Sunday, February 24, 2008

2008 Oscar Wrap

My favorite Oscar show of all time was the 70th annual Academy Awards. That was ten years ago, so my expectations are quite high for this 80th anniversary. How do you compare with having every living Oscar winner for actor and actress all sitting together on stage? (To remind you of the show…it was the year Titanic robbed four movies that were all much better than it was…and were much better than many of the films in years surrounding that one). This year I didn’t pull the week of double features to catch up on all the movies, but I have seen: Elizabeth II, Ratatouille, Gone Baby Gone, Michael Clayton and No Country for Old Men. I was floored when I found out that Ratatouille was nominated for Best Screenplay and not just the fluff animated awards. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. Elizabeth II was just as amazing as the first one. Gone Baby Gone was great; the plot line was unexpected, and I liked the presence of a moral center. Michael Clayton was much more than I expected, and I surprisingly enjoyed it thoroughly. No Country for Old Men was…well, I’m still speechless, and I walked out of the theater 3 hours ago. Josh Brolin was unrecognizable and unexpectedly hot as Llewelyn (but that’s neither here nor there). His performance was beyond great, and I feel like he should have gotten a nod.

Red Carpet Wrap: I loved the simplicity that dominated the red carpet this year. It had a very old Hollywood feel about it. My favorite hair and make-up combo was Jennifer Garner. Heidi Klum is the prettiest woman on the planet. I’m not believing she told everyone on the face of the planet that she wasn’t wearing a bra. She’ll be fined by Victoria’s Secret when she returns to work. Cameron Diaz’s dress is beautiful from the thighs up, but it’s not good below that. My favorite dress color was Kelly Preston’s, but the design was a bit too much like Renee Zelwegger’s famous yellow dress. Speaking of Renee, she has chopped off her hair. It’s not good, and I think she knows it. She keeps pulling at it and touching it as if she’s self-conscious and wanting it to grow quickly. I can’t believe Ryan Seacrest didn’t know Summer Phoenix! What an idiot! The worst dress goes to Daniel Day-Lewis’ wife. There were huge rhinestone flours and red tie straps. It’s heinous! Javier Bardem is actually not bad looking; after seeing him today in No Country for Old Men, the thought of him being good looking seemed beyond far fetched. It must have been the hair. Cate Blanchet is almost always my favorite on the red carpet (and on the screen as well…she’s phenomenal!). She was shown very late on the carpet, and the top of the dress did not look promising; however, once they panned out, her dress was as beautiful as I expected. Her hair and make-up are flawless. I always look forward to seeing what she wears. She’s always willing to take risks, and she always succeeds in it. She looks about 9 months pregnant and still gorgeous! I also love her because she is so humble. Helen Mirren wins the award for best dressed older woman.

The Show and Actors (a running diary): I have been a huge Jack Nicholson fan for the majority of my life. Not only is he an amazing actor, but he looks uncannily like my granddaddy. Tommy Lee Jones was phenomenal in No Country for Old Men, and that wasn’t even the movie he was nominated for! The same can be said of Casey Affleck and Gone Baby Gone. He should have gotten the leading actor nod.
You need to know early in this diary that I’m beyond a huge fan of the montages, and the ones that show the classic, old movies make me teary-eyed. So, the opening sequence pretty much rocked me. While we’re speaking of classic, old movies, I’m going to give out the Elizabeth Crews award for best classic movie seen this year to Giant.
I love Jon Stewart, but he looks dwarfish when they pan out. My adoration of Casey Affleck goes back to his role as Morgan in Good Will Hunting (who makes the movie in more ways than is ever credited). It took me the first 20 minutes of Gone Baby Gone to realize it wasn’t Morgan all grown up. Good for Jennifer Garner…she didn’t trip this time! This woman who won for costume design should have had somebody else design her dress. However, her designs in Elizabeth II was outstanding. Ahhhh, Clooney. My all time favorite Oscar speech is Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s (and it has nothing to do with it being for writing my all time favorite movie). They were beyond shocked and just started yelling out names. It was priceless! The streaker running behind David Niven is also priceless, and I can’t believe the Academy included the Native American who came to deny Marlon Brando’s award for The Godfather.
Amy Adam’s song needs some dancers behind her. It’s a bit bizarre. She’s in character but wearing a typical dress and nothing else on stage. Hmmmm….
Ok, so one of the best quotations from the night is Catherine Zeta-Jones saying: Well, I wasn’t around when Michael won his. Michael follows with: Well, you were alive, honey. Johnny Depp’s facial hair looks uncannily like my friend Wes’. I wonder how those who Cuba Gooding, Jr. beat for best supporting actor for his work in Jerry MacGuire feel about their careers now. I wonder if they just pretend they didn’t make a movie that year. There is no way Javier Bardem isn’t walking away with this supporting actor award. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is probably my favorite male actor of today. Tom Wilkinson is amazing in everything and even more so in Michael Clayton. I’ve already covered my love for Casey Affleck. No less, Javier is walking away with this. And he does!
I foresee the little girl from “Raise it Up” appearing on American Idol in 8 years. I’m a bit shocked Owen Wilson agreed to present at the Oscars this year considering the year he’s had. I applaud him for it. Ahhh, Cate Blanchet’s yellow dress with the maroon sash: the most beautiful dress of all time! Amy Ryan’s dress is simple and beautiful, and she deserves this award. It’s hard to look at her looking so pretty and think it’s the same woman as was in that movie. Tilda Swinton’s role in Michael Clayton was tiny and not that great! And she should be disqualified for her hair. I’m not believing she just won. Amy Ryan was robbed!
JC Penny just showed a commercial with “Killing the Blues”! That song is incredible. The Coen Brothers will rack up tonight. Their ability to use humor in the oddest places is remarkable.
The worst part of the Oscar presentation every year is the President of the Academy’s speech. This year they tried to jazz it up a bit with a montage, but it’s not working.
Dame Judy Dench is in the top three best actresses of our day. Years from now, our grandchildren will look back at her and talk about how classis she is. I also adore Gwyneth Paltrow’s Oscar speech. She bawled like a baby, but it was great! The actress for La Vie en Rose’s speech, or lack thereof, was amazing. I love it when they are so blown away that they don’t know how to react. I also loved how excited the other actresses nominated were to hear her name called out. I also love it when the academy shocks us with an unexpected winner.
What is the likelihood that Colin Ferrell makes it through his part without saying the F word? Maybe the better question is how long in this speech before he says the F word. I’m putting the over/under at 2 minutes. (Luckily for the censors he was only on for about 1). When at the movies today, all of the trailers were movies with him in them. It was bizarre. It’s unfair for such amazing hair to be given to a guy!
Have I mentioned that I freakin love Jack Nicholson?! Out of the 79 greatest movies, I’ve seen 53. I guess that’s pretty good, but I thought it’d be higher. Marlon Brandon in On the Waterfront….hmmmmm…perfection. I’m quite surprised by the movies that I thought were winners but didn’t: ie. Bonnie and Clyde, Butch Cassidy, any Stanley Kubric film and Sunset Blvd. There are so many movies that are the greatest movies ever made that weren’t on that list. I guess the annual thing limits the selection some. Some years there were tons of amazing movies; other years there weren’t. How else can you explain the absence of these movies and more, not to mention Cuba Gooding, Jr.’s Oscar? (I’ll get back to you on who these amazing movies lost out to…right now the database is logged, and I can’t get it to load)
Nicole Kidman is amazing. She’s been very hidden this awards show and past few years. She’s still beautiful. I don’t like her necklace, but her dress is nice. It’s hard to find pretty dresses for prego women. Her necklace looks like a lace shawl.
Were all Hitchcock’s women blonde? I’m gonna have to check that out. Robert Boyle gets the first standing ovation of the night … two and a half hours into the production.
I’m putting my money on a song from Enchanted winning best song. I’ve never heard of this guy singing the last song from Enchanted, but he’s really good! Oh my goodness, Enchanted songs didn’t win. I wonder if it’s because they cancelled each other out votewise. I liked the song. I like this woman’s black dress much more than I liked the purple one she wore to perform. I liked the back of the purple one, but the front wasn’t great.
They just panned the crowd showing Jennifer Garner and Summer Phoenix sitting beside each other. We’re feeling the sister-in-law love. But it does make you wonder where Joaquin is tonight. I mean, it could totally be a family reunion. I’m surprised that Ben Affleck wasn’t there tonight since Amy Ryan was nominated for her acting in a movie he directed.
They’re remaking A Raison in the Sun…starring Diddy?! This is blasphemous!
Back to Cameron Diaz’s dress…her hem is about 3 inches too short!
I love the memorial montage. It makes me cry every year. There are so many old actors and actresses who don’t get press when they die. I also love how the Academy always ends with what they think will be the biggest emotional grabber. I could have told you a week ago it would end with Heath Ledger tonight.
I’m for War of Dance for documentary. However, African dancers don’t stand a chance when it comes to issues related to Iraq and war interrogation.
Harrison Ford is proof that age doesn’t ruin all good things! I’ve written I LOVE YOU on my eyelids. Diablo Cody for best screenplay is interesting. Her dress is a bit high cut. I love how that award always goes to someone other than the typical. It’s so necessary to differentiate between a great movie and a great script. I’m going to see Juno on Wednesday, so I’ll comment more after that.
Have I mentioned that Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront is the closest I’ve ever seen to physical perfection?! What he grew into is tragic. I’ve heard girls said that Disney has given them unreal expectations of men and love. For me, Gregory Peck gave me unreal expectations of men (and Jane Austen is to blame for the unreal expectations of love…but that’s for another day).
All the critics say Daniel Day-Lewis is an absolute for best actor…my vote goes to Clooney, but it could be because that’s the only one of the performances I’ve seen from this list.
Robert Redford’s Ordinary People is still one of the best movies ever! I love Martin Scorcese; I love that he was given the award by three of the best directors of his day. I love that he got it late in life and appreciated it. The Coen Brothers should win for directing…and they do! This movie has the same weird feel as Fargo. For Best Picture, I’m putting my money on the Coen Brothers and No Country for Old Men, and it wins.

