Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fallen King

There was a time in my 1980s childhood when everyone adored Michael Jackson. There were no controversies. His music wasn't an acquired taste. There was no racial division. Little girls stuck oversized pins with his face on their jeans jackets. He was simply the coolest person ever.

This was the "Thriller" era when Michael Jackson pwned the world.

He was a superstar with incredible stage presence and charisma but he was still a human being. He still physically looked like a human being. If you watch the Making of Thriller, he still comes across as someone you can relate to. A young man excited to be where he's at in his life and career.

His Motown 25 performance of "Billie Jean" introduced the television-watching world to the "moonwalk", which schoolkids across the nation would soon begin doing poor imitations of...

And then somewhere along the way to "Bad", Michael Jackson became less than cool.

It wasn't any one thing. It was a culmination of oddities. "Bad" was still popular but his attempt at reinventing himself as a tough guy read a bit corny. The Scorsese-directed video and all. Though in hindsight, there's still something endearing about him during those years.

Beyond that, things went downhill.

In death, there is an attempt to idealize him and his legacy. But he's basically doomed to be remembered like Elvis Presley: just like Young Elvis versus Fat Old Elvis, there's Young Michael Jackson versus Freakish Old Michael Jackson.

The One Michael Jackson Article You Have to Read.

Michael Jackson's Children NOT Biologically His.

Unfortunately, the Michael Jackson story is far from over. There's a whole industry of exploitation out there that will continue to churn out a frothy mix of truth and lies about his life and death. Nothing will ever be clear. His life may always be a mystery. And then there are his kids who weren't really his kids... I can't even imagine what they're going to become...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Meme Industrial Complex

Don't ask me what finally possessed me to join TWITTER. For the longest time, I made fun of a friend who maintained an account.

140 character "updates" you can post to the Twittering world. Exactly like FACEBOOK updates. Except that in Twitter, you can choose to follow a bunch of Tweeting celebrities and other people you don't necessarily know.

Completely fucking inane and damning evidence of the recklessly self-involved culture that has evolved.

(... said the guy who maintains multiple blogs alongside Twitter and Facebook accounts.)

I remember how I found out that River Phoenix died. I was hanging out in a dorm room with a bunch of folks and someone had heard—through the grapevine—that River Phoenix had OD'ed. Someone else had to make a phone call (land-line!) to another friend to fact-check this rumor.

How did I find out about Michael Jackson's death...?


Is it any wonder that the newspapers are dying? The news is stale before the ink can dry. Even the 24-hour News Networks can't beat the viral immediacy of Twitter/Facebook/MySpace.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Billy Mays Has a Posse

Billy Mays

Billy Mays has a posse.

I just saw him a few weeks ago!

Everyone's dying at 50. Watch your back, people. We're just getting started...

The Time We Shared, it was precious to me...

I was checking the Amazon.com shipping status of a Netbook I ordered on Friday. I was home till about 2:30pm because I had a conference call scheduled. After the call, checked the shipping status which said "delivered", even though it hadn't been.

Went off to the gym, came back: no mail, no packages.

Around 5:30pm, I get a buzz at the door.

I click TALK: "Who is it?"

No response. Just more buzzing.

TALK: "Hello...?"

No response. More buzz, buzz, buzzing.

I try the DOOR button to let them through.


Grab my keys, head down.

Big surprise—

—it's my psychotic Russian Super. With my Amazon package. "I sign," he says.

Okay, what the fuck.

1) I was probably home when it arrived, so he didn't have to sign for it.
2) Incessant buzzing is his method of summoning me downstairs?

As always, there is no point arguing with a psychopath.

"Thanks so much," I tell him as I take the package.
(Thought, not spoken: "Don't kill me in my sleep.")


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Baman n' Piderman Show!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Celebrity Industrial Complex

Remember this photo of the sad boy decimating his sense of self-respect for Megan Fox?

Megan Fox explains what happened in the "Flower Kid" photo. (Though I think it's clear she doesn't even see him in this picture.)

Kodak swiftly put a $5,000 bounty on the so-called Flower-Kid's head and managed to find him:

He was scheduled to meet Megan Fox on the Today show this morning, but then THE KING OF POP died and completely paralyzed the kingdom of media. Megan Fox got bumped from the program, kid didn't get to have his awkward meeting with her on national television.

