JOLIET, IL - Dan Aykroyd is on a mission from vodka. The Blues Brother is cruising around the country in a Damnation Alley RV promoting his Crystal Skull premium vodka. He rolled into my town and I was compelled to see the man.
He was appearing at a liquor store on a Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. What sort of crowd could he draw? I showed up at 1 p.m. with my four month old designated driver. There was already 400 people in line. Another 300 people end up behind us. Luckily Dan’s traveling partner announced that even though Dan was schedule to leave at 4:30, he’d be signing his bottles until the last person went home happy.
Why not? Each bottle cost $50. I’ve been told that there’s only two types of vodka in the world: Good vodka and vodka that makes you go blind and piss blood. Premium vodka is merely paying extra for fancy packaging. Luckily Dan chose a packaging worth the extra bucks: a crystal skull. And the people in line were buying them up between 2 to 12 bottles each.
From what I heard, the store sold 1,500 bottles during Dan’s visit. With around $75,000 in the register, this would have been the liquor store to knock off. This also explained about six cops keeping an eye on Dan and the till.
Dan was a signing machine. The line moved fast although it still took three hours in 91 degrees heat to get to the front of the line. Our time with Dan was short. A person in front of me asked Dan about Ghostbusters III. He said things were looking good, but couldn’t say anything else. This was just after Kanye’s infamous interruption of MTV Music Video Awards. Dan had hosted the first ceremony.
“No. That was real team back when I was doing it,” Aykroyd said. “The most exciting thing there was Madonna and her wedding dress.”
Here’s a video tribute to the Schiller Reel about taking a baby to the liquor store to meet a comedy legend.
Dennis Hof wrote to remind me that Cathouse: Sex, Guys and Videotape starts airing on HBO this Oct. 22 at 11 p.m. The ladies of the Bunny Ranch get their hands on the cameras to show their life. It’ll be on HBO OnDemand for those who can’t stay up late.
Hof, the owner of the Bunny Ranch and star of HBO’s Cathouse reality series, also called up the Party Favors hotline for a chat about the latest installment in the series. So what gets exposed? Sadly, the end of a romance gets captured on tape. This and many subjects get discussed while Dennis is being driven to his hotel in Chicago. We also get the scoop about Dennis’ Subway dream.
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Party Favors: Joe Corey Chats With Dennis Hof (MP3 format)
The new edition of The Girls Next Door ought to be just called Rebound Mansion. The twins are probably more interesting when they get violent. The third woman is so far as forgettable as a middle Duggar daughter. This is what Hef’s banging at the Mansion? Sure I speculated that things weren’t right with Holly, Bridget and Kendra after the first few seasons. Mostly because there wasn’t that decadent angle to the trio and Hef. Is there a bisexual angle to these new threesome? The twins do like to get next to each other and touch while naked. But they have yet to set their boundaries on camera. Do they mind threesomes with the “we’ll be in the bed together with you, but we won’t touch each other” rule? Or do they live in mortal fear of returning to the day jobs at that Hooter’s knock-off wing joint that they’ll do whatever Hef desires? And how come Hef hasn’t enticed these girls into getting implants? Mankini’s got bigger breasts.
On competition shows that eliminate contestants over the course of the season, can producers please put an “X” through the contestants that had been eliminated before each episode.
My source at Entertainment Tonight sent me a few of their fact or fiction teasers that couldn’t make it onto the air.
Fact or Fiction: Did The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons beat to death a TMZ cameraman with a bust of Sean Penn and bury the guy’s body behind Mel Tillis’ mansion? Since Mel hasn’t complained about a strange smell, Mary Hart’s calling it fiction.
Fact or Fiction: Did Jay Leno buy Nic Cage’s comic book collection and give them away to the cast of Glee? That’s also Fiction.
Fact or Fiction: Is Adam Lambert really straight and secretly married with two kids? Since he’s not denying our report, we’re going to just let it slide as a Fact.
