Thursday, November 29, 2007

Weekend Box Office Predictions for The Weekend of November 30-December 2

I am a bit of a Hollywood insider, as previously mentioned. However, last week I totally blew my predictions-- I completely missed the movie that turned out to be the number two moneymaker, the imaginatively titled "This Christmas." I believe I was too enchanted by the enchantment of the number one movie, "Enchanted," which I would like to point out I predicted would be the number one movie. Anyway this weekend I did some extra research so that I won't be caught unawares by another "sleeper" hit, so this week's predictions should be extra insightful:

1. ENCHANTED: How, I ask you, can moviegoers resist this enchantment? There is a cute girl in the title role, and McDreamy from Gray's Anatomy (a show I do not watch myself but that my male servants never miss). There is animation and live action. There is talking animals. There is a talking car. There is a race-to-the-finish ending involving a chase through Manhattan's extensive sewer system. This film will make another $1 billion.

2. THIS CHRISTMAS: The movie that snuck in under my radar has it all: the maudlin and the saccharin. I still have no idea what this movie is about, other than comedy and drama, which is what Americans want, I guess. I expect it to finish well above my expectations, which are for a $555 million weekend.

3. A GRANDPA FOR CHRISTMAS: Academy Award-winning actor Ernest Borgnine stars as a seven year old boy with a rare and factitious medical condition that causes his body to age at an abnormally accelerated rate. He only has a few more months to live, and what he'd really like before he dies is to have a "Grandpa." He gets his wish in the form of an old man, also played by Ernest Borgnine, who befriends his Grandmother. The twist is that the "Grandpa" is actually the boy's biological grandfather, who'd been stricken with amnesia after spending a night in a drunk tank 49 years before. This touching film is a Hallmark Channel movie, but I still expect it to make about $400 million this weekend.

4. BEE O WULF: Jerry Seinfeld stars in this animated take on the classic poem, as a heroic warrior who is half human, half bee, and all warrior fun. Though surprisingly violent, adults and parents alike are swarming like bees to this film, so I expect it to make an additional $98 million.

5. THE FRED CLAUSE: When Santa takes too long recovering from a night of drunken debauchery, his dim-witted but good-natured hillbilly cousin Fred is forced to take over for him. After delivering toys to children all over the world, even Hindus, he wins the big NASCAR race. The combination of Santa and NASCAR is helping this film make it big in the "red states," so I expect it to take in an additional $178 million, brining its cume to an impressive $179 million.

6. ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS: In this Hallmark Channel original film, a little boy being raised inadequately by a single mother dreams of getting a father for Christmas. The boy (and his mother) gets more than he bargained for when over 100 male suitors respond to the personal ad the boy placed on his mother's behalf. I'm not sure what happens next, but it probably involves bukake. This holiday charmer should bang its way to about $478 million this weekend.

7. AUGUST RUSH: The progressive rock titans Rush in their first concert film, filmed in August, I guess. I hope they do the song about the Libertarian trees. I'd expect this to get an impressive per-screen cume of $98,912.73.

8. AMERICAN HITMAN: When Denzel Washington is hired to assassinate a presidential candidate, it's up to Russell Crowe to stop him. But it turns out that Denzel Washington is actually -- spoiler alert!-- an Angel, and the presidential candidate is actually the bad guy! Audiences are loving this dazzling display of filmakery, and I expect it to pull in an additional, and dazzling, $789 million.

9. MR FLUORIDE'S MASTICATION STATION: Always brush your teeth is the message behind this dazzling and fanciful film that marks the big-screen return of the Cavity Creeps. I give this movie two teeth up! A modest cume of $99 million for this weekend.

10. HEARTSTRINGS: This Hallmark Channel original features a star turn by Steve Guttenberg as a mentally challenged concert violinist who falls in love with a local television station meteorologist, played by Valerie Bertenelli. Can a man with a 78 IQ and a habit of urinating uncontrollably when forced to look someone in the eye win the heart of a sophisticated television personality? If you guessed "yes," then you've probably already seen the film, because these things are usually pretty unpredictable. But did you also realize that this film will make about $300 million this weekend? It will.

There they are. I think I really redeemed myself with this list-- there's no way these films won't make the top ten!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

rickysprague.com is up and running!

It can be found here!

The sensational Chris Gortz is the guy who designed it. And it looks beautiful, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that there is a huge picture of my face right there in the middle of the screen. I mean, how can you go wrong with that? I am a beautiful 25 year-old man. Practically a boy.

Presidential Odds- 2008

Here I offer my insider analysis on the odds of each of the two major party's candidates winning the Presidency next year:

DEMOCRATS:

HILLARY CLINTON: Back when Clinton first won her Senate seat, "Hardball" host Chris Matthews stated, "I hope she doesn't think this Senate seat is springboard to the Presidency; no way will the American electorate vote for someone they think might have had a penis in their mouth." I'm not one to argue with Matthews' assessments- he's usually spot-on- but recent totally trustworthy news stories suggest that this might not apply to Clinton. Accordingly, I'd say she's got about a 1 in 3 chance.

BARACK OBAMA: This candidate really rose in the estimation of the voters last week when a high school student in New Hampshire asked him if he'd ever done drugs. His reply, that he'd done drugs for many years and enjoyed them, but eventually decided they just weren't for him, was a phenomenally fair-minded one. He should have added that he was thankful that he lived in a country with a sensible drug policy that allows people to make their own decisions about what to put into their own bodies without worrying that policemen might break down their door and throw them in prison just for making a "mistake," and "experimenting." Odds of winning are about 1 in 4.

JOHN EDWARDS: Here is a candidate of rare dignity. Of modesty. A man who understands that the biggest threats this country faces are from lobbyists, and Ann Coulter. Did you know that his wife has cancer? He never talks about it, because he's too much of a hero to try to exploit his own wife's life-threatening illness. That's because he is a serious candidate who speaks eloquently and from the heart, without any cynicism or guile, about the serious policy positions he's arrived at based on rigorous study. 1 in 5 chance.