Them's the breaks, kid. The future sucks!

And now, a few words with 11-year-old flower boy Harvey Kindlon.

It was an abortion, Michael...!

Conference call set for Friday afternoon. For an adaptation I initially discussed with another producer, before the studio that that producer's affiliated with passed on the project. (Got all that?) Now it's set up at another company, so I've got to dust off my notes.

Of course, I've BINGed the producer I'm going to talk to. (I wonder if she's BINGed me...) I admit, I still stand by my rule about not BINGing myself because I really just don't want to know what BING has to show me. Though I freely BING other people like it's going out of style. Bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing!!!

Seriously though... there are a few fundamental story issues that need to be cracked with this project. Plot is a big fat bitch. And it's such a huge, annoying part of early development. There's nothing like a few really juicy plot twists to really get a producer hard.

Christ... sometimes I'm up at the dead of night... 3am... 4am... 5am... and I miss being a part of the regular world, with a regular social life. I know it's all the life lived for the art. The sacrificial, monastic bullshit. Setting up for the big payoff. (Death... the sweet, blissful respite of death...)

It's been over a year since I've been at a 9-5 desk job and I don't miss it. I remember clocking in at work every morning, then heading to the pantry and getting myself two Styrofoam cups of water so I could save myself a trip. How sad and desperate is that?

But the new life is a different breed of desperation.

You ever get the feel that life's passing you by...? No...? Just me, then, huh...?

Well, just wait for it. It's going to be awesome. Any day now.

Michael Jackson media circus!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson Has a Posse

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson has a posse.

Everybody dies today. EVERYBODY.


Spring clearance of pop icons! This is your warning! This is your final warning!

Late-breaking news whiteboard at G4's Attack of the Show:

Farrah Fawcett Has a Posse


Farrah Fawcett has a posse.

You see ONE crowded, polluted town...

Caught "Chess in Concert" off the PBS HD the other night. CHESS is a cult musical from the 80s that I never saw, but that featured a pop hit that crossed over to the mainstream.

Anyway, who's singing in this London concert performance of "Chess" but Clark Peters, aka "Lester Freamon" from the acclaimed cult of "The Wire".

Give it up, accordingly.

And on the lighter side of the news...


(Obviously staged, but I want to believe.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"You are not going to Harvard if you are on this bus."

Ahhh, the Fung Wah Bus... Chinatown's perilously budget alternative to the high-class air of Greyhound.

In case you missed it, SLATE's Noreen Malone wrote a really funny piece chronicling her experience sampling the cheapo coach options.

I've taken the Fung Wah once or twice in my years. Bit sketchy but they get you there. They don't really drop you off at an actual bus station. They kind of just drop you off on the side of the road somewhere. I was just thankful they slowed down...

Anyway, read the piece if you haven't—it's a good one.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Blackhole Son

A few mouseclicks and suddenly I'm going to be stuck in Portland, Oregon for almost half of August. Twelve entire days with my mother and sister. That's a lot of fucking time to kill, goddammit! A lot of fucking time to pretend to be a human being.

I got railroaded into it. My mother's moving down to Florida in October and she wanted the three of us to spend some time together before she goes.

I can get impatient with my mom spending a few hours with her in the city. TWELVE DAYS?! What was I fucking thinking?? Two of those days, we're going to be camping OUT IN WILDERNESS!! Fuuuck me.

I haven't been away from the city for that long IN FUCKING YEARS. Not to mention, I've got this career thing that I've been trying to get off the ground. I have no idea what kind of deadlines I'll be on. I'll bring my netbook and legal pads, reachable through email and phone... 12 days isn't going to kill my career... but 12 days can annoy the fuck out of me...

Okay. All right. I'm being a negative dick. But I am so different from my family. My mother and sister are two of the sweetest people you could meet, and I am a fucking blackhole. I will be gritting my teeth for twelve days.

Twelve days is too long.


Read this:
Worst Movie of All Time: CRASH

Jon & Kate's Marriage Has a Posse (a.k.a., Jon & Kate + H8)

Ed McMahon Has a Posse

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father of the Year

Called my old man for father's day on Sunday. He's the president of his Knights of Columbus chapter up in Maine and he tells me about how he's been attending all the masses at his church over the weekend, gathering signatures for a petition to try to ban gay marriage.

