Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Third Great Movie Of 2012.

Do I gamble? Only with birth control.

And I don’t take chances with the movies I see. I wrote about four I was looking forward to last week, and I’m so glad Moonrise Kingdom totally came through.

But don’t just see it because I’m now one for one on upcoming films – see it because Wes Anderson’s style will make you laugh for 90 minutes straight. See it for Wes’ customary references to “Peanuts.” See it because Bruce Willis is perfect as the sad, small-town cop whose authority is restricted to writing boating tickets. Oh, wait – there’s a fourth reason: see it because it scored a freaking 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Am I insinuating you should see this film? Kinda, yes.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Once More, With Feeling.

There’s a rumor that’s spread around Hollywood like wildfire, but unlike the wildfires I’ve started, this one doesn’t sexually arouse me.

It says that most of the lines actors speak in films are actually ADR (automatic dialog replacement), dubbed over their actual lines shot on camera.

Well, the rumor’s true – and if you shoot outside, and you’d better expect it. The more action/adventure involved, the more ADR necessary. Apocolypse Now was 80 to 90% ADR. Many of the spaghetti westerns were 100%.

I wrote about doing ADR a few years back, and the other day I was in the studio once again , doing it for my role in the film Saints and Sinners. In some ways, it’s a cinch to do it – your cadence never tends to deviate even months after shooting. But if you’re trying to match a heavy action sequence like a fight scene or improv, it’s a beast. Couple that with the fact you’re dealing with a series of audible beeps in your headphones that both cue you and distract at the same time, and it’s like trying to do Chinese trigonometry. For some reason though, I seem to be able and nail it in just a take or two. Who knew.

 So yes, most of what you hear is actually recorded later in a studio. And if I inadvertently hocked a loogie on your movie-going experience, my deepest apologies.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Heartbreak.

After the Duke lacrosse team’s hijinks, followed by the University of Virginia men’s lacrosse player killing his women’s lacrosse-player girlfriend, it seems to safe to that if lacrosse players are guilty of anything, it’s everything.

Actually, that’s far from true. Both my brothers played college lacrosse, and I went to the University of Maryland, which has one of the best programs in the country, and the players there always behaved. In fact, I was with a bunch of former Maryland players yesterday and they are damn good guys.

We were watching Maryland play in the NCAA finals for the second year in a row. But unfortunately, Memorial Day yielded another tough loss for Maryland.

The beauty of sports is that they’re the ultimate reality shows, wrought with drama, fueled by the burning desire that after years of dedication to your team, you’ll feel the ultimate high of a championship. And it would have been so sweet to spend that moment with a bunch of guys who played at the highest level for my school. We’ll get it next year, fellas.

Speaking of reality shows – “Cupcake Wars” seems a bit of an egregious use of the word “war,” and I hardly think injured vets would approve, right? Never mind, I answered my own question.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Saturday, May 26, 2012

No, But I’ve Seen A Dude Clutching A Fistful Of Singles.

My friend Emil, an actor here in LA, was in a Coffee Bean on Tuesday when a gang of paparazzi surrounded the place. He turned to the woman next to him and asked if she’d seen a celebrity in there. The woman was Jessica Alba. She hadn’t seen anyone.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Following Previews Have Been Approved By Some Dude On His Crummy Blog.

The three-day weekend doesn’t start for another day. There’s still time to write that novel you've been – oh, forget it. Let’s see some movies. Actually, the ones I’m looking forward to are kinda spread out through the rest of the year. Here’s a handy look at four movies and three trailers:

 
Gangster Squad
Main cast: Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin
Premieres: September 7th
Thought: LA in the 40s, and Sean Penn playing a Jewish gangster? Please and thank you.

 
Moonrise Kingdom 
Main cast: Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Bruce Willis
Premieres: Tomorrow!
Thought: Wes Anderson is a very polarizing filmmaker, and I happen to LOVE his work – the insert shots, the title cards, the quirky 60s film style. Hell yes.

