The Junk Food of Writing

Monday, January 30, 2006

I have priorities, you know.

Yes, I could complete my procrastinated schoolwork, read some puritan poetry and cultivate my "intellect," but no -- where's the fun in that? Pop-culture madness takes precedence over the forced agenda of my American Literature professor. I can rationalize forever on how pop-culture is more relevant and important but...they would all be lies. So, without further bullshiting, I shall list the people who will have extreme Oscar anxiety for a little over a month (at least they can keep their sanity by looking forward to a guaranteed gift bag):

To gauge how "safe" I believe each prediction I make is, I will place the most likely at the top of each list, and the least possible at the bottom. And then I will name one alternate because I am that much of a wimp).

Best Picture:
Brokeback Mountain
Good Night, and Good Luck
Walk the Line

(alt: The Constant Gardener)
(I wish: The Squid and the Whale)

Best Director:
Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
George Clooney, Good Night, and Good Luck
Paul Haggis, Crash
David Cronenberg, A History of Violence
Fernando Mierelles, The Constant Gardener

(alt: Steven Spielberg, Munich)
(I wish: Wong Kar-Wai, 2046)

Best Actor:
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line
David Strathairn, Good Night, and Good Luck
Ralph Fiennes, The Constant Gardener

(alt: Terrence Howard, Hustle & Flow)
(I wish: Jeff Daniels, The Squid and the Whale)

Best Actress:
Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line
Felicity Huffman, Transamerica
Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents
Charlize Theron, North Country
Gwenyth Paltrow, Proof

(alt: Ziyi Zhang, Memoirs of a Geisha)
(I wish: Emmanuelle Devos, Kings and Queen)

Best Supporting Actor:
George Clooney, Syriana
Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man
Matt Dillon, Crash
(insert another Crash actor -- I'm such a dirty cheater, I know)
Frank Langella, Good Night, and Good Luck (ala Alan Alda, who I CALLED last year)

(alt: Bob Hoskins, Mrs. Henderson Presents)
(I wish: Jeffery Wright, either of the two movies I did not like regardless of his presence)

Best Supporting Actress:
Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain
Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener
Catherine Keener, Capote
Amy Adams, Junebug
Frances McDormand, North Country

(alt: Maria Bello, A History of Violence)
(I wish: Brenda Blethyn, Pride and Prejudice/Ziyi Zhang, 2046)

Best Original Screenplay:
Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco, Crash
George Clooney and Grant Henslov, Good Night, and Good Luck
Noah Baumbach, The Squid and the Whale
Nick Park, Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Michael Haneke, Caché

alt: Woody Allen, Match Point)
I wish: Miranda July, Me and You and Everyone We Know)

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Diana Ossana and Larry McMurty, Brokeback Mountain
Dan Futterman, Capote
Josh Olson, A History of Violence
Jeffery Caine, The Constant Gardener
Dennis and Mangold, Walk the Line

alt: Tony Kushner and Eric Roth, Munich)
I wish: Agnes Jaoui, Look at Me -- I think it is original, but I simply cannot pick a worthy adapted screenplay. Has the year been that bad?)

Well, I shall see how off I am bright and early tomorrow at 8:30 EST. Last year I went 35/40 (the pride of my 2004 predictions: Alda's predicted apperance and Giamatti's predicted absence). This year, I'll guess that I go 33/40 (I'm losing my powers!).

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Self-serving directors and actors in one entry!

Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) shows Peter Jackson how to use restraint.

From the opening credits of King Kong to the first moment the score swells, it is easy to realize that Peter Jackson has tried to create an old-fashioned spectacle. “Remember when films were events?” he implicitly asks the audience. The audience, however, is not completely aware of what they are in for. Actually, that’s not true at all; if they saw the running time or heard anything about this film previous to buying their ticket, then they have an idea of what they will discover. Hmm, let’s see – there are a couple of forced love stories, a film about filmmaking, a questionable interpretation of “bravery,” literary parallels (hell-o clunky "Heart of Darkness" allusions!), exploitation, and a treatise on man’s harmful relationship towards nature. None are very exposing or insightful, but Jackson’s seems comfortable with simply dipping his toe in this hodgepodge of themes. Kong himself, however, is technically quite an achievement. He is presented as a tantrum-prone, lovestruck ape with a dental problem, a proportional helping of heart and the attention span of a vaudeville audience.

Most of the film is undoubtedly self-aware, yet the campy moments have the fun sucked out due to the constant winking (“Fay will fit into her costume!”). As for its view of audacious filmmaking, there are self-reflexive moments injected in whenever Jackson would like to receive even more credit for what he has created (which is, admittedly, a massive project). Jackson must have mistakenly misunderstood that he was hired to remake just "King Kong" – not "King Kong", all the "Jurassic Park" movies and "Tremors".

The film is ridiculous – utterly ridiculous, and smugly loves itself for being so. Any complaint about implausibility will surely be quickly disregarded since the film involves, well, a gigantic ape (but, shockingly, does not revolve around him at all). There are a few far-fetched moments, however, that are downright distracting. Kong’s weight seems to fluctuate depending upon how cool something will look as it crumbles (ice cracking would just be boring), and Ann Darrow apparently is bone-less, and Jackson decides to remake another film: "The Indestructible Man," but with a female twist. Being asked to step into this world is difficult, because there is not enough original thrills and genuine emotion to enthrall. The middle segment is bogged down in tedious action scenes; aside from being repetitive, they are dragged out so long that the suspense has already disappeared less than halfway before their welcome end. The same goes for the repeated doughy-eyed moments which are interrupted by violence (it was partially effective the first time, but enough already). Enough already. Enough already. Enough already. It’s all just too much self-proclaimed “massiveness” and too little significant substance. Enough already. Enough already. C+, 5/10

I assumed that this would be a fine time to predict the SAG Guild Award winners, since it is essentially actors rewarding themselves, just as much King King was Jackson serving himself.

Best Ensemble: Crash (My choice: Brokeback Mountain)

Actors love Crash; they seem to love anything with a slightly "liberal" concept/agenda, even if it is poor filmmaking (this could help Brokeback, even though the very good filmmaking will most likely be overlooked because of its small, yet worthy, cast). The Crash cast is not terrible, I suppose, but hardly a good pick. I do not have a clear personal choice, as I believe that Brokeback Mountain and Good Night, and Good Luck both has fine casts. Nonetheless, I am spiteful about the marginalization of my Patty in GN, and GL, so I'll throw my vote towards Brokeback. Speaking of marginalization, I forgot there were other characters in Capote besides Truman himself (what a waste of the Keenster and Mr. Greenwood).

Best Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote (My choice: Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain)

He's a character actor -- he's worked with everyone, and I assume he's rather well-liked (popularity goes the farthest at this awards show). Phoneix is in the big film, which always helps at the SAGs, but he seems rather introverted and awkward (and not in the eccentric-Johnny Depp way). Actors prefer their blockbuster award-winners to be eloquent and personable. Ledger is, as always, the potential upset, but SAG likes it's showy roles -- and even Hoffman's narcisstic Capote is more showy than the mumbling and repressed cowboy. Tis a shame; I had hoped Ledger would pick up at least a couple of awards, because his perfomance is just as good as Hoffman's.

Best Actress: Ms. Witherspoon, Walk the Line.

Reese. Reese. Reese. She's charming/popular/cute, and in a generic big box-office flick -- she's got it all wrapped up. I don't even like Reese much, but this pathetic category scares me. Let's just hope they don't waste screen-time on her douchebag-of-a-husband, Ryan Phillipe, again. Oh shit, he's going to get one of these for Crash, isn't he? Wait, so is Sandra Bullock? And Brendan Fraser? Oh, fuck. It seems as if I will have to turn off my TV immediately after the presenter utters "Crash."

Best Supporting Actor: Paul Giammati, Cinderella Man (My choice: Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain)

Yuck. This throwaway category would depress me more if the supporting actress race wasn't so strong this year. I fear they will get pulled into the Clooney trap, but no -- I believe they will fall into the Giammati trap.

