Archive for January, 2011
Awards season is upon us! Horray? I’m not sure how to react these days during the frenzy that is Awards season. I like movies and I like competition, so one would think that I would enjoy this special time of year. But in fact, recently it has been nothing but a huge bore to me. It’s fun to debate the merits of one movie and/or performance versus another but that is just one small benefit to enduring a season of awarding what is increasingly becoming the same people/movies over and over again. Every year there are clear frontrunners, (these past few years more than ever), who pretty much win every award (Screen Actors Guild, Directors Guild, Golden Globes, National Council of the Arts of Movies and Cinema and Stuff etc.) up to the Oscars with few surprises. This year most “pundits” will tell you the FINAL FOUR will most likely going to be Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale and Melissa Leo. Done. They’ve won every award so far, why not the Oscar? Truthfully, I feel bad for all the other nominees who have had to sit through countless painful award shows knowing that there is no chance of them winning and having to listen to what’s more or less the same acceptance speech with some small iterations. BORING. The Best Picture/Best Director races are a bit up in the air (GEORGE CLOOOONEY) with Social Network winning all the earlier awards and The Kings Speech heating up as of late. But it promises to be a crazy campaign. The absurdity is that people like to vote for whatever seems to be hot, which means the person who has the most momentum, which means the person with the best PR department who can convince the masses that it’s their year (ie. last year was TOTALLY SANDRA BULLOCK’S YEAR!) So honestly, take the winners with a grain of salt. The Oscars don’t really matter. No one can tell me that Crash was really the best movie of 2005.
The whole reason the Oscars were invented was to have an awards show that could garner up press and make more money for the films and the film industry. That’s still what it’s for. Do you think anyone would have seen The King’s Speech if it had not been touted as an “award winner?” The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences makes a lot of money from the telecast, and the higher its ratings the more money it will make. They expanded the Best Picture category from 5 to 10 so they could include not just the good small films, but the films that were popular and thus would get more people to watch the show. That’s why a manipulative, feel-good, sentimental B movie, which happened to make like $250 million, like The Blind Side, will get nominated for Best Picture. THEREFORE–Oscars are a little about rewarding great art but a lot about money. Also why they brought in two handsome actors to host the show this year as opposed to the standard funny comedians who spend the evening telling inside jokes.
Assorted Thoughts of This Years Awards Crop:
1- I don’t know what Best Picture means. Does it mean the most important film? The one that people will look back and remember 50 years from now? The one with the best overall writing, directing, acting etc. etc? I don’t know, but taking all those intangibles in mind I really hope The Social Network wins Best Picture. Not only is it a great story with a great script, direction, acting etc, but it’s the film this year that I was the most excited about. The one I had to see opening night (I was more excited about this than Inception. For reals). It didn’t disappoint as it was the most exciting, suspenseful movie of the year, even though I knew the ending beforehand. I know I’m biased because I’m of the Facebook generation, but I really think this movie hit on a lot of today’s cultural nerve. How often do we feel that movies are relevant anymore?
THE FOLLOWING IS MORE OF WHY I LOVE THE SOCIAL NETWORK, TAKEN FROM AN EMAIL I WROTE TO READER DANIEL “PATTON OSWALT IS THE GUY” ARKIN:
I feel like The Social Network is the first all around solid, classic “movie” we’ve seen in a while. It’s not a period piece, so it didn’t rely on that bullshit, it’s not a “action movie” so it didn’t rely on that bullshit, it’s not a war movie, or a quirky love story, so it didn’t rely on that. It’s not an “underdog story” so it didn’t rely on that. No father/son family drama bullshit either. It was almost devoid of all “award winning movie” cliches which is so awesome. (Except for the writing equations on a window scene.) Just an awesome script with clear characters, motivations, interesting plots, no clear cut hero or villain. And its not an “indie movie.” Its a big studio movie with a great story. It reminds me of like dustin hoffman movies from the 70s (Like All The President’s Men or something). Just a great movie with great actors/directors/writing.
