Monday Morning Critic – 6.7.2010 – Al Gore, Hollywoodland and Nic Cage

Every Monday morning, InsidePulse Movies Czar and African White Space Christ Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings an irreverent and oftentimes hilarious look at pop culture, politics, sports and whatever else comes to mind. And sometimes he writes about movies.

One of the more shocking developments of the last week, outside of Russell Brand giving me a new catchphrase title with “White African Space Christ” from Get him to the Greek, was the termination of wedded bliss for one of politics’ greatest love stories: Al and Tipper Gore. She once tried to censor music, he once tried to become President, but they seemed to be genuinely in love and there were no indications that this was going to happen. You’d have thought it’d be Bill and Hillary before Al and Tipper, especially in light of Bill’s indiscretions, and with the end of a 40 plus year on the horizon one thing keeps popping into my mind:

What kind of trim do you think the guy who’s become a millionaire many times over off of Global Warming can pull at his age?

Really, let’s think about it for a moment. Al’s gone from being the guy who lost the 2000 election because he couldn’t carry his home state, amongst other things, to being a rock star in Hollywood because of his new involvement in the environmental movement. It’s led to his own personal fortune and a Nobel Prize after a long and distinguished career as a war hero, Senator and Vice President to a popular President. Not bad for the son of a Senator most famous for opposing the Civil Rights Act. And he also got a massive endorsement from one of Hollywood’s biggest names: Leonardo DiCaprio.

DiCaprio’s mind was opened to the power of his documentary An Inconvenient Truth, or at least that’s what he said at the Oscars the year it won. Granted these are actors, after all. I mean what profession allows you to talk about the profound and then make jokes about bowel movements for money. Shockingly enough Al Gore’s “moving and profound” documentary hasn’t stopped DiCaprio from having a massive home, a fleet of luxury cars and using private jets to go everywhere but let’s not let Leo’s rather amusing environmental hypocrisy get in the way of an even funnier idea out of me: Al Gore, Sex Machine.

Listen to me now and believe me later.

If Leo F’n DiCaprio is going ga-ga over you, the ability to bed a young, hot female in Hollywood has to be like shooting fish in a barrel. Leo is one of the bigger stars in Holllywood and is dating one of the hottest women on the planet so you figure if Al decides to hang out with him that even Leo’s rejects ought to be pretty hot. And it got me thinking: wouldn’t it be amusing to see Al Gore out on the town in Hollywood, older single guy returning to the dating scene?

I’d imagine he’d hook up with his old running mate Bill Clinton, as Bill’s always on the prowl with Hillary doing that whole “Secretary of State” thing (and out of the Clinton house for long stretches of time). Imagine the two of them doing the dating scene for older folks in a montage set to Lady GaGa’s “Poker Face” as they walk into a Speed Dating in slow motion, strike out hitting on women at a bar, et al. In between these humiliations we see him fist pumping, bumping and grinding and with his arm around lots of good looking women.

He probably should be going after someone on the level of a Meryl Streep, or even newly single Sandra Bullock. He is over the age of 60 and as such dating someone appropriate in terms of age and status level is probably appropriate. But that’d be kind of hard because nearly everyone appropriate is probably married and I don’t see him trolling for booty in the halls of Congress or being set up with a local chamber maid. He’s in a tough spot and dating someone 20 years younger isn’t that horrible but is still a bit off-putting.

Plus you always marry/date someone of similar status so I don’t see Al cruising trendy clubs with someone less than a George Clooney as a wing man and a target like a former trophy wife of a Fortune 100 CEO as your target.

Something else struck me, too. He was married for 40 years and was by all accounts a loyal and devoted husband, as well as a tremendous father. As much as I disagreed with some of his politics he’s one of the few guys in politics I’d say was a genuinely decent human being and a first rate man. If more people had similar character than maybe the profession of politician wouldn’t be as disgusting as it has become. But he is a guy, after all, and getting married young does leave some things in a state of arrested development. Mainly his libido and the regret of not tearing through all the groupies like he was some sort of rock star.

