Monday, December 28, 2009

INCEPTION: The Movie That Will Break Your Mind in 2010

What is this movie about? I just watched the second trailer to Christopher Nolan's brain-bending movie, and I'm still baffled. And that's a great thing to be completely confounded. I'm sold- tickets bought emotionally as of now and in actuality subject to availability. Behold the glorious confusion!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Jack Sack interviewed by

I guess my movie reviews during the off-season of "24" have made an impression. Shane of Only Good Movies recently conducted an interview with yours truly on a wide array of subjects related to film. Go check it out here. Thanks again, Shane!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

24 Season 8 Premiere Has Been Seen!

Herc of Ain't It Cool News has seen the first 4 episodes of Season 8- while he is under embargo by FOX from writing an official review, he does hint that he liked what he saw.

And more importantly, he declares that The Jack Sack™ is indeed featured in these first 4 episodes. I just hope TJS isn't the mole this season... anyway, here's the official preview which has been out there for a few weeks:

Monday, December 07, 2009

PONTYPOOL: The Jack Sack™ Movie Review

What are words? Are they merely ideas? Emotions? Tools we use to accomplish tasks simple and complex? Whatever their purpose or value, words exist because we need them. Now, imagine a world where words cause everything to unravel. Perhaps one doesn't need to imagine this happening- we live in an age where more words are being communicated than at any other time in our history. People seek meaning in those words- but what if words betray us?

All of this sounds philosophical and nonsensical, but imagine a film that takes on this issue, but does so with its own version of zombies! "Pontypool" is a recent film by Canadian director Bruce McDonald. McDonald and writer Tony Burgess revisit a classic set-up for the sci-fi/horror genre- the telling of a fantastic series of events by a radio broadcast. Like Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds," the world is interrupted by a series of inexplicable events that threaten our existence. Unlike "War of the Worlds," this threat is really happening- not a radio hoax or some other flight from reality. Radio DJ Grant Mazzy and his skeleton crew of a broadcast team attempt to filter through confusing pieces of information as they flow into the radio station, trying to construct a narrative of why the world is falling apart outside their snow-encased building. Mazzy is a Don Imus-like character, donning a cowboy hat and hitting the booze liberally for breakfast. His cocky veneer is slowly worn down as he becomes more aware of the horrors taking place outside the station. Actor Stephen McHattie is reliably fascinating in this role- carrying the film with his face, which literally serves as the barometer of the movie's tension-level. It's a fantastic performance, one which makes the movie worthwhile on its own.

Now, I'm going to spoil something big for the movie here, so stop reading if you want to keep clear- it's how the people become "sick." Your typical horror/zombie flick blames a virus or some infection with making people flesh-hungry maniacs. That would have been enough to keep "Pontypool" a very entertaining movie. But what the filmmakers have done here is something completely new for the genre- something cerebral and worth discussion. People lose their minds as a result of the words they hear and speak. It's an uncertain combination of trigger words, but generally terms of endearment and words in English are the ones that set off the madness. The human brain gets caught in its own quicksand of understanding words' meanings. Madness soon develops and cannibalism ensues.

Yeah, there's a message beneath all of that- what I interpret it to mean is that words can control us, and we become capable of doing things that may betray our values. Throughout history, terrible acts have been committed as a result of the right combination of words being used. The only way we can protect ourselves from losing control is to define what words mean to us as individuals. Basically, think for yourself, do not blindly submit to another person's definition of the world. It's a good message, one that fits perfectly within the zombie-movie genre. Find "Pontypool" and redefine your world for a little while.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

HARRY BROWN: The Jack Sack™ Movie Review

Okay, so I'll come clean from the start- when I'm bored driving, I talk aloud in the voice of Michael Caine. I yammer absolute nonsense; I'll have Caine give instructions on how to make a sandwich ("A proper sandwich starts with good bread- something you'd only give to your mum! Wonder Bread? Nevah!"). Caine is, to me, a freakin' legend. He's a personality beyond that of even some of the best actors working today. He's in the class of Jack Nicholson and Clint Eastwood. And like Eastwood's "Gran Torino," Caine gets his old-guy hands dirty while battling the local riff-raff in "Harry Brown," a new film by neophyte director Daniel Barber.

This is not an action-movie. Nor is it "On Golden Pond" with guns. This is a rare blend of social commentary mixed with a very poignant character study. It's slow in parts- but underneath everything is this gut-wrenching tension that never feels false or manipulative. The violence (oh there's a decent amount) has weight- when a person gets shot, you see the aftermath and you are left to consider what has happened. And violence is this movie's main obsession- the senseless violence that comes from the drug-dealing gangs that run the neighborhood versus the vigilante violence of Caine's Brown Like many revenge films from decades past (the original "Death Wish" being the most influential), we are left to consider the moral questions that come when a person takes it upon him or herself to bring balance to a situation in which society has little or no control.

As someone who practices the law, I've had it drummed into my head that the legal system is sacrosanct. While imperfect (and certainly very flawed) the law is the last defense against society's downfall. I intellectually buy into that notion- and we have thousands of years of history to consider which bears that out. I recently read an account by the Newsweek reporter who was held prisoner in Iran over the past year- and if there was ever a reason to embrace our screwed up system, it's made clear by Iran's example. But humans abuse, misuse and manipulate the law like they do with anything. And there comes a time when a flawed system becomes a dangerous one because it fails to function. This is where we find Harry Brown- mourning the death of a close friend who was a victim of a horrific murder. When it becomes clear that the killers are not going to be punished, Harry moves into the situation with brutal and focused force. And I found myself empathizing with Harry's decision to act (and disagreeing at the same time).

But this is just a movie, right? We can root for guys like Dirty Harry and Jack Bauer because the alternative is a pretty mundane story. Who wants to watch the police do paperwork? Well, the best part about "Harry Brown" is that it consciously rejects that storytelling cop-out. It forces the viewer to keep in mind that Harry is not only killing the bad guys, but he is causing larger problems along the way. But instead of preaching a message, the film just plays out its events and lets the viewer decide whether Harry made the right choices. This is a cold film, but it's an intellectually honest one.

On the technical aspects, "Brown" is a very solid piece of filmmaking from such a young director. There's a minimalist approach at work here and this allows the actors to create very believable characters. And the character work provides the film with a realism that separates it from other, similar stories. When one of the killers makes sexually threatening remarks to the female investigator, you look to her face and see her react with professional, steady resolve. Words alone cannot convey that quality, only self-assured storytelling. And while there's really no lyrical quality to it, like Eastwood's "Gran Torino," "Brown" succeeds in evoking strong emotions. I don't know which approach I prefer (probably "Torino" because it was far less depressing) but both movies force us to think about the civility we've lost over the past few decades. "Harry Brown" is a sober, difficult film, and one which I highly recommend.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Jack Bauer Dropped As Partner in Group To Buy Jamba Juice Franchise

Jack Bauer, counter-terrorist extraordinaire, has announced that he will no longer be a minority-share owner in a Jamba Juice franchise set to open in St. Louis, MO.

Bauer, who was reported to have eaten the neck of a terrorist holding him hostage several years ago, was the subject of controversy when his participation in the smoothie restaurant venture was announced. At issue is an incident in 2003 where Bauer bluntly stated: "Smoothies are overrated. It seems like all shopping malls want to see smoothie joints succeed." Various groups protested Bauer's past statement as "contrary to the spirit of the fruit and juice industry" and "totally unsmoothie."

Donny McNibb, 32, an employee of a Jamba Juice location in Philadelphia, PA said of Bauer's intention to open his own Jamba Juice: "If he's rewarded to buy them, congratulations to him. But I won't be in St. Louis any time soon. Now, what size Mega Mango did you want?"

