This blogger is taking his act (and his sometimes popular wife) down to Caracas, Venezuela this holiday season. I don't know the extent to which I'll be posting in the dwindling days of '10, so I'll get this out of the way right now:
Love and Other Drugs - I came out of Love and Other Drugs thinking 'wow, that sucked.' Since then, what little affection I had for this farce of a movie has degenerated into a smoldering contempt that will only subside when Edward Zwick's latest effort is lost and forgotten. For those who just want to watch good-looking actors in prolonged states of nakedness screw the devil out of each other, LaODs is for you. I'll admit Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal make a lively couple, and the film thrives when their Maggie and Jamie are together...alone...and boning. Anne and Jake, last matched in an infinitely superior film about unlikely lovers, have real chemistry, but the actors can't save this saccharine tale of a Parkinson's victim and her heroic Pfizer rep of a boyfriend who makes it big during the Viagra boom of the mid 90s but still has the decency to stand by his burden of a girlfriend. Ever seen An Affair to Remember? Rich, handsome fellow condescends to accept a cripple as his life companion? Same deal here, except it's no longer 1957 and by now we should be expecting more than the same old cheap little tugs at our heartstrings. Beware the last half hour, when the emotional shamelessness of it all spins totally out of control.
I'm not done yet, because you know what really rubs me raw about LaODs? The ham-handed attempt at comic relief in the form of Josh Gad. Whenever the film threatens to get too serious, in rides Jamie's rich, fat, horny, dumbass of a brother, here to save the day with some lowbrow moments. The part is so ineptly written it would be right at home smack in the middle of Star Wars, Episode II. One day, long after we have accepted LGBTs as actual humans, the champions of civil rights will take up the cause of the overweight and obese. Honestly, can we stop making the fat guy the clown? How about we make the clown someone who is actually funny? Josh Gad ain't, and neither are his lines.
Whatever. Boo! 1.5 McBones
Meet the Parents - So crushingly dumb that the only thing that could possibly make it more inane would be to insert those insufferable Hollywood hams Streisand and Hoffman into a sequel. Earns one point because the holidays have me in a generous mood. 1.0 McBones
The Bond Project: My sometimes popular wife and I will be watching the James Bond movies in chronological order and offering succinct yet cutting-edge insight into the evolving world of 007.
N: For many, the pinnacle of Bond on film. So much is iconic here: girl painted gold, Oddjob and his hat, industrial laser zoning in on Her Majesty's deadliest weapon and, of course, Pussy Galore--the coolest, smartest and toughest of all Bond girls. In his first effort, director Guy Hamilton takes Terence Young's momentum and runs with it. By now Connery so fully owns the role that no subsequent actor can possibly measure up. 4.5 McBones
A: Pussy Galore is so far the most multidimensional and interesting of the Bond girls, even if she does end up changing her whole plan after a visit from Bond's member. I sure find it annoying that the non-Bond girls have to die in rather spectacular ways. Pretty horrible. 2.5 McBones
The arrival of the holiday season can only mean one thing at McBone: time to assess the year in aunting and uncling. Overwhelmed with more notes, statistics and data to pore over than ever before, we were forced to hire an assistant and purchase a state-of-the-art supercomputer to facilitate our tabulations. Though this kind of spending promises to enrage our more conservative legions by turning record surpluses in the McBone budget into billion-dollar deficits, we believe you cannot put a price on fairness and accuracy. The 13 aunts and uncles represented herein deserve nothing less.
1. Fay - Finally able to put the dogfighting scandal behind her.
2. Gail* - Minor dip for last year's champ for ignoring NPR's fall pledge drive.
3. Denise - Suffered a mild embarrassment from leaked cable calling Aunt Fay a 'hack.'
4. Ann - Decent finish attributable more to weak competition than any display of real aunting competence.
5. Susan G - The family's lone Tea Party candidate grossly neglected her aunting duties, choosing to spend much of the past year gunning down wolves from a helicopter.
6. Susan J - Seemed destined for victory until a recent Facebook declaration that she would be 'taking her talents to Pompano Beach.'
1. Pete - The fresh pot of gourmet coffee he brewed the other day makes him the only uncle who can safely answer the question: what have you done for me lately?
2. Glen - Strong overall performance, but failed to do the little things.
3. Jeff - Late slump in the standings after hogging the pickled eggs at Thanksgiving.
4. Al - Humdrum placing shows how out of touch he is with Joe Nephew.
5. Ed - Corpse discovered in trunk of car did him no favors.
T-6. Don S* (no longer in family) and Don H - So much for accuracy. A regrettable balloting malfunction has made it unclear who occupies the final two places. With both Uncle Dons declaring victory, a stalemate has been called. The official sixth-place finish represents a new high for Don H, who ends a string of 19 years as the lone occupant of seventh place.
