Monday, February 28, 2005

POPCORN: the superficial side of the oscars

Yes, I will get my fashion opinions up and out of the way. More than awards, the Oscar red carpet is glam and hi style at it's best. 2005 saw a slightly bizarre trend. First, no one looked horrible. Why? Because everyone looked the same, well except for Hillary Swank who didn't get the memo. Annette Benning sabotaged it.

Actress 1: What are you wearing?
Actress 2: A super tight strapless mermaid dress.

Actress 1: Shut up, me too!
Actress 2: No way, bitch I thought of it first!

Actress 1: Well, mine will stand out, cause it's red.
Actress 2: Shut up, me too!

Okay readers, I have a questions, why is iit that a white man can't wear a suit like a black man. By far Jamie Foxx, Chris Rock, and Puffy blew away the white boys. Whatever they got, take notes boys!

Okay now to the pictures and pronouncements: The Best Dressed...

1. While Kate Winslet has been left on the losing end more times than most people have every been nominated, she's without a doubt the most glamourous fashionista of the night. Though she didn't get the gold accessory she was looking for, she has a great backup. I'm of course refering to Sam Mendes not the 40cts. in diamonds.

2. Cate Blanchette is dressed in two very ugly colors that most people would run from. However, Cate looks like a buttercup blossom that was given an angelic human form for one night only.

3. Catalina Sandino Moreano looks absolutely smashing. For the numerous people watching who had no idea who she was or what's she's done, she makes a breathtaking first impression.

4. This is the best kirsten dunst has ever looked - EVER. She phenomenally fills out this black lace sheath topped with platinum cropped locks that scream glamour. White blonde will be the hottest look this summer into fall - that's right I'm declaring this now. Kirstin bucks all the trends and rocks my world (not to mention Jake & Orlando's).

5. Tied for fifth are one old world beauty and one new world beauty with their four fabulous distraction assets: Penelope Cruz & Selma Hayek

Friday, February 25, 2005

question of the day

Does anyone know if the new Lindsay Lohan barbie doll will come complete with an "accessory kit" to set up Ashlee Simpson doing coke? Just wondered.

Hopefully I'll be back next week.


Thursday, February 24, 2005

Come ride that donkey donkey

This story is too weird not to post... Enjoy.

'Shrek' Fans Get a Kick out of Donkey Ownership
Wed, Feb 23, 2005, 09:02 AM PT

LOS ANGELES ( - The popularity of "101 Dalmatians" and the Taco Bell commercials popularized the sale -- and the subsequent abandonment -- of thousands of Dalmatians and Chihuahuas. Now, animal charities have bigger creatures to save.
Donkeys are the latest animals to cause a craze with audiences, thanks to DreamWorks' blockbuster "Shrek" films, reports the BBC News.

"Shrek" and its recent sequel revolve around the adventures of the titular green ogre and his talking donkey pal named Donkey. Peter Jinman, a former president of the British Veterinary Association, says the rise in donkey ownership is due to the "Shrek effect," but also because many people have more land now that they've moved to the country to the city.

Naturally, the down side is for the donkeys, who are bought and then neglected by people ignorant of their needs. The four-leggers require a passport to travel, "a minimum of one acre grazing land, a farm or shelter, a good equine farrier, a vet, straw for bedding and a lot of time -- because donkeys love attention," says Tina Court, of the Devon-based Donkey Sanctuary. Donkeys can live upwards of 30 years.

For those who can't meet these needs but still want a donkey friend are encouraged to sponsor a donkey through groups such as the New European Distressed Donkey Initiative (Neddi) in France.

Both "Shrek" films have earned approximately $1,336 million worldwide combined. "Shrek 2" was the highest-grossing film of 2004 in the U.S. and is nominated for an Oscar in the best animated feature category.

9000 Words

Time is still not on my side. So in the mean time, here are some photos to entertain. Recaps of last night's Lost and Alias, plus your first look at Alias 4-10: The Orphan (airs in two weeks).

Alias 04-08: Echos

Jenny G and Mia Maestro looking lovely.

Alias 04-10: The Orphan - First Look

Alias 04-10: The Orphan - First Look

Alias 04-10: The Orphan - First Look

Lost: In Translation... Sun & Jin discuss the state of their marriage.

Lost: In Translation... Jin completes his training for the family business.

Lost: In Translation... Shannon and Sayid conoodle.

Lost: In Translation... Michael's rescue raft and temper flare.

Lost: In Translation - Yunjin Kim as Sun

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Due to corporate upheaval and crunch time work on my screenplay, I haven' t been posting much this week about Hunter S. Thompson, Paris Hilton's cell phone quagmire, Alyson's appearance on an f-ing fantastic Veronica Mars last night, the Simpson's take on gay marriage, or the season premier of RealTime with Bill Maher. What week to be blogless I know! Anyway, I hope you enjoy this hot toddy picture of future Oscar winner Natalie Portman as she will keep you company until I can return. Be sure that there will be plenty of coverage of the Oscars and/or Darren's Oscar party.


