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Moriarty's Rumblings From The Lab #15: Evil Genius Interviews The Cast and Director of AMERICAN BEAUTY + more.

Published at: Sept. 28, 1999, 11:25 a.m. CST

Right now... I've had 2 hours of sleep. I stayed at my post... when the trainees ran... but the radiation leak was too much. I was knocked completely out while awaiting the strange weekly phenomenon known as Moriarty's Rumblings. But... With a superhuman sense of wonder I somehow pulled myself out of the funky black sticky poo of dreamland and into the ever so funky black sticky poo of working on this magical mystical computer. Though while talking in the mouse I discovered... it is voice activated... When I speak outloud while typing on the keyboard, every letter I say as a finger presses it down actually... APPEARS ON SCREEN. I'm so delighted. I think... I will return to sleep, but here's this week's Rumblings...

Hey, Head Geek...

"Moriarty" here.

You know, there are occasions when totally different interests overlap at once for a really bizarre cross-sampling, and you end up with something that you love dearly but you can't imagine anyone else would ever enjoy, much less make. Yet somehow, improbably, there it is in your hands. A good example would be this insane new CD that has been playing over and over on the loudspeakers of the Labs this past week. Surprisingly, it's not Reznor's latest Nine Inch Nails magnum opus, which I thought would be an instant obsession. Instead, it's from CyberOctave Records, and it's the newest CD by Buckethead called MONSTERS AND ROBOTS. I mentioned the Dave McKean-directed video for "The Ballad Of Buckethead" several RUMBLINGS back, but I had no idea the album would be so good. There's guests like Bootsy Collins and Les Claypool, and the artwork by guys like Dave McKean and Bryan "Franknseus" Theiss makes the booklet fascinating, but it's the insane guitar work by Buckethead himself that makes the album so jaw-dropping. This guy's crazy. I thought John Zorn was nuts, and this guy is influenced by Zorn, but this guy may actually be more demented. For those of you, like me, who are new to the world of Buckethead, he's been around for a while, has numerous albums under his belt, and describes himself thusly:

"He was born in a coop, raised in a cage/Children fear him/Critics rage/He's half alive/He's half dead/But folks just call him Buckethead"

His work is mostly instrumental, but there's some really funny lyrical material on the album as well. I can't believe how quickly the album's unique sound hooked me. I'm an addict now. It's speed jazz with a monster movie fetish. I mean, the guy has an entire track devoted to his imaginary battle with Michael Myers called "The Shape Vs. Buckethead." Forget FREDDY VS. JASON. It's impossible to describe. And it's not coming out of the player any time soon.

Something else I fell in love with since last we spoke was the Friday night presentation on Cartoon Network of the first new John K. cartoon for television in (can it really be?) seven years. My god, that's a long time for a genius to be floundering. Yes, that's right... I'm willing to give credit where it's due. I'm not so hung up on being a genius that I can't point out when someone else's brilliance surpasses mine. I know that John K. is smarter than I am because he somehow renders me helpless with laughter when I watch his work. I'll never forget my first exposure to REN & STIMPY. I was lucky enough to see "Space Madness" as my first R&S cartoon, and I think I actually blacked out from lack of oxygen right around the time Ren accuses Stimpy of coveting his ice cream bar. When I saw the uncensored "Powdered Toast Man" episode or the infamous unaired "Man's Best Friend," I got an idea of just how far John would push things and just how extreme his imagination is. But his time off and exposure to things like SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER & UNCUT had pushed my thoughts of John K. to one side. To be quite honest, it's been a while since I've thought of Spumco at all.

Then a friend called me to point out the Friday night air date of a full hour of YOGI BEAR as interpreted by Spumco. I invited several friends over, but I had to admit I was a bit anxious about the cartoons. Would the time away have dulled his edge at all? The first cartoon, a short called "A Day In The Life Of Ranger Smith," only put me partially at ease. It was funny, but it wasn't great. There were several trademark Spumco moments, but it didn't jump up and smack me, the way the best of John K.'s work has done in the past. Maybe it's good that the first cartoon let me down a bit. It definitely took the edge of me, because when "Boo Boo Goes Wild" hit, I was relaxed and my guard was down.

