Thursday, December 27, 2007

Week 28: Sin City

Nothing says ‘Merry Christmas’ like watching Sin City, does it? Welcome to another blasphemous holiday with the Motley Queue. What can I say, I love this movie. It is simply the coolest thing ever put on film, and that’s saying a lot considering the cast includes Brittany “I used to be a cool chick but then I got skinny and blonde and now you can’t tell me apart from all the other Hollywood blondettes” Murphy, as well as Josh “I’m a handsomer, squintier version of Ben Affleck” Hartnett.

Also, Michael Clarke Duncan somehow made it into this movie, and it's a real shame. I won't even link him to IMDB here, because I DON'T CONSIDER HIM AN ACTOR. He is large. I will give him that. Tractors and Kodiak bears are also large. And are also not actors.

But enough about who's bad in this movie. Let's talk about who's good. Clive Owen is so heroically cool that it should be criminal. Benicio Del Toro is a terrific oily, oozy bad guy. And Mickey Rourke is just astounding as Marv. I never thought we'd see Rourke's deformed mug again, but he absolutely steals the show in Sin City. Watch the movie for his performance alone and you won't be dissapointed.

Sin City's style is straight from the Frank Miller graphic novels on which it's based. It's over-the-top, comic and thrilling. Elijah Wood's performance as the freaky cannibal was terrifying. That's right, I was TERRIFIED BY ELIJAH WOOD. Don't judge me.

I haven't been this disturbed since his homoerotic bed-jumping hobbit scene. And that's saying a lot.

Bruce Willis rounds out the cast of leading men in Sin City and he plays my favorite Bruce Willis role: the one in which he pretends not to know he's a total bad ass. He's like, "I'm just a down-on-his luck guy who happens to have Navy Seal training that I'm sure I'll never have to use. Look! I'm wearing a shapeless trench coat. There's no way I'm tremendously muscled with the reflexes of a cougar under a shapeless coat like this. Gosh golly gee. Wait, what's this in my pocket? Oh, it's a can of WHOOP-ASS!"

His performance was, shall we say, very Bruce Willisnian, but in the spirit of Sin City, it was okay by me.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Week 28: The Sopranos, Season Six, Part 2, Disc 3

Holy cow! [spoiler coming up: tune away if you haven't seen this disc]
...
...
...Tony killed Christopher! I can't believe it. Finally, what we've been waiting for this entire season: a true knockout surprise. I never saw it coming. And it was so shockingly serene and cruel at the same time. This was Tony at his psychopathic best.

And then AJ tries the world's clumsiest suicide attempt in the swimming pool with a concrete block tied to his leg and a ziploc bag over his head. I swear I saw this same scenario once between the Roadrunner and Wylie Coyote.

The disc ends with an escalation of conflict between Tony and Phil Leotardo. They're fighting over money until one of Leotardo's men harasses Tony's daughter and Tony returns the favor by nearly killing the guy in a particularly gruesome fight (if you remember the guy's mouth on the curb in American History X, it's nearly identical and still just as chilling). I love Phil Leotardo, mostly because his name makes me giggle, but also because he's so Rat-Pack cool.

This promises to be a great match-up and I hope the writers will deliver on it. Only one disc left in the entire series. Here's hoping it arrives in time for Christmas because nothing says holiday cheer like a psychopathic mob boss bent on murder. Ho, ho, ho!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Week 27: Reign Over Me

Well, well, well. Karma, you owe me big time for what I'm about to say here:

Adam Sandler, you're not half bad.

Sure, it took me ten minutes to figure out that you were you (and not a homeless version of Bob Dylan). And there were plenty of times during this movie when you slipped into your annoying 'Adam Sandler plays a little boy on SNL' voice. But otherwise, you actually did a pretty good job. You...and this pains me greatly to admit this...moved me to tears.

Karma, if you are listening, surely that statement alone should turn up some unknown rich uncle willing to bequeath his fortune to me. Or, at the very least, maybe a free coffee at Starbucks?

I'll do you one better, Karma. I think Adam Sandler was better than Don Cheadle in this movie! Zing! I think I just felt a tear in the space-time continuum. But I swear to you, it's true. I'm not exactly blaming Don Cheadle. His role was pretty thinly written, but still. He's Don Cheadle. Being shown up by Adam Sandler.

I don't like to play the race card, but I gotta be honest. Were I Don Cheadle, I might be considering a new agent who isn't out to get me. Just a thought, Chea-Chea. (In my imaginary world in which Don Cheadle and I are friends, he's asked me to call him Chea-Chea.)

In the end, we both liked Reign Over Me, although the first half of the movie feels a little interminable as we all know we're just waiting for Adam Sandler to melt down. The writers try to break up the monotony with some Liv Tyler and Jada Pinkett Smith interludes, which, although nicer on the eyes than Adam Sandler, are lackluster diversions.

That being said, it's a decent movie that beats out 99% of the popcorn fare out there now. And it tugs at the old ticker without making a sloppy plea for your emotions. Oh yes, and Adam Sandler does not play hockey, golf or a retard, which is good enough for me.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Week 27: The Sopranos Season Six Part 2, Disc 2

Sorry for the lack of movies recently. Holiday parties and family get-togethers abound this time of year, which is a lame excuse, I know. Forgive me. January will be a virtual wasteland of movie-viewing.

Anyway, we finished the second disc of the second half of Sopranos last night (could they make this more confusing?). I hope they're ramping up to something more exciting as the series draws to a close because these episodes were pretty lame. They spent way more time than was necessary on Tony's gambling. I think by this point in the series, we're no longer shocked to discover that Tony has compulsively bad habits.

Maybe if they'd exposed him as a cross-dresser, a kitten breeder or a lover of cross-stitch, we'd be a little more riveted.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Week 26: The Sopranos Season 6 Part 2, Disc 1

I know, I know. Everyone in the free world knows how the Sopranos ends with the exception of me and Grant. All I know is that they play a Journey song at the end and that makes me endlessly happy given my stalkerish preoccupation with Steve Perry. The man has pipes, right?

Anyway, the home stretch of the Sopranos is as good as ever. We just watched Tony and Bobby get into a fistfight; AJ has lost an alarming amount of weight; and Carmella is both sympathetic and loathsome as she continues to overlook Tony's demons. Janice is making some more appearances, which I enjoy. She's like watching the cap teeter on a bottle of shaken-up Coke.

Oh yes...and Christopher made a piece-of-crap movie starring one of the lesser Baldwins. It could have been Daniel but might have been Billy -- who can tell them apart anymore? They're all so jowly and drunkish.

Speaking of jowls...check out the season recaps and look at the difference in Tony's appearance from Season 1 to Season 6. I'd say the difference is approximately 37 veal parms, 48 pans of ziti and 82 sausages.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Week 26: The Last King of Scotland

THE QUEUE IS A FLY ON THE WALL AS WILL SMITH TALKS TO HIS AGENT:

WILL SMITH: Sigh. Agent, we need to talk.

AGENT: Oh, I’m guessing you saw The Last King of Scotland.

WILL SMITH: Jiggy.

AGENT: Indeed. And you’re probably wondering why Forest Whitaker got the part instead of you?

WILL SMITH: After all, I am AMERICA’S FAVORITE NON-THREATENING
BLACK PERSON. Seriously, even white women like me.

AGENT: Not like that Kanye West fellow.

WILL SMITH: He terrifies white women.

AGENT: Me too.

WILL SMITH: Why didn’t I get this part? This should have been me! Where is my butler? Jazzy Jeff! Bring me some Perrier, a Cornish game hen, a pair of rhinestone-studded slippers and three African artifacts.

JAZZY JEFF: As you wish, sire.

WILL SMITH: Jazzy…

JAZZY JEFF: Sorry, sire. ‘As you wish, Fresh Prince.’

WILL SMITH: That’s better.

AGENT: Will, if you remember, you were offered the part for Last King of Scotland but you didn’t have time to do it.

WILL SMITH:
I was? I didn’t?

AGENT: I believe you were busy talking to the news media about how happy you and your wife are and all the ‘relations’ you constantly have.

WILL SMITH: That does sound like me. Where is my little wife? Jada? Are you hiding under my armpit? Yep, there she is. Hi, honey. Ready to have relations?

AGENT: Should I leave?

WILL SMITH:
No, no. You can stay. How am I going to recover from this film, Agent? I need a hit.

AGENT: Luckily, I just received a script for O Robot, the hilarious sequel to I Robot in which the robot becomes your klutzy roommate. Every time the robot breaks a lamp you say, “Oh, Robot.”

WILL SMITH: I can really picture that saying on the side of a Burger King bag.

AGENT: Me thinks you could perhaps pen a hit rap song of the same title?

WILL SMITH: Fresh! And I’ll sing it with Oprah when Jada and I visit her show. Right after we make love on her couch, we’ll sing it to the audience.

AGENT: …an audience of white women!

WILL SMITH: I can’t wait to not threaten them. Oh, darn, I stepped on Jada. You okay down there, honey? I swear, she’s like owning a Chihuahua. A Chihuahua that I make sweet, sweet love to on a daily basis.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Week 25: Entourage, Season 3, Part 2

Hey, could somebody wake me up when the writers return to Entourage? I don't mean the "faux" writers who wrote Season 3, but the actual "real" writers who will hopefully be returning for Season 4 to inject some much-needed punch into this series.

The first half of this season was pretty good. Vince made Aquaman, it was a big hit, he got a lot of tail and a nice paycheck. Then this nonsense about the Pablo Escobar script, Medellin, starts coming back up...over and over and over again. I'll be honest here, if Pablo Escobar wasn't already dead, I'd kill him just to shut these people up about this "awesome" script.