I’m going to add to this that I hope TSN wins because Hollywood just doesn’t make movies like this anymore. They make tiny budgeted indies or huge blockbusters. No in between. Those options provide the least amount of risk. If you’re going to spend $60 million, why not spend $150 million and make it a can’t miss product-based movie (ie. GI Joe)? Or why spend $60 million if you can spend $15 million and gross the same amount at the Box Office? Every year a small-budget, British cast, period piece like The Kings Speech comes out. I hope The Social Network proved that you can make a successful (in both prestige and $) medium budget movie if you have in place a great writer and director.
2. It’s so hard to choose between best performances. Would you watch Colin Firth wedged between two boulders for 2 hours? I wouldn’t either, and I don’t think he would be able to pull it off. So why is his performance better? I dont know. It was good. Very good. But with all of these films you are comparing apples and oranges.
3. And besides, the only awards show that really matters is the Kids Choice Awards. Where kids rule!
Enough Oscar Talk. I’m sorry if you didn’t care about any of this. I’ll try and make it up to you with some Glee-derived humor.
Will Schuester is best-known as the musical director of Nude Erections. Excuse me, I mean New Directions. For reasons simultaneously altruistic and creepy (see screencap–right), this–that is, being a glee director–is his passion. Yet Will Scheuster only became the director a year ago. He had been a teacher long before that. What kind of teacher? A Spanish teacher. Which leads me to ask a few questions. 1. If this Will Scheuster character loves being a glee director so much, why did he wait 10 years into his career to start? If singing was his favorite part of high school and the reason the pilot gives for him wanting to become a teacher, then why has he been teaching Spanish? Clearly a man as passionate as Will would only do what he was passionate about, which leads me to think that he must be also have been passionate about Spanish. If this is true, then why haven’t we seen any Spanish or Latino culture permeate through Nude Erections? Why isn’t Santana the lead singer? Why aren’t they singing any Santana? Why does it seem like Will barely even knows Spanish? But there’s more. If Will loves being a teacher simply because he can give advice to students, then was he mentoring kids before? Did he just ditch these other kids when he heard Finn knocked up Quinn? How is he such a good singer/dancer if those skills in him had been lying dormant for 10 years? What was Will doing from ages 21-31? I need to know. If you have any ideas (I’m looking at you CARA) the please let me know.
While these questions are certainly perplexing, they are minuscule in comparison the the ones brought up by the following facebook ad that came up on my page: “Click ‘Like’ and catch an exclusive, free Matthew Morrison show on 1/29, the first of his solo career, brought to you by Oscar Mayer!”
First I laughed. Then I thought. Then I laughed some more. TOO….MANY….JOKES. Here are some of them:
1- Let’s get a wiener to sell our wieners! or Let’s find the biggest wiener on television…
3-The same kids who’s parents don’t have time to pack them lunches and therefore have to give them lunchables are the same ones who find solace from their miserable lives in GLEE!
4- Way to pander to the gay market Oscar Mayer.
5- Matthew Morrison loves wieners.
6- Matthew Morrison’s acting is really bologna.
7- Is Glee a Wiener-mobile?
Can you think of more?
I’m very angry right now because my plan was to live blog the Golden Globes. And I did. I blogged pretty much through the whole show, then added pictures and clicked publish. But it didn’t publish, and for some reason the whole post was deleted. I’m very angry. Erica Albright is a bitch. You think that’s because her family changed their name from Albrecht or because all girls from BU are bitches?
Sorry, I had a Zuckerberg moment. I’m fine now. Anyway, instead of depriving you from all of my devilishly clever live comments on the industry’s most insignificant, significant awards show, I am going to retroactively live blog. Which means I’m going to try really hard to remember what I thought/wrote at the time of the awards. I’m not rewatching the show, so I am relying fully on my memory. Here it goes.
7:01- Ricky Gervais is off to a devilish start. Easy dig at Charlie Sheen but really funny, harsh digs at Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie who were sitting in the room. Nobody ever makes fun of Johnny Depp (because he’s mostly awesome) but you could see he was embarrassed. Also big dig at Travolta/Cruise. Not the first time a closet joke’s been made about them, but not really necessary. And most people in the room probably like those guys, so it got met with a lot of boos. Also accused the Hollywood Foreign Press of taking bribes and made a Hugh Hefner old man penis joke. Ended with a patented Mel Gibson joke. Overall, I enjoyed the monologue even if it was pretty nasty.
7:08- Scarlett Johansen is Jewish!
7:10- Christian Bale is such a good actor you forget he’s just a cockney bloke. Nice thanks to Mark Wahlberg.
