You mess with Harpo Marx, you get the horns.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Tragic Clowns

Whew! Stew, for a moment there I thought you were going to do a song based on "Clowns Never Laughed Before." That in itself could inspire gunfire.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Send in the clowns...then gun them down.

The profession of clowning (or is it clownery), a profession almost as old as that other, is the noble pursuit of humor not so much different from what we attempt on this blog. Of course, here we don't wear the make-up and big red noses as often and our cars are more normal in size, but for the sake of comparison you'll have to give me that license. It is with that in mind that we at DOUI today are deeply saddened by the loss of two of our brothers in arms, sadly gunned down in the prime of their clowning.

An excerpt from the morbid story:

BOGOTA (Reuters)
Two clowns were shot and killed by an unidentified gunman during their performance at a traveling circus in the eastern town of Cucuta, police said Wednesday. “The killings have nothing to do with the show” said a spokesman.

“The clowns came out to give their show and this guy came out shooting them. It was terrible”.

Yes, truly terrible.

But maybe not as terrible as this. In honor of our two painted brethern I give you our rendition of the age old classic "Send in the Clowns".

Send in the Clowns: Cucuta de Muerta Re-mix

Isn't it rich, are we a pair?
Me lying here on the ground,
Your blood in mid-air.
Send in the clowns.

Why didn’t he miss, don't you approve?
One hollow point tearing around
Now we can't move
Send in the clowns
Then gun them down.

Just when I'd stopped opening doors,
Here comes a freak with a Smith & Wesson .44.
Making my entrance again with my usual flair,
Is this the right circus;
No one is there.

Don't you love farce?
I’m shot in the rear,
I thought you’d aim a little higher,
Sorry my dear
But where are the clowns
Send in the clowns
Then gun them down.

What a surprise!
Who could foresee
A maniac with a homicidal streak
With his sights trained on me?
Why only now when I see
That you've passed away?
What a surprise...
What a cliche'...

Doesn’t it stink, isn't it queer
Losing my life this late in my career
And where are the clowns
Quick send in the clowns
Then gun them down.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

You too can fondle an Oscar?

...That could very well be the tag line for a creative exhibit where everyday, average, non-big-shot-film-star people get to see and even hold Oscars.

Of course, the biggest security risk at such an event is not just that someone will pinch an Oscar (as in "steal") but that someone will "pinch" an Oscar (as in improperly touch Oscar's "sword.")

I expect we'll even see the bird from the Celebrity Cruise line adverts giving yet another acceptance speech. Still, what does Oscar himself think about all this?

Oscar: I think it's just another example of how Hollywood has sexually exploited me. First, I they don't give me any clothes. It's frickin cold when you're naked, even in L.A. Plus, this sword doesn't offer any protection. How would you like a cold, metal, loincloth. Not to mention, it's a sharp as a razor. Now, on top of that, anybody can handle me for free. I mean it's all right when Julia Roberts or Halle Berry picks me up, but there are a lot more people out there who resemble Michael Moore.

Of course, they've limited the exhibition to New York and Hollywood, so the vast majority of participants will be actors anyway...mostly people sizing it up for their mantlepiece, should they get lucky. (No, I didn't mean it like that.)

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Best of the Best of the Best, Sir!!!

That line from Men in Black always reminds me of the Best Picture nominees for the Oscars. Mainly, it reminds me of them, because we seldom get the "best of the best of the best of the best of the..." Sorry, lost track there. No, usually what we get for Best Picture nominees are the films that were pretentious enough to pass for one, and that the Academy members had most of their friends working in.

That said, in keeping with yet another annual Dictionary of Unfortunate Ideas tradition, here are brief summaries of the nominated films. As I've not seen any of them yet, they are a little... well, sketchy.


Babel - Also, known as Crash II: The Fall of the Interpreters, this searing drama weaves a complex story of alienation, angst, and jaw-dropping sex and violence, which explains why Ebert and Roeper gave it "two 'thumbs' way up... if you know what we mean."

Two American tourists become stranded in the desert when their Vaught Corsair is shot down by the spittle of a camel with an amazing head cold. Their plight is linked to that of an illegal alien nanny crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, two Moroccan juvenile deliquents named Steve, and a Japanese teen-ager who thinks he is Puffy Amiyumi (both of them). How it's linked we're never quite sure as the various participants all speak in their native language without subtitles, except for the Americans, who speak a form of penguin. Finally, they are all killed when the camel develops an awful case of wind in a sandstorm, marking the only time in cinema history when screen flatulence leaves an actual physical burn. Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, except for the final scene, which is directed by David Croenburg.


