HITS Daily Double
Will Empire Falls be one of those rare films that holds up to the book it’s based on (possible, since the novelist and the screenwriter are both Richard Russo)?


Here’s Your Gateway to Summer, Kids: Four Months of Heat, Smog, Monotony and Way Too Much Exposed Flesh on People Who Should Be Wearing Caftans Year-round
Can Dwayne Wade prevent the Big Aristotle (who now calls himself “OstertagBradleyMuresan”) from enduring the humiliation of losing to the Detroit Pistons in consecutive years with two different teams? Can Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire forestall the inevitable and bring some drama to the Western Conference Finals? How good is Manu Ginobili, and could he turn out to be the best non-big man in the playoffs, rather than Wade or Nash? Will Danica Patrick (no, ESPN’s Dan Patrick has not had a sex-change operation) stop doing interviews long enough to actually drive in Sunday’s Indy 500? Will The Longest Yard be one of those rare sequels that holds up to the original (not that the original was Citizen Kane or anything), and will Empire Falls be one of those rare films that holds up to the book it’s based on (possible, since the novelist and the screenwriter are both Richard Russo)? Will Madagascar approach the new standard for CGI features set last year by The Incredibles? So many questions…but at least we have three days to find the answers.

Friday, May 27
8:00 a.m.-midnight
Femme Film Festival: Movies made by girls & parties…uh…attended by girls? This much-respected and fun festival runs all weekend @ L.A. Center Studios (450 S. Bixel St. btwn. Maryland/S. Fifth St. in Downtown L.A., 213-534-3000)

8:30 p.m.
Rich Vos & Bonnie McFarlane @ the Hollywood Improv: These two are so fucking funny. And engaged. And have a new show coming on Comedy Central. They were both on Last Comic Standing (Bonnie infamously said the C-word (in her act) on nat’l television during one of the first competitions. God, I love Bonnie) and Rich is always on Tough Crowd w/Colin Quinn etc. Saturday night too! (8162 Melrose Ave., 323-651-2583)

10:00 p.m.
3-Faced @ the Gig in Hollywood: A super group comprised of members of Methods of Mayhem and a super-hot female lead singer.

1:00 a.m.
www.fasco-csc.com: Hey there, winner! Cruisin’ the Net & shit? Wanna play a game? What movie is that a line from? At any rate, The Crimson Room places you in a room furnished only w/a bed and dresser. There are various clues/objects there to help you find your way out. Frustrating? Uh-huh. Amusing? Uh-huh? You still a big winner for cruisin’ the Net at 1 a.m.? Uh-huh. (By the way, today is Opposite Day.)

Saturday, May 28
10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.
Pasadena Summer Fest: Three days of music, art, food & games (incl. petting zoo for kids, a batting cage) @ the Rose Bowl. The Playboy Jazz program presents live jazz, blues & salsa all weekend. (1001 Rose Bowl Dr., Pasadena, 626-797-0421)

11:00 a.m.
Coby Brown: Can’t quite roll out of the apartment? Wanting to get turned on to an amazing artist? Coby’s six-song EP, Truth Shines (produced by Gregg Wattenberg), is available at www.cdbaby.com/browncoby. He’s wrapping up a residency at the Mint this Tues. 5/31 @ 9:30 p.m.. Coby will also be @ the Hotel Café Tues. June 21 @ 10 p.m. I saw him @ a packed show at the Mint this week—he kicked ass. Favorite tunes: “Ballerina in a Bullfight,” “Swim for Shore” and “Just the Same.” He’s pretty sexy too. I mean, if looks matter to you. If you’re shallow. I, personally, am all about the music. And, world peace. But he is hot. And if you wanna make that the reason you go check him out, fine…do it. I’ll be closing my eyes, listening to how hot he is. (Wonder if anyone bought that whole world peace thing… I could totally get laid outta that one.)

