I'm obviously a huge movie buff. In addition to obsessively quoting them and challenging anyone foolish enough to think they can top me at movie trivia, I also follow the weekend box office (cringing every time Nicholas Cage or Adam Sandler gets a #1 movie) and, of course, religiously watch the Oscars.
It's the only award show I can think of that actually does a passable job of honoring the best of the business (unlike, say, the Grammies) and get pumped up when my favorite movies win. Sure, I'm a little bummed that my threefavoritefilms from last year didn't get a Best Picture nod, but I have to acknowledge that maybe two hours of battle-porn isn't for everyone. This could be the last year that my movie watching isn't dominated by crap like Alvin & the Chipmunks or The Game Plan, so I'd better milk this for whatever I can.
So tonight I'll TRY to live-blog the ceremony. By the end I'll probably want to put a gun to my head (and the longer I have to listen to Regis interview blow-hard movie stars that may happen sooner) but hopefully Jon Stewart will keep me sane. No promises, though...if it gets too long or too smug I may call it quits early. Here we go:
8:21 - Holy god, how long does the damn red carpet ceremony last? This is excruciating! Why do I care if Hillary Swank is wearing Versace? I may have to start drinking right now.
8:33 - Viggo Mortenson looks like Chewbacca
8:40 - Gaydolf Titler. Heh. The asteroid joke was better, though
8:41 - We're starting with costumes? Zzzzzzzz.
8:52 - Why does Anne Hathaway's nose look like a ostrich beak straight on? Is that an optical illusion?
8:59 - Why the fuck does Enchanted have three songs nominated? Did no one see Into the Wild? Those Disney songs are such treacle I want to wretch. I'd take the Transformers soundtrack over that crap in a heartbeat.
9:11 - I usually try to predict the Oscars on Dadcentric, but I never got around to it this year. I was too busy posting videos of animals cursing instead. I've got to admit, though, that I've been dead wrong on almost all of my predictions so far.
9:18 - Javier Bardem. Swish. Thank god, too, because if he hadn't won he'd have eliminated the competition with a compressed-air gun.
9:31 - Remember when they inserted Beavis & Butthead into the Academy Awards? That was funnier than Jerry Seinfeld's bee cameo. A lot funnier. And I don't remember laughing. How stupid do they think we are? By the way, how far back do they stick the guys who are nominated for this? I think the winners had to walk around some popcorn vendors to get to the stage.
9:38 - I thought Tilda Swinton should have been nominated for Narnia.Michael Clayton was awesome, too...good for her!
9:44 - How much fun do you think Jessica Alba had at the Scientific/Technical Awards after-party? I'll bet lots of guys asked her to sign their Dark Angel figurines.
9:48 - Oodgie is bored out of her mind...she just bailed. I've got to admit, so am I.
10:03 - Sound editing. Uh, what? At least I liked the Bourne Ultimatum. It totally rocked...if you haven't seen it, rent it now. Seriously, right now...it's probably more entertaining than this.
10:06 - Dude, they just showed a clip with the scorpion Transformer. They need an award for the most bad-assed monster-thing of the year. That would totally win.
10:12 - Man, my predictions SUCKED tonight. Marion Cotillard? Never saw that coming. Then again I didn't see La Vie en Rose. And neither did you, admit it. It made less money than Pathfinder: Legend of the Ghost Warrior.
10:18 - If the song from Once doesn't win this award I'm going to puke. Such a good movie...soundtrack of the year, in my opinion. On a side note, doesn't that guy look like Dr. Cox?
10:27 - Could Renee Zellweger be the squintiest person alive?
10:31 - Hey, Nicole Kidman, I haven't seen that much bling since Mr. T.
10:44 - I love how they say, "This is the second award...for Austria" As if the whole country got together with a bunch of camcorders to make it.
10:48 - Oodgie was begging me to make that last song from Enchanted stop. It went on about 4 minutes too long.
10:49 - BTW, I used to like John Travolta. Now I just want him to trip and fall head-first into a bear trap.
10:52 - Yeah! Once! And kudos to Stewart for letting the girl come back out to say thanks.
11:01 - It's obituary time. Let's see who bums me out the most. Yep, Heath Ledger. No surprise there.
11:11 - For my money, I still think Tom Hanks peaked during the second season of Bosom Buddies.
11:23 - When the hell is Harrison Ford going to get his Oscar? Come ON! As for the award, I'm pulling hard for Juno.
11:25 - Ok, that's like the third one I've got right tonight.
11:34 - "Did you see what his wife was wearing?" Oodgie asks. Daniel Day Lewis' date does have something rather...unique on. Hey, she's there with DDL...she can wear bright red ribbon-straps and a plastic spaceship brooch if she wants.
11:38 - Definitely ready for this to end. This is paced like a drive across Wyoming.
11:44 - Finally, the guys who brought you Fargo and the Big Lebowski get their due. Now I can go to bed.
That's it (thankfully). Next year I'll read someone else's blog. Hope you all won your Oscar pools, 'cause I sure look like a moron right now.
