Mena Suvari / Lenny Kravitz
January 20, 2001


Matt Schroeder was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf
stream and he had gone 84 days now without taking a fish.

To update the most recent standings on "Matt's Totally Meaningless
Trivia Game," last week's question is still up for grabs. That
question is, of course:

Which came first: Coca-Cola or Pepsi Cola?

You are welcome to e-mail me with your answers (abdul_flunks@yahoo.com)
or reach me through AOL Instant Messenger (wazzuforever). You can
respond to last week's question, or to this week's question. It is as
follows:

What is the only Indiana Jones movie that does not have the words
"Indiana Jones" in the title?

But now, it is time for the "...Of The Weeks"! Now new and improved
with more categories!

Movie of the week: Traffic
"The Critic" quote of the week: "Look, I may not be handsome or
charming, but I am honest."
Download of the week: "3 Libras" by A Perfect Circle
Soundtrack of the week: "The Mission"
Website of the week: eltonography.com
Vintage car of the week: 1932 Packard 904 (can be found at
http://www.classiccar.com/Images/pack_01.jpg)
Enlightenment philosopher of the week: Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Pizza topping of the week: Pineapple
European capital of the week: Amsterdam
Candy bar of the week: Twix
Yogi Berra quote of the week: "Baseball is 90 percent mental, the
other half is physical."
Former U.S. President of the week: Martin Van Buren
"Kids In The Hall" sketch of the week: 30 Helens Agree
Asian nation of the week: Bhutan
Unusual college mascot of the week: Banana Slugs (University of
California, Santa Cruz)
Broadway play of the week: Annie Get Your Gun

And now, "On Today's Date In History"...

January 20, 1841 - China cedes Hong Kong to Great Britain.
January 20, 1869 - Elizabeth Cady Stanton becomes the first woman to
testify before Congress.
January 20, 1887 - The U.S. Senate approves the lease of a naval base
at Pearl Harbor.
January 20, 1892 - The first basketball game is played in Springfield,
Massachusetts.
January 20, 1928 - Martin Landau is born.
January 20, 1929 - Verrrrrry interesting... Arte Johnson is born.
January 20, 1930 - The first radio broadcast of "The Lone Ranger" is
done on WXYZ in Detroit.
January 20, 1930 - Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, better known as the second
man on the moon, is born.
January 20, 1936 - King George V of Britain dies and Edward VIII
succeeds him.
January 20, 1937 - The first inauguration day on January 20th is held.
FDR is sworn in for his second of four terms.
January 20, 1945 - FDR is sworn in for an unprecedented fourth term as
president.
January 20, 1948 - Mahatma Gandhi is assassinated.
January 20, 1949 - Ivana Trump, Donald's former wife, is born.
January 20, 1949 - Harry Truman is sworn in as president.
January 20, 1953 - Dwight Eisenhower is inaugurated as the 34th U.S.
President.
January 20, 1956 - Bill Maher is born. But even then, he wasn't p.c.
January 20, 1957 - James Connolly, the first gold medal winner of the
modern Olympics, dies.
January 20, 1957 - Dwight Eisenhower is sworn in for another four years
as U.S. President.
January 20, 1958 - Actor extraordinaire Lorenzo Lamas is born.
January 20, 1961 - John F. Kennedy is sworn in as the 35th U.S.
President. Robert Frost becomes the first to recite a poem at an
inauguration, reciting "Gift Outright."
January 20, 1964 - The Beatles release the album "Meet The Beatles" in
the United States.
January 20, 1964 - Ozzie Guillen, shortstop for the Chicago White Sox,
is born.
January 20, 1965 - The Byrds record the song "Mr. Tambourine Man".
January 20, 1965 - Lyndon Johnson is sworn in as president.
January 20, 1969 - Richard Nixon is inaugurated as 37th U.S. President.
January 20, 1970 - The poor man's Johnny Depp, Skeet Ulrich, is born.
January 20, 1973 - Jalen Rose is born.
January 20, 1973 - Richard Nixon's second term as U.S. President
begins.
January 20, 1974 - Famed murderer and wide receiver Rae Carruth is
born.
January 20, 1977 - George Bush, Sr. ends his term as the eleventh
director of the CIA.
January 20, 1977 - Jimmy Carter is sworn in as the 39th U.S. President.
January 20, 1980 - President Carter announces the U.S. boycott of the
Olympics in Moscow due to the invasion of Afghanistan by Russian
troops.
January 20, 1980 - The Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the L.A. Rams 31-19
in Pasadena in Super Bowl XIV. Terry Bradshaw is named MVP.
January 20, 1981 - Ronald Reagan is sworn in as 40th U.S. President.
January 20, 1981 - The remaining 52 American hostages in Iran are freed
after 444 days. Please do not assume that there is a connection
between this and Reagan's inauguration...
(coughcoughthereiscoughcough)
January 20, 1985 - The San Francisco 49ers defeat the Miami Dolphins at
Stanford Stadium in Super Bowl XIX. Joe Montana is named MVP.
January 20, 1985 - Ronald Reagan is sworn in for his second term as
U.S. President. However, he is unable to remember it only three days
later.
January 20, 1989 - George Bush is sworn in as 41st U.S. President.
Reagan becomes the first president elected in a "0" year (1980) to
leave office alive since 1840. Ironically, this is the same year that
Reagan was born.
January 20, 1991 - The Buffalo Bills defeat the L.A. Raiders 51-3 for
the AFC title. Meanwhile, the New York Giants defeat the San Francisco
49ers 15-13 on Matt Bahr's field goal with no time remaining.
January 20, 1991 - U.S. Patriot missiles begin shooting down Iraqi
missiles.
January 20, 1993 - Audrey Hepburn dies of colon cancer at the age of
63.
January 20, 1993 - Bill Clinton is inaugurated as the 42rd U.S.
President.
January 20, 1995 - The 1994-1995 NHL season begins after a long strike.
January 20, 1997 - Bill Clinton's second term as U.S. President begins.

