Monday, July 30, 2001

12 Things I Learned From The New "Planet Of The Apes"

  • Although apes in the future will be able to speak English perfectly, they really aren’t themselves unless they’re grunting and squealing like a bunch of people in primate costumes.
  • In every large group of apes, the lead female will be the only one with an English accent.
  • Some female apes enjoy wearing lipstick, mascara, and eye liner.
  • Some male apes enjoy wearing Russell Crowe’s battlefield costumes from “Gladiator.”
  • In every group of dirty, stinking humans on the run, there will be one clean yet pouty supermodel with a low-cut loin cloth.
  • Marky Mark is unable to grow whiskers, which explains why, even though more than two days pass in the course of the plot, he can’t even work up a mild five o’clock shadow.
  • Some apes have seen “Mission Impossible 2" and like to mimic (ape, if you will) the leaping-off-motorcycles jump-bump-in-the-air stunt in the middle of a fight.
  • The sexiest female apes dress in designer fashions, presumably created by Donna Orang-Karan.
  • Tim Burton is incapable of filming a brightly lit scene.
  • Estella Warren in a speaking part is no match for Linda Harrison as a mute.
  • Them monkeys can fly!
  • If I could travel in time like Marky Mark, I’d go back two hours and get my $7.50 back.

Thursday, July 26, 2001

Baby Naming Rights

The story in USA Today says that a couple is auctioning off the naming rights to their soon-to-be born baby boy. Acting as if they were giving birth to a new baseball stadium instead of a human being, 32-year-old Jason Black and Frances Schroeder are looking for some corporation to cough up $500,000 or more to permanently brand their child with a brand name.

One of Jason’s friends is quoted as saying, "I’m against it and so are almost all his friends. But he’s chosen to do it anyway, and I respect that."

You respect that??? I ridicule it!! As the ultimate merger of Generation X Ego and 21st Century Capitalist Greed, the whole thing is as sleazy as can be. The good news is that the parents haven’t had any bidders on EBay or Yahoo -- yet.

The parents are probably hoping that, since the boy will be burdened with this moniker for life, the company or product name won’t be cringe-inducing. For instance, if the high bidder is Anheuser-Busch, the kid could very easily live with the name Bud. If he wishes he were an Oscar Meyer Weiner, that is what he truly could be! Then, when he turns 16, Mom and Dad could buy him the Wienermobile as his first car.

But I like to think the other way.

What would be the worst company to buy these naming rights? What company or product name would tag this child for life with a stigma that he could later blame his parents for forever?

Once again, I turn to the listeners of my show -- who are as put off by this revolting cash concept as I am -- for suggestions. Here are several of the best Bad Baby Boy Names:

Drano. Ex-Lax. Cruex. Viagra.

Since it’s a boy, he couldn’t possibly be happy with the name Tampax. Monistat. Summer’s Eve. Vagisil. Name him Gynolotrimin and you ensure that he is always chosen last for any team sport.

Want to kill any career prospects he might have? Name him Lazy Boy.

Want to guarantee him a life of teasing? Dairy Queen. Velveeta. Vaseline. Kaopectate. Tidy Bowl. Fleet Enema. Binaca. Siemans, the telecommunications company (Siemans Black? See a urologist!).

Hooters. Yes, that would be worse for a girl, but imagine if he’s a little pudgy and has those boy-breasts...uh oh!

Also not good for a girl: Frito Lay. Others from the sexually suggestive problem name file: Ben Gay. Bunn-O-Matic. Trojan. Nads, the hair remover.

He probably wouldn’t want to go through life named Head, after the tennis racquet company. That’s an even bigger problem when he’s listed in the phone book, since his last name will be Black.

Considering that last name, maybe the perfect company for his first name would be Mennen. Go ahead, say his full name out loud.

Whatever his name turns out to be, this kid will certainly grow up to file a lawsuit against his parents for the emotional distress brought on by this ridiculous idea.

