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Nine times out of ten, in the arts as in life, there is actually no truth to be discovered; there is only an error to be exposed. -- H.L. Menken

The Rating System

Kex Liked It:
It Sucked:
It Really Sucked:
It Sucked as bad as Eyes Wide Shut:

It Sucked badly enough to bring the world to the brink of apocalypse:



Citizen Kane

Last Week: Another Kex Classic Review: Citizen Kane:

I had every intention of reviewing something new this weekend, but a couple of things came up. First, a couple more lovebirds joined the family, or at least will next weekend, and that shot a day. Then there was the matter of trying to decide what to select among the available choices. Castaway has been out so long now that it amost qualifies for a Kex Classic Review anyway, and since it didn't get nominated for Best Picture, I'll hold off enduring that 3 hour odyssey until it comes out on video and I can take as much or as little as I want at a time.

There was also that new Chris Rock film, and right off the bat I don't remember the title. The first objection to that was is the simple fact that Rock might be an entertaining standup, but his act doesn't translate well to film. For the life of me I can't figure out why movie moguls keep casting him in movies, especially lead roles. The man can't act, even if he could leave the comedy stuff behind. Second, the film is a dead on remake of an old Warren Beatty film that I hated anyway, so there wasn't much point in enduring it. Third, the film is about a young soul trapped in an old guys body: Welcome to Kex's reality. Finally, every other critic on the planet has already bagged it in harsh tones even I couldn't match, so what is the point of joining the lynch mob?

The only other major new release was the animated release Recess: School's Out, which is probably what we would have gone to see. However, films which portray adults as evil dolts tend to make me a little nervous. I can't imagine anything we need more these days than to give the under 12 crowd more justification in thinking we are inept clods. Afterall, in a few more years they will morph into teenagers and achieve certainty in the matter.
So this week I take on the all-time number one film in history, according to the American Film Institute list released about a year ago. Somehow I think that the main reason Citizen Kane was named the all time best movie is because somewhere, it has a secret group of active publicity agents continuosly telling everyone its the best movie of all time. Maybe its the Illuminati, or some such organization, continuously screwing with our brains....afterall, some really heavyweight people worked on this film.

No, that's not a crack about Orson Welles' weight. But if there was ever a guy that you'd suspect of being the grand puhbah of the Illuminati, it would be Welles. He had to have had some sort of weird force behind him: He wasn't conventionally handsome in the Hollywood mold, he wasn't a particularly talented actor, he didn't seem all that well contected inside Hollywood. Yet, this guy managed to get just about every project he proposed rubberstamped; how?

Understand that I liked Citizen Kane. I think its a good movie, but I just can't figure out why its so universally proclaimed the best of all time. Believe it or not, I took an entire course based more or less exclusively on studying this film in college. And what is this film about? Its the life story of one John Foster Kane, a guy who inherits a bundle of money as a kid, earns a bundle more money as an adult, becomes powerful and well known, then dies and in his last breathing moment has a nostalgic memory of a damned snowsled.

Kane's last word, which he utters at the beginning of the film is "Rosebud," which turns out to be the freaking sled. The word is overheard by his maid, who passes it onto a reporter doing a posthumous story on Kane's life. He begins the tedious process of interviewing everyone Kane knew that is still alive, in an effort to find out just what the mysterious "Rosebud" is, or was. Afterall, the very last thing a man says has to be something important. Its not possible that a dying man could say something utterly nonsensical in a fevered and demented state of mind, right?

We learn all sorts of things about the mighty Kane. We see how he buys a newspaper and builds it into an influental national chain. We learn that he marries the President's daughter, and hops around the world in search of art treasures to fill the magnificent castle he is building. We watch him run for govenor, and on the verge of victory, he is brought down by a sex scandal. We see his efforts to build the career of his mistress, a talentless opera singer. Finally, we see all of his life long friendships disolve under the strain of his ego.

I>Citizen Kane is based (loosely) on the life of newpaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. Apparently he was less than amused over the film, and spent a good deal of the rest of his life attempting to ruin the career of Welles. Curiously, his efforts failed miserably. This can only be more fuel to the fire of our suspicions regarding the secrect connections of Orson Welles.

Note that Welles openly slapped around one of the richest and most influential men of the first half of the 20th century in a movie, and endured the man's scorn for the rest of his life. Did it ruin Welles? No! He had a remarkable show business career, remained well known, still managed to get all his projects greenlighted, and the film in question not only didn't get buried, but is generally regarded as the best of all time. Kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it?

So how is it that Citizen Kane has come to be remembered as the best movie of all time? Here are the potential answers:

1. The Illuminati: Orson Welles was either the head of, or well connected within some secret society (the Illuminati?) that is pulling the strings on the world, possibly from the backrooms of Old Navy Clothing Stores, just as Richard Hoagland suggests. (No, I don't really think so either. I've been in the backrooom of an Old Navy Store, and there didn't seem to be anything weird going on.)

2. Inertia: people have been saying that this is the best movie of all time for so long, everyone just believes it now.

3. cultural diffusion: This ties into #2, but a few people within Hollywood tossed out the idea several decades ago, and lots of people started believing it. The idea has lasted because its been around a long time, as in #2, but most people have never actually seen the movie, consequently there isn't much basis for reasonable debate.

4. Craven Bootlicking: This may be at least as absurd as #1, but just maybe old Orson was savy enough to take advantage of the nature of the crap pot called Hollywood he lived in, and he pretty much had the goods on everyone around. To this day, people associated with his estate hold the Sword of Damocles above the Hollywood establishment, and unless they continue to shamelessly kiss Orson's enormous dead ass, his flunkies will release a plague of scandal upon Tinseltown.

Last Week: Dragonfly:

Coming from just about any other source, the following might be considered a very weak, left-handed compliment at best: This film didn't suck anywhere near as bad as I was convinced it was going to. With a few changes in the cast (read: dump Costner's ass) and maybe a little massaging of the script, it could have been an almost tolerable way to shoot 100 minutes of our lives. Alas, casting Kevin Costner in an emotionally charged movie is like promising your fans the Yankees and giving them the Rockies.

The use of a baseball analogy here is not accidental. Dragonfly reminded me a lot of a combination of Field of Dreams and For the Love of the Game with all the baseball taken out. Here we come to the key of the whole observation. When Costner makes a baseball movie, he generally leaves us with something that is at least not too painful. When he ventures outside that genre, trash like Robin Hood, Waterworld and The Postman seems to always result. Sure, he is a decade too old to portray a player anymore. He was when he made For the Love of the Game as well. But maybe he could play an owner, or a manager or something.

One of the principal differences between Dragonfly and most Costner movies is that he doesn't of play a stone-faced and wooden, but still likeable guy with the emotional range a flowerpot. Instead he plays a stone-faced and wooden guy who is pretty much of an asshole, and has the emotional range of a flower pot.

Its not too hard to establish that most of the other characters in this film basically think Costner's character, Dr. Joe Darrow is an unbearable jerk. If someone had given me a dollar for every time somebody said to him, "Isn't there someplace you can go and get away for awhile, Joe?" I could have easily covered the cost of two admissions, two medium soft drinks, a large popcorn, and the Chevy Blazer they were raffling off out in the mall. Obviously Joe probably dismissed it all as friends looking out for his emotional and physical well-being after the death of his beloved wife. In reality, it was pretty clear that they just wanted him to go away.

There was dialog in this movie that went well beyond astonishingly awful. At times, I nearly drowned in my own drool as my mouth dropped open and I tried to comprehend what I had just heard. Could self respecting professional writers actually set these words to paper without subsequently fleeing to a remote island for the remainder of their lives?

Here are a few examples: (Monologue by Joe) "In medical school they taught us that the last thing most people will ever see is the face of an emergency room doctor. I wondered what the last thing she (his lost wife) saw was." Gee, Joe, she died in an avalanche. Ya think maybe a big ass rock three feet from her face?

(Dr Joe, to a patient who tried to committ suicide, that he didn't bother to help) "...but when you get where you are going and you never wake up again, don't come and blame me." ???????????????????????????

There is another clue early in the movie that Joe is an obnoxious asshole that we won't end up liking very much. He is supposedly the head of emergency room care, but our first opportunity to watch him working permits us to see him do about 8 things that would have gotten his, and the hospital's ass sued off. Its no wonder the other doctors wanted him to go white water rafting or something. I think they were mostly hoping he wouldn't return.

Quick plot summary time, because it won't take much to summarize the plot of this film. Joe is madly in love with this wife, Emily, who is also a doctor. But she is an extraordinary humanitarian, and spends some time in the jungles of South America treating the natives. Unfortunately she is killed in an avalanche.

Joe is distraught, and believes that she is trying to contact him for some unexplained reason, but its driving him mad because he doesn't believe in the afterlife. He begins driving everyone around him crazy, and the only person who remotely tolerates his antics is his neighbor, portrayed by Kathy Bates. Bates has to really stretch her talents in this film as she plays a kindly, middle-aged lesbian woman.

Joe also tries to find help understanding what is going on by enlisting the aide of a 3 foot tall nun with a cartoon character voice (Linda Hunt). There is some sort of union rule in Hollywood that if you make a movie which involves the "spirit world" in any remote fashion, you have to employ a tiny woman as the only person who has a clue as to what is going on. Apparently being 36 inches tall and female constitutes the Hollywood concept of being a conduit to the great beyond.

All of this sets us up for a surprise ending that yet again, isn't a surprise unless you have slept through 85 minutes of the film. Given Costner's usual droning monotone and micron measured emotional range, that isn't a stretch to believe. I won't give away the ending entirely this week, but here is a hint: Little girl growing up with a work-a-holic single, doctor dad. Sounds like a formula for future Al Queda recruit to me. Incidentally, if you go to this movie awaiting the prominent trailer scene in which Costner looks out his window and sees a kajillion dragonflies hovering, you'll get pretty old waiting. Its not in the movie anywhere.

Last Week: Daredevil:

This is the worst super-hero movie ever made. Hell, no point in mincing words. This is one of the worst movies ever made period. You really have to hand it to Kevin Smith. Usually he confines his "talents" to making crappy movies about his own comic book characters. This time he completely trashes somebody elses comic book creation. Wow, there is a creative stretch.

Smith doesn't credit himself with a production or direction credit for this film. I guess he wanted it to find an audience independent of this mostly brain-dead, drug addled following. But his presence in some significant capacity must have filtered over the production locations like stink in a monkey house. He actually appears in the film in an almost cameo role. But there is little question he had signficantly more input than he is credited with. He does, afterall, own the character rights, and its impossible to believe his fingerprints aren't all over the production and directorial efforts.

Maybe I shouldn't be quite so hard on Smith. True, if you are going to buy the rights to make a movie about a Marvel character, Daredevil might not be the first choice most people would consider. I doubt it would be the last choice 99% of the population with living braincells would consider. So its not mystery how Smith got involved in the first place. Those funny little cigarettes clear out braincells like Hitler cleaned Jews out of central Europe.

Im not sure what the exact marching order of the Marvel Super Heros is (no doubt I'll get a few emails from the Kexkateers explaining it) but I suspect that Daredevil was one of the last guys to hit the scene. When you have a blind guy that wears a burgandy outfit parading around offing bad guys, I'd say you've about hit the bottom of the creative barrel good guy wise.

The nutty quality doesn't even end there. By day, he is a lawyer. Hmmm, a blind, superhero lawyer vigilante. Sorry, that just doesn't work for me. I think I'd rather see a movie about Smelly Sock Man. On second thought, I sort of hope Marvel isn't still looking for super hero ideas anymore. I humbly confess that a lot of people are reading this page these days.

Ben Affleck flushes his career in the starring role as Matt Murdock/Daredevil. Whenever he loses a case, he apparently gets pissed off and goes postal on the erstwhile evildoer. At first blush, one sort of wonders why Affleck would have taken this kind of professional gamble at this stage of his career. But then the spectre of Smith once again booms over the horizon. The guess here is that Affleck attended one too many of Smith's mind altering parties, and somewhere in Smith's carefully locked and guarded strong box there are interesting pictures of Affleck and barnyard animals.

Murdock, the son of a washed up prize fighter called "The Devil," is blinded as a boy in a chemical accident. But his other senses become keenly tuned, allowing him super human hearing and a sort of sonar-like ability to perceive the world. It was this particular character trait that made the movie particularly painful to watch. A great deal of the action is filmed through Murdock's "perspective", making it almost impossible to see what the hell is going on.

When we aren't viewing events in Murdock-Vision, the production staff resorts to that recently popular, but otherwise pain-in-the ass filming techique that makes it look like the camera is tumbling around in a cement mixer. Worse still, virtually all of the action in this film takes place on rainy nights. Toss all of this together and you have a mostly incoherent mess. That is the good news. Frankly, the film is so gratutiously violent I was almost happy we didn't see what was going on a good deal of the time. There were still too many moments when we could.

Murdock's primary nemesis is "Kingpin," played by Michael Clarke Duncan. There are those that might regard that as an inspired piece of casting. By my thinking, I'd say it just proves that everyone associated with this film were a bunch of dumbshits. Kingpin's prime soldier was a hitman named Bullseye (Colin Farell). Maybe I'm missing something here, but I think the whole thing would have been a teensy more credible if they had reversed those roles.

By a remarkable bit of coincidence, Kingpin is responsible for the murder of Murdock's father. He is also out to rub out Murdock's current cozy-mate, Electra (Jennifer Garner). So Daredevil has the duel problem of seeking revenge, and protecting his love interest. The problem here is that it seems rather obvious that Electra is the one who should be protecting Murdock. Its rather obvious, from early on in the film, that she could kick his ass purple anytime she wanted too.

There is a rather signficant effort to establish the character of Daredevil, as we spend about 45 painful minutes out of a 90 minute film reviewing his tortured childhood. That doesn't leave us much time to develop a real story in the present, but I guess it does set us up for about a dozen sequels, providing this film doesn't hit the wall like a blind man driving an formula one race car. Oops, sorry.

I'm not sure how many sequels Ben Affleck has committed to. The hope here is that he can do a Michael Keaton and attempt to piece together whatever is left of his career. You sort of have to wonder about the release timing of this movie as well. Usually, films with this kind of budget and ambition are released around June. Valentine's weekend isn't normally the time that a lot of comic book adoring guys are going to talk their girlfriend's into seeing a super-hero action film. Wait. What am I saying? Those guys don't typically have girlfriends anyway. Maybe the timing is more inspired than I suspected.

I want to emphasize one final point, just in case anybody missed it; particularly the people who read a lot of comic books or are Kevin Smith fans. I'm aware that segment of the population tends to be a little slower on the draw. This movie blew.

Last Week: The Passion of the Christ:

Everytime I've turned on one of the news channels this week, someone was gabbing about this movie. Well, they were either gabbing about this movie or gay marriage, and the proposed constitutional amendment to ban it. I personally view gay marriage in the same light I view abortion: If you don't like it, don't get one.

We don't need a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. We need a constitutional amendment banning anyone who actively wants to be President from getting the job. That would at least keep morons like the one we have now out of Washington. And while we are at it, how about this idea: Hey, all you conservatives out there who want the government out of our lives: Why don't you personally start by knocking off the self righteous lobbying aimed at provoking the government to get into everyone's bedroom? Or to put it more simply, get your damned noses out of everyone else's business.

