Archive for Brittany Murphy

Before The Big Game, A Wrapup For The Week

Posted in Entertainment, Games, Movies, News/Current Events, The Wrapups with tags , , , , , , on February 5, 2010 by thelasthonestman

It’s that time of the week again, so let’s dive right in with a look at some events of the past five days that had people talking:

— One of the factors that influenced the decline of the car industry in America over the last few decades was the perception from consumers that American automotive products were inferior in quality to their foreign counterparts. But there’s a chance that we might see some change in that thinking in the wake of the current issues facing Toyota, which announced a safety recall of 2.1 million vehicles back on January 21 due to the possibility of sticking accelerator pedal mechanisms.  This recall came on the heels of another one back in September of last year, in which 3.8 million vehicles were involved.

For the moment, Toyota has halted both the production and sale of eight of its popular models, and its public image with consumers has been taking a beating.  Not helping has been a slow response by the car manufacturer to the safety issues with its products, and the accusations being levied that Toyota attempted to cover up the problem, rather than address it.

Car manufacturers in the United States are silently hoping that this will be an opportunity for them to turn the tide and get American car buyers back in the habit of purchasing American-made cars.   In addition, both Ford and GM, hoping to take advantage of Toyota’s bungling, have begun offering additional money to car buyers who wish to trade in their Toyota models and purchase something else.  This January saw what U.S. car makers hope to be the beginning of a trend:  sales of Ford and GM posted double-digits sales increases, while Toyota’s sales dropped 16 percent, ending up with its lowest numbers in more than a decade.

It’s been a long time since anyone could feel good about the direction of the car industry in this country — this issue may have given American companies a window to better compete with their foreign counterparts.  Time will see if they take full advantage of it.

— A week ago, I wrote about the ridiculous rumblings coming from the family of deceased actress Brittany Murphy, in which her husband and mother were preparing for possibly suing Warner Brothers studio, who they were publicly claiming were responsible for the actress’ death.

Here’s to hoping the lawyers they were planning to hire haven’t already cashed their retainer checks, as yesterday the Los Angeles coroner announced the results of Murphy’s autopsy — officially, the actress died accidentally from a combination of pneumonia and prescription drugs.  While more details are expected to be announced sometime in the next two weeks, it’s pretty clear that the family’s hopes of cashing in on a loved one’s tragic death concerns that Warner Brothers drove Murphy to her death were completely baseless.

If you take a visit to the entire article I linked to just above, you’ll see at its beginning a picture of Murphy that makes you wonder why someone in her family hadn’t gotten her to seek medical attention sooner for something.  In the photo (the time at which was taken at isn’t stated, but I would imagine it was in the past year of her life), the actress looks pale, gaunt, and certainly unhealthy (in contrast to the photo here above).  Murphy’s family denied that she had any sort of eating disorder, but seeing her in that photo makes you pause to wonder.

Pictured here: Board Game Blasphemy

— The most classic of all board games is arguably Monopoly, and it was announced at this year’s Toy Fair that, in recognition of the game’s 75th anniversary, Hasbro is launching a new version of the game with some radical changes for those of us who’ve played it countless times over the years.  Unfortunately, none of those changes appear to be any good.

What’s not to like about this edition?  Where to begin?  Paper money (and the idea of banker) — gone (replaced be — what else in this day and age — a credit card.  Maybe in the spirit of staying relevant to the times, the game can raise the interest rate to 29.9% with no warning when you’re in the middle of a turn).  The familiar metal tokens — gone (replaced by cheap-looking clear plastic stand-ups with pictures on them).  The houses and hotel — shrunken down to a “there’s no way you won’t lose them” size.  And the game board is smaller and round — it looks like a poorly-baked pie, with slices that represent the properties — instead of the familiar square board that represents streets laid out around a city block.  And on top of all of that, it looks like the properties have been changed as well — so bye-bye to Boardwalk and Park Place.

There have been a number of hybrid Monopolies released over the years — in addition to a collector’s edition classic version, I actually own the “Here and Now”, “Spider-Man” and “Looney Tunes” versions of the game as well — so this isn’t anything new, and I can’t fathom that Hasbro would replace the time-tested version of the game, especially since modern updates (with higher rents and bigger denominations of money) like the aforementioned Here and Now haven’t proven to be nearly as popular with the game-playing public.  If Hasbro does plan on this being a standard Monopoly game of the future, however, it might prove to be as wise a decision as Coca-Cola made in introducing New Coke — and about as ill-advised.

— And finally, with the Super Bowl just days away, I’ll have a special column up this weekend with a football-themed Ro-Sham-Bo winner — and no, it has absolutely nothing to do with either the Colts or the Saints!  So check back sometime tomorrow for that, and everyone enjoy the Big Game on Sunday — hopefully, it lives up to its promise.

