Monday, February 25, 2008


No, all the blame doesn't go to host Jon Stewart, but he does nothing to help the show, either.

Jon Stewart is an overrated "talent" who's specialty is being smarmy.

Jon Stewart is not now a mainstream host and by the looks of things, he never will be.

Yes, there were a few times he said things that were funny, but those times were too few.

In Jon Stewart's opening riff, he fired off a couple of good lines, but too much of what he delivered is what I refer to as "reaching humor". As in reaching for a laugh and still reaching.

It would be easy for me to do a whole commentary (that would be "overkill") directed at Jon Stewart because he was that bad, but I'll just mention what were (to me) a couple of "lowlights".

His amateurish bit prior to a song sung by Amy Adams.

His lame and amateurish no-taste Angelina Jolie baby bit.

Jon Stewart was given credit for bringing Best Original Song co-winner Marketa Irglova back out on a stage so she could give an acceptance speech after the orchesta's music prevented her from doing so. If Stewart had done that on his own, I would have been tempted to give him a lot of slack for his otherwise (mostly) useless participation, but that wasn't Stewart's decision. He was ordered to do that by Oscar show producer Gil Cates.

I could go on and on, but I won't. I told you what I thought of this guy in the commentary I wrote Friday and (sadly) he didn't do anything to change my mind.

Who could have done a better job? Besides Billy Crystal? How about Ellen DeGeneres? Don't snicker. Ellen makes the audience comfortable. The audience watching at home and the audience sitting in the Kodak. But here's another person that I would never have thought of until I watched him hosting the half hour just before the Oscar show began. Regis!!! Yeah, Reeege!!!

He was enthusiastic! Regis acted like he liked being there. Jon Stewart acted like a guy who could hardly wait to hurt someone's feelings because in his mind, that kind of stuff is funny.

Here's a newsflash, Jon. It isn't and you aren't!


Jon Stewart's lines about Cate Blanchett.

Javier Bardem's acceptance speech.

Tilda Swinton's acceptance speech and her daring to have fun with this generation's Cary Grant who is George Clooney. And Clooney, a guy who can (in a funny way) "dish it out", showed he can also "take it". My friend (Entertainment Tonight's) Kevin Gershan suggests that Clooney would be hell of a good choice to host the Oscar show.

No argument from me! How about Queen Latifah?


The speech that Marion Cotillard gave. Wow, wow and triple wow! I love it when someone wins an award like this and they let you know that they love it too!!!

The speech that Diablo Cody gave. Despite the fact she was wearing a dress, Ms. Cody walked up there looking like a biker chick but gave a short speech that was long on humility and made you root for her to have future successes in this business.

The speech that Daniel Day-Lewis gave. And I thought it was so cool when he kissed George Clooney before he got on stage to accept his Oscar.

And yeah, I'm glad that Robert Elswit won the Oscar for Best Cinematography in "There Will Be Blood."



Yo, Ralph!!! Your screwing up elections quota has been exceeded! GO HOME!!!!


That's just what this terrible economy needs, right? Skyrocketing gas prices!!! I suppose we could pray for lower prices or for the presidential election to get here quicker, but according to a new poll,


A brand new poll on religion tells us that every religion is losing and gaining members, but the Roman Catholic Church has experienced the greatest net losses!

The group that had the greatest net gain was the unaffiliated. In other words, people who aren't "believers". 16% of Americans say they aren't part of any organized faith and I think that number might be low, because all the preaching we've gotten from this current administration and some of their zealot backers leads a lot of people to believe it might be a good idea to believe in something else!


Well, let me put it this way. In the coming days, weeks and or months, we will learn that, "A saint, he ain't!"


Soon! And you know that at least one of the subjects will be about something that makes me say, "Whaaaat?!?"

Friday, February 22, 2008

Jon Stewart is the best the Oscars show could get? Don't make me laugh!!! And the odds are, he WON'T!!!

This coming Sunday, the 80th Academy Awards will be shown on ABC beginning at 5:30 here in Los Angeles and at 8:30 in New York.

The show will be hosted by Jon Stewart who was a disastrous host when he had the gig two years ago. There's a certain crowd of folks who think this guy is funny, but that is (mostly) the "Too hip for the room" crowd. The folks in the heartland or main stream folks or rank and file, if you will, don't think this guy is funny at all and I'm one of those people.

And yes, if he surprises me and makes me laugh two nights from now, I'll be sure to write about in my new blog next week.

Most people are movie fans and that's why 40+ million figure to be watching and rooting for their favorites.

And that's what I'm going to write about. My favorites! The people and films I hope will win. In other words, I'm not predicting winners. I'm going to be expressing preferences.

I've seen all five of the Best Film nominees. The most overrated of the five is "There Will Be Blood". I fell asleep during this bloated film. Some experts think it deserves to win the Oscar and I would imagine that some of these experts are fans of Jon Stewart.

I thought that "Atonement" was a good film, but I'm not rooting for it to win.

I will be happy if "Juno", "Michael Clayton" OR "No Country for Old Men" wins. If you put a gun to my head, it would be "Michael Clayton". Or "Juno"...Or "No Country for Old Men"...

I give up.

Best Actor?

I will be happy if George Clooney wins. I thought he was super in "Michael Clayton", but the best overall acting was probably done by Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood".

Best Actress?

I will be happy if Ellen Page wins and I'm sick of hearing people say "It's not her time, yet."

Really? According to whom?!?

I thought that Ellen Page's acting was the hands down best acting in what were five tremendous performances. The experts are having a hard time making up their minds on this choice. There was a consensus on Julie Christie, but that seems to have switched to Marion Cotillard with some people saying (in essence), "But what about Laura Linney?"

And ya know....when we get to arguing about this kind of thing, we have to step back and admit we're not talking about bad choices in our arguments. We're talking about the best of the best and in my view, the one I liked the most and thought she was also the best was/is Ellen Page.

Best Supporting Actor?

I'm with the majority on this one. Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men". Again...Five terrific performances! I mean, you can give an Oscar to Philip Seymour Hoffman for just about everything he does! And might the Academy decide to give (what in essence would be) a "Lifetime Achievement Award" to Hal Holbrook in the form of an Oscar for his performance in "Into the Wild"?

Best Supporting Actress?

Same "Lifetime Achievement Award" possibility for Ruby Dee for her performance in "American Gangster", a film I thought was better than "Atonement" or "There Will Be Blood".

I will be happy if Tilda Swinton wins for her performance in "Michael Clayton", but some experts seem to be leaning toward Cate Blanchett for her performance in "I'm Not There".

Best Director?

I'll be happy if Jason Reitman (for "Juno"), Tony Gilroy (for "Michael Clayton") or Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (for "No Country for Old Men") get this award. I'm thinking it'll probably be the Coen brothers.

I want to mention two other categories.

Best Original Screenplay?

I'll be happy if Diablo Cody gets it for "Juno" or if Tony Gilroy gets it for "Michael Clayton", but because Diablo Cody is an ex-stripper who's made the "mother of all career detours", I'd just love to hear what she has to say in an acceptance speech.

Best Cinematography?

This should be a NO CONTEST vote!!!

Robert Elswit for his marvelous work in "There Will Be Blood". To me, no one else's cinematography was even close!

That's it as far my take on the upcoming Academy Awards goes. I know we're all hoping it will be a great show and we end up being pleased with (at least) most of the winners.

Oh...One more thing. I know we're also hoping that Jon Stewart surprises us and is funny in ways that are appreciated by most of us as opposed to just a few of us.


Yeah, I think there's a little fire in the middle of all that smoke and I'll write more about this in my next blog which be sometime next week.


Have you seen the photos of Lindsay Lohan shot by famed Marilyn Monroe photographer, Bert Stern that are in the new issue of "New York Magazine"?

Hot, hot, hot!!!

And one can't help but wonder if Stern will do a book of photos from this photo shoot.


It'll be written sometime next week and you know that at least one of the subjects will be about something that makes me say, "Whaaaat?!?"

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The worst PRESIDENT we've ever had says that, "Dick Cheney is the best VICE President that we've ever had!!!"

