Is "Save The Last Dance" a soundtrack in search of a movie or this season’s must-see dating flick? The PG-13 rating means there’s probably not a love scene… There must be a kiss, right?
Things To Do On A Long Weekend
Without Leaving The House

Winter has finally arrived here in SoCal. The concrete river is full, brown and rushing, the 405 is like a gigantic car wash and the body shops are doing a thriving business as the locals engage in their favorite winter sport—bumper cars. But this weekend, who cares what the weather's like? We'll be getting our thrills indoors, with two HUGE football games, the Shaq & Kobe show, a bunch of current movies on videotape (borrowed from our Academy-member pals), "Ken Burns' Jazz" and "Temptation Island" awaiting us on the TiVo, a working fireplace—and a three-day weekend to enjoy all of the above. For couch potatoes, it doesn't get any better than this, kids.

NFC: Vikings –2 over GIANTS
Yee-haw and Merry New Year! This here game don't hardly interest me, but I guess I'll make a pick anyhow. Danged ol' Giants ain't beat nobody. Sure, they was able to stop Philly, but hell, they only got one player—Donovan McNabb. When they stack it up to stop Robert Smith runnin', Randy Moss and Cris Carter is gonna burn 'em deep. Gotta take the Vikes.

AFC: Ravens +6 over RAIDERS
I got a stinky feelin' Al Davis and his white jumpsuit are gonna be back in the Super Bowl, but I gotta take the six points cuz of that danged Raven dee-fense. The key here for the Ravens is to not let Trent Dilfer throw more than 10 times fer them to have a shot. Sure, I'm still pissed as a former Raider season-seat holder in L.A., but the good news is that if the dang Raiders win, ain't no damn way they'll ever be back in L.A., and that tickles me plum to death. Die, Al Davis!
(Regular season record: 5-2)

"Save The Last Dance":
MTV/Paramount's answer to "Flashdance," "Dirty Dancing," Saturday Night Fever" and "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner," not to mention "Romeo & Juliet," as white-girl ballerina Julia Stiles ventures into inner-city Chicago with her single parent father, where she learns how to breakdance from upscale African-American romantic interest Sean Patrick Thomas (doesn't she watch MTV?). Is it a soundtrack (already breaking on Hollywood Records with previous hits by K-Ci & JoJo and Lucy Pearl) in search of a movie or this season's must-see dating flick? The PG-13 rating means there's probably not a love scene… There must be a kiss, right? And the fact that's not a big deal would mean we're really moving forward into the next century. Hey, if it doesn't work, they can always move the entire cast over to "Jackass."

"Antitrust": Think "The Firm" meets "Devil's Advocate" with egghead-gone-megalomaniac Tim Robbins playing Bill Gates as the Antichrist and Ryan Phillippe in the Tom Cruise/Keanu Reeves role of the callow prodigy taken in by his mentor. Could even be worth some camp value, especially the riveting climax, with the world being saved, at the last minute, as the bad guys are forced to offer open access to their Instant Messaging service. Just kidding. I think… Directed by Peter Howitt, the guy who demonstrated a rather light touch with "Sliding Doors," but apparently hasn't been able to transcend a by-the-digits script that finds suspense in a speed-typing contest.

"Double Take": This is kinda like "Trading Places" with Orlando Jones playing Dan Aykroyd or, more directly, "Midnight Run," with Jones in the uptight Charles Grodin role, and Eddie Griffin doing his best Eddie Murphy/De Niro psycho. Jones and Griffin play, respectively, a preening investment banker and the utterly obnoxious street hustler who claims to be an undercover FBI agent. It's a formula—a buddy-buddy movie in which the buddies can stand each other—that director George Gallo, who just happened to write "Midnight Run," has perfected. The trailers look promising, too, though we're inclined to think they've already showed us all the funniest bits. —Roy Trakin

Upcoming Birthdays
12—Howard Stern, Jack London
17—Ben Franklin, Muhammad Ali, Andy Kaufman

Special Events
15—Martin Luther King Jr. Day (it's actually his birthday as well)

"Best In Show": Christopher Guest
's mockumentary about the so-called Mayflower Dog Show may seem lightweight compared to his previous entries in the form, "Spinal Tap" and "Waiting For Guffman," but the beauty of Guest's characters is how they maintain their self-respect no matter how much humiliation they go through. Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara don't miss a step as trailer park exiles booked into a hotel supply closet when their credit cards are rejected, as Levy inquires whether he should tell the operator "utility room" when he calls for room service. Parker Posey is hilarious as a braces-wearing yuppie driven to a nervous breakdown when she loses her dog's squeeky bee toy and Fred Willard's TV announcer takes smarm to new heights. Guest's own turn as a fly-fishing expert and bloodhound owner grabs the man's dignity and hangs on for dear life...like a bulldog humping yer leg. —R.T.

"As long as a woman can look 10 years younger than her own daughter, she is perfectly satisfied." —Oscar Wilde

"Office Space":
Anyone who has ever worked in a "cube farm" can attest that "Beavis & Butt-head" creator Mike Judge's first foray into directing live actors is dead-on perfect in its send-up of punching the corporate clock. The story revolves around Peter (Ron Livingston) and his two buddies Samir (Ajay Naidu) and Michael Bolton (David Herman), and their decision to strike back at the company that is planning to downsize them. They're not the brightest guys, and their plan isn't the most original—in fact, they admit that they stole the idea from the villains in "Superman III." But the fact is, they don't have to be that smart. They're fighting a dim-witted beast: corporate bureaucracy. Jennifer Aniston (as Peter's love interest), Diedrich Bader (as Peter's neighbor) and Stephen Root (as the mumbling, beleaguered Milton) round out the cast. —Jeff Drake

James Monroe, our fifth president, was born in Westmoreland County, VA, in 1758. The document now called the Monroe Doctrine wasn't actually known by that name until some 20 years after Monroe's death in 1831. Best Anagram Of His Name: See moron jam.