Again, listen to me now and believe me later.

You don’t go to rock concerts promoting your cause without seeing that young rockers get lots, and lots, of hot women who want to do nothing more than be violated in any number of manners. Part of him had to have been a tiny bit jealous, I think, and maybe being single stirred something inside him. He could have some wild oats he needs to sow that he didn’t during all his years as a politician and married man that he feels like he needs to start sowing … and sowing NOW.

Maybe Al Gore decides he wants to walk on the wild side and decides to emulate Vinnie Chase from Entourage as this wild sex machine to all the chicks of Hollywood. Gore’s casting couch could become legendary as he beds a litany of beauties, and even some not so good looking broads like the fat chick from Precious, in his quest to become the ladies man he never was in his youth. While Tipper picks up the pieces on her life, Al trades in his suit for something that even Don Magic Juan would find repulsive (complete with a pimp hat and cane) and ravages the Hollywood scene. He could even have his own competitive dating reality TV show on VH1: Running Mate of Love where slutty women trying to make it as actresses run for election to be his Vice President.

Clinton would make for like the greatest host, too, like the big biker dude on Rock of Love. He could even bring in other famous people from all spectrums, call them his “Cabinet of Decision Making” and give them big, Flava Flav medallions to wear around their necks. I can imagine having Al decide which girl to take with input from Bubba, UFC veteran Forrest Griffin, ESPN columnist Bill Simmons, action star Tony Jaa and Justin Bieber along the way. It’s an easy pitch, too, and the girls all have to complete in completely sexualized political events, like competing to see who can “lobby” Al for political favors the best gets a one on one date.

Don’t tell me that wouldn’t be appointment television like Temptation Island was back in the day. I, for one, would pre-order the DVD. But even if that doesn’t come to fruition, there are other avenues of exploration.

We can always imagine the life of Al Gore on the prowl, nailing everything that breathes. One day he’s hooking up with Lindsay Lohan in a gas station bathroom and tearing his rotator cuff because he’s giving out so many high fives, the next he’s seducing a young aspiring Russian lingerie model in a limousine who wants to experience the Goracle, and the day after that he’s being tracked by TMZ on a night out with Amanda Bynes at Shelter as he tries to get on her Amanda show.

Al Gore being completely lit up like a Christmas tree, lamp shade on his head, urinating in public and “hunting for ho’s” is something that would be awesome to see. But then again, thoughts like these kept me out of the good colleges.

Random Thoughts of the Week

Well, it’s a slow week for news about film, and I’ve already used the “what would (director) do with (material)” gag, so inserting Tyler Perry jokes with The Hobbit would be funny but something I’ve already done before. And done better, too, as there are only a certain amount of jokes one can make about Hobbits before it gets lame. So I’ve decided to go back into the well for another chapter of the Wit and Wisdom Draft

Time to go the podium with WAW Commisioner Timothy “Slappy” McGee, Esquire:

“The West Hollywood Rednecks have traded their pick to Dallas in exchange for their second round pick, Dallas’s fourth round pick (46th overall) and Theo Ratcliff’s expiring contract. With the third pick of the second round, 13th overall acquired from the, the Dallas Cocaine Cowboys select Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage.”

A controversial pick, to say the least, Cage is an actor that inspires either profoundly positive or profoundly negative feelings. There’s no one who says “He’s alright” when asked about Francis Ford Coppola’s nephew. It’s always “I hate that guy” or “That dude’s awesome” with no real in between. And Cage’s career has been rather interesting, as well, as he has two types of films he makes for the most part: popcorn action films or quirky character pieces.

But the awesome part is that he always manages to have a couple really good lines in nearly every film. It’s a reason why I’ve always been a fan; he has something quotable no matter what. Then again, this is the actor that followed up an Oscar win in Leaving Las Vegas with Con Air, for God sakes, and managed to turn the credibility from the former into credibility in the latter. All the while he manages to crank out a ton of films every year that make money of varying quality, secure in his status as a huge star to take on risky roles because there’s always a National Treasure sequel or another action film to reaffirm his box office credibility.

