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This must have been what people felt like when they first heard the toe-tappin' sounds of those long-haired beatniks from Liverpool. The musical movement that will, indubitably, define our generation has taken form. Round, hot, cheesy form: Macaulay Culkin's Velvet Underground tribute band The Pizza Underground — the monument of musical creativity that recalibrates the lyrics of classic numbers by Lou Reed and company to focus on the theme of pizza — has released its first video and announced a cross-country tour:
January 24 - Brooklyn @ Brooklyn Night Bazaar w/ French Horn Rebellion, Rush Midnight, Heavenly Beat & Seasick MamaJanuary 25 - Philadelphia @ PhilaMOCA January 26 - New Brunswick @ OutworldJanuary 31 - Austin @ Breakpoint on The BoardwalkMarch 5 - San Francisco @ Neck of The WoodsMarch 6 - West Hollywood @ Whisky A Go GoMarch 7 - San Diego @ Ux31March 8 - Tijuana @ MoustacheMarch 10 - Tucson @ 191 WarehouseMarch 11 - El Paso @ The Lowbrow PalaceMarch 12 - Dallas @ Club DadaMarch 13, 14, 15 - Austin @ SXSWMarch 17 - New Orleans @ Hi-Ho LoungeMarch 18 - Mobile @ Alabama Music BoxMarch 19 - Atlanta @ Mammal GalleryMarch 20 - Raleigh @ KingsMarch 21 - Washington, DC @ Black CatMarch 22 - Brooklyn @ Baby's All Right w/ Total Slacker
Culkin and his bandmates will kick off their two month- and 18 concert-long tour on Jan. 24 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, gracing states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Texas, California, Arizona, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina — not to mention stops in Washington D.C. and Mexico — along the while. Surely it is the dream of any kazoothiast to embark on a Kerouacian journey following these polyunsaturated troubadours from start to finish... but that takes a good deal of planning and budgeting. Endeavors that a small percentage of the Pizza Underground's target demographic is willing to brave. Luckily, we have your backs. We here at Hollywood.com are lovers of Culkin, of Lou Reed, of pizza, and of the lost art of itinerary creation. We've come up with a complete fiscal guidebook for the greatest journey ever to befall humankind: following Pizza Underground across the country.
How to Follow The Pizza Underground Across the Country
We'll begin with universal costs: the tickets. Here are the prices for each of the shows on the Pizza Underground tour (those unlisted have not yet been announced to the public):
Brooklyn @ Brooklyn Night Bazaar - FreePhiladelphia @ PhilaMOCA - $15Austin @ Breakpoint on The Boardwalk - Free, but sold outSan Francisco @ Neck of The Woods - $10 - $12West Hollywood @ Whisky A Go Go - $20San Diego @ U-31 - Not yet revealedTijuana @ Moustache - Not yet revealedTucson @ 191 Warehouse - Not yet revealedEl Paso @ The Lowbrow Palace - Not yet revealedDallas @ Club Dada - $13 - $15Austin @ SXSW - Not yet revealedNew Orleans @ Hi-Ho Lounge - $15Mobile @ Alabama Music Box - $10Atlanta @ Mammal Gallery - $10Raleigh @ Kings - $13 adv, $15 doorWashington, DC @ Black Cat - $15Brooklyn @ Baby's All Right w/ Total Slacker - Not yet revealed
You'll notice we left out the New Brunswick @ Outworld venue. That is because there is no evidence that this establishment actually exists. We've tried Google. We've tried asking Jersey residents. We don't know what else to try. Still, we've included New Brunswick in our itinerary, just in case any of you have better luck in unlocking this mystery.
At this point, the ticket price amounts to $121 - $127. Calculating the average price per ticket ($11 - $11.50), we can estimate a total range of $187 - $196. Let's go with $196, to be safe.
So now it's time to discuss transportation. The first basic question mark concerns the long stretch between the first Austin show and the San Francisco show, otherwise known as February. Will you return home (to wherever that may be — we're going to assume Brooklyn) for the month of February, or keep course on the open road, living rogue as pizza surges through your blood?
In order to fund this trip, you might want to have a steady paying job, which will entail (most likely) you to actually do it. This means February should probably be set aside for actual life routines. As such, you'll probably want to stick to your personal automobile or public transport for the Northeast shows, isolate the Breakpoint on the Boardwalk concert with a roundtrip flight to and fro' Austin, and then hit the road (or fly out to Cali) for your trip.
If you're going to isolate Austin... You'll probably want to fly out from JFK, leaving on Jan 30, staying in a local hotel (for which you'll find pricing below) and flying back home on Feb 1. Right now, this will run you approximately $238. You can check a list of flight options here. Once March hits, you can proceed with your plan by either-Flying to San Francisco and traveling on land from there. Presently, a flight to San Francisco will run you about $139 ($124, if you're willing to fly into San Jose). Peruse at your leisure.-Driving to San Francisco via RV or car, and continuing on your journey in said vehicle. (The respective sections below will clue you into the fiscal plans for either method.)
