Caffeinated Clint – 25/4/06


The ‘I’m a day early’ edition

Caffeinated Clint
A weekly editorial Grande with a double shot
Incorporating “This week in TV”

A good, cheap, banana – whatever happened to them? I hear Pamela Anderson’s complaining about the same thing. You just can’t get ‘em here, down under, at the moment. We had a wild hurricane, a couple of weeks back, here at the arse end of the world (Queensland, to be exact) and it’s knocked about so many of the Banana Farms. So now, as a result, there’s a real shortage of the yellow things. So much so, those prices have risen rapidly – from 99cents a kg, to as much as $8 a kilo! It’s really put a hinder on my nightly health shake. Anyone got any suggestions for a worthy banana substitute in the ol’ power infusion? Email them here.

Quarter way through coffee

Last week, I asked you all to email me your suggestions as to what you believe are some of the all-time great TV show themes – preferably those with vocals, to make it a bit easier – and we had a compost-bin full of responses (not that the analogy reflects on your choices, of course). Here are a few responses.
For those that have been published, you’ll all receive a 12-inch EP of “I’ll be there” by David Hasselhoff, the theme from “Baywatch” (You watch, someone’s going to write in and ask for it, after a couple of weeks of standing by their letter box waiting for it).

Hi Clint,
I have to go with “We used to be friends” by “The Dandy Warhols” from “Veronica Mars”. It fits the show to a t and it being one of my favourites doesn’t even have
anything to do with it.
By the way, I’d have really like Lauren Graham (“Gilmore Girls”) for “Wonder Woman” but I guess she is a little too old now to pull off a girl that age.
Cheers, Sabine

(Love the “Veronica” theme myself, but in Australia, it was used for a reality series called “My Restaurant Rules”, about twelve months before, so it’s not quite as effective. The way “Gilmore Girls” is going – read : the skids – Graham will be bashing down Joel Silver’s door to see if she can’t get an audition for “Wonder Woman” – Clint).

Theme from “Smallville” (Somebody Save Me?). And stick to your guns on
“Enterprise”, I thought that was a great theme too.

(Yeah, “Smallville” track is a killer. Really gets the blood pumping….oh, hang on, that’s just Erica Durance – Clint).

I will not challenge you over that one…… is the BEST one!
Jean Thompson

(Yeah, I’m not with challenging. I’m such a dirty fighter….soap-in-a-sock, margarine-covered knuckles, brick-under-the-cap – Clint)

Hi mate,
Probably too late, but I think the three TV shows with the best themes were “The Littlest Hobo”, “Grizzly Adams” and (God help me) “Full House”.

(Hmmm, that’s funny….my boss also spells his Christian name like that…hmmm….nah, my Kris would be flat-out working at the moment, must be someone different. Although I do know they both share a love of “Full House” and the comedic stylings of Dave Coulier – Clint).

Half-way through coffee

This is a question I want to pose to my fellow Aussies: Are you sick and tired of seeing some of our favourite Australian actors wasted in nothing-roles in over bloated foreign productions, that have been filmed on our shores? Yeah, me too.
There’s a heap of examples of this – Nicholas Hope in “Scooby Doo”, Mark Mitchell and Sigrid Thornton in “Inspector Gadget 2”, Jack Thompson in “Star Wars Episode II : Attack of the Clones”, John Polson in “Mission : Impossible 2”, Steve Bastoni in “The Matrix” – but one of the more noticeable examples is Rebecca Gibney and those Stephen King things that she’s been in. I was actually just talking to Australian actor Brett Climo (who co-starred with Gibney in “The Flying Doctors”) about this. He too, thinks she’s great. It isn’t that those U.S productions are terrible – in fact, they’re quite good – but she is totally wasted in them. She’s given the kind of small insignificant role that a newcomer would be given. I guess, because, well, she is a newcomer in their eyes. It’s just heartbreaking to think that there’s such little work around for Australian actors that they’ve got to slum it by taking up whatever work they can get.
It’s not just overseas productions either, Climo notes that only a small handful of actors – be it the Ledger’s, the Blanchett’s or the Bill Hunter’s – get all the work here, whilst the rest have got to go and work in other jobs, wait tables or yes, wait till they’re offered a ‘featured extra’ role in “Star Wars 500”. (For example, I hear that when Jenni ‘All Saints’ Baird’s series, “Global Frequency”, didn’t get picked up in the states – she had to return to bartending in Sydney….just sad).
Says Climo, who also starred in “All Saints” and “A Country Practice”: “I think our film community tends to make movies for our film community. Those people are familiar with the various faces, not even so much the Heath Ledger’s but I think there are other actors who, over the past five or six years, have pretty much defined the look of cinema here. Nothing against those actors, because if any industry is offering you work, you’re going to take it, but it was almost like there was a role call of names that could only be used – because the film community only wanted to see those people.”

It is a shame. Well, here’s a list of five great Aussie actors that just DON’T get enough work. Hopefully a few of you budding filmmakers out there will look them up:

Steve Bisley : Yeah OK, so he turns up in a lot of telemovies, and a few years back was on TV’s “Water Rats”, but he hasn’t been ‘really’ let loose since bringing to life the wonderful Gordon Farkas in “The Big Steal”.