Now, about the movie. Having heard so many different perspectives on this film, it was pretty hard for me to come up with something that hasn't already been beaten to death. I like to bring a fresh viewpoint to things, and I was really struggling to come up with something you haven't or wouldn't see on CNN. Then an idea finally hit me. I decided to ask my cat what she thought of all of this hoopla. So I grapped a tape recorder and mike, and tracked her down to the couch where she was resting.

The interview went like this:

Me: So, Kiri, what do you think of all this mishmash about The Passion of the Christ?


She didn't say anything. Instead, she just gave me her "May I please have some tuna?" look. So I gave her a little tuna, hoping it would free her tongue. (No, I'm not going to do that joke.) I prepared to ask her again when she finished, but rather than answering, she trotted into the guest bedroom and slept for about an hour.

I figured she would awaken with interesting perspectives. I know a nap can open my mind when I'm contemplating matters for which anwers are difficult in coming. But this time when I asked the question, she gave me her "Can we play with a string?" look. After a short romp with the string, she trotted downstairs and watched the fish in the aquarium for awhile, then took another nap. It was becoming increasingly clear that whatever her perspectives on the movie were, she wasn't going to share them.

It suddenly occured to me that the whole thing was a pretty bad idea. If she had commented, you probably would be hearing about it on CNN instead of here. Sometimes you just can't fight the giants.

Something else did occur to me though, and its the ONE question that I haven't really heard anyone ask about this movie, and that somebody really needs to ask. This is, afterall, a viciously violent movie, although a lot of the clergy seem to be ignoring that aspect, offering instead the value of coming to a greater understanding of the trials Jesus (Jim Cavaziel) endured in the last 12 hours of his life. But that kind of praise for the film strikes me as craven bootlicking.

Suppose for just a minute that this had been a film about every day nice guy, Joe Schmoe, who gets the living crap beat out of him by street thugs. In fact, lets pretend for a moment that this film had been entitled Joe Schmoe Gets the Crap Beat Out of Him By Street Thugs. Would there be any religious leaders, or self righteous conservative hacks out there praising the violent depictions in this film?

Don't think too long and hard on that one. The answer is, NO! In fact, they'd be lining up ready to nail Mel Gibson to the cross for making a film with this kind of vulgar violence. The same people who blasted Janet Jackson's ass for having the gall to pop out one of the girls for a millisecond on national TV are praising one of the most grotesquely violent films ever made simply because it promotes their particular world view. My bottomline question is this: If this kind of violent depiction would be decried in my fictious Joe Schmoe film, why are the same people giving it a pass here? What in the context justifies that?

Now, before I get 8000 commie, pinko atheist emails, which I get every week anyway, I have no personal beef with organized religion. In fact, if I ever find one, I might join it. I'm not an atheist. I just think that the religions of the world largely are in the same position as the learned blind men in the parable who go to "see" the elephant. Each of them grasp a different part of the elephant's body, coming to wildly different conclusions about what the nature of the beast is. And while each of them grasp a tiny bit of the truth, none of them are actually right.

I think religion is pretty much like that. And the worst aspect of it is, we tend to use it to beat other people up a hell of a lot more often than we use it to comfort them. I think this movie plays into that, quite frankly. I think it borders on anti-semitic. I'm not going to accuse Mel Gibson of those kinds of thoughts, but I do offer that his dad, Hutton Gibson, has recently been running around lately doing a lot of holocaust denial speeches. Make of that what you will.

Beyond the suspicions that Pop and son may be wearing feathers of a similar color in their attitudes toward Judiasm, I also noticed that women didn't come off all that well in this film either. Satan herself popped onto the screen a time or two. Yes folks, herself. I'm not sure if old Mel is having some latent sexuality issues that he is subconsiously displaying here, but the devil isn't depicted as female all that often. I found that interesting. There was also a rather creepy scene in which she was carrying a baby that appeared to have wandered over from the screening of Lord of the Rings 3 next door. That baby had an even bigger head than the one in Cold Mountain.

