Thursday, October 8, 2009

Heath Ledger's Last Movie

Heath Ledger's Friends Complete His Last Movieby Jonathan Crow · October 7, 2009

Heath Ledger was on a break from shooting the fantasy film "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" when he tragically died in January of 2008. It was the latest and saddest unexpected turn of events for the movie's director, Terry Gilliam, who has a legendary track record of seemingly cursed film productions. In 1984, Universal Pictures refused to release the his masterpiece "Brazil" until critics dubbed it the best movie of the year. His next movie "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" was crippled by studio politics and a shiftless producer. More recently, the production of "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" suffered one disaster after another until it was shut down after only a week of filming.
So when the star of his latest effort died after only about a third of the film was completed, "Imaginarium" looked like yet another casualty to Gilliam's freakishly bad luck. Yet he pulled it off, earning raves at this year's Cannes International Film Festival.
So how did he do it? If Gilliam made quiet domestic dramas, the movie would have been completely derailed. But as it happens, Gilliam makes films that are so hallucinatory and surreal that he can even change the actor playing the lead character and still make the story work. In this case, he enlisted Ledger's friends Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell to step into his role. The three A-listers not only jumped at the chance to make sure Ledger's final work made it to the screen, but they also donated their salaries to Ledger's young daughter, Matilda.
The movie tells the story of the titular Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer), a thousand-year-old traveling showman who invites audience members to venture into an alternate reality through his magical mirror. He gained his unusual abilities and eternal life through a bet with the Devil (Tom Waits), and when the evil one tries to collect, a mysterious figure named Tony (Ledger and friends) comes to save the day.

The one bit of luck that Gilliam did have during the making of "Imaginarium" was that he shot all of the "real world" scenes before Ledger died. So when the character of Tony steps through the magic mirror into a fantasy world he is transformed, allowing Depp, Law and Farrell to take over the role.
It's a bold and risky way to salvage the project. The question with "Imaginarium" becomes, will these shifts between Ledger and the other actors will feel natural or they will feel forced? According to Gilliam, the transition happens so smoothly that a sound mixer who worked on the movie assumed it was always intended to be that way.
Gilliam has clearly taken out all the stops, making "Imaginarium" as visually wondrous and bizarre as anything he's put on the screen since "Baron Munchausen." To get a look at the movie's startling images, and to see how Heath Ledger's pals look in his role, watch the exclusive trailer below. "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" opens on Christmas Day.

Leave Giant Squids Alone

Giant SquidDon't mess with them.By Grady HendrixPosted Friday, Sept. 25, 2009, at 1:59 PM ET
U.S. scientists accidentally caught a giant squid in the Gulf of Mexico last week, the first spotted in those waters since 1954. But perhaps we should be more careful about how we treat this terrifying beast. After a Japanese crew snapped hundreds of photographs of the Architeuthis dux in 2005, Grady Hendrix warned that we had "violated our contract with the giant squid" and urged caution. The article is reprinted below.

Is there any doubt that the scariest animal in the world is the giant squid? Just its name paralyzes my heart with fear in a way that "killer whale" or "jumbo shrimp" do not. Most of us first caught a glimpse of this denizen of the deep trying to kill Kirk Douglas in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and we all had the same question: How angry do you have to be to try to kill the recipient of an honorary Academy Award for lifetime achievement? The answer was instantly branded onto all of our brains: as angry as a giant squid.
The giant squid is an "eat the crew, ask questions later" kind of cephalopod, and motion pictures have rightly depicted it as a very angry animal that's not given to conversation. To see a giant squid is to be attacked by a giant squid, the saying goes. But, like Tom Cruise between movies, the giant squid is camera-shy. And, just like the diminutive actor, Architeuthis dux spends long periods lurking out of sight, surely up to no good, before bursting forth, tentacles flailing, and exercising its alternate belief system. In Mr. Cruise's case, the alternate belief system is Scientology. In the giant squid's case, the alternate belief system is a desire to wrap you in its horrible tentacles and poke you to death with its poisonous beak. There are similarities.
Usually we only see giant squid in artist's conceptions fighting sperm whales (very scary) or washed up dead on beaches (not very scary at all). But now the Japanese have ruined it for everyone. With the aid of a very long string and a bag of mashed shrimp, Tsunemi Kubodera and Kyoichi Mori have taken 500 pictures of the giant squid at home. Stripping all the mystery and dignity from this great beast, they got the not-very-coordinated, 26-foot-long monster to snag itself on their bait bag. No one said the giant squid was very bright, but the fact that it tried to free its tentacle for more than four hours before giving up and tearing the thing off doesn't do much for its reputation. Even the researchers' statement that the giant squid seems "much more active … than previously suspected" comes across as a little condescending.
Kubodera and his crew have taken great pains to emphasize that losing a tentacle hasn't harmed the squid, but if they knew anything about giant squid they'd cut the press conferences short and run home to protect their families from this now-livid cephalopod that almost surely wants revenge. The giant squid hates everything: It hates Kirk Douglas, it hates the crew of the Pequod, and it especially hates scientists who make it look stupid.
If man is to live in harmony with nature we must respect nature's needs, and the needs of the giant squid are simple:
a) three (3) metric tons of small fish per week, or one (1) sperm whale;
b) if giant squid is to make more than two appearances in one day, giant squid must be supplied with a rest area equipped with Bose sound system and six large, clean towels;
c) no flash photography.
We have violated our contract with the giant squid. Will any of us ever feel safe in the water again?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bad Economy = Good Health??