The Runaways - What an awesome idea to make a movie about the Runaways, the iconoclastic teenage-girl LA punk band that blazed trails and kicked all kinds of ass along the way. What a bummer that The Runaways is the fruit of that idea. The two lead actors, Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett and Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie, do what they can with underwritten parts, and therein lies the problem: way too much time is devoted to flamboyant (male) producer, Kim Fowley, played beyond the brink of hamminess by Michael Shannon. Director/ screenwriter Floria Sigismondi seems hellbent on cramming as much Fowley into the picture as possible, meanwhile almost completely ignoring one half of the band. What the hell, Floria? We're here for the chicks, not the dude! And I'm not sure how all the showoff photography fits into a narrative that needed to be more raw and real, but there sure are a lot of shots that would be better served in something by, say, Julian Schnabel. Kudos to cinematographer Benoit Debie, I guess, for being talented with the camera.
Look, it's not like The Runaways is a bad flick. It's pretty well packaged and moves along at a decent pace. Sigismondi based her film on Currie's book Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway, so maybe she's just sticking to her source. Even so, these girls took big risks to make it in a male dominated industry. Too bad this film takes none in telling their story. 2.0 McBones
Actually, let me rephrase that: I freaking haaate Christmas music (jury's still out on bell choirs, though). Nothing vexes me more than hearing Frosty the Snowman two weeks before Halloween, and if I'm ever made to hear that song about grandma and the reindeer again, the world will pay.
An outbreak of plague seems a welcome alternative to any album with the words 'Country'and 'Christmas' in the title. I don't care if he does have a moustache; no way I'm gonna sit still while Alan Jackson twangs his way through Silent Night. In the name of mercy, deliver me!
And yet, come December even my coal-black heart is capable of some measure, however small, of holiday cheer. Here are two notable and delightful exceptions, one from the Pretenders:
And another from Bob Dylan:
Chan! Chan! I'm waiting for you to join this short but worthy list.
The tall, handsome devil front and center is my cousin, Jonathan. He's in Afghanistan right now chewing on desert dust and doing the kind of work I wouldn't have the guts to do in a billion years. I'm asking McBoners one and all to unite in sending Jonathan your prayers, energy, vibes, good thoughts or whatever mode you use in communing with the universe to get him through his tour and home safe so he can do normal, human stuff with his friends and family--like have dinner, laugh and get drunk.
It's a beautiful day here at McBone Outpost #1211 (aka McBone Manor). We awoke to a fresh blanket of snow--the first winter storm of the season. Happily our feeders were brimming with seed, much to the delight of:
Chickadee Tufted titmouse
Goldfinch Mourning dove
Gray fucking squirrel
Robin Cedar waxwing
Yellow-bellied sapsucker (first time ever!)
Tonight LeBron James returned triumphantly to Quicken Loans Arena, the venue he electrified for seven seasons before abruptly fleeing in what was surely the second most villainous act in the history of Cleveland sports. With torrential boos raining down, James and the Miami Heat eviscerated his former team by a final margin of 118-90. James himself poured in 38 points on 15-25 shooting, including a stunning third quarter in which he scored 24 on a barrage of jumpers, dunks and acrobatic 'and-ones.' That display of athleticism turned a mere blowout into a complete humiliation. It was exactly the kind of angry, focused, vindictive performance that Cavs fans had hoped he would bring to the 2010 playoffs, when James and the Cavs were humbled by a tougher minded Boston Celtics team. In the wake of that loss, the Greatest Cavalier Ever cried uncle, said fuck you to his fans and bolted to the hallowed basketball grounds of Miami, Florida.
The early returns for Miami have not met expectations, but on this night, in a regular season contest against a rebuilding team struggling to find its identity, James was superb.
As my sometimes popular wife and I strive to expand our cozy little family, there hardly seems a better time to talk about all the health benefits that come with smoking Camel brand cigarettes. Yessir, after a long day of babymaking leaves me exhausted, the first thing I reach for is my bedside pack of Camels. Just a few pulls later and I know I have the energy I need to get the job done, because nothing says 'hump' quite like a Camel.
But there's more! Camel packs a walloping 5000 mg of folic acid into every cigarette. So put out that Winston, pregnant ladies, and try Camel's unique blend of American and Turkish tobacco, the one more doctors prefer:
Having trouble conceiving? Why not smoke a carton today and see why Camel is preferred by doctors, blondes and McBoners alike?
'Tis the season, so don't forget that Camels make the perfect holiday gift: