Category Archives: Film

THE MAYOR’S RACE AS SITCOM

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 14:53:27

I’m beginning to warm to the New Orleans Mayor’s race; not because of substance there doesn’t appear to be any. The race as it slowly takes shape seems to have strong elements of farce. It won’t make for good guvmint but the comic possibilities are seemingly endless. It could be sitcomtastic or is that sitcomlicious?

There’s James Dot Com Perry who’s running his campaign on Twitter and Facebook and seems to spend much of his time raising money out of state. It’s a pity: James Dot Com is *potentially* an interesting outsider candidate but he needs to shut down his laptop stop tweeting and knock on some doors to meet some actual voters. This virtual candidacy thing is from hunger unless there’s some shoe leather expended in support of it. We’ve already had the Wizard of Oz for Mayor we don’t need a virtual one to replace  him.
 
Leslie Jacobs seems to be flirting with the idea of running even though her expertise such as it is is in education and the Mayor has bupkis to do with the schools. But she *is* rich and Sandy Rosenthal is her sister-in-law which could lead to a loose cannon relative sub-plot and that’s *always* fun. I was under the impression however that Ms. Jacobs is a Mike Foster Republican and this town isn’t going to elect a White Gooper. Just ask Rob Couhig. Oops poor comparison Ms Jacobs has a full head of hair and isn’t notably obnoxious… UPDATE: Ms. Jacobs had a meet and greet last night and said that she was a “lifelong Democrat” despite her association with Foster. That’s a fact that she needs to get out there. 

John Georges continues to disprove the notion that all Greeks have a bit of Zorba in them. He’s an opa nopa y’all. Mr. Georges has more money than God but no discernible personality. The only thing interesting about the vending machine magnate is his wobbly political journey from Republican to Independent to Democrat. (Hmm I wonder if he plans to revive the Whig party next?)  He mistakenly thinks that running first in Orleans Parish in the 2007 Governor’s race is significant when it was all about the street money. Georges has enough cold hard cash to finish as high as second or third in an open field but if he’s elected Mayor I will eat one of Mark Folse’s straw hats under the gaze of General/President Jackson in the Square. Having said that I do find Georges’ delusions of grandeur to be most amusing. He could play the eccentric millionaire who’s so dull that he’s funny in our sitcom. Yeah that’s the ticket.

Ed Murray’s part in the campaign is obvious: every sitcom needs a straight man and who’s duller than Ed? Well John Georges is but he’s already been cast. Murray’s main asset is that he’s not C Ray Nagin: a man who dreams big and delivers small. Murray looks increasingly like the tortoise in this race but now that I think of it there aren’t any hares. I have one suggestion for Murray to liven things up: he could claim to be baseball Hall of Famer Eddie Murray to capture the vital Orioles fan vote…

Mitch Landrieu is doing some polling to see if he should think again about considering to run even though he said he wouldn’t. I like Mitch; he’s a nice guy with a fine tenor singing voice but the Hamlet act is wearing thin. He’s becoming the Adlai Stevenson of NOLA politics: a guy who can’t make up his mind and wears his indecision on his sleeve. Adlai only won one election in his life so Mitch has that beat; except in New Orleans Mayoral races where he’s 0 and 2. Of course if he does run the Landrieus can revive their brother and sister act: Mary is currently dancing the old soft shoe about health care reform after all…
 
Finally I am somewhat alarmed about the impact that this sitcom of an election is having on Clancy DuBos. He seems to be channeling some movie or tevee wise guy in his latest column but I’m not sure which one it is. It can’t be Joey Pants from The Sopranos Jeffrey’s already got the pants angle zipped locked up. Clancy’s too tall to be Al Pacino in any of his wise guy roles although the fuhgettaboutit shtick is straight out of Donny Brasco. Hmm now that I think of it Clancy is more like Nathan Detroit of Guys and Dolls fame. Our local Damon Runyon Ronnie Virgets has been known to turn a colorful phrase or three in the pages of the Gambit after all. Btw Ronnie would be an outstanding recurring character in our wee sitcom: the zany Yat in a loud shirt who breezes in cracking wise and then takes every one off to the race track. Hilarity ensues..
 
