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Fast Five – Because Every Generation Deserves A Police…

I gave up movies for Lent and successfully made it just over 6 weeks without seeing a movie.  This “accomplishment” startled my brother who believed that my viewing of movies was bordering on a crippling addiction.  But I did it.  And yesterday I saw my first movie in several fortnights – The Lincoln Lawyer.  I am not sure if it was withdrawal or not, but the movie was quite good.  It had various things working for it:

  • Matthew McConaughey finally doing a good movie again.  He burst on the scene with the lead in A Time To Kill, and I suppose after doing 437 terrible romantic comedies he either made a conscience decision to do a good film again, or it was an accident and he thought the Lincoln Lawyer was about a lawyer from Lincoln, Nebraska who falls in love with Kate Hudson, but finds it hard to win her over because he is the only guy in Lincoln, Nebraska who never wears a shirt.  Either way – good choice on the movie.
  • It has Bryan Cranston of Breaking.  After a year without a new season of Breaking Bad it was just good to see the dude doing his thing.  (Best show on television and anyone who knows me and has ignored this advice is stupid).
  • It has Josh Lucas.  Anyone who can remember the preview for the film Sweet Home Alabama, can recall seeing that preview going, “Who the fu*k is that dude pretending to be Matthew McConaughey?”  They share the screen in this film and it is like the scene in Double Impact when the bad guys realize that Van Damme is actually a twin.

 

But the good cinematic times are not to continue I suppose because this Friday the ever-encroaching Summer movie season (seriously it used to be Memorial Day, but at this rate they will be releasing “Summer movies” on Valentine’s Day) begins with the 5th installment of the Fast and The Furious franchise, which is to movie franchises what Arby’s is to fast food franchises – a piece of sh*t inexplicably still in business.  Move over Police Academy and Saw, there is a new, awful franchise sheriff in town.

This edition, simply entitled “Fast Five,” but I think they could have called it “Quick Buck.”  The movie stars Vin Diesel, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, and Jordana Brewster.  Jordana Brewster is appropriate as an ex girlfriend of Derek Jeter because the cast of this film sort of looks like a Yankees team form 5 or 6 years ago – overpriced stars whose careers are headed south.  And what about Michelle Rodriguez and Bow Wow?  Were the stars of the critically acclaimed Battle: Los Angeles and Lottery Ticket too busy for this reunion?  Always a bad sign when Michelle Rodriguez is too busy to do your film.

Police Academy, Saw and now Fast and Furious joins the pantheon of "How the fu*k did that become a franchise?"

But let’s take a quick look at each cast member:

  • Vin Diesel  – broke into Hollywood with a supporting role in Saving Private Ryan.  Has anyone ever had a greater disparity in first major film and rest of career?  It would be like if Matt Damon did Good Will Hunting and then immediately signed a lifetime deal with Tyler Perry studios.  Except Vin Diesel is a terrible actor.
  • The Rock – there is no shame in being the best on the mic specialist in WWF/WWE history.  He could  make a lot of money doing that and he was great at it.  And he also had a decent first major effort (not counting The Scorpion King, which sucked) in The Rundown.  But his latest movie, “Faster,” was “Awful.” 
  • Paul Walker – very good looking guy.  Very un-talented.  Isn’t LA full of pretty people?  And there was no one that looked like him that could act a little bit? 
  • Tyrese – one of his hit songs when he was a model-turned singer was “How you gonna act like that?”  Good question Tyrese.  He may be best know as “Black guy in Transformers who says the “black guy stuff that Michael Bay likes to write into his films, like ‘Damn!’  ‘Shiiiiit!’ and ‘That is wack!'”* character.

* Not Another Teen Movie

  • Ludacris – Who’d think that it would be Chris Bridges might have the best acting resume on this cast?  He was in Crash, a good movie (but also arguably the worst best picture of all time) and was also in No Strings Attached, which was not good, but might be the best 2nd best movie of anyone on this list.
  • Jordana Brewster – hot if I worked with her in an office, satisfactory for a Hollywood actress (I file her under “Angie Harmon looking chicks with thicker eyebrows), but fortunately she has boatloads of talent on top of good looks.  For example, this is her third Fast and Furious movie.

Fast forward to Monday morning next week – I am reading the New York Times and see the listing of box office receipts from the weekend and it say $47.9 million Fast Five.  Congratulations America – hopefully you enjoy your reward for your poor choices and market influence – Thor opens up next Friday (I am not sure Thor will be awful, but it sure has the warning signs).

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Letter From A Birmingham Comedy Club – Part 1

So yesterday was my first day in Birmingham, Alabama.   Big plane to Charlotte.  Tiny plane to Birmingham.  I have noticed that the little planes that I am forced to take to smaller cities are always piloted by guys who look like they just left a boy band.  My guess is that you have to be old and experienced to fly a big plane and that younger pilots get their wings (yeah pun) on the little planes.  The problem is that the little planes are much scarier.  I just envision these two bros in the cockpit high-fiving each other and talking about tag teaming chicks when they get to Birmingham while the turbulence is causing me to soil myself. 

Welcome to USAir!
Welcome to USAir!

Also, even the flight attendant seems to be half-assing the small planes.  The big planes usually have two women and one gay dude, to show that they care about service and style, and they are always in uniform.  On little planes, like yesterday, the flight attendant was basically in sweats and a USAir t-shirt.

The club has a car service pick me up, which made me feel like quite the baller.  I checked into the Courtyard where I am staying which is conveniently located about an eight minute walk from the Stardome Comedy Club.  The only problem is that I have to sprint across what is basically a highway to get there. 

I just swerved out of the way to avoid the guy... I think it was Vin Diesel, but he was running to the comedy club.
I just swerved out of the way to avoid the guy... I think it was Vin Diesel, but he was running to the comedy club.

The show last night was fantastic.  I thought I had a very good, but not great set, but was truly surprised by Birmingham comedy fans.  They laughed at anal sex, 9/11 analogies and even cheered for Obama, which I asked them not to.  Fortunately one older woman was nice enough to balance it out by saying, “he’s stupid.”  I think she was talking about Obama.  I think tonight will be great (sadly I often take one night to get used to a new room). 

But the venue is amazing.  425 people in stadium-style seating – and it was packed on a Tuesday night!  The only drawback was that the most common look-alike for me (see my bio pie chart on my website) from people last night was Vin Diesel.  And many people wanted pictures with me based solely on my height.  But other than that great start to the week.

Funny future storyline here is that I will HAVE to sell at least 15 dvds/cds before I leave.  I will let you know Monday if I did it.