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New York Premiere of 'Rescue Me' Season 5 held at Radio City Music Hall.

Lenny Clarke - Lenny Clarke, Adam Ferrara and Dennis Leary Thursday 2nd April 2009 New York Premiere of 'Rescue Me' Season 5 held at Radio City Music Hall.

Rescue Me: Season Three Review

In the first couple of seasons, Denis Leary's FDNY fire opera Rescue Me flung itself through windows and played out in traffic. It busted jaws, opened old wounds just for spite and made grand sport of the whole ungodly train wreck of it all. It was almost as though co-creators Leary and Peter Tolan (The Larry Sanders Show) felt they were going to get canceled any second and so chucked all caution to the wind. In between sitting around the firehouse and indulging in some of the more profane dialogue ever to grace the TV screen (even on basic cable), the characters were subjected to just about any disaster Leary and Tolan could come up with, anything to push these emotionally stunted mugs to the wall and see what devastation they would mete out in response.

But somehow, the pissy little export from the land of the five boroughs -- and rarely has a show so viscerally captured the city's day-to-day, boiling-over, rat-in-a-cage anger -- survived. And this is after sending the wife of the Chief (Jack McGee) into a debilitating Alzheimer's nightmare and not only devastating Tommy Gavin's (Leary) family with the long-term and low-intensity emotional warfare of a never-ending divorce but then, near the end of the second season, having a drunk driver kill Tommy's little boy. That tragedy was then capped off by a nothing-to-lose Uncle Teddy (Lenny Clarke) gunning down the driver in full view of the cops, since a life behind bars seemed preferable to anything else he had going.

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When Stand Up Stood Out Review

Comedian Fran Solomita can hold his breath and stamp his feet all he wants, but that isn't going to make 1970s-to-80s Boston much more than a footnote in the history of stand-up comedy.

Like The Aristocrats' Paul Provenza, Solomita is also a comedian who figured he'd take a stab at directing a documentary, and for his topic he figured he'd pick, well, himself and his pals from Boston. According to Solomita, at the time, there was no comedy scene anywhere in the country except for L.A. and New York (pity Chicago's Second City, founded in 1959, which merits no mention here at all). But thanks to a Chinese restaurant in Boston, good old Beantown got on the map as a comedy venue, too.

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Rescue Me: Season Two Review

Roughly midway through the second season of FX's Rescue Me, New York firefighter Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary) is called by his dead cousin's widow to give a lecture to her teenaged son, who has just expressed an interest in becoming a firefighter; having lost her husband in the World Trade Center, she's not interested in having another smoke-eater in the family. Tommy is most of the way through his lecture, giving the kid the full business about the horrific side of the job, people found without faces or melted to their beds, but then he turns it around and starts in on how at the end of the day, he knows that no matter what, he made a difference. It all brings a smile to the face of his cousin, standing behind his son. You see, Tommy's cousin might have passed away, but being dead doesn't keep you from the cast of Rescue Me -- it just means you're not necessarily in every episode.

The first season of the show was a rollicking explosion of male-bonding, sadistic humor, and whiskey tears spiked with that FX Channel-brand of almost-HBO boundary-pushing. Gavin was a weekly train wreck of rage, bouncing from his mistress to booze to his failing marriage to booze to tempting death on the job with FDNY Engine 62 to booze again. Along the way, Tommy also held long and in-depth conversations with the ghost of his dead cousin, before deciding to shack up with and impregnate his cousin's equally messed up widow, Sheila (Callie Thorne) in the aftermath of his wife running off with the kids. Season Two opens with everything in disrepair, to say the least, as the firefighters keep pushing through the emotional wreckage of 9/11 long after the country has moved on.

Continue reading: Rescue Me: Season Two Review

Fever Pitch Review

"Fever Pitch" is a romantic sports comedy thatgets by on the same kind of lovable-loser charm that has kept its maincharacter obsessed with the Boston Red Sox since age 7.

The movie is not especially creative, the performancesare not especially memorable, the script lacks structure (at least untilthe start of the baseball season provides an external one), and the directingis often slapdash. But there's a saving grace in the underlying, never-say-dieendearment to the fantasized (even fetish-ized) relationship between schoolteacherBen (Jimmy Fallon) and his beloved BoSox. This authentic eternal optimismalso gives amusing life to Ben's desperate hope that insane fandom won'tkill a newer relationship -- with the first girl he's ever loved as muchas baseball.

During the winter of 2003, Ben falls for an out-of-his-leaguebusiness consultant named Lindsey (Drew Barrymore), and she falls for him-- after being convinced by her girlfriends to change her habit of doomedflings with aggressive, career-driven yuppies. The offbeat sweetness ofthis opposites-attract couple and their conflict over baseball feel exponentiallymore authentic than the snowballing little lies and contrived misunderstandingsthat drive most romantic comedies.

Ben and Lindsey have real laughs together (not rimshotdialogue designed exclusively for cheap guffaws from the audience) andthey make real compromises, recognizing the vast differences between them.Their problems arise because until summer rolls around she just doesn'tquite grasp how truly commitment he is to the seemingly cursed Sox -- despitehis honest attempts to warn her and despite the fact that his apartmentis decorated exclusively in classic Sox memorabilia, hung on every wallsave the one painted like "The Green Monster" back wall of FenwayPark.

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What's The Worst That Could Happen? Review


Martin Lawrence and Danny DeVito -- two stars with pretty shaky comedy credits of late -- seem to be tempting fate with the title of their new criminal vs. corporate scoundrel caper. It's called "What's the Worst That Could Happen?" and the answer to that question is, the entire movie could have been as dim-witted and haphazard as its last five minutes.

But until director Sam Weisman ("George of the Jungle," "The Out-of-Tonwers" remake) starts running out of story and grasping at straws in the middle of the last act, it's pretty generous with the laughs.

Lawrence plays a professional cat burglar who hears on the news that a media tycoon (DeVito) has been ordered to vacate one of his mansions as part of a bankruptcy proceeding. Lawrence imagines easy pickings at a plush billionaire's pad that's guaranteed to be uninhabited. Little does he know that DeVito has figured on sneaking into the empty house to cheat on his snooty, country club wife (Nora Dunn) with a buxom centerfold sucking up to him for a job at his TV network.

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Lenny Clarke

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