He mentions this to me as if it's the most innocuous cause in the world, like Save the Whales. Mentions it nonchalantly, as if he were telling me about helping out at a bake sale. Why would anyone be against a bake sale?

That's my pop for ya... always full of surprises...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Radio and Television Correspondents

John Hodgman delivers a speech at the Radio and Television Correspondents dinner (with President Obama!).

Happy Fathers Day to all the freaking fathers. (You know who you fucking are.)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Everybody Who's Anybody

What I want, you've got
And it might be hard to handle!!
Like the flame that burns the candle!!
The candle feeds the flame!! Yeah, yeah!!
What I've got's full stock
Of thoughts and dreams that scatter!!
Then you pull them all together!!
And how—I can't explain!!
Oh, yeah!!
Well, well you...
(Ooh-ho, hoo-ooh, ooh-oo)
You make my dreams come true!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

the worst thing i've ever seen in my life

I write horror movies so I'm always dealing with stories where bad things happen to people. Sometimes I feel overly desensitized since most horror movies don't really scare me anymore...

Friday afternoon, I watched the worst thing I've ever seen in my life. On the internet.

No links here. Not even to the story I read about the video before I saw the video.

I'm not talking about "Two Girls and a Cup". That is sunshine and flowers compared to what I watched.

What I saw was simply the most vile and evil act I've ever witnessed. By far. There are no words for it. It makes me afraid for the human race. And it's little consolation that the perpetrators of this crime are locked up.

And yet, for some reason, I needed to watch it. Honestly, I couldn't even watch it directly. Had to watch out of the corner of my eye, it was so horrifying. And even then, the sounds...

I just want to hide from the world, wrap myself in blankets and watch Sesame Street for a month.

Where Did Our Love Go?

[Original Megan Fox photo discovered here.]

I've been having the most horrible dreams lately. One of them involved me accidentally killing some people and this police force was hunting me down.

My head's been stuck into too many horror stories. Wednesday night, I couldn't sleep. Tossing and turning until sunrise. Could not clear my head. Kept thinking about plot points. Story pitches. No conference calls or deadlines set for Thursday but I just could not quiet my head.

Setting up a lot of things for the road ahead right now. Have to keep focused.

I'm close. Everything is close. The whole world is within reach.

Cold and lonely in the deep dark night. But there's so much ahead of us.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New York City's Worst Hotel?

Went to the annual Big Apple BBQ fest this past weekend and saw Pitchmen's BILLY MAYS:

That's neither here nor there, though...

As I was making my way toward a suitable subway home, I passed by a blue monstrosity called the "Senton Hotel". Even from the exterior, I knew this place—located on West 27th Street—was a special place lost in time.

Google brought me to this review off of TripAdvisor.com, courtesy of some poor, unsuspecting folks from Melbourne, Australia:
Stayed here Sept, 01. Where do I start? Cockroaches running around the toilet bowl were acceptable compared to the dirty stained sheets, used condom in waste tidy and one channel TV...full on porn. This was our first trip to New York and we had pre booked and pre paid from Australia. Travelling with another couple we opted for the 'superior suite' with two double rooms and ensuite facilities. On arrival our hearts sank as we went to 'newly renovated suite'. It was like bad movie with your skin crawling on entering the room. No refunds available we opted to stay the night and thought it would look better after a few beers...it didn't.

Immediately went out to have lots of beers to dull our senses. Returned slept in our clothes with no actual contact of any part of our bodies with the filthy bedding.

We were all up at the crack of dawn..after the entertainment of hearing lively bartering between clients and service providers (working girls) throughout the night. The paper thin walls provided excellent acoustics to enhance EVERY conversation (for want of a better word). At 6.30a.m. we left having not been game to use the shower facility. It was already occupied by the resident cockroaches anyway.

As 'highly intelligent well travelled explorers..not' this could only be described as the WORST accomodation we have ever encountered. However as the years have gone past recalling this experience has provided much entertainment to the couples involved.

We have since been back to New York in 2003 and loved every minute of it (stayed at Hilton through priceline and much cheaper than the Senton). What suckers we were.

This hotel should only be considered if you are booking a holiday for your mother in law.
Don't know about you, but I'm sold.

A brief history of the Senton Hotel.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Roundabout Way

The other month, I caught a production of Waiting for Godot via the Roundabout Theatre Company.