Final wrap: There were really no surprises for the big awards this year. I don’t think people expected the best actress winner or best supporting actress, but other than that…it was pretty predictable. Jon Stewart did a good job hosting. The overall program wasn’t the best I’ve seen (that still goes to the 70th anniversary), but it was much better than last year’s (which was the worst I’ve seen). It’s always fun to see beautiful dresses and pretty people, and it’s always fun to honor a medium that has captured the imaginations of, promoted the dreams of, and provided the memories to millions of us for years.
I apologize for the length of this entry, but it was a 3 hour red carpet leading to a 4 hour show!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Spring is in the Air

I'm not for sure if on Groundhog's Day Phil saw his shadow (I was too busy playing with my nephews), but I do know that spring has arrived! Pitchers and catchers arrived at camp yesterday, marking the beginning of spring training. After three and a half months of the Mitchell Report, no Hot Stove action, and Congressional hearings, the baseball offseason has come to an end, and I couldn't be more happy. I realize I'm a day late reporting on the pitchers and catchers arriving at camp, but I had a huge French test that made all thing not French take the backburner. But this morning, transformation occurred. Suddenly I found myself switching my radio from 90s on 9 to 175- MLB Homeplate, a 24-hour, 365 day a year baseball channel. I was greeted with the familiar voices of Buck and Mark Patrick (aka The Big Chair). When I clicked on the channel, a caller was on the phone talking about none other than my Red Sox. It was with glee that I listened as Buck said he doesn't see the Yankees keeping pace with the Sox this season, and I felt like I was back home. So, baseball fans, dust off your playbooks, oil up your gloves, and save your money for hot dogs and peanuts because Baseball season has officially arrived.

