Devin Gordon

Stories by Devin Gordon

  • BEAUTIFUL LOSER

    Life is sweet when you're "that guy in that movie." The money is good. The hours are nothing. And you get all the best lines in the script. You can do an interview in dumpy jeans and an old T shirt because, really, who cares? You can inhale a giant turkey sandwich and talk with your mouth full because, really, who doesn't? Best of all, people leave you alone. "Occasionally--very rarely--someone recognizes me, and I'll get so thrown because I'll assume I know them. I'll be racking my brain, trying to figure out how I know this person, and eventually it will dawn on me that I don't know this person," says Paul Giamatti, who's been "that guy in that movie" since 1997, when he played that guy in that Howard Stern movie, "Private Parts." (He was also that guy in "The Negotiator" and that primate in "Planet of the Apes.") "A lot of times, people think I'm Rob Schneider. Which is cool. He's funny. I like him." Rob Schneider? You know you're "that guy" when you get mistaken for some guy who...
  • CAUTION: WIZARD AT WORK

    Between takes at the shrieking shack--a ghoulish, precariously quaking house on the fringes of the wizard village Hogsmeade--actor Daniel Radcliffe fiddles with his magic wand. Today's scene is a doozy: Harry Potter finally confronts the sinister (for now) Sirius Black. Over the screeching din of the shack, Radcliffe repeatedly shouts, "You betrayed my parents! You're the reason they're dead!" During a break in the action, though, he twirls his wand genially like a baton. Wait, sorry, it's not a baton--that'd be so 12 years old. Radcliffe, who turned 14 last week, is bashing the air feverishly. He's doing a drum solo.To prepare for the older, bolder "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," Radcliffe has been listening to the Sex Pistols--which broke up 11 years before he was born--as well as edgy new acts like the Strokes and the Dandy Warhols. He's also watching Francois Truffaut ("The 400 Blows") and Vittorio De Sica ("The Bicycle Thief") to get a handle on Harry's "feelings of...
  • Do You Know This Man? Need A Clue?

    Steve Burns knows why you're here, and it's OK. In fact, he agrees with you. This is weird. For six years Burns was sort of famous. He signed autographs and kissed screaming babies. At one point he was rumored dead. (Untrue.) He wasn't just a kids-TV star, he was the kids-TV star: Steve from "Blue's Clues," Nickelodeon's top-rated educational franchise. It was big news when he quit that job two years ago, but he's now back--only he's become... a rock singer? "But I think it makes the story that much more interesting," Burns says. "Yeah, I'm that guy--the one on TV. That's me. But I'm this guy, too." So on Aug. 12, Steve Burns, 29, a man who spent six years talking to an imaginary salt shaker, will release his debut CD, "Songs for Dustmites." And here's the weirdest thing of all: it's really good.For a kiddie-land expat, "Songs for Dustmites" makes perfect sense. It's an album of adventurous alt-pop with wide-eyed lyrics about science and love. To avoid being brushed off as a novelty...
  • The Problem With Fx

    Three years ago, for the first time in his career, Ang Lee directed a film that included the use of visual effects. It wasn't groundbreaking stuff. "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," as everyone knows by now, was a kung-fu fantasy in which actors sailed through the air with the aid of wires--a familiar technique in Asian cinema known as "wire fu."Lee's execution of wire fu was solid but not remarkable. The actors lurched a bit when they took off and hung somewhat limply in the air while they flew. The presence of wires, which were deleted digitally in postproduction, was obvious. But here's the thing: no one cared. The flying in "Crouching Tiger" may have struck American viewers as silly at first, but soon they were too engrossed in the movie to fuss.Earlier this summer, Ang Lee released a film that included extensive use of visual effects. Unlike "Crouching Tiger," this was groundbreaking stuff. "The Hulk" featured a muscle-bound 15-foot green monster that was entirely computer...
  • Suddenly, 'Family Guy'

