31 August 2010

She May be Right, She May Be Fine, She May Get Love But She Won't Get Mine 'Cause I Got The Notes From The News

Good evening, friends and neighbors and others. Been a hot day in the big bad city here, but I'm taking a break from frying eggs on the sidewalk to bring you a great gooey gob of good newsnotes:

BREAKING NEWS, HOLY SHIT, STOP THE FUCKING PRESSES AND PRESS THE FUCKING STOPS: 50 Cent took control of his Twitter account a few days ago, and it is now clear to all why he never had control of his Twitter account in the first place, because dag. This is more wack than a roast pig in the window of a kosher deli.

The Clash of the Titans sequel is getting a new director. Louis Leterrier is going Lehome to his Lefamily and his Lepoodle, and taking his Leplace will be Jonathan Liebesman, director of The Killing Room and The Texas Chansaw Massacre: The Beginning. This is not really a move upward. Hell, I'm not even sure it's a lateral move. I wonder if the Kraken is going to get another agent in the wake of this . . .

Club DJ and notable celebrity trainwreck's lesbian experimetation squeeze Samantha Ronson is apologizing all over Twitter today, after her bulldog Cadillac (really?) killed a neighbor's pooch yesterday. It was not known at press time whether or not Samantha would apologize for being famous only because she had her fingers in Lindsay Lohan's ick. (Oh no! Morpheus, I seem to have accidentally taken the bitch pill!)

Speculation is flying all over Hollywood and Geekywood about potential casting for the Fantastic Four reboot going on over at Fox. Adrien Brody as Mr. Fantastic! Amber Heard as the Invisible Woman! Stephen Moyer as Doctor Doom! Bruce Willis as the voice of the CG-generated Thing! And Jerry Mathers as the Beav -- wait, no, sorry, got carried away there. Anyway, nobody knows if any of this will actually happen, but Fox and Marvel are both intent on actually doing the FF justice this time around, so if the planets align themselves properly and the cosmic rays do what they're supposed to, then maybe they can pull this film out of the Negative Zone. And I think I just came from writing that.

In other filmland rumormongering, Bloody Disgusting is giving far too much credence to a so-called "insider's report" that says not only is Ghostbusters 3 a go, but the entire original cast is coming back, including Bill Murray and Rick Moranis, but there will be a new part written for Peter Venkman's love child with Dana, Oscar Venkman (really?). Oscar will be young and full of piss and vinegar and raring to take over the family business, and if anyone actually buys this I'm gonna stand on my head with my pants around my ankles and fart the "Star-Spangled Banner."

Kanye. Raekwon. Bieber. Yeah, Bieber. That sound you heard was their new collaboration. That other sound you heard was your brain giving the fuck up, liquefying, and dribbling out of your ears with a long scream of "Wwwwwhhhhyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?!".

Pajiba contributor and my own personal goddess of snark Courtney Enlow did a liveblog of the Emmys Sunday night, and it's fucking hilarious. Go. Read. Now. I'll be here when you get back, just going through your things. Hey, you should rename that "Busty Barely Legal" folder before your boss finds it . . . Mom. 

Guitar Wizard Slash's marriage is going the way of his first band. he's filed for divorce from his wife Perla, citing irreconcilable differences. Sources intimate with the couple say the situation is acrimonious and bitter, and may have been triggered when Perla tried to get Slash to take off that stupid hat and sunglasses just to prove to herself that he actually has eyeballs. 

I couldn't give less of a shit if you paid me but I need to fill space, dept.: Rest easy, all you Guido bachelors. Chronic airhead and honorary Oompa-Loompa Snooki is still on the market. She's turned down her current boyfriend's totally classy magazine cover marriage proposal by taking an equally classy route: Saying no on Twitter. Personally I can't wait for this over-baked Troll doll to take her alcoholism, her daddy issues, and her butterface, and to go the hell back to whatever planet full of squat orange shrieking apes from whence she hails. 

And that's all my poor heart can take tonight, kids. Now is the time on Nighthawk Postcards when we dance:

 Be good, stay awesome, and I'll see you soon. Peace out!

New Rambles Review!

Rambles.NET posted my review of Stephen King and Peter Straub's Black House over the weekend. Hop on over and give it a read, and maybe YOU can figure out what the strange lady is doing with her tongue.

Jaws IV: The Revenge reveals critical seams in shared fears of the post-Columbine epoch through its deliberate suppression of colors meant to signify passion.

Courtesy of Wonder-Tonic, we present the Film School Thesis Statement Generator. Just insert your favorite film title and hit Enter, and let your mise-en-scene get all mixed up in your delegitimized arguments.

30 August 2010

I'll Be Seeing You In All The Old Familiar Notes From The News

Heylo everybody, heylo! Been a good weekend, though not terribly productive -- still working on the next Track By Track column, though that should be done in the next day or two. . It's just proving a bit trickier to pin down than I first imagined. But that's neither here nor there, as it's time to get to the newsnotes!

Well, the big news from the weekend was obviously the Emmy Awards show. I didn't watch but others did, and it seems that Jimmy Fallon made a decent, inoffensive host, and kept things moving along as smartly as could be expected. Pajiba has a somewhat more detailed rundown and analysis, and of course a gratuitous shot of Christina Hendricks's tits, without which television apparently wouldn't be worth watching at all.

Speaking of tits, Jennifer Aniston is going to be starring in a new movie. I know, I was shocked too! Judd Apatow's Wanderlust will feature Aniston as a bisexual woman who does drugs and engages in a nekkid threesome with two other women. So now we know what it takes to actually get people to go see a Jennifer Aniston movie.

Speaking of things best viewed in dark rooms, Violante Placido, George Clooney's co-star and love interest in the upcoming The American, suggests that Mr. Clooney was maybe not so . . . intuitive . . . when it came to filming their sexy sexy scene of sex together. Sorry about that, ladies.

Speaking of guys who need to do some apologizing: January Jones's man about town Jason Sudekis has opened his mouth and fallen right into the fucking thing. Last week he made some untoward comments about his relationship with Jones, including whether or not he's seen her in the altogether, and she is far from amused. "He's never seen me naked, nor will he after those comments," she said last night. Sounds like it's gonna be pretty cold in January this year. And it sounds like poor ole Jason is gonna have to wait for January's career to wane so he can see her naked in a Judd Apatow movie!

Speaking of repeated jokes, the Beetle Bailey comic strip is sixty years old. In a related story, the material in the Beetle Bailey comic strip is about seventy or eighty. Thousand.

Speaking of rehashing things, John Cusack is going to star in a new adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven. The catch this time around is that Cusack is actually going to play Edgar Allan Poe, investigating a series of murders near the end of his life in 1850s Baltimore. Which is all well and good until you realize that Poe died in 1849. Um, woopsie. Apparently whoever wrote this script was as drunk as Poe at the end of his life in 1972 or whatever the fuck they think it is. Good luck John -- you're gonna need it.

Speaking of luck, here's wishing some for the new BBC one-shot pilot adaptation of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by the late, great Douglas Adams. The time-spanning novel is a fondly remembered geek classic, and it's one of those situations where, if it gets a big enough audience, there could be a series in it. So this could be more awesome than the time I created cold fusion in the cat's food dish. Which was a bit of a mess actually, what with all the fur and tachyon decay to wipe off the walls.

Speaking of cleaning up, Toy Story 3 has now become the grossingest grossing animated movie ever to gross a gross of grosses. Congratulations Disney/Pixar, and try not to spend the money you've made on a miserable piece of hackwork.

And speaking of Akiva Goldsman, he's announced today that he's soon going to be digging up the bodies of Chuck Heston, Henry Fonda, Toshiro Mifune, Jim Coburn, and Bob Mitchum, and piss in their faces while laughing. Or at least, he's going to commit the cinematic equivalent of that.  And that will not stand. I'm sorry Akiva. You leave me no choice but to UNLEASH THE BUSEYS.

You brought this on yourself, Goldsman.

And that's it from me. Hope the week is good to you, and see you all tomorrow night!

27 August 2010

Playing "Misty" For You

Ella Fitzgerald, making "Misty" hers.

You're welcome.

Carey Get Out Your Cane, I'll Put On My Finest Notes From The News

I have returned! The family and I are still working through the cold -- and summer colds are indeed the worst kind -- but I'm feeling with it enough to post today. Thanks for your indulgence in giving me a pass yesterday.
Onward to the bumpers!