Could the Recession Be Good for Your Health?

TUESDAY, Sept. 29 -- The economic downturn may not be all bad - in fact, researchers say recessions may actually be good for health.
University of Michigan researchers looked at death rates during the Great Depression, the worst economic slump in the 20th century. From the stock market crash of 1929 through the early 1930s, economic activity fell sharply, dropping 14 percent in 1932, while unemployment hit 22.9 percent that same year.
Black and white images from the era of bread lines and migrant farmers make it easy to assume the economic misery would have affected public health.
But when the researchers looked at mortality rates among men, women and children from 1920 to 1940, they found death rates declined during years of falling economic activity and rose when times were better.
The study is in the Sept. 28 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
During the two decades spanning the 1920s and 1930s, overall life expectancy increased by 8.8 years. But it wasn't a steady rise, instead shooting up and falling back in a pattern that correlated with the rise and fall of economic activity.
Between 1921 and 1926, the so-called "Roaring 20s" and a time of robust economic growth, life expectancy for non-white men fell by 8.1 years. Yet between 1929 and 1933, the years of steepest economic decline, their life expectancy grew a similar amount.
Likewise, non-white women lost 7.4 years of life expectancy during the Roaring 20s, but they gained 8.2 years of life expectancy during the Depression.
Whites showed a similar pattern, though the loss in life expectancy wasn't as extreme as for non-whites.
"The basic finding of the paper is that mortality rates tend to evolve in parallel to the economy," said lead study author Jose Tapia Granados, an assistant research scientist at University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. "When the economy goes up, mortality tends to go up. When the economy goes down, mortality rates tend to go down, too."
Researchers did find one exception. During the 1920s and 1930s, two-thirds of all deaths were caused by cardiovascular and renal diseases, cancer, influenza and pneumonia, tuberculosis, motor vehicle accidents and suicide.
All became less deadly during difficult economic times, with the exception of suicides. But suicides accounted for fewer than 2 percent of all deaths, not enough to alter the overall trend, the study authors added.
The country's climb out of the Great Depression began in 1933. The economy grew by more than 10 percent annually from 1933 to 1936. Mortality again peaked in 1936, four years after the worst year of the Depression, even for children under age 4.
The surge in deaths in 1936 isn't just attributable to lag time, the researchers noted. Deaths from motor vehicle accidents went up, in which lag time would not play a role.
So why would the return of good times be bad for health?
More economic activity means people have money to drive cars, meaning more die in auto wrecks, the researchers theorize. In the 1920s and 1930s, cars became objects of mass consumption.
As motor vehicle use increases, so does pollution. Recent studies have linked particulate matter from cars and trucks and carbon monoxide with heart attacks and strokes.
During periods of growth, people have more money to spend on alcohol and cigarettes. And more economic activity means more factory orders, meaning people are working harder and longer and sleeping less.
Still, this is not to say that losing a job is good for your health. The study looks at the bigger picture -- fewer cars, fewer people working overtime, less pollution -- and how it may benefit public health as a whole.
A similar pattern may be at work during the current downturn, the authors suggested.
"My expectation is that mortality rates in 2008 will be lower than in 2007, and probably in 2009 will be lower than 2008," Tapia said. "There is a general improvement, even though suicides are going up."
Joshua Klapow, associate professor at the University of Alabama Birmingham's School of Public Health, said he would be cautious about applying any of the findings to today's recession.
Society has changed significantly in the past 60 to 80 years, he said. Medical advances enable people to live with chronic diseases for much longer nowadays. Infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, kill fewer people today. Fewer people do manual labor, smoking has declined, and obesity has shot up.
"The only points of similarity are the economic factors," Klapow said. "You can't equate health status, health care, health costs or lifestyles with the 1920s or the 1930s. You have confounding factors right now that prevent us from drawing any reasonable conclusion about our current state."
And during this downturn, studies show that many Americans are making poor health choices, such as cutting back on medications and putting off medical care because of costs.
"We have a lot of indicators during this economic turmoil that the health status of our population is not getting better," Klapow said. "The study is fascinating, but we have to be very careful not to forecast a trajectory to our present day."
More information
The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library & Museum has more on the Great Depression.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The President's Speach

Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama
Back to School Event

Arlington, Virginia
September 8, 2009

The President: Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today.
I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.
I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning.
Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster."
So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year.
Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.
I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.
I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.
I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.
But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.
And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.
Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.
Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.
And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.
And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.
You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.
We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.
Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.
I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in.
So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.
But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.
Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right.
But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.
Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.
That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.
Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.
I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer – hundreds of extra hours – to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall.
And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.
Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same.
That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.
Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.
I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.
But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.
That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.
No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.
And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.
The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.
It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.
So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?
Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Russian Winters Not