    For ten years, the late-night TV battle has raged between Jay Leno and David Letterman, but at the moment, both of them are getting whipped by a toy-factory worker from Rhode Island named Peter Griffin. (You didn't think we meant Jimmy Kimmel, did you?) Griffin is the star of "The Family Guy," an animated series that lasted just 49 episodes on Fox but has been reborn as a cult hit on Cartoon Network. The show--a bitingly funny send up of family sitcoms featuring a moronic patriarch, a talking dog and a diabolical, British-accented infant boy--is drawing 1 million viewers per episode--topping Leno and Letterman among 18- to 34-year-old men. "I'm not surprised," says Cartoon Network senior vice president Mike Lazzo. "This was one of the few programming no-brainers I've ever had."It wasn't so clear cut for Fox, which kept switching "The Family Guy's" time slot before finally canceling it last year. By then, the show had amassed a small army of loyalists who'd come to adore creator Seth...
  • The Knives Are Out

    Mark Burnett has fallen in love, and the object of his affection is an enormous Italian man in a velour sweat suit. It's opening night at Rocco's, the new Manhattan eatery where the "Survivor" creator is staging his latest reality-TV venture, "The Restaurant," and 12 people, including Burnett, are mashed into a tiny control room just off the main floor. Eight TVs monitor different scenes from the restaurant, but now all eyes are on Sweat Suit Man. "These meatballs are raw," he says with a thick Bronx accent. "Ma, Sunday night, we're coming over for some real meatballs." The control room roars. "Dude, that's wonderful!" Burnett cries. (For what it's worth, NEWSWEEK loved the meatballs.) On screen, a waiter comes up and asks the man how his food is. Everyone leans in. Here it comes--fireworks! Drama! Instead, something better happens. "Your meatballs," he says sheepishly, "are the best."The beauty of NBC's "The Restaurant," which premieres on July 20 at 10 p.m., ET, is that it's a...
  • Movies: A Real (No) Sleeper Hit

    A virus that infects carriers with murderous rage has been unleashed on England. In a matter of weeks, all that's left is a tiny population of sickies and a few fight-to-the-death normal folk. That's when our hero, a bike messenger named Jim (newcomer Cillian Murphy), awakens from a coma to find London a very different place from what he remembers. When "28 Days Later," a new thriller from England, arrives in the United States next week, take our advice and run to the nearest theater--just be forewarned that you might be running from it by the five-minute mark. The movie is that scary."28 Days Later," directed by Danny Boyle ("Trainspotting") from a script by Alex Garland (Boyle's "The Beach"), is a modern-day zombie flick, with an adoring debt to George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead" and postapocalyptic novels such as John Wyndham's "The Day of the Triffids." The chief hurdle was the zombie itself, a lumbering horror-film archetype that has lost its punch over the years. "A...
  • Advertising: For Want Of A Nail, The Car Commerci

    It begins with a metal cog rolling down a plank, which nudges a second cog, then a third, which tumbles off the plank, then knocks loose a giant bolt, which clips the end of a pipe, which rotates and plinks a series of screws... Two minutes later, after a staggering, Rube Goldbergian chain reaction involving 85 car parts and no trick photography, a Honda Accord wagon rolls off a ramp, ending one of the coolest car commercials ever made. Too bad you'll never see it. At least not on TV. Honda's "Cog," created by Wieden + Kennedy, is a hit in Britain and has become a Web sensation in the United States. (Watch it here: www.honda.co.uk/multimedia.) But because the model is sold only in Britain, Honda has no plans to air the ad stateside. Apparently, we're also not smart enough to get it. Co-creator Ben Walker of W+K says a Honda honcho told him that it "doesn't say enough for U.S. viewers." But even us ignorant Yanks know an amazing ad when we see one. "Cog" took 606 takes to nail. We...
  • Anger Management

