In a nutshell: "A theater full of 15- and 16-year-old high school Valley girls...derived from a video game...set in [Brando's] underwear...who started out photographing street kids...get racing excellence to tha last detail of physics & automotive engineering...a wheel of cheese weighing 1,400 pounds...[and] woodcuts from the 16th and 17th centuries."


Which Either Means the Weather’s Getting Hot
or That These Are the Days Best Spent Sniffing Another Dog’s Butt
It’s kind of a drag of a weekend coming up. You failed to receive even a single Emmy nomination for the umpteenth year in a row, despite all those very dramatic moments you provided unsuspecting viewers in shopping malls, grocery stores and in the line at Pink’s. Your buddies are off getting gored by bulls during the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, northern Spain. And to top it off, the cops are tracking mud through your house behind their cadaver-sniffing dogs in search of clues. (Good thing you dumped the body at sea, huh?) Ah, well, try to forget that the weekend begins with Friday the 13th by renting the Friday the 13th series—all 47 of ‘em. Plunk yourself down in your favorite chair, dig into that pot brownie you bought from that girl at work—Nikki, I think her name was—and let the blurring of reality begin! But don’t forget that Saturday is Bastille Day. As near as we can tell, that’s the French version of Christmas.

Legally Blonde
Saw this at a Saturday night preview with a theater full of 15- and 16-year-old high school Valley girls who wondered whether to laugh with the movie or whether the film was laughing at them. It's not quite either Clueless or Election, but Reese Witherspoon as a Bel Air princess who follows her ex-boyfriend to Harvard Law School, evinces an intelligence and humor that rivals such great comic blondes of the past as Carole Lombard, Judy Holliday, Marilyn Monroe and Goldie Hawn. First-time director Robert Luketic (whose previous film was '97's Titsiana Booberini—and we're not kidding) gives the film a tacky, sitcom feel, but the supporting performances by Luke Wilson, Selma Blair, Jennifer Coolidge (American Pie and a memorable cameo in Best In Show) and the cameo by Raquel Welch are all solid. The movie's post-feminist view is really no closer to anti-middlebrow intellectual Camille Paglia than it is to Gloria Steinem, but its message of distaff empowerment should make it a box-office winner. The A&M soundtrack was supervised by Ron Fair and boasts the catchy Hoku credit single "Perfect Day," along with tracks by Mya, Lisa Loeb, Samantha Mumba and Black Eyed Peas with Terry Baxter. The website at, gives you all the information you need to know about National Blonde Day (July 9), with a quiz designed to find your inner blonde.

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (Columbia Pictures): This cutting-edge version of Japanese anime was derived from a video game, and its creator—the visionary Hironobu Sakaguchi—is also the man behind the movie. Its lifelike animation should give more fodder to SAG in a time when actual human actors threaten to become endangered species. The N.Y. Times called it "the first film with human leads played by nonactors…if you don't count Pearl Harbor," and the heroine has to be the sexiest toon since Jessica Rabbit. The CGI effects are reportedly amazing in a tale that takes place in 2065, with Earth under invasion from predatory aliens and just a small band of hearty survivors left to save humankind. The voices are supplied by Alec Baldwin, Ving Rhames, Steve Buscemi, Donald Sutherland and James Woods, and the realism of the animation prompts a double-take. Is this the future of movies? Probably not, but if I were an actor, I'd keep my options open. There is a deadness in the eyes that clues you to the fact that nobody's home, but still, movies like Shrek and A.I. have definitely pushed the envelope of screen art and technology to where it is re-creating humanity with groundbreaking skill. Oscar/Golden Globe nominee Elliot Goldenthal's score is available on Sony Classical/Sony Music Soundtrax; Lara Fabian, the Canadian chanteuse whose haunting vocals could be heard in A.I., sings several tracks on the soundtrack. The website, at, is, predictably, top of the line.

