Saturday, October 14, 2006

FILLING THE REQUIREMENT THAT SCARLETT JOHANSSON STAR IN AT LEAST ONE MOVIE RELEASED EVERY MONTH THIS YEAR: While the past couple of months have been pretty anemic for movies (obligatory Halloween horror flicks and Hollywood's continuing attempts to make Ashton Kutcher into a movie star), with the exception of joys like The Queen (which is almost as good as the critics say it is) and The Departed, next weekend is incredibly loaded. You have Clint Eastwood's Flags Of Our Fathers and Christopher Nolan's The Prestige both arriving everywhere (along with Flicka, but not even my love for Maria Bello gets me into that one), and Marie Antoinette coming a little less wide. plus Running With Scissors arriving in limited release, Nightmare Before Christmas being re-released in 3D, and acclaimed indies The Queen, The Last King of Scotland, and Shortbus going wider. It's almost enough to make up for the fact that Saw III will assuredly make huge bank the following weekend.
WHITER THAN SOUR CREAM: I don't know what's more disturbing about Weird Al Yankovic's "White and Nerdy" video--that Yankovic has a surprising ability to rap with solid "flow" or the presence of Donny Osmond dancing alongside Yankovic in bits of the video.

Friday, October 13, 2006

WELCOME BACK, ROGER: For the first time in many months, Roger Ebert has written a film review. I am very happy to see his work again (he's been out with various medical concerns).
SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE WITH THE STARS? This one is weird -- or at least it will be weird for the small sliver of ALOTT5MA's readership who watch reality dance shows. Apparently Dancing with the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba and So You Think You Can Dance ballroom specialist and proponent of open-shirted style Artem Chigvintsev (14 years Carrie Ann's junior, for those who pay attention to such details) have been dating for the last eight months. No word yet as to whether resident SYTYCD screamer Mary Murphy, for whom Artem served as shirtless-partner-without-portfolio during season two, is aware of this development.
DAMN GOOD PIE: USA Today, today, spotlights 10 places to get a decent slice, including Chicago's very own underrated Pizano's. Grab a pie there now before it gets too crowded.
APPARENTLY, HE DIDN'T GET THE CALL: To add to this week's list of people who are announcing they won't be doing things they were expected to do, Joshua Malina will not be joining the cast of Studio 60. Instead, he'll be joining the cast of Numb3rs. This still will not make Numb3rs worth watching, though maybe it can be a catalyst for bringing Sabrina Lloyd back to Numb3rs.
STONE ROSES > DEVO? NO WAY! Having one year ago beguiled this group with its counting down of the 885 Greatest Albums of All Time, Philadelphia's listener-supported WXPN 88.5 FM is now in the process of counting down (and playing) the 885 Greatest Artists of All Time, along with a song or two from each. How ecletic is the list?
581 – THE ANIMALS – House Of The Rising Sun
582 – SPOON – Sister Jack
583 – UB40 – Red Red Wine
584 – MARAH – Firecracker
585 – THE AFGHAN WHIGS – Debonair
586 – GREAT BIG SEA – Sea Of No Cares
587 – BOBBY DARIN – Mack The Knife
588 – LORETTA LYNN – Fist City
589 – DE LA SOUL – Say No Go
590 - JACKIE WILSON - Lonely Teardrops

Fire away.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

THE EYE OF IAPETUS: This has nothing to do with pop culture, but please don't miss this amazing photo of Saturn from Cassini.
I CAN FEEL IT COMING IN THE AIR TONIGHT: So, tomorrow in the a.m., I'm off to the firm retreat at the Doral Country Club in Miami. Apparently, the firm wants folks to play golf, but since I'd rather shoot out my knee-cap with a .30-40 Krag, I'm going to watch Jai Alai instead. So I know how to kill my Saturday afternoon, but since lots of my colleagues folks are off to South Beach both Friday and Saturday, and I've never been, anyone have a suggestion or two for a good bar or late night eats down there that's a don't-miss.
GOOD GRIEF: There is sadness in the Feller family; you could say a Shadow fell on The Office tonight. Not a brilliant episode, but definitely one which had a certain momentum as it built within each segment -- as always, when you get the staff together for a meeting, laughs are pretty much guaranteed. Especially with Stanley. I just feel bad for those parts of America which don't have Herr's potato chips available -- the Old Bay ones really are that good.
FRIENDS DON'T LET FRIENDS SHOP DRUNK: I hadn't seen this article until Althouse mentioned it, but it made me laugh. Just another in a series of the NYT's ongoing efforts to turn every cute internet-related anecdote into a macro-level phenomenon.