We'll start off with something unexpectedly interesting: The ever-intriguing, occasionally-batshit Angelina Jolie is slated to make her debut as a director. She's going to direct a screenplay she wrote herself (!), which is described as a "love story set during the Bosnian war, focus[ing] on a Serbian man and a Bosnian woman" who meet on the eve of the conflict, and who must then reconcile their feelings for each other against that conflict. Jolie will presumably find time to direct this untitled derivative hackwork story sometime in the next year, in between prepping for her next starring role, banging Brad Pitt, and adopting her 82nd orphan child.

Speaking of Brad Pitt, Pajiba's mysterious Hollywood Cog has shared a story that will probably amount to nothing but which, as Dustin Rowles notes, is pretty damn cool. The long and the short of it is that Pitt has been approached to star in a film possibly directed by Scott Cooper (who directed Crazy Heart), being produced  by Irwin Winkler, from a script by Jay Cocks (The Age of Innocence, Gangs of New York), based on the great song "Brownsville Girl" by none other than Bob Dylan. This would be awesome if it all actually came together, but knowing the way Hollywood works? A year from now it will have been re-written into a starring vehicle for Rob Schneider and Pauly Shore.

"FREE PAUL HOGAN!!!" "Free? No, actually he's quite expensive."

Jim Henson's family has donated ten of the earliest Muppets, characters the legendary puppeteer created for the 1955 show Sam and Friends, to the Smithsonian Institution. Among the Muppets in the collection are a character called "Harry the Hipster" (insert Williamsburg, Brooklyn reference here) and the original Kermit the Frog. And for once I have no snarky joke here. This is a Good Thing. Henson's talents and legacy should be preserved for future generations. Good on Jane and his kids for making this contribution.

Shit that makes you feel old, dept:: today marks the 20th anniversary of Stevie Ray Vaughan's death. And if that isn't enough, yesterday Macaulay Culkin turned 30. In other news, YOU GODDAMN KIDS GET OFF MY LAAAWWWWWNNNNN  . . .

Here's a special treat for my hometown folks in Chicago: Video footage of Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and Mavis Staples performing a cover version of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Wrote a Song For Everyone", which appears on Staples' new Tweedy-produced album, You Are Not Alone. If the clip in the link hasn't sold you, try streaming the title track here. Honestly? I would listen to Mavis Staples singing the actuarial tables on my insurance policies, so you better believe this is on my Christmas wish list. Of course, Anna Paquin is on my Christmas wish list too, so maybe I need to revise my list a little.

Speaking of revisions, I don't think I could improve on the following if I tried: "I wish this project would die. Not even die. Just disappear, into the void, wink out of existence so that we'd never have to think about it again. But no. We're getting a sequel we don't want to a movie that was absolutely awful. Ghost Rider wasn't just a bad comic book movie, it's just a bad movie period. Bad script. Bad directing. Bad acting. Bad effects. Bad, bad, bad. But Hollywood doesn't give a baby-punching fuck about that." As they say on the internet: THIS. 

And finally: Apparently 1980s nostalgia has run its course. Either that, or Gen-Xers are starting to contemplate the skeins of grey in their beards and at their temples, are starting to feel the icy cold fingers of the Reaper clutching at their cynical, ironic hearts, and while getting ready to turn around and tell him he needs more cowbell, they are in the mood for a little nostalgia. Whatever the case, Pitchfork.com has created a list of the 50 best music videos of the 1990s. The list is actually a pretty good one, though like all lists of this nature it's highly subjective, hardly definitive, and could use more boobs. And more cowbell.

That said, Bluto thinks it's headbangin' awesome:

Okelly dokelly kids, I'm out. Working on a new Track By Track that should be making its appearance here soon, though I may not have it done before Monday. Be well, give 'em hell, and MORE COWBELL!

26 August 2010

However . . .

Since I would feel guilty leaving you without any content whatsoever, I leave you with this, courtesy of my friends Dorothy and Viv: Lex Luthor and the Joker re-imagined as Calvin & Hobbes.


(Click for full size)

We regret to announce

. . . That there will be no Notes From The News update tonight, due to head colds , dirty dishes, and time generally running out on my ability to get shit done and stay conscious. We will be back tomorrow. Hope all of you out there are feeling better than we are here.

25 August 2010

Why Don't You Be Happy Too?

My wife posted this to her Facebook page the other day, and it pretty well fits my mood tonight:

Workin' On The Night Moves, Tryin' To Make Some Front Page Drive In The Notes From The News

Whazzup? Your humble blogginator has a cold, but neither sniffles nor sneezles nor snottums will stay this snarkmonger from his appointed bullshit. So, without further ado . . .

Been a hell of a week for the reaper, and now a sad week for anime enthusiasts: word reached this side of the Pacific late yesterday that renowned director Satoishi Kon, director of mindbending films like Perfect Blue, Paprika, and the award-winning critical darling Millennium Actress, passed away at the far-too-young age of 47. Associates and fellow animators report Kon was fighting cancer. I've seen several of Kon's films, and I can confirm that this is a tragic loss for the genre. It's sad that he will no longer be around to see his peculiar and amazing visions grace the screen -- but there's hope that his latest (and now last) feature, The Dreaming Machine, was close enough to completion to meet its release date later this year. Time will tell. Until then, this site would like to bid a fond farewell to Kon, and to contemplate a weekend of his movies as a tribute.

Dark Knight screenwriter David Goyer is, besides being on tap to write the new Batman script and the Superman re-imagining for Warner Bros., is also writing a trilogy of science-fiction novels with author Michael Cassutt. Details are scant, but the first book, which Goyer is also adapting for the screen for WB, is apparently about the discovery of an alien species hurtling toward Earth. What is Warner Bros. paying Goyer for just the adaptation? Seven figures. Hopefully Goyer's contract contains a clause specifying that his family will get the money when he drops dead from exhaustion.

Pajiba reports that, not being satisfied with making a bajillion dollars portraying the same emotionally stunted man-child in every single film, Adam Sandler has decided that he is going to lay waste to the careers of Katie Holmes and Al Pacino, both of whom are slated to co-star in his new film Jack and Jill, in which Sandler plays Jack . . . and Jill. Yeah, you read that right. Sandler in drag. You may commence weeping for the soul of humanity . . . now.

Speaking of ruined careers, Lindsay Lohan was released from rehab today. Her release came early, much like she was released from jail early. And most likely she'll be released from life early too unless her dumb irresponsible ass starts getting some serious lessons about the consequences of her actions. Not that that's likely to happen. Wonder if CNN has an obit at the ready for her? Ah well. At least now Lindsay will be free to play porn queen Linda Lovelace, surely a dream role for any coked-out wreck of an actress.

Speaking of porn queens, Apparently Laurence Fishburne's daughter Montana is not as estranged from her dear old dad as was originally reported. Seems that Laurence is secretly -- or maybe not so secretly, considering that TMZ was able to figure this out (and post it in an article whose URL is one of the best word salad links ever) -- footing her legal bills on an assault charge, on the assumption that it will help her straighten her life out. That's very sweet, even though it doesn't have a hope in hell of working given Montana's regret-free attitude towards her life choices thus far. Wonder if she's met Lindsay. I bet the two of them could really hit it off.

Yes, they're making an "Angry Birds" movie. A movie about an iTunes Store app. Hollywood is not only officially out of original ideas, they're out of unoriginal ones.

As further evidence of this, I point you to the fact that Eli Roth is now directing Thanksgiving, a feature film based on the jokey trailer he contributed to Quentin The Human Chin Tarantino's Grindhouse project. because Machete wasn't bad enough, now we have the Bear Jew's mutant brainchild to contend with as well. Thanks loads, Quentin.

Speaking of trailers, the teaser trailer for Slumdog Millionare Danny Boyle's new project is out. 127 Hours stars James Franco, and tells the tale of a young rock climber whose dad goes batshit insane and tries to kill Spider-Man after gaining super-powers. Wait, that's not right . . .

And finally, speaking of not right, a still from Sean Penn's new movie This Must Be the Place has hit the web, and AAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHHHHHHHH HOLY MOTHER OF FUCK HIDE THE CHILDREN, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD HIDE THE CHILDREN!!!!

Okay, that's all I can stands, I can't stands no more. Have a good night kids. I leave you with an altogether more inspiring picture:

 Thanks, Neil.