Now that Miley Cyrus is off Twitter, I guess I’ll spend the newly found free time drinking rubbing alcohol.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Blu-ray gives the high def love to this summer’s mindless fun. The Decepticons return for a second round of mechanical thrashing with the Autobots. The Decepticons take Shia LaBeouf hostage as part of their plot. But mostly it’s about seeing how many ways they can get Megan Fox to bend over. She’s the 21st century Caroline Munro. Is it worth relaying the plot? It’s basically Rock’em Sock’em Robots with Megan Fox bending over. And that’s enough to make it worthy of Blu-ray visuals at my estate. There’s plenty of bonus features including spending a day with Michael Bay in Tokyo. There’s also a celebration of the 25 Years of Transformers. There’s easter eggs for those who hunt.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Blu-ray reminds me that anytime you can knock down the Eiffel Tower, I’ll watch. I’ll hit the rewind and slo-mo to watch that Paris landmark bite the dust. The 1080p detail of the crunch is a great way to show off your new TV. I don’t hate the French, but I can’t get enough of watching that Erector set tower go boom. When Cobra nails it with the metal eating spores, it’s a disasterpiece worthy of Irwin Allen. The film is a semi-throwback to the animated series. But I’m not sold on Channing Tatum. Luckily there’s Dennis Quaid giving us his paycheck scowl as the general. Sienna Miller finally has a worthy role as the Baroness. She can rule my world in that costume. But once she whines about Pittsburgh, she’s out of the bed. The movie is about as fluffy mindless as Transformers. They make a good double feature if you’re unable to get off the beanbag. The bonus features include an extensive Making Of doc and a piece on the FX crew. There’s also a digital copy so you could watch the Eiffel Tower collapse on your iPod while your on the top of the Eiffel Tower.
It’s a Wonderful Life Blu-ray makes this holiday treat sparkle on the widescreen. They’ve included both the colorized and black & white versions on the disc. The colorized one reminds me of tinted postcards from the ’40s. This is almost as important to the holiday season as egg nog and a restraining order. Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed sparkle in the 1080p image. You might fear falling into the water when the gym floor opens up. There’s also the documentary from the recent DVD release. Since the movie is no longer public domain, it’s nice to have the Blu-ray handy to run it any night during the holiday season.
Forrest Gump: Sapphire Series Blu-ray brings the Oscar winner to Hi-Def. The film was revolutionary at the time as it used so much CGI for pumping up shots. They expanded crowds, inserted extra helicopters, removed legs and made JFK come alive. It showed that these new FXs could be used for more than making dinosaurs roam the Earth. Tom Hanks is the mentally challenged guy who wanders through every major historical moments. There’s bonus features on the second disc with “An Evening with Forrest Gump” as the highlight. Director Robert Zemeckis, Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise and screenwriter Eric Roth talk at USC about the movie and its impact. Ben Fong-Torres contributes pods about the music used in the soundtrack. He’s a real person and not merely a character in Almost Famous.
It’s Garry Shandling’s Show: The Complete Collection is the best TV DVD of the year. I had forgotten how great Garry’s original Showtime series was. The series dared to completely deconstruct the sitcom by making everything inside the soundstage part of the story. He didn’t want us to forget that this was an artificial world where he truly was the most powerful being. The audience in the studio’s fair game. They’re not just there to contribute a live laughtrack. During one scene, Garry leaves his apartment set and the crowd wanders out of the peanut gallery to party in Garry’s living room. During “Garry Throws a Surprise Party,” the audience’s shouting scares Garry’s mom into having a heart attack. “The Graduate” has Norman Fell help Garry recreate the Dustin Hoffman movie when he tangles with Mrs. Robertson. While Garry enjoys exposing that it’s all just a show, the scripts are still entertaining. “The Last Show” has Garry dying. Tony Danza gives the eulogy. But the network can’t let Garry die cause he owes them two more show. Tying this into the column, Dan Aykroyd plays off his straight role in “Driving Miss Garry.” The boxset has all 72 episodes spread over 16 DVDs. There’s tons of bonus features to let us know how Garry and Alan Zweibel got away with a series that would have been canned after three episodes on network TV. If you’re a fan of Larry Sanders and Seinfeld, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show: The Complete Series deserves a space on your DVD shelf. Shout! Factory has done a perfect job in presenting this underplayed series.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: (Those Aren’t Pillows Edition) gives a deluxe edition to John Hughes’ last watchable directorial effort. This is fine viewing before Thanksgiving cooking begins. Steve Martin gets stuck on his way home to enjoy Thanksgiving with his family. His only hope is John Candy. Things get weird on this journey including the line “Those aren’t pillows.” The bonus features include Getting There is Half the Fun: The Story of Planes Trains and Automobiles, John Hughes for Adults, A Tribute to John Candy and Deleted Scene - “Airplane Food.” They must have finished this up before they could make a feature on Remembering John Hughes.
