One of the new movies out this weekend is the animated "THE ROAD TO EL DORADO".

Elton John has something to do with the forgettable music. But, then, I've always been a little cautious with the man, ever since his annoying self-promotion and musical contribution to the vastly over-hyped Princess Di funeral.

THE ROAD TO EL DORADO, is about two half-wits who pass themselves off as gods as they search for the gold that lies all over the place in El Dorado.

They have a somewhat funny horse. And the natives are the traditional "natives". And eventually their greed turns into the usual Hollywood-ending goodness.

The animation (it's a DreamWorks production) is almost as good as anything that Disney puts out.

I'm not so sure that there is a future in pen-and-ink animation ... not since the success of the Toy Stories, and their computer-generated animation. Could it be that the pen-and-ink era has come and gone ?

Question: would you take a child to see this ?  Yea, if the kid is of average intelligence and/or under eight. 

As the LA Times' Kevin Thomas writes in his review: Lion King it ain't.

I've never been much for animated films that deal mostly with human beings. Animation strikes me as great for animals and weird forms and abstract scenery.

So, on the Franklin Scale of 1-10, 10 being best, THE ROAD TO EL DORADO gets a 7.

Quite frankly, I was bored ... but then I'm considerably older than eight.


What a disappointment !

Like many other Americans, I had felt - until yesterday - that Al Gore would make a fine new President.

Not anymore.

Gore's statement that he thinks the case of the Cuban child, kidnapped by the Miami Cubans, should have his case determined by a local family court - is outrageous evidence that Gore is just another bad politician, knuckling under the mistaken impression that this relatively small pressure group is important.

I suspect that this will hurt the Gore campaign more than anything, including those silly campaign contribution charges.

These Cuban-"Americans", using this poor child as a political pawn, are not nice people. Many of them, one also suspects, are the descendents of those who left Cuba when Castro's revolution succeeded in ending the awful regimes of Cuban dictators. Since then, these escapees have dreamed of toppling Castro, and regaining their status and businesses.

Shame on Vice President Al Gore. Not only for believing that the Cuban vote in America is important ... but also for undermining good people's belief in national morality ... and, also, for undermining the efforts by President Clinton and Attorney General Reno, to make things right.

Everyone calls it such a complicated case.

It's not.

It's quite simple.

A child was kidnapped by his mother who drowned during their illegal voyage from Cuba to Florida. The father is the only one who has the legal and moral right to keep the boy. The U.S. Government, using the courts, believes the child should be returned to Cuba. And pronto.

No, it's not a very important case. Just one child. Just one case of kidnapping. Plus a lot of noise and threats of violence from a group of greedy, self-centered wackos.

Shame on you, Vice President Gore.

Now, where the hell are we going to find a candidate to vote for, in November ?

One thing is certain: future vacations in Florida are out (the climate is lousy - hot and humid - anyway) and I'm going look carefully, that the oranges I buy at Ralph's, do not come from the state that, on a map of the US, looks like a limp penis.

Shame on you, Vice President Gore.

The battling goes on over the excessive use of helicopters by the TV stations in Los Angeles and other cities.

In the wake of the Channel 11 chopper crash, Academy Awards evening, the unions are demanding, among other things, high insurance policies for reporters and technicians assigned to aerial coverage.  Maintenance is being re-examined.

But what should really be the focal point of this investigation and argument, is the question of "Why unnecessary aerial coverage ?".

Yes, chopper coverage is good when it involves such things as large brush fires during which homes are threatened .... or massive rioting (although one might argue that a hovering TV helicopter encourages the display of rage by the burning, looting crowds below) ... or a large ship, sinking in the ocean off-shore. Nothing journalistically valuable is gained by cameras hovering over a smoldering private home ... or a traffic collision between two passenger cars ... stories which will get about 15 lines - if at all - on page 8 of the next day's Los Angeles Times/Tribune.

The expensive choppers are a danger to each other and to those on the ground below - and one of these days it's likely we'll see just how much of a danger.

Time for the TV managements to take a meeting and, between pastry and coffee, decide to save themselves some big money and future tragedies, by cutting back on the frequent and unnecessary use of the helicopters.

At the same time, they might also consider changing news formats. Enough of the Ken and Barbie anchors. Enough of the emphasis on local crime stories and entertainment gossip.



CHARLTON HESTON:  a nice man in person, but it's time for Moses to retire and tend to his garden, instead of pimping for the NRA. Along the way, he might try to teach the unwashed masses that Amendment II reads in its entirety: 

"A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

The word "people", in this case, means a nation ... not the murderous nutcase down the street, nor his moronic, syphilitic, progeny.

THE MEDIA's LAPD BASHERS: Rampart Division or no Rampart Division ... it doesn't make much sense to further demoralize the otherwise excellent Los Angeles police force - the thin blue line that protects us from the bad guys. 

LAURA SCHLESSINGER: her anti-abortion comments to the unwashed losers who call in to her radio thing ... comments that she bases on ancient Jewish writings that long ago lost their social validity for our time. (I'll let the homosexual groups worry about her other comments that relate to the gay domain). Schlessinger's anti-abortion stand fails to recognize that many, many families have been saved from lifetimes of horror and tragedy through the quick elimination of a badly damaged fetus ... or an unwanted new organism.

JEWISH LEADERS ... who have failed to stand up and protest the above.