 
The Amazing Spider-Man 
Main cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Denis Leary
Premieres: July 3rd
Thought: I love that Spider-Man is cracking wise with criminals like in the comic books. Also, love the wild shots from his point of view as he swings through Manhattan.

Lincoln 
Main cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones.
Premieres: December
Thought: Unfortunately, no trailer yet for this one, but a guy in Richmond, VA snapped a pic of of Daniel Day Lewis having lunch in between shooting, and this alone (plus Spielberg directing) makes me really want to see it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Injustice.

Okay, name a misstep you made in your career… ready, set, go. Sorry – the bandwidth does not exist.

Dan Harmon, the creator of one of the best sitcoms on TV, “Community,” was notified Friday that he was no longer going to be running his own show. I felt really bad for Dan, who posted a well-written blog about it, owning up to his mistakes, which included bickering with Sony, who produces the show, and going public about an on-set fight with cast member Chevy Chase.

I don’t personally know how Dan operates as a showrunner, but I know he was nice enough to send me his thanks when I previously blogged about him. And I know that every great creative has to defend his work, which in this case is an amazingly unique sitcom that breaks a lot of rules, and the notion that it could maintain its distinct humor without Dan putting his foot down every now and then is a bridge too far. He created it, and his voice is in every character and storyline, so of course he did his best to keep execs from mucking it up, and in return he got the equivalent of being shivved in the prison laundry.

The show’s entire cast immediately tweeted about how much they loved him and owed him for giving them the roles of a lifetime. That’s a great boss. I don’t see Apple employees gushing about flaming asshole Steve Jobs.

So it’s really sad to see Dan’s baby, for which he struggled every season to keep on the air, yanked away and handed over to two producers he’s never even met. He’ll still get paid because his name’s on the show, but if I were in the same situation I’d very likely root for it to fail like crazy. But that’s me; Dan showed a lot of character by tweeting a link to a column by TV hall of famer Ken Levine, who was pretty harsh about what he thought Dan could have done differently.

Here’s hoping you create something new and great and perfect all over again, Dan. Make them eat their livers. I’m permanently reserving space on the DVR.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Because They’ll Both Save The Planet And Make Your Butt Look Phenomenal.

Trying on clothing at Banana Republic only reminds me that children are terrible at sewing.

So if you’re gonna get some new threads, get some old ones. Inside the Actor’s Studio Apartment is proud to welcome a new sponsor: Trash Clothing. Their stuff isn’t made in some third-world country – it’s just saving the world – with its recycling and whatnot.

Trash likes my posts almost as much as they like keeping it green, so click on the banner on the right and show them some love. They dress musicians and pro skateboarders, but have been saving a spaghetti strap tank or two for the most kickass bunch of all: my blog readers.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Weekend Recap.

All of my friends here are inexplicably born in May, so we had our annual May Baby birthday party, which included my favorite (and massively underrated) ice cream cake. Ice cream cake deserves the Congressional Medal of Honor, or a Nobel Prize, or inclusion in Parade Magazine’s “10 Delicious Desserts”… Speaking of May babies, apparently there’s been a rash of Carmageddon births this month, which makes me retroactively kick myself for not realizing it was so easy to get some that weekend. I think I stayed home and opened a can of Dinty Moore… How gorgeous is this automated table?... My brother needed me to watch my nephew Saturday afternoon, so I brought him with me to Beverly Hills for my haircut. Every time we passed a cute chick I felt the need to make it verbally apparent I wasn’t his father: “So what time did your DAD want me to bring you home?” “You know who’d like this? Your FATHER.” “It’s technically not child abandonment when I’m only your UNCLE.”

Friday, May 18, 2012

And One Snazzy Card.

Recently, the Screen Actors Guild was withering away so tragically a veterinarian would have likely wanted to put it down.