Meanwhile, we all get to see this film and feel terrible about ourselves because Christ had to suffer miserably for our sins. Okay, that is what he came here for. Far be it from me to tell God his business, but couldn't he have just snapped his fingers or something and accomplished the same thing? Afterall, he/she/it IS God. Maybe I just lack His flair for the dramatic.

Or, maybe I should have followed my cat's example and kept my mouth shut.......NAW!!!!!!

And the best movie ever made about Jesus is still Edward Scissorhands.

Last Week: A K.A.W. Classic Review: What Dreams May Come:

The movie I wanted to see and review this week was A Sound of Thunder, based on the classic sci-fi story by Ray Bradbury. However, its release date has been once again not only changed, but its disappeared into a kind of release date limbo. At present, its new release date is listed as December 31, 2005.

When a movie is given a release date that is the last day of the year, and December 31 isn't a Friday, its sort of a Hollywood code for, "We really don't have clue one right now when we are going to release this film." In fact, one of the latest rumors I've heard is that this film might get international distribution before its released in the U.S., then may go straight to video. If true, that means that the people who made it are wildly unhappy with the end product. Stay tuned.

The other two major releases this week both had a "2" completing their title. In both cases, they are sequels to movies that were brutally weak in original form. Did anyone in this universe really need The Ring 2? The premise of the original was that some evil spirit was coming into people's home through the TV set. Now, after going through that once, don't you think most people could just avoid going anywhere near a TV again?

Then we had Miss Congeniality 2. IN the original, we were supposed to believe that Sandra Bullock was an unattractive, workaholic FBI agent. In the first place, ever film we ever see Sandra Bullock in, she has some interesting job where she never actually works, so the workaholic part doesn't really work. And she isn't unattractive, by any stretch of the imagination, so the movie never really found its momentum. Why do we need a sequel to a movie that was this weak to start with?

So I backtracked this week to a movie that I sort of forgot about, but which I found somewhat intriguing in the past. What Dreams May Come is based upon an outstanding novel by the great sci fi writer, Richard Matheson. This is one of the few instances I've ever encountered where a movie has captured the essense of a very mentally provoking book. I definitely recommend the book. The movie is more than worth the effort as well.

There are some truly visually stunning scenes in this film. Perhaps one of the most gratifying is the opportunity to very nearly see Robin Williams get trapped in hell. Ah, if only all fantasy could provide such pleasing ideas. Alas, he escapes, which provides one of the many tear jerking episodes that flavor this film. I guess not every movie can have a happy ending.

Chris Nielsen (Robin Williams) has an idealic life with his soulmate Annie (Annabella Sciorra) whom he meets during a European vacation as a young man. They marry and have two children, and seem to have a more or less perfect life, even if their two kids are apparently a bit of a handful.

But things go tragically south when their two children are killed in an automobile accident, leaving both Annie and Chris tremendously distraught emotionally. Since a good deal of this film is told in flashbacks, we have to wade through the entire film to find out just how the characters reacted to events that play out early on.

Four years after the death of their children, Chris is also killed in a car accident, leaving Annie alone. Chris goes to a beautiful personal version of heaven, where he meets his personal guide, played by Cuba Gooding jr. He seems to be adjusting well to his existance in the afterlife, until he is faced with an overpowering challenge: Annie commits suicide, and he has to try to save her lost soul from eternal damnation, something that has never been accomplished.

The scenes of both heaven and hell are tremendously memorable. the visual effects were strong enough to earn this film the Oscar for Visual effects in 1998. Its one of those movies that will leave a strong impression visually, even long after you've more or less forgotten the essential story line. Robin Williams is tolerable and even adequate in what was at the time a rare dramatic role. The movie didn't do tremendously well at the box office originally, and has only recently become available on DVD. The DVD version includes a rather interesting alternative ending, which could provide the jist for some thought provoking discussion of which ending works better. One way or another, its worth a look, or perhaps another look if you haven't seen it for awhile.