Oh well this race could make the sanest person crazy and drive a Mormon to drink but at least it’s entertaining. It’s a pity however that the stakes are so high: the city is crying out for leadership and instead I’m casting a sitcom which is particularly ironic since the *original* 2010 frontrunner was Oliver the actor whose act is currently wowing them in the big house. 

 

THE STOOGEUM

Thu, 06 Mar 2008 16:39:08

Stooged

The traditional museum is a highbrow or at least middlebrow place. Things are changing. There are now all sorts of non-traditional museums including one devoted to the emphatically lowbrow comedy team the Three Stooges. The Stoogeum is run by a guy who’s married to Larry Fine’s niece. Larry of course was the stooge with the Jewfro who was relentlessly bullied by the tyrannical Moe.

I’d never heard of the Stoogeum until last week when Dr. A sent me a link to a story about it in the WaPo last week. It’s somewhat ironic because like most women Dr. A doesn’t care for the knockabout dumbshit slapstick that’s the specialty of the Stooges. She is however a good sport who has resisted the temptation to use a wrench on my nose a la Moe. Nyuk nyuk nyuk.
The great comedian David Steinberg had a classic routine about the Stooges which alas is nowhere to be found on the internets. The Steinbergian thesis was that the Stooges were archetypal figures and that all guys fit into a Stoogian category. Howzat for highbrowing up the lowbrow? I’m not sure that I entirely agree but it’s fun to contemplate. Moe was the ego Curly the id Larry the doormat with Shemp being somewhere between Curly and Moe. As applied to the NOLA political scene: C Ray is definitely a Curly,  Marc Morial a Mo,e and Arnie Fielgood is a Larry to the core. Among the NOLA bloggers Loki and Ashley are clearly Curlys but there’s a dearth of Moes or eenie meenies for that matter. I think Jeffrey has some Shempian tendencies. Note the resemblance:

Shemped

I’m just busting his chops y’all. Dr. A in fact thinks that Mr. Gloomy Pants is the cutest boy blogger and Shemp wasn’t exactly a matinee idol. He had a face that could stop a clock. I don’t think there are any Larrys among the NOLA bloggers and if there are calling someone a Larry isn’t very nice and I’m working on my image. I want people to answer the phone when I call at 3 AM even if I’m doing The Curly Shuffle:

I’m not really a hardcore Stoogemaniac. When it comes to comedy teams from the distant past I’m more of a Marx Brothers guy but it’s fun to bloviate about the Stooges. It’s also quite insulting to compare anybody to one of the Stooges as someone soitenly knew when they photoshopped this image of some Arizona Republican pols:

Three Arizona Stooges

McCain is definitely all Moe. Me, I’m just a wise guy.

THE NEO-YIPPIES

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 06:00:10

It was a nasty Friday in New Orleans: gray damp and foggy which was fitting weather for the day after the debacle at City Hall. The weather also matched my mood but I did have a brief moment of clarity (sunshine?) when I realized who the loony left activists who have hijacked the public housing debate remind me of: Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin who dubbed themselves Yippies. In reality they were the Abbott and Costello of the Sixties New Left: they were in it for the theatre and nothing else.

Abbie HoffmanRubin-Pig

L: ABBIE HOFFMAN DEEP THINKER. R: JERRY RUBIN & A PIG.

I’ve heard from several people who were in the Council chamber at the beginning of the day that the whole punch-up looked staged to provoke an overreaction from the Council and cops. If that’s so it worked as did the gate rattling by the neo-Yippies outside. While it may have been great drama it was a disgrace: both the police and demonstrators acted badly. I intensely dislike the use of tasers; if applied to a person with heart problems they can be fatal. Mercifully that didn’t happen. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

I think that the neo-Yippies will only be in town for as long as they can have their antics splashed on teevee and all over the internet. What’s more worrisome is the way that more sincerely motivated local activists have allowed these clowns to hijack their cause. The neo-Yippies are in it for the theatre: they don’t care about poor people in New Orleans. They’re into bringing bullhorns into public meetings and live to brag about lying down in front of bulldozers. Drama for drama’s sake is what the Jay Arenas of the world crave. 

