Monday, March 29, 2010

Songs that I hear on the radio...

So since I am too lazy to set up my new (old) iPod to play any of my music, my trips to and from the cities have been tuned into The Current. And for some reason, I feel like commenting on a few of them. I'm only going to do one, but maybe a few more tomorrow...



Apparently this is the number one song of the week on the station, according to "The Countdown Show." Or something. like that. It was really weird hearing a countdown show, actually... cause I equate it to crappy shows like TRL and what not.

Anyway. This song was number one. Apparently it's been number one for like four weeks. PLUS, another one of their songs was number two, so they're just super duper I guess. PLUS PLUS, they're big in the UK, which means that people like them. I suppose.

The song itself was OK, kind of inoffensive and pleasant music that you wouldn't turn off... or so I thought when I listened to it on the radio. OK enough for me to try looking for it on YouTube just because. Which I did. Obviously, because you see the video up there.

The video ruined the entire song for me.

I'm thinking it might be a first. Usually I just hate music videos because they try to include stupid little narratives instead of just animating the band out of Legos. I guess this was different.

It's pretty clear the song is quite earnest, but the video sort of draws the earnestness out to a fault. So while I'm listening to this somewhat pleasant song, I get to watch these ultra-serious dudes bear their hearts out for the entire world to see, which of course totally changes everything.

Not that being emotional while playing music is a *bad* thing... but it sort of looks ridiculous when you don't buy the song as essential to your everyday existence. Then the climax has them all singing along in this overblown serious manner (complete with a foot stomping banjo player, which looks completely silly) and I start to wish that the music video just consisted of a fox eating a rabbit or something.

The problems with this video are this: 1) the lyrics are terribly overwrought. I mean, it's OK if your lyrics sound like they were written in a 7th grade poetry class, but singing those lyrics in an intense manner makes you look kind of clueless. 2) The lead singer needs to do something with his moustache. I mean, he isn't the most photogenic person in the world, and again... that's OK. But you're wanting me to take you seriously... and that moustache is a small barrier preventing me from doing so.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Woops

So I'm housesitting at the moment for my family, which means that at the moment I have a car. SOOOO. I'm using the freedoms of having a car and doing stuff like going to the zoo. And not writing anything.

But whatever. Do you guys want to listen to a crappy song? Well, here you go!



It's funny, because the guy wrote this amazing song a few years ago...



And then decided to follow it up with this...



Again, let's post the video again. Not that I expect you to listen to it three times, but for some reason my YouTube video kept starting over, so I'm trying to replicate the experience I'm having...



It's a joke, right? This is just a guy deciding to write the worst song of his career and wondering if it'd become his most popular, right? This is just some guy tricking fat boy douchebags into buying his album just because he's wanting to take the piss out of him, right?

*listens to the other song that leaked*

Well, I liked the Brian Eno-influenced version of the band...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Villanova shouldn't have won that game.

There a few calls late in the half that were clearly biased towards them, which ended up proving to be crucial, as it was tied after regulation.

That was probably the closest 15/2 or 16/1 game the NCAA will produce this year. Which means that I'll probably tune out after this... also because I work and everything, but still.

But hey! My coin flips have gone 3-0 so far... which means that so far I'm probably doing better than 60% of the rest of the world as of right now. That's probably the biggest victory I'll have, too...

They're playing the Bud Light autotune commercial at the moment. Right now I could probably shoot someone.

The worst...

part about the NCAA tournament is that--by cheering for the underdog every game--is that you end up immensely disappointed every game. Or, at least immensely disappointed when it's a REALLY low seed and they hang in there for a while, only to ultimately lose.

Right now Robert Morris--a 15 seed--is beating Villanova 17-11 with 8 minutes left in the first half. It's not going to last--eventually Villanova is going to start making some shots and go off on a 20-4 run or something, but right now I'm enjoying the crap out of the tournament. Then the top seeds begin to dominate and I lose all interest, but right now? Hell yeah. Go Robert Morris.

...

Villanova just had a monster block. Then Robert Morris just took a terrible three point attempt. I hate it when small teams take three point attempts, because they NEVER GO IN. It'll get worse once Villanova starts to take the lead and Robert Morris starts jacking up 22 footers in a vain attempt to change momentum.

It's 28-22 at the half. I predict Villanova takes the lead after 5 minutes and never looks back.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My laptop stopped charging last night.

I figured it was because the inside connector thing-y was kind of loose.

Then my mother gave me her old laptop charger. It worked, but it wouldn't stay in place.