This past winter break, I was fortunate enough to see a lot of movies.
Right now, I'd like to take this time to comment on some of these
movies that I saw, as well as some movies that I have not seen, but
have formed some preconceived notions about.

"Proof Of Life" (starring Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe)
This was the first movie I saw over break, and (of the ones I saw) one
of the worst. This does not, however, mean that it was a bad movie.
As will be seen later, I saw quite a few excellent movies. But anyway,
back to "Proof Of Life." I frankly thought that this was a pretty good
movie, with a few good action scenes and a little bit of unnecessary
blood. What sets this movie apart from the other movies I saw was the
presence of David Caruso, who somehow has the amazing ability to pull a
movie down faster than Tony Curtis. My grade: C

"What Women Want" (starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt)
Well, at least I got the bad movies out of the way first. It's a shame
when a movie trailer shows all the jokes from a movie. This was the
case with "What Women Want." Frankly, I had a hard time finding
anything to laugh about in this film, though both of my parents
described this film as "cute". My grade: D

"Cast Away" (starring Tom Hanks and Helen Hunt)
The thing I found most amazing about this movie is how the main
character can spend almost an hour of the film saying (virtually)
nothing and still managing to keep the audience completely engaged.
This movie will undoubtedly earn Mr. Hanks another Oscar nomination and
(at least in my mind) his third Oscar. Who would have thought that the
man who starred in "Bosom Buddies" and such films as "Splash" and "Big"
would end up being one of the quintessential actors of our day?
Anyway, the movie was really good also. My grade: B+

"Traffic" (starring Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Benicio Del
Toro, Dennis Quaid, and Don Cheadle)
Quite possibly the best film I have seen in a long time, though I did
not think that this would be the case after I first saw the trailer.
Imagine for me if you will a film starring two newlyweds (Douglas and
Zeta-Jones) that confronts a really serious issue. My first impression
was that this movie would bite the big one. However, this film
portrayed drug use and drug trafficking in a most disturbing
(disturbing in a thought provoking way, if that's possible) way. This
should get Del Toro an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, as well as an
Oscar for Best Picture (what were the Golden Globes thinking with
Gladiator?). Grade: A+

