Not everything is sugarcoated candy these days with R.E.M.
Peter Buck, the rock band's guitarist, was arrested Saturday after allegedly assaulting two crewmembers in the first-class section of a flight from Seattle to London, police told Reuters.
He appeared in a London court Monday morning and was charged with two counts of assault on the crewmembers, criminal damage, being drunk on an aircraft and disobeying an aircraft commander.
He was released on bail of $43,260 and ordered to reappear in court on June 18.
Buck, 44, was reportedly drunk during British Airways Flight 48 at the time of the alleged incident, a police spokesman in London said. Buck, traveling first class, was arrested after allegedly assaulting two cabin crewmembers. He was held in custody at Heathrow Police Station before appearing Monday at Uxbridge Magistrates Court in west London.
"Safety of passengers and crew is paramount. British Airways will not tolerate any threat to that safety," a British Airways spokesman said.
Buck, through R.E.M.'s U.S. lawyer Bertis Downs, issued a short statement apologizing for the incident.
"I am very sorry for the incident and, of course, very embarrassed about the whole thing," Buck said in the statement, according to Reuters.
Buck, singer Michael Stipe and bassist Mike Mills are about to begin a promotional tour for their 12th album, Reveal, due out May 15, according to the band's official Web site. Reveal is the first new album from R.E.M. since 1998's Up. The band has already released the first single from the album, "Imitation of Life."
The promotional tour is scheduled to begin with an appearance Thursday on BBC TV's Top of the Pops, followed by a performance on Sunday, April 29, at the South Africa Freedom Day Concert in London's Trafalgar Square. Among the 20,000 expected to attend will be Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa. The concert will mark the 7th anniversary of democracy in South Africa.
The promotional trip also includes visits to Milan, Paris, Madrid, Cologne and New York.
The band is scheduled to appear May 15 on Late Show with David Letterman.
The band's Web site did not make mention of Buck's arrest or whether it would affect R.E.M.'s promotional tour.
Adding to the confusion, Stipe apparantly loves life in the fast lane.
Stipe nailed a sign outside his house in Athens, Ga., protesting against speed bumps in his neighborhood, The Associated Press reports.
It was "idiotic, selfish and inappropriate'' for the neighborhood to push the Athens-Clarke County government to install the speed bumps, read the sign nailed to Stipe's house on Hill Street.
Some neighbors reacted by writing replies accusing Stipe of being apathetic to problems with speeding motorists.
"If speed bumps are the only available fast-track solution offered by the city to an obvious community problem, it will not be long before driving or bicycling in Athens is impossible,'' Stripe wrote in a letter to the Athens Daily News/Banner-Herald.
Stipe, 41, acknowledged in the letter that his sign "has caused quite a stir,'' but hopes it will provoke debate.
"Not that I would say he didn't have a right to express his opinion. But to put up a sign on the side of one of our historic houses is kind of wacky,'' neighbor David Lynn said.
Coming into the home stretch of the final week of the final sweeps period before summer, we've got tearful farewells, wacky guest stars, tantalizing cliffhangers and best of all … sexy stories about Florence Henderson!
ABC's "Spin City" (9 p.m. EDT/PDT Wednesday) will be back next season with Charlie Sheen as its new star. But the bigger news is that Michael J. Fox will make his network TV farewell (hopefully only temporarily) in the series' hourlong season finale. Fox will be taking a break from acting to use his considerable charm and energy to help the fight against Parkinson's disease. Michael Gross, who played Fox's TV dad in "Family Ties," the series that made him a star so long ago, makes a guest appearance in this episode. Expect lots of hugs all around.
The season finale of "3rd Rock from the Sun" (8 p.m. EDT/PDT Tuesday, NBC) is a special one-hour episode featuring William Shatner and giant babe/WWF superstar Chyna in return guest appearances. Last year, the two were used in separate ratings stunts that were only moderately successful. Currently, Shatner's hilariously self-deprecating series of ads for Priceline.com is causing a resurgence in the former Captain's popularity. And Chyna, for whatever it's worth, can kick your ass. Add in the shocking revelation that Dick (John Lithgow) is really the son of the Big Giant Head (Shatner), and this might be an interesting hour.
Also on Tuesday, Fox promises "the greatest find since King Tut," as Hugh Downs hosts "Opening the Tombs of the Golden Mummies: Live!" (8 p.m. EDT/PDT). We don't want to pick on the decision-makers at Fox, who are still trying to live down "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?" and perhaps don't have the time to look more deeply into the genre of "opening things," but shouldn't Downs know better than this? After all, he used to work with Geraldo Rivera on "20/20" just before Geraldo decided it would be a good idea to open Al Capone's "vault" on live TV.
Sunday night, meanwhile, (sort-of) brought us the goods on two famous couples: Greg and Marcia Brady, and Paul and Linda McCartney. So, just what really went on between Greg and Marcia? NBC's "Growing Up Brady" dug up the dirt you wanted on the famed "Brady Bunch" duo. Barry Williams, who played Greg on the 1969-74 sitcom, executive-produced this TV movie (based on his autobiographical book of the same name) which promised "the affairs, the secrets and the scandals!" Cool! How does Florence Henderson fit into all of this? (Barely a peck.)
CBS, meanwhile, served up a much more sanitized brand of nostalgia in its biopic "The Linda McCartney Story," about the 30-year romance between Paul McCartney (Gary Bakewell) (that rare, one-woman rock star) and photographer/activist Linda (Elizabeth Mitchell), who died in 1997 of cancer. If you are a fan of Paul, or the Beatles, this movie played sweet and sad, entertaining without offending. But it was also pretty bland.
