Saturday, December 21, 2002

I just got back from seeing "Gangs of New York" with none other than the blogosphere's very own resident hobbit, Deshman Yousmurfnada. I loved it. LOVED IT. It's not as glorious as "Goodfellas", but not the slightest bit disappointing. As usual, Mr. Scorsese's obsession with detail and perfectionism paid off. The setting was magnificent, and that's saying a lot considering that 90% of the movie takes place in a New York City slum circa the 1860's. The costumes were subperb, the colors were amazing, and the fight scenes were really well choreographed. The gang fight scene that it opens with is nothing less than pure butchery, so if you're squemish like me, consider yourself warned (this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who's seen Scorsese's other films. There are parts of "Casino" where I literally have to leave the room). Some other notes:

-Leonardo DiCaprio really can act. And he looks better chubbier.
-Daniel Day-Lewis can act really well.
-There's some great humor in the film. Don't blink or you'll miss it.
-It could have been shorter (total running time: 2 hours, 44 minutes). Some parts really dragged out and didn't seem to add much to the story.
-The ending would have been much more poignant if the last shot shown was the NYC skyline without the World Trade Center.
-Martin Scorsese better finally get his Oscar. He deserves it this time around.

For all of you who've been bitching about me boring you by harping over this film, consider yourselves relieved. This is the last you'll hear of it (unless some really cool stuff comes out on the DVD, then I might have to eat this post). If you haven't seen it yet, I can't recommend it enough. I'm going to go see it again tomorrow.

UPDATE: It's past midnight, but I've got insomnia, so I'm going to harp for just a little longer.

Robert Prather's review is here. It's much better than mine. Plus, he was polite enough to issue a spoiler alert, whereas I just bounded out with my "Rosebud was a sled" bit.

Pejman's is here.

A very nice lady named Caitie e-mailed me a link to this website, which has historical and archeological information about the Five Points area of New York, where the film was set. I especially loved this quote from Charles Dickens, following his visit in 1842:

"This is the place: these narrow ways diverging to the right and left, and reeking every where with dirt and filth. Such lives as are led here, bear the same fruit here as elsewhere. The coarse and bloated faces at the doors have counterparts at home and all the wide world over. Debauchery has made the very houses prematurely old. See how the rotten beams are tumbling down, and how the patched and broken windows seem to scowl dimly, like eyes that have been hurt in drunken frays. Many of these pigs live here. Do they ever wonder why their masters walk upright in lieu of going on all-fours? and why they talk instead of grunting?"

Ladies and gentleman, that quote is "Gangs" in a nutshell.

Friday, December 20, 2002

Blix Says US, UK Not Giving Him Enough Intelligence


It's about time.

The government and Church shielded a Catholic priest involved in the 1972 Claudy bombing which killed nine, say Northern Ireland police.

Well, they've protected priests who molest children, why not ones who blow them up?

Thursday, December 19, 2002

California’s budget deficit is at 34.8 billion dollars.

That’s billion. With a “b”.

35 billion freakin’ dollars.

I smell a cigarette tax coming....

Reality TV Gets Twisted

Joe Millionaire, a new Fox TV show, features 20 single women who fly to France to vie for the hand of a handsome American they are told is worth $50 million. But "Evan," who will tug at their heartstrings, actually only pulls in $19,000 annually working as a — gasp — construction worker.

I don't like reality TV, but I think that's really funny.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

And speaking of sweet pieces of ass and stupid celebrities, both Mike and Damian go to town on Hollywood fudgepackers fawning over Castro.

George Clooney is just one of the sweetest pieces of ass I’ve ever laid my eyes on. He’s also a stupid moron. On George Bush, he says: “The problem is we elected a manager, and we need a leader. Let's face it: Bush is just dim."

As opposed to Mr. Clooney, who is world-famous for his cunning intellect.

GQ describes the star as "a liberal's liberal who believes Mario Cuomo should be our president, and he keeps a photo of Jimmy Carter's 'ER' set visit on display in his bathroom." Clooney also likens Newt Gingrich to a "dinosaur," laughing, "The man has no arms."

Newt may have no arms, George, but you have no brain. Stick to being pretty. It’s what you do best.

And never mind the fact that it’s totally weird to keep a picture of an ex-president in your bathroom...

(link found via Tim Blair.)

'Gangs' a Long Labor of Love for Scorsese

The ambitious, big-budget film about rival street thugs in 19th century Manhattan finally hits U.S. theaters on Friday, more than 30 years after Scorsese first envisioned it. And the end result, he says, is different than if he had made the film when he was a young director in the 1970s.

Thirty years, dozens of scripts, hours of film on the editing floor, turning Rome into New York, and some one hundred million dollars later...don't let us down, Mr. Scorsese.

(and believe me, he can. Has anyone else out there ever been able to make it all the way through "The Age of Innocence"?)

Activists in Egypt Say Iraq War Spells Death, Chaos

Anti-war activists from Egypt and around the world Wednesday forecast bloodshed, anger and years of chaos in the Middle East if the United States wages war against Iraq.

Unlike other wars, which brought harmony, laughter, and tranquility.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Tyler has penned a hilarious letter that begins "Dear Alcohol...". Go read it.

As some of you may have heard, we've been having a good deal of rain here lately. Not being a native of Southern California, I always find it amusing to see the locals' reaction when faced with that thing called "weather". Watching people scatter and scramble, you'd think it was bullets falling from the sky and not water (question: why do people duck when running from the rain?). Driving gets particularly annoying. People either plow around like there's no change in road conditions (i.e. like total maniacs), or they drive really slow. Really, really slow. Like hunting-for-a-parking-spot slow. This is just as dangerous as driving too fast.

Then you have the local news, with their intrepid correspondent braving the elements to get the "man on the street" reaction.

"Sir, how are you coping with this dastardly storm?"

"Well, last night, I actually had to close a couple of windows. After dinner, my wife even put on a sweater. I mean, a sweater, for goodness' sake!"

"Are you expecting your family to survive?"

"We're not sure. Little Johnny had to wear a wet suit when he went surfing yesterday. It was devastating."

"There you have it, folks. Southern California bowing to the crushing blow of nature's cruelty. Back to you in the studio, Ted."

Monday, December 16, 2002

From world-renowned international relations analyst Sean Penn comes the following:

"Absolutely I think war can be avoided, but obviously it's going to take enormous commitment on the part of the Iraqi government as well as the United States."

More insight from this cutting-edge expert as it becomes available.

Sunday, December 15, 2002

"That Osama is such a bitch. He is so stealing my thunder."
-Yasser Arafat