Friday, February 18, 2005

Here are your props, in pictures, my dear

The weight of Mary Kate - That's how much my dear friend Darren has dropped. I know I mentioned it earlier, but he felt he needed proper photo representation. I couldn't agree more as I'm so proud (and jealous) of all his work. It's so much easier when you're a boy. His goal is to lose at least an Ashley Olsen's worth of weight and maybe topping out with a Chicago framed Rene Zellweger. Love you oodles, D-Dog.

THE BOX: Wood back on UPN tackling "triangle"

And just when I said I wasn't posting anything on pilot season, here I go and make a liar of myself. D. B. Woodside, known to most as either Wayne Palmer, the dirty little bro of the our fav President on 24's Day 3... or as Principal Robin Wood, the man who promised to offer Faith a few surprises after "getting bouncy" during the final apocalypse of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Woodside has joined Ivan Sergei "Triangle" a drama pilot for UPN. Woodside plays a cop who helps search for a missing woman.

Unfortunately, from what I've read, Triangle is looking to capitalize on the popularity of Lost setting a soap opera stemming from a mystery in a tropical local...

..."Triangle, a Paramount Network TV and Shore View Entertainment production, focuses on a young doctor who comes to a Caribbean island for his honeymoon, but ends up staying on when his wife mysteriously vanishes."(from

Quitters never win, or do they?

Yet one more thing I do not have in common with Britney Spears.

I've learned alot from my entertainment industry obsession since birth. One particular skill is the art of self congratulatory press releases. So today I'm putting that skill to use as I congratuate myself, and encourage you to as well. I have been a non-smoker for exactly one year today! Go me.

In addition, I started physically training again which I haven't done seriously since I stopped skiing back in high school. On February 17th of 2004, I was working two jobs, sleeping less than five hours a night, eating fast food constantly between the two jobs, smoking a pack and a half a day, and was the fattest I'd ever been in my life.

February 18th, I quit up smoking.
March 1st, I quit my second job and got some sleep. I then joined a gym.
April 1st, I quit eating fast food, refined carbohydrates, and any form of liquid calories.
By memorial day, I was able to swim one mile without a break.

I've lost over 40 pounds and 18 inches from my bust, waist, and hips. Oddly enough, my feet have also shrunk. I've pretty much transformed myself from my college years when I started smoking, excessively drinking, and never slept. Take heed Lindsay Lohan! I also practice yoga religiously. Last month I finally reached a point where I could perform and stably hold a shoulder stand. I've regained about 85% of the flexibility I had up until about 15 - those days of being a cheerleader, 500 stomach crunches a night, and 8 hours on the slopes faded when I started working. I'm stronger and have more lung capasitiy than I've ever had, including the 10 years I spent playing the saxophone.

So one more time, I rock!

Oh, and if you think that's something, you should see what Darren's done too. He's lost like an entire Olsen twin. It's nice when you compete with friends in the area of nutrion and health instead of liquor and boys (not that I've ever done that). Okay, I'm totally old.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

THE BOX: First Look at Trina Echolls

What the hell did Alyson do to her hair?

Can't wait until next Tuesday to get a glimpse of Alyson Hannigan on Mars. You don't have to... here are your first looks. Hannigan recently gave an interview about her character, Trina Echolls, saying...

"She's a Hollywood brat. She's a poor little rich girl. She's got rich parents, so she's spoiled, but trying to be an actress in her own right, but that's not going well. She's a party girl, likes to spend money that isn't hers. It was fun, because it was a complete departure from the other parts I've been playing for the last seven years."

Hannigan is turn as Trina isn't a once and done deal. Besides next Tuesday's episode, she will be back on April 19th in an episode called "Hot Dog".

As for the fate of "Mars", Hannigan says...

"Hopefully they'll get picked up for a second season, and there'll be more of a big arc for my character. Call me optimistic, but if UPN wants to have good shows on the network, I would think they'd keep the ones they have. They need to keep 'Veronica Mars,' because it's such a good show. I don't understand why people aren't watching it."

Neither do I.

State of the blog, just a note

I haven't had much to share the past couple days about television or film. I figured, I'd let you in on why.

Sissy Spacek in Dreamworks' The Ring Two - 2005

POPCORN: This past year delivered so many great films, but this award season is the most boring and mundane since the 2001 race. I just don't care about most of it and therefore have lost all interest in updating everyone. If you're really excited about all the kudos, check out Variety's award central coverage - no subscription needed - where all is chronicled. Also, there is normally very little that hits theaters to spark my interest until March/Aprilish so I probably won't have many popcorn reviews until then.

