The Lalawood edition. NC-17 and climbing.
A weekly editorial Grande with a double shot
With Clint Morris
So here I am, typing a column from Starbucks. Well, a Starbucks inside a Studio. On my left, typing away, an actor you’d all know. On my right, a cup of Coffee. Oh yeah baby. Oooooh yeah. Hot. Creamy. Frothy. Tall. It ain’t Jenna Jameson – it’s a Latte.
Despite the fact that I’ve been busier than Mel Gibson’s spin-doctor post-Jewish remarks (I actually went down to Malibu the next day), and regardless of the fact that I haven’t slept in little over a month (thanks for the uppers Perry, you rock!), I just knew you guys wouldn’t forgive me if I didn’t return “Caffeinated Clint” soon. So, here it is. Albeit, shorter than usual (something my wife’s ex-boyfriend would know all about).
I’m just going to come out and say it – I think this week’s column is even better than “Miami Vice”. Then again, cleaning that brown shit from under your fingernails is more entertaining than that – 2006, not the year of the Mann. What a piece of shit that was! I can’t believe I was actually looking forward to that thing – – I checked the film out on opening day at a Culver City cinema, with about 4 other folks, and I think nearly everyone was moaning and groaning (or maybe that was the other theatre I visited?) by a quarter way through. I’m still cheesed. Cheezel-cheesed. Cheddar-pissed.
What a frickin’ crap year for movies, huh? (Thank god for a few surprises, like “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Talladega Nights”) – everything seems to be either super average, or just ‘good’. If it’s true that every second year is a good movie year, then 2007 might be better, because last year (2005) was a ripper year. Guess we’ll see.
Anyway. Here I am. Granted, this is a bit of a shorter column than usual, only because I haven’t got a lot of time at the moment, but it’s better than a sodden kiss on the side of the face from Frank Stallone, right?
Quarter way through coffee
As most people know, I’ve been working in the states for a month or so. Whilst I’m well and truly use to it now – and lovin’ that there’s a Starbucks on every corner – I have to admit, I did discover/re-discover some differences between Australia and America. Here are a few things that either through me, or through ‘them’.
Jumper – Nobody knew what I meant when I said I have to ‘put on a jumper’. In fact, one young actor that I was hanging with at the time thought I was referring to a bug. ‘Yes, Aussies like to cover themselves in bugs and then roll around on the ground so that we can smell like slimy insect insides. Didn’t ya know?’ I replied. For those not in the know, a ‘Jumper’ is a ‘sweater’.
Doona – Not that I’ve needed it – due to how hot it has been – but I did request a ‘doona’ for my bed at one point. I just knew we had our wires crossed when Dan Aykroyd’s wife – Donna Dixon – walked into the room. ‘Looking for me?’ she asked. Yep, apparently a Doona is called a ‘Quilt’ in the states. As it worked out, she was warmer anyway.
Dunny – Now whilst we NEVER referred to the toilet as a ‘Dunny’ – that’s like a Mick Dundee term that no free-thinking Aussie would ever use – we do simply use the word ‘toilet’. ‘Where’s the toilet’? In the states, as I’m now fully aware, the ‘toilet’ is referred to as a ‘restroom’. It is more ‘polite’ I guess. After all, nobody wants to know that some drunken Aussie is heading into his or her ‘restroom’ to attempt to straight shoot his way into a watery bowl.
Soft Drink – Better known as either a ‘Soda’ or ‘Pop’ in America. Funnily enough, everyone knew exactly what I needed when I asked for a ‘Hard Drink’.
Lollies – Though they’ve probably heard the term before – probably in some ol’ Jack Thompson film – sugar coated treats are referred to as ‘Candy’ there.
Coke – I didn’t realise I had to stipulate whether I wanted to ‘drink it’ or ‘snort it’ when I asked for some.
Saving Silverman – Known as “Evil Woman” in Australia. You can slap any title on that turd though and it’s still, well, a turd.
Half-way through coffee
31 Candles on my cake last week. Quite scary. I still remember having my “Teen Wolf Too” themed party all those years ago (and before that, my “Grease” party where I decided only to invite ‘girls’ who I insisted all play Olivia, and I’d play John – might try that again soon). I also recall turning 18 and having the roof cave in (it seriously did. My bedroom caved in on me. Unfortunately, since I came home drunk that evening, nobody believed me). I still remember turning 21 and being thrown out of my own birthday. I still remember turning 30 and getting dropped off in a cab in the boondocks. But 31, now there’s a ‘who gives a shit’ style birthday if ever there were one. Nothing special at all about it. Well, except the fact that I woke up in the Hollywood Hills, on the big day.
The day began rather quietly. Whilst everyone else in the house was still sleeping off their late night, I was up having breakfast – with Eric Stoltz. Yep, everyone’s favourite coulda-been Marty. Eric is a great guy. Popped around for a chinwag, and to remind me just how old I’m getting, and we shot the shit for a good hour or two. We’ll have something up with Eric – who is proving to be quite a good little filmmaker himself these days – shortly. He’s doing some good work behind-the-camera that we’re going to let you all in on.