For those of you that missed it, go to the Cartoon Network's web page and find out when the special airs next. "Boo Boo Goes Wild" is an astonishing piece of postmodern silliness, and it managed to successfully kill three of the weaker henchmen from laughter. The poor bastards simply ruptured something internally and dropped. I don't blame them. The premise of the episode is simple enough. After an incident in which the Ranger makes Yogi and Boo Boo put on their clothes, Boo Boo snaps. Fed up with Ranger Smith's totally random rules and regulations, he decides to quit playing along. "I WILL NO LONGER WEAR THE MAN'S CLOTHES!" he bellows, removing his bow tie. "I WILL NO LONGER SPEAK THE MAN'S TONGUE!" With that, he drops to all fours and reverts to primal bear-ness. He goes on a rampage through the park. I don't want to ruin any more, because every minute of this half hour was hysterical and twisted. My one regret is that Cartoon Network asked Spumco to alter part of a massive fistfight between Yogi and the Ranger. It seems that John K. is a fan of Ultimate Fighting Championships, and he made this particular dustup into an event that was a little more brutal than anything Hanna or Barbera ever imagined. Realistic sleeper holds, brutal facial punches, and frantic strangling struck the network as a bit excessive. If you want to check out the unedited fight, visit John K. and the rest of those glorious bastards at www.spumco.com and watch the Quicktime they've provided.

I know I'm typically a movie guy, but this week, there's a lot of music and TV that seems worth mentioning. For example, I wrote about how much I enjoyed Naked Trucker at Largo last week, and on Saturday night, who should turn up in a major role on Dreamworks' wonderful new FREAKS AND GEEKS but David "Gruber" Allen, the Naked Trucker himself. I thought the show was outstanding, a bright spot in a season that, until this, hasn't seen any newcomers of real note. Judd Apatow and Jake Kasdan head a team that make this pilot such a joy, such an effortless pleasure, that I would now count myself a regular viewer of the program. From the first moment, the characters all ring true, and the drama all feels real. This is definitely not another DAWSON'S CREEK clone. As the airwaves are cluttered with POPULAR after GET REAL after MANCHESTER PREP, it is refreshing to see that someone remembers what the experience of adolescence is really like. Each week, Joss Whedon and his gifted staff create a piercing metaphorical look at the same subject with BUFFY that I consider to be among the finest shows on television, but even they don't play it as real as this show. These kids are really kids. They don't look polished or pretty. They also don't look 25. The terror of dodgeball has never been made so funny, and every time the show threatens to play things conventionally or go for a cliche, it makes some strange, subtle left turn that keeps it honest. The opening image of the show said it all, as a beautiful cheerleader and a chiseled football hunk sit in the bleachers by the football field, speaking earnestly about their relationship. As they do, the camera seems to lose interest and drift down to where the series' stars, the freaks and geeks of the title, are hanging out under the bleachers quoting CADDYSHACK and debating whether John Bonham is God or not. The series is set in 1980, but the period detail doesn't distract or date the material. If anything, it frees the filmmakers up from having to turn their show into a fashion ad. The focus is off the clothes and on the characters. Bravo to all involved.

Seems like I've been throwing a lot of kudos in Dreamworks' direction lately. Maybe that's because they seem to finally be turning out the kind of projects right now that I hoped the SKG collaboration might eventually produce. Right now, they're enjoying a wonderful showing for the platformed rollout of AMERICAN BEAUTY, a film I've been very vocal about for the last month. I recently had the opportunity to join three other reporters for a set of round table interviews with the principal cast and director of the film.

Now... here's where I have to pause to speak to any kids that might be reading this column. Kids, it's not cool to flip out and massacre over 40 henchmen just because someone lost the tape your interviews were on. Henchman Mongo was spotted playing with the recorder, holding it with his feet and trying to use it to pick his teeth, but he swore he didn't lose the device. He also managed to hide well enough that when I did finally blow my top, he avoided the worst of my wrath. In the end, getting that mad didn't bring the interview tape back, so I'm left to share my impressions of the day with you, rather than the specific interviews themselves.

It's strange to share an interview, or at least, it is for me. Here, I had not one, but three women, seated at the table with me. When I interview someone, I like to be able to really focus in on the person and shut off the room around us. Having other people tossing questions into the mix only blows whatever roll I'm on. In this case, there were really only two of us who asked questions anyway. Marilyn from the ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT website did a good job fielding the personal questions, the kind I just don't ask, and we didn't end up stumbling over each other, which is what I was afraid of.

BEWARE: SPOILER WARNING!!! MORIARTY DOES DISCUSS THE ORIGINAL ENDING AND CURRENT ENDING OF AMERICAN BEAUTY BELOW!!!! WARNING

The first person brought into the room for us was Sam Mendes, the director of the film. He immediately walked over to me and started discussing the early review I wrote for the movie. Turns out Mendes had read it and was excited to talk with me about it. He was immediately engaging, and I got the sense that he's still excited by each new work of his. This isn't someone who's cranking out "product." Instead, this is an artist who is excited to have finally connected with a screenplay, proud of his first film. We spoke at length about his reputation as a provocateur. I mean, one of the first questions asked him by the other reporters was about Nicole Kidman's nudity in THE BLUE ROOM last year on Broadway. Mendes doesn't see why anyone is surprised by the occasional nudity in his work, or why anyone would consider AMERICAN BEAUTY to be shocking. Instead, he sees the work from the inside, and he knows that these choices are right for these characters, for the subjects that Mendes deals with. He spoke to both Mena Suvari and Thora Birch before casting them about how he saw the most explicit moments involving each of them, and they both agreed with him that these brief moments of nudity are important, that they're turning points for both Jane and Angela. When Jane offers herself to Ricky like that, she changes, and it's genuinely a change for the better. For her to even consider doing it signals some sort of can't-turn-back switch in her. When Angela offers herself to Lester, it's for every wrong reason there is. She needs him and his lust as validation, and she's willing to even have sex with him, as long as she's allowed to feel pretty, as long as she can be special.