BILL RICHARDSON: He personally travelled back in time and rode on a horse into some town in New Mexico and shut down more than 400 meth labs. I give him a 1 in 16 chance.

JOE BIDEN: Like the great Roman orator Loquatius, Joe Biden is a great orator. Tens of people all over the country have fallen under his hypnotic spell, and the man is clearly just "Biden" his time until he becomes President. Odds: Long.

DENNIS KUCINICH: His wife is quite attractive, and has a tongue stud, which probably means that, according to Chris Matthews, she couldn't be elected President. We should give the man who can land such a woman serious consideration. Odds: Longer.

CHRIS DODD and MIKE GRAVEL: Honestly, before I set out to compose this Presidential odds blog posting, I did not know who these men were, or that they were running. I learned something new today, and for that, I sincerely thank these two presidential candidates, who I am sure have a great chance of winning. Odds: A fish.

REPUBLICANS:

RUDOLPH GIULIANI: This former mayor of New York was practically at "Ground Zero" when the World Trade Center towers fell on September 11, 2001. You might not have known about that, since this modest man with a thick skin and great sense of humor about himself rarely mentions it. He's also a great decision maker with a laser-like focus, who chooses his friends and business associates with the same acumen he would display in the White House, if only given a chance. Odds: 1 in 4.

MITT ROMNEY: Though he resembles a game-show host, he is actually a really sensitive, caring guy. He also loves dogs, which is a quality he shares with former game-show host Bob Barker. Odds: 1 in 6.

JOHN MCCAIN: This staunch defender of the First Amendment is renowned for his "maverick" persona. He definitely thinks for himself. And he's so often right, it's kind of scary. McCain's record definitely speaks for itself. Odds: 1 in 10.

FRED THOMPSON: It's his oozing confidence that gets you. Oh, and his voice. Wouldn't it be interesting if he won?

MIKE HUCKABEE: It will be interesting to see how the American people react to him. In our secular society, in which church is clearly separated from state, we've never really had a candidate like this former Baptist minister, who believes he has a Biblical responsibility to reshape the world in a way that will be pleasing to God. As we all should know, nothing could possibly go wrong if we elect an ethical man who wants to make the world a better place because God would want him to. Odds: Unfortunate.

TOM TANCREDO: Oddly enough, Representative Tancredo's last name means "muy bien" in Spanish. But I still think his odds are pretty long.

ALAN KEYES: This impassioned man's run for the White House took an improbable turn when he actually declared as a candidate. His appearance in the Borat film has definitely helped him connect with the youth of America, but I expect he's less likely to be elected than the pile of leaves one of my neighbors raked yesterday.

DUNCAN HUNTER: Who? Okay- whatever.

RON PAUL: Ron Paul is the only candidate running in either major party who is not a complete douchebag, and nothing I write here could be as absurd or ridiculous as the way he's actually been treated by his own party, who should consider themselves lucky to have him. I say his odds of winning are 100%, and he will be the next President of the United States.

UPDATE 1/9/08: Oops. Turns out Ron Paul's a douchebag, too. Now no one will win the Presidency!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Civil War Tale of My Great-Great-Great Grandfather

One of the benefits of researching my family's history is that I get to discover all sorts of amazing facts about my ancestors. Here is one fanciful story:

My Great-great-great Grandfather was a man named Little Cobbet Budlong. He lived his early life in the hills of Tennessee with his family, before they relocated to Slopwater, Georgia, which is about 30 miles south of Atlanta.

At the time the Budlongs made their move to the Peach State, the American Civil War was just getting into high gear. What's-his-face had just lost that famous battle; you know the one I mean. The one on that hill. Anyway, Little Cobbet Budlong attempted to join up with the Confederate Army. Although he was 18 years old, and relatively healthy, they refused to accept him because he was too little.

He then attempted to join up with the Union Army. He apparently didn't care which side he was on, as long as he got a chance to shoot at someone. But, again, he was denied admission into the Union Army because of his "smallness".

(I should point out here that although his name was Little Cobbet Budlong, and he was a little man, one thing had nothing to do with the other. It was just a coincidence.)

So, after being denied the opportunity to become a great soldier, Little Cobbet decided he would concentrate his efforts on becoming a great lover. He attempted to woo any woman he could find. He often failed at this, too, because of his smallness. One of his advances elicited this response from Georgetta Hymen. It is typical of most womens':

"I will not love you, Little Cobbet. I am waiting for my dead husband to return home from the war."

So, Little Cobbet eventually stopped trying to love the women of the south, and instead decided to simply relax and enjoy the southern lifestyle. As you may already know, it was typical of people who lived in areas near the Civil War battle grounds to take a picnic lunch with them and view the fighting from a hilltop. It so happened that on one such occasion, a group of young southern belles got together to watch one battle. Little Cobbet was invited along to serve as a centerpiece (He would stand at the center of the picnic blanket, arms outstretched, dangling tassles.).

During the course of the battle, Little Cobbet felt a great pressure in his bladder, and when he went off into the bushes to relieve himself, he accidentally pricked his finger on a thorny bush.

Understand, medical science was significantly less advanced then than it is now, and it was decided that the best treatment for this wound would be to amputate Little Cobbet's left arm, at the shoulder. This was done.

The next day, when the belles were eating their picnic lunch, and Little Cobbet was standing bravely as their centerpiece, Corporal Yester Liverbottom glanced up at the hill and saw him. He called him down, and Little Cobbet went down onto the battlefield. When he got there, he received an amazing offer.

It seemed that the Confederate Army had just started a new battalion, the 131st, also known as "The Fighting Amputees." Several people in this day were having limbs amputated, because medical science was so primitive, and it was easier to just lop a limb off, rather than try to mend it. But, instead of allowing these potential soldiers to fritter their time away doing nothing, it was decided to start a separate battalion just for them.