Since then, I've gotten two cold calls from the Roundabout. They both opened by asking me how I liked their production of Godot. Followed quickly by an aggressive pitch for signing up for more shows at the Roundabout.

Both calls occurred while I was prepping for some serious work conference calls. Both calls ended abruptly with me muttering, "Sorry..." and hanging up.

I get it. Trying to get butts into empty theater seats. Hard times all around, hats in hands.

But this cold call technique is a tactic that Roundabout's employed for years. I remember them bugging me before. Does this really work? Do people really stay on the line and buy expensive season passes for shows they may not want to see?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Underachievers Please Try Harder

"The Butcherhouse Chronicles" got its first brief mention on whiny "fanboy" website Aint-It-Cool-News on Monday.


Please refrain from asking me about "Butcherhouse".

If and when I have any news, I will let you know. Even if you don't want to hear about it. I'll probably let you know before I post anything on the blogs.

But for now, it's a tiresome question.

List of tiresome questions people should NOT ask Malice:

1) "What's going on with BUTCHERHOUSE?"
2) "Why do you always carry that bag around?"
3) "Are you seeing anyone?"
4) "Do you talk to your ex-wife?"
5) "No, seriously, why do you carry that bag with you?"

Any *friends* who pose any of these questions to me will be met with a chilly silence while I quietly judge you.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Dreaming of the Coma Baby

I love watching movies from the 70s and 80s that take place in New York City. Whether it's Panic in Needle Park, Brewster's Millions or Fame: they all automatically become period pieces. Time capsules of a city that once was.

Watched Bright Lights, Big City over the weekend. It came out in 1988 when I was a 12-year-old kid living in the cocoon of the suburbs...

In one scene, Kiefer Sutherland sidles up to a bar smoking a cigarette (indoors!), orders a drink and borrows the bartender's phone (landline!) to call his buddy Michael J. Fox at work, coaxing him out to play.

Let's just focus on the phone for now. I don't know anyone's number anymore. Growing up, I memorized numbers. (The number at my old childhood apartment: 642-1166.) Now, they're all just codes that I assign names to. If you put a gun to my head and handed me a landline that I could use to call ANY NUMBER TO SAVE MY LIFE, I'd be dead meat.

But let's get back to the story...

The adorably compact Michael J. Fox plays an aspiring NYC-based writer whose wife has left him. (So far, the story predicts my adult life.) He spends nights in neon-bathed clubs with his wingman, Kiefer Sutherland. Snorting coke in bathroom stalls with tall women. Mourning over his dead hot mom (played by Dianne Wiest, who was sooo hot back in the 80s before she became a therapist). Drinking too much wine and trying to make out with Swoosie Kurtz.

Basically, a perfect mirror of my adult life in New York City.

Seriously, I watched movies like this and Less Than Zero growing up and they almost seemed like glamorous fantasies of what adult life could be. Revisiting the movies, I've got a better critical eye for how and why they don't quite work.


Cocktail parties. Scenes. I'm closer and to a certain degree have some access. But I haven't truly arrived. I've got some work to do before I get there.

Watch for David Hyde Pierce with his one-line role as "bartender at fashion show". (And check out the character-actor documentary, "The Face is Familiar".)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bill O'Reilly gets PWNed

Billo The Clown gets creamed on his own show.

Watch the video, it's good.

Magnum Vs. Solo

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Breaking Up with a T.Rex

via videosift.com

So Happy Together

"I can't see me loving nobody but you for all my life."

(Turn up your volume.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

You Were So Analog

Goodbye analog signals: you're history today!

Pushing Daisies

"Pushing Daisies" is a perfect example of a show that I watched far longer than I really needed to. (See "Life on Mars", "Heroes"...) Evidence that I watch far more television than I should. And yet still manage to miss shows that I hear are good. (See "Mad Men", "Breaking Bad".)

Not that it matters too much because it's canceled and nearly run its course.

So, what kept me going with this show...?

Veneer of a black comedy. Tim-Burton-esque visuals. The fantastical narratives that require NO RESEARCH to write (which was a consideration when I was contemplating taking a television-writing path). Certain darker story elements I was intrigued by, like doomed love.

Why should I have quit this show earlier...?

It's a romantic comedy for lovebirds.