White Christmas: Anniversary Edition is perfect for any time you need a little holiday tunes on the big set. Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney unleash the Irving Berlin songbook including the title song and “It’s Cold Outside.” This is the first Vistavision film and the details show even on DVD. The second disc has plenty of bonus features including “Backstage Stories from White Christmas,” “Rosemary’s Old Kentucky Home,” “Bing Crosby: Christmas Crooner” and a commentary track with Clooney. Truly a sweet holiday film about the things army buddies will do for each other.
G.I. Joe Resolute brings together the episodes that aired on Adult Swim over the summer. This gets even more action-packed than the original cartoon while maintaining the same GI Joe team characters. The characters bleed when shot and they even die when shot enough. Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow throwdown in overdrive. The plot deals with Cobra Commander once more trying to take over the world. Naturally GI Joe has to stop him. Why does anyone want to take over the entire world? What’s the point in controlling Detroit?
Mission: Impossible: The Seventh and Final TV Season wraps up the greatest espionage series. These would be the final times the message would self-destruct for Peter Graves, Greg Morris and Peter Lupus. The main cast change isn’t a complete replacement like in previous seasons. Barbara Anderson (Ironside) alternates episodes with Linda Day George as the female agent. Anderson’s a flipped mobster moll so she’s got history when they set up gangsters. The prime episode is “Cocaine.” William Shatner is a mobster smuggling the white powder into America via art. His connection is Gregory Sierra (Det. Chano on Barney Miller). Charles Napier (Squidbillies) gets an uncredited role. “Speed” gives another great supporting role from Claude Akins. The best part about this season is Greg Morris’s boss ’70s haircut. After these 22 episodes, there’s no more assignments for the original IMF.
Hawaii Five-O: The Seventh Season is not even close to the final season. Jack Lord beat down bad guys around Honolulu for 12 seasons. Season 7 has Al Harrington vanish in the middle of the season. Because of a lack of real personality to his character, he’s not really missed. “The Young Assassins” has Larry Wilcox (CHiPs) as part of a killing crew. “We Hang Our Own” has Leslie Nielsen (Police Squad as a badass ranch owner. Wo Fat pops up for “Presenting…in the Center Ring…Murder.” He’s going to kill a Chinese official that’s accompanied by James Wong (Kung Fu Panda). “Hit Gun for Sale” has Sal Mineo (Rebel Without a Cause) as a mobster’s son ready to plant a flag in Hawaii. They’re supposedly remaking Hawaii Five-O so this might mean the release schedule might be sped up for the final five boxsets.
Vega$: The First Season, Volume 1 brings us the action from middle school Vegas of 1978. Michael Mann (Heat and Miami Vice) wrote the pilot movie about a private detective in Sin City. Dan Tanna (Robert Urich) a major swinger living in a converted warehouse behind Circus Circus. “High Roller” has him hunting down the murderer of a runaway teen that turned to hooking. Can’t go wrong with a visit from Scatman Crothers (The Shining). Greg Morris (Mission: Impossible) is Tanna’s hook up on the Vegas police force. “Centerfold” brings Tony Curtis onto his team. The real treat is guest star moments from Abe Vigoda and Vic Tayback (Alice. “The Pageant” is a nightmare episode for fans of The Brady Bunch. Marcia Brady (Maureen McCormick) is raped while competing in a beauty contest. Mr. Brady (Robert Reed) hires Tanna to find her attacker. It wasn’t Sam the Butcher. Vega$ brings us a land of glitz, disco and polyester. Double down on this boxset.
The Fugitive: Season Three, Volume One takes us beyond the halfway mark in the pursuit of Dr. Richard Kimble (David Janssen). “Wings of an Angel” puts Kimble inside a prison. He’s a patient in the hospital after capturing an escaped prisoner on a bus. Greg Morris is the prison orderly that knows his secret. Harold Gould (Rhoda) is the doctor. Star Trek fans will get to see James Doohan as a doctor in “Middle of the Heatwave.” DeForest Kelley appears in “Three Cheers for Little Boy Blue” along with Ed Asner and Richard Anderson (Six Million Dollar Man). William Shatner finally beams down for “Stranger in the Mirror.” Clint Howard burns in “Set Fire to a Straw Man.” Norman Fell (Mr. Roper) is investigating a cop killer in the town. Bruce Dern makes his fourth series appearance in “The Good Guys and the Bad Guys.” James Hong nails the “End of the Line.” These are 15 pressure filled episodes. The Fugitive: Season Three, Volume Two comes out on Dec. 8. This means 2010 should give us the colorful end when Kimble finds the One-Armed Man.