But you might want to skip Austin altogether.We hate to say it, but it could be worth it. First off, the show is presently sold out (although there are always ways...). But its isolated location and date could pose more of an inconvenience than anything else. Plus, you will indubitably return to the Austin area later on in your trip for the SXSW shows. Bear that in mind!
Or... you can do the whole thing in one fell swoop, month-long wait-around period included.And here's how that would go down:
-Rent an RVAgain, let's assume you live in Brooklyn. Odds are, if you're a fan of the Pizza Underground, you do. As such, getting to this Williamsburg venue won't be a hastle. But you will have to rent some transport for the following shows. You can go the old fashioned way, but considering the six full days of driving that you're about to embark upon, you might want to kick up the luxury just a bit: rent an RV.
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The closest Cruise America to Brooklyn would be in Roslyn, on Long Island, running you $89 a night for standard-sized RV, in addition to mileage costs of $0.34 a mile. For a 56-day trip that takes you a total of 7,606 miles, that will amount to $7,570. Then, of course, there's gas. Your RV is estimated to burn a gallon of fuel every eight miles. Gas prices vary substantially throughout our great nation, but we've factored the average per gallon cost for each of the locations you'll be visiting to be $3.22. Some quick math will lead you to a grand gas total of $3,061. Combine this with your $7,570 and you've got a grand transportation total of $10,631.
That's a pretty penny, but luckily you're not alone: the RV, complete with bedroom and kitchen, comfortably sleeps five. If you can rally a full team for this trip, it'll leave everyone only spending $2,126 on this leg of the journey. Of course, this is on top of tickets (which would bring it to $2,322) and food.
If you're going to isolate or eradicate Austin...If you are planning to eradicate the first Austin show from your itinerary, this changes things... for the better! First off, your stay in the residential vehicle will be substantially shorter, since you're cutting out an entire month in the process. (If we're being logical, you won't need the RV for the first three shows if you're not going to continue on straight from Jersey. Just take a car to Philly and New Brunswick.) A 20-day stay in the RV will run you $1,780, plus a mileage bill of $2,344 for the 6,897 miles you'll be driving. Tack on gas expenses of $2,776 and you've got $5,120.
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FoodNaturally, you're going to want to keep in step with the theme of your trip and only eat pizza. Since you're starting your trip in Brooklyn, we assume you'll want to stock up on your entire pizza banquet there, seeing as how the locations to which you plan on traveling will supply you with far inferior examples of what you know to be a delicacy. There are some problems with the plan:-One pizza pie, in Brooklyn, will run you an average of $15. Estimate that each person will consume one pie of pizza per day. That's 56 pies of pizza per person (realistically, you won't be able to fit all your pizza in the RV fridge, but we'll get back to that), amounting to $840 for your entire diet budget. But...-You'll need a second, third, and maybe fourth fridge. You can recycle the pizza boxes and wrap each pie in tin foil to make more space in the RV fridge, which should be stocked to the brim, but you still won't have nearly enough room for 56+ pizza pies. We know, the thought of succumbing to non-New York pizza is nightmarish, but we have a mission here.Still, you will want to limit your intake of pizza from the otherlands. We figure that, if you're ambitious, you can stuff 20 pizza pies into one of these RV fridges. That'll keep...i) one of you fed for 20 daysii) two of you fed for 10 daysiii) three of you fed for six days and the next morning's breakfastiv) four of you fed for five daysv) all five of you fed for four days
Which means, of course, that you'll eventually have to stop and get more pizza. But where will you be?i) By the 20th day, you'll be... Non-Austin: Back home. Perfect plan... for you. Your friends are starving, though.Austin: In limbo, killing time between Austin and San Francisco. Restock anywhere but New Mexico (their pizza is so bad, the locals are known to throw it on roofs!), and then again in 20 days, when you'll be somewhere in Southern California (where the price is also about $15 a pie). ii) By the 10th day, you'll be...Non-Austin: Dallas. Average price = $9. That'll last you 'til home.Austin: Limbo. Restock a few times before hitting California, then again in San Francisco ($15), Austin ($12), then you're home.iii) By the sixth day, you'll be...Non-Austin: Tijuana (your guess is as good as mine). After that, Austin ($12), then Raleigh ($10), then home.Austin: Limbo, limbo, limbo, limbo, limbo... San Fran ($15), Tucson ($10), Austin ($12), Washington D.C. ($15), home.iv) By the fifth day, you'll be...Non-Austin: San Diego ($15), Dallas ($12), Atlanta ($12), home.Austin: Limbo x 7. Then San Fran ($15), Tucson ($10), Austin ($12), Raleigh ($10), home.v) By the fourth day, you'll be...Non-Austin: West Hollywood ($15), Tucson ($10), Austin ($12), Mobile ($10), Brooklyn for one last show (just grab a buffalo chicken slices at Anna Maria's on Bedford), home.