So, Little Cobbet was conscripted into the Confederate Army as one of the original members of "The Fighting Amputees." He was one of twenty-three in that first squad.

In their first battle, they were sent to fight the 87th battalion of the Union Army. As they hopped over the hill, many of the soldiers from the 87th noticed them coming, and had plenty of time to get dressed, load their weapons, line up in formation, fire their rifles, reload, fire again, and shave. Little Cobbet was one of only two survivors of the original 131st.

He was not unscathed, however. In fact, a bullet caught him in the left big toe. His leg was amputated, as was the custom for so serious an injury.

The story could have, and probably should have, ended here. But it did not. For you see, Major James Cleanshaven (a former assistant to General Burnside), was impressed by the spirit of the Confederate Army's "Fighting Amputees," and decided to start a Union Army version. Little Cobbet himself was conscripted, and given the title of Corporal. He, along with 17 others, became the Union's 319th, or "The Hobblestone Fighters." (It was customary to recycle soldiers once you'd captured them.)

Their first mission was a ridiculously important one: Take Slackjaw Hill, an area prized by both sides for its strategic location, and its Peep Shows. The area was then in the possession of the Rebels. The Hobblestoners sought to change that.

As they hopped over the hill, the Confederate soldiers were stunned. They'd been expecting soldiers with at least four limbs. However, they recovered in plenty of time to mow all of the Hobblestoners down. Three survived. Little Cobbet was among them.

Again, he was not unharmed in the battle. A mosquito bit him on his right hand. His arm was, of course, amputated. As a reward for his remarkable valor, he was re-conscripted into the Confederate army, and placed in the new, and improved "Fighting Amputees" of the 472nd, which now had 2,743 members. Their first assignment: Get out there and kill some Union soldiers.

By this time, Little Cobbet had no arms, and only one leg, which made holding a rifle difficult. So, his rifle was belted to his side. He had no fingers to fire it, but the rifle did have a bayonet on the end, so if he could maneuver himself really close to someone and sort of wiggle his body back and forth, he felt he could really do some damage.

The members of the 472nd came hopping over Didjahear Hill, and came upon a group of Union soldiers unexpectedly. They suffered heavy casualties. Little Cobbet was one of four survivors. As luck would have it, he again was injured in the fighting. He sprained his right ankle while hopping around on it, and the leg was amputated.

When word of Little Cobbet's miraculous adventures reached Major Cleanshaven, he didn't believe it. But then, he was a drunk. One man who did believe it was Colonel Lionel "Applebelly" Crumbly. (So called because of his applebelly.) He made Little Cobbet a Lance Corporal, and put him in charge of the 9,834 members of the new "Hobblestone Fighters." They were then ordered to sort of wobble and roll around the countryside, picking fights with any Rebels they could find.

Little Cobbet now had no arms and no legs, and he had to use a special weapon that consisted of a rubber band and a pebble that was held between his teeth. Because he only got one shot and couldn't reload, he had to carry it around in his mouth at all times.

One day, Little Cobbet and his men hopped over the side of Wrongplace Hill and happened upon a group of sodden Confederate soldiers. Though the Rebels were drunk, and outnumbered 9,834 to 19, they were still able to devastate the Hobblestoners. Little Cobbet was one of six survivors captured by the Rebs.

And, as you might have guessed, he was once again injured in the fighting. While trying to fire the rubber band "Mouth Gun" the Union Army had fitted him with, he bit his tongue. Doctors amputated his head.

Long story short: Little Cobbet had many more adventures, fighting as both a Union and Confederate soldier. By the time the Civil War ended, Little Cobbet had nothing more than his belly button left. But that didn't stop him from going on with his life, and siring 14 children, one of whom was my Great-Great Grandmother, Charity Prudence Chastity Denial Budlong. And I, for one, am proud to come from such a powerful heritage.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Funny Office Prank

When one of your fellow workers goes on vacation, try this funny prank:

Promise a homeless guy ten bucks to come and sit in the vacationer's cube on the day he- the vacationer- is supposed to come back to work. The vacationer will come into the office, see the homeless guy in his space, and think, "Oh man, I been replaced by a homeless guy! I am such a loser!" (which he is, by the way), and then he will be so distraught he'll run screaming from the office. Later, when he's just about to take his own life, you burst through the front door of his apartment, pull his head out of the oven and say, "We was just kidding you, man!" Then after you're all done laughing about the funny joke, you have the homeless guy come in and you tell your co-worker to give the homeless guy the ten bucks you promised him.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Los Angeles Apple Kids!


This is based on an actual incident that happened to me in Los Angeles.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Weekend Box Office Predictions for The Weekend of November 23-25

I'm still on the inside, as far a Hollywood is concerned, so I have a unique perspective. Here are my picks for the top ten:

ENCHANTED: Are you kidding me? This is the most enchantingly titled film of the weekend, possibly in history. There is no way a film of such enchantment could fail to make anything less than $1 billion, as audiences flock to see this enchanting story of a princess who becomes a real woman. I think it involves transgenderism, and a young man dressed as Cher. It is also getting rave reviews as the critics choice, as most critics have called it as enchanting as anything, ever. Expect this to enchant moviegoers as well. As stated previously, I expect this film to make $1 billion, but that is a conservative estimate. Look for a $3 or $4 billion weekend for this piece of enchantment.

BEE MOVEMENT: Jerry Seinfeld provides the voice and attitude for a lovable, computer-animated piece of excrement, who takes the human race to court after he is flushed down a toilet. In the end, he wins his court case, and the human race is forced to treat all its poo just like real human beings, at least until the case is heard by the Supreme Court. Idiosyncratic justice Anthony Kennedy is the swing vote, and in a controversial 5-4 decision, the original ruling is overturned, and it's back to the sewer for "Bee" and all his poo friends. I expect audiences won't "poo-poo" this film, and it will make over $550 million this weekend.

