New York City, baby.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Bronx Bombah

Can the world get any stranger? Imagine a Yankee infield comprised of Jeets, Slappy and Nomah. The Post is saying it could happen. The way I have it Clemens pitches no-hitter in Game Seven of the World Series in Yankee Stadium, snagging a grounder (from Renteria?) and tossing it over to first where Nomar snaps the ball shut in his glove for the last out. As the sell-out crowds unleashes a deafening roar, Nomar rushes towards the mound - wait, past the mound - and leaps into the arms of A-Rod and Jeets simultaneously where they all do a three-way hetero man-hump involving much fist-pumping. Nomar intends to give the ball to Captain Courageous but Mia sends message via the hidden mic in his ear to keep it for their kid's college tuition. Their painfully superstitious lanky jock-cock spawn grows up and goes off to Harvard, the over-achiever that he will have no choice but to be, where he will room with a frosh named Mientkiewicz. By then, Theo will be their outwardly condescending, secretly bitter college prof ("Hey, isn't that the dude who was once GM of the Sox?") teaching a seminar titled "Advanced Sabermetrics". He gives Nomar's kid an A ( Mxyztplx's kid gets a C-). Nomar realizes it's silly to still be holding onto bitter memories (Mia disagrees fervently). Feeling a sense of pity for poor Theo and realizing that if Theo had never traded him he wouldn't have earned that ring with the Yankees, or that World Series MVP award, he takes the man that sent him packing so many years ago out for lunch. Sitting there at Legal Seafoods in a razor-sharp three-piece Armani suit, looking at Theo in his slightly rumpled tweed jacket sipping his chowder with weary eyes, thinking how this could have been the guy with the Boston street named after him, Nomar is overcome with a feeling of zen-like peace, or what a wise man once called a "spiritual calm."

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Diamond in the Rough

Did you hear the rumor that Theo is joining the Peace Corp and spending a year in some Third World country? I kid you not. In a perfect world, that is a world that plays out like an eighties movie, he returns with a loin-cloth wearing indigenous person who just happens to throw an unhittable 110-mph fastball. With Manny leaving Boston, they put "our new closer" in Manny's old suite in the Ritz. Then all sorts of hilarious cultural misunderstandings ensue between the new pitcher and the annoying fan boys and intrusive photogs that are driving all our best players out of town. "This Green Monster everyone is talking about, he's sounds very scary to me," the wide-eyed hurler says to his love interest, a sympathetic Rachel McAdams, who works in Red Sox public relations and looks devastatingly cute in her winter Sox jacket. She tries to help him the best she can, but must watch helplessly as the city's initial love affair with him sours after a mid-season series against Yankees when the new guy gives up back-to-back game-winning HRs. Our new closer says: "Why do people boo me? Just yesterday they cheer. I do not understand." McAdams responds softly: "Neither do I. Neither do I." The whole time "the evil president" with his beady eyes and receding hairline tries sabotaging our innocent flame-throwing hero because he doesn't wants the young idealistic GM to get the credit for turning around the team. Young GM played by... Jake Gyllenhaall. Sinister executive played by... Clint Eastwood. Good-hearted but awkward and ineffectual owner played by...Michael Caine. Big Papi played by... 50 Cent.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Undisclosed Story of the Underexposed Scarlett

There are some things in this world that you should not advertise unless you're absolutely sure you can deliver on. I'm not talking about taking a nation to war based on the claim that a country is holding weapons of mass destruction and then it turns out there aren't any. That's a fuck up. Fine. But I'm talking about an erroneous claim so in excusable that the person who reported it should be exiled to the kingdom of Bahrain and made to serve in Michael Jackson's dirty llama stables.

Who is this person I speak of? None other than a Yorkie-canoodling gossip columnist by the name of Ms. Cindy Adams.

Let me take you back a few weeks ago. It's Friday morning, I'm on the subway going to work, like everyone else trying not contemplate their existence too deeply, silently preferring it would be the next train and not this one that would be blown to hell.

As for me, I guard against the slight chance of contemplating my existence too deeply by reading a NY Post. I'm flipping through the pages when suddenly my half-closed eyes show a flicker of life as they focus in on this headline: No One Wakes Up In A Bra In 'The Island'

I read on, perking up like an old tired mutt that momentarily forgets his age at the sight of a new tennis ball:

SCARLETT JOHANSSON, who previously had said she wouldn't go naked in a film, is topless in her new sci-fi thing, "The Island." And not because the director decreed it. It's by her own choice. Shooting this early-morning, getting-up-from-bed scene, she supposedly said: "Women don't normally sleep in a bra. I can't be shown waking up wearing a bra. It's ridiculous." Director Michael Bay then asked her suggestion as to wardrobe and Ms. Scarlett, who apparently did not turn scarlet, replied: "Well . . . nothing . . . "

That's part of what makes homegirl special, that she “makes choices”, somehow keeps it real, the thinking man's Mandy Moore, the feeling man's Chloe Sevigny. But hold that thought.

