Monday, February 28, 2005

Oh Marty... Part II

Ok, this is why it's not fair. It would be one thing if that Academy Awards were purely a meritocracy, and the film and artist that was actually the best, won in each respective category. But the Academy Awards don't work that way. There are all sorts of rules. New comers rarely win, and if they do, it's seen as an upset. Often, the nominee who wins has had previous nominations in that category. The Academy likes to "save up" awards for people. Lord of the Rings could have won all three years in a row, but they chose instead to honor the work of the trilogy all in one go, with the last installment, Return of the King. The Academy will also "make it up" to artists who were thought to have lost unfairly in the past. In 1999, the best actor went to Kevin Spacey in American Beauty, though many thought Russell Crowe's performance in The Insider was comparable, if not better. The next year in 2000, Crowe took home the statuette for his role in Gladiator. Now it is obvious to everyone with a fourth grade reading level or higher, that Gladiator showcases Russell's biceps more than his acting chops. HOWEVER, they made it up to him because they felt bad that he had lost the year before. Crowe beat out some pretty stiff competition that year, including Tom Hanks, Geoffrey Rush, and Ed Harris. Another example is Denzel Washington, who was passed over for his work in Malcom X and The Hurricane, but was awarded the Oscar in 2001 for his work in Training Day. Now it is arguable whether or not this was actually the best performance of Denzel's acting career. But there was a definite sentiment that he had earned it. Denzel had created an impressive resume for himself as a Hollywood actor, and it was time to recognize that.

So please tell me why, for heaven's sake, Martin Scorsese on his fifth nomination could not get a little acknowledgement and recognition from his peers that he is one of the seminal auteurs of modern American film. First of all, Marty wasn't even nominated in 1976 for Taxi Driver, which let's be honest, was a travesty. Secondly, in 1990 when he was nominated for Good Fellas, KEVIN COSTNER beat him out of a win with DANCES WITH WOLVES. Can I get a witness?

Don't you see Academy, O Academy? You can't play by one set of rules one year, and a different set of rules the next, it simply isn't just. Clint Eastwood already had his glory in 1992 when he won best director for Unforgiven. He even got a nomination again last year for Mystic River, why shower him with more praises? Haven't you heard of spreading the love?

The Aviator was an artistically visualized and moving film that had strong performances and an engaging story. It might not have been Scorsese's masterpiece, but of all the nominations, it was the best picture of the year. Damn it, Martin Scorsese didn't just earned it, he deserved it. I know what some of you might be thinking. It doesn't matter. He doesn't need some stupid statuette to tell him he's one of the most talented film maker's of his generation. The oscars mean nothing. Some of you might be right. But at the same time, I think Martin Scorsese would like to win one anyway, because it means something to him on a personal level, and I respect that.

Don't worry Marty, we'll get 'em next time.

Oh Marty...Part I

Well, here I am sitting at my desk trying to keep my eyes in focus, and my head hurts to boot. But the pain I feel in my heart makes my migrane pale in comparison. First let me say this: Martin Scorsese I love you. I've always loved you and I always will love you. Those small yet surprisngly dense little gold men mean absolutely nothing. Just remember, if that stuffy old academy continues to snub you, you will be in the company of some of the most influential and creative directors of all time, among them, Stanley Kubrick and Alfred Hitchcock.

Marty, I raise my coffee to you, and The Aviator...

Saturday, February 26, 2005

The Pop Culture Vault:
Volume 1 Pt 2 Last year, the Year of LOTR

With all this Oscar fever going around, I'm starting to feel a little bit sentimental for Oscar ceremonies gone by. Namely last year's academy awards, when Lord of the Rings won in every single category that it was nominated in, culminating in a whopping total of eleven oscars. It was truly a historic moment. For the first time the Oscars had chosen to honor a fantasy/sci-fi film with two of the most prestigious honors of the evening, Best Director, and Best Picture.

Everyone knows its the big overwrought dramas and epics that usually take home the best picture and director awards. For years people have protested the fact that more comedies aren't honored, decrying the Academy for being too serious and stuffy in their nominee selection. Now its time for the next push. Further recognition of science fiction and fantasy films as well. Why is it that Finding Neverland (a benign but highly over rated film in my opinion) got a best picture nod, and not Spiderman 2? Beacuse it has the word two in its title? Because it's based on a comic book? It's simply not fair. It is in fact, nonsense.