Back to the original Yippies: Hoffman and Rubin. They were experts at hijacking worthy causes and turning them into violent farces by provoking the police to use the weapons of the day: nightsticks and tear gas. On black Thursday we saw tasers and pepper spray used at our very own mini-riot. Here’s hoping that it’s not just a warm-up for a bigger conflagration.

Finally,  my favorite Abbie Hoffman story. At Woodstock Hoffman briefly commandeered a microphone during the Who’s set. The Who were neither Yippies nor Hippies so when Pete Townshend realized they were being upstaged by Hoffman he did the only sensible thing possible: he kicked the Yippie foole in the ass and off the stage. Talk about direct action…

 

The Oscar Snarkathon

Tue, 07 Mar 2006 06:00:00

It’s time for the much ballyhooed little anticipated Oscar snarkathon. The problem with the Oscarcast is that there’s no ideal way to organize it; either you let everyone go on and on and on and it lasts 7 1/2 days (Halle Berry’s speech from 4 years ago is still going on) OR you do what they did last night and hire a bouncer/conductor (aka LSU’s own Bill Conti) to drag people offstage. And they still ran 30 minutes over the theoretical time of 3 hours. I thought pulling the plug on the producers of “Crash” was tackier than Mrs. Moron’s wardrobe and decor combined. On to the random ramblings and notes of a lunatic who is not named Kim:

THE HOST: First time host Jon Stewart has been taking some lumps but I thought he did a good job even if the WaPo’s great critic Tom Shales among others disagrees. Hey you hire Jon Stewart he’s going to do his schtick as did Billy Crystal Johnny Carson and Bob Hope.  Of course Hollywood is most comfortable with an insider as host but Jon was pretty darn funny.  Hey at least Jon didn’t pull a Letterman although I’m a proponent of Oprah mocking…

I particularly liked the negative ads: The Dames Against Judy Dench and the Charlize Theron: Hagging It Up spots were hilarious. I halfway expected the swift boat creeps to turn up…

THE BIG SURPRISE: The oddsmakers were right about many of the winners: Rachel Weisz Philip Seymour Hoffman and Reese Witherspoon. But “Crash”  taking the best picture award was a big and to me pleasant surprise. I thought “Brokeback Mountain” was a good movie but the weakest of the nominees. I would have voted for “Munich” but “Crash” was a deserving winner. The finale reminded me of the Oscars for 1998 when “Private Ryan” was the prohibitive favorite Spielberg won best director but “Shakespeare In Love” won best picture. I’m not sure how well that choice will hold up down the road but hey I think Christopher Marlowe wrote the Bard’s plays so what the hell do I know? That was a rhetorical question y’all; no need to answer…

One thing bugs me: why does everyone insist on calling “Brokeback Mountain” the gay cowboy movie? They’re shepherds for chrissake. Of course I know why I’m crazy not stupid: cowboys are American archetypes and shepherds are Balkan archetypes.  I hope that the Greeks  or perhaps the odd Bosnian call it the gay shepherd movie.  Btw I thought of making a few sheep jokes but thought better of it. Except for this classic: Brokeback Mountain where the women are few and the sheep are scared. There now I feel better.

FASHION COMMENTARY: What were Charlize Theron and Naomi Watts thinking? Charlize had that giant bow growing on her arm which looked like something out of a bad Roger Corman  ’50’s sci-fi flick. Naomi was wearing a color (beige according to my fashion consultant Dr A) that made her look as if she needed to run offstage to blow chunks. As Wayne Campbell would surely say at this point:  why hide your babe-itude? If Naomi had consulted with Kong this woulda never happened. He had her in the palm of his hand after all. <the groaning reverberates across cyberspace>

