In a nutshell:
"This here game looks awful one-sided, but don't fergit...the classic Victorian noir romance, forensics and...adolescent drug and alcohol addiction...with a very grizzled Robert Redford...wandering through the dreamlike landscapes...with the smoky... macabre pen-and-ink drawings as clues to...his trial and acquittal on charges of... tenderness and introspection...by Swedish crisp-maker Estrella...and talented Jerry Pao."


This Week's Planner is Exactly as America's Prettiest Illusionist Predicted!
Here's something weird. Back on Feb. 17, American illusionist David Copperfield wrote down the contents of this week's Planner and sealed it in an envelope. The envelope was put in a safe and kept under round-the-clock surveillance. One hour before we went to press with the Planner, Copperfield opened the envelope and revealed that the contents were nearly identical with what you'll find here. Everything was spot-on perfect, except for his Facts of Life plot summary, which was something about Tootie inventing an imaginary boyfriend. "It wasn't a trick," Copperfield told Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper. "We only use about 10% of our brain capacity. It was more an experiment and mental exercise." It's just a shame that with all that brainpower, Copperfield still couldn't keep Claudia Schiffer interested. Ah well, I guess we'll always have Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston.

St. Louis at New YORK JETS +7
This here game looks awful one-sided, but don't fergit, danged ol' Marshall Faulk prob'ly ain't gonna play. The dang Jets are startin' to look better ever' week, and they are always a good bet as a home dog. Look fer Curtis Martin to run on the Rams. J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets!

Atlanta + 8 1/2 at NEW ORLEANS
Now, here is one of them crazy gamblers' stats: Over the last 10 times these teams have played in Noo Orleens, the danged ol' Falcons have covered the spread. So the question is, do you play the odds or do you play the history? Shoot, I think the Saints is gonna win, but I cain't pass the 8 1/2. Atlanta all the way. —Guy W.T. Goggles
(Year-to-date: 2-2)

From Hell (20th Century Fox):
Hip-hop filmmakers Allen and Albert Hughes' (Menace II Society, Dead Presidents) retell the Jack the Ripper story, with Johnny Depp as the opium-puffing police inspector whose trail leads to the British throne, and Heather Graham as the streetwalker-in-distress. Reportedly, the screenplay by Terry Hayes (The Road Warrior) and Rafael Yglesias (Fearless), working from the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, puts the emphasis on the classic Victorian noir romance, forensics and the suspense rather than the gore, though there's supposedly enough of that. Art direction looks pretty nimble too, as the Hughes brothers apparently viewed this as another tale of life in the hood, and such capable character actors as Robbie Coltrane, Ian Holm and Ian Richardson liven up the proceedings. The Varese Sarabande album features Marilyn Manson's "Wormwood remix" of "The Nobodies" and Trevor Jones' foreboding score, while the website, aside from an attenuated intro, www.fromhellmovie.com, looks like it's still under construction.

Riding in Cars With Boys (Columbia Pictures): We love comeback stories, and in that regard, 26-year-old Drew Barrymore has become America's sweetheart, with the child star's ultimate triumph over adolescent drug and alcohol addiction and her notorious family. It looks like she's playing off precisely that persona in this tale, directed by Laverne (or was it Shirley?) a.k.a. Penny Marshall and based on the critically praised Beverly Donofrio memoir of raising a child as a single mom in the '60s and '70s. Barrymore plays her starting as a pregnant teenager who decides to get married to ne'er-do-well Steve Zahn, to the consternation of her parents (James Woods and Lorraine Bracco). The movie, which spans some 20 years, concludes with Drew in her mid-30s telling her 20-something son (Adam Garcia)—who looks more like her boyfriend—that he's not what was wrong with her life. I like both Barrymore and Zahn, and this may well finish first in this week's box office, but it looks like a chick flick through and through. The Columbia/Sony Music soundtrack is one of those Sleepless in Seattle numbers, with romantic classics like Everly Brothers' "All I Have to Do Is Dream," Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe," Big Brother & Holding Company's "Piece of My Heart," the Chiffons' "One Fine Day" and Skeeter Davis' "End of the World." The website, ridingincars.com, features a letter from Drew, a list of promotional partners and the trailer. These things are getting kinda chintzy.

The Last Castle (DreamWorks): I thought critic-turned-director Rod Lurie's The Contender was kinda overrated, both pretty obvious and one-dimensional, though the performances certainly raised it a notch. Looks like he has the same situation here, with a very grizzled Robert Redford as a three-star U.S. Army general given a 10-year court martial sentence to military prison for disobeying an order during combat, causing the death of several of his men. He comes under the charge of none other than Tony Soprano turned evil warden, James Galdolfini's Colonel Winter, who starts off idolizing the imprisoned General for his leadership abilities, and eventually drawing him as a deadly adversary in a battle for control of his prison. It's another Brubaker -type prison reform flick from Redford, which the Wall Street Journal says pits "brute force vs. moral authority." You Can Count On Me's Mark Ruffalo plays a doomed prison bookie turned possible Judas. The studio pulled the film's upside-down American flag (the symbol for distress) in deference to the events of Sept. 11. The Decca soundtrack features a score from veteran composer Jerry Goldsmith. The website, at www.thelastcastle.com, features a stirring flash trailer with the tag line, "Nobody takes our flag," a synopsis, cast bios, image gallery, music and videos.