Richard Lloyd, "The Cover Doesn't Matter" (Upsetter Music):
The Tom Verlaine/Matthew Sweet second banana has always yearned to be a band-leader in his own right. This solo album, his fourth and first since '87's "Real Time," finds the legendary Television co-founder collaborating with, among others, the Waitresses' Chris Butler, planting one foot in the '60s psychedelia of the Byrds ("Ain't It Time") and the other in the halcyon days of CBGB-era punk ("Torn Shirt"). And while singing remains his Achilles' heel, Lloyd's characteristic, tightly wound, spiraling guitar riffs evoke the timeless rock & roll that still inspires him. For Richard's thoughts on Gurdjieff, alchemy and various forms of tantric Buddhism, go to richardlloyd.com. —Roy Trakin

Cosmic Rough Riders, "Enjoy The Melodic Sunshine" (Poptones U.K.): On its third album (and first for Alan McGee's new Poptones label), the Glasgow quintet deftly channels the mystic drone of such '60s landmarks as "Revolver," "Notorious Byrd Brothers" and Fairport Convention's "Unhalfbricking," doctoring the brew with contempo wit. While this retro premise is hardly precedent-setting, particularly in the region these guys hail from (see the next review), CRR has the feel and flow of this music down cold; the rich layering of jangling guitars, swirling harmonies and lilting grooves is so consistently captivating that it's difficult to single out the highlights among these 15 tracks. If the album has a crystallizing track, it's the wry, lilting "Glastonbury Revisited," which asks the metaphysical question, "Where have all the angels gone/Now that all the acid's gone?" —Bud Scoppa

Teenage Fanclub, "Howdy!" (Columbia U.K.): The veteran Scottish popsters have never sounded more life-affirming and irony-free than here, on their utterly delightful fifth album, which has drawn raves in the U.K. The opening "I Need Direction" is an especially tasty manifestation of TFC's trademark blend of chimey guitars and dreamy, dulcet harmonies. The harmonica-accented "Happiness" is perhaps the album's loveliest track, while the band shows off its Byrds/Big Star inspiration most vividly on "Accidental Life." These tracks, along with "Near You" and "My Uptight Life," would sound right at home on early-'70s AM radio, right alongside Badfinger and the Raspberries.
—Donna DeChristopher

Richard X. Heyman, "Heyman, Hoosier & Herman" (Turn-Up): "Hoosier (Girl)," the first track on this EP of jangle-pop from melodic mainstay Heyman (which includes songs from his previously unreleased "Cornerstone Sessions"), features vocals by none other than Herman's Hermits singer Peter Noone—who sounds, well, incredible. It's the kind of breathlessly romantic ditty that reminds you why British Invasion pop was a sensation even apart from the influence of the Mop-Topped Ones. Meanwhile, the X-Man works his charm effortlessly on the other tunes, especially "Holding On," the psychedelic "Why Can't She See Me" and the gorgeous "Until the King Comes Down." For more info, contact Permanent Press Recordings: 818-981-7760 or [email protected]. —Simon Glickman

Sigur Ros, "Agaetis Byrjun" (FatCat): It must be something in the water, cuz Icelandic artists defy convention like no others. Consider Sigor Ros, the cold little country's biggest band, whose lyrics are in a made-up language the group calls Hopelandish. As you might expect, "Agaetis Byrjun," the third release—and global debut—of this defiantly offbeat outfit, is avant-garde in a mysterious, oddly enchanting way. Sigur Ros incorporates orchestration, feedback and Nordic mysticism, brilliantly meshing its collection of haunting, atmospheric symphonies with singer Jon Thor Birgisson's ethereal vocals. On "Sven-G-Englar," "Olson Olson" and "Staralfur" Sigur Ros perfectly blends hypnotic lingering organs, delicate stings and powerful drums. The Icelandic invasion has begun—what if Sigur Ros is just the tip of the iceberg? —Steven Levine

After a sex education lesson from Mrs. Garrett, Blair accepts a date to "Make-out Mountain" with delivery boy Steve and his van.

If you were to go to a site called www.myleftasscheek.com, you'd most likely be expecting to find something that isn't there. Basically, this is a news site that supplies you with randomized news content from the Net. The main page loads with current news stories, but if for some reason you do not like the selections they offer, you can hit reload and get a whole new set of articles. I'm not certain where the name came from, but the site is listed as "news that slips through the cracks." —Paul Karlsen

Now Includes Full-Frontal Nudity
After a rough work week, Los Angeles is the place to be to enjoy fine weather again this weekend. It must have been payback time for when it was burr-ass cold everywhere else. The winter storm that brought misery to those with oceanfront property and anyone who has to share the road with native Californians—who have trouble driving when it's cloudy, let alone when three-to-four inches of rain fall in a 24-hour period—will end. Look for highs in the 60s and lows in the upper 40s, with tons of sun on Saturday and some clouds on Sunday. But no more rain! On the opposite coast, it should be fairly pleasant, mostly cloudy with temps on Saturday hovering at the 40 degree mark, and Saturday warming up to the mid-50s, with lows in the upper 40s. Lawrence, KS, will be wet all weekend, with rain a guarantee and temps ranging from the mid-40s all the way down to the upper 20s. The first day of spring is only 68 days away.
—David Simutis, apprentice meteorologist.

The song we needed (6/4a)
The buddy system in action (6/4a)
Making it real in Music City (6/4a)
Bringing joy to a world that desperately needs it (6/4a)
Kane is able. (6/4a)

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