Thursday, April 29, 2010

Seven Things I Learned From Roger Ebert’s Sex Pistols Script

Alright, so I’m not exactly the hugest Sex Pistols fan. What little I do know, I gleaned from an edition of “The Ongoing History of New Music.” So, I can’t really attest to the accuracy of “Who Killed Bambi?” – Roger Ebert’s screenplay about the Sex Pistols. He wrote it in 1977 and Malcolm McLaren (former Pistols manager) was set to produce and Russ Meyer (“Faster, Pusscat! Kill! Kill!”) to direct…both are now dead. Anyway, a couple of days ago, Ebert posted his screenplay on his blog for the Chicago Sun Times with this disclaimer:

“This, for the benefit of future rock historians, is the transcript of a screenplay I wrote in the summer of 1977. It was tailored for the historic punk rock band the Sex Pistols…I wrote about this adventure in my blog entry McLaren & Meyer & Rotten & Vicious & me… All I intend to do here is reprint it. Comments are open, but I can't discuss what I wrote, why I wrote it, or what I should or shouldn't have written. Frankly, I have no idea.”

Curiosity got the best of me and I read the whole thing…I don’t recommend you do the same. As such, here is a list of things I learned from Roger Ebert’s “Who Killed Bambi,” complete with excerpts from the screenplay…typos and all. Enjoy!

1. Ebert has a hilariously stereotypical view of the British:
we see - A blind beggar with a cup, playing a concertina; two Cockneys running a shell game; a man on a unicycle; people plying such out-dated implements as hula-hoops, paddle-balls and yo-yo's; an artist who must continually move his easel as the line inches forward; dogs chasing cats; old ladies - one with a parrot; an assortment of hookers; a Pakistani family; a chestnut vendor; an exhibitionist, who flashes for the benefit of a phalanx of Japanese tourists; a weight-lifter; kids on roller skates, and others on skate-boards; a motorcycle gang; Teddy boys; men in bowler hats; Butch lesbians; an old judge in a powdered wig - and even a sandwich man, whose sign reads: "Repent for the end is at hand."

2. Ebert considers fucking a hooker, making love! He also likes big jugs…


Steve Jones makes love to a buxom hooker in a randy bedroom.
3. Johnny Rotten apparently drank his beer out of a glass:
They settle down, disgusted. Johnny Rotten opens a beer and pours it out into a glass. Steve appears in the Green Room after his announcement to the crowd.

…that doesn’t seem very punk rock...

4. Sid Vicious was literally a motherfucker?!?!?

Effortlessly, Sid Vicious pushes his mother back on the bed and moves to cover her with half his body. He kisses her on the neck and lips.

I told you - he's at the pub with his mates, getting sloshed.

But he doesn't have the money to get sloshed, Sid - he'll be back!

Come on, mum. Give us a kiss.

She does. And then she puts her free arm around him, and they begin the preliminaries of love making. It should be clear by now that this is not the first time such a scene has taken place between them. They continue: Their passion grows. She tousles his hair. He unbuttons her blouse and caresses the breast, free and bra-less, he finds beneath it. The urgency builds. From time to time, they speak:

That's it, mum. That's it...

That feels good, Sid... don't stop...

Photography is framed to protect the rating, but implies that they now begin to actually make love. The CAMERA FRAMES their faces and upper torsos, to restrict the graphic degree of the scene, but the audience will have little doubt what is happening.

…Seriously?!?! He’s worried about “protect[ing] the rating” at this point?

5. Two couples having sex simultaneously is NOT group sex:

There are two mattresses on the floor - not side by side, but separated by various items of equipment and by Paul Cook's drums. On one mattress, we discover Steve Jones with the Stripper from the El Paradise - Steve has obviously followed up on the unorthodox introduction. On the other mattress, half in view, half out of the first one, are Paul Cook and Sue Catwoman. And what we'll have here are two simultaneous sex scenes, both intercut and seen with one in the f.g., the other in b.g. It is not meant to be group sex, per se - but simply the band members and their girls taking advantage of one of the few private spaces available.