It's currently being held to my laptop by duct tape.

...

This isn't going to end well.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

NCAA TOURNEY PICKS

Every year I like to fill out a bracket for the NCAA tournament, despite not being heavily invested in the regular season. The tournament is always fun, though, so I get kind of excited whenever it comes around. Except when it's boring, and all the #1 seeds win. George Mason's run was my favorite year, for the record.

Anyway, my method for predicting the tournament is pretty simple, and in my opinion it's the best way to make your predictions, since it removes all bias that might impede your ability to accurately predict games. Plus, by filling it out this way, it eradicates the impulse to cheer for the #4 team against the #13 just because you have them in the Final Four. By using the method, you do not fail or succeed... the method does.

Yep, I predict everything by coin flip.

I'll start off with the first round, then mae a few comments about certain trends, then move on to the next round. Also, I don't predict the play-in game, because I'm using ESPN to predict as of right now, and they list the play-in game as TBA... and I'm too lazy to look up the two teams playing. As always, you can expect nothing but quality work from here, people.

FIRST ROUND:
MIDWEST:
16 Lehigh over 1 Kansas--8 UNLV over 9 N Iowa--5 Mich St over 12 N Mex St--4 Maryland over 13 Houston--11 SDSU over 6 Tennessee--14 Ohio over 3 Georgetown--7 OK St over 10 Ga Tech--15 UCSB over 2 Ohio St.
EAST:
16 E Tenn St over 1 Kentucky--9 W Forest over 8 Texas--5 Temple over 12 Cornell--13 Wofford over 4 Wisconsin--6 Marquette over 11 Washington--14 Montana over 3 New Mexico--10 Missouri over 7 Clemson--15 Morgan St over 2 WVU.
WEST:
16 Vermont over 1 Syracuse--9 Florida St over 8 Gonzaga--12 UTEP over 5 Butler--4 Vanderbilt over 13 Murray St--6 Xavier over 11 Minnesota--14 Oakland over 3 Pitt--7 BYU over 10 Florida--15 N Texas over 2 Kansas St.
SOUTH:
1 Duke over 16 MYSTERY TEAM--9 Louisville over 8 California--5 Texas A&M over 12 Utah St--13 Siena over 4 Purdue--11 ODU over 6 Notre Dame--14 Sam Hou St over 3 Baylor--10 St Mary's over 7 Richmond--2 Villanova over 15 R Morris.
NOTES:
Heads: 12, Tails: 20. Which means that it's heavy on the upsets, and that if Tails keeps prevailing, Villanova be the favorite to win it all since they are now they will be riding the tails all the way. Also, Duke and Villanova were the only top 3 seeds to make it on to the next round. Duke, I'm assuming because the mysteriousness of the mystery team worked against itself, or something. There should be no excuse for R Morris for failing to beat Villanova, though. Completely inexcusable.

2ND ROUND:
MIDWEST:
8 UNLV over 16 Lehigh--4 Maryland over 5 Mich St--14 Ohio over 11 SDSU--7 OK St over 15 UCSB.
EAST:
9 W Forest over 16 E Tenn St--5 Temple over 13 Wofford--14 Montana over 6 Marquette--15 Morgan St over 10 Missouri.
WEST:
9 Florida St over 16 Vermont--12 UTEP over 4 Vanderbilt--14 Oakland over 6 Xavier--7 BYU over 15 N Texas.
SOUTH:
9 Louisville over 1 Duke--13 Siena over 5 Texas A&M--11 ODU over 14 Sam Hou St--2 Villanova over 10 St Mary's.
NOTES:
Mountain West has two teams, Big East has two, ACC has three. Every other conference blows, apparently. Also, tails wins the round again 11 to 5, which indicates even stronger that the south bracket is going to be the favorite to produce the winner of the tournament.

SWEET SIXTEEN:
MIDWEST:
8 UNLV over 4 Maryland
7 OK St over 14 Ohio
EAST:
9 Wake Forest over 5 Temple
15 Morgan St over 14 Montana
WEST:
9 Florida St over 12 UTEP
7 BYU over 14 Oakland
SOUTH:
9 Louisville over 13 Siena
2 Villanova over 11 ODU
NOTES:
It's a really good year to be a 9 seed, since three of them are making the Elite Eight. Does this mean that you should probably pencil in pretty much all the 9 seeds to head this far? Well, yeah, probably. Also, Morgan St is the last remaining double digit seed, which is worthy of celebration. Don't know where the hell you are, or what the hell you guys do, but congrats anyway, Morgan St.