This was what I got listening to a program on the BBC radio today: The Russians are trying to do away with their snowy winter weather for good by cloud seeding. They, along with a few other places, have been using cloud seeding for a while to make sure sunny days were in the forecast for whenever they planned large events/parades and such. But now they want to use it to get rid of their snow!
This is amazing to me, and I listen and understand how they do the process now, but really? Taking the snow out of Moscow? How sad. If anyone could find the actual report given (it was today, not that long ago), I would really appriciate it. All I'm finding is general information on cloud seeding, and I want to know how and why they plan on getting rid of their wonderful winter weather.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Jell-O 1-2-3

I remember this stuff! It was so cool, and had such a unique texture to it when eaten. Ymmmm... makes me want some, too bad it's off the shelves:

Jell-O 1-2-3 debuted in 1969, offering consumers a new wrinkle in homemade desserts. Jell-O gelatin itself was nothing new by that time; the product had been concocted in 1897. But what made this version of the product different was that once it was mixed with boiling water and set aside to cool, it would separate into three layers: a clear bottom, a chiffon middle and a creamy top.

After a few decades, the novelty may have worn off, and the product was discontinued in 1996 due to declining sales.

To console any remaining disappointed fans, Kraft recently added a recipe to its Web site showing how to make a similar dessert using sugar-free Jell-O and Cool Whip Lite.

Mama, don't take my Kodachrome away!

Before digital cameras came to dominate the scene, taking pictures was all about capturing images on film. And for professional photographers (and serious amateurs), choosing the brand of film to use was as important as picking the kind of camera.

Kodachrome, a brand of film immortalized in a 1973 Paul Simon song of the same name, was introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1935. It was actually developed as a motion-picture film, but Kodak developed versions in a variety of formats, including the slide film that became prized by photographers for its rich, bright colors.

Alas, after 74 years of production, Kodak discontinued the film in June, citing falling demand in a digital age. The move added new poignancy to Simon's refrain of "Mama don't take my Kodachrome away."

Breast-feeding Doll?

Controversial new doll mimics breast-feeding

Manufacturers claim ‘Bebe Gloton’ promotes nurturing — but is it creepy?

By Mike Celizic contributor
updated 10:40 a.m. CT, Thurs., Aug 6, 2009

It’s probably all Betsy Wetsy’s fault.

If the iconic baby-boom generation baby doll hadn’t introduced the world to the notion that dolls could have bodily functions, then maybe today we wouldn’t be talking about Bebe Gloton — the doll that that suckles 6-year-old girls.

“I just worry about what’s next,” TODAY’s Kathie Lee Gifford said after watching a video clip showing a young girl wearing a vest with daisies where her breasts would be ... if she had any.

The girl held the doll to the daisies, and the doll made suckling noises.

“It’s got a little creep factor,” Gifford opined to co-host Hoda Kotb.

“Why would you want a suckling doll for an 8-year-old?” Kotb wondered.

Some are wondering why you would want a suckling doll for anyone. The Spanish manufacturers of Bebe Gloton — “Baby Glutton” in English — say the doll is meant to encourage nurturing in young girls and to promote breast-feeding. But others, including Kotb and Gifford, are wondering whether it’s too much, too soon.

Then there’s the idea that it was just a matter of time. After all, Gifford observed, “we have dolls that go potty.”

That was Betsy Wetsy’s big trick when she was introduced in the 1930s. It made the doll one of the most memorable and creative playthings of the 20th century, according to the Toy Industry Association, which enshrined Betsy in its Century of Toys list in 2003.

Betsy’s success, which peaked in the 1950s, led to the invention of the next big thing in live-action dolls, Tiny Tears. Whereas Betsy Wetsy wet her pants after being fed a bottle, Tiny Tears cried after drinking hers.

Little girls were enthralled.

Today, there are anatomically correct dolls sold by specialty manufacturers such as Amamanta Family that take little girls and boys — and big ones, too — through the entire birth process. There are therapy dolls and disabled dolls and talking dolls and walking dolls.

And now a doll that sucks on a daisy on a little girl’s chest.

“I guess it teaches you about nurturing,” Kotb conceded.

“But to see a 6-year-old,” she added, “it’s just weird.”

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Lie About Who The Star Is

So you're a studio exec, and you just greenlit a $70 million movie called Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow to be shot entirely in front of green screens. You're planning on using CGI to fill those screens with giant robots trundling around 1930s New York. Unfortunately, your focus group results just arrived, and the majority of the audience tells you all they really wanted to see was a sexy hamburger.

Where's the fucking beef people?

As you're preparing to clean out your desk, you notice that one of the focus group members mentioned Angelina Jolie for some reason. After re-watching the film, making sure not to blink the second time, you confirm that Jolie does in fact make a brief cameo. But since she's the most bankable star in Hollywood, you release a trailer that uses that cameo like Native Americans used a buffalo carcass.

She isn't kidding when she tells Gwyneth, "It's a pleasure to finally meet the competition," as they meet an hour and two minutes into the movie, resulting in Angelina getting slightly more screen time than Sir Lawrence Olivier, who was cast as the villain using stock footage recorded before he died.

