of the lava-filled valley and it almost becomes an action movie at points.

Blah, blah, blah. I can’t stand it anymore. All’s well in the end.

Something really needed to be done. All kids’ movies are the same lately. They’ve got the same plot, written with the help of a Madlibs pad, and the same visuals meant to hypnotize you into forgetting the fact that your kids are going to one day hate you more than life itself. But for now they’ll take that happy meal with a toy featuring the characters from The Wild. And of course, each kid will want their own toy because that’s just how it works.

An intervention was long overdue. Someone had to teach these kids how the real world works. No more of this sheltering and hiding them from the evil of the world for as long as you can crap. No siree! This screening of The Wild would be about harsh reality and learning about animals all at the same time.  

One of my neighbors, a pretty crazy one, has a pet lion named Thelonious. Some dogs as security measures are frankly a joke, and my neighbor figured that no one would have the stones, stupidity or mental divergence to try and break into a house that’s got a lion inside. My neighbor has asked me to… baby-sit Thelonious from time to time and I’ve always brought raw meat or a cantankerous Chihuahua from the neighborhood that had it coming, so the beast and I were cool. Thelonious and I decided that we could do with a brief afternoon constitutional and a trip to the movies. Oddly enough, no one at the theater questioned as to why a guy with sunglasses walked through the lobby with a full-grown lion in tow. There was always the “Seeing Eye Lion” excuse to fall back on so I wasn’t too worried about possible repercussions.

Long story short, Thelonious took a chunk out of a kid who wouldn’t share his hot dog. He started swatting at anyone who got in his way or tried to discourage his tantrum. I’m told he snuck away from my side sometime during the first twenty minutes. I just kept yelling down in front, completely oblivious to what was happening. Even if I was a responsible…babysitter I would’ve let the little tyke have his fun. Thelonious had just chomped through an old man’s walking stick and had his mind on greener pastures when I noticed the ruckus. I let out a shrill whistle that broke the panicked wailing of the audience. Aside from the movie’s soundtrack there was silence. I told the crowd to start gently singing “Que Sera Sera”. Thelonious went down like a lightweight after downing 4 shots. I told the adults to keep singing and rounded up the kids. The wounded one was sort of all right after I got a tourniquet on him. I brought them down to Thelonious who was audibly purring at this point.

The kids petted him and Thelonious gave the wounded one his arm back. I warned the kids not to buy into the crap they were watching on the screen. Lions are ruthless killing machines that will eat you as soon as look at you. Don’t let the computer graphics and celebrity voices fool you. I stood up and gave a brief, pious speech to the parents and told them this is what happens when they poison their children’s minds. I heard sirens outside and Thelonious and I made our escape through the fire exit. Afterward, I told him I regretted not taking him to Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe.  We could’ve raised some real hell at that one.



Idiot Box by Matt Bors
Big Fat Whale by Brian McFadden
Perry Bible Fellowship by Nicholas Gurewitch
Bob the Angry Flower by Stephen Notely
Deep Fried by Jason Yungbluth

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