-Drive your own car and stay in cheap hotelsOne last time, let's assume you live in Brooklyn. If you don't, you can come stay with me the first night. (Just don't be loud, Matt has to get up early.) After that, however, you'll need to find a place to stay in each of the cities you visit. But let's back up just a second.
Considering the fact that the hotel plan would be highly unfeasible in the Austin-included route, we'll just assume that you're starting with San Fransisco for this foray.
Right off the bat, you've got that pesky RV rental fee taken off your lap. There's a good chance, too, that you've got better gas mileage in your standard sedan than you would in those fuel guzzlers — let's estimate 30 miles to the gallon.
That's $740 so far, which you can split with whatever passengers you're able to accumulate. And here's where the hotel prices come in:
San Francisco: Redwood Inn - $89/nightWest Hollywood: Comfort Inn - $89/nightSan Diego: Best Western Plus Hacienda Hotel - $64/nightTijuana: Motel 6 San Ysidro - $42/nightTucson: University Inn - $53/nightEl Paso: Ibis Juarez Consulado - $35/nightDallas: Days Inn - $33/nightAustin: Rodeway Inn - $59/night x 3 (three night event)New Orleans: Sun Suites - $39/nightMobile: Family Inns of America - $30/nightAtlanta: Masters Inn - $29/nightRaleigh: Econo Lodge Inn & Suites - $40/nightWashington D.C.: Knights Inn - $42
All together, that's $729. Add that to $740 (split between however many people with which you're traveling) and you've got your transporation total. But now we're back on food.
FoodWithout a fridge, you'll be needing to make daily pizza stops:
San Francisco: $15 a pieWest Hollywood: $15 a pieSan Diego: $15 a pieTijuana: ?Tucson: $10 a pieEl Paso: $12 a pieDallas: $12 a pieAustin: $12 a pieNew Orleans: $13 a pieMobile: $10 a pieAtlanta: $12 a pieRaleigh: $10 a pieWashington D.C.: $15 a pie
So we've covered almost all bases. The only option unaccounted for is the fly-to-San-Francisco-and-travel-on-land-from-there option. Since you're ending up in Brooklyn, you'll probably need to finagle one of those deals where you drive somebody's car across country for them. There are people who pay you to do that. Check Craigslist. Be careful, though.
SO THAT'S IT! Now you have all the information necessary to follow Macaulay Culkin's pizza-themed Velvet Underground tribute band across the continental United States. The dream.
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Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
The Tourist is about as difficult to get through as spotting the vowels in the name of its director. Florian Henckel von Donnersmark was last seen receiving a Best Foreign Film Oscar in 2007 for The Lives of Others which was about a couple living in East Berlin who were being monitored by the police of the German Democratic Republic. Its positive reception made way for the assumption that Donnersmark would continue to populate the USA with films of seemingly otherworldly and underrepresented themes. But his current project is saddening in its superficiality and total implausibility.
The film’s only real upside is its stars: two of our most prized Americans. Johnny Depp plays Frank Tupelo a math teacher from Wisconsin who travels to Europe after his wife leaves him presumably because of his weakness and simplicity. While en route to Venice he meets Elise Clifton-Ward (Angelina Jolie) who situates herself in his company after she receives a letter from her criminal lover Alexander Pearce (who stole some billions from a very wealthy Russian and the British government) with instructions to find someone on a train who looks like him and make the police believe that he is the real Alexander Pearce to throw the authorities and the Russians off his track. Elise picks Frank and after they are photographed kissing each other on the balcony of Elise’s hotel everyone begins to believe Frank is the real Pearce and so begins the chase.
While Donnersmark could not have picked two better looking people to film roaming around Venice his lack of faith in the audience is obvious. Every aspect of the characters is hammed up again and again as if Donnersmark felt burdened with the task of making us see his vision. Doubtful that we’re capable of getting to where he wants us he has crafted a movie completely devoid of subtlety. Elise’s strength and superiority over Frank are portrayed by close-ups and repeated instances of men burping up their lungs upon seeing her (as if her beauty is in any way subjective?). And in case we forgot that Frank is the victim in this story -- even though he’s been tricked chased and shot at - Donnersmark still felt the need to pin him with a lame electronic cigarette to puff on. Frank and Elise somehow manage to lack mystery even though we get very few factual details about each of them.
Nothing extraordinary comes to us in the way of the film’s structural elements either. There is very little of the action that The Tourist’s marketing led us to believe and the dialog is often painful. The plot itself is almost shockingly unbelievable especially when we’re asked to believe that Elise falls in love with Frank after a combination of kissing him once and her disclosed habit of swooning over men she only spent an hour with (yes that was on her CV).
The Tourist is rather empty and cosmetic. It’s worth seeing if you’re a superfan of Jolie or Depp but don’t expect to walk out of the theater with anything more than the stub you came in with.