Smokey and the Bandit III

No Burt or Sally. It’s Jerry Reed playing against Jackie Gleason. It’s atrocious.

I have HBO on. It is my current addiction. I am watching the worst movie ever made. Currently in view the crudely awful “Smokey and the Bandit III.”

Yes, there were at least three.

No Burt or Sally. It’s Jerry Reed playing against Jackie Gleason. It’s atrocious.

The timing is awful. The looped audio is worse. Everything is taken at a leisurely pace with as little extra as is possible.

It’s as if the rehearsals were filmed. That’s probably it, right?

This movie was made in 1983 when theaters were really the only market that mattered. I pray it bombed.

Hitch – The Movie

I took Helaine on a date this afternoon. The idea was a romantic movie… I know, 3:30 PM, how romantic could it be?

We headed down to North Haven to see “Hitch,” the new movie with Will Smith and Kevin James. More on that in a minute.

I wanted coffee, but I felt it would be uncool to bring a container of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee (my favorite) into the theater – plus, I had seen coffee there before.

Bzzzz. Wrong! No coffee.

Instead, I ended up paying $4 for a large Diet Pepsi. $4! A 2-liter bottle costs 99&#162.

I admit it. I am the fool here. I’m the one who paid the $4… and didn’t get my coffee to boot.

On the other hand, though movie tickets now cost $9.50, we got ours for $6. This is one of those strange, hidden benefits of being a AAA member. Yes, you have to buy them in advance, but they don’t go bad (or if they do, they do it slowly enough that it’s never been a problem).

The newspaper said the movie was scheduled to start at 3:30. Not quite. Between a few commercials, promos and coming attractions, it didn’t get starting until sometime after 3:45 PM.

Hitch is the story of Will Smith, a relationship counselor. He takes hapless schlemiels, like I was when I was single, and gives them the advice necessary to meet the woman of their dreams.

His clients are sweet and earnest, though not classic catches. He is principled – the unexpected attribute for someone in that line of work, and the pivotal element creating the emotional tension that carries the movie.

Ask me what Will Smith does for a living? He is charming for a living. Sure, he acts… but he’s always acting as Will Smith being charming. There is a very good living doing that – obviously. And, quite honestly, it is a role I enjoy seeing.

His main pupil through the film is Kevin James, an accountant in love with a beautiful heiress who is a client of his firm. He lives a life where they are physically near each other, but she never see him.

In this movie, Kevin James was my surprise. I know he’s a comedian, has a successful sitcom (which I’ve never watched), and does a pretty good Jackie Gleason. He was very good.

Kevin James strongest point, was he never overwhelmed the character he played. It was never over the top. This was a nice guy, a good guy, not a beautiful guy.

His restrained physical comedy combined with his timing and interplay with Will Smith are what made the movie for me.

Smith and James love interests, Eva Mendes and Amber Valletta, are pretty and appropriate, but it’s the two guys and New York City that carry the weight here. New York is an integral part of the story and I am glad to see it playing itself instead of seeing Toronto or Vancouver as some wimpy New York wannabe.

The city was portrayed with the same kind of loving charm that Woody Allen brought to Annie Hall and Manhattan.

Even at 4:30 in the afternoon, this was a great date movie. We both loved it. It will be huge at the box office.

Blogger’s note – This is entry 1,000 in my blog. It is a milestone I never thought about… never expected. Thanks again for stopping by to read my words and thoughts.

Working Christmas Eve

I have been in broadcasting 35 years. This is probably the 33rd or 34th I’ve worked Christmas Eve and Christmas.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining. This is my choice. I have top seniority in the newsroom and get first choice on any day off.

In radio it was pretty awful. Usually I was living alone, away from home. Christmas isn’t a good time to be alone.

I remember one Christmas morning tracking Christmas albums. During the Christmas season you can play the ‘hits’, but when you’re playing wall to wall Christmas songs there are lots of inside tracks from old Jackie Gleason and Andy Williams albums that get played.

Now, in TV, we make more of an effort. I was surprised to find a full compliment of producers this afternoon when I walked in. They will have their hands full because there really isn’t a lot of news today (an explosion in Baghdad will get more play than it normally would). Politicians and even criminals (sometimes one and the same) are home with their families.

I always get requests to track Satna. This year I’m using very cool animations from Analytical Graphics. These are folks who normally create visualizations of missile launches or space probes. They’ve really done a nice job on Santa and his sleigh.

I’ll be working tomorrow, Christmas Day, as well. It was a scheduled day off but Gil (our weekend nighttime meteorologist) wanted to go to North Carolina to spend some time with a friend… a marine… who is shipping out.

I normally feel good about letting co-workers spend time with loved ones. This year I’m very glad Gil got to go to see his friend. Isn’t that the spirit of Christmas?