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Archives: March 2006

Observer ‘Borrows’ Film Forum Notes?


We’re big fans of the usually reliable, salmon-colored weekly known as New York Observer. So we don’t exactly know what to make of what appears to be an extremely lazy roundup of a Don Siegel series at the Film Forum by Andrew Sarris that “borrows” heavily from the program:

FILM FORUM: THE GUN RUNNERS (1958) Fishing boat captain Audie Murphy (most decorated U.S. soldier in WWII) gets blackmailed by Eddie Albert into running arms to Cuban revolutionaries — then Albert double-crosses the rebels. Third adaptation of Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not.

SARRIS: Sharing the bill is The Gun Runners (1958), in which fishing-boat captain Audie Murphy (in real life, the most decorated soldier in World War II) gets blackmailed by Eddie Albert into running arms to the Cuban revolutionaries — before Albert double-crosses the rebels in this third adaptation of Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not.

FILM FORUM: DIRTY HARRY (1971) “There’s only one question you should ask yourself… ‘Do I feel lucky?’” Well, do ya, punk?” queries Clint Eastwood’s .44 Magnum-wielding Harry Callahan of a recumbent crook, after breaking up a bank robbery attempt in between munches of his hot dog luncheon — and then the nutso “Zodiac Killer” (Andy Robinson, a pacifist in real life) strikes again. Eastwood’s first incarnation (followed by four not-quite-as-good sequels by other directors) of one of the icons of the American cinema gives the Miranda doctrine a workout — in between racing crosstown on foot for a kidnapper’s phone calls and breaking up a harrowing school bus abduction. … “The movie’s moral position is fascist. No doubt about it.” — Roger Ebert.

SARRIS: Dirty Harry (1971): “You’ve got to ask yourself a question: ‘Do I feel Lucky?’ Well do ya, punk?” snarls Clint Eastwood’s .44 Magnum-wielding Harry Callahan of a recumbent crook, after breaking up a bank robbery attempt in between munches of his hot god [sic] luncheon. Callahan has more trouble with loony “Scorpio Killer” Andy Robinson, who winds up holding a busload of hostages because Callahan has ignored the Miranda Warning in his previous arrest of the Scorpio Killer, and has been handcuffed by a lily-livered Mayor (John Vernon) and a city administration that seems to be controlled by the American Civil Liberties Union. For his heavy-handedness, Callahan was termed a “Fascist” by some critics. Today he would be lionized for his War on Terror.

And The Reeler has a bunch more. We’re awaiting a response from Mr. Sarris.

Andrew Sarris: Plagiarist, Or Just Resourceful? [The Reeler]
At the Movies [NYO]

Breaking news: FCC payola probe approaching settlement

Reuters is just now reporting that a quartet of the nation’s largest radio station groups may imminently settle with the FCC over an investigation into payola.

The companies amongst the talks? Clear Channel, CBS, Citadel and Entercom – the latter of which is still facing the business end of New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer‘s gun.

We’re all just so sure that after they settle with the Feds, commercial music will be totally awesome again.

As Pellicano racketeering case drags on, a top law firm may be coming apart

The Los Angeles Times today carries an interestingly-timed revelation about the law firm of super-lawyer and person of interest in the Anthony J. Pellicano wiretapping case Bert Fields. A gaggle of Fields’ colleagues at Greenberg Glusker, including Dale F. Kinsella and Howard L. Weitzman are, according to the LAT,

“expected to take seven attorneys with them when they exit Greenberg, Glusker, Fields, Claman, Machtinger & Kinsella in mid-April.”

Of course, this has nothing – nothing at all! – do to with the Pellicano fracas. Alcatraz_prison_cell.jpg

As Weitzman put it (in a prepared statement, lest anyone think he’s too spontaneous):

“If we do, it is because we want to go back to practicing in a smaller environment,” Weitzman said, adding that the decision has nothing to do with the federal probe.

And by “smaller,” they do not mean a 5′x9′ cell.

Anna Benson Files for Divorce


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Anna Benson wants a divorce from Baltimore Orioles pitcher Kris Benson, who still thinks the New York Mets traded him because of his impulsive wife.

Anna Benson, an actress and model who has posed topless, filed for divorce in Atlanta on Thursday. The petition for divorce claims the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”

Impulsive? That’s one way to put it.

Lloyd Grove, always in the middle of a controversy, weighs in:

Hubby hurler cheated, sez sexpot Anna


Sexpot Anna Benson and her ex-Met hubby are headed for Splitsville
after she caught him fooling around with one of her friends, the
Daily News has learned.