Last week: Scary Movie 4:

In the first place, if you put King Kong on your movie poster, he damned well better be in the movie somewhere. I'm pretty sure I even saw previews of this film with a King Kong scene. But it was nowhere in the movie. Here at K.A.W., that is called the kiss of death for your film.

Then we return yet again to that age old question of appropriate target for satire. It is of little value to spend a lot of time lampooning movies like War of the Worlds and The Village, which were already about 10 times more hilarious than this film, even though they weren't funny intentionally.

It isn't even all that necessary to kick around Tom Cruise these days. Look folks, the man made a complete ass of himself by turning Oprah's couch into a trampoline on national TV. He exposed himself as a complete idiot by dishing out psychiatric advice despite not only a complete lack of credentials, but no evident understanding of the topic. To top it all off, he is fanatically devoted to a pyramid scheme "religion" that worships Martians. This man is beyond effective parody.

Finally, we yet again have to bring up the topic of "old man butt." This time, the omb in question is Leslie Nielsen, and we were pounded by the vision of it numerous times. Look, Hollywood, we don't want to see it. It isn't funny. Its just gross. If you guys don't show it, I won't have to warn the public about it, and your box office soars, I'll guarantee it.

We haven't brought in the choir for quite a long time, so I think we are overdue:

"Hey Kex, what are you pissed off about this week?"

Well, I'm not really pissed off. Its just that week of the year when guns weigh heavily on my mind. I'm not going to take off and question anyone's constitutional right to own a gun, although I admittedly question whether or not that really is a constitutional right. I've personally read the Second Amendment to the constitution a few thousand times in my life, and I'm really not certain wheter or not it grants us the right to own guns, or the right to be protected by a militia in the absense of a standing army.

It is notable that the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791, and the Militia Act which defines exactly what a militia is and who qualifies, was passed in 1792, so that is probably a valuable clue. Nonetheless, let's grant for a moment that gun ownership was intended as a personal right. It should be remembered also that in those days, arms referred to single shot pistols and flintlocks which were such pathetic weapons that actually hitting a target at a range of more than 10 yards was a significant accomplishment.

Even granting for a moment that the founding fathers intended gun ownership as a right, its the sanity of owning a gun that I question. The 10th amendment grants all powers not delegated to the federal government or prohibited to the states to the people. I suppose one could construe that as granting the right to own King Cobras. MOst states have passed laws to the contrary, although I'm not sure that a federal constitutional challenge has ever been mounted. But even if it could be considered a right, its not very smart.

I received the following email from a pro-gun friend a week ago, which I think speaks volumes:


The number of physicians in the U.S. is 700,000
Accidental deaths caused by Physicians per year are 120,000
Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171
Statistics courtesy of U.S. Dept of Health Human Services.

The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80,000,000
The number of accidental gun deaths per year, all age groups, is 1,500
The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is .000188.
Statistics courtesy of F.B.I.

Statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners.

Remember, "Guns don't kill people, doctors do."

FACT: Not everyone has a gun, but almost everyone has at least one doctor.

Please alert your friends to this alarming threat immediatly. We must ban doctors before this gets completely out of hand!

Granting, for a moment, the tongue in cheek nature of the analysis, some moron actually spent some time formulating the idea. The problem is, I don't have the first clue what their point is. Are they saying that if we get sick, we should consult a gun?

In this country, preventive medicine is still an idea in its infancy, and most people go to the doctor because something is already wrong with them. Consequently, doctors are generally in a reactive state, where the first burden is diagnosis, followed by treatment. Despite the numerous advances in medical science in the past century, we still don't know everthing. As a result, doctors can do everything they think is right, and the patient can get worse or die. But with very few exceptions, doctors aren't trying to injure or kill people.