In 1977, both Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind were released in theatres. While Star Wars garnered a nod for best pic, Close Encounters did not, and only took home one of the flurry of technical awards it was nominated for. What won that year? Annie Hall. Now I know I'm treading onto dangerous territory here because that movie is sacrosanct to many, but that was, in the words of my little brother, "total B.S. man." Not only did Steven Speilberg's MASTERPIECE go without a best pic nod, but Star Wars, a film which is ALSO superior to Woody Allen's comedy, did not win. Those of you who know me might be shocked to hear me say this, but I actually think of the two, Close Encounters should have won. That film is absolutely incredible. Star Wars is incredible too, though I must say my feelings for it have been - how should we say- sullied by recent additions to the saga put forth by he whom I now refer to as "crazy ole georgie porgie"

Bringing it back to this years Oscars' (which I think everyone can agree is a fairly lackluster year) - I think Spiderman 2 AND Harry Potter 3: The Prisoner of Azkaban, should have gotten nods in the best picture catagory. I realize that fantasy, comic books, and science fiction are not for everyone, but I am always annoyed by the easy way that people brush off films in these genres, choosing to assume the worst about them. Yes, these sorts of movies can in fact be insightful, moving, socially relavent, and intelligent, just as the Lord of the Rings saga was. So tonight I think I will raise a glass to Peter Jackson and his crew, and wax nostalgic upon their fantastical winnings last year.

Oscar..... Traffic?

It's a funny thing, traffic. With each passing month the number of cars on the road out here increase at an exponential rate, and "rush hour" is actually about four hours on each end. Then there are those special occasions when traffic is especially horrendous. The first day of school in the fall, right around the winter holidays, bad weather, and if you live in Hollywood....the Oscars!!

That's right here in LA where post-modernism is less a state of mind and more a reality of life, the Academy Awards cause wide spread havoc for Hollywood. If you're going anywhere east of La Cienega Blvd.(a major north/south street in the city) you can't help but notice the gridlock traffic spilling out from the epicenter of the Kodak Theatre.

There are all sorts of rumors and falsehoods that run rampant around this time about just why the Oscars cause traffic. And here, once and for all I'm going to set the record straight.

1) The stars are all here getting ready for the big night! Back from thier exotic shooting locales, they're rushing around picking up their dresses from the dry cleaners and buying new shoes!

FALSE - As glamorous as it might be to think that you're stuck in bumper to bumper between Charlize Theron and Steven Spielberg, the reality is most of them live in Los Angeles anyway. Besides they wouldn't be getting ready for the big night themselves; their assistants would be getting ready on their behalf. Hell, I'm sure a star would send their assistant to their hair appointment if they could.

2) Tourism in Los Angeles is especially high during the Oscar season.

TRUE - As a matter a fact many people vacation in Los Angeles when the Oscars take place, hungry to get a glimpse of someone exciting through a tinted limousine window. Others hope to be lucky enough to win a ticket in the raffle they hold for the bleacher seats, that flank the red carpet.

3) They close a crapload of streets around the Kodak Theatre. (which happens to be less than a mile away from where I live)

TRUE - Yes, they do close a crapload of streets, including Hollywood and Highland, which is a major intersection and also leads to one of LA's crucial freeways.

Oh yeah, that and the fact that we're still recovering from the extreme rains and flooding of a few days ago, is just the right ingredient to turn our city streets into a total F---ing nightmare.

And so I leave you with this uh...appropriate quote from the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit:

"Who needs a car in LA? We've got the best public transportation system in the world."

Friday, February 25, 2005

The Pop Culture Vault:
Volume 1- So bad its good OR I like it Ironically

So I was innocently eating lunch at my desk today, when two co-workers walked by singing:

"Who let the dogs out, woof woof woof woof woof, Who let the dog's out? woof woof woof woof woof!"

Remember that song? You know you do - although I must say that I had in fact forgotten that song existed, until I heard them singing it.

Originally released by the Baja Men on July 25th 2000 (egads almost five years ago!), a few months later it soared its way to the top of the billboard charts in the US and the UK, remaining in the top 100 for weeks on end. It became an anthem for sports fans and college kids everywhere blaring through stadiums and frat parties alike. And we all knew it had embedded itself in pop culture forever, when Jason Alexander's character made a reference to the song in the 2001 ill fated Farrelly Brother's comedy, Shallow Hal.

But I think the question we all need to ask ourselves, is why?

"I like it because its funny. I appreciate it ironically." - said my co-worker when asked why on God's green earth he was singing that song. I hear people, especially in LA, say "I like it ironically" all the time. I have been guilty of saying it myself. I have a Free Winona tank top that I claim to wear "ironically".

But wait a minute, what does that really mean? I looked up the word on and found the following definitions for the word IRONIC:

1) humorously sarcastic or mocking; "dry humor"; "an ironic remark often conveys an intended meaning obliquely"
2) characterized by often poignant difference or incongruity between what is expected and what actually is;
3) poignantly contrary to what was expected or intended

Ok so basically the phrase "I like it Ironically" only seems to work in the context of the following hypothesis. "The Baja Men wanted to make an important and serious statement about animal treatement in society, and instead ended up making a foolish pop song which 'ironically' seems to imply a militaristic attitude about incompetent animal care providers."