    What on earth is Ang Lee so worried about? The Oscar-winning director of the martial-arts fantasy "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" is leaning against a wall outside his office at the Marin County, Calif., visual-effects factory Industrial Light & Magic, his right hand pressed flat against his cheek, as if he has a toothache. He's listening to a conversation (about--what else?--summer movies) between his producer, Larry Franco, and a NEWSWEEK reporter, but he's not contributing much. He looks exhausted. Like a man who's spent 2i years making a movie--a very big movie--and now has a month to finish it. But Lee will be done on time. So what's eating at him? Is it that this movie, "The Hulk," has a higher budget than his seven previous films combined? Is it that, at a price tag of $150 million, it's one of the most expensive movies that Universal Studios has ever made? Actually, no. "At this point, for Ang, this is a small movie," says James Schamus, who co-wrote "The Hulk" and has...
  • Forget The Real Thing

    Painting a tree with CGI (computer-generated images) is easy. But a full character in a live-action film? Very hard. A history:Tron (1982) The Disney cult classic was the first movie with CG effects. Since then, technology has improved a wee bit.The Abyss (1989) James Cameron was an early CGI pioneer, and his watery snakelike creature in this ocean saga was Hollywood's first all-CG character.Terminator 2 (1991) The liquid-metal T1000 in Cameron's next film was the first human-based CG creation. Still looks sharp after 12 years.Jurassic Park (1993) Steven Spielberg's dino-hit introduced photoreal skin tone and texture. Of course, no one has photos of dinosaurs, so who knows how close he really came?Casper (1995) Director Brad Silberling's kid pic starred the first talking CG character, created by ILM. Sounds big, but is a white ghost really so tough?Dragonheart (1996) Flying dragon in broad daylight. Now that's tough.Harry Potter 2 (2002) Dobby the house elf was cool. But a month...
  • Cheat Sheet: I Came, I Saw... I'm Totally Lost

    So now that you've watched "the matrix reloaded," all you need is a 12-year-old to explain it to you. Luckily, Tip Sheet's Devin Gordon is just the stunted adolescent you need. If you haven't seen the movie, stop reading now. (Then again, if you haven't seen the movie, this won't make a lick of sense anyway.)DID THE MACHINES DESTROY ZION AT THE END OF THE MOVIE? No. Commander Lock ordered a five-ship counterattack on the machines, but it didn't work. The five ships were destroyed, not Zion.THE ARCHITECT GIVES NEO TWO OPTIONS AND THEY ARE... WHAT? Option 1: He can try to save Trinity and Zion, but if he does, the machines will crash the Matrix and kill every human plugged into it. Option 2: Screw romance, ditch Trinity, save everyone else.HOW DOES NEO STOP THOSE SENTINELS? Yeah, that's a pickle. Two theories: either Neo really is a godlike figure--or Zion is just another level of the Matrix. Whoa.
  • We Regret To Inform You That Radiohead Still Soun

    Music critics are already calling Radiohead's new album, "Hail to the Thief," a return to the straight-ahead guitar rock of the Oxford quintet's early days. It makes me wonder: did I get the wrong CD in the mail? True, "Hail" has a few almost-radio-friendly tracks--like the album-opening "2 ??2 = 5," a mini-symphony that builds to an ecstatic climax, and the dripping-with-dread finale, "A Wolf at the Door." But there's little else to suggest that Radiohead has abandoned the experimental left turn it took after the 1997 classic "OK Computer." Like "Kid A" and "Amnesiac," the two CDs that followed, "Hail" is both dazzling and frustrating; it refuses to give up its secrets even after a dozen listens.Singer Thom Yorke has a gorgeous, yearning voice, but instead of drawing you close, he often uses it to freeze you out. He's always written casually vicious lyrics--"We hope that you choke" from "OK Computer" is a personal favorite--but "Hail to the Thief" seems bent on setting new records...
  • Television: Down To The Wire

    From the perspective of HBO, it's hard to imagine there could be a downside to the endless stream of praise the cable network has received for its fabulous slate of original series. But once all of us in the media were done sucking up to "The Sopranos" and "Six Feet Under" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Sex and the City," no one could stomach the idea of swooning over yet another HBO program--no matter how good it was. Enough was enough. Which might explain why "The Wire," creator David Simon's meticulously authentic cops-and-gangbangers saga set in Baltimore, flew under the radar during its spectacular first season last year. Worse, if you tried to join the show a few episodes late, "The Wire's" chief virtue--its microscopic focus on a single, sprawling case--became its biggest obstacle. You were lost. Now's your chance to get onboard. The second season of "The Wire," which shifts focus from Baltimore's projects to the city's struggling (and smuggling) blue-collar dockworkers,...
  • A New Life For The Monsters Of Rock