Feel free to chime in if you've been subject to the national scourge known as sip-and-click.
YOU TOO, SHUSHY: Last week, in a comment, I said something I never thought I'd say: there's just too much watchable TV. Even with two dual-tuner DVRs, or perhaps because of the two dual-tuner DVRs, there simply is no way to watch all of the stuff that demands watching. And thus we triage. My cut list, including only shows that I actually gave a chance:
  • TAR. I'll watch if I'm around, but if I miss it, chances are I'll delete before I watch.
  • The Class. I think this is the worst show I've watched this year.
  • Ugly Betty. I hate the garish colors, the fake young-Dennis Quaid-lite editor, the campiness of it all.
  • Friday Night Lights. I like it when I'm watching, but I'm never sad when it's over. May watch; probably won't record.
  • 30 Rock. Okay, I'll probably watch when Runway is gone, but man is Wednesday night a train wreck, even if I save half of it for the weekend.
I know many of you have given up on S60 already. What else?
DEATH AS A CAREER MOVE, CORY LIDLE EDITION: When JFK Jr. died in in 1999, I read about back issues of George Magazine selling like crazy on eBay. Being an incurable pack rat, I had a few sitting in a closet, and with a somewhat guilty conscience, I unloaded the first and third issue of the magazine for something like $175.

These days, it doesn't take the death of a Kennedy to move the memorabilia market. As this blog notes, Cory Lidle items are a hot commodity today.

By the way, the true definition of how pathetic I am when it comes to fantasy baseball, my first thought yesterday when I heard it was Lidle in the plane was about how I just got him back in a Howie Kendrick-Coco Crisp deal in my A.L. only keeper league so I could have the option of protecting him and not paying a penalty since I bid on him when he came over from Philly.

Of course, it goes without saying that our condolences go out to the Lidle family, the Stanger family, and anyone else touched by this sad event.
APPARENTLY, LITHGOW DID NOT GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT: Last night's ratings are fascinating. Not only did 30 Rock and Twenty Good Years disappoint (especially the latter), running in 4th place for the hour due to Twenty Good Years losing almost 20% of 30 Rock's audience (c'mon back, Scrubs), but Criminal Minds was dead even with Lost at 9 PM, and The Nine tanked in week 2, getting beaten by Dateline NBC, the replacement for Kidnapped. Guess folks really like "generic Bruckheimer procedural" (which must feature a brilliant yet unorthodox male, paired with a hot (but also wicked smart) female).
THIS IS MY MAGIC SHIRT: Not a lot for me to say about The Nine, except that I can't believe I'm still enjoying a show that stars Tim "David Koresh" Daly and Bailey "Expanding Forehead" Salinger and that prominently featured Chip from Kate & Allie as a petty middle manager. Chip? Really? So use the open thread if you have anything better to say.
HOW TO WIN A NOBEL PRIZE: STEP ONE, WRITE SOMETHING; STEP TWO, CRITICIZE YOUR GOVERNMENT: Ok, time to 'fess up. Who's not heard of new Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk?

Me, for starters.
THE DELUSIONAL BITCH IS DEAD. LONG LIVE THE DELUSIONAL BITCH: All in all, a typically enjoyable episode of ANTM. I say typical, because we all know to expect: (a) backstabbing and overwrought self-esteem issues (incidentally, I would get a lot more worked up about fairly mild criticisms about Anchal's body if she didn't volunteer to go on a show where the point is to get judged on one's body, in the hope of getting a job in an industry where one's only responsibility literally is to look great; I mean, this isn't Apprentice, where that kind of judgment is weird and misplaced); (b) a wholly useless practicum (walk in heels on uneven paving stones with obstructed vision; walk a floating styrofoam runway; pose naked on a New York rooftop in February; contort yourself unnaturally); and (c) the producers' weekly attempt to make a bunch of pretty girls look hideous, so that Tyra can come across as the magical mother-figure who nurtures these ugly ducklings into swans who are almost, but not quite, as beautiful as Tyra used to be. I say enjoyable, because there were really good pictures this week (no thanks to you, Tyra), leading to a perfectly justifiable Tyjection. Assfashionation. Ethinmanation. Whatever you want to call it.