Best Supporting Actress: Rachel Wiesz, The Constant Gardener (My choice: Amy Adams, Junebug)

Damn, I love Weisz, Adams and Williams (Adams and Williams are particularly great). Any of those will be fine with me. And it will, fortunately, be one of those. Now, I must decide -- which one? Eenie, meanie, miny, mo!

Actually, I used that method on almost all of them.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Munich (Spielberg, 2005)

Hey look -- over there! I think that's where your accent went, Mr. Bana.
Another aesthetically impressive, engaging film which prompts questions we have been asked before. Begins strongly, with clever shots at the media (and their occasional inaccuracy), yet these astringent and informative moments are abandoned in favor of person confliction and subtextual overstatements.

Fundamentally, the film follows a band of fashionable and sassy assassins as they gain vindication for Israel (that’s all the summary you are getting from this capsule). Of course, there are the oh-so-convenient parallels to the current political situation – and they are handled with as much tact and subtlety as Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The skillfulness of the filmmaking is not in question; this is a slick and stylish production, but it is nearly over-refined to the point of being shiny and overtly “look-at-me” (case in point: Eric Bana’s skullish facial shadow).

Eric Bana wins the 2005 award for most instantaneous and least plausible emotional response and gag reflex. His “tortured soul” is not deftly played out – it’s simply manifested in paranoia and….paleness. This obviousness is detrimental to the character’s overly apparent arc, and the audience’s ability to identify with him. Many of the ideas and themes within are backed up with weak symbolism and glossiness. It prompts imperative questions, but does not care to present them originally. Nonetheless, perhaps Spielberg should be patted on the back for presenting characters whose moral decisions are not distinctively black or white (yay for gray ambiguity!), but the message is inherently conflicting, so I’m really just glad that Spielberg did not completely destroy such thought-provoking provocations.

Unsurprisingly, the family themes are present, and every little cherub in the film is presented as a benevolent little piece of preciousness. Although it is fortunately not as mawkish as it could have easily been, the idea of “home” is also explored. After the delivery of one line as Bana talks to his wife (“You are my only home”), she acutely states, “That sounds so corny. Why did I have to marry such a sentimentalist?” This self-consciousness would have been appropriate and welcome in subsequent scenes, with Kate Capshaw popping up in the corner to point out the corniness. Similar to The Best of Youth, it is better at documenting history (although some of the exposition is sloppy) and delivering a smooth narrative than tackling “soul searching” (and it's use of "soul" is nearly as cringe-worthy as Batman Begins' unhealthy obsession with the word "fear"). Added bonus/negative: positive points for Edith Piaf -- and negative points for the excessive intercutting of killing and humping (complete with splashing water!). C+, 5.5/10

Friday, January 20, 2006

34 legitimate reasons for being vegetarian

Last week, my friend and I rather impulsively decided that we were going to be vegetarians. We came to this decision amid ordering our thai food. As we picked up our noodles (she got Pad Thai, I went with Pad See Ew) with broccoli and tofu, we began to list the motives for becoming a vegetarian. Below, you will see the list we devised over our deliciously meat-less meal, and which was promptly written on the nearest napkin. This sacred napkin is currently hanging on my kitchen wall, directly across from my refrigerator and adjacent to the "Smash the Nazis" flyer I received from a lovely old communist woman. Hmm, perhaps I'll elucidate on that a bit later. Nonetheless, here are the top reasons to stop slaughtered animals from appearing your plate. These are in order of importance, of course:

1. Sense of superiorty
2. Chicken has gross veins
3. Cows smell funny
4. Animals carry viruses and diseases
5. Chickens look weird
6. Pigs make good pets
7. Pigs make muddy food
8. A lot of celebrities are vegetarians
9. Tofu deserves to die and be eaten
10. Cuts down on cooking preparation time (no silly "defrosting")
11. Won't have to worry about keeping Kosher (No, I'm not Jewish, so what?)
12. Wouldn't be able to live without the delightful quack of a live duck
13. Lambs are hairy -- I don't want hair in my food (same goes for Bison/Buffalo)
14. I don't want Sherri Lewis to roll in her grave
15. Deer are for mounting on your wall, not for eating
16. Squirrels scare me in general, let alone on my plate
17. Flipper was my best friend as a TV-obsessed youngster
18. "Gordy" and "Babe" were the best films of my childhood
19. Imitation crab tastes better anyway
20. The ability to be further delusion about what tastes good
21. Vegetables cannot talk; therefore, they are no fun
22. Vegetables make horrible pets
23. I DON'T wish I was an Oscar Meyer wiener
24. As much as I hate pidgeons, I still refuse to see them made into hot dogs
25. Green is prettier than pink and brown
26. Potatoes are the hip person's white meat
27. Pamela Anderson doesn't eat meat -- from animals, that is
28. Corporations fund the slaughter of South American guinea pigs
29. I can more easily get in on "feeble chic"
30. I will fit in more at Emerson College
31. For health reasons
32. Chicks love a vegetarian (See picture below)
33. Because M. Graham said so
34. Animal rights

I'm typing these out now because I am not sure how much longer I will go without eating meat. I have, however, gone a whole 6 days so far! Veggie power!

Monday, January 16, 2006


Screw this. Yes, these are my (awfully safe) Golden Globe predictions. Oh, I hate myself.

Picture (Drama): Brokeback Mountain
Picture (Musical or Comedy): Pride and Prejudice
Director: Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
Actress (Drama): Felicity Huffman, TransAmerica
Actor (Drama): Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
Actress (Musical or Comedy): Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line
Actor (Musical or Comedy): Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line
Supporting Actress: Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener
Supporting Actor: Matt Dillon, Crash
Screenplay: Good Night, and Good Luck
Foreign Film: Tsotsi
Score: Brokeback Mountain
Song: The Chronicles of Narnia (Alanis Morissette is enough of a star for them to fuck, right?)

The best, and most interesting, predictions:
Star most likely to be really fucking "Under the influence" when he/she accepts his/her award:
(Male) George Clooney
(Female) Alanis Morrissette (but stoned, not drunk)

Now, I must go watch Jeopardy! before the Globes. Hopefully that teenage "creature" loses -- he genuinely frightens me. Yikes.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Hormel is attacking your e-mail inbox.

You sign on to your e-mail. 26 new messages in only one day? Wow, that’s a lot of mail. Then, much to your chagrin, you open up your box to discover that 25 have been sent by dozens of soul crushing junk-mail senders. Oh, and apparently your mother, who just learned how to type and click the ‘send’ button, says “Hi.” Not only are you irritated by your brief, and false, sense of popularity, but also by the fact that you have to now take approximately thirty-six seconds out of your busy schedule to check the little box and subsequently delete each piece of electronic waste with a click of the mouse. Click. It seems, however, as if junk-mailers have finally realized just how frustrating and time-consuming crap-mail can be (I’m sure the Hormel corporation is angered by trash e-mail’s most commonly known nickname: spam). In order to alleviate some of the aggravation, they have become quite clever (arbitrarily, most likely) in creating delightfully random, and therefore amusing, titles. For example, here are some comically verbose “subject” headings:

“Sender: Coleen Draper Subject: Re: My drive by incomprehension context”
“Sndr: Byron Gagne Subject: showy pedantic”
“Sndr: Reuben Joyner Subject: Bab it feeble, in temple”
“Sndr: Lourdes Lazano Subject: affable egotism”
“Sndr: Tina Wiggins Subject: crockery”
“Sndr: Janelle Berger Subject: Re: To drive go camel enchain”
“Sndr: Kenny Mays Subject: A live an manhandle rotunda”
“Sndr: Clinton Mcleod Subject: Re: To know no wispy”
“Sndr: Gino Villalobos Subject: You see go poverty”
“Sndr: Therese Nicholas Subject: copious ditto”
“Sndr: Lourdes Mckenna Subject: commute treachery elliptic”
“Sndr: Errol Sierra Subject: ithaca bolshevism michele”
“Sndr: Clinton Mcleod Subject: Re: To know no wispy”
“Sndr: Jasun Pagan Subject: on picnicking, its convulsive”
“Sndr: Crystal Knowles Subject: impertinent”

That last one is gold. Most of them are about mortgages, diet pills and penis enlargements.

