My Academy Award Prediction has a first name, its…

5 03 2010

One of the unfortunate side-effects of me being sidelined is that I’m WAAAAY behind on my Oscar predictions…so in the essence of the limited time before the big day…and because so many others have already done their predictions ad naseum…I’ll limit my pick to the best movie category. (Editor’s note: I didn’t get a chance to see all of them…so the one’s I didn’t see, I’ve completely made up…see if you can figure out which ones! Have fun!)

First, allow me to break them down:

Avatar

I’ve written about this movie before. Here’s snippits: “ahead of it’s time”, “what movies are going to be like in about 5 years”, “blue”, “breathtaking”, and “Fern Gully on ‘roids”. The bottomline is that I stand by all of those. I’ve never seen a movie like it. Neither have you (even though the theme isn’t original, the story is). James Cameron somehow topped Titanic and it’s better because of the absence of Leonardo Dicaprio. CGI characters (the Na’vi) are so realistic I official believe that a live action/CGI Smurfs movie might be plausible. It has also spawned a language that even Conan O’Brian can geek out on:

The Hurt Locker

War movies get me down…but they also inspire me. The one is both. It shares the horrors, spectacle, and triumphs of Iraq. The most believable movie about the Iraqi war to date (well…believable to someone who’s never been there before). It harkens back to the days of great war movies like Platoon or Tora! Tora! Tora! This gritty drama gets you right down to the bootstraps and the blood splatters of Baghdad and you experience the sheer bleakness of what’s going on there. Very strong contender.

An Education

When Arvid from Head of the Class decides to teach Punky Brewster how to dance, this light comedy turns into a love story of the ages as Punky (now a 40 year old art director of Children’s Theatre called “Cirque de Soliel Moon Fry”) provides an education to the awkward Arvid (a CEO of primordialnumbersrule.com) into the ways of the heart. Very touching.

Inglorious Basterds

I mentioned early that war movies are depressing yet inspiring. This one is neither. This one is flat out funny (in a Tarantino shotgun to the head way), clever, and great fun to watch. It also features one of the funniest over-the-top Nazi bad guys since Colonel Klink…but in that disturbing way. You’ll go in thinking you know what’s going to happen…and you might guess the ending…but you won’t expect the ride that gets you there. This is Quentin’s strongest script since Pulp Fiction…and should win Oscar for best original screenplay.

The Blind Side

The problem with expanding the nominees to 10 is this right here. The Blind Side is a good movie. I was entertained when I saw it. When you couple a feel good movie and a sports movie together correctly, it’s sure-fire gold. Does it deserve to be here? Borderline. I feel they put this in just to give Sandra Bullock extra points to win the Best Actress category (which she shouldn’t win…I love her but she really shouldn’t win it). This is a football movie that tugs the heartstrings and maybe the best sports movie of the year…but a long shot to win this.

District 9

This surprised me…pleasantly. Over the summer when I went to go watch this, I was expecting to just geek out at aliens being suppressed and a big fight of lasers at the end. What I got instead was an allegory on racism, oppression, and survival. In this movie, humanity is the monster and the aliens are the real people. All they want to do is go home but we wouldn’t allow them. I left feeling shell-shocked and refusing to think of the word “Prawn” in a non-derogatory way every again. A movie that causes that much of a visceral reaction is one that’s beyond your regular eye candy. And if CGI characters had their own category, the alien and his kid would win it all the way.

Precious: Based on the Novel Push

Second hand review breaks down like this. Heartbreaking. Mo’Nique is brilliant (even though the apostrophe is slightly distracting). Gabourey Sidibi delivers a breakout performance. And I will take the time to watch this…I just didn’t get a chance to yet…and I feel bad for that. This movie IS good to affect me just by word of mouth.

A Serious man

This superhero romp features former Dougie Howser star, Neil Patrick Harris, as Serious Man. His power is that he never cracks a smile facing an evil villain known as The Jokester (no infringement of the Batman villain with a similar name). But when Jokester devises a fiendish plot that could spell the end of Serious Man’s sidekick, Muggsy Bogues, if our hero doesn’t laugh…we see the true internal turmoil of a man torn between his hero identity and his best friend. Harris was robbed of his Oscar nod.

