Monday, May 17, 2010

Please keep your opinion of the Baldwin brothers semi-private when you're in public.

Yesterday I passed a man on the street who was standing in a doorway and talking on his phone. He was facing the door, as if waiting to be let in, as he complained that actor/born-again Christian/conservative talk-radio host Stephen Baldwin is an idiot, "but that whole family is a bunch of idiots."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

my a-ha moment

Two weeks ago, as part of a freelance assignment I thoroughly enjoyed, I wrote a short biography of the Norwegian band a-ha (the 1985 hit "Take On Me") for Rhino Records' website. Yesterday I was alerted by my contact at the label that the bio had received praise from a completely unbiased source

I'm lying, of course, but it's nice to see that my purple prose has an a-ha fan's approval. Give me a mountain metaphor and I shall climb it.

However, the band's success outside of the United States in the past 25 years, much like fellow European acts Simply Red and Jamiroquai, is impressive. For one thing, a-ha played to 198,000 paying customers in Rio de Janeiro in 1991, and no, you can't just dismiss that huge number by saying Brazilians have lots of free time and money to burn.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

celebrity smiles

USA Weekend, the Sunday-supplement rival of Parade, has a thing for toothy celebrity grins. But in the process of showing them off, the publication's printer often manages to make the owners of those smiles look cartoonish due to heavy color saturation and a few other factors I can't quite put my finger on.

Here are four from last year. First up, Dennis Quaid (click on each picture for a closer look), who's apparently made of rubber and plastic, which probably came in handy when he filmed the 2009 G.I. Joe movie.

Leslie Mann is one of the stars of Funny People. And she is a funny person, but here she just looks funny.

Samuel L. Jackson has appeared in approximately 5,861 movies in the past two decades. That kind of schedule would stress out anyone, which is probably why Jackson looks like he's about to eat the football he's holding in the photo below. Take a half-decade vacation, Shaft 2000—you've earned it.

Hilary Swank is known for her big grin, a la Julia Roberts, but on the cover of USA Weekend hers looks smaller than the other three celebrities'. She doesn't deserve another Oscar for this particular feat, but it's impressive nonetheless.

Finally, this picture of action director Michael Bay (ArmageddonPearl Harbor, and the two Transformers movies, with a third on the way) wasn't taken for USA Weekend—it merely appeared inside the June 19-21, 2009, issue as part of an ad for M&M's. It doesn't require Bay to show a big, toothy grin either, but since it actually does portray him as a cartoon, it's worth mentioning, especially since his cinematic crimes against humanity make me fantasize about seeing him crushed under a shoe on the floor of a movie theater.