Breakfast on Pluto (Jordan, 2005): Similar to my thoughts regarding Brokeback Mountain (although this sloppy production is inferior), I seem to enjoy Breakfast on Pluto more upon reflection than I did as I left the theater. Perhaps I am only focusing on the film's strongest points (how unlike me) upon recollection, but although the film is deeply flawed and inconsistent, it ultimately succeeds. The difference between Pluto and Brokeback, however, is that I admire Brokeback Mountain more as a “whole” than as the sum of its parts, while Breakfast at Pluto should be applauded for its occasional imaginative sequence. From the opening, I was a bit apprehensive -- Cillian Murphy's fabulously kitschy drag queen, Patrick “Kitten,” initially sounded eerily similar to Mrs. Doubtfire. Luckily, the Mrs.-Doubtfire-accent stops there. Overall, the film is rather scatterbrained, and the political moments are vague and flaccid. The film is, essentially, a twisted fairy-tale and the protagonist is most like an aloof, transvestic Forrest Gump. It also steals a fantastic scene from Wim Wedners' Paris, Texas, which takes place in a peep-show both -- but that is beside the point. Cillain Murphy pulls off the performance rather well, but he is unable to make the relationship “Kitten” has with another man very plausible. The most commendable part of this Candide-esque adventure is its brilliant use of dated pop music. The main character often says how much he (or she?) hates the word “serious,” because it fundamentally means “reality” – something the protagonist does not seem to have a grasp on. Mr. Jordan seems to have a similar problem with “seriousness” – he has no idea how to balance and portray it believably in such a whimsical feature. Like the protagonist’s path, this provides for a fey journey, but one with a dead-end. B-, 6.5/10

Caché (Haneke, 2005): A self-reflexive and riveting take on voyeurism (and filmmaking). Personally, I was able to discover (or project upon the film, if you must) a certain political subtext. On the surface, it is an invasion on a comfortable bourgeois estate (of which is perfectly captured its supposed milieu -- look at that bookshelf and modern furniture!). Subtextually, however, it is a thought-provoking attack on any household or lifestyle (any military invasion really, but since it is the most pertinent, I thought particularly about the homes in Iraq). Unwanted visitors watching over, yet they aren't particularly visible. This surveillance is unnerving and although the characters in this film only face psychological trauma, innocent households elsewhere (being blamed for things they may not have done) may not be so lucky to escape physical harm. Many have criticized the film for being pretentious -- its vagueness and openness making it simple for pseudo-intellectual viewers to cast upon their own interpretations. The film’s irony in scrutinizing the bourgeois for their smugness, yet reveling in its own. That may be a legitimate complaint, but I found the film to even be intriguing on a literal level. Sure, it does mix the themes du jour (a.k.a repression and the affects of memories), but it does so effectively, and rather uniquely. In The Piano Teacher, Haneke manifested Erika's (Hubbert) sexual repression through sadomasochism. Here, however, he uses tapes (whoever sent the tapes is not entirely irrelevant like some may claim, but it can be answered literally or symbolically) to suggest repression. The performances in this film are excellent, and when so much rests upon the acting, it helps to be exposed to such pitch-perfect devastation. The omnipresent camera's identity isn't the only thing hidden -- the protagonist's past is, also. And, frankly, I find this to be an innovative and consistently enthralling spin on a generic set-up. B+, 8/10