Deep down we knew that we hadn’t seen the last of Ms. Benson on the back page.

Sattelite radio: Sirius dogging XM

As my colleague points out below, XM‘s decision to delay the launch of Bob Dylan‘s new radio show isn’t good news.

But it appears that the delays couldn’t come at a worse time: Radio Ink is reporting that consumers are starting to identify Sirius as the better choice:

“Programming options are taking a stronger position as the impetus for the purchase decision with Sirius more consistently being sited for its programming. A higher percentage of consumers are now able to mention specific Sirius programming.”

Even though Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin this week called the cost of Howard Stern, the NFL, NASCAR frightening, what’s even more terrifying is watching someone else pay them.

Per Reuters on Tuesday, “It’s scary how much they cost, but I would rather have them and find a way to make money with them rather than compete against them,” Karmazin said at the Sports Business Journal‘s annual World Congress of Sports event. ticd.jpg

In the meantime, EW just scored an interview with Stern that hit the web a few hours ago. Not that much new: The FCC? “like mobsters.” The Moonves/CBS lawsuit? “vindictive, vicious.” But there is one nugget of good news: Stern has just pitched a show for Triumph the Insult Comic Dog on Sirius!

The moment that becomes available, Sirius will be a must-have service…for me to poop on!

The week in alternative weeklies

- The LA Weekly looks at the departure of Dickie Barrett from Indie 103.1, which was apparently not as voluntary as the station has pretended. Anyway, please, God, don’t let him reunite the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

- LA Citybeat covers the Streetwars: Killer phenom. Apparently I’m the only person who finds this game disturbing.

- A Spin writer takes to the letters column of LA Alternative to defend himself against Silver Lake hipsters. Apparently he’s cool because he “wrote the first press in the f–ing country on Giant Drag, the Vacation, the Like and Silversun Pickups, not to mention Dance Disaster Movement, and was the first local writer to do feature stories on Autolux, Moving Units and Earlimart.” Good for him!

LAT in 90 seconds

- Bob Dylan’s XM radio show launch has been postponed until May, presumably to give him more time to learn how not to mumble.

- This week’s immigration-bill-protesting student walkouts were organized via a website called, you guessed it…

- There’s a late-night-television sleeping-pill ad war going on! Maybe insomniacs will be the last demographic that television reaches more effectively than the internet because of TV’s ability to target a particular time of day.

Naomi’s model behavior; Spelling’s bedside manor

Admittedly, it’s only mid-morning, but already, the papers are blaring on both coasts of celebrity encounters with “the help.”

Naomi Campbell has performed a Blackberry hat-trick, nearly braining her maid in the process.

The stress of a scheduled appearance on Oprah appears to have taken its toll. It makes us wonder: What the hell is in that couch? Catnip? Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid? Pringles?

Simultaneously, Aaron Spelling‘s legal tete-a-tete with his nursemaid will be available for all to see, the LAT reports. (Spelling’s nurse alleges she was asked to dress up like a prostitute, amongst other charming anecdotes.)

Our favorite Spelling quote? Not exactly a denial, per se: “I have absolutely no recollection of engaging in any of the conduct that she alleges.”

In other words, “I might have asked you to dress like a hooker, but I was so hopped up on Cialis, who could remember?”

Look for this one to settle by mid-April.

George Clooney vs.

For a celebrity whose life is presumably more interesting than ours, George Clooney sure seems to spend a lot of time surfing the internet. His new bete noir, according to Page Six, is’s Google-maps aided real-time celebrity stalker feature. In an email to his publicist, who then forwarded it to other publicists, Clooney writes: “There is a simple way to render these guys useless… Flood their Web site with bogus sightings. Get your clients to get 10 friends to text in fake sightings of any number of stars. A couple hundred conflicting sightings and this Web site is worthless. No need to try to create new laws to restrict free speech. Just make them useless. That’s the fun of it. And then sit back and enjoy the ride. Thanks, George.”

Wow, George Clooney in favor of deceiving the press. I am so taking ‘Good Night, And Good Luck’ off my Netflix queue.

MySpace just got about .0003% less racy

MySpace, the Santa Monica-based corporation dedicated to making it easier for lonely teenagers to acquire gonorrhea, has removed 200,000 ‘objectionable’ profiles from its site. Although I notice that, thankfully, EmoVixenLuv666 still has her totally hott photos up. I feel like she and I would totally relate. Why doesn’t she ever respond to my IMs?

Anyway with 250,000 new users every day, it’s hard to see how MySpace’s increasing self-policing will keep up with its growth. So, tread carefully, alienated teens of MySpace!