|THE BLACK LIST: OKAY! EVERYONE INTO THE CAR POOL LANE!|
|By The Black Table|
By now, the last vestiges of your Thanksgiving turducken have finally made their way through your colon, and unless you're still watching that video tape of a Macy's parade Kermit the Frog disaster, the prelude to holiday insanity is finally behind you, and now you can get back to being the complacent soulless consumers you are.
So renew that subscription to Reader's Digest, tune in to the CBS Family Movie "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" (somehow not starring Peter Falk) and put the DVD of Passion of the Christ on repeat, because it's time to strap on the sheep apron and get down to some holiday business. Enjoy irony, sarcasm and ascorbic wit while you can, because from here until 2005, it's Christmas With the Kranks, all the way, baby.
In the spirit of the season, we have 11 Black List reviews. Welcome back
to work, slaves. Get your anger out by submitting your reviews using the
neato form on the right.
NATALIE PORTMAN IN CLOSER: Wow. She *is* pretty. You never realize how truly exquisite she is in movies, not with all those computer-generated space aliens milling around. Did you see that look! She just totally gave Jude Law the "fuck me" look! How did she learn that look? And when did she learn to swear, anyway? You know, movies are totally different when actors are talking to each other and performing instead of standing in front of a green screen, screaming at a broomstick and pretending it's an avalanche. Jeeesus. Are Natalie Portman's nipples visible under her shirt in this scene? Nooo. Yes! Yes, they totally are! Holy crap! I wasn't aware she had them, up until now -- I thought she was like Barbie. She needs to be careful with that shit -- the old guy next to me is actively popping nitroglycerin tabs like they're Tic-Tacs. And we're not even at the strip club scene. But now we are! That's not... It is! That's Natalie Portman's ass. And it's wearing a thong! Wait. She's taking off her top ... and doing a ... split? HOLY MOTHER OF FUCK! Is this really happening? Did she just move the thong to show Clive Owen her stuff? When did Natalie Portman get stuff to show? And why do I feel guilty all of a sudden? Excuse me, sir, can I borrow one of your pills? I have to lie down now. A+ -- Eric Gillin
THE URGE TO EXERCISE AFTER A THANKSGIVING BINGE: So, you're semi-conscious watching the Cowboys play after that self-indulgent food orgy known as Thanksgiving. And maybe you ate a little too much. Maybe you shouldn't have eaten a fifth roll. Maybe gravy on the cranberry sauce wasn't a good idea, after
all. Maybe you should go for a jog after the game. You head out promising to keep it at a slow, nine-minute-mile pace, all smiles and good intentions. You begin to realize that the condensed soups hidden in all the casseroles you inhaled must be reacting with all the water in your stomach, creating a quite unpleasant feeling. After a struggle to complete just two miles, you realize the true meaning of Thanksgiving: eating yourself into a coma with no good intentions whatsoever. Exercising after Thanksgiving, In Theory: A. In Practice: D. Unintentional throwing up after jog making room in stomach for 11 p.m. leftovers binge: A+ -- Maggie White
A LATENT ATTRACTION TO MR. INCREDIBLE: The Incredibles is standard Pixar fare: It looks great, has a clever script and is funny on multiple levels. But what I enjoyed most about the movie was its star, Mr. Incredible. Sitting in a darkened theater in suburban Philadelphia the day before Thanksgiving, I was transfixed. Not by all the slam-bam animation, though that helped. Nope. About halfway through the movie, I realized I was attracted to Mr. Incredible. I don't have the hots for Craig T. Nelson, the man who voiced Mr. Incredible. I wish. Instead, I have a crush on a cartoon. But this cartoon is dashing. He's got a capacious chest and arms like railroad ties. He is ripped. My previous boyfriends are all good-looking fellows; the most recent one has deliciously broad shoulders. But none were what you could reasonably call muscular. Like me, they're soft. But not Mr. Incredible. He's a steam engine of a man. He swoops in, scoops you up and saves you. His hands grab danger and toss it aside. His hugs could be life threatening. When the lights came up, I felt a little foolish. But hey, it's my fantasy. So, yeah. I'm attracted to a computer-generated, fictional character. And I'm all right with that. A- -- Aileen Gallagher
THOSE GODDAMNED OLD NAVY COMMERCIALS THAT ARE ON EVERY FIVE MINUTES: There she is, the pleasant-looking, unsuspecting woman shopping in her grocer's fresh fruit aisle, suddenly accosted by an off-tune Old Navy choir. They're singing BADLY. It's as if the creators of the ad hoped everyone would be so distracted by the horrific send-up of "Winter Wonderland" that we wouldn't notice how hideous the actual sweaters are. That "Fair Isle" number is cream, turquoise and green, the ugliest item of clothing I've seen this side of junior high. Yo, is that shit acrylic? And enough with the threats -- "hit you like a brick," and "Likelastyearwhenyouendedupwritingyourbrotheracheck," are not appropriate lyrics, people. You want me to shop at your store? Show me something good. Sheer market saturation: A. Ruining one of my favorite holiday carols while hawking really crappy clothes: D -- Jane Pearson
WORKING THE OVERNIGHT SHIFT: On first glance, it might seem that working an overnight shift during the holiday season would be akin to vacationing in the Ninth Level of Hell. After all, I'm just sitting on a news desk at a large news organization waiting for stories to come in. But let's look closer: Management is at home and asleep between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m., so there is no one breathing down my neck about nonsense like misplaced commas and vague headlines. True, my sleep patterns are screwy, and at times I find myself trying to have philosophical conversations with my cat, but at least I get to walk home every morning and watch the sun rise over southern Manhattan, all while stone cold sober. Who knew sleep deprivation could be so wonderfully sublime? B -- Pauline Millard
