In Belgrade, one group includes the American Center, the British Council, the Goethe Institute, and the French Cultural Center; the other group includes the Original Levi's Store and You've Got Mail. What's the distinction?
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Monday's Question (No. 215)--"Here's the Pitch":
Fill in the blank. After creating the highest-rated movie ever made for Showtime, Warren Weideman is about to make four sequels, but the project was a tough sale. "Most producers' eyes would glaze over as soon as I said the words, '____________.' "
"Highest-rated movie ever made for Showtime."--Daniel Radosh (Bruce Brown and Bruce Oberg had similar answers.)
"Emmanuelle, but with clothes."--Ananda "Getcher Cheap Astroturf Here" Gupta
"Baruch ataw adonay ..."--Larry Amaros
"Union crew."--Stephen Frick
"My two kittens and my new laser pointer."--Andrew Reynolds
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What I hadn't realized when I posted this question was that two different types of responses were possible--those that mock the idiocy of Warren Weideman for proposing truly stupid movies, frequently involving an abstruse philosopher, and those that mock Showtime for making truly stupid movies, frequently involving Shannon Tweed with her shirt off. These are both worthy goals, and that's what I admire about News Quiz participants: that the Weideman mockers and the Showtime mockers can respect each other and work together to mock various members of the Bush family, the anti-missile system, and maybe some kind of monkey--that's why the anti-missile system doesn't work, see, because of his crazy antics, and then Gov. Bush has him executed, and all of America and the Lockheed board of directors can sleep peacefully! Tonight on Showtime: Shannon Tweed in Fry His Monkey Ass, Governor Hero. Oh, like you wouldn't watch.
"Most producers' eyes would glaze over as soon as I said the words 'post office.' "
The postal service did not directly finance The Inspectors, starring Louis Gossett Jr. as a two-fisted postal inspector, but it did spend millions promoting it--printing 5,000 commemorative envelopes, hanging movie posters in 40,000 post offices, and putting Gossett's voice on its phone system so you hear a movie promo when you're on hold.
The idea for the movie emerged when the postal service hired Weideman, an ad man who was very big in product placement, to improve its image.
While ludicrous on the face of it, there have been less likely government heroes. Richard Widmark played a two-fisted health inspector tracking down a pneumonic plague carrier in the 1950 Panic in the Streets, directed by the odious but talented Elia Kazan; it won an Oscar for best story. And I believe Gene Hackman once played an FBI agent who supported the civil rights movement and battled robot dogs on Neptune.
Silver Lining Extra
Yesterday in New Mexico, for the sixth time in six tests, an anti-missile missile missed its target. But that's really a good thing, according to both the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin, which built the system.
- "It was a very close miss."--Jennifer Caniff, Pentagon spokeswoman
- "We came very close to hitting this target ... and we're very encouraged by that."--Thomas Corcoran, president and CEO of Lockheed Martin
- "Much of the operation was as it should be."--Thomas Corcoran
- "Our technicians were courteous and neatly dressed."--Thomas Corcoran, or perhaps that was me
- "And lunch. That went well, especially those spicy shrimp, mmm mmm."--Thomas Corcoran, or was that me too?
- "Oh, right, so you're so perfect, Mr. Perfect, Mr. Goddamned Big Nose Perfect Sissy Boy Stupid!"--Thomas Corcoran; oops, me again
Some Unlikely Old Bore in Love.