Win Win -- 1 out of 7 Golden Slacks
Synopsis (from imdb.com):Disheartened attorney Mike Flaherty (Giamatti), who moonlights as a high school wrestling coach, stumbles across a star athlete through some questionable business dealings while trying to support his family.
Joe's Take: Have you ever sat through a movie or bris and thought to yourself: "I think the outcome of this would be greatly enhanced with a wrestling match?" If you said yes, then you should watch Win Win, then hurl yourself into a trash bin. The film is a classic story of wrestling and a troubled kid who, through wrestling, learns deep values and confidence and better skills at wrestling. Admittedly, I know nothing of the skills required for high school or college wrestling but the movie suggests that the kid is a phenom, like in The Natural, only instead of being blessed with the ability to hit knuckle balls or throw fastballs, he can pin down a guy for a really, really long time. It's like my ability to kick dogs across lawns. I was born with an innate talent. Where are my scholarships?
Unexpected Scene: Paul Giamatti and the kid watch Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler and point out all of the technical inaccuracies. Then, they wrestle.
The Lincoln Lawyer -- -9,770,978 out of 7 Golden Slacks
Synopsis (from imdb.com): A lawyer conducts business from the back of his Lincoln town car while representing a high-profile client in Beverly Hills.
Joe's Take: Everyone knows that in Hollywood, the story from the initial pitch to the final product can often change. I've received script/character changes for this movie. Take a look:
Writer: I have a story about a plumber who loses everything in Katrina and lives in his car. He slowly rebuilds his community, goes to law school and now works to help the very people who ignored him in LA. I have Edward James Olmos in mind. Based on a true story, by the way. Amazi --
Studio Exec: Katrina is 2005. They didn't have iPads back then. No one will relate. Also, we need a sexier actor
Writer: OK. Recession. 2009. Forces guy to live in his tiny car. He goes to law school and then prosecutes the very people who put him there.
Studio Exec: Recession is depressing. Will remind people they shouldn't spend money on the movie. Also, make it a classic car. It's sexy. No one wants to see someone hanging out in a Dodge.
Studio Exec: Wait. We have a project right now where Matthew McConaughey hangs out in the back of an old Lincoln.
Writer: We could just make him a lawyer.
Studio Exec: Done.
Unexpected Scene: During a climatic scene where McConaughey is conducting shifty business in his car, he smartly takes it into a car wash and opens his enemy's window -- the enemy is clean but temporarily blinded.
Limitless -- 1 out of 7 Golden Slacks
Synopsis (from IMDB.com): A writer discovers a top-secret drug which bestows him with super human abilities.
Joe's Take: I don't trust movies in which men endowed with super intelligence use that power to earn money. I would use it to retake the SATs, apply to Ivy League Institutions and then turn them down. Also, super intelligence can be a drag -- it would almost certainly ruin my enjoyment of the misunderstandings on According to Jim. I don't want to solve Jim's problems; I want to see how he deals with them in a hilarious fashion. Movies like this aren't logical. Cooper gets mixed up in crime and greed. If you were super-intelligent, you would make your millions and move away from friends, family, and Circus Circus.
Unexpected Scene: Cooper goes on Jeopardy and loses to Watson. Then, the kid from Win Win shows up and wrestles them both.
It's been awhile since I've written. When we last parted ways, Japan was fine, Gadhafi was adorable and Charlie Sheen was melting down. Since that time a lot has changed. I was in San Fran and now I'm in Los Angeles. In between, I stayed in a hotel called Circus Circus. It's where families go to die. The lobby of the hotel looks like a cross between an airport, a deportation center, and the darkest nightmares in our collective brains. They have installed a camera into the wall of the hotel (see below) that allows patrons to take photos of their muggings/rapes.
I cannot express the sadness one feels after staying in Circus Circus. I was waiting in line behind a family that can only be defined as a real-life version of the Klumps only with less tact. They arrived at 9AM and had attempted to check in. When told that check-in wasn't until 3PM, the mother Klump said, "That's fine! I'm just happy to be in a building." If I weren't surrounded by 1,000s of kids wetting themselves and me, I would have reflected on the sadness in a statement like that. Instead, I ran to the elevators to escape the pandemonium. (see below).
(People remarked on how strange it was for the hotel to have a 13th floor.
I reminded them that the entire hotel was bad luck, not just that floor.
Their chances of being stabbed remained the same.)
I played two shows in Vegas -- one at the Riviera and the other at the Golden Nugget. One of the aspects of comedy that people rarely get a chance to see is what happens when you talk to the comics who give you time. The host of the Riviera show took me aside and asked me softball questions like, "How long have you been doing comedy?" or "Where are you from?" before launching into a warning hidden in friendly language.
The guy put his arm around me and said, "Hey, Just so you know. This is Vegas, not Boston. So your Boston jokes won't play here. Okay?"
Then, the guy went on stage and did impressions of Buddy Hackett and Andrew Dice. All they wanted to do was talk about rape. He asked for requests. Someone yelled about President Hu and he started yelling at the crowd.
After my set, he came up to me and said, "Hey, I really warmed them up for you. Enjoy it." I later saw that same guy in a pizzeria at Circus Circus -- he was sending back his pepperoni pizza because it had too much cheese on it. He was sitting next to a blended family (black father, son and daughter; white mother and daughter) that was constantly bickering until the father stood up and yelled, "Stop it! Can't we just have a nice dinner?! Look where we are!" It was like a sadder Clark Griswald.
The next show was at the Golden Nugget. I had 15 minutes in front of a crowd that was there to see Country All-Stars. Basically, you plunk down $40 and you get to see people dressed up like Reba McIntyre sing their hits. Weird, but the booker and crew were cool; they treated us like kings.
The crowd, though, was 50 and over. The worst aspect of the ppt stand-up is that there's no room for changing gears. If they crowd is not into something, I have to push through the slides and we all sink together. I did a joke and heard gasps from the crowd. I knew it was going to be a long set. I got them back but there were times when I longed for the good times that awaited me in the lobby of Circus Circus. At that point, I, too, would be happy to be in a building.
It’s getting pretty close to the end. We’re going to be in LA next Thursday and that means that the moving production company is going to shut down pretty soon. It’s kind of sad to think that something that has been a way of life for a few months is going to dissolve in less than a week. But it’s probably good timing as everything that fuels the production is starting to deteriorate.
Here’s a rundown:
The laptop that supports the video production was dropped pretty hard and is not functioning to spec.
The hard drives that hold the projects are corrupting media making the editorial process an exercise in walking on eggshells.
One of the 3 production lights has blown and the remaining 2 are on their last bulbs (which are specialty bulbs and can only be ordered online).
Joe’s projector and screen have each taken a pretty good beating. Along with every show is a growing concern that the projector light is not going to work.
We blew out the car’s cigarette lighter by running too much power through it. Now we just hook up our components directly to the car battery.
The only pair of sunglasses that were brought on the trip and we all share while driving have broken twice (both arms broke off and have been taped back on like a pair of Poindexter glasses)
Our clothes are falling apart and the soles of our shoes are gone. Seriously.
To be honest, this crippled little outfit has been living like MacGyver for the past couple of weeks -- but in all honesty, it feels pretty good. There’s something exhilarating about figuring out how to make stuff work even though it’s technically broken. Just don’t ask me about the times in between when everything is falling apart.