The show is the equivalent of the couple who makes out in the middle of a crowded subway car—completely, willfully, offensively oblivious to the rest of the world.

A show so obnoxiously concerned with the pure magic and whimsy of LOVE, it beats you to death with it. And then brings you back to life so it can beat you some more.

The show is repellently cute. It is headache-inducing. From the art-design to the storylines to the character quirks to the fucking dialogue. It makes you want to puke with the cute. Way too cute and way too proud of its own cuteness.

Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Not unlike the Hatfields and McCoys... New Haven, Connecticut weathers its own long war between Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana and Sally's Apizza (sic).

Long rivalry. A line in the sand where locals tend to choose their sides vehemently.

Frank Sinatra apparently preferred "Sally's". Ronald Reagan apparently preferred "Pepe's".

"Frank Pepe Pizzeria" opened: June 1925.

"Sally's Apizza" opened: April 1938. (Right down the block from Pepe's.)

Sally's Apizza (pronounced "ah-BEETS"—a term coined by Frank Pepe from an old Italian slang) was started by Salvatore Consiglio... nephew of Frank Pepe.

Sal Consiglio died in May 1989. It's now run by his wife Flora and their children Ruth, Richard and Robert.

Tien Mao offers a far more detailed comparison than you'll find here.

I'll say that I took a trip up to sample both pies a few weeks ago, with foodie friends Dave & Jenny.


Dave preferred Sally's.

Jenny and I preferred Pepe's.

We had the pies side-by-side and because of the timing, the Sally's pie was hotter. (So Dave might be forgiven for getting it wrong.) But the only reason the Sally's pie was hotter was because THEY TOOK FOREVER TO MAKE A SMALL PIE. And it was fucking burnt.

What's more damning was that Dave and I waited inside Sally's to get our pie to go. The space was hot and stuffy. Not very clean in terms of looks, smells or feel. Completely disorganized. And to be brutally honest, the family running the restaurant seemed like a Texas Chainsaw Massacre clan. One of them drank a glass of spoiled milk in front of us. There is something deeply, deeply wrong happening inside Sally's Apizza.

And honestly, even cold I preferred Pepe's slice.

Which is why Misanthropy Central officially endorses Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Steve Jobs Announces: "I'm Iron Man!"

The clear highlight of the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote on Monday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs shocked the press with the surprise announcement that he protects the world while wearing a powered suit of armor.

"I'm Iron Man!" Jobs exclaimed, introducing the world to the new nickname he'd like to be addressed by.

He proceeded to offer a live demonstration of his super-powered flying and killing abilities for the adoring iSheep community.

"I am your God," he uttered with thinly-veiled contempt. "Bow before Jobs!"

Following the live demo, Jobs outlined the pricing levels for the consumer models which should hit the streets June 19th. At $500K, the "Mark 3" will offer users 32GB of memory. All models will require a 2-year contract with AT&T, as well as registration with the FAA.

... said the White Rabbit.

Now you will see a film made for children. Perhaps. But I nearly forgot: You must close your eyes. Otherwise, you won’t see anything.
Check out this article about Jan Svankmajer’s Alice. (You specifically, Luc!)

Loosely inspired by Lewis Carroll's novel. Live action and stop-motion animation. Surreal. Nightmarish. Not necessarily appropriate for children who are prone to bad dreams. Nor adults for that matter.

Completely bizarre and worth seeing.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Canceling AOL Premium Services

Multi-post day which means some of the regulars may miss this one, but it's okay. I'm posting this to help others who GOOGLE the problem I just dealt with. Answers here.

For longer than I care to admit, I was getting automatically charged for something I never requested or signed up for.

On my credit card statement, the charge read:


"$4.95" every month.

Tried to figure out what it was, which was a remarkably cumbersome affair since AOL had supposedly switched to a FREE EMAIL SERVICE a few years back...

Just to back up, I've kept my AOL account all these years because it's been the one constant form of contact I've had all this time. Numbers change, addresses change, but I've held onto the same email for 11 years. For work purposes, I've wanted to maintain it.

But once it switched to a FREE EMAIL SERVICE—and I went through the run-around to convert my account to a free account—the "customer services" options got far sketchier.

Tried to find out what this "premium service" was through the "billing" section of my main email account, but that section showed that I was using a free account and claimed I hadn't been billed for quite a while now.

