Sunday, February 27, 2011

One of the good things about Social Network/Black Swan losing is that they get to be considered unjust losers, which is sometimes better than being the winner. (Especially in this case, because I figured if either won, there would be a lot of people complaining about not getting the appeal. Now with The King's Speech as the victor, there's already quite a few people going "OK... but best?")

Also it gets to be part of a much cooler list of films.

(I scribbled these out in a couple minutes, so they're not amazingly great...)

Out of the best picture winners I've seen, here are my ten favorite:

1) You Can't Take It With You
2) No Country For Old Men
3) The Apartment
4) On The Waterfront
5) Annie Hall
6) American Beauty
7) Amadeus
8) The Bridge On The River Kwai
9) The Godfather
10) The Hurt Locker

And for best picture nominees (but losers):

1) A Clockwork Orange
2) Apocalypse Now
3) Taxi Driver
4) Raging Bull
5) It's A Wonderful Life
6) There Will Be Blood
7) The Graduate
8) Dr. Strangelove
9) Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
10) Fargo

Now obviously, the losing category has a better chance of looking better since it's got 4 times as many movies to choose from. But still, I think there's a natural inclination to love something a little more because it went (relatively) unrewarded. And those are pretty great films to hang out with.

I guess what I'm saying is that The King's Speech needed the Oscar more than Social Network did, and the Social Network will be even more fondly regarded because of its loss... which is what it should be all about anyway.
OSCARS:

7:51

The hosts are kind of a mixed bag so far... Anne Hathaway was good in the opening bit, but she was strangely enthusiastic for the monologue. James Franco seemed baked, but I think that's normal for him.

0-2 in my predictions so far, but this might be a good thing... considering that both of them went to movies OTHER than King's Speech. Which bodes well, I think.


8:07:
OK. So I'm thinking that old people should present Oscars more often, especially in acting categories. Because it was kind of fun watching the actresses nervously wait for about 12 minutes until Kirk Douglas went from opening the envelope to reading it. And I'm gonna go ahead and say that the f-bomb Melissa Leo dropped for winning Supporting Actress was due to the nervous energy resulting from Kirk Douglas.

Toy Story's win for Best Animated Film makes me 1 for 5! Hell yeah!

Also, I don't really like how they're insisting on remembering a movie that ties into the next category right before they announce it. But that's just me.

8:20:

No surprises in the writing categories, and for the most part I have no complaints. Maybe would have given the Original Screenplay award to Nolan for Inception, but King's Speech winning it here was acceptable. Plus the guy gave a better speech than Aaron Sorkin for The Social Network did.

8:35:

Christian Bale wins for Best Supporting Actor, and all is right with the world.

Also gives The Fighter most Oscars so far in the telecast. Not that this is a surprise, since the two it won are the only two it's favored for, but still. King's Speech is not sweeping. If it doesn't win for original score, I might start entertaining the thought that it'll not win the big one.

8:42:

This tribute to the history of music in movies is great, but it doesn't rival last year's popping-and-locking to nominated scores. Not at all.

And... Social Network/Trent Reznor won. I would have been OK with Inception winning as well... and King's Speech, honestly, since Alexandre Desplat has done a lot of scores I've liked (although maybe not for this year's movie.)

Inception wins sound editing/mizing. TALLY COUNT: Inception 3, Social Network & Fighter 2.

8:59: Alice In Wonderland has more Oscars than King's Speech, Black Swan, Winter's Bone, Toy Story 3, etc. etc. I feel as if this is not right...

And we get a strange montage of how much people/Barack Obama loves Best Song winners, because nobody else can name any.

I'm glad that they brought back the best song nominee performances, though... despite the fact that the field is usually weak. It's just a nice break of pace, you know? Although I'm pretty sure they just brought it back so Gwyneth Paltrow can remind everyone she's OK at singing. (I'm also expecting Cee-Lo to make a cameo just for the hell of it, too...)

9:11:
I've just been told that the fish in my room is still alive. Someone told me it died three weeks ago. I haven't fed it since then. Umm... oops?

9:13:
Hell yeah! I got the documentary short category right! First time ever most likely!

DOUBLE HELL YEAH! Got Live Action short right too!!

I chose Exit Through The Gift Shop just because I figured the Academy would've wanted to see what Banksy would have done, but that was a poor choice on my part. Oh well.

9:33:
Inception for visual effects, which gives it four, which is probably where it'll peak, unless there's other nominations it still has a chance for... other than Best Picture.

And... Social Network wins for Best Editing, which gives it three and two more than The King's Speech... which is a good sign? I'm guessing it comes down to the directing category, and whoever takes that will end up prevailing in Best Picture. David Fincher looks nervous as hell, by the way.

9:43: Please God, don't let Gwyneth Paltrow ever sing again after this. Much less win this.

THANK YOU. RANDY NEWMAN F***ING OWNS YOU PALTROW.

9:57: Not really sure why Lena Horne was more deserving of a two minute tribute than anyone else that died, but OK...

