Did you know Pennsylvania has everything the South holds near and dear? It’s got pickup trucks, plenty of people hew tawk liek thays and no laws prohibiting smoking indoors (the only thing I don’t envy about Mad Men). And Wal-Mart. Sweet Larry-the-Cable-Guy-mud-flaps does it have Wal-Mart. The one back at college is the highest-grossing Wal-Mart in the country, per square foot, and if I could make that up I’d quit the Press and start writing CBS pilot scripts (“…you see, there are three men, but one is a kid, so he’s a half!”). The two biggest WTFs about Wal-Mart are what they sell (mine has an optometrist, bank and hair salon) and the special kind of person that shops there. I won’t stereotype and describe what they look like becau…oh who the hell are we kidding? A Volkswagen Beetle covered in camouflage? Absolutely. A guy in poo-stain-covered sweatpants? Yer darn tootin’ right! A woman with her daughter in a shopping cart seat with a plastic bag on her head? Brand me like a cattle, comb my mullet and call me Colonel Sanders!
I think I speak for anyone who’s seen it when I say the BBC/Discovery Channel 11-part series Planet Earth is one of the greatest things ever captured on (glorious, high-definition, 1,080 progressively scanned lines of vertical resolution) film. The poetic beauty of a great white shark leaping through air to catch a seal in its mouth? Never has Darwinism looked so stunning. The utter rejection the bird of paradise faces when his mating dance is shunned? I know exactly how he felt (my mating dance is me playing Dance Dance Revolution on the highest difficulty). The BBC’s website has some high-resolution close-ups of bugs found in the volcanic regions of New Guinea and excuse me while I stare at them and narrate in a British accent. I’m sorry, but whoever hired Sigourney Weaver for the American Planet Earth needs to be fired—David Attenborough and his accent totally kill Weaver’s butchering of the word water. Wudder? What, do you shop at Wal-Mart in Pennsylvania with that voice?
There have been zero George Clooney movies this year, yet Up in the Air is the third one slated for release in ’09. You know what that means—Hurricane Clooney is brewing up something mighty fierce off the coast of California, with charm exceeding even the worst forecasts and handsomeness in excess of 100 mph. And like Lord of the Rings or any good trilogy, the third looks to be the best. (Yes, the Battle of Helm’s Deep was awesome. I KNOW. But as a whole, Return of the King is the best installment.) Up in the Air stars Clooney as some guy who is trying to rack up 1 million frequent flyer miles in a year. But it’s deeper than that, because him flying everywhere is a metaphor for his life. He never connects anywhere. And he packs things. In his bag. I love airport movies. The Terminal is one of my all-time favorites; I could spend all day quoting it. Up in the Air starts boarding on Dec. 4.
Zach Galifianakis is also appearing in Up in the Air, and I really hope he gets tons of exposure because he is straight-up hilarious. But secretly I hope he does nothing but make more Between Two Ferns episodes. I’d even share part of my salary with him (how do you divide a penny in half?). The newest episode features Charlize Theron. At one point, she nearly breaks down in tears when discussing her dying dog. And what does GaliFranzFerdinand do? Shoves a videogame in her face and declares “We have a new sponsor of the show…um…Need for Speed.” Can you imagine doing that? “Bob was a great man, and now that he’s gone, I wanted to say tha…CHECK OUT NEW SPICY PEPPER-FLAVORED DORITOS!” Please don’t ever get popular Zach. Nothing personal.
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I’d like to give a big shout out to Frank Kelly, who grabs the Press at Mo’ Joe in Mineola. Little-known fact: Frank is the oldest person on Twitter. Follow him at twitter.com/bockharn for tales of the old days, and me at twitter.com/BradPareso for 21st century immaturity.