Tag Archives: brad pitt

Money Walks, Bullshit Talks

“You can observe a lot just by watching” – Yogi Berra

Most sports fans out there that obsessively follow their teams and check the box scores daily are just frustrated athletes. And as Alvy Singer says, “Those that can’t do, teach. And those that can’t teach, teach gym.” But in Moneyball those that can’t do neither become Scouts and join the fold of the parasitic monied culture that surrounds professional sports. The movie opens with a prescient Yogism like quote from the great Yankee slugger Mickey Mantle, “It’s unbelievable how much you don’t know about the game you’ve been playing all your life”. But I’m sure that drunkard wasn’t referring to sabermetrics, algorithms, and paradigms to what goes on between the white lines of grown men in pajamas playing in the greatest show on dirt. A seemingly simple but yet complex game or in other words-baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical.

Same can be said about Moneyball, replete with wall to wall dialogue (with the exception of the obligatory slow-mo ball playing montages), that involves us in behind the scenes dealings of baseball, being less a movie about sports and players personalities, but about the nerds and wannabes treating their idols as a commodity. Basically, it’s like that Facebook movie but with Brad Pitt. I must admit I have a love/hate thing for the guy, the older he gets or the more he looks like Robert Redford, and the better he gets at acting. In this chew spitting Oscar contending performance as Billy Beane (the General Manager of the fledgeling Oakland A’s) he is unable to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox due to the huge disparity in payroll and markets. So he resorts to a number crunching Jonah Hill, an overweight 24 year old Yale economics graduate, to help solve the problem and put the team on the plus side. In doing so Pitt flies in the face of convention – pitting these lifer Scouts, a bunch of old farts that spent too much time in the sun, against Google Boy and one firing away from working at Dick’s Sporting Goods. The Scouts draw upon their years of experience calculating the five tool player combined with baseball smarts and the intangibles within the variables, whereas Jonah calculates on base percentages, where a walk is as good as a hit – picking up seemingly washed up, devalued players in tandem instead of paying the price of one multi-million dollar player with a five cent head. With this meat market or the PC sabermetric approach one can argue it’s antecedents and origins of how geeky little boys chewing chalky gum, scanning their baseball card stats and playing strat-o-matic are to grow into the stock market devising derivatives and credit default swaps. Both soulless endeavors with the calculated illusion of winning. But at least being a General Manager of a team spreads joy to the kids in the stands. And as we all know, the children are our future – even if there won’t be any well paying jobs for them when they grow up. At least they’ll still have Fantasy Baseball! Which is almost as pathetic as rock ‘n’ roll camp.

The Yanks and Red Sox buy championships and that’s why we root for Pitt and Jonah, because underdogs are what all sports movies are about anyhow. So while the old guard Scouts are busy scratching their heads about who the fuck Fabio is and Pitt drives in circles soul searching, the Oakland A’s go on a remarkable record winning streak. Ironically breaking it not with a walk but a Roy Hobbs like fucking home run! So much for sabermetrics. As Billy Beane was quoted “this shit don’t work in the playoffs.”

I guess the saying, “it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game” just don’t cut it with Beane ball. However, without sounding corny, Moneyball is a winner and most likely will win awards. I just hope they don’t nominate that fucking jingle song that Pitt’s daughter (Kerris Dorsey) sings – or worse, her! Or Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who thinks just because he has a buzz-cut he’s a believable baseball manager. But the real Art Howe was clueless too.

Moneyball may deny you the romance of baseball but like the game Pitt has the opportunity to redeem himself. But I’d rather forget all that noise and cash that big fat paycheck.

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Hymn Haw

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation…while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” 

– The Book of Job 38:4,7

Jesus Malick! And where the fuck have you been since Days of Heaven? You should have quit while you were ahead instead of ruining your legacy with three mediocre movies. Hey Terry, I have two words for you; Harper Lee.