Then he’ll spend much of his adult life with his alcoholic cousin, Johnnie Walker Black.

Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Don't Say The "N" Word In South Dakota

You can’t say the "N" word in Bismarck anymore. The "N" word is "North."

There’s a movement to change North Dakota’s name to simply "Dakota." Supporters say that having "North" modifying what kind of Dakota they are makes their state sound like a frigid, snowy, flat, treeless prairie. Nonsense!

North Dakota is exactly the opposite. It’s a tropical paradise, with rolling hills, beautiful beaches, and plenty of palm trees. Who doesn’t remember the fun of seeing all those spring breakers descend on Fargo for "MTV’s DakotaPalooza"?

The Greater North Dakota Association (a Chamber of Commerce group, previously responsible for the license plate slogan "North Dakota: Land Of 1,000 People") is behind the proposal. They insist that the name change would be a serious economic development initiative. Mostly, I’m guessing, for anyone in the business of making all the new signs and stationery that would be needed across the state. Either that, or start handing out really big bottles of White-Out.

Obviously, Dakotans have an inferiority complex. They look at all the tourism dollars that Florida and California rake in and think, "If only we had a one-word name, people would flock to our doorsteps! Those damn uni-namers!"

They’ve got it backwards. Instead of wimping out and dropping half their name, North Dakotans should band together and proclaim their boldness. Start a campaign that makes residents of the other 49 states look like weaklings. Dare them to vacation among the bravest frontier residents of the USA!!

"North Dakota: We Keep Canada In Its Place!"
"North Dakota: A Lot Further North Than Those Carolina Pantywaists!"
"North Dakota: Bet You Can’t Find A Celebrity Here!"
"North Dakota: Come Enjoy Our July 4th Frozen Lake Fireworks!"
"North Dakota: Only Real Men Can Make It Through Our Winter!"
"North Dakota: Our Women Will Kick Your Ass!"

What would happen to South Dakota if their neighbors dropped the "North"? Well, it’s not unprecedented to have one state side by side with another similarly named state which has a compass direction in its name. That is, if you want to be compared to West Virginia.

Look for South Dakota to rename itself Not So North Dakota.

Monday, July 09, 2001

The Sequel To End All Sequels

The news made Hollywood tremble with excitement.

Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg, and George Lucas have all agreed to a plan for a fourth "Indiana Jones" movie. They may even bring back Sean Connery as Indy’s dad. Although they still don’t have a script, it’s smiles all around – especially on Ford’s face, since he’ll get a paycheck of at least $25,000,000.

But do we really want another "Indiana Jones" movie?

The original, "Raiders Of The Lost Ark," was brilliant movie-making, one of the most exciting adventures ever filmed, hands down.

The sequel, "Temple of Doom," was mediocre at best, weighed down by gory scenes designed purely to shock, not to mention the nearly constant screaming of Kate Capshaw, who attempted the simultaneous feat of replacing Karen Allen onscreen and Amy Irving offscreen.

They were back in form with the third installment, "The Last Crusade," which returned to the original’s formula of Evil Nazis plus Good Religious Icon times Truck & Tank Stunts equals Mega Entertainment.

The pattern indicates that the odd-numbered "Indiana Jones" movies are better than the even-numbered ones, but since the next sequel will be Number Four, there’s not much reason to be hopeful. This is known among movie afficionados as the "Star Trek Sequel Theory" -- though in that series, it was the odd-numbered movies that sucked.

What’s also bothersome is that there’s very little new ground to cover in another Indiana Jones adventure, not that this small point stopped other movie sequels from being made, of course.

Take, for example, another big box office Spielberg series. Are you expecting to see a new creative direction in the third "Jurassic Park" movie when it opens in a couple of weeks? I’m just guessing that the plot consists of some humans (who are naturally fearful of computer-generated creatures) trapped on an island with The Dinosaurs That Time Forgot, who begin chasing their biped visitors until everyone but Sam Neill and two cute kids is dead and mankind finally catches on to Michael Crichton’s decades-old message, "don’t mess with technology, you fools!"