Mendes also spoke about his decision to change the script's original ending to, I think, spectacular effect. When I read AMERICAN BEAUTY last year, I honestly didn't like Lester. I couldn't empathize with him. I thought the script was good, but not great, and part of the problem was that ending. Alan Ball originally had Colonel Fitts use the tape that the film opens with to frame Ricky and Jane for the murder of Lester. There's a trial, sentencing is handed down, and the wrong people are punished. It changes the whole focus of the story. I think that you can argue either Jane or Lester as the main character in the original script. In cutting the film, though, Mendes said he gradually realized that the film ends with Lester's memories, his calm realizations about his death and his life, and he decided to cut the film both ways. He showed his version to Dreamworks first, afraid of what they'd say, and was shocked when they signed off on it without seeing the other cut. They even told him he didn't have to test screen the film.

I think it's funny that Mendes did indeed choose to screen the film once, since he wanted to hear an audience react to it before calling it finished. Afterwards, he spoke directly to the audience, eschewing reaction cards entirely. He took questions, asked questions, and was pleased when one teenager forcefully commanded, "Don't let them change a frame, dude." Mendes enjoyed the process and actually used it to cut five minutes from the film, tightening a few sequences. It's amazing what happens when a studio uses the screening process to support a director instead of bullying him, isn't it?

After Mendes, we were joined by Kevin Spacey. I've been a fan of this guy since the early WISE GUY days of his career, and it was a real charge to finally meet him. He introduced his way around the table, ending with me. "Hi, I'm Kevin," he said.

"I'm Moriarty, from Ain't It Cool News."

"Oh, a pseudonym... I see. Who you hiding from?"

I laughed as he got settled in for the interview, ordering a Coke from a waiting publicist. "You know," I said, "I was flipping around late night cable last week and found ROCKET GIBRALTAR as it was just starting."

Spacey looked at me sharply, surprised. I assumed he was surprised because I mentioned GIBRALTAR, one of his very first films, one that I'm sure is never brought up to him by reporters.

"I remember seeing the film in the theater, but I haven't thought of it once since," I continued. "I didn't remember you from it, but watching it this time was interesting. You played a stand up comedian. This was right after you were working as a stand up, right?"

He nodded, smiling now.

"Your first scene, you're doing your Carson impression, and it's just like watching you on a talk show now. You really had it together even then."

"Thanks," he said. "It's strange you'd bring that up. I happened to be watching a little late-night cable myself last week, and I also happened to stop on ROCKET GIBRALTAR just as it was starting."

Based on his laugh, I'm going to guess I must have looked as surprised as he had earlier. What are the odds, you know? "What did you think of it?" I asked.

"I couldn't get past my hair. God, the '80s were cruel." Just like that, him laughing, me laughing, we found ourselves at ease, relaxed, and we just started into the interview. He spoke with great affection about his recent work onstage in THE ICEMAN COMETH, an experience he ranks as the greatest of his career. In his mind, ICEMAN and AMERICAN BEAUTY are of a piece, works related at heart, and his BEAUTY shooting schedule was bookended by the London and New York productions of ICEMAN. The cumulative effect of all that work is a Kevin Spacey who seems to be taking charge of his career with renewed zeal. He's moving away from the kinds of roles that have made him famous, the smooth-talking sociopaths of SE7EN and THE USUAL SUSPECTS. He's producing now, and Lion's Gate just picked up a small film that Spacey produced and starred in called THE BIG KAHUNA.

There's a careful, considered quality about Spacey when talking with him that is part of his appeal on film. He doesn't seem to waste any energy. If he moves, it's to emphasize some point. If he speaks, it's probably worth paying attention to. Above all else, there's this keen intelligence behind his eyes, and you get the feeling he's taking you apart just as much as you're trying to take him apart. At the same time, he doesn't seem to have much of an ego about what he does. To him, it's an experience that is worth having, and the goal is never accolades. Like Jack Lemmon, an actor he adores, he is the consummate pro, always on, always bringing something fresh to each take. My time talking with him was a genuine pleasure.

