Planet Proctor 2004 Volume 04

"The white guy who wrote the national anthem knew what he was doing. He set the word 'free' so high, nobody could reach it." ~ Tony Kushner, "Angels in America" 

 AMISH MY ANCESTORS

        An Amish lady is trotting down the road in her horse and buggy when she is pulled over by a cop.

        "Ma'am, I'm not going to ticket you, but I do have to issue you a warning. You have a broken reflector on your buggy."

         "Oh, I'll let my husband, Jacob, know as soon as I get home." "And another thing, ma'am. I don't like the way that one rein loops across the horse's back and around one of his testicles. I consider that animal abuse. You need to have your husband take care of that right away."

        Later that day, she told Jacob about her encounter with the cop.

         "Well, dear, what exactly did the police officer say?"

         "He said the reflector is broken."

         "I can fix that in two minutes. What else?"

         "I'm not sure, Jacob.  Something about the emergency brake."


           "If writers write, why don't fingers fing and hammers ham?" ~ Phil's Phunny Phacts


PHIL'S PHILMS

        We've been seeing a lot of flicks lately and some of you have expressed a desire to know what we think, so here goes.

    "Monster" - Horribly fascinating. Charlize Theron totally inhabits her character and the results are chilling. Great first film for Penny Jenkins. Greater makeup.

     "House of Sand and Fog" - According to my wife, Melinda Peterson, "Too much fog; not enough sand." I agree that the plot is built on shaky ground but the performances are uniformly solid.

     "Peter Pan" - Go before you grow up!  The dark and sexy side of Barrie's timeless tale has never been better served, nor the enchantment more seamlessly realized.  All without songs!

     "The Station Agent" - Small film, small stars, big heart. One the best American films of our time.  Subversively funny.

     "Mystic River." - Cried me a river?  Not really.  But an arresting story intricately woven, insightfully directed and convincingly portrayed.

     "The Last Samurai" - "Kill Bill" with a sense of soul.

      "Kill Bill. Vol. 1" - "The Last Samurai" with a sense of humor.

      "Lost in Translation" - Don't worry, you got Bill Murray. Oh, so funny. Oh, so sad

      "Cold Mountain" - An Ozzie, a Brit and a Canadian walking down a rural road in   Romania.  A beautiful movie, but why did it leave me cold?

      "Elf/Bad Santa" - Funny's funny.

      "Something's Gotta Give" - Like cutting a few minutes from an otherwise wonderful movie; and what's with that phoney "on stage" scene?

      "Master and Commander..." - Something to Crowe about.

      "Pirates of the Caribbean" - Johnny goes to new Depps. What a ride!

      "Seabiscuit" - And the winner is...?  American movies.

      "Lord of the Rings, etc." - Is it over yet?


      "My rapid penetration instrument strategy didn't work." ~ Overheard in L.A.


AND SPEAKING OF ROMANIA AND MOVIES...

        A tumor that weighed 175 pounds has been surgically removed from a 47-year-old Romanian woman in an operation that took 10 hours to complete by an international team of surgeons, reports Reuters. It weighed almost double her body weight.. It was only possible because all expenses were paid by the Discovery Channel in exchange for the film rights.  

        Can we use our SAG card to get in, or do we have to be on Medicare?


    "My ambition consists entirely of being able to do it well enough that they let me do it again - and to avoid public disgrace," ~ Late playwright Herb Gardner


HEIL SCHNAUZER!

Times Wire reports that a German citizen was charged with violating the country's anti-Fascist laws for teaching his dog to give the Nazi salute. It wasn't specified which of his hind legs he lifted.

        Newsweek quoted U.K. M. P. Stephen Pound as saying, "The people have spoken...the bastards," after having agreed to enact legislature voted "most popular" on a BBC call-in show allowing homeowners to shoot intruders.

And it's "Spam vs. Spam" -- as the Hormel Foods Corporation is attempting to enjoin the "SpamArrest" online blocking system from incorporating their product's name in theirs. So far, they've prevailed in more than a dozen other trademark cases to prevent the "dilution" of their brand and keep canned Spam from being associated with "junk".

        On their web site at www.spam.com, they reveal that the obnoxious email got its appellation from a 1990's Monty Python skit in which a band of Vikings sang a chorus of "Spam, spam, spam" to drown out other conversations.

        And finally, you can sign up for a three-year subscription at www.MyLastEmail.com which will forward your personalized farewell from the great beyond, long after you've shuffled off to burial, oh?