But then the unthinkable happened. After years of failed attempts to merge with its sister union, AFTRA, the latest vote took place for us actors, who’d been getting the shitty end of the stick with TV shows lowering our day rates and threatening to cease paying us royalties. And six weeks ago, our president, Ken Howard (Coach Reeves!), stepped up to the mic and giddily announced we’d voted in favor of merging in a landslide.

So now if you want to seem showbiz-saavy, don’t ask an actor if he’s in SAG – ask him if he’s in SAG-AFTRA. My new card arrived yesterday and the whole thing is already paying off by eliminating one of the two annual dues I had to pay. But here’s a little known perk I wanted to share: The Conrad Cantzen Memorial Shoe Fund. Here’s the skinny straight from SAG-AF:

“In 1945, actor Conrad Cantzen bequeathed his estate to The Actors Fund with the stipulation that it should be used to help actors purchase shoes so they did not appear ‘down at the heels’ when auditioning. Mr. Cantzen believed that a good pair of shoes made a great first impression on casting directors. Mr. Cantzen felt that performers were more confident when auditioning in new shoes. The fund reimburses applicants up to $40.00 for one pair of shoes in a 12-month period, providing the shoes cost no more than $100.00 before tax.” 

Take that, United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters. I think I’ll pick up some Nikes with the exaggerated herringbone this weekend and put them on Connie’s tab. Go union.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Straight Into Compton.

Me, venturing into one of the most dangerous cities in the country? My watch must have stopped – apparently it’s already never.

But there I was, heading to jury duty last Friday. In LA, you can be asked to report to any court within 30 miles of where you live, which for me includes the infamous Compton, CA. And as I made my way through its streets lined with boarded-up stores, homes and free clinics, I figured my best bet was to hope the locals assumed I was either crazy or a cop.

Later, as I sat in the jury holding room with 99 others collectively wanting to be anywhere except right there, a case came in that we were told would last six weeks. (I have no idea what could possibly take that long to present; I’ve watched enough “Law & Order” to know that shit can be wrapped up in thirty minutes.)

Thank Jesus I wasn’t requested for that case, nor any other for the rest of the day, fulfilling my full commitment to the state of California. And as I hauled ass the hell out of there, literal bullet dodged, I looked forward to some newly acquired street cred here at the beach. Though maybe a smidge less than whoever tagged the above courthouse. Much respect.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Second Great Movie Of 2012.

To all of my bunk-mates from Camp Half Moon back in the day: you can yell at me all you want, but I’ve seen enough movies to know that popping the back of a raft makes it go faster.

Well, at least I know everything in the movie Bernie is real. When writer/director Richard Linklater read the true story about a funeral director in a tiny East Texas town who committed a crazy crime, he immediately went to that town and checked it out. What he created was a brilliant mixture of documentary meets Fargo. Real townspeople are interviewed about what happened, filling us in with their Texas charm and filthy mouths, and they even get to do their fair share of acting – and really well, too – opposite Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey and Shirley McClaine, who recreate the main characters of the story.

This is the best and most difficult role Jack Black has ever played: a pious, asexual southern gent who makes little old ladies swoon. He belts out a bunch of religious hymns throughout the film (keep in mind, Jack was raised Jewish) in the funeral home, the church, even while driving his big Ford LTD. You’ll quickly forget the over-the-top comedy/voiceover Jack Black.

Bernie is great. But if you don’t trust my opinion, a) screw you, and b) it got a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, so for eff’s sake, see it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I’m Sorry, Son…

...but they don’t grow back.

Monday, May 14, 2012

It’s My Birthday.

Yes, it’s my birthday, and my mom was nice enough to send me a card with a very generous gift inside. Now, what to do with it? One $300 hooker, or 300 $1 hookers?

As for the rest of you, it’s tradition that in lieu of gifts, you instead watch a bunch of movies I’ve listed that I think are amazing but flew under the radar, and with your support it’ll encourage the production of more good films.