Can we imply that Angelina has sex with the dead guy?

Using a star's brief cameo as bait in a cinematic bear trap is nothing new. The trailer for Star Trek: Generations seemed to promise Kirk and Picard standing shoulder to shoulder saving the universe, like a galactic 48 Hours if Eddie Murphy was also old and white. Of course, in the actual film they unceremoniously drop a bridge on Kirk so fast he might as well be wearing a red shirt.

But devotees of the Star Trek and Angelina Jolie's remarkable boobs have nothing on the apparently sizable, and oft-mislead talking-animal fanbase. The trailer for the 2002 movie, Snow Dogs, featured Cuba Gooding Jr. playing second fiddle to a team of wise cracking sled dogs to the strains of "Who Let the Dogs Out." Look Who's Talking fans marked their calendars, while the rest of us wondered just how the fuck Cuba Gooding, Jr. had gone from Best Supporting Actor to comedic foil for a team of jive talking huskies.

Well, he didn't. The scene with the talking dogs is actually from a brief dream sequence. The film is a zany comedy, sure, but it's a zany comedy about Gooding's emotional quest to find out who his real parents are. As mortified as Gooding must have been when he saw the trailers had hidden him behind CGI animals, imagine how depressed he was when the dogs opened at #1 in the box office. Actually, that makes us a little depressed too.

That, by the way, reminds us of the single most annoying thing trailers do...

Just Completely Lie About What Kind of Movie It Is

As should be clear by now, Hollywood hates new things. They might reluctantly let a successful enough filmmaker take on a movie that's a little different than the ones he's made in the past. Just don't expect the trailer to tell you that.

Just your typical Spielberg awesomeness, folks.

When E.T. was released, the trailer used a creepy POV shot to make it look like Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the hit supernatural thrillers that Steven Spielberg was known for churning out up to that point.

Marketing magic.

Of course, E.T. went on to become bigger than all of his previous films, so when Gremlins was released four years later with Spielberg as the Executive Producer, the campy horror film was made to look like a tale of a little boy and his furry alien friend.

It works the same way for stars. Giving Robin Williams some coke and setting him loose in a light-hearted family comedy used to be one of the few ways a studio could ensure their movie would shit solid gold at the box office. However, Williams's desire to play dramatic roles has led to an incredible resume of lighthearted trailers for depressing films:

But what if nobody in your movie has ever made anything good before? What sort of movie are you supposed to pretend you've made then? In 2004, Jerry Bruckheimer was pitching around an R-rated buddy comedy as Midnight Run in Australia, which would have been an apt description if the stars of Midnight Run were Kush from Jerry Maguire and that fat comedian nobody likes.

No, the black one.

Frantically searching for an unoriginal idea to steal, Bruckheimer found his answer in a Cuba Gooding, Jr. film that had tricked audiences into theaters with talking huskies. A dream sequence was added featuring a rapping CGI kangaroo wearing shades and performing "Rapper's Delight" with a sassy Australian accent. Then the ads for the movie featured basically nothing but that.

The film's name became Kangaroo Jack, a play on the slang term "to steal" that was clearly meant to trick audiences into thinking the Kangaroo was the star. Fans of talking animals, most of them under five-years-old, were duped once again. But where Snow Dogs had tricked them into seeing a light-hearted family comedy, Bruckheimer had tricked them into seeing a raunchy, boob and gay joke-centric action movie.

The results? Kangaroo Jack took the #1 spot at the box office its opening weekend, Jerry Bruckheimer's balls got a little closer to bursting forth from his scrotum and everyone in Hollywood once again learned that no matter how much the Internet bitches and moans about their evil trickery, that shit works.

5 Things Movie Trailers Need to Stop Doing

5 Things Movie Trailers Need to Stop Doing

By Conrad Schickedanz, Jack O'Brien July 29, 2009 457,037 views
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At a movie studio, once the pesky task of actually making a movie is out of the way the guys in the suits go to work. Their job is to bend and manipulate the movie footage into a short trailer that will tell you exactly what they think you want to hear. And it should be noted at the outset, they think you're retarded.

Here are five things we'd ask them to kindly stop doing, and why we know they never will.

Show Scenes That Are Not In The Movie

Superbad's 30 second trailer promised that "Every generation has one iconic movie that is... quoted non-stop... Superbad is that film." That's high praise for movie producers; while we might mutter "douchebag" when a grown man emerges from a public restroom, fans his crotch and says, "Do not go in there!" in his best Jim Carrey inflection, the marketing community considers that shit free advertising.

What makes less sense is why, in a movie that's chock full of quotable nuggets, they chose "McLovin, sounds like a sexy hamburger!" to be the one line that turned up in the trailer that bragged about quotability. You know, since that line was so memorable that the filmmakers left it out of the movie altogether.

It didn't matter that the line was in no way quotable since it was a response to a name that doesn't exist anywhere outside of the movie, nor did it matter that both Jonah Hill and Michael Cera had funnier TV-friendly lines that were actually in the film. The studio wanted a line by Seth Rogen since he was in the previous summer's "once in a generation" quotable movie, Knocked Up. So the suits rifled through the footage left on the cutting room floor until they found a Seth Rogen line that didn't contain the word fuck, and we got a preview that did a great job hiding the fact that Superbad was actually pretty funny.