Misa Uehara in Lions Gate's Ju-On - 2004

DVD: I made this ridiculous promise to myself about 6 or more months ago that I would not buy anymore DVD's. That's crazy, you must be thinking. The reason is purely one of spatial relations. In our small two room apartment, we have DVD's piled in every nook and cranny. The hutch to our computer desk is filled with box sets. The DVD case in the hall is filled and even more discs are piled up on top. The studio room, our living room/bedroom combo, has stacks of DVD's and box sets mixed in by the PS2, Nintendo, and SuperNES. We've just run out of room. Granted, Ben made no such promise, so "his" collection keeps growing. I lent about 20 or so to my mother to free up some space. This summer we'll be moving into our house where the living room is actually equipped as a library with floor to ceiling bookshelves on two full walls. In my purchasing draught, Ben enrolled us in Blockbuster's unlimited rental program. While I firmly hate Blockbuster, we don't have any other place from which to rent. Since BB has eliminated it's Late Fees (which is just a tricky euphemism), their shelves have been bare. I have been trying to rent Friday Night Lights, Sky Captain & the World of Tomorrow, Ray, & the Grudge all month. Last week, I scored a copy of Ju On: The Grudge. When I sat down to watch it Sunday, I only made it past the title sequence before the DVD player went all Capt. Spastic. Very angry at this point with our DVD player that has been all wiggidy whacked for a few months, we put the disc in the PS2. It played despite severe damage to the disc. How and/or why BB still had this disc in rotation is beyond me. The film was very good, at least the first 45 minutes because THAT'S ALL I F-ING SAW! The disc wouldn't play anymore. At this point I was about to go postal on BB. I didn't hurt anyone or cause a ruckus when returning the disc. Luckily, I did get a copy of Ray which I have yet to watch. I also picked up the SMG version of The Grudge hoping to find out how the film ended. I'm hoping the films are very similar. Otherwise, I might just go buy Ju On: The Grudge. So, as soon as BB has more discs available, I'll have more reviews.

Josh Holloway as "Outlaw" Sawyer

As for THE BOX: Something must be wrong with me this week. I feel asleep both Tuesday, during Veronica Mars, and last night during Alias, only to wake up at 2 a.m. to turn off the television. This is why I don't have "thoughts" on either show this week. It's a shame because both episodes were very good, at least what I remember. While I could post my thoughts on Lost today, nothing else new happened as the show is still stuck in this rut. The greatness of the show is it's philosophical and metaphysical commentaries framed in a puzzle for us viewers to figure out. Unfortunately, the show hasn't give us much to work with lately. I could again say, Get On With It, but then I would be just saying the same thing over and over and over again. Granted, Sawyer being taunted by a wild boar was quite comical and a good episode. Speaking of, Sawyer is HOT! Okay, sorry for that outburst. If I can make it through Point Pleasant tonight, and it's worth posting about, look for that news tomorrow.

Other than that, I'll continue with the entertainment news that I find worthy. If you're interested in what pilot season has to offer - which I'm personally not until the networks upfronts are announced - check out Zap2It as development news is pouring in daily.


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The Plastic Side of Lindsay Lohan

Have you ever wished you could bring your favorite hollywood actress home and dress her in pretty clothes and do her hair? I know at least one person who has - I'm not talkin' about me. Well, said person will now have his chance. Lindsay Lohan will have her very own barbie cast in her likeness. The doll, part of the new "My Scene" line, is dressed "Red Carpet Ready" according the press releases. All yours for only $30.

As you can see below, the likeness isn't to impressive, and neither are the clothes. I figured, though, I'd take the time to share, especially since I blogged about the release of the smile time puppet. Don't worry, I won't make celebrity replicas a habit.

As for my thought's on LL, I must admit that after watching Freaky Friday, I was totally in love with Lindsay Lohan. I was blown away that this was the same little girl that I watched repeated in the Parent Trap remake while watching my little sis's. Granted, Miss Lohan has been traveling down the Britney path and was losing me as a fan. Her album is atrocious. Well, that's not fair because I haven't heard the album (but I have heard the miserable singles). Her tabloidy escapades in the likes of Paris Hilton and Tara Reid show a snotty weak character as well. Then there are the non stop legal coverage of her family. Poor girl. Granted, I've never judged anyone for based on taboidly and "glossy" coverage. As an actress and all around sex kitten, I still love Miss Lindsay.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

THE BOX: To Watch, Tonight

Okay, I know I don't have to tell you to watch Veronica Mars. I still will, even though you won't. Tonight, Veronica goes up against her dad as they face off on different sides of the same case. Logan and Veronica also investigate the fate of Logan's mom, and some pivotal info on Lily's case turns up. Don't forget, next week is the Alyson Hannigan guest spot.

