Friday, January 26, 2007

Winter Movie Preview, Part II

I was letting it get down to the wire, but here's the next installment of the four-part preview of the films set to open in the first quarter of the year. This installment tells me that February holds a few potential diamonds in the rough, or at the very least a couple unregrettable Friday evenings out at the movies. And it all leads up to Fincher (!!) at the beginning of March.

Movie: Music and Lyrics (Marc Lawrence)
High-Concept Synopsis: Picture it: Hugh Grant plays Bill Nighy's character from Love, Actually, Drew Barrymore plays Drew Barrymore's character from The Wedding Singer, and they're both shoved into the worst Nick Hornby book never written about finding love in the unlikeliest of blah-blah-blah.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Washed-up musicians looking for love with their lyricists and/or plant-waterers. Lyricists and/or plant-waterers looking for love with washed-up musicians. Audiences who can't quite resist the cute overload of a Grant/Barrymore pairing.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Audiences whose teeth are set on edge at the thought of a Grant/Barrymore pairing. Audiences who think the whole premise seems rather sitcommy, an idea that isn't exactly refuted by the presence of co-stars Brad Garrett and Kristen Johnston. Anyone who somehow ascertains that this film is coming from the writer/director of Two Weeks Notice.
Why I'd See It: My dark shameful secret is that I really enjoy Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. I think they're essentially every bit as cute and lovable as the major studios seem to. And, God help me, I thought they looked a little cute in the trailer. On the other hand, I very well may have thought the same thing about Two Weeks Notice, and I can safely say I will never watch the entirety of that movie.

Movie: Breach (Billy Ray)
High-Concept Synopsis: Ryan Phillippe is an FBI agent tasked with surveillance on fellow agent Chris Cooper, who is suspected of being a traitorous double agent. Laura Linney and Dennis Hayesbert co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of well-cast spy thrillers. Filmgoers who liked what Billy Ray did in 2003 with Shattered Glass. The teeming throngs of single women (and, let's face it, men) eager to scope out the newly-single Phillippe.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Secret double agents who won't want their circle of friends to learn how to look for the signs. Pissy cineastes upset that Phillippe keeps glomming onto cool projects with extremely talented artists. The piles and piles of vanquished women left in Linney's wake after the Actress Tournament.
Why I'd See It: Cooper's great, Linney's...well, Linney, and I'm excited to see how Billy Ray can progress from the underrated Shattered Glass. Plus, a movie about a secret double agent Russian spy! How many movies are about that?

Movie: Bridge To Terabithia (Gabor Csupo)
High-Concept Synopsis: The beloved children's book about friendship and the power of imagination makes it to the big screen so it can make a whole new generation of children cry.
Who Will Be Seeing It: The same kids who saw Tuck Everlasting, Charlotte's Web, and other children's book-to-movie adaptations. The same kids who saw The Chronicles of Narnia, an audience Walden Media clearly wants to see return for another helping of CGI fantasy. Adults who read the book as children and forgot how unrelentingly sad it gets.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Unimaginative children, too busy in their world of numbers and discipline to lose themselves in a film such as this. Child-hating adults who break out in hives just thinking about the noise and germs in the theatre with this crowd. People who have read the book but don't quite remember all the CGI woodsprites.
Why I'd See It: I don't know about this one. The original story was about creating a fantasy kingdom out of your own imagination, but the previews for this look like they're losing the kids among all the pricey CGI. As a child, only two books ever made me cry: this and Charlotte's Web. And I didn't see that movie either.

Movie: Ghost Rider (Mark Steven Johnson)
High-Concept Synopsis: He may have gotten too old to play Superman, but Nicolas Cage gets his big comic book movie, which sounds like a cross between Daredevil and Constantine. Top shelf stuff, to be sure. Eva Mendes plays the Mary Jane Watson. Sam Elliott plays the Kris-Kristofferson-in-Blade. And Peter Fonda plays the Peter-Stormare-in-Constantine.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Comic book completists, the staggeringly significant group of Nic Cage loyalists, and tattoo artists looking to find inspiration for their newest line of flaming skull ink.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: People who have been burned by Cage before. People who have been burned by off-brand comic book movies before. People who see that a movie about a minion of Satan nabbed a PG-13 rating and concluded it couldn't possibly be worth it.
Why I'd See It: They may not be transcendant, but off-brand comic book movies are usually halfway decent, provided that they're not called Daredevil. Still, Nicolas Cage certainly ain't helping matters; his haircut even less so.

Movies: Starter For 10 (Tom Vaughn)
High-Concept Synopsis: James McAvoy plays a Brit starting out in a "posh" university in 1985. Dominic Cooper co-stars.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Audiences who saw The Last King of Scotland and recognize McAvoy as one of the fastest rising stars of his generation. Audiences who saw The History Boys and saw an obscene amount of magnetism out of Cooper. American audiences who are really curious as to what "posh" means.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Brit-phobes. Sexy-Brit-actor-phobes. Adults who still have not gotten over the trauma suffered at their own posh British universities.
Why I'd See It: I'm going to be honest with you: this movie only made this list because of how much I love McAvoy and Cooper. I honestly don't expect this to make much of a ripple outside of England. In other words: I'll be eagerly awaiting the DVD.

Movie: Black Snake Moan (Craig Brewer)
High-Concept Synopsis: Christina Ricci is a trampy white girl. Samuel L. Jackson is a big, virile black man. Their paths cross, and any number of racial and sexual triggers are pulled. Justin Timberlake and S. Epatha Merkerson co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Anyone who saw Brewer's Hustle and Flow and saw a budding directorial talent. Audiences eager to see Ricci and Jackson get themselves back on the map, acting-wise. Everyone who saw White Chicks and figure this movie should have more of that insight.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Audiences who don't find a harsh exploration of gender and racial politics in the guise of a brutalizing sexploitation flick to be fun Friday night entertainment. Audiences who parted company with Jackson for good back when he was still yelling about the snakes on his motherfuckin' plane. Anyone who took one look at the title and the poster and ran screaming.
Why I'd See It: Dude, that poster was all I needed. Craig Brewer is serious about saying something with this movie, and I cannot wait to hear it. Plus, it looks like he's having some fun with it. Take that, Todd Solondz's Storytelling!