Annette Bening was next through for us, and I found myself a bit intimidated when she swept in with a little fluttering, hovering group of publicists around her. Being married to Warren Beatty, Bening has had plenty of education in how to run right over the press, and I was, on some level, concerned that she would be some sort of diva about the process. Nothing could be further from the truth, though. As soon as she was seated, she shooshed all the publicists away and seemed to really open up. Maybe it was because I didn't ask her about her personal life, but about how she brought Carolyn to such sad, brittle life. Bening seems overful with joy at having been able to play the character. She spoke of how she was a babysitter as a girl and how she used to see behind people's closed doors, especially when they would come home. She'd see the faces they never wore in front of their neighbors, and she'd hear the fights, the secrets. She said she thought back on all of that when she first read the script, and she drew on it as they rehearsed the film. Like Spacey, she came to AMERICAN BEAUTY fresh from a run onstage. For Bening, it was a critically acclaimed turn in The Geffen Playhouse's HEDDA GABLER that almost kept her from being in the film.

I also got her to speak in depth about her just-wrapped film, WHAT PLANET ARE YOU FROM? This is the Mike Nichols film starring Garry Shandling that Shandling also wrote. Shandling is one of Beatty's best friends -- they've worked together in LOVE AFFAIR and the upcoming TOWN & COUNTRY -- and it was potentially strange for Annette to do a film in which she played so many intimate moments with Shandling. In the film, he's an alien sent to Earth to breed with a human woman. He's equipped with a metallic humming penis and told to try an Alcholics Anonymous meeting to find women who might be desperate. The script was evidently workshopped by Shandling over many years, with Bening reading it aloud many times over the course of the development. I hope it comes together on film. She seems to believe it's a special picture, and that would sure be great. I always want to believe in Nichols, and Shandling's the main brain behind my favorite TV show this decade.

Wes Bentley seemed well aware that the minute he walked into the room where we were, all three of my fellow interviewers had hormonal reactions that practically made noise. He's an intense looking kid, incredibly skinny, with laser blue eyes, and he seemed as at ease with himself as Ricky is in the film. He spoke about how fortunate he felt to get the role in the movie. He's consciously trying to avoid the typical teensploitation roles, and was starting to think that any work would be good work when he got the AMERICAN BEAUTY script sent to him. He read it on a plane trip and said that when he got off the plane, "I was actually excited to call my agent for the first time in my entire life." When he first auditioned, he ended up reading just before Mena Suvari, and they rode up in an elevator together. He says that after auditioning, they both joking said, "See you on set," to each other, but he never actually thought they'd both get the film. He spoke about how much he learned from playing Ricky, and how Ricky's philosophy about beauty has started to creep into his own world view. He comes across as a guy who wants to make the right choices, who wants to play challenging material, and who believes in the transformative power of art for both the performer and the audience. Based on how hard my fellow interviewers fell for him during our 20 minutes together, he also comes across as a movie star in training. Keep your eye on him.

Finally, we were treated to the rather intense experience of both Thora Birch and Mena Suvari together. Mena is, for all intents and purposes, a rock star. She carries herself with a combination of swagger and strut that manages to be sexy, funny, and even endearing without ever crossing the line to obnoxious. Thora, on the other hand, sits back and speaks quietly. At first, she appears to be insecure, shy, but when you listen to her closely, you realize that she's just soaking it all in. She's got a sharp wit and a charming, easy laugh, something that Mena seemed very able to provoke. Together, they were quite a show, a marked contrast in energy level to Wes, who was focused, direct, and mellow.

The other interviewers pushed Thora to discuss her nude scene. I'm sorry to have to deflate all you newsgroup conspiracy theorists, but there was no digital body double for Ms. Birch. She's going through exactly what so many young women do in their late adolescence. She's growing into her body, redefining herself as a sexual being, and the scene with Jane was important both for the character and for Thora as an actress. She's got all the same body issues that so many other 17 year olds do, and doing the scene was a leap of faith, a big moment. On the other hand, Mena didn't seem to feel her scene was anything particularly significant for her as an actress. She seems to be more on the Heather Graham end of the scale as far as body image goes, and it was fascinating to listen to the two of them bounce off each other.

In the end, the impressions I came away with were of people who are intensely proud of this project, who feel they've made something special. It was a great round of interviews, and if you're still interested in reading transcripts, send me an e-mail to let me know. If the idiot henchman who ate the tape ever passes the thing (I've got Mongo on stool duty), I will do my best to pass the material along.

I'm going to discuss my impressions of the SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE 25th anniversary special next week, because there's a lot there worth discussing, but I want to make quick note of Universal's brilliant MAN ON THE MOON spots that ran about halfway through the show. The footage of Andy doing his famous "Mighty Mouse" routine was actually included in the special, so it took some kind of balls for Universal to cut a spot that is essentially just Andy's SNL "Mighty Mouse" appearance, complete with a Lorne Michaels appearance. Jim Carrey is so completely transformed into Kaufman in the two-part commercial that I had to watch the spot over and over again, not believing it. Christmas Day can't come quickly enough.

