Tag Archives: scarlett johansson

Science finally agrees: Clowns are horrifying

Probably don’t so much want to play the Grand Prize Game with these people

Island Packet – Everybody loves a clown, except me, because I hate them, hate them with an intractable hate, an icy and all-consuming hate, a hate that’s so hateful it’s gorgeous, because all clowns are bone-chilling, spine-curdling, bone-curdling, fake flower-squirting, red-nosed, be-wigged messengers of hideous demon-terror. And I’m not just saying that because of the recurring nightmares I’ve been having since what years of therapy have determined to be around the age of 4, but then again, I probably am. For when they would haunt my sleep, the clowns would mostly chase me across a desolate, bone-dry landscape, one filled with brush and tumbleweeds and Sergio Leone camera crews; I tried in vain to run away, but they were relentless, cackling horrifically on their unicycles and popping up from behind cactus after cactus after cactus. This went on for years, pretty much until the nightmares with the Incredible Hulk began, but this is probably oversharing now, as well as a startlingly long intro paragraph.

For the most part, I don’t like to overgeneralize about things I disapprove of, except Fox News anchors and country music, but I feel comfortable saying that clowns should be avoided at all costs; in fact I have endeavored to keep my young son, for instance, away from them for as long as possible. Seriously, if he came up to me right now and said, “Dad, can I have a clown birthday party?” or “Dad, can you buy me a carton of cigarettes?” my only question would involve his preferred level of filtering.


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SCARLETT JOHANSSON IS A CLONE, according to this grammatically troubled e-mail I have just received


Pictured: Scarlett Johansson

GateHouse — I have an urgent alert regarding Scarlett Johansson, whose name I am including here in the lead partly because it introduces the column, and mostly because it will totally increase my Google hits. Scarlett Johansson Scarlett Johansson Scarlett Johansson Scarlett Johansson. I am all about metadata up in here.

This morning I received an important e-mail from a mysterious character who identified himself only as “Serge G.” (No relation to Warren.) Serge is pretty obviously either an international superspy, mustachioed evil genius or has come here from the future. Because Serge’s missive WARNS ME about STOLEN BIOLOGICAL MATERIAL, and somewhat less capitalized-ly, trouble involving the Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2007 regarding Scarlett Johansson, who, his e-mail’s subject line helpfully clarifies, is an actress. So we’re not talking about Scarlett Johansson the regional marketing manager for TiresPlus. Let’s be clear about that.




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Google Street View: Google now knows how little attention I pay to my lawn

Island Packet – I feel just awful complaining about the people at Google, because they have single-handedly streamlined, by an incalculably exponential margin, the amount of time I spend looking online for music to steal and pictures of Scarlett Johansson. I feel like I should send them a thankful-tasting pie or something, but I also have in my head that they’re very cool people, and would graciously demur with a tap on the heart and a shake of the head like, no, dude, don’t worry about it, we got you.

So please, Good Nerds of the Google Office, Which I Imagine To Be A Giant Shiny Wind-And-Corn-Oil-Powered Cube Floating Somewhere Near Tahiti, don’t take this personally. I am not upset with you, even though you have insanely awesome jobs, health benefits that I can only dream of (like, for instance, dental), holidays off, ping-pong and pinball tables in your offices, a free in-house gourmet cafeteria and I’m sure some sort of indoor neon go-kart track, with lasers.

But like those of many other residents of the area — except Dick Cheney if he’s around, which wouldn’t surprise me as his aging mechanical exoskeleton is refueled by the sun — my home recently has materialized on Google Street View, an online functionality that offers panoramic 360-degree street mapping (when writing about technology issues, it helps to throw around majestic-sounding buzzwords that make it sound like you are attempting to jam a multitude of bowling pins into your mouth) that allows users to virtual-walk down your virtual-street and see firsthand how little actual attention you’re paying to your actual lawn.
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Movie Review: “The Island” — What kind of paradise harvests your organs?

Florida Times-Union — The Island is this summer’s second Ewan McGregor movie about clones, but there’s one big departure from Star Wars: In this one, he gets to emote!

Then again, since The Island is directed by Michael Bay, the auteur behind dialogue-driven indie flicks such as The Rock, Armageddon and Pearl Harbor, most of that emoting is of the yelling-while-plummeting-off-a-skyscraper variety, with a little bit of the screaming-while-being-chased-by-helicopters variety and a small dash of the hollering-during-a-shootout-in-a-train-station variety.

A logic-free shoot-’em-up masquerading as a Matrix knockoff, The Island takes a slick idea and quickly scuttles it under action cliches — it’s the kind of movie that says: Why have a guy just fall, when you can him fall into a very large wine rack? As with anything Bay, it has plot holes the size of hot-air balloons, but the good sense to, if one of those holes becomes too obvious, blow up some cars.

Set in the near future, The Island kicks off with a neat hook: A legion of developmentally stunted white-clad drones work methodically in a self-contained colony that, they’re told, has been sealed off from an outside world that’s been “contaminated.” Their moods are monitored, their gruel-heavy diet is controlled and they toil in the hopes of being sent to “the island,” a futuristic Margaritaville you can only get to by winning a lottery.

But if you’ve ever read more than three pages of sci-fi, you know that winning a lottery is never, ever a good thing. Lincoln Six Echo (McGregor) is suspicious of the whole place, especially when his crush, Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johansson), becomes a lucky powerball winner.

And though Lincoln’s every step is tracked, he gets “proximity warnings” every time he spends more than 14 seconds with Jordan and his urine is always scanned for quality, he manages to sneak around long enough to uncover the truth about the place: Evil Dr. Merrick (Sean Bean, overdoing it) is growing extra humans that he harvests for parts for his rich clients. “You guys are just replacement engines on their Bentleys,” the “insurance policies” are told.

Bay sets it up nicely, and for a minute, he even lets you hope that The Island might be gearing up to make a statement on stem-cell research, or maybe the ethical limits of science or the fundamental nature of humanity. And then he punts the action outside to L.A. and stages a brain-rattlingly loud car chase.

From then on, there’s nothing you won’t see coming a mile down the turnpike. Action set pieces whiz by in flurries of jump-cut confusion (in many of the schizophrenic fistfights, Bay has to put glasses on one of his competitors so audiences have a fighting chance at knowing who’s punching what). Clone Lincoln seeks out his “sponsor,” Real Tom Lincoln, who, surprisingly, owns a very fast car. Steve Buscemi plays Steve Buscemi. Djimon Hounsou adds class as an assassin hired by Merrick to track down the “product,” but there’s never much drama about which side he’ll end up on.

And, sure, this isn’t the sort of thing that demands a lot of logic, but come on: There’s only one Tom Lincoln in 2019 L.A.? How does Clone Lincoln know how to handle a flying motorcycle, or, for that matter, a car, or, for that matter, his shoelaces? Who’s handling security in this bunker so badly that Lincoln gets to go play with a butterfly when he feels like it? And what of the clones? There’s a fascinating story to tell about the events right before the closing credits, but Bay pathologically steers clear of philosophizing, probably because that would require talking scenes.

Oh well. Johansson looks great at all times, although McGregor, as he did in Star Wars, totally mutes his natural roguishness for some reason (until the clones hook up with ultra-rich Real Tom, who’s a kick).

But you can’t help but get the feeling that 10 years ago, in the pre-Independence Day age, this would have been the summer blockbuster. This summer, scuttled at the end of July and without half the buzz of the Sith or the Batman, The Island is destined to be quickly wiped from your memory.

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