L & O: Criminal Intent - The episode which aired this Sunday against Desperate Housewives and the Grammy's will rerun tonight at 8 on NBC. This excites me as I haven't seen a CI episode in a while. Speaking of what was on Sunday night, Arrested Delivered it's second funniest episode ever. Anytime GOB does the chicken dance I laugh until I can't breath. Lindsay joined in on Sunday and hillarity insued. If you didn't watch, you're a loser. Okay, back to CI, catch up on Mike Logan (Chris Noth) tonight.

House- If you don't want to watch Veronica, catch House. I've said it before, but I'll say it again, Hugh Laurie f-ing rocks! (He's also in Superman). The rest of the show sucks. Tonight Dr. House goes through detox . According to TV Guide, "What follows isn't likely to be pleasant for anybody."

If this guy lived with me, I'd call him Professor Cocoa van der Cuddles

Still not satisfied? Check out USA's coverage of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Tonight features Sporting, Hounds, Herding, and Best in Show. I believe Stumpy, the Sussex Spaniel will be featured during the Sporting Competition. In only 29 shows, Stumpy or Ch Clussexx Three D Grinchy Glee as he's officially known, has won 7 Best in Show titles and 19 Group Firsts. I love Stumpy!

Yes, I like my dogs short, stocky, and oh so cute.

THE BOX: The Official Word

In the world of television, E! News columnist Kristin Vietch, knows just about everything about everyone - Kinda like me circa 1987. She has excellent taste too - okay, we basically agree on everything. Kristin column this week features tidbits on the fate of Arrested Development and on the yet to be aired The Office which is high on the hopes here at the Brain Drain. Unlike myself, Kristin is important and actually has seen episodes. Below are her main reasons to watch the show. For more information on how to win a copy of Season Five of Angel (out today), what you can do to save Arrested, and that silly fake Lost script, visit her site.

"Clearly, this silly little couch-tater column is hardly the place to wax political, but forgive me. It's time I tell the world where I stand on one issue: I am staunchly, unflinchingly and categorically against the death penalty...when it comes to undeserving TV shows. With recent developments illustrating the uncertain fate of Arrested Development and American Dreams, and a reminder that Angel was too good to go, I'm all jazzed up about saving the innocents this week, including, for starters, saving a series that hasn't even aired yet.

Office-al Obsession: I think I'm in love. And I'm not talking about John Stamos."

Series Premier: Mar. 24th.

1. Steve Carell Might Be the Funniest Man Alive: I say this not just because he tried to open-mouth kiss me at a recent NBC party (affection can't buy me!).
2. Fans of the Original Won't Be Disappointed: With a few scripts borrowed from the UK version and updated with Yank references and the other five entirely new, Workplace is a perfect blend of familiarity and freshness.
3. The Supporting Cast Is Out of Control: With the exception of Rainn Wilson, whom Six Feet Under's fans know as Mama Fisher's boy toy Arthur, you might not recognize a one of 'em, but trust me, you will instantly adore this cast.
4. Dumb People Won't Get It: Like Arrested, Workplace's humor is probably too quirky, too witty and too smart for the majority of viewers, who like their comedy laugh-tracked and spoon-fed.
5. NBC Relies on Word of Mouth: Hence, the reason I'm breaking out my pom-poms to rah-rah this show.

Watch with Kristin for more.

Greeting card sponsored holidays and evil puppies

Okay, this seems to be my recent weekly trend were I divulge plenty about my personal life and less about entertainment. Today’s topic, Valentine’s Day – yes I’m aware it was yesterday. Had I taken the time to blog, I would have recommended appropriate movies, like Eternal Sunshine, or mood music (even if it’s just to love yourself) by the Afghan Whigs.

Before I get “all up in this” post, I would like to send out squishy hugs and kisses to Ben, Jon, Darren, James, Kevin, and any other loyal brain drainers out there. You know, you can introduce yourself. Email me, just to say “hi” or comment. I love comments (good or bad) I’m needy like that.

I’ve never been very big on Valentines day. As long as I can remember, I got screwed (or screwed myself), and not in a pleasant way. I always got the crappiest and least amount of valentine’s in elementary school. In high school, I was also showered by pink and white flowers, but never red ones. I had a date my senior year with a friend since my jack ass 24 year old boyfriend had pissed me off. I remember distinctly his car wouldn't start and lots of swearing. By the time I had made my way to college, I normally celebrated with either a bottle of Jack Daniels or a bottle of Capt. Morgan’s or I had a three way with the two. Unfortunately this normally resulted in declarations of my undying love to someone and/or puking for hours. Junior year was the best binge drinking celebration in recent memory as I was totally surprised by my friend who had broken into my apartment to cook a gorgeous dinner and shower me with flowers, wine, liquor, and a metrocard – possibly one of the best gifts ever at that point in time. But as always, I ended up drunk as passed out by the end of the night, I think. I always felt blessed more by the nights I blacked out – which I think I did my senior year only because I don’t remember what I did but I'm guessing I was with my friend Joe. And thus my Bridget Jones styled tradition was interrupted a few years ago when I met Ben.