6. Ebert apparently has in-depth fantasies about Sherlock Holmes:

He is dressed as Sherlock Holmes might dress for a contemplative evening at home: A flowing combination of robe and smoking-jacket; velvet pants; slippers, and a Holmesian pipe.

7. Ebert really enjoys pirate metaphors:

O's hands plunder M.J.'s pants for the treasure within…And now she opens her blouse all the way and buries his face in her treasures, meanwhile continuing to plunder below.

Anyway, to figure out what the title means, you need to read the script right through to the end. Hint: it involves a little girl’s revenge on a rockstar named “M.J.” who kills a deer on a hunting expedition…it has NOTHING to do with the Sex Pistols. If I’ve managed to pique your interest, I’ve included the link to the screenplay below; just remember, some things you can’t unread.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Like a favorite color, I can’t really explain why I like director Spike Jonze. His films are entertaining, but I would never go so far as to rank any of them amongst my favorites. This is probably because I feel his talents are better suited to music videos. I think it’s because a music video allows for the weirder, more avant-garde ideas to play throughout the piece without pesky little things like, oh, I don't know, plot getting in the way. It’s one of those rare cases of style over substance. So it’s not surprising that when I saw “Where the Wild Things Are” a couple of months ago, I was a little let down.

In Jonze’s filmography, “Where the Wild Things Are” is probably the best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) example of the style/substance rule. Not much actually happens in the film; however, the look is breathtaking and the soundtrack is perfect…really it should have just been a music video for a Karen O solo project.

Anyway, here’s Jonze’s latest offering – a music video for LCD Soundsystem’s new single “Drunk Girls.” ENJOY!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

But I live in 3D!

I don’t really understand the whole fascination with 3D. It seems like a rather ridiculous novelty, which is why I’m calling it – 3D will go the way of, well 3D.

In the 80s, 3D was just as huge as Molly Ringwald and neon green (trust me kids, it was a scary time for all of us). Then, what happened? I mean seriously, what happened - 1989 to 1995 are very vague years for me.

Now with the inexplicable success of “Avatar,” it would seem that 3D is making a Robert Downey Jr. sized comeback, culminating with Sony's announcement to market and sell 3D televisions for your home.

I think what annoys me the most about the 3D “experience” are those fucking glasses. I get that ironic accessories are all the rage these days, (fuck you very much, hipsters) but why should I have to wear those awkward, bulky hunks of plastic when I have 20/20 vision? Or if you aren't so lucky, wear them OVER your glasses?

Ranking right up there with my grievances is what they are choosing to broadcast in 3D. The Masters? Seriously? Sure! Why not couple two novelties together? 3D and a black guy who plays golf!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

“The Cove” – A Stream of Consciousness

Sunday’s Oscar ceremony saw “The Cove” deservedly winning Best Documentary Feature. If you’ve seen this movie, you know just how eye opening and emotional it is. The film examines the dolphin trade/slaughter in Japan from various angles. However, the most powerful aspect of the film is the guilt that activist Ric O’Barry feels over the current plight of these animals. O’Barry is basically the man responsible for the hit TV series Flipper, which he believes spawned the current trade in show dolphins.

Sure everyone loves to go see the whales and dolphins at the zoo and we are led to believe that these sea creatures are extremely happy living in captivity. But what you don’t see are the skids of Maalox kept in storage facilities because many of the dolphins have developed ulcers due to stress. Even more disturbing – O’Barry recites his experience of having Cathy, the lead dolphin in Flipper, commit suicide in his arms.

So when O’Barry, Fisher Stevens (yes that Fisher Stevens) and Louie Psihoyos took to the stage on Sunday to receive their Oscar, Psihoyos was cut off well before the forty-five second cap because Ric O’Barry held up a sign that said “Text dolphin to 44144.” Most believe that ABC got a little antsy and cued the orchestra in advance due to the sign. But it doesn’t really matter as Animal Planet has just green-lighted a series titled “Dolphin Warriors” which will star Ric O’Barry and document the dolphin trade in Japan.

