In a nutshell:
"A hapless group of Vegas low rollers...[who] deliver my mail everyday...on a Greek island occupied by...repressed, alcoholic country club parents...burst through tha smoke and debris and take tha...lesson-driven boy-and-his-dog combination funded by the Lutheran Church...with understanding assistance from her adoptive mom."


Beware Of That Cartoon Bee, Man, He’s Been Telling Us For Days To Burn Down The Office
Well, the heat of August has finally dropped upon us like a filthy wet blanket. Sure, the nights are pleasant—not quite the hot August nights Mr. Diamond used to sing so passionately about—but the days! Oy, I’m shvitzing just thinking about it. Certainly, plans for this weekend should include staying somewhere cool or immersing oneself in a body of water somewhere. If you’re thinking about the beach and surfing, you may wanna consider the fact that perigean high tides—"perigee" being the time when the moon is closest to the earth—occur this Saturday. Maybe you should just sit in a movie theater all weekend and catch up on the tail end of the Summer Blockbuster Wave. Below, you may find a suggestion or two from our very own Roy Trakin, who is doing almost enough shvitzing for the whole office. Did we mention that the A/C at the office wasn’t quite working? Oy! Oh, but let us be the first to wish you a happy Ganesh Chaturthi! Truly a cause for celebration regardless of the heat.

Rat Race
Director Jerry (Airplane, Naked Gun) Zucker's attempt to relive the spirit of such ensemble comedies as Around The World In 80 Days, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and The Great Race. Experienced farceurs Whoopie Goldberg, Cuba Gooding Jr., Jon Lovitz, Rowan Atkinson, Seth Green and Breckin Meyer play a hapless group of Vegas low rollers who win special gold coins in a slot machine that allows them to take part in sleazy hotel owner John Cleese's no-holds-barred race to New Mexico. The first one to open a locker in the Silver City train station can lay claim to the $2 million contained therein, and the fun begins. The trailers, with flying cows, Lucille Ball impersonators and plenty of Zucker's patented visual gags, look promising, and the script, by ex-Saturday Night Live writer Andy Breckman (Sgt. Bilko, I.Q., Hot To Trot) has to be better than most of the dreck that passes for comedy these days. The soundtrack's on Beyond Records and features the single, "Happy," performed by the label's just-inked St. Louis rockers Colony, along with new music from Baha Men, Better Than Ezra and Smash Mouth, as well as classics from Hot Chocolate, the Four Tops and Aretha Franklin. The wacky, wacky website at www.ratracemovie.com includes a Las Vegas Getaway Contest, a John Cleese webcam, a High Rollers Club and oddsmakers' numbers on the various individuals' chances of winning, where you can vote for whom you think will win.

Captain Corelli's Mandolin (Miramax/Universal): The first film from director John Madden since Shakespeare in Love is based on Louis De Bernieres' best-selling British novel set on a Greek island occupied by Italy during World War II, featuring Nicolas Cage as an Italian soldier with an indecipherable accent trapped in a war he doesn't believe in, who falls in love with a strong-willed ambitious young woman, played by flavor of the moment Penelope Cruz. The cast also includes veteran actors as John Hurt, Empire of the Sun/American Psycho star Christian Bale, David Morrissey (Hilary & Jackie) and the legendary Greek performer Irene Papas, who starred in Zorba the Greek and The Guns of Navarone. Kinda looks like a made-for-TV movie from the coming attractions, but don't underestimate the allure of Cage and Cruz or a chick flick in the midst of the dog days. The Decca/UMG soundtrack features original music composed by Stephen Warbeck, including some of Captain Corelli's mandolin stylings, naturally. The rather portentous website, complete with historical data, screensavers, video and audio clips, can be found at www.captain-corellis-mandolin.com.