"Thirteen Days" (starring Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, and Steven
Culp)
Okay I'll admit it, I had never heard of any of the other actors in
this movie besides Kevin Costner. Even Costner's presence in the film
automatically put me under the impression that the movie was $20
million over budget and incredibly overacted (à la "Waterworld" and
"The Postman"). However, since it was about the Cuban Missile Crisis,
and myself being a history major, I thought that it was at least worth
a shot. This movie was, in fact, the best movie I saw this break, next
to "Traffic". Excellent acting from Costner (who'd-a thunk it?) as
well as...er...the other guys in the film made this an
edge-of-your-seat thriller. (Sorry for the overused cliché line.)
This probably won't get many (if any) Oscars, but it is an EXCELLENT
movie. My grade: A

"Finding Forrester" (starring Darrell Hammond...er...Sean Connery and
Robert Brown)
The last movie I saw over break, and it is yet another great movie,
though the entire premise of the sketch had been done before a
bazillion times, that being: two people who are complete opposites
become the best of friends and together, conquer their problems.
However, despite the overused plotline, this was a great movie. My
grade: A-

"Save The Last Dance" (starring Julia Stiles and Sean Patrick Thomas)
When you see a movie trailer on TV and the words "MTV Productions"
flash on the screen, you can pretty much assume that this movie is
going to be a big stinker. "Save The Last Dance" is brought to us by
the same company that gives us "Undressed" (which has worse acting than
any daytime soap opera), "The Blame Game", "The Tom Green Show",
"Jackass", "Senseless Acts of Video", and worst of all Carson Daly.
Save your money and go see one of the four above movies that I gave a
favorable grade. My premature grade: D

"The Wedding Planner" (starring Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey)
Let me repeat that for you. This movie is starring Jennifer Lopez.
This is the same woman that was in the dreadful "The Cell" and
"Selena". If that isn't bad enough, I'll remind you that she was also
in "Anaconda" and was a Fly Girl (a dancer) on the horrible "In Living
Color". The only thing that separates her from Sandra Bullock is that
she can sing. Or at least, she thinks that she can sing. The only
thing that she has going for her is that she's a treat to look at. As
for the movie, it looks like it's just "My Best Friend's Wedding" with
a different cast and a script that's only slightly changed. My
premature grade: D+

"Snatch" (starring Brad Pitt, Dennis Farina and Benicio Del Toro)
This looks like it's a really funny movie, though all the reviews seem
to be saying otherwise. All jokes about the title aside, I'm looking
forward to seeing this movie. My premature grade: B

"Miss Congeniality" (starring Sandra Bullock, Benjamin Bratt, Candice
Bergen, and Michael Caine)
This is how Michael Caine follows up "The Cider House Rules"? By
appearing in a Sandra Bullock movie? As for the movie itself, I
haven't seen it, but only two words should apply: Sandra Bullock. My
premature grade: D

"The Family Man" (starring Nicolas Cage and Téa Leoni)
To me, it looks pretty sappy, like another tug-at-your-heartstrings
flick. My premature grade: C-

Note to anyone out there who has seen one of these flicks that I gave a
premature grade: If you disagree with my premature rating, please take
into consideration that I have not actually seen the movie and my
rating is based solely on what I have seen in the trailers.

But too much time has passed and I still have not even begun to comment
on the actual episode of Saturday Night Live.

Host: Mena Suvari
Well, she was in "American Pie", "American Beauty", and "American
Virgin". She was also in the movie "American Loser"...er...actually,
that's just "Loser", the only movie (that I can think of, at least)
where the title described the type of person that would enjoy the
movie. As for her actual acting ability, it was virtually nonexistent
in the hormone-driven "American Pie", though she began to show flashes
of greatness in one of the best movies I have seen in a while,
"American Beauty".