The Oscars – Some Random Thoughts

While we’re on the subject, here are some random thoughts regarding Sunday’s Oscar ceremony

- What was with having all the best actor/actress nominees awkwardly stand on stage to open the show?

- Hey Adam Shankman, I get that you’re all about “the dance,” but was it really necessary to include, amongst others, an interpretive number set to “The Hurt Locker?”

- Yes, that was “I Am Woman (Hear Me Roar)” playing as Kathryn Bigelow exited the stage after accepting her award – What better way to show how behind the times you are than playing a song from 1972 as an anthem for a milestone achieved in 2010?

- Why did no one laugh at director Juan Jose Campanella’s joke about Na’vi not being considered a foreign language?

- Why did everyone laugh at Ben Stiller’s ridiculous “I want to plug my braid into your dragon tale” Na’vi joke?

- Why am I using the word “Na’vi” like it’s a real thing?

- I thought I was the only one who remembered Jeremy Renner in “S.W.A.T.” I bet Colin Farrell’s shout out to his “lost weekend” in Mexico with the Oscar nominee spikes DVD rentals

- Kudos to “The New Tenants” and “Logorama” for picking up the awards for Best Short

- I lost all three Oscar pools after changing my ballots after doing online research! Curse you bloggers who give their Oscar predictions…

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Going Overboard on the S.S. Minnow

So, the title of this blog is pretty obscure, unless you watched Gilligan’s Island. It has been recently reported that Warner Bros. plans to remake the kitschy 60s television series into a movie - the script has already been penned by Brad Copeland. Brad is an interesting writer; while he has written for such brilliant series as NewsRadio, Arrested Development and My Name is Earl, his latest outing brought us the atrocity known as Wild Hogs. You remember the film – the one starring Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence and John Travolta as a group of middle-aged men who decide to form a biker gang. I know, I got a little sick thinking about it too.

Anyway, upon hearing this, a few red lights went off in my head. First off, big screen adaptations of TV series never work! I know some people may argue with me, but I will stop you there. Charlie’s Angels was more pre-teen masturbation fodder than actual film; the Star Trek franchise is pretty hit and miss; and the Sex and the City movie was a sham of the show.

Now, as much as I loved the original Gilligan's Island, by today’s standards, it’s pretty terrible. Also, haven’t we seen a modernization of this show already? It’s called Lost and it is awesome.

Despite my protest (does anyone even read this?), it sounds like the film is moving forward. Brad Copeland has mentioned that he would love for Michael Cera to play Gilligan. Well, since we’re playing that game, I’ll throw out nominees for my dream cast.

The Skipper – Eddie Murphy. Think about it! It’s 2010, so we’re going to need some color up in here! Eddie Murphy as The Skipper would be hilarious and given that his last three films were Meet Dave, Norbit and another Shrek installment – he obviously doesn’t give a fuck. Plus it would be hilarious to see Michael Cera try to act with him!

The Professor – I have always had a thing for The Professor. So who better to cast than George Clooney? The man can make a woman come just by looking at her. Plus, he’s smart, just like The Professor! Let the coconut radio making begin!

Mary-Ann – Alison Brie. She’s amazing on Community and Mad Men. Plus she could reunite with her castmate…

Ginger – Christina Hendricks. Look at her – she was pretty much born to play the “movie star.”

The Howells – two rich, old, white people – Hollywood is full of them.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I Like Short Shorts: Part Two

Last night I went to see the Live Action Oscar Nominated Short Films over at the Cineplex. This is the first time that I have ever done this (again, I’d like to thank my former job for opening up my eyes to the complex art of the short). I have to say, the genres are pretty all over the place. But with the Oscars only a couple of days away, here’s my breakdown.

