Friday, October 1, 2010

Snow in the Land of Oz

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Nothing really planned this weekend… except an easy breezy plan for a date in Reno with Candy… but we’ll see. Was thinking about finally doing some good hiking but… apparently there’s supposed to be thunderstorms so… we’ll see. You know how I love the rain though, so combine that with some possible romance, it could make for a fantastic weekend. Eagles – Racists game in Philly on Sunday with plenty of great college & professional football… so I’m a little excited… and it’s a great warmup for next week when I go to the Eagles – 49ers game at Candlestick Park. Oh… and less than four weeks until New Orleans. Exciting times indeed.

Oscar-nominated actor Tony Curtis died Wednesday evening of cardiac arrest at home in the Las Vegas-area city of Henderson, Clark County Coroner Mike Murphy said Thursday. He was 85. He shaped himself from a 1950s movie heartthrob into a respected actor, showing a determined streak that served him well in such films as "Sweet Smell of Success," "The Defiant Ones" and "Some Like It Hot." "He died peacefully here, surrounded by those who love him and have been caring for him," his wife, Jill Curtis, told The Associated Press outside their home. "All Tony ever wanted to be was a movie star. He didn't want to be the most dramatic actor. He wanted to be a movie star, ever since he was a little kid." Curtis began acting in frivolous movies that exploited his handsome physique and appealing personality then steadily moved to more substantial roles, starting in 1957 in the harrowing show business tale, "Sweet Smell of Success." In 1958, "The Defiant Ones" brought him an Academy Award nomination as best actor for his portrayal of a white racist who escaped from prison handcuffed to a black man played by Sidney Poitier. The following year, Curtis donned women's clothing and sparred with Marilyn Monroe in one of the most acclaimed film comedies ever, Billy Wilder's "Some Like It Hot." (Check it out if you haven’t) "He was a fine actor ... I shall miss him," said British actor Roger Moore, who starred alongside Curtis in TV's "The Persuaders." "He was great fun to work with, a great sense of humor and wonderful ad libs," Moore told Sky News. "We had the best of times." Curtis' first wife was actress Janet Leigh of "Psycho" fame; actress Jamie Lee Curtis is their daughter. "My father leaves behind a legacy of great performances in movies and in his paintings and assemblages," Jamie Lee Curtis said in a statement. "He leaves behind children and their families who loved him and respected him and a wife and in-laws who were devoted to him. He also leaves behind fans all over the world." Truly a sad day.

Greg Giraldo, a comedian famous for his stinging insult humor, disgruntled rants and frequent appearances on Comedy Central’s highly watched roast series, also died on Wednesday at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J. He was 44. He had been hospitalized since Saturday night after he was found unconscious in a hotel room in New Brunswick, where he was scheduled to perform at a club. Mr. Giraldo had suffered a drug overdose (comedian’s kryptonite), The Home News Tribune of East Brunswick, N.J., reported, citing New Brunswick police. The precise cause of death on Wednesday was unclear. A hospital spokesman said the family declined to release that information. The thing I liked most about Greg Giraldo was that he was a lawyer who gave up a job at a law firm to pursue comedy, probably because he got more chicks and free drugs that way. That’d be my guess. Mr. Giraldo became a wildly successful stand-up comic touring the country as a headliner at many clubs and dispensing his own brand of sharp and often brutal humor. As Mr. Giraldo’s following grew so did his presence on radio and television. He performed more than a dozen times on Leno & Conan and become a radio regular on “The Howard Stern Show.” Mr. Giraldo was particularly known for his clever and exasperated rants, which he used to great effect on Comedy Central shows like “Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn” and Lewis Black’s “Root of All Evil.” But it was his regular appearances on that network’s roast series — one of Comedy Central’s most successful shows — that drew particular attention. Mr. Giraldo was a mainstay on that series, taking the stage in more than a half-dozen shows to mercilessly ridicule pop-culture figures like Pamela Anderson, William Shatner, & Chevy Chase. “I could only dream,” he told Mr. Chase, of making “three good movies” and 40 horrible ones — and, in 2009, a fellow comedian, Larry the Cable Guy. Mr. Giraldo was born in New York in 1965. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Columbia and a law degree from Harvard. He was divorced with three children. He will be missed.

Snow White Remake – Enough talk about death, let’s talk about rebirth. "Snow White and the Huntsman", a re-telling of the classic fairy tale, has been making the rounds of the studios reports Heat Vision. Oh… and for those of you who don’t know, a “re-telling” of a classic fairy tale… is basically just taking characters from an established brand and doing whatever you want with them. Scribe Evan Daugherty, director Rupert Sanders and producer Joe Roth are all attached to this version which expands the role of the Huntsman in the fairy tale. Ordered to take Snow White into the woods and kill her, he instead lets her go and becomes something of a mentor who teaches her how to fight and survive. Oh yeah… you read that correctly. The two are also apparently chained together for part of the movie as they make their escape, but this isn't a romantic connection as the prince will still serve as the love interest. Really? There's a wrinkle however in the form of two rival projects. Disney Pictures is developing its own revisiting of the story entitled "Snow and the Seven" which is set in British colonial China and will be directed by Francis Lawrence. Relativity is also developing its own edgy take which Brett Ratner will produce and Melisa Wallack ("Meet Bill") has penned. I repeat for the cheap seats… Disney… is making a movie called “Snow and the Seven”… set in colonial China… because as we all know, Chinese people are dwarves. Hey, I’m not making the movie. Why the hell else would it be set in China? Maybe it should be set in Japan and called “Whiteness of Snow & the Seven Samurai” or set in the Wild West and called “Snowy & the Magnificent Seven” or perhaps a crossover with a detective movie set in New York entitled “Snow Se7en”. “WHAT’S IN THE BOX???” Oh yes, my ideas are MUCH worse, right? Oh… they get worse…

Oz Remakes – It’s not just Disney classics that are in peril of being violated cinematically. The wonderful land of Oz is getting the business too… and this may involve more violation than the HBO series of the same name. "Glee" star Lea Michele is set to both voice the titular character and sing several musical numbers in the animated 3D musical "Dorothy of Oz" for Summertime Entertainment reports Variety. Randi Barnes, Adam Balsam and Barry Glasser penned the script based on the same book by Roger S. Baum, great-grandson of the original "The Wizard of Oz" author L. Frank Baum. This story centers on Dorothy Gale "returning to a tornado-devastated Kansas and then being transported back to Oz to help her friends." Also onboard are Jim Belushi as the Lion, Dan Aykroyd as the Scarecrow, Kelsey Grammer as the Tin Man, Oliver Platt as Wiser the Owl, Megan Hilty as the China Princess, Hugh Dancy as Marshall Mallow and Martin Short as Dorothy's arch-nemesis Jester. Bryan Adams and his writing partner Jim Vallance are writing the first songs and lyrics for the film. Bonne Radford ("Curious George," "The Road to El Dorado") is producing while Dan St. Pierre ("Everyone’s Hero") is directing. Okay, a 3D animated sequel starring a lot of elderly comedians and the chick from Glee? I can see that being made. Probably won’t be any good but… it’s good that Dan Aykroyd and the other Belushi can get some work still. What’s that? There’s more?

Yet More Oz Remakes - "Spider-Man" & “Evil Dead” director Sam Raimi has apparently been offered the job of director on Disney's upcoming prequel "Oz: The Great and Powerful" reports New York Magazine. Though the likes of Sam Mendes ("American Beauty") and Adam Shankman ("Hairspray") were previously rumored, the paper's sources claim Raimi has already received an official offer. Robert Downey Jr. (“Iron Man” & “Sherlock Holmes”) will star in the film which tells of how the Wizard arrived in Oz and became the ruler of the Emerald City (not Seattle). Mitchell Kapner penned the script. The project is one of AT LEAST A HALF DOZEN PROJECTS based on L. Frank Baum's classic literary property currently in the works, most being original spins on the property rather than direct adaptations. The list includes the 'Wizard' sequel “Surrender Dorothy" which Zach Helm ("Stranger Than Fiction") penned and Drew Barrymore is rumored to be directing; the previously mentioned animated musical "Dorothy of Oz"; the film adaptation of the hit musical "Wicked"; a project simply called "Oz" by Darren Lemke ("Shrek Forever After") but is NOT the HBO series; a darker and twisted take on the Oz books by scribe Josh Olson ("A History of Violence") and Todd MacFarlane (“Spawn”); and yet another CG-animated feature that John Boorman is slated to direct. The sad thing is… of all of those, I’m only mildly interested in seeing Robert Downey jr as the Wizard and the twisted sh*t that Todd McFarlane will do with the story. I watched the “Tin Man” TV movie thing a few years back with Zooey Deschanel (“500 Days of Summer”) as Dorothy and honestly, it’s going to be REALLY hard to top that hotness on a Dorothy… and it wasn’t even intentional. Oh… and the story was a little blah. Anyway, best of luck to all of you in your ventures to capitalize on the nostalgic childhood market. Which reminds me, I should really get to writing my children’s books…

Star Whores – Speaking of recycled classics for a profit, once again George Lucas is re-re-re-releasing the original Star Wars Saga (GASP!!!). Creator George Lucas is reportedly set on re-releasing all six films in the "Star Wars" franchise with new 3D conversions in 2012 according to the trades. Fox will release the 3D versions starting early 2012 with "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" (JAR JAR IN 3D!!! FINALLY!!!). Each subsequent film will be released annually around the same date over consecutive years (so as to allow for capitalizing on both the summer release in theatres AND Christmas DVD purchases over the rest of the decade for doing NOTHING). Lucasfilm is taking at least a full year with each conversion and will use several higher-end conversion houses to work on the project. The reason for the 2012 release of the first film is that Lucas is waiting for enough 3D screens being available to create a 'huge event'. Lucas purportedly is lining up the re-releases as a lead-in to the ultimate home-viewing experience as home 3D TV technology is being perfected in coming years. Oh… and please don’t worry, this won't affect Lucas' plans for a comprehensive 2D Blu-ray Disc set of the six films due out next year… so you won’t have to wait for yet another format to own the entire story in… in addition to your VHS, laserdisc, DVD, Betamax, LP, 8-track, whatever else is out there (I still just have the first three on VHS & my pirated Episode III from China which I bought the day it hit theatres, but please don’t tell anybody… cuz I’ve got a nerdy reputation to keep). Sigh… why doesn’t anybody remake “Spaceballs” in 3D? Or how about this… “Back to the Future” in 3D? Oh yeah… I know I just made you cream a little bit when you read that. Don’t fight it, just go with it. It’s okay. Anyway, now you know why George Lucas is LOOOOOOADEEEEED!!! Just remember, you can’t take it with you…

Long Lost Chicken Scratch - Archaeologists say scrawl on the back of a letter recovered from a 17th century dig site reveals a previously unknown language spoken by indigenous peoples in northern Peru. A team of international archaeologists found the letter under a pile of adobe bricks in a collapsed church complex near Trujillo, 347 miles north of Lima. The complex had been inhabited by Dominican friars for two centuries. "Our investigations determined that this piece of paper records a number system in a language that has been lost for hundreds of years," Jeffrey Quilter, an archaeologist at Harvard's Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, told Reuters. A photograph of the letter recently released by archaeologists shows a column of numbers written in Spanish and translated into a language that scholars say is now extinct. "We discovered a language no one has seen or heard since the 16th or 17th century," Quilter said, adding that the language appears to have been influenced by Quechua, an ancient tongue still spoken by millions of people across the Andes. He said it could also be the written version of a language colonial-era Spaniards referred to in historical writings as pescadora, for the fishermen on Peru's northern coast who spoke it. So far no record of the pescadora language has been found. The letter, buried in the ruins of the Magdalena de Cao Viejo church at the El Brujo Archaeological Complex in northern Peru, was discovered in 2008. But Quilter said archaeologists decided to keep their discovery secret until the research showing evidence of the lost language was published this month in the journal American Anthropologist. "I think a lot of people don't realize how many languages were spoken in pre-contact times," Quilter said. "Linguistically, the relationship between the Spanish conquistadors and the indigenous was very complex."

True, language and how people communicate is an amazing, complex & fascinating thing. However, I often wonder… how will society look back on us in… even just a few hundred years? First off, most of our crap wouldn’t last long. It’s not like… three hundred years from now, somebody’s going to dig up your DVD collection and theorize that it’s some kind of flying disc that you used to hunt cattle & the now-extinct pussycat dolls. Will my blog survive so that future generations can marvel at my amazing wit & perception of life… not unlike the Henry David Thoreau or Mark Twain? Will I be required reading for children in school? Or I guess by the time will I be required “mental downloading” for humanoids? What if these “plates” and “pots” that we dig up at sites were really an ancient societies version of a music record… but we just don’t have their player? Yes, I’m sure these are all questions that you’ve reckoned over a fresh bag of sticky icky icky (oooEEEE!!!) but you know, I often wonder what the legacy of our planet will be. Hell, then again, maybe scientists are right and they’ll be digging up the whole planet once we destroy it and are living on Mars or something… if we make it that far. What will truly live on is how we treat each other and the planet where we live? Not what we say in some ancient tongue that nobody knows anymore. Anyway, that’s my message for the day. Have a great weekend everybody!!! Wish me luck… and maybe a little lust…

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