THE MIST: I've been warned not to reveal the shocking twist ending to this terror fest, in which the Mist turns out to be a giant flatus pancake, and the townspeople must defeat it by forcing a cute little child to kill his own even-cuter dog. But once word of the twist gets out, expect this film to get a sizable per-screen average of $979,248.67, and that's no "mist"-ake.

AMERICAN GANGSTER: The amazing scene toward the end, when Russell Crowe's and Denzel Washington's characters make tender love, has audiences gasping for more, and I expect this film to continue its blistering box office pace. It should only drop about 73% from last weekend, bringing its total to a very high number.

BEOWULF: Eye-assaulting visuals will continue to make this film a big ticket seller at the box office. I expect based on what my gurus are telling me that a drop of about half what they expect (the studio is downplaying expectations, although because of certain accounting principles expectations are actually about a third as high as you think they are) would still give this film more money than the original story made for its original author, who existed before modern copyright law. Sucker!

FRED CLAUS: Really? Is this movie still out?

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN: If this film were playing in more than one theater, it might actually make some money. As it is, it will probably only make about $98 million, which is still pretty good considering its tough-sell subject matter (murder).

AUGUST RUSH: A lovable homeless kid learns to play piano by practicing on discarded pizza boxes. He plays Carnegie Hall. Everyone is enchanted. Moviegoer awareness is tracking very low on this challenging feature, so look for it to make in the low 80s of millions of dollars, for a disappointing cume.

HITMAN: Based on a video game, this exciting-looking film will no doubt get the gamers to put down their "joysticks" and pick up their "movie tix" to check out this adaptation of their favorite game. Hollywood has a history of getting video game adaptations right, so look for this film to open H*U*G*E, to about a $235 million weekend (I'm including Wednesday and Thursday in that total; sorry, I should have mentioned that before).

MR AGORAFOBIUM'S EMPORIUM EMPORIUM AQUARIUM EMPORIUM: Last weekend, this was the most enchanting title of all the films in release. This weekend, moviegoers won't even remember the title, as they spend all their "enchantment" money on "Enchanted." This movie about an old man and his endless shoe supply should still "walk" its way to a cume of $100 million, after about 450 years.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Notes on the "Many Worlds Interpretation" of Quantum Mechanics

In 1956, Princeton student Hugh Everett III, writing in his doctoral thesis, first explained the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI) of Quantum Mechanics (QM). The basic idea, and I am (over)simplifying here, is that there are an infinite number of universes, with a new universe being created each time we make a decision or take some kind of action. For instance, in this universe I got out of bed, worked on my new piece of animation, took the dog for a walk, shipped my defective TiVo back to TiVo, ate lunch, took the dog for another walk, moved my bowels, drank a Starbucks mocha frappucino, and sat down to expound upon the theory of the MWI of QM. However, what if I didn't get out of bed until until five minutes later? Well, in another universe, that's just what I did. Maybe I moved my bowels before I shipped the defective TiVo back? Yes, that's just what I did. In another universe, I never bought the TiVo in the first place. That is a terrible universe, and I'm glad I don't live in that universe.

But the "me" that lives in that universe in which I didn't buy a TiVo actually likes that he doesn't have a TiVo. He's probably one of those jerks who tells you that you shouldn't watch television at all, that it stifles creativity or whatever other unpleasant things those TV-haters tell you. The life he's lived and the decisions he's made have made him a person unrecognizable to me.

Physicists have two ways of looking at the the MWI. Some take a realist approach to the theory; that is to say, they actually believe that each of these universes is physically real. Others believe that these other universes are just abstract concepts, and that there is nothing real about them. (John Bell called the idea that each of these universes was actually real "grotesque.")

As a layperson with absolutely no idea of what I am talking about, I am excited by the idea of an infinite number of "mes" out there loose on the various "alternaverses" (my word). The prospect of meeting some of these other mes is an enchanting one, filled with fanciful possibilities. What I am saying is, I would like to have a three-way with myself. Not that other me who doesn't like TiVo, but the other me who went into banking. He is very successful, and that is a very attractive quality. Or, going back even further, the other me who was created when my father met a French woman, and I was born a girl. Man, oh man. Can you imagine me as a half French woman? I bet I would be so uninhibited! I would have such a filthy mind, and no shame whatsoever. Butterflying, trapezing, joyeux du oignon... nothing would be too much for that me. I hope that me was born in like 1985 or so, because then she would be the perfect age.

In conclusion, the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics is highly controversial, and as of this writing there is no way the theory can be tested. Until that day, I will continue to fantasize about having a three-way with myself.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Ricky Sprague interviewed in Hard Rock Magazine!


In French! I was going to do a translation, which would have been funny, trust me, but I don't know the French word for "Kiss." Here is a scan of the interview, which features a nifty picture of me, yours truly. I should think about getting into modeling.

For those of you who love French things, might I humbly suggest taking a look at this?

The best Dilburte comic ever

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Four Special Milestones

This weekend saw four of my videos pass major, special milestones on Funny or Die:

Joyeux du Oignon passed 5,000 views

BJ passed 20,000 views

BJ2 passed 7,500 views

Nookie Man 14,000 passed 3,500 views

I am taking this opportunity to embed them again. I love to embed things. It is happening, it is now, it is post-human.









I am currently hard at work on my next animation video, which is probably why you noticed all that anticipation in the air. Should be done shortly.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

EXCLUSIVE! MIKE HUCKABEE AND ONE OF THE OLSON TWINS, I CAN'T TELL WHICH ONE!


Republican presidential hopeful and heartthrob Mike Huckabee is definitely living up to his new nickname "F*ckabee", as he seems to be moving from one young starlet to the next! In this slightly dubious photo we see him with one of the Olson twins just before a night of naked debauchery and shame at the popular LA night spot Hyde! Although they apparently claim to be "just friends," my sources tell me the two spent much of the evening canoodling in front of the other patrons, stopping only occasionally to go into the bathroom together where, allegedly, they consummated their "friendship!"