American Outlaws (WB): Like Young Guns of a few years ago, this is veteran director Les Mayfield's (Blue Streak, Flubber, Encino Man) attempt to revitalize the western genre. He re-tells the Jesse James saga with young stars Colin Farrell (already up to the $1 million-per-movie range after starring in the upcoming Spielberg film, Minority Report, and the next Joel Schumacher, Phone Booth), James Caan's son Scott (Ocean's Eleven, Gone In Sixty Seconds, Boiler Room, Varsity Blues) and Ali Larter (Legally Blonde, Final Destination, Drive Me Crazy, Varsity Blues). Veterans on hand include Timothy Dalton as Allan Pinkerton and Kathy Bates undoubtedly chewing some scenery as Ma James. The plot revolves around a Midwest town that learns a corrupt railroad baron had captured the deeds to their homesteads, leading a group of young ranchers, headed by Jesse James, to take back what's rightfully theirs. Could turn out to be The Fast and the Furious on horses. Or not. The score's by one-time Yes member Trevor Rabin, while the website, www.americanoutlaws.com, features highlights of the production, cast and publicity clips in a clever use of the movie's various locations.

All Over the Guy (Lion's Gate): Executive produced by Don Roos (Bounce, The Opposite of Sex), co-produced by our own Suzi Dietz and directed by Sundance fave Julie Davis (I Love You, Don't Touch Me), this gay romance has been termed When Harry Met Larry in its dissection of West Hollywood mating mores. The movie's based on a play penned by Dan Bucatinsky, who wrote the screenplay and plays Eli, the uptight twentysomething literally thrust into a relationship with Richard Ruccolo's Tom after being set up by their hetero best friends Sasha Alexander and Saving Private Ryan's Adam Goldberg. Hilarious hijinx ensue as Eli turns to his straight-talking sister (Christina Ricci), who helps him scheme of ways to avoid the well-meaning advice of their nutty psychotherapist parents, played by SCTV's Andrea Martin and Tony Abatemarco. Joanna Kerns and Nicolas Surovy are on hand as Ruccolo's repressed, alcoholic country club parents, while Doris Roberts has the film's single best line as a raunchy receptionist at an AIDS testing clinic. There's also a cameo by frequent Roos collaborator Lisa Kudrow. Advance critical reaction has ranged from enthusiastic (L.A. Times' Kevin Thomas) to tepid (N.Y. Times), but the film's commercial prospects could benefit from the fact there's no other movie for this audience currently in theaters. There's also cool musical contributions from Matthew Sweet, the Incredible Moses Leroy, the Jayhawks, Lyle Lovett, Dangerman, David Gray, Michelle Branch and Peter Stuart. Check the website at www.allovertheguythemovie.com for more info.
Roy Trakin

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." —Albert Einstein

Ryan Adams, Gold (Lost Highway, 9/25):
The fatal flaw of most attempts to recapture rock & roll’s past (particularly in the case of acts that worship and seek to emulate the Beatles and Beach Boys) is an overabundance of studiousness, which results in music that approximates the details but not the spirit of the original. Adams, the onetime bad boy of alt country, has no such problem; he doesn’t study his record collection, he plays with it like a little boy playing with toy soldiers. It’s this sense of uninhibited delight that animates the ex-Whiskeytown leader’s’s magnum opus, an effortlessly ambitious and seductive 70-minute epic of an album that begs to be divided into quarters and pressed onto two 12-inch slabs of vinyl. Taking as his primary references points the Band, Dylan and the Rolling Stones circa Exile on Main Street, Adams continues his fruitful collaboration with Ethan Johns (son of legendary producer-engineer Glyn Johns), who not only nails the sounds of late-’60s/early-’70s recordings but also drums behind the beat like Charlie Watts and revives the lost art of rhythm guitar. With another second-generation ringer, Stephen Stills’ boy Chris, on lead guitar, this inspired little combo adds Stax/Volt horn lines here ("Touch, Feel & Lose"), Left Banke harpsichord there ("When the Stars Go Blue") and Music From Big Pink textures throughout, while impersonating the Keith Richards-Mick Taylor guitar tandem to startling perfection on the rawkin’, raucous "Street Walkin’ Blues." While he’s at it, the kid also comes up with a fever dream of an art song in "Sylvia Plath" that recalls Leonard Cohen at his most romantic and Randy Newman at his most cinematic. Gold secures Adams’ place in the post-millennial rock pantheon and contends for album of the year.
—Bud Scoppa