Good night, all. Hopefully I'll be feeling better tomorrow and will come armed with actual jokes.

24 August 2010

Johnny's In The Basement, Mixing Up The Medicine, I'm On The Pavement, Thinking 'Bout The Notes In The News

Greetings and felicitations, web friendlies! The day is over, the night has just begun, and I may or may not be wearing pants. And with that horrifying image set firmly at the forefront of our minds, let's have us a look at the newsnotes:

There's a riot goin' on! Or at least there was, this past weekend in Fort Collins, Colorado. Who caused it? Was it the Juggalos? Political malcontents? Pee Wee Herman and the Hell's Angels on their way back from Sturgis? Nope. 'Twas Earth, Wind, and Fire. Apparently their danceable '70s sound was just too darned much for the Coloradans who came out to hear them, and after they left the stage, chaos ensued. Then after ensuing, it decided to hang around and embroil for a bit. 400 people rampaged through the downtown area, some poor bastard got thrown through a window, and vehicles were set ablaze. Ahh, nothing like some sweet soul music to set one at ease.  

The aptly named Spencer Pratt and the surgically altered Heidi Montag are at it again with more of their fakery. This time Spencer is "shopping" a phony sex tape around, and Heidi is having a phony little bitchslap fight with him about it on Twitter. And as if that wasn't enough, there's some Playboy Playmate or other involved, probably tagging along in the vain hope that someone besides hef will actually give a tin tinker's fart about her. And all of this would maybe be slightly more believable if Heidi and Spence hadn't been seen the very next day at a resort on Costa Rica. In other news, Spencer and Heidi can go fuck themselves with a loaded bazooka.

In considerably more awesome news, Michael Jai White was also on Twitter of late, talking about a potential sequel to Black Dynamite, which according to White will be "even blacker and more dynamitey!" Which, incidentally, is also what I want printed on my tombstone when I die. SHUT UP, I"M GETTING A TAN RIGHT BEFORE.

And now, we bring you another chapter in The Sluttification Of Miley Cyrus! Part Two: The Sluttening: Miley is in a new movie with Ashton Kutcher's mom Demi Moore called (and I wish to God I was making this crap up) LOL: Laughing Out Loud -- because LOL wasn't a braindead shithead stupid enough title on it's own, apparently. Anyway, guess what Miley's character does in this new piece of shi -- um, sure to be classic cinema? If you guessed that she smokes weed, drinks like an alcoholic fish, flashes her brand new brazilian wax job, and loses her virginity at age 17, you'd be absolutely correct. But Miley is a wholesome girl. Really. No, seriously! C'mon! WE SWEAR TO GOD SHE'S A FUCKING ROLE MODEL, ALL RIGHT? JEEZ.

Meanwhile, in the music world -- or, well, the world of musical has-beens, really -- George Michael pleaded guilty today to various drug-related offenses. Guess he must have reconsidered that foolish notion. Michael could face jail time as this is his second or third conviction in as many years. Now if they could just charge him with being an accessory to Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 . . .

AMC is putting its promotional campaign for its new series The Walking Dead into high gear. Buzz has been awesome about this Frank Darabont-produced adaptation of the Robert Kirkman comic book series, and given the quality of the linked four minute trailer, which wowed them at SDCC this year, it's not difficult to see why. Move over George Romero, you've got some company. Some moldy, somewhat smelly company. Hope you don't mind.

Finally, it's our sad duty to announce that Martin Short's wife Nancy Dolman passed away this weekend at the age of 58. She had been treated for cancer in the past, but there was no word at press time if this was the cause of her death or something more sudden. Our condolences go out to Marty Short and his family, and our prayers are with them all.

That's it for tonight. I don't have anything else that's clever or witty to say so i leave you with an image of a monkey riding a goat:

Be good to each other, and I'll see you tomorrow.

23 August 2010

Notes From The News Are The New Black

Evening, all. Today was rainy and blech, and oh my god don't get me started on the LIRR. Lucky for me I take the bus home. And lucky for you, here's the newsnotes:

Sad news for music fans: Michael Been of The Call died of a heart attack last Thursday. Been was father to Robert Been of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and was that groups sound engineer in recent years. The Call never hit it spectacularly big in the states, though they had their share of popular songs, most notably "The Walls Came Down." They had a lot of fans among the music community, including Bono and Peter Gabriel, and were well regarded in the business. I can't say I was a fan, but even so I'm taking a moment to mark Been's passing and to extend the site's condolences to his surviving family.

Emmys not cool enough to sit at the big table with the so-called real Emmys were awarded yesterday. Recipients include Betty White, Neil Patrick Harris, Ann-Margaret, John Lithgow, and The Colbert Report. All of whom are infinitely more interesting to me than anything that's going to be on the "cool" Emmys telecast.

Jonathan Safran Foer's Terribly Important Novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is being adapted for film by Warner Bros. Eric Roth's screenplay is finished and Stephen Daldry is slated to direct; all the studio needs now are actors to star in the post-9/11 tale. Who is WB after? Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock are said to be in the lead for consideration. So not only will it be Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, it'll probably be Extremely Earnest and Incredibly Manipulative as well.


The weekend box office results are in, and it turns out that people would rather watch a bad parody of a bad vampire movie based on a mediocre book series than they would watch Jennifer Aniston get impregnated with a turkey baster. Who knew?

John Le Carre recently revisited his famous comment that James Bond as written by Ian Fleming was "a neo-fascist gangster," and decided that while maybe his words were a bit on the strong side, he pretty much still agrees with the assessment. To which Sean Connery would likely respond, "Well, your mother was a bit on the strong side too, Le Carre, so suck it!"

And finally, Weezer has pretty much admitted that their upcoming album, Hurley, will suck rotten egg off a dead donkey's balls. How do we know this? Because they're floating the idea of a tour showcasing the Blue Album and Pinkerton instead. 

On a related note, If you want to destroy this sweatshirt-wearing hipsterdouche:


Sooner or later we all talk to the hand, I guess.

Night all. Watch those fingers!

20 August 2010

I Wanna Tell You How It's Gonna Be, You're Gonna Give Your Notes From The News To Me

Hey howdy, cowpokes! The little cowboy is feeling much better today, so I'm getting back on my own dead horse and beating it for a while. Thanks very much for your patience yesterday -- except for you, Arthur. Here now the news.

Heatvision reports that there will be no Mary Jane in the new Spider-Man movie. Guess they're going to stick with coke and smack this time. Okay, really: Spidey's longtime love interest and retconned-out wife has been given the kibosh in the reboot script . . . along with, according to some sources,  Aunt May. Yep. Aunt May could be gone. Director Marc Webb may have taken one of the cornerstones of the Spider-Man comics and dropped her down the sewer. Aren't you glad now that Sam Raimi isn't involved with these films any more?

The international trailer for Meet the Fockers is out, and  . . . oh god. Oh dear God, no. No no no no no no no no no no no no no no. Please. No. Oh sweet merciful fuck I want to hurt this trailer. I want to hurt this movie. I want to hurt it and everyone involved with making it . . . and then I want to nurse them back to health and hurt them all over again. GOD DAMN YOU. GOD DAMN YOU ALL TO HEEEEEELLLLLLLL.

Okay, I went and had a good cry and stomped on some pigeons, and I feel better now. I'm strong enough, I think, to tell you that Chelsea Handler will bring some of her class . . . um, no, her talent . . . um, well, whatever the fuck she brings . . . to the MTV VMA ceremonies this year. Congratulations, Chelsea, and be careful not to talk over Kanye West if you can help it. He just hates to be interrupted.

Speaking of interruptions, either Joe Perry and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith fame aren't getting along, or they're auditioning for a remake of The Sunshine Boys, because Perry shoved Tyler off the stage at a recent Areosmith performance, following which Tyler cracked Perry in the head with a microphone stand. And yes, there is video of this. Dude fights like a lady.

Details of the new Torchwood series are emerging, and it looks interesting. Difficulty: the new main character has yet to be cast, and they start filming very soon. Difficultier difficulty: Mainstream American audiences have always been resistant to BBC science fiction shows. Will Captain Jack be the first to break that mold? Or will he shag it first, and then break it?