Okay, so what could possibly be more annoying than being single on Valentine’s Day and the self-pity trip that inevitably accompanies it? Well, for myself, it’s the situation that occurs when you’re in a relationship and everyone, I mean everyone, you come in contact with asks “So, what are you and Ben doing for Valentine’s Day?” While the sarcastic bitter bitch inside me that resents most of the middle-aged nosey and pathetic divorcees I work with instinctively wants to launch a shock and awe campaign of all the nefarious things we could do to each other, the polite “likes to keep her job” side of me simply says “We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day.”

The women then give me this look, this shameful look. It’s the same one I was given when I happen to mention one day that I paid for part of my engagement ring because I wanted one set in platinum which is vastly more expensive than gold. It’s that "traitor to the cause" look. Granted I don’t get the whole evil soul and bank account sucking succubus thing that post college women looking for a husband seam to become. That’s another issue for another blog.

So, why do we not celebrate Valentine’s Day? Well, I could demand one dozen long stem yellow or black magic roses. Though, what’s the point when a week later Ben could afford 4 dozen for that cost? I could demand dining out. But why, just so I can experience over crowded restaurants where I become angered by insufficient parking and unsatisfactory service? I could request a box of chocolates, although I don’t like most chocolate and I would have to spend 3 times as long at the gym to compensate. There is just no way a boy can win on Valentine’s Day, so why put any demands on him. I was content to come home, make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, watch the Westminster Dog Show and 24 and snuggle asleep – just like I do most Mondays.

Click here for quick and easy recipe.

Ah, but I came home to much more than that. Ben, my wonderful kitchen executive boy, was inspired to created a red and white themed dinner for me including whole wheat linguini topped with grilled chicken, alfredo sauce, and red peppers. For dessert, we had the best winter stock strawberries he could find dipped in white chocolate fondue. Granted, this meal assured that I would be up bright and early at the gym this morning – which I was.

We then watched the first hour of the Westminster Show and the increasingly subpar 24. I’m a little sad seeing that the Hound group and the Sporting group, the dogs I most like, are on tonight. The Pekingese won the toy group. These dogs scare me! Not as house pets, but the way they're groomed for shows. They are massive balls of fur that move without legs. Something so cute and freaky must be evil.

I would also like to add that I was very excited to receive my invite to our 4th annual Oscar Party, although to his credit, Darren has hosted the past three.

Girls, be nice to your boys. Otherwise, they come crawling to me and I have to "fix" them.

So my friends, that’s my thoughts on Valentine’s Day.

Friday, February 11, 2005

New Look Same Great Blogginess

Hi my 10 loyal bloggees and any passers by! Please excuse any wackiness as I "retool" the layout here at the brain drain. Hopefully all will be sorted out by Monday (2/14).

Don't be judgemental.


The Box: Not so bad is somewhat better

I finally found a good pic of Adam Busch with his new found yummy scruffiness on Point Pleasant.

Too bad none of you were actually watching Point Pleasant last night. (Both The O.C. & PP came in 5th in the ratings). The fifth episode of the so so series turned out to be rather good and the writers seem to be hitting their stride.

Last night's episode showed a little more of Grant Show's character as the tables start to turn on Miss Anti-Christ (more anti than christ like). Last night's episode actually set up a transtion that completely reverses all the relationships as the were set up in the pilot... In a good way. The adults were actually able to keep their clothes on and there were very little string bikini shots even though the episode was accompanied by a warning for sexual explicitness. Go figure.

Now, if they can only ditch Paula (Cameron Richardson) and get poor Elizabeth Harnois some acting lessons. Unfortunately her range thus far is "Angel", represented by "sad face", and "Devil", represented by "seductive face". (see below)

RIP: Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller, Pulitzer prizer winner, ex-husband of Marilyn Monroe, and brilliant playwrite has died. Miller was 89. Besides the story of down trodden Willy Lohman in "Death of a Saleman" Miller also wrote "The Crucible" (1953) - FYI My favorite play - the brilliant and satyrical take on McCarthism. Miller also wrote the 1995 film adaptation starring pre-clepto Winona Ryder and Miller's son in law, Daniel Day Lewis.

For more information on the life and dealth of Arthur Miller, click here.

Get a "Smile Time" Puppet of your very own!

Ben first told me about the sale of "Smile Time" prop replicas from a thread he picked up on while parusing SG. "Smile Time" is in reference to a season five episode of Angel where the ensouled vampire is mystically transformed into a puppet while investigating an evil children's show.

Many genre web shops and of course eBay, have the ST Puppet for sale. Prices seem to range from $39.99 to $50 for the 1/2 scale replica with faux leather costuming.

