Thursday, January 04, 2007
That Rosie-Donald thing
Is it me, or does the Rosie O'Donnell-Donald Trump feud -- despite the national profile of both parties -- seem like a silly local story that's gotten out of control?

It's tailor-made for the New York tabloids, who love a good squabble -- particularly if one of the squabblers is named "Trump." But though Trump develops his real estate all over the country, and though he and O'Donnell both have network TV shows, to me the whole thing seems like a minor "this town isn't big enough for the both of us" tiff ... picked up by the New York-based media conglomerates (my employer included). And I'm wondering if anyone outside of New York ever really cared.

Trump has played it brilliantly, however -- giving "exclusive" interviews to numerous outlets, plugging the new season of "The Apprentice" even as he denies he's doing publicity, playing up his name and his trophies.

O'Donnell's already part of a hit show -- "The View's" ratings are up since her arrival. I wonder how the Trump offensive will pay off for "The Apprentice."
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Mike Judge's angry, funny film
Mike Judge's most recent film, "Idiocracy," played for about a week in Atlanta. It didn't play at all in most cities. I try to keep track of everything being released, but I would have completely overlooked "Idiocracy" had I not seen an article about it in Slate. Its studio, Fox, dumped it with virtually no notice.

But the DVD is out next Tuesday (January 9), and it may end up with the same kind of cult following Judge's previous film, "Office Space," developed.

"Idiocracy" might be a harder sell, though. It's a comedy -- at times a very, very funny one -- but it doesn't mock mumbling bosses or "flair"-filled chain restaurants. "Idiocracy's" target is ... us.

Which is how it should be, because the best satire takes no prisoners.

"Idiocracy" rips intellectual yuppies, so full of themselves that their baby-making plans go awry; dopey yokels, whose trashy seed ends up populating the land; hookers, pimps, and military hypocrites; and even average joes (as in Joe Bauers, the movie's hero, played by Luke Wilson), who would rather do nothing than get involved in anything.

So, because of a government experiment, Joe ends up 500 years in the future. The world -- or at least the United States of Uh-merica -- is now completely filled with stupid people, so Joe is the smartest person in the nation.

The movie is full with clever touches: Everyone wears clothes festooned with logos, pictograms have gone insane and buildings are tied together so they stay erect (heh-heh, he just typed "erect").

But this deliberately ugly world cuts deep. Which is why "Idiocracy" probably got dumped in the first place.

Well, don't let it get by again. "Idiocracy" isn't perfect, but it's a heck of a lot funnier than much of what did make theaters in 2006. And it has monster-truck destruction, too. Who could ask for more?
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