Humanitarian, philanthropist, and all around nice guy Joe Francis is suing the producers of Piranha 3D for even daring to suggest that he might be a selfish sleazeball douchebag porn merchant who deserves to have his junk bitten off by the spindly Amazonian killer fish. Surely Joe, who has never been in legal trouble in his life, and has never ever EVER been associated with trouble in his life, deserves better treatment than this. Surely.

Pajiba says that there will be no Machete sequels and Robert Rodriguez needs to shut the fuck up about them, because nobody's going to go see Machete in the first place . . . and you know, it's kind of hard to find fault with that logic. Because logic has nothing to do with it.

So Courtney Love's daughter Frances turned 18 the other day, and Courtney honored her coming of age by throwing her a lavish party and showering her with love and congratulatory gifts . . . nah, just kidding. Ole Courtney had a messy, passive-aggressive meltdown on Twitter, screeching in 140 character intervals about their relationship (or lack thereof) with each other, and how Frances needs to RUN from her guardians now that she's an adult . . . presumably so she can screw up her life and turn into a drug-addled bi-polar lunatic just like her mom. I can just imagine what Courtney's getting next year for Mother's Day.

The gift that keeps on giving, dept: Maggie Gyllenhaal is slated to star in a romantic comedy/period film about the invention of the vibrator. No, seriously. What, why would I shit you about something like that? I mean, maybe on April 1st, but come on now. It's August, and it's too goddamn hot for shenanigans. Though not for picturing Maggie Gyllenhaaal with a vibra -- nahhhhh, my wife reads this, I'd better not.

Mark Wahlberg just can't keep his hands off the porn: HBO is developing a one-hour drama about the adult film industry under Wahlberg. And then on top of Wahlberg. And then with Wahlberg behind it going "WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! WHOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO RIDE EM COWBOY!!!!!"

And that's it from me.More than enough from me, really. In closing I leave you with Snoop Dogg and a sea lion, because this is easily the most delightful, mind-crogglingly WTF image you will see this week:

Peace out!

19 August 2010

There Will Be A Short Delay In The Program

. . . while your humble blogger tends to his feverish toddler. Blogdoings will presumably resume tomorrow. I thank you for your kind indulgence.

18 August 2010

Grandchildren On Your Knee: Vera, Chuck, And The Notes From The News

Evening all. As my friend Jon said earlier, Theo Huxtable turned forty today, Frances Cobain turned 18, and I don't feel so good myself. How good you feel depends on how you feel about tonight's newsnotes:

As further evidence of the passage of time, site favorite the A. V. Club has posted its preview of the new fall TV shows, and whether or not they mean the future of TV or more of the same. Given the number of cheapjack sitcoms and police procedurals dotting the list, I'm going to hazard a guess that the future of TV is a lot like its present: derivative and unoriginal.

Speaking of the future, The Wrap somehow managed to intercept a Paramount e-mail, revealing what seems to be the studio's slate of movies for most of the next year. The properties seem legit -- it mentions Star Trek, MI3, and Kathryn Bigelow's upcoming movie with Will Smith, as well as a few in-development properties, like 7 Minutes In Heaven, supposedly a JJ Abrams idea that turns the old teenage makeout game into a gritty thriller (no, seriously), and Hasbro Factory, a just-stupid-enough-to-be-real film described as Night At the Museum in a toy factory (sounds like product placement heaven). Paramount is denying that this is real, of course, but honestly? This looks like a Paramount plant, and could turn out to generate a lot of conversation over the coming months. If so could be a new wrinkle in viral marketing. 

Ben Affleck interviews a handcuffed Blake Lively for Interview magazine. Despite her stunning beauty and by all reports formidable acting ability and her good eye for scripts, she seems unable to tell Affleck what the fuck happened to his career. Maybe if he takes the handcuffs off . . . 

This just in: Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret, states in her new book, The Power, that the economy isn't what ails us, it's our refusal to believe in her asinine blend of phony self-actualization and magical thinking. In related news, I'm going to write a book called The Ass, and invite Rhona to kiss it.

The trailer for Darren Aronofsky's new film is out. Black Swan features ballet, obsession, ballet, overbearing stage mothers, ballet, and Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis making out. Oh, and apparently there's ballet in the film as well. No word on whether or not there's a double anal dildo scene. 

Hey! Did you know that some rappers make a lot of money? I know, I know! I too was taken completely by surprise when I heard! After all, I thought rap was all about keeping it real and talking about the thug life on the mean streets, but . . . gosh. Next thing I know, you'll be telling me that Paul McCartney isn't really dead . . . 

By now you've no doubt heard about the cover for the upcoming issue of Rolling Stone, featuring Alexander Skarsgard, Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer stark nekkid and covered in blood. Well, it gets better. In the article, Skarsgard tells the interviewer that when he's filming nude scenes for the show, he really is nude"I don't want a sock around it, that feels ridiculous. If we're naked in the scene, then I'm naked. I've always been that way." You're welcome, ladies.

Also in the new Rolling Stone, Bono tells us that U2 is working on a "club-sounding" album, as well as a rock-oriented album culled from the No Line On The Horizon recording sessions. Great. We get retreads of the same half-assed album we got last year, and a retread of Pop. Sort of makes me wish the "club-sounding" album was the sound of a club being used to plsay whack-a-mole with Bono's smirkingly douchetastic face. 

Speaking of clubbing, this is the way the world ends:


Good night, kids. 

17 August 2010

Notes From The News: An Irresistable Force Meeting A Moveable Feast

Hey-ho, whoop we go, Heidi hike up your knickers with a three fisted hot buttered Bob, it's time for the newsnotes!

Site favorite Pajiba.com has news and views on the continuing casting saga of X-Men: First Class, which they have charmingly taken to calling Ratnerfucking II even though Ratner is thankfully not spraying his directorial musk all over this one. Matthew Vaughn, however, doesn't seem to have learned by Ratner's example. His cast is already bloated, and unless he can overcome the horrible scripting that dogged X3 and the Wolverine film, Vaughn is going to wind up having a very significant amount of genetically mutated egg on his face. At least we hope that's egg and not Mystique having a yolk at his expense (please don't hurt me).

Well, when you start off with a classy joke like that there's nowhere to go but hell, and that's pretty much what Tila Tequila went through at the annual Gathering of the Juggalos in Illinois. Not only was she ridiculed and booed and pelted with everything from water bottles to human feces, not only could she not mollify the crowd by taking off her top, and not only did the Juggalos chase her back to her trailer and smash out the windows, apparently ICP rapper Shaggy 2 Dope was intent on sexing her the entire time. Almost makes you feel sorry for her. If you want to know more about this human trainwreck crossed with an explosion at a Faygo factory, check out A. V. Club writer Nathan Rabin's awesome account here.

This just in: Alex Trebek is SEVENTY FUCKING YEARS OLD. Congratulations to Alex for continuing to do an awesome job on Jeopardy, and congratulations as well on being one of the few North American men to successfuly outlive his cheesy 1970s mustache.

In honor of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World's utter, abject failure at the box office, Pajiba (what, again?) offers one of its better Seriously Random Lists, simply chock full of critically adored movies that tanked on their opening weekends. How that applies to Scott Pilgrim, which from what I saw got reviews that mostly said "I want to like this, but eeeehhhhhhhhhhhh . . . " is a little beyond me.

Michael Douglas has cancer of the throat. He also has a hot wife and a bajillion dollars, so things kind of balance out. That said, we her at Nighthawk Postcards wish him a speedy recovery so we can start poking fun at him again soon.

X Japan, who absolutely killed at Lollapalooza this year and who are very big in Japan because, well, they're from the fucking place, have announced their first North American Tour. Difficulty: they've actually been around for twenty-plus years, are described as a cross between Queen and Mötley Crüe,  they were heavily influential in the spread of anime culture. We're trying not to hold any of that against them. Also their lead singer has been described as the Japanese version of Bono, and seriously FUCK BONO. Um, sorry. Don't hold that against them, either . . .  or against me.

Completely gratuitous Frank Zappa reference, dept.: Laurence Fishburne will not be moving to Montana soon, yippie-yi-yo-ki-yay.

Topless Robot presents a list of 10 seriously screwed over children of superheroes. Insert Batman into Robin here.

And finally, speaking of screwed over: Rooney Mara: Lisabeth in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Previous experience: playing Nancy in the Nightmare On Elm Street remake. Other actresses up for the part: Scarlett Johansson, Emma Watson, Carey Mulligan. David Fincher: officially high on crack.

