Wednesday, March 19, 2014



My performance in my first public debate scored the highest ratings ever for our local public access cable channel. Who knew that running for animal control officer for the City of Beverly Hills could be such an exciting career move? There's been some talk at Paramount Television of making my exciting and glamorous life into a weekly reality series. I'm sure I could offer viewers something above and beyond Sarah Palin.  I may not be able to see Russia from my house, but you can see the Hollywood Sign if you squint a little and crane your neck off the bedroom deck.  Joseph, my manager is on a conference call with Paramount now to see if we can get Vicki Lester's Hollywood off the ground. He also continues to offer my services to the producers of the new Broadway mounting of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? .

In a related development, I've been offered the position of celebrity spokesperson for Meow Mix brand cat food. They plan a whole campaign with me dressed as Grizabella from Cats singing 'Meow Meow' to the tune of Memory . I have agreed to accept this, as it will keep me before the public eye. However, I’ll have to have Bob Mackie do something about that costume, not a spangle on it.

Norman did not have a good weekend. He quite overdid it celebrating my fabulous debate win and spent most of the weekend lying around on the couch groaning about how hung he was. I've told him not to brag like that, but he will insist. Nurse Tameka is back this week to whip him into shape. Literally. I suggested she watch Kitten with a Whip as an instructional video to help her deal with him in his more recalcitrant moments.

Having been in a singularly elated mood over the course of the last few days, I decided it was time to put some balance back in my life. I recently received a copy of the DVD Se7en , the serial killer movie of a few years back starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman that was directed by David Fincher. I popped that into the home theater system to fulfill my weekly quota of despair and nihilism.

Se7en is the story of a veteran detective (Freeman) and a rookie (Pitt) who team up to track down a religious fanatic serial killer (an unbilled Oscar winning actor) who is busy murdering people in the style of the seven deadly sins. For those of you who have forgotten your catechism, these are Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Lust, Pride, Envy, and Wrath. It takes place in an unnamed, dreary city where it rains more than Seattle and Portland combined and where overhead lighting has yet to be invented. All the interiors are shrouded in gloom and fog with little puddles of dull light from ugly table and floor lamps. The director, David Fincher, a unique visual stylist, and the writer, Andrew Walker, together have constructed a vision of urban life as one of the inner circles of Dante's Inferno where all are condemned and doomed. The only ray of sunshine comes from Gwyneth Paltrow as Brad Pitt's wife so we know, early on, she's not going to have a happy life.

The dogged detectives, backed by major SWAT forces, crack the case through an FBI search of library records - a thoroughly unbelievable plot device. This city seems to have trouble keeping the lights on; a municipal budget that allows for a sophisticated computer database for the library but which can't purchase light bulbs? I don’t think so. This allows our heroes to apprehend the villain before he can finish his pattern, or so they think. All this leads to a final showdown in the desert outside of town. Climatological consistency is not as important to the filmmakers as atmosphere.

All of the murders, with the exception of the one not committed by the villain, take place off screen but the methods of killing are so grotesque and the crime scenes so baroque in their gruesome detail that the viewer will become easily queasy and discomforted. This is not a film for the weak hearted, expectant mothers, or children of any age. The final confrontation also resorts to a hoary old cliché, that of a head in a box - something that was old, and better done, in Night Must Fall back in the 1940s.

The DVD is sumptuous beyond belief. Besides the film, there are four separate audio commentary tracks, one focusing on the performances with the principal actors, one discussing the meaning of the film, one on the visual look and one on the sound design. My favorite is the one chaired by the learned film critic, complete with Oxbridge accent, who is pretentious beyond belief with his comments about sin, philosophy and how the film is a modern classic. It's a serial killer movie, not the collected works of Kierkegaard. A second disc contains loads of extras including an alternate ending, deleted scenes (mainly snippets cut for time and pacing), and discussions of how they made the still photos of the crime scenes, the villain’s notebooks etc. New Line went all out with this disc. Too bad they didn't do it with a better movie.

Killer strap-on. Pound of flesh. Empty tomato sauce cans. Car air fresheners. Gratuitous Arquette. Bloody corpses. Hysterical Leland Orser. Dog wrestling. Gratuitous naked fat man.

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