I don't even remember how I eventually found out that the "premium service" I was getting charged for was something called "Privacy Wall". Sounds kind of important, doesn't it? But I never signed up for it and had no clear way to cancel it.

Looked online to see if others had experience with this but I found a lot of stories of people struggling to cancel AOL. Even finding the right number to call can be an arduous task.

Of course, I had to make it a little worse before I made it better...

I ended up just canceling the credit card that was being auto-charged. Hoping that the service would just cancel itself after not being paid. Then yesterday, I got this email:
Dear AOL User

+ We found out that your AOL Billing information's records are out of date.
+ This requires an update of your billing information.
+ Please take several minutes from your online experience and update your billing records.
+ You will not have any problems in future with our online services.
+ However, your refusal to update your records will be finished in your account termination.
+ Please update your records right now.
+ As you have updated your account records your AOL session will not be interrupted.
+ Please click the link below to update your billing records: click here


America Online, Inc.
Basically, I had to deal with this or risk losing the entire account.

This story offered a number that I called. After going through a long song and dance with a computer, it told me that I'd need "live customer support" (thank you!) and that "live customer support is only available to people who upgrade to a premium account" (WTF??) and that I could upgrade to a premium account in order to have live customer support and deal with my problem...

No, I did not upgrade just to cancel this premium service. Nor should you if you're dealing with this.

The proper number to call to deal with all AOL PREMIUM SERVICE issues is:


I still had to deal with the same voice-command computer initially, but I got a live consultant fairly quick. Had to listen to them deliver their script but to their credit they didn't try to weasel me into not canceling. Though I did have to speak to two different people.

The case code they gave me for the cancellation was 174490057.

I'll update if this problem isn't completely resolved...

Brimstone & Reapers

BRIMSTONE was a show that ran from 1998-1999 on FOX. Featuring Peter Horton as a former NYC detective who's tasked with hunting down escaped souls and sending them back to Hell. John Glover plays The Devil as a charismatic trickster who appears at unexpected times and exchanges some witty and thought-provoking banter with our protagonist.

REAPER is a show that ran from 2007-2009 on The CW. Featuring Bret Harrison as a slacker-ish young man who's tasked with hunting down escaped souls and sending them back to Hell. Ray Wise plays The Devil as a charismatic trickster who appears at unexpected times and exchanges some witty and thought-provoking banter with our protagonist.

I enjoyed the run of "Reaper"—disappointed that it never found an audience and has been canceled. Wasn't perfect but it got by on a lot of charm, some nicely drawn characters. And Ray Wise was terrific as The Devil.

Happened to catch a marathon of "Brimstone" on CHILLER a few months back and was surprised at the similarities. Both in premise and the fact that neither show ever found much more than a cult following. (I don't even remember "Brimstone" being on television... and I seem to watch everything on television.)

Naturally, there are many differences...

Tonally, "Brimstone" is darker and far more serious. The opening narration on every episode lets us know that Horton's wife was raped; rapist was cleared of the charges, so Horton hunted him down and killed him. Horton eventually got himself killed (in an unrelated incident), is sent to Hell. Fifteen years later, there's a big breakout from Hell, 113 souls escape. Devil makes a deal with Horton: if he can return all 113 souls to Hell, he'll get a second chance at life on earth. (Each tattoo on Horton's body represents a soul; every time he sends one to Hell, a tattoo disappears.)

"Reaper" is much more firmly a comedy. Like "Brimstone for the Kids". Young man's soul is owned by The Devil and each episode (generally) focuses on him capturing some unique character with demonic powers, with the help of his quirky friends. (That's not my best pitch for "Reaper", but this entry's getting too long and most of you will probably just skim it at best.) Ray Wise's DEVIL is a lot more evil than John Glover's DEVIL. The emotional turmoil in REAPER is a lot frothier than the turmoil in BRIMSTONE. But the broad similarities are hard to avoid.

Kind of curious if the "Reaper" creators were familiar with "Brimstone". Tons of shows come and go throughout the years. It'd be easy to miss.

Regardless, I actually enjoy both shows. You may never find "Brimstone" on disc, but you should check it out on CHILLER when it's on. As for "Reaper", there's a slim chance ABC Studios could continue it in first-run syndication. Barring that, I'm sure there are a million ways to watch the episodes that exist.