ELITE EIGHT:
MIDWEST:
8 UNLV over 7 Oklahoma St
EAST:
15 Morgan St over 9 Wake Forest
WEST:
9 Florida St over 7 BYU
SOUTH:
2 Villanova over 9 Louisville.
NOTES:
I just realized that the Midwest winner will be playing the West instead of the East. Whoops. ALSO, IMPORTANT TO NOTE: The past two rounds have produced a pattern, alternating between heads first and tails right after. What does this mean? Well, the first matchup in the Final Four will probably be heads and the second tails... so, UNLV vs. Villanova. And if the pattern continues, then UNLV will be winning... which would go against me saying that Villanova was the favorite, but you know...

FINAL FOUR:
9 Florida St over 8 UNLV
15 Morgan St over 2 Villanova

NOTES:
Well, screw everything I said. This time, tails came up first and heads second, which means that Villanova is done and I'm wrong. For the National Championship... it could go one of two ways. One, it could favor the 9 seed since they are 11-3 in the tournament, which means Florida St. HOWEVER... tails has come up much more than heads has, so that could favor Morgan St. Also, Morgan St's mascot is a bear. Did you know that? Now you do.

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME:
9 Forida St over 15 Morgan St.

NOTES:
This one is a bit controversial. I flipped the coin, and it landed right next to my laptop, then it richocceted up and ended up leaning up right against the side of my computer. It seemed as if it was going to end up heads, however you can never be sure. Anyway, that's that.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOUR BRACKET:
Well, according to my tried and true method to predicting the NCAA tournament, a few trends begin to appear:
-9 seeds are pretty much a lock to go far.
-1, 2, and 3 seeds all are going to completely suck... except for Villanova, who might make it to the Final Four.
-The first two rounds=tails prevails. Which means pick the lower seeded teams in the first round, and... winners of the 8/9, 4/13, 3/14, and 2/15 games.
-Morgan St might win a game or two.
-The championship game might be hugely controversial. Like, someone getting stabbed on the court during the waning moment of a close game.

So there you go. Feel free to take any of this information and use it for your own predictions. And if it helps you win... awesome, and if it makes you lose... it's not that big of a deal anyway.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Terrible Love



This is The National playing a new song off their JUST ANNOUNCED (exciting) album called High Violet, coming out May 11th... which just happens to be 9 days before my birthday. So that's exciting, right?

I have the feeling that this'll be the record that breaks them big, since there's really no reason why they shouldn't be one of the top 3 most popular indie acts at the moment as is. I also have the feeling the album isn't going to be as good as Boxer. Or Aliigator. But hey, I'd love to be wrong about that.

Plus, this song is sounding super impressive at the moment, although I'm assuming it'll sound fairly different on record. A lot of the songs they play live end up in these swirling crescendos that don't really occur on the recorded version.

Also, is it possible for Fallon's show and the band to be buddies if it's been a year since they've been on, and the show has only been on about 14 months?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Boondock Saints II

Some of you might know that The Boondock Saints is my least favorite movie of all time.

In case, you didn't know, the reasoning is obvious: it sucks with every bone in its body. But to be more specific, since I like writing about HOW ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE THIS MOVIE IS:

1) I was told how great this was. I read about its massive cult and started getting excited, because... you know, some cult movies are cool. I even read a few articles about the "questions" and "ideas" raised by the film... nothing too specific, but enough to get me to think for at least a split second that there was a modicum of substance to this film. Which was of course terribly off track, but the fact that it was so massively hyped for me is key because it means people like this movie. Which makes me hate it even more.

2) The pacing is absolutely horrid. Someone got the great idea that showing the aftermath and having the detectives solve everything BEFORE showing all the massive bloodletting was super cool and innovative. What actually happened was that it revealed that the bad guys died, then decided to show the bad guys dying... only for the viewer to realize that nothing interesting actually happened. Whoops.

3) Oh, it tries so hard to emulate the Quentin Tarantino brand of "cool". It tries so hard. It even lifts bits directly from Pulp Fiction (the accidental shooting of the cat, spouting Biblical verses while making the kill, etc), so it has to capture some of that "cool", right? Except that Tarantino actually possesses the gift of clever dialogue. And he takes that style of his, where he lifts something from another movie and puts his own spin on it, and makes it work within the framework of his catalogue.

...needless to say, Troy Duffy does not possess any sort of talent like this.