And while we're on the subject, how did Emma Watson react to losing the role of Lisabeth?

Yeah . . . that's what I figured.

Okay gangeroo, be good to each other until next time!

16 August 2010

Picture A Bright Blue Ball Just Spinning, Spinning Free, Dizzy With The Notes From the News

Howdy dee, howdy doo! Had a good, good weekend, spent time with my in-laws and some out of town friends, and revealed some most excellent news that I will wait until the end of this post to drop on y'all. So, in order to get you that much close to the reveal, here now the newsnotes:

Neil Patrick Harris and his partner have announced that they are expecting twins, which is thoroughly awesome. Not sure how the biology of all this works out as Neil and his partner are both guys, but I'm sure they must have everything worked out to their satisfaction. (I'm joking, please don't send me snippy emails.)

One door opens, one door closes dept.: Unfortunately, Zsa Zsa Gabor's condition has taken a turn for the worse. She's now in serious condition and has asked for and been given last rites. And for those of you who don't know who Zsa Zsa Gabor is, go read a goddamn book you fucking troglodytes. Still wishing Zsa Zsa as speedy a recovery as is possible, and keeping my fingers crossed for her.

One door closes, one door has been closed for fucking ever dept.: Elvis Presley has now been dead for 33 years, only seven years less than your humble blogger has been alive on this earth. Pardon me while I take a second to reflect soberly on that. (Pause.) Thank you, now back to the relentless snark and mean-spiritedness. In the case of Elvis, let me just note that more people are making more money off his dead ass now than Elvis ever made when he was alive, and that far too many people think he is still alive out there somewhere, living a happy life working as a gas station attendant or some dumb shit like that. Nuh uh. He's gone to Heart Attack Hotel, babies. Sorry.

Meanwhile, in today's edition of "This Whole Star Wars Thing Has Gone On Long Enough, Assholes," former Lucas writing partner and co-producer Gary Kurtz sat down for an LA Times interview in which he talks about the way Return of the Jedi could have gone, had George Lucas not decided to heed the dollar signs flashing in his beady little eyes. Just think: no Ewoks, no gushingly happy ending, and most importantly no galactic rave party in the so-called "Special Edition" which wasn't really all that special. And maybe, just maybe, no god damn Chewbacca doing the Tarzan yell in the forest battle. Because seriously, fuck George Lucas.

The Arcade Fire has annnounced a series of North American tour dates for this fall. They seem to be sticking to Canada and California, which I guess are still part of North America. *shrug* The band has been playing some fantastic shows lately, killing crowds at Madison Square Garden and at Lollapalooza, so expectations are high for this tour, And most of the audience will probably be high too. (Thanks, I'll be here all week, try your waitress, tip the veal.)

Katie Holmes holsters her prominent nipples to conduct an interview and do some high kicking for New York Magazine, in which she talks about a variety of subjects, including how her daughter Suri is getting home-schooled so she can be sure to get a full adult dose of Scientological Batshit by the time she's eighteen. Poor kid. won't be long before she's jumping on couches in front of a live stuidio audience just like her old man.

Site favorite the A. V. Club is reporting via Rolling Stone (which I refuse to link to because they want me to sign up for their website, and I have enough respect for what Rolling Stone used to be that I'm not kissing Jann Wenner's digital ass), some news that falls into the "so goddamn insane it might actually work" category. Justin Vernon, better known to indie fans, lovers of autotune, and hipster douchebags as Bon Iver, is reputed to be guesting on Kanye West's new album. Apparently the two became fast friends after 'Ye flew him out to Hawaii to rerecord the vocals from a previously released Bon Iver song for a cut on the new disc. And I have to admit, if someone flew me to Hawaii I'd be their best buddy too.  

Many miles away, someone blows out their candles at the bottom of a dark Russian lake.

And finally, Justin Beiber is a complete and total douchewaffle. How do I know? Well, he or someone in his organization tweeted the phone number of an online enemy, and chaos ensued. To the tune of ten thousand text messages and who knows how many phone calls. And The kid involved, who I won't name here but about whom you can learn in this handily linked Gawker.com article, has had to shut down his Twitter account and basically go into hiding. Meanwhile the Biebmeister, who has apparently recovered from his water bottle face-pasting of recent note, has said nothing about inciting what essentially amounts to a case of online harassment.  Yeah . . . this kid's career has legs.

And speaking of kids, your correspondent in snark and his loving, lovely wife are officially announcing that we are expecting our second child. Thank you, thank you, I'm very proud of having successful spermatozoa.

What does my fellow expectant father Neil Patrick Harris think of this?

He's been doing this to me for thirty-two hours now. PLEASE MAKE HIM STOP.


13 August 2010

If It Wasn't For Bad Luck, I'd Have No Notes From The News

Well, it's Friday the 13th and so far a black cat crossing my path has broken a mirror while I walked under a ladder and lit three on a match, but so far it doesn't seem to have had any ill effect, unless you count having to read the first story in today's batch of bumpers:

Warner Bros. Studios are developing a new live action/CG movie. Its title? Bugs Bunny. Yep, the studio is going to Garfield-ize one of the most beloved cartoon characters of all time in a sorry, misguided attempt to make him seem "hip" and "relevant" and "edgy" and other "attributes" that "belong" in "quotations." In other news, Warner Bros. executives are planning on digging up the bodies of Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Bob McKimson, Mike Maltese, Tedd Pierce, and Mel Blanc, and desecrating them in the hopes that it will somehow net them outrageous amounts of cash. In other other news, fuck Warner Bros. with a great big fucking fuckety fuckstick.

Speaking of badly fucked things, Dina Lohan went on the Today Show to talk about daughter Lindsay's rehabilitation (we will pause here for you to laugh however long and hard you wish to laugh), and how people who think the worst of ole Linds are falling for a lot of "pre-orchestrated" bushwah -- because you know, all that shit about La Lohan's public drunkenness, sleeping around, vagflashing, and the coked-out kidnapping of people in a stolen minivan to engage in a high-speed chase after some other poor loser are all just horrible LIES the press has planted to turn the entire world against her meal ticket -- um, daughter.

Speaking of meal tickets, the sluttification of Miley Cyrus continues, as Celebitchy reports that the artist formerly known as Hannah Montana is insisting on getting breast implants . . . and we're not just talking about a Kate Hudson going from aspirin on an ironing board to something that looks reasonably girlish deal here, either. Miley wants to get D cups, folks. Miley is seventeen and wants to get porn star breasticles. And if you were wondering what her upstanding, socially-conservative family-values parents think of all this? They're behind her 100% --and they'd better get used to that, because pretty soon there won't be any room in front of her.

Speaking of having room in front, Emma Watson talks about how shooting one scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows kept her wet a good deal of the time. You there, put that back, that's not what I meant. Jeez, what IS it with you people?

Speaking of getting one's hopes up, here's an unexpectedly cool thing: Pushing Daisies creator Byan Fuller has been tapped to adapt the classic John Christopher science fiction novel The Lotus Caves for television. And here's a predictably bad thing: he's doing it for cable network SyFy, with everything that implies. Sorry Bryan, better luck next time.

Speaking of luck, here's a very cool thing indeed: The grandson of J. R. R. Tolkien and the great-great grandson of Charles Dickens are collaborating on a new audiobook version of the classic children's fantasy, The Rose-Coloured Wish. That papers-rustling sound you just heard was every litera-phile in the world Bilbo-ing all over their Great Expectations.

Speaking of great expectations, Ryan Reynolds, who is playing Green Lantern in one upcoming movie, and is slated to revisit the role of Deadpool in another, may be adding a third starring role in a comic book adaptation to his resume, making for a rare hat trick.The project this time is an adaptation of Dark Horse's R.P.I.D. And since I know nothing about that particular comic, I will leave it to those who are nerdier than I am (there are a few) to decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing that is about to happen.

Speaking of  bad things about to happen, Filmdrunk reports that Craig Clevenger, author of hot property The Contortionist's Handbook, has seen the script for the film adaptation of his novel, and he's most assuredly tying himself in knots over its quality. It is, in his memorable words, "a Hollywood goatfuck." [Insert Lindsay Lohan joke here.]

Speaking of played out jokes, Kanye West is officially returning to the MTV VMAs, this time as a performer since he has suck an everfucking desire to get up on that goddamn stage and blather about whatever enters his ghetto-drunk brain.  If there's any justice Taylor Swift and Beyonce will bum rush the show with samurai swords and slice 'Ye's dick off.