Here's the manufactures press release:

“SMILE TIME” ANGEL PUPPET HALF-SCALE REPLICA, A Diamond Select Release! From the imagination of series creator Joss Whedon came one of the funniest episodes in Buffy or Angel’s history, “Smile Time,” in which the brooding and ever-serious vampire with a soul was transformed into a puppet! This plush replica measures just over 21” high and is an exact ½-scale version of the prop puppet used in the episode. Featuring a faux leather coat, boots and a mouth that opens and closes (for that full puppet brooding effect!), “Smile Time” Angel is ready to come home with you and protect your teddy bears from the creatures that go bump in the night! “Smile Time” Angel comes packaged in deluxe window box packaging and will only be available in specialty market outlets. "
In stores March 2005.
Plush Replica $50.00

Froogle can help you out if your looking for one.

On that note, just a reminder that Season Five of Angel comes to DVD on Tuesday (2.15).

POPCORN: Last Year's Passion is this year's Porn

Last February the country and world was a buzz with the controversy surrounding the classical catholic interpretatioin of biblical event in the historically inaccurate Passion of the Christ. This year, just in time for Valentine's Day, the major urban market's (NY, LA, Chicago, etc.) are going Inside Deep Throat.

Roger Ebert column interesting reflects on the not just the original film, but it's effect on politics, the entertainment industry, and American culture and sexuality. Here's the article - happy reading everyone. "Inside Deep Throat"

BY ROGER EBERT / February 11, 2005
Cast & CreditsUniversal Pictures presents a documentary directed and written by
Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato. Running time: 90 minutes. Rated NC-17 (for explicit sexual content).Read Roger Ebert's reviews of other classic X-rated films: The X-rated Roger Ebert"

In the beginning,
Gerard Damiano was a hairdresser. Listening to his clients talk about sex, which in his salon was apparently all they talked about, he realized that pornography had crossover appeal. All you had to do was advertise a movie in such a way that couples would come, instead of only the raincoat brigade. With a budget of $25,000 and an actress named Linda Lovelace, he made "Deep Throat" (1972), which inspired a national censorship battle, did indeed attract couples and grossed $600 million, making it the most profitable movie of all time.

"Deep Throat" was made on the far fringes of the movie industry; Damiano later complained that most of the profits went to people he prudently refused to name as the mob. Since the mob owned most of the porn theaters in the pre-video days and inflated box office receipts as a way of laundering income from drugs and prostitution, it is likely, in fact, that "Deep Throat" did not really gross $600 million, although that might have been the box office tally.

"Inside Deep Throat," a documentary that premiered at Sundance and is now going into national release, was made not on the fringes but by the very establishment itself. The studio is Universal, the producer is Brian Grazer ("A Beautiful Mind," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas") and the directors are Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato ("Party Monster," "The Eyes of Tammy Faye"). The rating, of course, is NC-17. It is a commentary on the limitations of the rating system that Universal would release a documentary about an NC-17 film, but would be reluctant to make one.

The movie uses new and old interviews and newsreel footage to remember a time when porn was brand-new. In my 1973 review of "Deep Throat," written three days after a police raid on the Chicago theater showing it, I wrote: "The movie became 'pornographic chic' in New York before it was busted. Mike Nichols told Truman Capote he shouldn't miss it, and then the word just sort of got around: This is the first stag film to see with a date."

A year or two earlier, porn audiences darted furtively into shabby little theaters on the wrong side of town; now they lined up for "Deep Throat" and talked cheerfully to news cameras about wanting to see it because, well, everybody else seemed to be going. The movie was not very good (even its director, Damiano, would tell you that) but it was explicit in a way that was acceptable to its audiences, and it leavened the sex with humor. Not very funny humor, to be sure, but it worked in the giddy, forbidden atmosphere of a mixed-gender porn theater.

The modern era of skin flicks began in 1960 with Russ Meyer's "The Immoral Mr. Teas," which inspired Meyer and others to make a decade of films featuring nudity but no explicit sex. Then a Supreme Court ruling seemed to permit the hard-core stuff, and "Deep Throat" was the first film to take it to a mass audience. (Meyer himself never made hard-core, explaining (1) he didn't like to share his profits with the mob, and (2) he didn't think what went on below the waist was nearly as visually interesting as the bosoms of his supervixens.) The movie was raided in city after city, it was prosecuted for obscenity, it was seized and banned, and the publicity only made it more popular. There were predictions that explicit sex would migrate into mainstream films -- even rumors that Stanley Kubrick wanted to make a porn film.

But by 1974 the boomlet was pretty much over, and the genre had gone back into the hands of the raincoat rangers. When I interviewed Damiano that year, he said porn would soon be a thing of the past: "The only thing that's kept it going this long is the FBI and the Nixon administration. Without censorship to encourage people's curiosity, the whole thing would have been over six months ago." And that was pretty much the story until home video came onto the market, creating a new and much larger audience but destroying what shreds of artistic ambition lurked in the styles of the film-based pornographers (see "Boogie Nights" for the story of that transition).