4) Oh, and so confident Duffy is in his auteurist abilities that he decides that he's going to fill his film with music that HE CREATED. Which, unexpectedly, sucks donkey balls.

But that's not the worst part: it's the idea that he'd put his crappy music in the movie. And the idea that he'd put his stupid friend in the movie because he thought he was funny or whatever. It means he's an egotistical blowhard that believes that all he touches is gold and that all that he deems worthy is actually so. Which is terrible enough, but throw in a bit of frat douchiness, and you've got a person worthy of my hatred.

5) But the REASON ABOVE ALL REASONS why I hate it is this: it truly believes that killing is justified if done to combat against evil, and it truly believes it's making an insightful and intriguing case for that.

For the former, it isn't, and for the latter, it sure as hell is not.

Usually violence in film doesn't bother me, because it's all meant to be escapist fare and nothing you actually want to aspire towards. But here it's almost disturbing because it actually believes in the bloodbaths, and essentially states that if everyone was man enough we'd just go ahead and take down all the evildoers that infest this world.

Except that a lot of people find it kind of hard to be perfect. And gee, there goes the Saints executing those guys at the strip for their wee little sin.

And so the line between good and evil is a little blurred, and having two guys using their faith to justify killing... well, it begins to sound a little like some religious extremists we might not be particularly fond of, doesn't it? Oh, and this film has a cult following, which although probably means nothing, still seems a little unsettling.

But whatever. All of that would be... well, it'd be at least a little bit more digestable if there was a shred of evidence that this ultra pro-vigilantism stance was all meant tongue in cheek. Of course, it wasn't, as you can see when it ends the movie with some man on the street "interviews" asking if these guys are actually Saints or not. You know, so you know that this film is asking the hard questions, taking the unbiased side and letting us look at the facts objectively to allow us to make our own decisions. Which is all bullshit, of course.

...

Anyway, I've written a LOT about the first movie when I originally set out to write about the new one (which just came out on DVD, for the record). And one might be wondering why exactly I'm watching the sequel when the first one inspires so much hatred within me. Well, as the old saying goes... "keep your friends close, and your enemies closer." Which means that this franchise (which I guess it is now) is my enemy. Strangely enough, that doesn't seem weird to say.

I figured that it'd be terrible, it being a sequel and all. But could it be... *worse* than the first one, which I'll remind you once again is my vote for WORST OF ALL TIME?

Well... yes and no.

Perhaps the worst quality about the sequel is that it's all pretty much more of the same, except tied together with a much more nonsensical storyline (which I have no intentions of even trying to describe). REHASHED FROM THE LAST MOVIE:

-Super unrealistic gun fights that is filmed in slow motion soas to make the Saints look as cool as possible.

-Super annoying sidekick, except replacing the worst actor of all time friend of Troy Duffy is a gross stereotype of a Mexican. Presumably played for laughs.

-Super "funny" homophobic cracks serving as the basis for much of the humor. (I don't actually remember this from the first one, but I'm just going to go ahead and assume that it was there in spades.)

-Super over-the-top intelligent detective, except replacing the flamboyant gay Willem Dafoe is a cowgirl. (Oh, spoiler alert, but one of my favorite parts from this movie is when it's revealed that Dafoe's character died... until we realize that he actually didn't. What happened? WHO THE HELL KNOWS.)

-Super obvious ripoff from better movies. Although instead of ripping off Pulp Fiction, Troy Duffy popped in a DVD of The Godfather Part II and decided to insert a "rise of the father" subplot... which doesn't exactly work because The Godfather's story followed the rise of Vito Corleone, where this movie followed the rise of some guy who likes to shoot people.

So yeah. It was bad. Did I mention it makes little sense? Not that you'd expect it to be densely plotted, since it's main purpose is to make two "righteous" killers look cool. And yet the film managed to get something terribly right: the omission of the first's innate ability to inspire overwhelming hatred.

Essentially, this film paints the Saints as your stereotypical action movie stars, which is much more palatable than painting them as servants of God delivering the good news in the form of bullets in mobsters' heads. And aside from a very ill-conceived fantasy scene involving the worst character from the first movie (where it rails against masculinity as defined as anything but drinking and smoking and kicking ass or whatever), it avoids hitting you over the head with a terribly misguided message. Which is a good thing. A very good thing.

Oh, and thankfully, the music in the movie is NOT by Troy Duffy. It still sucks, but you know... small improvements are still improvements.