Like a lot of people, I had been on the fence about seeing The Island. There was something about it that looked a bit too Paycheck-y. A bit too Minority Report for morons. So I went and saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory instead, but I still needed to mull it over so I went to see The Wedding Crashers. But then at some moment, probably that morning before I boarded the subway, my brain made the call: I was going to miss The Island. Rent it at Blockbusters.

I had already moved on. A picture of Jessica Simpson in a pair of Daisy Dukes will do that. One look at those cutoff jeans, The Island may as well already be on video. The Island? Is that even still out?

But the Cindy Adams article changed all of that. Suddenly there was some purpose. I don't mean a purpose for seeing the movie. I mean a purpose to my life.

So my friend and I decided to meet for a Sunday matinee. Sunday matinees were made for this particular kind of male excursion, which at 30 years old, we were perhaps slightly too old to be making. But what can I say, old dreams die hard.

I sat through The 20 and then I sat through the previews and then I sat through The Island, which was beautifully photographed and designed garbage, or as Ewan MacGregor might say “shite”. A bad film with beautiful surfaces. The inclusion of Scarlett's chest, therefore, would have been more than cheap eye candy but the apotheosis of the film itself.

While not including the scene of a braless Scarlett, if it does exist, is a crime against the universe, there were lesser sins perpetrated by this summer movie. None of which are worth going into because they pale in comparison to The One Great Sin. But it did irk me to watch two Ewan Macgregors, the real Ewan and the clone Ewan, fight each other in a life-and-death battle when they could have had the real Scarlett, a Calvin Klein model in the movie, and her clone, wearing a perfectly fitted white body suit, lock horns. I mean, seriously, which would you rather see in a catfight with themselves? The girl from Lost in Translation or Obi-Wan Kenobi?

This actually raised some interesting philosophical questions during our post-film walk-and-discussion ones that the film failed to explore. For instance, my friend pondered "What would it mean if Scarlett had sex with her clone? Who knows your body better than yourself, after all." Okay, perhaps we should get back to the scandal of seeing less of Scarlett than humanity deserves.

As I sat watching the movie film, well, I don't want to say I was waiting the whole time for the one shot of when Scarlett wakes up with no bra but somewhere in the middle of one of those zillion-cut ear-assaulting action sequences towards the end of the movie I began to ask myself: huh, I wonder how there going to work in a scene where Scarlett wakes up with no bra on?

I kept envisioning new ways for that scene to suddenly materialize, but as we got closer to the resolution, they became increasingly implausible. Not that I gave up. Even in the final scene, when Scarlett and Ewan are sailing off on a futuristic boat did I imagine a sort of James Bond "We're in the world are you James?" scene with them below deck, under the sheets, pretending not to hear the video signal. But then suddenly the credits were rolling and all I could do was sit there in disbelief. Stunned. Crestfallen. How? How could this happen?

"That is just fucked." That is the only words I could manage at the time. But now I've had plenty of time to think about how this travesty could have occurred. The most obvious answer is that Cindy Adams is trying to break me. And to her, I say, kudos.

My friend had a few thoughts on the matter: "In a fit of madness, I googled The Island and topless and it seems the story is real. Results include: Scarlett Demanded Topless Scene. Is scarlet 'demanding' to go topless like Manny 'demanding' to be traded? Some kind of double-psych out psych out? Was it all just a lie to sell tickets? A dream? More substantially, I'm not even beginning to recover from the information, included in this and many articles, that our girl is 20. I mean, born in 1985 or 86. I think I was, like, watching Ghostbusters when she was born, and already a bitter little mofo.This is bad news.”

I've also considered this possibility: The scene existed in an earlier version, a juicier R version cut, which of course is the one that they showed journalist, knowing they would generate buzz via SJ's lady lumps. Then cut the scene to get the much sought after PG-13 rating, which conventional wisdom in Hollywood says brings in a larger audience.

By removing that scene a great disservice has been done, and I don't mean to the entertainment-starved audience, but to Scarlett, who's devotion to authenticity as an actress has been grossly undermined.

That's assuming the scene does in fact exist, and I believe it does because a New York gossip columnist night be that cruel but God is not. And I believe like Master and the Margarita, all great art will eventually see the light of day.