Among the men I got a kick out of the Wallace and Gromit guys wearing matching bow ties and then putting little matching bow ties on their Oscars. These oscars looked like George F Will after being dipped in gold leaf; a fitting fate for a Repub pundit. I also enjoyed seeing the great Larry McMurtry wearing jeans and cowboy boots with his tuxedo jacket. I think one of our greatest writers should be able to wear whatever the hell he wants. If the Swedes had any sense Larry would win the Nobel Prize for literature but they don’t so he won’t. But they did pick Harold Pinter last year so maybe there’s hope…

MOST PREDICTABLE MOMENTS: George Clooney blimps up looks unkempt with longish hair and a scraggly beard and wins the Best Supporting Actor award for the dreadful “Syriana.” Put a movie star up against career character actors and guess who wins. Don’t get me wrong: I’m a Clooney fan but this was a mediocre performance in a self-important and bad film. I’ll take his Dapper Dan-wearing hick slimeball in “Oh Brother Where Art Thou” any day. Well as long as I can stand upwind of him: he was a bona fide stinker…

Ben Stiller the master of self-mortification did it again by wearing a lime green jump/leisure suit affair and pretending to be some sort of human FX. A piece of advice for you Benny baby: next time wear a jock strap or a codpiece. There are many people of both genders who want to see George Clooney’s naughty bits but not yours o son of Jerry. It was almost as traumatic as the time I saw Mr. Moron in drag…

Jennifer Anniston who was in every movie this year was also a presenter. Repeat after me: Jen is overexposed. She’s everywhere these days: I halfway expect Ms. Anniston to start fixing roofs or collecting debris in Topsy Turvy Town….

ACCENT COMMENTARY: No I’m not going to mock Ang Lee for his Chinese accented English or even the French Penguin guys. Ang’s accent is not bad at all. But I find it very interesting that Charlize Theron seems to have shed her South African accent for ceremonial occasions while all the Ozzies sound like Crocodile Fricking Dundee or former-PM Bob Hawke. I’m with the Foster swilling barbecuing Split Enz-listening abo bashing Ozzies on this one. In between hagging it up be yourself Charlize.

TRANSFORMATIONS- THE GOOD THE BAD & THE NOT SO BEAUTIFUL:  I enjoyed the Farrell/Carrell bad makeup schtick. But I didn’t notice if either was wearing lipstick. <groaning> That was the good the bad was Rachel McAdams with bleached blonde hair that made her look like Pamela Anderson without the flotation devices. Rachel I love ya dawlin’ but get thee to a hairdresser…

THE LUCY BUSTAMANTE ECCENTRIC PRONUNCIATION AWARD: Goes to Salma Hayek for calling the gay shepherd movie “Brockback Mountain.” I wonder if this was product placement for Brock candies or if Salma is lusting after Baseball Hall of Famer Lou Brock. Note to non-Debrisvillians: Lucy Bustamante is WWL’s incompetent new anchor who usually mispronounces 3 or 4 things every broadcast. Perhaps I should call her Lucy Malaprop. Nah that’s too kind…

CRAPPY MUSICAL MOMENTS: The Oscarcast is always full of them. None this time around were as bad as the infamous Rob Lowe/Disney dance number from the late ’80’s. The staging of the Kathleen York number from “Crash” was pretty atrocious though. It looked like the Causeway on a January morning. I wish I’d had the dry ice concession for the show. Now that I think of it Rob Lowe and Kathleen York have something in common other than this: both were on “The West Wing” but only one of their characters ever slept with Toby Ziegler.

As to the winning number: no comment. It *was* lively but I’ve never liked hip-hop and I’m not about to start now. Actually it’s not even creeping old-fartism: I’ve hated rap and synthesized percussion since the mid-80’s. Yeah that’s right I used to be a cranky young man. Now I’m just plain cranky. However I am not now nor have I ever been a pimp… 

Mike Hammer Wimps Out

Mon, 06 Mar 2006 06:00:00

I am of course referring to the NOLA investment banker Mike Hammer who ended his mayoral campaign with a whimper by not even qualifying instead he endorsed Gorilla Ron Forman. His well-known fictional counterpart Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer is outraged. Regular readers of this blog know that the real albeit fictional Mike Hammer is a recurring visitor to the Adrastos Virtual Cafe and he’s my guest blogger today. Take it away enraged fictional person:

An Open Letter From Mike Hammer to Mike Hammer: Give Me Back My Name-

Hey Mikey what the hell were ya thinking? I thought you were a stand up guy but now you’ve folded your tent and wanna slink off in the night like a weenie. I never figured you for a wuss who’d be scared off by a guy named Clarence. Imagine that: Clarence Ray Fucking Nagin. Chocolate city, schmocolate city. I was counting on you to slap some sense into C Ray pally. I’m fucking disappointed Mikey, you share my name so I share your shame. Damn, I’m rhymin’ like that preachin’ pol from Chicago now and it’s down to you Mikey boy. Look what you’ve driven me to. There’s not enough whiskey in the world to drown my sorrows tonight.  Not even my Sinatra records can make me feel better. And if the chairman of the board can’t pick a man up slap him around and make him whole again nothin’ can. I’m also blue because Darren McGavin who played me on the tube in the Fifties died last week and I was too busy shaking down drunks for beads on Bourbon Street to go to the funeral.  It’s just me and Stacy Keach left now so I gotta be careful. I dunno why an actor who played me has got a girl’s name but he’s a stand up guy in spite of it.

We Mike Hammers gotta stick together and you let me down, pally. It hurts man.I got an idea how you can make this right Mikey boy. Give my back my name. That’s right. It was mine long before you were a bun in the oven or even a glint in your lecherous pa’s eye. Give me back my name. Got a nice ring to it don’t it? My pal Adrastos tells me that there’s a rock song of that name  by some combo called Talking Heads. Now except for Elvis I don’t go in for that rock-n-roll crapola; give me Sinatra, Eckstine, Torme, and broads like Ella, Rosie, and Sarah any day.  But those Talking Heads they got a point Mikey boy. Give me back my name. I know their singer is a doofus in a big suit but even a dork can make sense some of the time. Tell ya what Mikey boy give me back my name and I’ll leave you be. I won’t even kick your ass for supporting that poser Gorilla Ron. A guy named Mike Hammer should be for the working stiffs and that Gorilla Ron is just a stiff. Here’s my final offer: give me back my name and I’ll go easy on you pally.

Mike Hammer

Back to you Adrastos:

Thanks Mike. Those were lenient terms. Btw, the doofus in the big suit is named David Byrne and he stopped making sense years ago. And Mike I think Adrian Monk coined the perfect term to describe Banker Mike Hammer: he’s a muss; part man and part wuss. Yeah I know, Monk is too tidy for your taste Mike but you gotta admit he’s one helluva shamus…

C RAY’S RAP SESSION

Sat, 18 Feb 2006 06:13:21

The meeting was longer than a Grateful Dead concert or a Wagnerian Opera y’all. I believe that it’s still going on…

C Ray did his Lizzie Borden impression and axed the neighborhood leaders to bloviate opine and all that jazz. I went with my friend the Tomb Builder’s Son aka TBS; emphasis on the BS. He’s a very interesting guy: a retired theatre professor who is a civil war buff cat lover and well to my left politically which is pretty scary. As well as being a major character he’s one of the most reliable people I know: if you need a favor you can always count on TBS. Today he gave me a ride to C Ray’s Rap Session and I mean that in the ’60’s sense of the word rap. There wasn’t any hippity-hop music within earshot.

The meeting was held at the gynormous First Baptist Church on Canal Boulevard at the parish line near the cemeteries. Fellow Debrisvillians know it as the big ass silver church off the interstate. Size notwithstanding it was kind of hard to find but TBS was equal to the task. First we pulled up in front of a building that turned out to be a funeral home. Oops. We would have gone in and paid our respects but the place was flooded and gutted; just like much of the city.

Finally we found the fellowship hall of the church. (Protestant terms like “fellowship hall” make me nervous. I halfway expected someone to leap out and bathe me in the blood of the lamb. As far as Greeks are concerned lamb is for eating not bathing.) The first fellow we met at the fellowship hall was Councilman Batty. We had a pleasant exchange and I was relieved to see that I wasn’t the only one who looked as if he needed a drink. I nearly asked Mr. Batty if he had a flask but decided not to. I needed to be sober and fully alert for C Ray’s Rap Session.

The meeting’s official as well as officious title was <drum roll> Mayor’s Urban Planning Committee Focus Group Meeting. I’m usually a wee bit out of focus but I try y’all I really do. Time for pop music digression number 96: Does anyone else recall the ‘70’s Dutch band Focus and their big hit “Hocus Pocus?” There was a lot of hocus pocus going down at this meeting he said circling back to the issue at hand.

C Ray looked subdued when he arrived a mere 15 minutes late. I’ve attended some other Mayoral dog and pony shows during his tenure and C Ray usually works the room in an almost Clintonian frenzy. This time he looked a bit grim and wary of the crowd; only greeting the folks he knew.  Many hands were unshook (unshaken? unshaked?) mine included. The good news was that C Ray was NOT chewing gum for once. I have an almost pathological dislike of gum chewing but if he had a cud it was tucked in his cheek.  Hey we all have our pathologies: for example Dr. A is pathologically punctual. She is not now nor has she ever been on NOLA time. Being late is almost an art form here…

C Ray made some introductory comments as did an equally tall woman aide. She turned the proceedings over to Joe Cannizzarro developer Repub and bete noir of 9th ward residents who suspect him of plotting to steal their land. I think they may be a tad paranoid BUT when I shake hands with a developer I always check my wrist to make sure they haven’t stolen my watch. Mr. C as the Fonz would surely call him is a little fella (no the C is not for Clarence) and cracked a joke about needing a box to stand on to reach the mike. Someone took pity on the mighty mite of magnates and handed him the mike man.

Then we were treated to the sort of power point presentation that would wow your Aunt Minnie but left me cold. After that it was a blur of comments on the four sections of the report. Long comments; endless comments; windy comments; epic comments; C Ray comments; audience comments. Blah and blah and blah. I gotta give C Ray credit for not playing with his blackberry and either listening or doing a good impression of someone listening. Chief Clone Meffert on the other hand was fidgety and kept peeking at his blackberry. That’s not even a criticism y’all I was as wiggly as Shane on Survivor: Panama. (He’s the guy who smoked 3 packs a day until he was stranded and now he’s crankier than Norman Robinson on crack. This nicotine junkie reminds me more of the Jack Palance character in “Shane” than its eponymous hero. Talk about a misnomer: Alan Ladd has gotta be turning over in his grave.)

A few speakers stood out because of their passion. A woman from heavily flooded Holy Cross had one theme: MR GO must go. MR GO is an acronym for the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet which is widely and correctly blamed for flooding New Orleans East and Da Parish. Another woman urged C Ray to think of the working poor when he makes his decisions. I somehow doubt that’s what Mr. C and the other COC types have in mind. Of course if C Ray goes soft on the “undeserving” poor the maggots I mean magnates can turn to Gorilla Ron Hornblower; a man who never met a tycoon he didn’t put the bite on…

I wish that I could say that I gained some valuable insights from this meeting but I didn’t. I had a headache so I was relieved that nobody started shouting at the parade of Cs:  C Ray Mr. C or Chief Clone Meffert. <cueing up CC Rider the Peggy Lee version>

The meeting was droning on when the Tomb Builder’s Son and I left. Neither of us said anything at the meeting: we’re among the lucky ones who live in what some people insist on calling the sliver by the river. I hate that phrase: it sounds too much like liver and the only liver I like is my own. In fact I’m quite attached to it and it to me. If Debrisville can survive jokes like that it can survive anything…

AT THE MOVIES: IN CAPOTE BLOOD

 Tue, 14 Feb 2006 06:00:00

I am blogging from behind y’all. I saw “Capote” on Saturday before freezing my ass off at the Krewe du Vieux and am just now getting around to reviewing it. Lord have mercy on the frozen slacker blogger.