Kavi is an absolutely heart-wrenching film set in India about a seven year old boy who is forced to work in a brick kiln with his family instead of going to school. I was loving this film right until the end when I was hit in the face with a cricket bat with the filmmaker’s message – it was literally spelled out on the screen that millions are forced into modern day slavery. Look, I think it’s great that director/writer/producer Gregg Helvey wants to shed light on this horrific and very real problem; however, I can’t stand it when films spoon-feed their themes and messages to the audience – we’re a lot smarter than you give us credit for. Most are considering this the front-runner as it’s already picked up the 2009 Student Academy Award, as well as a few others.

The mood was brightened by the darkly comedic film, The New Tenants. For me, this is the front-runner. It had everything I wanted in a film, but in a nicely packaged 20 minutes – witty dialogue, great acting, a nice pace, slick production value and VINCENT D’ONOFRIO! The film is about new tenants Frank and Peter who find themselves caught up in the messy aftermath of the life of the former tenant of their new apartment. Said mess includes a mistress, a jilted ex-husband, a heroin addict and cinnamon buns – guaranteed fun for all!

Next up was a suspenseful Australian short called Miracle Fish. The short follows young Joe on his eighth birthday. Joe is ridiculed and bullied by his peers because his single mother is on welfare; me thinks the Academy has a thing for impoverished young boys…which is as weird as it sounds. The film’s slow start is necessary in order to build suspense, and the payoff is a good one, even though you might see it coming. Miracle Fish has won a slew of awards, but has big competition from the first two.

Probably my least favorite of the bunch was an Irish film called The Door. It follows one family’s struggle in the aftermath of Chernobyl – the film is as bleak as it sounds. While I can’t say that the film struck all the right chords (it took me a while to figure out that the film was referencing the Chernobyl disaster of 1986), it was probably the best-looking film of the bunch. It featured some absolutely gorgeous shots and very beautiful imagery. Watch the whole film here.

Finally, the delightful Swedish comedy Instead of Abracadabra closed the bill. The film follows a twenty-five year old man living with his parents as he pursues a career in magic. The entire audience was howling at this hilarious film (and with good reason). As my movie-going companion noted, “it’s like Napoleon Dynamite meets Gob from Arrested Development,” which is as amazing as it sounds. Though I loved the film, I think it might be a little too silly for the Academy. But I have to say, I was impressed at how well the Swedish film translated – are all Swedes this funny? After spending the majority of last week assembling Ikea furniture, I have to say yes.

Monday, March 1, 2010

An Open Letter

I hope you choke on your "zen" bullshit.

I hope you drown in your own sweat during hot yoga.

I hope your hair catches on fire from your sandalwood incense.

I hope your “fair trade” items are infused with the sweat of small Asian children.**

I hope my “negative energy” erodes your “aura.”

I hope that you step on a tick and catch lime disease because you refuse to wear shoes.

I hope you become so malnourished from your “new age diet” that all of your hair and teeth fall out.

I hope the only “universal truth” you find is that no one gives a damn about your “beliefs” and opinions, so quit forcing them down our throats.

**I obviously don't support child labor; I threw that in there for effect.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Prince William was named the new President of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts at Sunday night’s BAFTA ceremony. Seriously. Prince fuckety-duckety William. So, after basking in my “what the fuck-ness” for a couple of minutes, I decided to do some research. It turns out The Royals have a long history of chairing the Academy. Isn’t that fantastic? I mean, everyone just loves when things are handed to people on a silver platter because of who Mummy and Daddy are! Just look at how much people LOVE Paris Hilton.

Why the hostility, you may ask? Well first off, BAFTA Bill is taking over from Richard Attenborough. That’s right, two time Oscar winner, three time Golden Globe winner, four time BAFTA winner, practically choking on all of the awards he has ever won, so much so that he has them coming out of his arse, LORD FUCKING ATTENBOROUGH. Lord A is the visionary who brought the world Chaplin, Cry Freedom, A Chorus Line, Ghandi and A Bridge Too Far, but is probably best recognized as dino-phile with a God-complex, John Hammond from Jurassic Park.