We used to have a sportscaster here in Los Angeles who would (when he was reporting an unusual story) say, "I don't make 'em up, pally!"

When it comes to this President Bush and the things he says and does, Americans (as a rule) don't even blink anymore.

All the more reason to end the horrible nightmare we've all lived for almost eight years.

A nightmare that for the most part has been about making sure that the Americans who don't need help, get it, while Americans who do need help, don't get it.

And then there's the fear strategy. Keep Americans scared and keep 'em in line. Keep reminding us about 9/11 and how important it is for all the money that's being spent and for all the blood our youngest and brightest are shedding.

Yeah, we gotta fight those dirty rotten terrorists in Iraq! The fact that Iraq didn't have a bleeping thing to do with 9/11 is irrelevant. And yet we continue to stay there for reasons known only to an administration that appears to be filled with people who give new meaning to the word, "incompetents". Or maybe "The best Vice President we've ever had" has everyone in the administration too scared to say anything.

You know what the response has been to anyone who disagreed with these characters is, don't you? "You're unpatriotic!!!"

What a load of horse manure!

Most of these characters have never worn a uniform and most of those who have (if not all), never wore it in a combat situation. Not even in a "in the rear with the gear" situation.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. No one disagrees with the fact that Osama bin Laden was the architect of 9/11. Our original "war mission" was to go to Afghanistan and to bring him to justice, dead or alive.

Very quickly, for reasons never explained to us, the mission switched to Iraq. When I say "for reasons never explained to us", I'm referring to the fact that the original "reasons" were proven to be lies and that hasn't been a matter of dispute for a long time.


Poor, poor Senator McCain. He let Karl Rove and company throw him off his game prior to a big vote in South Carolina which led to President Bush's first term and because he (McCain)didn't have the courage to deliver a response as decisively as the brutal rumor was delivered at him, McCain never recovered and he's been licking his wounds ever since while taking occasional shots at the Bush administration.

I bring this up because John McCain has made a comeback for the ages and appears to be on the verge of being the republican who will go up against either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama on the democratic side.

McCain says if he's elected, he plans to stay in Iraq until "We win!!!"

And my response to that is, "Win WHAT and FOR what?!?"

And my further response is, "You want to appear to be a combat ready, rifle shootin' tough guy, Senator McCain? I don't have a problem with that if you'll direct your rifles in the direction of where our REAL big enemy is. You know, that bin Laden guy?!?"

We are now told that Osama bin Laden is directing insurgency operations in Afghanistan while holed up in tribal areas that are located in Pakistan.

If the news organization Reuters can tell us that, one assumes it's safe to say that people in the Bush administration aren't that stupid and that they know it, too.


Why aren't we actively trying to smoke out bin Laden in Pakistan and or why haven't we asked for assistance from Pakistani officials?

We're told (in essence) the reason is that because Pakistan is considered to be a "worthy ally", we don't want to rock any boats.

My response to that is, "Say, WHAT?!?"

Future President McCain, Clinton or Obama, this American voter wants us the hell out of Iraq, a place we never should have been in the first place. We had more reasons to attack Saudi Arabia than we did Iraq.

And we've always had more reasons to make life very difficult for a country that would knowingly be "harboring" a butcher like Osama bin Laden.

Senators (and possible future President) Clinton, McCain and Obama, this American voter says, (please) "Hear me now!!! Tell those Pakistani leaders that a very bad guy who was responsible for the deaths of many of our citizens in New York is hiding out and conducting operations in your country. We can do this the easy way or the hard way. The easy way would be for us to pay a huge reward for bin Laden's location and we'll (America) take care of the rest with minimum collateral damage. If you (Pakistani leaders) are unwilling to help us (America) in this fashion, then we can no longer consider you to be an ally in any sense of that word and now we will go after bin Laden the hard way. Which will involve slowly turning your country into a parking lot until he's been captured or we know he's dead."

Here's the deal, gang. I'm not some leftist whacked out pacifist. I don't like sending our youngest and brightest to shed blood while we spend billions of our treasure on a "fool's errand" when we should be using that blood and treasure to help make things better here.