Earlier this month I made a few snide remarks about Truman Capote in a posting about the 2005 Academy Award nominations:  “I haven’t seen Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Hoffman is the favorite and I’m a great admirer of his work but I didn’t care for Truman Capote. He was a guy who wrote two good books and a whole lotta dreck. Besides he was annoying and feuded with Gore Vidal and I take Gore’s side in all feuds. Nobody feuds better than Gore.”

I’m not taking anything back.  I have my snide pride. And I’ve got Ralph Waldo Emerson on my side about consistency being the hobgoblin of small minds and all that jazz. Besides this self-referential quote gives me the excuse to post a vintage picture of Vidal Capote and Tennessee Williams from the late 1940’s:


Gore Vidal calls 1945-1949 the golden age of the American empire and perhaps it was. But we blew it with Vietnam. More recently we screwed up our post-Cold War ascendancy with W’s endless wars. End of brooding lefty digression. Back to the moving pictures:

Capote” is a remarkably good film with a brilliant performance by star/executive producer Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Hoffman who is one of our best character actors submerges himself in the part. After a while I forgot that an actor was playing Capote: Hoffman has nailed the little sucker. Hoffman was so good that I actually liked *his* Truman Capote more than I expected to. it’s a nuanced performance that has as many layers and motives as the real Capote.

 
“Capote” is probably such a strong film because it follows Capote as he researchs and writes what was by far and away his finest book “In Cold Blood.” Hoffman plays Capote as part con man part jerk part sensitive soul part egomaniacal monster. He never hits a false note. Catherine Keener as Capote’s childhood friend Harper Lee adds flavor and depth to the movie as the only person who *really* understands the complexity of Capote’s motives as he burrows into the heads of two murderers.

Speaking of great character actors Chris Cooper shines as the small town sheriff into whose life Capote inserts himself by playing the New Orleans card with Cooper’s wife who was in exile from the Crescent City. An unrecognizable Amy Ryan of “The Wire” plays Cooper’s spouse. Finally   Clifton Collins Jr. who plays articulate killer Perry Smith equals Robert Blake’s chilling potrayal from the classic 1967 version of “In Cold Blood “ which was directed by Richard Brooks. It was fascinating to watch the onscreen Capote and Smith use and manipulate one another: guilt and manipulation at its finest…

A big tip of the Adrastos virtual cap to director Bennett Miller writer Dan Futterman and the film’s driving force Phillip Seymour Hoffman for making one of the best films of 2005.

GRADE: A

Second Line Blues

Mon, 16 Jan 2006 21:51:52

Item-1 Getting Back To Normal Isn’t Always A Good Thing: We all crave normality in Debrisville but some things that *used* to be normal here pre-K we could do without. Yesterday for first time in eons the local newscasts led with the story of a shooting in New Orleans. It happened at a second line put on by several social aid and pleasure clubs (including Zulu) in Mid-City.  The second line was held to celebrate the renewal of the city instead three people were wounded. Some celebration; some renewal. According to the story in the TP:

“the root of incidents like the one Sunday Jenkins said is the tendency of some individuals to use big gatherings to retaliate against their enemies: “Out of 50 second-lines 39 to 40 are going to have a shooting ” he said. “If I’ve got a beef with you I can guarantee you I’m going to see you at a second-line.”

It was a hell of a thing to have happened on Martin Luther King’s *actual* birthday   January 15. There was an excellent piece today by syndicated columnist Cynthia Tucker about how the current craze for thug/gangsta culture dishonors Dr. King’s memory. This idiotic craze also leads to episodes like Sunday’s shooting. Finally on this topic Mayor C Ray said something sensible today (hey it happens) he called the shooters “knuckleheads.”

Item 2 Lions and Witches and Wardrobes Oh My: Dr. Adrastos has wanted to see “The Chronicles Of Narnia” for awhile and I like going to the movies on holidays so that’s what we did. It was pretty good. That Anthony Hopkins is a helluva writer with a pretty skewed imagination. Oh that’s right he played CS Lewis in a movie. Never mind. I get confused easily. I’m sure y’all have noticed that already.