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Weekend Wrapup For The End Of January

Posted in Entertainment, Movies, NBA Basketball, Sports, The Wrapups with tags , , , , , , , on January 29, 2010 by thelasthonestman

My look at the Saints impact on New Orleans will be up on Monday, as well as my predictions for the Super Bowl.  Until then, some tidbits from the week that was:

–The news of actress Brittany Murphy’s death at the tender age of just 32, just before Christmas on December 20, was sad enough.  Now that tragedy is being compounded by misdirected anger and blame – or at the worst — greed — from family members in the wake of Murphy’s death, as the latest report is that the late actress’ husband and mother blame Warner Brothers for her death — and they’re prepared to sue the studio over it.

The official cause of death has yet to be released, pending toxicology reports.  However, Murphy ‘s husband Simon Monjack is claiming that her death from cardiac arrest is a result of stress from being released by Warner Brothers from the sequel to the animated film Happy Feet two weeks beforehand.  It’s a belief that is apparently being supported by Murphy’s mother Sharon — and Monjack is apparently planning to file a wrongful-death suit against the studio.

While I empathize completely with Murphy’s husband and mother — the loss they’re feeling is no doubt unimaginable — a frivolous lawsuit isn’t the way to deal with their grief.  Actors and actresses are replaced in roles by studios on a daily basis, and the world of Hollywood is ripe with stressful situations — that’s simply part of the business.  Losing a job definitely causes untold amounts of stress — but it’s not something that can or should be used as a reason to go to court.  Millions of Americans lost their jobs in the last several years — jobs that represented their entire livelihoods — and some of them certainly suffered physically from the stress involved.  They’re not all looking to sue their former employers — nor should they be.  This is a lawsuit that hopefully never gets filed — or if it does, hopefully it gets tossed quickly out of court where it belongs.

— Things I won’t be typing into my Google search anytime soon?  How about the phrase “Greg Oden’s junk”?

"Now with AT&T, you can get more coverage than ... Holy Crap! That's a picture of a fifty year-old, injured center's junk!"

The second-year and often-injured Portland center apologized yesterday for the nude photos of him and his … errr … manhood that are circulating around the internet as we speak.  Apparently, the photos were self-taken by Oden with a cell phone and sent by him to an now ex-girlfriend a little under two years ago.  Apparently, when you’re spending more time rehabbing injuries off the court than actually playing on it, there’s a wealth of time to kill.

My only question is this:  when are people who are famous going to learn to stop taking pictures (or videotapes) of themselves in compromising or embarrassing situations?  If the numerous sex tapes and nude photos of celebrities, even minor ones, that have circulated over the web over the years should tell you anything, it’s that if you take a picture of yourself naked it will end up on the Internet at some point.  That’s just a simple fact.  So to all aspiring actors and actresses, sports stars, and the like — it’s real easy to keep yourself out of these situations — and that’s to keep your private lives (and privates) really private and without a permanent record of some type that’s waiting to be leaked (unless you’re Scarlett Johansson, in which case I implore you to leak away).

Hopefully Oden can put this behind him and get back to more important matters at hand — which is being the second coming of Sam Bowie to Kevin Durant’s Michael Jordan.

— This week, James Cameron’s latest film Avatar reached some pretty elite company as it became the highest-grossing film at the worldwide box office ever and poised itself to take over the all-time domestic box office crown as well (which would put it in front of another Cameron epic, Titanic) (though those numbers are highly inflated by today’s higher ticket prices in comparison to, let’s say, Gone With The Wind).  It’s spent seven consecutive weeks as the number one film in the country, and it shows no sign of slowing down at the ticket windows.

So what am I missing here?

I may be one of the few people left who hasn’t seen the movie so far — which is something unusual for me, since I’m both a fan of a good science-fiction tale as well as for Cameron’s past films.  And yet, not only have I not seen Avatar — I haven’t really been possessed by a desire to see it.  I’m much more excited about the prospects of seeing Iron Man 2 this summer, and even when I did find my way to the theater on New Year’s Eve, my movie of choice (with tickets to Avatar available) was Sherlock Holmes instead (a box office success in its own right, and a film I enjoyed immensely,as I seem to enjoy everything that Robert Downey, Jr. does lately).

When the previews for Avatar were flooding the airwaves … well, what can I say?  I thought they looked interesting, but they just didn’t scream out “Must see this immediately” — to me, at least.  Apparently, I’ve been alone in that thinking, and that’s left me wondering whether I dropped the ball on checking this out.  The good news is for me, however, that if I want to see it in the theater, I’ll still have my chance for a while.