BUT...When we've been attacked, I want the full fury of our resources directed at that attacker. And if normal ways of military operations don't or can't work, I have no problem with the Japan option.


Later this afternoon, I plan to see the Oscar nominated film, "Juno" which stars Oscar nominated "Best Actress", Ellen Page. In my last blog, I told you how terrific I thought Page was in the 2006 film, "Hard Candy".

Here's a couple of films I recently saw on cable...

"The Good German", starring George Clooney, Kate Blanchett, Tobey Maguire and Beau Bridges. Before the film came out, Clooney was on all the talk shows telling everyone how proud he was of this film and that he was convinced that Blanchett would get an Oscar nomination. In a recent interview, Clooney said how surprised he was that the film didn't do any better than it did.

Well, now that I've seen it, I'm surprised, too. No, Blanchett didn't get an Oscar nomination, but I think she certainly deserved one. As most of you probably know, she has two nominations for films in the upcoming Oscars. I thought "The Good German" did itself a service by being shot in black and white and I thought all the performances were good in a story I found to be compelling. If you see it's coming up on one of your cable channels, I recommend you take the time to check it out.

For some reason, I thought I wouldn't like the film, "Deja Vu", but it was on Starz right after "The Good German", so I taped it and watched it later.

And what a pleasant surprise this film turned out to be for me. "Deja Vu" stars Denzell Washington, Val Kilmer, Jim Caviezel (as the bad guy) and the very beautiful Paula Patton, an actress I hadn't heard of. But, wow! What a "looker" she is. Let's see more of Paula Patton!

This is a story about a terrible tragedy that has a time machine hook to it and you're just gonna have to trust me when I tell you that for the very most part, it works. Yeah, there are a couple of things that happen that defy reality (besides the obvious stuff), but the film entertains and in the end, isn't that what we hope for when we spend the time to watch a film?


It's Tuesday and as long as the Lakers don't keep us off, it's my pleasure (once again) to be on "The Joe McDonnell Experience" with Joe McDonnell, Joe Grande and Tim Cates on KLAC, 570 on the AM dial. I'll be on from 9:35 or so until close to ten. The show itself is on from 7-midnight. And it's a very good show. It's primarily a sports talk show, but during the time I'm on, we're apt to talk about almost anything.


I was going to write about the subjects of deregulation and consolidation in this blog, but I changed my mind because of a lot of reaction I got about my negative views of John McCain.

Maybe I'll write about deregulation and consolidation in my next blog, but whatever I write about, you will always know that at least one of the subjects will have to do with something that makes me say, "Whaaaat?!?"

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Pretty good football game, huh? Super Bowl 42 ended up being the most watched Super Bowl in history and pretty much no one is surprised at that.

I was certainly wrong about the final result. I predicted a 27-10 New England victory. Eli Manning's late 4th quarter Houdini act when he escaped what would have been a disastrous sack, instead resulted in a miraculous catch of his "up for grabs" pass by David Tyree, a catch that will be a permanent part of Super Bowl history.

For those of us who know this game, we know that there is no discounting the importance of New England's right guard Steve Neal, who left the game early because of an injury and he was never able to return. But ya gotta play through those things and the Patriots weren't able to.

Throughout the game, Fox cameras showed Eli Manning's famous brother, Peyton who was in a luxury box at the game. Peyton Manning is a former Super Bowl MVP. Eli Manning is the current Super Bowl MVP.

Archie Manning was a pretty good NFL quarterback his ownself. But can any of us imagine how Archie feels as the proud father of two sons who have been the Most Valuable Player in America's greatest and most famous sporting event? I mean, NO father can make THAT claim!!! And unless someone proves me wrong, no father can make that claim about ANY of our major sports. Here's how impressive this is. If Archie Manning ate oats and whinnied, he'd be in a stud farm and folks would pay millions for his offspring.

But come to think of it, I guess some folks ARE paying millions for his offspring, aren't they?