I thought that the adorable Georgie Henley as Lucy and Tilda Swinton as the not so adorable white witch were the standouts in the cast. Tilda had really scary hair and some damn strange headresses; especially that tower of ice thing. And the fantastical creatures of Narnia were well fantastic. It was also fun to hear the voices of Rupert Everett as the fox and Ray Winstone as the cockney beaver. I did not know that they had beavers on the East End of London. Ya learn something new every day…

Note to the Christian Right: I did not feel the need to either change my party affiliation or to be born again after seeing the movie. I do however wish that your bible-thumping leader/President would take note of the fact that in the early scenes of “Narnia” we saw people make *sacrifices* because it was wartime. Imagine that.

Note to football fans: We saw ex-Saints head coach Jim Haslett and his very blonde family outside the theatre after the movie. He doesn’t have any eyebrows in person either…

Anyway it’s time to grade “Narnia.”  I give it a solid B.

BART THE BEARD EATS A PO’ BOY

Mon, 09 Jan 2006 04:37:39

Ah, Sunday the day of rest BUT not for a weary slightly bleary eyed blogger Something always catches my fancy…

Item-1 BART THE BEARD EATS A PO’ BOY: Greek Orthodox Patriarch Batholomew I blew through Crazytown Saturday like…well, I won’t say it but you know what I’m thinking. (If you do, you should be scared and consider getting help or at least listening to the Beatles album of that name.) Bart the Beard toured the lower Ninth Ward and conducted a service at Holy Trinity Cathedral. For those of you who are not denizens of Topsy Turvy Town Holy Trinity is  smack dab in the middle of a heavily flooded neghborhood. The church itself has been renovated by its flock and is an oasis in the midst of devastation.

Bart the Beard and his fellow prelates were served a plate lunch catered by Mother’s restaurant: gumbo jambalaya and roast beef and ham po-boys with bread pudding for dessert.  Talk about Naturally N’Awlins. I’m sure the Patriarch enjoyed his vittles after all he’s from a food driven culture. That’s why I immediately felt at home in NOLA when I first came here. Like New Orleanians Greeks are born foodies.

I do wonder if they gave Bart the Beard an eccelesiastical bib; a good roast beef po’ boy is moist and messy and Bart has major face hair. Ah the things that interest me…  Btw the local rag never once called Istanbul by its Byzantine handle. I hope the Greek-American Prince’s  heart holds out.

Item-2 THE BUG MAN BUGS OUTTom DeLay is out as House Majority Leader for good thanks to his close ties to slimeball wingnut lobbyist Casino Jack Abramhoff.  Casino Jack was essentially the Bug Man’s bag man. (Try saying that 17 times in a row without tying your tongue in knots. Never gonna happen my friend.)  We *could* sing “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead” but I suspect that “Won’t Get Fooled Again” is more in order. Anyone the House Republican caucus puts up will be just as bad as the Bug Man. The voters need to fumigate the place next fall.

Item-3 CALL & McRAE FALL IN LOVE: Today Dr. A and I tooled out to Da Palace to see “Brokeback Mountain” along with a packed house of gay men old ladies and bemused yats expecting to see the Duke or maybe even Gabby Hayes. For me it felt like a return engagement to McMurtryland. Larry McMurty a great if erratic novelist   is a co-writer and co-producer of “Brokeback Mountain.” McMurty’s greatest book is “Lonesome Dove” and the taciturn Heath Ledger character is Woodrow Call all over again and Jake Gyllenhaal’s chatty character is Augustus McRae redux.  Also the crappy little town that Ledger lived in is at least kissing kin to the crappy little towns in “The Last Picture Show” and “Hud.”

I *liked* but didn’t love “Brokeback Mountain” I think it’s been overrated because of its unconventional love story. I’m also in the minority in preferring Jake Gyllenhaal’s flamboyant performance to Heath Ledger’s  mumbling loner. Ledger is the one who’s getting the raves I guess it’s because he mumbles like James Dean.  Mumblers always get good reviews; it’s particularly ironic in this case because Heath Ledger actually has a rich melodious speaking voice. In the end I teeter on the edge between giving “Brokeback Mountain” a B or B+”