Congressional Hearings

As I studied for French on Wednesday (or rather, while I wrote down various verb conjugations), I watched part of the Clemens Congressional hearing (while not technically its name, it's what I call it). The more I watched, the more enraged I became...and this comes from somebody whose stomach has turned at the sight of Clemens for years. There were various members of the house committee who had to keep "sneaking out" to go vote as if voting in the house was their second priority. You have no clue how happy I was to find out that the House Representative from my district was not involved in this three ring circus. As always, I agree with the view of Bill Simmons (the Sports Guy from ESPN). Here is what he said in his online column from Valentine's:

"Given that we're dealing with Iraq, global warming, the subprime shakeout, the decline of the American dollar, the decline of the public-school system and every other troublesome reality in this country right now, it's hard to believe some of our most notable Congressmen didn't have a better way to spend this week than interrogating a disgraced Hall of Fame pitcher and the sad-sack Andy Dick lookalike who once trained him. I do not approve this usage of my tax dollars."

I couldn't have said it better!
You can always find the Sports Guy on or the magazine.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

The more time I spend in Georgia, the more I miss Mississippi. I woke up this morning and was ready to leave my apartment 20 minutes earlier than usual. I needed to stop by CVS before class to pick up a newspaper to use in teaching today. Since I left 20 minutes early, it took me less time to get to CVS (what was usually a 20 minute drive was only 10 today). I went in CVS where it was warm and overflowing with red and pink. I decided to buy some candy for my students along with the papers. I also bought a pretty red bag to use for passing out the candy. I left CVS still 15 minutes earlier than I usually pass the store. I was in a good mood despite the fact that I slept little last night because I kept mentally going through notes for my French test today. I was jamming to 90s on 9 and dancing around as I went. Then all of a sudden I saw blue lights behind me. I pull over thinking this guy is a fool. I was definitely not speeding because the car in front of me was creeping. So he walks up to my car and tells me my tag is expired. Technically my tag expired on my birthday...that's how backwards things are here in Georgia. However, the stickers on my tag say Feb 08...which I thought meant I was ok until March. (mind you I've paid for the tag and am waiting for the sticker to be mailed). I tell him that and he wants to see a reciept. There are lots of papers in my car...mostly McDonald's receipts, but I don't keep major bill receipts in there, so I told him it was at home. He then went to his car where he took 30 minutes (not exaggerating there at all). I was about 2 seconds from getting out of my car, walking to his and telling him to give me the ticket so that I wouldn't be late for work. Then he walks up with a ticket. He explains that I can go spend a full day in court to get it thrown out after I get my tag sticker in the mail. However, I have to wait at least 30-45 days because they are slow putting tickets into the system. He also handed me an official warning because I haven't gotten a new driver's license with my current address. Apparently in this stupid state, you have 30 days to get a new license. And they think Mississippi is backwards! Once he had held me there for 30 minutes my niceness had gone out the window, and I was not happy, so of course I started sassing him. I pulled the Jonathan Devore "You've got to be kidding me" tactic about four different times throughout the time he stood at my window. When he started to leave I sarcastically said, "Happy Valentine's Day." He replied the same, and I said, "Whatever...jerk" before driving away.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Bowl

I feel like I've just been punched in the stomach! I haven't had this feeling since Aaron Boone's homerun in game 7 of the 2003 pennant! The difference here is that in 2003 the Yanks were supposed to win...and did. Here, the Pats were supposed to win hugely, and they choked! I realize that the majority of America is cheering tonight (not counting Vegas who had the Pats winning by 14). I realize that the underdog won, and that's a story people love to hear. I grew up a Mississippi State fan...I was taught to love the underdog at a VERY early age. It's actually that underdog status that made me a Red Sox fan and then a Patriots fan. Many in America don't remember Boston sports before the reign of the Pats and Sox. New Englanders (and I) do! We're back to receiving that below the belt sucker-punch right at the point where we start believing something great is about to happen. We're back to uttering those words we hate so much yet use entirely too often, "There's always next year." I hear Angry Bob in my head saying, "It's ovah! OVA-OVAH!" Unfortunately, he's right. The single flaw on a perfect season. The Pats will go down in history not as the only team to go 18-0, but as the team that blew the Super Bowl to the fifth seated, Wild Card, New Freakin' York Giants. So, no, Boston sports haters...we can't win 'em all. Eli deserves credit...he played a great game. The Giants' defense was too much for our offense, and you can't win games when you can't score. Patriots fans, as you wipe your tear-streaked face, remember that we'll get 'em next year! And until then... Go Celtics and Sox!