"This is a line in a movie!"

But what happens when marketing folks don't have an over abundance of good material to discard in favor of a deleted scene? The trailer for Black Christmas got around that problem by featuring a few moments that were shot just for the trailer. And by a few moments, we mean just about everything you see in the trailer was shot just for the trailer.

According to the IMDB page, the list includes:

An unknown caller saying, "All is calm, all is bright, who is in my house tonight?"

A woman rubbing the snow off her car and a hand reaching through it.

A woman falling off the roof tangled in Christmas lights.

A woman being dragged through the snow by a Christmas lights machine.

Melissa in the hallway with a flashlight while Billy is on the ceiling ready to strike with an axe.

For all of the actual film footage the trailer shows us, Black Christmas very well could be a remake of A Miracle on 34th Street starring Danny Glover and Webster.

Use The Same Damn Songs Over And Over Again

Soon after it was released in 1989, Ton Loc's "Wild Thing" was put to use in the trailer for Uncle Buck, which actually made sense because the movie was about a wild man played by John Candy, and also because it was still 1989.

Since that time, Mr. Loc's anthem has been used in trailers for every fish out of water comedy that has been released in the last 19 years, including Undercover Brother, Garfield: The Movie, Bedazzled and the Rob Schneider vehicle, The Animal.

So why continue to use a song that had quickly become shorthand for "No matter how low your expectations, get ready to lower them!" Well, Hollywood thinks you need to be told exactly what sort of movie you're going to be getting. When you need to communicate that the main character is a live wire, why use cliched dialogue when you can use a cliched Ton Loc song instead?

The voice of several generations, apparently.

If the comedy has a big enough budget, they might even go with the nuclear option: Smash Mouth. Hollywood loves the shit out of some Smash Mouth; presumably because their songs are genetically engineered to get stuck in your head like some sort of incurable mind-AIDS. Also, they all sound the same, so instead of using that "All-Star" song like Shrek (and Mystery Men, Inspector Gadget, Shrek 2 and Shrek 3), you can get the exact same effect by using one of their many other identical-sounding songs; like in Made of Honor, Can't Hardly Wait, the two shittier Dr. Suess Movies and the shittiest Austin Powers.

In fact, every comedy genre has a preset approved-for-trailer list that runs about two songs deep. Romantic comedies get The Cranberries "Dreams" or the Spencer Davis Group's "Gimme Some Lovin.'" Feel good comedies almost always use "Walking on Sunshine" or the most overused song in movie trailer history.

Yes, the only way to communicate that your film is the "feel good comedy of the summer" is to play James Brown's "I Feel Good." Apparently, Hollywood believes that you not only need to be trained like a Pavlovian dog to know what kind of movie to expect, you need the lyrics to literally tell you how to feel.

Just Go Ahead And Ruin The Entire Goddamn Movie

When they're not lying to audiences, trailers are telling them too much. Hollywood has been known to treat films with a unique plot, or a surprising twist ending with all the delicacy of Lenny in Of Mice and Men.

"I see dead people...wink."

Take, for instance, one of the first genuine twist endings in the history of Hollywood cinema. The studio knew they had a twist that would leave audiences head spinning if they could just get them to watch it. The whole trailer teases you with the mystery at the heart of the film's mind blowing ending, asking "What is the secret of Soylent Green?"

You'd just have to watch the movie to find out. Or, you know, keep your eyes open for the part of the trailer where Charlton Heston breaks into the factory and sees all the bodies moving down the conveyor belt. If you caught that, then don't worry about showing up, you can probably put it together from there.

With time, this became common place. The trailer for Ransom was geared around a dramatic scene in which Mel Gibson's character announces that he is offering his own ransom as a bounty on the kidnapper's head, a plot twist that kills any suspense you might have felt during the first half of the movie. The trailer for Wild Things ruined the first half of that movie by giving away the fact that the sexual harassment suit against Matt Dillon is a hoax.

A sexy hoax.

And of course there's Cast Away's trailer that shows the plane crash that lands Tom Hanks on the island...

Tom Hanks battling the elements, and then Tom Hanks being rescued by his friends who tell him, "You've been gone for four years."

They actually end the trailer with the final shot of the film, but commendably show the restraint to cut things off before the credits start to roll.

continued below...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Listening to Music

Exclusive First Listen: Danger Mouse And Sparklehorse Team Up With David Lynch

Hear The Year's Most Mysterious Album In Its Entirety, Before Its Official Release

Sparkle Lynch Mouse 300

From left: David Lynch, Sparklehorse and Danger Mouse.

More First Listens, June 14, 2009 - When the first cryptic bits of news about Dark Night of the Soul began trickling in earlier this year, it all sounded too good to be true. Though the whole project was shrouded in mystery, it appeared that Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse's Mark Linkous, two of the most inspired artists making music today, were collaborating on a new album. That alone was enough to get our geek gears spinning with excitement. But there was an unusual twist that few of us at NPR Music could make sense of: Director David Lynch was somehow involved.