Musical Guest: Lenny Kravitz
Lenny's an odd commodity. For the most part, he puts out about one
great song per album, however all the subsequent songs on the album
totally blow ("Let Love Rule" off of the album of the same name, "It
Ain't Over 'Til It's Over" from "Mama Said", "Are You Gonna Go My Way"
from the album of the same name, and "Fly Away" from "5"). However, he
also covered The Guess Who's "American Woman" last year for the Austin
Powers sequel, so he fits with Mena. Frankly, "American Woman" was a
bad song to begin with, and Lenny's version didn't do a whole lot that
made me feel redeemed. Now he's got a Greatest Hits album out, and the
newest cut from that album, "Again", is average at best. He'll
probably do that song, even though the album was released last October.

So without any further ado (I say when the ado stops, no one else!), I
give you...

The Review of the Mena Suvari/Lenny Kravitz Episode! (Now with a new
format!)

 

 

Sketch: A Message From The Former President Of The United States

Characters:
Darrell Hammond as Bill President, Will Ferrell as George W. Bush

Memorable quotes:
"America, I am your President. And remember, that's for a whole year."
by Will Ferrell

Notes on the sketch:
Well, for a few different reasons (the most notable of those being that
I forgot to tape the majority of the show), I will now be employing a
slightly different format to my reviews. Anyway, it was quite
enjoyable to see Darrell reprise his role as Bill Clinton one last
time. I think that we will all miss that impression. But while it was
pretty predictable to see Darrell as Clinton for one last time, let me
be the first (or maybe it's the second) to say that these political
openers are starting to wear. It's time for a change. Nevertheless,
this sketch gets a...

Sketch grade: B (Good to see one last sketch with Billy Boy.)

Notes on the intro credits:
Apparently, our good buddy Mr. Minor has gone and gotten his name
legally changed to Jimmy Minor. Who says the elderly have memory
problems?

Monologue: Mena Suvari

Characters:
Mena Suvari, Will Ferrell, Molly Shannon, Lorne Michaels, and Tracy
Morgan as themselves

Memorable quotes:
None

Notes on the sketch:
As disappointing as it was to see a parody of American Beauty (I mean
come on, the movie is almost two years old), it was funny to see Will
Ferrell covered in rose petals. Sadly, the same cannot be said for
Molly Shannon. The sight of Molly draped in rose petals was
fortunately forgotten after seeing Lorne's fantasy. "You alright,
dog?" Funny line, though it almost wasn't caught by the cameras.

Sketch grade: B- (Like I said, the target of the parody was a while
ago, but the premise was funny.)

Commercial: Gatorade Love Bucket

Memorable quotes:
None

Notes on the commercial:
This was a really funny premise, and fit in nicely with the ongoing
football playoffs. And it's always a plus in my book to drench an
elderly lady.

Sketch grade: B- (It had some good moments, but it wasn't
outstanding.)

Sketch: Airport Security

Characters:
Mena Suvari as an airport security guard, Maya Rudolph as an airport
security guard, Ana Gasteyer as an airport patron, Chris Parnell as
another airport patron, Tracy Morgan as an airport security guard, Will
Ferrell as Doug Drabek, Jerry Minor as Tyrell, Lenny Kravitz as himself

Memorable quotes:
"That's right, you're gonna be searched by THIS man!" by Tracy Morgan

Notes on the sketch:
This sketch was on WAY too early in the night. Maya's line of "If you
put up a fight..." got old really quickly, about as quickly as my
patience went for this sketch. The only highlight was the entrance of
"Dante". Otherwise, this sketch just left many unanswered question
lingering in my peanut-sized brain, including:
"Did Ana pick up her watch from the tray? I didn't see her pick it
up."
"Metal detectors bing when you go back through, so why didn't it here?"
"Why is it that whenever SNL needs someone to play a really tough role,
they get a black guy? White guys can be pretty tough as well."
"Why did Jimmy Minor sprint off at the end of that sketch?"
Anyway, because of the inherent stupidity of the sketch, not to mention
the pointlessness of Lenny Kravitz's appearance, this sketch gets a
big...

Sketch grade: D- (Amazing how much one line and a big security
officer can bolster a sketch.)