Also, for the record, when Melrose was celebrating Monique's ejection last week, I turned to Spacewoman and said "what's she so happy about? Now she's the hugest bitch in the house." I kind of like this turn of events.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I DON'T POINT OUT A RAT. I STEP ON HIM: But that's me. Laura, apparently, has a different M.O.

Aside from Project Runway's big "tune in next week..." dramalamadingdong, which, of course, was teased last week for maximum effect, what is there to discuss? Jeffrey, looking good. Uli as well. Laura (other than hitting the ethical panic button without the evidence to back it up), nice collection. Michael, we're worried around these parts that it's a little hoische.

Is Michael getting the come-from-behind edit? Is Jeffrey getting a martyr edit, or a disgrace edit? Is Laura right, for crying out loud? (I would be so completely pissed. Ye gods.) Is Uli a lock to win it all by virtue of her low profile and sensible avoidance of this week's scandalizing?

Doubtless many have already seen what there is to see of the collections on various parts of the interwebs, but whether you've got love, snark, spoilers, conspiracy theories, inside information or other dish please "bring it" -- as the kids say -- in the comments.

LIES LIES LIES YEAH (THEY'RE GONNA GET YOU): Here's a placeholder post for discussion of tonight's particularly good Lost. A few thoughts -- limited to the non-spoilery variety -- to kick things off:

  • There's got to be a writer for the show whose sole job is to concoct Sawyer's quiver of nicknames.
  • His whole life? Really?
  • Sun and Jin continue to do magnificent work on this show. Sadly, next week appears to include the return of the hobbit.
  • What better way for notHenry to prove his point?
  • Anyone not think this was a great episode?
I'M A JEDI! I'M A JEDI! Before we speak of Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and the various other Lostaways, Tailaways, and Others, I figured we could use a space to discuss 30 Rock. Peppered with funny bits throughout (mostly thanks to Baldwin), interestingly, it suffers from the same problem that Studio 60 has--the sketch material we saw ("Pam: The Overly Confident Morbidly Obese Woman!" and "The Cat Lady") was not good at all, and Tracy Jordan is far more irritating than funny (oddly, much like Tracy Morgan himself generally is). The problem may be a little smaller for 30 Rock, since unlike S60, we're not constantly hailing the genius of Liz and her writers (including Judah Friedlander playing Judah Friedlander), but given Fey's background, I would hope she'd be able to come up with at least concepts that have some humor to them.

Also, did anyone else notice the massive number of GE ads that ran during the pilot? (And yes, there really is a Trivection Oven.) I wonder if GE was buying up unsold ad time or if GE wanted all the ad time to take advantage of the silly product placement.
HENCE EXPLAINING HOW IT DIDN'T MAKE IT TO THE SUPREME COURT: Bizarre quote from a case of the day? "The pungent odors of cat urine and cigarette smoke permeate this litigation." Church & Dwight Co., Inc. v. S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., 873 F.Supp. 893, 895 (D.N.J. 1994).
IT'S PRONOUNCED FRONKENSTEEN: I've never seen Young Frankenstein, but just the cast of the forthcoming musical sounds incredible (Chenoweth! Sutton Foster! Shuler Hensley! Roger Bart!) with one exception--Jimmy Fallon in the title role? Seriously, why not just replace Hensley with Horatio Sanz as the monster and be done with it? Fortunately, they're also talking with Tom Cavanaugh, who'd be much much better.
JUST A GUY AND HIS CIRCLE OF ROCKHEADS PALS: According to Variety, Entourage creator Doug Ellin has sold his next series to HBO. This one deals with a 40-something hedge fund trader and his buddies. Ellin describes it as "a mature version of Entourage set on Wall Street."

As a point of personal privilege, I would just like to note that it's not so clear to me that hedge fund traders are any more mature than Vince, E, Drama, and Turtle.
LET'S WIPE THAT COPY OF CAN'T BUY ME LOVE OFF ISAIAH'S AMAZON WISHLIST: For those who like their Grey's Anatomy news to be as soapy as the show itself, the New York Daily News is happy to oblige. Patrick Dempsey and Isaiah Washington in long-standing feud! Washington, annoyed by cover-boy furor over Dempsey, grabbed Dempsey by the neck! (I am deeply reassured as to the veracity of this saga by National Enquirer editor David Perel's pronouncement that "the sourcing on this story is rock-solid.")