"Inside Deep Throat" has some headlines that go against popular wisdom:

* While everybody remembers that Lovelace later said she had virtually been raped on screen, the movie suggests that her troubles were the doing of her sadistic lover at the time, not Damiano. By the time she was 50, she was posing for Leg Show Magazine and saying she thought she looked pretty good for her age.

*While everyone remembers the report of a presidential commission that found pornography to be harmful, not many people remember that was the second commission to report on the subject, not the first. The 1970 commission, headed by former Illinois Gov. Otto Kerner, found that pornography was not particularly linked to antisocial behavior, and that indeed sex criminals as a group tended to have less exposure to pornography than non-sex criminals. This report, based on scientific research and findings, was deemed unacceptable by the Reagan White House, which created a 1986 commission headed by Attorney Gen. Edwin Meese, which did no research, relied on anecdotal testimony from the witnesses it called, and found pornography harmful.

*Charles Keating Jr. and his Citizens for Decent Literature got a lot of publicity for leading the charge against "Deep Throat" and Larry Flynt. Keating got less publicity when he was charged with racketeering in the Lincoln Savings and Loan Scandal, and eventually served four years in prison.

As for "Deep Throat," it remembers a time before pornography was boring, and a climate in which non-pornographic films might consider bolder sexual content. It has some colorful characters, including a retired Florida exhibitor whose wife provides a running commentary on everything he says. And it tells us where they are now: Damiano is comfortably retired, Lovelace died in a traffic accident, and her co-star Harry Reems is a recovering substance abuser who now works as a Realtor in Park City, Utah, home of the Sundance Film Festival.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Coming to a Brain Drain Box near you: The Mid Season

Okay, with Alias and 24 back on, officially we’ve already hit mid-season, but ever since reality television and even going back to Fox’s 90210 summer season, television's schedule is no longer a simple world of Fall, Spring, and Re-Runs. To this day, I still have no idea how HBO schedules anything. has been wonderful enough to break it all down for us by network.

I’m looking forward to:

The Inside, but I don’t want to get my hopes up too much lest they be answered with another Point Pleasant or Tru Calling. The good news for this former Angel fan is that Tim Minear (Angel & Wonderfalls) has teamed with Jane Espenson. Let the genius fest begin.

What Zap2it’s saying…

The Inside
Premieres: To Be Decided

Premise: Tim Minear ("Angel") took over a "21 Jump Street" clone starring relative unknown Rachel Nichols and transformed it into a small screen "Silence of the Lambs" starring Nichols as a new FBI agent with a traumatic past assigned to LA's Violent Crimes Unit. Peter Coyote, Jay Harrington and Adam Baldwin (“Angel”, “Firefly”)co-star as her partners in crime-fighting.

Our Prophecy: With a strong cast and a crack creative team that also includes "Buffy" writing star Jane Espenson and "24" ace Howard Gordon, "The Inside" may actually be a good show. Clips shown to critics make this look darker and more mature than anything FOX has on the air right now and FOX seems to enjoy tearing out Minear's still-beating heart (see "Wonderfalls" and "Firefly"). Either way, it's probably doomed, but in the most noble way possible

While I’m not to big on the modern sitcom, I’m not against the format. Besides growing up in the 80’s and being addicted to the family traumas of The Cosby Show, Family Ties, and Growing Pains, I’ve also been a big fan of Murphy Brown, News Radio, Sports Night, Cheers, Herman’s Head, Seinfeld, Will & Grace (not the last 2 seasons), Curb Your Enthusiam, and currently Arrested Development. Needless to say, the older I get, the more sadistic and satirical I prefer my comedy. Anyway, NBC has developed (and reported not screwed up) the BBC smash hit The Office. Oh, and it’s starring Steve Carrell!!!

What Zap2it’s saying…

The Office
Premieres: Thursday, March 24; moves to regular timeslot Tuesday, March 29
Airs: Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. ET

Premise: Shot in the style of a documentary, "The Office" examines day-to-day life in an American workplace, specifically the Dunder-Mifflin paper-supply company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Steve Carell ("The Daily Show") stars in this adaptation of the award-winning BBC classic.

Our Prophecy: After a pilot episode that cribs directly from the BBC original, subsequent episodes of "The Office" go off in their own direction and stand alone surprisingly well. Carell resists mimicking Ricky Gervais' performance and provides a strong center for the comedy. Still, mainstream viewers are unlikely to instantly warm to the show's awkward hilarity and a time slot after "Scrubs" makes excellent qualitative sense, but it won't drive viewers to either show. NBC should be applauded for not messing "The Office" up like the network botched "Coupling," but the rewards won't be in ratings.