10:01: Umm... are they giving out Best Director BEFORE the acting categories? What?

... come on come on come on....

DAMMIT. THIS IS THE WORST.

10:16:
OK, so Natalie Portman wins, which is the right choice. And it gives Black Swan, my choice of best picture a total of... 1 Oscar.

One's better than none, they say...

And the rest is for The King's Speech. So I guess that's a night.

11:00: OK final thoughts.

-It's OK The King's Speech won. It might have been 7th or 8th on my Best Picture rankings, but I mean... Braveheart won, Crash won... this is not an unspeakable injustice or anything. At the same time, stuff like The Departed, No Country For Old Men, The Hurt Locker have recently won, all of which one could consider great. King's Speech is not great. It's just a pretty well done Oscar-y movie. But it's better than a poor film, and I can see judging by other non-Oscar obsessed people that it's a popular choice. At least Avatar didn't win last year .

-Highlight of the night was the whole best supporting actress segment, with Kirk Douglas stretching things out/being old and Melissa Leo giving a bizarre acceptance speech/dropping the f bomb.

-The show was kind of a bore other than that segment, honestly. I mean, Anne Hathaway gave it her best shot (although her cheering for her favorite presenters was kind of weird), but it seemed as if James Franco regretted accepting the gig and didn't give a crap whether anyone objected to his phoned-in performance. It was a weird dynamic, to be sure.

Nothing else telecast wise stood out for me, though. Wait, no. Instead of the usual montages of "history of *genre*", they instead had a long segment on Bob Hope hosting the Oscars--and a montage about Best Song winners that for some reason included the President. Why? Who knows.

-For next year's show... we need to start the Drive Angry campaign now, guys.
Oscars are in about 5 or more hours. I might be a little excited about it.

Going in, I'm hoping for somewhat of a miracle in that The King's Speech goes down--most likely to The Social Network, but hell... even The Fighter or Black Swan would be great. But that's not going to happen. So I'm conceding that and hoping that it simply doesn't win everything. How likely is that to happen? We'll see.

But in the meantime, here are a couple of winners that--if they were to be selected--would guarantee to piss me off completely.

1) Helena Bonham Carter for Best Supporting Actress--this is one of the first awards that'll be given out tonight, so if she gets called up, it's going to be a LONG night of King fellating. It's a pretty unremarkable performance--nice, but one that's only here because of the adoration of the film as a whole. And yet there's a small but decent chance it pulls the upset here. Huh. I'm going for Amy Adams in this category, but since she has no chance in the world--I'd like Steinfeld to pull it off for True Grit.

2) Geoffrey Rush for Best Supporting Actor--this is less "don't want the King's Speech to win every-damned-thing" and more related to the fact that Christian Bale absolutely owned the movie he was in.

3) Tom Hooper for Best Director--I don't want to bring up his opponent's pedigrees to describe why Hooper doesn't deserve it, since past credentials really shouldn't matter and it should go to the most deserving. Still--if in 20-30 years down the road you look at this race, you would guess that simply based off of their careers, the Coens, Fincher, Aronofsky, even O. Russell... might have taken this home. And time will tell whether or not Hooper's career will prove worthy to be considered with those names above. But judging from what I've seen (haven't seen John Adams or any of his television work, but I've seen The Damned United, and it's pretty by-the-numbers), I strongly doubt he's going to live up to the Oscar he's going to get tonight.

4) Annette Bening for Best Actress--yeah, this would be pretty stupid. Nothing against her personally, but I hated the movie and felt nothing for her character at all. Just sign on to do a biopic on Hilary Clinton or someone and get your Oscar that way...

I'll probably post something later tonight as well. Maybe during the actual broadcast. We'll see.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Day 1 of being sick:

...yeah, turns out I have still somehow avoided it.

In other news, after two members of the household had to go to the doctor yesterday, the other two had their share of fun... one almost passed out earlier today, and the other's currently in the hospital after complaining about a sore side/bad neck flaring up again.

Things are kind of falling apart here.

I don't know what's going on with my mother and if/how the flu influenced her neck/abdominal problems, but hopefully she'll be out in the morning.

In the mean time, somehow I have managed to be the only one to not get sick, and now I'm starting to feel a little guilty about it. Because everyone else has been absolutely miserable, and now I'm starting to believe that I won't be sharing in that misery. (Although the flu could just be sitting back and gathering power for an all-out assault in a couple days or so... who knows.) Which is good, of course... but I don't know, I feel like I should at least get a bad headache or something, just so...

...wait, I'm wishing poor health onto myself.

Right.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Everyone around me is coming down with the flu.

Apparently it's been hanging around since Monday or so, and I just didn't notice it. But it wasn't until today in which EVERYONE came crashing down with it. Somehow I have avoided it thus far, but there's pretty much no chance that I can avoid it... despite my attempts to sequester myself in my room.

Knowing that this type impending despair is looming is pretty much the worst feeling in the world.