Mannix: The Third Season brings 25 more cases from the files of America’s hard knocks detective. He solves case with his gut, the assistance of Peggy Fair (Gail Fisher) and police contact Robert Reed (Mr. Brady). There’s also Larry Linville (M*A*S*H’s Frank Burns) as the prickly cop. “Return to Summer Grove” takes Mannix to his hometown to solve a case and patch things up with his dad. “Who Killed Me?” gives us Batgirl Yvonne Craig. Mannix has to help a rich guy uncover his potential killer. “Who Is Sylvia?” turns out to be Jessica Walter (Arrested Development). “Murder Revisited” has a murder in talkshow. Don DeFore (Hazel) doesn’t come off as a great TV father here. “War of Nerves” has a kidnapping turn into a potential nerve gas attack. Hugh Beaumont (Leave It to Beaver) is in the middle of this instant death. Best to watch Mannix with your favorite Scotch.
Tales From the Darkside: The Second Season give more little chills and thrills from the George Romero (Night of the Living Dead) executive produced series. “The Impressionist” kicks off the season with Chuck McCann (Far Out Space Nuts in a starring role. He’s a nightclub performer brought in by the government to understand an alien. One of Chuck’s finest moments in TV. Little Seth Green pops up in “Monsters In My Room.” He’s got to convince his family that there really are creepy crawly things under his bed. Has this been spoofed on Robot Chicken? “The Trouble with Mary Jane” is two exorcists battling to get the demons out of a girl so they can collect $50K. Phyllis Diller and Lawrence Tierney (Reservoir Dogs) possess the episode.
The Guardian: The First Season is where America first fell for the sly Simon Baker (The Mentalist). He’s a party hard lawyer who gets nailed on drug use. He’s stuck with the burden of 1,500 hours of community service. How is he going to do that and be a fat cat lawyer? It’s hard. He gets stuck doing pro bono work for kids that need legal help. He has to balance little kids with major corporate takeovers. Naturally working with the kids gives him a bit of a soul after 22 episodes this first season. The series lasted three seasons.
Numb3rs: The Fifth Season gets us more FBI action with mathletic determination. Charlie (David Krumholtz) back his security clearance. He’s back to helping out his FBI agent brother Don (Rob Morrow) find the bad guys. Their dad Alan (Judd Hirsch) ends up coaching basketball. Charlie almost swaps jobs, but realizes that this is his place. Don discovers a knife is in his back. The incident screws up the delicate mind of Charlie. Agent Nikki Betencourt (Sophina Brown) joins the team. The big finale, “Angels and Devils” has Amita being snatched by a cult. They have to go save her before she is forced to marry the guy and thus block Charlie’s intentions. The 22 episodes are on 6 DVDs.
The L Word: The Complete Final Season brings to the end Showtime’s semi-soap opera about a group of lesbians in Los Angeles. The eight episodes hinge on the investigation of who killed Jenny Schecter (Mia Kirshner). The whole season is a flashback as Lucy Lawless investigates. Xena is going to get to the bottom of this. Mia’s major storylines deal with her love for Shane (Katherine Moennig) and new book. She’s upset that her Les Girls movie was yanked away from her. Jennifer Beals and Laurel Holloman want another baby. This time through adoption. But it’s hard for them to find a willing pregnant woman. There’s also a tale of what happens when a couple’s new friend leads to those unexpected emotions. Its hard to enjoy the season knowing that sweet Mia Kirshner was going to end up dead. The show will be missed. Although mostly because of those great scenes when Mia got nasty with the ladies. Now how am I supposed to get my Pam Grier fix? A nice bonus feature is Jennifer Beals personal photos from the set.
Lost Tapes is a series from Animal Planet that blends In Search of…. monster hunts with Blair Witch Project home video action. Supposedly the videotape presented in the show is from people who have had accidental encounters with cryptozoological creatures. This isn’t for hard edge reality documentary fans since it’s mostly fiction with a bit of archival footage to explain the unknown. It’s as real as The Hills. It’s ultimately a low-fi X-Files. “Chupacabra” has a family sneaking over the border get attacked by the goat sucking critter. “Big Foot” has us wondering if the park ranger is being stalked by the beast or a bear poacher who is also a peeping tom. They also explore The Mothman, Hellhounds and Megaconda. The two disc set contains the first season. Don’t watch this with the lights out after downing a bottle of tequila. You’ll fear the Chupacabra.
