Archive for February, 2011

Oscar Recap, or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Race

Look’s like the Academy is the King’s Bitch (pronounced bee-tch. You know, because if you say it all fast and all it sounds like King’s Speech). To accurately display my affection for the Academy’s choices last night, I offer it in the king’s own speech”

“Shit. Shit, shit, shit. Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit. SHIT. Shit. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck and fuck, fuck, fuck and bugger, bugger, bugger, buggity, buggity, buggity, fuck, fuck, ass. Balls, balls, fuckity shit, shit, fucking, willy, willy, shit, and fuck and … tits.”

I’m not that upset that The King’s Speech won, it’s just that, it’s boring. It’s a boring choice. For a boring Academy who put on an equally boring ceremony. Sure, it had its moments, but most of them were improv’d by an amazing Kirk Douglas or a reeeeally happy Melissa Leo. Some of the scripted stuff worked, but that was mostly because of how game Anne Hathaway was.

Though even though he was a good sport about it and the song was good, what was with the shitting all over Hugh Jackman all night? He was the Best Oscar host they had since Billy Crystal (who was amazing for the three minutes he was on-screen), and would have been amazing if they had picked him to host with Anne Hathaway (Franco just looked bored and tired the whole time. I said the whole time he isn’t funny. Terrible choice all around). She did a great job (for the most part), and should be asked back in the future.

So let’s get to the awards. Since I don’t care to discuss how bad the songs were or the fact that they didn’t even out and out state that Lena Horne is something other than white (both pictures of her were in black and white and Halle Berry only said how she made it easier “for us” to move forward in the business. The Academy was very specific in their word choices). We’ll leave that to whoever cares to discuss such matters. I’m all about the awards.

First — Best Picture. (more…)

Pic of the Day: “If you don’t get the President of the United States on that phone, you know what’s gonna happen to you? … You’re gonna have to answer to the Coca-Cola company.”

Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb - 107

Guide to Oscar Night: Picks, Analysis, etc. (Mostly the etc.)

Folks, this is where the money should go.

Rather than checking all those sites of people who do nothing but follow Oscar precursors and stuff, you can read me, who reads some of them, and then does what he wants anyway. And has personality. I have so much charm, you know you’d rather read me. It comes naturally. My grandfather was a snake.

I’m awesome, is what I’m saying.

How this works is: Because I know you’re dying to hear what I think, I’m going to rank every category based on personal preference. Then, in each category, I will list, 1) Who is most likely to win, 2) Who I’d vote for — which is essentially the more politicized version of my rankings. Example: My #1 movie on the Best Picture list isn’t one of the two favorites for Best Picture. Therefore, my vote goes toward the one I’d like to see win more. Green?, 3) Who the biggest competition is for the person most likely to win. Often times I will explain how tight the race is so you can get an idea of just how likely the likely person is likely to win, 4) Who the spoiler is — there’s always a chance some dark horse comes in and upsets the category. Usually these dark horse candidates are pretty obvious. Very rarely does an out and out shock happen — especially in the larger categories. So, in this case, when I give you the top three people in order of likelihood to win, know that anyone else who wins that category is probably going to be a huge shock to everybody, and 5) Who the best bet is to put your money on. For those of you running pools or whatever. I’ve gotten out of the game myself, mostly because now I have this, and my picks are now being publicized. Kind of hard to compete with others when your game plan can be seen beforehand (ain’t that right, Bill Belichick?). This is purely to be used to help others. So now you can win all your Oscar pools and I can feel good knowing that I still got it.

I’m also going to color coordinate all the films so that way you can have an easier time looking for them. See all the things I do for you? I’m just like Bryan Adams. Only not Canadian. Which… come on. (more…)

Pic of the Day: “That would have been a good joke … if it was funny.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Picture & Best Director – 2009

Our last one. Our most recent one. Also our most contentious one because it is the most recent one. So, I’m not going to spend too much time on this one. I’m just gonna say my thoughts on each movie as briefly as I can, and elaborate in a few years.

Best Picture – 2009

And the nominees were…

Avatar (20th Century Fox)

The Blind Side (Warner Bros.)

District 9 (TriStar Pictures)

An Education (Sony Pictures Classics)

The Hurt Locker (Summit Entertainment)

Inglourious Basterds (The Weinstein Company, Universal Studios)

Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire (Lions Gate Entertainment)

A Serious Man (Focus Features)

Up (Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios)

Up in the Air (Paramount Pictures) (more…)

Best Picture: Follow the Money. Just…follow the money.