Sketch: Janet Reno's Dance Party

Characters:
Will Ferrell as Janet Reno, Darrell Hammond as Bill Clinton, Mena
Suvari as "Karen", and Janet Reno as herself

Memorable quotes:
"I like your dress" by Janet Reno (the real one)

Notes on the sketch:
The absence of "My Sharona" prompted me to interrupt my devout
commercial viewing after this sketch to listen to the Knack's indelible
classic. Darrell's presence prompted me to swiftly hurry to the fridge
so that I could eat my words regarding Clinton's last appearance, but
Janet Reno's cameo helped to save this otherwise bland sketch. She's
an awfully good sport for appearing in this sketch, even though it was
an inevitable cameo (à la Nomar Garciaparra on the Denise & Sully
sketch from last October -or- Barbra Streisand's cameo on Coffee Talk).

Sketch grade: B+

Sketch: Rap Street

Characters:
Jerry Minor as Grandmaster Rap, Horatio Sanz as Kid Shazaam, Mena
Suvari as Aaron Carter

Memorable quotes:
None

Notes on the sketch:
Does anyone remember the Bennet Brower commentary when Farley began
flying? Does anyone know why I'm mentioning this here? The reason
that that commentary is so memorable (at least for me) is when the
cables got caught in some light rigging. It seems like every time a
prop goes haywire, or there is some sort of noticeable error, the
sketch becomes almost legendary (i.e. Massive Head Wound Harry -
hungry dog, Paul Shaffer accidentally saying the f-word). I say this
because of the incredible hilarity of Horatio's peeling mustache and
his feeble attempts to hide it. Mena's appearance as Aaron Carter was
excellent and added greatly to the sketch. Amazing how much she
actually looks like our wee friend Aaron in that sketch...

Sketch grade: A (I love bloopers.)

Cartoon: X-Presidents

Memorable quotes:
None

Notes on the cartoon:
I don't recall much of this sketch, since my roommate called me in the
middle of it and wanted to hold a big discussion about how the show had
been really funny up to that point and didn't I agree? Well, to make a
long story short, I didn't see much of this sketch, but what I did see
of it was pretty funny, so I'm going to give it the benefit of the
doubt and give it a...

Cartoon grade: A (I'm having to go on the grade of my mentors, Mr.
Davidson and the much-maligned Mr. Polishuk.)

Sketch: Wake Up Little Susie

Characters:
Tracy Morgan as Carl, Mena Suvari as Susie, Will Ferrell as Susie's
dad, Jerry Minor as Carl's buddy

Memorable quotes:
None

Notes on the sketch:
This was a pretty well-executed sketch, and it took another stab at my
favorite target, MTV. By the way, in an effort to digress even more,
is it just me or has MTV turned more into TeenTV? More and more, the
channel refuses to play videos and airs shows like "Undressed", "The
Real World", "Road Rules", and other shows that have nothing to do with
music. Considering that the name of the channel is Music Television,
it seems to me that they should show more music-related shows. Bonus
points to MTV however for starting MTV2, nonstop music videos. Points
taken away from Adelphia Cable, my local cable carrier, who is not
airing MTV2. Anyway, like I said, the sketch wasn't too bad.

Sketch grade: B (I don't really recall much of this sketch either,
sadly.)

Weekend Update: Jimmy Fallon & Tina Fey

Memorable quotes:
"In an interview this month, Matthew McConaughey said that he wants to
die the same way his father did, right after having sex. McConnaughey's
mother has said, 'Absolutely not.'" by Tina Fey

Notes:
I don't know what it is. I seem to be the only one that is not a fan
of the Fey/Fallon combo. It's Weekend Updates like this that make me
miss Colin Quinn.

Everything But The Girl: Like the deserts miss the rain...

Shut up, obscure '90's dance band... The only good things about this
installment were the aforementioned Matthew McConaughey joke and the
newest installment of Sharpton and Jackson. Other than that, the jokes
were downright awful. By the way, kudos to SNL for using an Outkast
song. Now all they need to do is have them be the musical guest.
(hint, hint)

Weekend Update grade: D (Incest: why roam when you can get it at
home?)

