Instead of live-blogging with loathing like every other film blog I celebrated the Oscars eventually with corndogs, beer, cake and hissing at Al Gore (is he Botoxed or just internalizing all my hate?) But first I spent a good 30 minutes of Oscar's time navigating an unfamilar area of Berkeley trying to find the hottest Oscar spot. Anywoo:
Prettiest dressed: Jennifer Lopez, Penelope Cruz (Alexander McQueen FTW!!! uhm or Atelier Versace totally biting his style, hmm) and Francis Ford Coppola with his very rebellious blue bowtie decision (men's formal fashion = so boring).
Scariest image: drunk-fool bald-headed Jack Nicholson, that is a whole lot of ugly to have in a sea of America's finest celebrities. It almost seems cruel, but then I remember that he is wearing sunglasses indoors thus = douche.
Biggest Yeah-You-Better: Marie Antoinette for costumes. Only nominated for one award when it was the most exciting concept/best executed film of 2006? Are we not supposed to like movies or something?
Awesomeness: Ennio Morricone and Ruby Yang for accepting their awards in Italian and Chinese respectively. Our lazy American ears almost shrivel at the notion of hearing other languages. but you say, Funk That!
Freaky Shadow Dancing: Those penguins! That shoe! The gun! Eek! This was my favorite "updating the traditional" gimmick of the evening.
Best WTF Moment: Nicholson and Keaton fighting/in-joking while presenting Best Picture. Why were they mad during the intros and then almost making out when it came to announcing the winner? Uhm, the short answer will do just fine.
Hostess with the Mostest: Kudos to Ellen Degeneres for being able to articulate what we're all thinking but making it seem much less mean. And your girlfriend is so hott she scalds the tv screen.
People have been discussing it on the internets for a couple of months now but imdb.com has completed implementing their design changeover. I'll be the first to admit I'm a curmudge who hates almost all change especially when it's just trend-chasing nonsense. Has the Web 2.0 evolution become entirely aesthetic? My thoughts:
A terrible amount of wasted space.
The banner ads are getting oppressive.
Message boards now have to be clicked into instead of being displayed on each actor/title page. This is actively discouraging the only social networking aspect the site really had.
Site still does not allow users to add their own tags.
Left navigation bar text is way too small (I'm not afraid to say I love button images. You're pressing them, so why not just make them buttons? I'm just saying.)
+I do think it was a smart improvement to add more titles and use images for the recommendations section though.
Caught the utterly charming Music and Lyrics last night. My affection is probably due in small part because I drunk-napped through the first 15 minutes of what was undoubtedly fairly clunky exposition. But I managed to catch the TOTALLY BITCHIN music video for "Pop! Goes My Heart" the hit song for the 80s pop sensation Hugh Grant's character has aged out of.
I'm a sucker for any film about songwriters that is clearly made by people who love the genre at hand (other recent good examples Hustle and Flow, School of Rock; bad examples: Be Cool, Dreamgirls). And I think every heterosexual woman in this world probably had the same Pavlovian response to seeing the pretty & effervescent Drew Barrymore teamed up with the pretty & pithy Hugh Grant. They're both in full form here. Barrymore even gets a little dark with a tortuous backstory of an older former flame having stripmined her familial aberrations for a best-seller that left her broke, alone and rattled (on that note, can we please see Campbell Scott play more villains? Heavenly!) Kristen Johnston is also wonderful as Barrymore's sister, a woman stretched thin with family and career obligation who goes into full tilt fangirl mode around Grant. Even Brad Garrett, who is someone I would enjoy to see drawn and quartered, is tolerable as Grant's enthused, neurotic manager.
And I love the film for showing with serene brutality the regular humilations Grant's character must endure for being an artist in a medium that does not allow its contributors to age. His gigs are mostly of the high school reunion and Six Flags park variety and the only people who have any enthusiasm for him are the women who loved it the first time around. The film never delves into the guilty pleasure or "so bad it's good" (blech) realm but instead acknowledges that even though the industry itself can be silly and pap, it takes genuine talent to write pop songs and even that of the bubblegum variety is still extremely important to the fans who love it.
Though I'm kind curious as to whether this entire screenplay was conceived after seeing this scene from Love Actually:
Grant money, that is. The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program has announced its
second round of grants for 2006 with 20 feature-length documentary
films receiving a total of $600,000."
Development grants are going to
Francois Verster (Dream of Shahrazad), Astra Taylor (Megapolis),
Kamal Aljafari (Port of Memory), Deann Borshay Liem (Precious Objects
of Desire), Laura Poitras (Release), Carrie Lozano and Sam Green
(Speaking from the Grave), Tod Lending (War is a Force that Gives us
See Sundance's somewhat inscrutable website for more information.
Poor Bandidas had the misfortune of being in production while the little gay cowboy movie that could was having its heyday. And the hive-mind mentality of filmboy geeks who were ever so slightly skeeved out by the Brokeback affair convinced themselves this tale of two lady bankrobbing cowgirls (Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek) was going to be their softcore lezzie fulfillment.
However Bandidas owes a far greater debt to Blazing Saddles (on more of a kill whitey tip) than Bound. Critics have largely rejected even the notion that pretty ladies can be irreverently funny, but I invite viewers to note that clearly any film with Dwight Yoakam as the villain and Steve Zahn as the anything is well aware of where it's headed.
The film is funny, exciting, sweet and even sexy and is gorgeously lensed by Thierry Arbogast (Femme Fatale, Fifth Element, La Femme Nikita). There are a few first-time director hiccups and Bandidas suffers a bit from a second act training montage (natch) but is well worth renting.