Because I like to help you out as much as humanly possible, I’m going to give you some more information that might help you out when you’re picking your winners tomorrow night. Do with it what you will.

I read an article, which I can’t find again for the life of me, that said, essentially, that the Academy likes voting for films that make money. It’s not enough for a film to be good, but the film must also be successful financially. It said that in almost every year that the Best Picture winner (when it was 5 nominees), was almost always in the top 2 grossing films on that list. Occasionally it was 3rd, and almost never was it 4th or 5th. So, basically, if a film is not in the top (whatever percentage) grossers of the Best Picture nominations list, then essentially it has no chance of winning Best Picture. Fucked up, right? Well, not really, in a business that’s predicated on dollars and cents. And has all dollars and no sense. Zing.

Of course, this is not a concrete theory by any stretch of the imagination, but when you’re dealing with something so difficult to guess — think of having to pick a game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cleveland Browns, where the spread is -3 toward the home team, whichever the fuck it is. And they were both equally the worst teams in football. It’s not that hard to picture. How could you honestly differentiate? You’d look for any kind of rationale to pick whichever team you’re going to pick for, using whatever kind of information you had at your disposal. Oh, the Bills played the Broncos once and lost by 3 points in overtime. And the Browns lost by one point to the Broncos last season! And the Bills are 2-4 at home and have trouble in November games. And, the Browns quarterback hasn’t taken a shit in three whole weeks. You know? You find the weirdest possible statistics when something appears so evenly matched (or you really don’t give that much of a shit about it). So, this is just that. More information at your disposal. If it works out I get to take full credit for it. “See, I told you! The numbers don’t lie!” And if it loses, well, it’s an interesting trend, and of course, it’s not binding. There were X number of factors that make it an anomaly and really don’t incorporate it into the part of the theory that makes it work. Plus, before giving the speech, the King hadn’t shit for three whole weeks, and that’s why… (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Actor & Best Actress – 2009

The best way to describe these two categories is by referring to Goodfellas. Why? Because that’s what came to mind when I thought about them. It’s the moment right after they shoot Joe Pesci in the head, at the end of “Layla,” when De Niro and Ray Liotta think he’s gonna get made. And De Niro’s on the pay phone with the other guy, who is actually Martin Scorsese’s father, and he’s expecting them to be like, “Ceremony went well, it’s official,” when instead he says, “We had a problem, and we tried to do everything we could.” And De Niro’s like, “What, what do you mean, problem?” And the guy says, “I mean he’s gone. And we couldn’t do nothing about it.” That’s what best describes these races. They won, and we couldn’t do nothing about it.

There wasn’t anything that could be done about either person winning these races, even though one was a bit undeserving for the performance alone, but was hugely deserving as an actor, and the other shouldn’t have even been attending the ceremony as a guest. Quite simply one of the worst Best Actress choices of all time. And I say that because, had they given her an Oscar in a year that didn’t feature an amazing performance, like say, 2005, when the exact same thing happened, or 2006, one of those years, where you really couldn’t definitively single out one performance to vote for, then an Oscar like this is okay. This year, it counts as one of the worst decisions of all time (right up there with 1970, and oh boy, wait until we get to 1970). And there wasn’t nothing that could be done. (more…)

Pic of the Day: “Don’t worry. Some of the best movies are made by people working together who hate each other’s guts.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor & Best Supporting Actress – 2009

These were fun, weren’t they? Probably the easiest categories to guess (next to Supporting Actor 2008) of all the Supporting categories of the 2000s. These things were locked from nominations day. But, still, we get to have fun talking about them. Plus I get to praise some of the other people in these categories that might get overlooked in the future.

Best Supporting Actor – 2009

And the nominees were…

Matt Damon, Invictus

Woody Harrelson, The Messenger

Christopher Plummer, The Last Station

Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones

Christoph Waltz, Inglorious Basterds (more…)

Pic of the Day: “I’m the guy you yelled at this morning.” “I need more.”

