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Does anyone else think that Paris Hilton gets FAR more attention than she needs or deserves? I mean, if you’re into plastic surgery, artificial breasts and inflated ego, she’s the one; but I find myself underwhelmed by her, and amazed at the amount of attention that this bleach-blonde bimbo seems to receive. In this ad for Devassa beer (I think the translation from Portuguese means “blonde not known for doing Kegels” or something like that), she seems to be paying far too much attention to a sweating beer can. And what’s up with the eyelid?


I remember a few years ago I discovered a picture of Pamela Anderson before the bleaching, breast enlargement and overall plastic reconstruction. I was struck by how beautiful she was. It led me to question the very nature of our definitions of beauty–when someone who is actually beautiful in a girl-next-door kind of fashion feels that she has to increase the size of this, change the color of that, thin out this, thicken that. We live in a crazy world.


Regretfully, this is not the exact picture that I am referring to (in the picture I saw, her hair was brown), but the point is made.

But back to Paris Hilton. This woman has reached the pinnacle of narcissism and media manipulation when an argument about a television commercial in Brazil with her arguably “accomodating” a beer car can garner so much attention (don’t read too much into that sentence–the commercial is not as good as you might think).

We need better definitions of beauty, so that our daughters, sisters, and wives don’t think that we would all prefer—this. . . . .


Ahhhhhh. I knew if I waited long enough the truth would be revealed. Tom Cruise was actually the model for Martin Short’s classic Ed Grimley.

Notice the same vacant smile. The same tendency to shift package to mid-sternum.

I have to admit, that although I have a strong personal belief that the simple existence of the “science” of Dianetics and the Church of Scientology went a long way toward proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has a sense of humor—-this particular photo helps my case considerably.

Please see my post below, “Mel Gibson Hates Puppets”.


I Secretly Love Anne Hathaway


What can I say, I secretly love Anne Hathaway. While my two daughters are enjoying the sappy plot and silly conversations that make up the movie Ella Enchanted, all I can think is how interesting her gorgeous red lipstick is and how brown her gorgeous eyes are. . . . While my wife is laughing at Steve Carrell in Get Smart, all I can do is stare at Anne Hathaway’s long legs.

My wife and I each have our list. You know, the list that each spouse keeps that allows the other to have a torrid one night affair with a given moviestar without repercussion. Kind of odd, but Johnny Depp is on both my wife’s list and my own. I’m not sure what that means. . . .

Anyway–Anne, you’re on my list. . . .Email me your phone number if you’re game. . . .


Mel Gibson Hates Puppets

After years of eccentric behavior, unusual religious beliefs and downright strangeness, Mel’s current escapades take the cake. When I came across this odd little picture it acted to confirm what I had already strongly believed; Mel Gibson is freakin’ nuts. And a hand up a puppet’s ass simply makes the story that much richer.

mel gibson with puppet

The only actor with less credibility and even crazier religious beliefs is Tom Cruise, whom I will gladly eviscerate when I come across the right incriminating photograph. But I digress.

I wish both of these actors would have the decency to pull a Travolta once in a while and disappear from the public eye so that we might actually WANT to see them again.

For what it’s worth. . . .


I have been a connoisseur of science fiction for many years. As a result of this fixation, I have been able to observe closely the transitions in movie special effects over the last 30 years. I have come to believe that while special effects are an essential part of every movie, they can be and often are overused.

I grew up in an era when special effects were complicated and expensive. When the original Star Wars was created, the special effects team had to literally invent an entirely new way of filming special effects with a motor-driven camera that could smoothly fly through the small props that were the surface of the Death Star. This technique, combined with refinements on the older blue-screen and stop-motion systems, allowed special effects wizard John Dykstra to help create a movie unlike any other.

This robust collection of techniques became the standard for the following 10 years of movie-making, producing such classics as; Tron, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Clash of the Titans, and the television show Battlestar Galactica.

Two of the biggest limitations of these techniques were time and money. Each effect-laden sequence took many hours of pre-, during and post-production by a team of special effects workers. When the average movie cost between 7 and 30 million to produce, the number of effects that a filmmaker could include in a movie was small.

There were still excesses, however. One new effect that was tried with only limited success during this period was 3-D movie making. The b-movie Jaws 3-D is an example of this. In that movie, the special effects team took every opportunity to show the audience how great 3-D movies were. Thus the screen was variously filled with limbs floating in mid air, aircraft swooping past, and sharks lunging toward the camera. I remember one particularly obnoxious scene transition where the camera slowly zoomed in upon the corner of a Japanese tea-house roof, allowing the dragon-styled edge to “poke out of the screen.” In truth, this overuse of the effect ruined it, by making the audience aware of the effect, and in essence, destroying any suspension of disbelief.

Suspension of disbelief was again possible, however, with the advent of computer-generated effects. This transition was heralded by movies such as The Last Starfighter but is exemplified by the movie Jurassic Park. I can still remember thinking “oh my God,” during the sequence with the rabid velociraptors attacking the kids in a cafeteria. The computer-generated effects seemed almost seamless in execution, and I, like many others, had the sudden feeling that a fundamental paradigm shift in movie making had occurred.

Fast-forward to the present day.

The year is now 2007, and the last several years have been filled with computer-generated effects ranging from fantastic to way over-the-top. Movies such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy have pushed the boundaries of what is possible with movie effects, and it is truly amazing. However, to quote the script from Spider Man, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Just because you can have an F-35 fighter in VTOL configuration flying around a city in the finale of your movie, doesn’t mean that you SHOULD (with an obvious nod to this Summer’s Live Free or Die Hard).

A simple rule of thumb; if the audience can tell that it is a special effect, it should probably not be used.

As an example of special effects used well, watch Children of Men again. There are several sequences in that movie that have embedded seamless effects in the storyline. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think they were real and that you were watching documentary footage, rather than special effects. That is the power available to today’s filmmakers.

I encourage all filmmakers to keep in mind that special effects exist to help the plot and improve the audience’s ability to suspend disbelief. If the effect draws attention to itself as an effect, it has not accomplished either of these goals.