The second half of this season seems to be an attempt to work the word 'Medellin' into every single sentence. Make the movie or don't make it; I'm over it. Can't you guys come up with something more exciting than this? And all the drama about Ari getting fired; like we really thought Ari wasn't going to be an integral part of the show. As much as it pains my Jeremy Piven-hating heart to say it: he IS the show.

Much like an overgrown plant, I think Entourage is getting a little leggy and it's time for the show's writers to trim it back. Too many interweaving subplots. Too many dead-end detours. Too much Hollywood. Let's get back to what made this show good to begin with...regular guys on the road to greatness.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Week 25: Apocalypto

Too bad Mel Gibson is such a dick...because this movie is REALLY, REALLY good. No, I'm being serious. It's incredible.

Here we were, all prepared to hate this movie. Completely ready to lambaste it. Excited for the chance to throw stones at the ol' Hebrew Hatin' Gibson...but the movie didn't suck. In fact, it's pretty excellent. Dare I say, fairly astounding. I was on the edge of my seat.

It's a great story. Compelling plot. Beautiful filming. I can't believe I'm saying this, but well done, Sugar Tits.

This must really burn the jews up.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Week 24: Batman Begins

First, I must admit a hard truth here. Somewhere in my awkward early teen years, I developed a deep and unwavering love of the 1989 version of Batman starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. So much so that to this day I can still quote the movie line-for-line. It is sad, but true. Give me enough to drink at a party (mama likey de vodka) and I'll perform it for you. I even know all the lyrics to that crappy Prince soundtrack for the movie. I like bats...Vicky Vale, Vicky Vale...

And as much as that tells you about my social life and cool-factor in high school, it should also tell you that I practically beat down the doors of the theater to watch Batman Begins. Or as it shall forever be known as henceforth: THE MOST PERFECT SUPERHERO MOVIE EVER.
The reasons why I love this movie are many. Let us count the ways.
  • It's not campy. It's not funny. It's just dark and moody. And it's perfect. Simply the best re-telling of a story we all know in a way that made it completely fresh and exciting.
  • It officially moves Christian Bale off my "creepy" list, in spite of the fact that he still has little muskrat teeth. See my review of The Prestige for confirmation. I have never been a Bale fan. He gives me the willies. I'm sorry....GAVE me the willies. Now that I see he is the perfect Batman, I have flip-flopped my stance on Bale faster than a republican candidate looking for a nomination.
  • Katie Holmes. You get to spend a lot of time considering her as unspoiled in this movie (that is: not scientologized yet).
  • Cool toys: this movie has by far the best bat toys of any movie. You only have to watch one scene with the Batmobile to get my meaning.
  • Christopher Nolan directed it. If he directed me out of my driveway each morning, it would probably win an Oscar. Everything this man touches turns to cool. I bet he is a real bummer to hang out with, but man, this guy can make a movie.

In short, although I know it makes me a total geek and possibly a teenaged boy, I LOVE BATMAN BEGINS. And I am eagerly awaiting the sequel. Mr. Nolan, get on that, would ya? Don't worry if Tom Cruise won't let Katie --er-- Kate, play. We won't miss her.

Week 24: Deadwood Season 1, Final Disc

An Open Letter to the Writers of Deadwood:

Dear Writers:
I must commend you on creating an utterly compelling storyline for this first season of Deadwood. I loved it. The characters are rich and layered; the plots are intriguing; the whole premise is fantastic. The Queue household are avid fans and we eagerly await Season 2.

However...I'm just going to go ahead and say it: I don't think anyone in the wild west ever really used the term Fucknut. You had me at cocksucker. You lost me at fucknut. And for the record, if someone in Season 2 refers to another character as a Fo Shnizzle Wizzle, I'm going to stop watching.

Best,
The Motley Queue

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Week 23: Naomi Watts Extravaganza Film Fiesta Part 2: Mulholland Drive

I’m just going to go ahead and say it. I figured out the plot to Mulholland Drive and therefore, I am prepared to graciously accept my Nobel Prize Award. I would prefer if you could have Al Gore deliver it to me. We will hang out all day and go to the Gap where we will probably run into Bono and he’ll nag us until we buy one of those crappy ‘RED’ t-shirts. We’ll do it just to appease him, but we’ll never wear them! Don’t tell. We’ll laugh about it when Al Gore and I are discussing who got kicked off Project Runway.

Also, we will keep bringing up how we are BOTH Nobel Award winners.

If you haven’t watched Mulholland Drive, you should. It’s not as freaky as most David Lynch movies. It actually has a plot…albeit the most complicated plot in the history of movies. But it's really good. AND I FIGURED IT OUT!!!! BOW IN THE SHADOW OF MY GREATNESS!!!

Ready to learn what most undoubtedly inferior non-Nobel brains couldn’t figure out? Here goes:

  • The last 20 minutes or so of the movie is ‘real’. Betty wasn’t real. She is Diane’s alter-ego.
  • Diane (Naomi Watts) really did have an affair with Camilla, then Camilla dumped her cruelly and broke her heart.
  • Diane was so upset that she had Camilla murdered. However, in the three weeks that followed while she stayed locked in the apartment to avoid the FBI, she went batshit crazy and so she invented this whole Betty persona to deal with her guilt over killing the woman she loved.
  • While in her crazy state, she imagined herself as Betty, the woman she always wished she could be. Popular, charming, sunny and the hero rescuing her beloved Camilla.
  • I think the blue box represented the reality of what she’d done. When Rita and Betty found the key to the box, I took it as reality resurfacing in Diane’s troubled mind, forcing her to shoot herself.

There, done. Brilliant. Al Gore, I will await your arrival.

Oh, yes, I almost forgot about you, Naomi Watts. After all, this is your Extravaganza Film Fiesta. And you really earned the accolade in this role. Unlike The Painted Veil in which you were entirely forgettable, you shined in Mulholland Drive. The scene in which you play Betty auditioning for a role is truly transcendent. I literally found myself holding my breath. Well done, Watts.

Perhaps if you are not too busy, you can join me, Al Gore and Bono for lunch this Saturday. We’ll probably make Tipper cook for us and just to irk her, we’ll play an N.W.A. album while she refills our cocktails. Zing, Tipper!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Week 23: Naomi Watts Extravaganza Film Fiesta Part 1: The Painted Veil

[reader: through some cosmic coincidence, we have two movies in our queue back-to-back starring Naomi Watts. We are therefore honoring her with the first ever Naomi Watts Extravaganza Film Fiesta, beginning with the Painted Veil and ending with Mulholland Drive. Plan your parties accordingly.]

The Painted Veil (based on the W. Somerset Maugham story) is one of those movies that snuck in and out of the theaters without a lot of fanfare. And rightly so. It’s the story of a marriage being lost and found in the middle of a cholera epidemic. The filming and settings in mainland China are lovely. But I have a feeling that a year from now, I won’t be able to remember any of the details. I’ll be saying to myself, “I think it was set in Taiwan and was about the black plague. No, no…that’s not right. It was definitely Japan and everyone had polio…”

For this first part of our Naomi Watts Extravaganza Film Fiesta, we found ourselves thinking it was weird that she resembles Nicole Kidman so much in this film, even though they look nothing alike in real life. When that’s the most interesting part of the movie, you know you’re in for trouble.

I wish I had more to say on the subject, but like I said, there’s nothing very remarkable about the film. Edward Norton has a terribly nasal rendition of a British accent and Naomi Watts spends a lot of time being indignant. In summary, our Naomi Watts Extravaganza Film Fiesta has started off with a blah instead of a bang. This is turning out to be just as successful as our Kevin Spacey Spectacular of 2002.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Week 22: Six Feet Under, Final Season, The End

Well, well, well. Six Feet Under is finally behind me. And I'm feeling kind of ..."so what" about it. Sorry Alan Ball, but it's true. I'm underwhelmed. And I didn't think you'd let me feel that way.

Perhaps if I'd watched this season spaced out over several months rather than cramming an entire thing into just a few days (thus plunging myself into the murky depths of non-stop depression and melancholy), I'd have more perspective about it.

But as it stands right now, I think I need a B12 shot and several hours under a sun lamp to bring me back to the land of the living and the not-so-perennially-freaking-depressed.

Maybe my disappointment with the ending of this series has to do with the fact that none of the characters really seemed to overcome themselves. Ruth continues to be the saddest of sad sacks. Claire continues to be a flake. Brenda continues to be pensive and jaded. Billy didn't even go totally wack-0 at the end, which I was really counting on. I won't spoil what happens to Nate but suffice it to say nothing really changed there either.

At the very end of the last show, Alan Ball shows us how each character eventually dies. And while this was a clever way to wrap up the show and was very much in keeping with the themes of Six Feet Under, I couldn't get past the terrible geriatric make-up jobs on all the actors. David in particular looked like he was trying out for the next Eddie Murphy Clumps movie. With all the advances in special effects, Hollywood still can't make a young person look old without resembling Giminy Glick.

If I'd been charged with writing the ending for Six Feet Under, I can guarantee you it would involve Billy charging into the funeral home with a loaded gun to murder every member of the Fisher family. Then he would strip naked and use Brenda's lipstick to draw a carrot on his chest while he watched The Price is Right. Then he would sprinkle glitter on all the dead bodies before sitting down to have a peanut butter and toilet paper sandwich.

Now that's how to end a show, Alan Ball.
(PS: Alan, I'm available to write for you if you want to hire me. No hard feelings, k?)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tales from the Land of Teething Babies

Sorry for the lack of posts, readers (using the plural makes me feel like I have literally THOUSANDS of readers out there. A girl can dream, can't she?)