Greg Giraldo: Midlife Vices lets the star of all the Comedy Central Roasts use 66 minutes to do more than riff on Andy Dick. Giraldo does take things to the blissful absurd. He ponders the irony of slipping in a handicap shower and becoming handicapped. He’s an ex-lawyer and his routine sounds like the most amazing closing statement as he summarizes his life. He gets manic while impersonating the airline steward passing out the snacks. He gets nasty about people who declare “my dog is like my kid.” He asks, “How many people have a dog cause they were too drunk to pull out?” There’s plenty of moments to quote on the back of the school bus. The true excitement is when Giraldo catches an audience member sleeping. The bonus features include his pilot for “Adult Content” and an earlier special.
Nick Swardson: Seriously, Who Farted? gives us an hour with the Dane Cook of his generation. You might know Nick as Terry, the gay rollerskating misfit on Reno 911. He’s also part of Adam Sandler’s crew. He wrote Grandma’s Boy. He gives a nice warning about testing the power of pot brownies. But he stops short of really taking it to the next level. He doesn’t take his routines to the point of no turning back. He’s like a drunk guy has to continually pump the keg and constantly blather. If you loved Grandma’s Boy, you’ll adore his tale of sucking face with Shirley Jones. The bonus features includes Terry’s Christmas album. There’s a trailer for 28 Drinks Later about boozing zombies. The funniest thing on the disc is “Nick Swardson: Timeless Comic.” The fake biography does go for the kill in a few places.
Legend of the Seeker: The Complete First Season is a fantasy series about how a lowly woodsman (Craig Horner) rises up to battle the evil Darken Rahl (Craig Parker). There’s going to be terrifying consequences if he falls short. His main help is a wizard (Bruce Spence) and a Confessor (Bridget Regan). It’s based on novelist Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth. The series is produced by Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert. They’re the guys who brought us Hercules and Xena back in the ’90s. The show has the same vibe and a few of the same New Zealand locations. All 22 episodes are on 5 DVDs. The bonus features includes Goodkind discussing the adaptation. It’s very rare that a novelist isn’t horrified at what Hollywood has done to their series.
Chop Socky Chooks: Volume One enters the kung fu chickens. That’s right, animated martial arts fighting fowl. The Aardman studio creation is vibrant. Chook is Oceanic slang for chicken so don’t get your feathers ruffled. There’s a lot of espionage with the leading agents battling Dr. Wasabi’s evil empire. Who hasn’t realized the dastardly nature of wasabi? They get to use their wicked moves and numerous 007-esque gadgets. The boxset contains the first 13 episodes that aired on the Cartoon Network.
Little Spirit: Christmas in New York brings a dose of animated Danny DeVito for the holiday season. Danny voices a New York City cabbie who narrates the tale. A family moves to Manhattan and quickly lose their pet dog. During the hunt, the son finds a new little pet called Little Spirit. Together they take in the fun of the holidays in the Big Apple. It’s a kiddie cute entertainment. The bonus features include a making of special and an interview with Danny DeVito. Plus a music video from Duncan Sheik. Nice to see he’s still around and not living off his condom empire cash. The special is only 44 minutes so it doesn’t go on too long. Fans of NBC news will be delighted by Brian Williams giving the voiceover performance of his career as Rock Granite.
The Killing Room recreates a government psychological project codenamed MK-ULTRA. This has to be an evil scientific experiment since Peter Stormare (Fargo) is in charge. He’s assisted by Chloe Sevigny (Big Love) as they gather a group of people to fill out a long series of questions. Included in the guinea pigs is Timothy Hutton, Clea DuVall (Carnivale) and Nick Cannon (Mr. Mariah Carey). The test begins with Stomare shooting and the test group locked in the room. It’s like SAT Saw. This is almost a Peter Watkins film. Expect Glenn Beck to claim this film is a documentary. A rather queasy fright film for people who already have a test taking phobia.
The Tournament gives Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting) a chance to go insane with weapons. That’s always a cinematic treat. In this case he’s part of a last man standing tournament involving the top 30 assassins working in the world. Every seven years a group of billionaires host this fatal knock out match. The defending champ is Ving Rhames (Pulp Fiction). The wild card is Kelly Hu (Nash Bridges). There’s tons of blood and bullets in this free for all of top flight carnage. Having Carlyle and Rhames face off is a treat that requires a large TV screen to capture their mayhem. I couldn’t help, but think how this bookends with Kelly Hu’s recent hosting of Top Chef Masters. Except in this case it’s Top Murderers Masters.
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