Guns, on the other hand, are intended to injure and kill. People buy them for the express purpose of injuring and killing. If someone goes to a doctor with a gunshot would, it is because someone else intended to kill or inflict an injury upon them, or did so accidentally.

This is where the King Cobra analogy fits in. Owning one might seem cool to the guy who does, but most of his friends are going to think its kind of loopy. And even with all appropriate caution, its entirely possible that owning one can result in severe injury or death to either the owner, or his neighbors. Consequently, its a bad idea.

And remember, guns don't shoot people, Dick Cheney does.

Last Week: Hairspray:

Next week: Toothpaste....then maybe Underarm Deodorant.


This movie did answer one of life's enduring mysteries for me. I now fully understand why about half of all the weird emails I get come from Baltimore.

Isn't there some legal limit to how many creepy musicals one actor can make in one lifetime? They only let Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin do one. John Travolta had to be over the limit after Grease. In that movie, he played a 50's street gang type, and those kind of people really don't spend a lot of time dancing and singing. If reality were more like West Side Story, gun control wouldn't be much of an issue in this country.

Grease pretty much blew, but at least Travolta was sort of playing to type. In this movie, he plays a middle aged, overweight woman. That raised some eyebrows, and even protests in the gay community. There were also inquiries based upon Travolta's faith. Scientology espouses all sorts of weird views, evidently including the notion that psychiatry is pseudo-science. Then again, this is a faith that worships Martians.

Not to worry, according to Travolta. First of all, he says he is playing a woman, not a gay character. Further, Scientology is a pretty tolerant faith, according to big John. Oh really? Here are L. Ron Hubbard's own words on the matter: ""The sexual pervert (and by this term Dianetics, to be brief, includes any and all forms of deviation such as homosexuality, lesbianism , sexual sadism, etc., and all down the catalog of Ellis and Krafft-Ebing) is actually quite ill physically."
I kind of think that a middle aged man portraying a middle aged woman would kind of fit into that prohibition.

All that aside, and personally, I couldn't care less what Scientology thinks about anything, the whole matter created an entirely different problem. Watching John Travolta and Christopher Walken perform Timeless To Me is the ickiest experience I have endured in a movie since that one scene in The Crying Game. (Or for that matter, any scene in any Adam Sandler movie.)

Here is something curious, that you might not have known. Christopher Walken actually began his entertainment career as a dancer, specializing in ballroom dance. So why, we end up asking, does Walken appear so club-footed that we seriously doubt he could last beyond week one of Dancing With the Stars? Actually, Walken's face time in this movie was pretty limited. The guess here is that he has a really good agent...or at least one good enough to keep him off-screen most of the time after he got saddled into taking the role.

The other thing I learned from this movie is that desegregation in this country mostly came about because of a TV show in Baltimore where whites folk and African-American folk started singing and dancing together. Evidently all those civil rights marches and confrontations at Southern colleges were just revisionist history.

It all makes so much sense now...look how much good came out of all those movies Shirley Temple did with Billy "Bojangles" Robinson. That advanced race relations in this country. We all came to realize what a grave injustice we did by abolishing slavery...the African-American folk were so happy! All they did all day was sing and dance and play the banjo with little Shirley out there with them. No wonder they were so miserable after abolition.

Okay...most people are going to like this movie. It is standing around 95% positive ratings at Rotten Tomatoes, and there may even be some Oscar buzz. That will speak more to the kind of year it's been so far than the quality of this film, but who knows? Travolta could be the first actor in history to be nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress for the same role.

Newcomer Nikki Blonsky is actually quite good in her role, although just how many roles she will be able to land in the future will depend upon whether or not she has a true acting range. In this film, she didn't have much to do outside of sing, dance and act pretty happy no matter what happened. Queen Latifah blew everyone off the screen every time she was in front of the camera, probably because she at least has credible experience in this type of role. Michelle Pfeiffer didn't appear comfortable in this type of film.

Oh...btw...Harry didn't die. TOLD YOU SO!

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