Movie: The Number 23 (Joel Schumacher)
High-Concept Synopsis: Jim Carrey reads a book of some sort that begins to seem like it's being written about him and also causes him to see bizarre reoccurrences of the number 23 in his life. Psychological thrills and thrilling psychology ensue. Virginia Madsen co-stars.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Audiences who thought Stranger Than Fiction could use a little more creepy paranoia and numerology. Audiences who thought Pi could use a little of that Joel Schumacher magic. Smartass bloggers who think the trailer looks sufficiently spooky and will thus cut out the snide jokes.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Audiences burned by Schumacher one too many times. Audiences who find Carrey entertaining only in a very specific type of comedy. Folks who scoff at the idea that a number can do any harm (I am not one of those people -- ninety-one can fuck you up).
Why I'd See It: Every year or so, a movie comes out that vaguely reminds me of certain aspects of the book House of Leaves -- a novel so utterly unfilmable that I'm forced to look for shades of it in movies that have nothing to do with it. Let's hope this one works out much, much, MUCH better than Cold Creek Manor.

Movie: Lonely Hearts (Todd Robinson)
High-Concept Synopsis: Jared Leto and Salma Hayek are lovers on a killing spree, and John Travolta is the cop hot on their tail. James Gandolfini, Scott Caan, and Laura Dern co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of true-life crime drama. Fans of noir detectives in fedoras, swimming in femmes fatale. People who might not object to being killed so much if Hayek and/or Leto slept with them beforehand.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Folks not interested in a lead actor fat-off between Travolta and Gandolfini. Folks reticent about director Todd Robinson's utter lack of a track record. Audiences more than a little wary of a film getting a platform release in March. What's up with that?
Why I'd See It: That whole Leto/Hayak thing up there? Might not entirely fail to apply to me. Plus, there's been word of mouth here and there that it's a pretty good little thriller.

Movie: Wild Hogs (Walt Becker)
High-Concept Synopsis: Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, and William H. Macy try to combat their mid-life crises by taking to the road in their badass motorcycles. Why, yes, it is City Slickers on motorcycles. Except instead of Bruno Kirby, we get Travolta and Martin Lawrence. Lucky us.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People who have been waiting a looooong time for someone to capture that middle aged male angst lightning in a bottle again. Anyone lucky enough to make it to the screening room portion of the Scientology Celebrity Center tour. The three most fervent members of the William H. Macy fan club who apparently won't be deterred by anything.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Anyone whose reading comprehension skills allow them to make it to the end of the sentence: "Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, and William H. Macy in City Slickers on Harleys."
Why I'd See It: The delightful and award-winning Marissa Tomei has a supporting role. That's certainly worth $9.50.

Movie: Zodiac (David Fincher)
High-Concept Synopsis: The legendary Zodiac killer wreaks havoc on the San Fracisco Bay area in the late 1960s. Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey Jr. are on the case.
Who Will Be Seeing It: First and foremost, the Fincher fans will be out in large number for this, his first movie since 2002's Panic Room. A close second: Jake Gyllenhaal's fans will be out in full force as well. In fact, anyone who's into true crime and/or visceral filmmaking and/or hotties should really be all kinds of psyched to see this.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: People who really didn't care for Panic Room. Disappointed astrology buffs who are irate at being misled by the film's title. Kirsten Dunst, who reportedly says the film just doesn't look fun enough. (No, I don't plan on getting over that any time soon, thanks.)
Why I'd See It: Well, serial killer films are cool, and this has a great cast and all, and...oh's fuckin Fincher, dude. And if you believe in patterns, you'll note that Fincher's films have, in order, alternated between decent-to-good potboilers (Alien3, The Game, Panic Room) and mindblowingly awesome (Seven, Fight Club), in this blogger's opinion. And it looks like he's due for some awesome.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

New Rule: There's No Such Thing As Asshole Rehab

(All appropriate apologies to Bill Maher for stealing a gimmick.)

I haven't spoken much on the Grey's Anatomy/Isaiah Washington/T.R. Knight scandale du jour, beyond giving Katherine Heigl appropriate props for being an awesome person and friend. Since then, T.R. went on Ellen and was fantatsic and endearing in his tongue-tiedness. Then: a new Washington story every hour on the hour. He admits it! He apologizes! But he only did it to save his job! Which he might lose anyway! Glenn Beck somehow shoves his hateful face into the mix!

And then, today, two things: For one, Shonda Rhimes released a statement (which...whatever, she's not the one who did anything wrong here -- she owes me nothing). But even better (well, "better" for an irony-loving blogger like myself): Isaiah Washington is going into rehab! Or "seeking counseling." Or whatever terms they are using for "seeking professional help." And rather than go to the trouble of pretending like he's got a substance abuse problem like a certain Jew-bashing Hollywood director we all know and hate, Washington simply said he's going to counseling to examine his inner anger or whatever. Basically, he's getting treatment for being a dick.

I'm sorry, it's just so ridiculous. I'm trying to come up with an overarching theory as to why Washington -- or Washington's publicist, or anyone at ABC, or Michael Richards, or Mel Gibson, --thinks that "therapy" is the cure-all here. I mean, society's aversion to the concept of "shit happens" is one thing. Some things just aren't fixable, and the fact that Isaiah Washington is contemptable homophobe is one of them. What is counseling -- face-saving, probably network-mandated, just-this-side-of-farcical counseling -- supposed to do here? If anything, Washington's probably more hate-filled than ever, now that Faggot Nation has forced him into making this ridiculous gesture. You can't force someone to be a good person through boycotts and protests and a letter-writing campaign and trying to shame his boss into firing him. The consequences to Isaiah Washington being a homophobe is that other people will know he's a homophobe. The consequences of Mel Gibson being a Jew-hater is that people will say he's a Jew-hater. It's my Fred Phelps theory in its truest form: the consequences to being Fred Phelps is that you have to be Fred Phelps. And everyone knows it. For the rest of your life. All alone with your disgusting family and your hatred. Enjoy!

Quick! Name Your 100 Favorite Movies Right...Now!

Nah, that's just a clever title, don't do that.

This is just my way of passing on the news that the American Film Institute -- you know, that vaguely prestigious-sounding organization that bestows a Top 10 list every year and produces one of those "100 Years, 100 x" specials that air on CBS once a summer -- is going to re-calibrate their initial "100 Years, 100 Movies" list (essentially, a Top 100 Films of All Time) to reflect the ten years (actually nine years, but we live in imprecise times, I guess) that have passed since the special was first aired.

This is cool for a couple reasons. Most obviously, it means that great films that have been produced in the ensuing ten years will become eligible for consideration. Though I'm not sure I'd get my hopes up to see some of the more recent classics on the list. In 1998, only eight movies from the '90s were on the list (Schindler's List, The Silence of the Lambs, Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction, Fargo, Unforgiven, Forrest Gump, and Dances With Wolves).