Wait! Imagine what Indiana Jones could do to a T. Rex with his whip!

Face it, most sequels are nothing more than cheap attempts to bring in a few more dollars by making the same movie again and hoping the audience doesn’t notice too much. For every "Terminator 2," there’s a "Predator 2." For every "Toy Story 2," there’s a "Smokey & The Bandit 3" (they couldn’t even convince Burt Reynolds to do that one!).

"Godfather 2" may be the all-time high-water mark of sequel-dom, but even it spawned a piece of drek in "Godfather 3." Still, both of them stand head and shoulders above so many others that Hollywood has foisted upon the movie-going public. Herewith, a small sample:

"Jaws." First one, phenomenal. Second one, not so phenomenal. By the third one, they had resorted to lame 3-D effects. But that didn’t stop them from making "Jaws 4," in which the shark actually followed Lorraine Gary to the Bahamas, where it climbed up on land and finally persuaded the studio to knock it off.

"Rocky." Perfect example of the downward spiral of multiple sequels. When your movies hopes lie with Dolph Lundgren and Brigitte Nielsen trying to be as appealing as Mr. T, you know you’ve sucked the franchise dry. What to do? Make number five! [Incidentally, there are rumors that Sly Stallone is seriously considering converting "Rocky" into a Broadway musical -- thus proving that he learned absolutely nothing from directing Travolta in "Staying Alive," the humiliating sequel to "Saturday Night Fever."]

"Rambo." By my count, this makes Sly’s combined total six sequels, unless there’s a "Tango & Cash 2" that I missed somehow. Did you know that in "Rambo 2," his dialogue times out at less than two minutes for the whole movie?

"Karate Kid." Follow this sequence to oblivion. Make Ralph Macchio a champ in one month. Then have him defend the title. Then have him go to Japan to play up Pat Morita’s story. And in the fourth and final chapter, just as the schlocky well runs dry, turn him into a teenage girl!

"Alien." Sigourney Weaver’s "Jaws In Space" scared the stomach out of more than just John Hurt. But by the third sequel, they had to bring Ripley back from the dead to prop up the horribly miscast Winona Ryder in "Resurrection." Should have let her battle it out with Lorraine Gary.

Let’s browse the comedy section, too, for more of the worst sequel ideas ever.

"Caddyshack." Recipe for the sequel: replace Rodney Dangerfield with Jackie Mason, replace Ted Knight with Robert Stack, replace Bill Murray with Dan Aykroyd (!), let loose the never-hilarious Randy Quaid and Dyan Cannon, and you’ve got yourself an all-time stinker!

In case they don’t get the message, repeat the recipe for "Blues Brothers 2000" and "Meatballs 2." Or "Grease 2," which was so bad Michelle Pfeiffer couldn’t save it, even with the assistance of the legendary Mr. Adrian Zmed!

Don’t make me bring up seven – seven! – "Police Academy" movies. Or the two followups to "Back To The Future." Or "Superman" three through five! The list goes on.

Movies that stunk to begin with kept rolling: "Porky’s 2." "Cannonball Run 2." "Weekend At Bernie’s 2." "Mannequin 2."

Scary classics that had their legacy ruined: "Exorcist 2." "Psycho 2." "Poltergeist 2." "Carrie 2."

How about the ones without a number in the title? "Terms of Endearment" begat "Evening Star." "Romancing The Stone" begat "Jewel Of The Nile." Look what Tim Burton begat when he started with Michael Keaton in a cape and cowl. Holy Bat Crap, George Clooney!

Lastly, let’s not forget the one that may have started this mania in the first place: "Planet Of The Apes." Below, Return, Beyond, Escape -- and now, Remade. Somewhere, Roddy McDowell’s estate is laughing.

Get your dirty paws off me, you damn dirty dinosaur!