Jack Thompson : OK, Jack might get enough work – but only in crap. It was just embarrassing to watch him, floating around on that thing, in “Star Wars”, and I seriously couldn’t look when he was spitting out his lines in “Man-Thing”. Hard to believe he was once our No.1 actor, and the star of such Aussie gems as “Sunday, Too Far Away” and “Breaker Morant”. Tarantino, you reading?

Jamie Croft : Croft, like Brett Climo, got his big break on “A Country Practice”. He returned to the screen for a role in the teenage comedy “Blurred”, and also popped up in “Hercules”, but he’s so much better than a second-fiddle role in a forgettable film or mini-series. He could be the new Ben Mendelsohn circa-1990 – being in his early twenties, and so on – if someone handed him the right part.

Bryan Brown : One of the best actors our country has ever produced – and he’s absolutely wasted these days. OK, he deserves part of the blame, he did, after all, pack his bags for America and agreed to fronting rubbish like “Blame it on the Bellboy”, but think of the good he has done. Bring back Bryan.

Andrew Williams : Who could ever forget the so-bad-he’s-good Jack Brown from TV’s “E Street”? Williams, fresh from a role on “Neighbours” at that point, completely transformed himself for that role – and won a legion of fans. America quickly snapped him up, but besides a guest-stint on “Melrose Place”, he’s gone AWOL. (I still don’t know whether I meant this as a joke, or a serious suggestion for someone to locate him…. either way, it’s more publicity than the guy has had in years).

Three quarters the way through coffee

I hate flying. Hate it. Yet, in the last couple of years I’ve spent more hours in the air than William Katt. So as I await ‘anxiously’ my next trip to a plane – again to sunny California – I ask you all for your flight tips. Email me here if you can tell me how to expunge the ‘white knuckle’ flyer from me. Shared a trip recently with Harry Shearer (Mr Burns, and so on, from “The Simpsons”) and he looked as relaxed as a Chinese masseuse’s patron. I want THAT.

One sip to go

My indoor cat – he’s a posh cat, so you can’t afford to let them roam wild in the ‘burbs – Louis Vuitton, got out on Friday night for a couple of hours. Sneaky bugger. Thing is, he didn’t quite return as himself. Dry-reaching, bringing up saliva, having these on-the-hour spasms….it was a little worrying. It didn’t go away, so at 2am this morning – yeah 2 ‘BLOODY’ AM! – I took him to the vet. 24-hours later, he’s getting a bit better, but up until about ten minutes ago we’ve had no idea how this happened…or what’s caused the poor little bugger to get sick…. Anyone remember those little berries from “The Blue Lagoon”? Yeah. Louis has mistaken some tiny berries on our front porch for biscuits – easy mistake, I sometimes dig into the dripping cheese that hangs from the bowl of a men’s restroom (god that was that was disgusting…think I might go chunder myself) – in attempt for us all to remember the great Christopher Atkins. OK, point made Louis – NOW COUGH UP THE RED GOO! (We need a side for dinner). (Insert smarmy joke here about ‘Atkins Diet’).

DVD of the week
Mission : Impossible –Special Edition – I never ended up buying this film on DVD, because I just knew that someday it would be released ‘with extras’. This 2-disc special edition isn’t as good as it should’ve been – no commentary, no deleted scenes and merely vintage promo material – but it’s still got enough on here to sustain the retail price. The film, itself, packs quite a punch too (especially if you’ve got a good surround sound system).

Theatrical release of the week
The Hills Have Eyes – Like microwaving a pot roast that was served, freshly cooked, the night before, seconds are never as tasty. The redo of Wes Craven’s breakthrough 70’s hit “Hills Have Eyes” makes a good run for it though, mostly thanks to it’s director, who seems to have a real woody for the balls-to-the-wall horror jaunt. Alexandra Aje – whose breakthrough horror hit “High Tension” was one of the best-reviewed horror films in years, not to mention one of the most spine tingling – tries outstandingly hard to hang some real balls from this. With his awesome visuals, effective cuts and pot-boiling pace, he mostly succeeds too – only let down by a script that needed a bit of a contemporary polish, in order to help it play a little less dated. (A look at his first cut, before FOX took some scissors to it, would also be interesting – betting it was a lot edgier). Still, thanks to some impressive visuals, a bit of political subtext, a capable cast and some genuinely tense sequences, seconds this time are actually pretty entertaining and effective – if still, rather unnecessary. Scratch that. No, totally unnecessary.

This Week’s Useless bit of Advice
Cats. Rotten berries. Freshly cleaned Doona. Full Bladder = not a good combination.

