Monday, June 09, 2003

Found a post on Gaurav’s blog, which mentioned among other things, Edward Norton. I actually thought I hadn't seen much of Norton. But looking at his filmography at, I was surprised that I have seen most of it. He has just 14 movies to his credit in seven years. I am hooked to this guy. He was intense in as Agent Will Graham in Red Dragon and totally awesome in Primal Fear, which, I was not surprised to find, was his debut. Primal Fear earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. But I have to say that he does have some infallibility.

On Friday, I watched the Italian Job, whose ensemble cast featured among others, Norton, Mark Walberg, Charlize Theron, Seth Green and Donald Sutherland (in a itsy bitsy and yet a pivotal 10 minute role). I am not risking spoiling someone’s movie plans because whatever I tell you will be apparent within 10 minutes into the movie (after the credits, because the major stuff happens on the pre-credit sequence).

Edward Norton was wasted in a negative role and some of his antics were comical and reminded me of old Tamil movies where the villain is a caricature and almost a shade of their original characters in the climaxes. After seeing him in Red Dragon, this movie was a big letdown. He would have been great as the brooding Charlie (played by Mark Wahlberg).

But the letdown by Norton was more or less compensated by the trio of souped up Mini Coopers. They were the actual stars. Totally awesome. Incidentally, when Jay Leno and Katie Couric traded places last month on their respective NBC shows, the Mini’s were at the set of the Today show (as part of the Italian Job’s promos) and Leno took one of them for a spin outside the Rockefeller center and drove them hard with 180 degree slides on both ends of the barricaded street. Fellow hosts Al Roker and Matt Lauer (who incidentally is a Ohio University alumini) were totally hooked. Needless to say, so was I. The Mini Cooper S has now entered close to the top of my must-own cars list, which is choc-a-block with fun to drive sport sedans like the Audi A4 Sport, the VW Passat, but headed is by the cute VW Beetle Turbo S. The Cooper S definitely ranks in my Ten-Best cars.

By the way, one of the product placement gimmicks in the movie gives us an “interesting piece of trivia” about Napster. Lyle (the character played by Seth Green) is an electronics geek who graduated from Northeastern University. He insists that everyone call him by his self-anointed nickname, which is The Napster. He claims that Shawn Fanning (the creator of Napster) stole the idea and the code for Napster from him when he was napping on his computer desk (and hence the name Napster). Hence he claims that HE is the “Real Napster”. In fact he hacks into the Philly traffic department computer and alters the code so that he can control all the traffic lights in downtown Philly from his laptop (??). And then, the feed from all the traffic cameras in the city in the central control center momentarily go blank and then flash the message “You cannot shut down the REAL NAPSTER”. Obviously a product placement gimmick with Napster making a re-entry legally into the business after years of legal wrangle. It was also interesting to see Shawn Fanning (playing himself) actually “stealing a computer disc” (supposedly with the Napster source code) from Lyle when Lyle naps on his desk. This is when Lyle tells everyone the reason behind his nickname. It is also interesting to read the first lines of the article that is linked to Shawn Fanning on this post. The lines refer to Shawn Fanning's roomie at Northeastern. Any real world connections here?

Before I end the day, here is the QOTD...By the way, my signature farewell quote to all my emails are from one of the books written by the same guy who said this QOTD.

QOTD: In heaven all the interesting people are missing. - Friedrich Nietzsche

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