Thursday, August 26, 2004

Miscellaneous: Quote of the Day

From this New York Times article on Northwest Airlines’ plan to charge its customers extra for buying tickets in person or over the phone, here’s industry analyst Terry L. Trippler:

“I’m not often speechless, but when I saw this, I sat back and said, ‘What?’”

Book: Loose Lips, by Claire Berlinski (2003)

I’m not 100% on this, but I think I just read my first chick-lit book. And it wasn’t half-bad.

It’s about a woman training to be a CIA officer. All I know about the subject is what I learned from the Colin Farrell/Al Pacino movie THE RECRUIT. What sold me on the book was the blurb from Robert Baer, the former agency man who wrote the excellent SEE NO EVIL. He said LOOSE LIPS “looks like an insider’s account ... it’s an honest book.” Enough for me.

The story ends when the lead character’s training is over. The problem is the book goes on for another 90 pages. Still, the process is laid out in detail. It turns out THE RECRUIT was fairly accurate.

Movie: Johnny English (2003)

The fact that this Bond spoof was co-written by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who also penned the last two 007 outings, raised my suspicions. Can you parody your own work?

Turns out you can. It’s a goofily entertaining movie – but bear in mind that I consider Benny Hill to be a comic genius. It’s worth seeing for two reasons: Robbie Williams’ infectious faux-Bond title song, and a hilarious performance by John Malkovich as the villain, complete with cheesy French accent. “Meestair English! I am gob-smacked!” His best line was cut from the film, but it’s included on the DVD. (Yes, I’ve seen the movie more than once.) “England! Lend me your brain! I’m building an idiot!”

DVD: Max Fleischer’s Superman

In preparation for SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW, I watched this collection of cartoons which director Kerry Conran has cited as a major influence. The 17 shorts were made for Paramount from 1941-43, although Fleischer left the project after the first nine. It’s in these cartoons that the now-famous phrases “Look, up in the sky!” and “Faster than a speeding bullet” were born.

They’re beautifully drawn, especially the art deco depictions of machinery, and fun to watch. Lois Lane stows away in one vehicle or another in almost every episode. Superman doesn’t do battle with any of his usual archenemies. In some of the later installments, he gets actively involved in the war effort, taking on spies and saboteurs.

The mad scientist villain in ‘Electric Earthquake’ is a Native American who threatens to destroy Manhattan if it’s not returned to his people. That’s Manhattan, not Metropolis. Did anyone ever buy that Metropolis guff in the first place? I stopped believing when I saw that Rex Reed worked for the Daily Planet. As if Rex Reed would ever leave New York.

Miscellaneous: Link

Courtesy of Gawker, watch as a fake talent booker tries to land celebrities for the Republican National Convention.