The Score (Paramount): Director Frank Oz, who has helmed such cult faves as Bowfinger, What About Bob?, Dark Crystal and Little Shop of Horrors, goes the big-budget, Hollywood superstar route with this thriller about an old pro (Robert DeNiro) lured back for one last heist by a slick newcomer (Ed Norton). Shades of "Everytime I try to get out, they pull me back in." Pre-release publicity surrounds Marlon Brando running around the set in his underwear, reportedly because he didn't want to be shot below the waist, and refusing to take direction from Oz, preferring to work with old pal DeNiro. The trailers look pretty cliched, but never underestimate the power of good acting to lift a genre film above the ordinary. Still, when your lead reviews feature Larry King, critical success is probably a long shot. Soundtrack composer Howard Shore's score is on Varese Sarabande, while the film's very clever website,, is structured like plans for a robbery.

Made (Artisan): The directorial debut of Jon Favreau (who also wrote the screenplay) reunites him with his Swingers co-star Vince Vaughn in a darkly comic tale that has been compared to The Sopranos. The flick's other claim to fame is that it’s the feature film debut of rap tycoon Sean "Puffy" Combs as a soft-spoken, but deadly New York crime lord. Favreau is a fading boxer who is urged by his pal Vaughn to travel to the Apple to pursue a higher position in the organization of old-time mob boss Max (Peter Falk). The themes seem pretty shopworn, so it may be doubtful that the pair can duplicate the "money" success of their last collaboration, but the advance word on P. Diddy's performance is surprisingly good and the comic interplay between Favreau and Vaughn is always deft. The Redline Entertainment soundtrack mirrors the stars' cross-country trip by seguing from the slinky R&B grooves of West Coast rappers Stargunn (mixed by Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello), Jurassic 5 and Black Eyed Peas to the hip-hop funk-rock of N.Y.C.'s A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul and Monster Magnet. Check the film's production history at

Bully (Lion's Gate): Notable mainly as the new film from Kids director Larry Clark, this one’s based on a novel by Jim Schultze, Bully: A True Story of High School Revenge, which in turn, comes from a true story of a 16-year-old from Fort Lauderdale who stabs and kills his best friend, the neighborhood bully, with seven other teenagers after luring him to a deserted Everglades clearing. Eighteen-year-old Brad Renfro stars, along with the always-provocative Bijou Phillips. Clark is the controversial auteur who started out photographing Greenwich Village street kids as a sort of street version of Bruce Weber and has now directed four features, including the surreal road movie Another Day in Paradise (1998) and this year's Ken Park, written by his Kids collaborator Harmony Korine. Check the film's website,, for a contest, and a plot synopsis. —Roy Trakin

"A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar." —H.L. Mencken

A Stitch in Time: This Saturday (7/14), Radio 4 at L.A.’s Knitting Factory will feature an acoustic set by Simon MacLean from Poptones band January, and formerly with Jupiter. January are pretty cool—one of the bright lights on Alan McGee’s new label, in fact—sort of a melding of shoegazer, country pop and the slowcore of Low. Their album, I Heard Myself in You, is recommended. So take heed and try to check out Simon's set. And there are other reasons to be cheerful about Radio 4 this weekend as well. Meredith Chinn is spinning discs early—and you can also check out Oakland's new spirits, the Pattern. An L.A.-based scribe (who shall remain nameless) recently wrote in Britain's NME, "American bands are returning to their roots, playing simple, dirty punk rock. It's there in the infectious distortion of the Strokes. It's there in the stripped back proto-blues of the White Stripes. And it's certainly there in the psychedelic garage sounds of the Pattern."
—Jason Reynolds

Break out the white belts, black glasses and one-inch badges! You'll need them for the best shows happening this weekend. Friday brings the Vagrant America tour to Irving Plaza, featuring the likes of Saves the Day, the Anniversary, Dashboard Confessional and Hot Rod Circuit. Dashboard Confessional has been getting all the underground buzz lately, but the real winner of the pack is the Anniversary, whose synth/keyboard-driven pop-rock is downright fabulous. Saturday brings Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst to the Village Underground for a solo performance. His songs make young girls weepy and woozy—which is sometimes more of a spectacle than the performer himself. DC's Q & Not U, this year’s answer to Fugazi, are at Brownies on Sunday. Word is their live show is pretty rockin’. —Heidi Anne-Noel

Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec:
Oh, shittt—speakin of tha fast and tha furious, one of tha most anticipated games haz finally arrived, & tha shittt iz hottt. Sum say there's nothing finer than a well-crafted automobile. But with over 150 of the world's top-performing sports cars, luxury autos, modified street runners, rally racers and prototype evolutionary automobiles, tha finer drivin experience may be in Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec. Tha flawless third edition of tha racing series that is studied by all other racing-game designers creates a new paragon of graphic & handling distinction. You get racing excellence to tha last detail of physics & automotive engineering, with tha assistance of manufacturers such as Aston Martin, Lotus, Nissan, and Ford. And with its undeniably stunning visuals set in glinting cityscapes and on swirling rally tracks, no game approaches its beauty or realism. Come around a corner at dusk and blinding sunlight will blaze across your windshield. Whip through country roads & marvel as tha reflection of nearby trees gleams off of your sedan. Skid across slick roads & watch tha spray of your wake douse your opponent in a wall of mist. From tha perfect lines of real automobiles settling on their shocks to unprecedented effects only possible with tha PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system, this is the pinnacle of racing. —Latin Prince AKA Speed Racer

Andrew Jackson, our 7th president, was born March 15, 1767, in Waxhaw, SC. In his first annual message to Congress, Jackson recommended eliminating the Electoral College. As national politics polarized around Jackson and his opposition, two parties grew out of the old Republican Party—the Democratic Republicans, or Democrats, adhering to Jackson; and the National Republicans, or Whigs, opposing him. Anyone could come to Andrew Jackson's public parties at the White House, and just about everyone did. At his last one, a wheel of cheese weighing 1,400 pounds was eaten in two hours. The White House smelled of cheese for weeks. Best Anagram Of His Name: Darn a sewn jock.

A high priest of British White Witches has cast a spell on Warner Bros. Studios for showing apprentice wizard Harry Potter riding his broomstick with the brush part at the back. Kevin Carlyon, who has his own coven in Sussex, southern England, said broomsticks should be ridden the other way round, and has wished for the film to do badly at the box office until the studio admits it got it wrong. "Warner Bros claims the film is an accurate portrayal of things that happen in witchcraft, yet woodcuts from the 16th and 17th centuries show broomsticks being ridden with the brush part in the front," said Carlyon. "It's a common mistake—even the ‘60s TV series Bewitched showed broomsticks being ridden backwards, but this is not correct." The Harry Potter movie hasn't been released yet, but the trailer shows Harry being taught to ride a broomstick. Carlyon claims he knows first hand the proper way to ride a broomstick, since he has three, though all are grounded at the moment. "The CAA (Britain's Civil Aviation Authority) won't give me permission to fly," he said. —Jeff Drake

Upcoming Birthdays
July 13-19

13—Patrick Stewart (61) & Cheech Marin (55)
14—Woody Guthrie (would have been 89)
15—Rembrandt (would have been 395)
16—Ginger Rogers (would have been 90)
17—Phyllis Diller (84)
18—Nelson Mandela (83)

Special Events
14—Talkeetna Moose Dropping Festival (Alaska) & Bastille Day (France)

Will Not Stain Clothing:
While there are no Emmys for weather coverage, there are people who think that the Weather Channel has some babes. And you thought I was a geek. At least my mom thinks I’m smart. Here in Los Angeles, it shall be another glorious and sunny weekend, with highs in the upper 70s and in lows in the low 60s. At night, the sun will go down and darkness will ensue. Far, far away in N.Y.C., it should be pleasant as well, with temps in the upper 70s during the day and lows in the mid-60s. If it gets too hot, you can always take off your pants. Keep in mind that the mold count will be high in the Eastern half of the nation, so if you have allergies, stay inside, wear a surgical mask and set some things on fire as a sacrifice to the mold gods.
—David Simutis, Senior Meteorology and Voodoo Correspondent

A charming 70-year-old proposes to a delighted Mrs. Garrett, but the girls protest he's much too old for her.

VRRMMMM (5/17a)
Celebrity death match underway on album chart (5/17a)
Another talented journalist trapped in the career cul de sac (5/17a)
Cornering the market on surefire headliners (5/17a)
A genre mash-up at the home of the Cowboys (5/17a)
Gosh, we hope there are more press releases.
Unless the Senate manages to make this whole thing go away, that is.
No, not that one.
Now 100% unlicensed!

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