HITS Daily Double
In a nutshell: "Even nay-sayers are pointing to...the sexual discoveries of the...gorgeously mysterious...pot-luck meal...that blows tha doors off of...sin and sorrow... with unseaworthy dialogue and... plenty of sunscreen."


Like The Ads For "Pearl Harbor,"
This Planner Is Da Bomb
On any other weekend, we’d probably say something at least partially clever about Vermont Sen. James Jeffords bolting the Republican party to become an independent allied with the Democrats. But, sadly, Jeffords’ announcement is poorly timed and must take back seat to the real theme of this week’s planner, the opening of Pearl Harbor. Sure, we could encourage you to remember those proud men and women who died for our country, but isn’t it incumbent upon all of us, at some point during this three-day weekend, to wrap ourselves in the air-conditioned cocoon of our favorite multiplex and wrinkle our brows as Kate Beckinsale struggles to choose between dreamy Josh Hartnett and curiously uncharismatic Ben Affleck? Don’t we all have three extra hours this weekend that we can dedicate to those true heroes of America? (Of course, I’m talking about the geniuses at Industrial Light & Magic.) If Sen. Jeffords had really been thinking ahead, he would have let Jon Voight make the announcement from a wheelchair, with prosthetic jowls adding the necessary FDR-like resonance to news. Yes, if Sen. Jeffords had paid any attention at all to Hollywood over the years, he would have known that it was absolute death to open against a blockbuster.

Pearl Harbor:
The $140 million pre-ordained summer blockbuster from Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay has already received some of the most vicious critical pans in memory (see below) but is still expected to top the $100 million mark this Memorial Day weekend. And how could it not, with Disney's relentless hype machine making you feel downright unpatriotic if you don't plunk down yer hard-earned $10 or so to honor those vets who gave their lives so we could pay Michael Eisner's bloated salary? The reputation of Richard Fleischer's Tora! Tora! Tora! as the worst movie ever made about Pearl Harbor is still intact, though. Even nay-sayers are pointing to Bay's poetics of destruction as a highlight, although you have to wait 90 minutes and wade through plenty of soap suds to get to it. Those surprised that the surrounding dramatics are so wooden probably believed the N.Y. Times and L.A. Times when they hailed Bay as an auteur who studied films like West Side Story in choreographing the Japanese bombs. Too bad they conveniently forgot he directed such ensemble acting pieces as The Rock and Armageddon, fer crissakes, so what did anyone expect? Oh yeah, there's Ben Affleck and the lovely Kate Beckinsale, attempting to graft on the obligatory doomed love affair for the female crowd—but among major critics, only the L.A. Times' Kevin Thomas seemed to bite. Of course, the second-stringer was only writing about he film because main critic Kenneth Turan was reassessing his feelings about Amores Perros, or something like that. Anyway, expect to hear the Faith Hill/Diane Warren song, "There'll You Be," everywhere, and do visit www.pearlharbor.com to pay your respects. You can see the trailer, which in five minutes probably shows you everything you want to see, and save those three hours and 10 minutes of your life for Miramax's release of Apocalypse Now Redux later this summer.

The Man Who Cried: Universal and new partner Studio Canal, who dared to release a movie opposite the Pearl Harbor juggernaut, tried the counter-programming approach, offering this art-house flick. It’s from writer/director Sally Potter, who previously helmed a semi-documentary of her romance with a dancer in The Tango Lesson, as well as '92's Orlando, based on the Virginia Woolf novel about the sexual discoveries of the young. The film stars ultimate shiksa Christina Ricci, going against type as a young Jewish cabaret singer in Paris who’s befriended (and ultimately betrayed) by a glamorous Russian chorus girl played by Cate Blachette and a grandstanding, fascist-sympathizing John Turturro, serving as her guides through a glittering, hyper-romantic City of Lights. Ricci enters into a heated romance with an enigmatic gypsy, Johnny Depp, who apparently slipped over from the Chocolat set without having to change. Meanwhile, the Sony Classical (www.sonyclassical.com) soundtrack could well be a sleeper, since the grand opera from Italian tenor sensation Salvatore Licitra (who supplies Turturro's singing voice) and Romanian Gypsy music provide the film with much of its ambiance. Check out www.the-man-who-cried.net and be prepared to weep at the beauty of Licitra's plaint. Roy Trakin