He has that rare ability to take huge risks as an actor more often than not because we expect him to either be a generic hero or someone completely off his rocker. There’s no in between, at all, which is why I’ve always been a fan of the actor. His films may be good or god awful but they are always are interesting on at least a superficial level. It may always be a good film, but at least the effort is there because you know Cage doesn’t take projects lightly. Part of being able to play crazy is that you have to be a little bit … off … to begin with. So I imagine he’s the kind of guy that looks at a film like Con Air and goes “this could be awesome” and just goes nutty. Like even when it seems like he’s not trying, he’s just so ridiculously into the “method” bit that he’s secretly trained himself to be a former Army Ranger turned convict from Alabama and is so into the moment that he thinks he’s going to save the day. And speaking of:

“What do you think I’m gonna do? I’m gonna save the fuckin’ day!”
— Cameron Poe, Con Air

The ultimate in badass quotes for an action star, he says exactly what every action hero is saying but in dumber ways. Cameron Poe is the badass who wants nothing more to see his daughter and wife but has a higher code of honor. We all wish we could say something so awesomely bad before you go do something.

“There are two types of tragedies in life. One is not getting what you want, the other is getting it.“
— Yuri Orlov, Lord of War

Underrated film, for sure, and this is one of the best lines in it. Another variation of this line is that you should be careful what you wish for because you just might get it, made into a song lyric by the Pussycat Dolls, but it’s one of those lessons in life that comes through all the time. Sometimes what we really want in life is not the best.

“You don’t have a lucky crack pipe?“
— Terrance McDonagh, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

We all have lucky objects and some tend to be more unique than others.
“The other thing that gets to people, that leads to pies, I guess are these catch phrases we’re required to use to single the program out. It gets under people’s skin. Spritz Nipper. But the whole thing about all of it, all the getting hit with stuff, the whole thing is, who gets hit with a fucking pie, anyway? Did anyone ever throw a pie at Thomas Jefferson? Or Buzz Aldrin? I doubt it. But this is like the ninth time I got …. Clowns get hit with pies. I mean, I’ll bet no one ever threw a pie at, like Harriet Tubman, the founder of the Underground Railroad. I’ll bet you a million fucking dollars.”
— Dave Spritz, The Weather Man

There’s a reason why we don’t take seriously people like weather men, sports columnists and the like. Despite them providing something of value, we tend to think of them as clowns. This is why it really didn’t bother us in the film to see Spritz get hit by pies all the time because you don’t see him as anything but ancillary to the news. It doesn’t take a genius to look outside and go “it’s going to rain” because we know that most weather people aren’t meteorologists. They’re nice looking people who read the weather. It’s like how you can’t respect a guy who reads the news as opposed to the reporter, who actually reports it.

“Of all the ideas that became the United States, there’s a line here that’s at the heart of all the others. ‘But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and provide new Guards for their future security.’ People don’t speak like that anymore.”
— Ben Gates, National Treasure

Those who have the ability to do something have the obligation to do so. It was a founding principal of this country. Those who don’t write humorous columns on the internet about movies, that’s all I’m saying.

“Every faction in Africa calls themselves by these noble names – Liberation this, Patriotic that, Democratic Republic of something-or-other… I guess they can’t own up to what they usually are: a federation of worse oppressors than the last bunch of oppressors. Often, the most barbaric atrocities occur when both combatants proclaim themselves freedom-fighters.”
— Yuri Orlov, Lord of War

It’s one of the ironies in life. Most people who claim to be freedom fighters, or moral police, end up being the most vile human beings possible. I’ve met enough people in life who want to tell me how to live a “proper” life who are scumbags to know that when you advertise yourself on your “morals” you probably delight in kicking puppies.

“I think shit just happens. But that’s me.”
–John Koestler, Knowing

Sometimes we want a detailed, complex answer as to why things happen in life. Sometimes they just happen.

“My daddy once said, ‘If you don’t make a choice, the choice makes you.'”
— Johnny Blaze, Ghost Rider

Sometimes it’s what we don’t do in life that defines the path that you end up walking.