Note: About this time, I realized that I had forgotten to record
anything prior to this, so everything from here on out is being seen
for a second time due to the magic of VCR's.

Musical Guest: Lenny Kravitz
Song: "Again" from the album "Greatest Hits"

Notes:
Maybe someone should look into the possibility of Lenny Kravitz and
Macy Gray being twins separated at birth. Anyway, the song was, as I
said before, average at best. The performance of the show wasn't
exactly that spectacular, so this warrants a...

Song grade: C (Nothing terribly exciting about a song where he says
the line "I wonder if I'll ever see you again" a bazillion times.)

Sketch: Veronica and Co.

Characters:
Molly Shannon as Veronica Kilvere, Ana Gasteyer as Estelle Cabot, Mena
Suvari as Katrinka Pinch, Will Ferrell as Hendrick Ver Hooven, Chris
Kattan as Mike Daniels, Chris Parnell as Kevin Aquarius

Memorable quotes:
"So if you're twelve in Serbia, what does that make you here?"
"Twelve." "Rock and roll!" by Will Ferrell and Mena Suvari

Notes on the sketch:
Why is it that SNL, for the most part, turns sketches that don't get
any laughter the first time around into recurring sketches? That was
the case with this sketch. Due to the fact that Molly Shannon is
uglier than the southern end of a north-bound horse, the possibility
that she would actually be a model would be enough to throw the Earth
off its axis. Also, SNL made a minor error in naming a Serbian
Katrinka. That kind of name is more fitting for someone from Russia or
one of the CIS countries. A more Serbian name would include much fewer
vowels and many more j's. Also, in case anyone was wondering, that
song that they played during Parnell's bit was "No Parking (On The
Dance Floor)" by Midnight Star. Anyway, the sketch sucked big time and
didn't get a laugh out of me (except for Will's character lusting after
a 12-year-old...reminiscent of "American Beauty"...), so it gets a...

Sketch grade: F (Maybe I should have waited to start recording so
that I could avoid this.)

Sketch: A Tryout for Lenny Kravitz

Characters:
Ana Gasteyer as a dancer, Lenny Kravitz as himself, Mena Suvari as
Dominique, Chris Kattan as Kyle DeMarco, Chris Parnell as Shawn DeMarco

Memorable quotes:
None

Notes on the sketch:
Sadly, this was nothing more than a re-hashing of what happened in the
Britney Spears episode and the Charlize Theron episode. True, in this
case they got the job, but that was just disappointing. Anyway, this
sketch had a few good moments, but mostly it was just a replay of what
had been done.

Sketch grade: D (Low marks for not doing anything new with these
characters.)

Musical Guest: Lenny Kravitz
Song: "Mr. Cab Driver" from the album "Let Love Rule"

Song notes:
The song was actually pretty groovy and I was getting down with it, but
to quote myself from the Charlize Theron review, this got cut off
faster than foreskin at a bris. Question: has any musical guest ever
been cut off like this before? Another question: to anyone who was at
the taping, did Lenny stop playing in the middle of the song after the
cameras stopped rolling?

Song grade: B- (Lenny gets a B, but SNL gets an F for the premature
ending.)

Overall sketch grade: C+ (This is pretty accurate for the show.)
Overall song grade: C+ (Pretty average, really. Like the grade it
gets.)
Overall show grade: C

Best sketches of the night: Rap Street, X-Presidents
Worst sketches of the night: Veronica and Co., Airport Security
Best player: Darrell Hammond (Thank you Darrell, for all these years
of Clinton.)
Worst player: Molly Shannon (But this was hard since there wasn't
anyone who really stood out.)

This is the first time all season that SNL has improved upon the week
before. And for good reason, last week's episode was about as low as
an episode can get without being in the 1985-1986 season. Now all we
have to look forward to is Jennifer Lopez (ugh) in three weeks when she
hosts and musically guests. So until then, this is Matt Schroeder
saying that when a problem comes along, you must whip it.


Episode Review written by Matt Schroeder


BACK to Mena Suvari "SNL" Episode Reviews