* I saw "Public Enemies" last night and I was disappointed. Depp is a great actor. Michael Mann is dependably awesome. Christian Bale is always interesting to watch. But despite this collection of talent, the flick is just so-so. The script doesn't pop. While some of Dillinger's antics are fun, most of the movie is by-the-numbers. Rob a bank, hide out, run from the cops, repeat.
Part of the problem is that the characters keep us at a distance. We don't see Dillinger's rise, we see him already at the height of his fame. Bale's agent seems fairly competent from the start. We're rooting for/against these characters based solely on their archetypes. We care for Johnny Depp more because he's Captain Jack Sparrow and Edward Scissorhands than because he fleshes out Dillinger so well.
There's even a line in the movie where Dillinger's love interest protests that she doesn't know him. He responds, "I like baseball, movies, good clothes, fast cars... and you. What else you need to know?"
It's as if the screenwriter threw that in to make up for the lack of character development. ("Look. Here's everything about the character. Now leave me alone while I write another bank robbery scene.")
New York Magazine shares this critique: "To say the sex scenes are tepid is generous. Oatmeal is sexier."
Watching "Public Enemies," I found myself longing for the crisp writing and fun action of "The Untouchables." I recommend you rent that and wait to catch "Public Enemies" until it hits DVD.
* Speaking of summer movies, we must brace ourselves for everyone to start quoting "Brüno."
* Bees swarm a major league baseball game. Run away! Your firearms are useless against them!
* If your adult children won't do their chores, just grab your gun and make them.
* It's time for Anthrocon '09 - the annual Furry convention. For those of you who don't know what that is... imagine getting off because you're dressed in an animal costume. Now imagine wearing that costume while you have sex with another person... also in an animal costume. (Oh, the dry cleaning bills!) Yeah, that's the Furry subculture in a nutshell. And it's freaking people out.
* Get caught with porn in Ukraine and you could go to jail for three years... unless the porn is being used for "medical purposes"... whatever the hell that means.
* Can we stop with the computer-generated babies? Ever since "Ally McBeal," we've had to deal with this creepiness. And now we have this terrifying Evian commercial.
* Thanks to the New Economy,™ your boss is going to bully you and there's nothing you can do about it.
* Pigeons can tell good art from bad. Which is more than you can say for most people.
* Freudian slips occur specifically because you're trying to prevent them. Boobs. I mean, uh... "news." News is important.
* Here's a list of reasons the Jackson family is screwed up. (Yes! A Jermajesty mention!)
* And finally, let's celebrate Independence Day with a mash-up of some of the worst Star-Spangled Banners ever...
* And now... PART TWO of your 4th of July Weekend Mega-Blog!
* Yes, sometimes screams of sexual passion sound like you're being attacked. So you might want to keep a lid on it before your kid rounds up a posse to beat the hell out of the guy hammering away at your pelvis.
* We are all poor. Retirement will never happen for my generation.
* Don't you hate it when you whip up a DVD of school memories for your 5th grade students, only to inadvertently include a clip of yourself having sex? (Link includes video to the upper right. Ms. Defanti is naughty!)
* Why would Michael Jackson want Diana Ross to raise his kids? Everything you hear about her is how she's a psychotic ego-maniac. Would she make the kids call her "Miss Ross" and avoid eye contact?
* This headline is misleading: "Women prefer prudent men to those who flash cash on first date." Correction: 32% of women prefer a frugal date. That means 68% of women are disgusted by your penny-pinching. And that sounds about right. Women. Am I right, guys?
* Our parent company is making a movie based on the old video game "Asteroids." We're just trying to go bankrupt, aren't we?
* And now, the 7 most pathetic G.I. Joe characters. Full disclosure: I still have two of these action figures.
* Is morale slipping at your workplace? Why not strip naked like this office? No offense to anyone in the newsroom, but I think that would scar me for life.
* Old Lady: "Oh, no! My TV is on fire!"
Reality: No, you're just watching video of a fire, you crusty old bat.
* The Lakers are adding mega-combustible forward Ron Artest. Expect another L.A. riot in 3, 2, 1...
* A vegetarian diet weakens bones, which will make it easier for us omnivores to consume them when the apocalypse comes.
* You'd like to think America's judges have their heads screwed on straight... but occasionally they have websites featuring "naked women painted like dairy cows, a woman shaving her pubic hair, and a video of a half-dressed man "cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal."
* Sign that we've run out of Michael Jackson angles to cover: Where is "Bubbles" now?
* Sarah Palin is resigning as Alaska's governor. Maverick!
* I went to the Taste of Chicago last night and was mightily disappointed. I bought 36 tickets. Here's how I used 'em...
4 Tickets - Polo Cafe & Catering - Garlic Cheese Bread. This was a solid start, although it ultimately tasted like garlic bread with some cheese sprinkled on top. At one bite, the entire serving of cheese came sliding off, leaving me with one mouthful of cheese and two or three remaining bites of garlic bread. A worthy appetizer.
12 Tickets - Manny's Cafeteria - BBQ Turkey Leg. A total unmitigated disaster. My first red flag should have been he fact that they said there was a five-minute wait for turkey legs... and I received my leg in about two minutes. When I bit into it, it was so huge, was hard to get my mouth around it So I ended up with a mouthful of skin... no meat. And when I finally got a mouthful of turkey, I looked down at the leg in horror - the turkey was a terrifying shade of pink. My Taste of Chicago had just become a Taste of Salmonella. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be dead of some undercooked poultry virus by midnight. It is, without a doubt, the worst $8 I've ever spent. I chucked it after three bites.
5 Tickets - Eli's Cheesecake - Slice of Plain Cheesecake. Seeking to eat something reliably awesome, I turned to Eli's. Thankfully, it was everything I'd hoped. God bless you, Eli.
7 Tickets - Bacino's Pizza - Thin Crust Sausage Pizza Slice. Budgeting my ticket supply, I knew I had to find one more entree for seven tickets. But most things worth eating were eight or nine. I finally found something I thought would be edible and worthwhile. I was wrong. Perhaps due to a low demand, the thin crust slice I got looked and tasted like it was made four hours prior. I would have been better off eating my tickets.
8 Tickets - Rainbow Cone - Rainbow Ice Cream Cone. A joyous combination of flavors. I think it was actually 10 degrees warmer than the pink turkey I ate.
Taste of Chicago Verdict: Eat dinner at a legit restaurant, and hit the Taste for dessert. Any other plan is folly!
* Jeff Goldblum is not dead. Or is he?