July 21
July 13
July 5

July 21

More hit and runs:

Let's take a close look at how much The Blair Witch Project kicked ass this weekend, in limited release. Eyes Wide Shut, the weekend's big winner, netted $22.8 million. Divided by 2,411 theaters, it made $9,457 per screen. As a friend of ours said once long ago, "not bad."

But The Blair Witch Project played in limited release this weekend, on 27 screens nationwide. But it made $1.6 million over the weekend. That comes out to $57,407 per screen. Add this to the word of mouth bound to be generated in the two weeks before it comes out wide, and we could be looking at the sleeper hit of the year (not to mention the movie cost $350 thou to produce).

Not to pile on our favorite Scieno couple, but Tom and Nicole are taking the time-honored Co$ sacrament, the lawsuit, and putting it to good use. In March, Star Magazine published an article in which it was asserted that Tom and Nicole needed sex therapists on set to put the "oomph" into their pretty tepid love scenes during Eyes Wide Shut. Mr. and Mrs. OTIII didn't use their mind powers to take revenge against the article, but instead are filing a libel suit in which the main complaint is about the claim that "[Tom and Nicole are] unqualified as actors, because of their inability to portray sufficiently realistic or amorous love scenes." So, does this mean Tom would rather be called gay than a bad actor?

From screwing porn star guests to screwing the good people of Ohio... Senator Jerry Springer? I would have laughed my ass off at this a couple of years ago... until we were graced by the presence of the bald, white trash governor of a certain Midwestern state whose career in "entertainment" is far less schlocky than Mr. Springer. Springer, best known for paying for a blowjob with a personal check while mayor of Cincinnati, is being courted by the Ohio Democrats to run in the 2000 senatorial race. I'm waiting for the inevitable: a primary debate in which Jerry and his opponents have to be bleeped and then separated by on-site security.

Ludicrouser and ludicrouser... the "stars" and "creators" of the "hit" "show" Friends will be paid, get this, five million an episode to stay with NBC and not depart to the lucrative world of sequels to Ed and Fools Rush In. The six main cast members, who wore out their pop culture welcome sometime in the fall of 1995, already get 100 large for each ep; by 2002 they could be pulling in a quarter mil per episode! Shit, if only I could get that much for whining out lines and engaging in hackneyed situation comedy situations.

Nuptials: Helen "whiter than white" Hunt and Hank "not Harry Shearer, I'm the other guy on The Simpsons" Azaria over this weekend... Raquel "older than dirt" Welch and Richard "let's see how long this lasts" Palmer, restauranteur, on July 17. This is Welch's fourth marriage, which means it's only three more to go to beat Liz Taylor. Good luck Raquel! You can do it!

July 13

Some hit and run items:

American Pie ruled the weekend box office. I liked the movie the first time around, when it was called Porky's. And that was Canadian, which automatically makes it way more interesting.

And what's the deal with Wild Wild West? Even among some of the worst reviews of the summer, it continues to kick much booty at the box office. One thing's for sure: Will Smith is no Dirty Dingus McGee.

One last movie hit and run: Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut has been altered from its final cut, with some strategically-placed robed figurants covering up the thrusting buttocks of a pair of rutting orgy-goers. Roger Ebert says this digital tampering compromises a sense of "erotic dread." Maybe I'm alone in this, but I find enough "erotic dread" in seeing Tom Cruise and Nicole "not a beard, honest" Kidman have an explicit love scene together. Tom's acting was the only thing that was wooden on that set, I'm pretty sure.

Andy Dick is always good for a larf. Last week he pled not guilty to a whole ass-load of charges, including possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphenalia, driving into a telephone pole, and being gayer than a three-dollar bill. He's lobbying to enter a "drug diversion" program. I'm picturing people holding Big Macs and shiny objects in Dick's peripheral vision to distract him, but that's probably wrong.

Here Professor Briggs teaches a course in Elementary Homegame Theory.
On a lighter note, we'd like to welcome HG deity Joe Bob Briggs back to the fold, with his intriguing nine-week "Summer School" program on MonsterVision on TNT. It's been a long time since we've seen Joe Bob at the HG, so, welcome back!

Mario Puzo's death has also put to death the rumors of Godfather IV, along with the associate rumors of Leonardo DiCaprio starring in some role in the movie. Leo, who looks Italian only in the loosest sense of the word, was also rumored to be playing Anakin Skywalker in the next installment of Star Wars. Bizbuzz has now learned that George Lucas, desperate to hire a hype-worthy blond actor, has now decided on Anne Heche. Heche's lifepartner Ellen DeGeneres plans to be on the set every day with casseroles and love-filled hugs. Heche will be voiced by James Earl Jones.

Finally, Cindy Crawford and not-the-baby-food-fortune heir Rande (not "Randy") Gerber were graced with the arrival of a child, which they wisely named Presley Walker Gerber. Consequently, it's unclear at press time whether the child is a boy or a girl. Whichever sex you are, "P.W.," look forward to some righteous schoolyard ass-kickings in the future. Welcome to a cruel, cruel world, "King"!

July 5

Mario Puzo, an Italian-American novelist most famous for his immortal indictment of sweaty Sicilians, The Godfather, and his even-more beloved attempt to pay his doctor's bills, The Last Don, died Friday at 78.

The Godfather exposed most of middle America for the first time to the cruel, bloody, yet Klingon-esque world of La Cosa Nostra, which translates roughly as "James Caan's fro."

Puzo's book The Godfather, of course, spawned three films: Godfather I, which featured the undeniable presence of Marlon Brando, Godfather II, which featured the powerful charisma of Robert DeNiro, and Godfather III, which featured the perky tits of Sofia Coppola.

But Puzo is best known around these parts for his contribution to the Homegame: two movies we'll love forever: Superman II and Earthquake.

Superman II actually echoes the Godfather genre, in that we are treated to the hardball tactics of super-criminals. Instead of Sicily, though, these masterminds hail from Krypton, by way of the Phantom Zone. Christopher "fear my equestrian skills" Reeve and Gene "supposedly good in anything" Hackman return to feed at the motion picture slop trough for this 1981 supervehicle. But even with all his pull with the big guy, though, Puzo couldn't get Brando to come back in the flesh, as it were, for the sequel in his role as Kryptonian capo di tutti capi Jor-El. Terence Stamp stars as the requisite femmy supervillain, of course.

Some believe Earthquake was the zenith of 70s disaster flicks. Sure, the Airport franchise was chugging along with engineer George Kennedy at the boiler, but Earthquake brought together Kennedy and Charlton "Polident" Heston and a multi-million dollar special effects budget to produce... a three-hour turd that even TBS doesn't have the cojones to play all that often. Fun pop culture trivia fact: in an episode of Quantum Leap, Sam leaps into the body of a stunt man working as Lorne Greene's double in the climactic "saving his co-worker from falling from the skyscraper with pantyhose" scene.

Mario Puzo: with any luck, he was on Sal's Italian-American Wall of Fame in Do The Right Thing. He makes this dago-wop-guinea proud to be an Italian-American.

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