Joe Henry, Scar (Mammoth):
A smoky, cinematic suite of tunes from a songwriter who’s clearly grown into his gifts, "Scar" places Henry’s lived-in voice and richly allusive lyrics in a gorgeously mysterious musical setting. With stellar contributions from jazz legends (sax great Ornette Coleman, drummer Brian Blade, pianist Brad Mehldau), cabaret-rock virtuosi (guitarist Marc Ribot) and soulful fellow traveler Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Henry finds his muse on the spooky waltz "Stop," the incandescent "Mean Flower," the spryly funky "Rough and Tumble" and more. Expect to see this disc on more than a few year’s-best lists. —Simon Glickman

Continental Drifters, Better Day (Razor & Tie): The principals in this Nawlins-based veterans’ collective, former dB’s mainstay Peter Holsapple, ex-Bangle Vicki Peterson and onetime Cowsills kid sister Susan Cowsill, make like participants in a musical pot-luck meal as they bring together their highly individual styles. Holsapple’s soul struts and Peterson’s pop-rockers function as tasty appetizers on the band’s crisply recorded (for the first time) third album, but Cowsill (whose marriage to Holsapple ended last year) shows up with the deeply satisfying main course. The hopeful "Someday" and the heart-shredding ballads "Snow" and "Peaceful Waking" (which could’ve been on Richard & Linda Thompson’s breakup classic, "Shoot Out The Lights"), vividly portray a woman who’s determined to go her own way. —Bud Scoppa

Red Faction:
Never doubt that the PlayStation 2 iz a booming system capable of unbelievable feats. While pretty graphics might dazzle, PS2 haz the power to do things never dreamed possible in a gaming world. Proof comes in tha form of Red Faction, tha shooter that blows tha doors off of expectations. Tha developers behind this Gatling gun of technology have created a Geo-Mod Engine—essentially, everything in game world iz as real az in our own world and can be damaged or destroyed. Pop a cap in a window, watch it spider out and shatter from that bullet point. Launch a rocket in a cavern’s ceiling and you may knock a stalactite off, sending it down on an enemy beneath. You can blow holes through walls or floors into tha next room. Everything iz real in this game—as real as tha danger. Techno wonders aside, Red Faction iz at itz core a furious shooter, with an epic storyline and a menacing army of enemies. It’z ultra-realistic to tha last detail, as gamers find themselves probing the seas in a submersible craft and driving an armored personnel carrier, armed to tha teeth with the futuristic military technology. Tha weaponry alone might put the fear of God in you. Again, the amazing game engine provides realism that a true-life FPS needs—shooting foes in the leg takes them down, more lethal attacks takes them out. Imagine tha complexities of all this in the two-player Deathmatch option! The revolution is on. Latin Prince AKA The Big Lebowski

Something for Sen. Jeffords to put on his fridge:
"In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for. As for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." —H.L. Mencken

If you thought reading the reviews to Tom Green’s Freddy Got Fingered was far more enjoyable than any two minutes from that film, might we suggest trolling the Net for various critic’s takes on Pearl Harbor. It seems like nothing brings out the muse like a good old fashioned overblown epic. Sure, there are a few positive reviews of the movie—the Los Angeles Times, for one—but isn’t negative press the most entertaining to read? Unless it’s about you, of course. Below you’ll find some of the best quotes we’ve found. For more, waste a little of your employer’s time with a visit to www.rottentomatoes.com—the best place on the Net to go for a roundup of reviews, good or bad, on any movie currently running.