Up

Pixar keeps hitting homeruns tied to a million colourful balloons. UP is a journey of need and self-discovery as an old man realizes his time on Earth is nearly up (oh!) and he wants to make up (oh!!) to his dead wife for not giving her the adventurous life he had promised her. This movie is as uplifting (oh!!!) as it is fascinating to watch. Not better than their previous movie (WALL*E) but still very well done.

Up in the Air

The buzz around this movie was insane when it came out around the same time as Avatar…it had that “artsy buzz”. The kind where Avatar was there for the common movie goer…but Up in the Air was there for the “smart” movie-phile. I’ve seen both of these movies. Up in the Air is a funny movie in the way that Little Miss Sunshine was. Not hilarious…just intelligent and tinged with melancholy. George Clooney is great again playing himself…or was it Michael Clayton…anyway, a guy in a tie and a snappy suit with a silver tongue that could convince ice to freeze on a hot day. And I dig Clooney just for that reason.

So those are the nominees. And the winner is…drum roll please! No drums? We have a synthesizer stuck on Beck? Alright…that’ll do. “Loser” roll please!

AVATAR!!!!!!!!!!! (yes, it’s easy but you have to think that this movie will/has revolutionized movie making…and it’s not too shabby)

Interesting post-script…I went back and forth between Avatar and The Hurt Locker. They both are great movies. The Hurt Locker has a better script and better directing. But Avatar is a one of a kind movie. But did you know that the two directors (James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow) are ex’s? Yeah. Talk about a game of one-upsmanship. So I will make a second prediction right here. Even though Avatar wins Best Picture…Kathryn will win Best Director. Just a feeling.

Enjoy the Oscars folks!

Advertisements




Twelve Over-hyped Products that signal the end of the world

3 03 2010

1. Segway

Back in the day of the Jetsons (old 70’s cartoon for those born after 1995), this seemed like an awesome idea. Along with the conveyor belt sidewalk, pill-based foods, and robots that cater to our every need. That show proved that the “Future” was going to be built for the lazy. But it wasn’t. What we got instead are movable airport walkways, energy drinks laced with liquor, porn-bots, and this two-wheeled moving podium. For shame! It’s not cool when the invention you created actually makes golf carts look cool.

2. iPad

All feminine hygiene jokes aside (yes, I’ve heard them all at this point). The only thing that the iPad improved over the iTouch is as either a substitute for older folks who want an iTouch with large print or as a larger novelty iTouch like the giant sucker or a massive foam cowboy hat. So disappointing was this ground-breaking piece of technology that even Hitler is in dismay:

3.  New Coke/Crystal Pepsi

Lumped together because they equally sucked. Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, both companies tried to re-invent themselves to appeal to the young anti-corporate Gen-Xers. So they think: how about one of us totally remake a perfect recipe with a mediocre substitute and call it New Coke…while the other decides to make 7-Up taste like Pepsi? Result: Much hype that lasted about a summer until those same Gen-Xers decided that the corporate giants that made this decision where morons and went back to what they grew up with.

4. McDonald’s Arch Deluxe

Who actually remembers this bland tasting burger that was supposed to eventually eclipse the Big Mac? With ‘adult’ ingredients (a full piece of lettuce, a giant slice of tomato, cheese, and a sauce that I only can connect to tasteless mayonnaise), the Arch fell flat on it’s face after a year or so expelled to an island of other forgotten menu items like McDonald’s Pizza, McSpaghetti, and peanut-butter-and-jam milk (alright…this last one was one of MY failed concoctions but it seems Disney perfected it since…I expect royalty cheques anyday now).

5. Apple Newton

When I think of Apple Newton, I think of Fig Newtons…with apple. But no, this technology was just a victim of being ahead of it’s time and using technology that the world wasn’t prepared to support. Timing is everything but this didn’t occur to Apple. Years later, Blackberry re-introduced essentially what Newton was but with great improvements. The Apple Newton now sits at the bottom of a Fig Newton tray.