    On the day in September 2001 that James Hetfield was released from rehab for alcohol abuse, the Metallica singer spoke on the phone with drummer Lars Ulrich, who'd helped him launch the band 20 years before. The conversation did not go well. "The guys--they had no idea," says Hetfield, 39. "They figure you go away, you come back out, you're fixed. Like we'll meet up and jam the next day. Sorry, but it's a lot harder than that." Ulrich wanted to get the band together for a meeting, but Hetfield said no. Then the singer told his best friend not to call anymore; the next communication, he said, would come from him. So Ulrich waited. And waited. Months went by. "I can tell you," Ulrich recalls, "that I certainly started numbing myself--I think that's the best way to put it--to the potential outcome that the band was not going to continue." Hetfield finally called on Dec. 26: Ulrich's 37th birthday.Metallica fans will be delighted that the band's forthcoming CD, "St. Anger"--the first...
  • How A Rank Beginner Captured The Friedmans

    Andrew Jarecki just wanted to do a nice little documentary about clowns. He'd made a fortune selling Moviefone, the company he founded, to AOL in 1999, decided to try filmmaking and thought he'd cut his teeth on something easy. Like birthday-party clowns--a small community he'd noticed in Manhattan. That's how he met David Friedman, the top children's clown in the city. After a visit to Friedman's boyhood home, David emerged from the house shaken but wouldn't explain why. Jarecki soon found out.Needless to say, the nice little clown movie was history. A novice filmmaker had stumbled onto a mercilessly complex drama that, a decade earlier, had made careers and ruined lives. (Hello, and welcome to More Than You Bargained For!) "Every time I thought I had this story figured out--which I did on a hundred occasions--the next day, I'd meet someone new and the truth would shift," says Jarecki, 39. "I had to bring a level of concentration that I'd never used in my life." Friedman trusted...
  • Going From A To B? You Need Cds.

    With music, environment matters. Just like most of us sound better in the shower, some great albums must be heard on a highway for peak effect. Don't ever hit the road without these 10 CDs:The Rolling Stones, 'Exile on Main Street' The best road-trip CD of all time, period. If your speakers don't explode on "Rip This Joint," you're not playing it loud enough.Liz Phair, 'Exile in Guyville' A grrl-power, block-rockin' flip side to the Stones.Bruce Springsteen, 'Nebraska' Not every second's gonna be a party.Iron and Wine, 'The Creek Drank the Cradle' A folk-blues cup of coffee for 9 a.m. in Georgia.R.E.M., 'Document' "That's great, it starts with an earthquake..."Luscious Jackson, 'Fever In, Fever Out' If you and your girl/boy put on this groove-laden CD, make sure there's a Motel 6 nearby.Mary J. Blige, 'No More Drama' Atlanta. Detroit. Houston. Once you hit the city limits, press play.The Beach Boys, 'Pet Sounds' "Surfin' USA" is for the sand. This one's for the interstate.The Shins,...
  • Deconstructing 'Reloaded'

    Now that "The Matrix Reloaded" has been in theaters for a full week, we can put to rest the two least interesting debates about the new movie. Debate No. 1: Will it break the box office record for biggest opening weekend ever? Not quite. Its $135 million total is a 4-day record, but the pure, Friday-to-Sunday title still belongs to "Spider-Man." Debate No. 2: Is it as good as the first movie? No, but how could it have been? These debates are uninteresting because the answers have been apparent all along. "Reloaded" is rated-R, so there's no way it was going to top the PG-13-rated "Spider-Man." And while sequels are occasionally better than the original, none of them ("The Godfather Part II," "The Empire Strikes Back," for example) had such a dazzling existential mystery to live up to.These matters are also dull because they pale in comparison to the movie we did get. "The Matrix Reloaded" is, to me, the most demanding and intellectually fruitful movie of the year so far--a title it...
  • The Dearly Departing