Anyway, a teething baby and an out-of-town wedding have conspired against us and so we're a little behind on our movie-watching. Hoping to finally finish the end of Six Feet Under today/tomorrow and we'll have lots to dish about.

Crazy Billy has been absent the past few episodes and that most likely means he's been busy constructing a bomb shelter filled with weapons-grade plutonium, four-dozen hand-crocheted potholders and a box of live kittens. One can only hope.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Week 22: Six Feet Under, Final Season, First Half

Want to write happy things….but so depressed...can’t muster strength…Six Feet Under final season…killing all joy in world…must fight urge to take own life…or wear sweatpants all day…and devour entire bag of Oreos…while wondering why in the hell…this show is such a downer.

Seriously, Alan Ball, we need to have words. Don’t you ever just want to reach out and pet a kitten? Or wear orange? Or watch reruns of the Golden Girls and laugh at all the jokes even though they’re not funny? BECAUSE I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE. Your characters and their self-destructive tendencies are making me mental.

David: if you sleep with one more random sex partner while you’re supposedly committed to that hot dish Keith, I’m going to mess up the part in your hair. And I know that will freak you out.

Claire: there is a reason everyone calls him Crazy Billy, Claire. BECAUSE HE’S F-ING CRAZY! Stop sleeping with him! No one’s eyes should go in two different directions like that. It’s a sign, Claire! You moron. And be nicer to your mother. See below.

Nate: go eat an ice cream cone. I’m sick of you. You are the worst kind of depressing. Boring depressing.

Brenda: don’t even talk to me. You should be sleeping with your crazy brother Billy. AGAIN. You are crazy-meant-to-be.

Ruth: I looked up the word “dish rag” in the dictionary and I saw your picture there. It didn’t come as a surprise. However, I like it when you slap your bratty daughter. Do more of that.

Keith: you actually seem rather normal right now. Which I should be happy about but I’m just not. I like Angry Keith better than Whining About Having a Baby Keith. PS: David is cheating on you. AGAIN.

Rico: I find it amusing when you sex up the ladies, Rico. It’s like watching a dirty version of Lord of the Rings starring a spicy Latino Hobbit.

These characters have 3 more discs left in the final season to stop DEPRESSING THE HELL out of me. Do you think they can do it? Let’s find out…to be continued.

Week 22: Deadwood: Season 1, Disc 4

Honest to god, we tried counting how many times they say the word "cocksucker" in one episode on this Deadwood disc and we lost count after 9 cocksuckers within 9 minutes.

Awesome. Sorry...cocksucking awesome!

Most notable on this disc is a brief guest stint by Kristen Bell of TV's Veronica Mars. Is that show still on? Is she destined to be referred to as 'that girl from Veronica Mars' forever? Either way, I don't know why everyone thinks Ms. Bell is so great because I'm not that cocksucking impressed.

She's average-looking, has average acting skills and is vaguely memorable. But she gets a lot of buzz and has been cast in some plumb roles. Maybe audiences are just excited to see a young starlet who wears underwear, hasn't starred in a sex video, and doesn't make the cover of US Weekly every week. Also, she has never been impregnated by K-Fed. THAT WE KNOW OF. Be warned, Kristen Bell. Put your uterus on alert.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Queue Extra: Halloween Edition

All this talk of Shaun of the Dead (see most recent post for Hot Fuzz) and it being Halloween today prompted me to think about my best and worst scary/creepy/horror movies. So here goes:

Best

  1. Shaun of the Dead. Do you need me to go on and on about how much I love this movie again? I didn't think so. If you haven't seen it, you shouldn't read this blog because you obviously just don't "get" me.
  2. Friday the 13th. Don't judge me. Have you watched the original lately? When you're sitting all alone in a dark house and even your cat won't come keep you company? Trust me. It's still scary as hell.
  3. Silence of the Lambs. Is there ever going to be a better thriller? I really don't think so. This movie is best-in-class. And even though I know it by heart, I still get freaked out during the "crawling through the blackened basement" scene. And Grant still likes to say "it rubs the lotion on itself" whenever he sees me breaking out the Lubriderm.
  4. Creepshow. Sure, it's hokey and campy but that's what makes it so great.

Worst

  1. The Shining. Don't hate me. Everyone else in the known world seems to think this is horrifying. But I just don't get it. I was bored stiff. If you ever catch me folding laundry while watching a movie, you know we're in trouble. I did whites and colors during The Shining if that tells you anything.
  2. Silent Night, Deadly Night. This is one of those awful B-movies you rent during a teenage slumber party. As you might be able to imagine from the clever title, Santa is the killer. Shocker! I don't really remember all the details, but it was sufficiently scary in a "Christmas is now ruined for me" kind of way.
  3. Child's Play. Chucky freaks me the hell out. There, I admit it. I am scared of a little doll.
  4. The Exorcist. Most people wax horrific about how much this movie terrified them but it was a yawn-fest for me. I need something made of tougher stuff than a run-of-the-mill possession by the devil. And the effects are so out-of-date they're laughable. I've seen scarier stuff in the back of my refrigerator.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Week 21: Hot Fuzz

Possibly the world’s worst movie title? Mmmm….could be. Did I love it anyway? But of course. Deep down in my heart, I know that I am destined to befriend a group of dry, witty Brits. I will become the fish in their inner circle of chips. It is just meant to be. So if you belong to a group of dry, witty Brits and you live in the vicinity of Columbus, Ohio, look me up, chaps. I have pints and pints of beer waiting for you. And over those pints of beer, we will discuss a deep and enduring love for films like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.

I don’t need to go on here about how utterly perfect Shaun of the Dead is. It is simply brilliant. A perfect deadpan comedy…about zombies. Brilliant. If you haven’t seen it yet, do humanity a favor and go rent it right this minute. Or just turn on Comedy Central where it replays approximately 38 times each day. It will change your life.

Hot Fuzz stars the same bumbling hero/sidekick duo from Shaun. Only this time they are cops in a rural English town that bills itself as the Best Village in England. Naturally, our heroes uncover a much darker secret lurking behind the village’s cheery exterior and a hilarious bloodspree ensues. Simon Pegg, who stars and wrote the film, clearly hasn’t gotten over his adolescent love of horror and action movies and god bless him for it. It’s over-the-top mayhem made high-brow, and I loved it. Nothing beats seeing an old English granny pull out a semi-automatic machine gun and level a street.

Hot Fuzz started off rather slow, I must admit, but it picked up nicely about twenty minutes in and never looked back. I could have done without quite so much focus on the culminating fight/gun battles, but maybe that’s just me. The goofy gore was great though. And Nick Frost as the dim-witted sidekick, Danny Butterman, is so hilariously stupid that he steals the show. He plays the perfect oaf and he even bears a loveable resemblance to “Sloth” from the Goonies.

Fuzz isn’t the cinematic perfection that Shaun is, but it’s still pretty terrific. Next up on the Queue…yet another disc from our shoot-em-up friends at Deadwood. Hmmm…I wonder if they will curse needlessly and without any provocation every ten seconds? I’m on the edge of my seat…

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Week 21: City of God

I’ll be honest that I thought City of God was yet another one of my depressing foreign-language documentaries and it was practically the last thing I wanted to see in my mailbox on Friday afternoon after a hectic workweek. I was in the mood for lighter fare, like – say – a madcap Will Ferrell movie involving a cologne called Sex Panther. But alas, City of God it was. Grant, make mine a double, we're in for it tonight.

But about ten minutes into this movie, we were both hooked. I’m here to testify that this is one amazing movie. Seriously now. I am not being one-bit sarcastic. It's just phenomenal.


It’s a story about the rise and fall of a vicious gang in the notorious Rio slum known as the City of God. It's told through the perspective of one boy, Rocket, who’s trying to avoid the pitfalls of hoodlum life. Rocket weaves us through the lives of the hyper-colorful characters who populate the slum.

And even though the move is filled with intense brutality and violence often involving small children who have assumed the roles of vicious gang leaders, the storytelling aspect of the movie fills it with a big entertainment value and even a fair amount of humor and humanity.

I have been bugging everyone in my office to put this movie at the top of their Netflix queues. And now I'm bugging you. Did you hear me? Right now. Do it. What are you still sitting here for? If you won’t do it for me, do it for God. Or his city. Whatev.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Week 20: Breach

A Letter to Sean Penn:
Dear Sean, how are you? Are you still all stressed out about the Iraq war? I know, buddy, it sucks, right? But I think you should consider focusing on something closer to home. Like, say, your career. Because I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your title of “HIS GENERATION’S GREATEST ACTOR” has recently been stripped. Yes, I am sorry, but it is true. Chris Cooper just won it from you.

Now, now, un-furrow that ridiculously furrowed brow, Mr. Penn. Don’t put that cigarette out on my arm. And please do not strike out at me in a fit of violent rage a la your paparazzi attack of 1985. You are a good actor. Nay – great. Even though your legions of adoring critics seem to have forgotten that you are also the actor who starred as the baked surfer in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. And that you played a retarded person, badly, in I Am Sam. Notice I didn’t even mention that piece of crap with Michael Douglas, the Game. Hey, stop wincing Sean, it wasn’t that bad. What? You’re not wincing? That’s just how your face is. Oh.

I digress. You really did some great acting in some great films. But let’s be honest here. Chris Cooper is just astonishingly good. Have you seen Breach, Sean? Go rent it right now. He will knock your socks off. His portrayal of CIA spy Robert Hanssen is so beautifully tormented that you will actually find yourself feeling sympathy for our country’s most devastating spy.