For the scoop on…

THE BOX: Lost & Alias are underated

From Fast Ratings:

ABC's "Lost" returned after a short hiatus with an 11.6/18 to dominate the 8 p.m. hour. CBS was second with "60 Minutes," 7.3/11. "That '70s Show," 5.6/9, and "The Simple Life," 5.5/8 -- which took a tumble without the benefit of an "Idol" lead-in -- put FOX in third. "American Idol," 15.5/23, more than doubled the ratings of its closest competitor, ABC's "Alias" (7.1/10), at 9 p.m.

POPCORN: For a Change of Pace, Leo teams with Marty

Poor Bobby DeNiro, looks like he's been replaced by another and a former co-star at that. Leonardo DiCaprio is reuniting with his "The Aviator" and "Gangs of New York" director Martin Scorsese to remake Akira Kurosawa's 1948 classic "Drunken Angel," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The original Japanese film centers on a young gang leader (Toshiro Mifune) who falls ill with tuberculosis and is treated by an alcoholic doctor. The two strike up an uneasy friendship before the gangster's former boss is released from prison and takes over the gang.

Like Kurosawa's frequent working relationship with Mifune, Scorsese's recent career is marked with multiple collaborations with DiCaprio. Besides 2002's "Gangs of New York" and the current "Aviator," the duo are also working "The Departed," the English-language remake of the Chinese crime drama "Infernal Affairs."
"Aviator" scribe John Logan will write the script for Warner Bros.' "Drunken Angel" remake.

THE BOX: Claire Comes Home

Locke coveres Sawyer who covers Sayid covering Charlie who just shot Ethan. Kate and Jack watch for fun.

Lost 1:15 - Homecoming:

Claire isn't having a happy homecoming.

So, Claire walked out of the jungle and as promised has no memory of the crash on any of the events that have transpired since.

This is what happens when a former dope fiend rock star goes up against the islands "bad guy".

Ethan is determined to get his baby back, or her baby back, or her, or whatever that nutty boy wants. He traps Charlie and tell him to bring Claire back or Ethan will kill a castaway everyday until there are none left. He will save Charlie for last, so he can watch the death and know that it's all his fault.

Who's got the gun?
Remember all those 9mm's? Well Jack breaks them out. He takes one, give one to Locke, and one to Sayid. They need a 4th gun man, so Jack arms Sawyer. Kate feels left out, but Jack refuses to let her go up against Ethan unarmed. Sawyer gives the lady a 9 mm he's been stashing for safe keeping. Armed now, they set up a trap for Ethan with Claire as bait. Trapped, Jack procedes to beat the shit out of Ethan. When finally subdued, someone empties there clip into Ethan's chest. It's Charlie, but where did he get a gun? Was it Jack's? Did I blink? Damn you Charlie, always messing things up. Now Kate can't pump Ethan for information and Sayid can't torture anyone. At least you can sleep at night now, right?

Charlie's Story -
The episode also featured flashbacks of the former DriveShaft-er doing stereotypical selfish junkie things. The best of the cliched and annoying backstory features Charlie puking in a copier.

Attention Lost - GET ON WITH IT!

First look at Lost 1:18 "Numbers" aka The Hurley Episode.

Click here for more promotional shots.

First Look at Lost 1:17 "In Translation"

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First Look at Lost 1:16 "Outlaws"

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THE BOX: Sydney Sleepwalks

Alias 4:07 "Nocturne"

This episode of Alias was brilliant. Though it didn't feature Sydney in more than you can count identity changes, the concept allowed the direction to get creative.

Sydney fights off a vampire, I mean Rage infected zombie, I mean Nocturne infected agent.

Sydney is bitten, not by a vampire, but by an agent infected with Nocturne, a synthetic virus. The condition resembles "rage" from 28 Days Later including biting and blood vomit. Anyway, the virus shuts down the brains abitity to rest and recharge creating sleep walkers. Think back to psych 101. What happens when the brain doesn't acheive mandatory REM? You go insane, well, you exist in a waking dream. So to the outside world you are insane. But you have lost all concept of reality. Now, give a super agent this condition and send her into the field with her father and ex and now quasi boyfriend - chaos insues. Don't worry, everything works out for the best.

For trivia sake, while I was in college, I was diagnosed with chronic sleep deprivation. I had a genetic problem which was finally caught when I was 20. I wasn't dreaming right and after 20 years, the deficit caught up to me. Luckily I never tried to kill anyone. I did slip into extreme paranoia one night when I believed a clown was following me back to my dorm as I walked through Chinatown. Convinced I was completely insane, the college folks scanned my brain, performed a surgery, and voila... here I am today sleeping a dreaming right. Oh, and no clowns.

First look at Alias 4:09 "Man of His Word"

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