7:15- Katey Segal wins for best supporting actress in TV! Hazaa! That’s nice. I like Leela. That’s what’s nice about the GG’s, people who wouldn’t normally win anything often do here, and that’s nice. An award’s an award. Plus Katey Segal’s underrated as an actress anyway, this will boost her profile a bit.
7:20- Score one for the Mantegnas! (Joe Mantegna’s [AKA Fat Tony on the Simpsons] daughter is Ms. Golden Globe)
7:27- I like this business of Gervais introducing presenters by listing off their worst movies. And Ashton Kutcher Dad jokes never get old, unlike Bruce Willis. Who is old.
7:30- Chris Colfer wins best supporting actor and is genuinely shocked! That’s nice. There’s no way he would win an acting off with David Strathain but that’s why we LOVE the Golden Globes! Lea Michele is overwhelmed with something. Happiness? Jealousy? Prob a mixture of both. But she’s crying so I guess that’s nice. On a side note—I don’t particularly like what they’ve done with Kurt’s character this season on Glee, turning him from a complicated character who was gay, snooty, condescending, overbearing at times, and kind of a dick to a SAINT and the poster boy for all gay teens everywhere. I understand that the creators are using his character to send a message about bullying and tolerance, but by doing that I feel like they are betraying his actual character and making him less compelling.
7:45- Best Actor in a drama TV series should go to Bryan Cranston for BB. If it goes to Jon Hamm I will be the last to complain. But it doesn’t, it goes to Steve Buscemi for Boardwalk Empire. The GG’s loves to award new shows to keep things fresh, even if they are undeserving. But Boardwalk Empire certainly isn’t a bad show. And the Mighty Boosh deserves any praise he is given. But I don’t like watching him have sex.
7:50- Best tv drama winner is….Boardwalk Empire! In no way was this show better than arguably the best seasons of BB and Mad Men. But that’s the Golden Globes! And there’s Mark Wahlberg again! Dude has his Dirk Diggler in everything!
7:55- Shot of Angelina Jolie adjusting Brad Pitt’s tie. STARS! They’re JUST LIKE YOU! For my money Angelina Jolie seems like the least approachable person in the room.
8:00- Andrew Garfield can’t read. Off the teleprompter that is. Can’t wait for Spider-man!
8:05- J. Lo is terribly unfunny. Can’t wait for American Idol! Her and Alec Baldwin are a match made in mismatched comedy heaven. She is a terrible improviser. The harder she tries to be funny the less funny she is. And you don’t need to plug AI. We all know you’re on it. (But why is Steven Tyler…)
8:10- Trent Razor and Atticus Finch…I mean Ross. Atticus Ross wins best score! Well deserved, that score was haunting and beautiful.
8:12- Helena Bonham Carter looks like Bellatrix Le’Strange.
8:20- Who’s the girl next to Justin Bieber? OH! It’s the girl from True Grit. I did not recognize her. And Bieber’s hair looks a little different. And he does not know what to do with his hands. And for some reason he looks a bit more mature. Reminds me of Aaron Carter post-cute phase. That does not bode well for the Bieb. Post cute=kaput!
Somewhere Chris Evans (Captain America) and Chris Hemsworth (Thor) present. Is it just me or does Hemsowrth look like a taller version of Evans?
8:25- For my money Robert Downey Jr. is the best presenter of the night. Said what everyone in the room was thinking, “Aside from the fact that it’s been hugely mean-spirited with mildly sinister undertones, I’d say the vibe of the show has been pretty good so far, wouldn’t you?” and then made remarks about sleeping with all of the best actress nominees.
8:27- Anne Hathaway is gorgeous. Seeing Julianne Moore reminds me what a total MILF she was in “The Kids are Alright.” Emma Stone looks like a push-pop.
8:30-Why is Annette Benning acting during her speech?
8:40- Fey and Carell are great as always. But c’mon Gervais, you can’t call Steve ungrateful.
8:42- Aaron Sorkin wins! Hazaa. My favorite writer around. He’s the next William Goldman. Totally deserved. Even says some nice things about Zuckerberg.
8:45- Jane Lynch wins. That’s 2 for Glee.
Somewhere here they show Spacey sitting at the same table as Megan Fox. How did that happen?
