A Waste of Precious Resources

The following actors must stop making movies immediately or face heavy fines levied by the MovieGoing Authorities:

Harrison Ford
Robert DeNiro
John Travolta
Mel Gibson
Jim Carey
Anthony Hopkins

They are, as a rule, talented. But long ago they became caricatures and hacks, and now must be stopped before they waste any further precious movie-making resources.

Is there any reason in the world why we should have to look at Ford’s face again as he plays very tiresomely the Serious Adult in the room–avenging a threat to his or someone else’s family?

Is there any reason why we should have to endure DeNiro mugging emptily in a movie he neither cares about nor adds anything to but the presence of his Name?

Can we just pretend Travolta’s career consists of the several good movies he made (Saturday Night Fever; Pulp Fiction; Urban Cowboy) and “Welcome Back, Cotter”–and leave it at that?

Mel Gibson is a force that must be stopped–he has rarely played anything but a dark avenger adding nothing at all to the world but anger and violence and unhealthy vengeance. Did I mention vengeance?

Jim Carey was good on a half-hour TV comedy-variety show years ago that featured the Wayans brothers. After that, he had Dumb and Dumber. And then an undifferentiated string of movies, some animated, some not, in which he was grossly scatological and eminently not funny (and the overrated Truman Show). Pull the plug. Kill the Mask.

Anthony Hopkins: you died as an actor after playing Hannibal Lecter. You ate your career with Fava beans. Please retire to your English manor.

Once these abovementioned usurpers have been banished from the movie set, perhaps some younger, more-deserving, interesting actors can take their place in front of the camera; and our precious moviemaking resources can be utilized in the creation of valuable entertainment product instead of more rounds of depressing dreck destined rapidly for the bottom rack in the DVD section of BestBuy.

Units Under Stress–And Sun

Over a lengthy Holiday Season holiday, I found myself relaxing under a pleasant warm sun, in sight of the very pool where John, Paul, George and Ringo splashed for the cameras back when Kennedy had just been shot but the world was going to be all right anyway mostly because of those very moptops.

The hotel is a large, old ratpack haunt where the likes of Ed Sullivan and Jackie Gleason gave shows in the vast ballroom; where The Voice and The Drinker stayed; and that now has been rediscovered by Europeans (and me) as a somewhat offbeat, fairly-well restored three-star that drips Moderne on a relatively unfashionable stretch of Collins Avenue well to the north of the iniquity and madness of Ocean Drive. At the entrance, shiny new cars are lined up for valet parking; across the street are some rather humble but satisfying Brazilian-themed restaurants and markets. Within blocks are a bagel place with a straight-outta-Flatbush owner, an American bar and grille, a Chinese place that seems to have been ported in from somewhere along Queens Boulevard and a full-blown Sikh-owned headshop/newsstand/notary public that rivals anything in the East Village. Add winter warmth and you can see why I flat loved this neighborhood.

However, as is generally known, South Florida is also one of the two epicenters of egregious overbuilding of condos and houses (the other being Las Vegas). Noticeable even at the vaunted Beach are towers that stand seemingly rather empty and swanky-looking developments that seem in no hurry to be completed. The prices have been keenly pared on all of them and I have it on good authority that the bottom has not yet been reached.

According to my knowledgeable source, whose interaction with HUD and the effort to keep wayward homes from completely going to pot makes him privy to a wealth of information about the market, there are over a hundred thousand units in Dade County alone that are under stress and heading for foreclosure within the next eighteen months. Word is, there is no way that amount of property can be absorbed into the market–meaning that continuing price slippage is inevitable.

The tourist areas are still crowded–and in much better shape now than, say ten or fifteen years ago when Miami Beach was only a ghost of its past and a dream of its future–but there is no shortage of soaped-over storefront windows and bare patches here and there along the beachy highways.

Eventually a home in the oceanside land of perpetual warmth may be in order–but apparently more bargains are on the way. And let’s all offer our kind considerations to those who irrationally believed that water plus yearlong sun plus four walls and a roof equaled ever-escalating home-value; then, after we kindly consider their real-estate foolishness, wait until their properties drop to the lowest point we can believe in and then buy them.