I actually caught the flu a couple of months ago too. I don't remember exact specifics, but I remember that I took a bite out of my nephew's pizza, then suddenly realizing he had been bed-ridden all day. Also I remember that the night I got sick, I made the extremely erroneous decision to get Taco Bell for dinner--then spent the rest of the night vomiting tacos back up (and spent the rest of my life avoiding Taco Bell). Also I remember that the day after was Sara and I's anniversary. So maybe I remember some specifics.

I'm trying to avoid making poor eating decisions to avoid catastrophes like the last time, but I'm finding it difficult to find "agreeable" food items. I mean, we have crackers and soup, but... there's not a lot of it, and there's other people in the house that are already sick. So I had a sandwich and cereal. Those are agreeable things, right? Oh, and a lot of Hot & Spicy Cheez-its. Much less likely to be agreeable, but super duper delicious. I'll love them forever until I vomit them up tonight...

Oh, and the worst part about this impending sickness? I have a slightly strange feeling stomach right now... and maybe a slight headache. I know there are viruses all around right now, so I assume that these are the preliminary signs of a crappy weekend--but then I stop and realize that I don't feel that bad and it could just be another instance of me projecting ailments onto myself after seeing it in other people. (I assume other people do this too... at least I hope so, because I do it a lot. Everytime I heard someone talk about the swine flu, I was convinced I had it about 10 minutes later.) Honestly, if this were under any normal circumstance, I'd probably just shrug off this slightly upset stomach as just a weird thing my stomach's doing--and then eat like 12 tacos from Taco Bell. But it *could* be the flu slowly chipping away at me, and it most likely is--but that glimmer of hope remains, and the fact that that hope will be crushed most likely in the next 12 hours will just make this flu all the worse.

Great, now my lower back is aching a little bit.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Oscar Predictions

Might as well do these now...?

BEST PICTURE

The prevailing theory is, given its success on some of the precursor awards, the King’s Speech is going to win this and possibly pretty much sweep everything it’s nominated for. I don’t think the sweep will happen honestly (and I’m hoping it doesn’t… cause it’s going to seem awfully silly in a few years when we see that stuff like The Social Network and Black Swan got shafted while some middlebrow (albeit well done) flick swept the entire thing), but it has to be the favorite since it fits the classic Oscar mold. There’s a small chance Social Network somehow pulls off the upset, since the overwhelming numbers of all the critical awards it won might influence some voters. But although that’d be great… it’s maybe a 2% shot of actually coming to fruition.

WILL WIN: King’s Speech
SHOULD WIN: Social Network or Black Swan

BEST DIRECTOR

So. One of those precursor awards—the director’s guild—pretty much surprised everyone by giving the award to Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech (which pretty much signaled the race was over for Best Picture). And given that the film as a whole has a decent chance to sweep, I’m sort of inclined to give it to him. But the academy sometimes likes to give out awards to overall careers rather than the most deserving person, so I’m going with David Fincher for The Social Network. It also just so happens that he’s (one of) the most deserving nominee(s)… so let’s do it, academy!

WILL WIN: David Fincher
SHOULD WIN: Well… honestly, anyone other than Hooper. But Fincher and Black Swan’s Aronofsky.

BEST ACTOR

Colin Firth has this so wrapped up he could shoot the queen and still win it. Which is unfortunate, because I liked Jesse Eisenberg’s performance better, plus Jeff Bridges is awesome and James Franco winning would be cool in the “Freaks & Geeks alum strikes gold” vein. But so it goes.

WILL WIN: Colin Firth for King’s Speech
SHOULD WIN: Owen Wilson as the voice of Marmaduke

BEST ACTRESS

Apparently there is a late surge from Annette Bening from The Kids Are All Right that poses a threat to Natalie Portman’s ostensibly locked up win for Black Swan (or so I read). I hope like hell this isn’t the case, because… a) this would be one of those “honoring the career moreso than the performance” cases (which I should say I find to be stupid… unless it’s benefitting someone I like), and b) I hated her character and disliked her movie. Which I guess isn’t really a critique on the actual performance, but even so, in her own movie I thought Julianne Moore made a better choice for best actress. I’m still giving it to Portman however, since the Academy usually likes to spread the wealth and I can’t see Black Swan getting any other wins.

WILL WIN: Portman
SHOULD WIN: Portman… and I don’t even really like her anyway.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

I am going to say it again… this is an absolutely stellar field of nominees. Anyway, Christian Bale seemed to have this locked up for his performance in The Fighter, and quite deservedly so, since he steals just about every scene. BUT—with the looming King’s Speech sweep hanging over everything, there’s been rumblings that Geoffrey Rush might just steal it. Which I hope doesn’t happen. And again… I don’t hate that movie, but it’s not a movie that inspired a lot of passion in me, which means I have stronger favorites in each category it’s nominated in. Anyway, cooler heads hopefully prevail, and Bale wins it.

