Friday, June 27, 2008

I Saw My Name on the BIG SCREEN at the LA Film Festival

Yep, that's right. Didn't even take that long, did it? It's official: I've made it. I own this town...yada, yada, yada.

Ok, that's a bit much. But I did get to see the name "Mark Kosin" on a real movie screen for a real movie that was really playing at the LA Film Festival. Really.

The movie is The Poker House, and I was a production assistant for this particular film for a couple of days in May 2007 when they were filming in the very unspectacular Lemont, IL. The Poker House is directed by Lori Petty, who also co-wrote it along with David Alan Grier. [If you're having flashbacks of OJ's Bronco chase and striking baseball players, then you're probably remembering that the last time these names were heard together (or heard at all) was when they co-stared in the 1994 Pauly Shore vehicle In the Army Now].

The Poker House was the first (and only) "real" movie that I have PA'd on. I honestly didn't think I'd ever hear of it again but lo and behold, it was showing three times at the LA film Festival. I figured that I owed it to myself to check it out and that I did, and was happy to see my name scroll on down near the very end of the credits under the listing "production intern" (on account of I didn't get paid: also notice the lack of credit on IMDB).

The movie was .....meh.......OK. The acting was top-notch, especially from the young female lead actress, Jennifer Lawrence, and Selma Blair was good as her drugged-up whore mother. Kind of overly dark while a bit too hokey. But it was still a grand time, and proved that my handful of Saturdays in May were not in vain.

Other than that I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Cubs SWEEP THE WHITE SOX at Wrigley Field last weekend. Since it was an AL team it's not that big a deal that we SWEPT them, certainly not as important as if we'd SWEPT the Cardinals. But any SWEEP is a good SWEEP.


[Side note: As I watched the ESPN broadcast of the Sunday Night game where the Cubs completed their SWEEP, Joe Morgan proved again that he is either an anti-Cubs biased hack or a complete idiot or both when he said that the basket on the outfield wall is called "Banks' Boulevard" because Ernie Banks used to hit a lot of HRs there. That's just wrong, and when a color commentator consistently makes such moronic statements that undermine a great player like good ole' #14 then said commentator should be fired after being smacked over the head with a large snow shovel, a la the ending of Home Alone. For more outrage I recommend Bleed Cubbie Blue, and there's also a wonderful website called FIREJOEMORGAN.COM]

We'll see what happens this weekend down at US Cellmisky Park. I do love the City Series, or the Crosstown Classic, or the 'L' Series or whatever people like to call it. It's the best and I am really jealous of everyone who can experience it first hand in Chicago.

Also happy to hear about Derrick Rose. I haven't heard all the pro-Rose chatter that is supposedly goin on in CHI but I'm giving everyone the benefit of the doubt. Yea, go Bulls...

I signed a lease on a new apartment, but I'm saving that for a post to be named later.

Oh, and it was sad to see George Carlin go. He was brilliant when it came to ripping apart bullshit and I will leave the last words for him:


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Photo de la Festival de Cannes!

This took much longer than it should have b/c of a caustic mix of busyness and laziness. Anyway, if anyone's interested, here's some choice photos from Cannes. First is the red carpet entrance to the Lumiere Theater (where the big, black-tie premieres happen.)

Above is the Carlton, one of the many huge luxury hotels along the beach, decked out in movie-promotion-mania.

Below: The Mediterranean, a block or two from our hotel (which was a 30 min walk or 5 min drive to the Lumiere Theater.

Indy-fever: the front of the Carlton hotel and fans outside for the Indiana Jones premiere, many were wearing these terrible "Indiana Jones"-hats that looked like a 5-year-old's cowboy costume.

Below: Mike Tyson at the premiere of "Tyson"

Above: The incredibly stylish terminal at Charles DeGaulle airport in Paris before boarding the plane to sweet home Chicago.

Below: We were waiting around in front of the carpet to hit the town for the night. I decided to light up a cigar and it turned out to be quite the photo-op.