And speaking of samurai, the A. V. Club has posted a new addition to its long-running and well-done Primer series, and the subject this time the subject is the great Akira Kurosawa, director of Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Ikiru, Yojimbo, Sanjuro, Ran, and a host of other great films. If you're at all curious about good movies and ever wanted to learn more about the man who influenced a cadre of modern filmmakers, including Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, then you could do worse that click this link.

And speaking of George Lucas:

That's all from me. Have a good weekend, and I'll be back Monday with more sarcasm and random shit. Excelsior!

12 August 2010

The Shine Of Your Japan, The Sparkle Of Your China, The Notes From The News

Good afterning, fellow webjunkies. Bit of a slow one again, but after scouring and scouring and scouring, I realized those cooked in stains just weren't coming out, so I decided to post some news bumpers instead. Lucky bloody you!

Things to be thankful for, dept.: Comics page mainstay Cathy Guisewite has decided that 34 years of the same two or three jokes is long enough. She's ending our suffering by announcing that she's taking her terminally unfunny comic strip Cathy off life support as of October 3. Now all we need to do is have Garfield put to sleep . . .

Reasons to love the internet, dept: some enterprising young goob with time on his/her/their/its hands has recut the Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World trailer, substituting panels from the original comic in place of the filmed material. This is awesome because NNNNEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRDDDDDDDSSS. Actually no, it is pretty cool. But still: NNNNEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRDDDDDDDSSS.

Brolin. Theron. Reitman. Cody. Young Adult. VOMIT.

NBS -- sorry, NBC (and yeah I recycle my jokes, it's ecologically friendly to compost one's manure) has ordered a pilot for a new sitcom from Rescue Me co-creator Peter Tolan. The show, titled Brave New World, centers on "the staff at a Plymouth Plantation-type living museum that have people reenact the way the Pilgrims once went about their days." This is a concept so high it's had the munchies since 1972. All we need  now is John Schuck playing a robot cop and a wacky next door neighbor played by Jaleel White and we can start another round of hosannas about TV's golden age!

Site favorite Pajiba gets the first of two links today, as they reveal the poster for Julie Taymor's upcoming adaptation of The Tempest, starring Helen Mirren as Prospera instead of Prospero, a change that's sure to have Bard purists sweating all over their Francis Bacon dartboards. The movie also stars Felicity Jones, Djimon Hounsou, Alfred Molina, Chris Cooper, David Strathairn, Alan Cumming, and  . . . Russell Brand? How the fuck did HE get in here? Still, the poster is pretty fucking awesome.

Potentially good: a biopic of John Belushi's life is in the works. Potentially interesting: Todd Phillips, director of The Hangover and Old School, is currently attached to direct. Potentially disastrous: the screenwriter is reportedly going to be Steven Conrad, who wrote The Pursuit of Happyness. All we need now is to cast Jonah Hill as Belushi, and nobody will know what the fuck is going on.

Pajiba Linkage 2: The Linkenning, dept: Pajiba contributor Courtney Enlow offers a brilliant deconstruction of Eat, Pray, Love, the entire "priv-lit" genre, and why we spend so much time fucking around trying to discover ourselves when what we need to do is spend our time learning to live in our own skins and dealing with the messes in our lives, which will still be there when we get back from fucking off in Bali for a year.
Oh, also: Deep fried Snickers bars are apparently the shizznit.

Finally, Halle Berry talks about being naked in the September issue of Vogue. And for those of you who just clicked over there and came back all pissed off at me, I apologize for my poor phrasing while secretly laughing up my sleeve at you.

And that's it for this one. Tune in again tomorrow when I will reveal more strangeness and snark. But that is for tomorrow. Now is the time on Nighthawk Postcards when we dance:

Good night, and good lunch.

11 August 2010

Come Together Right Now, Over The Notes From The News

My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives. But enough about your sister's webcam show, on with the newsnotes!

Us Magazine has broken the news that former alterna-rock queen and irony misunderstander Alanis Morisette is pregnant via her husband, whitebread rapper Souleye. You may now commence with a series of jokes about how it all started with her going down on him in a theater . . . 

Site favorite the A. V. Club has put up their recap of the weekend long madhouse that is Lollapalooza. it's their usual blend of comprehensive coverage and semi-amusing snark, combined with obsessing about tattoos and idle chatter having little to do with the subject at hand. And that's before you even get to the comments section!

 So the entire internet fell in love yesterday . . . with "Jenny DryErase," the girl everyone thought quit her job via a hilarious online slideshow . . . only she really didn't because she's really an actress, and the two guys who hired her are responsible for a series of online pranks and hoaxes. TechCrunch has the skinny. And for all those clamoring for Jenny DryErase to appear on Playboy? You know, they have breasts on the internet now. Check it out. 

The A. V. Club is reporting that People is reporting that Jennifer Lopez has been booted from American Idol because her demands have become too . . . demanding, I guess. Her negotiations with Fox have not been made public, but sources claim that she was asking for the equivalent of the Jennifer Lopez American Idol Show, and the network wasn't having any of it. So here you have it, folks: Someone so over the top in their solipsism, even the Fox Network doesn't want them. Fox is reportedly reconsidering making offers to previous candidates Elton John, Harry Connick, Jr., and Zippy The Pinhead, who is fictional but will at least work cheap. 

Portia de Rossi has filed court papers to have her name legally changed to Portia Degeneres. I have no joke here, I just want to wish the happy couple good luck in their endeavors, and that Portia can finally land a role in a series that lasts longer than a season and a half.

Not news: Comic book found. Still not really news: Comic book found in old sock drawer. Actually news: Comic book is a rare copy of Batman #1 and is about to sell at auction for the price of a new car. Yes, I will wait while you go check your drawers . . . except you, Matt. Put your pants back on NOW.

Okay, all you creepazoids who have been waiting for Emma Watson to grow up and get all sessy-like, you may be about to get your sweaty little wishes fulfilled. Emma is reputedly campaigning for the role of Lisabeth in the American production of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. She's already auditioned with David Fincher, in fact. Given that Lisabeth has a lot of racy scenes in the book, including a very graphic and violent sex scene, we may be about to see Hermione Granger in a whole new light. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go hose down the entire internet. 

Courtney Love has looked up long enough from her twin mountains of cocaine and heroin and has informed the world that her daughter Frances Bean was TOTALLY offered the role of Bella in the Twilight movies, but she TOTALLY turned them down because she's, like, not a fame whore or anything . . . despite, apparently, her drugged out and far gone mother's ceaseless attempts to turn her into one.  

And finally, the Julie Taymor/U2 trainwreck -- um, musical -- Spider-Man: Bring On the Dark, which was on, then off, then on again, then off again, is now on again. The play had run into trouble with finances, a rotating door attached to the cast, and most importantly trying to figure out how to fit Bono's massively douchetastic ego into the theater. All these problems have now been solved, and the play is set to open in December. We here at Nighthawk Postcards would like to sum up our reactions thusly:

Well, that's it. Have a good one, see you tomorrow, and don't take any wooden Indians!

10 August 2010

Drop Your Socks And Grab Your Notes From The News

Slow day in the world of wackness, folks. But your humble blogger has scoured the intertubes and found you your daily dose of doofery:

Jay-Z has some kind of mutant memoir/lyrics collection due out in November. The book is called Decoded and it's going to be part true life confessional, part non-spoken poetry slam, and part public therapy session. Watch for it to hit shelves on 11/16 and thoroughly confuse readers on 11/17.

The Parents Television Council, who have taken a break from trying to figure out where they lost the apostrophe that's supposed to go in their name, is demanding that CBS' advertisers and affiliates drop the new William Shatner sitcom $%@! My Dad Says because of the expletive in the title -- even though the expletive is never once spoken during the show or during the promos for the show. What's The Shat's take on all this? "Do you know what I wish? I wish they would call it Shit." Well, maybe when the critics get a hold of it, Bill. Maybe then.

This weekend at Lollapalooza Lady Gaga got nearly naked during Semi Precious Weapons' set and crowd surfed with their frontman while shaving a marmoset and wiping her nose with Justin Bieber's jock strap and blah blah gloob glub glob bobbedeh bobbedeh hoedaddy bloooooooooooo and you stopped reading this when you got to the words "nearly naked," didn't you? (Warning: article slideshow is seriously NSFW. Bet you wish you'd read this far now, eh cubefarmers?)