I try to avoid product reviews of any kind on this blog, because I think it's obnoxious and stupid when blogs other than Engadget or Daddytypes comment on things to buy. You shouldn't normally trust my opinion anyway, at least not while I'm under such heavy sedation. But something I've been waiting for for a decade is finally available, and the world needs to know.
When I parked my ass at the Lagoon Theater for four hours of the Bard back in 1996, I expected a good show. Branagh rocked the house with Henry V and Much Ado About Nothing, and Dead Again remains one of the best movies no one saw. Plus, I'd taken an entire class just on Hamlet in college, so you could say I had some familiarity with the play.
As I would soon be reminded by George Lucas, lofty expectations tend to result in disappointment.
The wait is over. I'm psyched to fire up Excalibur and bathe in the warm glow of madness and revenge, sex and love, politics and treachery, and ghosts, both real and figurative. After all, to thine own self be true!*
* Ok, that last quote doesn't exactly make a ton of sense in context, but I wanted to end on a quote, and neither "frailty, thy name is woman" nor "Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him, Horatio" seemed to fit the bill. So sue me.
As a TV show, The Simpsons towers above the tattered carcasses of lesser shows. Only a handful of shows have ever approached it's brilliance, and most of them have been canceled well before their time. Even the brilliance of Seinfeld and Cheers, the two shows which came closest to matching it's sophistication and humor in the last 25 years have begun to fade as TNT overplays the reruns. The Simpsons still have some transcendence I can't put my four yellow fingers on.
The Simpsons is one of the cultural landmarks--on a par with Star Wars and Bruce Campbell --that is almost untouchable in it's awesomeness and geek street-cred. Like many Ã¼ber-nerds, I quote it endlessly, own all the DVD's (at least through Season 9, when it started getting a little too zany), and can spot references to Season 4, Episode 7 on demand. ("Hey, that's the Mr. Plow jacket!")
And if I ever get to my list of Top 25 TV Characters of All Time I'll be forced to make a painful choice between Sideshow Bob and Apu.
I haven't watched it much in the last few years because...well, let's just say the quality isn't what it used to be. But even the sad, shuffling episodes I sporadically see nowadays are better than 90% of the pablum the networks offer up every year. And I hold out hope--much like I did 8 years ago when I claimed, "George Lucas could put his big hairy white butt on the screen for two hours and I'd still love it"-- that tonight's movie will have all the wit and brilliance that I remember from the golden years.
UPDATE: I just got back, and I'm please to report that it's freakin' hilarious! We're talking at least Season 7 quality (especially the first 20 minutes). For those of you keeping track via Star Wars analogies, that's like an Ewok-free Return of the Jedi. It's pretty much required viewing for fans, and even the laymen will not be disappointed. Go now!
This weekend one of my all-time favorite comic book characters finally came to the big screen. I always loved the dark story of Johnny Blaze, stunt motorcyclist, whose soul was bonded to the demon Zarathos in a deal with Mephisto to save the life of his mentor. The character had depth and pain, and rode a fine line between being a hero and being consumed by the fire-sheathed demon within. It was original, compelling, and freakin' awesome.
I've seen some bad, bad casting decisions in my time (the majority of which involve Jim Carrey or Woody Harrelson) but...Nicolas Cage? Kal-el's father? The guy who has made twogood movies (if that) since 1990? The man who married Lisa Marie Presley after Michael Jackson?
Which brings me to this excellent guide to Nicolas Cage movies, which I think should be published and handed out to movie-goers nation-wide. Think of the countless lives that would have been saved had parents, teachers, and public officials been armed with this critical information. For my money, the quote of the year (to-date) may well be this:
If you’re watching the trailer for the new Nicolas Cage superhero movie
and find yourself thinking “Nicolas Cage, really? Was Ben Affleck not
available?” and don’t immediately freak out that you’ve chosen Ben
Affleck over Nicolas Cage, then don’t bother with Ghost Rider
Consider this a public service message from your friendly neighborhood CroutonBoy. I've got your back.
I was having a debate with some friends the other day about the difference between a good movie and a movie with a few good scenes. Sometimes a great scene will make a movie memorable, even if the rest of it wasn't so hot. My favorite example is A Few Good Men, which I personally think is an average and highly overrated movie with one absolutely riveting scene. "You can't handle the truth!"
That's not to say great scenes and great movies are mutually exclusive. It's no coincidence that the best movies often have the best scenes. But for every "I know it was you, Fredo" or ripple of water in a plastic cup, there's a corresponding scene in Harley Davidson & the Marlboro Man or Billy Madison that elevates the surrounding material. Think of John Belushi on the ladder in Animal House, or the crop duster scene in North by Northwest, or Bill Duke emptying his mini-gun into the jungle in Predator, moments which stick in your mind that you always wait for if you happen to catch it on HBO.
Anyway, it got me thinking, and I decided I'd throw together a list of my 25 favorite movie scenes ('cause the last time I did a list of 100 it took me all summer). They are in no particular order, in no way reflect my all-time favorite movies (which I won't bore you with) and are hardly a comprehensive or permanent list.