Something also worth a look, if you're really feeling French, is this short film that some of the guys on the trip made at the hotel (regrettably, I had had virtually nothing to do with the making of this) . It's kind of the product of an inside joke, but I think it perfectly sums up French people. It's called "Bonjour".

Coming soon, an update for LA Apartment Search 2008! (hopefully)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

If it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press.

I hate to depart from the usual fare of quirky jokes about Los Angeles and regurgitated opinions about the Chicago Cubs, but I have to spend some time remembering one of my favorite people to watch on TV: Tim Russert.


Tim Russert's display of those three words on his dry-erase board to underscore the importance of winning that state to the 2000 election is a moment that most Americans remember him for, and I am no exception. I didn't really follow the goings-on of DC until the 2000 election and when Russert correctly predicted the huge role that the Sunshine State played in the contest I got it in my head - "Hey, this guy seems to know what he's talking about."

He was probably the #1 guy I tuned in to see from 2000 'til now to learn the latest from our nation's capitol. In 2004, "Meet the Press" was a necessity every Sunday morning. [Even if I was hungover as hell, I remember setting the alarm for 9:58am, sitting up to turn on the TV, and then collapsing back into the bed just so I could listen to those beautiful horns bust out MTP's theme and Tim's voice come in to say "Our issues this Sunday..."]

Meet the Press was the perfect show for Sunday morning. There was never a lot of noise, or graphics, or news crawls at the bottom of the screen--just Russert making politicians squirm by forcing them to answer for a quote they made a couple of years ago that totally contradicted their current position.

As a contributor on NBC and MSNBC he was brilliant. He knew so much about what was going on but could explain it simply enough for most Americans to understand. You gotta love a guy who was so smart and focused but still came off incredibly down to earth. And his undying love for a sports team with a woeful history of losing (the Buffalo Bills) was something that I could especially identify with. Election 2008 has been such an awesome ride already, and it really makes me sad that he won't be there to see this thing go all the way to November.

There's a lot more I could say but I'll give it a rest. I highly recommend checking out some of retrospectives on NBC. Tim Russert was to political coverage what Jordan was to basketball. The Best. Just look at him hit hard against a Clinton official. And trip up McCain. And take it to Obama.

Things just won't be the same without that dammed dry-erase board.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cubs Gone Hollywood?


It was the only way that I could have ever been coaxed back.

Being back in the City of Big Shoulders last week made me really question why I had left it for the City of Angels. I knew this would be a problem even before I went home, which is why I was lucky to have something to force me to board that plane from ORD to LAX. That incentive to come back to So Cal was the very enticing prospect of watching my Cubs play 4 games in Chavez Ravine against the venerable LA Dodgers.This series was my introduction to Dodger Stadium and I must quote a good friend here who said it best:

"Dodger Stadium is almost the exact opposite of Wrigley in every way, and that's not a bad thing"

Now he didn't mean it in that Wrigley rules and Dodger Stadium sucks, but just look at the facts:

-Wrigley is surrounded by a thriving neighborhood and countless pubs, bars, and the occasional "cantina", while Dodger is surrounded by tree-covered parkland and concrete parking lots (the closest bar is a place called "The Short Stop", and it is as much of a sports bar as Cedric Benson is an upstanding citizen.)

-Each night, Dodger fans arrive late because of traffic and leave early to avoid it. Cubs fans get drunk for all 9 innings and either walk or take the 'L' home.

-Dodger, with a capacity of 56,000, was built in the post-war era and caters to the casual fan with spacious seating and a bevy of concession stands offering everything from California Pizza Kitchen to Panda Express, while Wrigley was built in 1914, serves hot dogs and Old Style, and if you don't like it you can sell your soul and take the Red Line to 35th street.

Although the arrive late/ leave early thing is totally true for Dodger fans (the stadium was most crowded for innings 3-7) I will say that the fans themselves are not only passionate, but knowledgeable as well.

Of course, Cubs fans, being the dedicated people we are, were all over Dodger Stadium. I'd say it was 30% Cubs - 70% Dodgers, roughly. Boths ides were loud, supportive and everyone I had talked to in the stands were pretty legit fans.