But the cooler reason is that we get to see how opinion on older films has evolved over the last ten years. Did the Star Wars prequels damage the legacy of original film (#15 in 1998)? Does the recent death of Robert Altman mean he'll have more movies on the list than simply M.A.S.H. (#56)? How many of those films from the 1990s withstood another decade of scrutiny (if I had to guess, I'd say Dances With Wolves and Unforgiven drop out, and probably Gump and Fargo as well, though it'd be a shame for the list to go Coen-less)? Do the list-makers look at the original, old-skewing list and make a conscious choice to get hip? Ah, the politics of list-making. The true dork's trivial pursuit.

I have to say, I really love this idea. Because I'm a list-nerd, true, but also because all-time lists (and more importantly the discussions that accompany them) shouldn't be set in stone. What good is it to have a list that tells you what the top 100 Movies were as of the summer of 1998? This stuff is fluid, as it should be. And while the movies we're discussing haven't changed, our perceptions of them may have. And that's what's cool about film culture.

Anyway, the new special airs in June, so expect the list to go public on the Wide Wide World of Web around May.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Not Again: Oscar Noms '07

Some post-nomination reaction now that Salma Hayek has finally calmed down about Volver not being nominated. My predictions didn't do altogether too poorly. 30.5 out of 40 in the major categories is off from last year's 35/40 awesomeness, but still not awful. I put an asterisk (*) when my "alternate" choice got nominated, not that that happened all that much.

The Departed
Letters from Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
The Queen

The big news is the Dreamgirls snub, which some people are going to say they saw coming all along, but very, very few of them will have actually predicted. It wasn't one of my favorite movies this year, but I'm sad to see it snubbed nonetheless. In a year when I don't care what wins Best Picture, it was at least a contender I could feel good about winning. I haven't seen Letters From Iwo Jima, because it hasn't screened in Buffalo yet. It hasn't screened anywhere else in America either, aside from the living rooms of enough Academy members who clearly still really, really like Clint Eastwood. Little Miss Sunshine is the only movie from this list to show up on my top ten, so that's what I'll be rooting for, though it now looks like this race will be, depressingly so, a repeat of the Clint vs. Marty race from a whopping two years ago. Pass. [Predictions: 4/5*]

Alejandro González Iñárritu - Babel
Martin Scorsese - The Departed
Clint Eastwood - Letters from Iwo Jima
Stephen Frears - The Queen
Paul Greengrass - United 93

I've mentioned Clint and Marty already, so I'll just enthuse about Paul Greengrass getting a much deserved nomination for United 93. I had a hunch he would (I predicted it, after all), but it was heartening to see nonetheless. He's the only one from this list who's currently in my top 5, though, like I said, I haven't seen Letters From Iwo Jima yet. [Predictions: 4/5]

Leonardo DiCaprio - Blood Diamond
Ryan Gosling - Half Nelson
Peter O’Toole - Venus
Will Smith - The Pursuit of Happyness
Forest Whitaker - The Last King of Scotland

You know, the worst thing about the nominations this morning was the realization that I'm going to have to see Blood Diamond now. Dammit! I was not a fan of DiCaprio's performance in The Departed, so I'm not as up in arms as a lot of other people about him getting the nod for the "wrong" movie; I'd just have rathered him not get nominated at all. Whitaker's is the only performance I've seen yet (Half Nelson is on my coffee table as we speak, and Venus should be opening here soon), and I found it to be a supporting performance besides. I'm still pulling for him to win here, though. [Predictions: 4.5/5 (DiCaprio has to count as partial credit, right?)]

Alan Arkin - Little Miss Sunshine
Jackie Earle Haley - Little Children
Djimon Hounsou - Blood Diamond
Eddie Murphy - Dreamgirls
Mark Wahlberg - The Departed

Haven't seen Blood Diamond, as I mentioned, or Little Children either. Hopefully the three nominations the latter received will allow it to actually open across the U.S. already, damn! [Actually, it looks like it won't even be coming to DVD until April 24. Not sure at all what that means as far as theatrical disctribution, but somebody needs to get me a copy of that flick or something. Christ. This opened in October!] As for the others, Arkin's about three down in terms of the Little Miss Sunshine actors I'd have nominated here, and I wasn't all that wild about either Murphy or Wahlberg. What is it about me and this category? We never seem to get along. Though I will say that Marky Mark is well overdue for Oscar attention, after Boogie Nights and I Heart Huckabees, so I can't be too upset. [Predictions: 3/5*]

Penélope Cruz - Volver
Judi Dench - Notes on a Scandal
Helen Mirren - The Queen
Meryl Streep - The Devil Wears Prada
Kate Winslet - Little Children

As expected. Dench, Mirren, Streep, and Cruz are all currently in my top 5, and I haven't seen Winslet yet. Which makes this Oscar's smartest category of the year. Well played, Academy. [Predictions: 5/5]

Adriana Barraza - Babel
Cate Blanchett - Notes on a Scandal
Abigail Breslin - Little Miss Sunshine
Jennifer Hudson - Dreamgirls
Rinko Kikuchi - Babel

Disappointing that there were no surprises, but it's nice to see fresh faces dominate a list like this. Only Barraza and Breslin show up on my list, but Hudson's presence (and still likely win) isn't exactly going to have me scowling off in a corner. Kind of sad that in a year so rich with supporting female performances (by my count, about seventeen would have been award-worthy), these nominees kind of dominated everywhere. I'll play my mourning ode to Emma Thompson and Emily Blunt when I give my own movie "awards" during Oscar Week. [Predictions: 4/5*]

The Black Dahlia (Vilmos Zsigmond)
Children of Men (Emmanuel Lubezki)
The Illusionist (Dick Pope)
Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo Navarro)
The Prestige (Wally Pfister)

The Black Dahlia is, like, next up on my Netflix list, so I can't yet speak to how it was filmed, but I can say that this list matches 3/5 with mine (Children of Men, Pan's Labyrinth, The Prestige), and I didn't think The Illusionist was half bad either, making this easily one of the success stories of the morning. Not sure what Rodrigo Prieto ever did to piss off the cinematographers in the Academy, but after not winning for clearly superior work in Brokeback last year, he's again snubbed for Babel. Sucks. Very happy Pfister's work on The Prestige was able to rise above that movie's tepid overall reception. [Predictions: 1/5, and we will never speak of it again]