It all started back in March, at the South by Southwest music festival and conference. A number of us on the NPR Music team had noticed strange posters around downtown Austin, Texas, that read "Dark Night of the Soul." They looked like movie posters and had David Lynch's name on them, alongside names of some of our favorite artists, like Danger Mouse, Sparklehorse, Vic Chesnutt, Jason Lytle and more. We wondered if it was some sort of musical film.

Soon after our Austin trip, NPR Music received copies of the mysterious posters in the mail. No return address. Someone was messing with us. I tried to find out more, but had zero success. Then, weeks later, I finally got a note from a publicist with all the details we'd been waiting for.

It turns out Dark Night Of The Soul is an album and the songs were written by Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse (Mark Linkous), though the myriad singers featured on each track also had a big hand in composing and producing the work. The album was initially going to be packaged with a book of photos taken by David Lynch. But now there's word that the music may never be officially released at all.

An unnamed spokesperson for Danger Mouse says that "due to an ongoing dispute with EMI" the book of photographs will "now come with a blank, recordable CD-R. All copies will be clearly labeled: 'For legal reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will.'" While offering no specifics, EMI has acknowledged the legal dispute with Danger Mouse and released a statement saying, "Danger Mouse is a brilliant, talented artist for whom we have enormous respect. We continue to make every effort to resolve this situation and we are talking to Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) directly. Meanwhile, we need to reserve our rights."

You can order the book, sans music, from the official Dark Night Of The Soul Web site. In the meantime, you can hear the entire album here on NPR Music as an Exclusive First Listen.

I've listened to the record all the way through at least a dozen times, and can confirm that Dark Night of the Soul delivers in every way you'd hope for. It's beautiful but haunting, surreal and dark, but sometimes comical and affecting, with ear-popping, multilayered production work. It just gets more mesmerizing with every listen.

In addition to Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse (Mark Linkous), other artists appearing on Dark Night of the Soul include James Mercer of The Shins, The Flaming Lips, Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals, Jason Lytle of Grandaddy, Julian Casablancas of The Strokes, Frank Black of the Pixies, Iggy Pop, Nina Persson of The Cardigans, Suzanne Vega, Vic Chesnutt, David Lynch, and Scott Spillane of Neutral Milk Hotel and The Gerbils.

Firefighter Shoots Dogs to Avoide Boarding Them

Ohio Man Faces Jail Time for Killing Dogs

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (July 8) - An Ohio firefighter faces jail time and may lose his job for shooting his two dogs to death rather than pay to board them while he went on a cruise.
Columbus firefighter David P. Santuomo, 43, took Sloopy and Skeeter to his home's basement, suspended them from a pipe near the ceiling and fired at least 11 shots from a .22-caliber rifle fitted with a homemade silencer, Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Ron J. O'Brien said.

Santuomo then wrapped the carcasses in plastic and dumped them in a trash bin behind Firehouse 27, where he worked, O'Brien said.
"This is pretty heinous," said Cheri Miller, spokeswoman for the Capital Area Humane Society, which carried out a search warrant in Santuomo's home. The humane society has limited law enforcement powers in Franklin County.
Santuomo pleaded guilty in June to two misdemeanor counts of improperly killing a companion animal and a felony count of possession of a criminal tool. Santuomo had fashioned a makeshift silencer by taping a 2-liter soda bottle to the end of the rifle. The incident happened in December.
Miller said appalled fellow firefighters turned Santuomo in to authorities.
"There were reports that he was bragging about this," she said.
Santuomo initially told investigators the dogs had ingested antifreeze and he killed them to put them out of their misery, Miller said. However, after necropsies showed the dogs were not poisoned, the firefighter admitted shooting them because he couldn't afford to board them, she said. Public records show Santuomo has twice filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection and underwent a home foreclosure in 2003.
The Columbus Division of Fire has received more than 2,000 outraged e-mails and calls from the public, said Battalion Chief David Whiting, the department's spokesman.
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"People are not very happy," he said. "We had people say they should do to him what he's done to the dogs. A lot of people want him fired. They don't want him coming into their house. They're worried about their animals; they're worried about their kids. They'd just as soon let their house burn down if he shows up."
The Division of Fire has concluded an internal investigation, including interviews with Santuomo, Whiting said. The report now goes to Fire Chief Ned Pettus Jr., who will schedule a disciplinary hearing. Punishment, if any, could range from a verbal reprimand to firing, Whiting said. With appeals and possible arbitration, the whole process could take a month or more, he said.
In the meantime, Santuomo is working in the division's fire alarm office, "where he is not dealing face to face with the public," Whiting said. If he remains employed with the fire division, he will return to his regular assignment, though that could bring a new set of challenges, Whiting added.
"If someone did this that worked next to you at work, how would you feel about working with him?" Whiting asked. "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. ... There are a lot of options."
Santuomo has only minor disciplinary matters, such as tardiness, in his record, Whiting said.