The LA sports scene is certainly interesting. The one thing I can say unequivocally is that LA is a LAKERS town, through and through. Everyone here is Kobe-crazy and the biggest way to tell that this town bleeds purple and gold is to see the countless Laker car flags that furiously flap from the windows of cars whizzing along the endless freeways.

It's also clear that if your looking to have a quick chat with a stranger the Lakers are no doubt a topic that will resonate.

And in case you were wondering, yes, I am pulling for Phil Jackson's squad in this series. I hope the Lakers take the next two at Staples and go back to Boston and beat Paul Pierce and his little acting troupe. F*#% Boston.

And before I'm done, I wanted to have a little fun and put on my Ari Gold suit for a second. Forget about the ivy, at Wrigley. I want to take you to the Ivy, in Beverly Hills. It's the restaurant for celebs to be seen and for suits to make deals. It's often at the Ivy that a director may pitch a script to a producer. I've got a script that I haven't done a lick of work for (and probably won't) but I'll pitch it anyway, it's called:

"What the...? : The Story of the 2008 Chicago Cubs"

it's a movie about this interesting team we have playing first place baseball right now. And though it something that's been done by sports radio personalities and bored Tribune staff writers alike, I'd like to throw you some casting ideas that I think would work well for both sides:

Denzel Washington as Derrek Lee:
Denzel could easily trade in those gold chains for Gold Gloves and bring great emotion to the role of a man attempting to regain the glory days when one could hear the soft whispers of "triple crown"....

Leonard DiCaprio as Kerry Wood:
In The Departed, Leo played a cop who went undercover only to have the pressure of his new occupation drive him to the brink of panic and hysteria. In real life, Kerry Wood is a starter who went to the bullpen only to have his new occupation drive Cubs' fans to the brink of panic and hysteria.

Brian Dennehy as "Sweet Lou" Piniella:
I know that Dennehy could nail Piniella's screaming intensity, but could he also capture the subtle beauty of Lou's mumbly, stream-of-consciousness, straight-from-the-gut, post-game "interviews"?

Chewbacca as Carlos Zambrano:

It's so perfect it's almost scary.

I don't have anymore casting ideas that that because, believe it or not, I've got better things to do.

That's a lie.

Cubs in '08!*

*coming to a theater near you

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Night Chicago Died

I never been one for superstition, especially when it comes to my favorite baseball team, but I think it is worth pointing out that the Chicago Cubs went on a nine-game winning streak starting the day of my arrival in the CHI and ending the day I landed back in La-La Land.

So, yes, I think a little bit of Chicago died as I got on that plane yesterday.

I know I died a bit, too. It really was an awesome trip home and was great to see so many family and friends and go to Wrigley and out to the bars and everything.

And one of the best things was that this city that I know so well still surprises me and teaches me new things, so without further ado I give you:

The Top Ten Things I Learned on my Trip Back to Chicago

10. The best way to lose $150 is to walk the streets of Wrigleyville before a Cubs game, pass a couple of Chicago cops, and down an Old Style.

9. Bob + margaritas = a Tennis-baseball performance that will go down in infamy

8. If someone tells you that there is a trolley full of cute girls and free booze that is going to be driving around from bar to bar and there's no catch and it all sounds too good to be true...then it probably is.

7. Trump Tower is lookin' gooooooooood.

6. A children's game like four-square can become more intense than a UFC match with the right combination of booze, chicken parmigiana, and men with their wives/mothers/children watching.

5.There's nothing wrong with Cans.

4. When it comes to meat, it's gotta be all-natural!

3. According to the new Second City ETC show, the 1700's were really gay and boring.

2. When comes to 4 AM bars, there's the GOOD (Old Town Ale House), the BAD (Oasis), and the UGLY (Shenanigans).

1. Obama is a mack-daddy. (He pimps white women and black women).

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Oh yeah, the blog...

In Chicago.

Doing some drinking.

Nothing to blog about.

Cubs Win!


[back in LA, will resume writing on wednesday]