Missing Career Alert
Roddy Piper – Wrestler ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper looked like he was on his way to becoming quite a big force in film there in the 80s – his breakthrough was the cult fave “They Live” (1988) from director John Carpenter, but he also appeared in the likes of “Hell comes to Frogtown” (1987) and “Body Slam” (1987) – but unfortunately Hollywood only had room for one wrestler on the big screen, it seemed, and Hulk Hogan had put his hand up first. The good news though, is that Piper – whose been slumming it in the likes of video classics like “Urban Legends : Goldfield Murders” “Honor” and “Shepherd”, for the past few years – is about to make one helluva comeback, as the star of the anticipated new horror film “Sin-Jin Smyth”, the film they’re saying is going to put the big man back on top again.

5 things you didn’t know about me (and probably don’t care to know)
1. I’m a size 10 shoe.
2. I only eat fish, grilled.
3. I once pretended to be ‘The Fall Guy’ and jumped from a rather high tin shed. Ouch.
4. I walked out of “The Commitments” upon its initial release. Never did see the final ten minutes. (In those times, I was more interested in getting to the clubs early than catching the third act of a film – go figure).
5. Co-hosted a cable TV series a few years back, called “Video Underground”. The ratings rivalled that of “Love Boat: The Next Wave”.

[Australia Only]
What’s on this week?

Wednesday 24th April – Tuesday May

Prison Break
Screens : Wednesday 8:30 PM, SEVEN.
The verdict : Another sensational episode of the year’s best new series. In tonight’s episode, Lincoln warns Michael that one of their team won’t be able to be part of the breakout. Interesting to note that in just a few weeks, Channel 7 will air episodes of the programme that have only just screened in America, putting us only about five or six weeks behind.
One reason to watch: The hot doctor.

Screens : Thursday 8:30 PM, SEVEN.
The verdict : The season started off a little sluggish, but things finally seem to be picking up. In tonight’s episode, Charlie self-destructs and loses his best buddy (and for a while, it seemed, potential girlfriend), Claire, as a result. Check out the right-hook on Locke.
One reason to watch : Kate and Swayer getting a little cosy.

Ocean’s Eleven
Screens : Saturday 9:25 PM, NINE
The verdict : Glittering with Hollywood’s biggest stars – Clooney, Pitt, Roberts, Garcia, Cheadle, Damon – “Oceans Eleven” is an extremely engaging popcorn heist movie, that puts it’s own distinctive spin on the genre. And best of all, it doesn’t outstay it’s welcome. Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is fresh out of the clink and already planning his next big time robbery. Enlisting the help of cardsharp Rusty (Pitt), the duo put together a gang of 11 – hence the title – who’ll break into three of Vegas’s biggest Casinos and take home $150 Million dollars. Clooney oozes Charisma in the role. Like Redford, Clooney’s becoming one of those actors, who no matter how bad a film they may be doing, is still great to watch in it.
One reason to watch : The all-star Poker game.

Commander in Chief
Screens : Monday 9:40 PM, SEVEN
The verdict : I’ve got to be honest, I really enjoy this show. Really do. Thing is, I know it’s headed for an early grave – has been doomed since its earliest episodes, namely because of lower than low ratings and an unnecessary change of producer/guard early on – but yet, still can’t help but be intrigued by how it all unfolds. And yes, I realise, if it does get the chop, it’s possible it might not even have an ending.
Put most of it’s appeal down to the acting forces within it – Geena Davis as the commanding first female president, Donald Sutherland as the sneaky rival, and Kyle Secor as the new ‘first lady’.
It gets more entertaining with each episode too, with tonight’s being quite a ripper (hard to top last weeks though – the one where President Allen, played by Geena Davis, suspects her right-hand man of exposing some secrets to an author). In it, Allen – or ‘Mac’ as she’s nicknamed – decides to give her husband Rob, who had been mulling over a job offer to become commissioner of baseball, an actual job rather than just fill the duties of the first male first lady. It doesn’t sit well with some.
One reason to watch : Because nobody else is!

Finding Neverland
Screens : Sunday 8:30 PM, MOVIE ONE
The verdict : Compelling and even slightly touching, the film version of Allan Knee’s stage play “The Man who was Peter Pan” revels in its sophisticated style, stupendous performances and causal, self-assuring messages of hope and faith. Yet, like a delicious looking ice cream that’s missing the advertised chewy caramel centre, the film never tries to be anything other than a “good film”.
“Finding Neverland” takes a few details from author J.M Barries’ life and blends them with mere fabrication. There is truth to this story, but for the most part, it’s fluffed – all for your viewing pleasure. It knows which buttons to press, knows when to trigger the cannon, and plays an audience like it was dangling from the bottom of a string. But what it doesn’t do, is step beyond that ‘safe’, ‘its good, but I’ve seen it all before’ stencil.
One reason to watch : Another amazing performance by Johnny Depp.

5 things that happened in TV-ville this week
1. “Alias” and “Lost” creator J.J Abrams was hired to direct the next big-screen “Star Trek” adventure. Rumour has it that the film will eventually path the way for a new spin-off TV series. [More]
2. The creator of TV’s “Gilmore Girls” quits the show. [More]
3. Rumour has it that one of the most popular characters from “The OC” will be leaving. [More]
4. Channel TEN had it’s biggest night of TV on Sunday. [More]
5. Lara Bingle signs with Channel 9. [More]

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