R.I.P. Paul Walker…Ramble

Last night I was out with a friend who was a little surprised how in shock and upset I am about Paul Walker’s tragic fiery death last Saturday. Paul was one of my all time favorite Hollywood actors. It wasn’t just his hypnotic ocean blue eyes, winning smile, that wavy blonde hair and great physique that attracted me to Paul, it was his personality and his love of sharks.

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You can’t find a person saying anything bad about Paul. Even the claims that he was street racing were dismissed because he was aware as a famous actor who stars in films about that kind of racing, it would encourage others to take dangerous risks. The jeweler who stepped up to tell the story of how Paul anonymously paid for a soldier’s engagement ring is only one of the many great stories about how generous and real Paul Walker was and amounts to the loss of a great guy, a great human who used his popularity for the benefit of all.

I recently saw an interview with Walker speaking about the Davidoff campaign and how he had thought by now he would retire but was having too much fun. He loved being a dad and my heart goes out to his teenage daughter Meadow. I’d just like to tell her -your Dad brought a lot of smiles to people through the big screen and through his every day generosity. Thank you for sharing him with all of us.

Hope Paul is racing at unbeatable speeds in the sky. R.I.P.

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5 Questions with @JamesLaRosa…Ramble

I was introduced to @JamesLaRosa by our mutual friend @jrjeffrey in LA. They had gone to college together and now ventured West, like we told them too, go West… When I really ‘fell’ for James was during a night out dancing at Cherry, the 80’s night at a gay club (now Hip-Hop on Robertson- quite a scene to see on a Saturday night.) James can dance like no other. He also is ridiculously funny, punny and knows has all the best drink specials on lockdown in Weho.

Mmm yummy! And the donut looks good too.

James is able to translate his wit to writing. Last year I was watching a Syfy Scary Saturday Shark movie marathon and got so excited to see “Written By James LaRosa” at the beginning of ‘Springbreak Shark Attack’ causing me to squeel for a good thirty seconds.

Location: Los Angeles
Vocation: Screenwriter, sports writer
Sign: Virgo
Web: www.tennischannel.com/columnists/larosa.aspx

1) How do you approach writing a film from scratch vs. being a script doctor?

From scratch, I’m usually working toward a single scene. A moment that got lodged in my head that I somehow have to get out.  Oftentimes it’s the ending, so I’m working backwards a lot. Creating a world that will give that scene as big an impact as possible.  Needless to say, when I finally write that scene, I’m mainlining it like crack. Don’t interrupt because you’re gonna get bit. Rewriting is another animal. Whether it’s performing surgery on my own script or someone else’s, I’m usually spending most of my time trying not to f*** something up.  Whether it’s someone else’s moment, or an amazing character, or a huge set piece the studio can sell in a trailer, the project is still alive because of it and it’s your job not to kill it. It’s like playing Jenga. Do it right and you’re a star.  But pull at the wrong thing and it all falls to shit.

2) You wrote the amazing ‘Spring Break Shark Attack’ – are you a big fan of shark movies? How much research was involved?

What I did was, I took Jaws, renamed the characters, and voila. Actually, I was approached to write a disaster movie for CBS. While I’m not a huge shark movie fan, I love disaster movies, like “Towering Inferno” and “Earthquake.”  Put a bunch of actors together, kill them off one by one in some grisly way…heaven. When I learned they wanted to do a shark movie, I thought, huh. Not exactly a disaster. But I could kill a bunch of people so I was in.  Most of my research was documentary stuff.  Shark behavior, survivor stories. Let me tell you, if I was freaked to go in the water before, I for sure ain’t goin’ in there now. We actually filmed in open water off the coast of South Africa and all I could think was, you poor actors.  I may have had in my contract that Kathy Baker couldn’t go in there. She’s a three-time Emmy winner. Let the kid from Young & Restless get eaten.

3) As a tennis aficionado you landed a coveted spot blogging for Tennis Channel. What is your favorite grand slam to cover?

The first one I ever covered was the French Open, so it has a special place in my heart. I’m most at home at the U.S. Open. I see all my NYC peeps there, I know all the secret passageways to get from court to court and avoid the crowds.  Plus Tennis Channel has an amazing hospitality suite inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. But while Wimbledon is almost too impressive to enjoy – I’m intimidated just using the bathroom there – you can’t beat the history and the overall sense of holy crap I’m at Wimbledon. Plus you can buy a can of match-used balls for 5 pounds a can. That’s three Christmas presents right there.

4) Congrats on your recent marriage. Due to CA not recognizing a same sex union, you were married in MA. How has this affected your view of California and why do you think Prop 8 hasn’t been successful yet?

It’s popular to be down on CA after the whole marriage debacle, but I’m much more down on politics.  The whole campaign was a deliberate mindf***.  Starting with the fact that “Yes on 8” meant “Yes say no to gay marriage.” So you see, Prop 8 was successful – successfully confusing.  I’m lucky in that my family is from Boston, so they could see me legally wed. My husband is not so lucky, as his family is from L.A. and aren’t Rockefellers, so they couldn’t afford to fly out and have that for themselves.  Collateral damage.  Massachusetts treated us great, and I’m so proud to be from there.  That said, I won’t be happy until gay marriage it’s recognized nationally. That’s really the one I care about.  If you knew the Federal taxes we have to pay above and beyond heterosexual couples just to put our spouses on our insurance, it would piss you off.  It pisses me off.  It’s thousands of dollars a year.  Screw the emotional trauma, Uncle Sam is raping my wallet. We’ll get there, but not soon enough.

And thanks for the congrats. He’s pretty awesome.

5) As a new dad of a puppy, what has been the most surprising part so far?

He looks like a puppy but he’s actually a 1 or 2. He’s a rescue, so he’s a man of mystery.  Where did he come from? How was he treated? The biggest surprise is how quickly he’s integrated into our little unit. We’ve had him less than a week and he’s already part of the family.  Okay that’s cliche. How about this: it’s hard to kill a dog.  I thought taking on a pup would require all these extra responsibilities, and if I failed at one he’d die.  But really, just keep the bowls filled and he’s a-okay.  I was worried about kids for the same reason, now this gives me hope.  Though I imagine I’d have to do more than keep its bowls filled.  Maybe some crate training with that one.

Face-off : Sharks Vs. Brain Bug…Ramble

When I was shopping for a Christmas present I came across the ultimate triology:

Starship Troopers. I bet you didn’t even know there was more than one made and certainly not 3. Hey, it’s the same for Anaconda! What makes the Starship triology even better is the final chapter has the return of Casper Van Dien. Well hello General Johnny! How you doin’?

Oddly enough the principal photography was shot in South Africa, which is a haven for some of the world’s most deadly Tiger Sharks. You know what that means….

Brain Bug vs. Shark? Let’s do this FACE-OFF!

1. LOVE:

All Rights Universal Studios

The Brain Bug‘s downfall is playing games. Instead of immediately pinning down Denise Richard‘s in a manner befitting Warren Beatty, he decides to toy with her, perhaps hoping to win her affections before sucking out her brain. Boohoo, he falls victim to the siren’s call and gets caught.

Shark: Does the movie poster for Jaws give it away? These babies go right for it. Was there anything more terrifying than that first kill in Jaws? I think cinematic history and the perception of sharks changed forever! Bugs, we still squash. Whether you are gorgeous and naked or even old Grannie Brody in Jaws 4: We Just Want More Jaws Forget  A Plot, when a great white is hankering for a tasty morsel, you don’t stand a chance!

Winner: Shark!

2. LONGEVITY:

Brain Bugs: have humans put in their place with their army of ants, flying winged creatures and ability to basically suck the brains out their enemies and use that knowledge against them. They have to wait for their dominant times when the planet looks dark and drab just as they do. According to the Hayden Planetarium show Journey To The Stars, humans will have “moved on” when the sun burns up in 5 billion years so maybe we goto another planet full of rocks and bugs that want to kill us. Boo!

Sharks: A creature created so deadly, so perfectly that it hasn’t had to further evolve since its primordial days. In some shark films, sharks grow legs and come on land. In the film ‘Malibu Shark Attack’ an earthquake unleashes a pack of sharks even more fierce than today’s majestic creatures:

U-g-l-y, you ain't got no alibi!

Winner: The Brain Bug dominates in a future that is dull but we’ll still wear shades to protect us from the ooze that is his blood. We all “know” in ‘the future’ there’s no water, trees, grass, flowers or other general prettiness so unless Sharks cross-breed with ants they don’t stand a chance.

3. BRAIN POWER

Calm Down Brain, rumors abound re: a 4th movie

Brain Bug: Thinking this one is obvious? After all ‘Brain’ is the first part of the Brain Bug’s nomenclature. While the Brain Bug collects information and brains, he only defeats the humans on a temporary basis. His unwieldy size makes him a one note killer much like Jabba The Hut, who’s enormous girth, arrogance and lust for women were was his undoing. Indeed, if the BB were to talk (why doesn’t such a highly evolved brain talk?) his personality would probably be similar to Jabba’s. There’s not a lot of creativity with the Brain Bug. He wants to eat the brains so he can understand how his competition thinks to defeat them.

Shark: If you’ve ever seen ‘Deep Blue Sea’, then you know that they genetically violate the Harvard Compact with the side effect being “the sharks got smarter.”

The response: “You stupid bitch!”

Sharks are already perfect killing machines. They can swim up to 50 miles an hour and they use their brain power. They are curious and investigate when a strange new element i.e. a scuba diver is introduced to their environment.

Winner: Brain Bug –a no-brainer….hahaha. Actually it is a close call on this category. I have to go with Brain Bug on this one. Even with the shark’s brain power, also in ‘Deep Blue Sea’ Dr. Susie did lure back the shark just as it was about to escape to the deep blue sea by cutting herself (on a rusty piece of metal -nasty!) and using her blood to draw back the fiercest beast. It worked. Even when the sharks got so smart we were knocked to the bottom of the food chain, in the words of Dr. Susie “She’s still just an animal after all.”

4. LOOKS

Brain Bug– nasty!  He is a gelatinous mass of ugly. He apparently stinks as well.

Shark: While fierce these animals are beautiful gliding creatures.

Winner: Shark

5. FISTICUFFS

Brain Bug: While he may be superior in brain power, BB is lacking in the fast-movement department. If he were to tangle with a shark, BB would have to pin the shark with several tentacles so he could extend his brain sucking appendage. He would also have to make sure it was in shallow water, like three feet, where a shark can still be deadly and BB’s tiny legs can still reach the bottom.

If the Shark was able to drag the BB into the water after biting into BB’s legs, he might have a good shot here. He is faster and could maneuver around BB, nudging him over with brutal blows. An adult shark can ram you as hard as a truck. Once BB was on his side, the rest is history making our winner The Shark.

Overall winner: The Shark!



Great Whites Vs. Everyone…Ramble

In my Sharks Vs. Octupus ramble, indeed sharks are the more fiercesome creature. Reviled since the release and subsequent sequels of “Jaws” on a massive scale, sharks don’t mess around. The most feared? Great Whites!

After coming across this report, I am warning all my friends in Oz! (see I told you don’t swim out past those damn shark nets!) and declaring today Great White Wednesday!

Sharks Vs. Octopus…Ramble

jaquetteEver since I first laid eyes on the book cover for  “Jaws” in my neighbours’ home, I was intrigued. As with most people, it the movies made a huge impact on my ventures into the ocean. Long Island water can be described in the 80’s best by Billy Joel “Hyperdermic Needles On The Shore” which didn’t help my fears. My Australian cousins used to take me out on their surfboards and ask if it was okay with me if we went out “past the shark’s net.” Hell to the no!

Still, the sea lingers in my blood and learned how to dive in Sydney and crossed paths with a wobbegong shark about 3 meters long (probably named as in ‘We be long gone!’), during a practice dive near Shelly Beach, Australia. Our dive instructor, Olaf, said it was completely harmless. Uh, this video has slightly more information and I’m glad I didn’t know they often bite divers disturbing them.

Fortunately, I’ve never come across a great white or a tiger shark, though I would love to have try diving with a whale shark. Thus, I was intrigued by a shark marathon on the SyFy Channel that included several shark films I had not seen before including Spring Break Shark Attack which was written by none other than my pal, James LaRosa, who writes a blog for the Tennis Channel, in addition to movies.

Yet the movie that intrigued me just by name alone starred Debbie Gibson and Lorenzo “I’d Rather Take on Megashark then spend time with my dead beat kids” Lamas in “MegaShark vs. Giant Octopus,” not to mention Vic Chao playing Debbie’s love interest. He almost dies for her love, then she tries to play hard to get. The real question is how do Sharks vs. Octopus match up in the ‘real world?’ = my blog.

TASTE TEST:

SHARK: We eat Shark Fin soup but not often in the US and it’s fairly unimpressive, rubbery in taste.

OCTOPUS: Calamari is usually smoothered in breading and fried, to be dipped in some type of tomato dipping sauce, it can also be wonderful boiled without breading.

Winner: OCTOPUS

THEMESONGS:

SHARK: Mac The Knife! The Themesong to Jaws, who hasn’t heard that in their head with low visibilty swimming? “My Head Is Like A Shark Fin” ouch LL bad.

OCTOPUS: The Beatles “Octopus’ Garden” in the shade. Oh yeah!

We don’t need more like this ode to Great Whites:

Winner: OCTOPUS -quality over quantity here folks

FILM CAREER:

SHARKS: Jaws, Deep Blue Sea– let’s face it shark movies are their own genre at this point and an honorable mention “Swimming With The Sharks,” a Hollywood classic movie about …Hollywood.

OCTOPUS: Megashark Vs. Giant Octopus the creature has to team up with an A-lister, the shark to get some traction. It’s not like KRAKEN: Tentacles of the Deep or Octopus 2: River of Fear did anything to boost the Octopus as a predator for anything but crappy movies.

Winner: SHARK hands down

LOVE LIFE:

SHARK: Gets right to the point, can be a bit moody, do not piss off! National Geographic did a study proving Sharks are Pimps too, go and brush your shoulders off :

a female that carries a litter could have up to four different sires, so ten or 12 different babies might have four different fathers, or two different fathers.

OCTOPUS: He’s all legs! Nat Geo:

They live to be about four years old, with both males and females dying soon after breeding. Females live long enough to tend fastidiously to their eggs, but they do not eat during this months-long brooding period, and usually die soon afterwards.

Sex does kill! Damn, dying for passion it’s so Romeo & Juliet, which has always been my least favorite of Shakespeare’s works.

WINNER: SHARK

TV CAREER:

SHARK: One of cable televisions highlights of the year is SHARK WEEK on the Discovery Channel. All year can be Shark Week online there are games, personality quizzes ie “which shark are you?” (great white thank you very much) and great facts about conservation efforts. Even Sharks are prey to man’s stupidity. The only thing the new series “Shark Tank” has to do with sharks is the opening graphics.

OCTOPUS: Cable movies on SyFy “Imagine Greater”…yes, I was hoping for greater than what you were already doing. Sadly, this fierce predator has become a regular of children’s animated shows. Sorry but it’s not very scary when you are acting like a doofus begging for a part on Sponge Bob Squarepants.

WINNER: SHARK

Who wins? Finally tally SHARK 3 vs. OCTOPUS 2

In the future I’m sure we’ll see Sharks battling crocodiles, turtles and giant ants.

I hope I never see this smile one on one!

I hope I never see this smile one on one!