Also, was thrown a fairly nice big party last Saturday night. Just want to thank everyone that came to that birthday do in Lalawood (most, I know, read this page – or at least, tell me they do) and for help making it such a blast, and, well, keeping me off the tables.
We had it at El Compadre.
I love El Compadre. It’s this hip & happening Hollywood Mexican hangout, on Sunset, that’s always pretty packed. If it weren’t for some of the guests attending my do, I doubt they would’ve let us snag a quarter of the tables at the restaurant- but they did, and thank god, because there would’ve been people scattered everywhere. And nobody wants to get ‘that guy’ and ‘that guy’ sardined in a corner together. My first birthday party outside of Australia actually, and at first, it felt a little weird – I mean, I was surrounded by all my ‘American’ friends and associates, you see, none of my Aussie pals were there, so that felt a little weird. But then I realised, that might be a good thing. Less carpet staining spewing that we were going to be charged for.
Speaking of which, Mexican Food. Compadre is not the best place in town to get Mexican (It’s OK, but as I was forewarned, ‘A little heavy’), but there are some amazing places in Los Angeles –and in San Diego, actually – to get a ‘cheap’ and ‘satisfying’ Mexican meal. It’s amazing. In Australia, we have to pay an ‘arm and a leg’ to have Mexican – it’s almost like a delicacy – but in the states, you can eat like a king for about ten bucks. L.A has a huge Mexican population, and I realise that’s why it’s more common, and therefore, more inexpensive, there, but why can’t we entice a few Mexicans over to Australia? My hat is off to you beautiful Mexican peoples, and your spicy beans!
And thanks to those that emailed or checked in with me at MySpace for my birthday.
Three quarters the way through coffee
Coffee in America – mmmmmm, yummy. Just a shout out to the girls at the Coffee Bean on Vermont, the great gang at the Starbucks at Warner Bros, and the trendy coffee dens of Culver City. You got me ‘Caffeinated’ and then some. What I love about getting a coffee in the states, is that a ‘sugar free flavoured’ latte can be much more exciting than simply having a splash of vanilla powder – which is all you get here. In the states, you can have Caramel, Hazelnut, Chocolate, whatever…. You name it. There’s an abundance of different –healthy – flavours to choose from. Oh yeah, and soft drink….I’ve been able to have a sugarless Creamy Soda, a Diet Ice Tea, a Diet Root Beer, a Diet Strawberries and Cream Diet Pepsi… just so many more alternatives for the ‘sugar hating’ crowd. Did I mention that I like to ‘whine’? There’s a real opening for someone to get heavily into the ‘sugar free’ market in Australia – and if someone does, I want 10%.
One sip to go
Without going into too much detail about why I’ve been working overseas (contrary to rumours, it’s not because Hooters has started hiring topless male cooks) – and why I haven’t been logging on as much – I just wanted to slap a few wet ones on my staff. They have been wonderful. And no doubt I’ll be using them more over the next few months, so I best be nice.
My little elves have been fantastic lately – Adam has been helping us out with some news items and the mailbag, Pete has been manning the phones and the backend (insert “Brokeback Mountain” joke here), Paul has been as prompt as ever with his interviews (interestingly enough, Paul and I both turned up to the same interviews recently – Sam Jackson, Hilary Swank etc), Tania has been wonderful in her new position as PR mac-mummy, and the rest of the gang have been good too – simply filing their stuff without me having to threaten them with an emailable MP3 file of Ian Ziering and I singing ‘Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?’. Amazing. I just wanted to say thanks for all your help dudes. But don’t worry folks; I’m not going anywhere (and I promise: I won’t change, I won’t forget about you all, and I won’t stop signing the praises of “Mannequin”. The Whiny Prick that loves god-awful teen movies I will forever remain). Even if it means logging on at 3am every day from a shadowy, clammy office – which is pretty much where I’ve been working the last few weeks – in Burbank, or wherever the heck I am at that particular time, then I’ll do it. Moviehole is me. Me is Moviehole. And, well, just can’t leave Logan alone for too long…. Ya’ know? Speaking of which…Logan – are you typing fingers tired dude!!?? You crack me up!
Thanks again peeps. And LOGAN.
And finally, great to meet everyone that I did at Comic Con. I really appreciated you all coming up and saying Hi, or getting the opportunity to meet you at the parties…. If you didn’t come up and say Hi, and you didn’t have the opportunity to meet me, then your loss – and I’m not inviting you to my next “Teen Wolf Too” themed birthday party.
DVD of the week
When A Stranger Calls – I know I probably should be hating on this one, but I just can’t. I actually quite liked the “When A Stranger Calls” remake. Jake Wade Wall’s script takes a bit too get going, but once it does, you’re totally immersed and near on the verge of drawing sweat. It reminded me a lot of one of Kevin Williamson’s (“Scream”, “I Know What You Did Last Summer”, “Urban Legend”) earlier films, just a tad dafter, and without his unique set-ups. Still, being this year’s “I Know What You Did Last Summer” isn’t a bad thing – kids will pay good money to have the hairs on the back of their necks stand up on end for an hour-and-a-half. What also helps the film is the heroine, who for the most part, is the only character in the film. Young Camilla Belle gives a credible performance, the type of do-gooder lass you just can’t help but root for, and if she’s steered in the right direction might even be able to avoid the trappings of being the new Neve Campbell. As much as it is choca-bloc with cream cheese, and passé as the script may seem at times, it’s quite fun.
