HITS Daily Double
[SMiLE is] a shimmering three-part avant-garde/classical fusion that is pure Americana, closer in spirit to such musical eccentrics as Charles Ives, John Philip Sousa, Stephen Foster and the Gershwins than Chuck Berry or the Beatles.


The Electorate Is as Split as Ever About Brian Wilson’s SMiLE, The Thrills, Kobe vs. Shaq, Lost, Green Day and Veronica Mars
Before we begin this Weakend Planner, it's time to set some ground rules. First of all, no unexpected questions that our handlers haven't prepared us for. We follow a script here. What do you think this is anyway, Wife Swap? Second, no two-shots of us with our opponent, where you might glimpse the sweat on our brow and the confusion in our brain. Third, we refuse to be photographed at our computer screen, lest we spoil the magic. And fourth, if you're from Florida and a member of a minority, you're not allowed to vote. Fifth, we just realized there's less spontaneity in these presidential debates than there is on your average reality show. Now, let's get ready for some baseball pennant races, some hard-hitting football and a little couch potato "Cabin Essence."

Alright, kiddies here is the rundown for this Weakend. Unfortunately, we can’t promise tons of laughs because Jill is currently in Orlando, and there’s nothing funny about that, but we are so jealous anyway. While we slave away, Jill gets some fun in the sun. No hard feelings though. We love her and wish her the best time… bitch.

Friday (10/1)
7 p.m

Pop in the new Green Day’s American Idiot…it’s already a classic! Even Trakin says so (see Popcult Top 10 below).

7:10 p.m.
Dodgers vs. Giants:
This intense rivalry continues, this time at Chavez Ravine, with nothing less than the Western Division pennant at stake… as well as shameless Giant rooter Pearson’s seven-year winning streak against Murphy and his Big Blue. The D’men took two out of three at SBC Park last week, so you know the Giants are going to come in hungry. Just keep an eye on Milton Bradley if you’re in the stands.

7:30 p.m.

It should be a busy weekend at the box office as some good movies finally open up. Take your pick at what to see first. May we recommend Shark Tale, the animated movie from the creators of Shrek.

8 p.m.
If you happen to be in San Diego, catch an awesome show at 4th and B. Dredg and the Deftones… Can you say WOW!!??

Uncabaret presents Say The Word
@ the Skirball Center: True & original work from Beth Lapides (Uncabaret, NPR host), Carol Leifer (Seinfeld, The Ellen Show), John Riggi (Larry Sanders), Jon Kinnally (Will & Grace), Merrill Markoe and Andy Prieboy. For info on tickets: (310) 440-4500
8-9 p.m.

New York Dolls
at the House of Blues Anaheim: The return of this legendary glam-rock band is cause for celebration… at least for Trakin. See his full report on the Avalon show next week.

Saturday (10/2)
11 a.m.
Downtown LA:
Head out to the fashion district for some cheap fabric and then hit the "Alley" for knock-off bags, cheep jewelry, socks and $5 contraband videos. And make sure to hondle for bargains.

1 p.m.
Saturday afternoon, a perfect time to catch a movie. How about I [Heart] Huckabees? This movie has a tremendous cast and looks to be hilarious. Here is the synopsis: Albert Markovski (Jason Schwartzman) hires two "existential detectives" (Dustin Hoffman, Lily Tomlin) to help him examine his life, including his battles with a nasty corporate exec (Jude Law) and his relationship with his girlfriend.

1:10 p.m.
Catch the Dodgers as they battle their hated rivals the Giants in the second game of a pivotal three-games series that will decide playoff positioning. And don’t throw any bottles at your TV screen, either.

8 p.m.
The Ten Commandments
@ The Kodak Theatre: We’re hearing it’s incredibly cheesy. And we want to see Val Kilmer do Moses. Oh, and there’s zero dialogue. All music, all the time. And a burning bush that only seems to work most of the time. It sounds too good to be true. For tickets: www.ticketmaster.com

9 p.m.
Head on over to The Good Hurt in Venice for an awesome night of beer, a laser light show, girls in nurse uniforms, fire dancers and kick ass bands, featuring Nimbus.

The Libertines
at the Henry Fonda Theater: Even without their lead singer Peter Doherty, left at home with a nasty addiction to "crack cocaine and heroin," the band is worth seeing for their post-modernist take on U.K. punk-rock swagger.

11:30 p.m.:
Really Bad DVD Rental: Soul Plane!:
It’s shot, staged and performed so poorly that it almost looks like a lame attempt at a dream sequence. The movie’s about a newly owned black airline first flight where much comedy ensues. Or is supposed to. There’s a strip club, casino, nightclub & even a "really low class" seating on board. You want it to be so bad that it’s good. But it’s mostly bad. Mo’nique & Snoop have their moments.