WILL WIN: Christian Bale
SHOULD WIN: Bale… although it’d be great to see John Hawkes from Winter’s Bone take it as well.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Melissa Leo from The Fighter *was* the favorite, but there’s been some rumblings that someone like Helena Bonham Carter from The King’s Speech could surprise if the film sweeps everything. Me? I’m going with Hailee Steinfeld from True Grit… cause the academy likes spreading the wealth and True Grit is the only film with a Best Director nominee (a.k.a. the category that would probably give you an idea of what the Best Picture nominees would be if they were still 5) left to win a major award.

WILL WIN: Hailee Steinfeld
SHOULD WIN: Steinfeld or Amy Adams for The Fighter

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

This is King’s Speech. No question.

WILL WIN: Titanic 2
SHOULD WIN: Hell, give it to Inception

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

You would think, given that it’s the most celebrated part of the movie, that The Social Network would have this locked up. But I think Toy Story 3 has an outside shot. Not likely going to happen, but if the academy wants to give a consolation prize to a film (and really, a franchise) that is wonderful, it’ll be this. (Best Animated Feature, by the way, stops being a consolation prize when you win every single year.)

WILL WIN: Social Network
SHOULD WIN: Macgruber

And here are the rest that I’ll just list, since I doubt anyone’s reading this anyway:

ANIMATED FEATURE: Toy Story 3
CINEMATOGRAPHY: True Grit
MUSIC (SCORE): King’s Speech
MUSIC (SONG): Toy Story 3
FOREIGN LANGUAGE: In A Better World
DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE): Exit Through The Gift Shop
DOCUMENTARY (SHORT): Strangers No More
EDITING: Social Network
ART DIRECTION: King’s Speech
SOUND EDITING: Inception
SOUND MIXING: Inception
VISUAL EFFECTS: Inception
MAKEUP: The Wolfman
COSTUME: Alice In Wonderland
SHORT FILM (ANIMATED): The Gruffalo
SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION): God Of Love

I might be forgetting something...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Snooooooooow

Hell yeah I can handle another crazy snow storm. I mean, sure it screws up plans and everything, and it's going to be a general pain to navigate traffic for the next 3 days or so, but still.

SNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW.

This is me trying to get myself psyched up for probably having to get up to shovel at like 6 in the morning tomorrow.

But really, it shouldn't be that hard to get myself up for this. Because essentially, this is what I've been asking for for about 10 years or however long it's been since we've had a real winter. This is what I've always pictured Minnesota winters being like: completely brutal, snow piled up to your chin... and people making plans to move to Florida next winter.

I mean, I know this has been sort of an anomaly and we'll probably not see a winter like it for a while, but... I have to enjoy it somewhat. I mean, the '91 blizzard happened during my formative years. That's what the standard for winters essentially became to me. That's what Minnesota winters were supposed to be like. The past few winters have not cut it at all... and that was a problem that needed fixing.

So thank you Mother Nature for bringing another 15 inches/and for restoring Minnesota's former winter glory, at least for one winter.

Now just help me get my car out in the morning.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The new Radiohead album is out, because they decided to release it a day early, apparently.

I gave it a couple of listens, and... it's kind of boring.

Lotus Flower is the only one that stands out at the moment, and that might be because I watched the dancing Thom Yorke video for the song before listening to the whole thing. Also because it has a discernible melody.

I read an opinion somewhere that it sounded a lot like Yorke's solo album released a while back, and that's pretty much the most apt summation of it so far--in that it feels less like a collaborative effort and more a product of Yorke writing the entire thing and letting the band tinker with it a bit. Which I find to be a bit unfortunate. I mean, I'm not someone who's still complaining to the heavens that they've abandoned any sort of guitar-heavy sound post-OK Computer, so I don't mind in theory that they decided to go in this electronic minimalism direction... but the songs go nowhere. And so the entire album has this lazy, mediocre feel to it.

I might like the entire album after a couple of tries, but you know what... it's OK if I don't. Like I said a couple days ago, the band's been around for nearly 20 years--a dip in quality was inevitable. Really, the only person I can think of at the moment that is/was still awesome decades after he started recording is Tom Waits, and I think that's more due to a bizarre personality overruling any decline in age.

So I don't know. It's not a great record, and it really doesn't even try to be. It's just kind of there. It's not a sad day.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Guys, I've discovered my new love:

The 60's Batman TV series.

I guess I didn't really "discover" it... I loved the film that accompanied the series, and I always knew that I would like the TV series if I only sat down to watch it. Well, I sat down and watched it.

I'm going to post clips, because that's what I like to do... some of them are from the movie, since they were the easiest to find. In any case, it's the same gist as the TV series... still gleefully absurd, except with a big budget.











I might have said it before, but I'd be hardcore into comic books and superheroes if they all were as silly and ridiculous as this. But apparently I might be the only one to hold that opinion. And so X-Men and Thor and whatever other superhero movies there are left will come out--and people will probably like them. I might see them too... but I'll probably spend the entire time thinking the movie would be better if there was a Thormobile and repellent Thor sprays...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Here and there...