Waking Life (Fox Searchlight): Director Richard Linklater (Slacker, Dazed & Confused) steps back from his big-budget Hollywood failure, The Newton Boys, with his own idiosyncratic metaphysical musings about fate and free will, featuring digital video images computer-painted to create a shimmering, psychedelic Yellow Submarine world of fantastic imagery. Sounds cool to me. Among those who wander through the dreamlike landscapes are Dazed and Confused's Wiley Wiggins, whose vision this ostensibly is. Also on hand are Before Sunrise's Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy discussing reincarnation, Dazed & Confused's Adam Goldberg and Nicky Katt calling for freedom from the "corporate slave state," fast-talking Manhattan tour guide Bennett Miller "salsa dancing with my own confusion" and Steven Soderbergh relating an anecdote about an encounter between Louis Malle and Billy Wilder. The whole thing's apparently enlivened by the groundbreaking, Bill Plympton meets Peter Max animation. Check the website at www.foxsearchlight.com, for images, e-postcards, a coloring book, stills, video clips and a Roger Ebert interview with Linklater. Roy Trakin

Shelby Lynne, Love, Shelby (Island 11/13): On the follow-up to I Am Shelby Lynne, the late-blooming Best New Artist Grammy winner is forced to compete against herself in a contest she can't really win—in this case, a tie would be a victory. Her breakthrough album benefited from the element of surprise; this time out, by contrast, the pundits are scrutinizing her aesthetic choices—especially on the production/arrangement side, where mainstream guy Glen Ballard steps in for hipster Bill Bottrell, whose brilliant work was a huge part of I Am's rarefied seductiveness.
The new album opens as an almost seamless continuation of the last one's sultry blue-eyed soul, with the smoky "Trust Me" and the silken "Bend." Immediately after, however, it goes south, so to speak, with "Jesus on a Greyhound." This is the sort of poetic narrative best left to a master of the form like Lucinda Williams (who faced a similar challenge as Lynne this year, come to think of it), and the arrangement doubles the trouble by opting for grandiosity at a moment when poignancy seems apt.
The album regains its footing after this misstep, reeling off a passel of songs that rival those of I Am, including the delectable single "Wall in Your Heart," though there's an occasional tendency toward overstatement in the culminating choruses (the otherwise lovely "I Can't Wait") and the outros (the honking "Ain't It the Truth") that makes me long for Bottrell's restraint. On the other hand, album centerpiece "The Killing Kind" pulls out all the stops in its melding of '70s pop-soul and '60s folk-rock, and it's a stunner—certainly one of the year's most memorable tracks. And Lynne's lacerating performance of John Lennon's "Mother," which climaxes the album, demands to be maxed out, considering her family history.
Hey, this may be an imperfect record, but it's still a very good one, with Lynne substantiating her status as an artist who matters, no matter who's on the other side of the glass. Bud Scoppa

"Young men want to be faithful and are not; old men want to be faithless and cannot." Oscar Wilde

Happy Trail: I've been waiting to write about this weekend for such a long time. My favorite band of all time is playing here not just once but twice this weekend. The absolutely phenomenal ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead will be at the Knitting Factory this Friday and Saturday. I've had tickets to these two shows for months, I kid you not. Get there early so you can get in the front row to witness the most incredible live band there is. The last time I saw them, audience members went home with practically every piece of the band's equipment, albeit smashed to bits. Going to this show is a requirement, not just a recommendation! And I suppose, just for giggles, I'll "recommend" checking out Insane Clown Posse at Roseland on Sunday night. It's gotta be worth at least a few laughs. Heidi Anne-Noel

Big Night in Volvonia:
If you're not fortunate enough to get tickets for The Concert for New York City benefit show Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, you can catch the live telecast on VH1, starting at 7 p.m. (it'll be delayed three hours on the West Coast). Among the scheduled musical acts: Backstreet Boys, Paul McCartney, the Who, Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Macy Gray, John Mellencamp, Five for Fighting, India.Arie, Billy Joel, James Taylor, Melissa Etheridge, Goo Goo Dolls and Marc Anthony. A slew of actors and comics will also lend their talents, including Jim Carrey, Meg Ryan, Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, Reese Witherspoon, Michael J. Fox, Julia Stiles and John Cusack. And if all that star power isn't a sufficient enticement, the event—which will benefit anti-poverty charity the Robin Hood Relief Fund, which says it will distribute 100% of the money raised to organizations helping families of victims, rescue workers and others directly affected by the Sept. 11 attacks—will also premiere original short films by Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, Jerry Seinfeld and Kevin Smith. Roughly 5,000 New York fire, police and rescue workers and their families will be in attendance at the event. So whether you watch it from a box seat or your couch, be sure to dig deep and give generously.