Next thing you know, someone will be poisoning Katie Heigl's muffins.
AND IT'S ALMOST 4500 WØRDS LONG: New York magazine/Fametracker scribe Adam Sternbergh has written a fascinating profile of Stephen Colbert, well worth your time:
During his own media moment, which peaked around the 2004 election, Stewart reliably sidestepped the question of his influence, and he’s always remained studiously nonpartisan, even though his personal politics aren’t hard to discern. The politics of Colbert, the person, are more difficult to unravel — “I’m not a political person, and I certainly don’t have the answers,” is his refrain — but Colbert, the character, now commands the power of his growing “Colbert Nation” in a manner The Daily Show has never attempted with its fans. In recent months, Colbert has dispatched his followers on a rampage of merry mischief: bombing the Website of a junior-league hockey team holding a name-our-mascot campaign (the team’s mascot is now Steagle Colbeagle the Eagle); hijacking an online poll posted by Hungary’s Economic Ministry to name a new bridge over the Danube the Stephen Colbert Bridge (he topped the poll, but Hungary disqualified him because he’s not dead); sabotaging Wikipedia, the collectively edited online encyclopedia, after Colbert coined “Wikiality,” a reality that exists simply because enough people agree on it. These are all pranks, of course, but they would have fallen flat if there wasn’t a real Colbert Nation waiting to be mobilized. Ironically —a nd not really in the Col-Bear ironic way—he’s become something very close to what he’s parodying, a kind of Bill O’Reilly for the angry left. “The funny thing is, I knew when we were developing this show, we were doing a show that parodies the cult of personality,” he says. “And yet, if the show was successful, it would generate a cult of personality. It had to. That means it’s working.”

Here's a question that I've pondered before -- it strikes me that the Col-Bear character can only thrive so long as Republicans are in power. What happens to Col-Bear and his bag of recurring hijinks on January 20, 2009?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

ABOUT CRANE, POOLE, AND SCHMIDT: An interesting question raised from my TV viewing tonight. Studio 60 has been widely panned and many attribute its ratings decline to its "smugness" and need for liberal sermonizing. But how is Boston Legal (which gets substantially better ratings) any less smug and sermonizing? Obviously, smug speeches work a little better in the context of a courtroom than they do backstage at a sketch comedy show, and rather than blatant Mary Sue-ing, we get ridiculous levels of meta and fourth-wall breaking ("You think we win too much? Losing all suspense?"). But how is "cocaine isn't as bad as drunk driving" any more ludicrous than "cannibalism isn't such a big deal?" It's even odder because the competition faced by Boston Legal (L&O:SVU) is (IMHO) 10x the quality of CSI: Miami, yet Boston Legal gets the better ratings. Explain and discuss.
P.S. WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO MRS. IVERSON? Once subject of an adoring Michael Wilbon profile, Donovan McNabb's mother Wilma has now launched -- but is this Chunky Soup spokesperson really "America's Favorite Sports Mom"?
THE SEVENTIES HAD THE HUSTLE. WE HAVE THE FAKE LESBIAN DANCE: Despite the hugely inaccessible Keith plotline (at least to viewers like me who haven't seen the entirety of Season 2), tonight's episode of Veronica Mars was top notch stuff. The comedy aspects of the "Veronica goes undercover to investigate a sorority with an exceedingly surprising secret" (which reminded me in so many ways of the best aliases and wigs on Alias) served as a nice counterbalance to the exceedingly heavy rape mystery, and giving Wallace and Logan their own subplot winds up being fruitful, with a "political" story that manages to largely avoid taking sides or sermonizing. And you have to admire a mystery show that raises the question of whether exposing "wrong" is the right thing. Sure, I miss Dr. Hizzy, but this is fine fine stuff. (Bonus points for presence of Samm Levine and Dan Castellaneta.)
TWO HIMYM POSTS IN A SINGLE DAY? IT'S GONNA BE LEGENDARY! In re HIMYM: I've noticed that the individual characters tend to get a lot of love from the fans, and rightly so. But to me, the most compelling aspect of the show is the array of narrative structures and devices the show employs. Last week we had the multiple-threads-of-the-same-story concept (complete with silent film titles for each segment), this week it was the slightly-predictable-but-still-fun use of non-core characters to detail the exploits of "Ted Mosby, Architect." Then there's the often-hilarious pauses for Bob Saget's expository voiceovers, the revelation of Barney's backstory, and so on and so forth. All the backwardsing and forwardsing through time and point-of-view is really very clever (remember "The Pineapple Incident"?), and it separates HIMYM from most of the other cute Friends-y sitcoms that have come and gone over the years.
ODDEST SIDE NOTE TO THE ENTIRE FOLEY SCANDAL: As regular readers know, we don't wade into the politics very often here at ALOTT5MA headquarters, but this was too odd to pass up. It turns out that the godfather of former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley is none other than former Chicago White Sox broadcaster Jimmy Piersall, who famously ran backwards around the bases after hitting his 100th home run and whose life story and struggle with mental illness was immortalized in the film "Fear Strikes Out."
GET ON MY LEVEL, DO YOU THINK YOU CAN HANDLE IT: While she may be the Sexiest Woman Alive according to Esquire (and a far better choice than last year), Scarlett Johansson would like you to know that she is not promiscuous.
IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A GOOD THING WHEN I MADE ASSOCIATE: Am I already growing tired of Heroes? Other than finding out that Niki presumably killed her husband -- whoops, should I have said that? -- and getting a couple of Sylar clues, we haven't seen the plot advance a whole lot in two weeks. Sure, James Kyson Lee does a damn good Japanese sidekick for a Korean-American actor, and it's always fun to see Hayden Panettiere good-naturedly get mangled. But let's get to the action, shall we?