"Pearl Harbor is a two-hour movie squeezed into three hours, about how on Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese staged a surprise attack on an American love triangle… The filmmakers seem to have aimed the film at an audience that may not have heard of Pearl Harbor, or perhaps even of World War II…. As for the movie’s portrait of the Japanese themselves, it is so oblique that Japanese audiences will find little to complain about, apart from the fact that they play such a small role in their own raid."
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"Pearl Harbor strives to weave a story of personal dimensions into large historic events but mostly tests one’s patience with unseaworthy dialogue and performers drowning in oily cliches." David Hunter, The Hollywood Reporter

"It’s really like a giant cereal commercial—with death raining down."
a moviegoer quoted in The New York Post

"From its opening calendar-art sunrise to the "There You'll Be" love theme that Faith Hill sings over the final credits, Pearl Harbor is deep-down phony…. Bay and Bruckheimer have turned a real-life tragedy into a carnival attraction…. Bombs, torpedoes, destroyers, war planes and other weapons of destruction are fetishized with the skill the younger Bay brought to his commercials for Nike and Miller beer as well as his award-winning "Got Milk" spot…. An epic about this day of infamy should shake you to the core. But the real infamy about Pearl Harbor is that when you exit, you don't feel a thing."
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

"Perhaps they should have called this Bore-a, Bore-a, Bore-a." Desson Howe, Washington Post

"The U.S. military has a tradition. When one of our troops perishes in battle, they send his family the deceased’s dogtags. Following a press preview of the latest Jerry Bruckheimer extravaganza, the distributing studio’s PR rep handed me a promotional gift. Pearl Harbor dogtags. Studios being studios, they completely missed the symbolism…. There’s something terribly wrong with a movie that takes nearly five times as long to resolve a generic love story as it does to re-create the infamous battle from which it gets its title."
Todd Anthony, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, our 32nd president, was born Jan. 30, 1882, in Hyde Park, NY. FDR (who bore only a passing resemblance to Jon Voight) was the only American president to win the presidency four times, defeating Herbert Hoover, Alfred Landon, Wendell Willkie and finally Thomas E. Dewey, the latter of which was subsequently defeated four years later by Roosevelt’s successor Harry S. Truman. Roosevelt was the fifth cousin of Theodore Roosevelt, who, as some may recall, was also a president of the United States. Stricken with poliomyelitis at age 39, FDR spent much of his later years in a wheelchair. Considered one of America’s finest presidents (probably in the top three at least… depending on how The Dubya does, of course), Roosevelt led the nation out of the Great Depression and nearly through World War II, succumbing to a cerebral hemorrhage on April 12, 1945. Best Anagram Of His Name: So, I roll on a fervent elk nad.

Upcoming Birthdays

May 25-31
25—Ralph Waldo Emerson (would have been 198) & Miles Davis (would have been 75)
26—Sally Ride (50) & Hank Williams Jr. (52)
27—Dashiell Hammett (would have been 107) & Vincent Price (would have been 90)
28—John Fogerty (56) & Gladys Knight (57)
29—Bob Hope (98)
30—Mel Blanc (would have been 93)

Special Events
28—Memorial Day & Dragon Boat Festival (China)
30—National Spelling Bee Finals

Patriotism Free

There is nothing more important to a free society than recognizing and appreciating freedom by honoring those who died in defense of freedom. Well, maybe drinking beer while watching cars in Indianapolis circle an oval for few hours. In the greater New York City metropolitan area, this holiday weekend should be bad. Rainy bad. There’s a chance for rain each day. With temps in the mid-60s and lows in the mid-to-upper-50s. Leave town. In Los Angeles, it will be nearly perfect. Sunny perfect. Partly cloudy, with highs in the low 70s, lows near 60. Nice. Make your golf reservations immediately. At the lovely spa near Phoenix where I’ll be relaxing after a hard week of, uh, whatever it is that I do around here, it will be hot. Balls-out hot. Sunny and in the 100s during the day. I’ll be wearing plenty of sunscreen. At night it will dip down to the low 70s, but I’ll keep the sunscreen on, just in case. —David Simutis, apprentice meteorologist

Blair thinks being elected student council president is the most important thing in the world until a real tragedy strikes, forcing everyone to reassess their priorities.