        However, Laura Larsen, author of "Facing the Final Mystery", suggests "It's a much better plan to tell people these things when you're still alive. That seems much warmer and realer than an email."  

        And tastier than Spam?


       "Death seems like a great adventure to me." ~ Paraphrasing Peter Pan


A PAIR OF EAR PLUGS!       

        If you want to hear some hot sounds and cut a rug with hip cats and dolls from their twenties to their nineties, visit Maxwell De Mille's at the historic Argyle on the Sunset Strip every Monday night. Info @ 213.361-6186

        We were there recently for Stanley Sheff's "Lobster Man From Mars" release party. That's right, the lobster is loose - on DVD! You can see me improvising with the great Tony Curtis and living to tell the tale in this hilarious sci-fi horror spoof.  Go to www.artistanent.com

        And for one of the most "realistic" workshops around, sign up for Andy Milder and Evan Arnold's Commercial Acting Class. Their brochure tells it like it is:

        "Learn how buying a non-refundable plane ticket is your guarantee of $ucce$$! Can't speak English? Use it to your advantage! Learn how to sabotage the psyche of your colleagues, opponents and friends! Tell lies about the clients ('They want it BIG!') Sign others out late! Imagine thirty-dollar checks coming in the mail every day, seven days a week!"

        New classes include: When to Give Up Completely and Advanced Complaining.  "Remember: you're an actor because you don't like yourself! Rock and Roll your way to commercial acting success!!!!"

         Think they're kidding?  Check it out at www.definitionactor.com


  "Cut to boy defending himself with sponge nunchucks. Close up of a demonstration of hand-cranking." ~ Voice-over video description


BIGGER IS BADDER!

        In a fascinating article in the January 12th issue of The New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell puts the skids on the SUV safety myths. Experts assert that SUVs "tend to be bought by people who are insecure, vain, self-centered and self-absorbed, who are frequently nervous about their marriage and who lack confidence in their driving skills."      In an L.A. focus group, an elegantly dressed woman said she required her Lexus LX 470 "to drive up over the curb and onto lawns to park at large parties in Beverly Hills."

        "The only time these SUVs are going to be off-road," adds a Ford marketing executive, "is when they miss the driveway at 3 A.M."

        Other fascinating facts about the psychology of sitting pretty in a Monster car, according to cultural anthropologist but not apologist, G. Clotaire Rapaille, are that "being high" and looking down on others makes your "reptilian brain" feel secure although your "cortex" knows you're more likely to flip over.

        Cupholders in a soft, round interior "are absolutely crucial for safety"  because they remind you of mommy and the higher chassis and smaller rear window make women feel protected against assailants.

        In other words, "feeling safe has become more important then being safe."

        This is called "learned helplessness," but in Europe, they embrace "active safety" by designing smaller, more maneuverable vehicles to "avoid accidents" instead of preparing to survive them.

        And hey, don't shoot the messenger! I know that all my dear friends are driving SUVs because they need them, so just drive safely, ok?  And button up!


  "If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?" ~ Just Asking


KORRECTIONZ

        I found my scribbled note with Harry Anderson's original phoned in lyrics about Siegfried and Roy, to be sung to the tune of...well, you know.

        "Pardon me, Roy, but wasn't that the cat that bit ya?

  Name's 'Montecore,' your neck was covered with gore..."


     "Russian roulette with commercials." ~ Newsweek on Paar's "Tonight Show"


PAAR FOR THE COURSE

        Goodnight to the unpredictable Jack Paar who hosted "The Tonight Show" that so many of my generation watched. Although I preferred the zany unpredictability of Steve Allen, Paar brought wit, politics and conversation to the tube and that kept us awake.

        A stutterer in his youth, he put buttons in his mouth and learned to speak straight; which he also did as a stand-up camp comic during his tour of duty in the South Pacific, once mowing down a loud-mouthed officer with: "Lieutenant, a man with your I.Q. should have a low voice, too."

        We saw him honored at the Museum of Television and Radio a few years ago where he said to some youngsters,

        "I'm the fellow who used to entertain your mothers and fathers later at night.  Obviously, I didn't do a very good job, or you wouldn't be here."


   "In America if you become successful they put your name on the pavement and let people walk on it.  In Britain, they don't wait for your name to be engraved, they just walk all over you anyway." ~ Comic Billy Connolly


    "The greatest number of dialogue retakes was 127 -- by Stanley Kubrick, 'The Shining'." ~ Phil's Phunny Phacts


PLANET PROCTOR
2004 by Phil Proctor
Published JANUARY 28, 2004