|THE BLACK LIST: CAN I GO HOME NOW?|
|By The Black Table||
Every year, Christmas and New Years are eight days apart and every year, when they both fall in the middle of the week, it totally screws you at work. Sure, you're getting a couple days off and maybe even leaving early a few times, but everyone's so busy watching the clock that no one's actually *doing* anything and so time moves even slower.
The irony, of course, is the minute you actually have something to do during these two weeks of purgatory, you resent it deeply and wonder why they won't leave you the fuck alone. It's just a no win situation. A lame duck period of employment. So, please, read our 11 reviews slowly this week and maybe time will pass a bit faster for you.
And if you're feeling really ambitious, please click that toilet over there on the right and send us a little review for the New Year.
Ein Frohes Neues Jahr!
JACK WHITE IN COLD MOUNTAIN: OK, so we'd heard that White Stripes frontman/virtuoso Jack White had written a couple songs for the Jude Law/Nicole Kidman weeper Cold Mountain, and we'd heard he had a bit part in it. But we had no idea that the "bit part" was actually a major role, with lines and serious moments and real dialogue and everything. It's true, though; White not only has scenes with Law, Kidman, former squeeze Renee Zellweger (he's her love interest in the movie too!) and the great Brendan Gleeson, he even gets the movie's last line of dialogue! This is no cameo; two major plot points revolve around White's character. So how is he? Well, director Anthony Minghella is smart enough not to require TOO much of White; his job mostly is to sing a couple of songs, appear to be Southern hick mountain boy and looked alarmed on several occassions. He handles the three assignments well enough, one supposes, but don't expect to see much of White on screen in the future. His huge head looks about 10 times more expanded on the big screen. Still, you have to love Jack White. Play in a little Detroit rock band with your ex-wife, get huge, bang Renee Zellweger,
collect Grammys (and potentially Oscars, for his song from the film), then come back to Detroit and beat up the locals. Nice work, if you can get it. B -- Will Leitch
WINTER WONDERLAND: Every day now I'm scanning the New York Times to find out whether the U.S. Army is being investigated by putting this song in an endless loop to torture prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Or, maybe they should be given leave and forced to tour the nation's malls while this song plays, over and over. The various end-of-year holidays have much to cheer about, but this droning, meandering dirge ain't one of them. Get it straight: I'm not listening to the sleigh bells. I don't care about the bluebird, or the new bird, or going to a meadow to build a snowman. I hate your snowman. I'm coming to the meadow dressed as a circus clown to kill your snowman. Ok? D -- Dave Gaffen
DIANE KEATON: In Something's Gotta Give, Diane Keaton appears 100% completely stark naked for a few seconds, giving Jack Nicholson and everyone else a reason to fall for her. Who knew a 58-year-old lady could be this hot? After seeing countless Maxim babes, the effect of female nudity on the male psyche is virtually nil at this point, but the sight of Keaton's hilarious attempt to cover her top, then her bottom, has me staking out the cookbook section of Barnes & Noble to find more women like her. But even with her clothing on, Keaton shines, snarking and smirking her way into the pantheon of sexiest women to ever walk the Earth. Keaton turns 58 in a couple weeks, but maybe her absurdly powerful sexuality shouldn't come as a shock -- after all, Keaton and Warren Beatty were an item in the early 1980s. Are there more Keatons out there? Hrmmm. Bo Derek is 47, Sophia Loren is 69 and Jane Fonda's only 66 years young... B+ -- Eric Gillin
DARRYL STRAWBERRY VISITS MICHAEL JACKSON: Standing head and shoulders above the rest of the 600 Neverlanders, new New York Yankee player development instructor Darryl Strawberry, representing the Without Walls International Church of Tampa, met with Michael Jackson during his You Are Not A Smooth Criminal weekend to compare marriages, gloves, child payments, and, who's Badder. Fresh off an 11-month stretch for probation violations, the seven-time charged Strawberry is also quite familiar with the Prison Without Walls known as house arrest (twice). Jackson, charged with seven counts of performing lewd or lascivious acts upon a child under 14, reportedly secured several signed baseballs to use as future boy bait. The "rap" star and pop singer strolling contemplatively amidst the swingsets, llamas and MC Hammers-O Come All Ye Faithful, Joyful And Triumphant. O Come Ye, O Come Ye, To Neverland. Come And Behold Him, Born The King Of Pop. F -- hillmarky
THE NEW LOOK OF HOTMAIL: I hate hotmail but like my phone number, there's no getting rid of the e-mail address I've had since high school. However, I am sorely tempted because while a huge design improvement,there a lot of kinks. The homepage tells me I have no new messages from my contacts but when I take a look at my inbox, it's full of spam. Admittedly, they aren't my 'contacts' but when my mailbox gets full of spam, you no longer let me get messages so maybe I need to know they are in there so I can delete them, right? I guess you couldn't take care of those spam filters while you were making 'improvements'. Apparently, I am sending blank messages all the time now too. Plus, was it really necessary to lock me out of my account for two weeks while you made your 'improvements'. At the end of day, like any other bad facelift, it looks great from far away but up close, it's a little obvious you aren't going to get your glory days back... B- -- Iggy