8:50- Jim Parsons wins. Who cares. Kaley Cuoco, that’s who.
8:51- I’m a huge fan of Sofia Vergara’s Golden Globes. (Nailed it)
8:54 Melissa Leo wins for the Fighter. She looks nothing like her character in the movie. Also thanks Mark Walhberg. Dude is getting his wanker sucked more than in Boogie Nights.
9:00- Robert DeNiro wins the Cecil b. DeMille award. First, Matt Damon introduces him awkwardly—quoting Pesci’s line from Goodfellas—but DeNiro gets back at him (I think) when he says, “I loved you in The Fighter.” The montage reminded us all how far down DeNiro has gone. I can’t believe they included a clip from Rocky and Bullwinkle and Limitless, a movie that hasn’t even come out yet. His acceptance speech is very odd. Makes political or something jokes—“Members of the Hollywood Foreign Press aren’t with us tonight, many of them were deported right before the show… along with most of the waiters … and Javier Bardem.” What? Then he starts listing the movies he’s been in, being a bit self-deprecating. Then lists more movies he was in. Why do you have to be self-deprecating Bob? You’re not that guy. You’re bad. And you’re not very funny. Side note—isnt it a strange industry when you can get recognized for work you did 35 years ago?
9:05- The show’s getting boring so I’m gonna not watch as much.
RECAP: Fincher and Social Network win. As do Portman (who makes a bad, weird sex joke about her fiancé wanting to fuck her) Firth (I really did like The King’s Speech) and The Kids are Alright. Oh and Paul Giamatti wins. Also Glee. That makes 3 for Glee, with Modern Family being completely shut out. Interesting. The room has pretty much turned against Gervais who continues to just rip everyone a new one. People in Hollywood can take a joke, but he’s really been a huge dick. I don’t care. But it might hurt his (pretty non-existent) movie career. You know things are bad with this exchange. When introducing them, Gervais has gone on and on about Hanks’ film career and then says, “And Tim Allen.” Hanks shoots back: “Like many of you, we recall back when Ricky Gervais was a slightly chubby but very kind comedian.” “Neither of which he is now,” chimes in Allen. Burn. (Even if they called him skinny).
Take the wins here with a grain of salt. In the past 6 years only 1 GG best picture winner went on to win at the Academy Awards (though they had corresponded for 8 years straight before that.) In the acting categories I think those will how they will play out though.
If you’ve made it this far, THANKS FOR READING! I think I pretty much did the original live blog justice.
On my way to work today I noticed a poster for the new “Ron Howard Comedy,” The Dilemma. I can’t find the specific one online but this is the closest one to it. It’s being billed as that (or in some iterations “A New Comedy from Ron Howard”) as if that’s supposed to give it extra credibility. Does it? Ron Howard doesn’t excel as a comedy director. In fact the last three comedies he made were 2001’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (not good), 1999’s Edtv (definitely not good), and 1989’s Parenthood (a dramedy). He’s backed some comedies as a producer, but those have mostly been on television (Arrested Development comes to mind). So what does “A Ron Howard Comedy” mean? Not much. Directors tend to gravitate towards genres they excel at. If Ron Howard was such a good comedic director he probably would have done at least one comedy in the past 10 years. I’m not trying to shit on Ron Howard. He’s an excellent director clearly, he seems to have a great sense of humor, and he is arguably the most successful child-actor of all time. (Can you think of another who has turned out so successfully and well-adjusted? Seriously, can you?) But billing a movie as a “Ron Howard Comedy” doesn’t do anything for me. Let’s move on. I had some other complaints about the poster.
First–this is so BORING. “The Dilemma” is a boring title. Come to think of it, so are a lot of movie titles these days. A lot of them seem to be the working titles that say a little or even nothing about the plot. Zero creativity! These boring titles come to mind:
Couples Retreat: You: What’s it about? Me: A Couples Retreat. You: Oh.
How Do You Know: How do you know what? If it’s a good movie? If it’s about vampires? If it hurts? If it’s genital warts? What? Finish your question!
Life As We Know It: Isn’t every movie about life as someone knows it, really?
The Legend of The Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole: Can you imagine someone saying this? Better yet, read this out loud–I’ll have one adult for the 10 o’clock showing of the Legend of the Guardians the Owls of Ga’hoole–18 bucks? Sure.