Meanwhile, Prince Horseface’s only notable contribution to film and television has been this statement; “Becoming president of BAFTA is a great honor for me. There is almost nothing better than going to see a really good film so this is a great personal thrill for me.” Thanks Willy, that was really insightful. So glad that you’re “thrilled” and that the only adjective you could come up with to describe the medium is “good.”

Anyway, I don’t know what the President of the BAFTA really does; but I did find out that their mission is to, “support, develop and promote the art forms of the moving image, by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public.” Right…how many of this year’s nominated tv series and films do you think the Royal has actually seen? And as far as I can tell, the only thing Prince William has actually “inspired” are some horribly misguided Cinderella-type films and a god-awful television movie chronicling the first fifteen years of his life.

I just think that in this day and age, there shouldn’t be so much hype surrounding the royal family, and that it would be far more beneficial for someone more like Richard Attenborough to head the BAFTA, than some twenty-seven year old kid who happens to own a crown.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Amy, Amy, Amy

I have a love/hate relationship with writer/director Amy Heckerling. While half her resume is pretty fucking impressive, the other half is marred by the ghosts of bad decisions past – namely turning most of her well-known films into sub-par television series.

Ms. Heckerling has had her hand in two generation-defining films – she directed Fast Times at Ridgemont High and wrote and directed Clueless. I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of the former, but the latter is so witty and well written (it was even nominated for a Writers Guild Award) that it’s hard not to love, whether you came of age in the nineties or are a Jane Austen fan.

However, Ms. Heckerling’s resume also boasts the appalling Look Who’s Talking franchise; a disappointing teen flick called Loser starring then big-name actors Jason Biggs and Mena Suvari (fresh off American Pie); and the crown jewel of crap – three, yes THREE television adaptations of her successful films.

The first - an adaptation of Fast Times at Ridgemont High, simply known as “Fast Times.” The series lasted only seven episodes and cost a small fortune. It starred 80s’ and 00s’ it boy/man Patrick Dempsey, and a young Courtney Thorne-Smith whose fame tends to fluctuate like a bulimic’s weight. Not surprisingly, only two actors from the film reprised their roles (Vincent Schiavelli as Mr. Vargas and Ray Walston as Mr. Hand).

The second adaptation was “Baby Talk” based off Look Who’s Talking. The series lasted for two seasons and managed to plow through three lead actresses. Increasing the “what the fuck” factor, the baby was voiced by Tony Danza (while still working on Who’s The Boss?), guest starred George Clooney, and featured Scott Baio as a series regular…who also managed to plow through three lead actresses.

Finally, the third film-to-television monster was “Clueless.” I use the term ‘monster’ because this beast of a series lasted for three seasons and was inexplicably syndicated for a ludicrous amount of time. “Clueless” saw three of the leads reprising their roles for all 61 episodes (Dionne, Murray and Amber), while Alicia Silverstone went on to an ‘illustrious’ film career.

Anyway, the reason for my ode to Amy Heckerling…The other week I was flipping around the tube and came across a movie called I Could Never Be Your Woman – an Amy Heckerling film starring Paul Rudd and Michelle Pfeiffer. I thought, how can I lose? I loved that obscure mid-nineties song by the same name, was a huge fan of Clueless, and Paul Rudd is always good for a few laughs. I should have known better. The movie starts off with Tracey Ullman (yay!), waxing on and on about the foils love (boo!), dressed as Mother Nature (huh?). After this, Ms. Ullman has little to do with the film except when she occasionally pops up as a figment of Michelle Pfeiffer’s imagination in order to berate the forty-something television producer about dating the much younger Paul Rudd. And that’s pretty much the ENTIRE premise of the movie. Oh, I should also mention that Michelle Pfeiffer’s character’s television show is about a teenage girl growing up in Southern California (wink); and that the leads of the fictitious show are all played by much older actors (wink). You know, I really couldn’t tell if Ms. Heckerling was trying to satirize her real-life experiences…especially when she cast ONE OF THE FUCKING LEADS FROM THE FUCKING SHOW SHE WAS TRYING TO SATIRIZE! (In case you care, I am referring to Stacey “Dionne” Dash who plays a thirty-something actress portraying a sixteen year old on a TV series in the film).