Whether Bauer ever returns to the trendy, vitamin-enriched world of smoothies is unknown at this point. In the meantime, Bauer will concentrate on his day job- saving the entire world without the aid of strawberries and bananas.

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11th

There have been millions of words written about September 11th over the past eight years, and well... here are a few more you can add to the pile.

While I did not lose any friends or loves ones, I had a few acquaintances that died in the World Trade Center. I still have my ID badge from when I used to work there, up until a year before the attacks. Looking back, there are some parts that feel emotionally distant now, but the details are completely burned into my memory. I recall driving to work, listening to the Fordham University radio station and hearing the disc jokey cut into some lazy folk tune with news of a massive fire at the World Trade Center. Like I mentioned, I used to work in one of the towers a year before (by 9/11, I was working north of the city for a different company). I quickly parked in a garage and sprinted to my office to call my mother and get details (I didn't have a cell phone then). As I booted my computer and pulled up, I saw images that didn't make sense. And when I got my mom on the phone, I heard her calmly say "Another plane just crashed into the World Trade Center." Suddenly anything was possible-- and that was terrifying.

I remember the next morning, waking up and thinking "What happened while I slept?" fully expecting another attack had taken place. I recall thinking "If we couldn't defend the Pentagon, surely we are completely vulnerable. Why didn't we have rockets or some anti-aircraft batteries around that building.?" So, after ten minutes of TV news, I drove into town and bought one copy of every newspaper. I felt strangely ashamed, like a bystander peering at a gruesome car wreck. However, in retrospect I'm glad I bought the papers because they are artifacts, records of an incredible event.

I also remember finally getting a cell phone that week. I used to shun the device as an inconvenient convenience. But suddenly it was a security blanket- a lifeline in a very unsettling time. I implored my friend Mike, who worked at CNN (and still does), to call me anytime, day or night, if something major broke in the news. He became my emergency broadcast signal. For a while, whenever I saw his number on the caller ID, I answered with a bit of caution.

And then there was Game 3 of the 2001 World Series, where President Bush threw out the first pitch. I went to that game, had pretty amazing seats about 10 rows back from home plate. I remember seeing three Marine One helicopters descending out beyond the stadium wall (one of them had the President, the other two were decoys) They landed in sequence at Macomb's Dam Park next to Yankee Stadium. It was like watching UFOs land-- completely surreal. My eyes thoroughly scanned the stadium, noticing sharp-shooters lurking between the floodlights above. I kept visualizing an explosion taking out a section or a plane crashing into the stadium. When Bush came out to throw the first pitch, I held my breath praying the event would pass without incident. I was on edge like this for months.

Oddly, I recall "24" premiering around that time too. And without even giving the show a shot, I refused to watch it. All I knew was it was about terrorism and that was the last thing I wanted to watch. I thought "That show won't last, not with the real world the way it is." Luckily I was wrong- and thankfully I embraced the show on video years later.

I won't attempt to make sense of how those events have affected us eight years later. Like I said, millions of words have been committed to the subject. I can only offer this personal testimonial- September 11th is close to my thoughts, my heart still aches for those who died and I hope for the day when this part of our history is truly in the past.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

POINT BLANK and THE GENERAL: The Jack Sack Movie Review

There are two types of people in this world- those who consistently wait on lines and those who consistently cut them. I happen to like the cutters- they see through a lot of the nonsense caused by civilization.  Tonight's double-feature includes two of John Boorman's best movies featuring these "lone wolf" types.

The first is POINT BLANK (1967), starring Lee Marvin as Walker- a crook who was double-crossed by his pal and his wife and left for dead. Sound familiar? Mel Gibson's PAYBACK was based on the same source material- the novel "The Hunter" by Richard Stark (a.k.a. Donald Westlake). Before getting to the movie in detail, just know that POINT BLANK makes PAYBACK look like an after school special.

Second is a much lesser-known Boorman film, THE GENERAL (1998) starring Brendon Gleeson as real life Irish crook Martin Cahill. Set in the early 1990s, THE GENERAL also reunited Boorman with his DELIVERANCE star Jon Voight, who many of you know as the irascible Jonas Hodges.

Boorman has made two films, nearly 30 years apart, which address characters with some form of societal dysfunction. They are intelligent, resourceful, charming, determined individuals who could each be successful, legitimate types. But there's something about being too smart- about seeing through the facade of society and knowing that being a crook is not the exclusive domain of burglars and pick-pockets. These are men who view the social contract as a joke, and they refuse to honor such a dishonorable deal. I like these guys probably too much.

In POINT BLANK, Walker is a professional, independent criminal who's looking to make that one big score so he can move on and enjoy the remainder of his years with his wife. His partner, Mal points them to an easy job-- holding up some other criminals and making off with a nice amount of money. What Walker doesn't know is that Mal is in serious debt with "The Organization" a major criminal outfit running the city's underworld and intends to use his and Walker's share to get himself off the hook. As mentioned earlier, Walker is double-crossed by Mal, who makes off with Walker's wife and the money. Shot and left for dead, Walker emerges from his ordeal as a force of nature- pure, unapologetic fury. Here's the actual scene where Walker begins his quest for revenge:

In THE GENERAL, Martin Cahill is a far less menacing figure. Instead, Cahill goes about his criminal work as a showman- making the news broadcasts regularly with his "alleged" antics. While childish at times, Cahill is not a buffoon. He is a creative, audacious type- taking scores that even the IRA finds too risky. And Cahill becomes a victim of his own success, making too many enemies and closing off his avenues of escape. Cahill was so prolific a criminal that he actually robbed director John Boorman's house in real life years before the film was made. Boorman includes this incident in a montage, which you can watch below:

One big takeaway I got from these movies is that the the powerful make rules to protect the status quo- be it the ones who write the laws or the ones who break them. Walker goes against "The Organization" which seeks to incorporate criminal activity under one mega entity. The Organization has no regard for a "small business owner" like Walker, much like how Walmart wouldn't think twice about putting a Mom & Pop shop out of business. And with Cahill, he has to look over his shoulder at the IRA and the Loyalists, both wishing to take a piece of his success for their own interests. People like Walker and Cahill want to keep what they've earned and be left alone. But as these films show, no one is truly free from the greed of others.

Both movies can be found here: POINT BLANK and THE GENERAL.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Goodbye, NFL

Poor Stanley Wilson-- he was born 20 years too early.

Wilson was a tough, talented fullback for the Cincinnati Bengals during the late 1980s. He was less than 24 hours away from playing in the biggest game of his life, Super Bowl XXIII, when he got caught by one of his own coaches in the midst of a little cocaine binge. Wilson was benched by his head coach and subsequently banned from the NFL (three-strikes and you're out, this was Stanley's third strike). The Bengals needed him to win the game and coach Sam Wyche, decided that Wilson disqualified himself when he broke his word to keep clean. The Bengals went on to lose the game by the closest of margins. Coach Wyche never second-guessed his decision publicly. That was the NFL I grew up with- and it no longer exists.

Well, I'm banning the NFL until further notice. Why? I actively dislike so many of the players that watching them week in and week out has become a joyless experience. Just a glance at the top 3 headlines on's football section says it all: Dog-killer Michael Vick signs a 2-year, $6.8 million deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, human-killer Donte Stallworth, who committed a little vehicular manslaughter while drunk, is not allowed to play football in 2009 but can come back in 2010 if he likes, and wide receiver Brandon Marshall is set to go to trial for beating the shit out of his girlfriend because she received a text from a male friend. I expect Marshall to be given a $2 million bonus by the Broncos for not killing her. And as for Stallworth, even the court system loves the NFL because they only saw fit to give him 30 days jail time for drunkenly killing a man with his car. The jury must have been packed with Browns fans.