From the get go The Tree of Life has confluence of Darwinian and overtly preachy bible mumbo jumbo ethos that permeate the movie and beckon audiences to question the meaning of life and death. One wonders if Malick’s foundation rooted in Waco, Texas made him another byproduct spawning the likes of David Koresh to Jessica Simpson who are also fellow honorary God loving citizens. Thank whoever – Willie Nelson was spared. Either way, I was more interested in the special effects and consultant Douglas Trumball. Especially that dino scene!

But of the many haunting and fleeting images, the one that reoccurs like chapter bookends is of a glowing orb like flame that flickers in Deep Space Nine or used here instead as a standard representation of the so-called Creator of the Universe. I prefer a Black Monolith myself or Roman Castevet. Anyway, while Malick’s need for a narration and Alexandre Desplat soundtrack are overdone, Pitt and Chastain’s performance and beauty require little dialogue as Emmanuel Lubezki stunning camera work keeps us interested enough. But Sean Penn is no Benjamin Button. He meanders on a beach, disheveled and  “soul searching” with a face not even a mother can love, when in reality the true mystery is how he bagged Scarlett Johansson!

(After her Jimmy Fallon appearance it’s no wonder she has no dialogue.)

The old adage of less is more can not hold truer than in the case of Badlands and Days of Heaven, both clocking in at 94 minutes, whereas these last three are just as long as the entire James Bond series. So after surviving the Big Bang and Harold Camping’s May 21 rapture the one question I left with is why the film closes on a shot of the Verazzano Bridge over to Staten Island? Now that truly is The Land of the Lost, just ask George Harrison.

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Inglouriuos Basterds Revolution #9

Inglourious Bastards Poster

in·glo·ri·ous – not glorious : lacking fame or honor

bas·tard – an offensive or disagreeable person

Quentin Tarantino’s latest movie, Inglourious Basterds, makes the Sharon Tate murders look like a baby shower. At least Manson’s vision was more articulate and more inspired (The White Album), whereas Tarantino’s massacre is just a Leonesque like retribution that lacks catharsis with a lame rehashed soundtrack.

While Hebrew law in the Old Testament states, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” I’m pretty sure God didn’t have an overgrown self proclaimed provocateur and teenage movie geek in mind to show them the promise land while scalping Nazi’s. Given that Tarantino is part Cherokee I wonder if an Indian made a Western revisionist movie about some tribe assassinating Lincoln in a balcony box theater and burning down the White House (given the cruel treatment and injustice they suffered from all our robbing, raping, and pillaging) that it would be widely celebrated in Iraq and Afghanistan…and parts of Pakistan…basically the whole Muslim culture including Cat Stevens. Anyway, Americans have a word for that and that’s the discovery of the New World. Jews call it the Holocaust, Manson calls it Helter Skelter and Tarantino calls it Inglourious Basterds. Ghandi warns, “An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind”…something clearly Tarantino and cohorts do not adhere to. But neither did Charlie’s.

 

Though I must admit the most villainous character of the Nazis, The “Jew Hunter,” Col. Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) was quite affective in making Major Strasser from Casablanca look as harmless as the Crocodile Hunter (maybe it’s all that milk). I also enjoyed Brad Pitt’s Lt. Aldo Raine’s Southern inflection of the way he pronounced “Nazi.” I wonder if Born again Christian Tex Watson had the same dialect when selling pigs wigs. The film debut of Melanie Laurent, who plays the sole surviving family member that fled from Col. Landa’s clutches, is subjected to the worst trivial getting dressed to kill montage accompanied with Bowie’s Cat People (Putting Out Fire) (whoa, irony!) but otherwise is very good as an Anne Frank type gone postal. While the rest of the Basterds rumor a threat with nicknames such as “Bear Jew” and “Little Man” none are as intimidating as the  posing sweet Sexy Sadie, Squeaky, Clem, LuLu, and JC.

Inglourious Bastards CastManson Family

I am curious to know what drugs Tarantino used vs. this hippie gang bang. With the script’s inconsistent intro flashbacks, repetitious dialogue and slow motion sequences adding minutes lasting hours I wonder if it was just an Adderall overdose.

Charles Manson

Now there’s a masterpiece.