Sunday (10/3)
11 a.m.

Brunch @ Fred 62 (1850 Vermont Ave., (323) 667-0062):
This local Los Feliz hang has booths made outta old car seats and plenty of newspapers to read if you haven’t brought your own. Sit outside & people watch. Try Alice’s Sandwich (egg whites, avocado, goat cheese and tomato on a buttery bun) and they’ve got those huge Diet Cokes with lotsa crushed ice. And best of all, they’re open 24 hrs.

1 p.m.

Wake up from your late Saturday night to an array of NFL games. Or if that isn’t your thing, maybe it is time to catch up on all those TiVo’ed shows you have been putting off or haven’t gotten around to.

1:10 p.m.
Watch the last game of the three-game series between the Dodgers and Giants and get ready for the playoffs.

4 p.m.
Bored? Nothing to do? Typical Sunday, go check out Ladder 49 starring John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix. Yeah, we know it looks like another Backdraft but it looks like it has a good story and it has a pretty good cast. We definitely think it is worth checking out. Bring in the Halloween spirit early with a trip to Knott’s Halloween Haunt (boo)!

8 p.m.
(339 N Fairfax Ave., (323) 952- 0039): Baba ganoush yourself.

10 p.m.
Vanity Fair
Reese Witherspoon: Because the contraband video you bought in downtown L.A. yesterday was hard to hear and cut off in the last 20 minutes of the movie (while the guy who was shooting it with the camcorder from the back row kept getting his popcorn into the shot)!

1. Brian Wilson, SMiLE (Nonesuch): The old guard rockcrit establishment (and you know who you are) has already weighed in that this reworked version of Brian’s failed 1967 attempt to top Sgt. Pepper is a masterpiece, but if you’re expecting the second coming of Pet Sounds, you’ll be disappointed. This is not the effervescent surf-pop of the Beach Boys, but a heady collaboration between a suddenly revitalized Wilson and cohort Van Dyke Parks. The two, along with the Wondermints, especially keyboardist/mix producer Darian Sahanaja, have meticulously reconstructed a shimmering three-part avant-garde/classical fusion that is pure Americana, closer in spirit to such musical eccentrics as Charles Ives, John Philip Sousa, Stephen Foster and the Gershwins than Chuck Berry or the Beatles. The three movements are anchored by "Heroes and Villains," "Surf’s Up" and "Good Vibrations," with an overall theme that could well be dubbed Wilson’s Inferno, exploring the path from childhood innocence to corruption and back, tracing American pop from the military march through doo wop street corner crooning to celestial harmonies. Not for every taste, but certainly worth it for no other reason than it allows the troubled Wilson to finally experience closure with a work that sounds just as timeless today. And it's a great stoner album to boot.(Roy Trakin)

2. The Thrills, Let’s Bottle Bohemia (Virgin), Live at El Rey Theater, L.A.: Again, if you’re looking for the Next Big Thing, this winsome, tuneful Irish quintet might well underwhelm you, but their love of melodies and American pop, as well as a sly lyrical vision, makes for a winning combination. The new album may not be quite as seductive as the group’s Beach Boys-meets-Byrds SoCal-inflected debut, but it’s filled with perky choruses on such songs as the cheeky, string-driven Motown thump of "Whatever Happened to Corey Haim?," the Springsteenesque drive of "Found My Rosebud" ("Look at these sandpaper hands…I’m just paid from the neck down") and the sheer joie de vivre of "Saturday Night." Live, the new songs are intechangeable with classics from the debut such as "Big Sur," "Don’t Steal Our Sun," "One Horse Town" and the closing "Santa Cruz (You’re Not That Far)," with now-bearded singer Conor Deasy easing into his role as charistmatic frontman. Unlike fellow countrymen U2, The Thrills aim for the front row, not the last, with a down-to-earth, non-pretentious attitude that is thankfully more about the song than the singer. Now will someone please tell me what former Laker coach Phil Jackson was doing at a ringside table? (RT)

3. Kobe vs. Shaq: Can’t buy me love, indeed. This one has more potential for fireworks than Kerry vs. Bush. In fact, let’s cancel the NBA season and just have these two meet in a boxing ring, winner take all. (RT)

