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Tuesday, 05 October
The Mediocrity Is The Message

This weekend was just what the doctor ordered, provided your doctor is mendacious buffoon with a degree from the Online University of Frozen Toe, Canada. We spent the whole time on our asses absorbing the vast spectrum of terribleness that our media has to offer.

Friday I watched some of the retirement ceremonies for Edgar Martinez, Seattle's creaky old DH for years. It was pretty touching for a while: unveiling of various memorabilia, checks presented to various causes in his name, a street named after him, etc. Edgar sat around, seemingly bemused at the parade of accolades while his children sat around with the dull knowledge that they had to be good and sit still until all this shit was over or they would be killed.

But then bad things started to happen, like the appearance Bud Selig, who is the obverse of a Dorian Gray, and physically wears his unspeakable evil like an unhappy suit. Bud droned on for a while, and I stared at his hair, which is, like that of so many wealthy, powerful people, mesmerizingly horrible. I don't understand this about wealthy powerful people. Jesus Christ! Fix your fucking hair! During his speech, the Puget Sound silted up, ruining trade in our region, and several small children flung themselves under horse carriages; it has been widely acknowledged that Selig's hair was responsible.

By the time an apparently drunk and deranged Bret Boone took the stage--Boone is Seattle's not-very-beloved second baseman who has made a comfortable living out of dashing the hopes of thousands--it was time to change the channel; I believe they were about to bestow upon Edgar several thousand endangered butterflies, which he could "eat at any time," because, fuck it, it's YOUR NIGHT!

Saturday night, driven to madness by the ongoing wasteland of regular TV, the wife and I decided to take matters into our own hands: did we have to sit there and just take the horrifying crap being handed to us by the networks? Fuck no! We were going to pay extra for some different horrifying crap!

[There are major spoilers ahead for a really worthless movie, but some people are rabid about that shit, so, if you genuinely believe that a dented turd of a film like Taking Lives can be somehow ruined, you may want to skip the next bit. But I reserve the right to call you weird.]

Yeah, we rented Taking Lives on pay-per-view. This Angelina Jolie/Ethan Hawke . . . vehicle, I guess, though "vehicle" usually connotes something that moves . . . is, even from the opening credits (during which I said to the wife, "Se7en has a lot to answer for."): empty, derivative and . . . not even bad. It wasn't good enough to be actually bad, which is to say, badness, to me at least, implies effort. Someone attempts something, some work or craft, and they fail miserably; they did badly, the result is bad. But not this thing. It doesn't even try to be anything other than pure mediocrity, mindless gruel pumped out of a blue and white tube marked INGREDIENTS: MINDLESS GRUEL. Some people consider this worthy of the title of "bad," but would you consider a latch-hook rug "bad"? Or Guinness records? Or are they just stupid, trifling things that only weirdos and the infirm would comment upon favorably?

The plot is so blindingly stupid I won't even try. Jolie is the usual driven investigator who does semi-mystical things like lie down in graves, staring intently at the sky, or takes baths with crime scene photos posted here and there, because not even relaxing baths must intrude up her single-minded purpose: to do the job, dammit. And Hawke is the MacGuffin role: Is he an innocent unkempt lad caught up in extraordinary circumstances, or . . . IS HE THE KILLER? Never mind that the answer is screamingly obvious (He is! Oh my God! I think I need a haircut! Oh, right, the film isn't over.): Jolie knows what she has to do--fuck him. Fuck him BUT GOOD.

The inevitable sex scene that results is baffling by even Hollywood standards. While Hawke peels off Jolie's clothes enthusiastically, he himself remains fully garbed in what appears to be a three-piece suit. They fall back onto the bed, humping the bejesus out of each other, and he's still dressed; and further, the wife and I both noticed that Hawke never even did that actor-y thing of miming the reach down to pretend to unzip and fumble his dick out. So the unlovely mental image I was left with was Angeline Jolie crammed chock full of an indeterminate amount of hot, stretched wool.

I slept fitfully that night, plagued with uneasy dreams about dry cleaners.

[End the world's dumbest spoiler.]