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The Curious Gump of Benjamin Un-Buttoned

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Baby

“I hope I die before I get old.” – The Who

The only curiosity in question in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is how filmmakers can adapt a 32 page short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, about a man who is born old and ages backwards, into an epic 3 hour movie. Perhaps David Fincher, who may be one of the few directors to successfully (unlike Lucas) dazzle and revolutionize Hollywood’s new digital technology, and Eric Roth, who may be sadly responsible for teaching most of us our pop culture history through Forrest Gump, got too caught up in their own acclaimed reputations as they ditch F. Scott’s fable tacking on only his name for credibility and protection from plagiarism as they rewrite the “precious” life of Benjamin Button.

GollumThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button Old

Though Fincher succeeds in a beautiful technically shot fable he fails in constructing a plot with the help of Eric Roth’s famous Gump motifs and overdone flashbacks as we are constantly drawn back to a current day hospital room of some old dying hag reading Benjamin’s diary, who’s voiceover makes Forrest’s sound like a rambling auctioneer’s. With this implementation of reality (along with modern setting of Hurricane Katrina looming) one is drawn away from this quirky fairytale. The film quickly loses F. Scott’s touch as it turns into a rather banal love story of how Old Man Ben (Brad Pitt) and Little Daisy (Cate Blanchett) fall in love and cross paths in the middle of both their aging process so that it’s neither misconstrued as pedophilia or oedipal. But before they finally do shag and settle down on Revolutionary Road we follow Benjamin growing up in New Orleans in the early 20th century, fittingly at an old age home, brought up by his adopted Mother, Queenie (Taraji P. Henson). However this tale doesn’t get going till he goes off to sea on a tugboat (not to catch shrimp) that we are introduced with a new engaging cast of characters. It’s also during this time on shore leave Benjamin takes the old skin boat to tuna town with lonely, Elizabeth Abbot (Tilda Swinton). While this affair is short-lived, Tilda succeeds in playing her first likeable role as an unhappily married woman who senses something of a kindred young spirit in Benjamin as she spoils him with caviar and a nightly nightcap with no strings attached.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Brad & Tilda

It’s only when Daisy is reintroduced as some beatnik skanky dancer whose every whim is catered to by Benjamin that Fincher and Roth’s tale turns into a full on drama as F. Scott’s humor of a backwards life from old Pops’ Wingman to a College football Jock raised by his (Benjamin’s) own Son is lost in the adaptation. Cate Blanchett reprises her Kate Hepburn attitude and inflections as she views herself to be the greatest modern day actress (ironically this was all Hepburn had to do as well) but only prevails in looking like an arrogant bitch with too tight of a face. Pitt’s character is also lost as he leaves the love of his life fearing his youth will taint his ability  to act as a father – allowing for the first time his malady to control his life when we all know, as does F. Scott, it would of been cougar Cate’s constant desire to be in the spotlight that would chase Benjamin away. More useless plot time is then used up as Benjamin does some soul searching like Caine in Kung Fu and just walks the earth thereby giving Fincher an excuse to show off pretty images in exotic locations.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Travel

 

 

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Baby

“My Momma always said, “life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”‘ – Forrest Gump

Except in this case we do because in the end the minute you are born you are one day closer to death and this holds true for this story as well so what’s the point? Even in Benjamin’s youth he is plagued with a case of Alzheimer’s but what’s really ironic is hopefully I can skip all that and leave before the final curtain falls in the sanctum of a cozy dark theater, the only refuge in this absurd world – almost like this fellow moviegoer. The Real Curious Case

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Newman’s Own Hustle.

“I’m the only Oscar winner with his mug on a bottle of salad dressing.” – Paul Newman

And with a handsome mug like that, even more so than that Brawny dude, who can resist stocking their pantry with Newman’s Own? And for those who can try to claim they wouldn’t go gay for Cool Hand Luke will always have the perfectly acceptable excuse of donating the full profits to charity in exchange for some high quality organics.