I fell hard for the talents of Chris Cooper in Adaptation. God, he was brilliant. My sister-in-law Erin just reminded me that he outshined the put-on-your-sunglasses-shiny Meryl Streep in that film.

And remember him in American Beauty? In my humble opinion, his subtle acting stole the show from Kevin Spacey’s prissy performance. I even love him in the Bourne series, even though his role is boxy and trite. Still, he is so powerful on screen that he commands your attention in a way that is completely relatable. And for that we award him the title of HIS GENERATION’S GREATEST ACTOR.

Also…he was never married to Madonna.

So, there you have it, Sean. Again, I’m sorry to bring you this news, but it was necessary. If it helps you get through it, there is still a crisis in Darfur. And Pakistan has really been acting out for attention lately, if you know what I mean. And I think you do.

Later, Sean,
The Motley Queue

Monday, October 15, 2007

Week 20: Little Children

This was an interesting movie for me to watch because I recently (and unwittingly) read the book on which Little Children was based. I didn’t even put it together that this movie of the same title was based on the Tom Perrotta book until we started watching it.

The movie is a very faithful adaptation of the book, even including a narrator to share the characters’ innermost thoughts, much of which seemed lifted word-for-word from Perrotta’s dialogue (he was a screenwriter on this film, so it’s no surprise). This is one of the cases in which both book and movie are really good and neither in a strikingly better way than the other.

A few subtle changes from the book:
1. They changed the main character Todd to Brad in the movie. Why? I have no idea. Maybe the director went to elementary school with a real jerk named Todd and couldn't get it out of his head. Oh wait, according to IMDB, the director’s name is Todd so maybe that’s why he changed it. False alarm.

2. The character of the child molester, Ronnie McGorvey, is portrayed as a mean-spirited, foul-tempered glutton in the book. In the movie, his portrayal by Jackie Earle Haley, is much more subtle, refined and dimensional. Haley (who was Oscar-nominated for this performance) is so tortuously thin that you can read every measure of internal strife and emotion across the strained sinews of his face. He is completely believable and even sympathetic as a child predator.

Tom Perrotta, who also wrote Election, seems to have a knack for showing us detritus of suburban lives, with a special penchant for exposing our base desires for sexual misconduct. Remember the teachers lusting for their students in Election? In Little Children, all the characters are lusting for what they don’t have, most comically in the character Richard’s lust for his online paramour, Slutty Kay. I’ll let you watch what happens when he gets a present in the mail from Slutty Kay, and trust me; it’s worth renting for that humiliating scene alone.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Week 19: Rocky Balboa

Well, well, well. It's finally happened. After a year of keeping our Netflix account password secret from Grant, he finally cracked the code. And this is the result. Rocky Balboa. You have to be freaking kidding me. Is it 1984 again and someone forgot to tell me? If Grant starts whispering Lita Ford lyrics to me, I'm calling my attorney.

I haven't been this astonished since the day -- years ago -- he rented Volcano, starring Tommy Lee Jones. Guess what happens in Volcano? Are you stumped? Well, Columbo, let me break it down for you. It erupts. Hum-dinger!

I am not happy about this development. On a related note, I am guessing Sly Stallone is not happy about his latest face lift, although I'm not even sure if "lift" is the appropriate term. It's more like a brutal shove, resembling a custard that didn't properly rise in the oven. His neck is smooth and taught like a 16-year-old's. But his brow line? Well, it's, uh...sheesh. It's frightening. And thanks to his overzealous brow waxing and raven black eyebrow dye, you can't take your eyes off it.

Stallone wrote and directed Rocky Balboa. All I can say is that this is definitely a movie that has been written and directed. It was perhaps a wise move on Talia Shire's part to turn this film down and play dead. Adrian's death is the central theme of the movie. And now Rocko has to try to move on from her death and decides to do what any rational 60-year-old would: go back in the ring one more time to take on the current heavyweight champ, forty years his junior.

The movie is choppy. The plot outlandish. The writing is atrocious and the acting is forced. The worst line of the movie (and there are many), has to be from Rocky's new love interest (a girl who looks and plays the part of Pam from The Office): "You show him that the last thing to age on a person is his heart." I'm guessing after Sly wrote that line he tried to smile but his mangled face lift wouldn't allow it.

I derided Grant mercilessly through the whole miserable film, but even I have to admit that when the familiar music started playing for Rocky's token fight training montage, I brightened. I think it's a physiological response for any kid who grew up watching Rocky movies. We just love a good training montage. I particularly love his unorthodox training tools like the ox cart in Rocky IV. This time? He throws beer kegs and spars with a raw side of beef in a meat locker.
It was nostalgic and charming even though blood was splattering Rocky from the raw beef. That bit of melancholy aside though, let me issue you a warning, Stallone. If you ever decide to write and direct another Rocky movie, in the words of Ivan Drago from Rocky IV, "I will break you."

And Grant. I love you. You are a good person. You are a wonderful husband and father. But I am changing our Netflix password. And if you ever figure it out again, "I will break you."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Week 19: The Science of Sleep

First off, I have no idea how this movie got on my Netflix Queue. I know I put it on there, but I can’t remember why. Something in the description must have struck me as compelling. Or maybe I was in a drug-induced haze. Or maybe I was having a stupid spell. Since I don’t take drugs, I’m guessing it’s the latter.

Either way, you win, Science of Sleep. You vexing mistress, you.

You made me break my steadfast rule of “I must finish all movies no matter how dreadful, boring, overdramatic, weird and esoteric.” I made it through 57 minutes of Science of Sleep before I called the match. Rule broken. Streak over. Head muddled. Brain hurty.

I would try to tell you what this movie is about, but I honestly can’t. BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW. I hate admitting that I lack the cerebral wherewithal to comprehend an unusual, artistic viewpoint, but I am honestly struck dumb by this movie. I didn’t get it. There. I admit it. I suddenly feel like the type of person who likes to read Oprah Winfrey’s book selections and considers Ruby Tuesday really good food. Sigh.

Anyway, here’s the best way I can describe this movie: Stephane is weird and sad. He takes a job working on nudie calendars, develops a crush on his new neighbor, makes trippy, magical videos in his home studio and speaks three languages interchangeably. Beyond that, you got me.

In the spirit of total disclosure, I have to admit that we turned this off and ended up watching the new Cavemen show on ABC. Yes, I admit it. And – heaven help me – I laughed at it. I honestly thought it was funny. Double sigh.

Dear god, what’s next? Am I going to start saying things like, “get in the Camaro, honey. We’re out of Fritos so we got to get us to the Ruby Tuesday!”

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Week 18: Volver

I'll be honest here. I don't know if Penelope Cruz is a good actress or not. Part of me thinks she is. But a bigger part of me thinks she's just really pretty and so it's hard not to like her. She's very, very pretty. And that's not a bad thing as an actress. But is it enough? I'm wondering what separates her from the dozens of other stunners slogging away on bad Telemundo soap operas. Does she really have chops?

I have a theory that if she was even slightly homely, no one would ever cast her in an English-speaking role, period. She'd annoy the crap out of everyone with her little-girl way of speaking. But in a Spanish film, it's harder for me to make that judgement. It's hard to be annoying in subtitles.

It probably doesn't matter anyway, because she IS pretty. And she IS charming. In Volver, she practically charms the lens off the camera. Which isn't really hard to do given that this is a really amusing little movie that treats death with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. It's sort of like Amelie with a death wish.

In Volver, Cruz plays a frazzled mother working three jobs to support her daughter and laze-about husband, yet she still manages to look fresh-faced and sexily unkempt, rather than dreary-eyed and haggard like any real person would in such circumstances. But I digress.

Her daughter accidentally kills her lecherous husband when he tries to molest her, and right around the same time, the spirit of Cruz's dead mother starts making appearances. Add one dead body to a convenient nearby restaurant freezer and hilarity ensues. Even though the situations are sometimes campy and predictable, Volver is overwhelmingly charming and the characters are adorable and charismatic. Maybe this was director Pedro Almodovar's love song to the women of his country.

I am still raising one eyebrow at the fact that Penelope Cruz got an Oscar nom for her role in Volver, but a bigger, perhaps better part of me, is just grateful it wasn't J. Lo. We can all breathe a sigh of relief there.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Week 18: Blades of Glory

Oh, Will Ferrell. Let's get back to what you do best. Remember Anchorman? That was funny. Old School? Yes, please, I'd like another. But Blades of Glory? Sheesh. This is bad. This is Cuba Gooding-in-the-movie-with-sled-dogs bad.

Sure, Blades has its funny gross-out moments that you can't help but laugh at, but for the most part, it's just a ludicrous, obvious script that has zero surprises. Ferrell's co-star, Jon Heder (of Napoleon Dynamite fame), can't act his way out of a paper bag, even though he's playing a dopey dufus in this film, which doesn't seem like that much of a stretch for him. It would be sort of like asking me to portray a person who sits on the sofa and eats potato chips while making cracks about celebrities. I think I could make the leap.

The only bright spots in the film come from the hilarious figure-skating duo played by real-life husband and wife, Will Arnett and Amy Poehler. I am, to say the least, slightly insanely obsessed with the TV show Arrested Development, where I formed a deep and long-lasting attachment to Will Arnett (read: I am toying with stalking). So, I was delighted to find that he is essentially playing the same character in Blades. His delivery is great and seeing the pair's ludicrous skating ensembles might make this movie worth watching alone.

I will admit that I laughed out loud at the scene in which Will Arnett chases Will Ferrell on skates through a street and building, prancing delicately like kittens taking their first wobbly steps.