Finally, just tonight, after watching (what's wrong with me?) "CSI: Miami," a humdinger of a show which features David Caruso palely refusing to act, ever . . . and hold on, let's stop a minute. I'm used to Caruso standing around being all Tough Irish; he did that on "NYPD Blue" constantly, despite the fact that he looks about as tough as a potato chip. The real crime of this show that needs investigating is the utter waste of its other actors, such as Khandi Alexander, from the much-missed "NewsRadio," and Emily Proctor, who deserves better than the Kitten With A Gun Fetish role that she is routinely saddled with. John Heard occasionally shows up as Proctor's drunk dad, too--poor John Heard. Maybe he livens things up by actually showing up drunk. I would.

Anyway, at the end of the show, they played the usual "Next week on CSI!" teaser, and it was kind of shattering. The voiceover: "Next week on CSI: Miami, a murder is discovered . . . at a flashmob!" I jerked in my seat as if someone had sharply jabbed my asshole. Flashmobs? On an ostensibly stylish crime show? On CBS?

There's going to be a blogger crime thriller soon. Mark my words. Some lucky blogger is gonna get to crawl all over Angelina Jolie.

Hey, don't look at me. Hell, give it to Kottke.


Note: Comments are closed on old entries.

Comments

"CSI: Miami"? Right, what's WRONG with you, man? I love the original "CSI", but I loathe Miami for trying to be about bigger, more horrible, more OMG-THEY-ARE-ALL-DEAD-WTF crimes, while totally ditching the characters in the process.

Did you notice they always need Caruso/Horatio to have their noses pointed at obvious ideas.

Some CSI guy: "OMG blood everywhere on this crime scene!"
Horatio: "Let's check for finger prints and, you know, other stuff."
Some CSI guy: "Good idea, Horatio! Damn, H., you're the shit!!!1"

In one of the first eps (I was watching back then) one of the CSI guys flew the fucking Police helicopter. I will repeat this. A CSI guy. A police helicopter. IIRC the force has people to fly aircrafts, you know, like pilots.

WTF is wrong with them?

Comment number: 005129   Posted by: Carlo on October 5, 2004 03:32 AM from IP: 193.28.194.12

I place all the blame for David Caruso's (and now, Gary Sinise's) non-acting on William L Petersen. He has perfected the art of not-acting-at-all-and-pretending-that-it's-just-dramatic.

Like, why is it that these guys have to pretend to be robots? I'm thinking that there MAY just be the occasional feeling in a CSI head investigator... At least Rory Cochrane had the good sense to get out of the show after 2 seasons...

Comment number: 005130   Posted by: Ryan Waddell on October 5, 2004 06:48 AM from IP: 206.47.252.98

Ms. Alexander's terrificness notwithstanding, her presence conditions me to expect dave to pop out at any minute, like on will and grace.

newsradio dvd release rumored, btw.

Comment number: 005131   Posted by: mike on October 5, 2004 07:50 AM from IP: 216.173.212.237

Argh, Caruso. Why does he have to deliver every line while putting on his sunglasses and staring off into the distance.

Comment number: 005132   Posted by: Shawn on October 5, 2004 08:49 AM from IP: 209.233.130.252

"I know who the murderer is," Kevin blogged.

Comment number: 005133   Posted by: Snarky on October 5, 2004 03:04 PM from IP: 68.164.249.26

I'm sick of people getting murdered on that show but I like that hot Hispanic cop and those outfits Khandi wears. Eye Khandi.


yes, I am a woman.

Comment number: 005134   Posted by: Lauren on October 5, 2004 07:28 PM from IP: 216.209.247.36

Emptybottle: The Movie.

No, wait, I'm fucking serious here!

Comment number: 005135   Posted by: stavrosthewonderchicken on October 7, 2004 11:11 PM from IP: 169.140.198.38

Snarky, you beat me to that! Ten points for the Lyttle Lytton Awards.

Comment number: 005136   Posted by: Brendan on October 8, 2004 08:51 AM from IP: 63.145.150.137

David Caruso was good in The King of New York.
/pointlessness

Comment number: 005137   Posted by: dayment on October 11, 2004 09:42 AM from IP: 64.105.86.146

David Caruso is a carbuncle on the asshole of reality. THe worst - Single worst fucking actor I have ever witnessed. Totally bogus, "Too cool for school" delivery. HATE! The only reason to watch that show is to play a game of spot the glaring cliche, the tell don't show, the pointless repitition. On object lesson in how not to produce a competent TV show.

Comment number: 005138   Posted by: patoing on November 5, 2004 08:57 AM from IP: 84.203.147.66

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