Friday, December 23, 2005

This is why I want to be famous because generally, when I crash into someone, they don't lean through my window for a wee chat.....from Perez: Coldplay star Chris Martin caused traffic chaos after crashing his car into the back of another vehicle. The singer, who is married to actress Gwyneth Paltrow, was driving through London's Belsize Park when he slammed into the back of an unnamed woman's Honda. After the crash, the rocker refused to leave his BMW X5, staying put in the driver's seat as the other motorist talked to him through the window. Martin's car suffered no damage while the other vehicle now sports a large dent in its rear bumper.

I can't leave you without some reviews for the movies opening today (we were 20 minutes through The Squid and the Whale last night, at The Cumberland, when the fire alarm went off and we had to leave the theatre)
Transamercia (possibly my second fav. movie of the year, for sure in my top 5)
Breakfast on Pluto (another top 5 for me)
Mrs. Henderson Presents
The Ringer
Rumour Has It
Wolf Creek

I haven't posted anything Christmasy yet, so here ya go Here's a long, but interesting, NYP story about the kid (now man) from A Christmas Story (one of the ebst x-mas movies ever...but boy, did the years weren't kind to little Ralphie, see the pic of him all grown up)December 23, 2005 -- 'YOU'LL shoot your eye out, kid."
In the beloved holiday movie "A Christmas Story," poor little Ralphie Parker heard those disappointing words over and over — from his mom, his school teacher, even from a not-so-jolly department-store Santa.
All 9-year-old Ralphie wanted was an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model BB rifle. Is that so much to ask?
Yet the answer was always the same: "No, kid. You'll shoot your eye out."
By now, you've probably heard that line at least 100 times if your holiday tradition includes the nostalgic 1983 family classic — which will again air on TBS on a 24-hour loop beginning at 8 p.m. Christmas Eve.
But just imagine how many times that "shoot your eye out" line has been quoted back to the one-time child star who played the lovable Ralphie, the now 34-year-old Peter Billingsley.
"Especially around this time of year," jokes Billingsley, still a pudgy-cheeked grown-up but much less recognizable, since he swapped his Ralphie glasses for contact lenses. "You'd think I'd be sick of hearing it, but really I'm just thankful I'm known for a good movie — not as the kid who ate Pop Rocks and his stomach exploded."
Billingsley will forever be known for the Red Ryder BB gun, and for flipping out on school bully Scut Farkus and for the triple-dog dare scandal at Harding Elementary School, when his pal Flick got his tongue stuck on a frozen flagpole.
But there's a lot you may not know about Billingsley.
Like, did you know he's the great-nephew of TV's June Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley) who began acting at age 21/2 in a Geritol commercial before moving on to a string of Hershey spots as Messy Marvin?
Or that when Billingsley was 9 years old, shooting a scene at Madison Square Garden for the film "Paternity," he rubbed Burt Reynolds' head and said, "Hey, big guy" — knocking off Reynolds' toupee?
Or that he's now a movie producer and frequent collaborator with close friend Jon Favreau on films like "Zathura," "Made" and the Vince Vaughn-Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy "The Break-Up," due out in June?
Or that in the '90s, the semi-recognizable Billingsley used to get then-struggling actor pals Vaughn and Favreau past the velvet ropes at L.A. nightclubs — where all their skirt-chasing glories went directly into Favreau's breakthrough screenplay "Swingers"?
Yes, it's true. In the parlance of "Swingers," Billingsley was "the guy behind the guy behind the guy."
"We'd go up to the bouncers, like seven dudes," he remembers, "and Vince would be like, "Perhaps you know Peter Billingsley from 'A Christmas Story,' and they'd look at each other and then let us through. We worked that scam for a while."
Billingsley was roommates in a house of five that included Vaughn, whom he met shooting an after-school special called "The Fourth Man." Billingsley was the fourth man on a high-school track relay team who (gasp!) took steroids to keep up, and Vaughn played his star teammate.
"There was a whole thing where my dad liked him more than me, because I took after my mother and I was a science kid," laughs Billingsley. "So I started taking steroids to impress my dad."
And the tidy moral of the after-school special?
"I, of course, got the heart condition and the four-page diagnosis from the doctor about how my n - - s were gonna fall off."
Billingsley also soon became a working partner with Favreau, with whom he's also co-produced the roundtable "Dinner for Five" chat show on IFC, and the two became close friends.
"He's an ace in the hole," Favreau says "We went to a USC [football] game this year, and he got us into the coaches' parking lot. The guy at the gate didn't know me, but he recognized Peter. People get a kick out of him."
Although he occasion ally pops on screen for cameos, like in the Favreau- directed "Elf," Billingsley says he's most com fortable these days editing and producing.
"It's good to have new chal lenges," he says, citing the recent sci-fi fantasy "Za thura" — in which, by the way, Fav reau paid homage to "A Christmas Story" by planting a tacky leg lamp in one background shot.
" 'Zathura' was my first time working with kids," Billingsley says. "And we had sets that were tilting and shaking, and the kids were hanging upside-down from wire harnesses.
"I think that maybe because I was once a kid on set, that gave their parents some comfort. You know, like hey, I turned out OK so they'll turn out OK, too."
Sure, so long as they don't shoot their eyes out.