The Departed - Martin Scorcese returns to the seedy, violent, and highly entertaining world of criminals for yet another attempt to appear dejected on camera at the Kodak Theatre. Leo DiCaprio plays the last living survivor of the Titanic, who happens to only be 30 years old as he is flung into the future by a daft, grey-haired, old git in a DeLorean. He joins the police force and then joins the mob, just to keep people guessing. Jack Nicholson plays the mob boss who swears he was possessed by DiCaprio's spirit in an isolated hotel in Colorado and has the ax to prove it. Matt Damon is the double-crossing genius mathematician who worms his way into the police force and threatens to fit Leo DiCaprio with a pair of cement Vaught Corsairs. One for him, and one for Shelley Duvall, who keeps hanging around the mob headquarters looking for some bloke named "Popeye."


Letters from Iwo Jima - The tragic story of two Japanese soliders, fighting on Iwo Jima, who have the living hell bombed out of them by a Vaught Corsair. (Well, that was easy.) Very similar to Duel, only we know exactly who is flying the Corsair because director Clint Eastwood keeps sticking his head out and yelling, "You want some more of that you bastards?!?" Also starring Minnie Driver as a very lost college student from Boston, and Dennis Weaver as the twitching man in the 1970 red Plymouth Valiant.


Little Miss Sunshine - A wacky, typical all-American family consisting of a derelict, ageing lecherous, hilarious hipster; a troubled, sensitive, yet funny, gay choreographer; a married couple with a prediliction for leather and witty repartee; a comical teenage boy with acne like chicken pox, and a loveable, little girl who spends the entire film wondering how the adoption agency saddled her with this sorry group, travel cross country in a Vaught Corsair - specially modified to look like a broken down 1969 VW van.

They are on their way to the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in the belief that this will fulfill the dreams of the little girl, not realizing that she intends to flee the family at the pageant and request asylum. Unfortunately, the pageant is in California and the family is from Albuquerque, New Mexico, so the best she is able to manage is to get a screen test with Disney and spend all her time hanging out with Hilary Duff in L.A. malls and raves.


The Queen - Helen Mirren dazzles in a career-making role as Freddie Mercury. No, sorry about that. I was way, way off. In fact, she plays HM Queen Elizabeth II.

The film details Her Majesty's dizzing rise to the top of the glam rock scene. After seducing David Bowie and murdering Ziggy Stardust, who as it turns out are two completely different people, Her Royal Glamness then goes on to force her weak-willed, elephant-eared son, Prince Charles (played by Brian May) to marry glamourous commoner Diana, Princess of Wales (played by Bette Midler). After Diana is killed in a tragic accident, Elizabeth, Regina the Second, saves the day by playing a wicked solo version of Bohemian Rhapsody during the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, on top of a Vaught Corsair, whilst wearing only a thong and two large postal stamps. Daring, highly unusual cinema.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Fa! Pa! Whee! Nee! Boom!!!

I don't know about you, but when someone says the words "Academy Awards" to me, I can't help but think of the great films. Sure, most people would quickly remember classics such as Citizen Kane, Seven Samurai, and The Gold Rush, all films that didn't win the award. As for myself, when I think of a great film, unhonoured by Oscar, I immediately go to Mike Nichols' classic, intrigue-filled, suspense thriller The Day of the Dolphin, or as we here at The Dictionary like to call it, Flipper:The Graduate. (And people say that the drug-addled 70's didn't produce great art!)

So it was with great irony that I was already contemplating this magnificent cine-masterpiece of inter-species dialogue, emotion, and high explosives, when...lo and behold, I came across a news item about U.S. Navy plans to deploy anti-terrorism dolphins to patrol military bases. As you can imagine, it was like receiving an early birthday gift.

The best part of the story was a quote from Stepahnie Boyles, marine biologist with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who said, "We believe the United States' citizens deserve the very best defense possible, and this just isn't it, ...They (the dolphins) don't understand the consequences of what will happen if they don't carry out the mission."

Of course they do Ms. Boyles. "No more free fish-ies!" However, this is the kind of terrific analysis you get when you ask someone at PETA about national defence issues.