The Box Office Report – February 25-27

Last week, in Box Office…

Ha ha! I Am Number Four failed. I am happy. It was just a one week binge from all that purging the public has been participating in. I can understand. I just wish they’d waited another week or two. But, the kids are all retarded. So I guess I can see why it happened. Anyway…

Unknown won the weekend with $21.9 million. I believe my exact words on this were, “I will expect around $20 million here. Like 21, 22.” Not to brush my shoulders off but … I am feeling like a pimp. This week’s box office has been Taken. Hear that #4? You got took, Peregrine!

And I Am Number Four goes down in flames. Oh, excuse me while I get some more popcorn. It did $19.5 million. I was praying for $25 million. I got that and then some. Thank you, universe for making up for last weekend. I am so happy America did not waste their time on this garbage. Try again, Hollywood. Pick a better month and a better movie to set up a franchise. Wah, wahh.

In what counts as a shocker to no one, Gnomeo and Juliet put two in the pink and made $19.2 million. They estimated $22 going into the weekend. I said that was ridonkulous. I said it would be more like $17 to 18 million. Guess who has two thumbs and was closer? This guy. Also, just to point to you how insanely well kids movies hold, the movie made $25 million last weekend. So, it held to 75% of its business. That’s how starved the market is for kids films. You know what this means, right? More shitty DreamWorks animated movies in the future! Your kids are gonna be fucking drowning in shitty movies dangled in front of their meat brains. But, I called it, so, it doesn’t feel so bad. Plus, maybe the movie’s halfway decent. Speaking of the opposite of that…

Just Go With It, which should probably just take its own advice and disappear already, made $18.5 million. (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Picture & Best Director – 2008

It’s weird to think I actually agreed with the Academy. But don’t worry, it’s only to a point. I only agree with them based on what they chose from the nominees. I’d have nominated a totally different set of films. But isn’t that how it always is?

This counts as a landmark year in terms of Best Picture history. This is the year that changed everything. Who’d have thought that all because of a comic book movie the Academy would change a system that had served them fairly well for 66 years. Granted, it was a long time coming. The Academy was mired in a boring Baby Boomer-lead set of years, where the boring, conservative fucks that were dominating the mindset of the country were essentially the major voices in the Academy. Don’t get me wrong, Hollywood is more liberal than the rest of the country, but you can see the lack of creativity in the choices as the years went on. The older people get the more they revert to “tradition” and just lost touch will the younger group of films.

Overall, I can’t totally fault the decision-making in the 90s, since, a lot of the Best Picture nominees were actually pretty good. But in the 2000s, there are a lot of boring, typical “Academy” choices that really give you the sense that the majority of the members were clearly over 50 and were losing touch with things. Things came to a head in 2005, when the younger generation really were like, “Okay, this is too much,” and sort of took over. Then you had that run of nice films from The Departed to No Country for Old Men and then here to Slumdog Millionaire. However, through it all, you still saw Old Hollywood rearing its ugly head. None more obviously then when The Reader, a film almost nobody thought was a worthy Best Picture nominee, beat out the likes of The Dark Knight and Wall-E to take that final spot. I didn’t feel as strongly about Dark Knight as a Best Picture nominee as everyone else did (mostly because I liked Wall-E more, but it’s still a brilliant film), but in terms of this list, I’d definitely have included it instead of The Reader. But, its exclusion from the nominees was a big letdown — you could actually see the President of the Academy’s dismay when they went they announced Frost/Nixon as the second nominee. (more…)

Pic of the Day: “Boy, for a gunman, you’re one hell of a pessimist.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Actor & Best Actress – 2008

There’s really not much to say here. One was a tight race between two very deserving performances, and the other was a career achievement award to a very deserving actress — for the complete wrong film.

Best Actor – 2008

And the nominees were…

Richard Jenkins, The Visitor

Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon

Sean Penn, Milk

Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Jenkins — Jenkins finally got a chance to have a lead role of his own, after years of amazing character work in such films as (so that way you can be like, “He was in that? Who was he? Oh yeah!”): The Indian in the Cupboard, There’s Something About Mary, Me, Myself & Irene, The Man Who Wasn’t There, Changing Lanes, Stealing Harvard, Intolerable Cruelty, I Heart Huckabees, Six Feet Under (TV show, but, kind of well-known), North Country, The Kingdom, Step Brothers, Burn After Reading, Let Me In … the list goes on. Not really and on. Just on. I hit all the relevant ones. This film is by the guy who made The Station Agent, that little indie that everyone seemed to love. (more…)

Pic of the Day: “How you feelin’, Jimmy?” “Like a mean motherfucker, sir!”