12:00 p.m.
www.Hollywoodaviators.com: This makes me a little bit nervous. Then again, there’s very little that doesn’t make me a little bit nervous. Wanna get all Aviator Leo? This stylized boutique flight school will accommodate serious pilot contenders (or those just wanting 30 minutes in the air…that’s the part that makes me a little bit nervous). There’s a $49 Discovery Flight package—you can fly at a low-altitude scenic route with an instructor at your side…yeah, still a little bit nervous. @ Van Nuys Airport (7535 Valjean Ave., #2, 818-994-2004)

3:00 p.m.
Madagascar: A perfect film for the whole family. We think this movie is going to be great. We think families are great. We, however, live alone and can’t afford goin’ to the pictures. Hold us.

5:00 p.m.
Heats vs. Pistons on TNT: After pulling even in the series, Dwyane Wade and his Miami Heat look to steal a game at the Palace and reclaim home court. We think this series is shaping up to resemble the championship last year when the Lakers lost Game 1 at home, were lucky to win Game 2 (Kobe heroics) and then got swept in Detroit. As much as this has been an intense and physical series and only looks to get more violent, we just can’t wait to see the Pistons and Spurs fighting it out for the World Championship.

6:00 p.m.
Suns vs. Spurs on ESPN: The Spurs head home after proving dominant on the Suns’ home court. Can Phoenix, which had the best road record in the regular season, continue their winning ways away from home and get back in this series? Will getting Joe Johnson back (wearing a specially fitted mask) help at all? We think Manu is too good, and it doesn’t matter who the Suns have on the court.

9:00 p.m.
Empire Falls (HBO): Two-part series starring: Ed Harris, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Helen Hunt, Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, etc. “Every small town has a big story.” It’s based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Richard Russo. Part 2 Sunday night.

Mario Cantone in Laugh Whore (Showtime): if you missed his much-loved one-man show on Broadway (pronounced, Broadwhhhay, as Corky did in Waiting for Guffman), then you’re in luck ’cause they shot one for the lovely folks at Showtime. Of course, if you’re sans Showtime…the luck…not so much for you right about now. Either way, you know Mario as Anthony, Charlotte’s interior decorator, on Sex and the City.

Sunday, May 29
10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.
Pasadena Summer Fest continues.

11:00 a.m.
Style Sessions: Skateboard riders auction off original works of art on skateboards. Funds go to Breast Cancer. Auction runs Fri-Sun. 11-6 thru June 3. @ Milk Studios (450 W. 15th St., NYC,: www.freshpaved.com)

12:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
Jazz Reggae Festival: India Arie & Anthony B headline this two day festival with music (duh), food & more. @ Intramural Field, UCLA Campus in Westwood.

2:00 p.m.
Fox Sports special. NASCAR ’05 Coca-Cola 600. A NASCAR Nextel Cup race in primetime live under the lights of Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte. Lets get it on!!

9:00 p.m.
Empire Falls (HBO): Part 2. Part deux, if you are French. Part Shtayiim, if you are Jewish.

11:00 p.m.
Eric Bogosian, Wasted Beauty: A Novel (Simon & Schuster): I’ll be reading it this weekend. It’s always a dark walk on the wild side with Bogosian. I’m all over it.

Monday, May 30
10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.
Pasadena Summer Fest continues.

10:30 a.m.
Memorial Day Program at Los Angeles National Cemetery: Each May the West Side's Los Angeles National Cemetery hosts one of the Southland's largest Memorial Day observances, with music, ceremonies and speakers honoring the more than 80,000 veterans laid to rest on the site's sprawling grounds. (950 S. Sepulveda Blvd.)

11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Barbecuin’: Whether you are heading down to the beach, a park or just staying at home, today is the day to get those BBQs going. Or, if you are like Jesse, try to figure out how to get one.

5:30 p.m.
Suns vs. Spurs: Game 4 of this seven-game series in which, depending on the results of Game 3, the Spurs could be looking to sweep the Suns right out of the playoffs and on to the golf course. Tee time, anyone?

8:30 p.m.-2:00 a.m.
Two Turntables and a Microphone: Head to the Circle Bar for a night of hip-hop, old-school, R&B, & funk/soul. Features DJs from all over the Los Angeles getting a chance to express themselves on the wheels of steel.

9:00-10:00 p.m.
Series Premiere of Hell’s Kitchen (Fox): Yes, yet another reality TV show, this time one that focuses on finding the next great chef. Oh brother, as bad as another reality show sounds, we will most likely find ourselves watching it anyway. Remember, we can’t afford goin’ to the pictures.

June 4-July 16
Van Arno
(hey, I know that dude), the genius who creates our weekly cartoons, has a show in NYC for you kids to check out. Knuckleduster: New Paintings by Van Arno, will be @ Fuse Gallery, w/an opening reception Sat. June 4 from 7-10 p.m.. (93 Second Ave. btwn 5th and 6th St., www.vanarno.com)

The Longest Yard
Starring: Adam Sandler
, Chris Rock, James Cromwell, Nelly, William Fichtner and Burt Reynolds
Synopsis: Former pro quarterback Paul Crewe and ex-college coach Nate Scarborough are stuck doing time in the same prison. After they're asked to put together a team of inmates to challenge the guards on the gridiron, they discover that the game is fixed.
Thoughts: Honestly, as hard as it may be to believe, I have absolutely no interest in this movie whatsoever. The reason is because, as much as I’m a big fan of Adam Sandler, I just think this movie looks so utterly stupid that I don’t want to waste my time. However, it will probably be a huge box-office success, so what does it matter what I think, right?

Starring: the voices of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett-Smith, David Schwimmer, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, Andy Richter, Gwen Stefani
Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe, and Gloria the hippo have spent their whole lives living happily in a zoo. Then Marty falls in with a crowd of devious penguins, who bring him along in their escape attempt. When Alex realizes his friend is missing, he leads a company of critters on a search that takes them all outside the zoo for the first time. But before they know it, they're captured, crated, and put on a ship traveling to Africa.
Thoughts: I love these animated films and will be going with Mom and Pops to see this one over the weekend. The great thing about these types of movies is they are made for people of all ages, so no matter if you’re 4 or you’re 40, you should still enjoy this film. Plus, it has an all-star lineup of actors lending their vocal talents.

Empire Falls
Small towns are complicated, personalities merge, circumstances tangle, civility must be maintained and the known secrets must go unspoken. As Nowhere U.S.A. lies dying, the rage against the status quo becomes oh-so-much more poignant—when clawing back to the top of the water, the need to break for the air is critical. And so it is that Richard Russo's novel—adapted by, well, Richard Russo, and executive-produced by no less than Paul Newman, who plays a freewheeling crank with a huge backstory and major-league insight—gets the two-consecutive treatment on HBO. Ed Harris, Helen Hunt, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joanne Woodward join Newman in a portrait of tiny-town characters who weave a complex net of humanity. The flaws create the conflicts against which the character of each is defined and refined, and what might seem basic on the surface proves to be as intricate and challenging as anywhere. All the big-city drama writ small-to-medium by a cast of people who look not so different from the folks who populate each of our own regular lives. (Debuts May 28-29.)

Entourage First Season on DVD: The story isn't the red carpets, the far-flung work locations; the story is the backstory. And here, HBO's true behind-the-scenes docudrama—brought to you by Marky Mark, who went from rapper to Calvin Klein underwear jockey to actor of some merit—offers a lot of real downlow about the what and how it really goes. The hangers-on are trusted by virtue of their "before affiliation," yet they’re utterly lacking in true understanding of what happens. The conflict of what's known, what's desired, how it operates and the license fame—or notoriety—grants mere mortals is eye-opening, even as it confers a deeper understanding of how or why some of this stuff goes down.