So, while Stanley Wilson was banned for life for a drug habit that arguably didn't hurt anyone but himself, today's players can abuse, maim and kill their way to a temporary suspension at worst. Stop and think about this for a second: why are these players, who you would no sooner befriend let alone admire in any other instance, being treated so well? As the poet Puff Daddy once wrote: it's all about the Benjamins.

The NFL has become 90% marketing and 10% other in its composition over the years. And with such a lucrative marketing position to maintain, the league is shameless in protecting its own. Banning players is bad marketing. Banning players makes people pay attention. So, the league has chosen to avoid such unpleasantness by keeping things light- suspending players is a less dire situation. Careers aren't ruined by a suspension- they're merely put on hold until the dust settles. Suspending players is a shot at redemption, and in our culture nothing makes a heart tingle more than a comeback story, right? And suspending players has a dulling effect on stories- there's no drama to a suspension, only a mild degree of tension. The only drama that comes out of suspensions nowadays is, from the fan perspective, being able to predict how many games a player will be suspended from for a given offense. Well, let's see, he was driving drunk but he only hit a tree, so... I predict 3 games! I think Vegas will take that bet if you ask.

Look, I'm not a moral compass for anyone, believe me. And I don't expect the NFL to be a moral beacon for the human race. But there has got to be a time when people look around and ask "What are we doing?" Things have gone out of control. And the NFL works very hard at making you think everything's cool. Well, I think the league may have been too successful in their efforts- last Winter, Plaxico Burress (a player I once-admired) carried a loaded gun into a public place (on purpose) and shot himself in the leg (by accident). And then another teammate, someone I also once-admired, tried to help cover up the whole thing by hiding the gun and obstructing justice. I listened to the sports radio guys and callers and a lot of people defended the teammate for "looking out for his own." Are you fucking kidding me? A majority of sports fans and commentators actually bought into that statement. If these were Congressmen we were talking about or Wall St. bankers, I doubt they would have been afforded the same amount of moral flexibility by the callers. So, why the double-standard? The NFL has made its fans dependent on its product. If fans reject the players, do they cease being fans? Ah, yes- welcome to my world.

If you still enjoy the NFL, more power to you. You're not on the "wrong side" of anything for finding pleasure in the game. I too will always love the game. But as I've gotten older, I've found myself thinking more about how I spend my time. And spending hours watching people I dislike makes me feel like an chump. The game I loved as a kid doesn't exist today. Change is inevitable and it's time I find other pursuits- it's time to put away childish things.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

It's Been A While...

So, it's been a couple of months since my last post- there's been some off-season "24" news that other sites have covered, which I'm sure the more conscientious of my readers have tracked down- so, I've felt no duty to recycle that content here. Soon enough (post-Comic Con, maybe) I'll do a Season 8 news roundup. But in the meantime, sit tight good people.

I've nothing staggering to report on my end of this keyboard. I am, however, witnessing a world that is baffling me at present (the news is pretty depressing lately, don't you agree?). So, I've taken to some pleasant Summer distractions, some of which I'll list below:

TV: "Burn Notice" is my new addiction. If you haven't had the chance to watch this show, get to it. This is fairly breezy entertainment- following the exploits of a former international spy who's stuck on-the-outs of his community after he was "burned" by his former employer. With few friends to rely on (save for a bloated Bruce Campbell and an emaciated Gabriel Anwar), lead character Michael Weston has to piece together his life with shoestring resources (literally, the guy uses household supplies in a way that rivals MacGuyver) to get by. The stakes sound serious, but the attitude is light and comedic in many places. And all of the characters have good chemistry. In its third season on the USA Network, "Burn Notice" is the TV version of Summer reading. I highly recommend it to anyone unaware of the show- here's where you can catch up on the series so far: Burn Notice: Seasons 1-2

Books: I recently read a great piece of fiction about (of all things) Superman- it's called "It's Superman!" by Tom De Haven. This isn't a comic book, it's an actual novel, and the writing is fantastic. Set in the Depression Era 1930s, this is an adult take on the Man of Steel. It's not without its humor, as Clark Kent is truly a buffoon without having to try in many instances, but if you enjoy the recent "Batman" movies for their realism, "It's Superman!" is a refreshing telling of an otherwise overdone piece of pop-mythology- you can get a copy here: It's Superman!: A Novel

Movies: Man, has this Summer been bad for movies. I've seen most of the big blockbusters, and they're all not worth mentioning in any great detail. I'm all for checking my brain at the door when it comes to cyborg killer robots or two-story tall angry robots (lots of robots, have you noticed?) but come on already! I have a small bit of desire to see "Public Enemies" but that's something I may reserve for home video. There is one movie that has caught my attention from its trailers, "District 9"- a sci-fi story about an alien ship crashing on Earth and its insectoid crew being enslaved by humans in South Africa. Sure, the political allegory is as subtle as a Michael Bay movie, but the footage looks great and the viral web campaign is pretty neat (dammit, why did I say "neat"?). That comes out August 14th, so keep your antennae alert for when it hits your local theater. Here's the trailer:

Otherwise, I hope you're all having a good time this Summer. Here in New York, things are rather mild- no heat wave to speak of (which is excellent) and it appears as if our monsoon season of May and June has finally passed. Yeah, I'm talking about the weather now... and that means it's time to wrap up this burrito and send you off to your merry July antics. Check back in a couple of weeks, I will have something more 24-related for you then.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

24 Season 8: Jack Bauer- This Is Your ZAGAT Guide

Hey Jack,

There are endless options for going out on the town. When you come to NY for Season 8, here's a little intel tip: most New Yorkers live and die by their ZAGAT Survey book for all entertainment decisions. To help you understand what a ZAGAT Survey looks like, we've composed an example covering you:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

24 Season 8: Jack Bauer- This is a Knish

Yo Bauer!

With all the talk of you coming to NYC next season, I figure it's time we start your Big Apple education with something all New Yorkers know and love- the knish. The knish is usually a mashed potato-filled, baked or fried portable treat. In addition to being a delicious snack, a knish has some counter-terror purposes as well:

A knish can be used to subdue an adversary. Throw the knish at any vulnerable spot- the eyes, nose or crotch preferably (it's a hefty little sucker).

A knish can flip over a high-speed vehicle. Place the knish under a wheel of a speeding car and watch that poor sunovabitch wipeout.

A knish can be used as a bomb. The exact ingredients are a mystery to this writer, but imagine a knish exploding all over your face. Hot. Potato. Pain.

A knish can give you street cred. If doesn't matter your ethnicity or what you do for a living- if you're rolling down the street munching on a knish, New Yorkers will give you respect-- you potato-loving badass.

A knish can exhaust your opponent's water supply. You've got a bad guy pinned down, but he's thinking of outlasting you. What do you do? Throw him a knish and watch him flail about uncontrollably when he becomes parched by this moisture-soaking delight. He'll be screaming for Doc Brown's Cream Soda in minutes.

We're just scratching the surface, folks. A knish is the culinary equivalent of duct tape.

Monday, May 25, 2009

24 Season 8: A Guide To NYC

As many of you know, Season 8 of "24" will be taking place in New York City. Now, I know it's a TV show and a pretty fast-moving one at that, but I have a little wish-list of things I'd like Jack and/or other characters to experience while spending a whole day here in the Big Apple:

1) Jack Needs To Stop At Katz's Deli: I know that Jack doesn't sleep, go to the bathroom or eat during a "day" on "24" but how the heck can you pass up the best deli in NYC? Service is very fast at Katz's, just make sure you know what you want beforehand. And truly, there's only one sandwich you need to get- the pastrami on rye with mustard. You'll be chasing down terrorists with the best cured-beef imaginable in your tummy.

2) Jack Needs To Stay Away From The Port Authority Bus Terminal: Look, Jack has faced the baddest of the bad over the years. He has died several times, withstood nuclear explosions and lots and lots of bone-crushing beatings. But Jack, take it from someone who's been there, the Port Authority Bus Terminal is a hell-hole. Do not go there. And definitely don't get a ham & brie sandwich from the Hudson News stand. And definitely don't eat it if you do... (blech).

3) Take The "Wormhole" Tunnel: At the South-most end of Manhattan Island, there's a tunnel that connects the West Side highway to the East Side Drive- this is the most important thing I can tell you people running "24"- use this road. It's the only legitimate way to get characters from one side of town to the other. It will cut 15 minutes off your commute. I know you had characters beating D.C. traffic very easily, and that's fine because nobody gives a crap about that plot convenience. But NYC traffic is a freakin' institution. You cannot ignore it. Use the "Wormhole"- you'll have your 5 minute commutes and they'll be realistic.

4) Make Sure It Isn't St. Patrick's Day: Seriously- NYC is an unbearable mess on St. Paddy's Day. First off, you got the parade, which will destroy any chance of getting anywhere. Next, you've got all of the high school/college kids from Long Island and Jersey coming in to get loaded. NYC becomes a thousand times more aggravating than usual on this day. I would let the terrorists try and deal with that crap on their own- they may agree that it's too aggravating a day and go home on their own.

5) Talk To The "Nuts For Nuts" Pushcart Guy: He sells delicious peanuts coated in sugar because he knows a few things about the world. He is a good person. Seek out his wisdom.

6) Buy An Al Pacino/"Scarface" Sketch In Times Square: That's a purchase that seems fun for about ten seconds, right? They might have some Jack Bauer sketches too, I'll check next time I'm there.

7) Scout The OTB on 44th and 7th Ave: I used to work on that side of town, and at lunch I'd go to the OTB and place a couple of small bets on that day's horse races. Well, let me tell you something, the place was crawling with criminal activity. You've got a huge reservoir of snitches and state's evidence sitting in that dingy little joint.

8) Incorporate... The "Mob": Hey, I'm not saying there is a mafia... but let's say for entertainment's sake you want the full NYC experience. Do it right by including a Vinnie, Joey or Frankie. Just one "howyadoin'?" is all I ask. But seriously, there's like NO proof at all that there's a mafia...

9) Jack Has To Meet The Mayor: There's a long-running trend in entertainment where a hero has to plead his or her case to the Mayor of New York. The Mayor is kind of a mythical being in fiction- the wise, cranky, petulant and all-powerful ruler of NYC. The president will call the Mayor and ask for his help. This is something I want to see continued. Remember, some of the best stuff in "Ghostbusters" was with the Mayor and Bill Murray.

10) Say "Hi" To Det. John McClane! You're both FOX-owned characters, so it wouldn't be outside of the realm of possibility that you two could have a cup of coffee or something, right? Imagine a 2 minute-long scene with "Yippee ki-yays" and "Dammits" being thrown about. Yeah... too long a scene.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

24 Season 7: The Many Conspiracies of Alan Wilson

Alan Wilson is a bad man. Not only was he responsible for the major conspiracies covering the past couple of seasons of "24" (and maybe even all the way back to the beginning of the series). But in our exclusive report below, we have been able to link Wilson to some very troubling events of recent years. They include, but are not limited to:

1. Wilson invented the McRib sandwich. Using a mind-altering food additive, he sold the sandwich to McDonald's, who deemed the McRib too powerful, thus offering it on a limited and intermittent basis.

2. Wilson launched Billy Ray Cyrus' career. Again, mind-control, this time embedding subliminal messages into music. Unhappy with its temporary effect, he abandoned the formula, reintroducing a modified version for Miley Cyrus a couple of years ago. No word in its long-term efficacy.

3. Wilson wrote the original "Star Wars" trilogy. No mind-control here, Wilson happens to be a talented writer (whose finger is on the pulse of the zeitgeist) composing all three movies in a weekend. Angry at Lucas for adding Ewoks into "Return of the Jedi," Wilson refused Lucas' pleas for help with the prequels. After Episode I premiered, Wilson gleefully named his flagship yacht "Jar Jar."

4. Wilson invented disco, and later killed it to prove a point to Aristotle Onasis (h/t to "Conspiracy Theory"- bonus to the reader who can tell me the line referenced).

5. Wilson refuses to let the Chicago Cubs win the World Series (another reason Tony Almeida wants to kill him). Steve Bartman was a trained assassin working for Wilson in 2003.

6. Wilson bought $599 million-worth of movie tickets to Titanic; it was truly supposed to flop. Why did he do it? To piss off Lucas (see #3 above).

7. Wilson is behind the mismatched number of hot dogs in a package vs. number hot dog buns sold (hot dogs come 10 to a pack, buns come 8 or 12). Genius, yes- it forces us into a never-ending cycle of buns and dogs. Damn you, sir.

8. Wilson ghost-writes 97% of all self-help and diet books-- all of which promote methods that are doomed to fail. Dr. Atkins, I presume?

9. Wilson was originally the subject of Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" series of books. Upon reviewing Brown's research, his editor deemed the story too fantastic and told Brown to go focus on something more realistic, like Opus Dei or the Illuminati.

10. Wilson is a Dallas Cowboy's fan. No, he had nothing to do with their success, it just annoys me.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Tony Tony" The Ultimate Tony Almeida Experience

First, I want to thank all of you for supporting this site throughout Season 7. Without your loyalty and feedback, this site would be a joyless venture for me. I will continually update inbetween seasons, so do come back and visit! And if we lose touch, I can't wait to see you back here in January 2010.

Now, let me ask you something: do you like Billy Idol? Well, even if you don't, you need to see my latest collaboration with AlmeidaIsGod[dot]com.

Monday, May 18, 2009

24 Season 7: 6AM-8AM- The Finale Quick Review

Alright, gang this is the end of Season 7. What have we learned?

1) Tony is not "evil." He intended to take down Alan Wilson, the man responsible for the deaths of his wife, Michelle, and his unborn son (and David Palmer). This is the same man who helped orchestrate the Bluetooth group, Philip and Graem Bauer and Commander-in-Thief Charles Logan. This is a lot to learn in one episode. Something tells me we'll be chewing on the remainders of this revelation next season too. But back to Tony- he plotted to take down Wilson but apparently Jack Bauer made things complicated.

If we're to take Tony's plan seriously, we have to look back at how this would have played out had Bauer never intervened. Jonas Hodges was acquiring the bioweapon on behalf of Alan Wilson. Wilson and the group intended on deploying the weapon in several months. To that end, I think Tony's actions to infiltrate the group make some degree of sense. But Tony had to prove his worth to Wilson before he could get close to him, and that required that he steal the CIP device, wreak havoc around the country and personally kill several FBI agents along the way. Whatever the justification, Tony has truly fallen. His primary goal wasn't to prevent further deaths by Wilson, but to get right in the man's face and have his revenge. Tony will likely get the death penalty for his crimes. In the real world, he would never see freedom again.

But thankfully his motives make perfect sense given the losses he's suffered. His actions are that of a man who is numb to the world and those people who were once close to him. When you have nothing to lose, as Tony said last week, what is there to hold you back from doing whatever is necessary to see out your own goals? So, no- they didn't ruin Almeida's character at all. They developed him from a once-heroic figure into a very human and suffering man. They developed him from a once-heroic figure into a very human and suffering man. And the Imam's words with Jack Bauer could have just as easily been spoken to Tony:
"We live in complex times... nothing is black and white. But I do know this- I see before me a man, with all his flaws and all his goodness... simply a man. Let us both forgive ourselves for all of the wrongs we have done."
Redemption comes from within, that's a major theme of this season.

2) Kim Bauer saved Jack Bauer. Kim, under attack at the airport, personally managed to save herself and track down the laptop one of the hitmen was carrying which led the FBI to Tony's secret hiding spot. Because Kim acted so courageously, she helped prevent Jack being used as a human hand grenade on Wilson. And at the end, she was able to give her stem cells to Dr. Macer for the experimental treatment that we all know will succeed for next season. Kim, you're a Bauer all the way.

3) Renee Walker is cut from the same kevlar as Jack. Renee and Jack had an interesting scene before Bauer is wheeled away to the hospital. She seeks advice from Jack on how to handle things moving forward. All season long, we've seen that Walker is an impulsive person, taking risks that she rationally knows are wrong. But she's also smart, capable and fearless (that "tuck 'n roll" during the shootout is a classic moment!). She's proven to be one of the best characters the writers have conjured in years. This season wins for Walker alone- and I look forward to her next character arc next season (and to learn what eventually happened in the interrogation room with Wilson).

4) Tim Woods hides under coffee tables. I'm sorry, but Secretary of Ubiquitousness
Tim Woods was in 80% of this season. Timmy was in Season 7 more than Chloe O'Brian! I hope that Tim Woods finds a private sector job as Ryan Seacrest's shadow for next season.

5) Agent Aaron Pierce is Deep Throat. The legendary Secret Service Agent put on his Nancy Drew slacks this season and helped to uncover the plot by Olivia Taylor to kill Jonas Hodges. I'm not sure how that will play out- I imagine politics may allow President Taylor to make a public case that Hodges was a scumbag of the highest order, creating some public sympathy for Olivia. But the catalyst, the key player in it all was Pierce. Had he not intervened, Olivia would have walked. I was pleased by Pierce's pivotal role.

6) Jack is in a better place now. No, Jack didn't die! Watching tonight's finale, I was thinking of the scene Jack had with Secretary Heller at the end of Season 6, where Heller tells Jack he's poisonous. I don't think that version of Jack exists anymore. Now, Jack has arrived at a place that only imminent death could have provided. I rolled my eyes at the "Jack is going to die" plot for a few weeks because we all know Jack is back next season. But what the writers did was use this plot to help Jack resolve some of those issues he was left with at the end of Season 6. This is great character work by the showrunners. I look forward to this new, reborn Jack next season. We've had the human weapon to entertain us for years. But let's see some growth here, please? This season has provided the perfect platform for that to happen.

I enjoyed the finale- I found it interesting, less action-packed than I expected, but the acting was very impressive. I like these characters a lot (except for Woods, but you know what I mean). I think the new "family" that Season 7 built is interesting and breathes new life into the show. Overall, this season was the show's redemption, in addition to Bauer's rebirth. Let's hope they don't regress next season. I highly doubt they will.

PS Stay tuned, I'm putting together another video that will be ready in a few hours (hopefully). I give you my word, it's going to make you giggle like the Pillsbury Doughboy on crack.

Tony's Got a Gun: "24" Season 7 Finale Preview!

Here is another collaboration with AlmeidaIsGod[dot]com- a spoof of Aerosmith's "Janie's Got a Gun." We're previewing tonight's big 2-hour finale by going through Tony Almeida's journey up until this point. I'm not going to guilt you into watching this video, but we put a lot of work into it... so, yeah watch it, dammit!

24 Season 7: Letter to Cara Bowden from the VA State Bar

The following is a letter we intercepted from the Virginia State Bar Association Committee on Character and Fitness to Cara "Fake Lawyer" Bowden.

Dear Ms. Bowden,

It has come to our attention that you are representing yourself as an attorney without any verifiable proof of admission to the State of Virginia Bar (or any other acceptable jurisdiction). While we gladly accept your enthusiasm for the practice of law, we kindly ask that you refrain from any further acts as counsel until we can conduct a hearing into this matter.

Specifically, we have learned that you arrived at The White House earlier yesterday to meet with a client, Jonas Hodges, and gave him legal advice to kill himself. Normally, we would frown upon such conduct, as we tend to like our clients alive so they can pay any legal fees incurred. We therefore ask that you show proof that Mr. Hodges was current on his bills with your office, in which case we will make a special dispensation for your unique and inventive legal strategy. We appreciate anyone who is willing to do what it takes to not lose a case.

We have also been informed that you are working in concert with a group of domestic terrorists in forming a plot to kill potentially thousands of innocent American lives. Again, we cannot make a determination on your legal philosophy at present. In Virginia, we welcome all kinds of attorneys to practice- bad lawyers, drunk lawyers and even some downright reprehensible individuals. It is our goal to diversify the profession with men and women that are innovative thinkers. We applaud your efforts to this end, and we look forward to hearing your rationale for this conduct. We are currently re-drafting our Rules on Professional Responsibility and are open to any suggestions you may have to offer.

Unfortunately, we can only permit so much. The conspiracy, the murders, the violation of state and Federal laws are all subject to discussion- but to practice without a license is something we cannot allow.

Please see the attached form detailing the time and place of your hearing. You are entitled to counsel or you can continue do represent yourself- something we would find deeply entertaining.


State of Virginia Bar Association
Committee on Character and Fitness

Thursday, May 14, 2009

24 Season 7: Movie Poster Parody- CVJ


Special thanks go to Kasia for giving me the idea!

This one is for Dr. Alice- here's the original poster for AVP2 (Aliens v. Predators):

Monday, May 11, 2009

24 Season 7: 5AM-6AM Quick Review

And finally, Aaron Pierce engages the situation.

I'm going to start off first with Aaron Pierce because we (me and you, my readers) were insane enough to entertain the thought of Agent Pierce being involved in Jonas Hodges' murder. Actually, Pierce is the person who's going to crack the whole darned thing wide open with his intimate knowledge of White House recording devices! And with the help of the former "Bourbon General" himself, Ethan Kanin!

Let's all of us take a deep breath, step back and really look inside ourselves and ask "What the Hell is wrong with you?!" Agent Pierce turning bad? NEVER! Pierce is the gold standard. If he's tarnished, we each ought to get a pair of white Nikes and join a suicide pact cult tomorrow. Pierce is an evergreen hero. This stuff with Tony has us all mixed up and paranoid. Go back to sleeping with both eyes closed, we're safe with Pierce.

I guess the real highlight for everyone was Jack unleashing a vicious beating on Tony- captured after the subway attack was thwarted. It was a fantastic scene- excellent acting and it revealed absolutely nothing about Tony's ultimate endgame. I know some people (ahem-Rickey) have decided they know what Almeida's up to. And I believe those are the same people (ahem-Rickey) who were early adopters of HD-DVD players and the 39¢ postage stamp as well (I have no idea if Rickey's done either, but let's make it sound that way).

And while I love Chloe- I'm sorry but her scenes tonight with Janis were pretty lame. The actors did the best with the material, but it was utterly pointless to hear them whine at one another. I think the writers misread our reactions to things like that- thinking they were throwing us a bone by having a catfight between the two super-geeks. No, not with 3 hrs (and less!) left in the season. The time for cranky-fueled humor has long-since past. Thumbs down on that stuff.

And Kim has predictably become the target of evildoers. Her instincts were right, she was being watched, but unfortunately it was by the most ineffectual, small-bladdered FBI agent on the planet (assigned by Jack to protect her from the real bad guys!). While he's going #1, Special Agent Whizzer gets ambushed by the guy from those UPS commercials. Ouch.
In the end, I was not blown away by this episode. There's something missing from these past 4 episodes, and I have a hard time identifying the problem. I go into next week's 2-hour finale with a degree of trepidation.

24 Season 7: 5AM-6AM Sneak Preview

What if dead villains could talk?

Jonas Hodges was taken off the board last week in a spectacular explosion. We still don't know for certain who was behind his murder- a guy like Jonas pissed off so many people, that even Agent Aaron Pierce is not above suspicion. I don't expect we'll get a solid answer to this issue tonight, but keep your eyes open for clues at least.

Also, how will Jack Bauer cheat death? I think they've overplayed the Kim "stem cell" angle to the point where it absolutely will not be her saving Jack in the end. I'm guessing Tony will somehow finagle a treatment for Bauer. Oh, he's evil you say? Let's wait and see about that one.

Friday, May 08, 2009

STAR TREK: The Jack Sack Movie Review

It's been a while since I've posted a non-"24" review, but I'm riding pretty high from the new "Star Trek" movie and wanted to post my thoughts.

I hate movie reviews where the reviewer gives a preamble about his or her emotional attachment to a particular property (e.g. "I wore Spider-Man pajamas when I was 4"). But to do my review justice, I'll give the following disclosure about my emotions towards the material: I spent way too much time indoors as a kid thinking about and watching this stuff. Now, the last "Star Trek" movie I truly cared about came out in 1991- "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country." It's been 18 years since I've seen a "Trek" that has excited me and that drought has ended.

I won't give a plot synopsis because that would be typical and boring. All you need to know is that the Universe is in peril and the heroes of the Starship Enterprise are our best hope to prevail. At its best, "Star Trek" tells stories about people working together to overcome some ridiculously dangerous set of circumstances (sound familiar, "24" fans?)- be it a revenge-crazed space pirate or some amorphous space cloud that eats planets. The Original Series, upon which this new movie is set, was the best at delivering character chemistry amidst these struggles. Series creator Gene Roddenberry often referred to his casting of the show as "capturing lightning in a bottle." And while subsequent incarnations had their moments, none ever came close to what the originals established. Tonight, that's changed.

Chris Pine plays the role of Kirk, which had been "owned" outright by William Shatner for 40-plus years. What Pine pulls off is a believable incarnation of a cultural icon. Nothing Pine does contradicts Shatner's work- in fact he works so well within the framework of the character (his cockiness, his need for emotional approval, his "badassery") that he helps further define Kirk in a new ways. And Pine goes about doing this without imitating Shatner. The same goes for Zachary Quinto as the equally iconic Mr. Spock. These two actors achieve something unique- they revitalize familiar characters with their own brand of energy while remaining true to their predecessors. And it's a key accomplishment for this movie. For all the window-dressing of technology and faux-science speak, "Star Trek" is about a brotherhood. My nostalgia for the old show centers on the relationship between Kirk and Spock. I don't know how Director J.J. Abrams and his screenwriters were able to distill that relationship so well, but I'm amazed by the result.

Is "Star Trek" a 10 out of 10? No- the villain is a mish-mash and the overall premise is a rewrite or two away from being a solid story, but this movie is unabashedly fun. It's the same kind of fun that we have not seen in popular entertainment in a long time or with any frequency. And it's the kind of fun that brings me back to my childhood, when I discovered this strange TV series that had terrible cardboard sets and cheesy alien makeup. But this version is dressed with dizzying special effects and a budget that would make a spend-happy James Cameron go "Yeah, now we're talking."

If you've never seen "Trek" before, or if you're like a lot of people and think it's silly, I challenge you to see this new version. It's completely accessible to newcomers- save for a villain who apparently has a whole back-story that is never revealed in the film. I nitpick this stuff normally, but there's no point in doing so because the emotional impact of this movie is pitch-perfect. For 2 hours, I was transported to a different world that was both familiar and fresh all at once. It's like meeting an old friend again for the first time. What a rare and wonderful feeling.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

"Almeida" The Music Video- 24 Season 7

This is a first for we have co-produced a video with another "24" site, namely AlmeidaIsGod[dot]com! Yes, after countless hours of negotiations between our lawyers and accountants, we were able to crack the currency exchange between the US and Canada, thus enabling this project to be realized. Kasia was kind enough to put together the lyrics and vocals (sparing you more singing by yours truly) and I had carte blanche to make the video portion. We're both excited by the end product and we hope you enjoy it as well:

24 Meets '80s Advertising

Check back in a couple of hours- a big update is coming. In the meantime, I present to you Absolut Bauer, an original Photoshop creation:

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

24 Season 7: Who's The Last Mole?

This is complete speculation, but here it is: Olivia Taylor called her friend, Martin Collier, to help arrange a hit on Jonas Hodges. They discussed the idea of killing Hodges about 15 minutes into the episode. About a half-hour later, Hodges is killed by a car bomb at FBI HQ. We are supposed to think that Olivia's hitman did the job, despite the fact that 1) she never transferred the funds and 2) she called Martin beforehand and recanted the contract! I know it's "24" but... it's "24" which means something sinister is in the works. Someone else was tipped off to Hodges' status (the cabal... or maybe someone who just hated what Hodges did to this country). The car bomb was set via advance intel. So, that means there must be one last mole in the mix.

That mole can either be at FBI HQ or in the White House- take your pick. I ask you all to speculate who the last traitor will be.

Subtopic: Does the mole know of Olivia's attempt to hire the hitman? And if so, will he/she try to reveal Olivia's abandoned plans (and embarrass the President at the same time)?

Sub-subtopic: Aaron Pierce has been around a lot lately. Perish the tought, I know. But still...

Monday, May 04, 2009

24 Season 7: 4AM-5AM Quick Review

We all know Jonas Hodges wasn't an organ donor. But was his new alias "Robert Tippet" a generous soul? It may not matter now, as Hodges/Tippet's organs are now spread about the parking area at FBI HQ. Oh, Jonas- I had hoped you would be back next season, causing trouble from a 6' X 9' at Leavenworth. And all as a result of Olivia Taylor putting out the fastest "contract" to kill someone in the history of... ever?! Or is there one more mole left in Season 7? Hmmm... I wonder (ahem- Janis). Either way, they did ya wrong, fella.

It was, unfortunately, another set-up show (3 in a row by my count). I think that the momentum of Tony's "evil" turn has disappeared somewhat. And we learned of an evil cabal last week to not see or hear from any of those new villains at all tonight. That's a little bit of a letdown.

Let's give high praise to Mary Lynn Rajskub and Kiefer Sutherland for a very well-acted scene at the start of the episode- where Chloe learns Jack is terminally ill. Those two have been working together so long that they really connected onscreen. I find these honest character moments refreshing, and thankfully Manny Coto and Brannon Braga didn't overwrite this exchange. The actors know these characters better than anyone else- let them do their work.

On the other hand- I think Jack's interaction with the imam later on was a little overdone. Jack's on edge- he's dying, he's sweating buckets, I get that he's going to lose his already short temper. But the way he went about manhandling and screaming at the imam was not wholly true to Jack's character in my opinion. It seemed like the writers wanted to revisit the theme of this season's first episode- namely Jack's willingness to punch a nun to get an answer about terrorist activity. Alright, that was Jack 20 hours ago- but in the world of "24" we treat that as ancient history, right? I would have been more impressed by Jack not going the stereotypical route and using different tactics. Like not yelling for no apparent reason.

Now, next week- holy cow, we're in for some real drama. SPOILERS from here on out: Jack catches Tony! And Jack threatens to shoot him on the spot to get this thing done. Now, my friends at have constructed a theory that Tony is going it alone and is still fighting to stop terrorists, albeit with wretched and horrific tactics (which the US Government could never endorse officially). That theory may still hold true... nothing has precluded it from happening yet. And we may see the classic "bad guy" takes Jack as a "hostage" gag, with Jack and Tony working together (one last time?) to stop evildoers worldwide! That would be a real "redemption" for this season. Let's hope it works out that way.

Dear Chloe: The 24 Season 7 Advice Column

Welcome, loyal readers, to a new edition of "Dear Chloe"-- the snarkiest advice column this side of the Potomac. This week we delve into inner fears- professional and personal. Chloe O'Brian is never short on an opinion, so let's see how she deals with this week's neurotic letters:

Dear Chloe,

It's been a rough day for me: I've totally slept with a complete loser, my daddy got shot up in some deli, some dude tried to poke my eyes out with a knife and my Mom is completely not listening to me when I tell her "Don't put that
creepo in the Witness Protection Program!" Argh!

I know it's really self-centered of me to be going on like this, but I'm really bummed about so much right now. I've totally got this great job in the family business but it's like a complete waste of time if
nobody's going to do what I tell them, ya know? Usually, I'd just call up some friends and hit the mall, but it's 4AM right now and even online shopping can't save me from my doldrums.

And then there's my secret crush. My psych professor at Brown told me once that "Love is being stupid together." Of course, he said this as he was making a pass at me, but the thing is, there's this guy that's completely older and not my type, but when he looks at me, I kinda like what I see behind his eyes. He'd never make the first move, that's for certain. And I think he drives this old Buick... but still, every time I see him, I have to run back to my office and play Liz
Phair's "Why Can't I"-- I know, I've got it bad.

Please help me make sense of it all!

-Mademoiselle at 1600

Dear 1600,

I drafted a full response to your letter, but some faulty server wiped out my whole database, and I don't have time to rewrite it at the moment. So, here's the short version: If I were you, I'd shut my mouth, close my legs and go back to the sorority house.

Dear Chloe,

I'm a patriot, I tell you! When George Washington fought the Redcoats at Trenton, do you know what he needed more than the blizzard to help him win? Shoes and guns! At every moment in our great nation's history, there's always been a group that has equipped it's great soldiers with the tools necessary to overwhelm its enemies. While the French are handing out wheels of cheese to their boys, I'm giving the American military bullets that can turn corners! I only buy American- American-made darts, American Chinese food, American scotch (we call it bourbon). And I only allow my picture to be taken in front of the Stars and Stripes.

Well, a fine day it has been for this patriot- I was accused of insurrection by some dizzy broad who's working as a temp in the Oval Office. I also had to kick a bunch of mouth-breathing Feds off my property and now I sit in some hospital being told I have to betray my cause. That being said, I get a 1,000 acre ranch out of it, two
SUVs and some free lawn service if I play my cards right. Maybe this country isn't so bad after all.

But where are the real patriots? Does anyone else know that the Second Amendment gives me the right to bear 50 surface-to-surface missiles?!? And where's my damn applesauce and morphine? I'm dying over here!

-Stark, Raving Mad

Dear Stark,

I re-read your letter twice to see if I could find any reference to the Road Runner. You obviously love gadgets. I love tech stuff too. But dude, seriously- you gotta look into buying Japanese. Do you have a media player or are you still rocking out to the gramophone? Quit acting so patriotic-- we've stopped making cool shit back in the 70s. Maybe if we spent less time producing overpriced bombs and focused a little more on consumer electronics, we'd be better off? When you get that ranch, I want you to take some time off from the war-mongering and look into inventing something useful. Is the Slanket the best we can do? My husband seems to think so!

Dear Chloe,

I hate you.

-Janis Gold

Dear Janis,

Get over it, bitch.


Saturday, May 02, 2009

24 Season 7: The Jack Bauer Rant on Grimace [UPDATED]

I have to admit, I wasn't happy with the prior version of this video. So, I reworked the concept to what I originally planned- Jack Bauer v. Grimace (no CG Jawas included). Enjoy!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

24 Season 7: Sneak Preview of Our Next Video

Probably coming tomorrow morning at the latest...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

24 Season 7: "Hey There Almeida" Music Video

Let's get one thing out of the way- the vocals are bad. It's my voice, and I have no illusions of being a singer. I'd like to think the tone-deaf noises I make only enhance the comedic effect of the song. If this offends you on a religious/emotional level, please accept my apologies in advance. And feel free to rip on me too, I think I may deserve it.

Now, I present to you my Eddie Murphy music-moment. Enjoy!

24 Season 7: 3AM-4AM Quick Review

Evil Tony Watch 2009: Yeah, Tony is still evil.

As for the rest of the episode, it was actually pretty bad. I've defended this show consistently this season. So, for me to be left unimpressed as I was means that something is definitely amiss in the writer's room of "24."

I think my biggest gripe from tonight was that the big reveal of the conspiracy at work bored me. So, these defense contractors all buddied up and decided "You know what would be good for business? Terror! War! Now, let's get to manufacturing some of that stuff so we can become rich!" This is like soda companies getting together with snack manufacturers and saying "Let's up the salt content on those chips! That'll show those asshole Americans!" People, we're getting a 5th grade-level lesson in economics (supply and demand-- damn that gets complicated, I know!).

And then there's Jack Bauer's rapid descent into madness. Seeing our fearless hero go apeshit on Janis Gold was fun, but then it morphed into unintentional comedy when Jack kept saying "President Palmer." Sadly, I was excited for a half a second, thinking "David Palmer is alive! He's coming back! YAY!" And then the moment passed...

Chloe O'Brian makes her unexciting return this episode as well. It was good to see our favorite snark-beast in action, but she had little to do except remind us that 1) Bill Buchanan died and 2) President Palmer is dead. Thanks, doll- pick up your sizable paycheck on the way out, you're doing a heckuva job!

Even Tony Almeida bored me. His plan to take advantage of Hodges' ridiculously dumb plot made me lose a lot of respect for Tony- not because he's evil but rather he's acting like a cartoon villain. "We have them right where we want them!" is not a sophisticated master-plan of evil, is it?

The bright spot of tonight's episode was probably the most minuscule moment- where the CTU servers were fired up once again. Hooray bureaucratic reinstatement! If you work for the government, you must have been pleased to see a federal agency lumber back from the dead tonight. I tell you now, once a government entity is created it never, ever dies. So, take that moment as a not-so-subtle hint that CTU will be back online for next season.

If you think I'm being unduly harsh on tonight's episode, please chime in. And if you agree, consider the bitch-session open for business.

Monday, April 27, 2009

24 Season 7: 3AM-4AM Sneak Preview

Previously on 24: HOLY CRAP, TONY'S EVIL?!?!?!

So yes, Tony Almeida solidified his bad guy credentials last week when Jack had his "I've fallen and I can't get up!" moment at the end of the episode. Tony coldly hovered over a convulsing Jack, saying something to the effect of "You gotta be in it to win it" or "Take the pebble from my hand, grasshopper" (I honestly can't recall the exact line). There's evil and then there's EVIL- last week, Tony showed he is a full-caps version of the word.

But to help alleviate the shock of that moment, here are a few scenarios in which Tony could have been much more evil. After reading these, you'll be saying "Hey, at least Almeida isn't that bad!"

5) Tony Almeida Worked for Bernie Madoff, The World's Biggest Thief: Imagine if Tony woke up from his death-sleep at the end of Season 5, went back to school, earned his MBA and became Bernie Madoff's right-hand man. $65 billion is a lot of money to stuff under the mattress. And you don't steal Kevin Bacon's money unless you want to go to Hell (I read somewhere that Bacon is six-degrees separated from God).

4) Tony Almeida Dated Lindsay Lohan: It takes a major league asshole to willingly do that sort of a thing. Do I need to say anything further?

3) Tony Almeida Becomes a Scientologist, Tells Women How To Do Stuff: As a guy, I understand our tendency to opine on all things around us. We're trying to help solve problems! But there are certain areas where men should shut their mouths- something Tom Cruise didn't quite understand when he offered his thoughts on postpartum depression. How much more awful would it be to sit through ten minutes of Tony Almeida doing the same thing?

2) Tony Almeida Is Married To A Real Housewife of Orange County: So, judge not, lest ye be judged, right? Well, I gotta say that these well-to-do housewives are some freakish offshoot of the human species that I can barely believe exists. If you haven't seen the show on Bravo (I know, Adam, wtf are you doing watching Bravo?) check it out for all of five minutes and you'll get the gist of the show right away. Anyway, Imagine Tony Almeida sheepishly forking over his credit cards to some bleach-blonde squeaky-voiced shopaholic that maps out her next ten years of plastic surgery with her friends. That wouldn't be so much an "evil" Tony as much as a pathetic, enabling doormat of a person. But either way, you see how much worse things could be?

1) Tony Almeida runs for Congress: In-between mind-numbing Jack Cafferty editorials, runs a series called "The Freshman" which follows freshmen congressmen in a series of videos and articles. And watching this series, one sees that public service is a perverted self-parody at the national level. As a good friend of mine said to me about these congressmen: "There is no dignity, only celebrity. And furthermore, their jobs seem utterly banal." If Tony Almeida was a freshman mugging for the CNN cameras, I'd slap him with a brick right across his scruffy mug.

So, there you have 5 alternative scenarios in which Tony Almeida would be a much more reprehensible human being. Yeah, he stole some bioweapon and sneered at Jack for a few seconds. Even still, be thankful for the Almeida we've been given- yes, he is bad but he is still much better than most.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Uzbekistan Like Bailouts and Susan Boyle!

Greetings, Bower Bag Lovers!

We apologize for not making efforts at communication over last several months. Rebels intruded our love nests and made bandits away with our wives and VHS players. I was on third season of Will & Grace when this happened! What great inconvenience!

I hear over short-wave radio that you have new emperor! You change leaders like wool undergarments in your country. How do you like Emperor Yes-we-can? I think he handsome, walking around your country without shirt. But he is hairless, like Yeti cub! Oh, we mean no offensive by that- we worship him like you! Please send us baily outs out too, right? We have no shoes and our recreational vehicles have no gassy water.

My cousin Hamza tells me there is new device that makes you talk like birds to each other. He read about it in Wired magazine. Twitter is fun, no? Makes me giggle like promiscuous hyena to say word. Twitter! You love your birds and freedom in America! We barely understand your way of life!

I understand that world love new lady, Susan Boil! Boil replace Mother Theresa as angel on Earth. Please send Boil to us immediately. We need magical healing powers to reconstitute our infantry. She has powers to make men cry like baby-kids, no? I need good cry ever since the rebels confiscated our cache of Broadway showtoon records. I want her to twitter us very much!

Most importance, we see Jack Bower fighting Anthony Al-Mayda. They are brothers, no? Is there fight over yak? My brother Yuri stole my yaks last winter, and left me goat with hip dysplasia. I had to destroy him. Tell Al-Mayda to give back yaks to Bower! We also demand you send us Bower daughter Kimberly soon. We have feral cat in village that rules the night. She will tame it.

We love America! We miss you! Send us food and wetnaps! Death to your enemies!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Jack Sack Recycle-Post: MAXIM MAGAZINE: The Tony Almeida Interview

I posted this way back in November, 2007, but given the fact that Tony Almeida is a villain for real, here it is again. Enjoy.

(excerpt from MAXIM MAGAZINE Jan. 2008 issue)
TONY ALMEIDA Interview by Gee Luv

He was shot in the neck and went back to his desk within hours, he shared a duplicitous lady with friend Jack Bauer and now he's calling in Uncle Sam's markers after being declared dead for over a year. And Tony Almeida wants you to help destroy America!

First off, we gotta ask- what's with the soul patch?
I thought we were going to talk about our nation's future?

Indulge us, Tony. Our readers are dying to know why you have that scruff on your chin.
Well, I moved out to Los Angeles back in the mid-1990s. The party scene was pretty good and I met this guy Chino Arroyo, who did custom bikes out in the Valley. He invited me up to his place one weekend, set me up with a chopper and well, you gotta have some facial hair to ride, I mean that's gotta be a law somewhere, right? Hence, the soul patch was born.

Is the Latin sex symbol craze over now that Marc Anthony and Rickey Martin are certified lame?
I think that's a question you should ask of the two blondes in my hotel room.

Now that you're not working for the government, you don't have to drive their boring vehicles. What are you cruising in nowadays?

I don't drive a car.

How are you getting around?
I ride a horse now. Saves on gas and women love petting it.

You are a freakin' genius, Tony! Speaking of, we hear you're looking to destroy America. What's the plan?
Well, I don't think "destroy" is the right word. I look at it as fixing what's broke, ya know?

Oh, totally!
Yeah, so I'm going to do away with the Federal bureaucracy, knock out the infrastructure and probably return the United States to the 1700s in terms of technology.

Wait, so no more Guitar Hero III for the bunch of us?
Dude, learn to play a real guitar, you'll get laid by real women that way.

You're a retro God, Tony Almeida. Good luck with that terrorism thing!

Monday, April 20, 2009

24 Season 7: 2AM-3AM Quick Review

Let's skip the headline artwork and get straight to the review:

1) Larry is dead- and it's actually a meaningful death. Moss' death played into the plot by drawing Renee and Jack away from FBI HQ and into the field. Now, Jack had a pretty mad cow-laden piece of comforting words to offer Renee ("I lost a couple of partners too.") and Renee was having none of it. Yet again, Annie Wersching gives a fantastic performance. She's got gravitas, I tellz ya!

2) Tony looks suspicious. No, seriously, what the heck was up with Tony all episode? Shifty-eyed, evasive and downright suspicious, Tony sulked in the background and answered questions with some very unimpressive "Yeah, yeah that's the ticket!" type responses. Not since Jon Lovitz' character "Tommy Flanagan: The Pathological Liar" from SNL have I seen a more obvious liar. Carlos Bernard played it a little too heavy.

3) Mad Cow has rendered Jack impotent. This was kind of annoying, given the fact that Jack had Tony nailed on a lie (thanks to some help from FBI de-briefer Mozelli- who seemed to be writing a "24" fan blog of his own on company time). I liked the tension leading up to Jack's confrontation with Tony- but man was that an obvious writers' gimmick, making Jack have convulsions just as he was about to put Tony under arrest. Ehhhhhh, it's a TV show, I know.

4) Jonas Hodges- best villain since... ? I think Jonas Hodges is the best villain since Charles Logan. Some folks may disagree with me, and that's fine. Hodges' little interaction with the soldier putting him in the paddywagon was fantastic. Hodges is complicated- and he's sympathetic on a very weird level. Jon Voight plays his scenes big, and it works. And how about that single blonde female lawyer (Ally McBeal, anyone?) giving Jonas the suicide pill? Tony sure knows how to pick his ladies. And enter Will Patton's villainous Alan Wilson. A bigger bad guy than Jonas? My brain is buzzing.

5) Next week- if you're worried about spoilers, stop here. Okay, you're still reading. Good- so next week we get the greatest scene imaginable- Jack v. Jonas. The sneak previews look awesome. I cannot begin to describe my enthusiasm for that showdown. What a great buildup for the last few episodes!

So, tonight was a winner. Tony is "evil" still, but things can always change. Let's wait and see, there's still plenty of time left in this season.