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor & Best Supporting Actress – 2008

I remember 2008. I did amazingly well in my picks this year. Mostly because I knew the Academy was going to ignore The Dark Knight minus the one obvious nomination and the other random one it got. I think I only missed like 4 of all the categories. Which is good, since I had a competition where I was going to buy dinner for whoever outguessed me and I think like ten people did. Go me. Anyway, these categories weren’t hopelessly competitive. One was the biggest landslide I think ever and the other was pretty locked even though I can’t see why. I guess all’s well that ends well.

Best Supporting Actor – 2008

And the nominees were…

Josh Brolin, Milk

Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt

Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road (more…)

Pic of the Day: “I’m just not the hero type. Clearly. With this laundry list of character defects, all the mistakes I’ve made, largely public.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Picture & Best Director – 2007

This was a tough year. One where, even though I’d have voted a different way on Best Picture, you really can’t fault their decision too much (or can you?). I thought these five were a really strong set of nominees. Personally I’d have gone another way with the fifth nominee, but, the Academy is the Academy. Still, these five are all good films. Good job, Academy, for picking well. And good job, Hollywood, for giving us the best year probably in all the 2000s.

Best Picture – 2007

And the nominees were…

Atonement (Focus Features)

Juno (Fox Searchlight)

Michael Clayton (Warner Bros.)

No Country for Old Men (Miramax, Paramount Vantage)

There Will Be Blood (Paramount Vantage, Miramax) (more…)

Pic of the Day: “That is one big pile of shit.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Actor & Best Actress – 2007

Dare I say it? Did they actually get both of these right? Yeah, they did. Frighteningly so. Best Actor was a no-decision. This was perhaps the best male lead performance of the decade. Best Actress was between two very, very good performances, and in my mind, they picked the correct one, though I’d have been happy with either. Hooray, good decisions.

Best Actor – 2007

And the nominees were…

George Clooney, Michael Clayton

Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood

Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Tommy Lee Jones, In the Valley of Elah

Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises

George Clooney — In my mind, without Daniel Day Lewis going all ape shit on this category, Clooney wins this hands down. He gave an amazing performance in this film, and it’s a shame he didn’t win. But really, with Mr. Plainview in the category, he’s a distant second choice. But still, he’s great in this film. He’s a lawyer who is his firm’s “fixer” — think the Winston Wolf of the legal world. He makes problems go away. And when he finds out his mentor, Tom Wilkinson, went crazy in a deposition room, he starts dealing with that. Slowly he figures out a conspiracy, and, when bad shit starts to happen, his loyalties begin to sway. It’s a very good performance, and I hate that I can’t vote for it. But… (more…)

Pic of the Day: (No quote, the picture just whistles its theme song.)

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor & Best Supporting Actress – 2007

Oh, this year. One mostly no-brainer and the other — well, what happened there? This year was actually a very good year for movies. I went back and looked — there are at least twenty legitimate good to great films that came out that year. It’s actually kind of incredible. But, in these races, well…

Best Supporting Actor – 2007

And the nominees were…

Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Wilson’s War

Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild

Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton

Casey Affleck — This is sort of a quasi-lead performance, but, it’s more of an ensemble film. I’d have loved if Pitt got a Best Actor nom for this, because he deserved it. Actually, the film deserved a Best Picture nomination too, but, we’ll let that go. (more…)

Pic of the Day: “I hope you die!” “That’ll be the day.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Picture & Best Director – 2006

The year justice was served. Though the dish is best served warm, this one felt more reheated. They kind of just went through the motions here. They were like, “Fine, we’ll give Marty the fucking Oscar.” I’m not complaining, though. He’s deserved it like ten times over already. I think they felt the need to give him Best Picture to so they can be like, “If we give him Best Director for a Best Picture, then its like we set a benchmark and we have an excuse for not giving it to him all those other times.” But, whatever, this, to me, were actually perfect decisions. They voted for the best picture on this list. I’d have nominated some other films, but, you know, take what you can get.

Best Picture – 2006

And the nominees were…

Babel (Paramount Vantage)

The Departed (Warner Bros.)

Letters from Iwo Jima (Warner Bros.)

Little Miss Sunshine (Fox Searchlight)

The Queen (Miramax) (more…)