That being said, I'd like to end with a serious message to Will Ferrell. We've already had a discussion about your body hair in the previous Queue post for Stranger Than Fiction. But now we need to discuss your career choices. Let me help you out with a little-known piece of advice: just because they offer you a movie, it doesn't mean you have to take it. For example, I'm sure there's a script floating your way about a hijinks-filled croquet tournament or the dark underside of competitive needlepoint. BUT YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO IT. Leave it Jack Black. He needs the work.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Week 17: Rescue Me: Season 1, Disc 1

Have you ever been excited to try a new restaurant, only to find when you get there that what you thought was going to be Mexican food actually turns out to be Italian? It’s not that Italian is bad; it could be the best Italian in the world. It’s just that you thought it was going to be something else entirely. And so you’re nonplussed.

Which brings me to Rescue Me, a series on F/X that’s had critical acclaim but to which I am a late, late comer. I don’t know why, but I’ve always had it in my head that this show was a comedy. I guess it’s the casting of Dennis Leary. I hear the words “Dennis Leary” and I think “comedy.” Just like when I hear the words “Jerry Bruckheimer” I think “piece of crap.”

So imagine my surprise when Rescue Me turns out not to be the glib, joke ride I imagined, but a fairly serious drama. It’s not deadly serious, but it’s decidedly not a comedy, although Dennis Leary is very well cast as the wisecracking down-on-his-luck firefighter trying to salvage his life and career in post-9/11 New York. And, tee-hee --I think this is supposed to be the funny part -- Leary’s character keeps having conversations with the dead firemen in his company who were killed on 9/11.

Let’s do the math: Four dead 9/11 firefighters = comedy gold.

Now, I’m no 9/11 trumpeting flag-waver, (in other words, no, I will not be voting for Rudy Giuliani), but I’m just not ready to become involved in a TV show cloying for my 9/11 sympathies. And so we watched the first three episodes of the series, but decided to cut our losses there. I’m not saying Rescue Me is a bad show. It’s actually pretty good. But to return to my hackneyed metaphor, it’s not the best Italian I’ve ever had.

So, sorry Rescue Me, I’m taking the rest of your discs off our Netflix Queue. If you have to ask me why, I'll just say that it was Rudy Giuliani who tore us apart.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Week 17: Weeds, Season 2: Disc 3

I'll give one thing to the folks over at Weeds, they know how to coax a cliffhanger out of the proverbial soil. The last two episodes of the series' second year are worth the price of admission alone. The finale had a truly terrific cliffhanger that ensured the Motley Queue household will be a-renting next year to see how it unfolds. As if we had better things to do, anyway. But still.

Although, I am having a little trouble swallowing the sudden cosmic turn in Nancy's boyfriend, the DEA agent played by Martin Donovan. Up until he finds out that Nancy has betrayed his confidence, he is the picture of romantic manhood, all hazy eyes and whispered sexuality. Then bam: he's a feckless blackmailing S.O.B. who isn't afraid to casually throw around the n-word.

Call me crazy, but the sudden aperture in his personality seemed a little convenient. And it didn't play well on screen. He's too damn likable. It's sort of like learning that your sweet old Aunt Mae likes to kill puppies in her free time.

Of course, there's loads of drama in the last disc with Nancy's sons; none of it terribly interesting. It's a lot more fun to watch the repulsive attraction between Celia and Doug form. You know it's going to end badly and that's half the fun.

On a semi-related note: hubby and I caught a few minutes of Mary Louise Parker in a Fried Green Tomatoes rerun on TV last night and unless we're both seeing things, the fetching Miss Parker accidentally tripped and fell into a cosmetic surgeon's knife, rendering her nose much less protuberant than it once was. Check it out and let me know if you agree.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Week 16: 300

At first glance, 300 appears to be the cinematic execution of an intense homoerotic dream of a sixteen-year-old Xbox addict. All rippling abs and exposed glutes and un-sheathing of phallic weapons. And re-sheathing. And un-sheathing. And stop: slow-motion ab flex. Repeat.

But, after awhile, the comic book sheen and over-dramatic narration fade into the background and you begin to believe that all Spartan men looked like a cross between a Calvin Klein model and a Hasbro action figure. Or, say, the offspring of a one-night-stand between Brad Pitt and Viggo Mortensen. And if you're female or gay or a homoerotic Xbox addict, it's quite enjoyable. I wouldn't kick any of those Spartans out of bed.

300 is the tale of a famed battle of Spartan Kind Leonidas and his 300 soldiers who battled the thousands of warriors of the Persian emperor, Xerxes. I've already admitted to my weakness for believing everything on Wikipedia to be true, so you can imagine my pleasure at learning that most of the seemingly outlandish set-up to this movie is true.


Like, for example, the fact that all Spartan babies were really brought before a council to be judged worthy and if they failed (for any physical weakness or defect), they were left to die on a mountain known as The Place of Rejection. Fascinating. If I had rippling abs right now, I would flex them.

The battle scenes (and frankly, the movie is one voluminous battle scene) are graphic and stylized and totally gratuitous. This truly is a comic book come to life. I have never seen so many slow-motion abdominal muscle clenches in my life. Again, this is not necessarily a negative.

What is negative; however, is the rather lame climax you can see coming from approximately 300 flexed pectorals away. And the movie lost me the minute Xerxes (who appears to be the queen of all drag queens. Seriously, she is stunning) started trotting out super-human creatures to battle Leonidas, including one "thing" that made us start saying the "Bring out the Gimp" line from Pulp Fiction.

The movie is blessedly short because I don't think the human brain can take that much stylized bloodshed for too long. Also, watching 300 for more than 20 minutes, you begin to contemplate your body fat-to-muscle ratio and if you're like our household, the ratio comes up woefully short. Had I been born in Sparta, I don't think I would have been dumped as an infant on the Place of Rejection, but I'm pretty sure somewhere in my mid-twenties, I would have been dumped on the Place of Spreading Waistlines. I'd be lying there next to a broken down Thighmaster and Kelly LeBrock.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Week 16: Deadwood Season 1, Disc 3

First off, my idle threats at HBO must have worked: they put three episodes on this disc instead of the usual two. Hazzah! Victory is mine.

Second, I finally went to Wikipedia to look up some info on some of the real-life characters in Deadwood -- namely Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok -- only to discover that the whole town and most of the characters on the show come from the real history of Deadwood. You can read it here. It was fascinating. Even the two rival saloons, the Gem and Bella Union, and their proprietors are real. I don't know why I find all this so exciting, but I am practically wetting myself over this discovery.

Now, I understand that Wikipedia is filled with errors, falsities and innuendo. But I don't care. I'm one of those people who chooses to believe that everything I read there is the bona fide truth. If you would like to disabuse me of my beliefs, so be it. I won't listen to you. Unless you post it on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Week 16: Flightplan

I have a little obsession with Peter Saarsgaaaaaard. I just like saying his name. Whenever we see him, Grant and I play a game of rhyming things to his name:

“I wonder if Peter Sarsgaard has an aaardvaark?”
“Peter Sarsgaard, could you meet me at the paaark?
“I’m going to play caaards with Peter Sarsgaard.”

I was standing at the checkout of my local library when I spotted the Flightplan DVD and noticed Sarsgaard was in it. Sure, it should have occurred to me that if I didn’t think the movie was worthy of renting, it’s probably not a good idea to bother with it from the library. But it was free and it had Sarsgaard and so I picked it up. Mistake #1.

I must confess that I have a serious jones for a good thriller. The only problem is that I can’t remember the last time I saw a good one. I have high hopes for every thriller I watch, but some part of me knows going in that I’m going to be disappointed.

Like in Flightplan, I vaguely recalled the plot involved Jodie Foster’s young child being stolen from her while on an airplane. And [SPOILER ALERT], I knew going in there was NO WAY there wouldn't be some heartfelt reunion of mother and daughter. But still, I held out hope it would deliver something more than the obvious hero resolution. Mistake #2.

The first hour of this movie is quite excellent. The hook is intriguing. The tension is fantastic. Was her daughter really on the plane? Or is she delusional? Was her daughter killed a week beforehand? Or is there really a terrorist on the plane? Flightplan, tell me more! You have me! I'm on the hook! Mistake #3.


I’m telling you, the minute the plot starts to resolve itself, the movie unravels like a cheap sweater. It has the most complex and ludicrous back story of any heist/kidnapping plot I’ve ever heard. What a huge disappointment. And what a waste of talent.

SPOILER ALERT: Peter Sarsgaard turns out to be one of the bad guys. Big surprise. With his shrewd eyes and his sneering manner of speaking, will he ever be cast as anything but the evil doer?

Still, wouldn’t it be great if someone cast him in a completely a-typical role? If I ever direct my own movie, it will star Peter Sarsgaard and here are the things I will instruct that surly little man to do:

“Peter Sarsgaard, I want to see you frolic! That’s right! Pick up those heels. That clover isn’t going to roll in itself, Sarsgaard.”

“Sarsgaard, on to the kittens. That’s right, pick up ten or twenty of them. Cuddle, Sarsgaard, cuddle! Put that one on your shoulder! Feed this one with a tiny bottle! I need more kittens!”

“Okay, Sarsgaard, into the bubble bath. Don't trip on all the scented candles. That’s it, Sarsgaard, pick up that glass of white wine. And read this copy of Bridget Jones’ Diary. Where is Sarsgaard’s scented oil? Can somebody find me some fucking bath beads? Is anybody working on this set but me?”

