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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ruminations From the Academy Awards - UPDATED

Despite the best laid plans, my work has proven to be a jealous mistress.  My wife keeps begging me for me to share even one meal with her, but the office will not relent.  We are attempting to schedule a joint breakfast, but the outlook is not good.  That said, I was unable to watch the Academy Awards live, but forced to use the DVR instead.  With my hope of mocking celebrities on Twitter denied, I will do so here.  I promise to refrain from dropping any Melissa Leo F-bombs tonight.

James Franco and Anne Hathaway - Did the producers even put any thought into this decision?  Were Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl possible contenders in the meeting that produced this duo?  Look, this is the big leagues and instead of starting All-stars, they sent out a couple of prospects.  There is a vast difference between:

A.  being the star of a movie
B.  being a movie star
C.  being a star

Past hosts Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal are stars.  Franco and Hathaway currently reside somewhere between A and B, but still far from C.  In the pre-recorded sequences, they were fine, but the live bits were lacking.  Kirk Douglas held our attentions in a way they never did.  Star's hold our attention and don't waste it on scatter shot efforts to entertain us.  True larger than life stars will feel comfortable ripping on the biggest stars in attendance.  Instead we had Anne singing about Hugh Jackman backing out of their duet.  Yawn....

Quick note - Animated films nominated for Best Picture should be removed from consideration for Best Animated Feature.  This should go for documentaries, foreign language and any other specialized category, too.  Let the nominees decide if they want to go for the gold or stay in their place, but no double chances.

Mila Kunis - I hate when women wear clothes that make it seem their bra is unexpectedly showing.

Aaron Sorkin - As he thanked his much beleaguered press rep, I couldn't help but think that if he would just think before he spoke, that PR guy would be less likely to be contemplating writing a tell-all book as soon as Sorkin fires him.  Even in a presumably gentle moment when he spoke toward his daughter, he seemed as if he was about to explode into another obscenity laced tirade against Sarah Palin.

Christian Bale - I'm not sure what movie he is currently working on that requires black hair and a brown beard, but perhaps one of those movie makeup crews could have made him look less backwoods meth addic.  Also, as someone else said, his speech would have been easier to listen to if he had done it in his Batman voice.

Russell Brand - I know, I know...he's a BIG STAR in England.  But so was Dame Edna, so that's not saying much.  Surely England is about to go into RB withdrawals since he seems to be over staying his welcome (I use the word welcome loosely, since I don't remember him being welcome).  So let me be the first to say, "Thanks for visiting, but whoa, look at the time.  I didn't realize how late is was.  I guess it's time for you to be heading home now.  That's ok, I'll clean up tomorrow.  Let me just grab your coat...here ya go and ok, bye now".  Please, don't forget to take Katy.  I'm just a bit tired of her bit, too.

King's Speech, Screenwriter - I don't know his name nor do I feel like looking it up since I doubt I will ever see him again.  But I liked him.  He, along with the winner for documentary (what's-her-name) seemed like pleasant people, who were genuinely happy that their work was being acknowledged.

Melissa Leo -  Despite the poor word choice, she also seemed genuine.  But after two nominations and a win, the big Hollywood machine will soon tempt her into selling her soul for the big time movies.  Kate Winslet has had a nice career filled with Oscar nominations while staying away from Hollywood.  Of course she also had a nice start with Titannic.  But thanks to her verbal flub, Melissa Leo now has more name recognition.  Look at me, I didn't have to google it to remember her name.

Mark Wahlberg - Needs to stick with Pennsylvania based movies.  I don't know what it is, but his acting really stinks in all his other movies.  Maybe it just takes less acting for him to seem convincing in the Penn state movies. (Invincible, Rock Star, The Fighter)

Tom Hanks - What happpened to Tom?  Sure, I mean the Tom Hanks who won back to back Oscars, but I also mean the Tom Hanks we loved to watch before that in funn movies like The 'Burbs, Sleepless in Seattle, Volunteers, Big, Splash and even The Man With One Red Shoe.  Whether the serious or the funny, Tom is our Everyman thrown into a situation that forces him to react.  That is Tom Hanks at his best - reacting.  When we saw Tom Hanks, we would see ourselves.  If we were stranded on an island, how would we react? What if we could really be Big?  How would we handle a mermaid?  What if we were lost and looking for love?  Because of Tom Hanks we know what all of that would be like. 

Here's a good movie pitch for Tom:  Tom is a <pick any average career>, then have his <son, daugher, wife, parent, dog> <killed, kidnapped, assaulted, turn out to be an <alien, witch, vampire> win the lottery> then see what happens.  The possibilities are endless Tom.  Heck, I'll write it for you if you want.  The script is easy when you're writing for Tom Hanks.  Castaway's screenplay was only like two pages long, right?  Tom, stop acting and start reacting.

The Dude - I didn't see it, but my daughter quickly text me that Sandra Bullock had referred to Jeff Bridges as the Dude last night, which was followed by a back and forth of lines from The Big Lebowski.  Fail as I might as a parent, I have done well to instill a love for quoting movie lines in my children.

That's all I have.  I'm sure there would be more, but I haven't finished watching it off the DVR.  I told you I was busy.  I wouldn't have time for this, but I'm writing it during a short break at the office.  If only getting to spend time with the beautiful Dawn were as easy.  Until next time, the balcony is closed.


It's Tuesday, just before midnight and I have finally finished watching Sunday's telecast.  With the beautiful Dawn beside me, beckoning me to fast forward through the portions not worth watching (or at least not watching a second time for her), it is now finished.  My feelings at this moment recall to mind, my reaction after finishing Inception.  I took pause to ponder what I had just seen, and decide if my own conjectures as to what had happened were correct.  My wife turned to me and said, "See, I told you Anne ended the night screaming at people".

My conclusion - either it was a truly awful spectacle, as it seemed....or it was the most brilliant bit of movie marketing ever.  Like Inception, we are continually led one direction, but given hints that will lead the curious in another.  For three and a half hours we were supposedly "entertained", but as I watched, my mind was bombarded with the images and sounds of a hundred other productions I would rather be watching instead of this dreck.

I, as did countless others, continued to watch this drudgery to its conclusion, but my mind was floating free, just as the dreaming denizens of Inception who flopped helplessly while another dimension altered the pull of gravity.  From documentaries to shorts films, foreign language and animated, my mind was being pulled in all directions because the accumulated mass on my tv failed to exert any force on my attention.

Now I am left with a desire to go see countless films, save one minor glitch.  I was so busy daydreaming, I can't remember the names of any of those great nominated films.  Oh, well, I guess that's why they invented Google. 

Hey, that's a great idea for a movie.  Jessie Eisenberg and Zachary Levi as Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page in The Search Engine.  It's the story of two Stanford students who have done really well in school, create an internet sensation while seeking to accomplish a worthy goal and who's company motto is "Don't be evil".  They have even been known to wear ties on occasion.  Talk about a couple of Drama Queens - we're talking "Instant classic!"  Let me know what you think.

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