Edited to change the title to the most ridiculous line of television last night, about which I completely forgot when writing this post.

Monday, October 9, 2006

THIS WASN'T THE COMEDY WE INTENDED TO DO: The TWOP thread on tonight's Studio 60 splits right down the middle, with about half saying "and that's more like it," and the other half saying "I'm done with this." Interestingly, this mirrors the episode itself, with the first half's endless Matt and Harriet plotline (seriously, while I appreciate half nekkid ladies as much as the next guy, what was the point of that sequence?) ultimately being outweighed by a strong second half featuring Sports Night-esque hijinks. Particular snaps to Evan Handler this week, though I'm hoping RickyandRon become two separate folks in the next few weeks, and boos to the absence of Steven Weber (aside from his priceless voiceover work). So, what'd y'all think?

(Edit: Alan Sepinwall is considerably less positive.)
THAT GUY BECAME A SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: I rather expect that many of our readers found much to identify with in tonight's How I Met Your Mother, which had, as a major plot point, a "rockin'" law school party and (more inexplicably) a character's hatred for Field of Dreams. Floor's open to discuss the exploits of Ted, Robin, Barney, Lily, and Marshall, as well as the surprisingly dark The Class (particularly the final scene), which could be a solid sitcom if it trimmed the cast down to four or five, cutting out Holly, Aaron, Duncan and Nicole, and refocusing on Kat, Ethan, Lena, Richie, and tonight's newly introduced character.
AND I AM TELLING YOU THAT SHE IS AT LEAST COMPETENT: Via Popwatch, it's time for us to hear whether Idol's Jennifer Hudson has the pipes for Dreamgirls' signature song in December's film adaptation.

Says The Wife: "Watch the Jennifer Holliday original -- it's the difference between a girl singing the song, and a woman."
NO WORD ON WHETHER FUNTWO'S GETTING A CUT: As part of its continuing quest to overtake every form of entertainment, Google has bought YouTube. I hope they bring Google Video's efficient search and larger standard image size to YouTube's excellent content collection.
WHERE MORE PEOPLE GET THEIR NEWS THAN PROBABLY SHOULD: Wups! Actually, it turns out, they might as well. According to Indiana University, the Daily Show is every bit as informative as the "real" journalism it parodies -- perhaps even more so than network news programs. Of course, we are shocked; shocked and amazed to learn that we have been informed as well as amused.

Hat tip: Foreign Policy's "Passport" Blog.
SAFE TO ASSUME THIS WON'T BE DISCUSSED ON PTI: It seems like the Nobel Prize for Literature generally alternates between presenting to folks everyone of a certain degree of cultural literacy has heard of (Harold Pinter, J.M. Coetzee, V.S. Naipaul, Gunter Grass) and folks who are more than a bit more obscure (Elfriede Jelinek, Imre Kertesz, Gao Xingjian). While the Nobel is for a body of work, one book can do it (anyone come up with a major work of William Golding other than Lord of the Flies?), or the award may be as much political as literary (Solzhenitsyn, Pinter). Given that we're in a "obscure" year, it would point to an unpredictable winner, but U.S. Citizens have won every Nobel so far this year--can the U.S. keep up the streak? Who ya got, both for literature and for the peace prize, to be presented on Friday?