GLOVES THAT REEK OF SMOKE: Every year it's the same thing: I buy a brand spankin' new pair of gloves (preferably black leather) to protect my delicate, alabaster-white fingers from the oncoming winter. I tell myself that I will not smoke in these gloves, that the smell will stay in them forever, eventually rendering them the object of my distaste. But when the first ass-freezing day comes along, there I am: puffing away, all care thrown to the wind, cigarette clenched in gloved fingers. And yeah, the gloves fuckin' stink now. D+ -- Stephanie
BOW LINGUAL DOG TRANSLATOR: Your dog is barking, and you think to yourself, "Why? Why is he barking? Is it because the doorbell is ringing? Because there's another dog outside?" What's the story?" You already know the answer, dummy, but because like many pet owners, you're obsessed with your dog, you get the doo-dad anyway. Strap a transmitter around your dog's neck and point a receiver at him after he starts to bark. For the first time ever, you WANT him to bark so you find some reason to do so. The answers make no sense. While barking at th doorbell, he's apparently saying, "I'm so embarrassed!" While barking as you pretend to fight with a family member, he's thinking, "Give me everything!" The Bow Lingual has about as much accuracy as a Magic Eight Ball, but like just about everything the Japanese make, it's absolutely adorable, so you don't care, anyway. C -- Claire Zulkey
THE [FILL IN THE NAME] ERA: Once upon a time a renowned, larger-than-life coach retired. Someone like Vince Lombardi or Bear Bryant. A sportswriter conjured the phrase, "the end of the Lombardi [or Bryant] Era." Stories about the great man's successor referred to "the beginning of the [fill-in-a-name] Era." Since one definition of "era" is "a memorable or important date or event, especially one that begins a new period in the history of a person or thing," this application of "era" to the tenure of an esteemed coach, while grandiose, was catchy and perhaps appropriate. Catchy and appropriate, that is, for the first couple uses. It is now one of the worst clichés in sportswriting. Any football coach merits an era: the coach at the University of South Dakota; George Perles at Michigan State, who compiled a record of 73-62-4; recently, Frank Solich at Nebraska, fired after going 16-12 in his last 28 games. It's time for sportswriters to find some other "jazzy" term. We can only dread the looming end of the Bobby Bowden Era. D -- Prof. Craig Newmark
I-TUNES IN SHUFFLE MODE: As if it wasn't good enough to be able to install an Apple program on my work PC, they include features such as easily customizable playlists, tracking the number of times a song has played over time, a huge graphic equalizer, and a direct link to their music store where every song is $0.99 - perfect when you can't get "Hey Ya" out of your head. Even better, the store opens within the program rather than in a new window, thereby reducing desktop clutter. Once you've got a few days worth of music loaded into it, the shuffle function assures that you'll never know what's coming next leading to lots of pleasant moments throughout the day. Like just now when the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun" segued right into "That Ole Sun" by the Sunshine Fix. Shortest day of the year? So what? B+ -- Jamie Paquette
HECKLING THE STILLS: The Stills were here in St. Louis the other week at the Rocket Bar, and like any critically adored early 80's sounding guitar-driven new-waveish band from Canada, they're not so fond of heckling that name checks Brian Adams. After about the 11th time I yelled "Summer of 69!" the band mumbled something and walked off the stage before returning for their encore. When they came back they said they didn't know Summer of 69, but if this drunk guy near the stage wants to come up and play it, they'd back him. Being that drunk guy, I climbed on stage and called the bands' bluff. Lead guitar guy handed me his lead guitar and lead pick and I got about halfway through the song playing and screaming my head off before they kicked in behind me and gave this garage band flunky quite a thrill for a Tuesday night. -- Brendan Corcoran
SHOWING SEVEN TRAILERS: I'm sorry, but
the novelty has worn off. The myriad movies getting released aren't worth
two-minute previews, and when one goes to see Return of the King, you're
just not in any sort of mood for trailers. Especially when we're talking
about "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton" or whatever the hell, and
adaptations of third-rate comic books like "The Punisher," starring
third-rate actors like Thomas Jane. We've been conditioned to think that
anything less than three previews is a gyp, and maybe it is, but seven
just tries a person's patience
especially when the endless commercials
prior to those previews are considered. D+ -- Dave