Friday, April 21, 2006


Colin Farrell’s The New World stinks and it has nothing to do with overacting or Greeks with inexplicable Irish accents.
Really, the 2005 drama about the Brits settling the Jamestown colony and the love story of John Smith and Pocahontas isn’t so bad. It’s breathtakingly shot, if a bit ponderous, and boasts one of the most compelling under-18 actresses in recent filmdom, Q’Orianka Kilcher, cousin of singer Jewel and a multiple award nominee for her breakthrough performance in the Terence Malick-scripted film.
That’s nothing to sniff at … unless you live in Tokyo, where The New World opens later this month. Whereas U.S. viewers had to settle for the standard popcorn, Milk Duds and keg o’ cola, Japanese audiences will get a different treat to enhance their cinematic experience – Smellovision.
During the film, a bouquet of aromas will waft through the theaters to coincide with the emotional tone of various scenes. Love scenes smell like flowers, anger carries a hint of eucalyptus and tea tree, and joy is a citrus-y blend of orange and grapefruit. The peppermint-y aura coming from the back of the theatre? That’s not the guy in the last row chomping on a wad of Wrigley’s … that’s eau de sadness emanating from special scented oil machines under the back-row seats in two Tokyo theaters.
Actually, Smellovision isn’t new. Considered one of the more curious gimmicks of the time, it was introduced in 1960 in the movie Scent of a Mystery, which was something of a stink bomb. Twenty years later, John Waters paid tribute to Smellovision with scratch-and-sniff "Odorama" cards distributed at showings of his 1980 film, Polyester.
Imagine if all movies came with Smellovision! OK, so Thank You for Smoking and The Stink of Flesh probably wouldn’t pull in the crowds, but Charlie and the Chocolate Factory would drive concessions sales up 200% as moviegoers begin drooling like Pavlov’s dog at the first whiff of an Everlasting Gobstopper.
After painstaking research (translation: stream-of-consciousness daydreaming), I came up with a plethora of movies that suitable for Smellovision adaptation. Here are some I can actually print, along with their accompanying scents:
* The Ten Commandments – Verily, verily, I smelleth a burning bush.
* The Exorcist – Green pea soup. Mmmm, heavenly!
* Forrest Gump – A box of chawk-lits, of course.
* Popeye – Spinach and olive oil.
* Citizen Kane – Rosebuds.
* The Elephant Man – Peanuts.
* Last Tango in Paris – Butter. ‘nuff said.
* Soylent Green – What’s that smell? It’s PEOPLE!
* Cheech & Chong's Up in Smoke – As if you couldn’t guess.
* The Godfather – Fishes, as in, "sleepin’ wit da."
* The Silence of the Lambs – Some fava beans and a nice Chianti.
* Apocalypse Now – What else? The smell of napalm in the morning.
* Fatal Attraction – Boiled rabbit.
* Rain Man – Pepperoni pizza on Monday, yeah … ‘course, Wednesday is fish sticks.
* The Sixth Sense – I smell dead people.
* Evita – I’m not sure what the fragrance would be, but with any Madonna movie, you can be sure of one thing: It reeks.

Friday, April 07, 2006


Oh, Paris.
Sweetie, come here. Sit down. We need to talk.
You’ve done television and that’s working out pretty well. I’ll admit I’ve laughed – guffawed, even -- on numerous occasions at your high jinks with Nicole Richie on The Simple Life. You’ve done movies and that’s working out … well, you’ve done movies. Yes, House of Wax counts.
Can’t you just stop there? Are you on a campaign for total entertainment world domination? It’s not like you need the exposure – a certain videotape from a couple years back gave you more than enough. Seriously. Stop.
Do you have to ruin music, too?
No, that’s not a typo. Music. Ms. Hilton is continuing to milk her long-expired 15 minutes of fame by recording an album. Just what kind of fare might one expect from the vacant-eyed, party-hardy heiress? Bubbly, synth-laden dance pop, right? Wrong. Word has it that La Hilton is gettin’ her gangsta on by teaming up with rap crew Three 6 Mafia. Really.
I can think of nothing more frightening … well, maybe Paris pairing with Kevin Federline for a duets album.
See, this is what happens when people become famous for nothing other than being famous. With no real talent to peddle, they stumble into the spotlight like drunken hogs on ice skittering around an all-you-can-eat buffet trough. A little bit of this … a little bit of that … And why? Because they can.
For those not in the know, Three 6 Mafia scored an Oscar for their song It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp from the movie Hustle & Flow. They’re not exactly the Limp Bizkit kinda band that chicks like Paree consider "hardcore." Without censorship, most of their songs would be a series of bleeps with intermittent noise words, e.g., Get kicked out of this (expletive) like, (expletive) that (expletive) – an actual censored line from an actual Mafia song.
Can Paris prove her street cred on her new album? Show that she’s down with the homeys? We’re talking about a girl for whom "the hood" is found on the back of an Abercrombie & Fitch pullover and "peeps" are sugary little Easter chickies.
I can just imagine what Hiltonized hip-hop would sound like:
"Check one, check two, check – EW! Like, who writes checks anymore? I totally use MasterCard Platinum … and Visa Platinum ... and American Express Platinum … and … what? Oh, we’re rolling? That’s hot.
‘Kay, so, like … I’m a fresh, fly honey from the big, bad city
My folks call me Paris – you can call me P. Hitty
I grew up on the mean streets of Beverly Hills
I go slumming in Bel Aire when I need some cheap thrills
Everyday I pull drive-bys – that’s a cold, hard fact
Like, I drive by Wal-Mart on the way to Saks
Think I’m a dumb blonde? Well, I’ve got you conned
See, I’m not really dumb – and I’m not really blonde!
Like, WORD … or whatever."