I also want to wait until next week to discuss some truly insane new ideas that I consider not only dangerous to the future of film in this country, but which I find troubling in other social regards as well. We're talking about things like a proposed "Violence tax" on films and TV shows and the possibility of a Congressional Cultural Committee. These are dangerous days ahead, and it is time to propose solutions that can head off what I sense is a coming witch hunt. Harry and I are working on something right now that I find genuinely inspiring, and we'll touch on that to some extent next week as well. Until then...

"Moriarty" out.

Next week...

Readers Talkback

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  • Sept. 28, 1999, 11:43 a.m. CST

    a good read, as always

    by r_dimitri22

    Thanks, Moriarty. The American Beauty interviews were very interesting and well written. I am currently hooked on The Fragile, but that Buckethead CD sounds interesting. I am looking forward to next week's discussion of the culture committee and any counteraction that you and Harry are hatching.

  • Sept. 28, 1999, 11:47 a.m. CST

    American Beauty

    by stvrick

    Looking forward to seeing it soon.

  • Sept. 28, 1999, 12:39 p.m. CST

    American Beauty - SNL

    by smilin'jackruby

    First of all, I hate to disagree with the previous fellow, but I really, really think "American Beauty" can't be praised enough. Though it is far and away the best movie I've seen this year, it's not my fave (that still goes to "Election" or "The Iron Giant"), the more praise that's heaped on the project, the more likely it is people will see it and studios will do the math about quality versus crap. So, I'm all for it. As for the SNL special, I know Eddie Murphy turned it down, but where the hell was Dana Carvey? The opening with Bill Murray had me in stitches thanking God that he was doing that and was one of the most welcome things I've ever seen on TV. Anybody know why Steve Martin didn't do more? I know he wasn't a cast member, but I, for one, wanted to see some spots. Oh, well. Wonderful show, though. Anxious to read your thoughts, Moriarity.

  • Sept. 28, 1999, 1:47 p.m. CST

    Off the subject. Did anyone catch the ad for Man on the Moon du

    by spike lee

    It was a commercial in two parts with Andy Kaufman (Jim Carrey) doing the "Mighty Mouse" bit as the SNL audience watched. Forget the presents under the tree Christmas Day, lets go to the theater and unrap Man on the Moon and Magnolia...and then open the presents or take them back and keep the cash.

  • Sept. 28, 1999, 1:48 p.m. CST

    sarin rufus strikes again

    by MadBoy

    Hey Sarin, is english your native language?? 'Cuz for someone who is criticising another's writing , you come off sounding like a pretentious 8 year old. I find it amazing that someone who is schooled in film, as you REPEATEDLY tell us you are (over and over and over), can come off sounding as uneducated as you do. I realize I jump on your back a lot (not like that. . . ), but sometimes, your ego seems to know no bounds. And I know I've asked this before, but why is it so hard to grasp that some people simply enjoy films that you don't?

  • Sept. 28, 1999, 3:35 p.m. CST

    Is it just me...

    by Loki Trickster

    Is it just me, or does anyone miss Lane Myers? I mean, the guy could be an asshole, but at least he was a reasonably intelligent asshole...my my my...How quickly they fade away. I haven't seen much of quentin2, Lane, L'Auteur, cuthbert51 (I think that was it), or many of the others from last year...come on guys, where are you?! And while we're at it, where's Hallenbeck? Did he open up a major artery after suffering through "The Phantom Menace" or what? -Loki

