Chaser, Funny People, Flicks and More, Brought to You by Je-C, Pinkstephy and Jill

Nine months ago, the Planner underwent an extreme makeover, as the section, long a stodgy Boomer bastion, received a transfusion of young blood in the persons of Je-c, Pinkstephy and Jill Kushner (these kids with their names…but apparently Kushner didn’t get the memo). At first, longtime Planner Editor Roy Trakin, who’s as old-school as they come, resisted the youth movement taking shape on his beloved editorial turf, but over time the squabbles over bylines and column inches eased, détente was reached and finally Roy and his kids developed the same sort of tough-love relationship as Coach Carter and his team. Indeed, as Roy recently contemplated a move from HITS, where he’s toiled for nearly 20 years, the only thing holding him back from accepting a tempting job offer was his deep affection for the pierced, tatted, scruffy and irrepressible Planner posse. Eventually, Roy realized he was being selfish; in his heart of hearts, he knew his kids were ready to elbow themselves out from under his ample wing and fly on their own. What follows is their maiden solo flight, as Roy places his movie critic’s cap on the dome of Je-c (backwards, of course). To borrow Je-c’s inspirational words upon his first appearance in the Planner last April, this, folks, is What Be Goin’ Down Yo…

Friday (1/21)
7:00 p.m.
Pick up Chaser. The li’l caplets that help prevent hangovers. These babies absorb the toxins in alcoholic beverages that cause the dreaded condition, so you don’t get one. Just take two caplets with your 1st drink. There is a God.

7:30 p.m.
Rose Hill Drive, Hot Like (A) Robot and Letterkills at the Troubadour

7:30 p.m.
Check out the remake of Assault on Precinct 13. It has a killer cast of Laurence Fishburne, Ethan Hawke, and Gabriel Byrne. We hope it’s good.

8:00 p.m.
Journey at House of Blues on the Strip. ’Nuff said.

8:30 p.m.
Andy Kindler and His Big Time Show Business Friends at the Hollywood Improv. You might know him from Everybody Loves Raymond or from his really strong standup. Go. He’s good and he’s got good friends. I, on the other hand, have bad friends.

11:00 p.m. Get more info on the upcoming 24-hour satellite music channel boasting tunes from all over the world.

Saturday (1/22)
7:00 a.m.
Body Worlds: Those wacky folks at the California Science Center are opening at 7 a.m. and staying open through midnight on Sunday to accommodate last-minute crowds for this popular exhibit, which is in its closing weekend.

12:00 p.m.
Donald & Melania’s gift! If you STILL haven’t gotten a wedding gift, you better hurry up, because tonight is the night, and you really don’t wanna walk in empty-handed.

8:00 p.m.
Melee and Big City Rock at the Troubadour. Melee’s catchy songs, high energy and power piano are worth the trip out alone.

8:30 p.m.
The Adolescents with The Briggs and other bands, at the El Rey.

10:00 p.m.
Feelin’ like a scene? Hit up Nine Thirty, the new upscale restaurant and lounge in the W Hotel in Westwood. On hand for Tuesday night’s grand opening were Scarlett Johansson (where isn’t she?), Anthony Kiedis, Justin Timberlake, Cameron Diaz, Chris Rock, etc. Not that it’s any of your business, but all four of them came to my apartment afterward.

10:30 p.m.
Drinks at El Carmen, 8138 West 3rd Street: Luscious margs, lotsa tequilas and a good crowd. Reminder: bring your Chaser (see above).

11:30 p.m.
Saturday Night Live (NBC): Paul Giamatti hosts with musical guest Ludacris featuring Sum 41. Watch grumpy wine boy get all kinds of funny.

Sunday (1/23)
12:00 p.m.
Check out the NFC Championship on Fox as the Eagles battle the Falcons. It’s McNabb vs. Vick in a game that has all the makings of a classic.

3:30 p.m.
After the NFC championship game, switch over to CBS for the AFC Championship, in which the Steelers battle the Patriots. This one should be a war.

8:00 p.m.
Dominick’s, 8715 Beverly Blvd: If you haven’t had a chance, hit up the NEW Dominick’s for a yummy Italian dinner. Ask for a spot on the patio.

8:30 p.m.
Arrested Development (Fox) Got a major soft spot for this brilliant show, and I will continue to hit you over the head with it. Bateman got a Golden Globe for Best Actor. Tune in to see why.

10:00 p.m.
Huff (Showtime) Even if you only watched this stellar show for Oliver Platt, that would be enough.

Tues. 1/25 at 8 p.m. American Idol (Fox): The New Orleans auditions. It’s another hour of watching people sing, or attempt to, with your jaw on the floor.

Wed. 1/26 Regina Spektor at Hotel Café, Hollywood. Worth your Wednesday night, or any night of the week, for that matter. New York-based singer-songwriter is one of the best new acts of 2005.

Are We There Yet?
Starring: Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen and Philip Daniel Bolden
Synopsis: Ice Cube is in love with Nia Long and will do anything to impress her. While Nia is stuck in Vancouver without her kids, back home, Ice Cube offers to drive them around to get on her good side. What he doesn’t realize is that they don’t think any guy is good enough for their mom. Uh-oh, can you spell trouble?
Reaction: I’m skeptical about this one. Usually, Ice Cube makes good movie decisions, but I have a feeling this one could be a stinker. It’s supposed to be a family movie, but good luck trying to drag parents to this one, kids.

Assault on Precinct 13
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Laurence Fishburne and Gabriel Byrne.
Synopsis: A soon-to-be-demolished police station is watched over by a police captain and his crew on New Year's Eve. But the prisoners they're guarding become their allies when a gangster breaks into the joint to free his former criminal colleagues. A rogue officer wants all of them dead before they can get to a trial that will bring down all the crooked cops on the force.
Reaction: I never saw the original, but people tell me it was good—and considering the cast they got for it, I’m definitely curious, so I’ll put this flick down as one to check out.

A Love Song for Bobby Long
Starring: John Travolta, Scarlett Johansson and Gabriel Macht
Synopsis: A girl returns home after hearing of her mother’s death to discover that two men—a former college professor and his student—are living in her house. The premise is that the three have to figure out how to live together.
Reaction: I’ve heard mixed reviews on this one. I personally love Scarlett and would go see the movie just for her. On the other hand, considering the storyline, this is a possible snoozefest.

The Merchant of Venice
Starring: Al Pacino, Joseph Fiennes, Jeremy Irons and Lynn Collins

Synopsis: Set in 16th century Venice, this adaptation of the Shakespeare play tells the story of Antonio, who goes into debt with moneylender Shylock so that his friend Bassanio can impress the object of his affection, Portia.
Reaction: A Shakespeare classic with an all-star cast, this sounds like a winner. Shakespeare fans, arise!!!

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