Blood Diamond
Children of Men
The Departed
United 93

You win this round, Blood Diamond. But I will have my vengeance. This is another that matches 3/5 with my own list (Children of Men, The Departed, United 93), so a solid "woo-hoo!" overall. Very happy the virtuoso work on Children of Men was recognized. [Predictions: 3/5]

Babel (Gustavo Santaolalla)
The Good German (Thomas Newman)
Notes on a Scandal (Philip Glass)
Pan’s Labyrinth (Javier Navarrete)
The Queen (Alexandre Desplat)

I agree on Babel and Notes on a Scandal, though those will probably be the two choices most maligned by the folks who feel Desplat should have been double-nommed (also for The Painted Veil, which I should be seeing next week). Clint Mansell (The Fountain) got hosed, but I saw that one coming. [Predictions: 3.5/5 (Desplat partial credit)]

Children of Men
The Departed
Little Children
Notes on a Scandal

Ugh, Borat? Best...script? This is how you know that Academy is full of shit and just wanted to toss the "cool movie" a bone. Nominate the Kazakh national anthem for Best Song, at least. That's the nomination it truly deserves. My two favorite adapted scripts of the year (Children of Men, Notes on a Scandal) got nominated -- in a weak year, but still -- so I'm happy overall. A lot of people (me included) were expecting The Devil Wears Prada here, but I think that one was carried more by the actors than the script, so I'm down with the snub. [Predictions: 3/5*]

Letters from Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
Pan’s Labyrinth
The Queen

Sad that Stranger Than Fiction couldn't pull off the nomination, but the love just wasn't there for this movie in any corners but this one. Great to see Guillermo Del Toro with a nomination all to himself, even though Best Director was far more suited to the film's (considerable) strengths. I am really hoping Little Miss Sunshine can topple The Queen here. Though a Babel upset wouldn't entirely shock me. [Predictions: 3/5*]

- - - -

You know, the biggest disappointment of the morning? The realization that the Dreamgirls snub means less chance of seeing Ellen Degeneres in a bouffant wig and sparkly gown side-by-side with Beyonce. I'd have killed for that. What's she gonna do for Letters From Iwo Jima, you know? Ah well. Leaves more time for the extended Little Miss Sunshine mom-dance party.


Well, that's another one for the year's top ten list. Probably top 5. Maybe even top 2. Keep an eye on the sidebar for a review.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Idol Recap posted

Mom feeds him some bullshit about "Of course you'll be famous," and Seacrest interjects, softly, that "maybe they have a point, that maybe singing's not what you should be doing." You guys? Ryan Seacrest just became a better parent than this kid's mom. I'm trying to get Al Gore on the phone to see what this might mean for our planet's future, but until I do, hold tight and hope for the best.

All the crack babies and freakshows and running-into-locked-doors that you want from the #1 show in America. The first TWoP recap of the season is up now. Check it out!

Oscar Predictions: Last Chance

That time again -- Oscar nominations are announced Tuesday morning, so I suppose I should take a crack at 'em. I'm not nearly as invested in the race this year as I've been in years past, but I was paying close enough attention to make an educated guess. So many of the major categories seem all sewn up, which may be where a lot of the disinterest comes from, so I'm kind of hoping for some upsets, which is where the "from left field" choices come in.

Best Picture
01 - Dreamgirls
02 - The Departed
03 - Little Miss Sunshine
04 - The Queen
05 - Babel
alternate: Letters From Iwo Jima
from left field: Pan's Labyrinth

The top five look very solid, and the buzz right now is that this is five-way race for the award. Which is cool if that's truly the case. I'd be very surprised if anything truly weird happened here.

Best Director
01 - Martin Scorsese - The Departed
02 - Alejandro Gonzalez Iñaritu - Babel
03 - Stephen Frears - The Queen
04 - Bill Condon - Dreamgirls
05 - Paul Greengrass - United 93
alternate: Jonathan Dayton/Valerie Ferris - Little Miss Sunshine
from left field: Alfonso Cuaron - Children of Men

On the other hand, I'm expecting weirdness here. Dayton/Ferris seem like a likely snub due to them being a team, which leaves the field wide open. Either Greengrass or Cuaron would make my day. And unless Clint Eastwood pops up here, the awards looks to be Scorsese's to lose.

Best Actor
01 - Forest Whitaker - The Last King of Scotland
02 - Peter O'Toole - Venus
03 - Will Smith - The Pursuit of Happyness
04 - Leonardo DiCaprio - The Departed
05 - Ryan Gosling - Half Nelson
alternate: Sacha Baron Cohen - Borat
from left field: Matt Damon - The Good Shepherd

I'll be pulling for Gosling to hold on to that fifth slot, certainly. I still think Cohen's too much of a stunt man for Oscar.

Best Actress
01 - Helen Mirren - The Queen
02 - Judi Dench - Notes on a Scandal
03 - Meryl Streep - The Devil Wears Prada
04 - Penelope Cruz - Volver
05 - Kate Winslet - Little Children
alternate: Maggie Gyllenhaal - Sherrybaby
from left field: Naomi Watts - The Painted Veil

I honestly don't even think Maggie has a chance, that's how solid that top 5 are. Watts wouldn't exactly shock me, but I honestly think her co-star Edward Norton stands a better chance in Best Actor.

Best Supporting Actor
01 - Eddie Murphy - Dreamgirls
02 - Jack Nicholson - The Departed
03 - Jackie Earle Haley - Little Children
04 - Michael Sheen - The Queen
05 - Djimon Honsou - Blood Diamond
alternate: Alan Arkin - Little Miss Sunshine
from left field: Stanley Tucci - The Devil Wears Prada

Wide, wide, WIDE open race to nominations, which is cool. Only Murphy and (likely) Nicholson are secure. Mark Wahlberg, Ben Afleck, and Brad Pitt were all Golden Globe nominees I'm picking to drop off in favor of Haley, Sheen, and Honsou. Hopefully the spread-thin vote totals will mean a true dark horse like Tucci or Steve Carell might show up.

Best Supporting Actress
01 - Jennifer Hudson - Dreamgirls
02 - Rinko Kikuchi - Babel
03 - Abigail Breslin - Little Miss Sunshine
04 - Cate Blanchett - Notes on a Scandal
05 - Emily Blunt - The Devil Wears Prada
alternate: Adriana Barraza - Babel
from left field: Meryl Streep - A Prairie Home Companion

I have to stick with Emily Blunt, since she's the one I placed my bet on back in September. Trouble is, I'm not sure if any of the universally-accepted top five are even vulnerable. It seems Barraza would be the first to fall, which is too bad, because she's probably the best of the lot. It's too bad this category coalesced so quickly, because strong performances by Emma Thompson, Toni Collette, and Catherine O'Hara certainly merit consideration.

Best Original Screenplay
01 - The Queen
02 - Little Miss Sunshine
03 - Babel
04 - United 93
05 - Stranger Than Fiction
alt.: Pan's Labyrinth

Best Adapted Screenplay
01 - The Departed
02 - Little Children
03 - The Devil Wears Prada
04 - Notes on a Scandal
05 - Thank You For Smoking
alt.: Children of Men

Predictions in (almost) all categories after the jump.

Best Cinematography
01 - Children of Men
02 - Apocalypto
03 - The Good Shepherd
04 - Dreamgirls
05 - Babel
alt.: The Departed

Best Editing
01 - The Departed
02 - United 93
03 - Babel
04 - Dreamgirls
05 - The Queen
alt.: Little Miss Sunshine

Best Art Direction
01 - Dreamgirls
02 - Pan's Labyrinth
03 - Children of Men
04 - Marie Antoinette
05 - The Prestige
alt.: Curse of the Golden Flower

Best Visual Effects
01 - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
02 - Superman Returns
03 - Posiedon
alt.: X-Men: The Last Stand

Best Makeup
01 - Apocalypto
02 - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
03 - Pan's Labyrinth
alt.: The Prestige

Best Costume Design
01 - Dreamgirls
02 - Marie Antoinette
03 - Curse of the Golden Flower
04 - The Illusionist
05 - Pan's Labyrinth
alt.: The Devil Wears Prada

Best Original Score
01 - The Painted Veil
02 - Babel
03 - Notes on a Scandal
04 - The Good German
05 - The DaVinci Code
alt.: Apocalypto

Best Original Song
01 - Dreamgirls ("Listen")
02 - Happy Feet ("The Song of the Heart")
03 - An Inconvenient Truth ("I Need To Wake Up")
04 - Bobby ("Never Gonna Break My Faith")
05 - Dreamgirls ("Love You I Do")
alt.: Little Miss Sunshine ("Till the End of Time")

Best Sound Design
01 - Dreamgirls
02 - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
03 - Letters From Iwo Jima
04 - Casino Royale
05 - The Departed
alt.: Cars

Best Sound Effects Editing
01 - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
02 - Superman Returns
03 - Happy Feet
alt.: Casino Royale

Best Animated Feature
01 - Cars
02 - Happy Feet
03 - Monster House
alt.: Over the Hedge

Best Foreign Film
01 - Pan's Labyrinth (Mexico)
02 - Volver (Spain)
03 - The Lives of Others (Germany)
04 - Water (Canada)
05 - Indigenes (Algeria)
alt.: After the Wedding (Denmark)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Movie Soundtrack of Your Life

Courtesy of ModFab:

QUESTION: If your life is a movie, what songs are on the soundtrack?

Here's how it works:

1. Open iTunes
2. Put it on shuffle and press play
3. For every question, type the song that's playing
4. Make up a Title and choose your Cast

Title: O Narrative Cohesion, Where Art Thou?

Greg Grunberg
(as Me)
Billy Crudup (as The First Love)
Sara Ramirez (as the Pot Princess of Vancouver)
Justin Timberlake (as Dancer #4)
Lauren Ambrose (as my Shotgun Bride)
and Winona Ryder (as the chief of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police)

Opening Credits: "Any Colour You Like" by Pink Floyd
Trippy, psychedelic, pretentiously Canadian in its spelling, and completely instrumental, which I like for a credits sequence. Dazzle as the fractal geometry whizzes past your senses and the cast and crew shimmer and shine on like crazy diamonds. Here's hoping it's more like a winking send-up of the retro high-school culture I experienced and less like Ashton Kutcher's scenes in Bobby.

Waking Up: "Waterloo" by Abba
Hee. Hee hee. As an alarm clock ringtone, this one ain't bad. This song makes me think my morning would be frantic, filled with toast shooting out of toasters with unrealistic propulsion. And, of course, taken literally, it doesn't really bode well for the rest of my day.

First Day At School: "Thanks a Lot" by Third Eye Blind
That's interesting, considering the only reason I even have this song is because of a photo montage I was given on my last day of college. Things continue to remain on the ironic tip.

Falling In Love: "Believe" by Flickerstick
Dude, if I ever fell in love to the sounds of a Flickerstick song, I'm not sure what I'd do with myself. That's, like, the greatest thing I can think of.

Fight Song: "Voices Carry" by Til Tuesday
Okay, clearly by "fight," they mean a relationship fight, or else this would be a strange fight indeed. Anyway, clearly my beloved, with whom I share an unbreakable connection to drunken Dallas party boys with hot music skills, is a rather domineering sort, and my chattiness has gotten me into trouble once more. Will I acquiesce and "hush hush" or will I stand in the middle of a crowded theatre and ruin the movie for everyone? Considering the next option is "breakup song," I'd lay off betting on the former.

Breaking Up: "Surrounded" by Chantal Kreviazuk
Oh, it's a sad breakup, indeed. What happened to all the irony, y'all?

Prom: "Candle in the Wind" by Elton John
Theeeeeeeere it is. Hee. And, by the way, it is most certainly NOT the faked-up Princess Diana lyrics version, and I'm actually really insulted that you felt you had to ask.

Life: "The Jump Off" by Lil' Kim
So, wait, my entire life is summed up by this one song? Or is this just the song that plays during my "ordinary life before the shit hits the fan" scenes? That sounds better. And apparently my ordinary life consists of the world's trashiest dance party. As it should be.

Mental Breakdown: "Hips Don't Lie" by Shakira
Totally. The music says "cheerful belly dance," while my mental acuity says "gone drinkin'."

Driving: "Wheat Kings" by The Tragically Hip
Well, it's a long drive. Maybe a cross-country drive. A cross-Canada-country drive? Headed for Vancouver, maybe. But why? Is it connected to the weed/Canada references in the Floyd song? Did this just turn into a mystery? Or is this like the South Buffalo version of Garden State?

Flashback: "Feel Good Inc." by Gorrilaz
Well this just makes no sense at all. Unless...unless my flashbacks are back to my ordinary life living in the world's trashiest dance party? That'll do.

Wedding: "Fast As You Can" by Fiona Apple
It's a shotgun wedding! Not sure how that works, in my circumstances, but I'm sure it has something to do with the drug dealers in Vancouver and my need to make some quick cash so the world's trashiest dance party doesn't go under.

Birth of Child: "Pretty Good Year" by Tori Amos
Aw. Our hero (me) gets some respite with a newborn miracle baby. Hiding out from the Canadian Mounties who are hunting me down for my sweet, sweet bricks of hash, I instead get high on babies. No, not like that!

Final Battle: "What Condition My Condition Was In" by Kenny Rogers
Oh yeah. Everyone's high during the final battle. Most definitely.

Death Scene: "The Last Song" by All-American Rejects
No, really. No! Really! My iTunes shuffle skills are AWESOME.

Funeral Song: "Gypsy" by Fleetwood Mac
The globe-trotting, pot-dealing, international criminal, baby-stealer (yeah, I was going to mention that) and dance club operator gets his appropriate send-off. No one has to feel too sad when Stevie Nicks is warbling angelically.

End Credit: "Beer" by Reel Big Fish
Well now this movie just doesn't make any sense at all, does it?

If you just read this, that means I tagged you. Do it!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

YouTube Recommendation of the Year (So Far)

Oh, and before I forget for like the third time this week, check out the God, Inc. series on YouTube, directed by friend of friend of Low Res, Francis Stokes, and sometimes starring Stee. It's hysterical and capable of curing diseases if applied like holy water of Fatima. Or so I've been led to understand.

Episode 1: "In The Beginning, There Was Paperwork..."

Episode 2: "The Miracles Department"

Episode 3: "Who Stole God's Lunch?"

Episode 4: "And Give Them An 11 AM Deadline On All Species Submissions"

Post-Globe Miscellania

First thing's first: my Golden Globe chat/wrap-up with Nathaniel has been posted at The Film Experience. I have such a great time with these, so hopefully you guys enjoy reading them too.

A couple things I forgot to mention about last night's Globes:

01 - Best Newtork Apology of the Night: NBC hauling the entire cast of Heroes out onto the stage, which seemed excessive, until you realize it was all just a giant apology for having to sideline the show for the night and as a result giving a HUGE head start to 24 in what could end up being a pretty significant ratings battle. Yeah, I figure that deserves a bit of a "Sorry 'bout that!"

02 - I failed to mention how awesome Katherine Heigl looked last night, and I should have, because she then went and got a whole lot more awesome during the post-awards press conference. Observe, and thanks to AfterElton for the scoop:

One: Seems Isaiah Washington responded to yet another question about on-set tensions and chokings and epithet-screaming by asserting that he "never called T.R. a faggot!" This would be the first such denial by anyone in the Grey's camp, that I've heard.

Two: Seems Katherine Heigl wasn't quite having that, and essentially said Washington needs to shut the fudge up and quick. Tellingly, she said that Washington need not have said faggot "again" in reference to T.R. Knight. "Again." Hmm.

Access Hollywood (of all dreadful programs) has the words straight from Heigl's mouth. Dammit, I love her.

Monday, January 15, 2007

She's a Maneater, Make You Work Hard...

I'm going to chat up tonight's Golden Globes with Nathaniel tomorrow morning, but for now, I just have to say:

That's my GIRL!

She's single, motherfuckers! Bring your A-game.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Utterly Frivolous Golden Globe Predictions

Yes, it's yet another attempt to pick the winners of a movie awards show. Stop the effing presses. I haven't given a whole lot of thought to who'd be winning the Golden Globes this year, for some reason. This year's movie awards season had left me strangely cold. Probably because most of the movies getting major play are films I liked but didn't love (Dreamgirls, The Departed, The Queen) and the ones I did love, like Babel and Little Miss Sunshine, are kind of bringing up the back of the pack. So when the reality of the situation fails you, I say go for the metaphor. In this case, there are a few handy ones to fall back on when talking about movie awards. They're alternately described as a race, as a battle, as a beauty pageant. So since I can't entirely be bothered to form an opinion on whether Borat is a better actor than that British drag queen whose movie I never saw, metaphor is the way to go.

Best Actress in a Motion Picture: Drama
Penelope Cruz - Volver
Judi Dench - Notes on a Scandal
Maggie Gyllenhaal - Sherrybaby
Helen Mirren - The Queen
Kate Winslet - Little Children

If this were actually a race: Dench isn't exactly in racing shape, and Mirren's Queen would sooner die than break out the hustle for anyone. Cruz looks lithe enough, but Gyllenhaal's powered by the crank, so I'll give her the edge.
If this were actually a battle: It's not like I'd be crazy about messing with any of these women -- Cruz killed a guy and Maggie's got meth muscles or whatever and Dench is just plain diabolical, but thinking clearly, Mirren's got an entire nation's armed forces to go into battle with. Winslet's got, like, toddlers. No contest.
If this were an actual beauty pageant: Winslet looks like she's taken her usual appealing self and tarted it up for the suburbs, which certainly puts her into play. But I think Penelope Cruz and her padded ass probably trump her.
If this were a nationally televised popularity contest nominally based on acting merit: Helen Mirren, y'all. Place your bets.

Best Actor in a Motion Picture: Drama
Leonardo DiCaprio - Blood Diamond
Leonardo DiCaprio - The Departed
Peter O'Toole - Venus
Will Smith - The Pursuit of Happyness
Forest Whitaker - The Last King of Scotland

If this were actually a race: O'Toole's old and Whitaker's on the cherubic side, so they're out. The battle of Leo vs. Leo is interesting, and it looks like he does his fair share of running in both films. But Will Smith is running for fatherhood. That gives him the edge he needs.
If this were actually a battle: Whitaker's Idi Amin crushes all who stand in his way.
If this were an actual beauty pageant: Leo's rugged diamond smuggler is a good deal more appealing than his cracked-out and twitchy mob snitch, so: Leo in Blood Diamond.
If this were a nationally televised popularity contest nominally based on acting merit: This is maybe the toughest call of the night, but I'll go with my heart and say Forest Whitaker will win.

Best Actor in a Motion Picture: Comedy/Musical
Sacha Baron Cohen - Borat
Johnny Depp - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Aaron Eckhart - Thank Your For Smoking
Chiwetel Ejiofor - Kinky Boots
Will Ferrell - Stranger Than Fiction

If this were actually a race: Well, Ejiofor's right out, because nobody's running well in heels. Cohen could probably put up a good time, but Depp did practically nothing but run in Pirates 2, which gives him the edge.
If this were actually a battle: Wow, not exactly a muscly bunch here, eh? Cohen's a twig, Depp's a fraidy cat, Ferrell's a sad sack, Ejiofor's...still wearing heels. Balance, people. Eckhart kind of takes it by default.
If this were an actual beauty pageant: Chalk another one up for Johnny Depp, even if he'd probably recoil at the very idea. He quit 21 Jump Street to get away from that kind of attention!
If this were a nationally televised popularity contest nominally based on acting merit: It's not really acting so much as a freakish performance art, but everyone gets to look cool for a second by voting for Borat, so Cohen should win this easily. Buckle up for an...elaborate speech, let's say.

Best Actress in a Motion Picture: Comedy/Musical
Annette Bening - Running With Scissors
Toni Collette - Little Miss Sunshine
Beyonce Knowles - Dreamgirls
Meryl Streep - The Devil Wears Prada
Renee Zellweger - Miss Potter

If this were actually a race: I can't see grand dames like Bening or Streep racing anywhere, can you? No, give the edge here to Collette, who had a whole lot of training keeping up with that yellow VW bus.
If this were actually a battle: Renee's a twig, and Beyonce and Collette are ultimately too nice. Streep's icy cold Prada character is menacing, but Bening's the only one who could legitimately frighten me. Give it to her, before she hurts someone.
If this were an actual beauty pageant: Now it's Beyonce's time to shine!
If this were a nationally televised popularity contest nominally based on acting merit: Streep's the only one of the bunch who's gonna end up with an Oscar nomination, so that's usually a pretty good indicator.

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Ben Affleck - Hollywoodland
Eddie Murphy - Dreamgirls
Jack Nicholson - The Departed
Brad Pitt - Babel
Mark Wahlberg - The Departed

If this were actually a race: Pitt and Wahlberg are the resident physical specimens, with Pitt looking like the more lithe and speedy of the two.
If this were actually a battle: Provided his Marky Mark muscles are still there, here's where Wahlberg makes up the difference/
If this were an actual beauty pageant: No one here is a dog, really. Even Jack seems to hold an appeal for young starlets and Diane Keaton. Pitt might be the favorite if it weren't for his painstakingly applied "weathered" look in Babel. Dude looks like he could use an avocado face mask or three. Which leaves the race open for the giant head of Affleck to prevail.
If this were a nationally televised popularity contest nominally based on acting merit: Everyone is saying Eddie Murphy, and maybe this is just another Tim Robbins situation where the fact that I don't get the appeal of the performance colors my predictions, but I say they'll give this one to Jack.

Best Supporting Actress
Adriana Barraza - Babel
Cate Blanchett - Notes on a Scandal
Emily Blunt - The Devil Wears Prada
Jennifer Hudson - Dreamgirls
Rinko Kikuchi - Babel

If this were actually a race: Kikuchi and Blanchett both seem to be in good shape for a race, and don't discount Barraza, who did a lot of intensive training in the desert for this. But the skittering and hummingbird-like speed on Emily Blunt wins the day here.
If this were actually a battle: I'm tempted to say Blunt again here, because girlfriend would fight so dirty. But ain't no scrapper like an Idol scrapper, so Hudson it is.
If this were an actual beauty pageant: Hey, if Cate Blanchett is hot enough for a fifteen-year-old student, she's good enough for the rest of us.
If this were a nationally televised popularity contest nominally based on acting merit: Jennifer Hudson, people. Get used to hearing her name called.

As for the other, non-actor categories, look for Best Picture wins for The Departed and Little Miss Sunshine err, make that Dreamgirls (kind of forgot it was there -- whoops!), the Babel screenplay and score, Beyonce's "Listen" for Best Song, Letters From Iwo Jima for Foreign Language Film, and in a fierce Scorcese/Eastwood battle for Best know, I almost want to say Iñaritu just to shake things up like crazy, but I'll say Eastwood prevails here.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Trailer Trash: Trailers of Men

The collection of trailers I saw collected before screenings of The Good Shepherd and Children of Men was so...well, I won't say "good," specifically, and you'll see why, but..."notable," let's say.

This looks like it's getting a big ol' push as this next great horror movie, but the previews just make me think it's a nature documentary on lions or something. Maybe I'm desensitized. It's interesting how the entire horror genre moves like a pack. These days it's all dirt and dust and underground caves and a conscious lack of recognizable names in the casts. Borne out of the teen horror backlash, no doubt, but it's become just as recognizable a trend. Anyway, maybe it's another Wolf Creek, which...I haven't seen yet. So maybe I'm not the best test market for this.

Live Free or Die Hard

My inner monologue, as I gaped at the trailer for the fourth Die Hard movie: ", but...wha...but how...I thought that was just an idle...but he's so...and it looks so...wait, was that Justin Long there?" Indeed, the most positive thing I was able to take from the trailer was that apparently I can spot Justin Long from a hundred paces, whizzing by me at twice the speed limit. I guess between this and Rocky Balboa, we're in the year of the aging and faded guy movie franchise (there's also a Rambo IV in pre-production, so as to complete Satan's trilogy). I personally checked out of the Die Hard series some time when Carl Winslow was still involved, but people seem to still enjoy them. My only worry is that the President will watch it and get some ideas. The last thing a lame duck President with no conscience and poor decision-making skills needs is ideas.

Catch and Release

I know I've mentioned this at least two other times on this blog, but this was the first time I'd seen the trailer in the theatre. I still think it looks good. I mean, obviously if you don't like Jennifer Garner, you're not gonna go for it, but I do, hugely, so there you have it. I still can't entirely shake the idea that this was kept on a shelf for a whole year for a reason, but until I find out what that reason was (Jennifer couldn't do publicity with a newborn to look after? That sounds...plausible, I suppose.), I'll still stand by my affection for the cast, if not total confidence in Susannah Grant as writer/director.

The Kingdom

Peter Berg's stock as a director has certainly risen since the bad old days of Very Bad Things, what with Friday Night Lights making for a good movie and an even better TV series. So I'm glad to see he's behind the camera here. Jamie Foxx in the lead role is a non-entity, but Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner (there she is again), and Jason Bateman (stepping out of genre), plus small roles for Richard Jenkins, Anna Deveare Smith, and Jeremy Piven more than make up for that. I have a nagging fear that setting what essentially looks like a crime thriller in Saudi Arabia may merely make the film seem more ambitious than it actually is, but I'm certainly hoping to be proved wrong.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

This One's For Everyone At Chao Camp

I told you I wasn't gonna shut up about this show.

I'll end the suspense

There are certainly what you could consider spoilers for the movie in this review. But really, if you were that concerned about it, why would you be reading about the movie to begin with?

So, yeah, the best movie I've seen this year? Alfonso Cuaron's Children of Men. I went into this movie beyond gingerly, having been slowly building it up in my mind ever since I saw the trailer back in July. So there was a very real possibility that I would build up my expectations too high for Cuaron and his film to clear. That clearly was not a problem, as Children of Men proved to be as beautiful and eye-opening a film as I've seen all year. There is a moment near the end of the film where a child's cries pierce through the roar of gunfire -- where a literal miracle shines through from the depths of hell -- and this moment has been set up and cared for and presented so well that it's hard not to find a tear in your eye because of it. And then! What happens after that, after these soldiers of war and death and oppression bow down to the miracle that is life, what happens after that is what made me love Alfonso Cuaron and sealed his movie's place at the top of my list: a shot rings out and fighting continues. Because there are limits to miracles, and the balls we've set rolling don't easily come to a halt. That's probably the most poignant question the film asks: Even if the miraculous occurs, who will be left to benefit from it? Is the miracle enough? And if not, is it worth pursuing anyway?

And, yes, this is why I don't write movie reviews, especially about movies I like, because I get all flowery and crap about it. But seriously, this was one of the special ones.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Hey, New York...

Who farted?

But I kid the Big Apple. Because I love. And because certain sections of downtown Buffalo smell like Cheerios at certain times of day.

Under the wire

For the second straight year, I've seen my favorite movie of the year just in the nick of time and right when I was beginning to suspect I wasn't going to be able to confidently choose a #1. The debate seems to be over now. More later, obviously.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

SAG nominations

So I suppose I should take a shot at predicting the SAG award nominations. Look back to this post tomorrow and I'll hopefully have edited it with some post-nom reactions.

Best Ensemble
The Departed
Little Miss Sunshine
The Queen
Alt.: Half-Nelson

Went 4/5, missing Bobby where I picked The Queen. Not that I will ever understand how anyone can see anything award-worthy in Bobby. Certainly not the CASTING, which was among the most inept of the year.

Best Actor
Forest Whitaker - Last King of Scotland
Will Smith - The Pursuit of Happyness
Peter O'Toole - Venus
Ryan Gosling - Half-Nelson
Leonardo DiCaprio - Blood Diamond
Alt.: Will Ferrell - Stranger Than Fiction

5/5. Not bad, huh? Glad to see Sacha Baron Cohen not show up, to be honest. Much as I enjoyed Borat and laughed my ass off, all the awards talk has ended up overrating the film more than a little.

Best Actress
Helen Mirren - The Queen
Meryl Streep - The Devil Wears Prada
Judi Dench - Notes on a Scandal
Kate Winslet - Little Children
Annette Bening - Running With Scissors
Alt.: Penelope Cruz - Volver

4/5, with Cruz edging out Bening. This lineup looks to be coalescing into a pretty solid 5. No surprises yet.

Best Supporting Actor
Jack Nicholson - The Departed
Eddie Murphy - Dreamgirls
Mark Wahlberg - The Departed
Michael Sheen - The Queen
Jackie Earle Haley - Little Children
Alt.: Steve Carell - Little Miss Sunshine

2/5, only hitting with Murphy and Haley, as this category got all blown to hell. I missed Alan Arkin, Djimon Honsou, and Leonardo DiCaprio for The Departed. Leo's going for a lead nomination at the Oscars, but it still seems like vote-splitting on The Departed could damage Nicholson and (more probably) Wahlberg's chances. Still no love for Steve Carell this season, which is a shame.

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Husdon - Dreamgirls
Cate Blanchett - Notes on a Scandal
Emily Blunt - The Devil Wears Prada
Abigail Breslin - Little Miss Sunshine
Rinko Kikuchi - Babel
Alt: Catherine O'Hara - For Your Consideration

4/5, with Adrianna Barazza bumping Emily Blunt. I'm still hoping Blunt can hold on for an Oscar nod, but it's looking difficult. Hudson, Blanchett, and Kikuchi look rock-solid, and Breslin's probably got a Best Picture nominee behind her. And I guess the O'Hara awards push is going to fall short, too. Pity.

Bits and Pieces As I Ease My Way Into 2007

Okay, for one thing, I may have facetiously tagged college football as inferior to the NFL and beneath my interest, but that's really not true. I'm an NFL guy because I love an NFL team, but I can appreciate a good college game. If they had a real post-season, I could appreciate it even more, but by no means should you infer that I didn't watch and love Boise State winning the Fiesta Bowl on Monday. Holy everloving crap, that was the best ending to a game I'm ever seen. If I saw that in a movie -- the trick plays, the undersized QB with a weak arm, the even more trick plays, the post-game marriage proposal (!) to the cheerleader (!!) -- I'd have slammed it SO HARD for being unrealistic. Well done, Boise State. Once again, if only there were a real playoff system in place so y'all could play again.

Switching gears: so basically all the same people who have all but ordered me (unsuccessfully, thus far, but there's still time) to get into The Wire have also enthused about FX's comedy It's Always Sunny In Piladelphia. Courtesy of a New Year's Eve marathon that was easily DVR-able -- seriously, TV people, why don't more of you utilize the weekend cable marathon option? I've gotten hooked on more TV shows via weekend marathons, I can't even tell you -- I saw the first six episodes of the first season, and I laughed my ass off. It's hysterical, and because it's set in a shitty Irish bar in South Philly, it's almost too familiar for comfort. So now I get to become one of the persistent "you have GOT to watch this show" people. Because: you do. Seriously.

Also on TV: CBC has begun airing Arrested Development reruns at 5:30 PM right after The Simpsons. God, I love CBC sometimes. If and when I end up leaving Buffalo (okay: when), I am going to miss the easy comfort of Canadian TV. Mostly I'll just miss Hockey Night in Canada and the weekly Simpsons rerun, but my friends, that's enough.

Finally, courtesy of my esteemed and respected Syracusian friend who I believe has commented here under the name "monkeyboy" (all class, that one), I got to play Nintendo Wii over the weekend. Normally, I'm not in favor of whatever the newest gaming system is. I'm still cranky-grandpa-ing about how no video game will ever top the Legend of Zelda/Super Mario 3/Mike Tyson's Punch Out triumvirate. However, I am willing to stipulate that the Wii is pretty damn fantastic, and I only really played the sporting games and whatever the Wii version of Monkeyball is called. For the record, I totally kicked ass at the following: Monkey Bowling and Moneky Hammer Throw. Bow down, monkey bitches.