So in an attempt to reach some sort of conclusion... Boondock Saints II = worse in pretty much every way except in the fact that it inspires ambivalence rather than anger. Which is what is required to take a really bad movie and make it one of the worst movies ever. I'd probably put The Boondock Saints II in my top 10 of least favorite films, but honestly it only gets there due to its association with the first movie.

Although I can't really decide if the fact that it doesn't acheive the same heights of wretchedness as the first one means that the sequel was a success or a disappointment.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Oscar stuff

HIGHLIGHTS:

-Obviously that interpretive dance sequence set to the best score nominees. Pretty much all The Hurt Locker needed was some poppin' and lockin', so it was nice to see the stuff that was sorely lacking in the film get its just due.

-The Hurt Locker winning was OK enough by my standards. I thought Inglourious Basterds was better, but I figure that if it won a massive backlash would have ensued, which would have drowned out all the praise for it. You know, sort of like how no one really exalts Slumdog Millionaire anymore...

-The hosts were OK. Their opening monologue was decent. That's always a good thing. Right?

-I was enthused with 3 (count em, THREE) of the winners: Up for Best Score, Waltz for Best Supporting Actor, and Star Trek for winning anything.

-Suck it Avatar.

LOWLIGHTS:

-The first hour was WAAAY loaded with little segments and clips, then it slowed down considerably and just concentrated on the categories and nominees (aside from the interpretive dance scene... which was the right choice, of course). I'm assuming they had little segments for each category, realized that their show was on track towards being 8 hours long, then cut out the rest of the remaining segments. Except for the interpretive dance sequence. Which saved the show. For the record.

-The shorts categories for screwing up all my predictions.

-Hurt Locker winning over Inglourious Basterds for Original Screenplay. I was sort of hoping that the Academy would spread the love and give Basterds an extra Oscar or two, but I guess that wasn't meant to be.

-Just a general lowlight for all my favorites that didn't win. *shakes fist rather unenthusiastically*

-Actually, all the awards were kind of boring. Pretty much the biggest upset was Precious winning Adapted Screenplay... and that was kind of a boring category to begin with.

So yeah. If District 9 randomly won Best Picture... that would have been OK.

-Not rigging the Best Director category so one of the three white guys won. Not that I was *really* hoping for it, but after the announcer and Barbara Streisand hyped the fact that "HEY! A WOMAN OR AN AFRICAN AMERICAN COULD WIN FOR BEST DIRECTOR! HOW ABOUT THAT FOR PROGRESS!"... well, to say the least it would have been funny to see the deflated look on Streisand's face to have to give it to Cameron.

-Not enough interpretive dancing.

You know how the Best Actor/Actress categories had friends talking about how great/inspiring/brave their nominated friend was? Well... it was kind of boring. Next year, they should have street dancers up there, interpretive dancing about their feelings about their favorite nominee. AND THEN, whoever wins the category, instead of delivering an acceptance speech... delivers an acceptance DANCE.

Guys, you might as well just give me the role of running the Oscars now.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Most likely completely illogical Oscar predictions

Hey! I'm doing Oscar predictions. Why, you ask? Cause I like offering my opinions on categories I know nothing about (come on Star Trek for Makeup!).

FORMAT:
The categories are descending from the smaller guns to the bigger ones (or... the ones I know least about to the ones I actually might know a thing or two about.). Also, I decided to write the bigger categories first, so if the top seems like a slog to get through... well, that's because all of it is, but the ones on top moreso because I got sick of writing. Also, it's going to seem like I don't care about a lot of the smaller categories... which is because I don't, really. I only have so much time to invest into everything, you know...

Each category will ask who should win (a.k.a. what film did I like the best), who will win (a.k.a. my actual prediction), and what would piss me off the most (a.k.a. where I get to talk about how sucky Avatar is and how much I hate it).

BEST SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION):
Who should win: Well... haven't exactly seen any of them. Perhaps if I hadn't been plowing through all 5 seasons of The Wire (3 episodes to go), I'd have... you know, watched other stuff. But you know. I don't even know if they're available to watch online, so.
Who will win: The Door.
What would piss me off: I have a ballot that has me trying to pick every single category wrong, so... whichever one I marked as least likely to win.

BEST SHORT FILM (ANIMATED):
Who should win: I'm not going to kid you... haven't been able to see anything except Logorama, which was kind of cute for a while... until it delved into some poor stylistic action that might only work because Ronald McDonald is killing people... that said, I don't think anyone would actually go for it.
Who will win: Giving it to Wallace & Gromit. Because... yeah.
What would piss me off: *shrugs*

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT:
Who should win: All of them.
Who will win: It's a race between China's Unnatural Disaster and The Last Truck. I'm going to say that China's Unnatural Disaster prevails, since earthquakes might be bigger than the crumbling auto industry at this point.
What would piss me off: One of the four I didn't pick.

BEST SOUND EDITING:
Who should win: Whatever. Avatar's winning.
Who will win: ....
What would piss me off: ....

BEST SOUND MIXING:
Who should win: I don't care. As long as it isn't that one movie...
Who will win: I've heard Hurt Locker is stronger in this category than in the others, so we'll go for it here. If Avatar wins, I fear for everything else.
What would piss me off: AVATAR.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN:
Who should win: I saw Bright Star the other day. That said, I don't know if it should win because I'm not an expert on 19th century garb. Nor am I an expert on anything else that got nominated here.
Who will win: Young Victoria...
What would piss me off: ...cause you know one of the main reasons the film was made was to rack up this Oscar...

BEST MAKEUP:
Who should win: Well... Star Trek has to win something, and won't win anything that is up against Avatar, right?
Who will win: Probably The Young Victoria....
What would piss me off: *sigh*

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:
Who should win: Avatar.
Who will win: Avatar.
What would piss me off: Whatever.


BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:
Who should win: Haven't seen any of them since I don't have the kind of cash at the moment to see any of them even if they made their way to my part of the woods.
Who will win: ...but they might give this to Haneke and The White Ribbon just as a way to give a slight nod to his body of work. Plus it's about the Holocaust.
What would piss me off: Well... honestly, something is going to win that is terribly boring and most "Oscar-friendly." Which movie it is, I don't know... but it's going to actually win. The White Ribbon is my choice for now.

BEST DOCUMENTARY:
Who should win: Again, haven't seen any of the contenders. Although I could easily get my hands on The Cove and Food Inc. But again... The Wire...
Who will win: The Cove. I've heard everybody loves it. So there you go.
What would piss me off: You know... the only documentaries I saw this year were Tyson and Anvil: The Story Of Anvil, and I greatly enjoyed both. I'm not fuming or anything at their exclusion, but... I wish they made room for documentaries that aren't political or "important" in one way or another... and made room for well-made and fascinating features.

MOST PROMISING 2010 TRAILER:
Who should win: I am totally waving the Hot Tub Time Machine flag. All the way, baby.
Who will win: Inception, because they'll feel bad for snubbing The Dark Knight and this'll be their way to make it up for Nolan...
What would piss me off: Which is TOTAL BULLS***. TOTAL BULLS***.

BEST SONG:
Who should win: *snicker*
Who will win: "The Weary Kind" from Crazy Heart.
What would piss me off: This category existing next year. Unless, you know... they decide to make it actually seem somewhat relevant.

BEST SCORE:
Who should win: Oh God, Up Up Up.
Who will win: UP, PLEASE.
What would piss me off: Anything other than Up. Especially Avatar, cause I remember distinctly thinking that the score wasn't actually all that good. And the "I See You" song was a big pile of s***. Although that shouldn't count against the actual score... but at the same time it should, you know? Someone has to suffer for allowing that to exist.

BEST ART DIRECTION:
Who should win: Well, I've only seen Avatar and Sherlock Holmes... the latter was pretty wonderfully realized, but nothing about the movie seems like it should deserve any sort of accolades, you know? It's decent fun, but that's about it.
Who will win: Oh, Avatar, no doubt.
What would piss me off the most: The Young Victoria. Again, thumbs down on costume dramas.


BEST EDITING:
Who should win: You know, just because Inglourious Basterds had a lot of extended scenes doesn't mean that the cutting ax should have come down on all of the scenes. Even if the scenes were a bit on the longer side, to tie each loose storyline strand together as a whole and to make every scene suspenseful as hell? That's worthy, right?
Who will win: Hurt Locker or Avatar. Whichever one takes best picture. This one will pad the stats for the winner, so to say.
What would piss me off: Avatar. Because... yeah.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Who should win: You know, I'm not against Avatar winning a few technical awards here or there. I'd prefer Inglourious Basterds to win, but you know... I wouldn't be terribly upset if Avatar took it here...
Who will win: Unless if it turns out that Avatar wins everything else as well...
What would piss me off: Then Avatar winning would blow.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE:
Who should win: Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Who will win: Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.
What would piss me off: Up winning. I mean, I enjoyed it and all, but it's getting to the point where the animated category is becoming pointless since Pixar dominates it every year. Seriously, I'd be OK if something like Coraline won... let Up's honor be the Best Picture nomination, and let another animated film get the other honor.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
Who should win: Fantastic Mr. Fox, but... that isn't here. I guess I'm cheering for In The Loop, even though it has no chance and probably took the spot from Mr. Fox. *shrugs*
Who will win: Up In The Air, since it has little chance of winning anything else, and they'll want to reward it in some way. Which is stupid, since it's a subpar flick that was carried by the performances of Clooney, Kendrick and Farmiga. Of course, all the acting categories are locked, so... crap.
What would piss me off: Well... guess from above.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
Who should win: Inglourious Basterds. So... basically I want it to win everything it's nominated for. But in this case, I'm really rooting for it since it actually has a chance. A Serious Man is good too and everything, but... it doesn't really have much support, so it's hard to get behind it as a result, you know?
Who will win: Basterds. Two reasons, 1) They're going to want to award Tarantino in some form or another, and this will be the little consolation prize they'll give him while awarding Avatar/Hurt Locker elsewhere, 2) there's been a lot of articles over the perceived lack of realism in The Hurt Locker. Now, it's all quite stupid, since it's a piece of fiction, and like many pieces of fiction, it takes liberties in order to heighten the drama. And I don't think it's going to derail the movie's chances for the bigger prizes. But you could imagine some people going with Basterds over Hurt Locker since the latter wasn't "real enough", couldn't you? Not that Basterds is at all seeped in reality, but still. The Academy have given an award to someone for stupider reasons, and all the little controversy is going to take a little something away from The Hurt Locker.
What would piss me off: I've only not seen The Messenger... and of the four nominated that I have seen, all I'd be OK with. Really... I'm just glad Avatar isn't here.

BEST ACTRESS
Who should win: This is my worst category. I just watched Precious, and so far... Sidibe's the only nominee I've seen. She was good, I suppose... so give it to her?
Who will win: Bullock. Cause, you know... she deserves it for being in Hollywood for so long. Or something.
What would piss me off: Meryl Streep, since she annoys me for irrational reasons. Sandra Bullock would annoy me too. So basically, there's about a 99.9% chance I'm going to be annoyed with this category come Sunday.

BEST ACTOR
Who should win: Christoph Waltz! Come on, secretly he was the lead actor in the movie and you know it. As for the people who were actually nominated, I've only seen Renner and Clooney. Renner would prevail easily.
Who will win: Bridges. Easily.
What would piss me off: There's really no way to piss me off in this category for now, since I haven't seen 3/5ths of the nominations. I heard Morgan Freeman coasted on his typical charm to his nomination, so that'd piss off everyone else, I suppose.

BEST DIRECTOR
Who should win: Tarantino or Bigelow.
Who will win: Bigelow, cause it seems like everyone is REALLY EXCITED to give it to a woman. For some reason I can't shake the feeling that Tarantino may just pull off a huge upset, because... again, they're probably going to want to honor Tarantino in some way. But, it is most definitely going to be in the Best Screenplay category, and probably only here if the Academy REALLY liked his movie. Cameron has no shot because he's a douchebag (or because his film sucks and would have no chance were it not for the "spectacle"). Also because he's said that he doesn't really want it.
What would piss me off: Well, if Cameron won, sure. But if Jason Reitman pulls off the random, illogical upset, that would annoy me to no end. Especially because he's like 25 or something, which a) would remind me how lazy I am, b) curse the fact that I didn't have a dad in the movie business, and c) well, he's not really all that deserving for putting out three decent pictures, you know?

BEST PICTURE
Who should win: Inglourious Basterds, with A Serious Man a close second. A Serious Man took a little bit time to get going, while Inglourious Basterds was just as intriguing (albeit in a different way) while being compelling throughout. A win for The Hurt Locker would be palatable, and really... it's what I'm cheering for since I don't think Inglourious Basterds will pull it off and I would hate everything if Avatar would win. And it'd be massively disappointing if Precious/Up In The Air won.
Who will win: Going to say that The Hurt Locker eeks it out by a nose over Avatar.
What would piss me off the most: No, no, no. Not just Avatar. BUT A TIE!

Between Avatar and The Blind Side.

I would most definitely start shooting small animals.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

WOOOAH

No one ever told me about Grooveshark. And it means that I can essentially listen to a bunch of crap in one little location?