Broke Americans
(Industrial Strength Records): I would love these Valley guys even if they didn't deliver my mail everyday. They should remind everyone of why they got into this wacky business in the first place—to smoke pot, drink beer and screw chicks. A stoopid-rock classic like the Dictators' Go Girl Crazy, the New York Dolls' Too Much Too Soon, Iggy's Raw Power or The Ramones' first album—and coming from me, you know that's the highest praise—the Broke Americans are anything but dumb. They fuse sharp-edged punk with classic metal stylings, while layering frisky ska ("Finally Over") and even some tongue-in-cheek twang ("Farmer Twins") into their high energy musings on "Life in L.A" (inspirational lyric: "Where's all the women that's supposed to be here?/I look around and all I see is queers"). Any band that can reference Stanley Kubrick (the "me so horny" refrain of "Sex Maniac"), Marv Albert, Mike Piazza and Randy Newman (the "I Love L.A." parody of the aptly named "Hit Single") while tossing around a few Japanese translations shows no shortage in the IQ department. I forgive Dirty South lead singer Trevor "T Nutz" Mote for being an Atlanta Braves fan, because he rails like a latter-day Jim Dandy of Black Oak Arkansas. Guitarist Tim Rossi can thrash with the best of 'em, but his fretwork on "White & Skanky" is one reason the BAs transcend their three-chord punk roots. The HITS rhythm section of bassist Aaron Quinn and the amazing Sean Topham is as tight as, well, a Broke American. And while they may have changed their original name in search of fame (and airplay), they are still, as their Bic-flicking, soon-to-be chart-topping anthem puts it, "Proud To Be An Asshole." Get on board the Broke Americans bandwagon before it runs over you at www.brokeamericans.com. And don't say we didn't warn ya. R.T.

Cafe R&B:
L.A. fans of the blues have only three more chances this year to catch this dynamic outfit featuring dynamite lead vocalist Roach. Now hugely pregnant—but as full of fire (and as uproariously funny) as ever—she leads her dapper, able crew through some of the freshest blues workouts heard in years. Amazingly, despite her current size, Roach also executes James Brown-like moves. In addition to the superb music, her performances are an awe-inspiring display of the sheer power of womanhood. Not to be missed—and you’d better get your ass there early. Tonight (8/17) at Cozy’s in Sherman Oaks (818-986-6000); Sat. Aug. 18 and Aug. 25 at the Ritz Carlton in Pasadena (626-568-3900).
Simon Glickman

NASCAR Heat 2002:
Tha question iz, how many of you PS2 fanatics are true NASCAR Fans? (I know Mr. Hensley & Mr. Murphy—a.k.a. Tha Red Neck Brothas—are) This game iz amazin’ & full of action as you burst through tha smoke and debris and take tha leader on high with tha most realistic NASCAR game yet! All tha thrill and tension of real NASCAR racing iz on tha track with NASCAR Heat 2002. Taking advantage of tha severe horsepower of tha PlayStation 2 to recreate tha racing sport down to tha last detail, tha heat iz definitely on once this motor starts revving. The 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup season iz brought to life with 26 real drivers, including 11 legends of tha oval, to race against in special "Race the Pro" challenges. Crank up tha intensity with 36 "Beat tha Heat" challenges that put you in tricky situations to race your way through. And how tha heck duz LP know all of this? Do I really need to say it again? Play tha full season, or burn some road up against a friend head-to-head on one of 19 Winston Cup tracks. Everything about your auto iz adjustable from tha wheels and shocks to the grill tape, and you'll need all those expert tools to repair your car after it's sustained real-time damage, dents, scratches and collisions! This shittt iz hottt. —Latin Prince AKA Dude!