    At the official "Dawson's Creek" chat room on the Web, under a string of posts titled "get a clue people, pacey is WAY better for joey," the gloves are coming off. After six achingly expressive seasons, the WB's teen soap will depart this week with a two-hour finale, during which its writers promise to resolve the love triangle that has propelled the series. Among fans, two camps have sprung up. There are the idealistic "D/Jers" who believe Joey, played by Katie Holmes, is destined to end up with her first love, Dawson, played by James Van Der Beek. (After all, it is his creek.) On the other side are the "P/Jers," who think she belongs with bad boy Pacey, played by Joshua Jackson. First, the P/J position, as summarized by Web fan Twkltoes1213: "I used to be a d/j but not anymore. [D]id anyone notice how selfish dawson is about joey?" And the case for Dawson, from run4peach: "Pacey is a gutless punk. He is almost like Satan." After that one, the posts start to get nasty.By most...
  • How To Build A Ballclub

    The first time that Brant Colamarino, a 23-year-old first baseman from the University of Pittsburgh, took off his shirt in an Oakland Athletics minor- league clubhouse, he flashed something that would've made the other 29 franchises in major-league baseball happy that they'd never even considered drafting him. Colamarino, his coaches noticed, had breasts. He was fat. To those 29 teams, it didn't matter that Colamarino tore up college pitching. He simply didn't look the part. Only the man who drafted him, Oakland's uncannily successful general manager, Billy Beane, seemed to grasp that being fat has nothing to do with hitting a baseball. It should be obvious. After all, what's the one thing we all know about the game's most famous slugger? Babe Ruth: fat. But if you read Michael Lewis's new book about Beane, "Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game"--and anyone who cares about baseball must read it--you'll quickly learn that the major leagues aren't so swift.The reason baseball...
  • Q&Amp;A: 'There Were No Easy Shots'

    The writing and directing team behind "The Matrix," Larry and Andy Wachowski, have made four films in their short career--and Bill Pope has served as their cinematographer on every one of them. It's a match made in heaven.Pope got his start serving on "Spider-Man" director Sam Raimi's early cult classics "Darkman" (1990) and "Army of Darkness" (1993)--a pair of stylishly outrageous action movies that, like the "Matrix" saga, draw heavily from the visual conventions of comic books. When Pope and the Wachowskis teamed up for the brothers' first film, the 1996 lesbian film-noir "Bound," the three men found that they spoke an almost identical visual language. After shooting all three "Matrix" movies, Pope is currently working with his original boss, Raimi, on the "Spider-Man" sequel due out in the summer of 2004. During his brief rest between blockbusters, the gifted cinematographer sat down in Los Angeles for an exclusive interview with NEWSWEEK's Devin Gordon.NEWSWEEK: Where do the ...
  • Q&Amp;A: The Matrix Look

    You know you're working on a seriously big movie when filming goes on long enough for one of the crew members to give birth twice.Between the start of preliminary work on the "Matrix" sequels in early 2000 and the completion of principle photography in August 2002, costume designer Kym Barrett delivered two children--as well as several hundred outfits for use in "Reloaded" and "Revolutions." Her chosen style for the films--sleek, elegant, timeless--has become one of fans' most cherished aspects of the "Matrix" universe. It has also sparked scores of imitators. You think "Alias's" Jennifer Garner would be kicking butt in vinyl pants if Barrett hadn't paved the way? The Australian costume designer sat down in Los Angeles for an exclusive interview with NEWSWEEK's Devin Gordon.NEWSWEEK: How would you describe the "Matrix" look?Kym Barrett: I'm not a fashion person. I don't go to catwalk shows. And I don't go through fashion magazines because I don't want to be influenced one way or...
  • Newsmakers