No one can stop the F*ckabee!

EXCLUSIVE! BRITNEY GOING AFTER MIKE!!!


Oops! She did it again! During a recent night on the town, Britney Spears was photographed exiting her car when a bag of Crunchy Chee-Tos fell out of her skirt. No doubt she'd been stashing the salty snacks in her vajayjay as a way to entice her dream man, Republican Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, away from his current fling, Paris Hilton! Poor Britney is unaware that the formerly portly Mike now poo-poos such delicious treats! Looks like Britney's going to have to find some other way to catch Mike's eye! (Secret memo for Brit's eyes only: My sources tell me that Mike is a sucker for OxyContin!)

EXCLUSIVE! Mike Huckabee and Paris Hilton!


Looks like Republican Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee's recent surge in the polls has been accompanied by another surge: A surge between the thighs of vapid heiress Paris Hilton! As seen in this obviously disingenuous photo, the two share a love of karaoke, and of touching each other! I'm sure that once word of Hilton's "endorsement" gets out, the other candidates can wave "Huckabye-bye" to their chances in this election!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Weekend Box Office Predictions for November 16, 2007

I am a bit of a Hollywood insider, and I am bringing my considerable insights to bear upon the following weekend box office predictions for the weekend of November 16-18, 2007:

1. BEE MOVIE: This charmer stars lovable Jerry Seinfeld as a wise-talking bee, and is attracting audiences of all ages, from 4 to 40, although it does skew a little older. Look for this film to continue doing solid business, as it has already made over $60 million. Another $400 million would bring its total to a staggering $460 million after only three weekends.

2. BEOWULF: This movie, based on a comic book, features a computerized famous actor, and Angelina Jolie as his naked mother. I expect big things from this latest offering from director Robert Zimeckis. In this, its opening weekend, it should garner an additional $345 million. Everyone loves to see computerized people attack giant monsters and defeat them!

3. AMERICAN GANGSTER: Americans love their gangsters, and they love American gangsters most of all, even though this film was made by several foreigners. I expect that American audiences will continue to forgive this, and will reward this film, which has already made tens of millions of dollars, with another tens of millions of dollars weekend, bringing its total into the high tens of millions of dollars.

4. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN: This film is generating huge buzz, with many people even saying that it is the Coen brothers’ best film since their last four films. I am looking forward to seeing this movie, and am expecting long lines at the theaters; a $6 million Friday, $18 million Saturday, and a stunning $55 million Sunday should have Hollywood buzzing.

5. MR MAGORIUM’S WONDER EMPORIUM: This is the most enchanting title in the entire list of the top five. The film itself might not do so well, perhaps only pulling in as much as $45 million, but the title will earn an additional $58 million, making this one of the hottest films of the holiday season.

6. FRED CLAUS: Santa’s mentally challenged little brother is featured in a delightful family film that continues its blistering, record-setting pace. It should earn about $89 million, for a per-screen average of $3,456.75.

7. FORBIDDEN KINGDOM: This Jackie Chan-Jet Li starrer isn’t scheduled to open until April 2008, but the buzz is loud and irritating, and the anticipation is so high that I expect it to do huge business in a down weekend at the box office, taking in about $73 million, making it the lowest-grossing opening weekend for either of these two stars, although because the film won’t actually open this weekend, they’ll have to put an asterisk in the record books.

8. DAN IN REAL LIFE: Steve Carell, star of The Office, plays a man who gets his first period. It is appealing to both women and older women, and I expect them to enjoy this film for another weekend, although a 79% drop from last weekend’s gross will give it $55 million for this weekend, for a so-so cume of $345 million.

9. LIONS FOR LAMBS: Hollywood’s first attempt to make a political film has proven the old adage. The response to Tom Cruise’s two-hour lecture has been his most tepid since forever, as the film only pulled in about a zillion dollars last weekend. Expect an even lower total this weekend, as it will bring in only a squillion dollars.

10. THE GAME PLAN: Wrestling sensation The Rock dons a fat suit and dress to play nanny to the spoiled daughter he never knew he had. Expect this film to “wrestle” more money away from moviegoers- a $75 million weekend should result.

That’s it for my top-ten predictions. Be sure to check back here Monday when I’ve changed everything to reflect actual grosses!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ricky Sprague's Notes on Classic Works of Literature

These study guides represent only a small portion of my voluminous knowledge of world literature. Although they make an excellent resource, serious students of literature are encouraged to seek out the original works themselves and open them for their own interpretation.

DON QUIXOTE: There are many who consider this work to be the greatest work of literature ever written, and they are not far off. This story is both comedy and tragedy, with a man who pretends to be a knight riding around on his horse. He cuts a pathetic figure. The songs are awesome, especially the one about “To dream the impossible dream;” it is both true and rousing. Very applicable to our modern times, which is surprising considering that this was written many, many years ago.

GULLIVER’S TRAVELS: Try to imagine that you are a giant man. Wouldn’t your place in society be different than it is now? That is just the question posed by this amazing, fanciful book. Perhaps you would scoop up the little people in your big hands, and swallow them whole. Maybe you would just step on them. But then, the people attack you, and tie you to the ground, and subject you to their little laws. Now, imagine what it would be like to fall in love with a woman who was the size of an insect. Can you have physical relations with her? To my knowledge, this work does not address this important issue.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE: To others, “William Shakespeare” is considered the greatest work of fiction in all of literature, and they are probably right, as it incorporates both the romantic (“What light in yonder window breaks? It is the east.”), the bawdy (“My tongue in your tail?”), and the horrific (“I am slain!”). To incorporate all of these things is easy, but to do it with such stylistic flourish is the main thing that everyone loves, including you, the reader, when you read this enchanting work.

