Friday, October 29, 2010

L.A. poet Nelson Gary's TWIN VOLUMES gets Murrayed.

Favorite sentence of the review (mixture of praise and pan--leaning towards the latter):
Unluckily, I did not have that much time to produce this review. So what follows is more a series of impressions than the deep analysis I would prefer to give the book.

Maybe it would been a better thing (and fairer to Nelson Gary) if Murray had waited a month or two--and then proceeded to write a more analytic, thoughtful review.

Heaven knows there are plenty of poetry volumes that could have filled the October column instead.

RIP James MacArthur:The Young Stranger (1957) Trailer

To me, this was the best performance James MacArthur ever gave.  A modest, filmed in black-and-white, cousin to Nicholas Ray's REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE; the beginning of John Frankenheimer's career as a director of feature films.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010



Please allow him to introduce himself.
He's a man with wealth and no taste.

He destroye hotel rooms,

frightens women

and leaves New York in haste.

Hope you guessed his name.

Amusing you on a sitcom

is the nature of his game.

He earns a lot for not acting.

More money than what's paid to others.

When he makes a big big mess,

he's bailed out by CBS and Warner Brothers.

Hope you guessed his name.

Employing publicists to tell "official" stories

is the nature of his game.

There will be


Just more hookers, anger and psychic pains.

If he feels the need to stretch his talent,

he'll make another ad for Hanes.

Hope you guessed his name.

Keep watching TWO AND A HALF MEN every week

so he can continue playing his long-running game.

Friday, October 22, 2010

SALON's Matt Zoller Seitz on Mel Gibson, THE HANGOVER 2 and selective Hollywood morality.

I don't agree 100 % with Seitz' article, but it's interesting and thought-provoking enough to post the link here:

Two passages that were particularly resonant:
"Americans are the most irritating of hypocrites: binary-minded, easily distracted scolds. We have trouble holding opposing thoughts in our heads at the same time, and we stay furious only until the next outrage pops up in the media cycle. We have staunch positions on what constitutes right and proper behavior, but only for certain people -- the people whose behavior we happen to consider beyond the pale, for whatever subjective reason -- and we reserve the right to give a pass to whoever we like, whenever we please, and to come up with pretzel-logic rationalizations justifying our inconsistency. And we've got no problem taking a nuanced view of morally challenged artists as long as they're not raising hell in the present day."

"This ongoing spectacle of the entertainment industry censuring certain artists over their private misdeeds while ignoring or rehabilitating equally troublesome characters is pathetic. Violence, substance abuse, self-destruction and general prickishness is a blight on humanity, but it's a blight that should be dealt with by police and judges, not the media or the public. Either the criminal justice system is working properly or it isn't. And whether it is or isn't, the offenses or alleged offenses have nothing to do with an artist's work, or right to work, much less our ability to engage with and appreciate said work."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Book Soup apparently desperate for customers: He-man woman hater Tucker Max to do an in-store appearance.

Of course, the ubertrendy, affluent progressive audience-skewing Book Soup on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood has a right to book any author it pleases for an in-store appearance.  I'm fascinated that this particular author (anyone remember the fast flop of the movie version of his I HOPE THEY SERVE BEER IN HELL) is being a book-ee of the store.

Here's a description of the event from the Book Soup blog:
10/19/2010 - 7:00pm

Event Details:

Tucker Max discusses and signs Assholes Finish First

What do you do after you write a #1 bestselling book about your drunken, sexual misadventures that makes you rich and famous? Celebrate by getting more drunk and having insane amounts of sex, obviously. And pretty soon you've got another fucking book on your hands.Stuffed full of ridiculous stories of bad decisions, debauchery, and sexual recklessness, Assholes Finish First starts where I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell left off, then proceeds to "some next-level shit."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Neal Gabler on the TV fantasy of "we'll always be there for you" friendship.

Commentary: The social networks -

This passage by Mr. Gabler is particularly resonant:
One feels a little churlish pointing out how phony most of this intimacy is. After all, these shows, even one as observant as "Modern Family," aren't about realism. They aren't about the genuine emotional underpinnings of friendship or family, and they certainly aren't about the rough course that almost every relationship, be it with a friend or family member, takes — the inevitable squabbles, the sometimes long and even permanent ruptures, the obtuseness, the selfishness, the reprioritization, the expectations of reciprocity, the drifting apart, the agonizing sense of loneliness even within the flock. These shows are pure wish fulfillment. They offer us friends and family at one's beck and call but without any of the hassles. It is friendship as we want it to be.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The bombast/"respectability" schizophrenia of CNN.

Gabriel Sherman's NEW YORK magazine article brings together a lot of over-the-years anecdotes relating to CNN, FOX NEWS, MSNBC (remembering its brief, John Gibson-powered, imitation of FOX NEWS in the last decade) and HLN and mostly concentrates on their prime-time programming.

And a point is made in the piece that CNN should probably transform into a "class" brand--to the extent of trying to woo someone like Charlie Rose over from PBS.

But, despite who's running CNN, the network tends to be too attracted to bombastic news types like Tom Foreman (the RAW POLITICS guy), Tony Harris and, of course, the now-departed Rick Sanchez.  And it looks like Anderson Cooper's being nudged to take a more confrontational stance (in a sort-of-neutral way) with GOP extremist-types.  But you and I both know that Anderson Cooper wouldn't behave like that around John Boehner and/or Mitch McConnell.

Or there's weekend anchor Fredrika Whitfield, who seems to have been told by consultants to smile just about every time she delivers a line from the prompter.  But at least Ms. Whitfield, at this stage in her career, isn't actively grating.

And I fear that grating-nerves newsjunk, under the "Keeping Them Honest" tag, is the path CNN will travel down with the ex-HLN head honcho at the helm.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Rick Sanchez and the ghost of Richard Nixon.

I've never been able to watch now-former CNN cartoon news-anchor blowhard Rick Sanchez for more than a few minutes at a time.  Having said that, I was rather sickened by the anti-Semitic, anti-"Eastern intellectual elite" bilge that Sanchez blurted out on Sirius/XM leading to his firing earlier today:

This is comparable to former President Richard Nixon's hateful anti-Semitic rantings: