This is exciting! The fantasy/adventure/comedy “Shorts” is about to be released on DVD and thanks to the wonderful folks at Warner Brothers I have FIVE copies to give away to my beloved readers.
In my review for Beliefnet and the Chicago Sun-Times, I said,
A rainbow-colored wishing rock creates comic chaos in a film from Robert Rodriguez about bullies, family communication and being very, very careful what you wish for. It is also about an army of crocodiles, a telepathic super-genius baby, and a pig-tailed villain named after a font.
It is imaginative, fresh, funny, and a ton of fun for families. If you want to be one of the five lucky winners, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Shorts” in the subject line and tell me the silliest wish in the trailer.
In my concern for the continuing coarsening of language, I last wrote about whether the term “pimp” had become acceptable for children after it was used in the PG film “G-Force.”
The New York Times writes about another word that has crossed into the mainstream and has become a go-to insult on television and in movies.
On many nights this fall, it has been possible to tune in to broadcast network television during prime time and hear a character call someone else a “douche.”
In just the last several weeks, it has happened on CBS’s “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and the CW’s “The Vampire Diaries,” which are broadcast at 8 p.m., during what used to be known as the family hour. It has been heard this fall on Fox’s new series “The Cleveland Show,” which begins at 8:30, and on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.” On NBC, its use has spanned the old and the new, blurted out on the freshman comedy “Community” and the seasoned drama “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”
In total, the word has surfaced at least 76 times already this year on 26 prime-time network series, according to research by the Parents Television Council, which compiled the statistics at the request of The New York Times. That is up from 30 uses on 15 shows in all of 2007 and just six instances on four programs in 2005….And while the word “douche” is neither obscene nor profane — although this usage is certainly offensive to many people — it seems to represent the latest of broadcast television’s continuing efforts to expand the boundaries of taste, in part to stem the tide of defections by its audience to largely unregulated cable television….”As a writer, you’re always reaching for a more potent way to call somebody a jerk,” Dan Harmon, the creator of “Community,” said about the word “douche.” “This is a word that has evolved in the last couple of years — a thing that sounds like a thing you can’t say.”
Unquestionably, the language on television has become more vulgar. And the argument that this is acceptable because it can be limited to a particular time slot has become less supportable. When television programs like “Law and Order” and “CSI” (and their variations and spin-offs) seem to be on 24/7 and raunchy sit-coms like “Two and a Half Men” run in syndication in the early evening. I find this word particularly ugly and misogynistic and am sorry to see it become mainstream.
Edi Gathegi and Jamie Campbell Bower play bad guy vampires in “New Moon,” the second in the “Twilight” series based on the best-selling books by Stephanie Meyer. I had a chance to talk with them about making the movie. They were enormous fun, exceptionally friendly and happy to talk about making the movie.
NM: To begin with, this film has a different director, Chris Weitz of “American Pie,” “About a Boy,” and “The Golden Compass.” How will we see his influence on the story?
EG: Every director has his own unique style. Even in big franchise film series they’ll often switch off. Chris knows how to direct big stories and he has worked with CGI and special effects. In terms of color scheme and tones, “Twilight” was very blue and “New Moon” is very brown, with the introduction of the wolves. It does look gorgeous!
NM: How do you develop your walk and other movements for these supremely graceful creatures, the Volturi?
EG: Stephanie Meyer said the Volturi glide. So it’s not a clumpy foot stomp. It has to be liquid looking
JCB: My character is very still. For the one small bit of walking I did from my perch to my next perch, I was like a snake almost.
EG: We went to a moving like a cat workshop with exercises and cat movement. The idea is more like a tiger, lion, or panther. This is a new mythology of vampires, no fangs, no crosses. The Volturi have no blood in their bodies. They never have to move. There is a lot of stillness. We are not trying to pass ourselves off as human like the Cullens are.
NM: Tell me about the look of your characters. What do you wear?
JCB: The look of the Volturi is more stylish in its aesthetic. We are very well dressed even though we don’t get out much. We take what we can from our victims, so it is not always coordinated.
EG: It was a collective ensemble, the group look. Laurent was more rock star-y. He’s 300 years old, well traveled, picked from his favorite fashions of the day. He is fearless, doesn’t have to impress anyone. If it pleased him, he would wear a bright purple Russian car salesman suit.
NM: What’s the most fun about playing Volturi?
JCB: Getting to be incredibly evil and stare. We make use of the contacts, even though they are Irritating and decreased my vision.
EG: That’s the funny part! We are supposed to be the most gorgeous, perfect vision creatures in the planet, and with the contacts in, none of us can see!