Sturgis LIKES you, PeeWee. LIKES.

Because Weezer just hasn't sucked enough lately, and because Rivers Cuomo feels he hasn't given us a decent dose of WTF lately . . . well . . . oh man. All I can tell you is that they added two unnecessary letters to the end of their new album title. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go sacrifice at the porcelain altar.

This just in: Reese Witherspoon will be playing the legendary Peggy Lee in a new biopic to be directed by Nora Ephron. Pajiba rightly points out that this looks like total Oscar bait. What they don't point out is Reese WitherspooOM NOM NOM NOM NOM, whoops, sorry, got carried away there. But let's face it, OM NOM NOM NOM NOM.

We're gonna party like it's 1984, dept: Rumors are swirling that Van Halen is reuniting and heading back into the studio to record a new album. Who wins on the Lead Singer Wheel 'O' Mystery this time? None other than your favorite and mine, Gary Cherro . . . naaaaaa, I'm kidding. Supposedly it's David Lee Roth, because you know, that worked so well the last two times they tried recording with him. So where's Sammy Hagar? Somewhere in Cabo waiting desperately for his phone to ring. (Late word is reaching me that this rumor might not have legs. I'll keep on it and let you know.)

And finally, Morgan Freeman has kitted out Batman with all his wonderful toys, he's gotten busy livin' instead of gettin' busy dyin', he's been the president, he's channeled Nelson Mandela, and he's played the most politically correct version of God yet committed to film. So how do you top that? Well, Morgan's doing it by starring with Harry Connick, Jr. and Ashley Judd in A Dolphin's Tale, where Freeman's character will save the day by building a cybernetic tail for a dolphin. And I just have to close with that because seriously, MORGAN FREEMAN WILL BUILD ROBOT DOLPHIN TAILS. You can retire happy on that shit, man.

That's it for now. Be good to each other, or the OONTZ OONTZ POLIS will come for your sorry ass:

Peace out babies!

09 August 2010

Notes From The News: Like the Rebirth Of Cool

Hi-ho, neighborino. August is here, summer is hotting up, and  poodles are melting into puddles. While you're busy frying your eggs on the sidewalk, have yourself some newsnotes:

The big news from the weekend was that one of the ultimate Hollywood survivors, Patricia Neal, passed away on Sunday. She was 84. Neal appeared in several classic films, including Hud, which garnered her an Oscar. She suffered a nervous breakdown, three strokes, and a marriage to Roald Dahl, and kept on acting. Here's to ya, Pat. Rest well.

Sufjan Stevens has announced a series of tour dates. He will be taking his band and his idiosyncratic song stylings across Canada and the United States. And from the look of the photos on his website, he will be leaving his smile at home.

We interrupt Nighthawk Postcards for the following public service announcement: If you have any stock in distillery or brewing companies, SELL THAT SHIT. Because Snooki just quit drinking. Also, please be on the lookout for seven seals being opened. Thank you. We now return you to Nighthawk Postcards.

Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh deary me. It seems that Laurence Fishburne's daughter Montana (not Wildhack but an incredible simulation), the wannabe porn star, is actually taking a step up career-wise by appearing in adult videos. That's because she apparently used to be a prostitute. Ohhhh, poor Laurence. I imagine that right now, you're feeling a bit like Alice, hmm? Tumbling down the rabbit hole? I see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up . . .

Yesterday was the (fictional) wedding date of (fictional) Lisa Simpson, a (fictional) character on the long running (fictional) TV cartoon show, in an episode that aired fifteen years ago, when your humble blogger was twenty-five and still had most of the hair on his head. (Sigh.) Someone at 11 Points thought it would be a fun idea to take a look at the episode and see what (fictional) predictions were made that proved accurate . . .  and stretched the premise thin enough to get an eleven point list out of it. Next week's 11 worst "predictions" list ought to be infinitely easier to write.

Yoko Ono: Ruining shit for Beatles fans for over 40 years. Don't worry Kyoko, Mummy's only looking for her dignity in the bank vault.

Are you a complete nerd and have countless hours to waste poring over mind numbing minutiae online? Then you could be a Wikipedia edito--noooo noooo, just kidding, sorry. Actually, Ugo.com has something for you: A comprehensive list of every Sci-Fi reference that ever appeared on Futurama. Go on, have fun; we'll still be here when you get back. And the pointing and laughing is just how we say hello around here.

I normally avoid politics on this site, but this was just too good to pass up. I'm sure you've heard by now that former Fugee Wyclef Jean is running for President in Haiti, right? Well, looks like his former rapping partner Pras still has some bad feelings about the split -- or maybe he just has some professional jealousy because he's the least talented former Fugee. Either way, Pras has surfaced from a long period of irrelevance to state that he will not be supporting Wyclef in his political aspirations, and will instead be supporting 'Clef's opponent. Meanwhile, Lauryn Hill is still working on her second solo album and talking to the knotholes in her front door or some crazy ass shit like that. Good luck 'Clef!

And finally, I am going to say six or seven words to you that will hopefully put as big a laugh in your day as it did in mine: Justin Bieber. Water bottle. Face. Impact. Video. You're welcome.

That's it for now. Till next time, be excellent to each other!

08 August 2010

Track By Track: It’s Very Clean

A Hard Day’s Night
The Beatles
Parlophone, 1964
Producer: George Martin

The hardest part of writing about classic albums is coming up with something to say about them that hasn’t been said a thousand times before by other critics, pundits, or even the artists themselves. That’s especially true for the Beatles, who are the subject of millions of words of praise and respect, and about whose albums entire books have been written. So if it seems to you that I’m setting the bar a little high in starting this column off with the daunting task of following all that, then you’re right. I am. I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Also, there’s something of an element of “Well, if I can pull this off, I can manage anything else with ease” -- which I know isn’t strictly true, because I’m going to run into the same problem with many of the albums I intend to cover here. C’est la vie, man. Life is nothing without its little challenges.

A little historical information, for the sake of context: in late 1963 the Beatles were approaching the height of their worldwide fame, and United Artists wanted a piece of the pie. A three picture deal was quickly signed by Brian Epstein, and producer Walter Shenson was given the task of bringing the Beatles to the silver screen. Playwright Alun Owen and director Dick Lester were recruited for the task, and wisely decided to let the four Liverpudlians’ natural chemistry, and their incredibly catchy songs, carry the film. The resulting movie, A Hard Day’s Night, was a worldwide smash and is hailed today by many critics as one of the greatest musicals ever committed to film.

A musical lives or dies on its songs, so it’s a good thing for this one that John Lennon and Paul McCartney were on one of their strongest runs at this point in the Beatles’ career. The soundtrack album they wound up creating -- written in hotel rooms and on off days between tour dates, and even during the filming of the movie -- became a timeless classic, full of instantly recognizable tunes and cementing the Beatles’ reputations as hitmakers. It’s notable also for being the only Beatles album that contains nothing but Lennon/McCartney compositions from start to finish. And as such, it’s worth going through track by track. So, with that in mind, let’s run to the station, shall we? We have a train to catch . . .


“A Hard Day’s Night” -- Famously written to order in a single night by John Lennon, this is one of the most recognizable songs in the Beatles’ repertoire. And it’s not hard to see why: from the crashing opening chord, which is the aural equivalent of grabbing you by the shoulders and shaking you to get your attention, to the jangling, arpeggiated fade-out that made a million teenaged boys start saving for Rickenbacker guitars, there’s not a wasted note or a moment that doesn’t make you want to get up and dance. The lyric itself, based like the title of the film on one of Ringo Starr’s more memorable malapropisms, is a poetic trifle -- minimalist and not terribly insightful. Yet it has a universality to it; its sentiment is understandable to anyone who’s had a bitch of a day(‘s night) and is happy to walk in the door and be greeted by the comfort of a pair of loving arms.