6. G’N’R’s Chinese Democracy

When you hype something up for FIFTEEN years…not just a normal hype…but a slow burn and you keep mentioning it every couple years past the time your band breaks up…you better deliver! And much like democracy in China, it never happened. NO! I said this album NEVER HAPPENED!

7. Nintendo’s Virtual Boy

In the mid-90’s, who didn’t want to get out of the dreariness of a Grunge world into to blood red Mario Bros Tennis 32-bit world? Not too many people. The music was better in the real world…and you didn’t have to wear bulky goggles to see. Real world – 1, Nintendo – 0

8. Zune

You’ve got to give it to Microsoft. When they stumble upon a great idea, they jump on it with no apparent improvements, an antiquated Window’s system (when compared to Apple), and a completely unnecessary copy of something already done very well by the iPod. And a couple years later, they try it AGAIN by introducing “Bing” as a replacement for Google. I give both Zune and Bing a big BONG!!!!

9. Window’s Vista

Hyped as the operating system that would revolutionize how we compute, Vista only succeeded in more crashing, more blue screens, more incompatible products, and more frustrated customers. It looked VERY slick…but underneath that shell causes nothing but pain like a certain cybernetic organism.

10. Jimmy Dean’s Chocolate Chip Pancake and Sausage on a stick

I like chocolate chips. I like pancakes. I like sausages. I like sticks. But why couldn’t they somehow create a vehicle in which to combine ALL of them together into a cholesterol explosion on a stick? Jimmy Dean’s did! But sometimes all that ruins a product is mixing too much of a good thing…oh yeah, and the risk of heart attack.

11. 3D-TV

Unless there’s a turn around in the hype surrounding this system…or some improvement that doesn’t require the user to wear those glasses you wear for 3D movies…I’ve got to say this one is the mostly likely candidate for Over-Hyped product of the future. But folks…don’t worry…some day we’ll have the Holodeck and we’ll all be able to pretend we’re in Survivor with your respective hero or heroine.

12. Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace

Simmer a bunch of Star Wars fans for 30 years, tease them with new digitally remastered and CGI-improved original trilogy, add in that trumpet music we all know so well, and you’ve developed a hype machine that created such a frenzy that people actually cheered the glowing green Lucasfilms logo at the beginning. This movie had such promise and such high expectations that no one could live up to they surge of excitement. It’s easy to blame Jar-Jar for ruining a good movie…but it really was the awkward relationship of Anakin and Amadala, and the fact that George Lucas felt the need to explain that the Force was really just a virus living in a Jedi’s blood. Thanks for ruining the magic. Down with Medicloreans! Sometimes things are just better to imagine as magical instead of an actual scientific explanation. This movie spawned two mediocre sequels to round out the sextology and diminished a once glorious franchise.





Flu! You are in Time Out!

3 03 2010

 

I feel the need to give myself a Time Out to explain my absence over the past month. It begins and ends with one f-word:

FLU

(actually two: there was a Funeral somewhere in there…but I shall remain respectably mum about that.)

I don’t have official confirmation if I had a cold, pneumonia, the regular flu, the avian flu, the virus formerly known as the Swine Flu, or some super-flu. Whatever I had, the onslaught lasted for almost two weeks (and carried over to some sleepless nights as my family suffered). And the cough still lingers like ketchup on a new tie.

So…flu. You’ve worked my immune system overtime and I’ve got to give you the pink slip. You’ve sidelined me for much too long.  If there was some way I could give you the flu, I would. But I can’t. So the best I can do is shake my finger and put you in Time Out.

For the following reasons:

  1. A cough that made dogs cower under the nearest pillow.
  2. Taking me out for a week (missing a few work days) without even getting me flowers. Or paying for dinner. C’mon, Flu!
  3. Making my family sick all at the same time. So none of us were really in the best condition to take care of the others. We defaulted to the one who could move the most…that was it!
  4. You owe us money for cough drops, tylenol, and kleenex. I’ll be sending you a bill.
  5. You showed up at our place without notice. One day…healthy…next day, pure sickness.

The only way you could’ve made up for it would be to have House cure me at minute 42 of the first hour.

For now…you are in Time Out…indefinitely. With no dessert!