New York is pretty damn lucky that we have Rhett Miller performing here so often. He's usually found fronting his band alt-country The Old 97's, but from time to time he'll scale down for a night of intimate, heartbreaking tunes. Friday night finds him at Fez, the perfect venue for such a performance. Saturday bring the kids out to PNC Center in New Jersey for a screaming teen pop-filled night with Aaron Carter, the A*Teens and Leslie Carter. Despite living in New York, I'm a big Lakers fan, so anyone who can get Shaq to star in their video is A-OK with me. Sunday night stop by Brownies early to catch L.A. up-and-comers Rilo Kiley. Only known by a handful of people outside their hometown, the band’s off-kilter pop songs are sure to please. Stay for Nada Surf if you like, but I wouldn't recommend it. —Heidi Anne-Noel

Ronald Reagan, our 40th president, was born Feb. 6, 1911, in Tampico, IL. Reagan attended Eureka College in Illinois, where he studied economics and sociology, played on the football team, acted in school plays and snitched on suspicious co-eds. Upon graduation, Reagan became a radio sports announcer. A screen test in 1937 began his Hollywood career, which spanned two decades, two marriages to actresses (Jane Wyman and Nancy Davis) and 53 films. After being the on-screen shill for Chesterfield cigarettes and the real-life toady to Lou Wasserman, Reagan became the president of the Screen Actors Guild, where he took a sharp turn into conservatism. Among his many proud accomplishments in Hollywood, Reagan named names to the House Un-American Activities Committee, aiding in the blacklisting of the Hollywood Ten. Everything was made hunky-dory, however, when Reagan was finally—and resoundingly—elected president. His tenure as Commander in Chief was cuddly and warm, filled with sunshine and daisies. The only people who to this day do not revere Reagan or his positive impact on America should be considered enemies of the state. Best Anagram Of His Name: Red anal organ.

I Don’t Know, Davey: Animator Art Clokey may best be known for creating Gumby & Pokey, the oddly shaped green fella and his orange pony. But we should not forget the other clay-based duo Clokey was responsible for, the lesson-driven boy-and-his-dog combination funded by the Lutheran Church. Naturally, I’m talking about Davey & Goliath. From 1956-1973, Clokey and his production team created 65 15-minute shows, with half-hour specials on Christmas and Easter. Tim Fitzpatrick’s unofficial Davey & Goliath site is filled with plenty of information about little Davey Hansen (such a nice Lutheran name!) and his dog/Id/conscience Goliath. While the episode guide is unfinished, containing merely a list of episode names sans description, there are about a dozen great downloadable Quicktime movies and a handful of audio files that make the site well worth visiting. —Jeff Drake

Upcoming Birthdays
Aug. 17-23

17—Robert De Niro (58)
18—Roberto Clemente (would have been 67) & Martin Mull (58)
19—Gene Roddenberry (would have been 80) & Willie Shoemaker (would have been 70)
20—H.P. Lovecraft (would have been 111) & Don King (70)
21—Count Basie (would have been 97) & Wilt Chamberlain (would have been 65)
22—John Lee Hooker (would have been 84) & Ray Bradbury (81)
23—River Phoenix (would have been 31) & Barbara Eden (67)

Special Events
19—Perigean Green Grass
18—Perigean High Tides
22—Ganesh Chaturthi

As longtime readers of this section of Weak-End Planner should know, they need to get a life… While Tropical Storm Chantal is heading toward the islands south of Cuba (look out Barbados!), those lucky folks in N.Y.C. will see isolated thunderstorms throughout the weekend. Temperatures will range from the mid-80s to the upper 60s. Chance of rain 30%…or chance of not rain 70%. Here in Los Angeles(a city so nice they named it in Spanish) the weekend will continue the heat we’ve been suffering through all week. Temps in the mid-to-upper 80s, lows in the upper 60s. Look for the heat to break on Sunday, with a chance of storms. Orale!
—David Simutis, Senior Meteorology Correspondent/ Spanish for Dummies Student.

Natalie finds her natural mother, with understanding assistance from her adoptive mom.

What people are talking about right now. (9/23a)
It's been a while since anybody outpointed Bad Bunny. (9/23a)
A toast to Philippe and Alissa (9/23a)
Who's ready for Kyncl culture? (9/19a)
RIAA drops some stats. (9/22a)
New categories! New rules! New WTF!
It's the one you didn't see coming.
"Who took my passports?"
Allow us to apologize in advance.

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