I'm trying to figure out whether the fact that I have never heard of this site means a) that I am terribly behind the times (since this seems to have been around for a while), or b) my friends really don't like me all that much, and they KNOWINGLY withheld information about this site because... they could.

It's probably both.

I'm listening to Matty Groves by Fairport Convention. It's Celtic folk/classic rock type stuff... or something like that. Point is that I probably wouldn't have listened to this were it not for this site. Also, I'm pretty sure the next song following it is the Residents.

Which is terribly awesome, for the record.

Precious

I had a theory going in before seeing Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire--a pretty crappy theory and one backed up by absolutely nothing at all, but a theory nonetheless--that one's enjoyment of the film was going to be dictated by whether or not you bought into the initial premise.

So, if you like the idea of a film about an obese, illiterate, HIV positive teenager who had been victim of rape by her father, which brought upon two kids, one of them with Down syndrome--until FINALLY she finds redemption through alternative schooling--well then, break out those tissues or something. If you find that the premise sounds like manipulative Oscar bait, you will then most likely not find much to enjoy about it.

My little theory held ground pretty well a few minutes after seeing the film, cause I WRITHED IN ANGER over it. I hated the fact that it kept hitting me over the head with reasons why I should be pitying this obese teenager. I hated the heavyhandedness of scenes like the flashback to her father raping her (intercut with quick shots of bacon frying--subtle!). I hated how impossibly perfect the people trying to help Precious seemed to be, and hated how evil her mother was portrayed especially after the final scene attempted to humanize her.

Then a few days passed.

Now I just realize I kind of wanted to hate the movie. Unfortunately for me, it honestly wasn't all that bad.

OK. So I'm probably never going to have the huge urge to watch it ever again, and in terms of all the accolades it's getting, I probably wouldn't give it a Best Picture nod even with the ten nominees. And with all the virulent hyperbole turned down, there's still a lot of things that bothered me, such as:

-The fact that Precious seemed so innocent and good. There was a scene in which Precious struck a student who called her fat, and it was the only hint that we got that Precious was somewhat affected by the environment that she grew up in. (You know, other than being a mother of two. And HIV infected.) I would have expected a lot more hostility--a thick skin overlaying a tender heart inside (or crap like that)--but instead Precious never really *reacted* to all the crap she had to deal with. Outside of this one scene, maybe.
-Well, the shot of bacon intercut with Precious being raped was kind of obvious. So is the scene in which Precious looks into the mirror and pictures a skinny white female. The latter does have a decent pay off in the end, but nonetheless there were a few too many scenes in which a bit more tact would have been ideal.
-The teacher at the alternative school was pretty annoying. I get that you want to make different educational methods look as appealing as possible so it doesn't come off as if you're supporting the terribly broken educational system as is. But... umm, when a student of yours reveals that she has been given the HIV virus by her father, I don't think the proper course of action is to then demand that she writes.

Among other things. Also, the mother was a little bit too sociopathic for me to buy her showing any kind of vulnerability at the end. So all in all, I wouldn't necessarily call the film a "success" or would I call it recommended viewing, but it also managed to not be completely reprehensible and indeed was somewhat enjoyable in parts.

For one, I did enjoy the fact that despite the overall Oscar bait-y tone, the film allowed Precious to bask in some of the happier times without feeling the need to completely tear it down immediately after.

And at least some of the characters felt actually alive. The classmates in Precious' class shockingly all had warm, real, and eccentric personalities, as if they were actually pulled from a real-life classroom setting and told to just be themselves. And despite the viciousness of Precious' environment preventing me from buying fully the fact that Precious seemed so *good*, the fantasy sequences did inject a life into her that allowed me to accept the character as is.

And the ending felt right to me: Precious is no better or worse than where she was at the beginning, but she has a better grasp of who she is and what she wants out of life. It's easier to stomach than--say, watching a kid from the slums of Mumbai winning a million dollars in a quiz of knowledge that turns out to be pretty much a recap of his own life story.

So there you go. It's still somewhat manipulative, but less than what you were fearing. So all is well, I suppose. You can go on with the rest of your life without ever seeing the movie again, and you won't seethe with rage whenever someone mentions the film as a favorite. That's a pretty decent outcome, I'd have to say.

----

So that's the 8th Best Picture nominee I've seen. Probably the last before the show on Sunday. An Education--sorry, you weren't interesting enough to get me out to the theaters, and you weren't early enough to arrive on DVD. The Blind Side--sorry, but you look pretty convincingly like a piece of s***.