In short, I would be an awesome director. And I would win Peter Sarsgaard an Academy Awaaaaard.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Week 15: Night Shift

Oh, the 1980s. You silly, stupid decade. You gave us some great things. Like Wham and jelly bracelets. Your films; however, are not included on the list. That being said, if you are of a mind to indulge in sheer 1980's frivolity from time to time, you might expect your movies to contain the following:

1. Brief cameos of actors who would later become famous (in Night Shift, you'll spot Richard Belzer as a thug and Kevin Costner as a drunken frat boy. The disc sleeve also mentioned Shannen Doherty but we never spotted her scowling mug anywhere.)

2. Overacting (courtesy of Micheal Keaton in Night Shift. I still love Keaton (terrific eyebrows, right?) even though it turns out he is a terrible actor. He remains my favorite Batman.)

3. A predictable plot involving a hooker with a heart of gold (in this case, Shelley Long playing the future part of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Although Shelley Long can hardly be described as pretty and she is barely womanly. I've seen surfboards with more curves.)

4. A character who makes all the '80s coke addicts feel at home (in this case, again, Michael Keaton fills the frenetic role).

5. An atrocious soundtrack (I have two words for you in this movie: Burt Bacharach.)

6. Fur. Lots of it. Apparently in the '80s, we did everything but paper our walls in silver fox.

7. A drunken frat scene (in Night Shift, it takes place in a morgue and yes, no surprises here, one couple was "doing it" in the roll-out shelves where they keep the dead bodies. Obligatory booby flash included.)

The cheese content in Night Shift is through the roof, which I guess is the point of watching it. I was disappointed that it didn't have the over-the-top B-movie factor of my beloved Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, which remains my gold-standard for '80s cheese.

We found it humorous that Ron Howard directed this movie. I'm sure he loves it when he's at a dinner party and someone brings it up just to mortify him. I can just picture that a-hole James Cameron shouting drunkenly across the table, "Hey, Opie! When you gonna film Night Shift 2? That'll get you an Oscar, buddy. Did I mention that I won an Oscar for Titanic? Like fourteen of them, actually. I directed Titanic, everyone! Everyone?!! Did you hear me????!!!!!"

And then Ron Howard, with no small trace of smile, kindly reminds James Cameron that he also directed Piranha Two. And James Cameron begins to cry like a little girl.


Thursday, September 6, 2007

Week 14: Weeds, Season 2, Disc 1

Sorry for the delay in this post, but the Labor Day holiday put a serious wrench in our Netflix mail schedule. It was like the perfect storm of bad timing. Thank you, day off of work. No thank you, postal delays.

Anyway, we watched the entire first season of Weeds in one rainy afternoon last year. We felt like we had the munchies just from watching it. Okay, I just like to snack, but even so, it was a nice excuse to feel like we were in good company.


You probably already know that Weeds is about a newly widowed housewife (Mary Louise Parker) who decides to sell weed in order to keep her family living in their upscale gated California community. It's a funny premise, but I'm still questioning how long this can go on before the series begins taking ridiculous soap opera turns a la the train-wreck second season of Desperate Housewives.

In a way, I feel like it already has. And it isn't helping that two key supporting players, Doug Wilson (played by Kevin Nealon) and Celia (Elizabeth Perkins), inhabit grossly one-dimensional characters. I'm not buying Doug as such a complete ass. And it's inconceivable that Celia can be so evil to her only daughter ("You don't want to be the fattest girl in fat camp again this year, do you?") They are fun to watch but they make the show feel like bubble gum. Neat and plasticky but not a real foodstuff.

It's just this sort of shallow writing that will keep Weeds far away from the lush grasses of shows like Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, and my new darling, Deadwood. I realize this sounds like I don't care for the show, which isn't true. I've got a soft spot for Mary Louise Parker and her lethargic way of speaking, like she is perennially waking up from a nap. And casting Martin Donovan as the hunky-love-interest-who-happens-to-be-a-DEA-agent is brilliant. Ladies, trust me on this one. Although he has a somewhat scarily large noggin, Martin Donovan has to be one of the most underrated actors around. This is the best storyline of the show but is one I'm afraid they're playing out much too fast.

We have one episode left on the disc to finish tonight, which means I better go make some popcorn. And maybe some chips and dip. And possibly some nachos...

Monday, September 3, 2007

Week 14: Children of Men

Whoever wrote Children of Men, and I'm frankly too lazy to look it up on IMDB, has an obvious hard-on for Margaret Atwood. She of the dystopian doomsday futuristic novels I had to slug through in every miserable women's studies class I took in college. [Teacher: let's take back the night! Me: I was really hoping to watch TV tonight. I'll take it back tomorrow. Next Tuesday at the latest.]

In Children of Men, the year is 2027 and women of the world mysteriously stopped getting pregnant 18 years ago. Without the hope of a future, society has crumbled. Lawlessness and chaos rule. And just like in every futuristic/doomsday movie, everyone is dirty and wears only black. Like The Gap honestly couldn't survive a social holocaust. Gap stores are like cockroaches. You can't kill 'em. Someone out there has to own some khaki.

Our black-wearing hero of the story is Clive Owen, who gets roped into joining a band of people shepherding a miracle: a young pregnant girl carrying the first human baby on the planet in nearly two decades. It is never quite clear who her protectors are hiding her from and why. There is a lot of talk of getting her to "The Human Project," although we never learn what the project is. It sounds like somewhere you'd want to go though if you were carrying the world's only baby. And wherever they go, people mysteriously start showing up and shooting indiscriminately at them. It's all very stressful and grim. It made me want to put on a yellow sundress and bake bread.

I've said it before that Michael Caine plays the role of Michael Caine in every movie and Children of Men is no exception. He's still the lovable, comfortable old slipper, only this time with longer hair. You see, the longer hair makes it unexpected.

I won't tell you how the movie ends but let's just say it involves a lot of dirty people shooting other dirty people in an attempt to protect the pregnant gal from something or other. Who could tell?

I took this movie to be a parable for the life-sustaining hope a baby injects into any situation. Like how after I had my baby, I now weep openly at Pampers commercials. It is embarrassing, but there is something hopeful in it, even for a cynic like me.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Deadwood: Season 1, Disc 2

I still love Deadwood. Even though I giggle every time they say cocksucker because now it feels personal, like they’re doing it just to give me something to write about. Thank you, Wild Bill Hickok. I appreciate the potty-mouth shout-out.

I was, however, really bummed to receive this disc and find out that they are going to torture us by putting only two episodes on every disc. Cocksuckers. The Sopranos used to pull this nonsense from time to time and I haven’t forgotten about it.

I know, I know. We should just pony up the extra cash and get HBO. But we’re at war with our cable company as it is and I just can’t give them the satisfaction.

My only hope is that someone at HBO will realize that many of its most passionate advocates don’t even subscribe to the service. And so torturing us with two-episode discs is really just poisoning your own well.

Don’t make me go to the dark side, HBO, because I am not above watching Cinemax. I just checked their schedule and they’re airing “Garfield, a Tale of Two Kitties” right next to “The Erotic Traveler”. Which I presume to be a tale of two titties.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Week 13: Deadwood, Season 1, Disc 1

Damn, this is a good show. Shit yeah! Cocksucker!

Sorry, I got a little carried away with Deadwood-speak. I remember when this show came out a few years ago, all anyone could talk about was how much the characters swore. We, being HBO-free, never understood what the fuss was all about.

Now I fucking get it.

They swear a lot. A ridiculous amount. So much that it is totally distracting. And it almost ruins the show a bit. Which is a shame because Deadwood is so good, it doesn’t really need the shock-value of an ill-advised “cocksucker” every two minutes.

That being said, I’m in love with Deadwood. I can’t believe we waited this long to watch it. I’ve always had a thing for westerns, but what’s great about Deadwood is that it’s so dirty and gritty and wild. It makes you a little grateful to have concrete sidewalks and sanitation systems.

Deadwood is a wild west prospecting camp where outlaws come to strike it rich. Seth Bullock (played by Timothy Olyphant, whose voice is weirdly identical to Bill Paxton’s) arrives in Deadwood and immediately strikes up a rivalry with the corrupt owner of the local brothel/saloon, Al Swearengen (Ian McShane). The cast is colorful, corrupt and dirty. Seth’s partner is Sol “the Jew”. Well, I’m sure all the outlaws in town will just open their arms to welcome a Jew. I can’t imagine there will be any trouble for him at all. Nope. I’m sure he'll just slip under the radar.

The first disc contained just two episodes and already there have been a half-dozen murders, beatings and even a few gunfights. It’s a pure, guilty pleasure. Oh, and Wild Bill Hickok is also in town and is so cool and smooth he could best any modern-day superhero.

I can’t wait for the next disc. Oh, sorry. I meant to say: I can’t fucking wait for the next cocksucking disc. Cocksucker.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Week 13: The Dinner Game

Here’s how Netflix described The Dinner Game:

A group of French intellectuals gather each Wednesday for the dinner game, where the challenge is to bring along the most idiotic guest each can find.

Oh, I’ll be honest, Netflix. You had me at “a group of French intellectuals.” I’m a sucker for that sort of thing. Probably because it is my secret desire to be described in casual conversation as a French intellectual. Forgetting the fact that I am neither French nor intellectual. TouchĂ©.

Grant busied himself with falling asleep approximately ten minutes into this movie. His eyes started to flutter the minute he saw me select the option for “English subtitles.” That’s pretty much his cue to put on his PJs and sink way back against the sofa cushions for a nice snooze.

So, while Grant snored I did my best to dredge up my remedial knowledge of college French. Just as I feared, I could only make out the curse words.