Anyway, not believing my own eyes, or even the link I just posted for you lot above, I contacted my good friend, former editor for the Atlantis Picayune, and (with all due respect to George C. Scott) star of The Day of the Dolphin: Fa, and asked him what he knew about the issue. Here are some excerpts:


[Note: Our conversation was translated by noted musician, actress, and dolphin expert Charo.]

Earl: Fa, it's good of you to speak with me on short notice.

Fa: Nee! Fa! Ta! (gurgle)

Charo: He say, "Ooooh!!! It is good to see you, hootchie goochie!"

Earl: Erm...right. Are you sure about the "hootchie goochie" part?

Charo: Oh, I am sorry. That was just me.

Earl: Well, I'm glad that Fa understands English at least. That'll save on some hootchie goochies.

Fa: Wa! Fa! Nee! Pa! Ha! Hoo! Chee! Goo! Chee!! (squeal)

Charo: He say something about what do you mean by "hootchie goochie."

Earl: Well, that was what you said, wasn't it?

Fa: Fa! Nee! Pa!

Charo: He say that you said it also and you shouldn't blame the hot, elderly Latin lady with the guitar.

Earl: Well, I'm not blaming... why did you bring the guitar anyway?

Charo: Actually, I was hoping to do a hoochie goochie number for a little extra publicity.

Earl: (pointing to the dock parking lot) Off!


[Note: At this point the translation was taken over by noted actor and dolphin fan Robert De Niro]

Earl: Thanks for stepping in Robert.

Robert De Niro: Listen Earl, anything for a great fellow actor like Fa.

Fa: Ro! Nee! Ta! Zee! Dree! Vee!

Robert De Niro: (laughs) Fa, you are too kind. He said he loved Taxi Driver.

Earl: Who didn't? Now, about dolphins in the military...

Robert De Niro: (interrupting) I think you mean porpoises.

Earl: Beg pardon.

Robert De Niro: You said dolphins but the correct term is porpoise or "bottle-nosed dolphin."

Fa: Nee! Ta! Zee! Dree! Vee! Yee!

Earl: Well I'm terribly sorry to have caused any confusion, but after all, the film was titled The Day of the Dolphin.

Robert De Niro: You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me?

Earl: Sorry?

Robert De Niro: You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talking... you talking to me? Well I'm the only one here.

Earl: Let's not get excited Bob, I mean... it was only an observation.

Robert De Niro: (laughs) Oh, I'm sorry Earl! I wasn't talkin' to you. Fa asked me to do the Travis Bickle bit from Taxi Driver.

Fa: Wee! (shoots water from blowhole)

Earl: Well, that's a relief.

Robert De Niro: Yeah...dolphin, porpoise, I don't really give a crap. I was just noticing.

Earl: By the way Bob, how's Nobu's going?

Robert De Niro: (In a hushed voice) Don't talk about the seafood place in front of Fa.

Fa: Su! Shi! (swims away)

Robert De Niro: Ah %$&#, that's done it. (calling after Fa) I'm sorry Fa! You know Nobu only serves dolphin-free tuna!


[Note: The remaining translation was provided by Earl Fando, who knows that dolphins are mammals, like raw fish, and sound squeaky.]

Earl: Fa, I'm glad you came back. So, what do you think about sea lions being used in concert with dolphins as part of this defence programme?

Fa: Nee! Fa! Zee! Wa! Pa! Dee!

Earl: Sorry, no idea what you just said. Is Charo still around?

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Live Oscar Blog!

This Sunday, an event of massive importance for film lovers of all kinds is happening. That's right, The Dictionary of Unfortunate Ideas wil be conducting our 3rd Annual Live Blog of the Academy Awards ceremony!

The Oscars just wouldn't be the same without someone sitting around online making cruel and merciless fun of the whole ridiculous spectacle, and for the third year running, DOUI is that somebody! (Joan Rivers does it in person, but we'll make fun of her as well. Sorry, Joan.)

Be sure to tune into ABC on Sunday and at the same time browse to this site ( in case you've forgotten already) to enjoy the epic, garish, petulant, politically clumsy, Beyonce-laden, tear-fest that marks America's annual celebration of the film industry. The posts will fly like Jack Nicholson's golf clubs, and with the same venomous accuracy!

Now, if we could only figure out a way to get into Puck's party afterwards...

[For a view of the The 2006 Oscar Live Blog, click on the link and scroll down.]

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