The movie is pretty much abysmal, which explains why it was released straight to DVD. However, a huge bright spot of the film is an eleven-year-old Saoirse Ronan (no wonder this girl was nominated for an Oscar at fourteen). But her tiny little-girl arms can’t save this thing from drowning.

Amy Heckerling has recently been making news for an upcoming project she’s working on called Vamps, which will reunite her with Alicia Silverstone. I’m thinking this film can go either way – based on non-mathematical statistics, Ms. Heckerling has managed one hit per decade, so Vamps could do for vampire-obsessed girls what Clueless did for vapid, over-privileged teens; that is if Ms. Heckerling can pull off the same satire and wit she did with Clueless. However, her last film had about as much subtlety as a Vegas showgirl…which leads me to believe that Vamps will be a huge flop.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I like short shorts...animated shorts.

I’ll admit it – I am an awards show junkie and the Oscars are the Holy Grail of awards show (pardon my mixed metaphor). But perhaps one of the most overlooked categories is the Animated Short. I too was once guilty of this oversight; however, a recent stint at a short film channel has opened my eyes to this glorious, but underappreciated art form.

The first nominee: French Roast is a cute little short about a frugal man who loses his wallet in a cafĂ© and can’t pay his bill.

At first I thought that this was going to be one of those old-school Simpson’s episodes with a holier-than-thou moral message. However, I found the action quite amusing…until that pesky little moral came back to hit me over the head – I guess the French aren’t really known for their subtlety. While I like the animation style, this eight-minute film felt a little slow and was a tad too cutesy for my tastes. The animator Fabrice Joubert, is pretty seasoned, and has worked as the supervising animator on Flushed Away and Shark Tale.

2. Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty: a take on a classic tale.

I LOVE Sleeping Beauty and I LOVE mean old ladies, but I don’t really see this short winning an Oscar. I really dug the mixed animation style and Brown Bag Films has previously produced the Oscar nominated Give Up Yer Aul Sins, but the film lacks some punch and is pretty linear.

3. The Lady and The Reaper: A Mexican death-tale!

Hey check it out; Antonio Banderas co-produced this! And we all know how much the Academy LOVES Antonio Banderas. Remember when they got him to sing the eventual Oscar-winner for Best Song from The Motorcycle Diaries…you know, even though he had NOTHING to do with the film? Yeah, so I’m going to put this film up there as a serious contender…and a possible promotional tool for Obama’s Death Panels. But seriously, it’s a pretty cute tale, and it gets some serious props for the morbid ending!

4. Logorama: It’s The Dark Knight meets every commercial you’ve ever seen.

I’ll admit that it took me some time to fall in love with this film. While I’m not as enthusiastic as the reviewer in the above link, I do enjoy the idea and concept behind this short. But, I think I would love it a whole lot more if it was about seven minutes shorter.

5. Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death

Wallace and Gromit are to the animation categories what Judie Dench and Meryl Streep are to the acting categories. Nick Park has won four Oscars (all for Wallace and Gromit installments) and A Matter of Loaf and Death has already won the BAFTA. Now, I am very aware that the Oscars are a big political game (see, Denzel Washington winning for Training Day after being overlooked for so many other powerful performances), so I would normally think it very unlikely that Nick Park would pick up a fifth statue; however, this is the animated short category. I’d be very surprised to find out that members of the academy have actually watched all five of these shorts. This is why I’m calling Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death the frontrunner. Plus, you can’t deny its brilliance.