And so, I continue on my quest to clear out a bunch of blog entries I'd been meaning to write for a while...

(Each time I write one, a tattoo disappears from my body.)

Monday, June 08, 2009

This is the way the world ends...

Some cell phone shots I took of the stage when I saw August: Osage County back in January.

Yes, this is an extremely belated blog entry. It happens. Just clearing out the inventory here. Sometimes I get an idea for an entry that I put off indefinitely. I've had a browser tab with an article that I've kept open SINCE JANUARY... and I want to close it already...

This won't mean much if you're not familiar with the play.

There's one character in the play that barely has any lines throughout. I always find these sort of characters curious in plays.

In screenplays, anything goes with characters. Throwing in nameless characters with one or two lines, not a big deal. But personally I try to avoid including characters in a play that aren't absolutely integral. Why go through the trouble of adding someone to the cast for every performance? Night after night, delivering one line.

In August, there's a character with very little dialogue:

"Johnna", a Cheyenne woman who's hired as a housekeeper at the top of the show.

A New York Times blog entry discussing the significance of the character in the drama.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Kill Rock Stars

Jeff Hanson, a musician signed to the label Kill Rock Stars, has been found dead in his home.

Well, the company's certainly living up to its mission statement.

"Yo Teach...!"

A bit of viral marketing for Judd Apatow's upcoming FUNNY PEOPLE:

NBC offers us a show site for the fake sit-com called "Yo Teach...!", including some show footage.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Tonight Show in the Mushroom Kingdom

Check out the cool Super Mario Bros. influence in the Conan's Tonight Show backdrop.


You Are Prize Winner!

Most of you never actually watch the videos I post here, do you?


Here's a classic clip from RENO 911! The show as a whole is a hit-or-miss affair. But this clip is a great bit of business.

Friday, June 05, 2009

We're the Ones Who Made You

There's at least two tracks from Eminem's latest album, Relapse, that I can't get out of my skull. ("Hello" & "We Made You".)

I really am the last person who should be listening to the rap/hippity-hop music. And yet, what the fuck do I find myself turning on? Kanye West, T.I., Flo Rida, Jay-Z, Nelly... and now I'm getting on the Eminem bus?

Haven't listened to his other albums but I gotta admit the new one's growing on me. It's fucking *catchy*. (Damn Dr. Dre and his addictive beats! DAMN HIM TO HELL!!)

So much of the genre doesn't appeal to me. The pervasive weed culture. Singers announcing their own names throughout the tracks. The interstitial *skits*. Dated pop-cultural references. The lyrics: way too literal, too self-aggrandizing, too specifically autobiographical. Here's the opening lyrics of "Insane" off Eminem's RELAPSE:
I was born with a dick in my brain
Yeah, fucked in the head
My stepfather said that I sucked in the bed
Till one night he snuck in and said,
"We're going out back—I want my dick sucked in the shed!"
I get it. This happened to him.

getting molested as a child is to white rockers
as getting shot is to gangsta rappers.

(See W. Axl Rose.)

But how do you listen to lyrics like that—sing along to lyrics like that—and relate to it in any way if you haven't actually been molested as a child? Imagine the sea of Mid-West white kids at a concert, bouncing to the beat and singing about being molested as children. It's a long way from "Sweet Child O' Mine"...

But what can I say...? If the beat's catchy enough, anything goes.

I'm even warming to Eminem's nasally, class-clown delivery. (He does seem to play a strange game: I'm a clown—but I'm dead serious. I hate celebrities—but I hate myself. I'm a homophobic misogynist—but it's really just a caricature I'm making fun of. Here's a child molestation song!)

Have I made enough references to "child molestation" in this entry?

Here's someone's blog entry from January of 2008—Eminem's mom claiming that he's become an obese recluse.


As for me, more work to do. Always more work to do. Thursday night, I'm down to one project I'm concentrating on... and then I get a call from a producer I haven't talked to in a few months. So this weekend, I'm bumped back to tinkering with three projects.

And Malice keeps spinning the plates, trying not to let the shattering ceramic distract him from the plates that are still in play...

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Bangkok Hanged

David Carradine has a posse.

Hanged himself in a Bangkok hotel.

The suicides always get to me...

