The first edition of Complete Idiot's Guide to Bridge
by H. Anthony Medley was the fastest
selling beginning bridge book, going through more than 10 printings.
Second Edition includes some modern advanced bidding systems and
conventions, like Two over One, a system used by many modern
tournament players, Roman Key Card Blackwood, New Minor
Forcing, Reverse Drury, Forcing No Trump, and others.
Also included is a detailed Guide to
Bids and Responses, along with the most detailed, 12-page
Glossary ever published, as well as examples to make learning the game
even easier. Click book to order.
Dinner for Schmucks (6/10)
by Tony Medley
Run time 110 minutes.
Not for children.
Tim (Paul Rudd) is an upwardly mobile mid-level
corporate executive who is invited to the Dinner by the CEO Lance Fender
(Bruce Greenwood). Tim views this as his big chance for advancement. He
literally (in his car) runs into Barry (Steve Carell), who works for the
IRS, but is also a taxidermist. Barry is a naïf who makes puppets out of
dead rats. Tim can’t get rid of him and he causes Tim inordinate
problems, especially with Tim’s gorgeous girlfriend, Julie (Stephanie
Szostak). The movie is basically about Tim trying to get Julie back
after Barry screws everything up after which Julie bolts due to two
things: Barry’s interference, and her disappointment that Tim would even
consider attending the dinner. Naturally, Tim brings Barry to the dinner
as his “schmuck.”
This wasn’t as bad as I imagined, but hell
probably isn’t as hot as I imagine, either. Based on the 1998 French
film Le Diner de Cons, written and directed by Francis Veber, it
starts off with two strikes against it. As most people probably know by
now, a “schmuck” is Yiddish for the male member. This is so widely known
that it is inappropriate for a movie title. Would anybody entitle a
movie “Dinner for Dicks” or any other crude name for the male member? A
much more appropriate name, and one that wouldn’t descend into crudity,
would be Dinner for Schlemiels. Schlemiel is Yiddish for a dummy;
someone who is taken advantage of, a born loser, which is the idea
director/producer Jay Roach is trying to get across. But Roach is
responsible for films like Borat (2006) and Bruno (2009),
two films that were made with the intention of being as offensive as
possible. So it’s not surprising that, given the choice of something
offensive and something that wouldn’t offend, Roach would choose the
Second, it’s victimized by yet another horrible
trailer. When I saw the trailer I shuddered, realizing I would probably
have to sit through something that looked that awful. The trailer
concentrates on the dinner that corporate bigwigs host to poke fun at
people who fit their idea of being a schlemiel. This is not the main
theme of the movie, however. The dinner is just the vehicle for the
dénouement, and takes up only about 15 minutes of the run time.
There’s even a sharp-breaking curve heading
towards the plate representing strike three. That curve is the presence
of annoying professional laughers at the screening I attended. As usual
the laughers diminished the movie. There is little more annoying than to
be sitting near someone who laughs at almost every line, even if it’s
not intended to be humorous.
These two strikes are too bad because the movie
actually has a fairly nice story and sensitive moral, even if Carell’s
character is over the top. While Rudd, Carell, Greenwood, and the others
give very good performances, and Szostak brings a lot more than her
stunning beauty to the film, the most entertaining performance is by
Jermaine Clement, who plays Kieran, a bizarre photographer. The screen
lit up whenever Clement was on screen.
July 28, 2010