THE CLEAN SHAVEN JOHNNY DEPP: It's long been my contention that Johnny Depp is the Perfect Male Specimen. The man has it all: the cheekbones, the soulful eyes, the body covered in tattoos. He's a sensitive rebel who would rather get ahead on his talents than his off-the-charts good looks. But lately, I see Johnny gazing back at me from the covers of Vanity Fair and People, and it strikes me that my beloved Mr. Depp does not clean up well. I'm not sure what it is; maybe he's putting on weight, maybe he's just getting old. Maybe he's taking the Sean Penn "Clean Up the Image to Win the Oscar" route. For what I'm sure is the first time in his life, the man looks like a dork. And I'm not havin' any of that. D -- Ann Goliak
THE BILL SIMMONS CARTOON ON ESPN.COM: Bill Simmons is one of my favorite sportswriters; he mixes sports analysis and pop culture references in a way that no other writer does today. He's funny with an every-guy vibe that most pop culture writers (or sports writers for that matter ... I'm talking to you, Lupica!) don't even come close to conveying. However, Simmons' brushes with fame (his writing stint on Jimmy Kimmel's show and his Joel Stein-esque apperances on the ESPN 25 list shows) have started to go to his head. Check out the new "Sports Guy" cartoon on ESPN.com and see if you agree. It sounds like he and his wife voiced the characters themselves and didn't do a very good job of it. And -- surprise, surprise -- it's about as funny as an episode of "Listen Up" (a disaster based on the life of Simmons' ESPN colleague, Tony Kornheiser). Even though Simmons hasn't jumped yet, the shark is biting and his skis are about to hit the ramp. D+ -- Joel Keller
SAFETY MAN: Running in a road race before Thanksgiving dinner is a good idea. First, you can't drink too much the night before since you gotta be in tip-top shape on race day. This renders your liver a prime candidate for hitting up the family bar before, during and after dinner. Also, running for 4.7 miles warrants eating an obscene amount of food since you definitely burned off thousands of calories while sweating balls in your tracksuit. However, the best part of running the road race is Safety Man. Safety Man dresses head-to-toe in an orange jumpsuit, bedazzled by strips of duct tape so that the masses can locate him in the sea of lycra. He wears an old-school motorcycle helmet, waves two emergency flags and blows into his whistle with aplomb. After checking the course for possible danger, Safety Man runs the race, stopping to alert the athletes when a fellow runner has to tie his shoe. "We got a shoe-tier here! A shoe-tier on your left!" He also alerts us when there's an errant sweatshirt or beer can in the street. Safety Man always seems to appear, whether on mile 2 or mile 4.5, making you choke out a laugh just as you were about to spew vomit. Thank you, Safety Man. My race was safer and more enjoyable because of you. A+ -- Pjamma
BEING A WEEK AWAY FROM A BOOK DEADLINE: It has been a long haul. Months of outlining, writing, rewriting, showing friends what you've done, agonizing that they hated it even when they tell you otherwise. And here you stand, just one week away from turning the mother in. You've put everything in your life aside: Family, friends, girls, cats, parties, birthdays, even the holidays, which you can only look upon with envy, wondering when you'll be able to take part. So why does the deadline feel not like a liberation, but an albatross? Maybe it's because you're terrified what you've written is terrible? Maybe because the next week is going to be a hellish exercise in black isolation, with no contact with the world other than trips to the dollar store across the street for Discman batteries and Diet Vanilla Coke? Maybe because you realize that if you don't come through on time, with quality work, the last few months of disconnect from everyone and everything you care about will be meaningless, and you will dissolve into the obscurity you so richly deserve? It's probably all of those things. Happy holidays! C -- Will Leitch
IT'S NOT JUST A MYTH: POTATOES EXPLODE!: So, I'm making steak and baked potatoes for dinner. I put the potatoes in the oven and go to watch some football. After a few minutes, I realize that I forgot to pierce the potatoes with a fork. Oh well, they're in the oven already. Besides, the Vikings are driving for a touchdown and trying to force overtime with the Packers. I can't be bothered right now. I'm sure the potatoes will be fine. A little while later, while I'm prepping the salad veggies, I hear a thud, and the oven rack rattles. I open the door and, sure enough, one of the potatoes has exploded. The potato skin is empty and in one piece, and there is potato splatter on the top and side of the oven. Important tip: Always pierce your potatoes. C- -- Scott Burns
SUBWAY EXHIBITIONISTS: After an inner-child fest of ice cream and The Incredibles, you hop on the late night R train to head to your new Chinatown hood. Full and giddy, you sit down in the near-empty car and rock out to headphones while the old guy near you pretends not to notice. You're still playing it cool when a skinny guy in fatigues changes subway cars, walks up and sits down right across from you. You withdraw slightly from your youthful haze to mutate into jaded New Yorker mode, staring off away from GI Joe and pretending not to notice him looking at you. You do, however, notice the old man on the train staring at you in horror. Seeing as he survived your previous pop rock out without reaction, this seems strange. Which leads your curious eyes to Army Man, whose lecherous gaze is fixed upon you as his spindly fingers play with his exposed limp dick. All sense of innocence gone, you walk to the end of the car, terrified, disgusted and waiting for the doors at your stop. Guess what? It's the last stop on this train. So you keep your distance and watch him sulk off to another platform for his masturbatory fun. You, now the model of maturity, sprint from the subway to home, imagining shadowed wangs lurking in every corner. Nothing says "death of child-like bliss" like limp subway dick after a Disney movie. F -- Megan G
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