“I Should Have Known Better” -- When I was seven or so my mom gave me my first Beatles album: Hey Jude. I wish I still had it, for nostalgia’s sake, even though it wasn’t an official British Beatles release -- just a clearinghouse for heretofore-uncollected singles meant for the American market alone. The album spans almost the Beatles’ entire career, from A Hard Day’s Night to Let It Be, and “I Should Have Known Better” is the second cut on side one, making it one of the earliest songs I connected with the Beatles as a group. It’s still one of my favorites: a bouncy, happy number that presages the coming folk-rock explosion, drawing elements of blues and skiffle and even Hollywood musicals into a gently swinging whole tied together by Lennon’s harmonica, his hey-hey-heys, and the sweet falsetto note he hits in the middle eight. And another odd Beatles innovation is the repeated middle eight towards the end of the song, riding out on that rather than on another verse. It’s not their invention, but they use it well here. A great little pop song.

“If I Fell” -- John Lennon is on record as referring to this as a “silly love song.” It’s typical of his self-effacing attitude that most songwriters would kill to have penned something as good as this. It’s actually a fairly unique entry in the Beatles’ oeuvre. It has an unorthodox intro featuring a melody unrelated to the rest of the song, and then dips immediately into the rich interaction of John and Paul’s close harmonies, one of the groups biggest musical strengths. John and Paul were natural harmonizers, and had been singing together for years at this point, so they knew, almost instinctively, how to complement one another and which notes to hit to make a song sparkle. Here, they outdid themselves, basically creating a cooperative melody where each harmony part combines into a greater whole. Few pop groups or rock groups were doing anything like this at the time. And this is Lennon’s idea of a silly love song? Wow.

“I’m Happy Just To Dance With You” -- McCartney called this a formula song for George to sing, back in the days when Harrison didn’t feel comfortable submitting his compositions to the group. In some sense it feels like a formula song too, albeit a very energetic and well-written one. And what does it say about Lennon and McCartney that even their weaker, “formula” songs make other composers’ original work look sick by comparison? I love the backing vocals on this track, by the way -- they bring the song to another level, and bring a joyful sweetness to the sentiment of the lyric. It really perfectly captures that excitable yet complacent happiness of dancing with someone you love for the first time.

“And I Love Her”-- One of McCartney’s strongest songs from this period -- a gentle, heartfelt ballad with a clever lyric and a lovely solo vocal by Paul. Ringo’s light touch on the percussion -- forgoing drums for blocks and maracas -- brings out the natural strength of the melody. And the exquisite middle eight (rumored to have been written by Lennon, though Paul claims to this day that the song is all his) with its unexpected semi-rhyme brings things to another level. An underrated classic.

“Tell Me Why” -- One of the things I always love about the Beatles is that you can turn any corner on one of their albums and be greeted by one of these peppy, unassuming rockers. This was apparently patterned after the Phil Spector-style girl groups of the time,and you can hear bits of the Chiffons and the Marvelettes in there if you listen hard enough. But really this is straight-ahead, four-to-the-floor Merseyside rock and roll, and it doesn’t try very hard because it really doesn’t need to. It’s one of those songs that comes on over the speakers and you find yourself singing along to it, almost in spite of yourself. It’s fun and fast and almost insanely catchy.

“Can’t Buy Me Love” -- Another song that I first heard on the Hey Jude compilation album. It’s actually something of an anomaly in the Beatles catalog as it takes a standard twelve-bar blues form, something they didn’t often do. And even when they did do it, they would often turn the formula on its head a bit, as they did here by beginning and ending the song with an ear-catching snatch of the chorus -- apparently George Martin’s idea. Martin always had good instincts for pop music and rock and roll (odd, considering his background in classical music and comedy), and those instincts serve the Beatles well here. That chorus-first beginning captures the attention, much like the opening chord in “A Hard Day’s Night” does, and “Can’t Buy Me Love” goes on from there to rock your face off. McCartney’s rollicking vocal never lets up, and Harrison’s solo is note perfect. From start to finish it’s one of the Beatles’ best early-period songs.

“Any Time At All” -- Probably the weakest song on the album. Lennon characterized it as his attempt to rewrite “It Won’t Be Long.” Not a bad tune, though the chorus is a bit rushed and wordy. I hesitate to use the word “generic” but if there is such a thing as a blueprint early-period Beatles song, this is it.

“I’ll Cry Instead” -- This is a bit more like it: A country/western based confessional-type song, with fun lyrics -- people cite the line “I’ve got a chip on my shoulder that’s bigger than my feet” as an example of bad songwriting on Lennon’s part, but given the man’s personality I think it’s more likely this was a deliberate ploy to inject a little humor into an otherwise dark song. The boastful last verse borrows from blues idiom, bragging about breaking hearts all around the world to teach the girl who broke his heart a lesson -- but the last line is a rueful admission that this isn’t going to happen any time soon.

“Things We Said Today” -- A lot of rock fans who think they know the Beatles assign roles to the members of the group: John was the arty-farty one who wrote and played screaming rockers, Paul wrote the sugary ballads and the empty-headed pop stuff, George had his head in India from 1965 on, and Ringo couldn’t sing. And those couldn’t be further from the truth -- well, except for the one about Ringo. The truth is, Lennon was equally apt to write a sappy ballad as Paul was, and Paul’s one-take performance of “Long Tall Sally” is easily the equal of John’s similar single take shredding of “Twist and Shout.” And Paul was just as willing to experiment with songwriting forms and conventions as John was, as witness his great contribution here. It’s a song about being in love -- but it’s written in a minor key, and takes the point of view of glancing ahead ten, even twenty years down the line to what that love will be like, and from there looking back fondly on the day the song is being written. It’s a sort of “reverse nostalgia” technique that to my knowledge really hadn’t been approached before in popular song, and McCartney pulls it off beautifully. It’s somehow dark and light at the same time, and it’s a damn good song to boot.

“When I Get Home” -- Interesting song. One of the things that stands out for me is the “Whoa-oh-oh IIIIIIIIIII!” chorus, and the faint, draggy dissonance that creeps into the harmony. It presages similar dissonant, heavy-chorded songs that were yet to come, like “Ticket To Ride” and “She Said, She Said.” The verses were pretty standard for a Beatles raver at the time -- though John’s line about having “no time for trivialities” is a hint of the wordsmith he was becoming -- and the tune itself is typical for this period in their careers. Again not quite generic -- no Beatles song can really be called generic -- but blueprinted, yeah. Nothing wrong with formula if the formula works, after all.

“You Can’t Do That” -- There are a lot of rock songs out there that could be seen through today’s eyes as objectifying women, or even as misogynistic. “You Can’t Do That” skates right up to that edge . . . and, unfortunately, crosses right over it. You could say a lot of things to excuse that -- times were different, the song comes from a blues tradition, and without even trying I can name you ten blues and R&B songs that are twice as bad, etc. -- but honestly, the way things are today that’s a losing battle, so fuggit. Instead I’ll just say that “You Can’t Do That” has a great melody that is ruined by unfortunately possessive, paranoid, and creepy lyrics.

“I’ll Be Back” -- A Hard Day’s Night is an all around triumph of an album, so it’s interesting, even odd, that it should end on such a dark, ambiguous note as this. It’s an unusual song in and of itself; it keeps shifting keys, the bridge changes the second time around, and there’s no chorus. And the song fools you by fading out earlier than you think it should.. It’s an early sign of Lennon’s dissatisfaction with the strictures of pop music, and of him reaching for something more than the  verse-chorus-verse-middle-eight-chorus-verse-chorus that most rock and roll offered him. It crops up again and again as the Beatles’ career goes on, this reaching for the different -- both John and Paul would do it, in their own ways -- but to see it emerging here, on the Beatles’ third album, at what is essentially the then-pinnacle of the group’s career, is revelatory, I think. Or at least interesting to think about when you’re home alone, the TV is broken, and the Internet is out.


In closing (you there in the back, stop cheering), A Hard Day’s Night is the best of the Beatles’ early albums, the first of a number of peaks they would attain over the years, and a hell of a lot of fun to listen to. Pop music and rock and roll just don’t get any better than this.

Coming up on Track By Track -- well, it depends on where my mind takes me. I’d like to cover albums by the Stones, more Beatles, the Clash, the Who, Zeppelin, Massive Attack, The Beastie Boys, John Coltrane, and a lot of stuff in between. But I have no idea right now what the next column will be. I can say that it won’t happen for a couple of weeks though, as I have other commitments coming up that will keep me from writing a longer column like this for a while. The next one should appear before the end of the month, though.

Also, I should note that if you have an idea for an album I should cover in this space, please give me a shout in the comments section below. I’m more than willing to entertain reasonable suggestions -- and even unreasonable ones, if I’m in the right mood. So please, make yourself heard!