    Make MP3s, Not WarIf you were be-ginning to think Sheryl Crow's no war guitar strap was the only peep of protest from today's pop stars, take heart: they are taking a stand--in cyberspace. R.E.M., Lenny Kravitz, the Beastie Boys and former Rage Against the Machine frontman Zach de la Rocha (didn't think he'd sit this out, did you?) have all put songs online. The downloads cost nothing. Trouble is, like so many things on the Web, that's what most of them are worth.De la Rocha's "March of Death," a tag team with DJ Shadow, is a hookless mess, and the rapper's imagery is interchangeable with that of every song Rage ever recorded. Doesn't de la Rocha realize that he discredits his causes by treating them all the same? Lyrically, R.E.M.'s "The Final Straw" can be stirring--"Look me in the eye and tell me why"--but the band's acoustic strumming is so ponderous you won't listen to it twice. Only Kravitz seems to understand that protest is embedded in the very nature of rock and roll, so...
  • Beware Of Greeks Bearing Big Fat Sitcoms

    My Big Fat Greek Life," the TV phase of creator and star Nia Vardalos's campaign to take over American pop culture, makes one significant change from the movie. Yes, John Corbett, who played the husband in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," has been replaced by Steven Eckholdt--but I said "significant." Even John Tesh could play the husband. The significant change is that our heroine's name has been switched from Toula to Nia. Which (see above) is Vardalos's first name. In the business, folks, this is called branding, and it's CBS's effort to catapult the actress into the realm of comics like Ray Romano and Jerry Seinfeld. Big fat Greek chance. If the movie was comfort food--familiar, not too spicy, easy to swallow--then the TV series is the stale leftovers."My Big Fat Greek Life," whose debut last week was greeted by 22.7 million depressingly eager viewers, falls apart on a pretty basic level: it isn't funny. The writing is so retrograde that the mere mention of sex often passes for a...
  • Remembering Ken Auchincloss

    From the other end of the telephone line, it sounded like a party was raging at Ken Auchincloss's home on Tuesday night. I could hear laughter and loud voices.The scotch was flowing--Macallan, one of his favorites--and cigars were turning to ash. In about 15 minutes, Ken's son Malcolm told me, the whole family planned to gather around the TV to watch "24," the show where Kiefer Sutherland saves the world. Ken hated missing an episode, but he would've hated even more the idea of loved ones missing it on his behalf. After all, he'd insist, there was nothing wrong with them.Well, nothing and everything. About three hours earlier, Ken Auchincloss--father of two, beloved husband, NEWSWEEK legend and dear friend to me and countless others--died after 65 of the richest, most life-affirming years a human being could possibly enjoy. He had been waging a brave and stubborn battle against liver cancer for two years--brave in that he never once allowed the disease to change who he was, and...
  • Mother Superior

    Frances Conroy's house in Los Angeles has become known throughout the local cat community as the place to go when you're down on your luck. Tom, a striking black tomcat, wandered over eight months ago, starving. "He was just this bony little thing running through the yard," says the 49-year-old star of HBO's hit drama series "Six Feet Under." "It was so depressing. Now he's fat and follows me everywhere." Nicky, another stray, is FIV-positive, but so far she's doing fine. There's also Blue, and Alice, and Homer and... out of curiosity, just how many cats are we talking about? Conroy laughs. "Well, I have a little tribe. I should leave it at that," she says, clearly worried that several million NEWSWEEK readers will begin to wonder about her. "Some of them are friends that just eat and leave." It's worth noting that, aside from her husband, Jan, there are no other humans in the Conroy household. No kids. If that's surprising, given her spot-on portrayal of Ruth, the matriarch of the...
  • Survivor: Kandahar

    The moment in "Profiles From the Front Lines"--ABC's new reality show about U.S. forces in Afghanistan--when I realized I wasn't cut out for combat was the moment in which members of the 82nd Airborne Division board their flight from Fort Bragg, N.C., to Kandahar. As 200 soldiers packed into this double-wide transport plane, I thought to myself, "Boy, those seats look really uncomfortable." Once they reach Afghanistan, it only gets worse. If you're like me--a wuss--you'll find it hard not to admire the insane lifestyle these soldiers adopt on our behalf, no matter how often "Profiles" looks and sounds like a top-dollar war propaganda effort.This intoxicating show, from slam-bang action-movie producer Jerry Bruckheimer, is the first network attempt to run the "Survivor" playbook with a worthy subject. (Its co-executive producer is NEWSWEEK contributing photographer David Hume Kennerly.) "Profiles" doesn't pretend to be a journalistic venture--the triumphal music, teary backstories...
  • All-Too-True Love