Anyway, I’m mixed on this movie. It was enjoyable and even charming in parts, but I couldn’t help but feel like I was watching an old episode of “I Love Lucy.” It has that saccharine quality about it that isn’t unpleasant, but is so campy and pratfall-ridden that you never really buy into the whole premise. Still, it was fun to watch the mess unfold when Pierre is stuck with his “idiot” after injuring his back, preventing them from making it to the dinner party.

I found it amusing that Pierre seemed to forget about his horrible back injury as the night wore on. What started as paralyzing pain morphed into him absently clutching his side from time to time as he raced around his apartment. That’s exactly the way I behave when I’m sick. I forget the pain after a while but bring it back from time to time to garner sympathy. It doesn’t work for me either.

I say go ahead and rent this one. Grant says “Zzzzzz….”

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Queue Quiz: Reader Poll

The Motley Queue asks:
Our Netflix queue runneth somewhat low, and we're interested to know which movies you think we at the Motley Queue should add to our queue. My, that is a lot of usage of the word 'queue' in one sentence. Anyway, I'm interested to hear what you think we should watch.

Some recent suggestions I've received include:
Night Shift (submitted by Joyce): classic 1980's kitsch starring Michael Keaton, whom I will always love. Even though nobody ever casts him in anything anymore, which is a shame.

Class of 1984 (submitted by Doug): I'm a little scared of this one because Doug has weird tastes but I'm willing to chance it. Although when I looked it up on IMDB, it has a definite "Toxic Avenger" stench about it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Week 12: Extras, Season 2, Disc 2

Okay, I won't bore you again with my endless babbling about how funny this show is. Instead, I though I'd make a clumsy segue from the fact that Chris Martin was the guest star on one episode on this disc to the fact that I CANNOT STAND his wife, Gwyneth Paltrow.


Is it because I am secretly jealous of how fabulous her life is? Possibly.

Is it because even though I think she's a self-obsessed bore, given the chance, I would try to become her friend? Most certainly.

Is it because I want the ability to casually toss into conversation the fact that Steven Spielberg is my godfather? Yes. I am a shallow hal.

I think Gwynnie is a fine actress. I don't think she's as great as everyone pretends she is (conveniently forgetting that atrocious cow patty she was in with Huey Lewis, Duets). I can even put up with her yapping about macrobiotic diets and how she NEEDED to take a year off from work because pretending to be other people for a living is really hell on her yoga practice. Testify.

I think what did me in with Paltrow was the the clip I saw of her on the Oprah show in which she lamented her father's death by recounting the story of the time he took her to the Ritz Carlton in Paris so she could, "see Paris for the first time with a man who would always love her."

The audience swooned. Oprah made one of those sounds she makes when she forgets that she's supposed to be pretending to be a folksy black woman. The whole room felt sorry for Gwyneth. Because her father would never again take her to the Ritz Carlton. In Paris. France. Where she probably stays every other week. And never has to worry that the bottle of Fiji she just took from the minibar cost 35 euros. But remember folks, she is lounging in that giant featherbed in the presidential suite of a five-star hotel without her father. She only has her maid, her butler, rockstar husband and healthy children to keep her company. Sigh.

I feel for you, Gwynnie. I really do. Because my father will probably never again take me to the Knight's Inn off the highway in Bexley, West Virginia. The one with indoor plumbing and only a modest amount of stains on unwashed sheets. Nope, I may never get to see that icon of luxury again with the one man who would always tolerate me.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Week 11: Grey Gardens

Pop Quiz! Sanity Edition

Wondering if you're crazy? Take the Grey Gardens sanity quiz!

A) Have you ever cooked corn in a pot of boiling water next to your bed, then buttered it and ate it in bed?

B) Upon seeing one of your 20 cats pee in your bed next to you, have you ever declared, "I thrive on the smell of cat urine!"?

C) Have you ever been forced to cart 1,000 bags of trash from inside your house?

If you answered "yes" to any of the questions, welcome to crazy town!

I'm not one of those people obsessed with Jackie Kennedy, but still, I can't help but rubberneck when I hear that some incredibly rich, privileged family has a big old pot of crazy in it. In the case of Jackie Bouvier Kennedy, her pot o' crazy came in the form of her aunt and cousin and their dilapidated mansion, Grey Gardens.

Grey Gardens is a documentary from 1975 on Big Edie (Edith Bouvier Beale) and Little Edie Beale, aunt and cousin of Jackie O. These ladies grew up in the roaring aristocracy of New York City and by all accounts lived a lush and privileged life. They summered in the family's Hampton's manse, Grey Gardens. But somewhere along the way, Big Edie's husband left her and she called for her lovely and popular daughter, Little Edie, to come back and live with her in Grey Gardens.

Twenty or so cats and one thousand bags of trash later (no exaggeration, according to one newspaper report), Grey Gardens became a rodent-infested, trash-strewn skeleton of aristocracy and the two Edies had gone plumb crazy inside it.

The documentary, although I've only recently heard of it, is apparently legendary and a cult favorite on the gay scene (I confirmed this through a few Google searches by using keywords such as "homo gardens" and "queens love Edie").

The audio quality is rough and it lingers a bit, but still, it's compelling. Especially when you see glimpses into their pasts in which they were young and beautiful and so strikingly normal. But in the film, normal is long gone. They are eccentric to the point of insanity. Like in the scene where Big Edie, lying on her filthy mattress, BOILS A POT OF CORN next to her bed. I still can't get over it.

Watching the scenes of Little Edie (who at 56, is no longer little) are particularly heartbreaking because as she recounts her years at Spence and her debutante balls and society parties, you're struck by what terrible turns her life took and how much she lost. She had every bit as much opportunity as her cousin Jackie did, but her life went tragically astray.

And somehow she lost all her hair. That was never explained, and frankly, I'd like an answer. Maybe the cats ate it.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Week 11: Extras, Season 2, Disc 1

I've got to rent something crappy soon because it's getting increasingly harder to think of anything sarcastic to say when the rental is so good. So I won't even try with Extras, Season 2. It's just plain hilarious. The second season is even funnier than the first, with the three episodes on this disc starring Orlando Bloom, David Bowie and Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter for the three of you muggles who don't know). I'd heard that the David Bowie episode was a killer and it didn't dissapoint. Bowie bursting into spontaneous song about what a fat loser Andy Millman is(Ricky Gervais)...well, it's priceless.

And nothing could have prepared us for seeing little Harry Potter hitting on anything with boobs and carrying around an unrolled condom as proof that he's ready to "have the sexual intercourse" as he calls it. Brilliant.

I swear this show would never work in an Americanized version because no American actors would allow themselves to be portrayed in such embarrassing ways. I think the act of hiring your own publicist automatically removes the sense-of-humor-chip from your brain.

If you have HBO (which we don't) and a DVR (which we also don't), you're committing a crime if you're not watching this show. Jesus. I just re-read that sentence and realized I need to get a life. Or at least a DVR. Which I think would be like plopping Lindsay Lohan in a cocaine factory and handing her a box of Ziploc baggies and one of those enormous purses she carries and telling her not to take anything.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Week 10: Sherrybaby

Every time I pick up a copy of Us Weekly, there’s a photo inside of Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal and her boyfriend, Peter Saaaaarsgaaard sitting at an outdoor cafĂ© looking very morose and sullen. They’re always dressed like dirty hoboes and look like three disaffected art school students whose parents won’t stop hassling them about getting a “real” degree. So they spend their days drinking coffee, smoking clove cigarettes and drawing on their forearms with black markers.

After seeing Sherrybaby last night, I finally get why these three are so bummed out at the world. It’s because Maggie was totally, one-hundred-percent robbed of an Academy Award for this performance.

This was a fantastic, gritty, uncomfortably real performance. As a former heroin addict trying to re-insert herself into her former life, Mags perfectly portrayed the ugly reality of post-addiction life.

And Maggie didn’t even have to wear a prosthetic nose or act like a mental retard to deliver a great performance. That’s right, Kidman, I went there. And, it should also be noted, Maggie Gyllenhaal is probably the only actress in Hollywood who hasn’t had a boob job. As you will see in many, many saggy bag scenes in this film. Good for you, Maggie. Way to fight the perky Man.

Maggie Gyllenhaal, I’m officially taking you off my creepy list. I’m still not convinced that you and your brother aren’t sleeping together, a la Meg and Jack White, but from this point forward, I’m willing to look the other way.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Week 10: Smokin' Aces

Welcome to Smokin' Aces, or as it's working title was probably called, "The Poor Man's Ocean's 11."

I imagine when Andy Garcia left the set of Ocean's 11 and headed over to Smokin' Aces, he found his plush trailer replaced by a sleeping bag tossed in the back of an El Camino and the tables of Perrier, smoked salmon and beef roulades replaced by a few cans of cheese puffs and something called 'olive loaf.'

This isn't the worst movie ever made, but it's not far off. First off, the heavy acting is left in the hands of Ryan Reynolds. Here's an actor who should only be in movies that begin with the phrase, "National Lampoon's Presents..."

Worse than Reynolds is Alicia Keyes cast as a sexy assassin. I'm always annoyed when non-actors are cast in major movies, like they really couldn't have tapped Vivica A. Fox for this role. Honestly, Hollywood, I know it's hard to believe, but she's available. I've always assumed that's what the "A" in Vivica A. Fox stands for.

Smokin' Aces is about Buddy "Aces" Israel (played by Jeremy Piven). He's a Las Vegas magician who's gotten himself on the wrong side of the mob and is ready to squeal on a high-placed mobster. A million-dollar contract is placed on Buddy Israel and assassins from around the country converge at the hotel where he's hiding out. If I can say one good thing about this movie, it's that offing Jeremy Piven is something I can really get behind.