  • Sept. 28, 1999, 3:36 p.m. CST

    praise for American Beauty and why it cannot stop

    by EwF

    HeY HeY I don't know why I haven't written into AICN or Corona about this ... but anyhoos - I got the unbelievable chance to attend a (FREE!) screening of American Beauty hours before its big premiere here in Boston, 2 weeks back. Where the premiere promised Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening, we were promised "select members of the cast and crew." Of course, us being silly peion college students all expected the assistant of the assistant of the assistant makeup artist or something ... Well ... we're we in for a shock. Needless to say I hadn't heard much about the movie, let alone what it was about (more on this later) so I wasn't all the gungho about going. But I did. And I brought a little disposable camera just in case. The film BLEW me away. It's just amazing. I think that's what it is ... I can't express how much this movie totally rocks just cause ... I can't! My mind is totally incapable of saying exactly what it is that I feel! Mind you, I did have some problems with the subject material they touched on (Kevin Spacey and Mena Suvari ... I'm Christian - sue me.) Then the movie ended and everyone was just ... exhausted ... the theatre was dead-quiet. No one was capable of expressing anything ... until the applause began. But that ended soon enough ... coz we were a little excited at the prospects of meeting some lowly assistant who probably hadn't even seen the set of the movie ... Mind you, I'm sitting 3rd row near the aisle. There's a bit of commotion behind us and we look back. The "crew" has arrived. Everyone's trying to see who's there. I recognized Wes Bentley, Thora Birch and Mena Suvari and was impressed. I'm like :Geez - there are REAL actors and actresses here!: I keep on scanning but don't recognize anyone else ... just one guy leaning back real casual on the wall wearing a toucque, and gray sweatshirt ... no one special I said ... ... ... who knew Kevin Spacey liked the casual touch? At this point I am giddy as all sh&t. They all come down. The producers are here (God help me if I can recall their names), Sam Mendes was here, so was the man who played Ricky's father (with a full head of hair so I didn't even recognize him) but no Annette Bening ... BUT WHO CARES!!! I WAS 10 FEET AWAY FROM KEVIN SPACEY!!! The questions came ranging from the "spiritual content and its source" of the movie, to "Mr. Spacey? How does it feel to be the coolest man on Earth?." But my personal favourite: "Why haven't you advertised this amazing movie as heavily as other summer blockbusters normally do?" (NOTE: school had been in session for 1 week so to us, it was STILL summer). Sam Mendes answers, "You saw the movie. How could you possibly describe what happened in a 2 1/2 minute trailer? That's why we're here - YOU guys are the advertising. If you liked the movie, tell them to watch it." SO - here I am. GO SEE THIS MOVIE!!! 'Nuff said.

  • Sept. 28, 1999, 5:02 p.m. CST

    The Fragile Is The Best Album in Many Years...

    by Cyrus

    I am obssessed with it and it grows and grows on you every listen. You should give it another chance Moriarty. If you are a NIN fan you should love it. It is definitely Trent's best work yet, and is my favorite album of all time.

  • Sept. 28, 1999, 6:16 p.m. CST

    John K - saviour of the universe! (cartoon type)

    by JJ McClure

    I love John K. I want to be him when I grow up.

  • Sept. 28, 1999, 6:47 p.m. CST

    That Buckethead album

    by Bryan

    If anybody's interested in getting a really good deal on that Buckethead album Moriarty talked about, the label's web site www.cyberoctave.com has a deal where you can get both the CD and Dave McKean's 16 page Buckethead comic book for only $10.98. I'm not sure how long the deal lasts, though.

  • Sept. 28, 1999, 7:02 p.m. CST

    Way too much dope

    by Veidt

    American Beauty was great but Ricky definitely smoked way too much of his own product. When you get off on watching a plastic bag blow in the wind for fifteen minutes, it's time to lay off the weed.

  • Sept. 28, 1999, 9:13 p.m. CST

    Enjoy the NIN album...

    by Powerslave

    because it could be the last one for a while: Quake 3 is coming out soon.

  • Sept. 29, 1999, 12:04 a.m. CST

    Man on the Moon trailer

    by All Thumbs

    The Man in the Moon trailer was one of the best I've seen all year! My roommate and I were watching the SNL show and it came on. She liked the trailer because it made her do a double take because she thought they showed the Andy Kaufman clip again(hmm...), but says she won't go with me to see the movie because she can't stand Jim Carrey. I can respect her not liking Jim, but why would someone not go to a movie JUST because they hate an actor? That alone would have made me miss many movies I now love. Oh, well. Anyways, the SNL show was great and I wish the writing and comedy are going to be as good this season.

  • Sept. 29, 1999, 12:24 a.m. CST

    American beauty and Loki

    by bruce le

    I can't stop describing how great a movie "American Beauty" is. I have already seen it twice before it came out and I will probably see it again and buy the video and buy the DVD and see it at the 25th anniversary reissue, etc... To those who haven't seen it, I say run to your multiplexes and prepare to be genuinely surprised. To those who have seen it, I only say spread the word if you liked it. Maybe it will send a message to Hollywood and we will get more intelligent movies in the future. ****Loki: I discovered this site in July of 98 at the same time that Talkback was created and I too miss Lane Myers and his dissertation-sized posts. But L'Auteur and Quentin2 are still there as well as a few other old timers I am sure. My favorite old timer was the guy who kept saying: "The geeks will inherit the Earth".

  • Sept. 29, 1999, 6:31 a.m. CST

    Censorship

    by Yossarian

    John K.(I wish I could remember his last name, but it's been so long) came to my campus my freshman year and spoke about censorship and how there are people who already control what we watch. He played a R&S episode that was never shown about a little boy who is a big fan of R&S and his deranged father. The show was legitimately about child abuse, but the episode was never allowed to be shown because it was "too intense". I think "too close to the mark" is more like it. It was probably banned for being (gasp!) Thought Provoking.