“You and I share the same DNA. Is there anything more lonely than that?“
— Charlie Kaufman, Adaptation

My brother must think that every time he reads my column.

A Movie A Week – The Challenge

This Week’s DVD – Hollywoodland

Editor’s note: Holy crap I was watching this and Googled it, finding that I reviewed this in the theatre. My review of the theatrical release is here.

Another week and another film with the onetime half of Bennifer to occupy my time and energy. This time it’s the film that seemingly resurrected his flailing film career after an insane amount of bad choices left him as the decidedly lesser half of the “Damon-Affleck” combination that won a screenplay Oscar in the late 90s and was supposed to take over the upper echelon of Hollywood. Damon starred in a string of flops as a leading actor until The Bourne Identity basically rescued his career from being a famous sidekick to George Clooney and Brad Pitt in the Ocean series. Affleck seemingly had the world by the balls until he decided he needed to play advertising executives who need to learn a lesson about life in what seemed like 100 movies that all failed spectacularly. After trying his hand as an action star a couple times, culminating with Paycheck opposite Aaron Eckhardt and Uma Thurman flopping at the box office after Daredevil underwhelmed, Affleck became more known for his tabloid fodder than his acting career. And then he tried to become a dramatic actor again, starting with Hollywoodland.

A look back at the investigation into the death of the original Superman, George Reeves (Affleck), Hollywoodland follows Louis Simo (Adrien Brody) as he’s hired by Reeves’ mother to look into it. As Simo investigates the apparent suicide of the first Man of Steel, we get to see the rise and fall of Reeves as an actor. Getting a break after losing his contract deal with Warner Brothers because he manages to have a love affair with Toni Mannix (Diane Lane), Adventures of Superman becomes a massive hit with children and he finds himself typecast as THE Superhero of superheroes. From there it’s all downhill, leading up to the mysterious circumstances that still cloud Reeves’ death that’s been ruled as a suicide for some time.

While it’s not a particularly strong film because it doesn’t have a clear finale, offering up three viable situations for the man’s death and not settling on one, this isn’t a film about story. It’s about characters and acting in old Hollywood, rife with the contradictions amidst the studio system of old. The film gives us a great look at the way Hollywood used to work, of the studios controlling everything they could to keep the image of Hollywood and its stars as squeaky clean as possible. As Simo goes through his life and the various seedy aspects to it, it becomes an interesting look at the way the system used to work.

The impressive part of the film is Affleck. This is the role he was meant to play and a full on biopic with Affleck as Reeves would’ve been interesting as well, still could be, but Reeves and Affleck have career parallels that are a bit scary.

What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 Pints of Bass Ale and community college co-eds with low standards at the Alumni Club

The A-Team – Hannibal (Liam Neeson), Face (Bradley Cooper), Murdock (Sharlito Copley) and B.A (Quentin “Rampage” Jackson) are back, except as Iraq War vets turned prisoners for a crime they didn’t commit turned soldiers of fortune in Los Angeles. And Jessica Biel is somehow involved because of her general ability to be hot in nearly any situation.

See it – After years and years of no “men on a mission” films, Hollywood gives us three. The Losers was a fun romp, The Expendables looks to bring a little old-school back to the genre and The A-Team looks to maybe be the best of the three. I wouldn’t be surprised and everything so far has a killer vibe to it.

The Karate Kid – Will Smith’s untalented kid and Jackie Chan remake an ‘80s classic.

Skip it – Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio are spinning in their graves at this point. Well, Macchio is still alive but the fact that this film exists is symbolic of the sheer lack of stones Hollywood has nowadays. Take one really untalented member of the Lucky Sperm Club, give him a legendary actor needing a paycheck and a box office hit, mix and match with a classic sports film about martial arts and Sha-zaam! Craptacular schlock for the masses.

Do you have questions about movies, life, love, or Branigan’s Law? Shoot me an e-mail at and you could be featured in the next “Monday Morning Critic.” Include your name and hometown to improve your odds.

Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @MMCritic_Kubryk.

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