    The best movie of the last 20 years about young people in love is 1989's "Say Anything... ," and even that one blows it in the end. Lloyd and Diane board a plane together and move to England, where they... what? Live happily ever after? How often does that happen when you're 18? At the risk of giving away the outcome of "All the Real Girls," 27-year-old David Gordon Green's memorable new film, this time the two young people behave the way young people actually behave.Set in the tiniest of towns in western North Carolina, "All the Real Girls" tells the story of Paul (played by co-writer Paul Schneider), a decent guy whose life to date can be measured in beer cans and female conquests, and his brief, life-changing romance with Noel (Zooey Deschanel), his best buddy Tip's little sister. In Hollywood, the best-buddy angle would surely build into a crisis. But in Green's film, which cost just $1 million to make and plays with the naturalistic grace of Terrence Malick, it's just a scuffle...
  • Abe Lincoln, Teen Geek

    Life at Clone High wouldn't be so bad for 16-year-old Abraham Lincoln if JFK, the captain of the football team, wasn't always bullying him with that silly Boston accent. Or if Cleopatra would give him so much as a second glance. Or if his best friend, Gandhi, would just shut up for five seconds. Growing up isn't easy when you've been cloned from the DNA of a former president. Abe can barely work up the guts to run for class president. He has this odd feeling it would end badly. Wonder where that comes from."Clone High USA," the brainchild of Dartmouth graduates Phil Lord, 27, and Chris Miller, 26, is the latest animated-series bull's-eye from MTV, the original home of "Beavis and Butt-head" and "Celebrity Deathmatch." If "Clone High" (Mondays, 10:30 p.m., ET) isn't as consistently funny as these now legendary predecessors, the show makes up for it with its subversive incongruities and its knowing take on high-school life. While Abe (voiced by "Saturday Night Live's" Will Forte)...
  • Advertising: The Perks Of A Hostile Work Environm

    Since making his acquaintance with America two weeks ago, 6-foot-7, 330-pound actor Lester Speight--a.k.a. Terry Tate, a.k.a. the Office Linebacker, a.k.a. the really big dude who pancakes unsuspecting Dilberts in that Reebok ad--has become a star. The hilarious campaign, which debuted during the Super Bowl, is about a company that hires Tate to pummel employees whenever they dawdle after lunch or forget to put a cover sheet on faxes. After the game, fans overran Reebok's Web site, hoping to rewatch it. (A new spot aired during "American Idol" last week.) Part of the ads' appeal is that Tate's tackles look so real. That's because they are. "I can testify from personal experience that he's actually hitting people," says Micky Pant, Reebok's chief marketing officer, who got clocked by Speight at the company's global conference last fall. "He hit me so hard I was bleeding."So who is this guy? Sadly, PERI's attempts to talk to Speight, who also performs under the name "the Mighty Rasta,...
  • Where Credit Is Due

    I hated "Spider-Man." The cornball script, the lame special effects, Willem Dafoe--all of it. What irked me the most about "Spider-Man," though, was how much everyone else seemed to love it.Ordinarily, I'D stick to my guns. I've always rejected the old saw that a million people can't be wrong. But 70 million? Hmm. I'm pretty sure that 70 million people cannot, in fact, be wrong. So why don't we compromise? If "Spider-Man" wasn't terrible, it was, at the very least, overrated. (Fifth biggest movie of all time? Come on.) In fact, let's play the overrated/underrated game. So far, you've got my pick for the most overrated movie of the year. I owe you an underrated pick, which I'll save for the end, all dramaticlike, so you'll run right out and buy the DVD. In between, here are a few more for the year 2002.TELEVISION DRAMANormally I don't begrudge anyone their cult obsessions. But this drably written, woodenly acted show gets an Emmy nomination every darn year for best drama series, and...