(By the way if I had a nickel for every movie title that incorporated the words–Legend, Guardian, and Seeker I’d have a lot of keesh.)
Charlie St. Cloud- You: What’s the movie? Me: Charlie St. Cloud You: What’s it about? Me: I don’t know. Charlie St. Cloud or something. You: Sounds awesome! Let’s go see that!
The American- You: What’s that movie about? Me: An American. You: Who’s in it? Me: ANY ACTOR IN THE UNITED STATES.
The Town: Which one? WHICH ONE???!!!!! Should have been called- “Same Rules As I Did.” AMIRITE!
Why Did I Get Married Too: Black actor: Shit! Why Did I Get Married? Janet Jackson: Damn! Why Did I Get Married….too. Also. Like, additionally. As well.
The Fighter: Could be a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie, could be a Hilary Swank movie. Could be a straight to DVD Kevin Sorbo movie. Could be anything really. Could be about a cancer patient. Mark Wahlberg, you’ve been waiting to make this movie for 5 years. You’ve had that long to come up with a title and The Fighter is all you could come up with? Dummy.
The Tourist: A hilarious comedy starring Rowan Atkinson? Or a dumb-ass-trying-to-cross-genre-but-instead-was-a-super-boring-and-indulgent Comedic Romantic Thriller?” Unfortunately, the latter.
Faster: Than what?
THAT WAS A BIG TANGENT BUT I THINK A WORTHWHILE ONE. PLEASE ADD YOUR OWN STUPID ASS BORING TITLES IN THE COMMENTS SECTION.
Where was I? Oh yes, “The Dilemma” poster. So this poster has a bad title and a bad heading. Now you add to that a picture of Kevin James smiling. I get Vince Vaughn’s pose–he’s clearly feeling troubled. But why put Kevin James smiling? Not even a dumb smile. Just a smile. A guy in a tweed jacket smiling. It’s so boring!!! What does that tell you about anything? If I knew nothing about this movie and saw the poster I’d be like–“Oh it’s a Vince Vaughn movie. And for some reason Kevin James is in it.” Maybe they are imagining the dumbest American moviegoer seeing that poster–
Spectacled woman with big jewelry leaving the theater: “Wow. That Yogi Bear sure did steal a lot of picnic baskets–OOH HANK LOOK! Hank! It’s a poster! For a new movie! And look! It stars that tall handsome fast-talking gentleman from that cute Reese what’s her face movie! And that other man. He was that silly mall cop, wasn’t he Hank? Oh I just loved that mo–Oh look Hank! He’s smiling! Right there on the poster! He’s smiling! Well isnt’ that nice. What a nice young man. I bet this will be a nice picture. Won’t it Hank. Won’t it? Won’t it Hank? Won’t it. Hank. Hank, won’t it? Hank. Hank. Won’t it. Hank.
The other thing is that the tagline on the poster (the one I saw, there isn’t one on the image above) read, “Two best friends. Nothing could come between them… or could it?” First of all–OBVIOUSLY something could come between them. Things come between people all the time, ESPECIALLY friends and even MORE especially, BEST FRIENDS. So that’s stupid. Also, is it just me, or is there a misplaced modifier or something grammatically weird about “Nothing could come between them…or could it?” What’s the it referring to? The nothing? That’s how it would be grammatically speaking, but obviously the it refers to the something that will come between them. So technically shouldn’t it read, “Nothing could come between them…or could something?” No. That doesn’t work either because you still don’t complete the thought. Maybe, “Nothing could come between them…or could something come between them?” I realize that’s a mouthful and sounds stupid, but grammatically I think it’s more correct. Or to get the point across clearer AND be grammatically correct, how about, “Two best friends. One would think that nothing could come between them, but actually something could. (And in this case, does).” Naw. Too wordy. Not snazzy enough for a tagline. So let’s go with “Nothing could come between them…right?” I think this tagline is the best way to get rid of the whole misplaced pronoun DILEMMA. Cool?
(ps. this reminds of a falafel stand in Israel which sign reads—“Some people buy falafel. Here, falafel buys people.”)
COME UP WITH YOUR OWN GRAMMATICALLY CORRECT TAGLINES AND SEND THEM IN!