Theatrical release of the week
Little Miss Sunshine – There are films that make you cry. There are films that make you laugh. There are films that keep you on the edge of your seat. And, there are films that make you think. Usually, it’d cost you about the equivalent of renting a Tux to give every one of those emotions a workout, but thanks to “Little Miss Sunshine” there’s now an easier, equally satisfying, alternative to seeing back-to-back movies at your local AMC on opening day. You get a little bit of everything with this new comedy/drama, so much so that theatres are going to be asking Fox Searchlight for remuneration. Don’t get me wrong though, cheap and satisfying definitely aren’t terms worthy of stapling to this film’s bind. In fact, the film is as solid as an undefrosted freezer, with an idea that’s as fresh as handpicked cherries. Rather than calling it cheap, it’s more simple or straightforward, a relatively hassle-free idea that will have many a whistle tooting. At the same time, it is one of those films that will probably have audiences keen to see anything but (in my case, I nearly skipped it and went to “Clerks 2”instead, because frankly, the plotline just didn’t rock my boat) once they read the synopsis – which sounds little more than a micro waved reheat of a National Lampoon’s “Vacation” sequel – so hopefully the ‘critics say’ marketing campaign is only a few days away. A ray of “Sunshine” among the over-ambitious uber-bloated crop of Summer crap, the film fixes on an eccentric, squabbling, mostly unhappy, family who decide to – or are rather, forced – fulfil the youngest member of their clan’s wish, and drive her from the boondocks to Los Angeles to participate in the children’s beauty pageant, Little Miss Sunshine. Along the way (on their crazy road trip), one of them decides to do away with his ‘no talking’ rule, another manages to pull the carrot out from his rear, a broken marriage begins to re-stitch, and another discovers the ugly truth about substance abuse. Meantime, the littlest one practices her dancing moves for her big moment at 3pm. This is such a wonderful film. It’s funny, it’s cute, it’s touching, it’s dramatic…it’s, well, real. It may be crazy, but it also plays true. These are real folks, with real feelings, and real [and not especially exceptional] problems. The writing is impeccable; squeezing every little detail out of it’s singular troupe, and giving the actors – who are all sensational by the way, especially young Abigail Breslin – some of the tastiest and most grisseled meat they’ve had to chew on in agers (or in Steve Carell’s case, who is unusually tame here, possibly the best). Cry. Laugh. Cringe. Howl. Weep. Smile. Shout. Yahoo. With just a little “Sunshine”. Do yourself a favour, and check out one of the most entertaining, not to mention best, films of the year.
This Week’s Useless bit of Advice
When ordering a Latte at a coffee shop, make sure you state whether you’d like that ‘Hot’ or ‘Cold’ – or you might find yourself with an Iced Latte, instead of a boiling cup of milky goodness.
Missing Career Alert
Tom Selleck – Unless you’re an ardent watcher of Cable TV, you probably haven’t seen much of fluffy-chested Tom Selleck since he threw his Hawaiian shirt in the wash and handed in his “P.I” papers (or chased Nancy Travis to a Pommy Church in “Three Men and a Little Lady”). In recent years, Selleck has been a bit of a go-to man for the TV western – among his efforts of late, “Monte Walsh” and “Crossfire Trail”. Selleck’s last big-screen venture was 1999’s “The Love Letter” with Kate Capshaw, and before that, “In and Out” with Kevin Kline. And while someone else – probably a Clooney or a Vaughn, by the sounds of it – fills the shoes of “Magnum P.I” in the upcoming film version; Selleck’s voice features in the family film “Meet the Robinsons”. Based on the book of the same name, it tells of a genius invents a machine that recovers forgotten memories, and inadvertently travels forward in time, where he encounters a family whose survival depends on his ingenuity. Selleck is still one of today’s most gifted actors – his recent guest-starring turn in “Boston Legal” is proof that he’s ‘still got it’ – and deserves much more. Hopefully producers are reading.
5 things you didn’t know about…… “Dazed and Confused (1993)
1. Matthew McConaughey’s production company, JKL, got its name from one of McConaughey’s most famous lines in the movie : “Just Keep Livin’”.
2. They say that one-sixth of the film’s budget was spent on acquiring the rights to 1970s pop hits on the soundtrack
3. “Fuck” is said 59 times throughout the movie
4. Vince Vaughn was originally cast to play Benny, but let go once director Richard Linklater realised he and Ben Affleck – playing O’Bannion – looked too much alike.
5. Wiley Wiggins had never acted before this movie.
VISIT ME AT MY SPACE – the first 10,000 new friends get their names in “Baby Genuises 3”.