  • Sept. 29, 1999, 6:34 a.m. CST

    LaneMyers and NIN

    by zolov

    I miss LaneMyers, too. I disagreed with almost everything he ever said (especially on on political issues), but I always looked forward to reading his posts. Sometimes I would even skip straight to the TalkBacks. I have a couple new favorites nowadays, but they are nowhere near as interesting as my favorites of old. (Hey, remember that Annabelle Chong TalkBack? I had a different handle back then, by the way.) .....The NIN CD is awesome, and I didn't realize that until the fifth or sixth listen. I wish I could say more but I just looked at the clock. Work...

  • Sept. 29, 1999, 6:52 a.m. CST

    John Kricfalusi Special

    by MrMsty

    Looks like it's going to be on again tonight (Wed 9/29) at 9PM & 1AM EST/PST, 8PM & 12AM CST, and 10PM & 2AM MST.

  • Sept. 29, 1999, 6:53 a.m. CST

    Nude Scene

    by stewdog

    Anyone who's disappointed by the news that a famous actress did her own nude scene needs to have his head examined.

  • Sept. 29, 1999, 9:23 a.m. CST

    Shameless Promotion - FIGHT CLUB

    by The Interloper

    Hi, If anyone is interested, my friends and I have created a brand new web page dedicated to Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club. I just got the page up and running yesterday and you will find it jampacked with info on the author as well as updates, pictures etc.. all pertaining to the upcoming film FIGHT CLUB. Sorry, Harry, that I had to resort to this, but I know of no other way (Yahoo, is taking too long) to get this web site seen. So if you're interested in some good reading and cool design, check it out at: http://members.aol.com/intrloper9/PalahniukMain.htm and email me with yoru thoughts.

  • Sept. 29, 1999, 10:30 a.m. CST

    Wow...

    by SithPenguin

    Buckethead, John K., and a tribute to LaneMeyers, it's every geeks fantasy come true! Personally I don't miss the self-promoting lying son-of-a-bitch but at least his posts could amuse me once in a while unlike certain ranters around here!

  • Sept. 29, 1999, 11:01 a.m. CST

    Ahhh...memories

    by Loki Trickster

    Yes, I too remember the Annabel Chong chat...in fact I still have it saved. For anybody interested in it, just run a search for SEX: THE ANNABEL CHONG STORY...that was one of the best talkbacks ever. God, I feel like a geek, reminiscing about old talkbacks. Lane was definitely an asshole, but at least he was entertaining, and he seemed honest...unlike others who now seem to just want to piss people off. -Loki

  • Sept. 29, 1999, 11:43 a.m. CST

    Lane Myers and the spark of nostalgia

    by Thresh

    I too, am missing Lane Myers, especially with the current crop of naysayers who prefer crap over content. At least Lane had constructive things to say, intertwined with his acidity. Sarin Rufus, to name names, is all about what he hates, how bad it was, what it needed, who sucks, why he rules, he doesn't even have room to take a breath, much less offer anything helpful. Sarin, if you hate all the reviews so much, and think everyone is so beneath you, do us all a favor, go to another goddamn site. Otherwise, step up and give us something we can use...

  • Sept. 29, 1999, 12:24 p.m. CST

    Underage nudity

    by stewdog

    Okay, for the last time, underage nudity is NOT kiddie porn!!! The definition of pornography is something that has the primary intent of causing sexual arousal. Non-sexual nudity simply does not qualify. And I don't think that Thora's breasts change size from one scene to another. They're slightly above average throughout the movie.

  • Sept. 29, 1999, 12:43 p.m. CST

    Nudity and Equality in American Beauty

    by vorpalbuni

    While I often cringe at films where the women bare their breasts and the men remain clothed, I truly respect Sam Mendes and the cast to even out the score on this film. Even though I don't especially lust over Kevin Spacey, his ass shot, and the ass shot of the luscious Wes Bentley, made up for the two pairs of underage breasts in the film. It's so nice to be a chick at the movies sometimes.

  • Sept. 29, 1999, 12:50 p.m. CST

    fuck!

    by zolov

    Go read the Annabel Chong talkback and tell me what's missing... Harry, the way your whole banning thing works ought to be changed. Ah well. Back to work, I guess...

  • Sept. 29, 1999, 2:34 p.m. CST

    Thora's floppies

    by Flumberjums

    They were magnificent as well as the other young ladies.' I was so happy to see a reality shot instead of a money shot, or the obvious absence of a money shot for cowardly reasons. This film was worth the $9.50 just for that. Flop 'em high, ladies! You're amazing!!