Match Point (Allen, 2005): B-, 6.5/10 [Basically, I was intrigued by Allen's depiction of the oblivious English aristocracy, yet I felt as if the filmmaker Woody was just as obtuse to reality. It can be pretty clever, yet it felt terribly stagy and unfulfilling at parts. It’s a modern opera, complete with operatic tones, music and not-so-subtle moments. In a film where lust and luck rule and love means nothing (that damn tennis metaphor just slipped in!), Woody is able to get a rather sensual, but unconvincing, performance from Ms. Johansson (but, really, when is she NOT overtly sexual). The other acting jobs are fine (Myers didn't fuck up a Woody film, as I initially worried) but the characters themselves seem suffocated. The film has an interesting bit of philosophy involved, but the film remains too idea-driven throughout. Sure, there is no god, yet Woody acts as the god to these characters -- controlling every one of their choices to make sense out of his existential thesis. This would be fine, if the characters felt more full and plausible.]
Waiting for Guffman (Guest, 1996): B+, 8/10 [Incisively deadpan, yet also a bittersweet look at an insular town in Whoknowswhere, USA. This is most likely Christopher Guest’s best, and includes some sardonic humor concerning inept musical productions and the kooks involved. Deftly, the film alternatively sympathizes with and mocks its characters in the most heartbreaking and hilarious ways.]
Muppets Take Manhattan (Oz, 1984): C+, 5.5/10 [The Muppets should be rejoiced for their madcap hilarity. Joyfully frivolous, the Muppets at their best are fabric versions of the Marx Brothers. This feature, however, follows too many conventions to be a charming little trifle. Miss Piggy should not be such a bore.]

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Stream of Consciousness reactions to the BFCA's.

First off, I refuse to call it the “critic’s choice awards.” Hell, even Joel Siegel was there – therefore, it was definitely not the Critic’s Choice awards. From here on, it shall be referred to only as the “BFCA’s,” because the acronym may lead people to misconstrue what the initials really stand for (as if the awards don’t enough). Perhaps “Be First Contemptible Award-show”? Yeah, that sounds about right.

0:04- Dennis Miller, after initially being alternately uncomfortable and esoteric, resorts to a Star Wars nerd joke in the opening monologue. Lame (the lameness, however, does not end there).

0:09- Did Mr. Miller just mention AGAIN that the BFCA’s are the first movie awards show of the season? Aside from being terribly redundant, this exposes exactly what this whole vapid night is about. The BFCA is the ADD child who just wants the title of being the “first precursor.” Give this show some Ritalin and tell it to stop rushing everything.

0:12- Crash wins its first award for Ensemble. My disappointment is almost atoned by the huge laugh I got from seeing the voice-cracking Brendan Fraser on stage. I use “almost” because amid his pubertal speech, I realized that this means Sandra Bullock has won an award other than a Blockbuster or People’s Choice Award. Yikes.

0:13- Oh my, and now Fraser is going on about Crash’s “importance.” Holy fuck, please do not let this continue. According to him, this film makes the viewer a better person. Well, I hope Brendan Fraser feels good about his film about white man’s guilt.

0:23- Good, Dennis Miller just self-consciously noted how weak the scripted jokes are. Eric McCormack had been hiding this truth behind his silly grin for the past few years. Miller is still failing miserably, however, and he seems to be fully conscious of this.

0:26- Wow, Robert Patrick is just as stiff in real life as he is in any sort of medium. His stupidity rubs off on the usually bright Maria Bello, as she has difficultly reading. They present the “Best” Documentary to March of the Penguins and the camera cuts to three theme-park-costumed penguins. This insufferable cuteness must end. Penguins are now on my shit list.

0:32- Paul Haggis accepts Noah Baumbach’s screenplay award, and Haggis’ name is accidentally engraved on it also. Kill me now. Bobby Moresco, the co-writer of Crash, has difficulty speaking; well, that makes a lot of sense. Haggis admits, “When we finished the script, we didn’t think it was a script. And when we finished the movie, we didn’t think we had a movie.” Once again, this makes perfect sense.

0:39- The presenter (I don’t care to remember who) not-so-subtly mentions that “most best supporting actresses went on to the Oscar.” Shut the fuck up about the Oscars! Whoa, the winner is a tie – I don’t believe I have ever seen that before. Even more astonishing: the winners satisfy me.

0:42- After watching those clips for Crash (with its cringe-worthy opening monologue), my disgust has been revived.

0:51- Caché? Australian? Wrong country, buddy. Oh, and wrong continent too. I hope this presenter is aware that Austria is a different country. Kung-Fu Hustle triumphs. Boo.

0:56- John Leguizamo, you’re indoors, and you’re no Jack Nicholson. Take off the shades. He nearly redeems himself by pointing out how “cocky” this award show is after he is forced to brag about its ability to predict the Oscars.