But see, I don't think the Baja Men were serious when they made this song. I'm sure they knew it was silly. Whether or not it is good silly, or bad silly is a matter of personal opinion it seems.

So the next time you hear someone say they like something ironically, do they really? Or are we all just trying to mask the fact that we have bad taste?


The Future Is Now!

As I mentioned earlier, I have a thing for futuristic looking cars - I'd like to think that I drive one. Not one nearly as nice as the one pictured above, but if concept cars and that sort of thing interest you, take a look here .

Now if only I could get my hands on a flying delorean....

Holy Snowboarding Hobos Batman!

I can't take full credit for finding this one, as one of my friends stumbled across this while on an Indiana Jones fan site. (Yeah, you heard me right, an Indy Fan webpage)

I guess Harrison Ford's son is quite active in the snowboarding community, and when a friend of his son asked him to do a cameo in his snowboarding film, Harrison agreed.

No need to watch the entire trailer, the money shot of Harrison is in the first five seconds.

You won't believe your eyes. I promise.

Click here to see Harrison.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Fun: Hollywood Assistant Style

For most normal people who do not work in Hollywood, the verb rolling means laying on the ground and turning in a continuous motion. Jack and Jill "rolled" down the hill, and that sort of thing. In Hollywood, rolling means the following: Your boss calls you from his cell phone while you are at the office. He then proceeds to ask you to "get him Ben" You put him on hold, dial Ben's office number, and tell Ben's assistant you have your boss on the line. At this point one of two things happen. Ben is not availible, in which case you tell your boss "they will return" and go on to the next person on the "call sheet" OR Ben is there and you conference the phone lines.

Now, I know this is confusing but bear with me. At this point there are now FOUR people on the line. That's right, four. Your boss, Ben Affleck, Ben's assistant, and yourself. Yes, both assistants stay on the line (with the mute button on), because apparently, that's how you learn the ropes in Hollywood. It is also mandatory in many cases because your boss will periodically yell for you during the call, to feed him information, or take down a number.

You with me so far? Good. Now often times as we all know, cell phones crap out, or have bad connections, in which case you are supposed to alert all parties involved and start all over again.

But sometimes, ...sometimes... the Hollywood Assistant takes control of the game.

The following teleplay is based on a true story. Names have been changed in order to protect everyone's ass.

Bobby (Hollywood Assistant A): Hey Sally, Sally, get on this call, listen to this.
Sally (Hollywood Assistant B): Huh? Why?
Bobby: Gort has a really bad cell connection, but I'm going to put him through to Klatu anyways!

Gort (Hollywood Player A): Hello? (crackle, crackle) -an --u ----r me?
Klatu (Hollywood Player B): Gort? Gort how are you!
Gort: I'm jus----(crackle crackle) an-- I -----(crackle crackle) You know?
Klatu: Uhuh. I do Gort, I really do.
Gort: It's absolu--- (crackle crackle) wha- do you---(crackle crackle)
Klatu: Uhuh. Uhuh. I completely agree.
Gort: Nooo--- I me--- (crackle crackle) what I'm ask------ (crackle)
Klatu: Hmmmm.
Gort: Yo-- don--- (crackle crackle) what the fu--- (crackle followed by laughter)
Klatu: (laughter)I'm sorry, I just, I can't hear a God damned thing you're saying.
Gort: (laughter) Well I ---- and we--- so ----(crackle crackle)
Klatu: Alright, well I'll make sure I get on that.
Gort: Ar--- --u ---(crackle crackle) well?
Klatu: You have a great night too. Talk to you tomorrow.


It just seems like Gort and Klatu never got on the same page. I hope their conversation wasn't about some multi-million dollar budgeted movie....

Oh well.

The Smart Patrol

In an effort to do some cross promoting here, I thought I would point you all to the following blog, known as The Smart Patrol .

It's run by some friends of mine who live in the OC, that's right the real life Orange County, as made infamous by the FOX TV show. I contribute to it from time to time, and recently a friend of mine and I have decided to start something called "30 minute Comics."
Think of them as instant comics, ...just add water. Check it out .

The Island AKA Hollywood Screw Ups

I just finished reading the following article about the upcoming film, The Island on everybody's favorite geek website Aintitcoolnews . I feel certain that almost all of you must be familiar with the biggest red headed geek in the universe Harry Knowles. But just in case there is one of you out there who has an active sex life, check out the site, you will not be diappointed by its sheer unabashed geekiness.

Anyways, back to the point of this post. I remember The Island when it was but a wee spec script floating around the edges of Hollywood. In truth, it wasn't that long ago, maybe six, eight months. The script was written by a no name writer who had no representation and had endearingly included his home address on the title page. Then suddenly, in the way that things strangely happen in this town, there was suddenly "a buzz". Companies everywhere got a hold of the script, executives were reading it, and soon a bidding war ensued. In the end Steven Spielberg's company, Dreamworks purchased the film for around two million dollars. I read the script right after its purchase, and was definitely impressed. It's a science fiction film that takes place in the future and deals with the sociological impacts that cloning might have on society.

But then Michael Bay happened.

Though the article on Aint It Cool is optimistic about film director Michael Bay adding his blockbuster touch, while allowing for the "slow build" of the story - I ain't buyin' it. This was the man who was quoted by Entertainment Weekly as saying:

"It's wierd to say it's a movie about clones. I don't even like the word clones. It makes it sound really geeky. But the movie's not geeky in any way."

I know Ben, I know. I feel the same way too...

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Beautiful People

I have two female friends that will be attending the 77th Oscars this Sunday. I thought it would be fun to put together a little pre-oscar gift bag for them with some items that might come in handy. I put in some gum, lip gloss, and clear nail polish in case they got a run in their panty hose. As a gag, I also included some flavored and scented condoms. The joke being that they might find themselves in a situation where they could sleep with a famous movie star. This kind of got the wheels in my rusty old head turning. If I were going, and I started getting cozy with Keaunu at an after party, would I accept the offer to go back to his place? Now granted that's a notion that probably seems too fantastical to entertain. How many of us, women and men, have thought about "doing it" with someone that we saw on TV the night before, or up on the big screen last weekend, all the while knowing it would never happen. But here in Hollywierd, that fantasy becomes a little less ridiculous.

I had a co-worker who was at a dinner party with Topher Grace. An acquaintance who was being romatically pursued by Jamie Foxx. A friend who dated one of the stars of The Usual Suspects. In this town, things get a little fishy. And if you're young, and you're cute, and you're in the right place at the right time, you never know just what might happen.

What could be a righter time and a righter place than the Oscars? Could it be as easy as slipping into a utility closet at the Kodak theatre? Hot, lustful, completely meaningless sex? Let's analyze further. It isn't that I don't care about Christian Bale, I have always thought he was very attractive and quite a good actor. But I also don't really know him from a hole in the wall. I have no idea what kind of person he is. And most likely in the scenario we are talking about, he probably wouldn't be focusing on anything else other than my cleavage. So why do it? Well, he's hot, so there's the whole physical attraction factor. But what if he's an asshole? Refuses to kiss me on the mouth? Only acknowledges "his needs"? How do you look at yourself in the mirror the next morning when you know you've been just one in a hundred, maybe one in a thousand of women he's had in the past year. You are no more than a droplet in the ocean. Not even big or important enough to make a single wave.

Sleeping with Mr. Hot Movie Star would certainly be something that I would remember for the rest of my days, right? So is that why I would do it? For the memories? The stories? So I could tell my daughter one day that I got down with Tom Cruise in the back of his limo? That when he said goodbye to me, he asked me to tell him my name again because he had already forgotten it?

Makes you think doesn't it.


Tagline of the Week - Courtesy of The Cave

In Hollywood, up there with the poster and the trailer, taglines have become an integral part of the movie marketing machine. There have certainly been some great ones in our time. Alien's "In space, no one can hear you scream..." Poltergist's "They're here..." nearly trumped by its sequals' Poltergeist II's "They're back..."
- and my recent favorite "Before you die you see the ring."

So it is with glee that I put forth to you Screen Gem's tagline for their new film THE CAVE.

Trailer can be seen here

Their tagline reads:


What the ...? Picture this: the philosophical universe is a stacked sort of structure, an office building if you will. Heaven has the top half, hell has the bottom half, and the basement belongs to the cave.....?
Wait, so does this mean that if heaven is directly above hell, that little devils can poke holes with their pitchforks into the floor of heaven ? Doesn't sound like something God would stand for does it?
And also what about purgatory? Perhaps the tagline should read something more like this:


Hmmmm, maybe more wordy than the studio execs had in mind. Also they're being pretty bold here with their assertion that THE CAVE is apparently worse than hell. That better be one F-ing scary monster.
Perhaps a new saying will emerge in our lexicon:

"What the....cave?"

Once Upon a Time.....

Once upon a time lived a jaded twenty something year old who sat on her ass a great deal. She would wax and wane on her life, feeling as though she did little more than make her TiVo subscription worthwhile. She had a desk job, and a futuristic looking car, and lived about a mile from the iconic Hollywood sign. Sometimes she would amuse her friends back east about the crazy things she saw in this pre-apocalyptic vortex, also known as Los Angeles.

One day she decided to get off her duff, and do something about her melancholy longings and pensiveness.
She would start a blog, and share with the world a day in the life of a New Yorker in Hollywood.

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