THE RHYME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER: Death follows death in this terrifying true story of an old man on a boat, caught in the plague. His rhymes are the only things that prevent him going completely insane, as he passes the time trying not to get sick, and to fight off the birds that attack him. He is saved by the raft landing on the shore, and he goes to nearby resort town, where a nice vacation awaits him. His spirit renewed, he continues on his journey of rhyme, to the end of time.

THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN: Finally, an American book! This book is the first to ever deal with a person who travels on a river on a raft, and it is a remarkable achievement. An interesting fact about this book for the modern audience is the fact that the character of “Huckleberry Finn” gave his name to the character of “Huckleberry Hound,” from the Hanna-Barbera animated cartoon show. This proves that even old literature is still alive and relevant to today’s audience. This book also unflinchingly deals head-on with the issue of slavery.

THE BRAGGADOCIO: This classic of Italian literature was banned for many years because of its earthiness, which is a fanciful word for “eroticism.” It is actually a lot of little stories strung together, and each one is more earthy than the last. It is perhaps the most famous for the names of the characters, which are actually funny puns describing the predominant personality traits of each character: “Vulva,” the older sister, “Hymen,” the younger sister, “Clitoria,” the middle sister who is the most difficult to locate through most of the book, and “Merkin,” who, in true Renaissance fashion, turns out to be a man in disguise. The sisters all have sex with Merkin.

THE GREAT GATSBY: This is the only book from the 20th century that I have read. Ironically or appropriately, depending on your point of view, it is actually a “great” book. In it, Gatsby seeks to make himself a better person by making lists and throwing parties, and this works well for him up until the part where I stopped reading. I was at the Laundromat on Cahuenga and Yucca in Hollywood, doing my laundry, when one of the other patrons asked me how much I loved the book. I told him I did like it a lot, and we had what was a pleasant conversation for about two minutes, then he asked me if I wanted to “catch the bus,” which is a euphemism. Don’t ask me to explain but if you’re ever in Hollywood and someone asks if you “catch the bus,” just keep walking. I was so disturbed, I could not continue reading this wonderful book.

THE ODYSSEY: The Odyssey is the last book that I will write about today, although it is not the last book I ever read. An “odyssey” is a synonym for a long journey, and this book is over 300 pages long, depending on the font used, which makes reading it a “long journey”! In it, Odysseus, the hero, must return home after fighting in the world war. He rides on his raft down the river until he meets all sorts of fanciful creatures. His wife catches the bus with many different men while waiting for her husband to return. When he does, there is a big party and much rejoicing, as Odysseus puts everyone else in their place. In the end, the reader loves it because it is great literature that is well written, and it is a satisfying story with many different elements.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Want to be Unsettled?

The amazingly talented Jeff Porterfield has an unsettling, funny, yet strangely accessible piece of performance art/music video up at YouTube:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

"Dr. BJ Continues Sucking in Shadow of Writers' Strike"

Headline suggested by Chris Gortz.

It's true, the Sprague Studio hasn't been struck, so we keep turning out quality product in spite of the debilitating writer's strike that has crippled Hollywood. Four of the top five animation videos on Funny or Die's main animation page are Ricky Sprague originals. Sa-weet!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Sequel to "Dr BJ" at "Funny or Die"

It's my first sequel, in honor of Dr BJ doing so well with all the views etc:



My first sequel!

I WANT YOU by Lester Lake, Private Edition Books, 1963, 160 pages, 95¢


"Stupid men seem to think it’s quantity not the quality of a woman’s flesh that counts."

Jay Forbes is meant for more than the “grubby, small-time office manager’s job” in which he struggles. After winning $400 in a poker game, he decides to leave the icy mush of New York City to become a gigolo in Miami, Florida. But the new clothes and “classy looking” luggage don’t fool anyone. “He found out that you can fake having money but it’s difficult to fake mannerisms, airs, and conversational gambits of men from wealthy families.” After a few days of looking he finds a “gorgeous million-bucks-on-the-hoof” named Luanne St Clair, who asks him to take her home. They make love “with all the savage suddenness of a violent tropical storm.”

Jay thinks he’s found his sugar mama, but the next morning she laughs in his face, insults the bad tailoring of his clothes, then gives him 50 bucks to get out of her sight. Though he takes the money, he puts her in her place when he tells her, “Thanks for nothing, you cheap lousy, oversexed little bitch!”

He decides he was aiming too high. “Why couldn’t he hook some middle aged woman... A woman who had an income, perhaps of thirty or forty grand a year. If she was [sic] ugly as sin it wouldn’t matter. He could still get his kicks on the outside.” So he heads to St Petersburg, presumably the perfect spot for the man who is tired of aiming too high (he could have gone to Tampa).

In need of more scratch, Jay hits the greyhound racetrack and I assume that the author is more a gambler than a lover, because his descriptions of the mechanics of placing bets at dog tracks are intense and descriptive, even a little educational (I never knew what a $2 Quinella was). In seven pages Jay loses $20, and decides to leave but a “big buxom blond” named Thelma Gray asks him to make one pick for her, and he does, a 25 to 1 shot that comes through, netting her $546 on her $20 bet. She gives Jay $50 and invites him out for a night on the town. Even though she’s just a 34 year-old waitress who drives a battered old Chevy, he agrees, and they paint the city of lowered expectations red. At one club, they find themselves in a booth, thighs touching, and she takes his hand and puts it under her skirt. “Instinctively, his hand moved along the silken expanse of her thigh, carressingly [sic]. Suddenly, he gasped, a little bit shocked: ‘Hey, don't you wear any...’” (In fairness to Thelma, she usually does wear panties, but not tonight.)

They’re both pretty overheated, but Thelma doesn’t want to go back to her place until a little later, because she has “a little girl.” After some more barhopping she is falling down drunk and passes out on the way to the car. Jay loads her into the car and passes up the “golden opportunity” to rob her of what remains of her dog track winnings. Given his actions later, this seems a bit disingenuous, but maybe I’m being unfair.