1:02- Dennis Miller just made an entirely incongruous “joke” about porn in 2010. It’s inappropriate in more way than one. Primarily, it’s simply unfunny.

1:09- Into the West? People sat through that? Bob Dylan’s doc deserved this award, damnit. Is that Skeet Ulrich? Shouldn’t he be in rehab somewhere?

1:14- Al Green was just name-dropped. Cool.

1:21 -Mr. Miller, leave the real-life prostitutes alone, just pick on Marshall and Memoirs of a Geisha – the true whores (now, you couldn’t possibly have thought that I could cover this event without taking a shot at such a horrendous film of visual promiscuity).

1:28- I’m shocked that Virginia Madsen was invited back, since she didn’t pick up the golden guy despite winning the BFCA’s “award” last year. I thought they would be bitter about her loss at the Oscars because they thought she would win (Thomas Hayden Church was nowhere to be seen). Paul Giammati seems to have a lot of fans at this awards show. Pity kudos must make him feel all warm this year. It seems to – he’s all choked up.

1:33- Please, please let me forget that Dennis Miller made an allusion to Footloose. Quickly.

1:37- Wow, Philip Seymour Hoffman had a shitty seat – and quite a walk to the podium. Was that a fat joke?

1:40- Josh Lucas, if you think it’s better to be understated than showy, then stop pushing your chest out like that.

1:42- Oh, Reese takes a few shots at critics. “It’s nice of you to come out in the daylight like this.” I think some critic tried to scream something nasty at her. Too bad they didn’t have a microphone on him.

1:48- Whoa, look at Angela Bassett’s triceps. I wouldn’t want to get in a fight with her.

1:49- Is Ang Lee really modest or just plain awkward? The show takes the focus off of Ang Lee to spotlight that goofball Joel Seigel? There are some serious problems here -- I just can’t begin to comprehend them.

1:54- The Best Picture acceptance speech really makes me realize how much of a phenomenon Brokeback Mountain really is – it cannot lose Best Picture at the Academy awards.

1:59-The volume of Dennis Miller’s last joke was cut off. What a great way to end the night.

Monday, January 09, 2006

The BFCA Awards are on within an hour: Predictions/favorites/unrelenting bickering within...

They are also known as the "critics choice" awards, but when referred to as that, critics are given a terrible name (yeah, these awards aren't always up to par). I don't know much about them, but they will be on at 8 PM EST on the WB (Channel 11 near me). They often follow the worst kind of groupthink (a.k.a "let's be the biggest precursors to the Academy Awards and nominate the ones we think WILL be singled out by the Oscar, despite many being rather mediocre bait"), which is so odd because aren't they supposed to be scrutinizing folks? Nevertheless, I don't expect much from them, but my boredom has forced me to pick my favorites (most are named so by default) and make some arbitrary predictions. None of the top ten are in my top 10 (Brokeback might be my #10, actually), so I will rate the Best Pic nominees that I have seen (damnit, I really need to go check out King Kong and Munich sometime soon). So here I go:

Bold = predicted winner
*** = the most deserving
@@@ = if I could drop one nominee...

***Brokeback Mountain (B+)
Capote (B-)
Cinderella Man (C)
The Constant Gardener (B)
Crash (C)
Good Night, and Good Luck. (B-)
King Kong
@@@ Memoirs of a Geisha (D)
Walk the Line (C+)

@@@ Russell Crowe – “Cinderella Man”
Philip Seymour Hoffman – “Capote”
Terrence Howard – “Hustle & Flow”
***Heath Ledger – “Brokeback Mountain”
Joaquin Phoenix – “Walk the Line”
David Strathairn – “Good Night, and Good Luck.”

PSH, Ledger and Strathairn are all on the same level, so it was a difficult choice. Damnit, where the hell is Jeff Daniels!?!!? If he were nominated, he would be my sure winner.

***Joan Allen – “The Upside of Anger”
Judi Dench - “Mrs. Henderson Presents”
Felicity Huffman – “Transamerica”
Keira Knightley – “Pride & Prejudice”
@@@ Charlize Theron – “North Country”
Reese Witherspoon – “Walk the Line”


George Clooney – “Syriana”
Kevin Costner – “The Upside of Anger”
Matt Dillon – “Crash”
Paul Giamatti – “Cinderella Man”
*** Jake Gyllenhaal – “Brokeback Mountain”
@@@ Terrence Howard – “Crash”

Let me echo the "meh."