Sometimes You Crave Something Gorey:
In the big library of American writing, there is a special shelf reserved just for the practitioners with darker sensibilities. The cynical wit of Ambrose Bierce resides there, as does the acid pen of H.L. Mencken. But the most important denizen of that particular shelf is writer-illustrator Edward Gorey. If one were to use his macabre pen-and-ink drawings as clues to the man behind the pen, one might deduce that Gorey was of the Victorian era, when in fact Gorey is of the modern era, passing away just last year at the age of 75. Even after viewing only a small sample of Gorey's work, it is easy to see that without Gorey, there would be no Tim Burton. And if you need any further proof of the veracity of that statement, simply take a gander at Gorey's deliciously dark Gashlycrumb Tinies. Make sure to read them in alphabetical order and to marvel at the sad, horrific and hilarious ends the young protagonists meet. Poor Titus. Poor Winnie. And poor, poor Hector. For more of a Gorey fix, there's no better place to start than the Goreyography. Jeff Drake

Aaron Burr
, our third vice president, was born in Newark, NJ, on Feb. 6, 1756. As Thomas Jefferson's first VP (serving from 1801-05), Burr was the first U.S. vice-president who was not later a president himself. Burr is best for his duel with Alexander Hamilton, which resulted in the latter's death, but the politician also had schemes of empire, which resulted in his trial and acquittal on charges of treason. (Ironically, Burr once served on Benedict Arnold's staff.) On June 24, 1807, he was indicted for treason, but after a two-month trial, the former VP was acquitted. Harassed by creditors and with no prospect of a return to public life, Burr slipped away to Europe. In June 1812, Burr returned almost unnoticed to New York, where he died on Sept. 14, 1836. Best Anagram of his Name: Urban roar.

The Knack, Normal as the Next Guy (Smile):
They still conjure that heady mix of pure pop and adolescent raunch. But the years have tempered the Knack's worldview, and there's as much tenderness and introspection as libido on their latest set. The band—singer/guitarist Doug Fieger, lead guitarist Berton Averre and bassist Prescott Niles—still have that remarkable, punchy chemistry, and they're aided by a couple of capable guest drummers. Fieger's voice has, if anything, become sweeter and more expressive than ever. I'm particularly partial to the bloodied-but-unbowed anthem "Disillusion Town," the straight-up British Invasionisms of "It's Not Me" and "Seven Days of Heaven" and the incandescent ballad "Reason to Live." There's as much of the Knack to get as ever. Simon Glickman

For Those Who Have Complained About Rat Hairs in Hot Dogs:
A family in Stockholm, Sweden, found a dead mouse at the bottom of a bag of potato chips—sadly, only after they had eaten most of the chips. "We nearly threw up when we saw it. Just the thought of having put crisps that came from that bag into my mouth made me ill," Laila Axelsson told Trollhattans Tidning, which we can only assume is a news publication of some sort. Her daughter Sandra had the most upsetting comment, however, saying, "They tasted funny and chewy, a bit extra-spicy." Scientists said the animal, found in a packet manufactured by Swedish crisp-maker Estrella, looked dried-up or fried. It was unclear how the mouse ended up in the bag. "We have machines scanning our bags for foreign objects. This is something which must have happened after the bag left the factory," said Estrella product developer Harald Osa. "Either that or it's a new promotion that I haven't heard about." —J.D.

Plus Lucky Numbers!
Our fortunes and lucky numbers are all approved by Claudia Schiffer's ex.
You are a true friend.
2, 9, 10, 15, 25, 38.

Upcoming Birthdays
Oct. 19-25
19—John Lithgow (56)
20—Mickey Mantle (would have been 70)
21—Dizzy Gillespie (would have been 84)
22—Curly Howard (would have been 98)
23—Johnny Carson (76) & Pele (61)
25—Pablo Picasso (would have been 120)
26—Bootsy Collins (60)

Special Events
October is ROCKtober!
20—Birth of the B'ab

Special Pollyanna Edition: Nearly all of the country will experience a rain-free weekend, at perhaps the most wonderful time of the year—fall. Everything is beautiful. In NYC, to which the lovely and talented Jerry Pao will be moving in a couple of weeks, Friday night will be clear, with a low near 50. Saturday should be partly cloudy, with a high in the mid-60s and a low near 50. Ditto Sunday, though it should be sunny. Hey, Jerry is a great designer—don't let the fact that he worked at HITS dissuade you—and he's looking for a job in the Apple. Got any leads? Anyway, out here, the weekend will be great, with highs in the mid-70s and lows in the upper 50s. Skies will be partly cloudy Saturday and sunny on Sunday. I like ponies. They are fun to play with.
David Simutis, Senior Meteorology Correspondent and Equestrian

Jo and the mechanic she works with on weekends are hitting on all cylinders, but he blows a gasket when she's promoted over him.