He drives them both back to her place, and she awakes and invites him in. He waits on the couch while she fixes her hair and applies more makeup. She comes out wearing a full-length bathrobe, which doesn’t stay belted very long. “Her breasts were monumental, great, upthrusting melons of plump white flesh, topped by tips as purple and as large as plumbs [sic], in their erect state. Her belly was gently rounded. Her thighs were large, columnar, but gracefully tapered. She moved her hips in a rotating movement, as she then stepped forward and straddled his legs.

“’Help me! Jay, help me!’ she whispered.”

Jay “helps” her by “interlocking” and “surging” with her all night on the living room floor.

The next morning he meets Thelma’s “little girl,” Julie, who is actually a nicely-proportioned 17 year-old nympho. “The proud globes of her high, firm breasts filled the tight confines of her sweater to the bursting point. Her hips arched out in gracefully full curves from her tiny young waste.” Jay shows admirable restraint even as Julie attempts to force herself on him. “I’m not a child molester,” he insists. And, “Having an attractive body doesn’t make you an adult.” But when she hikes up her skirt to show that she, like her mother, doesn’t always wear panties, it’s more than Jay can stand, and he starts giving her the spanking she needs. “His hand rose and descended. He thwacked her bare bottom soundly, with the open palm of his hand.” When Thelma returns from her errand, or wherever she’d been, and catches them in the act, Julie plays the innocent victim, and Jay is chased out, pants around his ankles.

He heads back to the dog track and loses all but $1.50 of his money. He starts looking for work. At this point the actual story of the novel begins, and Lester Lake makes an unusual and I think dubious decision for a sleaze novel, and begins an over-40 page stretch in which no one has any sex. It takes a sort of Erskine Caldwell-meets-James M. Cain turn, and Jay gets a job doing some kind of cleaning work at a grayhound [sic] training ranch. Hey, he knows enough about greyhounds to lose his last cent betting on them, so why not work at the ranch where they’re trained?

At the Palmgreen bus stop he’s picked up by Sue Hendrix, the 21 year old daughter of the greyhound trainer. She decides right away that she likes Jay, and trusts him enough to show him her “secret place.” A place she’s never shown anyone before. Jay is too randy to get suspicious.

Her secret place is a glade with a small lake, about forty or fifty feet in diameter, and a few trees around. (It really leaps off the page, let me tell you.) They have a moment, standing in all that natural beauty, and then Sue asks him, “don’t you think a woman with a fine body is a beautiful thing? I mean, like a statue or a work of art?” When Jay agrees that he does think that, Sue goes to the other side of the pool, and removes her "Mumu". There, she strikes a series of “perfectly natural, simple art pose[s].” Eventually, watching all that “rhythmic rise and fall of her apple-shaped breasts as she breathed” gets to be too much, so he approaches and starts touching her.

“’Oh, Jay! Jay!’ she breathed. ‘I knew you’d be like this. This is love; this is purest love; this is the way it should be with a man and a woman, nothing ugly, nothing dirty.’”

Well, it gets dirty when Jay’s hands slide down below her belly and he touches her “down there.” The “Mumu” goes right back on and Sue explains (and this should come as no surprise to anyone who’s ever read one of these novels before) that she’s a virgin. “You’ll have to be slow and gentle with me; patient with me.” Apparently, she’s been waiting 21 years for just the right complete stranger to come along. Again, Jay is too randy to be suspicious, but in fairness to him, he probably thought he was in a fun sex romp, not a hardboiled crime novel, which is what this book becomes. They get back into Sue’s MG and head out to the Big D Ranch where he meets the wife of the owner, Mrs Olivia Dumond.

His first look at her is from behind. She has “the most alive-looking, beautiful hair he has ever seen.” (It’s red, by the way.) When she turns around he sees that she has a “flawless complexion.” Her features are “perfect, almost classical,” “molded,” “sweeping,” “perfection,” “warm, intelligent, understanding.” The kimono (or kimona, depending on the page) she’s wearing is cut and ties so as to best display “the graceful curve of her lovely throat and the inner top slopes of milk-white mounds,” and “the large, yet perfectly proportioned flare of womanly hips.” Oh, and her voice is “husky.”

So since he’s gotten off that bus in Palmgreen Jay has met two classic female archetypes, at least in there kinds of novels, and Jay knows it: “He compared the two... Sue Hendrix was a classic in miniature; she was young, naïve, needing to be taught. Olivia Dumond was regal, Queen-sized, a fully matured, ripened, experienced love goddess.”

Olivia takes Jay around to meet the trainer, Seth (well, it actually depends on the page-- sometimes he’s referred to as “Jud”. maybe one of those is a middle name?) Hendrix, and the owner, Barney Dumond. Jay also gets a look at Paleface, Barney’s prized greyhound. Barney plans on winning a lot of money with Paleface. (It’s easy to keep track of references to Paleface, because for some reason the letters in his name are set in boldface type for the first few mentions, and then in italics through the end of the book. And he is mentioned a lot. He is important to the story.)

Later, when Seth is showing Jay his duties, he explains that Olivia Dumond is “a hundred thirty eight pounds of pure iceburg [sic] that looks like a woman. Nobody gets any of that. Not even her own husband.” Jay can’t believe a woman who looks like Olivia is frigid, but Seth insists. Jay still can’t believe it, even after Seth insists again. Seems a real shame. But Seth explains that she married Barney for his money, but now he’s almost broke, and is counting on Paleface to get that big payday for him. If Paleface doesn’t win this next big race, Olivia will probably leave him, and he’ll probably commit suicide.

Did you get that?

Seth then turns the conversation topic to his daughter, and tells Jay that he’s saved a lot of money so that he can take her to New York City to meet a nice high-society boy from a good family with lots of money. He then produces a Smith and Wesson .32 and tells Jay “You mess around with my Sue and I’ll come get this and blow a hole through the front of your face and right out the back of your head.” Jay is suitably impressed by this.