I know, I know, everyone loves him in Entourage but have you seen Piven on his "mystic" Indian journey of spirituality that airs on the Travel Channel from time to time? After watching this smug horse's ass claim his affinity for the spiritual life, my chi will never be the same again. Go back to your Bowflex, Piven; nobody's buying the idea that your well runs deep.

The only redeeming quality of Smokin' Aces is the cameo of Jason Bateman. I love me some Jason Bateman. He serves absolutely no purpose in this movie, but you get to see him roll out of bed wearing a bra and women's panties. It's hilarious. And then Ryan Reynolds begins his dramatic monologue and we were right back to hating this movie.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Bonus Film: The Professional

How on earth am I the only person who never saw this movie?

I think maybe I was always turned off by everyone going gaga over Natalie Portman's performance when she was all of twelve years old. I think it's because when I was twelve I was busy schlepping manure out of the barn and picking my pimples while the ingenue Portman jetted between her apartments in New York and L.A. It put a sour taste in my mouth for you, Portman. But I'm over it now. For the most part.

Anyway, my coworker Clinton loaned me his copy of The Professional and we watched it last night in lieu of the dreadful second disc of Black Books that I wrote about earlier this week.

If you're a citizen of this planet, you probably already know The Professional is about a skilled assassin who is forced to take in a young girl after her family is gunned down. Jean Reno plays the charmingly tortured assassin, Portman plays the girl and Gary Oldman plays the bad guy. Also, Danny Aiello is cast in the film as Danny Aiello. Who knew he was still alive? Well, good for you, Aiello. Way to play the part. Of yourself.

Now I finally understand why everyone raved about this movie. It's really good. And yes, Portman is good too. I'm a little sad to report that Gary Oldman overacts his part by leaps and bounds. I love Gary Oldman, but he didn't do justice to the bad guy, turning him a little campy when a straighter approach would have made the tension much better.

I was also a little disturbed at how sexualized Natalie Portman was, but we're living in the "Dateline: To Catch a Predator" age and so maybe we're all just a little overwrought about these things. Still, wouldn't it have been fun to watch Chris Hansen stroll into the assassin's apartment and say, "I bet you weren't expecting to find me here, were you?"

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Week 9: The Bourne Ultimatum

Man, Ben Affleck's ass must be really chapped about the success of the Bourne series. Just imagine him at the height of his popularity several years ago, stroking the hair plugs J. Lo made him get while he mused over the stacks of scripts studios were plying him with.

I could go Ocean's 11, he must have thought. Nah, Clooney and Pitt are all washed up. I could do this Bourne project. But no, that's probably going to be a bomb. I'll give it to Damon. That should be a laugh riot. Wait. What's this? Daredevil? A script about a blind superhero no one has ever heard of and probably will never care about? This is gold! Theatric gold! J. Lo, put on your mink eyelashes and tell me that you love me. When you're wearing your mink eyelashes, they hide the lies.

Lucky for audiences everywhere, Affleck took Daredevil and Damon took Bourne. And the world is a better place for it. I know this rekindles the deep fear that I am secretly a twelve-year-old boy, but I have to admit I love this series. Love it, love it, love it. It's thrilling, suspenseful and the action sequences are great. Especially since director Paul Greengrass took over the franchise in the Bourne Supremacy and introduced us to the handheld camera action sequence. It's a little dizzying at times, but it's so damn fun to watch, who cares? We were off on vacation today and it's too hot to do anything outside so we rushed off to the theater to see the final installment of the series.

The Bourne Ultimatum doesn't break any new ground but it's filled with the edge-of-your-seat action sequences we've come to expect. I have to admit that there are times in Ultimatum when Matt Damon is banged up so badly you have to question whether or not he has super-human abilities to recover from injuries. I once crashed a car in college and had minor whiplash, which I complained about at length for an entire week. Every time I took a sip of water I winced and re-told the story of my crash to anyone who would listen. I'm not proud of it, but it's true.

By my count, Jason Bourne endured four massive car crashes, including one car heaved over the edge of a multi-story car lot, landing upside down, and yet he still scampered away each time as though he'd just had a run-in with a pesky mosquito.

I'll admit that I never would have pegged Matt Damon to be an action hero, but you've got to give him his due in the Bourne series. He really did a good job. And I just watched him promoting the movie on The Daily Show and damned if he wasn't likable to boot.

Somewhere in Massachusetts sits a man with an incredibly large forehead and an old set of hair plugs, plotting his revenge on the success of the Bourne series. He's stroking the withering remnants of a pair of false eyelashes while he reads the script that he believes will redeem him: Daredevil 2: Still Blind and Rather Uninteresting.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Week 9: Black Books

Oh, Netflix, you vexing mistress, you got me again. You recommended Black Books to me and I fell for it hook, line and stinker.

Black Books is a TV sitcom on the BBC about a surly bookstore owner who is rude and sardonic to his clientele. I was expecting a sarcastic show full of that beloved dry British wit, given that the series was billed as "riotous" by Netflix. Apparently "riotous" is Netflix-speak for "includes an overused and abrasive laugh track."

I am sad to report that I made the fatal Netflix error of putting Black Books Series 2 in my queue before watching the first disc, so now it's already in the mail and we've wasted an entire rental period. Balls.

Even worse is the fact that I like to imagine there is someone at Netflix whose job it is to scour every member's rental lists, keeping a score of who rents the best movies, and, therefore, has the best taste in the entire country. Perhaps this list is shared with intelligence experts at the CIA so they can recruit super-elite members of a covert think-tank. Something like that.

The point is that I like to think our names are right near the top. He considers us renters of excellent tastes. And even though we don't know him, and he possibly doesn't exist, it MATTERS. When he can't sleep at night, he pulls out his lists and lovingly re-reads our rental history, nodding his agreement with our choices. But then this man finds that we have not only rented Gia in the past month, but also Black Books. The latter could be consider a slip-up, but Gia, no, that is unforgivable. And he purses his lips with a little twinge of disgust and rips our names right off his chart.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Week 8: The Good German

[The scene opens on the terrace of a palazzo overlooking Lake Como, Italy. A handsome and well-known actor is lounging on a chaise while his manservant tends him.]

CLOONEY: Manservant, how is my hair today?

MANSERVANT: Very peppery, sir.

CLOONEY: And salty?

MANSERVANT: Awfully salty, sir. Were I a tender fillet of beef I should like to roll myself across your lush salt and pepper. I would taste most divine with your fine seasoning upon me.

CLOONEY: Thank you, Manservant. That helps but I'm still feeling a bit blue today. Open up another $17,000 bottle of wine, why don't you?

MANSERVANT: I already have one open, sir. Why are you so troubled, if I may ask?

CLOONEY: It's Pitt.

MANSERVANT: Vile scum licking at the heels of Master Clooney's boots.

CLOONEY: Thanks, Manservant. It's just that he stole the World's Sexiest Man title from me.

MANSERVANT: [GASP!] This cannot be true, sir. Here, let me wipe the sweat from your brow with this Google stock certificate.

CLOONEY: I've got to think of a way to best Pitt. Maybe I should go after Aniston. That would get him. Except she's kind of a whiner, isn't she?

MANSERVANT: Very much so. Begging your pardon, Master Clooney, but may I suggest perhaps making a new film? Something Pitt has never done before?

CLOONEY: Good idea, Manservant. But I'm so bored with films. I've done it all really. Romance. Comedy. Serious political intrigue. Political statements.

MANSERVANT: And you were on Roseanne.

CLOONEY: BITE YOUR TONGUE! I'm very angry now. Hand me that priceless Ming vase so I can smash it against the cliffs.

MANSERVANT: Better sir?

CLOONEY: Much. Now, where were we? Right, a film. Hey, I know. I'll do something in black and white. No one is doing black and white. That'll really get people talking.

MANSERVANT: Begging your pardon, Master, but Sin City was in black and white and was quite good.

CLOONEY: Balls. I don't care. I'm still doing black and white. I'll set it in Germany. Yes, Pitt's never done Germany. And maybe I'll cast a female lead Pitt's never worked with. She needs to be tall, thin and pale. Very waspy. Paltrow! I'll cast Paltrow!

MANSERVANT: Er---ahem, vile Pitt was engaged to Paltrow, sir. They were in a movie together, too.

CLOONEY: Damn you, Pitt! Curses! Manservant, hand me that stack of thousand-dollar bills so I can fling them into the ocean. There, that feels better. Eureka! I've got it. I'll do the Holocaust. I'm sure Pitt hasn't done Holocaust. Everyone loves the Holocaust. And there hasn't been a good film about it for decades. That's it!

MANSERVANT: Sir, if I may remind you sir, of Mr. Spielberg's film, Schindler's List? It was about the Holocaust. And it was in black and white.

CLOONEY: That piece of art-house crap? I'm sure no one remembers it. I'll make my story much more complex. Almost too complex. And I'll make it vague. And not very interesting. And it will bore people so much that they'll think they're just not smart enough to understand all the deep plot lines and innuendo. And just to really get Pitt's goat, I'll cast that drab little Tobey Maguire.

MANSERVANT: Gross.

CLOONEY: Gross, indeed. That's sure to win a nomination. And I'll get Soderberg to film it. He'll do anything for me.

MANSERVANT: Like Ocean's 13? Wink, wink.

CLOONEY: Ha! Ha! Ha! Yes, we got him good on that one, didn't we? Ah, Manservant, we've had some good times, haven't we? I think I'm ready for a swim, Manservant. Fire up the yacht.

MANSERVANT: The grand deluxe yacht or the super premium titanium yacht, sir?

CLOONEY: Whichever one is bigger than Pitt's.

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