4. California Angels: And then there was Oakland... If you are an Angels fan, you knew starting with spring training that it was going to be an interesting year. New additions—now new deletions –have made the past year and week one to remember. After their three-game winning streak in Texas (dropping the last one yesterday) and the team only looking better and stronger, you've got to believe that this weekend's finale in Oaktown will be the team’s victory lap. It won't be easy—the AL West pennant race is the closest going in baseball right now, with Anaheim, Texas and Oakland all providing some of the best TV outside of Lost. While the booting of Guillen last week set shockwaves through the baseball world—Scoscia doesn't fool around, you either play as a team or you won't be part of the post season, no Milton Bradley wind-ups in the OC—it seems to have fired up the team. A few new words to learn: Curtis Pride. His triple helped tie the game on Wednesday with the Rangers and you have to love his story—the fifth deaf player to play in the major leagues. Glaus' home run on the other night put them over and he continues to look stronger as a player than he has in the past two years. As always, rad Vlad is looking great and hitting great—it looks like this will be his first post-season in baseball, if you can believe it. Chone Figgins is hitting and running his way to a permanent slot; Jeff DaVanon is showing his hustle; and rookie Adam Riggs is coming up and showing what the AAAs have known about him for the past year. Add to that a bullpen that's the strongest in years and it seems like the team that Arte bought, lowered beer prices for and had more sellouts than years past, is on their way to another exciting October. If you haven't pre-ordered your post-season tix, the time is now. Next stop Oakland. It's starting to feel like another Red October. (Hanna Pantle)

5. Lost (ABC): J.J. Abrams of Alias and Felicity fame (and director of the upcoming Mission: Impossible 3) has done Survivor one better. His much-ballyhooed fictionalized series is about a group of people (a disproportionate number of whom are hot) marooned after a plane crash on what seems to be a deserted island (except for a giant unseen monster that picks them off one by one). The premise could wear thin rather quickly, but for now, the introduction of the myriad characters (and their assorted neuroses) is enough to keep things relatively lively. The Hawaiian scenery is spectacular and the crash, revisited in several flashbacks that establish the individuals, is frighteningly real. I’ve already set my TiVo for a Season Pass, and suggest you do, too. (RT)

6. Jan Reid, "The Rise of Redneck Rock" (Texas Monthly): Controversial when it was first written—as much from the epithetical moniker as the warts-and-all gaze Reid fixes upon his subject. With perhaps the exception of Haight-Asbury and possibly the Capricorn-Southern rock nexus, few music scenes can come close to Austin: be it the hippie/country merging, the blues/rock & roll marriage, the roadhouse/honky-tonk connection and far-flung embroidery that is the town’s resident poets and songwriters. A bit too wonky for some fans—and a point of view that is as much opinion as cold, hard fact—Reid was there, witnessed the moments, captured the things that give pause and offered it up for posterity. If you're curious about Willie Nelson or Marcia Ball, Stevie Ray Vaughan and his brother Jimmy (an anchor of the Fabulous Thunderbirds), Doug Sahm's many incarnations, Roky Ericson and the latter-day Lone Star keepers of the flame, this is an engaging read. (Holly Gleason)

7. Green Day, American Idiot (Reprise): Who would have thought that rock’s tradition of political protest would be adopted by the likes of one-time punks such as the group and the Beastie Boys? The boys of Dookie raise the stakes with this unabashed Bush-bashing concept album nod to the likes of the Who’s Tommy, Quadrophenia and A Quick One. There are echoes of Mott’s "All the Young Dudes" and Bowie’s "Moonage Daydream" in "Jesus of Suburbia," one of two mini-operas within the album, alongside "The Death of St. Jimmy," and, if not groundbreaking, it’s at least a fondly nostalgic fusion of punk and classic glam-rock. The title track’s boast, "I’m not a part of a redneck agenda," comes across as a surprisingly potent statement in the context of today’s otherwise co-opted rock star establishment. (RT)

8. Veronica Mars (UPN): This already low-rated series doesn’t look like it will last very long, which is too bad. Kind of a teenage version of Murder, She Wrote, it stars the thoroughly charming Kristen Bell (who played an ill-fated hooker in HBO’s Deadwood) as the title character. She’s a high school student who moonlights as a detective for the agency run by her father, a defrocked sheriff in the mythical SoCal coast town Neptune. Sounds pretty conventional, but the treatment is anything but, pitting the town’s wealthy 09’ers (named for the well-to-do zip code 90909) against a blue-collar Latin motorcycle gang. Bell’s title character, now ostracized because her dad tried to pin the murder of her best friend on the girl’s father, the town’s most notable citizen, finds herself uncomfortably in the middle. Unique among American TV shows for not shying away from how class (and race) differences permeate contemporary U.S. culture (a topic also broached on Trading Spouses), Mars is that rare program you can watch and discuss with the whole family, which makes its probable demise that much more lamentable. (RT)

9. In Living Color (Season Two) (DVD): By far, one of the most funniest television shows of the early ‘90s, In Living Color released its entire second season this week in a special edition, four-disc DVD box set. Fans and critics have long hailed it as one of the most groundbreaking shows to come along since the debut of Saturday Night Live. In Living Color was just plain out damn hysterical. There is no denying the sheer brilliance of the ultra-talented cast who included then little-known stand-ups like Jim Carrey, Tommy Davidson and David Alan Grier. Characters such as Blaine Edwards and Anton Marryweather (aka Men On Film), Homey The Clown and Vero De Milo (Jim Carrey’s "Mistress of Destruction") proved to be have immediate impact on viewers. Leading high ratings for an impressive five-year run (1990-1994), it wasn’t until battles between the show’s producers and Fox executives ultimately led to the departure of the show’s creators and its cancellation. Fortunately, it left its mark on TV comedy history and this exceptionally enjoyable box set. Two Snaps & Circle for sure. (j-shotsi)

