Thursday, February 26, 2009

24: The DTV Transition at Aunt Ruth's House

In our continuing series of 24 fan-fiction, our heroes face their greatest challenge yet- helping Bill Buchanan's elderly Aunt Ruth through the transition to digital television.

Bill Buchanan bursts through the door of his Aunt Ruth's house.

BUCHANAN: Aunt Ruth (heaving, out of breath) I came as soon as you called, what's the emergency? Do you need an ambulance?

Aunt Ruth is standing in front of her television set, clicking the tuner around angrily.

AUNT RUTH: It's this damn T.V. set, Billy! I've been at this for an hour and I can't get anything to show up- not even the Mexican channels!

BUCHANAN: You mean there's no emergency?

AUNT RUTH: I can't watch my programs! Of course this is a-- what do you call it, dear? An active code?

Buchanan drops his head and does his best to swallow his frustration. He looks up and smiles.

BUCHANAN: The T.V. isn't the problem. It's the DTV transition taking place, that's why your channels aren't working.

AUNT RUTH: The DT-who?

BUCHANAN: Let me call a friend over and she'll explain. (opens up his wireless phone, pushes a quick-dial) Chloe, it's Bill- can you come over to my Aunt Ruth's house? (pause) No, she's alright, it's just that I need you to help her through the transfer from analog to digital broadcast television. (pause) Yes, I'm serious... and bring backup if you can.

Minutes later...

Chloe O'Brian walks in with Jack Bauer and Morris O'Brian. Chloe immediately opens up her laptop

BUCHANAN: Thank God you're all here. Wait, Jack, why are you here?

JACK: Your Aunt Ruth still bakes shortbread cookies, right?

AUNT RUTH: Don't I ever, come along young man let's set up you with some cookies and milk.

JACK: Copy that, Aunt Ruth.

Aunt Ruth pinches Jack's cheek and they leave to the kitchen.

BUCHANAN (to Chloe and Morris): Since when does Jack eat cookies?

CHLOE: He's going undercover as someone that eats cookies so we can do our job!

BUCHANAN: I guess it's safer than heroin...

MORRIS (to Chloe): Alright, love, I'm setting up Ruthie's telly for the converter box. Mr. Buchanan, where's the converter?

BUCHANAN: She doesn't have one- she's too busy to deal with those details.

MORRIS: I guess covering every available piece of furniture in plastic is a full-time endeavour, yes?

CHLOE: I've hacked into and I'm redirecting the nearest facility to send Aunt Ruth a $40 coupon for her converter box. It should be here within minutes.

BUCHANAN: That means one of us has to run down to the store and buy the box once the coupon arrives. (looks at watch) There's not enough time, "Murder, She Wrote" will be on in less than a half-hour. She never misses an episode.

MORRIS: We are doing our best, sir. Perhaps we should consider neutralizing the target?

In the kitchen:

Aunt Ruth is at the kitchen counter assembling the cookie dough ingredients. Jack is sitting by the counter in a folding chair.

AUNT RUTH: I hear one of your friends talking in the other room, he sounds English, is that right?

JACK: Yes, ma'am- that's Morris O'Brian, he's Chloe's husband.

AUNT RUTH: I love that accent- it reminds me of a gentleman caller I once knew during the War. He was a naughty one. If you knew the things he would-

JACK: Let's keep those details classified, deal?

AUNT RUTH: But Bill tells me you're always asking people so many questions.

JACK: Actually, I'd like to know when you bought that stick of butter.

Aunt Ruth looks down at the obviously very old butter.

AUNT RUTH: Oh, don't worry about that, Jack- all you need to do is cut off the protective layer. (She trims off the outer parts of the butter) Look, it's brand new inside!

JACK: You're a good liar, but I've seen better. Excuse me for a moment.

Jack leaves to go to the living room. Aunt Ruth goes back to work on the cookie dough.

JACK: What's our status?

CHLOE: We're 10 minutes away from our deadline and we've got no converter box and no working feed of Angela Lansbury.

BUCHANAN: This situation is about to go critical, Jack. Can you get her to bake something else to keep her busy?

JACK: I ate things you don't want to know about when I was in China, Bill and I don't think I'll make it past Aunt Ruth's fossilized cookies.

MORRIS: Perhaps she needs a little extra attention, mate.

Jack look at Morris and grins to himself.

Minutes later...

Buchanan and Chloe are looking concerned as they hear Morris and Aunt Ruth giggling in the other room. Jack walks back into the living room, smiling.

BUCHANAN: Jack, you're a sick man, you know that? My Aunt is 92 years-old and you have her doing... God knows what with Morris?!

CHLOE: Now I have to divorce him because... (shivers)

JACK: Will the both of you knock it off? Morris is in there making up stories about how he lived next to Angela Lansbury in London. He's actually doing a pretty decent job of it too- the guy knows his "Murder, She Wrote" trivia.

CHLOE: Okay, Jack, we have the converter box- I'll walk you through the installation.

Jack walks over to the television and kneels down.

JACK: I'm in position.

CHLOE: Okay, you're going to run a coaxial line from the back of the converter box to the connection on the T.V.

JACK: There's no coax connection on the back of the set, I repeat NO COAX!

CHLOE: That's impossible- read to me the T.V.'s model number.

JACK: There's no model number, Chloe- this thing was built in the 1960s. Bill, I'm gonna need a hacksaw.

BUCHANAN: We're going to need a coax adapter or something.

CHLOE: I'll try to source one, but we're talking about some pretty exotic equipment.

JACK: I've had enough of this!

Jack leaps up, pulls out his pistol and blasts the T.V. set with several bullets. He then puts the gun away and reaches into his wallet, pulls out several hundred-dollars and hands the money to Bill.

BUCHANAN: That's great, Jack- just GREAT! You can't shoot your way through every problem, I hope you realize that.

Chloe is packing up her gear at this point. Jack is walking to the door.

BUCHANAN: You think this is over? Who's going to teach Aunt Ruth how to operate a remote control for the new T.V.?

JACK: Understand this, Bill- I don't work for you. Besides, I think Morris can take over from here.

BUCHANAN: Good point, let's get out of here.

Meanwhile, in the kitchen-

MORRIS: ... and that's how Angela Lansbury won the record for most pidgeons consumed in a single day.

AUNT RUTH: That's just fascinating! But enough about her, I want you to look at this.

Aunt Ruth hands Morris a box of old letters. Morris reads one of them to himself- his eyes bulging.

AUNT RUTH: Can you read those letters to me out-loud?

MORRIS: These seem kind of personal, love.. and dirty. Are you sure?

Aunt Ruth pulls out a pack of smokes and lights up.


The End.

Monday, February 23, 2009

24 Season 7: 5PM-6PM Quick Review

This episode is an instant classic.

Let's be real for a minute, fellow 24-fans- this show wasn't good last season. I still liked certain aspects of Day 6, but things got mighty ridiculous in the end. So, with all the off-season problems that hit the show over the past 2 years (Kiefer going to jail, the constant delays, the Writer's Strike, the re-writes, etc.) I was worried that this season was going to be a letdown. And then tonight's episode happened. We're out of the danger zone- this season of "24" is officially good, and here's why:

1) Loose ends get tied up in a timely manner- If this was last season, Dubaku would have crawled away from his Jeep flipping over while Jack and Renee were attempting to rescue Marika. It would have been another 3-6 episodes of Jack chasing Dubaku if that were the case. Thankfully, the writers closed up this plotline quickly. And connected to Dubaku was the uncovering of the overall conspiracy- involving the moles, etc. (apparently Sean Hillinger had over 100 co-conspirators!). And speaking of Sean, he messed up and he got nailed for it. Again, congratulations to the writers for knowing when to box-in the bad guy. Letting Hillinger and Dubaku continue to run around would not make for a better story. In fact, giving Bauer a "win" in the middle of the day is a great set-up to the next big attack, which looks amazing.

2) Finally, Jack has a foil- Renee Walker is smokin' hot, we all got that figured out. But the writers and Annie Wersching have gone and made a real counterpart for Jack. I saw the preview for tonight a few days ago where Renee slaps Jack and thought "Holy Mother, they're going to make this a soap-opera" (Wersching used to work on soaps). Thankfully they got it right- Jack takes two slaps and then growls at her about either toughening up or quitting. And then Renee promises Jack that she was ready to shoot him earlier. And ya know what? I believe that dizzy broad!

3) Tony is back for real as of tonight- The scene between Jack and Tony on the National Mall at sunset was straight out of a William Friedkin movie. Did these guys even look one another in the eye? I don't think so! It was like watching two wolves, circling around a hunting ground, sniffing out the next threat. Hats off to the team for putting that classic scene together. I'll be watching that interaction again when it hits

In fact, I'll be watching this entire episode again, because it was incredibly well-done (how about Bill Buchanan going to bat for Jack? Or Chloe saving the day?!? Practically no Janis Gold either!). This is a top-shelf hour of television. And next week looks insane (2-hrs of real mayhem). I'm stupid-happy over how this season has turned out. Let's keep this vibe going.

24 Season 7: 5PM-6PM Sneak Preview- JACK AND RENEE

Jack and Renee (sung to "Jack and Diane" by John Mellencamp)

Little ditty about Jack and Renee
Two counter-terrorists workin' with Bill Buchanan
Jackie gonna torture and go too far
Renee is gonna let Jack crash Moss' car

Suckin on hot lead, the terrorists scream
Renee wakin' babies up from their nap
She tells the baby momma to get on her knees
Jackie say "Hey Renee let's kill 'em off
Before they blow up you and me
Forget about the Geneva Conventions
Let me do what we need"
And Jackie say a

Oh yeah torture's wrong
I'll say so publicly after the terrorists are gone
Oh yeah torture's wrong
But dozens have already died, why we still carrying on?

Jackie sits back, checks his Jack Pack for a moment
Scratches his head, thinking The Jack Sack held more things
Well you know Renee this stuff can get real gritty
Renee starts slapping Jack, saying he's too right-wing
Jackie say a

Oh yeah torture's wrong
My bro and dad were terrorists and now they're gone
Oh yeah torture's wrong
By the way I think your mole is some dude named Sean

Gonna watch the clock
Find the mole
Renee, why you gotta frown?
Age lines gonna take their toll
I know Irish girls don't really tan
But we're only in the late afternoon
And we gotta stop the terrorists' plan

Little ditty about Jack and Renee
Two counter-terrorists workin' with Bill Buchanan

Thursday, February 19, 2009

24: DMV

Here's another fan-fiction post (long overdue!)- this time our beloved "24" characters deal with the insipid task of making it through a day at the local Department of Motor Vehicles:

Jack Bauer, Bill Buchanan, Chloe O'Brian, Tony Almeida and Aaron Pierce all arrive at the Arlington, Virginia DMV. No one is happy.

CHLOE: I don't understand why we're here, Mr. Buchanan. Most of these transactions can be done online.

BUCHANAN: Chloe, it's more complicated than that. Jack when was the last time you carried a valid driver's license?

JACK (counting fingers, muttering to himself): Not since we invaded the Chinese Embassy, Bill. So we're talking at least ten years.

BUCHANAN: And Tony's a fugitive, so we need Agent Pierce to register Tony's new vanity plates for his El Camino.

CHLOE: What's your personalized plate say?

TONY: That's classified.

CHLOE: Tony, if it's on the back of your car, it won't be classified anymore!

TONY: Exactly- it will be in plain sight, no one will suspect a thing.

BUCHANAN: Just nod and agree, Chloe. And I got a summons for an illegal window tint on this purple van. Normally, I'd ditch the vehicle and blow it up, but I really enjoy the way Jethro Tull pipes through these bitchin' speakers.

JACK (muttering): No rock band should have a flute.

BUCHANAN: I'm sorry, Jack I couldn't hear you back there (cranks volume).

PIERCE: Please, God let's get this over with.

The group enters the DMV office. It's packed.

TONY: Should I start shooting up the place?

JACK: Not yet...

CHLOE: I did some research on your test, Jack. There's a 90 percent chance you will be asked to parallel park. I just wanted you to know that. (silence) Do you have all of your forms filled-out and ready?

JACK: I have the DL-1P, the MED-4 and a pardon from the President of the United States for all of the damage I'm about to cause on this road-test. Stick with the others, I'm going to the front of the line.

Jack walks past two dozen people, all giving him dirty looks along the way. He arrives at the counter and meets an angry-looking woman.

JACK: My name is Jack Bauer, I'm a federal- wait. I'm here to take a road-test today.

WOMAN: Do you have a number?

JACK: No, I don't have a number. I need you to do me a favor and call your boss and get clearance for me to take my road-test now.

WOMAN: Sir, without a number, you cannot even be talking to me, NEXT ON LINE, PLEASE!

JACK: Lady, you have no idea how far I'm willing to go to acquire your cooperation.

WOMAN: Well (she looks him over) you are cute...

JACK: That's not what I meant- (sigh) Dammit.


Agent Pierce and Tony are sitting next to one another in complete silence. Tony looks down at his number ticket. He then looks at Pierce, who's staring into nothingness. Pierce notices Tony's glare.

PIERCE: I've been given orders not to talk to you.

TONY: Don't you want to know what my plates are about?

PIERCE: Okay...

Pierce looks down at the application. It reads "DEEPGUY."

PIERCE: You reading a lot of self-help books?

TONY: What are you talking about? (Tony reads the application) No, no, no, Chloe brought Larry Moss' application by accident! Mine's supposed to say "DEEPSKY!"

PIERCE: Sure it does. Don't be shy... guy (half-smiles).

And at the counter, Bill and Chloe are talking with the inspector:

BUCHANAN: These are street legal tints, trust me. I used to be the director of a federal agency, I know the law.

INSPECTOR: Apparently you weren't working for the Federal Bureau of Window-tints, mister. That's my jurisdiction.

CHLOE: There's no need to be snarky about it, sir.

INSPECTOR: Lady, is this your first time at the DMV?

BUCHANAN: How long will it take to have my windows inspected?

INSPECTOR: Well, I've got lunch coming up in 2 minutes, and I'm the only one here, and then I have to look at some paperwork, but I don't think I should have to do that because my supervisor is the one who usually does that, but he's on vacation and they never get the right coverage for people when they take off from...

Bill tugs on Chloe's sleeve and motions for them to walk away. They are now crossing the floor to where Jack is standing.

WOMAN: Do you have any current identification?

JACK: I have a valid driver's license for the Democratic Republic of Sangala.

WOMAN: Woah, easy there hot-stuff. Sangala? Never heard of it.

Jack hands her the ID.

WOMAN: Phew, this is going to take some more paperwork. Here's form DL-7- exchanging a driver's license from another country.

JACK: Dammit, we're running out of time, lady! Who do you-

BUCHANAN: JACK! Jack! We've hit some roadblocks here. Let's just get that Presidential Pardon to include my van's tints, ok?

Holding up his pardon in front of the lady's face.

JACK: And I'll get it to cover my driving without a license... again.

Tony and Pierce walk up to the others now.

JACK: We're leaving here, Tony. You have a smoke grenade on you?

TONY: Of course I do. (hands him the grenade) What's up?

JACK: You got a form for this thing, lady?

Jack pulls the pin and throws over the counter. All of the DMV workers scramble as purple smoke fills the main floor.

They exit the building.


Monday, February 16, 2009

24 Season 7: 4PM-5PM Quick Review

All hail Aaron Pierce!

Now, onto the not-so-awesome things from tonight's episode (namely everything not involving Aaron Pierce).

1) Ike "E-kay" Dubaku is a virgin-- it's the only rationale I can come up with that would explain his stupid puppy-love for Marika the cute (but not dazzling) lasagna-slinging waitress. I mean, the writers wouldn't force a cold-blooded, efficient killer to act like a complete moron for the sake of a convenient plot development, right? RIGHT?! Dammit!

2) Sean Hillinger is not a virgin- he's a dirty, filthy whore (which we already knew) and oh yeah, he's THE MOLE! How. Freakin'. Obvious. I'm sorry, but Hillinger being the mole is like me eating a tray full of brownies in a sitting-- there's no drama to it- it's too predictable of an outcome! As of now, I am very letdown by this entire subplot... and I want brownies too!

3) Larry and Renee need to stop talking for the next 16 hours. Larry's boyscout nonsense is a major buzzkill. And the preview for next week's episode (with Renee scolding Jack for being such a badass) makes me want to punt a baby penguin. PLEASE guys, stop with this crisis of conscience melodrama. We've been through this shit dozens of times over the past few seasons. Jack killed Ryan Chapelle because a terrorist told him so! "The ends justify the means" has always been this show's philosophy. If you don't accept it as a form of entertainment, then go watch the Hallmark Channel or some other crap. This is "24"-- people do terrible things for a greater good all of the time.

4) Allison Taylor cracked-- I get that we need to see her being human, but I think her behavior strains credibility. I don't think Taylor is being unreasonable in going to see her husband, but I think the way she's going about it is silly. Letting Bill Buchanan make all of her decisions for her sounds reasonable to us 24-fans, but she comes off as being a complete pushover.

Needless to say, I disliked the writing for this episode. I can take the set-up episode once in a while, but what kills me is when characters act foolishly across the board. And two episodes without Tony!!! He better be building an A-Team style tank out of empty coffee cans and old pizza boxes. This show needs a kick in the ass, and fast.

P.S. I'm too cranky to finish the 24: DMV post tonight. We'll tackle that one tomorrow!

24 Season 7: 4PM-5PM Pictoral Preview

Tonight we learn who's the FBI mole! I hear last minute rumblings that Janis Gold might be the traitor- and that's probably the most interesting choice next to Larry Moss. Either way, I'll post my usual review right after the show ends. And if I have enough coffee in the house, I'll finish that 24: DMV post too.

Yep, yet another packed night for yours truly. And "Rudy" is on TV right now... I love this movie. RUDY! RUDY! RUDY! RUDY! Ah, if poor Lynn McGill had 1/10th the tenacity of Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger... but I digress.

See you back here later tonight!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


If "Law & Order" can have their acronym-tagged spin-off "SVU" then why not let Jack Bauer & Co. have their fun too? Check back later tonight for a new entry into our "24" fan-fiction series featuring your favorite characters sweating it out in one of the most nerve-wracking places on Earth- the local Department of Motor Vehicles!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Day For Jack and Renee: A "24" Picture Book!

You know the drill- we take pictures and twist the context into something insane. This week, in light of Valentine's Day, we have a vignette that Haley helped to inspire: President Taylor and the First Gentlemen each are planning something special for their significant other. That's where things go terribly wrong...

"Madame President, my name is Bill Buchanan. I used to work for CTU, as you know. Because the job market is so poor for ex-torturers and bureaucrats, I've parlayed my government experience into a freelancing sex therapy business-- turns out this town is full of potential clients. My associates here will help demonstrate some groundbreaking techniques for you and your husband to test out this Valentine's Day."

"Momma don't need no love-making lessons! Get my husband in here, he's the one that needs the instructional course."

"Yeah, the husband. Um, Jack do you want to tell the President where Mr. Taylor is?"

"Madame President... our intelligence suggests that your constant taunting of the First Gentleman's lack of virility has driven him to an underground sex club. He's there now, learning some really freaky business."

"He left home without me packing his juicebox and lunch?!? Get him on the phone now."

Moments later...

(President Taylor's voice on phone): "HENRY! Are you crazy? I'm worried sick about you. Do you have your asthma inhaler? Are you lost? Go to the first police officer you can find and tell him where you live."

"Um, I think I walked into a mafia card game or something, honey."

"Card game? Sweety, you can't even play solitaire. Get your tush back to the White House and you and I are going to have a long talk about boundaries and responsibilities!" (pushes button to end call).

"You're in for 6 large to us, pal. You think you can roll up in here and walk away without having to pay the vig? Take his motherf@#$*ing finger off!"

"I just wanna watch Spongebob!"

"If it's all the same, we're on the clock. So, do you want us to do a couple of quick demonstrations for when your husband gets back later?"

"Well not too quick... why don't YOU come over here."

"Renee, I'm going to be picturing something else to get me through this one..."
"Jack, you're the bravest man I know."
"Copy that!"

One minute and 32 seconds later...

"You tell Bill Buchanan I'll be in the car-- scrubbing vigorously."

"Mr. Bauer, wait! The President wants to give you the Presidential Medal of Freedom for your recent, if not brief, acts of loyalty to this country."

"Oh Jesus, I'm gonna throw up."
"Just look at my chest again, Jack. It'll be okay."



Thursday, February 12, 2009

SNEAK PREVIEW: A New "24" Picture Book!

The full picture book is coming tonight!

"Jack, don't you mean 'dammit!'?"

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

24 Season 7: Introducing The Jack Pack™ (?!?!) [UPDATED]

UPDATE: Chad, you bag-maniac, you've done it! This is The Jack Pack: Maxpedition MONSOON™ GEARSLINGER I also have a product link to the right of The REAL Jack Sack in case you're interested.

You've seen the episodes, you've heard the rumors and now you're wondering "What is that thing Jack is using for a manbag?" Thanks to a loyal reader (good work, Chad) we have an up close still of this sack-interloper- ladies and gentlemen I bring you The Jack Pack:

I'm going to try and track down the make and model of Bauer's new fashion accessory. It's a napsack, a schoolbag, something a weed dealer would carry around the University of Maryland. No, I'm not happy about it. Sure, it's less gender-bending, but that's why The Jack Sack was so brilliant! Jack Bauer made it cool for men to wear purses. And now, I fear our masculine dream of redefining what is acceptable male fashion is at risk. For years I've been promoting the idea that men should be allowed to wear skirts (we need the fresh air!) but alas we can't even succeed at handbags.

If anyone out there knows the details on Jack's new bag, please let us know.

Monday, February 09, 2009

24 Season 7: 3PM-4PM Quick Review

Let's get one thing out of the way: I hate Larry Moss.

Yeah, I know, we're supposed to hate the guy, he's the stickler, etc. But my hatred goes beyond that level. I think Moss is bad for the show. He doesn't advance the plot, he is constantly making pathetic arguments for the status quo. And for the life of me, he is the worst-written character so far. His little standoff with Jack on the Mall was moronic. And then he throws the car keys at Jack in frustration. Are we really going there, 24? Unless Moss is the mole (which I doubt) his character is worthless and should be removed from the mix as soon as possible.

Now, I did enjoy this episode in spite of Moss' heavy presence. Jack was in full-stride tonight, killing people like the pro that he is. Agent Walker had a mildly annoying turn when she was wrestling with her morals at the Vossler residence. But again, she commits herself to the mission and makes what we fans of "24" deem the "hero's choice."

It was interesting to watch Jack have to remind himself that Walker is new to this all-out mayhem. She has been keeping pace with Bauer and Co. for the past few episodes (even after "flatlining," sorry Kiefer, I couldn't resist). So it makes sense that she have a moment's hesitation. I think her character is paying dramatic dividends early, and I hope she continues to remain a strong ally.

President Taylor is showing some guts too, making it clear to her team that she will not surrender her principles to terrorists holding her skeletal husband hostage. And I dug how Bill Buchanan all but sat in her seat, running the field ops from the Oval Office speakerphone. Bill, one day you'll be President, don't you worry.

The Ike Dubaku stuff got a little muddled this hour. His girlfriend has a sister who's onto him. And of course, Dubaku has to put his months-in-the-making terror plot on hold to take care of this problem (sigh). Haven't any of these badguys watched HEAT? "Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner." I mean come on, I work in a dull office job and I know the rules of (dis)engagement!

And we have the return of this new Jack Sack. I promise to give it some visual scrutiny this week (get ready for me, Nat!). If there's anything substantial to report on the manpurse, you can count on me bringing it to you.

Next week looks solid (THE MOLE WILL BE REVEALED!)-- hopefully the kill count stays high and Larry Moss gets lost in a Smithsonian or something.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

24: Poker Night!

A few days ago I opened up this blog to reader suggestions. The Jackster gets the first of these "by request" posts, seeking some "24" fan-fiction showing our favorite characters engaged in a very normal social situation. This one is set during a (not-so) friendly poker game. Enjoy:

Bill Buchanan is sitting at the card table, shuffling a deck. Also at the table are Jack Bauer, Tony Almeida, Larry Moss, Renee Walker and David Emerson. Chloe O'Brian and Janis Gold are sitting at dueling laptops at the kitchen table.

BUCHANAN (dealing out cards): Small blind is five, big is ten. No Crazy Pineapple, no Omaha High rules. This is straight No-Limit Texas Hold 'Em.

JACK: Copy that.

TONY: Yeah (drinks his Budweiser).

Jack notices this and stares at Tony for a moment. Everyone looks at their cards. Moss and Almeida throw in their blinds.

RENEE: Is it my bet? Okay, ten. (throws in her chips).

EMERSON: I'll raise that to $100.

JACK: Dammit!

Tony drinks.

EMERSON: What's wrong, Bauer? You scared?

JACK (sarcastic): I used to be in the military. Used to do field work for the CIA. I've been to some horrible places. I've seen some pretty terrible things. I don't think I've ever been this scared in my whole life. (throws in his chips to match Emerson's bet).

Chloe snorts to herself.

BUCHANAN: Chloe, what's the status of our pizza delivery?

CHLOE (tapping her keyboard): Give me a minute, I have to redirect the satellite to track it. Janis, open a socket and help me.

JACK: Hurry, Chloe- we're running out of time! (Tony drinks) If he gets here past thirty minutes, our delivery is free.

CHLOE (to Janis): Once we locate the pizza guy, I'll need you to hack into the DOT network and change all traffic lights to red.

JANIS: I'm going to have to check with Agent Moss to see if I should-

CHLOE: Do you want me to do your job for you?! I know you're a PC chick, but I didn't know you were this lame.

BUCHANAN: Moss, it's your bet.

MOSS: I don't know... (looks at Renee, who rolls her eyes). I, uhh, I'll just... (sighs, folds his hand).

BUCHANAN: That was painful to watch. Tony, are you in? (Tony throws his cards to the center of the table, looks at Emerson who nods back at him) Very well, I fold too. Agent Walker, do you call?

RENEE: No, I fold. (Larry sighs, rubbing Renee's back. Renee leans over to him) See how pathetic that was? Now you know how I felt ten seconds ago. (Larry removes his hand and looks down in shame).

Buchanan lays out the flop, a ten of spades, a ten of hearts and a 4 of clubs.

EMERSON: Looks like its just you and me, Bauer. Christopher Henderson told me about your card games when you worked together. He said you didn't have the guts to go all-in when it counted.

JACK: I shot Christopher Henderson's wife in the thigh and then killed him later that day. Trust me, you do not want to go down this road with me.

Silence falls over the tension-filled room.

MOSS: Hey, uh let's play a drinking game! Never have I ever... uh, drink if you've never been shot in the neck.

Only Chloe, Janis and Moss drink.

MOSS: Bill, I didn't know you've been shot in the neck.

BUCHANAN: I haven't, I just block you out most of the time. Emerson, it's your bet.


JACK: You raise the pot and then check on the flop? That's the wrong play, Emerson. Who are you working for? (Tony drinks) Dammit, Tony! (Tony drinks again) Why are you always drinking after I talk?

Jack pushes Tony against the wall and a piece of paper falls to the ground. Jack picks it up and reads it, looking up at Tony in anger.

JACK: What is this? The "Jack Bauer Drinking Game?"

TONY: Yeah. I got it from some fan blog- every time you say one of your stock phrases, we're supposed to take a drink. I figured I'd give it a try. Can you yell "GET ON THE GROUND NOW!" for me, I'm starting to lose my buzz.

Jack throws Tony against another wall and they get into a clumsy wrestle-fight. Jack is about to throw Tony to the floor.

TONY (whispers): Deep Dish.

Jack immediately stops and steps backwards. The fight is over. Everyone returns to their seats.

BUCHANAN: Alright, Jack, it's your bet.

Jack looks at Emerson and smiles.

JACK: All-in.

Emerson looks down at his cards and back up at Jack.

CHLOE: Jack, we have the pizza guy! He's three blocks away, all side streets, no traffic lights. He has five minutes to spare! Jack, what do you want me to do?

Jack ignores Chloe and stares down Emerson.

JANIS (to Chloe): I have an idea.

Janis jumps up from her seat and starts to strip, running towards the door and out of the house.

BUCHANAN: Agent Walker, Janis isn't trained for that kind of field-op. Since you've folded, we're going to need you to distract the pizza guy with your nakedness.

JACK, TONY, MOSS and EMERSON in unison: COPY THAT! (Tony drinks).

RENEE: You are the saddest bunch of... (folds arms) No, you're going to have to pay for your pizza.

BUCHANAN (to Jack): It was worth a try. (To Renee) Well, we're in an active code now with Janis naked in public-- we need to reel her in. I may get kicked out of the condo association if we can't stop her.

RENEE: Fine... (sighs, pulling out her handgun). You're all going to pay for my therapy bills if this plays out like I think. (Runs out of the house).

JACK: It's your bet, Emerson. Are you all-in?

Emerson looks at Tony, who looks away from him. Just as Emerson is about to fold his hand towards the center of the table, an explosion rocks the house from outside. Jack, Tony, Moss and Buchanan all run outside.

Outside of the house, the pizza deliver car is flipped over, on fire. Janis is covering her naked body with her hands. Renee is dragging the delivery guy out of the wreckage.

BUCHANAN: Agent Walker, you secure the area. We're going to need the fire department to handle this mess. Tony, Jack- grab as many pizzas as you can, preferably those not covered in burning gasoline. Let's get back inside. And Janis... please stop being naked.

MOSS: Renee, are you ok? (touches her shoulder)

RENEE: Let's put "Sensitive Larry" on ice and try to save this pizza guy, deal?

A few minutes later, Jack, Tony and Bill return to the card table. Chloe stares at Jack, hinting at a problem.

EMERSON: I trust nobody is dead.

JACK: Not yet, Emerson. Your bet.

EMERSON: All-in.

JACK: You were about to fold before the pizza guy exploded. Now you're going all-in? What are you up to?

Emerson flips over his cards and shows a pair of tens.

CHLOE: Jack, he's holding a four-of-a-kind. (tapping her keyboard) He has a 95% chance of win--

JACK: Dammit, Chloe, I know! TONY, PUT DOWN THAT BEER!

EMERSON: You saying I cheated? You can't prove anything, Bauer.

TONY: Jack, Emerson treated me like a brother when I thought I had nobody else. He wouldn't cheat at cards.

JACK: Tony, I'm getting tired of this brotherhood talk. Your buddy here says he's British but have you even bothered to listen to his accent? He's from Trenton, New Jersey. Chloe, explain to Tony what Emerson just pulled.

CHLOE (with her laptop walks over and puts it on the table). Surveillance footage shows Emerson swapped out his cards when you ran outside. (to Emerson) Sorry, but you're a lousy cheater.

TONY: You have surveillance cameras in your house, Bill?

BUCHANAN: Karen and I have a... blog.

EMERSON: Don't act so surprised, Bauer. You were thinking of folding too. But then you and Tony started hugging on the floor and he whispered something to you. I just couldn't figure out your play. And that's when you went all-in.

BUCHANAN: Is that true, Jack?

JACK: Tony whispered "Deep Dish" to me, which is code for off-suited cards with no pairs. Look, I have to make decisions that you may not agree with. If I folded I would be giving a known terrorist the pot he tried to buy with that ridiculous hand. I had an ace-high and I had to act fast.

BUCHANAN: Cheating at cards to stop a terrorist? Jesus, Jack, I think we've crossed the line. (rubs his forehead)

JACK: Don't forget, I shot our old boss and a few other co-workers for the same purpose.

CHLOE: And you tortured your girlfriend and killed her husband and--

JACK: Dammit, Chloe, just do your job!

Tony drinks... twice.

BUCHANAN: Alright, game's over until next week. And please, let's try to play a complete hand for once. What do you say we order Chinese next time?

JACK: You son of a bitch!

Tony drinks AGAIN!

BUCHANAN: Oh Jack, I'm sorry-- I forgot...


Friday, February 06, 2009

The LAMB Devours The Oscars: Best Achievement in Sound

Editor's note: The Jack Sack is a member of The Large Association of Movie Blogs (LAMB). In an ongoing series of articles covering the 81st Academy Awards, various bloggers submit their posts on a randomly assigned category. This blog drew Best Achievement in Sound. Check LAMB regularly for the rest of the categories. Here's the post:

The Academy Award for Best Achievement in Sound is given for the motion picture having the best mix of the multitude of elements that make up a film's audio. These components generally include dialogue, music, sound effects and atmospheric noise (not to be discounted would be the subliminal messages James Cameron inserted into TITANIC that convinced people to keep seeing his picture). It's not a sexy category, for certain, but without sound a movie would lose its soul. And without the right overall balance of audio elements, a movie would lose its character. Here are the nominees and my take:

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON – David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Mark Weingarten

Regular readers of The Jack Sack know that I loathed this movie. But that's not to say that its technical qualities were not outstanding. BUTTON failed dramatically but it certainly deserves recognition for its sound mix. It's audio is traditional big-Hollywood- with a heavy reliance on its sweeping score. There are some scenes, particularly the ambush with the Nazi sub, that are fully engrossing. There is nothing wrong per se with BUTTON's audio, but perhaps my bias against the movie makes me less enthusiastic about its merit.

THE DARK KNIGHT– Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo and Ed Novick

Here we... go! KNIGHT's audio left a very large impression on me. Certainly this film benefits from its diverse mix of action and drama, along with the fantastic exploits if its billionaire vigilante, Batman. But the sound is so distinct that it really contributed to the "urban-industrial opera" taking place. Where there was tension, the film's sound delivered high-pitches and rumbling fear perfectly. And where there was tragedy, these emotions were delivered not with sweeping orchestral movements, but with absolutely no audio whatsoever (as was the case when Harvey Dent learned of Rachel Dawes' death). Christopher Nolan's Batman films have defied the superhero genre in all aspects, and sound is chief among those categories. I'll be rooting for this to win.

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE – Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty

Danny Boyle's masterpiece depicting the struggle of three youths in the slums of India benefits tremendously from a perfectly-designed audio track. This brutal fable of love and survival could have been dragged down by generic sound mixing. But Danny Boyle is... well pretty awesome, and his team of sound mixers and re-mixers did everything right. Some scenes are haunting (like the bloodshed that claimed a village early on) and others are completely euphoric (where Jamal, the protagonist, finally achieves "freedom" from his demons). The sound in these scenes and others was essential to building the film's wide range of emotions. But not for THE DARK KNIGHT's operatic sound mix, I would choose SLUMDOG as the most worthy nominee.

WALL-E – Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Ben Burtt

This film relies on its audio more than any other one nominated in this category. WALL-E's non-human characters express themselves primarily through their unique sounds. In order for this film to be bearable, let alone wonderful, the sound design needed to be perfect. No pressure, eh Ben Burtt? Well the audio team succeeded tremendously, and this film deserves to win the Best Sound Editing Oscar. But the category we're discussing goes beyond the design of the sound and encompasses the entirety of the film's audio. You can't say anything negative about this film's technical achievements. I wouldn't be surprised if this film wins the category either. I just have a huge crush for that Batman flick... alright, I'll stop gushing.

WANTED – Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño and Petr Forejt

Director Timur Bekmambeto makes obnoxious movies. Some people like this kind of cinema (I admit that I've seen THE ROCK a good dozen times). But WANTED is something devoid of any charm- it's an idiotic film through and through. I cannot render an opinion on its audio mix because I was unable to hear anything over my own grumbles and groans. To be fair, I honestly didn't pay close attention to the sound. It could be good, maybe even great, but ultimately sound exists within the context of the whole motion picture. And unless the sound team muted the dialogue completely, I cannot give them any credit towards making this film "good."

Bottom line prediction: WALL-E will probably win, but put my vote down for THE DARK KNIGHT.

24: Poker Night- Coming Soon!

Watch Jack Bauer and the gang double-dammit over Texas Hold 'Em later this weekend.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

"24" E-Cards Part 5: Carnival of Bauer Edition!

This week, the Carnival of Bauer is being hosted by my respected colleague (and box-wine aficionado) AmyV at The TV Tyrant. Here's my submission, Amy!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

What do you want to read?

Hey gang,

I'm opening up the blog a little to ask you if there's anything in particular you'd like for me to write. I haven't run out of ideas (yet!) but I am curious to take your pulse and see what you're thinking.

So... requests? Suggestions? Encores of past post ideas/concepts? Less comedy? More comedy? Let me know, I appreciate your feedback.


Monday, February 02, 2009

24 Season 7: 2PM-3PM Quick Review

Oh, where to start?

How about at the end, with badass Col. Ike Dubaku playing kissy-face with a local waitress in his apt. building. This is why I love "24"- they're crazy enough to take the most hideous of bad guys and reduce him to a very human, almost quaint level. And now we know that like Garfield the Cat, Dubaku loves himself some lasagna. Awesome.

But the real joy of tonight's episode was the balls-out violence! I will have to go back and re-watch this episode to soak it all in, but seeing Jack Bauer, Tony Almeida, Bill Buchanan, Renee Walker and Chloe O'Brian all working together was pure bliss. Can we have about ten more episodes in a row like this? Just good guys getting shit done right, that's what last season was missing (Jack has to shoot Curtis because... geez, I don't even know why anymore, or how Doyle and Milo kept bumping into one another on their way to Nadia's locker). Buchanan with an automatic rifle... that's cinematic genius! And they carried sacks (not the official Jack Sack, mind you, but we're getting closer to the dream, folks).

The biggest loser in this episode (aside from the computer dude Latham, who got the Rachel Dawes special) is definitely Larry Moss. Larry is acting like a petulant loser, whining about his "dead" girlfriend Renee and ignoring the useful counter-terror advice of Janis "Honey" Gold, who was pretty on this episode. Moss is kind of a moron when it comes down to it- reactive, cranky and selfish in some ways. I see a lot of Erin Driscoll in Moss, and that's a bad association.

Next week looks equally awesome. Is this the first time Jack Bauer has visited the White House on the show? They should name the underground bunker in his honor at this point! I can't wait for the next go-around of "24." I'm very happy over here...

Dear Chloe: The 24 Season 7 Advice Column

The Jack Sack is proud to present an old nugget revived- "Dear Chloe"- where your problems really aren't that important right now, but you'll probably get some snarky wisdom regardless:

Dear Chloe,

I am a successful career-driven man who has good credit and great oral hygiene. Why the heck can't I get this girl at work to notice me? Let me give you an example- just this morning we had a very serious thing blow up at work. I'm kind of the guy in charge of our department. So, you'd think she'd ask me for advice, what to do, etc.? No. She decided to go off on her own, cut off some dude's oxygen supply, get herself shot in the neck and buried alive. And she's doing all of this for some other guy who isn't even on our payroll (he's kind of an independent contractor, but I'm not authorized to say more than that). I know chicks dig the bad boys, but I thought she and I had something- we really connected over our love of "The Notebook" and the poetry of Sylvia Plath. Help me, Chloe!

-Larry "Love"

Larry, you're probably a really great guy but you are also extremely boring. It would be harder to hack into a Fisher-Price "Laugh 'n Learn" Toy Piggy Bank than to get you in bed. I have a guy friend who's the complete opposite, so maybe you should take note: try sneering at her, maybe throw her in the back of an unmarked van and whisper to her about how you're "running out of time." Girls like that kind of stuff, trust me, it's really hot.

Dear Chloe,

I'm just going to come out and say it- I'm a fraud. You ever lie on a resume? You ever tell people that you're from someplace that you've never even seen in your life-- just to impress them? For the past ten years I've been telling people that I was a sniper in the British SAS. I don't even know what "SAS" stands for! And as for being a sniper, I admit that's partially true- I hold the all-time high score in my college frat for "Duck Hunt" (I'm probably better than you :P). And that's the thing, I went to the University of Delaware, I'm from Dover, I used to watch NASCAR races when I was a kid, before it got all big and commercialized. But anyway, here I am, telling people I'm this British dude and I can't even tell you the first thing about scones. And up until last week, I thought "Big Ben" was the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, not some freakin' clock in London. I want to come clean, but I don't know how. Lately, most of my friends are turning up dead, so I'm thinking I'll ride this one out. Besides, my friends are pretty dumb, I don't even try to fake a British accent and they've already bought my story. Should I just keep quiet?

-The Fake Limey

Limey- First thing's first: SAS stands for Special Air Service, it's the special forces group within the British Army. Second, I will so whip your ass at "Duck Hunt" so don't even go there. It seems to me like you're just being a guy. Guys lie to feel better about themselves. I give you credit for at least being original. As a woman, I find British guys insanely attractive, but that's mostly because of the accent. I can't even see my guy's face anymore, it's just his voice that keeps me going. So, I'm going to recommend that you keep the story going, but for your own benefit get some voice lessons and learn a proper English accent. Madonna did it and now she thinks she's one of them.