Later, Olivia confides in Jay “I’ll tell you right now that I was very strongly attracted to you, right from the first moment I saw you. But I’ve got it in control now.” She won’t cheat on Barney, and she won’t leave him, so that’s that. Unless Paleface loses his race, then Olivia will leave him. But Olivia insists that Paleface isn’t likely to lose.

Now that the setup is over, we finally get to some sex. Sue throws herself at Jay, but as he did with Julie Gray, he resists. “You crazy little bitch, leave me alone. Stop trying to get me killed!” But later that night, when she shows up in his room completely naked, it’s more than Jay can endure, and they go at it. She asks him if he wishes that he were Olivia, and Jay admits that he does, and Sue considerately tells him to pretend that she is Olivia, because it’s the closest he’ll ever get to her.

Next day Olivia and Jay pant over each other, and Olivia begs him to leave. He won’t go unless she or Barney fire him. In a nice bit of foreshadowing, she tells him: “if you don’t go, voluntarily, God damn you, you’ll be sorry; both of us will be. You’ll see.”

Three days later, “Jud [sic] Hendrix was killed.” (This book is lousy with typographical errors, misspellings, superfluous punctuation, and characters referred to by the wrong names.) Apparently, he was eaten by an alligator during a fishing accident, which is a real subtle way to go.

So Barney and Olivia go to the funeral in Daytona Beach, leaving Jay and Olivia alone in the house for two days. They have some martinis made with expensive Holland gin. They have T-bone steaks and asparagus tips. They listen to Sinatra and Gleason on the HiFi. They dance. Olivia mentions in passing that her husband is rich, sick, and old, and it would be really convenient if he died in an accident (you know, like what’s his name Seth or Jud Hendrix did). Then their lips touch, brush, and press. She takes a breath that “expanded her magnificent bosom to the full.” He unzips her vestee. He kneads “the big, firm, resilient mounds of her.” She pulls away from him and poses, just like Sue did: “She easily removed his hands from her breasts and turned, stood there for his admiration.”

They spend the night, “driv[ing] like savage animals.” Olivia tells him that oh, hey, she just thought of this plan: If someone slips Paleface a “slow pill,” he’ll lose the race, and Barney will lose a lot of money, and probably his greyhound ranch. He might commit suicide over it, but if not, someone could easily kill him and make it look like a suicide. Jay is cool to this idea, so Olivia lays it on pretty thick: “You’re personable, intelligent, handsome, and you make love like it never stops.” Jay is unswayed by her compliments, and tells her to just forget it.

Olivia spends the next few days pouting and challenging Jay’s manhood. Sue, who seems to know that Olivia and Jay spent a night together gets in on the torture, setting up the best paragraph in the book:

“Each evening, Sue insisted on modeling for him and Livvy, after Barney Dumond went down to his office for his nightly drunk, the clothes she had purchased that day. The worst part of this was that when it came to the underthings and pajamas and nightgowns, Sue had insisted on buying a duplicate for Livvy, in her size. She insisted that they both model these garments for Forbes.”

Eventually, the “woman-wanting” gets to be too much, and Jay’s resolve melts. He agrees to go forward with Olivia’s insane plan. Just before the big race, Jay slips Paleface the “slow pill,” and Paleface loses the race badly. Then at about one AM, Jay sneaks out of his window and into Barney’s office, where he finds Barney slumped over at his desk, an empty Fifth of Brandy at his fingertips. Jay forces Barney’s fingers around the gun handle, puts the barrel to Barney’s temple, and pulls the trigger.

The next day the police haul Jay in for questioning. Sheriff Valentine (sometimes referred to as “Sheriff Dumond”) explains that Olivia and Sue blew Jay’s alibi, by telling them that right after they heard the gunshot at about 1:15 AM, they went to check on Jay, and found his room empty. At this point Jay starts to realize he’s been played, and spills everything. We then learn of a surprising coincidence: The sheriff explains that Jay isn’t guilty of murder, since Barney had already died of a heart attack before Jay put the gun to his head. While conspiracy to commit murder and desecration of a corpse are illegal, they’re not nearly as bad as murder.

SPOILER ALERT: Don’t keep reading if you don’t want to know how this exciting book ends.

In a twist that will come as a surprise only to those who didn’t read the copy on the cover of the book, Olivia and Sue turn out to be Lesbians who hatched this murder plot long ago. Olivia knew that Jay would be the perfect fall guy because, “He looked at me like a starving man would look at a feast.” Olivia then reveals the source of her murderous rage: Low self-esteem. “That’s how stupid he is-- all men are. To think that a big, ugly horse like me, could be really beautiful. They don’t realize that true female beauty has to be small, delicate, maybe even fragile. Like you, Sue. You are real beauty, so tiny, so doll-like. Stupid men seem to think it’s quantity not the quality of a woman’s flesh that counts. But, then, they don’t know what real love is anyhow.”

At this point, of course, the sensitive reader is hoping they get away and Olivia goes to a good psychiatrist who can help her to feel better about herself, but the police swoop in and raid Sue’s “secret place,” just as Sue begins her ridiculous art poses. The book ends with Sheriff Valentine spitting, like he’s got a bad taste in his mouth.

“I Want You” switches gears faster than a meth-addled truck driver who needs to pee, moving from Dell Holland type sex romp to Harry Whittington type noir halfway through. There’s too much story, not enough pressing and mound-kneading. Honestly, if I wanted a crime novel I’d pick up something by Day Keene. Two stars.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Dr BJ Celebrates An Astonishing 10,000 views on Funny or Die

It's astonishing for me, anyway. 10,000 is a lot. To put it into perspective, that's about 1,000 more than 9,000. And I hit that mark in less than a month, and with hardly anyone knowing who I am. Woo-hoo!

Here it is:



I expected a parade.