10. Mofro, Blackwater (Swampland): Funky in a swampy, fetid backwater kinda boil-down-and-baked kinda way. A gut buckety-bluesy-white-boy-with-a-redneck celebration of a Florida lifestyle that's lower than the water table down in the fartherest reaches of the Sunshine State—the part where the gators sun, the cranes languish and people's hair hangs in a tangle of salt-soaked glory. Soul-drenching, rib-sticking, glory-raising and laidback in-the-pocket grooves makes this old school witness about preservation ("Florida) and hope ("Brighter Day") open your head to something beyond rebel flags and rebel yells. It creates heightened dignity for the utterly discarded—the commonly held white trash that crawls from the Everglades to do the physical labor that makes the state run. (HG)

Shark Tale
An animated mafia flick set in the underwater world. When the son of the shark boss of a fish crime family (Robert DeNiro) is accidentally killed by a dropped anchor, a fast-talking bottom-feeder named Oscar (Will Smith), who is found at the scene of the crime, poses as his "slayer."
Smith, De Niro, Renee Zellweger, Angelina Jolie, Jack Black, Martin Scorsese, Peter Falk, Michael Imperioli, Vincent Pastore, Kevin Pollak, Doug E. Doug, Ziggy Marley
Director: Eric "Bibo" Bergeron
(The Road to El Dorado) and Vicky Jenson (Shrek)
Thumbs up:
Finding Nemo proved there’s apparently a potent audience out there for fish cartoons.
Thumbs down:
Will it suffer from Nemo comparisons?
Soundtrack: Geffen Records
soundtrack includes Sean Paul/Ziggy Marley, Christina Aguilera/Missy Elliott, Justin Timberlake/Timbaland, JoJo, D12, Mary J. Blige/Will Smith, Avant, Ludacris, India Arie, Cheryl Lynn and Hans Zimmer.
: www.sharktale.com

Ladder 49 (Touchstone)
Trapped in a fire that looks fatal, a fireman takes the opportunity to look back over his life, career and marriage as he waits for his company to rescue him.
Joaquin Phoenix, John Travolta, Jacinda Barrett, Billy Burke, Morris Chestnut, Kevin Daniels, Balthazar Getty, Robert Patrick.
Jay Russell (Tuck Everlasting, My Dog Skip)
Thumbs Up:
Fire scenes look authentic, but this one will hinge on the performances.
Thumbs Down:
The cliché meter is registering high on this one. Betcha there’s an arsonist involved.
Soundtrack: Hollywood Records
album includes Robbie Robertson, David Gray, Ohio Players, Sam Phillips, The Breeders, Alexi Murdoch, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Pogues, Bonnie Raitt, Black Crowes and Jon Dee Graham.

I Heart Huckabies (Fox Searchlight Films)
Ensemble comedy with a series of interlocking stories about a married couple that work as existential detectives, helping people solve crises in their lives. Their first client is experiencing angst because of his position at Huckabee’s, a popular chain of retail stores.
Jude Law, Naomi Watts, Mark Wahlberg, Dustin Hoffman, Lily Tomlin, Isabelle Huppert, Jason Schwartzman, Kevin Dunn
David O. Russell (Three Kings, Flirting with Diaaster, Spanking the Monkey) also wrote the screenplay.
Thumbs Up:
Quirky, but often-brilliant director and top-notch cast whets our appetite.
Thumbs Down:
Satire is what closes on Saturday night, per Kaufman, and this is being marketed and promoted almost exactly like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which didn’t quite come off in its trailers, either.
Milan Records album features original songs abd scire by Jon Brion.

Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry:
George Butler
, who caught Arnold Schwarzenegger smoking pot in his seminal 1977 bodybuilding documentary, turns found footage into what is reportedly a spirited defense of the Democratic presidential candidate’s Vietnam service and post-war activism in the ‘60s.

DIG!: I reviewed this documentary favorably last Spring after a screening at the L.A. Film Festival. Seven years in the making, it’s a fascinating study of the changing fortunes and ongoing relationship between two would-be Seattle rock stars: Brian Jonestown Massacre’s mercurial but self-destructive Anton Newcombe and The Dandy Warhols’ laidback, but ambitious Courtney Taylor. Featuring a starmaking performance by Massacre tambourine player Joel Gion, a prankster with a soul.