Oscar buzz continues at the box office this weekend as a few of the year's most highly touted films open in both wide and limited release.
Tom Hanks and company lead the way in the prison drama "The Green Mile," based on the popular series by Stephen King and directed by Frank Darabont. Five years ago, Darabont came to prominence with another prison-bound tale by King called "The Shawshank Redemption." That movie, which frequently tops lists of the most popular films of all time, garnered seven Academy Award nominations.
Other Oscar hopefuls include the limited releases "Cradle Will Rock" and "The Cider House Rules." "Cradle," directed by Tim Robbins and featuring an all-star cast, details the events of New York City's art scene in the 1930s. "Cider," directed by "What's Eating Gilbert Grape's" Lasse Hallstrom, is a quirky, coming-of-age love story adapted from John Irving's book. It stars up-and-comers Tobey Maguire and Charlize Theron.
Those in the mood for lighter fare (especially fans of the Adam Sandler/Chris Farley set) should be delighted by the release of "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo." Rob Schneider, another "Saturday Night Live" alum and frequent co-star in the Sandler films, gets his chance to play dumb as a pool cleaner turned first-class male hustler.
Smaller films vying for attention in limited engagements are "Diamonds," a road movie about family relationships co-starring Kirk Douglas and Dan Aykroyd; "Miss Julie," a sexy affair starring "Deep Blue Sea's" Saffron Burrows and directed by "Leaving Las Vegas'" Mike Figgis; and "Wallowitch & Ross," a documentary covering the careers of entertainers John Wallowitch and Bertram Ross.
The following is a complete list of all the week's releases.
Friday, Dec. 10, 1999
"Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo" (Buena Vista) -- Rob Schneider stars as Deuce Bigalow, a down-on-his-luck guy who cleans fish tanks for a living. While fish-sitting for a debonair, world-class male escort, he mistakenly answers the business phone and becomes "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo."
"The Green Mile" (Warner Bros.) -- Set during the Great Depression, Michael Clarke Duncan plays a Death Row inmate in a Southern prison who possesses the unusual gift of healing. Tom Hanks co-stars as the penitentiary guard who, upon discovering the inmate's miraculous power and gentle nature, begins to question the man's guilt.
"Cradle Will Rock" (Buena Vista) -- Based on true events in the cultural and art scenes of 1930s New York City, this film follows various cultural workers -- including Mexican artist Diego Rivera, theater director Orson Welles and propagandist Margherita Sarfatti -- as they defend their artistic expressions in the face of political paranoia and government censorship. John Cusack, Bill Murray and Susan Sarandon co-star.
"The Cider House Rules" (Miramax) -- Directed by Lasse Hallstrom and adapted from John Irving's best-selling novel, this coming-of-age story casts Tobey Maguire as a young man who has spent his entire youth in an orphanage. Hungry for experience, he sets out to explore the world outside. Charlize Theron and Michael Caine co-star.
"Diamonds" (Miramax) -- In an effort to bond with estranged son Dan Aykroyd, former prizefighter Kirk Douglas takes his son and grandson on a road trip to Reno in search of 13 stolen diamonds, stashed away years ago. The quest for the hidden gems affords the men a lesson in fatherhood, reconciliation and the price of growing older. Lauren Bacall co-stars.
"Miss Julie" (MGM) -- Director Mike Figgis returns with a tale of sexual seduction and class conflict set at a wealthy estate. Saffron Burrows stars as an affluent count's sexually wanton daughter who begins an ambivalent and destructive affair with an opportunistic servant, played by Peter Mullan. By the end of the night, the illicit liaison pushes the emotionally unbalanced heroine toward a certain self-destructive act.
"Jerome" (Phaedra) -- Drew Pillsbury plays a man who abandons everything he knows -- his wife, his son, his job -- and heads across the desert to Jerome, Ariz., to pursue his dream of becoming an artist. Despite his determination, the hapless dreamer gets sidetracked when an iconoclastic female drifter, played by Wendie Malick, crosses his path.
"Wallowitch & Ross: This Moment" (First Run) -- Written and directed by Richard Morris, this moving portrait details the career and partnership of entertainers John Wallowitch and Bertram Ross. The documentary recounts from the beginning when Ross was a principal dancer for Martha Graham and Wallowitch was a gifted Juilliard student. Their initial meeting in New York paved the way for an enduring collaboration and a lasting romance.
"Sweet and Lowdown" (Sony Pictures Classics) -- In Woody Allen's latest, Sean Penn plays musician Emmet Ray, a self-proclaimed jazz guitar genius of the 1920s and 1930s. The bigger-than-life portrait follows the eccentric personality through his notorious career as he clashes with lovers, friends, enemies and gangsters in New York City. John Waters and Uma Thurman co-star.
"42 Up" (First Run) -- In 1964, filmmaker Michael Apted began his marathon documentary series about the lives of a group of 7-year-old kids in England, each from radically different socioeconomic backgrounds. Since then, the director has continued to chronicle the ups and downs of his subjects at 7-year intervals. The sixth installment is the latest update on these people at the crossroad of the big 42.
"Tumbleweeds" (Fine Line) -- Leaving an abusive boyfriend behind, single mother Janet McTeer and daughter Kimberly J. Brown head for the sunny suburbs of San Diego to start anew. Once again, McTeer swiftly enters into a destructive relationship and is tempted to look for an easy way out. However, her headstrong daughter, tired of her rootless existence, refuses to abandon her newly established life.