Amy Adams – “Junebug”
Maria Bello – “A History of Violence”
Catherine Keener – “Capote”
@@@Frances McDormand – “North Country”
Rachel Weisz – “The Constant Gardener”
***Michelle Williams – “Brokeback Mountain”

Probably the only category that has over two worthy contenders.

***Good Night, and Good Luck.
@@@Sin City

By default.

***George Clooney – “Good Night, and Good Luck.”
@@@Paul Haggis – “Crash”
@@@Ron Howard – “Cinderella Man”
Peter Jackson – “King Kong”
Ang Lee – “Brokeback Mountain”
Steven Spielberg – “Munich”

Yeah, I really need to see King Kong and Munich, because I am not happy at all with my "favorite" here. Although I do have a weakspot for that pinko commie.

*******Noah Baumbach – “The Squid and the Whale”
George Clooney and Grant Heslov – “Good Night, and Good Luck.”
Dan Futterman – “Capote”
@@@Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco – “Crash”
Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana – “Brokeback Mountain”

Probably the only one in this whole damn award show that I am genuinely rooting for.

@@@“Chicken Little”
“Corpse Bride”
“Howl’s Moving Castle”
*****“Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit”

Oh wait, I really want this to win, also. As for the others, I have only seen Corpse Bride, which was rather drab. I couldn't even tolerate Chicken Little's insufferable trailers, so it has to go.

Jesse Eisenberg – “The Squid and the Whale”
Alex Etel – “Millions”
@@@Freddie Highmore – “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”
***Owen Kline – “The Squid and the Whale”
Daniel Radcliffe – “Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire”

Wishful predicting, perhaps; either of the Squid's kids would be fine.

Flora Cross – “Bee Season”
Dakota Fanning – “War of the Worlds”
Georgie Henley – “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe”
Q'Orianka Kilcher – “The New World”
@@@Emma Watson – “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”

Eww. Don't make me choose.

***The 40 Year-Old Virgin
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
Mrs. Henderson Presents
The Producers
@@@The Wedding Crashers

I am really mad I missed Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. I am really glad I missed The Prodcuers.

@@@Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
@@@Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

I've only seen Charlie and Harry, and neither are good.

Into the West
*******No Direction Home
Warm Springs

The Dylan doc, even though I have only seen half.

@@@Kung Fu Hustle
Paradise Now

I'll accept Caché winning. As long as it isn't either Hustle or Oldboy.

“Hustle & Flow” – Terrence Howard – “Hustle & Flow”
“A Love That Will Never Grow Old” – Emmylou Harris – “Brokeback Mountain”
“Same in Any Language” – I Nine – “Elizabethtown”
“Seasons of Love” – Tracie Thoms, Jesse L. Martin and Cast – “Rent”
“Travelin’ Thru” – Dolly Parton – “Transamerica”

Fuck if I know.

Memoirs of a Geisha
The Producers
Walk the Line

If I cared, I'd actually waste my time using the *'s @'s and the bold function.

James Horner – “The New World”
***Gustavo Santaolalla – “Brokeback Mountain”
@@@John Williams – “Memoirs of a Geisha”
Nancy Wilson – “Elizabethtown”

But damn, they should have turned the volume down on Brokeback's score a bit.

Enron – The Smartest Guys in the Room (B)
***Grizzly Man (B+)
@@@Mad Hot Ballroom (C+)
@@@March of the Penguins (C+)
Murderball (B+)


Wow, in the end I realize just how extremely apathetic I am about this whole awards show (and season, in general). Where is the awards passion?!? It's going to be a lugubrious two months for any lover of film.

(Next entry will have updates with Junk e-mail, my reason to dislike the new year, French snobs, English snobs, Frivolous fabric (the Muppets!), Waiting for Godot (err -- I mean Guffman), and Transvestites who talk like Mrs. Doubtfire.)