With today’s tabloid stars desperately donating by trying to compensate for their talentless lipoid sucked asses for “charity” causes, none will ever have the class or grace of Mr. Paul Newman. Since 1980, when Newman churned his first vat of salad dressing with a canoe paddle the company has earned over $250 million for various charities and expanded from a line of salad dressing (30 flavors!) across the board to organic canned turkey and brown rice…for your dogs! Each product is taste approved and accompanied with a unique label featuring Newman in different garb designed by him. No celebrity even comes close to the dedication and time spent creating such tasty and righteous products, they just endorse them. The Balsamic dressing took over 100 taste tests alone which amounts for more time than any public service announcement or modeling gig for Product Red. By the way, who doesn’t look good in Red?

(apparently Anne Hathaway doesn’t)

While Newman’s Own and Newman’s Own Organics continue to strive so does Newman’s Hole in the Wall Camps that offer a free retreat for children with serious medical illnesses worldwide. Since it’s inception in 1988 more than 130,000 children from 40 countries have attended the camps which is more than Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt could ever hope to adopt.

Unlike pseudo philanthropists Brangelina’s $70 million mansion in the south of France and Oprah’s $85 million mansion, Newman resided quietly in an antique farmhouse in Westport, Connecticut (his ONLY house), with Wife of 40 years, actress Joanne Woodward, and two Schnauzers. Newman never wasted our time with his politics nor scandals yet remains deeply involved in today’s society as he feeds and saves Americans while Sally “Chubby Cheeks” Struther’s continues to instead help by stuffing her face. Let’s just hope it’s at least Newman’s Own she’s scarfing.

“The concept that a person who has a lot holds his hand out to someone who has less, or someone who isn’t hurting holds his hand out to someone who is, is simply a human trait. I don’t think there’s anything exceptional about being philanthropic. It’s the other attitude that confuses me.” – Paul Newman

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Burn After Review

“Explanations come to an end somewhere.” – Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (Philosophical Investigation)

 

Despite negative buzz, The Coen Brothers’ 13th movie, Burn After Reading, when compared to their other works may not be considered groundbreaking and original but given the high expectations following No Country for Old Men and the repeat summer comedies of Farrell, Rogen, Stiller, and Jack Black it at least makes you appreciate that there are still real filmmakers out there. This time around they add DC to their list of cities to expose where we find new quirky characters plotting and scheming with reckless and random abandonment. From the opening overhead shot zooming thru the clouds (accompanied by the usual mission impossible type soundtrack) and into the secret insipid interior of CIA headquarters we are instantly thrown into this spy movie spoof black comedy. There we are introduced to agent Osborne Cox (John Malkovich) and his superiors in the act of firing him for his drinking problem. We then follow his plight into the paranoiac espionage nature of DC and it’s scandal ridden sexual infidelities only to clash with bimbo Hardbodies employees, Linda Litzke (Frances McDormand) and Chad Feldheimer (Brad Pitt) when they accidently obtain a disk of Cox that was “just lying on the floor” in the women’s locker room and their subsequent involvement in blackmailing him to pay for Linda’s numerous cosmetic surgeries and liposuction. To add to these blackmailing amateurs, Cox’s marriage is falling apart as his wife, Katie Cox (Tilda Swinton), unbeknownst to him is having divorce papers drawn up and an affair with a married man, Harry Pfarrer (George Clooney), who is a compulsive womanizer and sex toy inventor hobbyist and is also dating Linda. How the Russians get involved in this post Cold War circus is attributed by Osbornes’s disc which is what every spy thriller needs, the MacGuffin.

While the movie was marketed for it’s star studded cast, this cast proves to be more than just good looks. George Clooney caps off his Coen Brothers trilogy of playing an idiot with his boyish bravado of seducing women while Botox Brad and Frances, who literally lets it all hang out, pair up as a comic duo. But it is the meeting of the minds of Pitt and Malkovich that truly reveal the absurdity and comedy of this plot while Tilda Anteater Face continues to play the ultimate cold, stuck up bitch.

In the end, the Coen Brother’s have again succeeded in fighting the idiots we’ve been fighting our whole lives as they join the top of the box office along side these hollywood blockbusters that are consistently praised by retards.

 

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