I am going to write an inspirational book called, "Expect the Worst."
In fact, I would go so far as to offer the title of my book as a slogan for the new show, "Ugly Betty." Picture it on the side of a bus "Expect the Worst - Ugly Betty - Coming this Fall."
Last night, after working out at the gym, I walked across the street to Famima for my standard chicken salad wrap. I reached into my wallet and suddenly realized, my debit card is gone. You know that conversation:
"Where is my debit-- oh crap."
See, my bank is just on the outside of the Universal. So once a week, I hop in my little golf cart, ride to the edge of Lankershim, walk through the gate, around the corner and up the stairs, and drop my check in the express deposit box. BUT - I was on-line and I saw some promotion they are doing where if you deposit your check at the ATM you could win a vacation. Or a t-shirt. I normally don't go in for this crap, but for some reason it called to me.
I went to the machine on the side of the building, slid my card in, made the deposit and it asked me if I wanted a receipt. I said yes. It came out. And I was so distracted by the fact I had more money in my account than I thought I did, that I must have missed the beeping that cried, "hello! Take your card, you idiot!"
Around the corner, back into the golf cart and back to the office.
Marcellas called in the midst of my realization. "I left my damned debit card in the machine."
"OH MY GOD! That's the worst! I've had that happen to me and it's the absolute worst! The machine sucks it back in!"
I immediately had a vision straight out of "The Temple of Doom." I imagined my card being sucked back into the machine and then yanked through a series of tunnels, deep below Universal City to where a group of tribesman hoisted it high above a lake of lava in preparation to sacrifice, shred and destroy it.
I figured it would take an aged Harrison Ford and a small asian child to get it back.
So this morning, into the golf cart, down to the gate, around the corner.
"Hi. I accidentally left my card in the machine when I was making a deposit and I was just wondering (the entire time I'm talking to this man, I have a very clear vision that HE is actually the head of all these tribesmen below the bank and his smirk is nothing more than a quiet "hahahah... I've got your ATM card right where I want it.") if someone turned it in.
"That sounds familiar," he said. As if everyone who makes deposits decide to leave their card at the bank for safe keeping.
He checked. It wasn't there. He checked some more. He looked at me from the back, sadly shook his head, as if to say, "we did all we could do..."
I suddenly flashed to my immediate future. A new picture. Two weeks of writing checks. Asking myself, do I even remember HOW to write a check? The inevitable, "but Mr. Darnell... you lost your card. It says so here and our records," "Yes, I know that! THAT'S why I went back for a NEW card!"
He went to his computer and pulled me up.
"Huh. That's odd." (Three words I never want to hear coming from someone who has my money.)
No joke. His computer flashed the word "HOLD." I thought that only happened on terribly unimaginative television shows.
"What does that mean?"
They HAD found my card. Someone turned it in. So my poor, defenseless ATM card was in fact somewhere in this room! Lying in a drawer, starved and alone. Feeling unloved.
After a ten minute search, it was found! Success! The people at the branch were very nice and very helpful, proving in fact they are NOT evil tribesman slave drivers out to destroy the ATM Banking cards of everyone in North Hollywood.
So see, "Expect the Worst." Then when it turns out for the better, you can be pleasantly surprised.
I took a few days off from training to see friends - and tonight's training showed. I just couldn't (I did... it just hurt and took longer) run up Santa Moncia Blvd.
Life is good with work. We have an awesome new actress joining the show as a recurring character. She was at the top of my list... and we got her. As soon as NBC releases her name, I'll post a picture of her. We just also just got the very first draft of the season opener - and it is FANTASTIC! We begin shooting on July 17th.
Jason, his boyfriend and myself went to see "Say Uncle" again (it was my second time, their first) and this time there was a Q and A afterwards with Peter Paige. AGAIN, the audience had maybe, MAYBE 20 people in it. I wish more people had gone to see it. I really enjoyed it - and like I said, it inspired me to try and rework MOUTH OF THE SOUTH.
I need sleep.
But I MUST write tomorrow about "The Lake House." I can't believe I missed writing about that.
One of the rare joys about living in Hollywoodland is seeing a movie at the first official audience showing. Sure, there are "pre-screen" parties for industry people - but you'll never see an agent from William Morris standing outside the Graumann's Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd eight hours before the film, wearing a Superman t-shirt.
These are the people you want to watch a major blockbuster summer movie. They have an excitement and a childlike awe.
I met up withmypeeps at Pig and Whistle for a drink before we got in line.
Oh wait, I must backtrack.
Jason and David tried to convince me that we needed to be in line at 8PM. I don't do lines outside of clubs. I sure as Hell don't do lines outside the Chinese Theater for 2 hours. After a compromise, we landed an hour and 15 minutes before the film. Jason and I arrived outside the theater three hours before the movie before drinks and the line was already around the block. I didn't believe them. I should have. But martini... line... martini.... line.
BTW - if you visit Hollywood Blvd anytime soon... you MUST find the new Catwoman. I'm going back this weekend with my camera and a dollar.
So - martini or line - It was a no brainer. Off to the Pig and Whistle and then to the theater. When we arrived at 8:45 for the 10p show, the line had spun off Hollywood Blvd and made its way north on Orange near Franklin.
Once we finally made it inside and to our seats. we sat through a few trailers (including the new "Spider-Man 3" trailer that looks really good). FINALLY the screen went to the Warner Bros. logo and the fans went ape shit. Part of me for a split second thought, "what a bunch of loser geeks" - then I remembered I was the one who had to be sedated at the opening night of "Basic Instinct 2." Kettle, this is pot. (I won't even dredge up the whole opening night of "Glitter.")
Screams, cheers - people shouting at the screen, "Bryan Singer, we love you!" "Bryan Singer, don't mess it up!" "Bryan Singer, stay away from that child!"
So here's my take - the film is fun. If you don't care anything about the script or casting, you'll enjoy it.
A few things bumped me: Clark never asks Lois about the father of her little boy who looks like he's seven - scripted as being said, "five years old" - and Kate doesn't look more than 23 - meaning she conceived him when she was 17 or 18. How she got through college, won the Pulitzer Prize (still has her crappy job at the Daily Planet... babe, you need a better literary agent than I do!), raised a child, and keeps a job - we'll never know.
Brandon Routh is fine. I appreciate they went with an unknown and took a risk on him. But it does feel like they cut around him. He does have some genuinely funny moments as Clark, but he's more young kid/ geek than man. He's a little wooden, but oh well.
Parker Posey chews up every scene she's in. Love her. There is a great moment involving two dogs. She has a great line.
I'm still not totally clear on the whole beginning in which Lex Luthor gets an old woman to sign everything over to him. (Who was she? Why was he wearing a wig?)
My biggest problem with comic book movies is I DON'T READ comic books. I'm sure if I did I would be able to follow and pick up on things better. Much like the whole Jean Grey/ Dark Phoenix "why is she so pissed off?" (and incurring the evil eye from a dozen people around me).
I don't want to bad mouth the film, because many people will enjoy it and I don't want to harp on it - much like the way I enjoy the movie "Showgirls" and no one else in the world seems to. It's a good movie. I think it could have been better.
I must say - if you want to have a REALLY good time... stand in line with a bunch of comic book fans and have a loud conversation in which you try to remember the titles of the three newest "Star Wars" films. The poor little guy in front of us (who we unknowingly insulted for a good hour in line) probably came damn near close to having a stroke when we couldn't come up with the title of the third film. "It's Sith... something Sith..."
After training this morning, I went to church. It was Rev. Ed's last Sunday at the church as he goes into retirement. But we had an extremely useful sermon and I plan on writing the President about it.
The sermon involved David and Goliath. I never really realized that the story involved their two countries and basically it all came down to whoever won, then the other country would be their slaves. No war. No battles. Just two men fighting to the death. This, to me, is a brilliant idea. Soldiers don't have to die. We just get someone to represent America and send them to the middle east.
And I say we send Bush.
We send him to fight for our country and if we lose, then oh well. At least he tried.
At that point, once we have all been turned to slaves, then Angelina Jolie could be elected President. Everyone wins.
After church, I met Summer for brunch. I took my favorite orange t-shirt and threw it in the car, so I could change after church.
Remember how I said my chest was like a balloon with a hole in it? I can't fit in my shirt anymore. I look stupid in it because it's so tight. Not sexy tight - like "did you not look in a mirror and see that this shirt is too small" tight. And this is my favorite shirt! By no means have I morphed into the Incredible Hulk, but apparently I HAVE grown. The neck of the shirt looks ridiculous.
After brunch and coffee, I went to Universal to write - but ended up taking a nap in the office - where the normal tomb-like air conditioning was NOT working, so I slept and sweat. I had a dream that my high school friend Jenni and I were forced to race cocker spaniels on the black market. We lost and I woke up before we our cocker spaniels were to race a bunch of ostriches.
I have NO idea what that dream means. Nor do I want to know what it means.
After I came to, in that sweaty, where am I and why am I dreaming about cocker spaniel stage, I watched "Ugly Betty."
Here's the thing: it's not terrible. It's not great. To me, it's like a Spanish version of the "Devil Wears Prada" meets "Less Than Perfect." They could call it "El Diablo Wears Armani." It's entertaining. The over the top flamboyanceness (is that a word?) of some of the male fashion guys is too much. Vanessa Williams deserves better. Gina Gershon lost a bet, I guess. There are a few moments of laugh out loud funny. America Ferrera is great - she's spot on. But I don't think she's going to be enough to save the show. It's large cast, and she is the only character (with the exception of maybe her nephew and a co-worker) that are likeable.
Then again, I also said, "who would go see "Click?" and apparently it did $40 million, so clearly I know nothing. It could become the next "Desperate Housewives." Doubtful, but it's possible I guess.
Again, if you live in LA - GO SEE "SAY UNCLE." It opens in NY next week.
It was a strange weekend for people who used to be in the news. Jon Benet Ramsey's mother - who many people believe knows what happened to her daughter - died. Anna Nicole Smith's former son-in-law who fought her for his father's money, died.
I have two words of advise to Kato Kaelin: Buckle up.
I live just about five miles from the Arclight (my friends in West Hollywood always like Glendale sounds like I live in Siberia) and on an evening such as last night, it takes me about 40 minutes to drive five miles on Los Feliz Blvd. DRIVING. IN A CAR.
On an evening when I am coming home from the West Hollywood 24 hour fitness, maybe 25 minutes - and that's 8 miles away. I also don't understand how West Hollywood is eight miles away and so is Universal from door to door. Universal to me feels likes it is just a few exits off the 134.
I call it the Los Feliz Triangle. Cell phones die on this stretch. Time seems to stop. Idiots can't drive. I will one day bludgeon someone to death - and I want my defense to be, "he was on Los Feliz Blvd." On some days you can fly right down it. Others, it seems like you'll never move.
What I don't understand is how a tiny stretch of Griffith Park is five miles and only takes 52 minutes to run. I'm beginning to think I should just start running everywhere.
Today was a five mile run for our group. And it looks like starting next week I'm going to have to move up a pace group. We ran our first mile a minute and 15 seconds too fast. (Marathon training is NOT about speed... it's about pace). And in the end, I feel like I was pulling the group too fast. We finished about two minutes too fast, (but the thing is: I still felt that was too slow for me - words I'm sure no one who knows me thought I would ever say) so the good news is all my spinning and yoga is paying off! The bad news is, I need to leave my pace group or I could hurt and injure them.
It's Ryan's birthday. And this is the last pic on my camera before the batteries decided to die without warning, or I would have had better pics today.
It opened tonight in West Hollywood at the Sunset 5 and will open next week in New York. It is written, directed and stars Peter Paige.
I first heard about the movie two years ago, when it was called, "Donut Hole." I remember reading about it in the trades, reading that it was a low budget, and even set out to volunteer my services of extras casting for free. (It was at a point I was ready to leave Central Casting, but the timing wasn't right.) See, in independent world... you have to work for free. It's very, very, very rare - oh who am I kidding, it NEVER happens that someone who is established says, "I'll work for free," but from everything I read about the project, I wanted to be involved.
The shoot didn't happen in LA - instead they shot in Portland. About a year later, I met Christopher Racster, one of the producers for coffee, and he was talking about producing "April's Shower," (which was just getting ready to open), this movie, and his upcoming movie. But I was struck by how passionate he was about the stories he wanted to tell. I'll get behind passion any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Alas, I was sucked back into the vortex known as Central Casting.
So cut to tonight, I was on-line looking at movies (I decided to give my body a night off) and I saw that it just opened. I jumped up, thinking I can make the 10p showing. Over the hill I went - arrived. Got my ticket.
It was packed inside and outside the theater. There was another movie opening that night and they were doing a Q and A afterward.
And right before I walked into my theater, I saw... Christopher Racster. He was there with Peter Paige and a few other people. We talked briefly and I headed in to see... well, let me put it this way. I've produced theatre. I've been in shows where the cast outnumbered the audience (and it was a two person show). There were not a lot of people there. I could fit them all in my car.
Peter introduced the film (he was there for the earlier show as well) and then he left.
And I really liked it.
I catches you off guard. Peter plays a man who is accused of being a child molester by Kathy Najimy. That's the poor-man's TV guide pitch.
But it's much more than that.
First off, props to Peter Paige for pulling off the delicate job of acting, directing and writing a project and not having it come across as "look at me!" I can't tell you how many movies and plays I've been to in LA that are put together with the best of intentions, but always end up being a "showcase." (And I don't mean that in a good way.) It's always a self-serving waste of an audience time.
The entire film (just skimming off what I know... like some sort of independent film stalker) was done in like 18 days. On a tight no budget. They lost money, they found money. It was every typical horror story you hear in regards to money. It played festivals last year and it's just now getting a theatrical release.
Najimy is great. What I loved about the script is that you find yourself siding with both of them. She is not made out to be (nor does she slip to play it as) cartoonish. She thinks this man is a child molester, because he fits the profile. They have both suffered a "loss" - her in her relationship with her husband and he with the sudden exodus of his godchild and family to Japan.
I love that it's a moderately "high concept" (and in these terms, I refer to it as an intelligent film with a unique plot) that is kept simple. Very simple. The family leaves, he has a breakdown, he begins playing with other children to grieve, he's accused - then we get the resolution.
The other performances are spot on - and the casting was great. These are people that can ACT. And they all kept their performances subtle. There were times when I felt like a performance just started to go slightly over the top, and you feel yourself going, "pullitback-pullitback-pullitback" - but it veers off at the last minute. It's a script that allows actors to play.
And the kids in the film are fantastic! Even the kids as extras! He should win an Oscar just for them! There are two kids in particular at the rally at the end.
I'm not saying it's a perfect movie - and that's what makes it good. It's his first time directing and writing and the result came out fearless. It's raw. It makes you uncomfortable, because you no matter who you think is in the right, you see the other side clear as day.
I can't wait to see what he does next.
So if you are in LA - go see it! Support the independent! This one is good!
I'm off to bed.
One last thing... in case you have not heard and I have thoughts on it... Aaron Spelling passed away today.
So after running the streets of Santa Monica Blvd (technically, I guess it's one street) on Wednesday night and hitting the arm and chest machines (and not for lack of trying... but I'm seriously beginning to think I just don't have muscles in my arms and chest... my upper body is like a balloon with a hole in it) I decided to spin Thursday night.
I decided to try the spin class at the 24 Hour Fitness in West Hollywood.
The main difference between the two classes, is that at the Tuesday class at Bally's in Studio City, five people were turned away because there were not enough bikes. Last night at the class in WeHo - there were FIVE PEOPLE on the bikes.
My instructor... you know the names... in one ear and out the other, let's call him Satan "Bob" was a tall, fit, Asian man who in some ways reminded me of Rick Yune, the assassin from "Die Another Day" and the guy who tortured Sydney on "Alias."
Bob didn't tell a story. There were no mountains, no darkness, no pot holes, no mountain lions or bears. It was pointless to ask one of the other four people if they brought a gun on our trip, because there was no trip. Just spin. Spin to the music. Up and down on the bike.
I missed "Matt" and his lack of direction. His paranoid scare tactics. His naive sense of "this is our last mountain" only moments later to learn, "oh no, it's another mountain!" Sweet, dumb, Matt.
Bob was friendly enough. Nazis usually are.
Even though this was only my second spin class, I felt like this was a little harder than it should have been. Maybe it was the fact Bob kept getting off his bike and standing in front of me and counting like a deranged drill sergeant. Maybe it was the way Bob kept screaming at me. Maybe it was the way Bob kept insisting I keep turning the resistance up.
At one point he had us take our pulse - I guess it was 10 seconds and then multiply it by 6. Mine came out to 120 - so when he went around and asked and I said, "120" his expression was as if I had just told him, "I can shoot flames from my fingertips."
I began to wonder, does that mean I'm dying? Or about to have a stroke? Did I miss count?
"Why, is something wrong?" I asked.
"No, that's really good. Just surprised."
The way he said that, is the same way a gunshot victim may look at you and say, "does this look bad?" and you respond, "it's like a flesh wound. You'll be fine."
Well apparently that was also his cue for "I'm going to destroy you" because the rest of the spin became much harder.
Once the class was over, "Bob" came over to me and said, "so this was your first class, right?" with a look that was beginning to read, "I don't know what the hell you were thinking in coming to my class."
"Actually, it's my second."
"How do you feel?"
And for some reason, the only line stuck in my head - to quote the once great Lindsay Lohan: "It's like yeah, motherf#cker. I'm fine."
Turns out, he was attempting to see how much I was willing to take. And I don't remember what the exact line was, but he was impressed and told me to be careful for the next few days because he worked us over really hard.
I'm seriously going to have to find someone with TiVo and move into THEIR house. (I rent my house... the house is split into the main house and a guest studio below... it's complicated). I can't lose three nights of my week to this show - and I know I'm going to. In fact, maybe I could do my OWN Big Brother, and move into a house with 12 people - one of which who has TiVo. I could watch "The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency," "Life on the D-List," "360," and "Big Brother" all in one night!
Janelle was one of my favorites - but she scares the crap out of me. When she went off on Beau her season, part of me was cheering and part of me was horrified and shocked. Her "game" was playing everyone and playing dumb, so it would be interesting to see how she plays it, since everyone knows her to now be a shark.
Ivette can not go into the house. Not only does the sound of her voice give me convulsions, but I fear within a week, CSI: Studio City will be called in to arrest Marcellas for the murder and dismemberment of Ivette.
Bunky can't go in unless he waxes a good 3/4 of his body and promises not to cry. And even then, that's not a good enough start.
I like Howie, but only because each week I thought of him as the chess piece that if we lost him, it was no great loss because I just don't care about it that much. Kind of like how I feel about the show "Veronica Mars."
I have no vested interest one way or the other in Danielle or Monica. I think that the guests will get rid of both of them quickly if they are placed in the house.
I want to see Cowboy and Nakomis either reconcile, kill each other, or discover... guess what - "Chicken" George is REALLY your daddy.