But to whoever decided to cut that scene, whether it was "popcorn auteur" Michael Bay or a group of studio executives, let me just say this: Two little flops would have saved you from one big one.

One last thought: it would have been nice if Cindy Adams had actually bothered to make sure the scene was in the final cut before making it her lead and fucking around with my precious weekend. You don't screw with people's head like that. Well, only in New York, kids, only in New York.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Perjury Is The New Black

Martha. Lil' Kim. Now maybe Bonds. Once again, Bill Clinton proves to be ahead of the curve.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Morgan Freeman Next Up For Penn

The comedian placed Law as a 'second choice' for casting agents after TOM CRUISE in between award presentations at the ceremony in Hollywood's Kodak Theater.

One step forward, two steps back.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Gonzo Gonzo

Hunter S. Thompson has exited stage left The Hard Way or The Easy Way depending on how you see it. The way he died shouldn't come as a surprise if you really think about it -- mix gun obsession and alcohol dependency and diminishing skills (or returns) with a deep Hemingway admiration and things aren't going to end with bingo night at Shady Farms. Hilarious, incisive, heroic, truthful, and joyous, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is all the things that make me fall madly in love with a book. I was head over the heels when I first read Fear and Loathing, I still carry a torch more than ten years later. It's a magnificent red convertible rampaging down the desert highway in the middle of the night at a dangerous speed. Raoul Duke's body has left this earth but his legacy lives on in every drug-fueled road trip, in every loud-mouth outlaw raging against a country's power-mad hypocrites, in every slightly mad artist who has the guts to cut through the bullshit and tell it like it is.

"There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die."

-- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Blubox's Top Ten Albums of 2004

1. Keb' Mo': Keep It Simple

Somebody could get the wrong idea about the state of the world listening to Keb' Mo's latest effort -- an album some might argue is less accomplished than his Grammy-winning Just Like You, but is a more fitting album for a long sunset drive, perhaps the real scale that all Keb' Mo' albums should be judged. They would hear him singing with offhanded wisdom about that one friend that gets him through his day, they would hear him dreaming about a romantic trip to France, they would hear him waving the blues goodbye as they slip out of town. The message rolling from his gently upbeat blues-pop melodies is simple: there's never been a better time to grin wide. In a year when war raged in the Middle East, George Bush was re-elected and that trip to France wasn't in the budget, it was cool to get a reminder.

Monday, January 10, 2005

2. Drive-By Truckers: The Dirty South

Duane Allman is in heaven scratching his scruffy chin -- how can a Southern rock band trafficking in raucous highway stomps not jam? Isn't that the whole point? To become the next outlaw guitar-hero? To take your high-as-a-kite fans on an epic 16 minute excursion to long-haired transendence? Why do you think the power chord was invented, for God's sake? But to a new generation of bands — My Morning Jacket, Kings of Leon and Drive-By Truckers — it's not about mind-expanding noodling, it's about borrowing the mystical passion and energy that comes from jam rock heroes like Neil, Greg and Jerry to express a mythic South where the magnolias are that much more intoxicating and the moonlight that much more haunting. Meet the new jam band. Southern-bred, whiskey-drenched and epic rock riffing. The best 16 minutes -- scratch that -- five minutes of your life.

Friday, January 07, 2005

3.The Garden State Soundtrack: Various Soundtrack

In a just world, people would be issued one friend with a knack for making mixes that felt improbably custom-made for them. In my case, such a friend would resemble Zach Braff. After all, the soundtrack to his trippy suburban romp Garden State could have very well been hand-picked by a close compadre -- one with designs to launch me out of a hectic reality and into a revelatory state. And while the eclectic nature of the mix -- folk icon Nick Drake alongside chill-soul outfit Zero 7 -- could easily lead to accusations of self-indulgence (indie auteur = prime suspect), Braff feels genuinely concerned with conveying a mood rather than establishing hipster cred. Oh, and, Zach, please send Mix Tape Winter '05. Thanks.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

4. U2: How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

Trust me, if you were lucky enough to find yourself in a divey, kitschy magical bar in Barcelona and the people at the bar included you, a friendly Spanish bartender, and a beautiful girl (or you were that girl) than you would beg -- I mean, BEG -- for this album to come on. That hopelessly and heroically in love voice soaring: "And you feel like no one before. You steal right under my door. I kneel 'cause I want you some more. I want you some more, I want you some more..." If Bono will just keep repeating those words and she can just keep talking long enough for you to do something inspired, this could be the best night of your life. And knowing you you'll forget to thank U2 for making it possible. Once again.