Chicago really takes a pounding in “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” with Michigan Avenue torn to pieces, Marina City in flames, Trump Tower shaken to its core and many other familiar landmarks bombed out and crashing to the ground.
This is not a movie that will become known for its pithy dialogue.
There’s a moment deep into the seemingly endless downtown Chicago battle sequence when the good guy Autobot Optimus Prime shows up to kick some serious metal-butt, and I found myself wondering:
Where’s he been?
I mean, what do Transformers do when they’re not fighting or engaging in deep-voiced debates with humans? Do they watch Transformers TV? Go to Transformers-friendly bars? Have Transformers sex?
Or do they just wait offscreen for the next battle or the next ponderous speech about defending freedom at all costs?
“We were gods on our planet, but here they think of us as machines!” one of the Transformers bellows.
Gods to whom? Each other?
I know: we’re talking about a big dumb summer movie based on Hasbro toys. But whether it’s “Thor” or “Green Lantern” or the “Dark of the Moon,” you see these intergalactic other-worlds filled with amazing advanced creatures — but the planets always seem so dark and, well, boring.
No wonder why they always wind up spending time on Earth. We’ve got sunshine and pizza and cars and cable and texting and football.
They’ve got cold, dark lairs and forbidding towers and ships that fly around all the time with no place to go. Those giant-brained elders perched high atop those pillars in “Green Lantern” look positively miserable.
Bachmann Turns to Overdrive
From Michele Bachmann’s speech announcing her run for the White House:
“I am Michele Bachmann. I am running for the president of the United States. Together we can do this. … Together we can make a better America if we stick together. Together we can bring the promise of the future. Together we can. Together we will. God bless you and God bless the United States of America!”
Key word there being “together.”
There was also a moment when Bachmann said, “I believe that the great people of this country are longing for a president who will listen to them and who will lead from the front and not from behind.”
To illustrate the point, Bachmann put her hand in front of her when she said “the front” and moved it back when she said “from behind.” It was a very “SNL” moment. One could see Kristen Wiig doing that move while imitating Bachmann.
As Bachmann concluded her speech, the sound system kicked in with Tom Petty’s “American Girl.” I guess that’s better than the wholly inappropriate “Firework” Bachmann used for a recent speech.
“American Girl” has lyrics about a girl who “stood alone on her balcony” hearing the “cars roll by out on Highway 441,” giving rise to an enduring urban legend that the song is about a University of Florida student who committed suicide. (Highway 441 runs by the school.) But Petty says there’s no truth to that rumor.
I’m sure Petty will be thrilled Ms. Bachmann used “American Girl” as the send-off to her presidential announcement, followed by “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves and “I Got You (I Feel Good)” by James Brown, arguably the two most overused tunes in pop culture history. Both songs have been played in more than a dozen movies, countless commercials and TV shows, and at political rallies too numerous to mention.
Given the theme of Bachmann’s speech, maybe she should have gone with “Happy Together” by the Turtles, “Let’s Get Together” by Canned Heat, “Get Together” by the Youngblood, “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green, “Together” by Ne-Yo, “Together” by Avril Lavigne or “Better Together” by Jack Johnson.
And once the primary season plays out, Bachmann can play a song by Rollins Band.
It’s called “Also Ran.”
Well they’ve done it again.
In what appears to be a lifetime commitment to making irrelevant and ever-exasperating changes to the Oscars, the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Tuesday that it has added a “new twist to the 2011 Best Picture competition, and a new element of surprise to its annual nominations announcement.”
Maybe they’re adding a fan-vote element? A rose ceremony? A physical competition in case of tie-breaker?
Not quite. Are you ready for the big new twist?
“The Board voted to institute a system that will now produce anywhere between 5 and 10 nominations in the category,” reads the statement. “The number won’t be announced until the Best Picture nominees themselves are announced at the January nominations announcement. . . .
“After much analysis by Academy officials, it was determined that 5% of first-place votes should be the minimum in order to receive a nomination, resulting in a slate of anywhere from five to 10 movies.”
FINALLY they’ve listened to the public outcry for a minimum of 5 percent of first-place votes and maybe 7 or 8 or — how crazy would this be — NINE nominations!
I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again: There’s nothing about the Oscar telecast that can’t be fixed by making a handful of significant changes. Such as:
A. Stop televising the “lesser” categories and trim the running time from nearly four hours to two hours.
B. Let the big winners ramble on for five minutes. Overwrought overreactions = great entertainment.
C. Announce the vote totals, a la the Heisman trophy ceremony. If the second-place finisher missed out by two votes, that’s drama. But if you learn you came in fifth, it’ll be a lot easier to accept “defeat.”
D. Open bar. On stage.
E. Partial nudity.
F. Figure out a way to get the Kardashians, all the Real Housewives, those idiotic “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” contestants, and the winning team on “The Voice” involved.
Of course I’m kidding about some of those suggestions, but the Academy’s announcement Tuesday should have been headlined, “Stubborn Institution Refuses to Adjust to the Times.”
Maybe it’s the name?
The calls for Wiener to quit show no signs of letting up. What with the allegations of inappropriate behavior, the tasteless humor, the pattern of questionable decisions — well, it seems only a matter of time before this government official will resign.
“How long will he get away with this?” asked one columnist. “Please [join me and] demand Wiener’s immediate resignation.”
A group calling for the man to step down issued a statement that read in part, “Wiener doesn’t get it.”
But as of this writing, Wiener guy says he’s sorry for his actions, but he’s going to continue to serve the people and he won’t resign.
What’s that? I’ve got the spelling wrong? It’s Weiner, not Wiener, right?
Not in this case. I’m not talking about U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner. I’m talking about New Mexico’s Bernalillo County Commissioner Michael Wiener, who’s coming under heavy criticism for a series of insanely tone-deaf decisions, including forwarding and/or telling jokes about rape and African Americans having sex in prison. There was also a complaint of sexual harassment, which Wiener denies.
As is the case with the New York congressman, the New Mexico commissioner pronounces his last name “WEE-ner.” On a recent trip to Albuquerque, I heard numerous newscasters referencing “calls for WEE-ner to resign” in stories about the commissioner.
However it’s spelled, if your last name is “Wiener” or “Weiner,” you’ve probably endured a lifetime of juvenile joshing about your name. I can imagine it’s only gotten worse in the recent weeks — especially if you live in New Mexico, where there’s been a double dose of scandal regarding officials named WEE-ner.
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