-Radiohead's got a new album coming out on Saturday, I believe. I think I'm excited for it. I don't know. I'm expecting something decent... but for whatever reason I'm feeling leery about this album. It's mostly because the band is now firmly in their 40s. And no one in their 40s has ever done anything worth s***, obviously.

But I really like how they manage the releasing of their albums. Say what you want about the whole "pay what you want" model with In Rainbows, but what got me reasonably jazzed is that they announced a new album, a crazy pricing structure, and released said album all in a span of 10 days. So maybe my lack of enthusiasm is due to lack of novelty and excitement? Cause this go round, it seems as if Radiohead is like "oh hey, we're releasing this album in a manner of days... again, but this time you actually have to pay for it, so pretty please don't illegally download it you jackoffs." Which is much less exciting than being given something for free (unless you chose to pay).

Anyway. What I was saying was that I like how they announce the album, and then just release the damn thing shortly after that. No hype period, no waiting for a product you know is at least almost finished just so they can dangle the carrot a little bit...they make it, then they release it. Simple, yet effective.

-Also... Arcade Fire won a Grammy for "Album Of The Year." Of course, the appropriate response is indifference, since the Grammy means nothing and the significance of an indie band winning anyway is close to zero, since the award will be back in the hands of some bland country pop artist that'll take the charts by storm. But the responses towards their win have been amusing...

I'd post some links to what I'm referring to, but I'm actually really tired and I lost where I was going with this. It's 10:45 and I am tired. That is not normal for me.

Also, in between the beginning of this post and now... I've completely forgotten what else I was going to talk about...

-This is an article asking if Miley Cyrus really is the next Kurt Cobain.

I was disappointed to open it and read something other than "No. No she is not."

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!



Sunday, February 13, 2011

I'm trying to think of something to write...

...

I think I've done a few live blogs of the Grammys over the years... mainly because I like award shows yet the fact that the biggest show for music is such a huge joke gave me ample opportunity for me to brag about superiority. Or something like that. I think it's also because I've somehow been bored enough to sit down and watch the damn thing. Which isn't the case tonight.

It kind of puzzles me as to why someone hasn't tried to create an award show that attempts to dethrone the Grammys as "the" music award to have. It doesn't really strike me as difficult... you just get a bunch of music critics and throw them together. Maybe a couple of musicians as well. From what I've heard (on Wikipedia just now), the Grammy voting body is made up mostly of producers and engineers... so since they're the ones responsible for the irrelevancy of the Grammys, leave them out. And voila. You have an award that people might like.

I suppose there's difficulties. The reason why apparently the Grammys aren't that great is simply the number of releases there are per year... which sounds valid, but if you're going to be in the music business, I feel like you should listen to at least the important releases (which I don't believe the current voting body does). I mean, I doubt the Oscar voting body has seen all the direct-to-DVD stuff, but assuredly they've caught the more acclaimed titles of the year. So I would assume that having critics vote on the award would be better... since they're the ones that have to listen to everything. It's not representing everyone in the industry like most of the major awards do, but still.

I guess the main problem would be the prestige factor... and how an award conjured up from thin air would be worth more than any other. And if the awards are trying to be going towards those who deserve them, how would they get people to care and watch if Katy Perry (or whoever is popular nowadays) isn't going to show up.

Not that any of this matters. Maybe no one has recently tried supplanting the Grammys because no one cares... and maybe it's better that way. *I* would like it... simply because I like feeling indignant about something that's ultimately trivial, and the Grammys simply isn't worth caring about. But the world's survived so far...

I'm trying to find something to do with my time, but I'm failing miserably.

I don't like this feeling.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Is it possible to make a bad cake?

I mean... yes, it is. But I decided at some point to make a cake for Sara, and that I would decorate said cake into looking like a ferris wheel. (Because... you know, Ferris Wheel Day is coming up. I ended up giving the cake to her early because... well, I wouldn't have time to make it during the weekend, so...) I had grand ideas for it. And by "grand ideas," I mean that it would look good. It'd have frosting acting as the wheel/support beams, candy acting as decorative lights, and on the side I'd have gummi bears as passengers, and chocolate as the passenger cars. It was going to be great.

...except that it wasn't. The side wasn't big enough for me to make chocolate replicas of the passenger cars. The frosting wasn't as easy to control as I would have thought. My brothers thought the end result looked like both the sun and a hippie flower (whatever that is). So as it turned out, I am not a great cake decorator. I didn't know why I thought I would be, since my experience in decorating cakes before this had been ABSOLUTELY NOTHING... but you know.

I was pretty dejected, and was considering this venture as a summation of my entire existence (grand ideas, dismal in practice... that sort of depressing stuff), so I didn't really expect much when I gave to Sara. But apparently she quite liked it... which is good. And I'm assuming that she liked it for two reasons: 1) it was colorful, and 2) it's cake.

I mean, no matter how crappy the thing actually looks... cake is still cake and will always taste godly awesome. Especially confetti cake... which is what I made. And it was indeed very good... even though I put on probably too many Dots on top.

So why was I so worried? It was friggin' cake.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hey, apparently The Strokes have a new album coming out. AND they have a single out as well:



It's not great... but it's alright! Better than the singles from their last album, at least, which turned me off from the album altogether.

Anyway... their first album still holds up after about 10 years. I heard and saw them first on Saturday Night Live (back when I was really into it). This was at a time when I was pretty much convinced that there was no hope for modern music, since everything I heard was from the radio--so when I heard them play... I was surprised at how good and fresh they sounded. Sure they sounded kind of derivative, but that was probably a plus in my book at the time since everything had to be from either the 60's or 70's in order to be enjoyable--in any case, it had something that wasn't in the music I'd been hearing. Then I dug further and I discovered that the fact that they apparently pretty much ripped everyone off--plus the reaction against the massive hype that resulted from their debut--made everyone hated them. Which probably clouded my enjoyment of the album a little bit--sure it was fun, but it was nothing new or life changing or whatever.

Years after that, I think I'm finally past all that. I don't care if it doesn't have an original bone in its body. It sounds great.



Sunday, February 6, 2011

I'm going to do a running log during the game. I have nothing better to do, and I'm trying not to get too into the game so I won't be crushed when the Packers win. So a distraction will be good.

I'm cheering for the Steelers, by the way.

5:30: I would like to make a rule that nobody under the age of 50 can sing the National Anthem... ever. It's getting to the point where I have to run away whenever any sporting event on television has it performed.

I read somewhere that there was a prop bet that had an over/under of Christina Aguilera holding the word "brave" for six seconds. That was an easy over. Another easy over: Brett Favre mentions on the broadcast at 2 1/2. Unless... of course, Joe Buck read the prop bet and decides to f with everyone that bet over...

Maybe I should get into sports betting. Not that I have any money to do so, but... I'd feel I'd be good at it.

5:56: My favorite Super Bowl beer commercial of the past few years: the one second Miller commercials. Cause it stripped away all the extraneous stuff that has nothing to do with the actual product and boiled the commercials down to their essence: "hey, it's beer." It was short, simple, and perfect.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that even though I don't drink, and from what I've heard their stuff is terrible anyway... I would never ever buy a pack of Bud Light specifically for their commercials.

5:58: Guys, Alex Rodriguez and Cameron Diaz are dating. Just thought you all should know.

6:01: This is the point in which the Packers scored. Sadness and rage.

6:05: Cowboys & Aleins? Hell yeah! Combine this with Drive Angry, I'm really looking forward to the slate of stupid-looking action blockbusters this year.

6:08: Ben Roethlisberger, I hate you so much right now.

6:14: Ben Roethlisberger, please injure your leg more often, then run it for 20 yards.

6:25: Speaking of stupid-looking action blockbusters, I'm probably going to see the new Transformers movie. You can judge me if you like... I would probably judge me.

Also, did Budweiser just rip off the Almost Famous "Tiny Dancer" scene?

Why?

6:34: So, by my count so far... the Steelers have had about 12 penalties so far, and the Packers have had 0. Now I'm going to blindly accuse the NFL of wanting the Packers to win and fixing the game in the process.

And I'm going to believe it wholeheartedly.

6:45: *sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh*

6:46: So, the good things about today: I made some pretty excellent burritos for dinner, and am pretty full and happy. Everyone else liked it as well... even my brother, who usually hates Mexican as well. Also, a Viking won the Man Of The Year award, which means that this one time, a Viking made it to the Super Bowl and WON SOMETHING.

Bad things: Vikings are going to move and the Packers are going to win the Super Bowl.

7:05: So I've sort of lost interest... and now it's half time. Steelers scored, and it's now 21-10 Green Bay, which is encouraging. If the Packers don't score on the first drive of the second half, the game is going to come down to the last minute.

Also, FOX keeps telling us that this is a half time "we must not miss" and that something "spectacular" is going to happen. They actually mean that they know the Black Eyed Peas suck, but they want you to watch anyway as to not piss off their advertisers.

7:20: So I called Sara during the halftime and put the TV on mute, and I've seen various glances at the halftime show. Things I've noticed: Slash needs a paycheck, they had "audience members" do that stupid thing where they all rush towards the stage at the beginning of the show, then later the "audience members" started doing choreographed dances, this has gone on a lot longer than I would have expected, boxes were dancing on stage, everyone was blinking, and this whole thing probably would have been a lot worse with sound.

7:25: They just played the Black Keys' "Howlin' For You" while showing highlights from the first half. I'm assuming that's their way of apologizing for the halftime show.

7:40: I've been reading various websites for Super Bowl thoughts-- in an apparently unanimous vote, the Black Eyed Peas blew. Question: who enjoys them in the first place anyway? My guess is middle-aged corporate execs who think that this is what young people enjoy. Or maybe they actually have fans. That would be unfortunate.

Sidenote: I had the misfortune to hear "I Gotta Feeling" on endless repeat before knowing it was the Black Eyed Peas behind it. That gave my hatred for the song a lot more legitimacy.

7:44: HELL YEAH MENDENHALL.

7:44: Pirates Of The Caribbean is coming out on my birthday. I hated the last two, but thought the first one was fun... and now that I know it's coming out on my birthday, I kind of want to see it. Am I that easily swayed?

7:49: "Hey guys, the people of Tibet are in danger, their lives are being threatened, their great culture at risk of extinction... but if you go to this one website, you can get a coupon for half off at this great Tibetan restaurant in Chicago!"

-general gist of last commercial.

8:00: Wide left. Wide left. Wide, wide.... really wide left.

8:16: Incomplete incomplete incomplete incomplete incomplete incomplete incomplete incomplete incomplete incomplete incomplete incomplete incomplete incomplete incomplete incomplete incomplete incomplete incomplete incomplete incomplete incomplete incomplete incomplete incomplete incomplete...

YES!!!!

This is in reference to a incomplete pass the Packers challenged. Just in case I read this in about a year and have no clue what's going on (although to be honest, just about everything I write here will be meaningless without the hint of its context.)

8:24: FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

8:30: FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

8:42: YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESS

8:43: THE PITCH! THE REASON I ALWAYS PREFER THE NCAA FOOTBALL VIDEO GAMES OVER MADDEN!!

OK. So it's a three point game. It seems like all season, the Packers have allowed their opponents to hang around, so if things were to play out like the rest of the season, expect the Packers to put together a timid looking 3 and out, and have the Steelers with the ball with a chance to win at the end.

Although now I write that, the Packers will probably just throw an 80 yard TD right now.

8:51: Well, that was 30....

8:55: Oh God. My heart was beating quickly on that last play.

I don't know why the Packers don't go for the touchdown on that play. A field goal does you no good other than making sure Pittsburgh needs a touchdown. But if you go for it... score, game over. If you fail, the Steelers have to drive from their 5 yard line to get into field goal range.

OH DAMMIT STEELERS JUST GO AHEAD A COMMIT A STUPID PERSONAL FOUL WHY DON'T YOU

9:06: ......................

Great.

Now everyone's happy, the greatest franchise in sports history has finally won a Super Bowl that has eluded them for 14 godforsaken years.

...

Watch as the collective bargaining dispute forces the NFL to cancel next season, all the while the Wilfs announce that they're moving the Vikings to LA for the start of the 2012 season.

I hate being a Vikings fan.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Super Bowl Predictions:

Pittsburgh 24 Green Bay 20.

(My head tells me that the Packers aren't going to be stopped... but at the same time, I can't imagine the Steelers not somehow pulling it out. Plus, I still don't trust the Packers in the clutch. Two times they had games firmly in control only to allow the other team back in it. Sure, they pulled it out... but they won't have Caleb Hanie to help them out this time either.)

Annoying beer commercials 22, commercials that are actually clever 3.

(The most overrated portion of the actual game is the commercials. I still watch them because I find the concept of commercials interesting and the Super Bowl is the... Super Bowl for commercials, when everyone goes full out on them. It's just unfortunate that most of them are based around the idea of "man does stupid thing for beer" or "man chooses beer over woman" or any sort variant...)

Minutes spent watching halftime show 0, minutes spent watching whatever the hell else is on during halftime, 15.

(My idea for the Super Bowl halftime show (aside from nuking it): Cirque Du Soleil. Or essentially, any sort of thing that would not involve inviting some crappy mainstream act onto my television. By the way, what happened to the whole "inviting decent bands 30 years past their prime" idea? At least this way, I could have the TV on and complain about how bad the band sounds nowadays and how it sucks they wouldn't invite any somewhat decent modern band to play. Now I have to actively avoid the Black Eyed Peas. What the f.)

Chances I will watch Glee after the game 40%, chances I won't 60%.

(It mainly depends on my mood... and whether or not I decide to subject myself to (further?) pain. The thing is that I kind of hate Glee, but I've never seen an episode of it. And in the interest of fairness, if I'm going to hate something... I should actually know why I'm hating it instead of doing it blindly. But yeah... I'm definitely going to hate it.)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

So I'm really really late to the party, but I just saw Crash for the very first time and holy crap was it astounding. It was really bad, but then became almost transcendent in its badness. How did this win Best Picture again?

So many absolutely ridiculous things happen in this that I'm amazed that this wasn't a comedy. I mean... I watched this at 3 AM and I almost stayed up the entire night just thinking about it. I made a little sheet of all the major plotlines in this just so I could giggle at it, so I thought I'd share it with you. It goes by actor:

Matt Dillon: is a racist cop. Molests black woman. BUT THEN HE SAVES HER FROM A BURNING CAR. REDEEMED.

Terrence Howard: watches wife get molested by racist cop. DECIDES HE ISN’T BLACK ENOUGH.

Sandra Bullock: gets robbed, blames all minorities as a result. Falls down stairs, REALIZES SHE’S WRONG.

Ludacris: Complains that a white woman is afraid of him because he is black. Robs white woman. Runs over a guy. Claims to never rob black people. Tries to rob Terrence Howard. Steals car of person he ran over. Discovers immigrants in back of car. Lets them go. GOOD PERSON.

Larenz Tate: likes carjacking and hockey. DIES.

Ryan Philippe: Hates working with racist cop and tries really hard to be not racist. SURPRISE SHOOTS BLACK PERSON.

Shaun Toub: has a store that gets vandalized. Blames locksmith who told him that the door is faulty. Decides to go shoot locksmith. Accidentally shoots his daughter instead. But he shoots blanks. REALIZES HE'S WRONG.

Michael Pena: is a locksmith that nobody likes (because of race). Has little girl. Has confrontation with store owner. Girl jumps in arms as man is pulling trigger. SADNESS. But she’s OK! He’s so overcome with happiness that he COMPLETELY IGNORES THE GUY THAT TRIED TO SHOOT HIM IN ORDER TO SPEND TIME WITH FAMILY.

Don Cheadle: tells mom he’s having sex with a white woman. BUT SHE’S ACTUALLY HALF PUERTO RICAN. Also the dead hockey-loving guy is his brother.

Yeah... so obviously I'm simplifying things quite a bit, but its attempts to deal with racial prejudices are quite astoundingly stupid. (i.e. every conversation resorts to racist remarks within SECONDS) I mean, it's not inherently bad to say "hey, a racist cop has good qualities too," but you don't make him out to be a hero either. And in the context of having his former partner start the film seemingly decent but ending it shooting a guy (arguably) because of racial prejudices (the whole misunderstanding could have been avoided if the two talked to each other like normal human beings, but...) almost makes it seem the movie conveys that it's better to be more upfront about your racism. Cause... you know, everybody's racist.

Not everything was absolutely dreadful though. I thought Ludacris was actually the best part, and Terrence Howard almost makes his ridiculous character transformation work. But yeah. Put it this way: I also watched Marmaduke last night, which was amazingly terrible (great) and had inspired me to write about how the talking dog scenes were actually (somehow) better than those with humans... but by the time this one rolled around, I had completely forgotten about the failures of the previous film. THE FAILURES OF A MOVIE BASED OFF OF MARMADUKE PALED IN COMPARISON.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

This article pisses the hell out of me

Here.

Yes, the Packers NEED to win this game for their fans. Because having 11 NFL championships is not enough. Because the team that won the first two Super Bowls needs another one just to rub it in to those who have zero. Because the only publicly owned team in sports--with a season ticket waiting line of about 600 years--deserves to win every year. Because being so unbearably self-righteous about your perfect franchise isn't enough.

Also, let's get one thing right. The Packers don't deserve karmic retribution for what Favre did to them. For years they adored the jackass and pretty much anointed him the second coming. They enabled him. They created the monster. It was only a matter of time before the monster turned against the master.

I'm going to hate life when they win on Sunday.
So in a bit of Oscar news, The King's Speech was won all the precursor awards and is pretty much a lock to sweep at the Academys. Which is kind of disappointing--as I said before, it's pretty much the definition of the safe choice, and we're all going to be looking back in years' time and wondering why they chose it over other quality contenders (i.e. Social Network, Black Swan)--but I didn't HATE the film, and actually enjoyed it quite a bit.

Also... and this is kind of old, but there are preliminary plans to re-edit the film so they can achieve a PG-13 rating instead of an R. Because... you know, more money = more Oscars? I don't know. I have a couple of thoughts on this:

1) I kind of want to hate the s*** out of the film now. The only reason the film had an R rating in the first place is because there is a pivotal scene in which a bunch of expletives are thrown out in a moment of catharsis. The film would be worse off without the scene and I can't imagine how they would make an edit and still maintaining that moment of catharsis. To even consider it boggles my mind.

2) Everyone knows the MPAA is ridiculous anyway (cause a string of expletives that a 12 year old has probably heard hundreds of times before = more damaging to young minds than violence), so if you have a crowd-pleasing R-rated movie, why don't you just go to the press and derail the hypocrisy of the MPAA and thus promoting it as a "safe" R-rated film?

3) And this is a movie about a member of the royal family struggling with a speech impediment. Exactly how many 14 year olds are going to want to go see this with their friends anyway?

4) Thankfully, Tom Hooper (the director) has come out and said he's against the idea... I don't know how much power he has over Mr. Weinstein, but if he hadn't done this, I probably would rage hard when he eventually wins Best Director. I mean, he doesn't deserve it anyway... but even less so if he felt like submitting power over his film to someone else.