  • Sept. 29, 1999, 3:33 p.m. CST

    kkrankk says: Zolov's right. Something at AICN smells.

    by kkrankk

    All of Lane's posts to the Annabel Chong documentary review have been deleted. I read all the other "Chong" posters and a lot of them made me laugh, but I'm disappointed by this site's Big Brother tactics. It's evident from the many responses that Lane's rants were typically lengthy, rambling and off-topic, but IMHO that's not a good enough reason to excise them. Come on, Harry, text doesn't take up that many kilobytes, and if posts are really too long and burdening the system, an administrator can remove words beginning with the last word of the last sentence until the post reaches it's maximum allowable length. I know it's Harry's site and he can do as he pleases and I know the talkbacks were set up for movie talk, not philosophical musings, but systematicly erasing all of someone's posts is Orwellian and I'm sad to see it here.

  • Sept. 29, 1999, 8:16 p.m. CST

    Lane and Old School TBers

    by Cyrus

    I also miss Lane. He recently posted in The Messenger Talkback though as A.K.A. LaneMyers. I used to just enjoy the hell out of reading Talkback every night. In fact it was one of my favorite daily activities for a while. I tend to lurk alot more than I post though, but I might post more often now (Sorry, this is just fair warning)... But there used to be some great, indepth, and hilarious discussions going on... it seems to have started to go downhill since TPM for some reason, the old timers seemed to start leaving then, not sure why. Hopefully they'll come back though or some new cool people will start posting more. That Annabell Chong Talkback has to be the all time best... I almost coughed up a lung.

  • Sept. 30, 1999, 5:04 a.m. CST

    you

    by EcScramble

    Hell yeah! When I heard Zorn for the first time many moons ago my mind was basically mangled. And now this guy is telling me that there is an even greater loonybin out there. I wonder what kind of movie would have a John Zorn soundtrack. Does anyone here know if he has scored one?

  • Sept. 30, 1999, 8:23 a.m. CST

    kkrankk

    by SithPenguin

    Just to let you know that Lane was banished because of his posts regarding Harry and also because he reported seeing movies, gave reviews to Harry and it turned out that the guy was a lying bastard. Pretty much everything he said was a lie from the get go and a lot of his philosophical ramblings were taken from critical essays by other people. I agree his comments in the Annabel Chong TB were great but most of the time he was spouting other people's thoughts.

  • Sept. 30, 1999, 12:17 p.m. CST

    Funny

    by smilin'jackruby

    It's funny to talk about earlier days on AICN. The site has gotten very "streamlined," something we knew was coming after the format change from repeated Harry photos to the current brown, cut-outs and navy incarnation. I didn't write for a long time because I've been doing a lot and now that I'm at my computer tons more (thank God for writing!) I've come back and the talkbacks are very, very different. There once was a sense of community, everybody was in it for one reason, to get out the word on the next great film that might go unnoticed or to see what's coming next to get that excitement going, something that's affected the way films are marketed these days as there's so much emphasis put on the opening weekend box office receipts. When I lived in Austin, things were different with AICN and in my life in regards to the independent film community. Now that I'm in my silly office here looking out over Wilshire, things are different. Hell, I miss when a single "Phantom Menace" rumor was what brought people back day after day after day. Maybe it's that post TPM letdown that's changed AICN. Who knows? But I'll still be seeing movies every week, tons of movies, reading lotsa scripts, seeing lotsa theater. Thank God for film and even if no one reads this rant, I feel a little better and can go into a meeting and tell him that Kate Jackson just ain't a draw.

  • Sept. 30, 1999, 4:51 p.m. CST

    kkrankk says: Hey, 2.35:1

    by kkrankk

    Thanks for the additional info on Lane's character; he was before my time here. Good witnessing.

  • Oct. 4, 1999, 11:15 p.m. CST

    Yossarian John K.'s last name is...

    by Cuppa Joe

    John K.s name is Kricfalusi. Pronounced KRIS-FA-LOO-SEE. Hope that helps. And I wish I saw that episode you spoke of.

  • Oct. 6, 1999, 2:16 a.m. CST

    Cartoons Bloodsport Sex Therapy

    by J.R. Kerr

    a devo regression to be sure. While I follow each point, stepping back seems to bring to focus a disturbing whole. Ozymandias watching all the TVs at once - you see the prophecy you have just made with this Moriarty? Gladiators, Arenas, Cartoon Caricatures, Mid-life crisis - sexual politics. America: Pride goeth before a ...

  • Oct. 6, 1999, 10:52 a.m. CST

    I'm already sick of this fucking movie

    by MangyK9

    I saw "American Beauty," and it was good, but it still pales in comparison to the movies it most wants to be like "The Ice Storm" and (especially) "Happiness." "AB" is almost "Happiness" Lite, right down to the convenient Miller Lite product placement during a tense confrontation between Spacey and Benning. The acting is terrific, although Spacey's daughter in the movie is your typical eye-rolling sarcastic movie brat . . . YAWN! The last honest portrayal that I have seen of someone young is the performance of the son in (say it with me) "Happiness." All in all, "American Beauty" is a very good movie . . . especially if you've never seen "Happiness." God bless you, The MangyK9 http://jesse.cyfx.com