I'll tell ya, if Archie Manning suddenly has to buy new clothes because his chest size has suddenly gotten bigger, no one but no one will suggest that Archie Manning's sudden size difference has a damn thing in the world to do with STEROIDS.

No, Archie Manning's expanded chest size has to do with parental pride, pride that in this case, can be understood ONLY by Archie.

Take a bow, hoss!


Legendary college basketball coach Bob Knight decided to retire from coaching yesterday. No one saw it coming, but when one remembers how Knight operates, we shouldn't be surprised that we didn't see it coming. His Texas Tech team had a winning record, they won their last game and Knight, with 902 wins, is college basketball's number one all time Division 1 winner.

Knight did a lot of other things that we didn't see coming during what at times was a volatile career, but one thing remained a constant. His teams never got into trouble with the NCAA because of recruiting violations and he always emphasized class studies before (and ahead of) basketball studies.

His disciplinary tactics bothered a lot of people, but I wasn't one of those people who was bothered. Any parent who didn't know who they were sending their child to wasn't paying attention. In fact, most if not all parents knew exactly who they were sending their child to. They were sending their child to a rock hard disciplinarian who would see to it that their child excelled in the classroom and if the child stuck it out with Knight, that child would use the discipline he'd been taught to be a productive citizen after he left Knight.

With rare exception, all of Knight's former students swear by him. I mean, look at the Hall of Fame basketball coaches who swear by him.

Short Commentary: Bob Knight, you are a true original. From the beginning to the end, you did it like one of your idols did. "My Way". And you will be missed.


What did you think of the Super Bowl commercials?

A lot of lame ones, huh? I mean, especially when you factor in how much money was spent on these things.

I saw two commercials that I ended up remembering (in a good way) after the Super Bowl had ended.

The Pepsi commercial that featured the deaf guys who were trying to find a house party.

And the Budweiser spot that ended with the dog giving the horse a "high paw" to the horse's "high hoof".

Speaking of Super Bowl stuff that had nothing to do with the game....How about that singing of the National Anthem by American Idol winner, Jordin Sparks?!? As far as I'm concerned, they should book Jordin Sparks to sing our National Anthem at every Super Bowl. Wow, Wow, Wow and even MORE Wow's!!!


Have you seen the film, "Juno", which is an Oscar Best Film nominee this year? As is star Ellen Page who has been nominated for Best Actress?

I haven't (yet), but I bring this up because on Showtime last night, I saw another film that Ellen Page starred in. A film that came out in 2006. "Hard Candy".

The film stars Ellen Page as a very disturbed 14-year old who is very upset at a 32-year old man played by Patrick Wilson who has a secret that the Ellen Page character knows about.

This film involves MAJOR high drama, folks. I mean, riveting, on the edge of your seat high drama. What this young woman has in mind for "punishment" for the Wilson character will have you holding on to yourself if you're a guy. And how she gets the Wilson character into the position of (almost) submission is breathtaking.

I watched this film from sometime after three until sometime after five this MORNING after I had been up all night. During the watching of this film, there wasn't one second spent by me of being "tired". And when the film ended, I was all worn out, but was in NO mood to SLEEP!!!

"Hard Candy"!!!!! If you didn't see it when it first came out (I didn't), rent it, buy it or watch it on one of the Showtime channels. And after seeing Ellen Page's performance, you'll understand why she is considered to be an "Oscar" caliber actress.


A reminder for those of you living in the Los Angeles area. A little bit after 10:30 tonight, I'll be on the radio with Joe McDonnell, Joe Grande and Tim Cates on "The Joe McDonnell Experience" which is broadcast from 7-11 pm, Monday through Friday on KLAC, which is 570 on the AM dial. I'm on with those guys almost every Tuesday for 20 minutes or so and yes, it's a sports show, but we're apt to talk about anything. Especially movies or other entertainment stuff.


The next one will involve (among other things) the subject(s) of deregulation and consolidation, things that have been disastrous for all of us except for the RICHEST of us which is why we have to totally change the way we do business in this country.

When the next blog is written, you will always know that at least one of the subjects will have to do with something that makes me say, "Whaaaat?!?"