But this year I’m changing it up, and asking you to check out some TV shows instead – ten that were amazing but for some reason got short shrift and lasted only a season or two. So buy the DVDs or stream them on Netflix or watch them on Hulu or YouTube or whichever way you prefer. You’ll like them, I promise:
  1. Huff 
  2. Jon Benjamin Has a Van 
  3. Mr. Sunshine 
  4. Michael and Michael Have Issues 
  5. Secret Girlfriend 
  6. Stella 
  7. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip 
  8. Strip Mall 
  9. Undeclared 
  10. Upright Citizens Brigade

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Pit Bull PR.


This almost made me cry.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Long Beach, CA: An iPhone™ Photo Gallery.

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time in Long Beach, which is a city located Los Angeles County, but with a personality all its own. I fully believe if Long Beach weren’t so close to LA, it would be a major American city. After decades of sketchiness, LB’s city leaders are following through on a major revamp, and the key is in the details. By the way, yes I'm in a mad love affair with Los Angeles, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have feelings for another town. LA is my wife; Long Beach is my girlfriend.

Part of the plan for the city is to give it a Miami feel, and it’s working. Check out this row of high-rises along the water – very Florida-esque, minus the meth labs.

Last month, the annual Long Beach Grand Prix took place, on a racecourse narrowly squeezed into the downtown. As a New York Jew I wasn’t exactly raised in the epicenter of motorsports, but I certainly dig the rubber still left on the road from the race’s wicked hairpin turn.

A big environmental effort is underway to make the city bicycle friendly, and there are lots of custom bike racks around town, including this coffee and cupcake-shaped pair in front of a bakery. By the way, cupcakes and a bicycle with a basket on it – not exactly the Long Beach Sublime was singing about.

Also for the cyclists: bike lanes complete with bicycle-themed traffic lights. I love this, albeit ironically, seeing as I also love my SUV with third-row seating.

Permanently docked in the LB port and now in use as a hotel is the Queen Mary. It’s got a trippy Titanic feel to it, and it’s supposedly haunted, if you're into that jive. Speaking of crazy, the dome next to the ship used to house Howard Hughes’ massive Spruce Goose plane.

The Long Beach Arena features the world’s largest mural –  --> “The Whaling Walls” – created by some hippie painter with one name. He must have been on serious peyote three years ago when he added a mural of the earth to the roof.

I snapped this pic of a Long Beach city bus driver while he was stretching his legs. I really dig the bus-themed Hawaiian shirts they have them wear, though I think this guy went rogue with the jorts.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sorry.

I came home ridiculously late last night, only to find my neighborhood in a solid blackout, which meant no Internet which means no fancy blog post today. Cut me a break on this one and be nice to me, please. Remember: words can hurt, assholes.

In the meantime, I offer up a substitute blog. It’s kinda awesome:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

If You Must Text And Drive…

…be sure to crash into a place that offers immediate medical attention.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The First Great Movie Of 2012.

Sure, it took Hollywood almost half a year to release a film truly worth seeing, but I’m okay with that. It’s good to have stuff to look forward to all summer and fall, and studios should pace themselves with their movies. They can’t splooge them on us all at once.  

The Avengers is cool as shit. Most of all, Robert Downey, Jr. is hilarious, and you look forward to seeing him every time he shows up. But really the entire movie is funny, and that makes it a truly original superhero film with a personality all its own. It’s awesome to have so many stars together. (I wondered how they were able to afford all the names, but the film already made its money back in Europe before earning $200 million in one weekend here in the US. I think they’re gonna be okay salary-wise.)

Make sure you stay until the very end after all the credits have rolled for one last priceless scene. They really went all out to entertain from start to finish – the whole mikveh, if you will.

It’s great to see something live up to its hype, right? See it.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Weekend Recap.

I can’t say I feel Ricky’s pain, but I come close every time he bangs the edge of the cone he’s wearing into my shins and Achilles… I was all set to post this link to a hilarious bash on the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose nuking his knee, but then my guy Mariano Rivera did his. Not so funny now, huh jerkoff?... A bunch of us celebrated my friend Bru’s birthday at Mezzo in Studio City, who serves the best lasagna in the country. Eating it feels like my heart is trying to hug my brain… It was also my niece’s birthday, and my brother and his wife may have spent ten times more money than expected on her party, but at least she didn't appreciate it.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Resting Comfortably.

The true test of a man is how he handles adversity. Even if he’s no longer technically a man.

The surgery was a success (depending on your point of view), all but for a classic case of insult to injury: this XXXL cone that Ricky has to wear for ten days.

I have complete faith he’ll power through.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Moment Of Silence. Actually, Make That Two.

Yesterday, Ricky took his nuts out for one last stroll at the beach. Today, they get tossed aside like so much garbage.

They were a mere five months old, but by the time you read this, Ricky will be under the knife getting fixed, and his nuts are like Magellan – they’re history.

On behalf of Rick and his loss, I ask the media to please respect his privacy during this very trying time.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

This Week In @mattshevin Tweets.

• (ABOVE): This has gotta be the worst thing that’s ever happened to him.

• The NFL draft picks’ wardrobes make me want to go back in time and rethink my bar mitzvah suit.

• To all you folks on the cruise that traced Titanic’s route and held a memorial over the wreck: the wrong boat sunk.

• Smirnoff has a new whipped-cream flavored vodka, which is perfect – if the drinking age is 11.

• My niece’s birthday party is coming at the perfect time. I had just finished eating all of her Easter candy.

•  Looks like my eulogy is going to contain the words “chicken” and “waffles.”

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Be On Alert, Studio City.

There’s a bobcat on the loose, and he’s got a pretty nifty headshot.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Hate Mail.

When you post over 1300 blog entries, you’re bound to offend people now and then. Sometimes so much they feel compelled to take out their frustrations with an angrily-penned note. But hey – we all have ways of coping. I use sex and awesomeness.

After I bragged about committing dietary blasphemy on a religious holiday, a reader checked in with this air-tight logic:

“I gotta be honest with you. I saw your blog post about eating a sandwich the second night of Passover and I found it extremely offensive. Im all for people having their own religious beliefs, and if they follow Judaism or not, thats their choice. But to publicly display that and say you could give two shits about your religion is an insult to all the people who have fought, struggled, and even lost their lives through persecution to keep those traditions alive. Posting a f*ck you to Passover is really not cool.” 

Ouch, babe. I’d taken a knee, but planned on rising back up until this next ray of sunshine gave me career counseling when I tore “Shrek the Musical a new one:

“If you ever want to be an actual actor, then I suspect youd want throngs of people seeing your work, people from all walks of life. If youre ever on Broadway, that means tourists. If youre ever in a movie, or on television, that would mean swaths of people from the middle of the country. If you want to limit your audience solely to the cultured intelligencia of New York and LA, then have fun living in obscurity, ya snob.” 

Zing. Meanwhile, a loyal friend of a dude I chastised for showing up to an audition in costume taught me a lesson in being polite:

“Not sure why you are so bitter Matt. From your IMDb and your demo reel it looks like youve booked some work. The acting colleague that you singled out here happens to have booked several spots last year. Ive personally met him and hes a super nice guy. Im wondering if any of these people you've singled out if you've then worked with them on set. I can only imagine that after calling someone a ‘douchebag’ it might be kind of difficult to create good repore and buddy chemistry. Here this douchebag is wearing a lab coat...its not like he's in there with a clip board, file holder, and stethoscope. It suggested the role. No biggie. Would love to see you posting more positive pics and commentary. Surely with your creativity ITASA could boom with tips and not teardowns. I believe your negativity is whats keeping you in a studio apartment rather than in a mansion.
Best, 
Lisa R.”

There you have it. I hope you enjoyed this group hug with the folks that make me want to be a better man. If not, you know how to reach me.