THAT PART OF CONGRESS, AS WELL AS RECENT ADMINISTRATIONS concerned with transportation policies and expenditures ... for making us the only major nation in the world without a decent, high speed, passenger rail system ... transcontinental as well as regional. Meanwhile, the airports and airliners get more and more crowded, flying less pleasant and aircraft maintenance more worrisome.




THE ANCIENT RULES OF THE VATICAN - that permit one of the most influential and most powerful people in the world to remain in his position, despite worsening health, oncoming senility, and inability to function effectively, both mentally and physically.



PEOPLE WITH LOUD SUBWOOFERS IN THEIR CARS, who stop next to me at the red light, with their windows open.

DANGEROUS DRUNKS AND DRUGGIES, who think they deserve medical treatment instead of a long punishing term in the slammer.

UNDEREDUCATED TV ANCHOR PEOPLE .... and TV WEATHER FORECASTERS, who seem to be wrong at least 50% of the time.

FOOTBALL, BASKETBALL and HOCKEY pros who enjoy mayhem and injury.

IDEOLOGICAL CHINA BASHERS who won't accept the fact that it's a given that the centers of world power will shift to Asia within this century ... and that American and European industries and economies will survive only if they accept the realities of this shift. (A few centuries from now, Asia may have to recognize another shift - to Africa ... that is if the planet survives its self-destructive policies and non-policies).





GIGANTIC CRUISE SHIPS that have become floating luxury hotels where, if you wish, you can spend all your time eating, screwing, seeing Broadway shows, gambling ... without ever enjoying the pleasures of the oceans.


THE GERMAN EX-LEADER, KOHL ... and his refusal to come clean in the monetary scandals that have almost destroyed his political party ... and German post-war stability. And if Austria keeps swinging to the Right, can the Reichstag be far behind ?  Also: THE TREATMENT OF EASTERN GERMANY, by the west. Ten years after the fall of the Wall, and the ex-DDR'ers are still depressed and disillusioned by the "liberating" effects of 1990's reunification. 

WIND CHIMES on the porch across the street.

RADIO TALK SHOW HOSTS - Imus, Dennis Prager, the two whiners on KABC in the morning, Larry Elder, that Limburger fellow ... and the aforementioned Laura Schlessinger and her anti-abortion rantings. ALSO: BROADCAST MOGULS who fail to realize that talk-radio is ancient, sick and has run its course ... and that it's high time for new approaches, including all-tech programming for non-nerds. And music.

UNNECESSARY MEDICAL TESTS AND SURGICAL PROCEDURES - and violation of my physician-father's mantra: The best medicine is the least medicine.

PORSCHES and Porsche drivers ... and people who pronounce it "porsh", instead of the correct "porsh-uh". Worst of all, Porsch-uh drivers who speed and change lanes while talking on the cell phone.

NARRATORS on the History Channel who spoil some great programming, by mispronouncing foreign names, regions and cities ... when all it takes is a quick phone check with the library, a nearby consulate, or an embassy in Washington, D.C.


ERIN BROCKOVICH: A bad remake of all the movies in which a small town loser is pitted against the big arrogant corporation - and wins. They always win. The big money guys and their army of Harvard lawyers always lose in these movies. In this case, the small lawyer who handles the case for the poor wretches, who're suffering from all sorts of cancers and genetic damage resulting from poisonous waste spills, gets 40% of a $300-mil award. Figure it yourself. Julia Roberts gets the Franklin Award for the year's most obnoxious characterization (but, hey, the year is young yet). She plays a stupid, brassy woman who her three charming Hollywood-squeaky-clean children with a on/off employed biker (his baby sitting is rewarded with some gratis schtupping), while she badgers her lawyer into hiring her. Bad movie ... and I don't care how much money it makes. On the Franklin Scale of 1-10, 10 being best, a 1.

DETERRENCE: A Presidential motorcade is trapped by a Colorado blizzard. They take refuge in a small diner ... and with barely adequate communication, the President handles a nuclear threat by an Arab nation, by vaporizing Baghdad. Problem is, the President is a non-practicing Jew. Excellent film, created by one of our former film critic colleagues on a budget shoestring .... on the Franklin Scale: a 10.

MISSION TO MARS: awful sci-fi movie about a NASA rescue mission, to rescue the survivor of a previous mission to you-know-where. Lots of useless small talk (two of the rescuers are married to each other ... yea, man & woman) ... and at one point, so help me, a giant face, the size of a football field, comes up from the Martian soil. What crap. 10...9...8...7...6...5...4...3...2 .... that's it, a 2 on the Franklin Scale, and that's being generous.

BOILER ROOM: Nicely done study of the fast-money stock salesmen ... an updated version of Oliver Stone's WALL STREET of some years back. The familial stuff gets in the way, just as it did in WALL STREET. An 8 on the Franklin Scale.


Coming up soon: four new websites through which 120,000 Gary Franklin-produced images will be made available to art collectors, authors, publishers, museums, photo and art editors, stage and film set designers and TV doc producers. The collection includes images from the Korean War  which has its start-anniversary coming up on June 25th .... plus thousands of Hollywood images ... TV and radio news personalities and newsrooms...politicians, including five Presidents ... historic events such as the Mt. St. Helens eruption ... transportation history ... stark images from the Rust Bowls of the Midwest ... unusual views of Berlin, Leipzig, New York, LA, etc. and a lot of other great photo art you won't find at Corbis-Bettmann or Hulton-Getty

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