Santuomo was sentenced to 90 days in jail, to be served in 10-day increments over the next two years. He also has to pay $4,500 in restitution, perform 200 hours of community service, stay away from companion animals for five years and write a letter of apology to be published in the local newspaper and the International Association of Firefighters magazine, the humane society's Miller said.
Santuomo's attorney said that his client is remorseful over his actions and that people need to temper their outrage. "It's the same old story. They couldn't care less about people and they love animals," lawyer Sam Shamansky said.
The firefighter, who could not be reached for comment, has no criminal history other than traffic violations, Shamansky said.
"It, of course, was a heinous act, and it's an act for which he's sorry and has accepted responsibility," Shamansky said of the dog killings. "He's been punished appropriately, and I think it's now time for the public to practice what they preach and show a little forgiveness and mercy. Maybe that might be a novel approach."
© 2009 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
2009-07-08 16:20:03

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

So that's 6

Okay, so in most places they say that death comes in 3s. Well, we skipped straight to 6 today. That's what's been in the news' mind the last few days. Morbid, but...

Karl Malden dead

FILE - In this Feb. 22, 2004 file photo, actor Karl Malden accepts the life AP – FILE - In this Feb. 22, 2004 file photo, actor Karl Malden accepts the life achievement award at the …

LOS ANGELES – Karl Malden, the Academy Award-winning actor whose intelligent characterizations on stage and screen made him a star despite his plain looks, died Wednesday, his family said. He was 97.

Malden died of natural causes surrounded by his family at his Brentwood home, they told the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. He served as the academy's president from 1989-92.

While he tackled a variety of characters over the years, he was often seen in working-class garb or military uniform. His authenticity in grittier roles came naturally: He was the son of a Czech mother and a Serbian father, and worked for a time in the steel mills of Gary, Ind., after dropping out of college.

Malden said he got his celebrated bulbous nose when he broke it a couple of times playing basketball or football, joking that he was "the only actor in Hollywood whose nose qualifies him for handicapped parking."

Malden won a supporting actor Oscar in 1951 for his role as Blanche DuBois' naive suitor Mitch in "A Streetcar Named Desire" — a role he also played on Broadway.

He was nominated again as best supporting actor in 1954 for his performance as Father Corrigan, a fearless, friend-of-the-workingman priest in "On the Waterfront." In both movies, he costarred with Marlon Brando.

Among Malden's more than 50 film credits were: "Patton," in which he played Gen. Omar Bradley, "Pollyanna," "Fear Strikes Out," "The Sting II," "Bombers B-52," "Cheyenne Autumn," and "All Fall Down."

One of his most controversial films was "Baby Doll" in 1956, in which he played a dullard husband whose child bride is exploited by a businessman. It was condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency for what was termed its "carnal suggestiveness." The story was by "Streetcar" author Tennessee Williams.

Malden gained perhaps his greatest fame as Lt. Mike Stone in the 1970s television show "The Streets of San Francisco," in which Michael Douglas played the veteran detective's junior partner.

During the same period, Malden gained a lucrative 21-year sideline and a place in pop culture with his "Don't leave home without them" ads for American Express.

"The Streets of San Francisco" earned him five Emmy nominations. He won one for his role as a murder victim's father out to bring his former son-in-law to justice in the 1985 miniseries "Fatal Vision."

Malden played Barbra Streisand's stepfather in the 1987 film "Nuts;" Adm. Elmo Zumwalt Jr. in the 1988 TV film "My Father, My Son;" and Leon Klinghoffer, the cruise ship passenger murdered by terrorists in 1985, in the 1989 TV film "The Hijacking of the Achille Lauro."

He acted sparingly in recent years, appearing in 2000 in a small role on TV's "The West Wing."

In 2004, Malden received the Screen Actors Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award, telling the group in his acceptance speech that "this is the peak for me."

Malden first gained prominence on Broadway in the late 1930s, making his debut in "Golden Boy" by Clifford Odets. It was during this time that he met Elia Kazan, who later was to direct him in "Streetcar" and "Waterfront."

He steadily gained more prominent roles, with time out for service in the Army in World War II (and a role in an Army show, "Winged Victory.")

"A Streetcar Named Desire" opened on Broadway in 1947 and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics Circle awards. Brando's breakthrough performance might have gotten most of the attention, but Malden did not want for praise. Once critic called him "one of the ablest young actors extant."

Among his other stage appearances were "Key Largo," "Winged Victory," Arthur Miller's "All My Sons," "The Desperate Hours," and "The Egghead."

Malden was known for his meticulous preparation, studying a script carefully long before he stepped into his role.

"I not only figure out my own interpretation of the role, but try to guess other approaches that the director might like. I prepare them, too," he said in a 1962 Associated Press interview. "That way, I can switch in the middle of a scene with no sweat."

"There's no such thing as an easy job, not if you do it right," he added.

He was born Mladen Sekulovich in Chicago on March 22, 1912. Malden regretted that in order to become an actor he had to change his name. He insisted that Fred Gwynne's character in "On the Waterfront" be named Sekulovich to honor his heritage.

The family moved to Gary, Ind., when he was small. He quit his steel job 1934 to study acting at Chicago's Goodman Theatre "because I wasn't getting anywhere in the mills," he recalled.