Sunday, October 8, 2006

BEAUTY QUEENS VERSUS DRAMA QUEENS: Tonight's leg of the Race featured one of the greatest clues-that-are-actually-clues that they've ever done, some nice physical challenges (one reminiscent of one of my favorites ever -- from the Phillipine final four with Colin & Christie v. The Bowling Moms), and confirmation that the teams we like are all wonderful, and the hate-worthy are, yeah, shut the f*** up and stop lounging with your Coke during the roadblock, dumbass.
ELATION: I am one who is loath to turn athletic contests into moral ones -- sporting events are not really tests of character or tests of narrative; 99% of the time, they are tests of physical strength, speed, fitness and intelligence, and not moral strength or personal worth.

And then there's Dallas, and T f'n O.

Hoo boy, I can't remember a game at least since 4th and 26 that was as much fun as this one -- well-played, tense, with an incredibly energetic (and largely well-behaved) crowd. The Legend of Donovan F. McNabb has added another chapter with another MVP-level performance, a defense rose and demolished Drew Bledsoe (the second-largest statue in the stadium complex --next to Kate Smith's), and an ending was tacked on that we haven't seen in this town since a 1996 game in Dallas ended by a James Willis endzone interception lateralled to Troy Vincent for a 104-yard touchdown.

Tonight, we rejoice. Tomorrow too. Come, friends, let us exult in the lamentation of our enemies, and enjoy this one as long as we can.
WHAT IS LEGENDARY? I've got to say, Barney Stimson going on Jeopardy! amuses me much more than Neil Patrick Harris on Celebrity Jeopardy! The complete list of folks willing to make a fool of themselves for charity includes both folks certain to flame out (Regis Philbin, Rachael Ray), and some folks who might actually prove to be good players (Sam Waterston, Bebe Neuwirth).
THE WORLD STILL GOES AROUND AND ROUND: My dad's recent trip to finally see Hairspray on Broadway clued me in (okay, after I had to explain to him that Edna was played by a man in drag, and was not "some woman who stole the show") that not only are Haylie Duff and Diana DeGarmo now in the cast, but how about former tween star Tevin Campbell as Seaweed and somewhat-notable 80s standup Kevin Meaney in a variety of roles? Oh, yeah, and the legendary Darlene Love as Motormouth Maybelle.

Seriously, what happened to Tevin's career? Because "Round and Round" was, like, awesome.
FROM BROADWAY TO THE MILKY WAY, THAT'S A LOT OF TERRITORY INDEED; AND A MAN'S GONNA DO WHAT HE HAS TO DO WHEN HE'S GOT A HUNGRY MOUTH TO FEED: I believe we can test the validity of a proposition advanced in today's Times A&L section:
“It’s bizarre,” said Michael Gray, who wrote “The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia,” this year’s oversized compendium of all things Dylan. “If you like Bob Dylan, why would you like a Broadway musical? There are theater types and there are music types, and they are rarely the same person.”
HE MAKES THE BEST F%^&ING FILMS! HE MAKES THE BEST F%^&ING FILMS! IF I EVER MEET HIM, I'M GOING TO GRAB HIS F%^&ING NECK AND SHAKE HIM AND SAY "THANK YOU! THANK YOU FOR MAKING SUCH EXCELLENT F%^&ING MOVIES!" The Departed is, indeed, the Martin Scorsese film that fans have been waiting more than a decade for -- dark, bleakly funny, graphically violent, well-acted, and overall, just entertaining as all get-out. When the opening licks of "Gimme Shelter" kick in, you know you're back in The Great One's hands -- and his use of the Dropkick Murphys' punk-Irish anthem "Shipping Up To Boston" is even better.

I don't quite know what else to say other than if you were at all considering seeing this movie, see this movie. Leo is good; Damon is even better, and Jack is . . . Jack. Persons looking for Deep Meaning or A Good Role For Poor Vera Farmiga should go elsewhere, but everyone else . . . just go. And then we can talk about how that last sequence (what I'll call "Act Four") makes sense.