Pretty Little Hate Machine

I'm not normally this blatant here, but I officially did NOT score the gig to rewrite "Golden Gate". Had a conference call to pitch my take on Monday night. My agent emailed me Wednesday night, said the producing team thought I was on the same page with them but I "wasn't specific enough".

Honestly, my heart wasn't into it. Of all the writing assignments I've chased after, this was probably the one I was least ignited over...

... and yet...

... it's still a bit of a bummer to not get it.

Like going on a date with someone you're not that into. You still want them to want you. You want to be in the position of power.

I gave it what I could.

Focusing on two projects for the remainder of this week. (One I just sent out into the ether about an hour ago...) If I can temporarily get both projects off my plate this week, there are some other Glengarry leads I can pursue over the weekend.

Got two random phone calls Wednesday night. it's like the universe senses when i shouldn't be bothered and THAT's when it chooses to distract me.


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Not Meeting People is Easy

June 2009. I've been chasing after my career so hard, it's so easy to lose any semblance of a social life.

"Oh, boo hoo! Malice is feeling lonely! The poor writer is not having as much fun as he thinks he should be having! What a unique idea for a blog entry!"

Seriously, I'm up late every night working on story structures, jumping from project to project, fielding conference calls, endless revisions. It's a stimulating challenge but it amounts to a lot of work.

"The writer is whining because he has to WORK for his money! What kind of senseless world do we live in where this is considered reasonable??"

Look, I'm not looking for any kind of sympathy. It's just that the challenge of managing my time for the work, and trying to simultaneously live on East Coast and West Coast time, has been murder for any regular social engagements. I'm always on the clock. It's so easy for me to fall off the radar.

I ought to be meeting new people. Living a life instead of constantly writing about other people with lives. Experiencing the world.


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Brewster's Millions

You have 30 days in which to spend 30 million bucks. If you can do it, you get 300 million.

You have to spend the 30 million, but after 30 days, you're not allowed to own any assets.

No houses, no cars, no jewelry, nothing but the shirt on your back...

... you can hire anybody you want, but you gotta get value for their services. You can donate 5% to charity and gamble another 5% away, but you can't give this money away. That includes buyin' the Hope Diamond for some bimbo as a birthday present.

Oh, I know what you're thinking, Brewster - you'll buy yourself a dozen Picassos and use them for firewood, right? WRONG! You must not destroy what is inherently valuable - that's instant disqualification.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot - you're not allowed to tell anybody why you have to spend this money...

You can have a million dollars right now and forget the whole thing, or you can go for the big one, Brewster - the 300 million. But if you fail you don't get diddly!
Caught BREWSTER'S MILLIONS on the cable recently. Surprisingly watchable. Didn't realize that there've been a bunch of different versions of this story over the years including a stage play somewhere. Richard Pryor does a good job. There's a humanity that he brings to the role that is really unique. There's a running subplot where he's hired a decorator to make over a room over and over again, tasking the woman to create a room that he'd like to die in. Toward the end, she shows him her latest reinvention of the space, and he's tapped of money and takes a look around the room, and says quite simply, "This is a room I'd like to die in..."—and the way he delivers the line is so genuine and heartfelt...

But all of that is neither here nor there...

It seems like it would be really easy to blow $30M in 30 days. Even given all the restrictions—and the movie has some holes in the logic of its own rules, too.

You'd want to get rid of 10% to charity and gambling off the bat: that would be easy.

For the rest, you could just hire people and pay them excessively for a month. And/or rent a bunch of expensive hotel rooms for a month. Even bumping the amount to $100M, I'll bet a person could blow all of it without breaking a sweat. I know it's a movie but really, come on now...

As a movie, it ends wayyy too abruptly. Give us one shot of Richard Pryor and John Candy basking in the prize of $300M. Or even just a scene with Pryor revealing to Candy that he's been doing all of this to get to a $300M jackpot. But I guess Walter Hill was in a hurry for the movie to be over.

Audio interview with co-writer Herschel Weingrod, if you've got the time. If you can't be bothered, an interesting note is that the pic was originally conceived as a vehicle for Bill Murray... who's WHITE!!!

Monday, June 01, 2009

i don't like mondays

Fuck. It's JUNE.


7pm conference call on Monday. It's late Sunday night and I'm still trying to get my shit together.

I can't live like this forever.

There are times when I'm trying to figure out these projects and I just feel impossibly alone. Like no one can possibly understand where I have to go...