"When I told my father, he said, `Are you crazy? You want to give up a good job in the middle of the Depression?' Thank god for my mother. She said to give it a try."

In 2005, the U.S. Postal Service honored Malden by putting his name on a post office in Los Angeles to honor his achievement in film and his contributions to the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee, which meets to discuss ideas for stamp designs.

Malden and his wife, Mona, a fellow acting student at the Goodman, had one of Hollywood's longest marriages, having celebrated their 70th anniversary in December.

Besides his wife, Malden is survived by daughters Mila and Cara, his sons-in-law, three granddaughters, and four great grandchildren.


Associated Press writer Polly Anderson in New York contributed to this report.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Jackson life and death

June 30, 2009

Jackson's Life - and Death - a Spectacle

Confusion Over Singer's Will and Estate, As Well As Future Of Three Children

Michael Jackson's life became a bizarre spectacle in his later years. In death, nothing has changed, reports CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker. Family, associates, attorneys, publicity seekers all gearing up to do battle over Jackson's money and his legacy - while the whole world watches.

"I wish Michael could be here to see all this," Joe Jackson, Michael Jackson's father, has said.

The headliner in "all this:" a brewing, complicated, sordid mud fight over what, and how much, the "King of Pop" left behind - and to whom. The greatest confusion centers on Jackson's will - or wills. The singer's attorney says he has one. The singer's family says one will be filed in court- and that others are likely to come out of the woodwork.

"You don't know, there could be competing wills here," said Andrew Katzenstein, a lawyer with expertise in estate management. "In California, if you write something out on a piece of paper and sign your name to it, that can count as a will."

"What we know is that a will apparently does exist that was written up for Michael, and we understand by his lawyer John Prank in 2002," said J. Randy Taraborrelli, a Jackson biographer." What we're hearing is that Michael made provisions for his mother, for his children and for certain charities. And we're also hearing that his father is not mentioned in the will."

All this confusion, a continuation of the bedlam set loose over the last six days by Jackson's sudden death: the spontaneous crowds, the instantaneous controversy over two as-yet inconclusive coroner's reports - one by the county, one for the family, and controversy over the singer's alleged prescription drug abuse, reported as fact in tabloids around the world.

"I think it's safe to say that since the 1980s, Michael Jackson has been addicted to different prescriptions off and on at different times," Taraborrelli said. "You know, he's been under a lot of stress, under a lot of pain for a long time."

Q&A: Taraborrelli On Jackson's Illnesses

And now controversy over his personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, who was with Jackson when he collapsed. The LAPD called Dr. Murray in for questioning over the weekend. They say he's not a criminal suspect. The family says the promoter of Jackson's planned concerts in London hired Dr. Murray. The promoters insist he was Michael Jackson's choice.

"Michael said to me that my body is the body that fuels the business," said Randy Phillips, an AEG promoter. "I want a doctor 24-7 like President Obama."

But now the court is center stage. On June 29, Jackson's mother, Katherine, got a judge to appoint her special administrator of her son's estate. Court documents outline a tangled legal mess: numerous bank accounts that are in the control of third parties, confusion over who controls Jackson's stake in the Sony-ATV music publishing catalogue, including works of the Beatles said to be of "tremendous value." But Jackson also had tremendous debt, $500 million by some accounts - plenty to keep the courts busy for years figuring it all out.

"There are going to be legal struggles on a number of levels," Katzenstein said. "His estate would pass equally to his three kids. The thing that is so interesting about that to me is the kids would get it when they are 18 years old, so there could be a significant amount of money landing in the hands of 18-year-old kids, which for those of you that are parents, you know that's not always a great idea."

Another court battle looms over custody of Michael Jackson's three young children. Jackson's mother also got the court to grant her temporary custody of 12-year-old Michael Joseph Jr.; Paris Michael Katherine, 11; and 7-year-old Prince Michael, ll. Attorneys for Jackson's former wife, Debbie Rowe, the mother of the older two children, say she is considering challenging Katherine Jackson for custody.

"This is where they belong," Joe Jackson has said. "We are the parents … We love those kids, too."

"All we can really know is that this promises to be a big drama in weeks and months to come if Katherine Jackson and Debbie Rowe both decide that they want those children," Taraborelli said.

Michael Jackson was rehearsing for his big comeback the night before he died. Now, the London promoters and the Jackson family are talking about staging a huge tribute concert for the "King of Pop," with performances by his brothers who shot to fame with him four decades ago in the Jackson 5, and his one-time superstar sister, Janet Jackson.

But the biggest show is likely to be the funeral for Michael Jackson, reportedly shaping up to be a several day event with a motorcade from Hollywood to Neverland, a private service and a public service.

"When I suggested to someone in the family that there might be 100,000 people, the answer was 'What are you talking about? We're hearing that there might be as many as one million people,'" said Brian Oxman, a former Jackson attorney. "When you hear those astronomical numbers that there might be a million people turn out, you just kind of go, 'Whoa, is that possible?' And lo and behold, for all we know, it's highly possible."

For Michael Jackson, the show must go on. His family and the public demand it.